Bombs continue raining down upon Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [4/4/16]:
U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb.
-- Near Hawl, six strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, three ISIL vehicles, and two ISIL tactical vehicles, and four ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Raqqah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL workover rig, an ISIL front-end loader, and four ISIL pump jacks.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL vehicle-borne bombs.
-- Near Idlib, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL buildings.
-- Near Manbij, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Mar’a, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
Strikes in Iraq
Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Hit, three strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL recoilless rifle, and an ISIL staging area and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Kirkuk, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Kisik, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Mosul, two strikes destroyed an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL command and control node, and an ISIL tactical vehicle and suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed an ISIL weapons storage facility and an ISIL staging facility.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL supply cache.
Militants have downed a Syrian Air Force warplane to the south of Aleppo, according to the source.
A representative of the command of the Syrian Armed Forces confirmed to RIA Novosti that a Su-22 warplane had been downed in Aleppo. ... [Sputnik News - 5/4/16]
Turkey hits PKK targets in Iraq: military [Al Jazeera - 5/4/16]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [5/4/16]:
Fallujah: News agencies: Fallujah has been shelled by barrel bombs in spite of the demands which call for stopping bombing.......
Anbar: The government army shelled by tank a displaced family when they returned to Albu Etha area in Ramadi killing a father -Rahim Khashan Al-Ethawi-and his son-Khalid Rahim- and wounding seriously the other son- Mohamad Rahim- so that he was carried to Baghdad.....
Anbar: The air force has targeted the civilian homes in Jari area in Heet district west of Anbar resulted in killing of Mohamad Ghassan Khashan -a civilian-....
@MSF_Sea [5/4/16]: Everyone called it the "beautiful gate" -a way out of #Idomeni towards "freedom". It's been slammed shut for months.
Piraeus port will be decongested from the bulk of refugees and migrants by the end of the week and it will be emptied by Easter, Alternate Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas said in an interview with private TV channel Mega on Monday.
“By the end of the week Piraeus will be decongested significantly and we’ll start transferring refugees from Idomeni,” he was quoted as saying.
“There are currently 2,600 empty spots in accommodation centers and another 10,000 are being built, most of which will be ready by next Sunday,” the minister added. [Greek Reporter - 5/4/16]
Greek Church says Pope to visit to highlight refugee crisis [Ekathimerini - 5/4/16]
Some of the first people to be deported from Greece under the terms of the EU-Turkey migration deal may not have been given the chance to claim for asylum, the UN refugee agency has said.
Police “forgot” to process the asylum claims of 13 of the 202 asylum seekers sent back to Turkey on Monday, the first day the deal was put into practice, according to Vincent Cochetel, director of UNHCR’s Europe bureau. ... [Guardian - 5/4/16]
Hundreds of migrants have been protesting in Lesbos today as they wait at a detention camp before being deported to Turkey.
ITV News' team in Lesbos caught them on camera as they chanted the word "freedom" over and over as they staged a sit-in at the Moira detention camp. ... [ITV - 5/4/15]
@PROACTIVA_SERV [5/4/16]: Viven detenidos sus últimas horas #Moria pero su voz se oye fuera de las rejas:. We won't Return! Not back Turkey!
Greece’s new legislation for asylum seekers - summary [Keep Talking Greece - 5/4/16]
Why is the Dominican Republic deporting its Haitian residents? Javiera Alarcon [Counterpunch - 5/4/16]:
... It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Dominican Republic carried out its xenophobic, nationalistic programs under Trujillo with the firm backing of the United States, which valued the dictator as an anti-communist ally.
Today, that partnership continues in the form of a security partnership. The U.S. has sent the Dominican Republic some $96 million in military assistance since 2000, along with U.S. military personnel and Border Patrol agents to police the Haitian border.
A border-control system called CESFRONT, installed in 2006 with U.S. financial aid, has been keeping a tighter grip on Haitian migration — often by racial profiling.
More damage control and lies from the pompous, refugee-hating Australian media ---> ... Today, there are no children in formal immigration detention. That is a laudable and respectable achievement, and credit is due to Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton as successive immigration ministers under Coalition governments. ... [The Age - 5/4/16]
... This elite-generated social control maintains the status-quo because the status quo benefits and validates those who created and sit atop it.
People rise to prominence when they parrot the orthodoxy rather than critically analyze it.
Intellectual regurgitation is prized over independent thought. Voices of the dispossessed, different, and un(formally)educated are neglected regardless of their morality, import, and validity.
Real change in politics or society cannot occur under the orthodoxy because if it did, it would threaten the legitimacy of the professional class and all of the systems that helped them achieve their status.
The orthodoxy is why issues such as poverty, hunger, homelessness, and deterioration of public health and the environment continue unabated.
They are eminently solvable, but cannot be solved under the implicit and often defective assumptions accepted by the orthodoxy. ... The cult of the professional class, Kristine Mattis [Counterpunch – 4/4/16]
... Looking for something, we can rely on
There's got to be something better out there
Love and compassion, their day is coming
All else are castles built in the air
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change?
Living under the fear 'til nothing else remains ...
