United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 5/1/17]
Defense leaders salute Obama at armed forces farewell ceremony [US Department of Defense - 4/1/17]:
... Dunford, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer, noted the United States has been at war throughout Obama's presidency.
"That's a period longer than any other American president," the general said.
"And throughout those years, you've always been there for us." ...
The transfer of migrants from a reception centre near Venice that was at the centre of a revolt on Monday night got under way on Wednesday with the arrival of two coaches to take them to similar facilities in the neighbouring Emilia Romagna region.
Overall some 100 migrants were due to be transferred from the centre at Cona following the overnight protest that saw residents hole themselves up in containers, set fires and barricade volunteers following the sudden death of a young Ivorian woman, Sandrine Bakayoko.
An autopsy subsequently showed she had died of a thrombosis. ... [ANSA - 4/1/17]
Tragic end for migrants who thought they'd reached Italy [The Local - 5/1/17]
@Refugees_Gr [5/1/17]: On hungerstrike from Monday 150 #refugeesgr on hotel in Patras about conditions and behavior of the NGO in charge
@daphnetoli [5/1/17]: 224 #refugee arrivals via sea the last 48hrs, 121 of which on #Lesvos. A cold snap is expected to grip #Greece w/ sub-freezing temperatures
@LighthouseRR [5/1/17]: Yesterday, we assisted > 50 people arriving to Lesvos, providing emergency blankets, water & food. This week, Lesvos saw over 100 arrivals.
@LighthouseRR [4/1/17]: Yesterday, we assisted 2 #Lesvos boat landings. In the 1st landing, we acted quickly to provide clothes to 19 people & prevent hypothermia.
@LighthouseRR [4/1/17]: The 2nd landing was aided just in time. As Frontex was towing the boat to shore, it started sinking w/50 people aboard, over half women.
Australia's political prisoners protest on Nauru, October 2016
Indonesian officials visit Nauru; undertake special tour of Australia's refugee concentration camp [RNZI - 23/12/16]:
Nauru's government has confirmed that an Indonesian government delegation visited the country this month.
An official with Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Jauhari said the purpose of the visit was to discuss how to increase bilateral relations.
He said the delegation met with Nauru President Baron Waqa and his cabinet, and discussed development in Indonesia, including in Papua region.
President Waqa invited Indonesia to attend celebrations for Nauru's 49th anniversary of independence at the end of January next year.
Among the delegation was an Indonesian government consultant on West Papuan affairs, Franzalbert Joku.
Mr Joku said on Facebook that a visit to the Refugees Processing Centre on Nauru was an important part of his delegation's engagements with the host government.
Another sham Bali Process meeting dismisses the lives of thousands of stranded asylum seekers in our region [ANTARA - 14/12/16]:
... The Indonesian government earlier sought the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to jointly accelerate the handling of refugees and asylum seekers that are currently residing in Indonesia.
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi [AGAIN] voiced the matter while receiving a courtesy call from Assistant for the UNHCR High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk, according to a press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta Wednesday.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the Regional Ministerial Conference on the 6th "Bali Process" on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons, and Transnational Crime or BRMC VI in Bali Tuesday.
"As a transit country, Indonesia lauds the role and support of the UNHCR in handling the refugees," noted the foreign minister in a joint press statement.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marsudi also stressed the importance of the Bali Process Conference to find a comprehensive solution to the issue of irregular migrants.
At the meeting, the two officials also discussed cooperation to find solutions to the root cause of irregular migrants in the region, both in the affected countries and the international community, based on the burden-sharing principle and shared responsibility.
Based on data from the UNHCR, until February 2016, a total of 13,829 migrants, comprising 7,560 asylum seekers and 6,269 refugees who came from 44 countries, were residing in Indonesia.
There are 1,030 refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar, including those that arrived in Aceh in May 2015, according to the record.
Refugees and asylum seekers are provided shelter at 13 immigration detention centers (Rudenim) scattered across Indonesia.
What Australia's fanatical anti-refugee policies mean for people seeking asylum in our region [Academy of Social Sciences in Australia - 2016]:
... While it is widely reported in the media that the number of boats leaving Indonesia for Australia has significantly dropped since the commencement of OSB, NGOs in Indonesia highlight that people seeking asylum have continued to arrive to the country.
While some live in supported shelters or independently in the community, others are locked up in immigration detention centres.
By 2015 there were 33 sites of immigration detention throughout Indonesia.
