Tag: Law

FEC Complaint Filed Against Fox For Giving Kushner Confidential Biden Info | Crooks and Liars

FEC Complaint Filed Against Fox For Giving Kushner Confidential Biden Info

Fox’s actions are not only an egregious violation of FEC law and regulations “but also a nefarious attempt by people in power to operate a press entity as a political organization, in blatant disregard of the rules that govern our elections and democracy.” Media Matters concludes, “As such, we respectfully request that the Commission immediately investigate these violations, fine Respondents the maximum amount permitted by law, and take appropriate remedial action.”

Source: FEC Complaint Filed Against Fox For Giving Kushner Confidential Biden Info | Crooks and Liars

Ambulance chasers Slater & Gordon win a shiny takeover bid. What’s the scam? – Michael West

What's the scam

Long-suffering shareholders of law firm Slater & Gordon may soon be out of their misery, with private equity vultures honing in for a buy-out. What’s the scam?

The scam is private equity ain’t there for the justice Your Honour; there is profit to be had exploiting Australia’s legal system by running about drumming up lawsuits for a buck. Private equity mob Allegro intends to restructure (euphemism for sackings and leverage) and sell again in a few years for a big profit.

Source: Ambulance chasers Slater & Gordon win a shiny takeover bid. What’s the scam? – Michael West

Weed Apartheid in Israel and Palestine

In bars and cafes across Israel, the air is thick with cannabis smoke. For years, smoking weed has been socially permissible in Israel despite being technically illegal. Patio tables in cities like Tel Aviv are dotted with people openly rolling joints and lighting up without a second thought. Ironically, smoking pot is tolerated in more public places in Israel than in countries like Canada, where recreational cannabis is legal. In Israel’s trendy cafes and middle-class Jewish neighborhoods, police often turn a blind eye.

As is true of many of the freedoms enjoyed by Israeli citizens, however, the open consumption of cannabis stops at Israel’s separation wall, beyond which Palestinians are economically, militarily, and legally denied many of their most basic rights.

While there is a budding cannabis culture in the West Bank — tobacco stores there openly sell weed paraphernalia like rolling papers and grinders — Palestinians, who live under military rule, face serious legal jeopardy if they are caught firing up.

Source: Weed Apartheid in Israel and Palestine

Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer and Lachlan Murdoch should be charged with conspiring to intimidate Brittany HigginsKangaroo Court of Australia









Brittany Higgins, Bruce Lehrmann and Lachlan Murdoch

The trial has become a national scandal and Justice Lucy McCallum needs to take action for contempt of court against Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer Steve Whybrow, Lachlan Murdoch, his attack dogs at News Corp and Senator Linda Reynolds. If Justice McCallum fails to do so her reputation and the reputation of the court will be trashed for many years to come and will likely become an example used at law schools on how not to run a court case.

Source: Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer and Lachlan Murdoch should be charged with conspiring to intimidate Brittany HigginsKangaroo Court of Australia

We need a criminal investigation into Donald Trump | Richard Wolffe | The Guardian

For years Trump threatened anyone ready to speak out against him with money or the courts. He was the most practised Don in the country with 4000 court cases to prove it. However, the Jan 6th Committee hasn’t been bought or a court it’s simply there to gather the facts for the American legal system to decide whether charges should be brought. However, Trump while President made every effort to swing that system his way. The question remains just how much and solid must the evidence be against Trump be for an indictment to be made?

Donald Trump famously joked that he was so popular with his fans that he could literally get away with murder.

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, he bragged while campaigning in Iowa back in 2016.

Never mind the voters. Here we are, 18 months after his presidency, staring at clear evidence that Trump led a criminal conspiracy to interfere with the 2020 election and the constitutional duties of Congress. He intentionally incited a violent mob that he knew was armed to mount an attempted coup on Capitol Hill.

We need a criminal investigation into Donald Trump | Richard Wolffe | The Guardian

We need a criminal investigation into Donald Trump | Richard Wolffe | The Guardian
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Coalition government spent $6m prosecuting Bernard Collaery and three other whistleblowers | Australian politics | The Guardian

Exclusive: Figures provided to the Guardian reveal exorbitant legal bill for pursuing cases against Collaery, Witness K, Richard Boyle and David McBride

Coalition government spent $6m prosecuting Bernard Collaery and three other whistleblowers | Australian politics | The Guardian

PM seeks expanded powers to boot criminals

deport criminals coalition

If judges act according to the law and you don’t like their judgments. simply change the law. Further evidence the Morrison government has no regard for human rights. so if anyone is charged for civil disobedience say protesting against the government they can be deported if “foreign born” or “deemed a risk”. Morrison’s justification ” judges aren’t doing what Morrison wants”. Meanwhile Immigration in the past 8 years has become a total mess with a backlog of 330000 applications. We need to make sure we can “punt them out”. Given asylum seekers are already “deemed illegals” and aren’t of “Good Character”. It would seem Morrison wants no recourse for any appeals like the Biloela family detained for over 12 months.

Morrison’s Motive is clear however his definition of “objective laws” vague.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for the need for objective tests to be able to deport foreign-born criminals convicted of serious offences. The Coalition government is planning to reintroduce laws to parliament on Wednesday that would close a loophole to migration character test laws. Under the proposal, visas for non-citizens will be refused or cancelled if they’ve been convicted of a serious crime that’s punishable for more than two years in prison, served less than 12 months in prison or are deemed a risk to the community. Mr Morrison said judges in deportation cases had often handed down lesser sentences to get around existing character test laws to avoid people getting deported. “Judges are handing down sentences which enables people to get around this, and we need an objective test,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB. “We want to make sure we can punt them.”

