The sons of Adam are limbs of each other,
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others,
You are unworthy to be called by the name of a Human.
Rohullah Hussaini Riding for Refugees 2015 [ABC - 2/9/15]:
... Although the ride will at times be gruelling and punishing, Rohullah said it is nothing compared to the Australian government's punishment of refugees in detention centres.
When Rohullah arrived in Australia three years ago, he was placed in detention and given a number he still remembers - LYN072.
He said he would like to meet with Prime Minister Tony Abbot to ask him some questions, 'face-to-face'.
"Why are you sending asylum seekers to Nauru and Christmas Island?" he said.
"What is the meaning of human rights and democracy in Australia?"
Riding 4 Refugees
No judicial process for refugees in Australia's Guantanamo on Manus Island.
crossbenchers, human rights and lawyers groups silent.
PNG removes appeal rights for asylum seekers: more threatened with deportation [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 2/9/15]:
In what seems to be a knee-jerk response to the Supreme Court constitutional challenge to Manus Island, the Papua New Guinea Immigration department has summarily removed the right of appeal from asylum seekers on Manus Island.
At an “open” meeting of Manus Island asylum seekers yesterday morning (1 September), around 30 asylum seekers from the various compounds (surrounded by more than 40 security guards) were told that they would no longer be able to appeal against negative refugee determination decisions.
Until now, asylum seekers have been able to appeal against a negative determination. But yesterday a PNG immigration official told the meeting, the PNG Minister for Immigration had decided that people who got a negative result on the first interview would no longer be allowed to appeal.
The meeting was also told that the Minister said there would be no more cases in the court to stop them being deported.
“There are two options; either you go back voluntarily by IOM or you will be forcibly deported by PNG immigration,” the official told the meeting, “PNG has decided not to hold anyone with a negative result.”
The Supreme Court however has extended an injunction preventing the removal of 26 asylum seekers until the next directions hearing of the Supreme Court on 7 September.
The Supreme Court will also consider a general application for further orders against the refoulement of any of the Manus detainees.
The meeting of asylum seekers was also told there would be no chance to see a lawyer. Yet, the constitutional right to have access to a lawyer is one of the fundamental issues being considered by the Supreme Court.
None of the detained asylum seekers have ever been informed of their constitutional rights or allowed to have access to a lawyer.
“The decision to remove appeal rights from asylum seekers is one more indication of the arbitrary circumstances of asylum seekers on Manus Island. Around 50 per cent of those who received a negative decision at their first interview were being accepted on review,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“PNG Immigration is trying to pre-empt the decisions of the Supreme Court and violate the rights of asylum seekers. It is a shabby and transparent attempt to deprive them of their constitutional rights and to intimidate more asylum seekers to accept being returned.”
PNG Police Commander tells father of woman allegedly raped on Manus Island that Australians will be extradited [SBS - 2/9/15]:
The father of a Manus Island woman allegedly raped by detention centre workers says police have told him three Australians implicated will shortly be returned to Papua New Guinea.
Detention centre operator Transfield Services flew the three men back to Australia after the incident in July when the local woman was allegedly found naked and unconscious in the male staff quarters.
Her father, whose identity SBS has withheld to protect the alleged victim, said Manus province police commander Alex N’Drasal told him the men would return shortly.
“The guys down in Australia have to fly back into the country, PNG, to Manus and the court case will convene as soon as possible, that’s what he told us, as directed by the prime minister” her father told SBS World News.
“The program for today was that we were supposed to have a meeting with him (Commander N’Drasal) and PNG immigration, but they’re not available. I heard he flew from Manus to Port Moresby this morning.”
After the three men were repatriated to Australia with the knowledge of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill condemned their removal from PNG as a breach of sovereignty and demanded their return.
“How would you feel if it was the other way around,” the woman’s father said.
“I think you’d feel the same. I feel very angry and I want justice to prevail, that’s all I want.”
Commander N’Drasal would not comment on the case today when contacted by SBS.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection would not confirm if the men were being returned.
“The Australian Government is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter and will continue to do so,” a spokesperson said.
Transfield Services and subcontractor Wilson Security, the employer of the men, have been asked for comment.
Local MP Ron Knight said he had been informed the three men would be returned.
“Apparently Transfield or immigration are chartering a plane and they should be back in the country by the end of next week,” he said.
“They’ll be brought back to Manus and charged accordingly.”
Mr Knight warned there could be trouble on Manus after the woman’s family and villagers seized two Transfield vehicles.
“If they are not returned, there’s going to be a huge problem. That was the first step, grabbing those vehicles, the next step is cutting off the airport,” he said.
Mr Knight said the vehicles were returned to Transfield undamaged after a few hours.
“I think they’ve realised the power of people here and they are toeing the line now,” he said.
“They want justice to prevail, that’s what they want.”
Tariq Ali, Johann Hari, Naomi Klein, Laurie Penny and Jon Ronson make joint statement criticising co-curator of Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) for including supporter of asylum policies on its board [Guardian - 2/9/15]:
... As festival speakers, we wish to separate ourselves – in the strongest possible terms – from Molan’s views and policies. Australia’s cruel practices towards migrants are wholly unacceptable, and they most certainly should not be exported to Europe, where they would make an already intolerable moral crisis far worse. ...
Response to abovementioned statement @xBorderOps [2/9/15]:
Dear Tariq Ali, Johann Hari, Naomi Klein, Laurie Penny, & Jon Ronson,
We call bullshit on your statement. You are all intelligent people capable of doing your own research before parachuting into a country and accepting an invitation from an organisation (FODI) that has General Molan on its Board.
These matters wrere brought to your attention not so that you might use them to say that you care about them. They were brought to your attention so that you might walk the talk. Your inability to do so speaks more loudly than any microphone might carry your words from the FODI stage.
