Archive for the ‘World News and Events’ Category

There is a saying I have that goes;

“It is better to be pissed off than pissed on”

An undisputable fact I assume, and I use the saying often.

Today I wanted to write about something that fits in with that saying.

Have we become a nation of barbarians?

A brutal nation of bigots, bogans, and bastards?

Because as Australians we are currently pissing on some of the worlds most vulnerable and desperate people and you know what, it is really pissing me off.

The people that I am referring to are asylum seekers or refugees.

Not boat people, queue jumpers, illegals, freeloaders or whatever tag some would like to burden them with, real people with real lives and real families who are really desperate. For real.

Now when I say “we” that is exactly what I mean. Before you climb on the nearest high horse and plead “I didn’t vote for them” we are all responsible. There is another saying that goes “we end up with the government we deserve”.

Coming to a workplace near you

The government we deserve?

No matter what Party you support or are a part of, you failed, let’s build a bridge and get over it. We can all piss and moan about Murdoch, bias and fear campaigns, but at the end of it all there are some facts we all have to face.

Tony Abbott was the one of the most unpopular opposition leaders to have become Prime Minister and even as Prime Minister was the most unpopular PM for 25 years in the first polling after the election. Despite that being the case no other Party was capable of putting up a viable alternative, otherwise we’d have a different government.

So what has sparked my anger?

The Department of Immigration published the personal details of some asylum seekers on their website, which is a breach of law and can have the outcome of each of these asylum seekers being granted refugee status. The case is soon to be heard in court.

This is not my issue.

What has got under my skin is the government’s decision to move these asylum seekers from Villawood detention centre to Curtin detention centre the day before the matter is due in court.

For those who don’t know Curtin is widely considered to be the harshest of the detention centres, it is located in remote Western Australia and is the other side of the country to where they are currently located.

Not only is this stressful for the asylum seekers before court, it also vastly restricts the access of their legal representation. Lawyers for the asylum seekers are Sydney based and Curtin has one telephone and no interpretation services.

This comes across to me as nothing short of an act of intimidation by the government which would appear to be a bunch of bullies no less. However not only is it that, but this heartless act is also taking away their rights to access legal representation on a court matter.

As a country of what once were decent people we should be ashamed.

When China’s government, which not long ago were notorious for trying to drive over students with army tanks, condemns our recent record on human rights alarm bells should be ringing.

Suddenly we're the bad guys...

Suddenly we’re the bad guys…

Recently we had the tragic news that asylum seeker Reza Barati had been murdered on Manus Island whilst under the care of Scott Morrison’s department.

Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott and the Coalition were all quick to say how tragic it was and how their sympathies were with the Barati family.

Well, actions speak louder than words, and based on the government’s actions the Coalitions message to the mourning members of the Barati family should have been more along the lines of;

“Reza Barati is dead, and we don’t give a fuck.”

Despite warnings before the riot in which Reza Barati was brutally murdered nothing was done by Morrison’s department. Dire warnings falling on deaf ears. That was the before the news breaking.

During the news breaking we had all the lies disguised as mistakes. The riot was outside the detention centre, then inside. No shots were fired, then someone was shot in the buttocks. Every time you looked at the TV it seemed Morrison had a different story. Reports of conflicting stories were a soft way of putting what seemed a deliberate campaign of misinformation, the  information was often contradictory.

After the news of Barati’s tragic murder right-wing commentators like Gerard Henderson started with the story that Barati was a “economic migrant” backed by Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison. This despite Barati’s refugee status claim not being investigated or assessed at the time.

It came across almost is if they were trying to say it was his own fault he was murdered because they claim without evidence that he shouldn’t have been there.

Since when did unfounded allegations about someones financial status excuse murder?

Scott "Hollow Words" Morrison

Scott “Hollow Words” Morrison

Now when it comes to investigating that murder in our detention centre, the message the Coalition seemingly send to the family mourning for Berati is this;

“The murder on our watch of your family member means jack-shit to us and as such we will not lift a finger to help the murder investigation”

Requests for the assistance of Australian Federal Police in the investigation into the murder of Reza Berati were denied, despite him being murdered whilst under our care in one of our detention centres.

Early reports of a Salvation Army volunteer being involved in the brutality emerged but as yet there has been no confirmation of murder charges being laid against anyone.

The human rights inquiry that was to have occurred in the wake of the tragedy was also scrapped with Tony Abbott’s blessing, and Morrison could hardly hold his trademark smirk.

Reza Barati

Reza Barati RIP

When did we as a nation become so desensitized to racism and the plight of others?

The Australia I used to think I was a part of was proud of our multiculturalism and was always quick to lend a hand.

Now we hear of columnists breaching racial discrimination acts and radio hosts being found guilty of inciting racial hatred in the lead up to race riots.

Instead of embracing multiculturalism we now have a government that is looking to pass legislation to weaken the Racial Discrimination Act so that racists are free to vilify people of the cultures that helped shape our nation.

Instead of lending a hand and helping those oppressed, as a nation we are refusing to back the United Nations call to investigate War Crimes in Sri Lanka. While we provide the Sri Lankan government with military equipment we seek to stop investigations into allegations of the genocide and rape and torture of thousands of its citizens by that government.

