SPRING HILL VOICE
The Australian website where spooks, media advisors, media monitors, partisan shills, sentiment miners, establishment media purloiners, fabricators, marketing and PR people start their day! ...
STOP THE WARS! TAX THE RICH! FREE THE REFUGEES! LEGALISE FREEDOM!
Perception correction. Bearing witness. Unfashionable.
"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time ... but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." - Lilla Watson, aboriginal educator and activist, Brisbane
* Other Things *
Al Jazeera staff sentenced to three years in jail
Al Jazeera [29/8/15]:
A Cairo court has sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to three years in jail.
Egyptian Baher Mohamed, Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Australian Peter Greste were all handed three year jail sentences when the court delivered the verdict on Saturday.
Following the announcement of the verdict in Cairo, Al Jazeera Media Network’s Acting Director General Dr Mostefa Souag said: "Today's verdict defies logic and common sense. Our colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy will now have to return to prison, and Peter Greste is sentenced in absentia.
"The whole case has been heavily politicised and has not been conducted in a free and fair manner."
The journalists were found guilty in June 2014 of aiding a "terrorist organisation", a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Greste and Fahmy received seven years, while Mohamed was given 10 years.
Peter Greste, speaking from Sydney prior to the verdict on Saturday, said he was hoping the court will finally clear their names.
"Everything hinges on this verdict." Greste said. "None of us can move on with our lives until the court clears our names." Greste added.
In January, an appeals court ordered a retrial, saying the initial verdict lacked evidence against the three journalists working for the Doha-based network's English channel.
The journalists and Al Jazeera have vigorously denied the accusations during the trial.
Ten previous sessions in the court have all been adjourned.
Greste has already been deported to his native Australia under a law allowing the transfer of foreigners on trial to their home countries, but he is still being retried in absentia.
Fahmy and Mohamed are on bail ahead of the verdict after spending more than 400 days in detention.
Fahmy renounced his Egyptian nationality hoping he too would be deported.
The three men have received support from governments, media organisations and rights groups from around the world.
Australian Al-Jazeera reporter says sentence 'outrageous' [Daily Star – 29/8/15]
Sweden to meet Ecuador officials Monday over Assange
Swedish officials will meet their Ecuadorian counterparts on Monday to find a way for Swedish prosecutors to question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a rape allegation.
"It is the first time that we are going to meet and we will discuss a general agreement for judicial cooperation between the two countries," Swedish justice ministry official Cecilia Riddselius told AFP on Friday.
The announcement of Monday's meeting comes just two weeks after Swedish prosecutors dropped a sexual assault probe against Assange after the time limit on those charges expired.
But they still want to question him about a rape allegation which carries a 10-year statute of limitations that only expires in 2020.
The talks starting Monday will be led by Sweden's Secretary of State Ann Linde and Ecuador's Fernando Yepez Lasso.
... What is laughable, hypocritical, or Machiavellian to the public or lower levels of "clearance" is embraced by those who have become sufficiently indoctrinated or co-opted into feeling that their economic or social advantage lies in accepting that which they would normally reject. ... What WikiLeaks teaches us about how the US operates [Newsweek - 28/8/15]
Pirate Bay founder released, re-arrested, to be sent back to Sweden [RT – 29/8/15]
NSA phone data collection 'not illegal', US court rules [BBC – 28/8/15]:
... The ruling on Friday in the District of Columbia reversed a preliminary ruling in 2013 by a lower court which said the NSA programme was "probably unconstitutional and almost Orwellian".
But judges said the case should not continue because the people that brought the case - activist Larry Klayman and the parents of an NSA employee killed in Afghanistan - fell "short of meeting the higher burden of proof required for a preliminary injunction".
Congress in June passed legislation aimed at scaling back the programme in the coming months and ending bulk collection of Americans' records. ...
Turkey: Milliyet fires 7 journalists who are critical of government [Today's Zaman - 28/8/15]
Indonesian military kills two civilians in Papua
Jakarta Post [28/8/15]:
Two people died and three others were injured Friday when a solider opened fire on a group of civilians in restive Papua province, a military official said Friday.
Papua military spokesman Teguh Pudji Rahardjo said the incident began when a soldier was attacked by a mob in Timika.A second soldier who came to his aid was also set upon, he said, prompting one of the troops to fire several shots to dispel the crowd.
"Two people died and three other civilians were injured," Rahardjo told AFP.
The two deceased men were 18 and 23 years, local media reported.
In a statement, the Indonesian military condemned the actions of its troops."This was a criminal act committed by Indonesian army soldiers, therefore it is now being handled by internal affairs," military spokesman E. Sodik said.
