NO self respecting democracy would accept "We do not comment on operational matters" as an answer from a Minister

Canberra Times [5/6/15]:


In the dead of night, a baby bundled in a white rug is held tightly as her parents are forced to walk across tarmac in Nauru back to the island's controversial detention centre [refugee concentration camp].

The five-month-old baby was born to Nepalese asylum seekers who are part of a group of eight secretly escorted from the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation [refugee concentration camp] at 4.30am on Thursday back to the Pacific island where they will live in large tents.

The grainy picture was obtained by refugee advocate Pamela Curr, who says 20 officers entered the Melbourne immigration facility in a "military-style operation" to return the asylum seekers to the island. It is understood the baby and her family had been in Australia for a number of months.

The Darwin barrister representing the baby, Mark Thomas from John Toohey lawyers, says he was not told about the removal of the child until the family had reached the island.

"It is a fundamental breach of natural justice," he said. "It is appalling conduct by the government.

"They grabbed her and took her away."

Mr Thomas said there was now no possibility of Federal Court action given the family are in Nauru.

The baby is one of the first of those born after December last year to be sent back to Nauru. They were not included in a deal struck by former immigration minister Scott Morrison and Senator Ricky Muir that Mr Morrison would allow a number of women to remain in Australia with their babies in return for his support to sweeping changes to the Migration Act.

Earlier this year, a damning report found women had been sexually abused on the island and guards were trading contraband such as cigarettes in exchange for sexual favours.

In a submission to the ongoing inquiry into conditions on Nauru, a former senior child protection worker for Save the Children, Viktoria Vibhakar, has claimed children as young as two are being assaulted in the open centre.

On one occasion an eight-year-old child made more than one allegation that she had been sexually assaulted in the Nauru centre, but would not say who had abused her, the submission says.

"Although the alleged sexual assault allegations were reported to [the Immigration Department] in January 2014, Mia remained in the Nauru detention facility for more than seven months," Ms Vibhakar writes in her submission.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: "We do not comment on operational matters".





... Every time Mr Aamer was moved, he claimed he and other detainees were given “goodbye” and “welcome” parties were soldiers “could do anything they wanted”.  ... ['American torturers told me they would rape my daughter to get confession,' claims Britain's last Guantanamo Bay prisoner Shaker Aamer - Independent - 5/6/15]






Triggs v Dutton





Australia endorses Myanmar's pogrom against Rohingya, warmly welcoming politicians at opening of ANU research centre




ABC [5/6/15]:

There is nothing to prove refugees adrift in South-East Asian waters are genuine Rohingyas from Myanmar, according to one of the country's highest ranking politicians.

Speaker of Myanmar parliament's upper house, Khin Aung Myint, was in Canberra to help open the new Myanmar Research Centre at the Australian National University (ANU).

Scores of boats are currently believed to be adrift in the Andaman Sea with up to 10,000 people onboard.

Hundreds of the ethnic minority, mainly Muslim refugees, have made it ashore in the past couple of weeks, despite initially being forced back to sea as countries in the region — including Australia — ruled out taking them in.

Speaking through a translator Mr Myint today criticised calls for Myanmar to accept the refugees and argued other countries also refused to welcome them.

"I want to urge everyone, to look at everyone among these boat people, they cannot speak the Myanmar language, and they don't look like Myanmar people," Mr Myint said.

"When you try to investigate, clearly they are not from Myanmar.

"We're also aware that Australia is not accepting them, likewise Myanmar cannot accept them."

Mr Myint explained world leaders did not understand the complexities of Myanmar's history.

"They do not have a clear judgment on Myanmar," he said.

"You need to clearly understand that the Rakhine conflict is a piece of the migrant problem.

"During the British colonisation, Myanmar was a part of India, and a lot of labourers migrated to Myanmar."





Time to reign in corporate colonisation, Nathan Willis [30/1/15]:

... My thoughts on the topic are informed by my own research in Rakhine State, Myanmar, where the following facts are notable:

1. the Australian company, Woodside Petroleum, has an interest in gas reserves off the coast of Rakhine state;

2. a gas and oil pipeline has been laid from that location to Yunnan province in China;

3. gas has begun flowing through this pipeline;

4. land has been confiscated from local communities in order to facilitate this process; and

5. Rohingya refugees are fleeing the region. While the violence that they are fleeing is traced by most commentators to ethnic and religious conflicts, these conflicts have been fuelled by the land confiscations just mentioned. A further fact worth noting is that many of these refugees are now incarcerated in detention centres such as Manus Island that are run under agreement with the Australian government and at great expense to the Australian people.

