Afghan officials said Saturday a U.S. drone strike and a separate attack by the Afghan military killed at least 28 Islamic State militants in the country's Nangarhar province.
The drone strike occurred Friday in the mountainous Achin district bordering Pakistan, killing 16 of the militants, who were identified as Pakistani, district chief Haji Ghalib told Voice of America. ... [UPI.com - 7/2/16]
Saudi jets bombard Yemen reservoir, dam [Press TV - 8/2/16]
The Australian mercenaries commanding UAE forces in Yemen [Middle East Eye - 23/12/15]
Netherlands to investigate civilian deaths in Iraq airstrikes [Antiwar.com - 7/2/16]
Around 60 people have reportedly been killed in the basement of a building in the southeastern Kurdish town of Cizre during a military raid which, according to state media, was conducted to neutralize PKK fighters.
The Turkish army conducted the raid to allegedly clear out a basement in the town where it claimed high-profile Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorists had holed up, according to local media. ... [RT - 8/2/16]
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is raising a second wire fence on its border with Greece, in the neutral zone between Idomeni and Gevgelija.
This is a measure along the European Union’s efforts for stricter control of the migrant inflow towards central and northern Europe.
On Saturday the FYROM army started cleaning the area and raising a second barbed wire fence parallel to the existing one on the neutral zone in the border crossing point between Idomeni and Gevgelija. ... [Greek Reporter - 8/2/16]
@MSF_Sea [8/2/16]: ... The @MSF @Greenpeace team is currently helping those on board this frighteningly overloaded rubber boat.
@PROACTIVA_SERV [8/2/16]: Mañana de muchas asistencias e intervenciones. El éxodo continúa. Seguimos ahí para que el mar sea más seguro.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks in Ankara Monday on how to reduce the influx of people into Europe as reports emerged that another 33 people died off Turkey's coast attempting to reach Greece.
Turkey's coast guard said 22 migrants died after their boat capsized in the Bay of Edremit, while four people were rescued.
Further south, another 11 people died in a separate boat accident, according to the private Dogan news agency.
The coast guard has launched a search-and-rescue mission, including helicopters, to try to find 14 migrants who are reported to be missing.
In her weekly video message on Saturday, Merkel said European Union countries agree that the bloc needs to protect its external borders better, and that that is why she is seeking a solution with Turkey.
She added that, if Europe wants to prevent smuggling, "we must be prepared to take in quotas of refugees legally and bear our part of the task."
"I don't think Europe can keep itself completely out of this," Merkel said. ... [Yahoo - 8/2/16]
Australia stopped accepting refugees in October 2014.
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.
An undated draft talking point document, released by the department of immigration under freedom of information, suggests Jakarta and the UNHCR were not consulted before the changes were made public.
“It has always been our intention to discuss these measures with the government of Indonesia and the UNHCR before any announcement was made,” the talking points say.
It was regretted information about the measures had “entered the public domain before these discussions could take place”.
The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws. ... [Guardian - 19/8/14]
Australia's political, media and human rights establishment cultivate and protect the most reactionary politicians
... FRAN KELLY: And according to Philip Ruddock, the hardline stance has protected those most in need, preserving places in Australia for real refugees, not just those who can afford to jump the queue.
PHILIP RUDDOCK: Nobody should complain that we are making sure that Australia is able to determine who ought to be able to be helped, and it's not being determined for us by people smugglers. ...
Tampa retrospective [ABC, 7.30 Report - 26/8/02]
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
“Auschwitz is outside of us, but it is all around us, in the air. The plague has died away, but the infection still lingers and it would be foolish to deny it. Rejection of human solidarity, obtuse and cynical indifference to the suffering of others, abdication of the intellect and of moral sense to the principle of authority, and above all, at the root of everything, a sweeping tide of cowardice, a colossal cowardice which masks itself as warring virtue, love of country and faith in an idea.”
― Primo Levi
... A number of state leaders have come out in support for the asylum seekers, calling on the Federal Government to grant amnesty.
But Mr Pezzullo today said "moral lecturing" was unhelpful.
He told Senate estimates the offshore processing system was working effectively and some asylum seekers could be ready for deportation "within days".
"No amount of moral lecturing by those who seem not to comprehend the negative consequences of an open-borders policy will bring forth solutions," he said.
"Yielding to emotional gestures in this area of public administration simply reduces the margin for discretionary action."