Source: PM seeks expanded powers to boot criminals

Evangelical Politicians, using Israel as a Pretext, are Gutting the Constitution by Banning Boycotts

screen grab

BYE BYE- The Constitutional Separation of Powers between the Church and State. Fuck what America’s Jews want. Legislate Discrimination instead.

Israel has concluded a very unholy alliance with the American Evangelical Community, as support among progressive U.S. Jews for its settlement policies in the West Bank continues to wane. For this reason, in 2017, the Arkansas Senate passed Act 710, forbidding all “public entities from contracting with and investing in companies that boycott Israel.” Call me old-fashioned, but I miss that old Separation of Church and State principle. In Arkansas, legislation is now directly tied to the Second Coming. There is a painful irony to American Evangelical politicians using Zionism as a cudgel to exacerbate the political divide, and punish resistors. The act prohibits all state agencies, departments and contractors from doing business with any company that supports the Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) movement.

Source: Evangelical Politicians, using Israel as a Pretext, are Gutting the Constitution by Banning Boycotts

‘Hugely Significant, and Entirely Appropriate’: Bannon Indicted for Defying House Subpoena

Steve Bannon speaks before introducing Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore during a campaign event at Oak Hollow Farm on December 5, 2017 in Fairhope, Alabama.

“Steve Bannon’s indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the select committee or try to stonewall our investigation: No one is above the law.”

Source: ‘Hugely Significant, and Entirely Appropriate’: Bannon Indicted for Defying House Subpoena

Privacy rights jeopardised with Covid apps tracking every move – Michael West

covid data misued

Law enforcement agencies have a cavalier attitude to the right to privacy and a “whatever it takes” attitude to raiding databases of personal information, writes Greg Barns. Given the treasure trove of information now available from all the Covid tracing apps, strong penalties and laws are needed to ensure evidence obtained from those apps cannot be used in legal proceedings.

Source: Privacy rights jeopardised with Covid apps tracking every move – Michael West

What About The Other Secret Trial? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

A few weeks ago, various Australian MPs were expressing their outrage at China for holding secret trials. I understood their concern. Secret trials are something that should be reserved for the enemies of capitalism and not something that those lefty Chinese should be engaging in.

Dutton wants access to encryption and the weakening of privacy to catch criminals operating on the web. In the same breathe Morrison is bragging that he was a big player in the encryption sting that netted 800 crims worldwide. Proof enough that Dutton is asking for overreach and something he doesn’t really need the weakening of our privacy. Proof further, that this LNP government is our Dark Net.

Source: What About The Other Secret Trial? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Legal scholar Jennifer Taub on Trump as a symptom of America’s massive inequality | Salon.com

https://mediaproxy.salon.com/width/1200/https://media.salon.com/2021/04/rich-man-money-pocket-suit-bribe-0405211.jpgFor example, when people are not paying what is legally required of them it means that someone else is not getting help recovering from their drug addictions, so instead they turn to crime. It means that the roads and bridges are not safe. It means that kids do not have access to preschool. Because the rich are not paying the taxes they owe and otherwise hiding income, it means that they are a de facto criminal class. The 1 percent are literally becoming wealthier and more powerful from criminal behavior. They use their influence to change the laws so that they pay fewer taxes, and this includes underfunding the IRS.

Source: Legal scholar Jennifer Taub on Trump as a symptom of America’s massive inequality | Salon.com

National security watchdog to probe case of Witness J, who was tried, sentenced and jailed in total secrecy – Politics – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

An illustration of a man with his head in his hands in a cell

Is Australia the China it accuses of being Secretive?(ODT)

Witness J spent 15 months behind bars in Canberra’s Alexander Maconochie Centre, after being sentenced in the ACT Supreme Court to two years and seven months in jail for serious national security offences.

After being released from jail in August 2019 under strict conditions, including six-monthly regular psychological testing and an overseas travel ban without prior permission, Witness J launched civil proceedings against the ACT Government.

Witness J has used the anonymity of social media to criticise his former employer and the secrecy shrouding his case.

Former independent national security legislation monitor and leading barrister Bret Walker was alarmed by the Witness J case.

“Permanently secret legal proceedings is not the kind of conduct we want an Australian justice system to include,” he told the ABC late last year.

“The public has an interest to know when information is being kept secret from them — it’s not good enough for the public to be told ‘it’s in your interests that you are not told’.”

via National security watchdog to probe case of Witness J, who was tried, sentenced and jailed in total secrecy – Politics – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

White House instructs official to ignore subpoena over security clearances


Washington: A former White House personnel security director has been instructed by the White House not to show up on Tuesday for questioning by the House Oversight Committee.

The move appears to be the latest effort by the Trump administration to push back against congressional inquiries of the White House, which have proliferated since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in January.

When Trump caves into the law will he yell No Collusion? (ODT)

White House instructs official to ignore subpoena over security clearances

Rocky Hill Mine Knocked Back On Climate Change Grounds

The proposed mine site.

The mine was first knocked back in December 2017, but Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL), the privately owned company behind the proposal, was granted the right to appeal the decision.

Summing up his judgement on Friday, Preston said: “In short, an open cut coal mine in this part of the Gloucester valley would be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Wrong place because an open cut coal mine in this scenic and cultural landscape, proximate to many people’s homes and farms, will cause significant planning, amenity, visual and social impacts.

