... “Good to see you in this exercise in transparency and democracy,” said the spokesperson, before he and the whole room erupted into a fit of laughter.
“Is that what it is?” asked one reporter.
“I thought it was an exercise in spin and obfuscation.” ... [RT - 5/8/16]
United States continue bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 5/8/16]
Danish warplanes bombed Syria for the first time, its military said on Friday, as Denmark extended its fight against Islamic State from neighboring Iraq.
Four F-16 jets bombed the militants' stronghold city of Raqqa, targeting command and control facilities, weapons stocks and enemy personnel, Defence Command Denmark said. ... [Reuters - 5/8/16]
Islamic State captures up to 3,000 fleeing Iraqis [Reuters - 4/8/16]:
... "UNHCR has received reports that ISIL captured on 4 August up to 3,000 IDPs (internally displaced people) from villages in Hawiga District in Kirkuk Governorate trying to flee to Kirkuk city. Reportedly, 12 of the IDPs have been killed in captivity," the UNHCR report said. ...
Five Iranian migrants have been arrested on a south coast beach after crossing the Channel in an inflatable dinghy.
The men, aged between 18 and 44, have been arrested and handed over to Home Office border officials.
Their boat landed at Pett Level, near Winchelsea in East Sussex – believed to be a new spot for migrants trying to make their way on to UK soil. ... [Daily Mail - 5/8/16]
Lesvos, Greece: No Border demonstration in Mytiline [Insurrection News - 4/8/16]
@AlbaFerrs [5/8/16]: Mudafar y Ahmed, Ahmed y Mudafar ¡Bienvenidos! El gobierno griego ha comunicado a la familia que vendrán a España!
The story of Samia Omar, the Olympic runner who drowned in the Med [Guardian – 3/8/16]
There is a spike of activity on Lesbos. The departures, which for a time were scarce, intensifies. While the agreement of shame does not hold water. ... [Proactiva Open Arms - 5/8/16]
@campsoscar [5/8/16]: Lesbos recibe hoy 2 botes con migrantes de Siria,Irán,Guinea,Congo, Egipto,Afganistán,Paquistán,India,Mali,Camerún
@MSF_Sea [5/8/16]: Everyone on this boat now safely on #Aquarius. Including an 8 y/o boy and his mum.
Day 139 refugee protests, Nauru
AUSSIES! AUSSIES! TAKE US FROM THE HELL!
Image: @elahe_zivardar [5/8/16]
... It has emerged that Kamil was also one of the people arrested and kept in Lorengau prison during the mass hunger strike on Manus in February 2015. One week deadline to repatriate Manus refugee body [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 5/8/16]
Kamil Hussain Appeal
U.S. psychologists had seemed to put an end to the decade-long controversy over their role in assisting torture when their leading professional group last summer banned them from working with detainees. But now, some in the field are trying to roll back the year-old rule.
Calling the policy shift an overreach, a network of military psychologists and former American Psychological Association leaders – some of whom were accused of colluding with the feds – is trying to convince the APA to reverse its stance so psychologists can resume their work at Guantanamo Bay, other military detention centers and CIA black sites.
The APA is the country’s largest professional association of psychologists. In advance of its annual conference, which starts today in Denver, its 173-member governing council was supposed to vote Wednesday on a resolution that would roll back a policy it approved last year banning psychologists from working with military and CIA detainees.
After hours of debate (and some touchy-feely efforts to unite the bitterly divided psychologists) the council tabled its decision at least until Friday. ... [The Colorado Independent - 4/8/16]
"OBAMA! CLOSE GUANTANAMO DON'T FRANCHISE IT" @ShutGuantanamo [4/8/16]: Some more pictures from today's #closegitmo demo @ #MarbleArch - it's really time to close #Guantanamo
The Guantánamo parole board announced Thursday that it downgraded the dangerousness of a Yemeni once thought to have plotted post- 9/11 attacks in Pakistan, meaning that more than half of the prison’s uncharged captives are now approved for release.