Australian funding through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has expanded the capacity of this detention network since 2011. ...
Indonesia seeks more Australian funding for deportations and IOM concentration camps as refugee bottleneck intensifies [Jakarta Post - 10/8/16]:
Claiming that the number of refugees landing on the country’s shores has steadily increased in recent years, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly has reached out to Australia to seek assistance in solving the global humanitarian problem.
Yasonna said after a meeting with Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan that the country faced problems in dealing with refugees because existing detention centers for refugees currently suffered from overcrowding.
“The asylum seekers are housed at community houses and detention centers and the houses and centers are operating above their capacity. We hope that through cooperation with the Australian government we will be able to solve the problem,” he said, adding that the number of refugees who had achieved resettlement was small.
Yasonna said that even with the assistance from two international institutions, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization of Migrants (IOM), the process of resettling the refugees would be long and arduous.
He said that given Australia imposed stringent regulations that prevented it from accepting a large number of refugees, Australia might instead provide more financial assistance to countries like Indonesia to help it deal with the problem.
“We hope the assistance can help us in building more detention centers,” he said.
As of April this year, Indonesia has received more than 13,500 refugees and asylum seekers. The majority of the refugees are in Makassar in South Sulawesi, Medan in North Sumatrea and Batam in Riau Island.
As a non-signatory of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, Indonesia does not have the authority to determine the status of asylum seekers and must wait for verification by the UNHCR. However, as part of international law, Indonesia cannot expel people facing persecution in their countries of origin.
A recent case of Sri Lankan asylum seekers who landed at Lhoknga Beach, Aceh, highlighted the hostility of Indonesian authorities to hosting more asylum seekers after hundreds of Rohingya Muslims arrived a year earlier.
Initially, the Sri Lankans were not allowed to leave their vessel, which authorities tried to push back out to sea.
Some days later, when the boat was no longer functioning, the migrants were allowed to come ashore.
Yasonna said that other than the overcapacity issues, the ministry also dealt with the attitudes of local governments who objected to the presence of refugees in their respective areas, saying that the refugees could inject social problems into the community.
In November last year, Luhut Pandjaitan, then coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister, came up with a proposal to provide Australia with an island as a temporary camp to shelter the migrants.
Luhut made the proposal following an incident in which some asylum seekers were found stranded in some parts of the country’s territorial waters on their way to Australia.
Between 2012 and 2013, more than 18,000 people without visas arrived in Australia by sea, compared with just 7,300 between 2011 and 2012, according to data from the Australian government.
Laura Kemp, a spokesperson at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, said her country would remain committed to providing assistance to this global humanitarian problem, including to refugees in Indonesia.
“The country has provided a wide range of funding to enable migrants to return voluntarily from Indonesia to their country of origin. Around 5,200 migrants have accessed this program since 2000,” Kemp said in a statement to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
She added that Australia had committed to increasing its annual intake of refugees from 13,750 to 18,750 by 2018-19.
UNHCR's Volker Turk calls on Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia to do something about the flow-on impact of Australia's anti-refugee atrocities [Media Release - 23/3/16]
Who will help refugees and asylum seekers in South East Asia if the UNHCR continue making excuses? [Guardian -11/12/15]:
Secret federal government documents cast doubt over whether Australia told Indonesia and the United Nations about a retrospective ban on taking refugees from official channels.
In November last year Australia announced it would no longer accept refugees who applied for resettlement through the UN’S refugee agency in Indonesia.
The ban applied to anyone who registered with the UNHCR from 1 July 2014. ...
Australia stopped accepting refugees in July 2014.
Rights groups demand end to indefinite detention of 1,000s of Rohingya refugees in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia [MSRI/Bangkok Post - 12/3/16]
... Neo-fascism is not a new existential phenomenon for us or for people around the world who have suffered from the racist, arrogant assaults of this criminal state to maintain the Pan-European colonial/capitalist project.
So save your hysterical concerns about Trump for others and either commit yourself to building a revolutionary movement or get out of the way. Ajamu Baraka [Counterpunch - 5/1/17]
Yes, positivity, pangloss, partisanship, propaganda, and populism, David Swanson [Counterpunch - 5/1/17]:
... A huge reason for the activism shortage is partisan loyalty.
Of that minority of people who will do anything at all, many will only make demands of or protest members of one political party.
For the other party all is forgiven.
