ASSANGE PRESS CONFERENCE [VIDEO - Frontline Club - 5/2/16]
@deCespedes [5/2/16]: Garzón: It is not a "moral victory", it is a legal victory; the validity of the universal Human Rights system. It is not about "feelings".
@deCespedes [5/2/16]: Garzón:#UNWGAD hierarchy is Imperative & Universal-- #UK is member of Human Rights Council of the UN- and therefore must comply.
Baltazar Garzón explicó por qué el Reino Unido debe acatar el fallo de la ONU sobre Assange [LA TERCERA - 5/2/16]
... The WikiLeaks founder speculated about “consequences” for the UK and Sweden in the eyes of the international community and possible enforcement measures.
Edward Snowden, who has taken refuge from US prosecution in Russia after leaking classified information he gained as a contractor for the CIA, also condemned the response.
“This writes a pass for every dictatorship to reject UN rulings,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Dangerous precedent for UK/Sweden to set.”
Mr Assange did not say what he will do next but claimed the decision as a “significant victory”.
“It adds to my freedom and justice for my children and it adds significantly to the ability of the UN to deal with complex cases of arbitrary detention, including those involving Western states,” he added.
“I miss my family. Today we have a really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face, and I hope to many others as well.”
Mr Assange's lawyers said he would not leave the embassy until the European arrest warrant had been cancelled.
One of his legal representatives, Melinda Taylor, said her client had been subjected to “different forms of detention” since 2010.
“Detention is not about bricks and mortar and bars, it’s about the deprivation of your liberty,” she added.
“If you have no freedom, if you were subjected to 24/7 police surveillance, both covert and overt, then you are detained.” ...
After the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) found in his favour, the UK government should cancel the arrest warrant on Julian Assange and return his Australian passport, Australian Greens Deputy Leader Senator Scott Ludlam said today.
"It's as simple as this; an Australian citizen has been unable to leave a small office building in London for over three years. It's time for the Foreign Minister to demand that the UK return Mr Assange's passport and allow him to leave the country." ... [Greens Media Release - 5/2/16]
They're to stop refugees: Brandis confirms Australia provides "white vans" to Sri Lankan death squads [Greens Media Release - 5/2/16]
Rule of law still functions in Australia as Murdoch Press loses yet another defamation case
If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
– Malcolm X
Hyde Park protests: Man wins $100,000 defamation case over Daily Telegraph stories [Guardian - 5/2/16]
Cheikho v Nationwide News Pty Ltd (No 4)  NSWSC 29 (5 February 2016)
John Passant [17/9/12]:
Socialist Alternative’s article Police brutalise peaceful Muslim protest in Sydney has provoked an outpouring of responses on social media, write the editors of Socialist Alternative. Many were predictable right wing rants that find echo in today’s op ed pages – scrap multiculturalism, stop Muslim immigration etc.
But many other critical comments came from people whose usual instinct, so they claim, is not to side with cops. The sentiment of many who might otherwise take decent positions – such as support for trade unions and opposition to imperialist war – was captured by one of our readers’ comments: “No support for Islamists or the police!”
Equating the armed might of the state with Muslim protesters bearing placards is ridiculous. Yet furore has engulfed the country over the fact that some of the placards at Saturday’s protest contained clearly reactionary slogans. Some are asking why Socialist Alternative has not at least criticised the demonstration on this basis.
Saturday’s rally was called in response to anti-Muslim bigotry. That there were people present who had objectionable placards and slogans doesn’t change this fact. If the left refused to support protests by oppressed people unless we agreed with every political view expressed, we would have had to denounce almost every protest movement in history – including the South African struggle against apartheid and the civil rights movement in the US.
Our starting point is to offer solidarity when the oppressed fight back. Muslims are one of the most demonised, repressed and over-policed communities in Australia. Socialist Alternative members in Sydney joined the protest on Saturday as a sign of that elementary solidarity. To say “We oppose attacks on Muslims, but we won’t support their struggle against racism unless they behave themselves and/or conform to our beliefs”, is in our opinion profoundly mistaken and a capitulation to the oppressors.