If it were remotely true that you were opposed "in the strongest terms" to the actions of General Molan and related Border Force and Operation Sovereign Borders activities, you would have declined the invitation or - upon being informed of them - have made other arrangements.
Those opposed to Operation Sovereign Borders and Australia's detention industry have for years called for a boycott, as have the detainees who are interned in those concentration camps.
You clearly have chosen to not respect that call because you imagine the benefit to yourselves is greater than the cost to those who are interned.
We wish you all the very best with your faux-edgy tourism.
... Nichols told a Senate Inquiry this evening that the asylum seekers targeted were Palestinian, and he observed them leaving ‘tent 11’ coughing up water.
“I’ve seen members of the [Wilson] Emergency Response Team exit tents and later I’ve seen asylum seekers come out of these tents, come out of them covered in water, coughing,” he said. ... [New Matilda - 20/8/15]
Nauru camp detainees have made allegations of brutal beatings by security guards, as newly leaked documents from the Salvation Army detailed the early “chaos” of the camp.
A protest of recent arrivals that began on June 25 was met with a violent crackdown by guards that reportedly left six Palestinian men unconscious.
The protesters were mostly Palestinian, Sudanese and Lebanese refugees.
They had just learned from Australian officials that assessment of their claims for protection would be delayed. ... [Green Left Weekly - 29/6/13]
Israel's actions during last year’s Operation Protective Edge were lawful and justified, according to Major-General Jim Molan, who addressed the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenum on Tuesday night.
Molan, former commander of Australia’s troops in Iraq, spent a week in Israel in May meeting with politicians, military experts, IDF strategists and soldiers. ... [Australian Jewish News - 27/7/15]
Is Australian General Jim Molan a War Criminal? [homepageDAILY - 14/1/14]
Major General Jim Molan is the Australian government's protected and unaccountable Operation Sovereign Borders "Special Envoy". [Prime Minister of Australia Media Release - 16/12/13]
Double rainbow in London this afternoon over Assange embassy siege http://govwaste.co.uk/ ...
"tweeted" by @wikileaks [1/9/15]
The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire [Publishers Weekly]
CEPR Analysts Author Latin America Chapters of New Book The WikiLeaks Files [27/8/15]:
... “The cables provide an extremely troubling but useful picture of the 21st century arsenal of political intervention employed by U.S. diplomats in Latin America,” said Alexander Main, lead author on the “Latin America and the Caribbean” chapter.
“A better understanding of these methods and their impact is particularly relevant today, given the current political turmoil unfolding in a number of countries with left governments today.”
In “Latin America and the Caribbean,” the authors describe a variety of soft and hard methods used by U.S. diplomats to try to influence the outcome of elections, force governments to modify their policies and undermine left governments and candidates.
In “Venezuela,” the authors show how the U.S. State Department, under both George W. Bush and the early part of the Obama administration covered in the leaked cables, focuses obsessively on the alleged Bolivarian “threat” to U.S. interests in the region, with Venezuela effectively replacing the Soviet Union and Cuba as the new regional bugbear.
The chapter also describes how numerous cables show the constant, close coordination that exists between the U.S. embassy in Caracas and the Venezuelan opposition, with constant attempts to unite opposition factions and divide and/or co-opt pro-government groups. ...
Guatemalan Congress strips President Pérez Molina's immunity
Tico Times [1/9/15]:
Guatemala’s Congress voted Tuesday to strip embattled President Otto Pérez Molina’s immunity, clearing the way for him to be prosecuted over allegations he masterminded a multi-million-dollar corruption scheme.
The resolution was passed unanimously by the 132 lawmakers present, making the conservative leader the first president to have his immunity revoked in the Central American country’s history.
After months of unprecedented protests that have swept Guatemala, hundreds of demonstrators outside Congress erupted into jubilant cheers at the news, as passing drivers honked their horns in celebration.
The vote clears the way for prosecutors to charge Pérez Molina, a 64-year-old retired general, with running a scheme that allowed businesses to reduce their customs duty by paying bribes to corrupt officials.
Under Guatemalan law, he will be automatically removed from office if remanded in custody by a judge.
Pérez Molina’s lawyers filed a motion Monday challenging the immunity vote before the Constitutional Court, which is expected to rule by Thursday.
... In May 2013, Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for the thousands of human rights abuses committed during his 1980s dictatorship, but the historic verdict and accompanying 80-year prison sentence were overturned just 10 days later, purportedly due to errors in the judicial process. ... [Court suspends Dictator Rios Montt's genocide trial - teleSUR - 18/8/15]
Ríos Montt guilty of genocide: Are Guatemalan President Pérez Molina, US officials next? [Democracy Now - 13/5/13]:
... ALLAN NAIRN: ... One of the remarks that Pérez Molina made in response to the verdict against Ríos Montt—he was echoing the comments of the American Chamber of Commerce, which represents the U.S. corporations in Guatemala—was to say that this verdict will discourage foreign investment in Guatemala.
It’s a very revealing comment, because foreign companies, when they come into a country and are looking to invest, they want some laws to be enforced, like the laws on contracts, and they want other laws not to be enforced, like the labor laws and the laws which stop them from murdering their employees if they try to organize unions.
In the ’80s, the leaders of the American Chamber of Commerce described to me how they would sometimes turn over names of troublesome workers to the security forces, and they would then disappear or be assassinated. Fred Sherwood was one of the Chamber of Commerce leaders who described that. And now, with this verdict, it seems that Pérez Molina and the corporate leaders and the elites in Guatemala, in general, are worried that they may have a harder time killing off workers and organizers when they need to.