Are we observing criminal behaviour, or activity that constitutes a serious breach of human rights, in this case? While many individuals along with corporate interests are profiting from the gas and oil pipeline that runs through Rakhine State, it is premature at this point to conclude that their investment in Myanmar in itself amounts to criminal behaviour.





Indonesia to build shelters for Rohingya refugees.


Yucky, unaccountable Australian political establishment engage in partisan point scoring.




Sydney Morning Herald [5/6/15]:



Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has demanded the Australian Human Rights Commission president Professor Gillian Triggs apologise "to the people of Australia" for linking the government's policy on stopping the boats with the death penalty in Indonesia.

On Thursday night Professor Triggs told an audience at the Economic Development of Australia forum in Adelaide that the boats needed to stop, but there were consequences of pushing boats back to Indonesia.

Speaking off the cuff, Professor Triggs said: "But have we thought about what the consequences are of pushing people back to our neighbour Indonesia? Is it any wonder that Indonesia will not engage with us on other issues that we care about, like the death penalty?"

Mr Dutton called the apparent link between the Bali nine and the government's policy on stopping the boats a "complete disgrace" and "outrageous slur" and called for Professor Triggs to apologise to the Australian public and to the families of the executed Bali drug-smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.






Daily Times [5/6/15]:


The Lahore High Court Bar Association members on Thursday held a protest demonstration on The Mall against the mass killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar by Buddhist terrorists.

The lawyers were carrying placards and banners on which the slogans condemning the human slaughter were written.

They gathered at GPO Chowk and chanted slogans in favour of the oppressed Muslims of Myanmar.

Speaking on the occasion, LHCBA President Pir Masood Chishti said that Muslim genocide was a matter of grave concern and the Muslim world should take notice of the plight of Myanmar’s Muslims.

He also demanded the government to take up the matter with the United Nations.

He requested the international forums of justice and human rights to play their role to protect the Rohingyas, which face state terrorism and oppression.






Myanmar's opposition leader and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will make her first visit to China this month, one of the leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party said, amid strained relations between the two countries.

Suu Kyi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Kegiang on the June 10-14 trip, Nyan Win, secretary and spokesman for the NLD, told Reuters. China has yet to confirm the visit. ... [Channel News Asia - 5/6/15]






Nauru says child abuse facilitating Australian government is sending a surgeon to operate on refugee boy's arm [RNZI - 5/6/15]:



Nauru says an Australian medical team will be sent to Nauru to operate on the broken arm of a refugee boy.

This comes after his family claimed they were notified on Wednesday he would receive surgery in India.

But the Australian immigration minister, Peter Dutton, says there are no plans to send the boy to India because there are medical services available on Nauru.

Mr Dutton rejected a call to treat the boy in Australia.









18 armymen were killed and at least 11 injured when militants ambushed their convoy in Manipur's Chandel district on Thursday morning, in what is being described as the worst casualties the Army has suffered in recent years.

The government has asked the army to launch counter-insurgency operations to trace and eliminate the militants involved in the attack; the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur has also been closed to stop the militants from fleeing to the neighbouring country, sources said after a meeting between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Also at the meeting were Army chief Dalbir Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. ... [NDTV - 5/6/15]








Five people were charged in a Kenyan court on Thursday with committing acts of terrorism during the Garissa University attack last April.

The attack claimed the lives of 148 people and left 104 others in critical condition. ... [Anadolu Agency - 4/6/15]








A U.S. drone strike Monday killed at least four militants in the North Waziristan tribal agency near the Afghan border, officials said. … [News Week – 4/6/15]



Afghanistan: Three people killed, four wounded in Helmand explosion

Khaama [4/6/15]:

A suicide attack took place in Lashkargah, provincial capital of restive Helmand province, late on Thursday afternoon.

Initial reports indicate that one policeman and two civilians have been killed and one policeman and three civilians have been wounded in the attack.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion.








Red Cross 'squandered millions' in Haiti relief efforts [Al Jazeera - 5/6/15]




Critical aid operations supporting millions of people affected by the conflict in Iraq are at risk of shutting down unless funds are made available immediately, senior United Nations warned today as they joined an international appeal for nearly $500 million to cover the immediate needs of 5.6 million Iraqis for the next six months.  ... [Media Release - 4/6/15]








More than 3,000 Syrians fleeing clashes between Islamic State and Kurdish fighters have crossed into Turkey since Wednesday, a Turkish government official said.

Kurdish forces are trying to drive the militants out of Tel Abyad, in Syria's Hassakah province, close to the Turkish border town of Akcakale.