Today, in Australia, we think it vitally important that anti-racists ask themselves one question: “Is my opposition to racism and oppression conditional?” The answer should be uncompromising: “Never.” ...
Eyewitness account of police riot against peaceful Muslim protest in Australia, Rachel Evans [Green Left Weekly - 16/9/12]
Footage of Anti-USA Protest in Sydney @karwalski [15/9/12]
The New Dirty War for Africa's uranium and mineral rights [WikiLeaks - 5/2/16]
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention deems the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Julian Assange as arbitrary [Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - 5/2/16]
DHS can’t enforce its way out of a refugee crisis [American Immigration Council - 4/2/16]:
There are two competing narratives being spun about the Obama Administration’s response to the “surge” of refugees from Central America who are arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, and each of these narratives is as fanciful as the other.
According to one story, there has been a near-instantaneous deterrent effect as a result of the raids which the Obama administration launched at the beginning of the year to round up Central American families who had stayed in the United States after being ordered removed by an immigration judge.
But, according to the other story, the administration has simply stopped enforcing immigration law at the southwest border and laid out the welcome mat for anyone who wants to walk across.
Needless to say, the truth lies far from either of these narratives. The deterrent effect of the in-humane and ill-conceived raids won’t be known for months. And the claim that the administration has created de facto open borders is hyperbole at its worst—especially in light of the fact that the administration has just launched a series of immigration raids against Central American families. You can’t have it both ways. ...
Hundreds of protesters in Brisbane have urged the prime minister to stop the looming deportation of scores of asylum seeker families in Nauru.
Holding signs plastered with slogans such as "let them stay" and "shut Nauru and Manus now", they demanded Malcolm Turnbull ensure the asylum seekers are resettled in Australia. ... [Brisbane Times - 5/2/16]
The Age [18/9/12]:
A planeload of Sri Lankan boat people is expected to land on Nauru today as the Labor Party’s reinvigoration of the so-called ‘‘Pacific Solution’’ gathers pace.
The new arrivals, the second group to go to Nauru since Labor reopened the John Howard-era detention centre on the tiny Pacific island, were expected to touch down shortly after 7am (5am Australian time).
Like the 30 Tamils who arrived on Friday, they will be taken by bus to the 500-person capacity tent city in the sweltering middle of the island, where they will be hemmed in by thick jungle, the island’s rubbish tip and a rock quarry.
With the Australian Army almost finished building the tent city and with the Christmas Island detention centre already exceeding its capacity due to an influx of boats this year, today’s arrivals will soon be followed by more. Indeed a boat carrying 10 people was detected off West Australia’s coast last night.
Another planeload of several dozen Tamils are expected later this week, and the first group of Afghan Hazaras early next week. By then the camp will house more than 150 asylum seekers.
Some of those 150 may also turn out to be women, children or whole families, as Immigration Minister Chris Bowen last week told a press conference that ‘‘you can expect to see a broad cross-section of people transferred to Nauru next week and in coming weeks’’.
The only way to end a bipartisan policy of cruelty is through NON partisan opposition.
Fight the ALP and LNP fascists.
The Coalition and Labor have joined forces to vote down a motion to grant amnesty to almost 270 asylum seekers currently in Australia.
The 267 people, including 37 babies, are facing the prospect of being sent to Nauru in the wake of yesterday's High Court judgement which upheld offshore immigration detention.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young today moved a motion in the Senate, asking for the Federal Government to allow the asylum seekers to remain onshore.
In full, the motion read: "the Senate calls on the Turnbull Government to grant amnesty to the 267 men, women and children in Australia as part of the M68 High Court challenge, and allow them to stay."
It was defeated 10-40, with independent senator John Madigan siding with the Greens.