“Wrong time because the greenhouse gas emissions of the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of greenhouse gases at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. These dire consequences should be avoided.”

via Rocky Hill Mine Knocked Back On Climate Change Grounds

Apartheid: Israel’s Netanyahu wants Death Penalty Solely for Palestinians

The Israeli parliament is scheduled to discuss a bill that would ease requirements on the death penalty for Palestinians next week.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported a bill that would allow the imposition of the death penalty for Palestinians charged with attacking Israelis. Debate on the bill is scheduled to restart next week.

via Apartheid: Israel’s Netanyahu wants Death Penalty Solely for Palestinians

The incestuous relationship between government, the financial sector, the regulators, and the legal firms they use – » The Australian Independent Media Network

via The incestuous relationship between government, the financial sector, the regulators, and the legal firms they use – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The law should not be a plaything of the government – » The Australian Independent Media Network

we had the saga of George Brandis’ refusing to fulfil a freedom of information request for his diary to see if he met with community legal aid stakeholders before making controversial cuts to the sector in the Coalition’s 2014 budget despite a Productivity Commission report that found it needed a huge boost in funds to meet growing demand.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal subsequently ruled Senator Brandis should process the request.  He again refused, taking it to the Federal Court who also ruled he must hand it over.  Eventually, after 1039 days and over $50,000 of public money wasted, Brandis finally handed over a heavily redacted copy of his diary.

Michaelia Cash is waging a similar battle to avoid answering questions regarding tipping off the media about an AFP raid on union headquarters.  The Federal Court has issued a subpoena requiring her to give evidence but she has instructed her lawyers to fight it.

via The law should not be a plaything of the government – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Multimillion-dollar wage theft group actions to be filed in Federal Court

The law seems in recent times  to have found an alternate economic niche in the market. What would appear to be  working class or left wing law once ignored by legal business models. To be labelled a left wing lawyer was to be  seen as a legal aid advocate or poor. It seems that that’s not so much any more since the finacial structure behind legal cases has changed.It seems to have become an area of investment wagering on contingent cases in which the lawyers no longer put up the bulk of the money and clients forward pay by guaranteeing a substantial portion should they win. Investors do the rest. It Sounds like LAWBET to me where investors can take part for a share. Capitalism is surely an inventive system in taking workers surplus even when disguised as aid (ODT)

Two multimillion-dollar wage theft group actions will be filed in the Federal Court on Monday on behalf of hundreds of Australian door-to-door and direct sales workers.

The young workers were allegedly paid well below the legal minimum wage for sales and charity fundraising for international direct marketing companies AIDA and Credico.

via Multimillion-dollar wage theft group actions to be filed in Federal Court

Behind the Struggle with Mueller; Comey: Trump is the Triumph of Privilege over Law

Frustration and bewilderment are common in media accounts of this administration’s expansive chaos. Even well educated writers turn to expletives, as if proper language were inadequate to convey the shock and dismay. Still, it is not that difficult to identify the source of puzzlement: neither Trump nor his appointees follow the rules. From the beginning he has systematically pursued the substitution of a pre-modern style of arbitrary rule for a modern, rule-based government. What we call chaos is what he calls power. The bad news is that, with help from a gullible press, this administration has been surprisingly successful in confusing these two systems in the public mind. That is dangerous. The longer we fail to mark the distinction between arbitrary and rule-based government, the more successfully the president can install personal privilege as the default conception of authority in the popular imagination.

via Behind the Struggle with Mueller & Comey: Trump is the Triumph of Privilege over Law

Australian media joins fight against Rebel Wilson’s record defamation payout

“That aspect of the court’s decision has significant consequences for all media,” Goss added.

The first and primary consequence don’t defame people without verified comment which judges regard as being “loose with the facts”(OD)

via Australian media joins fight against Rebel Wilson’s record defamation payout

Ex-top aide agrees to testify in Netanyahu corruption scandal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations in Jerusalem.

Shlomo Filber, the suspended Communications Ministry director and former chief of Mr Netanyahu’s bureau, signed an agreement to become a state witness. He turned on his former boss less than a week after police recommended pressing charges against Mr Netanyahu in two other influence-peddling cases – and a day after news broke that police were investigating whether another long-time Netanyahu associate sought to bribe a judge.

Unfortunately it’s up to the Israeli Attorney General

Promoted by Netanyahu, Israel’s Attorney General Must Now …

Feb 13, 2018 – Promoted by Netanyahu, Israel’s Attorney General Must Now Scrutinize Him. JERUSALEM — Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s favored candidate for the country’s top legal job. Now, Mr. Netanyahu’s fate lies in Mr. Mandelblit’s hands.

via Ex-top aide agrees to testify in Netanyahu corruption scandal

Anti-Trump protesters risk 60 years in jail. Is dissent a crime? | Yael Bromberg and Eirik Cheverud | Opinion | The Guardian

riot police

More than 200 people who were arrested on Trump’s inauguration day risk up to 60 years of jail. Meanwhile, the white supremacists in Charlottesville walk free

Anti-Trump protesters risk 60 years in jail. Is dissent a crime? | Yael Bromberg and Eirik Cheverud | Opinion | The Guardian

Five marks on the Tablet – » The Australian Independent Media Network

By freef’all852 Five marks on the Tablet, Three cuts in the Stone, Five loaves for the masses, Then it will all be gone … My comrades, fellow country folk … We are in deep shit … After a working lifetime of research and writing, after a working lifetime of total dedication to his craft, Edward…

Source: Five marks on the Tablet – » The Australian Independent Media Network

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Misogyny could be treated as a hate crime by police across UK | The Independent


Misogyny could be treated as a hate crime by police forces across England and Wales in a bid to tackle sexist abuse.  The move comes after Nottinghamshire Police reportedly launched 20 investigations in the first two months of its pioneering scheme to tackle misogyny. The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for women’s rights, praised the development but called for the policy to be entereed in to the law.