And it’s especially relevant right now because there’s a huge conflict in Guatemala about mining. American and Canadian mining companies are being brought in by the Pérez Molina government to exploit silver and other minerals. The local communities are resisting. Community organizers have been killed. There was a clash in which a police officer was killed. So Pérez Molina has imposed a state of siege in various parts of the country.
And just the other day, the local press printed a wiretap transcript of the head of security at one of these mines, in this case the San Rafael mining operation, where the security chief says to his men, regarding demonstrators who were outside the mine, he says, "Goddamn dogs, they do not—they do not understand that the mine generates jobs. We must eliminate these animal pieces of [bleep]. We cannot allow people to establish resistance. Kill those sons of [bleep]."
And the security people later opened fire. This is the way foreign companies operate, not just in Guatemala, but around the world.
I mean, it’s this kind of non-enforcement of law that made possible the Bangladesh factory collapse that killed over a hundred workers. And now they’re worried in Guatemala—
AMY GOODMAN: A thousand.
ALLAN NAIRN: Oh, I’m sorry, over a thousand workers—that this Ríos Montt case could also set a precedent for just starting to enforce the murder laws. And that can make their life a little more difficult. That can raise their labor costs. It has very serious implications for them. ...
Three journalists killed in Philippines
Three journalists in the Philippines have been shot dead just days apart, press groups said Tuesday, as they warned of further media bloodshed without serious government action.
The nation of 100 million people has long been one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists, with powerful figures able to kill critics in the knowledge they will rarely face punishment.
"We call on President Benigno Aquino to give top priority to swiftly resolving these egregious cases," said Shawn Crispin, senior Southeast Asia representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
"Until Aquino demonstrates his government is serious about ending the onslaught, the killings will inevitably continue."
Police and the CPJ said the latest victim was radio commentator Cosme Maestrado, 46, shot dead in front of a public market in the southern port city of Ozamiz on August 27.
Before Maestrado, radio reporter Teodoro Escanilla, 57, was shot inside his home in a fishing town in rural Sorsogon province on August 19, according to local police and the CPJ.
A day earlier, newspaper reporter Gregory Ybanez, 67, was gunned down in front of his house in Tagum city, a banana-growing centre in the south, where he also headed the local press association, police said.
The Philippines is infamous for a "culture of impunity", where the rich and powerful can literally get away with murder by taking advantage of corrupt police and judicial figures.
The latest killings bring to 29 the number of journalists murdered since Aquino assumed office in 2010, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
Out of the 168 cases of media killings since the restoration of democracy in 1986, only 13 suspects had been convicted of murder and sent to jail, NUJP director Sonny Fernandez said.
"The government has failed to stop the killings. There should be convictions, that's the only way they can prove that they're serious," Fernandez told AFP.
Presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma said it was "inappropriate" to blame the murders on impunity.
"Government is taking necessary action to identify and arrest suspects and bring them before the bar of justice," Coloma said.
National police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor told AFP he could not immediately provide statistics on arrests or charges filed in cases regarding media killings.
The world's deadliest attack against journalists took place in the Philippines in 2009, when 32 journalists were among 58 people killed by a warlord clan intent on stopping a rival's election challenge.
The chief justice said recently she expected verdicts against more than 100 people on trial for the massacre would be announced early next year.
China chemical plant explosion kills five
Channel News Asia [2/9/15]:
An explosion at a chemical plant in China killed at least five people, local media reported on Tuesday, just weeks after a massive blasts in a northern port killed 159.
Pictures said to show a fireball in Dongying, in the eastern province of Shandong, circulated on social media.
The explosion occurred on Monday night at the Diao Kou Xiang Bin Yuan Chemical Co., according to a news website run by the local government.
The fire was extinguished about five hours later and "people in charge of the company" were detained by police, the site said. China's official Xinhua news agency put the toll at five dead.
The blast came in the wake of huge explosions at a hazardous goods storage facility that devastated a swathe of the city of Tianjin, a key Chinese port. The toll from that incident rose to 159 on Tuesday, with another 14 people still missing.
Last month's disaster sparked widespread outrage over alleged safety violations and possible official collusion, and fears of pollutants contaminating the air and water of Tianjin, home to about 15 million people.
Another explosion at a chemical plant in Shandong killed one person and injured nine others on August 23.
Gaza could become uninhabitable in less than five years due to ongoing ‘de-development’– UN report
UN Media Release [1/9/15]:
A new report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on assistance to the Palestinian people warns that the Gaza Strip could become “uninhabitable” by 2020 if current economic trends persist.
In addition to eight years of economic blockade, over the past six years, Gaza has endured three military operations that have shattered its ability to export and produce for the domestic market, ravaged its already debilitated infrastructure, and left no time for reconstruction and economic recovery.
According to UNCTAD, conflict has accelerated the “de-development” of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a process by which development is not merely hindered but reversed.
The report highlights the severe crises in Gaza related to water and electricity, as well as the destruction of vital infrastructure during the military operations in July and August 2014. For example, it finds that Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants rely on coastal aquifers as their main source of freshwater, yet 95 per cent of this water is not safe to drink.
In addition to the 500,000 people who have been displaced in Gaza as a result of the most recent military operation, the report estimates significant economic losses, including the destruction or severe damage of more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools and 15 hospitals.
Serious damage was also inflicted on Gaza’s sole power plant.
The UN estimates that in 2014, unemployment in Gaza reached 44 per cent, the highest level on record. UNCTAD describes the economic well-being of Palestinians living in Gaza as being worse today than two decades ago.
In fact, the report shows that with negative economic growth of minus 0.4 per cent last year, the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory witnessed its first recession since 2006 and a fall in income per capita for the second year in a row. The deteriorating situation is reportedly due almost entirely to a range of “discriminatory” economic policies imposed on it.
