Posts Tagged ‘refugee’

How Other Countries Treat Refugees

September 4, 2015

Now that the tragedy of death at sea has circled the world in an unsettling photo, the Aussie government is determined not to let this happen in our backyard.

Let it happen in someone else’s.

If traffickers want to beat Arabs and lock them in the hull while their boat sinks, then they’re doing the government’s job for them. Italian politicians planning to sink boats that have smugglers on them? Great. Are a few still getting in? Do what your two year old kid would do for a drowning bug, put ’em in a box far away with just enough food to make it look like you’re feeding them and guard them with carnivorous termites. IF YOU CAN’T SEE THEM THEY DON’T EXIST.


The Italian government tends to pile up its boat people and drop them in Libya, which is a family friendly place with many cheerful communities who’ve been in close contact since ousting Gaddafi. Well, ousting gives an image of Libya kicking his backside over the Tunisian border with a “Aaand stay out!” A more accurate word would be face-shooting. There’s also ISIS, who’ve been absent from the recent peace talks and have had minor success in grabbing Libyan land since the former dictatorship’s face-shooting.

But at least they’ve signed a peace treaty, so it should be fine to drop them there. Looks like Libya is safe for those wartorn families. Right, The Guardian?

The factions have yet to agree on details.

Diplomats say both governments face pressure from hardliners who favour a military solution.

Anyway …

Italy is doing God’s (Australia’s) work. Libya even helps return boatloads of war refugees to the war. This is called Operation Mare Nostrum, or Our Sea translated from Latin. It’s much like Australia’s habit of either sending them away or putting them on volcanic rocks on the equator to become proud citizens of Mordor. So when the Aussie PM told Europe to solve the “terrible problem” of refugees in boats his way, Italy must’ve agreed. Right?

Italian navy chief sceptical of Australian asylum seeker solution to Mediterranean migrant crisis

Even the people who dump their refugees in war zones are against Aussie-style turnbacks? The nerve.

In 2014 we launched a campaign to inform refugees that people would never be settled in Australia. If it was safe, we’d toss them back home. People like the Afghani Hazaras. That year, close combat increased in Afghanistan and both sides bombed civilian areas with no regard for what got destroyed. 22% more civilians died in 2014.


But Italy has it all. While they turn back boats, more than 800 refugees died when their Italy-bound ship capsized off the Libyan coast in April. This was when Abbott urged Europe to turn back their refugees, which is like asking someone whose computer is on fire “Have you tried smacking it? That works with my Xbox sometimes. Hit it bro.”

Italy’s PM had to comment on the 800 deaths and the world news reports tied up Italy in the issue, while Italian coastguards rescued the survivors. If a boat aims for Australia, sinks near its own country and no one is around to hear it, then we’ve stopped the boats.

But wait! Hungary can dehumanise too.

Refugee protesters threw themselves on train tracks and went on hunger strike yesterday because Hungary wanted to send them to camps with notoriously bad conditions. The refugees begged to be reunited with their families in Germany, while chanting “Media, media, don’t leave!” knowing that the police would bundle them onto trains bound for camps when the press went home.

Refugees begging to be sent to Germany so that authorities don’t shove them in trains and send them to deadly camps. The real news story is that we’re living in an alternate universe.

That brings us to today, the queasy image of the Turkish guard looking down at a toddler on the tide. They were bound for Greece, which has been flooded by 205,000 refugees this year. 18% of those are Afghani. Greece is preparing for disease to spread through its squalid camps.

It’s a good time to reread the government’s You Will Never Call Australia Home comic aimed at war refugees.

If places like Australia were willing and able to do more for foreigners, those numbers might lighten. She could live up to those bits of paper she signed for the UN or try something outrageous like both rescuing refugees and treating them humanely. More Afghanis might be encouraged to leave, knowing that they won’t be assaulted in every way by security guards and hostile Papua New Guineans. Those hostile locals have a strange prison on their land where all the inmates are punished for escaping war, something that wiped out a third of Papua New Guineans not long ago. The nations of Europe might not be, as bogans like to call our country, full – and still taking more. Life might be liveable for millions. Others might still have their lives.

When the Italian coastguard salvaged a dozen bodies from April’s shipwreck that killed 800, they sailed into Malta. For a while they considered where the dead should go, who they might belong to. In the end, they buried the bodies right there.



House of Border Guards

June 15, 2015

Happy birthday!

