Blackbird: Australia's hidden boat people [3/3/15]:
... My message is this: I Am A Boat Person, my ancestors came to this land by boat. And whilst the trials and tribulations of my ancestors weigh heavy on my heart, I look back at the past with a sense of hope for the future of Australia. My people fought to flourish and succeed in this great land girt by sea, a determination at odds with the great disadvantage that they started with. I believe if we have the ability to forgive the past, we certainly have the ability to learn from the mistakes Australia has made. It is my believe that Australia should be giving hope to people not lucky enough to be born in our peaceful, beautiful and plentiful country, not keeping them under lock and key. It is time for Australia to move forward. Here is my parting message, in Bislama, the official language of Vanuatu, in hope that we can all recognise the good fortune (and boundless plains) we enjoy and must share with those from 'across the seas'.
Oli se ples blong yumi emi naes mo swit truly emi happiest ples long wol!
Translation: They say our place is truly nice and sweet, it is the happiest place in the world!
Australia: Free the Refugees (London vigil) [VIDEO - 2/3/15]:
On 2 March, the British-Australia Society and the Australian High Commission hosted a diplomatic reception party to send off the new British High Commissioner to Australia.
The event was attended by distinguished guests from the diplomatic communities of Australia and the UK.
While the guests arrived to the celebration, a group of Australians and Allies gathered to hold a small but loud vigil outside the event to bring attention to the plight of refugees trapped in Australia's network of prison camps.
Stop the War on Refugees.
Australian media blackout continues.
President Baron Waqa pre positions the PR for violence against peacefully protesting refugees on Nauru. [RNZI - 3/3/15]:
... Mr Waqa says there has been no violence against refugees from police, but police will continue to enforce the law, which includes preventing mobile protests that endanger lives.
Nauru's "government spokesperson" @LyallMercer - reiterates the veiled threat of violence via twitter. [3/3/15]:
Nauru Gov- “No violence against refugees by police, but police will enforce law incl preventing mobile protests that endanger lives"...
See the peacefully protesting refugees that Australia has exiled to Nauru endangering lives?
Second refugee protest: Nauru non-cooperation campaign continues [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney – 1/3/15]
The Australian government got away with beating hunger striking refugees on Manus.
Are they about to do the same, or worse, on Nauru?
"We are 58 people, they beat the shit out of all of us" #Manus via @shanebazzi [January 2015]
PNG confirms school children shooting not raised with Indonesia
The Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister has confirmed that he did not raise with his Indonesian counterpart the specific issue of a shooting of school students in December.
Rimbink Pato last month reaffirmed PNG's stance that it respects Indonesia's sovereignty over the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The comments came after the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, made his strongest statements yet about human rights abuses in the Indonesian provinces.
Mr Pato says both countries are members of international rights bodies and issues are raised if and when they occur, but he confirmed he has not raised the controversial killing of students in uniforms in Papua in December.
"Human rights is clearly a concern to all of us but as to the specifics, it's a matter that we have to deal with case by case. During the meeting I had that was not one of the specific matters that was not one of the matters that was raised on our part, and neither was it raised on the part of the Indonesians, because I did not receive a brief in relation to it."
Late last week Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi visited PNG, Solomon Islands and Fiji.
The Minister's visit to these Melanesian countries comes as the Melanesian Spearhead group considers a membership bid by West Papuans, the indigenous people of Indonesia's troubled eastern region.
Indonesian Independent Journalists' Alliance calls on police not to criminalise 'Tempo'
Jakarta Post [3/3/15]:
The Independent Journalists’ Alliance (AJI) has called on the police not to criminalize media reporting on corruption since it was the people’s constitutional right to be informed.
The AJI aired the call in response to the controversial statement by deputy police chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti to the effect that 'Tempo' weekly magazine could be prosecuted in connection with its recent report on the alleged flow of funds to Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan.
"The magazine’s report is a press product, or a work of journalism. Their report is actually part of the national media’s efforts to fulfill citizens’ constitutional rights to receive information as guaranteed in Chapter 28F of the amended 1945 Constitution," AJI Chairman Suwarjono said on Tuesday.
He added that the regulation requiring public officials to report their wealth proved that the legal system regarded information on public officials’ wealth as public information.
"Clearly, the public has the right to know about facts linked to public officials’ wealth. It is also clear that 'Tempo' magazine’s coverage is part of the fulfilment of this right," he said as quoted by tribunnews.com.
He said the national media would resist if Tempo was named a suspect in the case.
The police are still investigating the magazine over the report.