The official said 3,337 Arab Syrians had crossed into Turkey in less than two days to avoid the clashes and bombing raids carried out against IS by a U.S.-led coalition. ... [Ahram - 4/6/15]






United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria



US Department of Defense [4/6/15]:



U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Airstrikes in Syria

Bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight airstrikes in Syria:

-- Near Hasakah, four airstrikes struck two ISIL large tactical units, destroying seven ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Raqqah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying six ISIL excavators and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Kobani, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and two ISIL mortar positions, destroying an ISIL vehicle.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:

-- Near Baghdadi, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL structure.

-- Near Beiji, three airstrikes struck land features denying ISIL a tactical advantage, destroying an ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.

-- Near Mosul, one airstrike had inconclusive results.

-- Near Ramadi, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL excavator.

-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit, destroying three ISIL heavy machine guns, three ISIL buildings and two ISIL vehicles.

-- Near Tal Afar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL heavy machine guns and two ISIL buildings.





Reuters [4/6/15]:

Yemen's dominant Houthis agreed on Thursday to join United Nations-backed peace talks in Geneva planned for June 14, a day after their opponents in the exiled government confirmed their attendance.

A Saudi-led coalition of Arab states has been bombing Houthi forces, the strongest faction in Yemen's civil war, for over two months in an attempt to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has fled to Saudi Arabia. Around 2,000 people have been killed and half a million displaced by the fighting.

Coalition Arab bombings killed around 58 people across Yemen on Wednesday and Thursday, the state news agency Saba, controlled by the Houthis, said.

48 people, most of them women and children, were killed in air strikes on their houses in the Houthi heartland in the rural far north adjoining Saudi Arabia.

The reports could not be independently verified.

The U.N. envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has for weeks been shuttling between the Houthi-controlled capital, the exiled government in Riyadh and other regional capitals to garner support for peace talks in Geneva.

Daifallah al-Shami, a member of the Houthis' politburo, told Reuters his movement would take part, and "supports without preconditions the efforts of the United Nations to organise Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue".

Both sides appeared to have relaxed their conditions for opening the talks.

Hadi had previously insisted that the Houthis obey U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216, passed in April, which required them to recognise his administration and quit Yemen's main cities. The Houthis for their part had sought a suspension of the bombing raids.

Yemeni politicians say representatives of long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh will also accept a U.N. invitation to the talks, but that southern rebel factions, who also control swathes of Yemen, are unlikely to be invited.






A young Palestinian man was hit by a vehicle driven by an Israeli settler near the central West Bank city of Salfit on Wednesday night.  ... [Maan - 4/6/15]





UN mission in Central African Republic opens investigation into sexual abuse claims [Media Release – 4/6/15]






49 NATO vessels, 5,600 troops gear up for major US-led drills in Baltics [RT - 4/6/15]




Kremlin: it is important to rule out any provocative actions in Ukraine [TASS - 4/6/15]





Kopassus General apologises for special Forces killing of Air Force member in karaoke brawl [Jakarta Globe – 4/6/15]



Jakarta Post [3/6/15]:


… A dozen Air Force personnel were reportedly attacked by more than 20 Kopassus members at Bimo cafe and karaoke parlor in Sukoharjo, Central Java, on Sunday night.

Mayor Sergeant Zulkifli died at Harjolukito Hospital in Yogyakarta on Monday and his body has been transported to Jakarta and handed over to his family for burial in Ciracas, East Jakarta.







Ghana petrol station inferno kills about 175 in Accra [BBC - 4/6/15]






Commemorations have been held in Hong Kong to mark 26 years since the pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

The crackdown by Chinese authorities on demonstrators in 1989 left an estimated death toll ranging from several hundred to several thousand people.

Tens of thousands of people attended the anniversary gathering in Hong Kong, which is the only Chinese city allowed to hold a major commemoration.  ... [BBC - 4/6/15]




Over 20,000 activists protest in Munich against weekend G7 summit

EURO News [4/6/15]:




More than 20,000 protesters gathered in the German city of Munich on Thursday against a G7 summit that will be held in the region this weekend.

The rally has so far been peaceful, bringing together activists defending various causes, from anti-globalisation to peace, ecology and human rights.

Among the protesters, Julia said: “I’d say I’m here against the inequality that continues to prevail – that we have it so good and others have it so bad. And because we must not lose hope that one day the world really will be equal, and we will all have the same values.”

Further south, about 300 protesters have already set up camp in the ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, about 18 km from the castle of Elmau, where the summit will be held Sunday and Monday.

Around the area, preparations were underway to enforce the security of the world’s most powerful heads of state.