Source: Misogyny could be treated as a hate crime by police across UK | The Independent

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Asylum Seekers Lose Freedom Of Information Rights

sylum seekers have lost the right to access government documents held on them. Michael Brull reviews the latest onslaught against basic human rights.

New Matilda has gained access to an email sent by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), stripping asylum seekers of basic rights: the right to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

Previously, everyone in Australia had the right to request from the government documents relating to them. When making claims for asylum, asylum seekers who came by boat would send in FOI requests, seeking information about things like entry interviews they did with the government from when they first arrived.

For this article, I conducted an email interview with my former supervisor Katie Wrigley, the Principal Solicitor at Australia’s premier provider of legal advice to asylum seekers, the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS). I know Katie from the six months I spent doing my Practical Legal Training at RACS.

She explains that the record of the entry interview is “really useful for any lawyer helping that person in completing an application for asylum in the future: person’s name, date of birth, family structure – the names and dates of birth of all family members, travel history, citizenship, ethnicity, religion, work history, education history. It tells you whether they have rights to enter and reside in any third country.”

These records contain “a brief indication of their claims, but what’s more valuable is the data that will help you assess what’s likely to be relevant for that person to now address to flesh that out in the future with a lawyer to properly address their claims more fully. Ask a person to remember every place they’ve ever lived, worked and the months and years that they started and finished each of those including the months and years they started primary school, high school and any tertiary education is very difficult. Having the document that sets out what they said last time is invaluable.”

In the past, these documents were provided by the Department to a person’s migration representative, when legal assistance was available, without requiring any request under FOI.

Now, not only is legal assistance not available, but the government has announced a new policy, whereby asylum seekers who are not currently allowed to make protection visa claims will not have their FOI requests processed and will have those requests returned to them.

In the email sent to stakeholders, the FOI Section of DIBP observes that not all asylum seekers are currently eligible to validly apply for protection visas. The Gillard government implemented a “no advantage policy”, whereby asylum seekers who arrived after August 12, 2012 would not have their claims for asylum processed.

This built up a backlog of perhaps 30,000 asylum seekers who had claims for asylum which were unprocessed.

When the Coalition was elected into power, without lifting this bar, it passed a raft of legislation, slanting the process against asylum seekers, and introducing a “fast-track” process.

This process is “fast” because it has dispensed with the kind of processes, delays and reviews that a fairer process would inevitably include.

With the new legislative framework in place, the government has started inviting asylum seekers who were previously barred – those who arrived by boat on or after August 13, 2012 – to apply for asylum.

On the DIBP website, it says: “Applicants who think they need personal information that we hold should wait until it is close to their turn to be processed to seek that information.”

At this point in time, there is no indication if, or when, asylum seekers will be informed that it is “close to their turn” to have their claims for asylum processed.

What this means is that there are perhaps tens of thousands of asylum seekers who overnight have lost a very basic right: the right to seek documents held by the government about them.

These documents are often of fundamental importance in making a claim for asylum, and in understanding fully what elements need to be proven.

Once people have these documents, they can begin the process of chasing the various bits and pieces of evidence that may mean the difference between being allowed to stay in Australia as a refugee, and being deported back to danger as a supposedly illegal immigrant without valid claims of persecution.

Denying asylum seekers FOI rights adds to the many assaults the Coalition government has made in making the process of seeking asylum more unfair on asylum seekers.

The Coalition has slashed funding to legal representation to asylum seekers, and even slashed funding to interpreting services for asylum seekers.

Te Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) anticipated the huge rush of claims of asylum seekers that it would have to work through once the bar on applications was lifted. As an organisation with a small staff and an impending massive workload, it started doing the preliminary work of dealing with these claims.

It lodged their FOI claims, read through the documents when they arrived, and took statements in preparation for when the bar was lifted and these asylum seekers were able to make their claims.

The effect of the new policy will be to sharply limit the window of when work on a claim by an asylum seeker can be done.

Once the FOI requests are lodged, and then received, lawyers can then translate them and put them to asylum seekers, take their statements, and help them draft a claim for protection.

Once the bar is lifted on an asylum seeker, they have 28 days to lodge their claim for a protection visa. This is already a very short process, for people who usually don’t speak English and who will need translators.

Many will have special vulnerabilities – they may be children, they may have mental health issues, they may be deeply traumatised – which may make it difficult to get a calm, factually precise and convincing statement of why they need asylum.

This is yet another hurdle the government has placed in the way of asylum seekers getting a process which will give them a fair and reasonable chance to plead their case.

Wrigley explained that asylum seekers denied this right “are now to be treated much less favourably than any other person wanting to make an application under FOI to the Department in terms of an unprecedented change to longstanding principles of freedom of access to personal information.”

Everyone else has “a right to seek access to personal information held by the DIBP at any time under freedom of information laws”.

Wrigley observes that DIBP “doesn’t provide any information about when it is close to a person’s turn to apply, so it is impossible for a person to know that in order to make an FOI application with reference to when permission will be granted.”

This means that the 28-day period in which asylum seekers will be expected to make asylum claims will now include the process of making an FOI request and then reviewing the documents.

Wrigley explains that “FOI requests must be processed within 30 days”. This means that asylum seekers might not be able to get their FOI documents back before their protection visa claims are due.

According to Wrigley, “Before FOI documents arrive – a person can write down their own statement draft,” but generally lawyers and migration agents, who help asylum seekers in making claims, would not “want to meet with a person to conduct an interview addressing their claims until they had access to their previous documents, as you would be working blind from their memory rather than having the benefits of what they have previously spent time providing to the Department in the past.”

The likely effect will be to create more work for underfunded legal services for asylum seekers, and to produce weaker applications, due to a lack of time, resources, and access to information held by the government.