Federal Labor senators joined forces with Coalition politicians last week to vote down a Greens motion to grant amnesty to the asylum seekers in Australia, in contrast to calls for compassion from state Labor leaders.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that he shared the frustration of his state counterparts, but emphasised the Coalition had "dropped the ball on processing people".
He told reporters last night that Federal Labor remained committed to regional processing.
"I believe that regional processing provides the best long-term sustainable solution," he said.
"But Malcolm Turnbull, if he doesn't want to resettle people here, he needs to do something about what's happening in Manus and Nauru."
Mr Turnbull has described the situation as "very delicate", saying yesterday that the transfer of the 267 asylum seekers would be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
He told the ABC there were "no policy options available in terms of border protection which are not tough which cannot be described as harsh".
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop declined to weigh in on the issue, saying it was up to the Prime Minister and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to engage with the state leaders. [And she still hasn't indicated whether or not she has asked the UK to return Julian Assange's passport.]
Asylum seekers awaiting re-exile to Nauru suffering from cancer and terminal illnesses [Sydney Morning Herald - 8/2/16]:
... Department officials confirmed 357 asylum seekers at Nauru are yet to have their refugee claims processed.
This is despite the Nauru government saying last October that there were 600 remaining refugee claims, and they would be processed "within the next week".
Asked to explain the outstanding refugee claims, Mr Pezzullo said "perhaps there's a capacity issue … you could argue they have done extraordinarily well" by processing 840 refugee claims so far.
Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg also revealed the price of a people smuggling voyage from Indonesia to Australia has dropped to about $US2000, down from about $10,000 in mid-2013.
He said since Operation Sovereign Borders began cracking down on the illegal trade "that price has dropped significantly" and people smugglers were "struggling to find … customers". ...
Pell cleared to testify at Child Abuse Royal Commission via videolink [Reuters - 8/2/16]
Australia has not "stopped the boats".
Australia is stopping people from seeking asylum and is torturing and murdering refugees.
Hazaras in Indonesia [19/12/15]:
Mohammad Nasim Najafi who was died suspiciously at Yongha Hill Detention Centre 5 months ago, just has been buried in Rockingham, Perth.
He escaped war and persecution in Afghanistan and sought asylum to Australia.
Today he was buried to say good bye to those who self declared as human beings.
He thought Australia would protect him from harm.
As a human, I am deeply ashamed to see Australia has failed to protect him. ... [Hayatullah Rahimi]
... By Friday, July 31, Nasim was dead. As his body was carried from the centre, loaded into an ambulance under a white sheet, fellow detainees chanted in volleys of Arabic and English: “He did not kill himself, the immigration killed him.” ... [The Saturday Paper - 8/8/15]
Another death in Christmas Island : Who is responsible ? Who is accountable since last 20 years ? ... [RISE Refugee - 9/11/15]
A fish rots from the head down.
... Sydney-based orthopaedic surgeon Munjed Al Muderis, who fled Iraq in 1999, said he still met people who judged him because he arrived in Australia by boat.
At a recent high-profile event, a "senior member of Australian society" had asked how the 43-year-old -- who has met Britain's Prince Harry because of his pioneering work with amputees -- came to be invited after he revealed he was a boat refugee, Al Muderis told AFP.
The man changed his tone after his wife revealed she had read about Al Muderis' life story in the media.
"He realised I'm a human being, I'm normal, I can speak English and I can articulate and... I'm the guest of honour, not him."
IT IS WRONG and evidently HESTA divested at just the right time! ---> Broadspectrum aka Transfield's contract to operate Australia's refugee concentration camps uncertain [Sydney Morning Herald - 8/2/16]:
Broadspectrum's plans to extend its detention centre contracts on Nauru and Manus Island for five more years are in question after the Immigration Department said another company would be asked to tender for the contracts.
Broadspectrum has been awarded a 12-month extension from March 2016 to its current contract providing operational, welfare and security services to asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island.
But the negotiation process over a new five-year contract has been extended "due to increases in scope from the original tender," Broadspectrum said on Monday.
"It is understood that Broadspectrum and one other party will receive a request to submit and amended tender," Broadspectrum said.
"The company understands that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection intends to make a formal award of the new five-year contract by the end of the calender year."
Broadspectrum had previously told investors it was "preferred tenderer" for the new five-year contract.
The delay in the award of a five-year contract and the revelation that Broadspectrum will have to compete against another company for the contract comes as hostile suitor Ferrovial tries to convince Broadspectrum shareholders they should accept its takeover offer of $1.35 per share. ...
