Archive for February, 2014

Australia has asked North Korea, one of Asia’s poorest countries, to take in asylum seekers detained while trying to reach the Australian coast.

On Saturday Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, asked regime head, Kim Wrong-un, if North Korea could house some migrants.

“The Australian minister has requested that North Korea takes in some refugees,” bouffanted Wrong-un told a news briefing with Bishop in Pyongyang.

“In the past, North Koreans have fled their country to other countries but now it’s time that North Korea takes in refugees from other countries,” he said adding he

would “take serious consideration” of the request.

The comments were also carried by the official KCNA news agency.



Syria The Door To Perception?

The terrible war in Syria provides a new window giving us a view out of the illusion that we still have a functioning Western democracy.

Following the Snowden revelations which showed us that our Governments have turned us all into potential enemies of the state while building walls of secrecy between us and reality. The war in Syria stretches the gap between reality and fiction, to the extent that tears in the fabric are exposing the deception visited upon us by our governments and the mass media.

Here in Australia the Abbott Government which was carried to an election victory by the cash of a coal and tobacco alliance and the fervent barracking of the monopolistic Murdoch media has exposed Australians to the worst possible outcomes of global climate change.They have diverted the populations gaze from nationwide droughts and wildfires by a xenophobic vilification and military led oppression of asylum seekers.

The refuge seekers are being locked up in appalling gulags on islands outside Australia to prevent them access to appeal, and to so demoralise the refugees, that they will stop seeking refuge in the country of “a fair go”.

All of this Guantanamo like torture is being done under the strictest secrecy using the military inspired excuse that it is an operational matter. Any questioning of this lunacy is branded un-Australian by the Prime Minister

What is missing in the media stories on Syria, the elephant in the room, is the Russian naval base at Tartus on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. This is the real reason for the conflict.

For some reason the mainstream Western media is loath to reveal the real story behind this terrible conflict. Perhaps they self censor because they do not want to show the US in a bad light, but there can be no end to the war until this cause is acknowledged and  factored into the solution. Russia has too much at stake to back down on its support for Assad while the Americans who pose as the good guys who just wants to help, will push Russia as far as they can despite the casualties.

While some smaller websites like the Interpretor have noted the strategic implications of the naval base and the likely US involvement in the early demonstrations, it is the website RT nails the story in an interview with former Reagan Administration official Dr Paul Craig Roberts who expressed his view that:

“The United States is bold in stirring up the opposition and in arming it. They used the cover of the Arab Spring and Arab protests as they did in Libya,” he said. “These are not spontaneous protests, and certainly in an authoritarian state like Syria you wouldn’t find people in opposition able to readily supply themselves with arms, with military weapons.”

“What’s involved here is that the Russians have a naval base in Syria, and the Americans don’t want a Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean. And, just as in Libya, the problem was the Chinese oil investments. If Syria goes, Iran is in the target sights, and Lebanon,” he concluded.

What we in the West have to understand is that the avaricious nature of our societies has driven a psychotic desire for control of everything and everyone on the planet. The US with our meek compliance, is violently imposing its will on other countries at the same time that it spies on its own people and its allies in order to control and manipulate us all.

It is not the violence of Syrians or the Egyptians or even the Afghanis who test our resolve. The real challenge is for us in the West, and especially the US, is to take back the control of our countries from the backroom manipulation of the US Administration, the CIA, the corporate media and the Fortune 500 who are trashing our democracies for their own sick addiction to wealth and control.

What has happened to the movement towards world peace that began during the Vietnam War but disappeared under a blanket of consumption and competitiveness? I contend that most of us would still like to live in an empathetic world that is signified by awareness, openness and cooperation. Unfortunately we are heading in the opposite direction where ignorance, competition, distrust and conflict hold sway.

Unless we loosen the fierce grip of the establishment and take back our power as citizens we will be destined to live consumptive empty half-lives on a planet heading towards more conflict and eventual extinction. The first step out of this miasma is to wake up from our dream world and get engaged ln our own revolution.

An exclusive report filmed in the Australian asylum processing centre on Nauru, FEB, 2003.

