Australian torture of refugees in Nauru

This video says about itself:

10 September 2016

In 2013, Australia’s government announced a tough new policy towards refugees travelling by boat to its shores. The campaign that went with it was called, “No way. You will not make Australia home“.

Its goal was to discourage asylum seekers from entering the country “illegally” – as the government saw it.

Most were coming from countries such as Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

Many refugees – having fled their homes – considered themselves stateless.

Their journeys were arduous and complex. Those from Iran, for instance, would travel first to Malaysia, where they could enter without a visa. Then they’d make their way to southernmost Indonesia, and from there they took boats towards Australia’s closest islands.

The trips typically involved people smugglers and dangerous – sometimes deadly – journeys on boats that were often overloaded and unseaworthy.

Of the boats intercepted at sea by the Australian Border Force, many were forcibly turned back to where they’d come from. But passengers on some – and all those who did make it into Australian waters – were taken into custody, then deported, flown to neighbouring countries.

There, in Nauru and on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, they are still held in what Australia’s government calls “regional processing centres”.

Nauru is a tiny 29 square kilometre island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

That small independent country – a member of the United Nations – has played a central role in the history of Australia’s refugee policies.

Nauru’s “detention centre” first opened in 2001, under a policy brought in by Australia’s conservative Liberal Party – the so-called “Pacific Solution”.

But this all changed when Kevin Rudd, from the centre-left Labour party, came to power in 2007. Rudd closed Nauru’s centre and most of the refugees were relocated to Australia.

But then as the number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat started going back up, the Labour Party’s government was forced to reconsider. The centre reopened in 2012.

Today, the island’s detention centre is home to almost 500 people, including about 50 children.

Many of them have been there for more than three years.

But what’s going on inside? Both the Nauruan and Papua New Guinean detention centres are run under a veil of secrecy, off-limits to the media and to NGOs like Amnesty International.

People working there are not allowed to talk about what they have seen. Why?

Talk to Al Jazeera sits down with former employees who have decided to break their silence to tell us about the situation inside Australia’s offshore detention centres.

Are they, as the government says, having the desired effect, by discouraging people from making dangerous journeys? But are they also, as the people we spoke to say, dehumanising and dangerous?

We spoke to Evan Davis, a teacher who used to work with children living in the Australian-run camp in Nauru. Despite secrecy provisions limiting the ability of staff to talk, he decided to share his experience.

“It struck me straight away that the place was more like a military camp, a prison, more than anything else, that was efficiently run,” he says. The children were referred to by personnel as numbers, not names, and Davis said the teachers endeavoured to make a point of learning the children’s names.

Judith Reem used to teach secondary school children on Nauru. She, herself, comes from a family of Bosnian refugees to Australia, which is one of the reasons she decided to speak out publicly. The tents where people lived, she says, were not designed for habitation, and cultural considerations, such as spaces for people to pray, were not taken into account.

Judith Reem feels particularly bad about having prepared the children for a life in Australia which was never going to happen.

“I feel, that in retrospect, I was a part of the lie, because I was teaching them conversational English for life in Australia and that just hasn’t happened,” she says. The conditions were worse than in a prison, Reem says.

“Some of the children in the camp can’t remember life before the camp because they were so little when they arrived,” she says.

“The cloak of secrecy around it [the camps] is what allows us this plausible deniability, which is hopefully a luxury I can take away.”

Jennifer Rose, a former elementary school teacher in Nauru, believes Australia needs to take a different approach when it comes to dealing with asylum seekers.

“How could you not be affected by seeing children retraumatised by a system that Australia has set up?” Rose asks.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Asylum-seekers ‘tortured’ on Australia‘s ‘Island of Despair’

Monday 17th October 2016

AMNESTY International releases a hard-hitting report today on Australia’s detention of asylum-seekers on the island of Nauru, where it says conditions “amount to torture.”

The 64-page Island of Despair report accuses the Canberra government of subjecting refugees and asylum-seekers to a cruel regime of abuse, flouting international law, in conditions which amount to torture.

It highlights cases of asylum-seekers self-harming or trying to take their own lives.

The Nauruan authorities have even arrested asylum-seekers and refugees for self-harm, the report records, leading to their imprisonment in a “prison within a prison.”

Amnesty senior director of research Anna Neistat, who managed to visit the remote island to investigate rights abuses, said: “On Nauru, the Australian government runs an open-air prison designed to inflict as much suffering as necessary to stop some of the world’s most vulnerable people from trying to find safety in Australia.

“The government of Australia has isolated vulnerable women, men and children in a remote place which they cannot leave, with the specific intention that these people should suffer.

“And suffer they have. It has been devastating and, in some cases, irreparable.

“It’s a vicious trap. People in anguish attempt to end their own lives to escape it but then find themselves behind bars, hurled into a prison within a prison.

“The Australian government’s policy is the exact opposite of what countries should be pursuing. It is a model that minimises protection and maximises harm.”

Australia has spent billions of pounds to create and maintain its inherently abusive offshore processing system.

According to the Australian National Audit Office, offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea has cost more than £350,000 annually per person.

Much of this money has been spent on companies contracted to work on Nauru, many of which have said that they will cease operations on the island.

