Thursday 24th of July 2014

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-07-24 12:00

Australia's human rights commission president, Gillian Triggs, has called for the government to move all asylum seeker children and families in immigration detention on Christmas Island to the Australian mainland, following a recent inspection visit, which revealed the ongoing “despair and helplessness” among the detainee population who continue to experience a spike in levels of self-harm and depression.

The commission visit, which formed part of the ongoing inquiry into children in immigration detention, took place on 14 July, when the delegation verified that 10 women were placed on 24-hour watch for self-harm and suicide and a total of 13 considered high risk. Guardian Australia was told by Christmas Island sources on Wednesday that there are currently six women on constant watch – meaning a guard sits outside their room with the door open at all times – and four men at the Northwest Point centre that had self-harmed.

Earlier in the month prime minister Tony Abbott said that asylum seekers who self-harmed were attempting to hold the government over a “moral barrel”, following reports that at least one woman had attempted suicide on Christmas Island and a number of mothers had been placed on 24-hour watch. The government argued these reports were exaggerated.

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-07-24 11:35


Over the past seven years Swedish academic Sverker Johansson has published 2.7 million articles to Wikipedia.

The articles, mainly about animals, insects and geography are written in Swedish and two Filipino languages.

How has he done it?

read articles from top...

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-07-24 09:07


Mr Khodakovsky blamed the Kiev authorities for provoking what may have been the missile strike that destroyed the doomed airliner, saying Kiev had deliberately launched air strikes in the area, knowing the missiles were in place.

"I knew that a Buk came from Luhansk. At the time I was told that a Buk from Luhansk was coming under the flag of the LNR," he said, referring to the Luhansk People's Republic, the main rebel group operating in Luhansk, one of two rebel provinces along with Donetsk - the province where the crash took place.

"That Buk I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence."

"The question is this: Ukraine received timely evidence that the volunteers have this technology, through the fault of Russia. It not only did nothing to protect security, but provoked the use of this type of weapon against a plane that was flying with peaceful civilians," he said.

"They knew that this Buk existed, that the Buk was heading for Snezhnoye," he said, referring to a village 10 kilometres west of the crash site.

"They knew that it would be deployed there, and provoked the use of this Buk by starting an air strike on a target they didn't need, that their planes hadn't touched for a week.

"And that day, they were intensively flying, and exactly at the moment of the shooting, at the moment the civilian plane flew overhead, they launched air strikes. Even if there was a Buk, and even if the Buk was used, Ukraine did everything to ensure that a civilian aircraft was shot down."



Mr Khodakovsky said it was widely known that rebels had obtained Buks from Ukrainian forces in the past, including three captured at a checkpoint in April and another captured near the airport in Donetsk. He said none of the Buks captured from Ukrainian forces were operational.

"I'm not going to say Russia gave these things or didn't give them. Russia could have offered this Buk under some entirely local initiative," he said.

"I want a Buk, and if someone offered me one, I wouldn't turn it down. But I wouldn't use it against something that did not threaten me. I would use it only under circumstances when there was an air attack on my positions, to protect people's lives."

He added: "I am an interested party. I am a 'terrorist', a 'separatist', a volunteer ... in any event, I am required to promote the side I represent, even if I might think otherwise, say otherwise or have an alternative view. This causes real discomfort to my soul."


Slowly one can make something of what is being said. I can believe the rebels are truly sorry for the downing of MH17. The missiles most probably came from the Ukrainian army. There was a heightened aerial activity by the Ukrainian airforce in the area — as also indicated by the radar logs from Russia. It is a tragedy that in a "violent air space" where there was a cat and mouse battle going on, between Ukrainian airforce and ground rebel forces, a missile was launched and hit a passing airliner instead of a Ukrainian plane — possibly "the" SU25 flying very close to MH17. Such missiles are aimed at planes but can switch target automatically should they miss the original target.