Former “forever prisoner” Hayl Aziz al Maythali, 39, can leave the detention center to arrangements that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, the Periodic Review Board wrote. ... [Miami Herald - 4/8/16]
The last prisoner sent to Guantanamo, who has a sharp comedic bent, appeared before the parole board with a new attorney on Thursday to ask for release.
The CIA interrogated Afghan national Muhammad Rahim, a suspected al-Qaida leader, in Pakistan regarding his knowledge of Osama bin Laden's whereabouts before sending him to the prison in March, 2008.
Rahim is among the high-value detainees still held at Guantanamo, but the United States has never charged him with a crime.
The CIA did, however, torture him at one of their secret black sites, including a sleep deprivation session that lasted 138 hours.
He was shackled standing to a wall, wearing only shorts and a diaper. ... [Courthouse News Service - 4/8/16]
Australia's Ambassador thanks Cambodia for participating in the execution of a demented anti-refugee ideology [Khmer Times - 5/8/16]:
... Despite the deal’s failings, the government here said they were planning to bring another two refugees from Nauru to the Kingdom at the end of May, and planned for officials to interview them sometime in June.
Tan Sovichea, head of the Interior Ministry’s refugee unit, told Reuters in May that two Iranians had “volunteered” to come to Cambodia.
Yet when asked about the two Iranians who the government allegedly interviewed in June, Major General Kem Sarin, a spokesman for the immigration department, told Khmer Times yesterday that no more refugees would be coming to Cambodia.
Maj. Gen. Sarin even said no government officials ever actually went to Nauru in June to interview the Iranian refugees, refuting previous statements from government officials.
Mr. Sounry confirmed Maj. Gen. Sarin’s statement, curiously saying the topic of more refugees coming to Cambodia was not brought up at the meeting with Ms. Corcoran despite her praise of Cambodia for this exact topic. ...
India's only school for Rohingya refugee holds out hope for a better life for stateless community [Scroll.in - 5/8/16]
Durable solutions: Malaysia investigates unauthorised ID cards being issued to Rohingya refugees [Malay Mail Online - 5/8/16]
Durable solutions: Bangladesh Foreign Minister meets with UNHCR to discuss imminent deportation of Rohingya refugees [bdnews24.com - 3/8/16]
The truth behind the current arrests concerning an alleged meeting between a Saudi national, a Bangladeshi MP and the "RSO leader" [Rohingya Blogger - 4/8/16]:
... In Myanmar, one of the most effective arsenals of anti-Muslim hate groups such as the notorious 969 have been stoking fears of terrorism and Islamic militants in Rakhine state for many years.
After the Rohingya lost their citizenship, local fears of the RSO as a militant group was no doubt part of the justification of what started the crackdown on the Rohingya's right of movement.
This of course eventually escalated to the massive Rohingya IDP crisis currently in Rakhine state.
The RSO still a sensitive subject in Rakhine state, so much that the Rohingya community shuddered at the recent news coming out of Cox's Bazar. ...
The regional impacts of Australian asylum seekers policies: What "stopping the boats" means for people seeking asylum in our region [Academy of Social Sciences in Australia - 2016]:
... Australia has only resettled 250 Rohingya since 2008 (most from Bangladesh) and refused to accept any who were rescued after being stranded in southeast Asian waters in May last year.
This further diminishes their resettlement prospects and leaves little space for them to find safety anywhere. ...
West Papuan refugees in Port Moresby express gratitude at being given land for resettlement [RNZI - 5/8/16]
Hebe de Bonafini, the iconic Argentine human rights activist and president of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, faces arrest after she refused to testify in court Thursday, although a federal judge has had to change the date of the order since police failed to detain her due to a human chain of supporters blocking off the area in which she is currently residing. ... [teleSUR - 4/8/16]
Have you ever wondered how you try to poison and shut down a debate and a political environment that you fear you’ve found yourself on the losing side of, readers?
Well, it’s funny you should ask, because as it happens we’ve got a visiting professor – an expert authority on the subject – with us today to give us a demonstration. ... [Wings Over Scotland - 4/8/16]
Why is the Australian political, media and legal establishment able to keep getting away with these obscenities? ---> At least 13 people currently serving jail time for high-level terrorism related convictions could be held indefinitely under legislation supported by federal and state attorneys-general in Canberra on Friday.