'We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)' is a 1985 song by Tina Turner. It was featured in the 1985 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome which starred Turner and Mel Gibson. The song was written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle. ... [Wikipedia]
Bendigo Advertiser [5/4/16]:
Twenty years ago, my father and I moved to Australia from Hong Kong. We lived in a room above his small business in Eastwood. My biggest concern at that time was whether or not I'd make new friends and fit in. I distinctly remember watching the Port Arthur massacre unfold that same year. I never expected to be sharing the same forum with survivors 20 years later.
One of the survivors of Port Arthur, Carolyn Loughton, sat next to me on the SBS Insight program on gun control. I was stunned as she recounted how the events unfolded: how Martin Bryant walked into the cafe with an oversized sports bag during a busy lunch session; how he proceeded to shoot his victims in quick succession with a semi-automatic rifle; how she was shot as she threw herself over her daughter, Sarah, only realising later in the hospital that Sarah had been fatally shot in the back of her head.
This was a chilling precursor to my story. On October 2 last year, as my dad was leaving work, a 15-year old boy walked up and shot him in the back of the head.
Carolyn and I are living testaments to the terrible tragedies that occur when guns end up in the wrong hands. There is widespread belief that the gun control measures introduced post-Port Arthur largely eradicated illegal guns in Australia. I certainly believed that our gun policies would have prevented a 15-year-old from illegally accessing a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver.
This was clearly not the case.
The Australian Institute of Criminology estimates there are about 250,000 long arms, such as rifles and shotguns, in circulation on the illicit market and 10,000 illegal handguns. The AIC conducted the National Firearm Theft Monitoring Program from 2004-05 to 2008-09 and the average number of firearms reported stolen each year was 1545. This statistic is alarming and it highlights for me the gaps in our approach. More needs to be done.
First, there should be fewer guns.
Preventive measures, such as thorough background checks and access to mental health records, need to be consistent across the nation.
For law-abiding users, the checks and balances must be of the highest standard as a gun, despite having recreational and occupational utility, also has the potential to kill when in the wrong hands.
We hear a lot about personal freedom in this debate and I believe that the freedoms we have in Australia are precious.
The freedom to be able to walk where you want and not fear for your safety: that is our right as Australians. It is now the responsibility of decision-makers to maintain and protect this.
It is time for another amnesty on firearms and it is time for all parties to come together and show some collective courage to put aside differences to create a safer and more harmonious country for all.
Alpha Cheng is the son of Curtis Cheng who was shot outside Parramatta police station.
Sydney siege hostage shot in both legs criticises police response [Guardian - 5/4/16]:
The final, chaotic moments of the Lindt cafe siege were like being inside a firework, with guns and flash grenades going off, hostage Marcia Mikhael has told an inquest.
Mikhael was one of the last captives inside the Sydney cafe and kept her eyes on the gunman, Man Haron Monis, while hiding under tables not far from fellow hostage Katrina Dawson as the 17-hour siege moved towards its violent end.
They had taken cover after the final group to escape the siege had successfully fled in the early hours of 16 December 2014.
Monis, who had shot at the fleeing captives, reloaded his gun and ordered cafe manager Tori Johnson to “come over here right now”, Mikhael told the coronial inquest on Tuesday.
She was lying on her stomach and could not see what happened next – as Monis killed Johnson at point-blank range. She said police stormed the building soon after.
“There were shots being fired from inside and outside, the sound of little grenades,” she said. “It was like being inside a firework.”
Officers and Monis were shooting at each other and Mikhael was trying to block out the noise by placing her hands over her ears.
She said it was “the most horrible thing”.
While lying under the tables, Mikhael felt a pain in both legs and realised she had been shot. She tried to move closer to cover and curled into the foetal position, trying to avoid becoming a target again.
Mikhael said she spent about seven minutes under the tables and described the final minutes of the siege as a “blur”.
After police had stormed the building and killed Monis, two officers carried Mikhael out of the cafe with bullet wounds in both her legs.
“They had to step over Monis and half his head was blown out,” she said.
Mikhael said her hopes of leaving alive had faded as the siege continued. She criticised the police response, saying there were no negotiations with Monis.
“It was just me on the phone,” she said. “Monis wasn’t on the phone with [the police negotiator]. There was no negotiation.”
By the end of the night, she had “lost faith that it was going to be a good ending”.
“It wasn’t going to end with negotiations,” she said. “It was going to end some other way.”
Johnson and Dawson died, along with the gunman.
The inquest continues.
A Queensland sergeant will appear in court to face allegations he drove after drinking in July last year.
The 54-year-old from the Education and Training Command was not on duty at the time and he will appear in the Townsville Magistrates Court on April 14, police said in a statement.
"The NTA (Notice To Appear in court) was not issued sooner due to other matters impacting on the timeframe of the investigation," police said. [Brisbane Times - 5/4/16]
A teenager has been injured after a car crashed through a supermarket wall, sending him flying and burying him in shelves.
The out-of-control vehicle smashed through the front of the Townsville IGA at 7pm Monday night, where the 16-year-old male victim was working. ... [Brisbane Times - 5/4/16]
Gold Coast police are searching for the man responsible for an assault at Sea World.
Officers were called to the front entrance of the theme park around 4pm on Tuesday to find two men punching one another in front of crowds.