The isolated pacific island of Nauru was used by the Howard Junta to detain and process asylum seekers. Denied access to lawyers or journalists, detainees were interned in a state of limbo for over 16 months. “We can’t take it anymore. It’s been a month since we had food or water,” despairs one detainee. Mothers were reduced to drinking rainwater and feeding their children expired milk. Access to medical services were severely restricted and the overwhelming feeling in the camp was one of despair.

“I want to die. I don’t have any future,” states one inmate.

Produced by SBS/Dateline

Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

“Terrorism, epidemics, poverty, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: all challenges that know no borders…

…The reality is that climate change ranks right up there with every single one of them.”

John Kerry, United States Secretary of State, 17 Feb 2014.


Reports from Manus Island indicate a major protest and breakout has taken place on the island late this afternoon. The most recent reports indicate that the riot squad has been mobilised and that the perimeter fence has been breached.

Protests have been building all day, but escalated after a meeting (around 2pm Manus time) was held to answer asylum seekers’ questions about resettlement.

Shockingly, the asylum seekers were told that they “will not be resettled in PNG” and if they wanted to go somewhere else, they will need to arrange that themselves.

There had been protests throughout the day, but around 4pm Manus Island time, events escalated and the G4S riot squad went into Oscar compound.

A couple of hours later, fences were knocked down and the whole detention centre was locked down as the protests spread to all the compounds. There were reports of a fire being set in one compound and tents have been destroyed.

It seems the perimeter fence of one compound, perhaps Oscar, has now been breached and a major protest is underway.

There are reports of asylum seekers being injured by G4S guards. Some asylum seekers have been taken to the police station.

There have been daily protests on Manus Island involving hundreds of asylum seekers since 25 January as frustrations have increased over delays in processing and uncertainty about their future.

Today’s announcement that there would be no resettlement in PNG confirms earlier reports that resettlement was never a part of the PNG deal and the PNG government has never had plans to resettle refugees.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713 @ Refugee Action Coalition – click here for their site…

What have they done to the earth? 
What have they done to our fair sister? 
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her 
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn 
And tied her with fences and dragged her down 

                                            Jim Morrison

Australia is in flames from coast to coast and judging from online posts someone is to blame. Placing blame for these Australia wide fires on individual shires or a lack of precautionary burns is a futile exercise .

We as a nation and a world have allowed organizations set up by an ignorant greedy lot of billionaires to distract us from the truth. Our collective arse is on fire but most of us have not yet realized it.

Money power and consumption has dazzled us into thinking we are in charge of the earth and its ecosystems even as our houses burn down in front of our eyes or are swept away by raging torrents.

We ignore the spreading deserts and the great rivers reduced to a dirty trickle, the foul air that gives us cancer and focus our eyes on baubles and beads. Indeed we are the age of ignorance, the deniers of science and truth.

Hallelujah to the great great billionaires for they will bring us wealth beyond our dreams. The golden crumbs will trickle from their tables and make us all whole. Blessed are the rich for they are Gods among men.

These giants of industry and commerce who have bought our democracy and direct our governments, listen to our conversations, track our mail, investigate our habits and purchases. They gauge and direct our thoughts to design fantasy worlds that we can buy with our future..

So what is this truth we ignore and the science from which, we avert our gaze?   It is that we have traded our children’s future for potato crisps, polar bears for a bigger car, gorilla’s for palm oil, bees for a quick buck.

We have untangled the web of life and found ourselves on the edge of extinction. But we have averted our eyes to the precipice we walk along because we are distracted by our new gizmo, we do not hear because we are on our mobile phones. Masters of the universe lost in a miasma of self- delusion.

We are to blame, we elected these lying deluding and secretive fools who sell us to the highest bidder.  We have listened to their baying for war while praying for peace. We allowed them to create a world of division and conflict instead of friendship and cooperation. We allowed them to plunder the earth and poison our air. We are the ones to blame and we are the only ones who can repair the damage.


A landmark report, released Feb 2014, sheds new light on some of the worst alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the final months of the Sri Lankan civil war, which ended in May 2009. This report will contribute to an upcoming meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council where states will decide how to ensure accountability on this issue.

The report, Island of impunity? Investigation into international crimes in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war, was produced by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s (PIAC’s) International Crimes Evidence Project (ICEP).

The report brings together some of the world’s leading experts on war crimes investigations and international law. It combines detailed, impartial, legal analysis and expert forensic and military analysis with new information and eye-witness accounts.