How much longer does Australia think it can get away with stopping people from seeking asylum? ... We have been punished, locked up on the tiny remote island of Nauru for up to three years. ... [VIDEO - Free The Children Nauru - 1/2/16]
How much longer do ALP and LNP fascists think Australians will tolerate their navy pushing away refugee boats? Conflicting stories at cash-for-turnbacks inquiry [Sydney Morning Herald - 5/2/16]:
... Legal experts, including human rights lawyer David Manne, told the hearing that the government was essentially telling the public to "just trust us", leaving the serious allegations unresolved.
"That is a wholly unsatisfactory response," he said.
Conflicting stories at cash-for-turnbacks inquiry Stephanie Cousins of Amnesty International said people on board the vessel, believed to include a pregnant woman and children, reported that some were forced to spend a night on the deck of the boat, unprotected, during heavy rain.
She said passengers reported their medication was confiscated and they were denied medical treatment. ...
Australian navy says it turned back 23 refugee boats in 18 months (so they say, could be 10 times that for all we know) [Guardian - 5/2/16]
Meanwhile, wrong person, wrong court [SBS - 5/2/16]:
The "mastermind" of a people-smuggling boat whose crew were allegedly paid more than $US30,000 in cash by Australian officials to turn back should be jailed for 13 years, Indonesian prosecutors say.
Kugan, also known as Vishvanathan Thineshkumar, is accused of organising the vessel, hiring the captain and crew and assembling the 65 asylum seekers who were bound for New Zealand in May last year.
New Zealand government refers refugees to Australia [RNZI - 13/6/15]:
The Government has told 65 asylum seekers wanting to live in New Zealand to contact United Nations officials in Australia.
The people, from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, say they were heading for New Zealand when they were shipwrecked on an Indonesian reef earlier this month.
In a letter seen by Radio New Zealand, the group made a plea to the Government for asylum, saying it is unsafe for them to return home.
A written reply from the office of the Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, said while New Zealand accepted 750 refugees annually, it could not pick and choose.
It said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra was responsible for inquires dealing with New Zealand and suggested the group approach that office. [The UNHCR Canberra have said nothing - as is their usual response to regional refugee issues - and the media have not asked them about the refugees' predicament.]
A UN representative in Indonesia said they met with the group, 52 of whom were registered as refugees. [As far as we know, these refugees are still detained in Kupang.]
Sydney Morning Herald [2/6/15]:
... Fishermen spotted two boats floating near Landuti island in the West Rote district, 500 kilometres north-east of the Australian coast, on Sunday.
"They looked exhausted," Rote police chief Hidayat said.
"One female passenger is pregnant – we took her immediately to the hospital but she is ok now."
Mr Hidayat said the migrants told him they had been caught by Australian customs on May 26, who sunk their boat.
They were put in two blue and white boats, and sent back into Indonesian waters. ...
Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish journalist and human rights defender from Iran and a co-founder of the Kurdish magazine Werya. He has been detained on Manus Island for 31 months. [The Age - 5/2/16]:
... The number of officers has diminished. They had been on alert over the past few days, crowding the compounds and practising their handcuffing and manhandling skills. They had installed metallic fences under the wall of the prison to prevent the possibility that someone may dig the ground and escape. With cameras fixed on their bellies, the officers searched most of the rooms.
On Wednesday, however, they do not engage in any inflammatory behaviour; they avoid any aggressive treatment of the refugees. We ask ourselves where all these officers have gone? Is it that the security contractor has understood that no one would participate in a violent protest? Some officers try to express their regret to the refugees and some others seem content that the refugees will remain in their position for a longer period. It has always been similar: some officers offer their sympathy to refugees and some others seem to enjoy beating them. ...
Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island:
A film by Lukas Schrank - WINNER: Best Short Documentary, Melbourne International Film Festival 2015
... In July 2013, the Australian Government introduced a controversial immigration policy, transferring asylum seekers arriving by boat to remote offshore detention centres on foreign Pacific islands.
Seven months later, the Manus Island centre erupted in violence when police and guards put down protests with sticks, machetes and guns, and 23 year-old asylum seeker Reza Barati was killed.