A police spokesman said one of the men fled the scene in a car while the other, who was bleeding from the head and remained at the park with security guards, was speaking with officers. [Yahoo - 5/4/16]
Armed robbery, Manly West [QPS Media - 5/4/16]
Stealing with violence, Woolloongabba [QPS Media - 4/4/16]
Two boys have been charged following investigations into the armed robbery of a service station at Helensvale early this morning. ... [QPS Media - 5/4/16]
Missing teen Kyle Coleman's parents believe he was killed on camping trip, Mt Isa inquest hears [ABC - 5/4/16]
Claim Nikolaus Blyton killed his father in self-defence questioned by Brisbane prosecutor [ABC - 5/4/16]
A former prostitute enlisted an on-again, off-again lover to murder her violent fiance, who was later found dead in his home with 10 gunshot wounds to his head, a Queensland jury has heard.
Melissa Leigh Shaw pleaded not guilty to the murder and attempted murder of Shyam Sam Dhody as her trial in Brisbane's Supreme Court began on Tuesday. ... [Brisbane Times - 5/4/16]
Some of Australia's most prestigious private schools are being sued for millions of dollars by men who allege they were sexually abused by teachers and staff.
Sydney lawyer Ross Koffel is bringing multiple claims for damages in the NSW Supreme Court against schools including The Scots College, Knox Grammar, Waverley College and De La Salle, Revesby Heights. ... [ABC - 5/4/16]
Cricket coach abused multiple boys for years, Royal Commission hears [Brisbane Times - 5/4/16]
Michelle Reynolds remembered [Brisbane Times - 5/4/16]:
... A Red Rose Rally, a silent gathering to raise awareness for domestic violence deaths, is planned for noon on Thursday outside Parliament House in Brisbane.
It will also commemorate the death of Sandra Peniamina, whose husband allegedly stabbed her to death in the driveway of their Kippa-Ring home on Thursday night.
A referendum on whether to have four-year fixed parliamentary terms in Queensland has officially passed, with the state's Electoral Commission (ECQ) declaring the vote.
Of the 80 per cent of ballots counted, 51 per cent of voters favoured the change compared to 46 per cent who opposed it.
The informal vote for the March 19 poll was 3 per cent. ... [ABC - 5/4/16]
Queensland government announces expanded police powers on same day Attorney-General hopes for more convictions with toughened anti-rights [VLAD] laws [Premier and Police Minister Media Release - 5/4/16]
Detectives from the Taskforce Maxima have charged a 23-year-old patched Vice President of the Nomads OMCG, Brisbane Chapter following an incident in Surfers Paradise last month. ... [QPS Media - 5/4/16]
Detectives from Taskforce Maxima’s Criminal Economy Unit have issued a 22-year-old Coomera man with a Notice to Appear in relation to money laundering. ... [QPS Media - 5/4/16]
Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!
"The problem is with these laws, we weren't getting any convictions."
Queensland Attorney-General, Yvette D'Ath [Nine MSN - 5/4/16]
Bar Association of Queensland Media Release [4/4/16]:
The Bar Association of Queensland acknowledges and welcomes the report of retired Supreme Court Judge The Hon Alan Wilson QC into the State’s anti-organised crime legislation.
The President of the Bar Association, Christopher Hughes QC, said today:
“The Bar Association has always opposed organised crime in any form and will support any legislation which deals effectively and justly with this scourge on society.
“The Association’s position, however, has consistently been that the VLAD legislation, while no doubt introduced with the right intentions, did not achieve what it set out to do and resulted in unforeseen and unfortunate consequences, affecting people who were not involved in organised crime.
“The Association acknowledges the recommendations by The Hon Alan Wilson QC and acknowledges the work he has done. The report was the result of extensive independent research and analysis and it should be respected.
“It is the Association’s position, however, that the real work now commences, that is taking steps to ensure the drafting of appropriate legislation which does control organised crime without unacceptable consequences and ensuring that our police force is adequately resourced to control such activities, for the benefit of the community as a whole.
“It is to be hoped that such legislation can be achieved and such steps taken with the co-operation of the members of all political parties and independent members of parliament. It is in the community’s interest that this matter does not descend into political point-scoring but that all interested persons work together to achieve a positive result.
“It is the Association’s intention to assist wherever possible in drafting and implementing appropriate legislation. Indeed, the Association has already commenced working on a detailed submission to the Government to assist in achieving that aim.”
Queensland Law Society welcomes release of taskforce report into anti-rights laws [Media Release – 4/4/16]
Taskforce on Organised Crime Legislation Report
The Ethical Standards Command is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 54-year-old man at Broadbeach this morning.
Preliminary information indicates a man was taken into custody by police at Victoria Park, Broadbeach around 11:00am following a call in relation to a disturbance.
It’s alleged the man began having trouble breathing after being placed in the rear of a police van.
Police removed the man from the van and immediately commenced CPR while awaiting the attendance of an ambulance.
Attempts by police and ambulance officers to revive the man were unsuccessful and he died at the scene. Investigations are now underway.
EARLIER: Emergency crews have swarmed on the Gold Coast Highway at Broadbeach after a man was found unconscious with serious head injuries on the side of the road.
Police and paramedics performed CPR on the 54-year-old man for sometime, however he reportedly could not be revived and died at the scene.
A crime scene has been established with investigations into the incident now underway.
Motorists are advised to avoid the area. [MYGC - 5/4/16]
Man dies in police custody on Gold Coast [ABC - 5/4/16]:
A man has died in police custody on the Gold Coast shortly after he was arrested for exposing himself, witnesses say.