These include Israel withholding almost $700 million of Palestinian clearance revenue, which comes from taxes on imports into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, compounding a fiscal crisis for the Palestinian National Authority, on whose behalf Israel collects the revenues.
Finally, UNCTAD is warning that donor support remains a necessary but insufficient condition for Gaza’s recovery and reconstruction. Short of ending the blockade, it said donor aid will remain vitally important but will not reverse the ongoing de-development and impoverishment in Gaza.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Gazan 'after crossing border' [Maan - 2/9/15]
Israel opposes Palestinian flag-raising at the UN [Ahram - 1/9/15]
Chicago: Hunger strike to save public school enters third week [Democracy Now - 1/9/15]:
In Chicago, a group of public school parents, grandmothers and education activists are entering the third week of a hunger strike to save Dyett High School, the only remaining open-enrollment public high school left in the community of Bronzeville.
Supporters say the city neglected the school for years before announcing plans to close it.
Under Chicago mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, the city has closed about 50 schools in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods as part of what critics say is a push to privatize education.
The hunger strikers have called for Chicago to reopen Dyett High School as a global leadership and green technology school, and have submitted a detailed proposal that has yet to be considered by officials.
At least two of the hunger strikers have been hospitalized. On Monday, local clergy, including Rabbi Brant Rosen, voiced support for the hunger strikers.
Rabbi Brant Rosen: "We are here to say that in this day and age it is a shame, it is a shameful reality, that families in a community have to starve their bodies in order to have a decent school, open-enrollment school, public school for their families. This is what it has come to in this city, and this is what it has come to in this country, that our public institutions, our sacred public institutions, and in particular our public schools, are increasingly being treated as commodities that can be bought and sold to the highest bidder. We are here to stand with the Dyett hunger strikers because they are our moral role models, they are our teachers, they are showing us what it means to love your community."
Afghanistan: Taliban execute three civilians in Helmand [Khaama - 2/9/15]
Australia on Tuesday provided the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) $21,000 in cash assistance for cricket gear for the country’s largest domestic tournament “Sixes.”
Australian Ambassador in Kabul Matt Anderson handed over the $21,000 cheque to ACB deputy chief executive officer Dost Mohammad Nazari at a ceremony held at the Australian Embassy. ... [Pajhwok - 2/9/15]
Saudi Arabia’s fresh airstrikes have claimed the lives of at least 30 people in Yemen amid the silence of the international community.
According to reports on Tuesday, Saudi fighter jets pounded an area between the Yemeni provinces of Shabwa and Ma’rib, leaving 17 people dead.
The attack also mistakenly killed three militia forces loyal to Yemen’s fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Nearly a dozen more people lost their lives following Saudi strikes on Abyan and Bayda provinces in the south of the violence-wracked Arab state. ... [Press TV - 2/9/15]
Yemen: UN warns of ‘untenable’ humanitarian situation and steep increase in civilian causalities [Media Release – 1/9/15]
Ending years of litigation, hunger strikes and contentious debate, California has agreed to move thousands of state prisoners out of solitary confinement under the terms of a landmark lawsuit settlement.
Corrections officials, who have long used indefinite isolation to control violent prison gangs, will cease the practice and return nearly 2,000 inmates to the general population, according to the agreement announced Tuesday.
Some of those inmates have been in isolation, without significant human contact, for more than three decades. ... [LA Times - 1/9/15]
About half the detainees at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba need to be locked up "indefinitely," Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday.
"Some of the people who are there at Guantanamo Bay have to be detained indefinitely, they've just got to be locked up," Carter told troops during a televised interview. ... [Times of Oman - 1/9/15]
A law professor who published an inflammatory article urging attacks on law professors and “Islamic holy sites” and who has been dogged by accusations of misrepresenting his academic and military credentials has resigned from the US Military Academy at West Point, the Guardian has confirmed. ... [Guardian - 1/9/15]
Massive manhunt after Illinois police officer's death; 3 suspects at large [CNN - 2/9/15]
White supremacist convicted of killing 3 at Kansas Jewish centres [New York Times - 31/8/15]
The number of “exhausted and desperate” women and children making their way from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia seeking refuge in Europe has tripled in the past three months, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today.
“An estimated 3,000 people are transiting through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia daily,” UNICEF said in a press release. ... [Media Release - 1/9/15]
CIA, US special forces launch drone campaign in Syria [Washington Post - 1/9/15]
United States "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [1/9/15]:
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
Bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted six airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hawl, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Kobani, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and an ISIL training camp and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mar’a, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL road grader and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL front end loader.
-- Near Washiyah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
-- Near Baghdadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL buildings and an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Beiji, two airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL vehicles and an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Haditha, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed four ISIL vehicle bombs.
-- Near Kisik, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck four ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL light machine gun and an ISIL mortar tube.
-- Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck three ISIL staging areas
-- Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [1/9/15]:
Salah-il-deen: News agencies: 11 civilians including old men were killed and 18 wounded as unknown plane shelled public market in Makhoul Village which is full of the displaced persons north of Beiji....
Baghdad: News agencies/security source : An employee in the ministry of justice was killed and their two children wounded as a roadside bomb attached to his car exploded while passing through Sha'ab area today evening.....................
Baghdad: News agencies/security source : A person was killed and 7 wounded as a roadside bomb exploded near cars showroom in Nahrawan area southeast of Baghdad today afternoon...
Baghdad: News agencies/UN : 1,325 Iraqis have been killed and 1,811 ones wounded because of the violence and the armed conflict which have occurred during August 2015.......
Speaker of Syrian People's Assembly attends World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, meets UN-Secretary General and parliamentarians [SANA - 1/9/15]:
... He criticized the silence and collusion of some countries which support the Takfiri terrorism and brought terrorists from over 83 counties into Syria, calling for “stopping the terrorist war launched against Syria”, which aims at undermining the Syrian state and displacing its people, before this war will invade the whole world.