What was an airliner doing in such an air space with no room to move is contentious. Why was the airspace open at 33,000 feet but closed at 32,000 is something for Ukraine to deal with, as they would have had to know that the missiles in the hands of the rebels stolen or acquired from their own army, are able to reach 120,000 feet.

A sad sorry episode of another war. And Putin had nothing to do with it, except possibly encourage Russian rebels in East Ukraine to hold to their beliefs that they are right and/or supply them with weapons, like the US does to Israel or the 'rebels in Syria... 




Ukraine has accused rebels of shooting down two fighter jets on Wednesday close to where the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, killing all 298 passengers on board.



A spokesman for Ukraine's military operations told Reuters the planes were hit near Savur Mogila, a burial mound in the Shaktersky region where a memorial marks ambushes by the Soviet army on occupying Nazis during World War Two.

But a separate statement from Ukraine's Security Council on Wednesday said preliminary information suggested the missiles had been fired from Russia. Moscow has not responded to the claim.

"Two of our jets were hit at an altitude of 5,200 metres. According to preliminary information, the missiles were launched from the territory of the Russian Federation," the council said.

The military jets were downed just 35 km (20 miles) from the MH17 crash site in the village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine.




read more:

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 22:00


Britain is exporting millions of pounds worth of arms to Russia despite fears Moscow is arming the separatist rebels in Ukraine suspected of shooting down a Malaysia Airways plane, MPs have said.

A committee report said 251 licences for the sale of controlled goods worth at least £132m remained in force.

The PM has criticised other EU countries' arms deals with Moscow.

David Cameron's spokesman said the UK had not sold arms to Russia's armed forces since March.

He also said the arms export licences still in place were for "non-military legitimate reasons".

The cross-party Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls said only 31 UK licences had been halted or suspended.

Permits covering sniper rifles, night sights, small arms ammunition, gun mountings, body armour, military communications equipment and "equipment employing cryptography" remained in force, it said.

The government said it was keeping all licences under review and the majority of licences that remained in place were for "commercial use". 



Londres critique Paris pour avoir vendu des armes à la Russie… et fait de même

Le avec AFP et Reuters | 23.07.2014 à 07h59 • Mis à jour le 23.07.2014 à 13h27



by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 18:59

Keeping Spies Out

German Ratchets Up Counterintelligence Measures

Officials in Berlin were long in denial that their closest allies were spying on Germany. Now, ministries are undertaking measures to improve security and counterintelligence. They're anticipating frosty relations with the US for some time to come.

Last Wednesday, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière paid a visit to his colleague in the Foreign Ministry, Frank-Walter Steinmeier for a strictly confidential conversation about the currently tense relationship with the United States. Specifically, they planned to address the latest spying revelations and accusations. Before the meeting began, both ministers turned in their mobile phones. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has a small side room he uses for this purpose; part of the Foreign Ministry is in the former Nazi Reichsbank and has very thick walls. The room is now used to store smartphones and tablet computers when sensitive discussions take place.

The precaution reflects the significant disquiet and anxiety in Berlin's ministries and in the Chancellery as the summer holidays get underway. Slowly, ministry officials are starting to grapple with the true meaning of "360 degree" counterintelligence. It means defending yourself not just usual suspects like Russia or China. But also against Germany's closest allies, particularly the United States.

A few days ago, Chancellor Merkel reportedly told US President Barack Obama in a telephone conversation that anger over the US spying activities in Berlin's government quarter as well as the recruitment of an informant inside Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) foreign intelligence service has in no way subsided. Because Obama apparently expressed little understanding for the commotion in Germany, Merkel is now taking action.

The only thing she is lacking is a solid plan.

Thus far, most ministries are going it mostly alone when it comes to addressing the espionage threat. Some are having their internal networks tested for security problems while others have issued new rules of conduct for their employees. Still others have taken no concrete steps aside from increasing general vigilance.