And most policy positions are utterly expendable at the slightest shift in the party line.
Witness the current Democratic fever for believing the CIA on faith and desiring hostility toward Russia. ...
Beyond anti-Trump, Paul Street [Counterpunch - 4/1/17]:
... The change we need cannot be limited to evicting the next bobble-head from the dashboard of power.
It must aim higher, or, really, deeper.
It’s not just about replacing a Bush or a Reagan or a Trump with a more outwardly kinder and gentler symbol atop the visible state.
We need more than another ostensibly multicultural re-branding of the American System that keeps the same basic oppression structures intact and sets us up for the next right-wing white-nationalist backlash.
That whole trip goes just back and forth, along with the standard intra- leftist bloodletting over whether to practice “lesser evil voting.”
It’s a self-fulfilling vicious circle: rinse, re-cyle, repeat.
I’ve seen it all my politically sentient life. ...
@Clintonswalk [5/1/17]: #ClintonsWalk just letting u know we leaving NT & going south to cross the border to SA to visit community next to main road & see elders
@Clintonswalk [2/1/17]: Dont know how this walk will end but we know that we have to try & see what happen at the end of #ClintonsWalk for Justice in Canberra.
Chris Sandow street fight - Tap Water Murri News [Bush Tucker Bunjie - 3/1/17]
It's perfectly normal ---> Largest DNA study of Aboriginal Australians confirms genetic antiquity [SBS - 5/1/17]
No. There's nothing wrong with this country ---> The Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor has praised the police for confiscating more than 317 litres of alcohol in the dry Indigenous community in far north Queensland. ... [SBS - 5/1/17]
Israeli soldier found guilty of manslaughter for execution-style killing of Palestinian [Maan - 4/1/17]
Activist who filmed Hebron shooting 'fears for his life' after Israeli soldier convicted [Maan - 4/1/17]
Israeli court sentences 2 Palestinian children to 2 years in juvenile detention center [Maan - 4/1/17]
The Israeli Magistrate Court on Wednesday morning have sentenced the wounded Jerusalemite teenager, Marah Bakir, to eight and a half years in jail, added to a 10,000 ILS fine over an alleged stabbing attack. ... [PNN - 4/1/17]
Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) on Wednesday morning knocked down water wells in Teqou’ village east of Bethlehem.
Mayor of the town, Tayseer Abu Mufreh, said Israeli occupation vehicles demolished ten water walls used by Palestinian farmers under the pretext of unlicensed construction. ... [PNN - 4/1/17]
Clashes broke out in the Shufat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon after Jerusalem municipality crews and inspectors stormed the camp under heavy armed protection.
Thaer al-Fasfous, spokesman for the Fatah movement in the camp, told Ma'an that dozens of armed Israeli police officers escorted Jerusalem municipality crews into the camp who began breaking into shops for “inspection.” ... [Maan - 4/1/17]
More regional dogwhistling against Rohingya refugees by Bangladesh authorities and NGOs [Dhaka Tribune - 5/1/17]
@nslwin [4/1/17]: These huts in #Kutupalong were built by recent #Rohingya refugees arriving to #Bangladesh. But were destroyed by local people today at 3pm.
Burmese Border Guard Police torture Rohingya fishermen in Maungdaw, confiscate their vessels and nets [The Stateless - 5/1/17]
Myanmar military conduct raid on Maung Gyi Taung, round up and attack villagers [Rohingya Blogger - 4/1/17]:
Myanmar military and Border Guard Police entered into Maung Gyi Taung village tract in Buthidaung Township today under the pretext of searching for weapons and many villagers were beaten.
Today on January 4, 2017 at 2 am, soldiers from the Light Infantry Unit 564 and Border Guard Police based in Phong Daw Pyin village besieged Maung Gyi Taung hamlet of Maung Gyi Taung village tract.
In the early morning, they announced by loud speaker that one person from each household must report to the school located in the hamlet.
At 4 am two brothers and a sister, Nouman, Arman and Kawsaira, whose father is Mohammed Ayub, were taken away by the troops to an unknown location and no one received any further news about them.
At 6 am some of the villagers reported to the school as ordered, but others didn’t out of fear of torture and some fled from the hamlet.
The villagers who went to the school were beaten by the soldiers and the Border Guard Police.
One of those who was severely beaten was Ali Ahmed, the former chairman of the village.