None of this is a necessary part of the process – the Coalition government has intentionally chosen these policies, though their effect on asylum seekers are readily apparent.

Even if DIBP did give notice to asylum seekers that they would soon be able to apply for asylum, this would probably be of little help. Wrigley notes that “Given that legal services have been cut, it’s unlikely that many asylum seekers will understand what happens if their form is returned to them or what any accompanying letter means. With no service funded to provide them with advice in their own language, returning the forms is likely to cause more chaos.”

It should be noted that if asylum seekers could lodge FOI requests before their bars are lifted, they would be able to be better prepared for the process. Wrigley notes that this is “in the Department’s interests because it will create less delay once they are allowed to apply and the information they provide in their applications will be more complete and accurate.”

Wrigley characterises these changes as “outrageous and unprecedented”. She explained that, “Yet again the rights of boat arrivals are being flat out denied. It’s another hurdle for these people to overcome.

“First we made them wait in detention for months, then we didn’t give them work rights. Now something as simple as being given access to their own documents is being restricted.

“When we’re denying people access to lawyers, access and early access to information is critical to a person being able to prepare for when they need to make out their claims and fill out the forms.”

This story may lack the sensationalism of reports of people smugglers being paid by Labor and Coalition governments to send boats back to Indonesia.

Yet the grim truth is that dry and technical changes to law and policy affecting asylum seekers – the kind that is hard to explain – is the kind that will ruin thousands of lives.

Quietly making the process of seeking asylum harder and more unfair might have disastrous effects on possibly tens of thousands of lives.

Refugees who have fled utter horrors from countries like Syria and Afghanistan might be sent back to their persecutors, simply because we instituted a process that didn’t give them a fair chance to be heard.

These measures may seem minor and technical, yet that is precisely when we should be the most vigilant, because that may just be the most effective way to whittle away at fundamental human rights and freedoms.

– See more at: https://newmatilda.com/2015/06/17/asylum-seekers-lose-freedom-information-rights#sthash.D8E4tYGp.dpuf

Australian citizenship: who really deserves it?Rewriting the oath of allegiance will do nothing to stop disenchanted young people from joining Islamic State.

Illustration: John Spooner

The recent controversy around citizenship proves the adage that a statement, no matter how absurd, can be taken as a truism if repeated often enough. So it is with the phrase “Australian citizenship is an extraordinary privilege” now on high rotation with federal government ministers.

For most Australians, though, citizenship is an automatic consequence of the dumb luck that saw our citizen mothers give birth in this country. While this majority is certainly privileged, in a philosophical sense, to live here, they’re also free to be ungrateful. Even committing crimes might suspend some of the rights of citizenship, but won’t revoke it. The only deal-breaker is an act of treason, such as fighting in the army of a nation with which we are at war – a provision the federal government wants to expand so that it catches dual nationals who enlist with the likes of Islamic State.

Most of the 100 or so Australian jihadis overseas are not migrants, but second-generation citizens.

So when the Prime Minister calls for “a conversation about citizenship” and the government’s discussion paper on the subject asks whether the “responsibilities of citizenship are well enough known and understood” and, most tellingly, whether eligibility for citizenship should be tightened, it’s clear who is really being talked about. And that’s migrants; newcomers who attain citizenship through bureaucratic act, rather than accident of birth; people who have been compelled to recite the citizenship pledge, whose words, Tony Abbott says, “must mean something”.
Candidates for citizenship already have permanent residency – formal citizenship is just the last administrative hurdle.

Candidates for citizenship already have permanent residency – formal citizenship is just the last administrative hurdle. Photo: Christopher Chan

To be precise, it means Muslim migrants, because the citizenship discussion paper is explicitly pegged to security threats in “a world in which terrorists are reaching out to our community”. Actually, make that Muslim migrants on welfare, because the government also trumpets its legislation to allow for welfare payments to be cancelled on security grounds. Yet, despite headlines about “jihadi dole bludgers”, last week’s Senate estimates hearings revealed none of the Australian jihadis overseas was receiving benefits.

And even though most of the 100 or so Australian jihadis overseas are not migrants, but second-generation citizens who’ve never formally pledged their allegiance to this country, the Prime Minister has asked the public to consider whether these people, too, should be stripped of their status, if they could, theoretically, acquire citizenship elsewhere.

As we know, several of his cabinet colleagues have chaffed at the proposal, so it might not go anywhere. What seems significant, though, is the drawing of a very long bow to define these people as legally – as opposed to spiritually – un-Australian, and belonging some place else. In this way, even the most Aussie Islamist can be vaguely thought of as a “migrant”, alien to the body politic.

But trying to nail the overall logic in the “citizenship conversation” is like wrestling with an eel. Or an army of straw men.

According to the discussion paper, the government is considering beefing up the citizenship pledge “to include words about allegiance to Australia and an undertaking not to act contrary to that allegiance”. It also canvasses expanding on such themes in the citizenship test and introducing “appropriate penalties for cheating on the test”.

Remember, we’re not talking about screening suspect individuals to keep them out and the rest of us safe. Candidates for citizenship already have permanent residency – formal citizenship is simply their last administrative hurdle. If they fail the questions on allegiance, these migrants will still be among us, with all their supposed disloyalty and dubious intent.

So, rather than chasing down security threats, these measures allude to the spectre of thought crimes. And how rampant is “cheating” on these tests? We’re not told. I’m imagining people turning up with the answers to questions such as, “which official symbol of Australia identifies Commonwealth property” scribbled on their hand.