In fact when it comes to those war crimes condemned by the United Nations, our Prime Minister Tony Abbott states;

We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen”

"We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen" - PM Tony Abbott

“We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen” – PM Tony Abbott

What a lovely bunch we are becoming, we don’t need a backpacker serial killer to show our disdain for foreigners we’re thinking on a far grander scale now. With Andrew Bolt seemingly in place now as our Attorney General even Australian citizens aren’t safe from vilification if their skin is the wrong shade of white trash.

It is about time we all stopped being pissed off about this change of Australian culture and started pissing all over the government that is encouraging it instead.

Where you see racism or injustice expose it. Retweet it, share it on Facebook, write to your local paper, just tell people about it. We sure as hell can’t rely on the media to do it.

It is a shame it has come to this but we have to shame these people into changing their reprehensible behaviour.

Fight Back Folks.

If we don’t, nobody else will do it for us.

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I’ve been putting off writing about this subject, biting my tongue, however I am tired of the continuing attack on the good name of our defence force.

The allegations against our Navy of the torture of asylum seekers by forcing them to burn their hands on hot pipes that we have seen recently are disturbing and no doubt do our armed forces no favours in the public relations  department.

Some may disagree, but we do by and large have a noble defence force, and that is why it is a shame that we are now seeing it being made a mockery of.

The attack I speak of is not the apparent attack that the ABC launched by doing their job and reporting something that was and clearly still is in the public interest. Nor is it the follow-up bombing raid by the Fairfax media who did what our government is not willing to do by actually investigating the claims and talking to witnesses.

The utterly gutless attack I speak of is from Scott Morrison and the Abbott Government.

burns-hand-asylum-main-620x349

If Scott Morrison truly believes that these claims are outrageous and false then he would give his blessing to an investigation into the alleged incident.

For Morrison to deny the Navy this opportunity to clear its name encourages the public to have an element of doubt over our armed forces and I don’t believe that Scott Morrison has the right to make decisions like that on the military’s behalf.

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As we all know the Coalition have lied to us before on the asylum seeker issue, who could forget the infamous children overboard scandal from the John Howard era?

Morrison’s take on this incident is that reporting an allegation made against the military is an attack on Australia’s armed forces, more on that later.

On Friday Defence Minister David Johnston whom many thought must have died or resigned and left Morrison in charge of the Defence portfolio also, finally surfaced and weighed into the debate.

Johnston stated several times when interviewed regarding Operation Sovereign Borders

“This is a civil public policy issue, it is not a military exercise”

Not a military exercise?

I thought that was Morrison’s reason for the North Korea style secrecy?

This leaves two possible scenarios, either Johnston has no idea what is going on in his Ministerial portfolio, or Scott Morrison is lying every time he tells us this is a military exercise.

Scott Morrison also likes to tell us repeatedly that their policy of stopping the boats in working or has worked.

Scott Morrison - Mr Smug

Scott Morrison – Mr Smug

If the boats had indeed stopped there would be no asylum seekers, no asylum seekers would surely mean no torture claims, but alas the claims remain.

Since the election there have been 45 boats enter Australian waters, that is 45 times that the Coalition policy of stopping the boats has failed.

So rather than let the public be informed Morrison blocked the media from the information sources essentially censoring them, and now holds a press conference on Fridays so it misses the weeks media cycle. At these media conferences Morrison refuses to answer many questions under the guise of it being a military operation despite the Defence Ministers repeated statements to the contrary.

I thought that it was Labor and the ABC that were supposed to be communists?

In North Korea the news is controlled by the state.

In China if you Google Tiananmen Square you won’t find images of riots or a lone man standing in front of a tank, it’s all very picturesque and postcard perfect.

In Australia, the state now attempts to control asylum seeker related news, and publicly condemns the news it doesn’t like on the subject.

If Morrison and Abbott have their way when we Google Asylum Seeker we will find images of people at the immigration desk at the airport, and when we Google boat arrivals we will only find images of the QE2 or the Fairstar.

So why are we really seeing the media blackout from the Coalition? Is it really because it is a military operation despite the Defence Ministers statements?

Many of us have a vivid memory of the Gulf War. Many of you may even remember that we had Navy warships in the Persian Gulf at the time. We watched the artillery and missile attacks live on TV as it happened.

Most of us will recall hearing the shocking news of an Aussie Diggers death in Afghanistan and the circumstances that led to it, sadly this has happened many times.

By the same token we sometimes hear of a success story regarding our troops efforts in Afghanistan.

These are military exercises I would assume, unless Scott Morrison classes wars as something different.

As I mentioned earlier Scott Morrison has also set about attacking those who criticise our military in any manner and those who report anything that may make them look bad, as he has apparently absolute faith in them and it would seem he is under the impression they can do no harm.

In Morrison’s world the military are faultless and can do no wrong. This is despite the navy vessels involved in Operation Sovereign Borders not having the foggiest idea of where those borders actually are.

Searching for the sign that says Indonesian Border

Searching for the sign that says Indonesian Border

In fact the notion of Australia’s military doing anything wrong is so ludicrous that they have now been given immunity from prosecution for their actions at sea, or as a military spokesman puts it;

‘…not face individual criminal sanctions under the Act for giving effect to Government policy”

Fairfax ran a report recently on  an investigation that the Defence Force is launching into an online racist group that is allegedly made up of serving members of Australia’s military, including some who serve in Operation Sovereign Borders.

Given this news  I’m waiting for Morrison to attack the Defence Force for investigating itself and bringing itself into disrepute.