It’s 800 years since the Magna Carta was born. A few grumbling barons pulled the equally grumbling king to a grassy patch of Runnymede, which is the closest a town name has ever come to being a drinking song. The Magna Carta (Great Charter, or literally Big Paper) declared that everyone in society was a servant of the law. Even the king. It was 1215 and the world was a little colder.

To understand King John's mood, imagine this conversation.

To understand King John’s mood, imagine this conversation.
“Sign here. Great. Here’s your phone. You’re now an Apple user.”
“What have I done?”

It’s 2015 now. It’s becoming fast apparent that Australia’s ruling party paid people smugglers to send away at least one boatload of asylum seekers. This crime carries up to 20 years in prison, since people smuggling is the oil that keeps slavery running.

Here’s my prediction:

More evidence will appear. There will be no arrests.

Why no arrests? Because to arrest a Member of Parliament, the Attorney General must approve. That man is George Brandis, whose most famous fights in office have involved stopping asylum seekers from entering UN Refugee Charter Nation Australia, plus loosening Racial Discrimination laws. His reasoning? Not that people need protection from State censorship, or the ability to debate and strengthen ideas (the reasons why freedom of speech exists), but that we “have a right to be bigots.”

The Attorney General’s office is designed to take a lawyer and pull them out of their political career for a while, so they can take care of the High Court and defend the government if need be. They’re meant to be impartial and keep the court independent, aloof, unbiased.

When the office came to Australia a century ago, much like the convicts and settlers, it changed. Now the Attorney General is a senior member of Cabinet, who slugs it out in the political arena and is expected to keep the court biased. All for the Party. If someone wants to give the government legal trouble, they come through Big Bad Brandis first.

Oh – since 1903, the Attorney General has been allowed to intervene in court cases. If you put a human trafficker in a court, then lower Brandis down from the ceiling, he will legally be a deus ex machina. He becomes judge and god.

On the third day of legal proceedings, Attorney General Brandis abrogated the case against the Prime Minister. He then removed all brown looking people from the courtroom and he saw that it was good.

On the third day of legal proceedings, Attorney General Brandis abrogated the litigation. Records show he then removed all brown looking people from the courtroom and he saw that it was good.

So why will there be more evidence?

Because the leaks come in organised bursts, each one just in time for a fresh news day. There is motive. The Prime Minister is one of the most unpopular ever, several people around him want his seat. People who worked for the refugee camps are lining up to report every kind of abuse which humans can use to attack each other. There’s a focus on child victims.

So if someone is betraying Tony Abbott, who is it?

The most likely candidate to succeed the PM would be Malcolm Turnbull, who likes to dig in his barbs when things look especially bad for PM Abbott. Around the same time, he does a capital job of selling himself to the public. To get around the many far right elements of his party who disagree with his liberalism, Turnbull has to be shrewd. Still, his leadership is a matter of time. In 2009, when Abbott was far more popular, he took the leadership from Turnbull by one vote.

Then there’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop. She’s been loyal, totally loyal, but only pragmatically. In the February leadership spill, she backed down only when it became apparent that the PM had a good chance of leaving at least one greasy paw on his chair. She gambled and thrived.

Fun fact: Before politics, Julie Bishop was a WA solicitor for asbestos user CSR. She drew out the court case so that the victims would die and the companies would owe their grieving families less money. Lawyer Peter Gordon reported that she asked why victims “should be legally entitled to jump court queues just because they were dying.”

It could be someone lower in the Party who wants more power in the reshuffle that follows. Perhaps it’s a well connected someone or ones from a rival party. It’s possible that Tony Abbott is an idiot savant who was made for pandering to people’s ignorance, but is clumsy with hiding evidence. Perhaps he’s not psychopathic enough to make sure the traffickers and refugees who witnessed the payment were silenced, or he’s sociopathic enough not to think of it.

Pictured: Not Tony Abbott.

Pictured: Not Tony Abbott.

There’s a phenomenon called the Cobra Effect. In the British Raj, there was a plague of cobras. The British gave a cash reward to anyone who killed the snakes. They weren’t used to the clever Asian traders. People hacked the system and began to breed cobras and make a snake-killing. When the British discovered this, they scrapped the reward. Those snake peddlers had no use for their stock anymore. They released the cobras into the wild and the population increased.

Paying people smugglers to skip the dangerous action of offloading their human cargo is a Cobra Effect.

Meanwhile, watch this story. There’s more to come.