Another elderly man who was beaten was Mamed Ameen. Mamed’s son, Mamedullah, couldn’t bear to see his father beaten so told the troops not to beat his father and so they beat him as well and then they arrested Mamedullah.
Villagers say that both Ali Ahmed and Mamedullah were left in a critical condition following the beatings. ...
Region continues signalling support for Myanmar's human rights atrocities [Myanmar Times - 5/1/17]:
Citing his legacy as a reform-minded leader who kicked off the country’s transition from military rule to democracy, a Jakarta-based research institute has selected former President U Thein Sein for its top prize to be given out in an awards ceremony later this month.
U Thein Sein is the recipient of the third Asia Cosmopolitan Awards’ Grand Prize, which is given to an individual or organisation found to have made strides in economic, social science or cultural fields.
The award is one of three presented during the biennial Asia Cosmopolitan Awards, which was established by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia. ...
The show must go on [Offshore Engineer - 1/1/17]:
Despite reductions in exploration spend, work goes on. Elaine Maslin speaks with Wood Mackenzie’s Andrew Latham to find out where explorers will aim their drillbits this year.
Myanmar, once bereft of activity due to international trade embargoes, has been back in the limelight, with large discoveries, including the Thalin-1 well in AD7 block in February 2016, by Woodside Energy.
The activity will continue in 2017:
Woodside recently contracted the Dhirubhai Deepwater KG2 (a deepwater drillship) for a year-long campaign in the region in 2017. ...
Two assistant priests in Myanmar, also known as Burma, remain missing since the Christmas Eve after they helped local journalists cover the bombing of their Catholic church building in the conflict-ridden Shan state, according to reports.
The priests, identified as Dom Dawng Nawng and La Jaw Gam Hseng, helped journalists from Yangon-based news organizations cover the bombing of their St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Mongkoe Township near the Chinese border, which was hit by airstrikes on Dec. 3, 2016, according to Morning Star News.
The parish priest, nuns and about 1,000 Catholics from the area had fled to China before the bombings due to heightened tensions between the military and local ethnic groups.
No one was hurt in the church bombing.
The two clergymen were last seen on Dec. 24 near a Burma Army military base called Byuha Gon (Strategic Hill) in Mongkoe, after they assisted three reporters from the Democratic Voice of Burma, The Irrawaddy and Kumudra Journal. ... [The Christian Post - 2/1/17]
Sri Lanka war victims have no trust in domestic mechanism, Consultation Task Force says while government reiterates no foreign judges [Colombo Page - 5/1/17]
The Sri Lankan army has once more been ordered by a court to submit a list of LTTE cadres who surrendered during the final stages of the armed conflict in 2009.
The Mullaitivu court made its demand this week, ordering the military to submit its list before January 30.
The existance of such a list was revealed by the military following Habeas Corpus petitions filed by Tamils, for their relatives who surrendered to the military in the final stages of the armed conflict in 2009. ... [Tamil Guardian - 4/1/17]
@BehrouzBoochani [5/1/17]: Today there was not any court for the refugees who were beaten by immigration and police. No court date has been confirmed. [Manus Island]
What part of THESE MEN ARE ILLEGALLY AND UNCONSTITUTIONALLY BEING HELD ON MANUS ISLAND does the Australian media not understand? [ABC - 5/1/17]
... As long ago as 2013 the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and the then Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, had been warned that the Manus plan was unconstitutional because it deprived asylum seekers of their liberty despite them not having committed an offence.
In his first interview since the decision, Higgins tells Guardian Australia that subsequent governments may not have taken the independence of PNG’s judiciary seriously.
Should they not have foreseen the outcome?
“You would have thought so, unless they thought the government up there controls the judiciary, which it doesn’t,” he said.
“That’s one of the features of PNG that’s good, unlike Fiji or Nauru, and the judges really hold it very dear.” ... [Guardian - 24/12/16]
The family of Late Andrew Nane Rema who was allegedly shot dead by police in 2015 at the Waigani Fire Station is still waiting justice. ... [PNG Loop - 5/1/17]
Even the trains don't run on time in fascist Australia.
There was the stage, two red lights and a dodgy PA
You trod the planks way back then
And it's strange that you're here again, here again ...
'Blow Up The Pokies', The Whitlams 
40 pokies set on fire at Beenleigh pub [Brisbane Times – 5/1/17]:
A man has been charged after setting 40 pokie machines on fire at a Beenleigh hotel on Wednesday night.