... On the boat people question, my sense is that Canberra politicians have an exaggerated sense of the xenophobia and racism within portions of the Australia electorate that drives their tough policies. For the most part, they also let those sentiments fester unchallenged.
Over the years, I have spent a lot of time in the western suburbs of Sydney. It is the most politically influential part of the country and one supposedly seething with hostility towards boat people.
Usually when I have asked voters to list their concerns, however, they cite cost of living concerns and traffic congestion long before they mention asylum seekers. When I read commentary suggesting that border protection is the dominant issue in the minds of "ordinary Australians", it does not ring true.
One of the failings of politics in Australia in recent years is that politicians on both sides have allowed voters to conflate the asylum seeker problem with everyday worries. Some politicians, who demagogue this issue, actively encourage their scapegoating, even though 90% of boat people turn out to be bona fide refugees. ... [Leaving Australia, a confounding and complex country, Nick Bryant, BBC News, Sydney - 28/6/13]
PM Julia Gillard and David Bradbury [MP for Lindsay - in Western Sydney] watch a vessel boarding exercise in Darwin Harbour [ABC - 7/7/10]
This is what Labor border's protection has been reduced to Outrageous!
Image: @stuartrobertmp - Member for Fadden [29/8/12]
Foreign Minister Bob Carr says he thinks about 100% of asylum seekers arriving by boat are NOT refugees, but economic migrants.
"tweeted" by @George_Roberts - ABC journalist [28/6/13]
Nine MSN [28/6/13]:
The federal government is set to overhaul Australia's refugee tribunal system in an effort to counter the recent surge in boat arrivals, claiming many are not bona fide asylum seekers, but actually economic migrants.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said on Friday there was mounting evidence the Refugee Review Tribunal, for example, "had not been hard-headed enough" in assessing would-be refugees.
It has also been revealed that Senator Carr raised concerns with officials in Jakarta about a loophole in Indonesia's visa on arrival system, which was allowing asylum seekers to transit legally through the country's airports before taking boats to Australia.
Indonesian Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin confirmed that abuses of the visa on arrival system, particularly by Iranian nationals, was one of the main areas of discussion in talks with Senator Carr in Jakarta on Friday.
Evidence has shown that Iranians are the largest proportion of asylum seekers eventually deemed to be economic migrants, and the greatest number in the recent spike in boat arrivals.
In a signal that Indonesia may be prepared to look at a possible crackdown, Mr Syamsuddin said his government was also concerned about the issue and it would be discussed again at a "higher" level.
"He raised his concern about lots of Iranian people using our (visa on arrival). But I reminded him as well that Indonesia also has concern over this matter," Mr Syamsuddin told AAP.
"This matter shall definitely go to a higher forum."
Senator Carr refused to comment directly on the visa issue.
However, he identified Iran and Pakistan as the main source of so-called economic migrants, adding that in some cases boats had arrived where 100 per cent of those on board were clearly seeking better economic conditions rather than fleeing persecution.
As part of the overhaul of the refugee tribunals, Australian diplomats in source countries would be called on to make a greater contribution to the assessment process.
"There's some evidence that the tribunals have not been hard-headed enough in looking at the circumstances (in those countries)," Senator Carr said.
"My department is going to produce some hard-edged assessments of the situation in the countries from which asylum seekers come that can guide the bodies making determinations in Australia, the tribunals and the courts, about the real status of conditions in these countries."
Senator Carr also met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and was expected to hold talks later in the day with Coordinating Minister for Security and Law Djoko Suyanto, where people smuggling was set to remain the focus of discussions.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr [ABC, Lateline - 26/6/13]:
... The people coming here ... They're not people fleeing persecution. ... they're coming here as economic migrants ... there is an unsustainable spike in their numbers ... it's not the old days where the numbers were so few, a person with noble instincts would say let them just slide into the population. .... we've reached the view that as a result of court and tribunal decisions it's coming up wrong, we need a tougher more hard edged assessment. ... And again I say to those Australians who believe this country ought to distinguish itself by its decency to refugees, the problem in front of us measurably has changed. ... it is people smuggling, it is people coming here as economic migrants, it is people coming here in numbers that will push aside our generous humanitarian intake as part of our regular migration program ...