It is difficult to independently verify information from Papua, as Jakarta keeps a tight grip on the resource-rich region with a heavy police and military presence and there are restrictions on foreigners reporting from the area.
The annual Mike Manning Youth Democracy Camp that teaches the basic principles behind democracy and good governance received a boost of 50,000 from Exxon Mobil PNG.
The camp is run by Transparency International PNG (TIPNG).
This is its 8th year running. ... [PNG Loop - 29/8/15]
Storm kills at least 20 in Dominica, blows through Caribbean
Tropical Storm Erika left at least 20 people dead when it swept over the tiny island nation of Dominica, officials reported Friday, as the system barreled through the Caribbean.
While crews rushed to search for survivors and clean up scenes of chaos on Caribbean islands, Haitian authorities issued travel restrictions and opened emergency shelters ahead of the storm's arrival.
The U.S. state of Florida declared a state of emergency and Cuba issued an alert as well, as the storm, which is forecast to weaken on Saturday, rolled towards them.
In an evening press conference, Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said he had spent the day looking at damage and had seen "monumental destruction" that left at least 20 people dead.
"The visual damage I saw today, I fear, may have set our development process back by 20 years," Skerrit said in an address after surveying the island country, which has a population of only about 72,000.
"Of greatest concern however, is the loss of life. So far we have confirmed that at least 20 citizens have died, and some are missing," he said.
Skerrit reported that massive damage had been inflicted on key infrastructure facilities and roads, and that "hundreds of homes around the country have been destroyed or rendered unsafe to occupy."
Highways sustained widespread damage and bridges were washed away, he said.
"I have been assessing the damage all day. The extent of devastation is monumental. It is far worse that expected," he said.
Japan: University students stage
hunger strike over security bills
Japan Today [28/8/15]:
A group of Tokyo university students have staged a rare hunger strike in front of Japan’s parliament as they protest against security bills that critics fear would drag the country into foreign wars.
The move highlights growing opposition to legislation backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, just days after Japan’s national bar association joined the effort to prevent the constitutionally pacifist nation from enacting changes that could see Japanese troops engage in combat for the first time since the end of World War II.
Four male students began their hunger strike Thursday afternoon in front of the Diet building, saying a “direct and tough approach” was required to block the bills, which are being hotly debated in parliament.
The group, who spent their first night on the street in the Nagatacho political district, said they would hold off food until they reached their “physical limit”.
“A hunger strike is an act of risking one’s life… but I thought I should express my opposition to these bills more directly,” said Shotaro Kimoto, 19, one of the group members and a student at the prestigious Waseda University.
“If parliamentary debate stops, then we have achieved our goal.”
Under the proposed new rules, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces would have the option of going into battle to protect allies even if there was no direct threat to Japan or its people.
Abe and his supporters say the bills are necessary for Japan to deal with the security environment, and want them to clear parliament during the current session which ends late next month.
But opponents say they will drag Japan into distant American wars, and the legislation is deeply unpopular among the general public.
A constitution imposed by a post-war U.S. occupation force barred Japan’s military from combat except in self-defense.
The bills cleared the powerful lower house last month.
“We were appalled and furious that the bills were rammed through the lower house despite strong opposition,” said Motoya Tsuchida, 19-year-old law student at Keio University, a supporter of the hunger strikers. “We thought we needed to voice our opposition with a tougher approach.”
While relatively small street demonstrations are carried out frequently in Tokyo, hunger strikes are rare.
Two years ago, an anti-nuclear group went on a rotating hunger strike for a week over government efforts to end a demonstration calling for the end of atomic power after the Fukushima accident.
UN urges all States to sign, ratify Nuclear Test Ban as ‘critical step on road to nuclear-free world’ [Media Release - 28/8/15]:
... Reminding the world that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the dawn of the nuclear age, the UN chief said 70 years ago in 1945, “the Trinity Test unleashed the power of more than 20,000 tons of TNT and precipitated over 2,000 additional nuclear tests.”
“Pristine environments and populated communities in Central Asia, North Africa, North America and the South Pacific were hit,” he said. “Many have never recovered from the resulting environmental, health and economic damage. Poisoned groundwater, cancer, leukaemia, radioactive fallout – these are among the poisonous legacies of nuclear testing.”
“The best way to honour the victims of past tests is to prevent any in the future,” he said, noting that two decades after the CTBT was negotiated, “the time has long past for its entry-into-force.”
“I welcome the voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed States,” Mr. Ban said “At the same time, I stress that these cannot substitute for a legally-binding Treaty.”