Al-Laham affirmed that some countries thought that by supporting Takfiri groups, they will achieve their schemes of undermining the Syrian state and toppling the regime in it, but what they have achieved is killing thousands of the innocent Syrian people, destroying the infrastructure and spreading chaos and terrorism in the world, but they haven’t succeeded in undermining the will of life and the steadfastness of the Syrian people.
He added that the world has started to recognize the danger of terrorism and it has started to talk about the priority of fighting it after the obnoxious crimes of killing and displacement perpetrated by the terrorist organizations against the Syrian and Iraqi people, in addition to destroying the cultural heritage and mass slaughtering people on camera, yet the international response has remained limited and based on wrong policies and calculations. ...
Response to ever-shifting needs in volatile Syria requires sustained donor support – UN relief chief [Media Release - 1/9/15]
US drone strike kills 6, North West Pakistan [UPI.com - 1/9/15]
More than 11,000 families in Iceland have offered to open their homes to Syrian refugees in a bid to raise the government’s cap of just 50 asylum seekers a year.
They responded to a call by author Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir, who set up a Facebook group with an open letter to the country’s welfare minister, Eygló Harðardóttir, asking her to allow people to help. ... [Independent - 1/9/15]
Turkish Coast Guard rescues 48 refugees off Aegean coast [Daily Sabah - 1/9/15]:
... The Coast Guard rushed to help migrants aboard six boats who phoned the military branch when their boats started taking water and their engines broke some 500 meters off the coast of Bodrum, a southwestern Turkish vacation resort.
Migrants [refugees] from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Myanmar were taken aboard a Coast Guard boat after they were rescued from certain death. ...
Greek minister: Nations involved in African, Arab interventions have an obligation to assist in refugee crisis
Neo Kosmos [1/9/15]:
Greece's Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy, Tasia Christodoulopoulou, says the United States, Australia and other western countries should take some of the refugees that are flooding Greece and other Mediterranean countries.
Mrs Christodoulopoulou says intervention by the west in African and Arab countries has created the massive exit of refugees and that the nations involved in the interventions have an obligation to assist.
As the Union of Greek Municipalities (KEDE) called on the Greek government to take action to deal with an unprecedented wave of mass migration through Greece, Christodoulopoulou accused municipal and regional authorities of not doing their share.
KEDE chief Giorgos Patoulis said the government had failed to present a comprehensive plan for managing the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees, mainly from the Middle East, and warned that delays in implementing European Union measures may lead to hefty fines.
"There is no magic wand that will create the infrastructure or make the migrants disappear," Christodoulopoulou told a meeting of KEDE on Wednesday.
The minister added that with the exception of the municipalities of Athens and Lesvos, no other regional or municipal authorities have offered facilities for processing and housing arrivals.
The outgoing minister defended the government's lack of progress, saying that she is expecting €30 million in EU funding to be released next week, which will go toward building reception centres on Kos, Leros and Lesvos.
Her comments came after an earlier statement by European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud, who said that the commission is waiting for Greece to establish an agency to manage the funds.
Greek ship ferries 1,800 refugees to mainland [Reuters – 1/9/15]
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014 and continues to jail, torture, exile and disappear asylum seekers.
... "Transfield is the operator of detention centres where we have grave concerns about the treatment of children and vulnerable people," Bishop Thompson said.
"I endorse that we should not support companies involved in practices that do not protect the vulnerable, as we ourselves have not protected the vulnerable in our care in the past."
Bishop Thompson said he welcomed a meeting.
"This is clearly an important challenge for all leaders to face up to what's being done in our name," he said.
"Australians can't remain spectators on the issue of asylum seekers while so many people are displaced in Europe because of conflict." ... ['Hell exists and it's on Nauru': Priest angers Transfield over asylum seeker church signs - Sydney Morning Herald - 2/9/15]
Nauru Senate Inquiry: Royal Commission must consider Nauru child abuse [Refugee Council of Australia Media Release - 31/8/15]
Government should refer Nauru child abuse allegations to Royal Commission [Australian Council for International Development Media Release – 31/8/15]
The head of the department that oversees the Australian Border Force is initiating potentially costly legal proceedings at taxpayers’ expense in a bid to keep secret a single document about the federal government’s asylum seeker turnback operations, despite some of the material being publicly available. ... [Guardian - 2/9/15]
36 Rohingya refugees settled in Jakarta.
1,000s dead, missing or held captive in Myanmar.
In December 2008, Phuketwan asked the Royal Thai Navy for permission for its journalists to travel on a warship. looking for Rohingya boats.
The navy knocked back the request but instead sent some photographs of boatpeople being apprehended and laid out on the Similans and other holiday destinations like so many fish, drying in the sun.
That year, at least 5000 boatpeople arrived in Thailand and the navy was doing its duty by apprehending them.
We can't say what happened to those thousands of men, or the thousands who had made the journey before them. ... [Phuketwan - 7/12/13]
Coconuts Jakarta [1/9/15]:
Thousands of Rohingya migrants [refugees] fled violence in Myanmar earlier this year and ended up in Indonesia, most of them taking refuge in Aceh.
But it seems some of the poor migrants [refugees] made their way to the capital and are calling it home for the time being.
The presence of Rohingya migrants [refugees] in Jakarta came to the attention of government officials recently when the Satpol PP (civil service police) apprehended two Rohingyas wandering the streets of Jakarta.
One of them was carrying a letter addressed to Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, pleading for the provincial government to assist Rohingya migrants [refugees] in the city.
“To ensure their safety [in the city], we’re going to keep coordinating with authorities. The role of the provincial government is to ensure migrants can carry on with their lives,” said Ratiyono, head of the Jakarta International Unity and Politics Agency, as quoted by BeritaSatu yesterday.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR) confirmed that there are 36 Rohingya migrants [refugeees] who have settled in Jakarta.