Several people said the homeless man, aged in his 50s, exposed himself at Broadbeach about 11:00am.
Witness Geoff Collins said three officers lifted the man into a police vehicle and drove off.
"They drove down 30 metres, pulled immediately over to the side of the road, pulled him out and started doing CPR on him," Mr Collins said.
"CPR continued for about 40 to 50 minutes."
Paramedics also attempted CPR but the man died at the scene.
A crime scene remains in place on the side of the highway.
Shaun Hyland said police were speaking to him before he was taken into custody and "everything was fine".
"Then they put in a paddy wagon – I don't think he really wanted to go in the paddy wagon," Mr Hyland said.
"They got him in there and then they parked the wagon and were talking to him fine.
"Then he was out of the paddy wagon and police were doing CPR.
"So what I saw - the police didn't do anything at all to the gentleman, they only restrained him on the ground. He's a big boy."
Police are trying to contact the dead man's family.
Dangerous, resource-wasting, class and race-based police pursuit, Gold Coast [QPS Media – 4/4/16]:
A woman has been arrested after allegedly evading police at the northern end of the Gold Coast this morning.
Around 9.40am police attempted to intercept a gold four wheel drive towing a trailer at Crystal Creek Road at Willowvale, however, it failed to stop.
The vehicle was subsequently tracked by Polair and a tyre deflation device was successfully deployed by officers on Bignalls Road at Maudsland.
The woman continued to drive the vehicle with a deflated tyre into a bush track off Oxenford Tamborine Road before eventually coming to a stop where she was arrested by police.
A 46-year-old woman is assisting police with their enquiries into the incident and investigations into property-related offences.
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.
A man armed with a machete and an adjustable wrench has held up a service station at Helensvale in the early hours of this morning.
The masked man stormed the Discovery Drive business around 4am and produced the weapons before making demands for money from the female employee.
The 44-year-old staffer fled into a back room and the front automated doors have shut locking the offender inside the premises.
The thief grabbed some food goods and ran towards the doors where he used his weapons to smash the glass.
The offender, who was wearing a black hoodies, black jeans and black shoes, fled the store in a westerly direction.
Police are now investigating. [MYGC - 5/4/16]
Woman injured in car and motorbike crash at Burleigh [MYGC - 5/4/16]
New Zealander dies in Villawood concentration camp following 'scuffle' [Yahoo – 5/4/16]:
A 42-year-old New Zealand man who died at the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney has been identified as Rob Peihopa.
Australian Immigration confirmed the man died on Monday night.
Labour MP Kelvin Davis told TVNZ he received a call at 3am today informing him of the death.
Davis says it is believed there was a scuffle and they suspect the man suffered a heart attack.
"Staff were alerted to an unconscious man at about 9.45pm and attempted to resuscitate him," the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said.
"Paramedics also treated the man but he could not be revived."
Friend, and fellow detainee Vaelua Lagaaia said Peihopa was visiting others in a separate compound, when he yelled out to an officer.
Lagaaia said Peihopa was fit and popular, but the stress of being detained was evident to see.
"A lot of people don't realise but we're like ducks in a pond, we're all happy and cruisy on the outside but on the inside, no one really knows what we're going through. Unfortunately, something like this was bound to happen, purely because of the stress levels in a place like this".
Peihopa moved to Australia in 1989, and was involved in an alleged police chase two years ago, resulting in a two-year prison sentence.
The 42-year-old told Maori Television back in 2015 his visa had been cancelled 10 days before his release from prison.
“They told me 10 days out before my release that my visa had been cancelled, and the day of my release I was picked up by immigration.”
The Labour MP told TVNZ police are investigating and says he is aware of "tension" growing in the centre.
"It's just the fact that they don't know what's going on, they don't know how long they're going to be there… All those things are getting to them."
The death is now subject to an inquiry by the coroner.
"They would just keep pushing and pushing, and trying to get us to break."
Former NZ soldier says he was kept in solitary confinement and assaulted by guards while imprisoned in Australia [RNZI - 24/3/16]:
Mr Haapu had been held without charge in a maximum security prison in Perth since early November.
He was detained after his visa was revoked under tough new Australian immigration laws.
Mr Haapu had no criminal history, and had not been charged with anything, but his membership of the Rebels Motorcycle Club saw his Australian visa revoked on "character" grounds.
Mr Haapu told Checkpoint with John Campbell he was subjected to solitary confinement and, when released from solitary, put in cell blocks with murderers, rapists and paedophiles.
He said he was constantly provoked by prison staff, including an assault in which he was handcuffed and his head smashed into a window, which he believed was an attempt to get him to commit an offence so he could be charged with something.
Suicide attempts at UK immigration removal centres at all-time high [Guardian - 4/4/16]
CUT THE PARTISAN CRAP.
CLOSE THE CAMPS.
BRING THEM HERE.
LET THEM STAY.
RESUME FULFILLING OUR INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE UN REFUGEE CONVENTION.
Greens Media Release [5/4/16]:
Wilson Security should be stripped of their contracts for the offshore detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru after its poor corporate governance practices were revealed in the Panama Papers leak, the Australian Greens have said.
"Wilson Security should be stripped of their contracts and the government should get on with closing the Manus and Nauru camps," the Greens' immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
"Wilson Security has overseen the disastrous mismanagement of the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, but the government continues to give them millions of dollars year after year.