Greenpeace halts APP deal after brutal murder
Jakarta Post [3/3/15]:
Environmental group Greenpeace has suspended cooperation with giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) as police are trying to prevent further violence after a farmer was allegedly beaten to death in Jambi by guards linked to the company.
Bustar Maitar, the head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia forest campaign, told Agence France-Presse on Monday that the group was temporarily withdrawing support for the company’s initiatives on forest conservation.
Maitar said support for APP would be suspended until the case was “settled in a transparent and fair manner”.
“They have declared themselves to be a responsible company. If APP doesn’t take this seriously, it will cost them their reputation,” he said.
The green lobby group had once been one of the strongest critics of APP, accusing it of destroying vast swathes of carbon-rich forests that were home to endangered species such as Sumatran orangutans and tigers.
Police said the farmer, Indra Pelani, was allegedly killed on Friday afternoon near an acacia plantation by the company’s Kembar 803 post in Tebo regency in Jambi province after being beaten by a rapid response unit (URC) team from a security firm contracted by Wira Karya Sakti (WKS), a pulpwood supplier owned by APP, a member of the Sinarmas Group of companies.
Jambi Police chief Brig. Gen. Bambang Sudarisman said the beating started when Indra and Nick Karim of the Jambi branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) passed the post on a motorcycle and became involved in an argument with the URC team members.
The argument ended with the team members beating Indra while Nick was reportedly told by locals to run away. Indra died in the incident and his body was dumped some 5 kilometers from the company’s District 8 area.
“There were seven of them who did the beating, namely Asmadi, Febrian, Ayatullah, M. Ridho, Zaidian, Depsa and Jimmi,” Bambang said.
He said he had undertaken some measures to prevent people from getting provoked by the incident.
Meanwhile, APP said in a statement that it had ordered WKS Sakti to suspend all personnel allegedly involved in the incident.
“We condemn violence and we support Greenpeace’s decision to focus its efforts on this issue,” it said, adding that efforts would be made “to ensure that justice is done”.
APP’s pledge to stop using logs from Indonesia’s natural forests followed years of campaigning by green groups, which had led to the company losing packaging contracts with big brands such as food maker Kraft and Mattel, manufacturer of the popular Barbie doll.
Bambang has written a letter to the National Police informing deputy chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti of Indra’s death.
'Fake blood' splattered outside Indonesian Consulate in Maroubra
Nine MSN [3/3/15]:
Police are appealing for witnesses to an apparent act of vandalism at the Indonesian Consulate in Maroubra, in Sydney's eastern suburbs.
A red substance, possibly meant to symbolise blood, was discovered splattered at the gates to the building at about 8am this morning.
CCTV showed a woman throwing balloons filled with the substance onto the Maroubra premises at about 10.30 last night.
Police have confirmed the material in the balloons is non-hazardous and are examining the security footage to try and identify the suspect.
Officials believe it was an act of protest against the impending executions of Bali Nine pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
PNG: Villagers in shock following flood tragedy
The National [3/3/15]:
People from a tribe in Jiwaka are in mourning after floodwaters took away the lives of six people, destroyed their homes and food gardens, and washed away a bridge.
They are members of the Kopi tribe living at Polga, in the Anglimp-South Waghi electorate.
Six people – a mother and five children aged between six months and eight years – died when a flash flood swept them away while they were having their meal inside their home on Friday evening.
Mother Diana Henry perished with her three-year-old daughter Rachael and a six-month-old baby.
The other children were Benedeth Nikints, 8, Fostena Marcus, 8, and Sally Marcus 6. Polga villager Thomas Tu said the people were still in shock.
He said 20 homes were swept away and their food gardens destroyed.
Anglimp-South Waghi MP Joe Koim, who visited the villagers on Sunday, bought six coffins for the deceased.
King's headmaster apologises for 'insensitive' remark outside child abuse royal commission [Sydney Morning Herald - 3/3/15]
Royal commission into sex abuse: Knox boys cheered while girl was assaulted by headmaster
Sydney Morning Herald [3/2/15]:
Students at Knox Grammar School allegedly cheered when they saw their then headmaster Ian Paterson inappropriately touch a teenage girl, a royal commission has heard.
In explosive evidence on the sixth day of the public hearing into the elite boys school, former Roseville College student Lucy Perry told the commission that Dr Paterson indecently assaulted her during rehearsals for the musical, Guys and Dolls, in 1989.
Ms Perry, now the chief executive of global women's charity Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia), told the commission she was 15 when Dr Paterson singled her out of the cast and touched her on the bottom and genitals while on stage in front of other students.