Beirut protesters to call for new polls, minister’s ouster [Gulf Times – 29/8/15]
Policeman killed and seven injured in Bahrain blast [Naharnet - 29/8/15]
Three Turkish police officers were killed, 11 police officers and 14 civilians were injured late Aug. 28 in three separate attacks in the eastern province of Tunceli and the southeastern provinces of Şanlıurfa and Mardin by suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). ... [Hurriyet Daily News - 29/8/15]
... “With respect to the force presence in Afghanistan, no change there. The US President did decide earlier this year to sustain the presence at 9,800 through this year, in order to be able to provide the most advisory and assist capability to the Afghan security forces, along with our coalition partners, that we could,” Carter [US Defense Secretary] told reporters in San Diego, California. ... [Pajhwok - 29/8/15]
Taliban kill 7 civilians in Ghazni’s Andar District [Khaama - 29/8/15]
At least three people including Provincial Ulema Council Head, Mawlawi Lal Mohammad were killed in an ambush by insurgents in central Uruzgan province on Saturday morning, local officials said. ... [TOLO News - 29/8/15]
At least six policemen have mysteriously disappeared from a check post located in the restive southern Helmand province of Afghanistan. ... [Khaama - 29/8/15]
Saudi air strikes kill 10 people in central Yemen: Officials [Ahram - 29/8/15]
Israeli forces injure 5 in northern West Bank clashes [Maan - 29/8/15]
A radical scene unfolded Friday after Israeli forces intercepted the weekly protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, Palestine against the illegal confiscation of their land and spring. ... [Mondoweiss - 28/8/15]
... North Dakota has legalized the police’s use of drones armed with pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons and tasers. The legislation, signed by the governor in April, also permits the police to use drones to collect real-time intelligence video after obtaining a search warrant. [Democracy Now - 28/8/15]
... U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York has announced it is joining the investigation into the death of Samuel Harrell, a 30-year-old African-American man who died in April after as many as 20 corrections officers kicked, punched and dragged him down a flight of stairs while he was incarcerated at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, New York. ... [Democracy Now - 28/8/15]
... Saturday is the first anniversary of the death of 17-year-old Lennon Lacy, who was found hanging from a swing set in a majority-white trailer park in the tiny town of Bladenboro, North Carolina, one year ago. ... [Democracy Now - 28/8/15]
The U.S. State Department on Friday repeated its commitment to a political transition "away from" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after a U.S. special envoy held talks in Moscow on how to end Syria's more than four-year civil war.
"The United States remains strongly committed to achieving a genuine, negotiated political transition away from Bashar al-Assad that brings an end to the violence," it said in a statement.
"Assad's continued tenure fuels extremism and inflames tensions in the region. That is why a political transition is not only necessary for the good of the people of Syria, but an important part of the fight to defeat the extremists." [Ahram - 28/8/15]
United States "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [28/8/15]:
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, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted seven airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Aleppo, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL checkpoint.
-- Near Hasakah, an airstrike struck an ISIL ant-aircraft artillery piece.
-- Near Kobani, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Washiyah, three airstrikes struck one large and two small ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the Iraqi government:
-- Near Beiji, two airstrikes destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL bomb.
-- Near Habbaniyah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL light machine gun and an ISIL building.
-- Near Haditha, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building and an ISIL motorcycle.
-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Kisik, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL excavator and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL mortar firing position and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint.
-- Near Ramadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL light machine guns.
-- Near Tuz, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.
More than 300,000 make perilous Mediterranean crossing in 2015 – UN refugee agency [Media Release - 28/8/15]:
... In a statement Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he has been horrified and heartbroken at the latest loss of lives of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean and Europe.
He reminded the international community that a large majority of people undertaking these arduous and dangerous journeys are refugees fleeing from places such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
International law has stipulated – and states have long recognized – the right of refugees to protection and asylum.
When considering asylum requests, States cannot make distinctions based on religion or other identity – nor can they force people to return to places from which they have fled if there is a well-founded fear of persecution or attack.
“This is not only a matter of international law; it is also our duty as human beings,” said the UN chief, and while he commended those leaders and communities that have “stepped,” he appealed to all governments involved to provide comprehensive responses, expand safe and legal channels of migration and act with humanity, compassion and in accordance with their international obligations.
“Let us also remember: the high number of refugees and migrants are a symptom of deeper problems – endless conflict, grave violations of human rights, tangible governance failures and harsh repression. The Syrian war, for example, has just been manifested on a roadside in the heart of Europe.”
Mr. Ban said that in addition to upholding responsibilities, the international community must also show greater determination in resolving conflicts and other problems that leave people little choice but to flee. Failing that, the numbers of those displaced – more than 40,000 per day – will only rise. ...
MOAS urges collective action to stop deaths [Media Release - 28/8/15]:
Up to 200 people died on Thursday when a boat bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast. On the same day, more than 70 bodies were discovered by Austrian authorities in an abandoned lorry on a motorway at the border with Hungary.