‘This is the most comprehensive, evidence-based report investigating allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Sri Lankan conflict,’ said PIACCEO, Edward Santow.

‘The report builds on what we already know about indiscriminate artillery bombardment of civilian areas, the denial of humanitarian assistance to those most affected by the hostilities, and specific incidents of extrajudicial killing, torture, sexual violence and enforced disappearance.’

The report will assist the UN Human Rights Council in considering how to ensure accountability for allegations of atrocities committed in the final stages of the civil war. The report presents an evidentiary platform for an international investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity.

One new eye-witness alleges that, after the conflict, the Sri Lankan Government has systematically exhumed civilian mass graves and destroyed crucial evidence of human remains. This has critical implications for future investigations and highlights the need for urgent action to be taken.

‘The ICEP investigation reveals some of the gravest crimes under international humanitarian law and demands accountability,’ said John Ralston, Chair of ICEP’s Committee of Experts.

‘This can only occur if there is a full independent and impartial international investigation.’

Further information and fact sheets…

 Here @ the interpretOr, we recall the recentish comments of a certain Murdoch stooge + Rajapaksa apologist at CHOGM…

TONY Abbott has defended Sri Lanka’s human rights record, saying the Rajapaksa government was committed to upholding the democratic charter of the Commonwealth but that “sometimes in difficult circumstances difficult things happen”.

( The Australian, 16/11/13)

More from Abbott on his “excellent cooperation” with the Sri Lankan regime…

“If it weren’t for In These Times, I’d be a man without a country.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Hated on the Left, the TPP Draws Conservative Foes
A ragtag right-wing coalition opposes fast-tracking the deal they call ‘Obamatrade.’
By Cole Stangler

Kshama Sawant: The Great Red Hope
The socialist City Council member shares her plans for Seattle.
By Micah Uetricht

The ‘Sharing’ Hype
Do companies like Lyft and Airbnb help democratize the economy?
By Rebecca Burns

A Final Q&A with Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
At one of his last appearances, the singer looked back at an eight-decade career.
By Mike Elk

Is The Racial Apology Possible?
Madonna’s N-word Tweet, Ani DiFranco’s plantation kerfuffle, and the limitations of ‘sorry.’
By Daisy Hernandez

Grad Students Reunionize
NYU students win recognition through grassroots organizing.
By Andrew Mortazavi

What To Expect From New York’s Black Feminist First Lady
Can we embrace Chirlane McCray without smothering her?
By Andrea Plaid

‘It is Roi who is dead’: Remembering Amiri Baraka (1934-2014)
The rousing, polarizing poet had many selves.
By Andrew Epstein

Yelp, for Fair Dining
A new app tells you which restaurants treat their workers well.
By Analeah Rosen

Throwing Satire to the Wolf
Scorsese’s latest is a romp through vicarious amorality.
By Michael Atkinson


Billionaires Attempt To Convince Society That They Are The Good Guys
America’s rich see themselves as victims of Nazi-like persecution.
By David Sirota

The Gap Between Rich and Poor, Accidentally Explained by Bob McDonnell
The scandal shows inequality is not just a slip of some invisible hand of the market.
By Leo Gerard


Obama’s Wage Hike For Federal Contractors Won’t Apply to Disabled Workers
This exclusive report reveals a major hole in the president’s minimum wage pledge.
By Mike Elk


Private Contractor Accused of Skimping on Prisoner Food
Indiana prisoners get a taste of victory as hot weekday lunches are reinstated following a hunger strike.
By George Lavender


February 2014

…behind the violence in South Sudan; theArab Spring is not over; don’t upset the new middle classes of North KoreaChina’s new battle of the Pacific; Japan’s makeover isn’t working; hungry burger workers were not theAmerican dream; why the Romanians are growing their own veg; have the Gameswrecked Sochi’s future? Uruguay fights drugs by unbanning them; a little night music… and more…

The Abbot Point dredging project, recently approved by Australian environment minister, Greg Hunt, will allow India’s Adani Enterprises to build Australia’s biggest coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, and dredge to allow massive coal ships to access their proposed new shipping terminal at Abbot Point…to send their coal overseas.

@ the interpretOr, we’re looking at the Indian Government’s recent report on Adani’s existing Mundra port operations that found incontrovertible evidence of:

destruction of mangroves,

blocking of creeks and…

…non-compliance of other clearance conditions.