Let’s not forget that the citizenship and English language test is itself the outcome of a similar, if more coy, discussion paper on citizenship released by the Howard government nearly 10 years ago. Then parliamentary secretary for immigration Andrew Robb said citizenship “should not be handed out like confetti” and cited with distaste a recent citizenship ceremony where people cleared out before the singing of the national anthem. (Who were these people actually? Poms? Music aficionados?) In its early incarnation, the test included Anglo-centric questions about Simpson and his donkey and Don Bradman.

Since then, it’s been stripped back to civics and the democratic process – useful and important knowledge, to be sure. Still, now as then, our leaders refer to democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, compassion and so on as “Australian values”. (Interestingly, “equality between men and women” appeared in the 2006 discussion paper, but not in the one released last week, which refers only to “equal rights before the law” and “equal opportunity for all”.)

And this is where the problem is one of efficacy, as well as politics. The teen susceptible to jihadist propaganda identifies with a truly global movement, one that negates national allegiance. His pathology, I assume, is no different to that of his peers in Sweden or Spain. I’d prefer for all of us to hear a rousing defence of Western values, as opposed to the nationalist rhetoric of “Australian values” that seems packaged for populist consumption. Unfortunately, our leaders have shown themselves incapable of any meaningful engagement in this epic contest of ideas. For all the bellicose gesturing, they can’t even call the enemy, Islamic State, by its name.

Julie Szego is a Fairfax columnist, author and freelance journalist.

HSBC tax scam: Whistleblowing email to UK govt agency uncovered: But they lied. When the Wealthy,Accounting Firms,Banks,Lawyers and even the Tax office participate in the tax avoidance industry we understand why governments turn to austerity economics to pay the bills.

Herve Falciani.(Reuters / Andrea Comas )

An email sent by HSBC whistleblower Herve Falciani to British tax authorities, which they denied ever receiving, has been discovered by a French newspaper.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) denied contact with Falciani, 43, who is at the center of one of the biggest financial leaks in history.

But French newspaper Le Monde has since uncovered the email, which Falciani sent to HMRC in 2008 informing the authority about HSBC’s alleged tax avoidance scheme.

It supports his previous allegations that HMRC did not act on information he provided the agency.

It proved I’m right,” Falciani told the BBC. “It required seven years of battles to get the point we are just now.”

Liz Nelson of the Tax Justice Network told RT HMRC’s missing email sounded “disingenuous.”

The former IT systems engineer for HSBC’s private banking operation in Switzerland stole the details of 30,000 bank accounts, totaling £78 billion, in 2007.

Swiss authorities issued an arrest warrant for Falciani for breaching their banking secrecy laws. He fled to France in 2008. The Swiss government continues to seek his prosecution.

Falciani then leaked the details to French authorities, who refused to extradite him to Switzerland when they realized the data could help identify thousands of French tax evaders.

The files have since been handed to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Falciani, who claims his family has received death threats since he made the leak, now lives in France under police protection.

The files reveal how HSBC Private Bank not only helped clients dodge taxes in their home countries, but also aggressively marketed the schemes.

Reuters / Arnd Wiegmann

Reuters / Arnd Wiegmann

HSBC in Switzerland actively contacted wealthy clients in 2005 to suggest ways of avoiding a new tax levied on the Swiss accounts of EU citizens, The Guardian reports.

The documents also reveal how HSBC Private Bank provided accounts for relatives of heads of state, people implicated in African corruption scandals, arms industry figures and others.

An HSBC bank branch in France laundered drug money collected from the sale of cannabis to immigrants in the Parisian suburbs, depositing the cash in the accounts of respectable clients in the French capital and reimbursing the drug dealers via their Swiss branch.

The leaks have caused a row in the UK over accountability, with Britain’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) challenging HMRC over its inaction.

In a hearing Wednesday, it emerged that of the 150 files seen by the tax authority only three were sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Of those, only one case was taken by the CPS.

Jennie Grainger, HMRC’s director general for enforcement and compliance, said it was extremely difficult to prosecute individuals for offshore tax evasion.

In the case of stolen or leaked data, guilt could only be proven using supplementary evidence, she said.

When probed on whether ministers were informed about HSBC’s practices, she initially said she was unsure, but later conceded concerns were passed on to ministers at the time.

Speaking to RT, Liz Nelson of the Tax Justice Network said: “These so called missing email – sounds disingenuous to those people [and] businesses that work hard and pay their fair share of tax.”

There seems to be a culture at HMRC of tolerance towards tax avoidance because to be other would be anti-business, and that taxing the very wealthy is somehow anti-business.”

Lord Green, who was CEO and then chairman of HSBC during the period which the leaks cover, was later made a member of the House of Lords and then trade minister by the Conservative-led coalition government.

READ MORE: Crime and punishment: Confiscate rogue bankers’ salaries & bonuses, says UK regulator

Green was appointed to a Cabinet committee on post-banking crisis reform by Prime Minister David Cameron, all of which happened after HMRC received data detailing the extent of HSBC’s tax avoidance schemes.

The Conservative party has come under fire after it emerged several of its key donors avoided tax in Swiss bank accounts.

Lord Fink, who donated £3 million to the Tories and was appointed a party treasurer, said he took “vanilla” tax avoidance measures.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Fink said, “Everyone does tax avoidance on some level.

News Oct 4, 2014 Taliban tortures Abbott government deportee Abdul Karim Hekmat. Scott Morrison Sound of Silence. Martin Bowles?

Will we hear anything from Scott Morrison on this? Or will he have the Monthly charged under the new whistle blowers act?

Taliban tortures Abbott government deportee

The first Hazara asylum seeker refouled by the federal government was taken by the Taliban inside a month.