These are just the latest awful figures of the unending refugee crises at Europe’s borders.
Last Wednesday, MOAS was involved in multiple rescue operations during which 1,000 people were saved. MOAS also supported the Swedish Rescue Ship Poseidon during the latest tragic incident when 52 died, the majority asphyxiated.
More than 10,000 men, women and children in distress have been rescued at sea by Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), as Europe’s first privately funded search and rescue marks one year from its first rescue on August 30th.
The rescues have taken place amid the worst maritime refugee crisis the world has ever seen – and there appears to be no end in sight to the drama at sea.
The reality is stark. More than 2,500 alone died at sea this year, an all-time record. As many as 20,000 people may have lost their lives in the at sea trying to reach Europe’ shores on unsafe boats.
MOAS continues operating on the frontline in the Mediterranean, the world’s deadliest border, and it hopes to inspire others to do their bit to save lives at sea.
As thousands more continue to pile into rickety, overcrowded boats, MOAS’s presence at sea becomes more important. We need to conduct search and rescue and prevent vulnerable people from dying trying to reach safety in Europe.
Following the shipwreck of April 2015, when about 800 people lost their life, MOAS has welcomed the decision by the EU to strengthen the search and rescue efforts by tripling the fund for Frontex and expanding its mandate.
MOAS is also pleased to have paved the way to an increase in the involvement of other independent entities as well as EU member states in mitigating further loss of life at sea. As a result of this collaboration between state-run and private search and rescue efforts, the number of people dying dropped significantly during the months of May and June.
However, the latest tragedies clearly show that the assets at sea and the efforts to save people are not enough and the maritime humanitarian crisis is far from being over.
“We are experiencing mass migratory movements as a direct result of conflict in various parts of the world. Europe should take the lead because this is happening in its backyard but others should also show their support”, said director of MOAS, Martin Xuereb.
“As long as thousands of human beings feel they have no other option other than embarking on a life-threatening crossing, MOAS urges decision makers to put SAR at the top of their agendas. A collective humanitarian action at sea – by governments, NGOs, private initiatives – continues to be vital”, he added.
An international NGO with operational base in Malta, MOAS is equipped with the a 40-metre vessel – M.Y. Phoenix -, two Schiebel Campcopter S-100 systems, two rescue RHIBs, and a 20-strong professional crew of seafarers, rescuers, doctors and paramedics. MOAS set sail on May 2nd 2015, after saving some 3,000 lives in 60 days last year. This year MOAS has partnered with Medecins Sans Frontieres which take care is responsible for the post-rescue care on board.
MOAS will be operating in the Mediterranean at least till the end of October. Its presence at sea beyond that will depend also on the donations that the Foundation will receive in the coming months.
@MSF_Sea [28/8/15]: With 415 people from 20 different nationalities on board, #Phoenix's decks look like a very crowded refugee camp
@ItalianNavy [28/8/15]: #SAR trasbordati su nave Aviere #migranti soccorsi ieri da nave Mimbelli #MarinaMilitare arriveranno domani a Taranto
Where is Neo when we need him? Paul Craig Roberts [ICH – 27/8/15]:
... Look, for example, at the hordes of refugees from America’s invasions and bombings of seven countries who are currently overrunning Europe.
The huge inflows of peoples from America’s massive slaughter of populations in seven countries, enabled by the Europeans themselves, is causing political consternation in Europe and the revival of far-right political parties. Today, for example, neo-nazis shouted down German Chancellor Merkel, who tried to make a speech asking for compassion for refugees.
But, of course, Merkel herself is responsible for the refugee problem that is destabilizing Europe. Without Germany as Washington’s two-bit punk puppet state, a non-entity devoid of sovereignty, a non-country, a mere vassal, an outpost of the Empire, ruled from Washington, America could not be conducting the illegal wars that are producing the hordes of refugees that are over-taxing Europe’s ability to accept refugees and encouraging neo-nazi parties.
The corrupt European and American press present the refugee problem as if it has nothing whatsoever to do with America’s war crimes against seven countries.
I mean, really, why should peoples flee countries when America is bringing them “freedom and democracy?”
White House Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest [26/8/15]:
… Q Josh, as you know, there’s an immigration refugee crisis in southern and central Europe as individuals and families escape from Afghanistan and Syria and make their way up through the Balkans. And now they’re in Serbia, and Hungary is actually building a wall to keep them away. They’re trying to seek asylum, especially in Germany and Austria, where they can be treated like refugees and get some sort of recognition. Has the President been in touch with members of the EU who are bearing this burden and also frightened that some of these individuals will, in fact, be predisposed to terrorism?