"It's time they were held to account.
"Wilson Security were awarded the contracts with little due diligence into their tax structures and now they've been exposed as a client of Mossack Fonseca.
"This company has been accused by whistle-blowers of poor practices, such as shredding documents on Nauru, and now their ties with dodgy directors who have been jailed for corruption have been exposed.
"A sinister culture of secrecy and cover-up has been allowed to grow under Wilson's management at the offshore detention camps and the government must act.
"Malcolm Turnbull has been happy to use Wilson Security to do his dirty work offshore, but now he needs to remove them from the islands to protect the children who are locked up there and the Australian tax payer."
The US State Department’s recent declaration of the Islamic State (IS) being responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims, captured headlines across the globe. The news came out of a congressionally mandated report.
However, the biggest story out of that report was not about IS, but rather the failure to find anything more than “discrimination” and “persecution” against the Rohingya in western Myanmar.
Such a shockingly understated conclusion and downplaying of atrocities against Rohingya sends a dangerously mixed message at a time of important transition. ... [Fair Observer - 2/4/16]
How Aung San Suu Kyi and her US allies deny anti-Muslim atrocities [AlterNet – 31/3/16]:
... As the crisis rages on, Suu Kyi’s indifference and apparent lack of concern has been notable. Maung Zarni, a former visiting fellow at Oxford and Harvard and founder-director of the Free Burma Coalition (1995-2004), spoke to AlterNet on the subject.
Zarni who is the co-author of a paper titled The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar's Rohingyas, characterized Suu Kyi’s false equivalency between Buddhists and Muslims as “deeply ignorant."
“It is utterly pathetic for anyone to create this moral parity in terms of the scale of the sufferings experienced by the Buddhist Rakhine, who outnumber the Rohingya by three to one, and the sufferings experienced by the Rohingya,” Zarni told AlterNet.
“It would be like assigning the same moral responsibility to the Palestinians and the Israelis,” he added.
Zarni was wary of the term "ethnic cleansing," being used to describe the situation of the Rohingya. Genocide and crimes against humanity are the better suited terms, he said. He said his own work and that of Yale and Queen Mary university, all multiyear studies published within the last two years, have arrived at the same conclusion—that a slow but sure genocide of the Rohignya people is taking place.
Suu Kyi’s muteness on Rohingya and Muslim persecution is a product of both “election calculus” and “personal racism,” Zarni told AlterNet.
Zarni asserted that he had discussed Suu Kyi’s racism, which he says “incidentally pervades Burmese society at all levels," much earlier than the recent revelations in Popham’s book, which he says is simply “a publicity ploy” rather a genuine concern for the Rohingya people.
For Zarni, what is far more revealing is how Suu Kyi has conducted her party affairs, such as the NLD refusing to field any Muslim candidates in the most recent elections.
“According to some of her closest advisers in the NLD, ASSK was 100% responsible for cleansing the entire party of all Muslim MP candidates,” Zarni told AlterNet.
“Even her deputy chair and co-founder ex-general Tin Oo was amenable to the proposal by the junior colleagues to field at least two very qualified NLD members of Islamic background in the 2015 elections last November.”
Furthermore, he added, “Today, NLD becomes the first political organization with no single Muslim representation in Burma's recorded political history. The past pre-colonial feudal rulers and all the anti-colonial nationalist political resistance movements had allowed participation and representation by Muslims in the country.”
“Even the most repressive Burmese military's political front would allow token Muslim participation. Aung San Suu Kyi would not even adopt token representation. That's the depth of her anti-Muslim racism,” Zarni asserted.
Zarni believes that with her actions Suu Kyi is “setting an extremely dangerous precedent and emerging as a toxic role model,” especially since “the masses in Burma kiss the ground she walks on.”
Japan deploys 12 coast guard ships to patrol Senkakus [Japan Today - 5/4/16]
The Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister, Retno Marsudi, and the Defense Minister, Ryamizard Ryacudu, said Indonesia has coordinated with the Philippines government to free hostages captured by Abu Sayyaf group. Retno Marsudi and Ryacudu met at the office of the Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs here on Monday.
Marsudi stated that Indonesia has been considering several options to free the hostages. ... [ANTARA - 4/4/16]
Policeman faces murder charge following Madang shooting [PNG Loop - 5/4/16]
Bangladesh: 4 killed during protest against power plant [The Daily Star - 5/4/16]:
At least four persons were killed and 30 others injured yesterday in a clash between law enforcers and locals in Banshkhali upazila of Chittagong over installation of a coal-based power plant, said police.
The dead were identified as Anwarul Islam, 44, and his elder brother Mortuza Ali, 50, Zaker Ahmed, 50, and Md Zaker, 50, from Gondamara union, said Habibur Rahman, additional superintendent of police, Chittagong District (South).
Of them, Md Zaker was declared dead after he was taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital.
There was a bullet mark in Zaker's abdomen, said Md Aminul Huq, a doctor who attended the victim.
The bodies of the other three were kept at Banshkhali Police Station, ASP Habibur told our Chittagong correspondent.
Locals, however, claimed that the number of deaths was higher.
More than 6000 people at Mogulu area, Western Province, witnessed the distribution 35 tons of rice last Friday.
Since the Mogulu area has a population of 6090, each person will have access to 300 grams of rice per day, which is expected to last for two weeks. Four people to a 20kg bag of rice.