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 18:49

Tony Abbott gave Rupert Murdoch a “full rundown” on his planned paid parental leave scheme before announcing the policy in 2010, in a marked contrast with his decision not to consult the party room, a new book reveals.

The then-opposition leader’s discussions with the News Corp boss are outlined in a book published on Wednesday about the treasurer, Joe Hockey, by the former News Corp columnist Madonna King.

The release of the authorised biography came a day after the Productivity Commission issued a report that suggested some of the $5.5bn earmarked for the paid parental leave policy should be diverted to childcare to make a bigger impact on workforce participation.

The plan to provide six months of paid parental leave at the full replacement wage is opposed by large parts of the Coalition party room and is yet to be legislated.

In the book, King reveals Murdoch was consulted before Abbott announced the policy – including a levy on big business – on International Women’s Day in March 2010.

“Big business rumbled but didn’t erupt at the scheme, but the party room was in uproar,” King writes.

“The hardheads knew that it would open the Coalition up to an accusation of raising taxes even though the extra tax would only apply to big businesses. But, more importantly, neither the party room nor the businesses who would pay had been consulted.

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 16:50

Annabel Crabb gets it wrong again:



Tony Abbott hasn't wasted any time aspiring to get to know Vladimir Putin. Given a barn-door-sized cause for national moral outrage, a clearly identifiable villain and a rare opportunity to be a conduit for protest rather than the butt of it, the Prime Minister has not hesitated.

His language about Russia - right from the jump - was exacting and accusatory, although Putin might have struggled initially to register the Australian PM's insistence that he be "fair dinkum".

The dispatch of Julie Bishop - a woman who has spent her entire parliamentary career remaining cogent after long-haul flights and days on end without sleep - turned out to work perfectly.

Perhaps there is only room for one gym junkie at the G20. Perhaps all those years Abbott the right-wing student activist spent walloping the Trots lent Abbott the Prime Minister a certain fluency of expression. Perhaps it's the relief of certainty, in that rare geopolitical circumstance where the goodies and the baddies are distinguishable so easily from each other.

One year ago, one would not necessarily have expected a toe-to-toe between Vladimir Putin and Tony Abbott. One would not have anticipated these beyond-dreadful circumstances. And one would not, perhaps, have expected Australia's 28th prime minister either to have attempted so much, or to have got it so right.

Annabel Crabb is the ABC's chief online political writer. She tweets at @annabelcrabb. View her full profilehere.






Annabel! How can you get it so wrong? Our turdy Prime Minster just followed the hysteria with some added sympathetic decorum under instructions from Washington to heap as much crap as possible on Russia. But so far we have no proofs whatsoever of what happened. Even the yanks think of MH17 as an "accident"...

Yes, Australia has lost 36 people in the downing of MH17. But that does not mean much more than serious sorrow, grief and some anger. Our sorrow should focus on the lives lost, our anger should be placed at the inhumanity of war and a few other factors. For example the mob that Abbott leads should all be in prison for having lied to war on Iraq in 2003 and be responsible directly and indirectly for more than 500,000 deaths.

It has been known that there is a conflict in Ukraine. The Russian majority in East Ukraine demands freedom from Western Ukraine or at least some autonomy. Whether this is a good sentiment or a bad move is not for us to judge.

There is a war, with soldiers on both sides armed with fierce weaponry. We know that a few Ukrainian planes and helicopter have been shot out of the sky up to 25,000 fee recently. Does this mean that this is the range limit such weapons can go? I guess not... No, some of the weapons in the hands of the rebels, possibly stolen from the Ukrainian army, can go as high as 120,000 feet. That's what these are designed for: to shoot planes down. 

So, this area in Ukraine is a war zone whether we blame Putin or not for it. Should Putin abandon the Russians in East Ukraine which for all count are nearly 80 per cent of the population? Should there be a compromise between Ukraine and the Russian of East Ukraine? Of course, but at the moment even in the Ukrainian parliament there are real fist fights about the situation... 