One of the members of this bunch of bigots who is allegedly a part of Operation Sovereign Borders posted on his Facebook page regarding asylum seekers;

”…they come to jump on Centrelink and get free government housing”.

”I’m about to head out today to deal with these fuckers.”

Doing our nation proud I’m sure…

The online group call themselves the Australian Defence League and are made of racists who post hate filled drivel online. Although these allegations are only being looked into now it is to be noted that the blog site The Anti Bogan has been reporting on this groups online activities for over a year, once again what is known as the Fifth Estate is ahead of the news cycle.

In fact if Morrison thinks calling for an investigation into the military is an attack on them, then our military seems to do a fine job of attacking itself.

The military have also begun investigations into their own securitywhich was shown to be lacking after an attempted terrorist attack at Holsworthy Army Barracks in 2009.

Even this week the Air Force are looking into their security after an armed bank robbery at Richmond Air Force base. An armed bandit got into the base past security, robbed a credit union at gunpoint, and then left the base past security.

I didn’t hear cries of protest from Morrison when a Judicial Inquiry and an Australian Defence Industry Taskforce was set up in 2012 to investigate approximately 775 cases of sexual assault and abuse within the Australian Defence Force.

I guess the military aren’t beyond reproach after all, only when it suits Morrison and The Coalition.

Allegations of torture are important to investigate, particularly when it is alleged to have been done by those acting on the countries behalf.

Look my hand isn't burnt...

Look my hand isn’t burnt…

Still we understand that the Navy has a difficult job to do, we are constantly told how difficult it is by both Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison, even Malcolm Turnbull on Q&A last night used the word “difficult” when describing the issue of asylum seekers and how to deal with them.

So what is the Abbott government’s position on torture by the military?

Perhaps his comment when asked about allegations of torture by the Sri Lankan military were raised at CHOGM earlier this year will shed some light on the Coalition position.

We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen”

A difficult job our guys are doing eh?

Hmmm , I wonder.

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Barry Bunnings

In running this great nation of ours there are three top jobs in Australian politics. One of these is clearly the Prime Minister the other two would be the Treasurer and the Foreign Minister.

When it comes to Treasurers we have clearly drawn the short straw.

Joe Hockey spent the last few years telling us all how bad debt was when Labor held the purse strings. However debt under Labor meant all sorts of things such as coming out of the Global Financial Crisis in relatively fine form, certainly better than most. We were seeing a first class National Broadband Network being built, a National Disability Insurance Scheme kicked off, major GONSKI reforms in education as well as a raft of other improvements.

Under Joe Hockey we are seeing debt continue to rise and what do we have to show for that?

The NBN downgraded and stopped, and jobs being lost all over the country in the public and private sectors, and now the GONSKI reforms being taken away.

Now Joe Hockey wants to lift our credit limit because he is going to blow the one that was in place under Labor.

Only under a Coalition do cuts cost money.

Damn, I shouldn't have said "reduce debt" when I meant increase debt...

Damn, I shouldn’t have said “reduce debt” when I meant increase debt…

However it is foreign affairs I wanted to look at the new governments performance on today as the way a government handles important relationships shines a light on how capable that government is of handling itself.

Right from the outset we knew foreign affairs wasn’t going to be a strong suit for an Abbott led government when Abbott himself made a monumental blunder himself just over a month after taking office.

The nation that Abbott decided to upset was quite a significant one, The United States Of America.

The US had what could be described as a fantastic relationship with Australia. The relationship between Obama and Gillard in particular was extremely close.

Tony Abbott decided to cheapen that relationship by branding the government that had seen so much progress with the US as “whacko” in an interview for the Washington Post. Even worse, he made his childish and ridiculous comments whilst in America.

Abbott describes Obama's friend Julia as "whacko"... That will go down well Tony

Abbott describes Obama’s friend Julia as “whacko”… That will go down well Tony

More recently there have been several other significant events that further show the skill, the subtlety, the discretion, and the capabilities of this government went it comes to foreign diplomacy.

$10 Million dollars may sound like a lot of money to some, but to a nation that has just been hit with a typhoon of epic proportions it doesn’t seem like a great deal coming from a rich nation such as Australia.

Yet in 2010 we provided Haiti with $26.2 Million after a devastating eathquake, after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia John Howard rightly thought that $1 Billion was an appropriate amount to donate towards the recovery effort, and after flooding hit Pakistan in 2010 killing over 1600 the Australian Government donated $35 Million.

Despite previous generosity and compassion  the new regime under Tony Abbott only see fit to donate $10 Million to the Philippines, one of our neighbours, despite the death toll being well over 10,000 and according to Care Australia over 13 Million people affected.

Many have suggested that climate change may have been a factor in the Philippines killer typhoon, so it was fitting that the United Nations were holding negotiations on a global climate treaty.

Looking for the bodies of family members in the Philippines after the deadly typhoon

Looking for the bodies of family members in the Philippines after the deadly typhoon

There was hardly a dry eye in the house as  Naderev Saño representing the Philippines told delegates he would be going on a hunger strike in honour of the typhoons victims until a “meaningful outcome is in sight”, as details of the scale of the disaster and the death toll were coming to light.

The Government Minister representing Australia may well have been one of those shedding a tear, but Australia became one of the worlds laughing stocks by not even sending a Minister. Instead we were labelled as obstructionist, winning the “Fossil Of The Day” award on day one. The award is given by the Climate Action Network to the country that has done the most to block progress.