“Some of them live in Community Houses that are spread across four regions in Jakarta. One of them is in Tebet, South Jakarta. They all possess UNHCR cards confirming they’re refugees, and we’ve informed them to respect the rules that exist in Jakarta,” said UNHCR Indonesia representative Jefri.
The Rohingya refugees endured many harrowing journeys to make it as far as Indonesia.
We hope they can eventually reach wherever they are headed. And if it’s Jakarta, then we hope this city can be a good home to them.
Anti-Muslim Buddhist group moves toward Myanmar's mainstream [Yahoo - 1/9/15]:
... Established two years ago, Ma Ba Tha sprang from the "969" movement, a loose collection of monks linked to a wave of violence against the country's Muslim minority in 2012 and 2013.
Senior Ma Ba Tha officials said the 969 movement had raised awareness about threats to Buddhism from a burgeoning Muslim population, but was disorganized and lacked leadership.
"It was (concerned with) only the symbols of Buddhism," said Ashin Tilawkar Biwonsa.
Now, a growing number of professionals are offering their expertise on everything from media relations to legislation, helping to shape Ma Ba Tha into a slick organization with popular support and real political clout.
One such expert is Aye Paing, who spent two decades toiling as a lawyer in Myanmar's musty courtrooms before finding a dramatic new use for his legal skills.
Aye Paing and a team of Ma Ba Tha-linked lawyers drafted the protection of race and religion bills, the last of which was signed by President Thein Sein on Monday.
Lawyers, economists, IT experts and other professionals had made Ma Ba Tha "very efficient, systematic and legal" said Aye Paing, 52, who wears a black "taik pone", a short collarless jacket worn over a shirt that is common among Myanmar's legal professionals.
"We discuss, give advice and share our visions," he said.
In another sign of its growing influence, foreign diplomats regularly visit the group's monastery headquarters.
One was U.S. ambassador Derek Mitchell, who went there twice in May to discuss "the need for increased interfaith dialogue" and "the importance of keeping religion out of politics", according to a statement from the U.S. embassy in Yangon.
Three University of Queensland law students will go to Myanmar next week to present at the Asia Pro Bono Conference and Legal Ethics Forum.
TC Beirne School of Law students William Lee, Balawyn Jones and Rebecca Morrison will attend the four-day conference as part of a Brisbane delegation also including Caxton Legal Centre and the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House.
UQ Pro Bono Centre director Monica Taylor said she hoped the program would bring greater collaboration between Australian and international law students about the importance of law school-supported pro bono activities. ... [UQ News - 1/9/15]
One month on, emergency relief still needed in flood-struck Myanmar [International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - 1/9/15]
South East Asia
... UNHCR is urging governments to avert another crisis at sea by acting now on proposals made to affected States in the context of the Bangkok Special Meeting in May. ... [UNHCR urges region to establish search and rescue effort before next expected wave of refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh - Media Release - 28/8/15]
Tomic through to second round to face Hewitt at US Open
The Roar [2/9/15]:
Bernard Tomic has advanced to the second round of the 2015 US Open with a four-set win against Damir Dzumhur.
Tomic dropped the first first set, 7-5, but recovered to claim a second set tiebreak, before closing out the match 6-4, 6-3 in the third and fourth sets.
The win means that Tomic will now face fellow Australian Lleyton Hewitt in the second round after the former US Open champion cruised through his opening round match against Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Australia's top-ranked tennis player Bernard Tomic has had his Miami court date pushed back to after the US Open.
The matter was originally set for Tuesday AEST in a court in Miami's Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, but it has been reset for September 21. ... [ABC - 1/9/15]
Hey! Whatchu readin' foor?
Logan bookstore owners in court today for three day committal hearing
A delay in obtaining secretly recorded phone conversations is holding up the cases of two Queensland men accused of preparing to fight in Syria.
Omar Succarieh, 32, and Agim Kruezi, 22, had their matters mentioned briefly in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
They're facing a number of terrorism-related charges, including preparing for incursions into war-torn Syria.
Commonwealth prosecutor Justin Williams told the court on Wednesday the "vast bulk" of evidence had been provided to Kruezi's and Succarieh's lawyers.
However, transcripts of intercepted telephone conversations involving Kruezi could not be obtained from a third party before late March or early April, Mr Williams said.
"The amount of material that's already provided, in my submission is substantial, and will take the parties a significant amount of time to consider," he warned.
Further allegations against Kruezi include that he was planning a terrorist act, possessed weapons and recruited people to fight overseas.
Succarieh is charged with providing funds to the terrorist organisation Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front, in Syria.
Both men have been behind bars since their arrest in counter-terrorism raids last September.
Neither was required to appear in court.
Succarieh's lawyer, James Wallace, expressed frustration at the "extremely slow and tedious" progress of the case.
Queensland Chief Magistrate Ray Rinaudo adjourned the matter until April 3.
Lawyers for two men facing terrorism-related charges have criticised police for taking too long to provide evidence against their clients, who remain in custody in Queensland. ... [SBS - 19/12/14]
A lawyer for one of three Queensland men charged with terrorism offences has accused police of withholding evidence and using the G20 Summit to drag out his client's pre-trial imprisonment. ... [Daily Mercury - 17/10/14]
Brisbane Times [23/1/15]:
Court documents have revealed how an undercover police officer infiltrated a Logan Islamic bookstore community, gaining the trust of three members who were later charged with terrorism offences.
The Australian Federal Police agent known as UCO317656 met Omar Succarieh, Agim Kruezi and Robert Louis Maestracci in June 2014 at the iQraa Islamic Centre, according to material filed in the Brisbane Supreme Court this week.
iQraa, which was run by Mr Succarieh, was raided on September 10 last year by AFP anti-terrorism police. [Following a Murdoch beatup.]