It's a pretty simple request ---> ... If you haven’t decided to resettle us in Australia because of any reason, we please expect to resettle us in countries that participate in the UNHCR resettlement program and UNHCR confirm them. ... Refugees incarcerated on Manus Island plead with the Australian government to be handed to the UN [via Jeanie Walker - 17/9/15]
... "TO AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. STOP TORTURING US. IF YOU THINK WE DON'T DESERVE AUS. THEN HAND OVER ALL OF US TO THE UN. WE DON'T WANT YOUR HELP!" ... [CNN - 21/1/15]
Disregard for UN ruling on Julian Assange's detention will be a blow to human rights, Melinda Taylor [Sydney Morning Herald – 7/2/16]:
... After a thorough consideration of the application, Ecuador granted Assange asylum under the terms of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Sweden and Britain have ratified this convention, but both refused to either recognise Assange’s asylum status, or provide him with assurances against refoulement to the US.
As a result, Assange was faced with an impossible catch-22; if he stayed in the Embassy, he could be detained indefinitely, but if he left he would be the next victim of the US’ war on whistle-blowers.
This risk of refoulement to the US formed the prison bars which kept him detained. In a damning indictment of the manner in which Sweden and Britain handled this situation, WGAD underscored Assange’s continued willingness to co-operate with the Swedish investigations during all stages of the procedure, and concluded that he is in fact a victim of a significant miscarriage of justice. ...
Julian Assange’s Lawyer Melinda Taylor on the UN Verdict [VIDEO - RT – 6/2/16]
"A Significant Victory": Julian Assange hails UN Panel calling for his
freedom [Democracy Now – 5/2/16]:
… AMY GOODMAN: ... Joining us now is Mads Andenæs. He is the former U.N. special rapporteur on arbitrary detention and the chair of the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. He’s a professor at the University of Oslo and a visiting professor at All Souls College in Oxford. And that’s where we’re speaking to him right now.
Mads Andenæs, thanks so much for joining us. Can you explain the ruling of the U.N. committee?
MADS ANDENÆS: So, the U.N. committee holds that this is a violation of the prohibition against arbitrary detention. Mr. Assange has been deprived of his liberty for a five-year—more than a five-year period. He was initially arrested and detained in isolation. The isolation was completely groundless. He was afterwards in house arrest under, again, very strict restrictions. He was then threatened with actually being extradited to Sweden. And you’ve spoken about the consequences of that. And that would negate his basic human rights. He had no other choice than to go and seek refuge, and he did that in the Ecuadorean Embassy. That was not his choice. That was not his volition. It was the only way he could uphold his own rights in this situation.
Well, it’s now for the U.K. and the Swedish authorities to find some way of abiding by this opinion. This U.N. body is the only body or the one U.N. body dealing with arbitrary detention. And they come with this very clear ruling. Sweden and the U.K. are bound by the U.N. Convention on Civil and Political Rights. And it’s now for them to find a way of complying.
And what you mentioned there is part of the substance of the case. There are, of course, lesser—much lesser measures, less intrusive measures that could have been chosen. For instance, they could have interviewed him in the U.K. And it’s not true that Assange has not offered that, as far as I—well, I think it’s absolutely clear, although you have this reporter that you just mentioned. To the contrary, it’s absolutely clear that Assange and his team has offered to answer—that he should offer—he had offered to answer questions by Swedish police in the U.K. That’s beyond dispute. And that offer has not been taken up. And as you mentioned, Swedish courts have been very critical of the prosecutor, of the Swedish prosecutor, for this. And if you read those judgments closely—they’re in Swedish, of course—you will see that it is as strong a criticism as you can expect possible from a Swedish court against the way that the prosecutors have proceeded here.
.. It’s now two and a half years since Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking US military information to the WikiLeaks website in 2009 and 2010. She is currently detained in Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas.
Despite the very real restrictions on her freedom in prison, Chelsea has become a renowned free speech activist, making the most of opportunities to communicate from prison where possible to continue speaking out. Last year she tabled a challenge to US surveillance laws from her cell.
And she continues to speak out for transgender rights. She’s redefined how transgender people like her are treated in the US military; one year ago she won the right to become the first military prisoner to transition in prison. … In their own words: Chelsea Manning [AUDIO - Amnesty International UK – 7/2/16]
... I was a Staff Sergeant in the South African Police during and after the Apartheid era and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have never witnessed the injustice and ill-treatment of human beings that I witnessed at Bravo Camp, RPC Nauru. ...
Not one Australian journalist went to Nauru to report on the riot trials.
Image: Displaced Peoples Organisation Limited via @CSerow [23/8/13]
Nauru Senate Inquiry, Submission 98:
... I soon noticed that the most vague witness statements were written by security personnel within a few days of the riot.