We spoke to Behrouz and Omar, who are currently detained on Manus Island.
This film contains recordings of these conversations. ...
Embassy of the United States, Port Moresby [27/2/14]:
U.S. Congressman Jason Chaffetz visited Port Moresby on Saturday, February 15 to see the progress of the new U.S. embassy construction in Harbour City, Port Moresby.
Congressman Chaffetz met and thanked Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for his support for American investments, such as the ExxonMobil LNG project.
Congressman Chaffetz also met with Papua New Guinean Ambassador to the United States Rupa Mulina and Acting Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lucy Bogari, to highlight the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the United States.
The U.S. Embassy community was happy to welcome Congressman Chaffetz and his staff to showcase how the U.S. Mission is helping Papua New Guinea grow its economy in a way that is inclusive, sustainable, and transparent.
Republican Congressman Chaffetz was elected in 2008 to represent the State of Utah’s Third Congressional District.
He grew up in California, Arizona, and Colorado. He played American football for Brigham Young University in Utah and earned a degree in communications. Now in his third term in office, he serves as the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security.
Thousands of people have marched through Melbourne demanding asylum seekers be allowed to remain in Australia and the closure of offshore detention centres.
Officer workers, students, parents and grandparents converged on the steps of the State Library at the start of the evening commute in response to the High Court's ruling on Wednesday that offshore detention was legal.
Many carried banners and handmade signs imploring the federal government to "Close Manus, Nauru and all detention camps." ... [The Age - 4/2/16]
Embattled Afghan troops have appealed for reinforcements in Sangin district amid reports that government forces have lost control of the key strategic town.
Soldiers who are apparently under Taliban siege have said that they are running out of food and ammunition and are unable to break the siege and clear the area of militants.
Dozens of troops are reportedly still under siege and no one is addressing the problem, a number of troops fighting Taliban in Sangin district said on Thursday. ... [TOLO News - 4/2/16]
16 people have sustained injuries in a hand grenade explosion in eastern Nangarhar province.
Governor’s spokesperson said that security guards of Ali Baba Company were in a vehicle when one of them accidentally exploded a hand grenade.
Ataullah Khogyani added that three of the victims are security guards of the company who were shifted to Nangarhar Regional Hospital following the blast this afternoon.
One of them was announced to be in critical condition. Other victims are civilians who were present at the site when the blast took place near Gumrak Jumat area in the second police district of Jalalabad city.
They include three children. [Khaama - 4/2/16]
2 radio workers shot and injured in Baghlan province [Pajhwok - 4/2/16]
At least 18 people have lost their lives when US-led foreign forces carried out a string of drone strikes in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Paktika.
A provincial security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday that the Wednesday night aerial assaults struck Barmal district in the province, located approximately 175 kilometers (108 miles) southeast of the capital, Kabul. ... [Press TV - 4/2/16]
Three killed in US drone strike in eastern Afghanistan [Press TV - 3/2/16]
A suspected U.S. drone strike overnight killed a top Islamist militant commander in southern Yemen who had run al Qaeda's combat operations and had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, residents said. ... [Reuters - 4/2/16]
Civilians trapped in battle for Yemen's Taiz [Al Jazeera - 4/2/16]
At least 15 civilians were killed and over 20 others wounded today when Saudi warplanes carried out an airstrike against a cement factory in Amran Province, north of the capital city of Sanaa.
The attack hit the front gate of the complex.
According to reports, the workers killed in the strike were lined up at the gate waiting to collect their monthly salaries.
Some were also slain in the parking lot. ... [Antiwar - 3/2/16]
Palestinian prisoner Muhammad al-Qiq said Thursday he rejected an Israeli court decision to temporarily suspend his detention without trial and would continue a hunger strike that is now in its 72nd day.
The Palestinian Authority Committee of Prisoners' Affairs said the imprisoned journalist viewed the court ruling as an attempt to undermine his resistance against the "immoral and inhumane administrative detention," referring to Israel's internment of Palestinians without trial or charge.