Digicel, through Digicel Foundation and its partners Ok Tedi Mining, Heduru Trust and World Food Program, with the support of the Western Provincial Government and contractors, Agility and Central Aviation, have since last week air lifted 110 tons of rice to the Nomad Mogulu corridor area.
To date, 54 tons of rice have yet to be delivered. Central Aviation has in the meantime flown over 110 sorties – 1 ton of rice per flight to 10 air strips; Fuma, Dodomona Nomad Station, Honinabi, Suabi, Hesalibi, Tomu, Habi, Dahamo, Yehebi and Mogulu.
Papua New Guinea experienced the worst drought ever in the middle of last year. The El Nino has affected a lot of Papua New Guineans, especially those in the rural areas. Western Province with a huge land mass is one of the hardest hit. ... [PNG Loop - 4/4/15]
A third tropical disturbance, TD16F, has formed closer to Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands and the system is expected to head towards Fiji, following the same track as TD14F which formed three days ago.
The Fiji Meteorological Service has advised that a strong wind warning, heavy rain warning and flooding warning remains in place for the whole of Fiji.
Acting weather director Misaele Funaki said TD14F was located about 870km west-northwest of Fiji at 6am.
People living in temporary shelters should take the necessary precautions with strong wind gusts of up to 80km/h expected this afternoon and evening.
People living near waterways and low lying areas that are prone to flooding should prepare their properties and move to higher ground. [Fiji Times - 5/4/16]
With a severe drought choking the northeast, it’s only a matter of weeks before many residents of Ratanakkiri province run dry, according to villagers, local officials and organizations working in the province. ... [Cambodia Daily - 4/4/16]
Government issues warning over algae bloom off Kep Coast [Cambodia Daily - 4/4/16]
The National Assembly yesterday passed a contentious trade union law, just hours after a group of pro-union demonstrators and Daun Penh district security guards clashed violently outside. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 5/4/16]
Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana had a stake in a shadowy offshore company in the British Virgin Islands, according to data made public on Sunday in what is being called the largest leak of secret documents in history.
However, Mr. Vong Vathana vehemently denied the accusation on Monday, claiming to have never heard of the company in question and threatening to sue the organization that has been releasing the documents. ... [Cambodia Daily - 5/4/16]
Panama Papers leak sparks protests in Iceland over Prime Minister’s secret finances [The Intercept - 5/4/16]
... Ten-a-penny climbers, idiots and monsters. Lizard tails all. Cut them off and grow a new one.
No American citizens were named. No American companies were implicated. In espionage terms this is what they call a “limited hangout”: a vaguely worded and dishonestly presented partial truth, used to add credence to a backstory and increase the believability of the source.
In more coloquial, and honest, terminology: It is agenda-driven bullshit. ... Panama Papers: Revealing details live in the gaps between the lines [Off Guardian - 4/4/16]
Prime Minister John Key has confirmed the government is nominating former Prime Minister Helen Clark for the top job at the United Nations.
Mr Key this morning confirmed his former political opponent's candidacy, saying that having served as prime minister of New Zealand for nine years and at the UN for seven, Ms Clark had the right skills to be Secretary General. ... [RNZI - 5/4/16]
Seven candidates for next UN Secretary-General three weeks before selection process begins [UN Tribune - 21/3/16]
Please stop insulting our intelligence.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has revealed that a globetrotting Kevin Rudd has been pressing world leaders to support him being elected the next Secretary General of the United Nations. ...
[Australian Financial Review - 2/4/16]
... I am very suspicious of this deal, of this arrangement.
I am fully aware that Kevin Rudd's brother Greg Rudd has some special relationship with Peter O'Neill ... if there is some deal struck somewhere I am very suspicious of this deal. ...
ABC [VIDEO - 23/7/13]:
Papua New Guinea's opposition leader Belden Namah says he will challenge the deal with Australia to process and resettle asylum seekers in the country's courts.
Mr Namah has told Australia Network's Newsline the deal is in breach of Papua New Guinea's constitution and human rights standards in United Nations conventions.
"I have instructed my lawyers, we are filing next week to challenge the asylum seekers arrangement with Australia," he said.
"I personally believe that I have a very good chance of success because Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill has failed to adhere to the constitution of our country."
Mr Namah says the asylum seekers are looking for protection in Australia and should not be forced against their will to stay in Papua New Guinea.
"We are basically acting against the rights of individuals who are seeking to find asylum in Australia," he said.
"We are pushing these people, who have travelled miles, travelled through stormy waters to reach Australia - they are not coming to look for asylum in Papua New Guinea."
He says the deal is a "political gimmick" and is not needed to boost Papua New Guinea's economy given the country's wealth of natural resources.
"We already have a multi-billion LNG project that's enough money already to be able to buy enough medicine, to be able to buy enough beds for hospitals, rural hospitals in Papua New Guinea."
"We don't need money from asylum seekers - I see it as a total joke."
Mr Namah says Papua New Guinea's high poverty rate is due to the "poor financial management" of successive leaders and governments, rather than a lack of funds.
"It's not because we don't have money," he said.
Tweeted by @SandiHLogan - National Communications Manager, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Canberra [19/7/13]
Joint media release with Kevin Rudd - Prime Minister, Mark Dreyfus - Attorney General and The Hon Tony Burke MP - Australian Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship [19/7/13]:
As of today asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.