The more incriminating statements were dated up to four months after the event.
I asked myself “How can anyone remember in such detail and with such clarity months after the event when the statements written only days after the evidence were so vague?”.
As a seasoned investigator I suspected fabrication and collaboration of evidence.
After making a few unofficial enquiries I learned that officers present at the riot were told to implicate more suspects as someone was to be made responsible for the riot.
It was then that the Bravo Camp detainees were randomly pointed out by officers.
Most claim they had had previous run-ins with the witnesses and believed thats why they were singled out. ...
Former guard on Nauru details allegations against 'corrupt and incompetent' Wilson Security [ABC - 5/6/15]
ABC, World Today [AUDIO - 5/9/13]:
This morning the Immigration Department announced that dozens more asylum seekers have just been sent to be processed on the tiny pacific island nation of Nauru.
A lawyer who has just returned from Nauru [and is representing asylum seekers on riot charges] says asylum seekers are being kept in cruel and inhumane conditions.
Sam Norton says asylum seekers he spoke to are desperate and some are suicidal. ...
This photograph of the Nauru Police Force was taken by Clint Deidenang when he was told to leave the area outside the court house during the 2013 riot trial.
Asylum seekers' convictions for July 2013 riots overturned by Nauru court [ABC - 24/8/15]
Australian guards jest about shooting refugee ‘c*nts’ and ‘f*ckers’ on Nauru [RT - 14/8/15]
'I'm pretty sure he said shoot that guy': Nauru guard [VIDEO - ABC - 13/8/15]
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [30/11/15]:
Sixteen, out of a group of 27, asylum seekers brought from Nauru a year ago to be released, have begun a hunger strike in the Darwin detention centre at Wickham Point to draw attention to their plight.
The sixteen (11 Palestinian, 1 Iraqi, 2 Lebanese) began the hunger strike nine days ago.
Three of the Palestinian hunger strikers were hospitalised on Sunday 29 November.
Out of desperation, both of the Lebanese cut their wrists on Saturday night.
The 27 were among the asylum seekers who were charged after the riots on Nauru in July 2013, which substantially destroyed the original detention centre.
No evidence about any involvement in the riot was ever presented against them.
In September 2014, they were offered a deal to get off Nauru.
At the time, they had already been waiting 14 months for a trial to clear their names.
They were told that if they pleaded guilty to ‘unlawful assembly’, no conviction would be recorded.
They were told that after some community service on Nauru, they would sent to Australia and be released while their refugee claims were assessed in Australia.
The 27 were brought to Australia on 1 November, 2014 and expected to be released on bridging visas by Christmas 2014.
A year later and they are stillwaiting; and are still being told their applications for bridging visas are on Peter Dutton’s desk.
All the other asylum seekers who had been held in Nauru prior to July 2013 have been released on bridging visas and are living in the community.
On 10 October, 2015, around 11 asylum seekers from Nauru, who had similarly been charged after the riot, but who were only transferred to Australia in April 2015, were released.
“The injustice is obvious. The department of immigration has broken the promises made to these asylum seekers. Everyone who followed the case, understood that they would be released on bridging visas a year ago,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“These guys should be released. There is no excuse for keeping them in detention. It is arbitrary detention and bureaucratic delay at its worst.”
... Nichols, who had worked there in the period between 2013 and June of this year, has come out with claims that Palestinian refugees had been water-boarded on “two or three occasions” in 2014, according to the ABC.
He claimed that "members of the ERT [Emergency Response Team] ... conducted [water-boarding] against members of the Palestinian community that was on Nauru, refugees.
"These matters were raised with my direct supervisor,” he added.
"Senior management, I'm not sure [if they were told], but definitely management that was on the ground." ... ‘Guards brag openly about waterboarding at Nauru’ – Former immigration center guard [RT - 21/8/15]
Nauru Senate Inquiry Public Hearing [20/8/15]:
... Senator HANSON-YOUNG: In relation to the issue of zipping, can you explain to the committee how you know about that? You have described it in quite a bit of detail. Did you see that occur yourself?
Mr Nichols: I did not actually see the action occur but I have had numerous conversations with people known to me with regard to it: that members of the ERT had secured asylum seekers to their beds with zip ties, cable ties, and thrown them into the air. This occurred after the riots. Personally, I believe it to be retribution.
Senator JOHNSTON: My last question, Mr Nichols—and I do thank you for your cooperation seriously; it is obviously not easy revisiting these things. What was the building where you saw the person wet and coughing up water?