Al-Qiq also said it was an attempt to undermine public and international opinion that is critical of Israeli policy. ... [Maan - 4/2/16]
Israeli authorities inform family missing daughter detained for 3 days [Maan - 4/2/16]
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Wednesday night broke into Qabatia town, northern West Bank, raided homes and opened fire, injuring four Palestinians with live ammunuition.
Soldiers then ran over a 15-year-old boy causing him severe injuries. ... [PNN - 4/2/16]
Double standard seen as Israel sentences minors involved in Abu Khdeir murder to prison but no punitive measures [Mondoweiss - 4/2/16]
French government partners with Israeli settlement profiteer [Electronic Intifada - 4/2/16]
Saudi Arabia donates $59 million to UN agency assisting Palestine refugees [Media Release - 4/2/16]
The United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reported today that it has identified seven new possible victims of sexual exploitation and abuse in the town of Bambari, just days after the UN revealed which countries' troops have been accused of abusing minors. ... [Media Release - 4/2/16]
Molotov and teargas in Athens during anti-austerity rally as 24h strike paralyses Greece [Keep Talking Greece - 4/2/16]
Protest hikoi arrives at Te Tii Marae [RNZI - 5/2/16]:
About 200 protesters against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement have been welcomed onto Te Ti Marae at Waitangi.
The hikoi marched from Paihia chanting, holding banners and waving flags, arriving at the marae in heavy rain.
The group was led onto the marae by Mana Party leader Hone Harawira. Earlier, members of the diplomatic corps were welcomed onto the marae, and a welcome is under way for Labour leader Andrew Little and other Labour and Green Party MPs.
Prime Minister John Key yesterday decided he would not be going to Waitangi, saying he would have been effectively gagged by not being allowed to speak on the marae.
The marae's trustees had told him in a letter if he wanted to make a political speech he would have to give it in the political forum tent, away from the wharenui.
Alexander Robertson Mr Harawira, who is the facilitator of the political forum, said Ngāpuhi have sent the Prime Minister a clear message that he should not be insulting them by signing the TPP.
However, he said the Mr Key's decision not to attend was a disappointment, since he had given him an open invitation to debate the issue at the political forum.
"The real farce is that the Prime Minister expects to come and talk to Māori about the TPPA when he didn't have the courtesy to even let us see it, get a briefing on it, or be a party to the negotiations on it."
Mr Key had not given anyone the opportunity to debate the issues around the TPP with him, he said.
It was expected that thousands of protesters would be at Waitangi today, with the weather and Mr Key's non-appearance blamed for the lower turnout.
Mullumbimby rallies for young girl taken by DoCS [Tweed Shire Echo – 2/2/16]
Victorian Originals reject Constitutional Recognition [Treaty Republic - 3/1/16]:
... The large and diverse audience made it clear from the beginning that they were suspicious of self determination talks with government as they had not delivered any positive results in the past and trust was an issue.
The concept of 'Constitutional Recognition' was immediately challenged and 3 motions were passed. ...
Tortured Italian student died slow death: Egypt official [AP - 4/2/16]:
The body of an Italian graduate student who disappeared last month has been found with multiple stab wounds, cigarette burns and other signs of torture and a "slow death" on a roadside on the outskirts of Cairo, an Egyptian prosecutor said Thursday.
Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old Cambridge University PhD candidate who had been researching labor rights in Egypt, went missing on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. His body was found Wednesday.
News of the slaying and evidence of torture spurred diplomatic tensions. An Italian government delegation cut short a visit to Cairo and Italy summoned the Egyptian ambassador in Rome, calling for a full investigation with participation by Italian experts.
Regeni's disappearance came at a time when Egyptian officials and media have often depicted foreigners as plotting against Egypt — and particularly as seeking to foment unrest surrounding the Jan. 25 anniversary. In the days leading up to the anniversary, police were on high alert, conducting sweeps aimed at preventing any possible protest. Pro-democracy activists were arrested and some foreigners whose visas had expired were deported.