Although given Greg Hunts reputation on Wikipedia maybe we were spared further embarrassment by not sending the Minister.

Hunt

Another event that has seen Australia falter on the international stage was the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Sri Lanka recently.

Despite the event being boycotted by several counties including Canada due to allegations of Sri Lankan war crimes including genocide and torture, Tony Abbott thought it was appropriate to attend.

Also attending was British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron who despite attending the CHOGM event was scathing in his condemnation of Sri Lanka for its failure to address war crime allegations. Cameron stated that he would do whatever is within his power to see that those responsible are held to account for their actions.

By contrast Tony Abbott when asked about the torture of Sri Lankan civilians stated in a response that would have made Saddam Hussein, Dick Cheney and Josef Mengele proud;

“We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen”

The worlds administrators of torture must be pleased to hear Tony Abbott defending their positions.

Tony Abbott topped this off by giving the Sri Lankans two navy patrol boats similar to the ones the Sri Lankan Navy had used to gun down civilians on a beach only a few years ago.

Our gift of military equipment to a nation the UN are calling on to be investigated for war crimes totalled $2 Million. In perspective that is 20% of what we sent to the Philippines to rebuild lives rather than destroy them.

Abbott’s justification for this blood stain on our history is that it may protect us from the evil scourge of asylum seekers seeking to flee oppression.

When it comes to asylum seekers the Coalitions policy could not be more in tatters with Scott Morrison proving once and for all that sheer arrogance will never out-trump epic failure.

Scott Morrison looks for signs when deciding on new ways to deal with asylum seekers

Scott Morrison looks for signs when deciding on new ways to deal with asylum seekers

Even Attorney General George Brandis put it kindly when he told Penny Wong in a Senate hearing regarding the absolute mess we find our relationship with Indonesia in courtesy of our new inept government;

“Unless you have been elsewhere in the Solar System for the last few days you would be aware that this is a very delicate time in the bi-lateral relationship”

Well another way of putting it is that our relationship with Indonesia has gone down the toilet and we are left desperately looking for a plunger.

As the boats have continued to arrive, and as Indonesia has continued to not allow boats to be turned around as Abbott and Morrison promised they would be during their election campaigns, the relationship with Indonesia sinks deeper and deeper into the murky depths of a third-world sewer after a long bout of dysentery.

Abbott found out that unlike the press here, the Indonesian press don’t like it when on matters of asylum seekers things are kept secret. So when Tony Abbott locked the Indonesian press out of a press conference he held in Indonesia he didn’t make a lot of new friends.

The recent drama’s involving Australia’s tapping of the Indonesian Presidents phone as well as that of his wife have been handled in a manner that has been less than perfect. In fact it has been handled with about as much skill and professionalism as a crack addict performing brain surgery whist going cold-turkey.

Abbott apologising for President  Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s embarrassment after the phone hacking was revealed was just daft. We should be embarrassed not him, we were the ones caught doing something.

As one would expect, Abbott’s comments went down in Indonesia like a fart in a phone box, protests outside our embassy, Australian flags burning, and Indonesia pulled its ambassador out of Australia. Good job Tony.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was queried on how much faith he has in Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was queried on how much faith he has in Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop

Since then Abbott has sent President Yudhoyono a letter that was to improve things and help put our relationship back on track.

Liberal Party pollster Mark Textor’s tweets comparing high ranking Indonesian government members to porn stars I’m sure did not assist discussions.

Clearly Abbott is as good at writing as he is at keeping promises as further diplomatic ties and joint exercises have been cut since Yudhoyono received the letter, and now Indonesia is even looking for somewhere else to buy its beef from.

Our Foreign Minister Julie “Blue Dust” Bishop has seemed to have been kept out of the Indonesia ruckus, maybe Abbott thinks it’s a job for a man, however “Blue Dust” Bishop has been left to explain yet another questionable foreign policy decision that was kept quiet and caught most off-guard when it was uncovered.The decision I speak of is to change our countries position on a United Nations order to stop “all Israeli settlement activities in all of the occupied territories”.

This decision to tacitly support the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians is a decision to join 8 other nations who share the position, and to oppose the position of 158 countries who support the order.

While a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict is something that most hope to see achieved, under the Coalition Australia now supports Israel in its acts designed to deliberately inflame the situation and encourage conflict.

If you think that this is all depressing news, spare a thought for Colin Russell.

Colin Russell is an Australian Greenpeace activist who was arrested for hooliganism during a protest at sea over the first Russian Arctic drilling rig in the Pechora Sea.

No matter what your thoughts on the protest, one thing is for sure, Colin Russell is an Australian citizen in need of some help.

Of the 30 activists arrested 29 have been released and are probably home relaxing after their ordeal, this leaves Colin Russell all on his lonesome.

Those wondering why Colin is the only one left to languish in a Russian cell the answer is simple. It is not because Colin is a member of Pussy Riot, it is because he is Australian. While other countries like Sweden and Britain have ensured that their citizens have been released by diplomatic measures, Australia has not cared. Perhaps Julie Bishop was having her hair done?

Due to failing so badly in her current role, Julie Bishop has decided to audition to sell exercise equipment on morning television

Due to failing so badly in her current role, Julie Bishop has decided to audition to sell exercise equipment on morning television

Whatever the reasons, something needs to be done to ensure that Colin Russell is released urgently.

All of these foreign affair failings have happened over a three-month period, one can only imagine the carnage we will be facing after three years.