"I would describe it as between a pat and a grope," she said. "He then slid his hand right down to cup my buttocks and touch my genitals outside my clothing.
"I saw Paterson had what I would describe as a creepy look of satisfaction on his face."
She told the commission she felt humiliated when Knox students cheered when they saw what happened and Dr Paterson "chuckled."
Ms Perry did not tell her parents about the alleged assault but reported the incident to NSW police in 2009 when Knox students were coming forward with allegations of abuse at the hands of their teachers.
The commission heard she went to the police because she believed it would help their investigations by "demonstrating the culture of disrespect engendered by the school and to highlight the environment and attitude fostered by the head master."
She told the police she did not wish to proceed with charges against Dr Paterson but was willing to give a statement if required.
Under cross examination by Dr Paterson's solicitor Jim Harrowell, she said the incident happened in full view of Knox students.
"I had to assume that the audience of boys had seen it because of their reaction," she said. "They roared with approval."
Ms Perry denied that Dr Paterson was simply trying to reposition her for the scene, which required her to perform a sultry walk in a strip club.
"I would suggest to you Mr Harrowell that positioning girls by their bottom is not the best way to do that," she said.
She also denied that she had failed to remember the incident correctly.
"I was 15 years old and an old man was touching me where he shouldn't," she said. "I will never forget that."
With her shock of pink hair and direct demeanour, Ms Perry won the support of many in and outside the hearing room, who clapped and cheered as she gave her evidence.
Outside the commission she said she hoped her evidence would help protect children in the future.
"I can't think of a royal commission I would want to help more than one that is working to work out the institutional responses to sexual abuse against children," she said.
She acknowledged the suffering endured by those who were sexually abused at the school with the royal commission hearing up to eight teachers were involved in the abuse which took place over a 30-year period.
"Their stories aren't similar at all," she said. "Mine was a very small incident compared to some of the stuff that these students have been through."
Dr Paterson has been called to give evidence on Tuesday, but Ms Perry said she was not focused on what he might say.
"I work for a charity and we have to raise money for the most marginalised women in the world and I've got four million bucks to raise before the end of the June and that's where my focus is."
Ex-principal 'sorry' for sex abuse at elite Australian school [West Australian – 3/3/15]
Fiji PM Bainimarama’s FULL Address - 28th Session Of The UN Human Rights Council [Fiji Sun – 2/3/15]:
... In stark contrast to other countries such as Australia and USA for example – the colonial experience in Fiji was not one of large scale dispossession of land and rights and marginalization of the indigenous people.
Today, approximately 91 per cent of all land in Fiji is owned through customary ownership by the indigenous people and cannot be permanently alienated under any circumstances. This has given the indigenous people a level of security that has been noticeably absent in other countries and has been central to their social and economic wellbeing.
So, Mr President, indigenous ownership of land, as well as the recognition of their unique culture, traditions and language are protected under our Constitution and are under no threat whatsoever.
By far the biggest of these – for a Small Island Developing Country such as Fiji – is the collective failure of the global community to address the negative consequences of climate change. The repeated failure of the industrialised nations to curb their carbon emissions is a direct threat to the human rights of people living in vulnerable small island States like Fiji, including the right to life.
The very existence of some of our neighbours is threatened.
Fiji is pleased to see that this issue has been given prominence by the Human Rights Council, with a whole day dedicated to the issue later in the week. I urge you all to take concrete steps to place the human rights impact of climate change at the centre of your deliberations. Because time is running out and the world needs to act urgently and decisively.
Fiji – along with other of its Pacific neighbours – is also urging the Council to consider the human rights position of refugees seeking asylum in our larger neighbours, but who have been rebuffed and resettled among Pacific peoples.
The impact of the policy of operating refugee camps in Small Pacific Island Countries on local people – as well as the refugees themselves – deserves the closest scrutiny if the United Nations conventions have any relevance or significance at all.
If human rights are universal, no country should be able to contract out an obligation to respect them, especially when dealing with the displaced, the vulnerable and children. And Fiji’s position is that the international community can no longer continue to turn a blind eye to what we consider to be one of the greatest human rights challenges in the Pacific.
Nauru asylum seekers [27/2/15]
Cartoon by Simon Kneebone: Welcome to Australia…#zelkonedic #phonephotography #Australia #refugees#welcome [2/3/15]
When the revolution comes and I run the ABC, anyone who did PR for the cruise ship industry as refugees were incarcerated, exiled and refouled will be sacked immediately!