Mr Nichols: This is a tent in Bravo compound.
Senator JOHNSTON: A tent—
Mr Nichols: Yes.
Senator JOHNSTON: in Bravo compound. Whereabouts in Bravo compound?
Mr Nichols: The actual compound is comprised solely of tents.
Senator JOHNSTON: Does this tent have an identification?
Mr Nichols: It would be tent 11.
Senator JOHNSTON: Tent 11. So you saw someone wet and coughing up water coming out of tent 11?
Mr Nichols: That is correct. …
The Northern Territory intervention has failed to deliver substantial reform in any of the areas covered by the Close the Gap goals and has also failed to meet Australia’s international human rights obligations, an independent report has found.
The report, by the Castan Centre for Human Rights at Monash University, rated the intervention, which was rebadged in 2012 and now operates as the “stronger futures” policy, four out of 10 for its general human rights performance and failed it against seven other human rights measures, including the right to self-determination.
It also gave fail marks to every Close the Gap measure except education – which it scored at five out of 10 for improvements in primary school attendance – and urged the government to include incarceration rates as a new Close the Gap target, pointing to an “increasing and inordinate amount of Indigenous Australians being incarcerated”. ... [Guardian - 8/2/16]
Sergeant Marty Hunt (left) and Senior Constable Greg Newman arrest Member for Fisher Mal Brough for PCYC fundraiser Time4Kids. Kristy Muir [Sunshine Coast Daily - 2/4/14]
Sunshine Coast Daily [17/9/14]:
Member for Fisher Mal Brough has released footage of a speech delivered before Parliament where he blasts 'Islamic Extremists' in the region.
Mr Brough called on the Australian Government to protect 'Western values' and use their position in the Security Council to advocate to the Western World that they will stay the course for as long as the extremists do.
"I think that appeasement and containment is never going to be enough for people who have extremists views, who wish to dominate the world, to dominate what our Western values are," he said
"They're aim is to destroy everything that we stand for."
"Now is the time for us to act decisively, to act with strength, to act with commitment and to act together.
"That is the way we will protect our values. That is the way we will protect Australia, and nothing less will do."
Tracker/Indymedia [August 2012]:
4. SECRET MEN’S BUSINESS
Who could forget Brough’s role in the [ABC] Lateline reporting fiasco which helped spark the Northern Territory intervention.
In May 2006, Lateline broadcast a story entitled ‘Sexual slavery reported in Indigenous community’.
It featured a witness who appeared with his face blacked out and his voice digitized, and backed earlier claims by Brough (and rubbished widely) that paedophile rings were rife in Aboriginal communities.
Lateline falsely described the man as an “anonymous youth worker” but it later emerged he was Gregory Andrews, an Assistant Secretary in Brough’s department. His job was to advise the minister on issues of child abuse in Aboriginal communities.
Brough always denied knowledge of the appearance, but in later court proceedings it emerged his office was provided a written brief of what the bureaucrat planned to tell Lateline.
Brough used the story – and Lateline – to drive support for the NT intervention, a policy that endures today, and is still wreaking havoc on Aboriginal communities.
NT intervention continues racist land-grab [Direct Action - July 2008]:
In the 60s and 70s the racist policies of segregation and forced assimilation, including the kidnapping of the Stolen Generations, were presented by governments as in the best interests of Aboriginal people. Far too many non-Aboriginal people took those governments at their word.
Today there is no excuse for doing so.
Regardless of how the policy is justified, the real intent has been and remains the theft of Aboriginal land for exploitation by the same class of wealthy people who enrich themselves through exploiting the labour of all working people.
Despite claims by Brough and the ALP, which supported the NT intervention, that it is a necessary emergency response to child abuse in remote Aboriginal communities, the measures that have been implemented are more about acquiring land than the safety of children. These included:
• Deployment of additional police to Aboriginal communities, leading to greater repression and incarceration for minor offences.
• Bans on alcohol, which, rather than treating alcoholism or its causes, force those who are dependent on alcohol into bigger towns, where they can maintain their addiction.
• Compulsory acquisition of townships, currently held under the federal Native Title Act 1993, through five-year leases, which removes community ownership of the land.
• Removal of customary law and cultural practice considerations from bail applications and sentencing in criminal proceedings.
• Suspension of the permit system that required permission from Aboriginal communities to enter their land.
• Quarantining of a proportion of welfare benefits to all recipients in the designated communities and issuing them with electronic debit cards that can be used only at Coles or Woolworth stores in larger regional centres.