The Turnbull government is moving ahead with planned new national laws to allow the continued detention of jailed terrorists who still pose a risk after their prison terms expire.
"If you have someone in jail, convicted of terrorism offences... the system can't just simply release them at the end of that process of their sentence without having good examination if it is safe to do so," he [Bill Shorten] said. [Sydney Morning Herald - 5/8/16]
Accused murderer Neil Archer waits on judgment about sentence discounts [ABC - 5/8/16]
Convenience store owner Adeel Khan jailed for Rozelle fire deaths [Sydney Morning Herald - 5/8/16]
A police manhunt is under way for 19-year-old Perth man Ross James Boag over the death of mother-of-three Peta Fairhead who was dumped outside a hospital.
Two other men aged 19 and 20, faced Joondalup Magistrates Court today on charges of murdering 27-year-old Ms Fairhead. ... [Nine MSN - 5/8/16]
A Queensland jury has retired to consider its verdict for a man accused of raping and murdering a pregnant McDonald's worker.
Andrew Michael Burke, 21, has pleaded not guilty to the rape and murder of Joan Ryther on May 21, 2013, as well as killing her unborn child. ... [Nine MSN - 5/8/16]
Man in critical condition after 'drive-by' shooting at Heckenberg [Sydney Morning Herald - 5/8/16]
Police are hunting a person who assaulted a woman in an apparent unprovoked attack in Shoalwater just after midnight on Friday morning.
A 38-year-old woman was assaulted by an unknown person as she walked along Safety Bay Road near Wilson Park at 12.30am.
She received serious head injuries and was taken to Rockingham Hospital and then Royal Perth Hospital, where she was in a stable condition on Friday at 10am. ... [WA Today - 5/8/16]
Police have fired shots at a car outside a fast food restaurant in Mackay in north Queensland in an attempt to stop a high-risk offender from escaping.
Police said Zachary John Hewitt, 26, who is wanted on a return to prison order, managed to evade police capture outside McDonald's on Heaths Road this morning.
Inspector Ian Haughton said specialist officers fired shots at Hewitt's car.
"Police did discharge some firearms in an attempt to disable that vehicle," he said.
"Unfortunately that has been unsuccessful and that person has eluded police.
"That person is still at large at the moment. The person is a high-risk offender and could be armed."
No-one was injured in the shooting. ... [ABC - 5/8/16]
Daniel Morcombe's murderer Brett Peter Cowan is being treated in a Brisbane hospital after an inmate threw boiling water at him.
Paramedics were called to the Wolston Correctional Centre, west of Brisbane, about 9:30am after receiving reports an inmate had injured Cowan.
The Queensland Ambulance Service said Cowan was taken to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital in a stable condition with burns to his head, chest, and legs.
He has since been moved to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, which has a secure unit for prison inmates.
Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) said the prisoner who allegedly carried out the attack was interviewed over the incident.
That inmate was later taken to hospital with self-inflicted injuries. ... [ABC - 5/8/16]
Child sex abuse Royal Commission: Survivor says Newcastle Diocese fought hard to deny duty of care [ABC - 5/8/16]
South Australia's government has received the final report from a Royal Commission into the state's child protection system.
After a two-year inquiry into the state's treatment of young people in its care, former Supreme Court Justice Margaret Nyland has presented her findings to Governor Hieu Van Le.
Ms Nyland was tasked with investigating how Families SA failed to prevent shocking abuse by carer Shannon McCoole, who is now serving a 35-year jail term for child sex offences.
Premier Jay Weatherill and other cabinet ministers will consider her recommendations over the weekend before the report is released to the public on Monday. ... [Nine MSN - 5/8/16]
Court allows NT detention centre tear-gassings civil suit to proceed to trial [ABC - 5/8/16]
The Northern Territory government has decided not to release a report into the entire correctional system until it presents it to the upcoming Royal Commission.
The report, by Keith Hamburger, former Director-General of Queensland's corrective services, was received by the government on Tuesday, Chief Minister Adam Giles said in a statement on Thursday.