MR. EARNEST: Well, JC, I'm not aware of any recent conversations on this particular topic. But there’s been a lot of public accounting of the significant challenges that the EU has had to face when it comes to immigration policy. Earlier this summer, there were some high-profile incidents in the Mediterranean Sea where there were immigrants bound for the EU that lost their life in that body of water. And there were questions that were raised about what the EU policy response would be.
So I know this is an issue that has gotten a lot of attention there, but I'm not aware of any recent conversations with the President and the EU leaders to discuss it.
The United Nations has declared August 30 as the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, to remember victims of enforced disappearance and the agony of their families.
The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), and FIDH join the families of disappeared victims in Bangladesh and around the world to mark this day.
Our organisations call for the return of all disappeared persons to their families, and demand that the government of Bangladesh fully investigate and seek justice for these crimes. ... [FIDH Media Release - 29/8/15]
Bangladesh arrests two more suspects over killing of blogger [Reuters - 28/8/15]
As Australia makes it impossible for refugees to reach the South East, it is only logical that we are pushing them back to the North West (not to mention the Andaman Sea/Malacca Straits)
... While most of the victims of Thursday's capsizes are thought to be from Syria and African countries, a Bangladeshi diplomat told the BBC that at least five Bangladeshi nationals, including a six-month-old baby, were among the dead. ...
Refugee exodus: UN warns of 'crisis of solidarity' [BBC – 29/8/15]
Why are refugees coming to Europe? [BBC - 12/8/15]
UNHCR urges region to establish search and rescue effort before next expected wave of refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.
South East Asia
UNHCR Media Release [28/8/15]:
UNHCR is calling for urgent action before the end of the monsoon season unleashes a new wave of people leaving on boats from the Bay of Bengal.
A new UNHCR report estimates that in the first six months of this year, some 31,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis departed from the Bay of Bengal on smugglers' boats.
This marks a 34-percent increase over the same period last year, and brings to 94,000 the estimated number of people who have risked their lives making the dangerous journey since 2014. Over 1,100 people are estimated to have died in these waters since 2014, including 370 in 2015.
The UNHCR report traces the events of May 2015 – when such maritime movements and government responses were thrust into the spotlight following the discovery of mass graves of people who died from abuse or deprivation in smugglers' camps along the Thailand-Malaysia border. Last weekend's discovery of 24 more bodies in north-western Malaysia is a reminder about the ruthlessness of the smugglers.
In a feature story accompanying the new report, survivors interviewed by UNHCR detail their long and difficult journeys and claim to have often been towed or guided by authorities from one territorial water to another.
At least 5,000 people were abandoned by smugglers at sea in May and eventually disembarked in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.
Another 1,000 people remain unaccounted for but may have disembarked without the knowledge of the authorities. At least 70 people are estimated to have died on the boats that were abandoned in May.
The boat movements have temporarily stopped due to the monsoon rains, which have caused severe flooding in many areas across Myanmar. However, the maritime departures are expected to resume once the weather improves in the coming weeks.
UNHCR is urging governments to avert another crisis at sea by acting now on proposals made to affected States in the context of the Bangkok Special Meeting in May.
Of those disembarked in May, most of the Bangladeshi nationals have been assisted home with the support of their government.
The Rohingya, who cannot return to Myanmar at the moment, remain in the countries in which they were disembarked. UNHCR continues to advocate that the protection needs of this population are met and that they are given access to basic services while the root causes of their displacement are addressed.
UNHCR's appeal for $13 million to respond and seek solutions to the recent maritime crisis is only 20 per cent funded, with contributions from the governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea and Norway, as well as a private contribution from the United Arab Emirates. More funds are needed in the coming months to enhance protection interventions for the Rohingya population in host countries, and to meet the humanitarian, human rights and development needs in source countries.
With the next "sailing season" expected to start in the coming weeks, UNHCR is working with agencies and other partners on an information campaign warning potential travellers of the risks of getting on smugglers' boats.
At the regional level, more must be done to put systems in place to respond to the need for rescue at sea and for safe and predictable disembarkation.
UNHCR looks forward to the establishment of a task force recommended at the Bangkok Special Meeting and reiterated at the Emergency ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime in July.
UNHCR is also participating in global discussions on migration and human mobility next month, including mixed movements involving migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees.
... For individuals found to be in need of international protection, short and longer term solutions are required. In the short term, access to work in the host State is an important possibility.
An open-minded examination of possibilities for stay needs to be undertaken.
As set out in more detail below, there are significant labour market needs in some countries of the region and labour surpluses in other countries in the region. These correspond to the destination and source countries of the maritime movement.