Under the new arrangement signed with Papua New Guinea today – the Regional Settlement Arrangement – unauthorised arrivals will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and if found to be a refugee will be settled there.
Arriving in Australia by boat will no longer mean settlement in Australia.
Australians have had enough of seeing people drowning in the waters to our north.
Our country has had enough of people smugglers exploiting asylum seekers and seeing them drown on the high seas.
We are sick of watching our servicemen and women risking their lives in rescues in dangerous conditions on the high seas.
Regional processing arrangements in Papua New Guinea will be significantly expanded and people will be sent to Manus Island as soon as health checks are complete and appropriate accommodation is identified.
PNG officials will assess their claims on Manus Island.
Our governments will expand existing facilities on Manus Island, as well as establishing further facilities in Papua New Guinea.
There is no cap on the number of people who can be transferred to Papua New Guinea.
The Australian Government, in partnership with the PNG Government, will support settlement services for those with refugee status, as safe and appropriate accommodation and services are identified.
We are a compassionate nation and we will continue to deliver a strong humanitarian program.
If the measure announced today and the international meeting on the Convention that has been flagged lead to a significant change in the number of people arriving by boat, then the government stands ready to consider progressively increasing our humanitarian intake towards 27 000 as recommended by the Houston Panel.
There is nothing compassionate about criminal operations which see children and families drowning at sea.
Access to our humanitarian program must be through the international organisations which resettle people around the world, not through criminal operators who have pushed people onto unseaworthy vessels with tragic consequences.
The new arrangements will allow Australia to help more people who are genuinely in need and help prevent people smugglers from abusing our system.
The people smugglers themselves are constantly changing the way they operate and we need to be flexible enough to anticipate and match their actions to avoid the terrible consequences of this trade.
No doubt there will be some people smugglers who now encourage asylum seekers to test our resolve.
Be in no doubt. If people are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to a people smuggler they are buying a ticket to a country other than Australia.
... She was on the first asylum seeker boat to arrive in Australia after Kevin Rudd announced mandatory offshore processing last August.
The boat arrived just hours after the announcement, and had left Indonesia when settlement in Australia was still possible.
Her story starts from the moment she got off the boat and, on the day Guardian Australia releases the letter signed by 15 doctors on Christmas Island that forensically documents shocking allegations of medical malpractice in immigration detention, continues with the revelation of devastating flaws in the medical provision she and Soroush were offered in detention.
“Nobody asked for our permission,” Nazanin said when asked if she knew she was being photographed during that moment.
She says she was moved to a hall where all those on her boat were told they would not be allowed to remain in Australia. And then the cameras rolled.
“Three days after that,” she says, “I just saw my photos in the internet. But nobody [at the time] talk to me about my photos and videos and all that things.”
For Nazanin their publication has exacerbated the suffering. She says they revealed her identity to those she was trying to flee in Iran.
“Unfortunately I saw my picture in every site and again unfortunately in my country every media is showing my picture, and my family, and my relatives and my friends all of them saw my picture and it was really bad for me because of our political issues.
“The intelligence service in our country went to our houses and threatened our family,” she said.
For Soroush [husband], Nazanin says, the news of his family being threatened was a hard blow.
Soroush has epilepsy but, according to Nazanin, had not suffered a seizure for three years before arriving in Australia.
After a month in detention and after hearing of the threats, his seizures began again.
The Immigration Department developed its new, highly restrictive policy on media visits to detention centres with reference to US military arrangements governing media access to the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention centre.
Documents released under freedom of information show the ''deed of agreement'' that Immigration insists journalists and media organisations visiting detention centres must sign was ''informed by … the current US Department of Defence media access policy for its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay''. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/3/12]
An Indonesian policeman carries an exhausted young boy following more rescues from the sunken asylum seeker boat of West Java. Photo AFP
[Asylum-seekers 'tortured and raped' by Australia - Independent - 24/7/13]
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [25/7/13]:
link via Kim Asher.
I have sat in Perth coroners court listening to the testimony of Mr Lloyd from AMSA.
They do not consider calls from ships distress calls.
I also sat and listened to all of the 12 or more distress calls from the ship to AMSA.
The calls came in over a period of more then a day.
BEGGING for help.
Over 100 people drowned.
First-ever World Humanitarian Summit must usher in new era of global solidarity – UN chief [Media Release - 4/4/16]
DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program has designed, developed and constructed an entirely new class of ocean-going vessel—one intended to traverse thousands of kilometers over the open seas for months at a time, all without a single crew member aboard.
The ACTUV technology demonstration vessel was recently transferred to water at its construction site in Portland, Ore., and conducted speed tests in which it reached a top speed of 27 knots (31 mph/50 kph). The vessel is scheduled to be christened on April 7, 2016, with open-water testing planned to begin in summer 2016 off the California coast. [VIDEO - DARPA - 4/4/16]
The U.S. Navy’s variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter recently launched its first 1,000-pound GPS-guided bomb known as the Joint Standoff Weapon, or JSOW.
The Lockheed Martin Corp.-made F-35C conducted the exercise March 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, according to a statement released Thursday from the F-35 program office. ... [Defense Tech - 1/4/16]
Submarine veterans call for recognition of link between fuel and blood cancers [ABC - 5/4/16]
@AboutTheHouse [5/4/16]: Live at 9am - Public hearing into High Voltage upgrades proposed for Puckapunyal Military Area ...