• The abolition of Community Development Employment Projects.
An investigation by Australia's main crime-fighting agency has found no evidence of organised pedophilia in Northern Territory indigenous communities.
The finding by the Australian Crime Commission demolishes one of the central claims used by the Howard government to support its controversial NT intervention.
In the now-discredited claims that underlined his push for the 2007 intervention, then-indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough, along with some commentators, claimed there were "pedophile rings" in the Northern Territory.
Jakarta accused of staging Papua arms find [RNZI –
The Free Papua Movement has denied that hundreds of rounds of ammunition, firearms and explosives confiscated by police during a raid on Wednesday night belonged to the organisation, accused instead the authorities of staging the arms find.
In the raids police seized 241 rounds of ammunition, two firearms and a replica gun, four pipe-bombs, a flag of the West Papua National Committee, a laptop and a mobile phone.
The Free Papua Movement, or OPM, spokesman, Saul Bomay, said the group did not have the funds to purchase such an amount of weaponry, and the raid was set up by the security forces to increase tension in Papua.
According to the Jakarta Post report, the secretary general, Anthon Tabuni, claimed that the Indonesian military had staged many incidents purportedly involving the OPM, citing 10 Puncak Jaya residents described as OPM members who were reported to have surrendered to authorities last week.
Colonialism and Cold Genocide: The Case of West Papua, Kjell Anderson - Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies 
A French general has defended France's response to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, saying his troops did not give so much as a bullet to the perpetrators and did not immediately grasp the scale of the killing, sources said Sunday.
General Jean-Claude Lafourcade was questioned over claims that France's UN-mandated Operation Turquoise, which he led, left ethnic Tutsis to be slaughtered by Hutu killers in the western Bisesero hills in June 1994, sources close to the case said.
French soldiers had been deployed in Rwanda a few days earlier under UN instructions to stop the genocide that had begun in April, and which three months later had left at least 800,000 people dead, most of them Tutsis. ... [Yahoo - 7/2/16]
OK Tedi to resume operation in March [The National - 8/2/16]
Explosion of old rocket kills two boys in Kampong Thom [Phnom Penh Post - 8/2/16]
A band of tuk-tuk drivers wearing motorbike helmets descended on sacked drivers protesting outside the Capitol Tours bus company on Saturday, beating the demonstrators until they disbanded as police stood by.
At least 14 people were injured in the attack outside the firm’s headquarters in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district, according to rights groups. While none of the attackers were arrested, police arrested a protesting bus driver and an official from a supporting labor association. ... [Cambodia Daily - 8/2/16]
North Korea drew renewed international condemnation and the threat of more sanctions on Sunday after launching a long-range rocket in defiance of United Nations rules just weeks after it carried out a nuclear bomb test.
Critics of the rocket program say it is being used to test technology for a long-range missile.
South Korea and the United States said they would explore whether to deploy an advanced missile defense system in South Korea "at the earliest possible date." ... [Reuters - 7/2/16]
More pulled out alive after Taiwan quake, about 120 people still trapped [Reuters – 7/2/16]
Another bipartisan stitchup: ALP and LNP block Greens Senate motion to investigate proposed Gold Coast Airport ILS
Tweed Shire Echo [5/2/16]:
A move in the senate yesterday aimed at deferring the federal government’s controversial approval for an instrument landing system (ILS) for Coolangatta airport was blocked after Labor joined the coalition to defeat it.
The Greens motion follow the recent approval of the $10-million ILS which they say paves the way for the contentious extension of the airport runway into environmentally sensitive Crown land in NSW, on the Tweed side of the state border.
The approval has been described by the Greens as an ‘act of subterfuge’ that is all about the twice-defeated plans for a runway extension and are calling for a public inquiry into how public land was being transferred to the privately-run Gold Coast Airport for the expansion.
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said ‘considering the problems that have been identified with the ILS installation it was very disappointing that Labor voted with the Nationals and Liberals to block this important Senate motion’.
Richmond MP Justine Elliot (Labor) failed to mention the Senate vote by her colleagues, when asked to comment by Echonetdaily. The Greens say Labor has badly let down the Tweed community.
Mrs Elliot said in a brief statement this morning that she was ‘always happy to make direct representations to the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss’ on the issue, ‘if anyone wants to raise any further issues regarding the airport’.
Senator Rhiannon said she shared the concerns of many locals about the potential for increased noise pollution that would result from a new flight path associated with the ILS.