FBI informant exposes sting operation targeting innocent Americans in new "(T)ERROR" documentary [Democracy Now – 20/4/15]:
… AMY GOODMAN: They were apartment neighbors.
LYRIC R. CABRAL [Directors of (T)ERROR]: They weren’t neighbors. Tarik actually didn’t live in the brownstone, but he frequently played music gigs in Harlem, and so he would stop by a lot, just because it was a—you know, the FBI had engineered this environment so that it was comfortable for him, so that he would have a place that was available late at night after he would get off of a gig. And so, ultimately, Saeed used this child support need that Tarik had—he owed about $70,000—and said, "Well, you know, if you use your martial arts service in service of 'al-Qaeda,'" quote-unquote, "we can get you $70,000. I can get your passport back."
AMY GOODMAN: So, Stephen Downs, explain ultimately what happened to Tarik, what he was charged with.
STEPHEN DOWNS [Attorney]: Well, he was charged with material support for terrorism, for essentially, I suppose, nothing more than, in a kind of a scripted plot—or not a scripted plot, but a scripted play by the FBI, he took some sort of an oath to al-Qaeda that he would treat al-Qaeda soldiers if they were injured somehow, or would train them in martial arts. And I think the request was: Would you train al-Qaeda soldiers? And he said, "I’ll train anybody. I’m a martial arts instructor." And that was essentially the—for what he was convicted of. ...
Al Jazeera Investigates - Informants [VIDEO – 20/7/14]:
Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit takes you inside the shadowy world of FBI informants and counterterrorism sting operations. Following the 9/11 attacks, the FBI set about to recruit a network of more than 15,000 informants. Al Jazeera's investigative film tells the stories of three paid FBI informants who posed as Muslims as they searched for people interested in joining violent plots concocted by the FBI.
... At around 9.15pm police were called to the residence after the device was found attached to a window.
Specialist police attended the scene and rendered the device safe. ... [Suspicious device, Ipswich - QPS Media - 2/9/15]
Gold Coast domestic violence support group closes
Assist A Sista Australia [1/9/15]:
In September 2012 Assist A Sista was born out of a desire to make a difference to the lives of women and children who had experienced domestic and family violence. The last three years have been filled with incredible successes and opportunities to make a difference.
As Assist a Sista neared its third birthday we began to take stock of what had been achieved and plan for the future. Over time it became apparent that while we remained committed to raising awareness about domestic and family violence and supporting families who wanted to make a new start, creating a shared vision for Assist A Sista moving forward became difficult.
After much soul searching and deliberation we have decided to continue on the journey separately and stand very committed to continuing the amazing work that Assist A Sista has enabled us all to achieve. Sadly, this means that Assist A Sista will be wound up and will cease to exist effective from September 1, 2015.
Southport domestic and family violence court trial begins today [Queensland Attorney General Media Release – 1/9/15]
Beenleigh fire: Mother dies after unit fire which killed her son [ABC – 1/9/15]
A man who repeatedly stabbed his mother with a samurai sword and knife has lost a bid to have his murder conviction overturned. ... [Yahoo - 1/9/15]
A drunk man who beat his wife as she lay in bed next to their young daughter has lost an appeal against a one-year prison sentence, which he argued was "manifestly excessive".
The offender entered the home while the mother and her five-year-old child were asleep in bed one night in November last year.
The pair had broken up two months earlier, and the man had a history of family violence.
He went into the bedroom, pinned her down, put his fingers up her nose, and wrenched her head back.
The girl begged him to stop as he struck her repeatedly in the face. ... [Canberra Times - 1/9/15]
Fire clean-up continuing in Adelaide CBD [Nine MSN - 2/9/15]
Wanniassa man who allegedly set unit on fire during police standoff sent for mental health checks [Canberra Times – 1/9/15]
A man accused of causing a security scare at Cairns Airport by dousing himself in flammable liquid and threatening to set himself alight is set to be sentenced.
South Korean Hanback Chae was charged with one count of acts of violence at an airport after the incident in July.
The matter was mentioned in the Cairns District Court on Tuesday and listed for sentencing on September 18. [Yahoo - 1/9/15]
Armed Robbery, Tingalpa [QPS Media - 2/9/15]
Accused Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary echidna thief faces drug charges [Yahoo – 1/9/15]
A Queensland police administration officer has been charged with an off-duty fraud offence.
The 32-year-old woman from the state's northern region has been suspended from duty until the case is finalised. [Yahoo - 1/9/15]
WA police officers unbelievably close before fatal crash
Nine MSN [1/9/15]:
A witness to the aftermath of a fatal police pursuit in Perth says she heard an off-duty policeman tell one of the officers involved "it's all right mate, no one saw what happened".
Aaron Genovese, 29, died after his motorbike collided with a Toyota Prado as he fled from police in Glen Forrest in March 2012.
A woman who saw the pursuit soon before the crash told the West Australian Coroner's Court on Tuesday that the motorcycle and police car were driving at the speed limit of about 80km/h but seemed "unbelievably close" before the collision.
But other witnesses testified they saw the bike travelling at high speeds, with police driving much slower and some distance behind.
The woman said soon after she saw the vehicles through a window, there was a loud bang and then a thud.
She ran out and saw the police car stopped, with a young officer sitting in the driver's seat in shock while the other was walking towards Mr Genovese's body, which had been thrown more than 30m.
The woman said a plain-clothed man, who she later learned was also a policeman, told the older officer: "It's all right mate, no one saw what happened".
Detective Sergeant Kevin Wisbey, who filed the major crash report, told the inquest there was a black scuff mark on the police car's left wheel arch, but the damage had been attributed to a previous day in the log book.