In fact as I write this details have emerged of Julie Bishop not understanding diplomacy and calling in the Chinese ambassador, a serious move in China’s eyes. Bishop’s office have called him in to discuss an air-space dispute China is having with Japan. The way Bishop has handled this now threatens our relationship with China with the Chinese quick to condemn Bishop’s actions.

Also the anger is starting to heat up over another spy scandal with East Timor, where Timor claims phone taps were used during negotiations over the Timor Sea Resources Treaty in 2004. East Timor has likened this latest scandal to insider trading, and is pursuing international arbitration to have the 2006 Treaty overturned.

The government is yet to provide an adequate response.

When the Coalition formed government we were told that the adults were back in charge.

If this is the adults then we want the kids back.

Quickly.

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Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

The last 50 years have seen some fantastic events and seen some huge steps forward for mankind, however it has also seen some of the worst than mankind can produce.

There have been some atrocities over the last half century that defy belief, and some of those responsible for these acts are even still alive today.

Before you delve further down the page I should warn you that there are some graphic images in this post that will upset some people, so please don’t say you were not warned.

In 1998 there would have been hardly a tear shed for the death of Pol Pot, the former dictator and ruthless leader of the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot is credited with the deaths of up to 3 Million Cambodians which made up around a quarter of Cambodia’s total population.

Those in his camps were used as slaves and most died of disease and malnutrition, however many others were simply executed or some were killed in the most grotesque ways imaginable for the entertainment of the camp guards.

Pol Pot died whilst under house arrest in his bed.

Pol Pot

Pol Pot

Slobodan  Milosevic was another one who got off lucky, dying of a heart attack in his prison whilst awaiting trial on March 11th 2006.

Milosevic was awaiting trial for war crimes that included ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Known as the “Butcher Of The Balkans” he presided over the deaths of more than 200,000 people over 10 years in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

...and the winner of the older Geert Wilders look alike contest is.... Sobidan Milosevic

…and the winner of the older Geert Wilders look alike contest is…. Slobodan Milosevic

In 1994 The Rwandan genocide occurred while the world watched on for approximately 100 days and did little.

The genocide was carried out by the Hutus who massacred somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,0000 Tutsis in the most brutal of fashions.

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In 1998 Jean-Paul Akayesu, a Rwandan politician and mayor of a commune, was sentenced to life imprisonment for 9 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity which included the rape and sexual mutilation of women.

Rwanda’s very own shock-jocks Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza were both given life sentences in October 2000 for inciting and encouraging the massacre throughout their broadcasts.

Also serving a life sentence for his part in the genocide is Jean Kambanda who was the Prime Minister of Rwanda during the genocide.

Bodies in a field in Rwanda

Bodies in a field in Rwanda

We all remember the hunt for former Iraqi Dictator and war criminal Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on his own citizens, massacred thousands of Kurds and his own citizens, and after the Gulf War evidence of torture was discovered that appeared to be state sanctioned and carried out by members of Hussein’s Republican Guard.

Saddam Hussein was eventually captured after being pulled out of a hole in the ground in December 2003.

After facing trial for crimes against humanity Saddam Hussein was given the death penalty and was hung on the 30th December 2006

For the people of Iraq who faced years of fear and oppression under Saddam’s rule, his death was a cause for celebration.

Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein

For those who suffered at the hands of Pol Pot and Milosevic it must have seemed cruel to see them both escape punishment so easily and die a relatively peaceful death when they themselves had been so inhumane and cruel in their bringing about the deaths of others.

However it is not just these people who need to face investigation for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

One would have had to be hiding in a hole like Saddam Hussein to have missed Kony 2012.

The social media campaign to try and bring about the tracking down, capture and conviction of Joseph Kony, thought to be hiding out in the Congo.

Joseph Kony is the leader of the “Lords Resistance Army” thought to have recruited over 30,000 children for use as soldiers. Child soldiers recruited often kill their family while young girls are captured and used as sex slaves for the young soldiers.

It is not known how many have been killed by Kony and his forces although conservative estimates by the UN put the number at over 100,000. Many of these deaths are amongst the most shocking and cruel deaths imaginable as soldiers compete to see who is the cruellest amongst them.

Joseph Kony is still at large.

Joseph Kony

Joseph Kony

We have all seen in news broadcasts over the past few years the atrocities that are ongoing in the civil war in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has been accused of war crimes with calls for action against his regime coming from all over the globe.

Assads regime has been notorious for war crimes against men women and children including massacres, torture, and evidence of the use of chemical weapons.

Victims of Assad's regime

Victims of Assad’s regime

The UN expects more than 5 Million refugees to come from Syria by the end of 2014 as a result of Assad’s rule. Estimates on the death toll have varied with the UN saying that it is most certainly over 100,000.

Most of the world has condemned Assad and are keen to bring him to justice and investigate him and his regime for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Victims of Syrian nerve gas attack

Victims of Syrian nerve gas attack

It is something that is beyond doubt that those who commit genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity should be hunted down and severely punished for their crimes.

Another nation where war crimes such as genocide, torture and ethnic cleansing are reported to have been committed is Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan civil war dragged on for 26 years and saw the deaths of over 100,000 people, mostly civilians.

One incident towards the end of the war saw 300,000 civilians trapped on a narrow beach, 40,000 of these civilians were gunned down by the Sri Lankan army and many atrocities were alleged to have been committed.