Egypt is also battling an insurgency by militants who have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group. The militants are mainly active in the Sinai Peninsula but have also carried out attacks in Cairo and elsewhere, including kidnapping and beheading a Croatian oil worker last year and setting off a bomb outside the Italian consulate in Cairo.
On Thursday, Egyptian media accused "evil hands" of orchestrating Regeni's killing to damage Egyptian-Italian relations. The term is usually used to refer to Islamists, who have been targeted by a ferocious crackdown since the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Authorities justify the campaign by pointing to the fight against the militants, who have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers over the past four years.
The Italian media pointed fingers at the Egyptian security forces.
A business daily, Il Sole 24 Ore, said "the strong suspicion" was that Regeni was "killed by Egypt ... by the system, by the security apparatus."
Regeni had been in Egypt since September conducting research on workers and labor rights — a sensitive topic, since disgruntled workers were among the forces in the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising and authorities still worry about worker discontent.
The left-wing Italian newspaper il Manifesto said Regeni had been writing for it about labor issues, signing his articles under a pseudonym.
"I imagine it was for security because the articles were about workers and unions," said foreign desk editor Simone Pieranni.
"It's clear that when you speak about social rights and workers' rights in Egypt you are implicitly denouncing the lack of freedom."
Pieranni said the newspaper would publish a final piece critical of the lack of press and other freedoms in Egypt under Regeni's own name on Friday.
... One of the reasons Ecuador granted Julian Assange political asylum was that his own government, in Australia, had offered him none of the help to which he had a legal right and so abandoned him.
Australia's collusion with the United States against its own citizen is evident in leaked documents; no more faithful vassals has America than the obeisant politicians of the Antipodes. ... Freeing Julian Assange: The Last Chapter, John Pilger [ICH - 4/2/16]
Get ready. For the pogrom: It's international, and well underway in Australia - fully enabled and propagandised by the political and media establishment [The Automatic Earth - 4/2/16]:
… Meanwhile the Dutch government -minus Timmermans, whose Putin bashing gave him almost as good a Brussels job as Donald Tusk got for his as PM of Poland- is chairing the EU until July 1. With youthful fervor, they started out by suggesting a sort of ferry service that would take refugees straight back from Greece to Turkey.
At the same time, the Times in Britain wrote about an EU plan to make it illegal to help refugees at sea. See, now they’re flaunting Geneva, and they’re flaunting international maritime law too. The latter says it’s illegal to NOT help people in distress at sea, and the EU is a signatory -or at least its member states. The former says specifically that ‘push-back’ of refugees is not allowed. The European Commission itself warned Greece about this in 2013.
Back to the drawing board. Or perhaps not quite: at the same time the government in The Hague came with their nonsensical ferry plan, the Dutch parliament -a few doors down- voted to let Holland start bombing Syria. You know, to support one’s partners. So you bomb the crap out of them, and then send them back when they seek to flee your bombs. Holland’s been bombing Iraq for a long time.
And that kind of tomfoolery is why there are international agreements in place, meticulously articulated after earlier disasters and vowing to never make the same mistakes again. But you don’t have to know law to be a politician, or be smart, or have a conscience. The job’s basically open to anyone who can successfully sell a second-hand car.
At least 28 Iraqi soldiers have been killed in suicide attacks blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Anbar.
Iraqi government officials said one car bomb hit an army barracks on Thursday in the provincial capital Ramadi, where fighting has continued for months despite the Iraqi government's claim that it controls 95 percent of the city.
The second attack targeted a government base in Fallujah, the other major ISIL-controlled city under siege by Iraqi forces, the officials said.
Iraqi forces have been trying to clear areas of Anbar controlled by ISIL, which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria, but their advance has been slowed down by suicide attacks. ... [Al Jazeera - 4/2/16]
5 February 2016