Irregular and dangerous travel is not an acceptable mechanism for supply to meet demand. Documentation, regularization of status, permission to work enabling the worker and dependent family members to access medical, health and other services, by contrast, could be.
With will and creativity, the “lose-lose” of push-backs and recriminations between States could be transformed into a “win-win” for those States and the people who have, in the absence of alternatives, arrived irregularly.
This home-grown regional solution could be supplemented by limited third country resettlement for individuals with specific needs. ...
Thousands of Myanmar and Bangladeshi refugees - including women and children - imprisoned in West Bengal for "trespassing", more detention centres and forced returns proposed [Economic Times - 28/8/15]
Myanmar lawmakers on Friday held their last meetings at parliament as the body was suspended ahead of crucial general elections set to redraw the former junta-ruled nation's political landscape.
The combined houses of parliament will reconvene only after the November 8 vote, the first nationwide poll in a quarter of a century to be contested by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's hugely popular National League for Democracy (NLD). ... [Channel News Asia - 28/8/15]
… Based on the current data, a large proportion—perhaps even a majority—of the individuals voyaging across the Bay of Bengal are refugees and, with many lacking any citizenship, are also stateless.
These individuals are entitled to international protection, including access to asylum.
In the absence of domestic refugee status
determination systems, the most effective and efficient response may be the
mobile protection teams referred to above. …
Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea: Proposals for Action, May 2015
... With partner countries Australia is working to strengthen criminal justice systems to counter human trafficking through the $50 million Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons. ... [Foreign Minister of Australia Media Release - 29/5/15]
... "They are not, in Indonesia's words, asylum seekers, they are not refugees, they are illegal labourers," she [Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop] said. ... [SBS - 23/5/15]
See the "illegal labourers"? ------> Myanmar navy personnel gloat over a captured boat of Rohingya refugees [Al Jazeera - 22/5/15]
ALP and LNP vote against Greens Senate motion to save Rohingya [Senate Hansard - 24/6/15]:
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (15:39): I move:
That the Senate—
(a) expresses concern at the disturbing reports aired on the Four Corners television program on 22 June 2015;
(i) that only 412 Rohingyans have been resettled in Australia through Australia's humanitarian program since 2008, and
(ii) the Government's recent refusal to provide assistance or resettlement for Rohingyans currently in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and stranded at sea off these three countries; and
(c) urges the Government to:
(i) contribute to the search and rescue mission for thousands of migrants, including Rohingyans, currently stranded at sea,
(ii) resettle some of the Rohingyan migrants rescued by Indonesia and Malaysia, and
(iii) resettle an increased number of Rohingyans in the 2015 humanitarian program, increasing the number of the program if necessary.
The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion be agreed to.
The Senate divided [15:39]
(The President—Senator Parry)
Ayes ...................... 13
Noes ...................... 33
Majority ................. 20
Di Natale, R
Siewert, R (teller)
McEwen, A (teller)
Greens' peculiar campaigning effort backfires [Canberra Times - 27/8/15]:
... Greens members went on the warpath after receiving an email from deputy leader Larissa Waters, headed "hands off our enviro laws". It listed key points to raise with crossbenchers considering backing the government's bid to block legal avenues for environment groups to impede mining developments through the courts.
Senator Waters included direct phone numbers and urged supporters to warn the government's plan "sets a dangerous precedent … [to] start responding to judicial decisions they don't like by changing the law".
She asked members to "make sure you are always polite" but what angered Senator Madigan the most was the inclusion of an email link for members to report back directly to Mr Di Natale with details of the names of crossbench staffers and any intelligence they had gathered on which way a senator might vote on the government's proposed changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
"I am writing to Senator Di Natalie to request that he share with me the information about my office and my staff he has covertly collected," Senator Madigan said.
"And I am investigating whether this is a breach of parliamentary privilege. The actions by Greens senators severely disrupted the work of crossbench senators and their offices last week. In the past, telephone harassment of a senator has constituted contempt of the Senate."
Blah Blah Blah bipartisan committee on a republic?
There is only bipartisan fascism in Australia.
We are exceptionalist and isolationist. And we are in the belly of the beast.
A video posted to Facebook on Tuesday showed Germans welcoming Syrian refugees to their country by cheering, waving, and offering flowers.
The 30-second clip is shot by a Syrian on a coach arriving in an undisclosed town.
[Middle East Eye - 28/8/15]
Four Wilson Security guards used a “cable tie” to handcuff an eight-year-old asylum seeker boy on Nauru as “a joke”, an apparent contradiction of Wilson’s bosses who told the Senate the use of restraints is a “very rare” response used only after a situation has escalated.
A Wilson Security incident report from December 2013, seen by Guardian Australia, states that the boy, then aged eight, was in the recreation tent area of the family camp on Nauru.