An Afghan police photograph of Zainullah Naseri after his escape from his Taliban captors.

Zainullah Naseri has been in Afghanistan three weeks when the Taliban find him. They stop the car in which he is travelling and find in his pockets his Australian driver’s licence – a memento of the country that on the night of August 26 made him the first Hazara to be forcibly deported back to the country he was fleeing.

The six Taliban also find Zainullah’s iPhone, but he pretends it is not working. They do not believe him. Zainullah is punched and kicked. “They told me they would kill me if I didn’t open it.”

The Taliban bundle him into a car and after 20 minutes’ driving, take him to a mud house ringed by high walls. They beat him with wet rods cut fresh from a tree, demanding he open his phone. Again they threaten to kill him. Zainullah relents and offers his PIN.

Immediately, they are scrolling through pictures: the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, a video of the new year he recorded in 2014. Speaking in broken Dari, the Taliban tell him, “You from an infidel country.” They mean Australia. “You infidel. We kill you. Why you come to Afghanistan? You a spy.”

He tells them the truth: he was deported after his refugee application was rejected. But they do not believe him. He is laid out on the ground and again is beaten. “I swear to God, I was deported from Australia,” he pleads. “I don’t live there anymore.” The six men do not relent. “They kept bashing me,” Zainullah remembers.

Hellish escape

It was thoughts of his daughter that prompted Zainullah to break out. On the second night in captivity, at 10pm, he heard gunfire in the valley. He saw that the Taliban had gone out to fight and locked the gate. He realised it was an opportunity to escape but his feet were chained together. He groped in the darkness, found a rock, and brought it down onto the chain every time he heard gunfire.

At the back of the house, steps led up to a traditional Afghan squat toilet system, a hole above a chamber below. Having broken his chain, he ran for the toilet and dropped into the excrement. The human waste is collected for fertiliser, accessible with a shovel from outside the house’s wall through a hatchway. Zainullah wriggled out through the hatch. For eight hours, covered in faeces, he walked through darkness and early morning. At some point, exhausted, he heard more gunfire – the whizzing of bullets as they passed his ear.

A video captured by Afghan police shows officers firing on him, suspecting him to be a suicide bomber. A voice calling “help” is heard in the darkness. Moments later, three police speaking in Hazaragi are shown in the video, saying in angry voices, “Who are you?” and “Raise your hands”.

‘Not a real risk’

Mohammad Musa Mahmodi, the executive director of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, said: “It’s totally unacceptable to return a refugee to Afghanistan in this critical moment. It contradicts their [Australian] own law not to deport refugees where they face danger.”

Asked about Zainullah’s case and whether any attempt had been made to assess the ongoing safety of deported asylum seekers, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison  said: “People who have exhausted all outstanding avenues to remain in Australia and have no lawful basis to remain are expected to depart.”

Depressed and alone

On the day of his deportation, about 10am, he was transferred to a solitary room where he was asked repeatedly to return to Afghanistan. “A person talked so much, it was as if there was a wasp on my mind.” That night, he was taken to Sydney airport. He and six department escorts boarded the plane from a different door, away from other passengers’ eyes. “I did not know where I was. I did not sleep for two nights. My mind was not working. I just knew that my world is going to end.”

The Afghan embassy in Canberra didn’t issue a passport for Zainullah, disagreeing with his forced removal from Australia. Instead, the Australian government issued a travel document bearing his name and photo, but not his signature. The document was carried by his escorts, who showed it at every checkpoint. He was given a photocopy.

Walking alongside me, he shakes his head. “I ask why the Australian government wasted my time for so long. Made me wonder for three years. Then they dump me here. I have no future now.”

Attorney General is easing abuse of powers legislation. Proof is no longer necessary suspicion rules. Remove that hijab lady…Now!!!!

Arrest in Sydney

Substantial new powers of arrest for police officers under proposed amendments to anti-terrorism laws

Under the proposed changes, police officers would need only to “suspect on reasonable grounds” that a person has committed or is committing a terrorism offence. The amendments also would make it easier for authorities to apply for control orders, intended to prevent terrorist acts by restricting the movement or activities of certain people, such as forcing them to wear an electronic tag or making them report regularly to police. Under the proposed amendment, they would only need to “suspect” that this had taken place.

Allowed to enforce three-week suspensions of the passports of Australians who are suspected to be planning to “prejudice the security of Australia or a foreign country”.It makes it illegal for Australians to travel to certain places overseas except to do humanitarian or government work.

Australia is about to introduce new security laws and let the clowns out

Something about those Bolt readers they are everywhere

Very funny if it wasn’t serious this will be happening somewhere near or to you



ORLANDO-Citizens of the “Sunshine State” were left stunned this week after federal law enforcement agents took time off from drug-interdiction duties long enough to round up a group of miscreants in central Florida’s Osceola County. In a shocking deviation from the norm, federal agents participated in a well planned and effective sting operation that netted around a dozen members of a white supremacist group, “The American Front.”americanfront1

The U.S. Justice Department has long considered central Florida a hotbed for white supremacist recruiting. A spokesman for the FBI, Corporal Robert ‘Bat’ Guano, stated that “We keep a close eye on central and northwest Florida because of the low average IQ of its citizenry. It’s really easy for a charismatic leader to convince these idiots that all sorts of weird conspiracy theories are actually true. They actually believe what they hear from Fox News pundits and Tea Party candidates. Combine that with the native population’s hatred of minorities and love of firearms and you have a volatile combination.”
Over the weekend FBI and ATF agents posed as rodeo clowns in an operation code-named “Roundup” that took place at a barbecue and picnic held at the American Front HQ in rural Osceola County. The headquarters consists of a modified 1986 vintage mobile home and an above ground swimming pool (stocked with catfish) resting at the center of around ten acres of partially wooded property.