Aboriginal protesters set up camp on Heirisson Island as some remote communities face closure
Aboriginal activists have set up what they describe as a refugee camp on Perth's Heirisson Island for displaced Indigenous people, as the State Government prepares to close some remote Indigenous communities.
In a letter to the WA Governor, the group representing the Nyoongar nation said the move was in response to the State Government's planned closure of up to 150 Aboriginal communities, judged by the Government to be unsustainable.
The group, which calls itself the Djurin Republic Executive Council, said the camp was "... a place of retreat for all Aboriginal persons who have been and will be forcibly removed by the West Australian Government".
Last year, Premier Colin Barnett revealed plans to close between 100 and 150 of the 274 remote communities in WA, saying the State Government could no longer continue to service them.
The Commonwealth provided funding for about two thirds of the state's Aboriginal settlements with the WA Government funding the balance.
But the Commonwealth has withdrawn its funding, and is handing over responsibility to the State Government over the next two years.
At least a dozen people were at the protest site.
The Nyoongar group on Heirisson Island said the displacement of people from remote areas to regional towns and cities would create increased homelessness, higher arrest and incarceration rates, family breakdowns, forced removal of children and suicide.
No elders were available for interview at the camp when the ABC approached a number of people at a security point near the car park entrance.
The ABC was told they might make a statement on Tuesday.
Heirisson Island was the scene of a major confrontation between police and Aboriginal activists two years after a Nyoongar tent embassy was set up on the site.
Police moved on to the island in March 2012 after a protest lasting more than a month.
A young, pregnant mum, holding her newborn, was struck by police on horseback at Heirisson Island.
Picture: Alex Bainbridge, West Australian [23/3/12]
Force used to suppress Aboriginal Sovereignty Movement [National Unity Government]:
Michael Anderson's Statement
"Our predictions that the governments in Australia will use superior force to suppress the Aboriginal sovereignty movement have come true. This is evident in the recent assault on the Nyoongar Tent Embassy in Perth where people are asserting their sovereign identity and independence through re-occupation of their own land of Heirrisson Island in the Swan River.
WA Nyoongars have maintained sovereign independence despite 225 years of the invader society's occupation. This, of course, is an issue that will not go away. The erection of the Nyoongar tent Embassy was triggered by the WA offer of $1billion to settle all land claims in the SW of WA - a pittance considering the innate wealth of the lands and waters.
In anticipation of superior force and aggression by the colonial occupying governments, I wrote a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon on 27 February 2012 putting him on notice of our sovereignty movement and the anticipated repercussions.
If the police forces continue to use riot squads, mounted police and police dogs against peaceful protesters, then we will have no choice but to take a delegation to the UN and talk with foreign governments, in an effort to get foreign security forces as peace keepers to protect us against this ongoing violent aggression and oppression.
There is no excuse for the type of aggression shown in Perth last week. The photograph taken by Alex Bainbridge on 22 March 2012 is an iconic image of our struggle. ...
Picture courtesy of Toogar Morrison [22/3/12]
The Sacred Fire was lit at the creation of the Embassy at Matargarup on the 17th of February 2012. The ceremonial coals from the original sacred fire at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra were used to start the fire. The fire is a symbol at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy of peace, justice and sovereignty. The original Sacred Fire in Canberra has been kept alight since 1998. It was made by Arabunna Elder Kevin Buzzacott and lit by Wiradjuri man Paul Coe in 1998. The Fire provides spiritual healing and inspiration. The fire is also used for smoking ceremonies, which are an important healing process and integral to the spiritual component of the Embassy.
Elder Toogarr tried to inform the police officer of why they should not try and destroy the fire. He stated "I explained to the police that all religions has to be respected, His replied, 'tough luck to you then'."
Minister defends NT permanent care orders [NIRS - 3/3/15]
Australian Senate [3/3/15] - LNP and ALP vote against Greens motion for a parliamentary debate on sending more troops to Iraq.
See IS being "degraded and destroyed"?
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [2/3/15]:
Baghdad: 3 youngmen were killed and dozens arrested -including 10-year-old-child which works as shepherd yesterday -by brigade 60 in Radhwaniya Al-Garbiya in Abu Greib in Al-Hathoot and Lawabda villages in Krosheen area supervised by major Ali from Nasiriya.....
Iraqi forces enter al-Qadishiyah, north of Tikrit [IraqiNews.com - 2/3/15]
On Sunday, commander of the federal police forces Raed Shakir Jawdat announced, that 9 battalions of the federal police have been deployed in Baghdad belt areas to liberate them from ISIS control.