"It's a detailed and comprehensive report, which makes a large number of recommendations on very complex issues, including some that are relevant to juvenile detention," he said.
The government will provide the report to the Royal Commission for its consideration, and cabinet has asked the various agencies involved with corrections and child protection to prepare responses to the recommendations for the next cabinet to consider, as the territory will go to the polls in three weeks.
"It's important this work happens quickly and without distraction," Mr Giles said.
"Cabinet has decided the report should be publicly released when presented to the Royal Commission." [Yahoo - 4/8/16]
Keith Hamburger AM - Managing Director [Knowledge Consulting]:
... Keith, as Director-General of Corrective Services (1988 to 1997), led a major successful reform of the Queensland Prison System.
This success was demonstrated by Commonwealth Industry Commission reports showing Queensland to have, at the conclusion of Keith’s stewardship, the most cost-effective system of Corrections in Australia, including the lowest return to prison rate.
Keith has considerable expertise in the area of outsourcing of public services to the private sector, including issues relating to the separation of “purchaser” and “provider” roles, specification of deliverables and the auditing and monitoring of “provider” services.
Under Keith’s leadership Queensland Corrective Services became the first jurisdiction outside of the United States of America to successfully outsource the management of high security prisons to private sector correctional service providers.
... Returning to Australia in 1988, he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Opposition Leader in Queensland, Wayne Goss.
He remained in that role when Goss was elected Premier in 1989, a position he held until 1992 when Goss appointed him Director-General of the Office of Cabinet. ...
@racvictoria [5/8/16]: Day 138 peaceful protests on #Nauru 4/8/16 ...
Australian human rights luvvies continue piss farting around and muttering about transparency and oversight as men, women and children perish ----> ... Human Rights Watch Australia director Elaine Pearson said Canberra could be doing much more to improve the parlous situation for people held in the Nauru centre. ... [RNZI - 5/8/16]
Why don't the Australian human rights establishment agree? ----> ... "It is time for Australia and Nauru to end this offshore horror." ... [Amnesty - 4/8/16]
The Australian government’s secretive system of refugee torture on Nauru [Amnesty - 2/8/16]:
... Dr. Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research at Amnesty International, who conducted Amnesty’s investigation, revealed that the Australian Government has “designed a system of deliberate abuse” in Nauru, to deter people who are seeking safety that arrive by boat.
“It is essentially like an open-air prison for these refugees and people seeking asylum”.
"I've conducted over 60 investigations into human rights abuses in countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Zimbabwe, China but few other countries go to such lengths to deliberately inflict suffering on people searching for safety and freedom. I was not expecting this kind of shocking abuse.”
“Australia’s atrocious treatment of the refugees on Nauru over the past three years has taken an enormous toll on their well-being,” said Michael Bochenek, Senior Counsel on Children’s Rights at Human Rights Watch, who conducted the investigation on the island for the organisation.
Amnesty International calls on the Australian Government to immediately:
Settle all the people assessed to be refugees in Australia.
Assess all people applying for refugee status in the Australian community.
Close the Regional Processing Centre on Nauru.
@riserefugee [4/8/16]: Australia did not turn up for the court - by Behrouz Boochani ...
@riserefugee [4/8/16]: PNG wants to bury Kamil in Manus bcox they don't have "facilities" to send his body to Pakistan by Behrouz Boochani
... Meanwhile, Mr Rintoul said the uncertainty of the situation on Manus Island is taking its toll on the mental health of people who are living a nightmare of uncertainty.
He said a Rohingyan refugee living at East Lorengau detention centre made a second attempt at suicide in two days.
The man had requested to return home, but he was told that was not possible.
Or you could call for an END to torture and the ratification of OPCAT - which Senator Wright attempted last year ---.> The Greens support calls from the United Nations that the Federal Government must ‘immediately halt the use of excessive force and prolonged mistreatment’ of children at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. ... [Media Release - 4/8/16]
Will the US withdraw from Guantanamo, or will it be repurposed as the refugee concentration camp it was in 1990s? ... Meantime, Cuban migrants still come and go in a trickle — usually dropped off by a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter after they are intercepted trying to reach Florida.