The report states: “4 Wilson CSOs [Client Services Officers] tied [the boy’s] hands together using a black cable tie.”
“STC [Save the Children] worker noticed and walked over to the group. Worker was informed ‘It’s just a joke, maybe now he’ll stop fighting’. All 4 CSOs were smiling. [The boy] did not appear to be immediately distressed.”
The Save the Children worker asked that the child be freed. The ties binding his hands were cut with a “pocket knife type tool” and he was allowed to leave.
The boy who was tied up had been identified as a “vulnerable minor” by Save the Children.
He has a history of serious trauma in his home country and significant developmental issues that manifest as behavioural problems at school. He was often in fights with other children.
The boy was also later the victim of a reported sexual assault while in detention on Nauru.
The incident is at odds with evidence given by top Wilson employees.
Nauru's systemic dysfunction [The Saturday Paper - 29/8/15]
... “I get call after call from people dreadfully upset about Wilson Parking,” Mr Burns said.
“It varies from tears to frustration to absolute anger because Wilson offers no interaction with people making complaints.” ... [West Australian - 28/8/15]
Transfield recruits migrant labour despite large-scale redundancies in Victoria [The Age - 27/8/15]
Education Minister Joy Burch has put pressure on the head of the education department, criticising delays in an investigation into a Canberra school's decision to erect a cage to hold a student with autism.
Facing the growing criticism over the delayed report by an independent delegate, Ms Burch said she had expressed "strong concerns" to Education Director-General Diane Joseph about the investigation's timeliness and impact on the family of the child and wider school community. ... [Canberra Times - 27/8/15]
Sheriff defends deputy who handcuffed students [Cincinnati.com - 5/8/15]
A Sydney mother has lodged an official complaint with police claiming an officer physically assaulted her during a traffic stop in Northmead. [VIDEO - Yahoo - 28/8/15]
Man charged after crashing into barbed wire during police pursuit, South Adelaide [West Australian - 28/8/15]
Man charged with robbery, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle following series of crashes in Salisbury (possible police pursuit) [QPS Media – 27/8/15]
Former Queensland Police Service officer seeks $500,000 in damages after misconduct in public office charge dropped [ABC - 28/8/15]
A Senior Sergeant from the Southern Region has been suspended from official duty with the Queensland Police Service.
The officer, a 51 year-old man, is the subject of an investigation relating to alleged fraud, disobeying directions, providing false and misleading information and failing to comply with policy whilst in the performance of his duty. ... [QPS Media - 28/8/15]
Eight charged under arbitrary VLAD anti rights laws - along with other offenses [QPS Media - 27/8/15]:
... “Make no mistake this group of men were vicious crime gang, who wanted to use the power and networks of OMCGs to extend their criminality. They are now totally dismantled.” ...
Suspected criminals with links to terrorism or violent extremism, including returned foreign fighters, will be automatically refused bail in NSW under new laws promised by Premier Mike Baird.
The move to tighten bail laws and tough new gun restrictions is a direct response to the Sydney siege and the deaths of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, Mr Baird said. ... [Nine MSN - 28/8/15]
... Jurrah grew up in the community of Yuendumu, north-west of Alice Springs, and became the first initiated Aboriginal man to play in the AFL, before a long-running family dispute drew him back to Central Australia. ... Ex-AFL Melbourne Demons star Liam Jurrah denied bail, expected to plead guilty to assault and domestic violence charges [ABC - 28/8/15]
John Torney charged with murder of 2yo girl Nikki Francis-Coslovich in Mildura [ABC - 28/8/15]
Kendall accused fronts court, town mourns [Yahoo – 28/8/15]
Waroona child sex victim Tristan Look speaks out: 'Where's the justice?' [WA Today - 28/8/15]:
... "I have been scrutinised and interrogated every single step of the way," he said.
"At every point, my story is questioned, gets broken down, gets dismissed and put under a magnifying glass - why can't I provide dates and times? Why didn't I stop it sooner? Why am I making trouble now?"
"I didn't know as a seven-year-old getting molested by a family member that I was meant to be keeping a diary.
"I didn't know I was meant to be documenting it all... I was too busy being petrified." ...
Queensland's government insists it is able to act upon the hundreds of reports of suspected child abuse that flood in every day.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman has told a budget estimates hearing her department receives about 300 reports daily.
But she insists her department is able to respond and ensure children are safe. ... [Brisbane Times - 27/8/15]
Police search for missing teenagers [Yahoo - 28/8/15]:
Police are searching for two teenagers in Queensland's southeast, including a girl last seen a week ago.
Malorie Hausner, 16, was last seen about noon on Friday last week, at a youth shelter at Woolloongabba in inner-city Brisbane.