‘The collusion between the Coalition parties and Labor will certainly add to the suspicions that the $10 million ILS could be cover for bigger development plans around this airport,’ she said.
Greens candidate for Richmond, Dawn Walker, said she was disappointment that Labor voted with the government in parliament ‘against residents opposed to the Gold Coast Airport runway extension’.
The motion called on the federal government to defer its approval of the ILS installation to allow an investigation to be held into the NSW Crown Land lease ‘and the availability of more cost effective and environmentally friendly technology’.
Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last! ----> ... "I cannot understand why the Palaszczuk Labor Government would choose to undermine the state's powerhouse tourism industry and betray the millions of Australians who want the reef to survive and thrive for generations to come," ACF chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy said. Adani's Carmichael coal mine gains final Queensland Government environmental approval [ABC - 2/2/16]
Adani Power Ltd will soon sign a deal to set up a $2.2 billion coal-based power plant in eastern Jharkhand state, two people with knowledge of the matter said, as its controlling shareholder aims to nearly double capacity this decade. ... [The Hindu -6/2/16]
Rudaw condemns assault on its crew by PKK supporters in Erbil [RUDAW - 7/2/16]:
Rudaw Media Network strongly condemns an attack on its reporting crew by supporters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Erbil on Sunday.
Members of the Rudaw team were assaulted in front of the United Nations office in Erbil where members and supporters of the PKK had gathered to demand freedom for their jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan and an end to Turkish military operations.
Rudaw correspondent Kurdistan Hassan and her cameraman Jegir Omar were hurt in the assault.
They reported that they had also received threats from the PKK supporters.
The protesters broke the police barriers and as a result wounded three members of the riot police.
Rudaw strongly condemns the assault on its crew and holds organizers of the protest legally responsible.
The network likewise urges PKK leaders to end their restrictions on Rudaw reporters in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and other areas under their control.
Suppressing freedom of the press is against the principles of democracy and the Kurdish freedom movement.
The U.S. Defense Department plans to buy 404 Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jets over the next five years, a net decrease of 5 to 7 percent from last year's plan, sources familiar with the plans said on Friday.
The orders will amount to about $40 billion in new revenue for Lockheed, the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier, and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N).
The revised procurement numbers will be released on Tuesday when the Pentagon issues its fiscal 2017 budget and the new five-year plan, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly before the budget release.
The change in the Pentagon's plan for the $391 billion weapons program defers orders for 45 Air Force jets, compared with last year's plan, while accelerating orders for the Navy and Marine Corps models of the aircraft, the sources said.
The Pentagon still plans to buy a total of 2,457 jets for all three military services in coming years, they added. ... [Reuters - 5/2/16]
Terror attacks continue across Syria and Iraq
US Department of Defense [7/2/16]:
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, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack and fighter aircraft conducted seven strikes in Syria:
-- Near Ayn Isa, two strikes destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL anti-air artillery position.
-- Near Mar’a, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Manbij, one strike destroyed three ISIL buildings.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack and fighter aircraft, and ground attacks, resulted in 10 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Kirkuk, one strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL light machine gun, two ISIL vehicles, and eight ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes destroyed four ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL assembly area, an ISIL command and control node, two ISIL weapons caches, and suppressed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Qayyarah, one strike destroyed seven ISIL assembly areas.
-- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL recoilless rifle, an ISIL vehicle borne bomb, an IED cluster, an ISIL staging area, two ISIL bed down locations, and an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [7/2/16]:
Anbar: News sources:An air raid has targeted two homes in Albu Salih area east of Ramadi resulted in 17 deaths of civilians including 6 from one family ...........................
Iraq: Authorities turn blind eye to Shi’a militia vicious reprisal killings [Amnesty - 5/2/16]
The Defense Department will provide ceremonial support to the pregame ceremony for Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Feb. 7, Pentagon officials said.
The Navy’s Blue Angels will provide a six-aircraft F/A-18 Hornet flyover at the end of the national anthem.
The Armed Forces Color Guard from the Military District of Washington will present the national colors, flanked by drummers from the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own."
A joint chorus made up of 50 service members representing the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard and from the premier military bands in the nation’s capital will sing "America the Beautiful."
The National Football League’s championship game historically attracts one of the largest television audiences of the year.
The telecast will be shown around the world in more than 170 countries and territories and will be available in seven languages, according to the NFL’s website. [US Department of Defense - 5/2/16]
The legend of Pat Tillman: Deconstructing a military myth [IDA]
The Tillman Story 
8 February 2016