The agents cleverly ingratiated themselves by entertaining kids at the event while the adults were attending mandatory automatic-weapons drills and a grenade-toss contest. The miscreant offspring were treated to traditional Cretonian children’s games such as “pin the crime on the nigger,” “kick the Jew into the minefield,” and “beat on the fag with a baseball bat.”
After a laid back afternoon of barbecue, draft beer, and plotting the overthrow of the U.S. government, the group members were surprised to learn the clowns they had hired to entertain the kiddies were actually highly trained undercover agents from the FBI, DEA, and ATF.
“We certainly did surprise them,” said Special Agent Matt Helm, of the Orlando Field Office of the FBI. “We recovered AK-47’s, grenades, night vision equipment, and a lab apparently set up to manufacture the nerve agent ricin, among other things.” Agent Helm was quick to point out that there was no threat of a chemical weapons stockpile in the area because all the group had managed to manufacture so far was a particularly impure batch of methamphetamine.


Local law enforcement officials were not surprised at the haul of illegal weapons and drugs. They have expressed concerns about the group and had plans to infiltrate it. However, they have been consistently thwarted by county and state elected officials who depend on under-the-table cash donations from the American Front and other right-wing groups for both their campaigns and vacations to Bangkok. It seems the Justice Department had to get involved to get anything done, as is so often the case in Florida.
Arrested were Marcus and Patricia Faella, Christopher Brooks, Richard Stockdale, Kent McLellan, Diane Stevens, and ten other group members. They have been charged with a wide variety of crimes ranging from plotting to overthrow the federal government to bestiality involving unwilling miniature goats.


According to court documents the group had planned to cause “some kind of disturbance” at the Orlando city hall building, and were also looking forward to the yearly counter-protest of May Day activities this spring.
The property on which the American Front headquarters stands was found to be honey-combed with mysterious tunnels leading nowhere. Sandbags and railroad ties were stacked in defensive positions around the trailer and swimming pool area. The trailer itself was riddled with holes caused by inaccurate machine gun fire from the mandatory weapons training sessions. There were also gaping holes in the walls of the trailer that authorities believe are meant to be rifle ports but could just be caused by rats.
Marcus and Patricia Faella were released after posting one million dollars bond. As is usually the case, their henchmen were left to rot in jail.

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted from January 8th of this year because I am feeling too damn lazy to write today. Besides, I have to repair a leaky toilet before it falls into the crawlspace and releases hundreds of giant hostile scorpions from the depths. I have not bothered to check on the status of any of these morons, but knowing Florida they are probably still walking around free and are planning on hopping the next Greyhound to Murphy-if they can read, that is.

Team Australia vs Team to be selected. Losers R the Ashes


A handful of  Australians have been charged and imprisoned on planning terrorist acts. Some very few are Muslim. Our government says 150 suspected young Muslims  are  overseas whereabouts unknown and are now security suspects. Tony Abbott has seen fit to ask representatives of 500,000  Australians declared moderate Muslims to join his Team Australia. The head of ASIO has even called for their applications to the security organisation. Abbott  has asked these Australians to speak up  to become active members of his Team.  A back handed compliment if there was one coming from our PM has  raised the shackles of some representatives of these Australian groups and deservedly.

Abbott is about to change National Security laws such that a persons returning from a war zones will need to prove their  uninvolvement in any fighting in order not to be charged on counts of terrorism. The corner stone of British justice is about to be turned on it’s head. ‘Innocent until proven guilty will no longer be the corner stone of our legal system.

A number of Catholic priests have  been charged and goaled for sexual offences have all Catholics been asked to join Team Australia? After all the Team Australia wouldn’t have seen these offences as less important.Will priests in the future need to prove their innocence will their parishioners be assumed co-conspirators  from the gecko?

What about the Irish Catholics in Australia will they need to prove no association with the IRA on return from a home visit? Italian’s Catholic back from Italy will need to prove no Mafia association.

Tony Abbott manages to put both feet in his mouth more times than any other politician in recorded history but like George Bush remains just covered in shit, yes but deodorised by the Murdoch press.  The stupidity embarrasses us.

“Gee, I can’t understand why anyone would think that I’m being hostile to Catholics. I’m just trying to get everyone on Team Australia. I mean, make up your mind. To whom do you owe your allegiance, the Pope or Australia?”………Rossleigh

Christian fundamentalists  want to impose similar restraints on things like “homosexual behaviour”, abortion, alcohol,  nudity dancing and face-painting which are part of our rich tapestry of life and part of our democracy. Heaven help us if Cory Bernardi  and Kevin Andrews ever realise how much they and the other Catholics have in common with the Taliban &  ISIS who want to impose Sharia Law!

Thank you Rossleigh for this clarity:

Q: Why don’t Baptists have sex standing up?

A: Because it might lead to dancing!

Andrew Bolt is a great supporter of this new approach to law as he was once presumed innocent of racism but found guilty. Now under the new structure he has hope of appeal since the Bolt law is not going to be revised. He now has a window of opportunity to appeal because he is certain he has proof of innocence Tony Abbott his mate and a coalition cabinet.

Aussies presumed guilty crime will have to  prove their property is not. Beggars caught in our city malls across will have to prove any money in their pockets was not generously but illegally given.

This application of new principle has as yet not been extended to politicians will have to prove that donations didn’t affect their decisions. Nor – apart from Peter Slipper – that their travel allowance wasn’t an honest mistake or that their $270 a day living allowance wasn’t applied to their property purchases?

Guantanamo Australia is about to be a reality