The man in charge of the Sri Lankan military was Defense Secretary  Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is the brother of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Last week the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka was boycotted by Canada, India , and Mauritius as a protest against the human rights abuses and war crimes that have yet to see action taken.

British Conservative Prime Minister was also keen to address the violations of human rights and see Sri Lanka investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Cameron stated during a press conference

“Let me be very clear. If an investigation is not completed by March, then I will use our position on the United Nations human rights council to work with the UN human rights commission and call for a full credible and independent international inquiry.”

It is clear that the British along with many other nations calling for justice for the countless thousands of innocent civilians that were tortured and massacred, men, women and children.

Not to be outdone, Tony Abbott weighed in on the discussions and when questioned about the massacre and torture of civilians stated;

We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen”

I have never heard of a country being given a free pass for genocide and torture before, and those who committed some of the atrocities must be pleased to hear that someone accepts what they have done.

Tony Abbott - Accepts Sri Lankan torture and genocide, but won't accept Sri Lankan refugees

Tony Abbott – Accepts Sri Lankan torture and genocide, but won’t accept Sri Lankan refugees

The photo’s below are of some of the atrocities that Tony Abbott has accepted on our behalf when he uses the word “We”

However Tony Abbott not only accepted their actions, which he says must have been difficult as I’m sure they were for those on the receiving end, but he also thought that giving a couple of gifts was appropriate.

A massacred Sri Lankan family

A massacred Sri Lankan family

David Cameron calls for war crimes investigations, Tony Abbott gives away gifts.

So what gift is appropriate to give a nation who used its military to commit massacres and other crimes against humanity?

More military equipment of course.

A woman raped and murdered by Sri Lankan military soldiers

A woman raped and murdered by Sri Lankan military soldiers

Tony Abbott has given the Sri Lankan government two Navy Patrol Boats for them to use in any way they see fit in return for them clamping down on asylum seekers fleeing the country due to tensions that still exist and seeing their family members executed in many cases.

A butchered Sri Lankan child

A butchered Sri Lankan child

The gift of military boats to the nation the UN accuses of war crimes costs the taxpayer $2 Million. The cynical may say Abbott is trying to emulate his idol John Howard who allegedly paid bribes to Saddam Hussein’s regime via the Australian Wheat Board.

The use of the boats as mentioned is totally unrestricted, the Sri Lankans can arm them with whatever weaponry they like.

Fairfax reported on 19th November about the actions of a similar Sri Lankan patrol boat at the end of the civil war when it came across civilians on a fishing boat.

”We held two white flags and on seeing the navy we called them, ‘Aiya, Aiya [Sir, Sir]’. There was sudden shelling and eight died on the spot … navy hit, navy attacked and many people died.”

A message needs to be sent to Tony Abbott that his actions and his words on this matter are not just inappropriate, they are truly sickening.

More rape and murder in Sri Lanka

More rape and murder in Sri Lanka

As a nation we do not accept, endorse, or tolerate genocide or torture, it goes against everything we should be standing for.

Tony Abbott, when you claim “we” accept this, you sure as hell don’t speak for me.

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It is somewhat ironic that the only thing that stood between gay couples and marriage in Britain a couple of days ago was a Queen.

This week the British parliament passed the changes to their Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry. Now the Queen has given her blessing,  Britain becomes the next nation giving their citizens a fairer go than the nation of the “Fair Go”, Australia.

With their economy in the toilet, the British are looking forward to the significant boost to the economy that will result from this decision. The wedding organisers, the caterers, the hotels, the reception halls, the suit hire places, the limousine suppliers, the cake designers, and the travel industry must be all salivating at the prospect of the much-needed boost to their businesses.

Same-sex marriage, bring it on...

Same-sex marriage, bring it on…

So where does that leave Australia?

Well, a boost to our economy would be great, but not really vital. We were in the fortunate position in Australia of having a government who handled the financial crisis in a way that saw the country avoid the recessions most other Western countries experienced, kept the unemployment levels low, and made us the envy of the world. We were not the lucky country, we were the well-managed country. Despite all the whinging and attempts to block the governments actions from the opposition bench, the Labor government proved their economic credentials and did the country proud.

So that makes me of the opinion that we don’t really need same-sex marriage for economic reasons.

But what about other reasons?

I have always said that to vote in favour of same-sex marriage is not a decision to take the country forward. It is in fact a vote to correct a previous decision to hold the country back.

We are a multi-cultural society with freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedoms that we all take for granted. We are the nation of the “Fair Go” unless it would seem you are a “dyke or a queer”.

It is way beyond time to change this, but it is only our politicians holding us back here. After all the public clearly favour the idea with most polls showing a huge majority in favour of allowing marriage equality.

The arguments against marriage equality all seem relatively daft and seem to be based more on ignorance, bigotry, and religious persecution than any kind of reasonable logic. My personal favourite is the one where those with an IQ lower than the number of wheels on my pushbike claim that having gay people marry somehow affects their own marriage and its sanctity…

To me that is like eating out at a restaurant and claiming that because someone else at another table ordered fish that it is somehow affecting your rack of lamb. Total and utter crap. If your marriage is so fragile that other peoples ability to marry affects it that much, then you have bigger fish to fry I’m sorry to say.

On the political front in Australia we have the Labor Party who have voted overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality at National Conference, several state conferences, have passed legislation for marraige equalityin the lower house of one state, Tasmania only to have it blocked in the Upper House, and whose leader Kevin Rudd has openly stated his support for same-sex marriage.