For a couple of decades, there has been CIA (and MI6) operatives in Ukraine to cultivate that country's move towards the west and the west has recently been tempting (corrupting?) Ukraine with extra cash for dancing the tune. 

Russia does not like it as it goes against the agreement made in good faith by the west and Russia when the Soviet Union bit the dust under Gorbachev. Thus whatever we might think of Putin as a thug, our own primal monster is a more of thuggish thug with policies at home that are neo-fascist to say the least. He and his mob have been shifting the goal posts to make sure the rich are getting more and the poor are getting less. 

This my friend is far more ugly as it is a deliberate action while the shooting of MH17, a commercial airliner that should never been in that air space in the first place, is an "accident" as far as we know... 

Our turd in chief did not get it right.

Peace, my friend... peace.





by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 14:59

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey says his predecessors Peter Costello and Paul Keating produced tougher budgets, and has revealed he would have gone further in May if not held back by colleagues.

A biography of Mr Hockey, written by Fairfax Media columnist and former ABC broadcaster Madonna King, reveals that although there were heavy cuts to health, education, welfare and foreign aid in the May budget, it was much softer than Mr Hockey wanted.

The book, which was written with the Treasurer's cooperation, reveals Prime Minister Tony Abbott was responsible for a more cautious approach.

The book says Mr Hockey wanted the "changes to pensions made earlier, and the deficit levy to net more taxpayers", but the Prime Minister was concerned about the reaction from voters.

The Government is struggling to win support for a number of controversial budget changes, including plans for a co-payment on doctor visits, and moves to increase the fuel tax.

If they are not passed, the Government faces a multi-billion-dollar hole in the budget bottom line.


Yeah, as my friend Josephi Hocketty, the straw farmer, used to say while laughing his head off the only way to fix a hole in the bottom of your trousers was to tighten your belt... meanwhile he stuffed his breaches with straws...

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 14:04

"This is a complete other conversation really, but of course I do find it appalling the way the ABC has been attacked by this present government, stacking the appointees to the board so it's become a political thing. You're actually saying 'if you say this on the ABC news we're going to cut your budget', which is essentially what Tony Abbott did. That's fascistic.

"Having an independent ABC and having a strong arts and cultural community is really important. Because there's more to life than economics; the economy – I don't know why it's the be-all and end-all of everything, to quote Shakespeare."

read more:

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2014-07-23 10:18

yes John... now a bit of reality from the US:


Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 may have been shot down by "mistake" by ill-trained pro-Russian separatists, US intelligence officials say, dismissing Moscow's accounts of the incident.

The officials said they decided to brief reporters partly to counter what they described as misleading propaganda from Russia and its state-controlled media over the incident.

Evidence gathered so far suggests separatists launched the SA-11 surface-to-air missile that blew up the Malaysian airliner, but it remains unclear "who pulled the trigger" and why, said a senior intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The most plausible explanation ... was that it was a mistake," and the missile was fired by "an ill-trained crew" using a system that requires some skill and training, an official said on Tuesday.

Intelligence officials are cautioning the public not to expect a "Perry Mason moment" when all questions are definitively answered.

They cited previous incidents over the years in which both Russian and US forces have mistakenly shot down civilian airliners.

A Korean airliner was downed by a Soviet fighter jet in 1983 and US naval forces mistakenly shot down an Iranian civilian passenger plane in 1988.

"We've all seen mistakes in the past," the official told reporters.


At the time of the downing of flight MH17, the airspace below 32,000 feet was closed to commercial airliners. Between you, me and a packet of budgie smugglers, there is very little difference between 32,000 and 33,000 feet as far as a war zone is declared. Ukraine would have had to know that the missiles used to down their planes at 25,000 feet were not toys and could go much further up. And was the SU25 shot down as well? Or was it a chimera in the imagination of a general...?

A sad mistake. May we all live in peace.