Det Sgt Wisbey said if the police car and bike had collided, he would have expected to see different damage.
The court heard the Prado had damage consistent with it going over the bike.
A post-mortem examination found methamphetamine, cannabis and alcohol in Mr Genovese's blood.
He never held a WA driver's licence, had four driving suspensions, an outstanding arrest warrant and an extensive police record.
The bike was also purchased under an alias.
The inquest continues.
A NSW police constable will be paid $1.225 million after he suffered mental illness from a horror high-speed smash on Canberra Avenue.
But a Canberra court must decide how much of the payout the three defendants – an ACT government authority, his partner Constable Michael Hannaford, and the state of NSW – should cover. ... [Canberra Times - 31/8/15]
A young NSW mother allegedly driving on a suspended learner licence has been charged over a crash that killed her two-year-old daughter and left her 11-month-old son fighting for life. ... [Nine MSN - 1/9/15]
A Hong Kong tourist had her driver's licence for less than five months before she sped on the wrong side of the road and killed two men in an oncoming car in central Queensland.
Pui Shan Rachel Wong, 31, wept on Tuesday as she was sentenced to four years in jail, suspended after 15 months, for the crash at Bundaberg that claimed the lives of Mark Smith and Steven Maher. ... [Yahoo - 1/9/15]
Caboolture line delays due to police incident [Brisbane Times – 1/9/15]
... At 10:35pm on Tuesday night a 35-year-old man was injured when he crashed his car into a parked vehicle on the Pacific Motorway heading south at Palm Beach.
The accident happened between exits 92 and 93. He was taken to Pindara Private Hospital suffering from shoulder pain.
Then at 11:06pm a 29-year-old man lost control of his motorbike on the Pacific Motorway at Coomera.
He was transported to Logan Hospital in a stable condition. [MYGC - 2/9/15]
ABC News Radio reported pedestrians were hit by cars at Morningside and Inala this morning. [2/9/15]
A teenage boy has died after he was knocked off his push-scooter by a car and into the path of oncoming traffic in Perth.
The 16-year-old boy was riding his scooter in Cloverdale when he collided with [was hit by] a vehicle at a pedestrian crossing on Tuesday night, police said.
The boy was then hit by a second vehicle and died at the scene. [Nine MSN - 2/9/15]
Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!: Committee recommends Cairns port proposal a priority
The Great Barrier Reef could be at risk if the Queensland government acts on a parliamentary committee's recommendation and declares Cairns a "priority port".
The committee reviewed the Palaszczuk government's Sustainable Ports Development Bill, which aims to protect the reef coast by stopping new ports being built.
But its recommendation to instead declare Cairns a "priority port" could thwart this goal, conservations argue.
"This recommendation would make Cairns an industrial port and could lead to millions of tonnes of dredging," Australian Marine Conservation Society's Gemma Plesman said.
There are now four existing priority ports - Gladstone, Hay Point/Mackay, Abbot Point and Townsville.
Naming a fifth would effectively break a promise made to the World Heritage Committee to protect the reef, WWF campaigner Richard Leck agreed.
However, the report notes the unanimously devised recommendation only be adopted on proviso the environmental effects on the reef are considered first.
It also stipulates the government's UNESCO commitments and the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, as well as the economic benefit, be assessed before any change takes place.
... Minister for Energy Lily D'Ambrosio called for the review because "the number of consumers being disconnected was too high".
More than 34,000 homes were disconnected from electricity in 2013-14 and 24,000 homes were disconnected from gas. ... Victorian electricity customers face prepayment, rationing under essential services proposal [Canberra Times – 1/9/15]
The eyesight of 32,000 Indigenous Australians could be saved if the federal government committed more than $20 million, a report has suggested.
Blindness among Indigenous Australians is six times more likely than among non-indigenous Australians, and 94 per cent of these cases are preventable, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, produced in conjunction with Meblourne University and released on Tuesday. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 1/9/15]
Farmers fight back from foreclosure by banks in Australia's 'biggest land grab' [WA Today – 1/9/15]
A Coondanup man facing charges in relation to a paedophile ring faced Mandurah Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning.
Mark Wesley Liggins, 47, is accused of two counts of intending to expose a child under 13 to indecent matter, two counts of procuring a child under 13 for sexual activity, one count of possessing child exploitation material, two counts of using electronic communication to expose a child under 16 to indecent matter and three counts of using electronic communication with intent to procure a person under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity.
He has also been charged with possessing cannabis and drug paraphernalia.
Mr Liggins is among eight charged in relation to offences which allegedly spanned two years and involved a 13-year-old girl. ... [WA Today - 1/9/15]
Head rabbi at Melbourne's Yeshivah Centre resigns over handling of sex abuse [ABC – 1/9/15]
A chaplain at one of the country's most prestigious private schools tried to hypnotise students before sexually assaulting them, a victim told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.
The royal commission turned its focus to Geelong Grammar, where serious and ongoing sexual abuse occurred from the late 1950s until 2007. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 1/9/15]
The Swan Districts Football has reacted swiftly to stop an embarrassing blunder by cancelling an anti-Muslim group from holding a rally at their clubrooms.
The WAFL club that produced AFL Multicultural Ambassador and Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui had booked in Rise Up Australia to host a rally at its club on Friday, protesting against plans to have Muslim only prayer rooms at Fiona Stanley Hospital and the new Perth Children's hospital.
The club moved quickly to cancel the booking after being alerted by Fairfax Media on Tuesday, prompting anger from Rise Up organisers. ... [WA Today - 1/9/15]
Mojgan Shamsalipoor: Husband and teacher of detained Iranian asylum seeker fly to Darwin, plead for ministerial intervention [ABC - 1/9/15]
2 September 2015