Kevin Rudd - It's thumbs up from me

Kevin Rudd – It’s thumbs up from me

On the other hand there is the Liberal Party, who have made absolutely no steps forward in this area at all. Their leader Tony Abbott has claimed he would not let his religion influence any of his political decisions. His religion has poked its head up previously with his decision of the abortion pill RU486, and Abbott has also stuck his neck out in defence of his religion when Catholic priests seem to continually sexually molest children. Now his religion has come into it once again as he has forced his party to back his position of being against equality in marriage.

This stance of Abbotts is despite several members of his party saying they are willing to vote yes to same-sex marriage, and despite the country, including Abbotts own electorate being majorly in favour of allowing it.

Here in my electorate, Liberal member Alex Hawke has been quite vocal in his opposition to same-sex marriage, and how it will destroy the sanctity of marriage. This is coming from a man who has recently ended what was a short marriage in which his wife spent most of their married life living overseas. Many have questioned whether the marriage was one of convenience to achieve a political agenda, and many others in the area who know Alex well question whether it was done to disguise Alex’s own sexuality and keep it in the closet. I can’t say either way, but I do know that given his own experience the sanctity of marriage is not something I would consider high on the list of things Alex Hawke can preach about.

Alex Hawke and his ex-wife. At least it lasted longer than a Kardashian marraige... just

Alex Hawke and his ex-wife. Their marriage lasted nowhere near long enough for Hawke to get all preachy about sanctity…

It is interesting also to note that the British parliament that voted for marriage equality has a conservative majority, as it did in our closest neighbour New Zealand’s parliament.

I wonder if Tony Abbotts stance will change now marriage equality has the blessing of Her Majesty. After all Abbott is a huge fan of the royal family, and if same-sex marriage is good enough for them, and the conservative government, surely it should be good enough for Abbott. It is also interesting to note that the Queen is also the head of the Church Of England.

When we do finally manage to get around to treating all who seek to wed equally, we will certainly not be leading the charge, there are many other nations who have done the right thing first. These include 13 States in the USA, Britain, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, Uruguay, Belgium, and of course New Zealand.

Tony Abbott has told the press that there may be a change of Liberal policy on the issue after the September election once the post-election caucus meet to form a position.

There is no reason why the Coalition cannot form a policy on this matter now pre-election, they certainly don’t mind stating their positions on climate change, their mates mining profits, and asylum seekers.

Transparency is a word that appears to be foreign to the Coalition under its current leadership.

It is interesting to note that the last Liberal MP to state their opinion on marriage equality honestly was the man Tony Abbott personally appointed as his Parliamentary Secretary when he knifed Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership. The man he appointed was Cory Bernardi.

Cory Bernardi compared marriage equality with bestiality, which probably explains more about what Bernardi spends his time pondering than it does about same-sex marriage.

I hope someone has pointed out to Bernardi that despite his perverted prophecies/fantasies, there has been no noticeable increase in bestiality levels in any of the aforementioned countries where marriage equality is now happily accepted. Rumours to the contrary regarding New Zealanders and sheep should be taken in jest and with a sizeable grain of salt.

Bernardi warns Abbott about gay men and bestiality with an amused onlooker

Bernardi warns Abbott about gay men and bestiality with an amused onlooker

For those of you waiting to marry their partners and move forward with their lives together, I hope you don’t have to hold out too much longer. My feeling is that if after September we have a Labor government then it will be quite high on the list of priorities, as Rudd would be looking for it to go through senate while we know it will pass.

Then we will be one huge step closer to being a nation of equality.

Not before time either….

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Today I wanted to do a post on something that there is nowhere near enough of in this country. Organ Donors.

As I type this there are around 1600 people desperately waiting for organs.

There are a lot of myths surrounding organ donation but here are a couple of facts that might prompt you into action.

1600 patients waiting does not sound like a high number at all, although it is still 1600 too many. Most would consider with the number of organ donors who have registered that those waiting would receive the organs they require pretty quickly.

Alas, this is not the case.

In 2012 there were only 354 donors of organs in the whole of Australia.

You may think that number is a gross exaggeration, surely there must have been more than that you would think. However the sad fact is there wasn’t.

The facts are that very few people who have consented to organ donation die in circumstances where their organs are able to be used. In order to use an organ doctors need to be able to remove it quickly and in a sterile environment, which pretty much means that someone has to pass away in a hospital to be able to donate.

This significantly reduces the odds for the needy hopeful recipient.

In fact it is only around 1% of those who consent to organ donation that will end up in a position to give someone else the greatest gift of all, and this is purely down to their location or circumstances when passing away.

To make matters worse over 40% of those people still end up not donating organs because their family override their decision to donate. This is not for any bitter and twisted reasons it is purely because they are not entirely sure of their deceased relatives wishes to donate and so play it safe and do not allow the donation to take place.

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This is why choosing to be an organ donor should not be kept secret, in fact quite the opposite. In order to give the gift of life donors need to ensure people know about their decision to be a giver, particularly their family.

For a surgeon whose entire career revolves around saving lives on a daily basis there must be few things more heartbreaking than having access to a willing donor taken away from them because the prospective donor never got around to telling their family.

For those who are unsure how to raise the subject with their family, or just what to say, the good people at Donate Life have produced a booklet which can be viewed as a PDF via the link below.