Can We Do It Ourselves? [2015]:



 Can We Do It Ourselves? focuses on economic philosophy with an emphasis on the concept of economic democracy. The film helps viewers understand the difference between a market economy in which consumer demand drives a company's supply of goods and services, and a capitalist economy in which private owners control production and hold a right to the profits. There is strong support for the potential promise of a democratic economic model in which workers have more of a say in business operations than either market or capitalist models. 






Greece requests right to delay payment to international predators [  - 4/6/15]



In Greek Debt Puzzle, the Game Theorists Have It [New York Times – 4/6/15]:




... I asked Mr. Varoufakis this week how it felt to have the fate of the global economy to a large extent resting on him.

“I don’t really feel the weight of the world economy,” he said. “I feel the weight of the Greek people resting on my shoulders. If little Greece, in order to survive, brings down the financial world, it can’t be our fault. It would be as if Delaware brought down the United States economy. That would be the fault of the U.S., not Delaware.”


The Greek government submitted a new set of proposals this week, and while details remained under wraps, Mr. Varoufakis told me: “Of course we tried to understand what they want. We’ve been in negotiations for over three months, so we know what they want. We’ve tried to bend over backwards and we’ve accepted conditions that were very difficult for us to swallow.”

He said the latest Greek proposal accepts the need for structural reform, including the hot-button issues of pension and tax reform, in return for “a few debt swaps and less austerity.”

“What’s radical about that?” Mr. Varoufakis said.

“It’s something a Wall Street bankruptcy lawyer might have come up with. These days you propose something sensible and it’s considered radical.”






US Securities and Exchange Commission investigates allegations of misspending by Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris [Reuters - 4/6/15]






Read the TPP






.. As you read this online, the United States government makes a note. ... Edward Snowden [New York Times - 5/6/15]






U.S. President Barack Obama secretly expanded the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless wiretapping program, according to reports Thursday.

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden show the Obama administration greenlighted warrantless NSA snooping on internet cables within the United States in 2012, according to a joint report by the New York Times and investigative journalism non-profit, ProPublica.

According to the report, the authorization was uncovered in two memos from the Department of Justice allowing the agency to specifically target hackers linked to foreign governments.

However, the NSA lobbied for authorization to target hackers even when there was no evidence they were linked to foreign espionage. … [teleSUR – 4/6/15]





Irish naval service rescues 12 refugees in Mediterranean

Irish Times [4/6/15]:

Naval Service personnel have rescued 12 men drifting in the Mediterranean in a boat with no fuel or drinking water.

The African migrants, who were trying to make their way from Libya to Italy, had been at sea in their fibreglass 6m boat since setting out from Tripoli five days ago.

The rescue brings to 649 migrants taken from vessels in the area by the crew of the LÉ Eithne since it departed Cork 19 days ago.

“We just want to get back out there,” Lieutenant Shane Mulcahy, the Eithne’s Search and Rescue Co-ordinating Officer, told The Irish Times.

The Defence Forces said the 12 men rescued on Thursday morning had been taken on board the Irish vessel as they drifted in distress some 50km north of the island of Lampedusa.

The Irish were first alerted to difficulties on the vessel as they left Palermo last night to begin another tour of duty.

The message was relayed by the Irish search-and-rescue service.

The crew of the LÉ Eithne and other vessels in the area were tasked with searching for the vessel at 8am local time it was spotted by the Irish off Lampedusa, the largest of the Italian Pelagie Islands.

A rescue effort was launched by the Irish and then 12 men adrift and in distress, without water in very warm conditions, were brought onto the Irish ship.

“The vessel, a fibreglass-hulled boat, with a single outboard engine, approximately 6m in length, had departed Tripoli five days ago and was found with no fuel, food or water on board,” a Defence Forces spokesman said.

“The 12 occupants, all male, were badly dehydrated and are being cared for by the Navy and Army medical staff on board.”

The migrants were due to be transported on to a larger vessel in the area and taken into the care of the Italian authorities for processing into the country.

The LÉ Eithne will remain on standby in the Mediterranean for up to six months as part of the international community’s efforts to assist Italy in rescuing migrants attempting to sale there from North Africa.


Libyans arrest 545 Europe-bound refugees [Yahoo – 4/6/15]:

… Mohammed Abdelsalam al-Kuwiri, from a migration squad linked to the Tripoli-based government that is not recognised internationally, said 545 migrants were rounded up.

"They are from Africa, and most of them are men. They were taken to a detention centre in the capital," said Mohammed Baker, another migration unit official.

The arrests are the latest announced by officials in Tripoli, where an anti-government militia alliance last year set up a rival administration to the elected government now based in the east.

In May alone, authorities in Tripoli said they arrested more than 1,000 migrants who had hoped to set sail for Europe.