Jawdat informed IraqiNews, “By the commander in chief of the Armed Forces Haider Abadi’s order and under the interior minister Mohammed Salem Ghaban’s supervision, nine battalions of the federal police were deployed in Baghdad belt areas to free them from the ISIS militants’ control,” noting that, “These areas are Arab Jabbour, Madain and al-Tharwa.”
“The deployment of battalions was based on information received about the existence of sleeper cells.”
Iraq says launches offensive on Islamic State north of Baghdad [Reuters – 1/3/15]:
... "The prime minister and armed forces chief announce the start of the security campaign to liberate Salahuddin," a statement issued by Abadi's office said as he met military leaders in the province, where thousands of troops and militia have gathered for battle.
In comments broadcast on Iraqi television, Abadi said the Islamist militants would be pushed out of all of Salahuddin and offered their supporters a final opportunity to hand themselves in. "I call upon all those who have been deluded and made mistakes in past to lay down arms today," he said.
"This is their last chance. If they insist on staying on their wrong path they will receive the fair punishment they deserve because they stood with terrorism."
Iran, US envoys wrap up nuclear talks in Montreux
Press TV [2/3/15]:
Representatives from Iran and the United States have wrapped up the first round of fresh talks over Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Montreux.
The negotiations were held on Monday in an attempt to narrow differences on the outstanding issues over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e Ravanchi together with special aide to Iran's president Hossein Fereidoun constituted the Iranian team.
The US delegation was comprised of US Secretary of State John Kerry, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, EU's Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Helga Schmid and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
The talks are scheduled to continue on Tuesday in the Swiss city from 9:00 am local time (800 GMT).
Before the talks on Monday, Kerry had announced that he would leave Montreux after visiting Zarif. The reports, however, said that he plans to stay in the Swiss city for negotiations.
According to reports, the two sides seem to be determined to reach a political agreement ahead of a key July 1 deadline for reaching a comprehensive deal.
The new round of talks in Montreux came as representatives from Iran and the United States held three rounds of intensive talks in the Swiss city of Geneva on February 22-23 to bridge their differences ahead of the July 1 deadline.
Iran and the P5+1 countries – Britain, France, China, Russia, and the United States plus Germany – are making attempts to narrow their differences on the outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear program.
The two sides have missed two deadlines since an interim deal was signed in November 2013. They have set July 1 as the next deadline for clinching a final deal.
The Israeli prime minister has delivered a speech before America's largest pro-Israel lobby, to make a case against a nuclear deal the US administration is negotiating with Iran.
Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to members of the American Israel Pubic Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington DC on Monday, telling attendees that the deal is a threat to Israel's security. … [Al Jazeera – 3/3/15]
Israeli gunboat violates Lebanese waters, threatens fishermen [Naharnet – 2/3/15]
Noam Chomsky: Opposing Iran Nuclear Deal, Israel’s Goal Isn’t Survival — It’s Regional Dominance [VIDEO - Democracy Now – 2/3/15]
Obama says Iran must halt key nuclear work for at least a decade [Reuters – 2/3/15]
Two people were killed when a bomb exploded near a top court building in central Cairo, the health ministry said, the deadliest attack in three blasts to hit the Egyptian capital on Monday. ... [Reuters - 2/3/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
On Mar. 1, U.S. and Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using fighter and bomber aircraft to conduct four airstrikes.
Separately, U.S. and Coalition military forces conducted five airstrikes in Iraq, using attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
All strikes took place between 8 a.m., Mar. 1, and 8 a.m., Mar. 2, local time.
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
•Near Dayr az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL crude oil collection point.
•Near Kobani, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL bunker.
•Near Al Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, and destroyed three ISIL boats and two ISIL vehicles.
•Near Bayji, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
•Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck multiple ISIL checkpoints and fighting positions.
•Near Mosul, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL fighting position, two ISIL vehicles and two ISIL pieces of engineer equipment.
•Near Rawah, an airstrike struck an ISIL compound.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center - 2/3/15]:
Anbar: A number of civilian homes have been destroyed in shelling of government's army on Malahma and Albu Shihab areas east of Ramadi........
Salah-il-deen: Roughly 20 homes have been destroyed in Zohoor neighbourhood in Tikrit in the random bombing of government which has targeted the housing neighbourhoods in the city.....
Australia 'to send more troops to train Iraqi forces' [BBC - 2/3/15]
The US is planning to send about 300 military personnel to Ukraine from March to October to train the Ukrainian army, according to a tender on a US government website that requires logistics for the troops. ... [RT - 2/3/15]
3 March 2015