The girl had been living at the shelter and police believe she may be a 17-year-old male friend.
She's described as being Caucasian in appearance, about 163cm tall, with a slim build and has short, dark brown hair and blue eyes.
In an unrelated incident, police are also trying to locate a 14-year-old boy reported missing since Thursday afternoon from his home at Robina on the Gold Coast.
He's described as being of Asian appearance, about 175cm tall, with a slim build and has black hair. He was last seen wearing a white and black t-shirt, blue shorts and black Adidas shoes.
... The doctor-patient tryst took a further twist when Spring sent text messages to a third client, apparently seeking the services of someone "who might be able to bring harm upon another".
The judge concluded Spring was willing to expose a vulnerable patient for the sake of his own sense of safety.
He cited a report prepared by a doctor on behalf of the Psychology Board of Australia that found Spring struggled with "what are colloquially referred to as boundary issues". ... [Yahoo - 28/8/15]
Defying the Border Force Act: Speaking out against detention cruelty [Hosted by Refugee Action Collective (Victoria)]:
Tuesday, September 1 at 6:30pm
Melbourne's Multicultural Hub
506 Elizabeth St,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3000
Christine Cummins - Eye-witness report from recently returned psychiatric nurse and torture and trauma Counsellor for asylum seekers on Christmas Island. Christine has returned after five years on the island, she is member of ANF and has initiated a petition with the support of the AEU and ANF to repeal the border force legislation.
Christine Craik - National Vice President of The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
Nathan Kennedy - President of Australia Lawyers for Human Rights
The Coalition’s oppressive Border Force Act was passed with ALP support. It threatens doctors, teachers, and other workers with two years jail if they speak out about what they witness in detention.
It threatens silence because there is something to hide.
On Manus Island Reza Barati was murdered and seventy others sustained serious injuries in attacks by those responsible for their safety.
Extreme medical negligence killed Hamid Khazaei, who died as a result of a cut foot.
On Nauru there have been ongoing sexual assaults against asylum seekers.
In the week of the anniversary of the death of Hamid Khazaei come and discuss how we can fight both the legislation, and the cruelty of offshore processing and mandatory detention.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister for Education and Training Christopher Pyne today released details of the 461 mobility projects that will be funded in 2016 under the New Colombo Plan.
The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific by supporting Australian undergraduate students to study and undertake internships in our region.
Speaking at the University of Western Australia, Minister Bishop announced that 38 universities and 11 university consortia would receive funding from the Australian Government to send more than 5450 students to 28 locations throughout the Indo-Pacific in 2016. ... [Media Release - 28/8/15]
Security keeps protesters at bay as the Education Minister appears to stick his tongue out and calmly walks over a fallen student, Victoria University [The Age – 28/8/15]:
... The spokeswoman said calls were made to both the minister's office and the university administration, and a decision was made to exclude the media.
A spokesman from the minister's office later told Fairfax Media the decision to ban media "was entirely a decision of the university".
NUS protesters had earlier planned to covertly enter the university's facilities to protest during the speech. Several entered the building using unsecured exits, but they were quickly picked off by security staff within the building.
The university quickly locked down all of the building's entrances - stranding a couple of students who had left their class for a cigarette break outside. "The class still has an hour and a half to run," one locked-out student told Fairfax Media.
After a 15-minute welcome speech, the minister quickly exited via a secure underground car park - avoiding protesters, and without telling confused university staff.
It is understood university staff were not expecting protesters.
"I wanted to ask the minister why he wants to lock poor students out of education, but he locked us out of his talk," Jesse, an arts student who asked that his last name not be used, told Fairfax Media.
He videoed his encounter with the minister's staff. In the vision, the minister can be seen poking his tonge out at the young protester, before the student is shoved to the ground by a security staffer.
Police chief in PNG backs officers firing on student protestors
The police chief in Eastern Highlands in Papua New Guinea has defended his officers firing at students during a protest in Goroka.
The Goroka University students have reportedly been demanding the resignation of the vice chancellor by staging sit-ins on the campus for nearly three weeks but on Thursday took to the streets of the town.
Several people were hurt but the provincial police commander, Superintendent John Kale, says none of them were hit by gunfire as has been reported.
But he says officers had no choice but to use their guns to disperse a protest that he had already told the organisers was illegal.
"You only have a handful of policemen and just imagine the number of students walking on the street. You cannot stop them with your word of mouth or a baton. And the general public in Goroka were also taking sides. They joined the students and they started throwing stones and other missiles at the policemen."
John Kale puts the number of protesting students at about 1,000.
The Post Courier has reported two students were hospitalised after being shot in the protests.
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