A 12- year-old Palestinian boy was seriously injured on Monday evening after an Israeli soldier shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet to the head in the al-Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, local sources said.
Local popular committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus identified the boy as Yazan Khalid Naaji, 12.
He said the boy was hit in the head by the bullet after Israeli forces stormed the neighborhood and deployed heavily in the streets. ... [Maan - 4/4/16]
The family of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif said they would file legal procedures against the Israeli army in front of an Israeli court, after an autopsy of the 21-year-old Palestinian’s body confirmed that he was still alive when an Israeli soldier fired a bullet at his head at point-blank range, killing him. ... [Maan - 4/4/16]
IOF demolish homes of three slain Palestinians, Jenin [PNN - 4/4/16]
Israel halts cement deliveries into Gaza following allegations of diversion; UN envoy urges rapid resolution [Media Release - 4/4/16]
Some 600 Israeli companies and 850 Israeli shareholders are listed in the leaked documents of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, a leader in creating shell companies that often serve to conceal ownership of assets. ...
Although most of the Israeli public is unfamiliar with his name, one of the prominent Israeli businessmen appearing in the leaked documents is Jacob Engel. He is primarily active in African mining through the Elenilto and Engelinvest Groups.
Last year TheMarker reported that Elenilto won the government of Togo’s international tender for constructing and developing a phosphate mine and fertilizer factory that would cost $1.4 billion. Elenilto won a huge tender in 2010 for an iron ore mine in Liberia, but sold the concession after a year and a-half to India’s Sesa Goa company for $90 million.
The Engelinvest Group registered five companies through Mossack Fonseca. Engel, or companies he owns, directly controls some of them. However, the connection is more blurred with some of the companies. For example, in 2012 Engelinvest registered a company called TDNN in Anguilla, whose only owner and director was Col. (res.) Olivier Rapowitz.
The company’s declared goal was mining activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rapowitz, who in recent years served as an emissary of the Jewish National Fund in Belgium, refused to respond to a Haaretz inquiry on the matter. ... [Haaretz - 3/4/16]
Israel’s neighbors are buying arms on a scale that threatens its regional military superiority, the deputy Israeli air force chief said on Sunday, in remarks that appeared aimed at helping secure more defense aid from a reluctant Washington.
U.S. military payouts to Israel, currently around $3 billion annually, expire in 2018, and Israeli officials have spoken of needing around $4.5 billion. U.S. officials have balked at such an increase.
At the heart of the dispute is how to perpetuate Israel’s qualitative military edge - a guarantee that it gets more advanced U.S. weapons than Arab states get. Israel says it needs to bulk up its armed forces, not just upgrade their technologies, to keep ahead of potential foes. ... [Reuters - 3/4/16]
Deadly clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region have continued for a third day, despite international pressure to halt the worst fighting in decades over the disputed territory.
Azerbaijan said three of its troops were killed overnight when Armenian forces shelled its positions using mortars and grenade launchers, taking the overall death toll in the latest surge of violence to at least 36. ... [Guardian - 4/4/16]
Did US Secretary of State’s call for ‘ultimate resolution’ spark new Nagorno-Karabakh fighting? [Antiwar.com - 3/4/16]
Two years of conflict leaves 1.5 million people hungry in eastern Ukraine – UN agency [Media Release - 4/4/16]
Ukraine refutes mass burial of servicemen in Donbass [TASS - 4/4/16]
Gunbattles rocked the capital of the Congo Republic on Monday, shattering a relative calm that had followed President Denis Sassou Nguesso's re-election in a disputed poll last month.
The fighting between security forces and unidentified gunmen was some of the worst to hit Brazzaville since 1997, when Sassou Nguesso returned to power after months of urban warfare between rival militia groups in the capital. ... [Reuters - 4/4/16]
UN sexual misconduct investigation in DR Congo finds violations and cases of abuse [Media Release - 4/4/16]
A Bahraini youth has died of the injuries he sustained during an anti-government demonstration as protests grow in the wake of the kingdom’s hosting of a prestigious motor racing competition.
Local media said on Monday that Ali Abdulghani succumbed to his wounds in the hospital one week after he was overrun by a police vehicle in the capital, Manama.
The death of the activist came amid a series of street protests and social media campaigns against the Bahraini government’s hosting of the Formula 1 race, which the protesters said was staged to cover up the regime’s heavy-handed crackdown on the dissent. ... [Press TV - 4/4/16]
Gustavo Castro Soto, witness to Berta Cáceres' murder, finally freed [Democracy Now - 4/4/16]
UK law enforcement trying to force man they've never charged with a crime to decrypt his computers [Tech Dirt - 31/3/16]
The Washington Post reports the Pentagon is drafting up a list of targets for potential airstrikes inside Libya against ISIL militants.
This comes after a new U.N.-backed unity government was installed in Tripoli last week.
Libya already has two other rival governments, who do not accept the new U.N.-backed administration.
The U.S. and European allies have said that installing a Western-backed unity government is a precondition for launching an increased military campaign inside Libya targeting ISIL. [Democracy Now - 4/4/16]
Saudi-led airstrikes hit Al Qaeda positions in Yemen [Zee News - 4/4/16]
5 April 2016