One Cuban man swam ashore just over a week ago, and spent a week here before apparently changing his mind.
He went back in recent days, Culpepper said vaguely, through a system set up by the U.S. and Cuba. ... Guantánamo sailors eager for ‘liberty’ in Cuba [Miami Herald – 29/7/16]
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security is wrong on immigration policy [#NOT1MORE - 4/8/16]:
In response to the comments made by Sec. Johnson as reported by the Hill in which he defended family detention and rejected the growing demand for a moratorium on deportations, Marisa Franco of the #Not1More Campaign issued the following statement:
“Jeh Johnson was appointed to be a reformer of what the Administration admitted are inhumane immigration policies. Instead, he has become a defender of the indefensible.
For the Administration to reject the growing consensus for a moratorium on removals after the Supreme Court decision on DAPA shows a lack of imagination and lack of compassion.
For the Secretary to admit that it is punishing undocumented immigrants who are already part of our communities in order to send a message of deterrence shows the real cruelty behind current policy.
The Secretary is missing in his assessment that immigrant communities already are in a humanitarian crisis. It is caused by the policies he is defending.
The President has unused authority and unfinished work to dismantle the deportation machine he built and bring humanity to its immigration policy before passing it along to his successor.”
More than 50,000 individuals have signed petitions calling for a moratorium on deportations in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.
South Korea's President says shift in location of THAAD possible as protests continue [Korea Joongang Daily - 5/8/16]:
... Rep. Yi, who represents Seongju, continued to protest the THAAD deployment in his district even after the meeting with the president.
“I have told the president all about the strong protests in Seongju, because the Seongsan artillery base is located right near a village,” Yi said.
“And Park replied that a survey will be conducted if Seongju County’s head requests an alternate site.”
Yi said Seongju residents do not want the deployment in their county at all.
“They are even more agitated as the media reports about a new site,” he said.
“There is no alternate site in Seongju,” Shin Jeong-geun, a 40-year-old resident of Seongsan-ri of Seongju, told the JoongAng Ilbo.
“It makes no sense. The government is now saying it will place the THAAD in another area because there are many people living in Seongju. Initially, they said [the artillery base] was the best place, and now they are changing the words. We cannot trust anything.”
Lee Jae-bok, co-leader of a protest group, said the residents want the government to recant its decision.
“All the residents of the county want no THAAD in Seongju,” he said.
Jeong Yeong-gil, another leader of the protest group, said the residents will hold a big rally on Aug. 15 in Seongju.
“Hundreds of the county people will shave their heads to protest,” he said.
“We will hold more candlelight vigils.”
Opposition parties ridiculed Park’s comments and the defense ministry’s volte-face.
“The government has repeatedly stressed that the Seongsan artillery base is the best site,” said Rep. Ki Dong-min of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea.
“It must provide a convincing explanation if it will change that position.” He said Park’s remarks were proof that the site selection was made hastily and poorly.
“We cannot accept or understand this,” he said.
The People’s Party also criticized the president’s remarks.
“The government ignored the people’s protests and selected the site based on the U.S. military’s request,” Rep Lee Yong-ho, spokesman of the party.
“How does the Park administration plan to quiet the U.S. forces’ complaints if it wants to change the site now?” ...
South Korea says it is willing to share THAAD radar intel with Japan [Japan Today - 5/8/16]
Japan's hawkish new defence minister singled out North Korean provocations and Chinese use of "force" in territorial disputes on Thursday as she reviewed troops on her first day in the job. ... [Channel News Asia - 5/8/16]
Child abuse in Japan reached its worst level on record in fiscal 2015, with the number of cases handled by welfare officials surpassing 100,000 for the first time, a government survey showed Thursday. ... [Japan Today - 5/8/16]
Japan names Defense Minister linked to neo-Nazi group [Haaretz – 3/8/16]
While you're in the mood for scrutinising the activities of charities Aunty, where's the followup on the UNHCR's role in the suicides on Nauru, and their lack of advocacy for the rights of refugees in our region (while rolling out militarised border control technology)?