Organ Donation Family Discussion Kit

To those who wish to register to donate you can register online via this link, phone 1800 777 203, visit a Medicare Service Centre or your local GP should also have registration forms.

Even if you have ticked the box on your driver’s license it is still important that you register, in fact in NSW the previous register held by NSW Roads and Maritime Services has been decommissioned.

The Australian Organ Donor is the only national register, and the only register than is linked to your Medicare number, and it can also be accessed 24 hours a day by medical staff.

organ-donation

For those seeking more information on organ donation and transplants I can suggest checking out the two Facebook pages linked below as a starting point.

Donate Life

Transplant Australia

We live in the “Lucky Country”, so pass on some good luck today by registering to become an organ donor.

It will be the best decision you make all day and it could well be the greatest two gifts you will ever give.

Life and hope.

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Anzac Day means different things to different people.

To some I’m sure it’s just an excuse for a day off, for some it is a reason to honour those who gave so much for our freedom, for some it’s a time to pay respects to fallen comrades, for some it is a celebration of the Australian spirit.

However you choose to spend your time on ANZAC Day, be it at a march, at a dawn service, or watching the events in TV, or even just at home doing nothing, I hope you spare a moment to consider the sacrifice our armed forces, past and present make for us and be thankful for it.

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To me, this is the most important of the public holidays. It has nothing to do with the birthday of a head of state living in another country. It has nothing to do with the commercialism and consumerism of the religious holidays of Christmas and Easter. Instead it is all about pride, mateship, honour and sacrifice, things that embody the Aussie Spirit..

For some however ANZAC Day will be the hardest day of the year as it will bring back memories that you or I can barely imagine. These are the men and women who suffer from post-traumatic stress, and unfortunately there are many of them.

I should point out that it is not only war veterans that suffer from post-traumatic stress, it comes in different forms and can afflict anybody from any walk of life. It is a common condition with those in high stress jobs such as police and other emergency services. It is also common in nursing, and in the care industry, however it can be brought on by any bad experience and affect someone for the rest of their lives. Some people witness an accident and that can cause it, some may have a bad experience in a hospital and suffer from it as a result, there are countless ways it can be brought on.

Given that today is ANZAC day I wanted to talk today about an organisation that I came across recently that I believe provide a fantastic service to our returned troops and their families.

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The Young Diggers are an organisation that has been around for about three and a half years now. They provide many essential services to servicemen/women and their families. In particular I wanted to touch on the Dog Squad programme which is designed to help returned troops who are suffering from severe post-traumatic stress.

The Dog Squad places dogs with soldiers which have returned from duty suffering severe post-traumatic stress. Many of these returned troops have been suicidal, and have shut themselves off from the outside world.

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Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows the unconditional loyalty and friendship that a dog provides, they are not called man’s best friend for nothing.

However the dogs in the Dog Squad are no ordinary dogs, not in the slightest. The companion dogs are expertly trained to the highest level by experienced trainers. So highly trained are these dogs that they are actually classed as “assistance animals” meaning that they have as much access as a guide dog.

The dogs used are not bred for the role, and do not come from pet stores or breeders. The dogs that are used in the Dog Squad are sourced from RSPCA pounds and animal rescue centres , which means the dogs themselves often come from a traumatic background and by becoming a part of the programme are being saved from a fairly grim future, most would have been put down.

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The difference a companion dog makes in these returned troops lives is hard to measure as it is so monumentally huge. One only has to look at the footage such as that below to see the bond between the troops and their companion dogs.

When you consider that approximately 20% of troops returning from active duty in Afghanistan will suffer from post-traumatic stress at some level, it is easy to see just how vital this programme is.

The Dog Squad is not the only service that Young Diggers provide, far from it.

Young Diggers act as a major support for not only the returned troops, but also their families. It is the families that troops will use for support whilst on duty and after they return, so Young Diggers organises support for families so that they can be better prepared for when their family member returns from duty.

Young Diggers provides professional assistance with DVA claims, as dealing with Veterans Affairs can be confusing, time-consuming, and often complicated, particularly if someone has suffered physical or mental trauma.

Another service offered is help seeking employment. Young Diggers run programmes that assist returned soldiers find employment, and can assist with training programmes that will help prepare soldiers for regular work, both mentally and with skills training.

Young Diggers also offer emergency accommodation and provide counselling for troops and their families.

One of the reasons that Young Diggers play such an important role is that for those in the armed forces it is an organisation that they can feel comfortable with. Men and women from the armed services can deal with someone who speaks at their level, and completely understands their situation because they have walked in the same boots.

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Young Diggers are a Not-For-Profit organisation that by their own wishes receive absolutely no government funding or grants. All of the organisations activities are funded by donations received by either individuals, or companies that provide sponsorship.

Young Diggers have assisted over 7,000 of our returned troops and their families across the country, something that when I spoke with their President, John Jarrett about yesterday he was immensely proud of, and rightly so.

This ANZAC Day, we will honour the fallen and remember their sacrifice, however I also hope that we will not forget those who have returned and are still suffering.

Anzac-day

You can find out more about Young Diggers or make a donation via their website via this link. Young Diggers can also be found on Facebook here.

Before I go, Young Diggers are looking for a 20 seater bus with wheelchair access for their Queensland office. If anybody can assist with one they would greatly appreciate it, they can organise for repair work on the body or motor if required. If you feel you can help, just contact them via their website or phone numbers listed on there and tell them Wixxy sent you.

Lest We Forget.

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