Individual staff from some companies have become whistleblowers, even under the threat of criminal prosecution for exposing the desperate situation on Nauru.

Allowing people’s mental health to deteriorate without adequate treatment appears to be a deliberate part of the Australian government’s deterrence policy, Amnesty researchers found.

United States-Danish-Australian killing of Syrian soldiers

This video says about itself:

U.S. airstrike on Syrian army position kill 62 soldiers, paving way for Daesh [ISIS] attack

17 September 2016

UPDATE by SANA reporters from the battlefield: Army and Armed Forces units recover control over areas that it had lost control over earlier due to American aircraft attack on positions in the surroundings of Deir Ezzor Airport.

The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said that US alliance aircrafts targeted at 5 PM on Saturday a Syrian Arab Army position in al-Tharda Mountain in the surroundings of Deir Ezzor Airport, causing losses in lives and equipment and clearly paved the way for ISIS terrorists to attack the position and take control of it.

In a statement, the General Command said that this act is a serious and blatant aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic and its army, and constitutes conclusive evidence that the United States and its allies support ISIS and other terrorist organizations, stressing that this act reveals the falseness of their claims of fighting terrorism.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Danes and Australians involved in mistaken Syria airstrike

Today, 09:22

The air raid on Syrian government forces that has been designated by the US as a mistake was carried out by at least Danish and Australian warplanes. This say the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and Australian Prime Minister Turnbull.

Aircraft of the international coalition that is fighting against Islamic State [ISIS] probably mistook the Syrian military for ISIS warriors. In the attack on Saturday dozens of Syrian soldiers were killed.


According to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, two Danish F-16s were involved in the attack. The Danish Defence Minister is willing to coöperate in the investigation into the air strike, the newspaper writes.

The newspaper says also other countries were involved in the attack, but does not say which countries.


Australian Prime Minister Turnbull said during a visit to New York that Australian aircraft took part in the attack. He regretted that Syrian soldiers were killed in the attack and that the Australian attack stopped immediately when the Russians told them what was going on.

The Australian defense minister refused to say to the Australian news channel ABC whether Australian aircraft were involved in the attack. …

It looks like this war ‘defense’ minister is less honest than her prime minister.


According to Russia, the US has with this attack threatened the cease-fire in Syria. The Russian Foreign Minister said that the US attacks “balance on the border of criminal negligence and direct complicity with the ISIS terrorists”.

The Russians call upon the US to do a comprehensive investigation into the attack.

Female superb lyrebirds, new discoveries

This video from Australia says about itself:

Superb Lyrebird, Courtship Song and Dance

12 November 2015

[Male] Superb Lyrebird singing and dancing with mate, just amazing creature.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology eNews from the USA, September 2016:

Discovery: Female Superb Lyrebirds Are Great Mimics

At long last the female Superb Lyrebird is emerging from the considerable shadow cast by her male counterpart. Though he is justly recognized for his terrific ability to mimic other bird species and ambient sounds, a two-year study by Cornell Lab researcher Anastasia Dalziell and colleagues finds the female is also a skilled mimic—you just have to know when to listen.

Read about the discovery.

Female satin bowerbird visits bower

This video from Australia says about itself:

13 July 2016

Male Satin Bowerbirds attract mates by building a bower, a structure made of twigs and decorated with objects from around the forest. The bower is not a nest; its sole purpose is to allow a male to show off his building skills. A well constructed bower is so crucial to gaining mates that male bowerbirds sometimes resort to stealing building materials from neighboring males. Here, a female Satin Bowerbird stands in the center of the bower and watches a male displaying.

Danish MPs banned from Australian refugee prison camp

This video says about itself:

Violence and sexual abuse revealed in Nauru files

9 August 2016

The Guardian has released 2000 incident reports from Australia’s Nauru detention camp which highlight suicide attempts, assaults and sexual abuse. Guardian reporter Paul Farrell joins Checkpoint.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Danes halt Pacific trip after MP snub

Wednesday 31st August 2016

DENMARK: A delegation of Danish MPs cancelled a visit to Australia’s refugee detention camp on the Pacific island of Nauru yesterday after two leftwingers were denied entry.

Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen of the Red-Green Alliance and Jacob Mark of the Socialist People’s Party had both criticised Canberra’s draconian refugee policy.

The delegation, including anti-immigration Danish People’s Party MPs, cancelled the trip over the snub.

Only 1,868 refugees from war-ravished Syria and Iraq have been brought to Australia since the Liberal-National government promised, nearly a year ago, to settle 12,000 people. With 4.8 million Syrian refugees now living in camps across Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, this is a contemptible response. For all the government’s claims to be fighting in Iraq and Syria for humanitarian motives—to protect the people of the Middle East from the atrocities of ISIS—its reaction to the fate of those displaced by the war underscores its true attitude toward the millions of victims of the predatory US-led war in Iraq and Syria: here.

Mating butterflies, moth, caterpillar in Austria

This 15 August video shows two mating Essex skipper butterflies near the Klockelefall waterfall near Stillebach in Austria.

This 6 August video shows the Klockelefall waterfall near Stillebach in Austria.

This 14 August video shows a white ermine moth in Austria.

This 13 August video shows a caterpillar of a sweet gale moth in Austria.