1 A person who behaves obsequiously to someone important.
2 Australian term for pufferfish.
Israeli settlers attack Palestinian girl in Ramallah, stab and kill her sheep [Maan - 4/8/16]
300 Palestinian prisoners now participating in mass hunger strike [Maan - 4/8/16]
Israeli forces Thursday demolished residential structures in the al-Moarajat area in the northern part of the occupied West Bank district of Jericho on Thursday, according to Palestinian officials. ... [Maan - 4/8/16]
Israel demolishes two Palestinian homes in Yatta [PNN - 4/8/16]
Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute [MAS] announces the date for its Economic Conference: Towards a New Vision for the Revival of the Palestinian Economy [PNN - 4/8/16]:
... Dr. Kassis affirmed that the key objective of the conference is to craft a national vision that encompasses the main findings of the four economic symposia that were convened since April involving experts from all sectors as well as the academic community.
The conference will deliberate a feasible work program to resolve those socio-economic problems that are amenable to alleviation that would reduce their detrimental effects on the Palestinian economy in light of the continuation of adverse conditions, primarily Israeli Occupation.
Kassis added; “We seek to achieve through this important conference a national consensus for an economic vision over the medium term that can remedy socio-economic hardships burdening the Palestinian people, in order to enhance steadfastness and resilience, while the journey continues toward liberation and the establishment of the independent Palestinian State”. ...
The Christian relief, development and advocacy organization World Vision says it is “shocked” by Israeli charges that its Gaza director funnelled tens of millions of dollars to the military wing of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas.
“Based on the information available to us at this time, we have no reason to believe that the allegations are true,” World Vision said in a statement on Thursday.
The allegations come amid an ongoing Israeli campaign against nongovernmental organizations.
The charity confirmed that on 15 June its Gaza operations director Mohammad El Halabi “was arrested on his way home from routine meetings.”
On 4 August, “after 50 days in Israeli state detention, Mohammad was charged with providing support to Hamas,” it added.
Israel has a history of making baseless allegations that various organizations are tied to Hamas.
The accusations regarding World Vision also come months after Amnesty International expressed concern over harassment and intimidation by Israel aimed at hampering and discrediting the work of Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders and nongovernmental organizations.
The arrest of Halabi may be an ominous sign of a broader crackdown specifically targeting humanitarian workers in Gaza.
The charity works closely with UN agencies and the Red Cross and has received funding from the US and European governments.
“The detention of a World Vision employee and subsequent raids potentially complicates the historically strong relationship between Israel and evangelical Christians in the United States,” ThinkProgress commented. [Electronic Intifada - 4/8/16]
Bangladesh taking stern steps to curb homegrown extremists: Ambassador to Washington [bdnews24.com - 4/8/16]
Anti-terrorism Monitoring Cell ordered at Bangladesh private universities [bdnews24.com - 4/8/16]
Bangladesh blocks 35 websites, news portals [bdnews24.com - 5/8/16]
Court orders journalist Probir Sikdar’s trial for defaming LGRD minister on social media [bdnews24.com - 4/8/16]
The arrested Sholakia attack suspect has been shot dead in a ‘gunfight’ between Rapid Action Battalion and 'militants' in Mymensingh's Nandail, law enforcers say.
Nandail Police Station OC Md Ataur Rahman said Saiful Islam alias Shafiul Islam alias Don and another person died in hospital after they received bullet injuries in the gun battle on Thursday night.
Three RAB personnel were also injured, he added.
The OC could not identify the other person killed in the fire fight. ... [bdnews24.com - 5/8/16]
Tens of thousands of people rallied in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Wednesday to protest the overnight killings of two civilians by government forces amid a nearly month-long security lockdown.
Police and witnesses said the protesters defied the security restrictions to demand an end to Indian rule in the disputed region.
More than 100 civilians were injured, several of them by shotgun pellets, as clashes broke out in several places, including neighborhoods in the main city of Srinagar, between rock-throwing protesters and government forces, who fired tear gas and shotguns. ... [Yahoo - 4/8/16]
5 August 2016