The reporting committee, headed by Sunita Narain of Centre for Science and Environment, was set up by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (Government of india), to inspect ship-breaking facility of M/s Adani Port and SEZ Limited near Mundra West Port in Gujarat’s Kutch district. The committee submitted its report on April 18, 2013 and it can be downloaded in pdf by clicking here :::

Subsequently, on July 29, 2013 a public hearing for the project was held where people from four project-affected villages and nearby locations attended the public hearing at Tunda village in Mundra taluka and posed questions about the project and its impact on the environment. But the public hearing ended without the company being able to give comprehensive answers to the queries raised by the project-affected people, report Down To Earth (DTE)the Indian science and environment fortnightly:

Using remote sensing technology, the committee has found that that over the last decade, 75 hectares of mangroves have been destroyed in Bocha Island, a conservation zone. Satellite imagery indicates deterioration and loss of creeks near the proposed North Port due to construction activities. The company has also neglected to inventory its utilisation and disposal of fly ash, and has not ensured that storage tanks, seawater inlets, and discharge outlets are lined to prevent increase in salinity and contamination of water. The report also states that the Adani group has been less than serious about reporting on compliance with the conditions set at the time of clearance. In many cases, non-compliance with reporting conditions has been observed.

The committee also noted that there have been instances to circumvent statutory procedures by using different agencies, at the Centre and state, for obtaining clearances for the same project. The public hearing procedure, which is a critical part of project clearance and helps to understand and mitigate the concerns of local people, has also been bypassed on one pretext or another. The fisher community, which depends on the coasts for their livelihood, is the worst hit by the changes brought on by land acquisition and construction for the project. 


(Adani project in Mundra has violated environmental norms: MoEF committee report)

We recently reported that “the revelations by Edward Snowden that the Australian Government is spying on the Indonesian Government, was a hammer blow for the Abbott Government and for the mass surveillance program carried out by the USA”. What has now become evident is that the damage goes further.

Most importantly Abbott through his arrogant and aggressive response combined with his simplistic and militaristic “turn back the boats” mania ,  has stupidly all but destroyed our most important regional defence alliance.

Ironically it was the Labor Government who had entered into this spying venture with the USA but it is the incompetent Abbott who will pay the price. That Abbott did not have the sense to apologise to the Indonesian President has meant that in the long term the Coalitions main platform, “Stopping the Boats” is in shreds because Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa aka, Filipino porn star responded to Abbott  by saying all cooperation with Australia is off including on the issue of returning refugee boats to Indonesia.

This followed the arrogant and diplomatically stupid statement from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that (in regard to turning refugee boats back to Indonesia) “Were not asking Indonesia for permission, were asking for their understanding”

Indonesia must now understands that despite the Abbott Government parroting that Indonesia is our most important neighbour, it is well down the list of our real friends like the Americans.

They will also notice that Abbott is fixated with two issues that are at odds with Indonesia’s best interest. They are preventing refugees passing through the region to Australia, and Abbott’s climate change denial, which will result in rising sea levels and more typhoons and sea surges that will be devastating, particularly for Indonesia’s smaller islands.

Indonesia at some risk has pursued a regional strategy that stands out from most of its neighbours. It has allied itself militarily with the West. Indonesia must be now re-assessing its alliance with Australia and the USA as a counter to the growing influence of China in the region.                                                                    

Indonesia and other regional states might well consider that Australia is not a credible or trusted ally and hitch itself militarily to the regions other superpower, China.

This would be a disaster for Australia and bad news for the USA, who would have to massively increase its troop numbers in South East Asia.

Abbott may gloat about preventing asylum seekers getting refuge in Australia for a month or two, but the cost of his foreign policy like his climate policy, could be catastrophic.

Association of Marine Park Tour Operators president Colin McKenzie, the peak industry lobby group covering tourism in the World Heritage-listed reef region, accused the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority of pandering to politicians.

“Leadership of the Authority needs to be replaced. If they won’t do their job of preserving the environment out there then they should have people there that will,” he told Fairfax radio.

“These guys are just pandering to the politicians. The GBRMPA should do what it is actually being paid to do — which is provide for the protection and conservation of the reef.”

more @ 

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