Police said the man had been at the hotel earlier in the night, and allege he returned about 8.40pm and doused all the pokies in the gaming room with petrol and set them on fire.
Three machines were totally destroyed and 37 others were damaged beyond repair due to chemical exposure.
A police spokeswoman said all the patrons were evacuated and no one was injured in the incident.
A 25-year-old man has been charged with endangering particular property by fire, and he will appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Watch it for yourself ---> Assange: Our source is not the Russian government [Antiwar.com - 3/1/17]
@wikileaks [4/1/17]: We increased the reward for the arrest or exposure of Obama admin officials destroying info to $30,000, thanks to a donor stepping forward.
@wikileaks [4/1/17]: We have issued instructions to sue CNN for defamation ...
@wikileaks [4/1/17]: Shifting political sands in the US see @SarahPalinUSA recommending @Snowden movie & apologizing to Assange. ...
Surfers Paradise Beach [4/1/17]
"Our duty is to disobey": French farmer’s trial puts rebel valley helping migrants in spotlight [France 24 - 4/1/17]:
The trial of a French farmer accused of helping migrants slip across the border from Italy, which opened in Nice on Wednesday, has drawn attention to residents of an Alpine valley who claim it is their civic duty to help those in need.
Cédric Herrou, 37, faces up to five years in prison, and 30,000 euros in fines, on charges of helping migrants to illegally enter France, and dwell and travel in the country.
Unapologetic about his actions, Herrou says he is merely doing his civic duty by providing food, shelter and other aid to migrants fleeing war and poverty – and making up for the shortcomings of public authorities.
“I don’t mind appearing before a judge, but I want the authorities to do so too,” he told France Info radio hours before appearing in court, accusing the French state of failing in its moral duty to help those in need.
“I prefer to be jailed as a free man than to live closing my eyes and plugging my ears,” Herrou added. ...
UN invited to Syria talks in Astana — Russia’s UN envoy [TASS - 4/1/176]:
... Answering a question on participation of representatives from Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Russian envoy said that it was not still clear.
"In my opinion, the international players’ role is still unclear as well as whether they will be present there or not," Churkin said.
"Certainly, we want everybody to make a positive contribution to preparations for the meeting."
In the meantime, UN Secretary General’s Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq told journalists at Wednesday’s briefing he had no details on representation of the United Nations at the Astana talks. ...
The US-led international coalition did not bomb oil production facilities captured by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants in Syria, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov has stated.
“Miraculously, only oil fields, captured by ISIS allowing the militants to earn tens of millions of dollars every month on illegal oil sales and recruit mercenaries from all over the world, did not come under the US bombardment,” Konashenkov said. ... [RT - 4/1/17]
Syrian Prime Minister visits army unit operating in Aleppo [SANA - 4/1/17]
Turkish Army comes under attack in east Aleppo, casualties reported [AMN - 4/1/17]
The Pentagon has confirmed that, in response to Turkish r4equests for military aid in the ongoing invasion of the ISIS city of al-Bab, in northern Syria, US warplanes flew over the city, though they did not conduct any airstrikes or apparently do anything else. ... [Antiwar.com - 3/1/17]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [4/1/17]:
Nineveh: 22 civilians were killed and 29 wounded mostly women and children as US-led coalition shelled the right side of Mosul.
Nineveh: A civilian was killed and 9 were wounded including women and children as a bombing targeted Nour neighborhood east of Mosul.
Baghdad: Two persons were killed as an IED exploded in Tarmiya district north of Baghdad .
Salah-il-deen: Breaking news: Samarra operations call to eject the displaced people from buildings owned by the government in Samarra under the pretext of preventing "future violations".
A UK soldier's death in Iraq was the result of an accidental shooting, the BBC understands.
L/Cpl Scott Hetherington, 22, died at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, on Monday. ... [BBC - 3/1/17]
Four Iraqi officers killed in helicopter crash near Baiji [RUDAW - 4/1/17]
Thousands more Iraqis flee Mosul as military advances [IraqiNews.com - 4/1/17]
Thousands of veterans who were forced to pay back the millions of dollars in bonuses they'd gotten for reenlisting to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan will get their money back.
The Pentagon announced Tuesday it has set up a process to reimburse or eliminate the debts of some 17,000 members of the California Army National Guard who got the bonuses between 2004 and 2010. ... [NBC - 3/1/17]
5 January 2017