Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The nightmare of returning to Sri Lanka?

This report below is just Leftist disinformation.  Any Sri Lankan Tamil who REALLY wanted refuge just has to take a short boat ride across the Palk strait to Tamil Nadu in India. How odd that the proximity of the Tamil "eelam" (homeland) is not mentioned below!  Australia is about a thousand times more distant than Tamil Nadu so how odd it is that they chose to sail to Australia!

The Abbott government has all but claimed victory in stopping asylum seeker boats.

Offshore processing and turning around boats at sea have been important elements in achieving this goal.

Also important has been its efforts at returning asylum seekers, especially Sri Lankans.

In October 2012, the Labor government introduced a new "enhanced screening" process in order to return Sri Lankans arriving by boat within days.

Since then, more than 1300 people have been returned to Sri Lanka under this process – after just a cursory assessment of their claims.

Scores more have been returned "voluntarily" from the offshore processing system and from Australia, often with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration.

And  4500 others have been intercepted by the Sri Lankan navy, with which Australia has close ties, while attempting to come to Australia.

Last month, I travelled to Sri Lanka and spoke to people who had been returned from Australia.

One woman, who says she had political problems in Sri Lanka, said the Sri Lankan military raped her before she eventually boarded a boat and fled.

On her second attempt to escape, Australian border officials intercepted her vessel.

After days at sea, as she was kept on an Australian vessel, she was subjected to "enhanced screening," consisting of a 30-minute satellite phone interview, through an interpreter, with an immigration department decision-maker back on the mainland.

With three or four of her fellow passengers, in the same area who she was unsure she could trust, she said that there was no privacy for her to tell her full story.

On the basis of this brief interview, Australian officials determined that it was safe to send her back.

When I met her in a secret location, after an elaborate process involving a lawyer, a "safe" driver, and various phone calls in which I was instructed to go from one place to the next to get further directions, she was terrified of being picked up again by Sri Lankan authorities.

She was living out of a suitcase and moving from house to house.

She has since told me that she has fled her homeland for a second time.

Another man I spoke to, as part of research on those sent back to Sri Lanka, told me  he had been subjected to brutal torture after Australian officials rejected his refugee application and he was returned.

After months of monitoring by Sri Lankan security forces, he was abducted and taken to a secret location.  He says that for more than two months, he was tortured, including having his fingernails torn out and being hung upside down and beaten.

He was accused of being associated with the defeated Tamil Tigers.

Later, he says he was picked up again and taken to the notorious fourth floor of the Criminal Investigations Department in Colombo.

This time, he says his wrists and ankles were tied behind his back and he was hung from a pole between two chairs.

These stories may seem paranoid or unbelievably brutal, but they are consistent with credible international research.

Earlier this year, human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka wrote a study called, An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka 2009-2014.

Ms Sooka was a commissioner on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  She was also one the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts advising him on Sri Lanka.

Ms Sooka's report found that even now, years after the end of the civil war, people accused of being associated with the Tigers are being abducted by men in "white vans" and then tortured, including branding with hot rods.  Men and women are sexually abused and raped, including by multiple perpetrators.

Ms Sooka told me that this is planned and systematic and goes to the "highest level" of government.

Sri Lanka is a country that is rebuilding after decades of civil war.  Tourists are flocking there is increasing numbers.

Not everyone who comes to Australia from Sri Lanka is in need of international protection.

But the presumption behind Australia's quick return of Sri Lankan asylum seekers after just a cursory assessment of their claims – namely that it is not only administratively and politically convenient, but that it is safe to do so – is not well founded.

So as the government and its supporters congratulate themselves on stopping the boats, including for humanitarian reasons, we need to ask again, "at what cost?"


Farmer rejects wind turbines - and $30,000 carrot

Marilyn Garry has rejected wind farm proponent Epuron's offer of $30,000 a year for hosting three turbines and other infrastructure on her family's grazing property near Binalong.

Wind farm hosts generally welcome an opportunity to host turbines because the cash flow counters drought and volatility in agriculture.

Epuron proposes a $700 million wind farm with more than 130 turbines on the peaks of Coppabella hills and Marilba hills. The two ranges sit on either side of Mrs Garry's property "Mylora".

Mrs Garry's husband John died in April. She said while he considered hosting wind farm infrastructure following a meeting six years ago between Epuron and surrounding farmers, he eventually rejected them, too.

"They are just hideous. They will make sheep and cattle sterile," Mrs Garry said. "The government is paying subsidies, if they don't pay, if they pull the rug, the turbines will be left here to rust.