In mid-May, the authorities said they had launched an operation targeting people smugglers who have plied their trade in Libya for decades. ...




Italian police said they arrested 44 people on Thursday suspected of being part of a network of corrupt politicians and business people in Rome accused of rigging public contracts to manage migrant reception centers. ... [Reuters - 4/6/15]







... Indonesia must actively take the initiative to solve problems by putting all alternatives on the table, including a proposal to suspend or even expel Myanmar from the group should it continue to defy international calls to end discrimination and violence against Rohingya.  ... [Jakarta Globe - 5/6/15]





Rural Australians for Refugees:  



Bendigo Rally for Rohingya Refugees 4pm - Friday 5 June - Rosalind Park Organised by - St Killian's Parish Social Justice Group




Rescue the Rohingya



End turn backs



Australia resettle Rohingya refugees






What authority allows Anne Richard to dictate which countries can or cannot rescue, help and resettle refugees in South East Asia?





If you say there is an elephant in the room, you mean that there is an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about.



The Malay Mail Online [5/6/15]:

The condition of the Rohingya boat people in Malaysia is acceptable compared to the conditions in Thai and Indonesian detention camps, US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Anne Richard said.

She was satisfied with the layout and accommodation facilities at the Belantik detention camp in Kedah.

“They are being held in modern facilities with clean conditions but they don’t know what to expect (about their future),” she said, adding that the government should review their status quickly.

“I’m surprised by the generosity of Malaysians and how rapidly the general public has organised and sent aid to the immigrants,” she said.

Richard called on Malaysia to ratify the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention but appreciated Malaysia’s move to grant temporary shelter despite not being a signatory.


[June 1 - The Rakyat Post: ... When asked whether it was important that Malaysia signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the status of refugees, Richard said everyone should, but in Malaysia’s case, the government was already working well in handling the issue.  ...]


“Malaysia has a history of being a haven for refugees and I believe it can provide valuable assistance in cases like this to help those genuinely seeking asylum,” she said.

During her three-day visit to Malaysia, Richard lauded the Forces Of Love (FOL) coalition’s initiative to launch a basic education programme, “Early Intervention, Fostering With Love”.

The project aims to secure the welfare of the 404 Rohingya children at the Belantik detention camp by providing basic education, books and other educational material.

The donations will be distributed among the Rohingya children, some of whom are orphans. This is not inclusive of five tonnes of personal use items delivered last week by FOL.




Another day, another "why can't we have a sensible debate about refugees?"  opinionator gets a megaphone to sell business as usual




... gets louder every day ...



'Money Talkin', The Black Sorrows [2012]




 ·   231 silhouettes representing 231 children in Australian detention centres.

Out of sight, NOT out of mind.



Love Makes A Way [4/6/15]




What has our country come to? [Doctors Reform Society Media Release [4/6/15]:

Below is reportedly the Xray of the forearm of an 11 year old boy in the care of the Australian Government as a refugee on Nauru.

 It shows he has 2 broken bones. It is claimed that this happened 4 weeks ago and as yet has not been treated to address the obvious deformity.

Without treatment he will have lifelong deformity and decreased use. Such fractures would normally be sorted out within 2 weeks with adequate medical care.

An 11 year old did not choose to come by boat to Australia. An 11 year old is not to blame for anything his parents may have decided. This 11 year old could be the son of any one of us if we were unlucky enough to be born in a war torn county and tortured and hounded into taking the huge risk of becoming a boat person refugee.

This blameless child is being punished by the Australian Government for being born into a family of refugees. Proper medical care is being denied by leaders who proclaim their Christianity in one of the richest countries in the world.

If a doctor consciously denies adequate care for no reason other than the child's family background (refugee on Nauru), that doctor could be at serious risk of being struck off the register. But a politician?

The Government, Opposition, and indeed all Australians should hang their heads in shame. This is child abuse.

Dr Tim Woodruff

Vice President

Doctors Reform Society






A 4-year-old girl sits with her leg chained to a pillar in Koh Kong last year. Regional maltreatment of children can lead to damaging economic effects, a new report states. [Phnom Penn Post - 4/6/15]

Combating the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism [March 2013]:

... Even though the number of child sex tourists/travelers arrested and prosecuted has increased over the past years in the countries where they have committed sexual crimes against Children (e.g. Cambodia, Colombia, India, Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Thailand) or in their country of origin (e.g. Australia, Canada, France, Netherlands, USA, UK) many of them are still released on bail and manage to escape prosecution/conviction in “destination countries”. In addition extraterritorial laws lack effective implementation jn many countries. ...






5 June 2015