"We have an airstrip on our property. Our son flies down twice a year from Toowoomba with his wife and children. Everyone around here uses the airstrip for spreading aerial super, they pay $1 a tonne. It is also used for fire fighting," Mrs Garry said.

She said turbines and powerlines would prevent aircraft from using the landing strip.

Mrs Garry has written to NSW Planning saying despite her rejection of Epuron's turbines, they were still shown on maps, along with infrastructure.

Neighbour Mary Ann Robinson said NSW Planning had been led to believe Mrs Garry was to be a host, which meant Epuron was not required to do as many impact assessments.

Epuron says it will not discuss agreements it has with individual landholders.

Construction manager Andrew Wilson said even when a wind farm project had planning approval, infrastructure could not be built on any land without the consent and agreement of the landowner.

"Wind farms are not like other resource projects such as coal-seam gas as it can only proceed with the consent of the landowners and also involves the establishment and annual contribution to a community enhancement fund," Mr Wilson said.

Epuron lodged a development application in 2009 and says the project has been on public exhibition twice, in 2009 and a preferred project report in 2012.

NSW Planning is now preparing an assessment report, which should be released soon, Mr Wilson said.

"The benefits of renewable energy and wind farms in particular are well established, not just for the landowners who lease part of their land to the wind farm company, but also for the surrounding community," Mr Wilson said.

Epuron told the Renewable Energy Target review panel in June it had spent $470 million and, with certainty over the RET, would invest several billion dollars more in renewables.


Muslim Fast Food Worker Screams and Threatens Customer Who Wanted Bacon

A customer at a KFC restaurant received vicious insults and threats from a Muslim employee, when the patron asked for bacon on their sandwich.

In accordance with Islamic law, the KFC restaurant in Sydney, Australia, does not serve bacon, as the restaurant is “halal-friendly.”

The violent outburst was recorded by the customer, and in the video, one employee can be heard saying, “We don’t have bacon,” before the other begins yelling.  “Don’t record me bit**! Don’t f—ing record me!”

The disgruntled Muslim KFC employee continues to rant and yell, smacking the cash register display over before another worker grabs him in an attempt to calm him down. As he is led around the corner, he continues:  “I’m gonna f—ing break your head bro!!!!”

The employee was suspended after the screaming incident.

How long before restaurants in America start pulling bacon from their menu in an attempt to appease Muslims?


False conflation of classical liberalism

 The phrase neo-Liberal gets thrown around a lot, most recently as a prefix to 'Abbott government' or '2014 Budget'.

It's one of many conflated terms which are impoverishing the debate about economic and social reform. For example, recently in a major online publication it was claimed that 'these days, most right-wingers in Australia identify themselves not as conservatives but as "classical liberals".' In my experience, few people identify themselves as classical liberals and fewer still understand what it means.

Classical liberalism is certainly not a synonym for conservative. In his essay 'Why I am not a Conservative' Friedrich Hayek made plain the differences. Conservatism reflects a cautious attitude to change and a Burkean recognition of the value of institutions which have served humankind over time as proven repositories and safeguards of wisdom-the family, the rule of law, parliament and universities and for some people the church.

 Hayek pointed out that both conservative and progressive as descriptors define only a position relative to the status quo. Neither provides a positive, principles-based agenda for addressing social or economic challenges. Classical liberalism, by contrast, is not defined in relation to the extremes of current debate or the relative positions of other philosophies. It is defined from first principles as a commitment to individual liberty, the rule of law and limited state intrusion into private life, commercial relationships and very importantly civil society.

These founding principles of classical liberalism are rooted in the Magna Carta, the agreement between King John and his barons which proclaimed that freedom is secured under the rule of law and that no person is above the law. The Great Charter led to parliamentary democracy, the American Bill of Rights and eventually following Federation to our own constitution. One of only four surviving originals of the 1297 Inspeximus issue is on display in Australia's Parliament House. Clauses in the Magna Carta defend the freedom of the Church from whence we inherit our freedom of religion; another confirms the 'liberties and customs' of communities along with early forms of a right to privacy.

Calling for an online Bill of Rights, 'father of the Internet' Tim Berners-Lee has said it must be a Magna Carta for the Internet. Such is the power of this almost 800 year old proclamation of liberty. It is a constant reminder that classical liberalism is not a tactical response to temporary political challenges but an enduring framework for all social, economic and political challenges.

Commentators need to get the definitions right. Conflating conservatism, statism or worse blatant electoral politics with a principled philosophy of liberty almost 800 years old fails not only to recognise the real nature of liberalism but its true promise for another 800 years to come.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Funny how the bloodthirsty, murderous nature of the Tamil Tigers seems to have been dropped down the memory hole.