vigil – a necessary visible presence in this time of secrecy

castlemaine vigil 30th September 2013

It’s scarily windy here in Castlemaine tonight.  I am writing this late as the wind has made it impossible for me to sleep. Ourghhh I feel – may there be no boats out in windy seas tonight, may the seas be calm and kind.  And those on Manus and Nauru – may the winds be low.  In a tent or makeshift shelter these winds would be terrifying.

Sitting the vigil this evening I was, of course, thinking of those little children, their families, their mothers, their sisters, brothers, fathers, aunties …. I was thinking of all those who drowned off the coast of Java after Australia refused to respond to calls for help – many calls for help.  These people were murdered by invader-australier – there is no other way i can see it.

I will write up a petition to the UN and other bodies to protest and report on the Australian Governments violations of human rights and war crimes.  For this Government has declared war on both Indigenous Australians and people fleeing persecution and seeking asylum.

I think the last time I wrote about the vigil i was asking myself – and others – what worth there is in it.  I am very clear now.  At this time of limiting information, media white-outs and state secrecy the vigil’s presence is a reminder of the un-named human rights abuses and terrors and deaths being carried out against refugees/asylum seekers by the invader-australier government and wilfully-(un)aware populace.  When ‘out of sight out of mind’ is the aim of these deathly policies a visible presence is necessary.

I have started following a couple of different information gatherers so that i can put as much information as possible on this blog about what is happening (or what information people on Christmas Island can obtain) in relation to the people smuggling (australian government’s secret smuggling of people) there – that is arrivals of peoples seeking asylum, deportations to Nauru, Manus Island or countries of origin etc.  You will find these under the category – “stop the white out – reporting refugees in boats arriving”.  If anyone has further info on this can you please let me know.

I will also get a whiteboard and be writing this info up to have at the vigil so that people can see it as they go by.

And there has been some further engagement – a woman on Castlemainia who is determined to stand against this tyranny.  And a man who stopped at the vigil the other night.  He and his friends – a car with 5 men in it – had driven by earlier and came back.  A man got out and came up to ‘see what this’ all about’.  He was ready to fight but for some reason we just started talking and he started saying ‘ya know I got some bias’ and ‘not everything on telly’s right i guess’.  We talked about how it is in Pakistan and Afghanistan for Hazara people (or my understandings of this anyway); and the terrors that Tamil people live with in Sri Lanka – and Iran and … And as he left he took some information on both Australia’s ever growing disdain for the human rights of refugees and what other alternatives there are, as well as information on Aboriginal deaths in custody.  He took quite a bit of information saying: ‘I will read them and pass them on’.  For me, this was a moment of renewed energy.

Come down to the vigil and sign the petition to Stop Deaths in Custody.  Other petitions will be ready in the next few days.

May those who have lost their loved ones feel our love.  May those who are in peril find safety, may those on Manus and Nauru and in detention throughout this continent be safe tonight.

Vigil runs Castlemaine Market Building Steps 5pm – 6.30pm each weekday evening. (unless one of us is unwell and we can’t find a fill in!!)

janet galbraith


State Secrets from CI 30th September 2013

State Secrets from CI 30th September 2013

gordonthomsonci@gordonthomsonci 6h

State Secret # 9 Approx 80 men women children disembarked 8 -9.30 CI time rescued by 2 RAN patrolboats

gordonthomsonci@gordonthomsonci 6h

State Secret #10 Woman deported to Nauru last week 22 weeks pregnant twins, Everyone concerned for her health. Bring her back Minister

David Marler@Qldaah 2h

@gordonthomsonci: State Secret#11 Follow flights from CI – tonight 34 men fly to Manus. Tomoro families to Nauru”. #auspol

gordonthomsonci@gordonthomsonci 4h

State Secret#11 Follow flights from CI – tonight 34 men fly to Manus. Tomoro families to Nauru.

State Secrets from gordonthomsonci

The following are tweets from Gordon Thomson from Christmas Island.  He is tweeting as much info as he is able about people arriving and being moved to and from Christmas Island at this time of Secrecy.  Thank you Gordon.

gordonthomsonci     ‏@gordonthomsonci 26 Sep 

State Secret # 8  35 of about 80 incl kids off Navy RHIBs onto CI Jetty at 3pm CI time. Disembarkation of all should be completed by 3:30

Java tragedy survivors claim Australian authorities ignored plight

September 28, 2013 · 7:45 pm

Java tragedy survivors claim Australian authorities ignored plight

September 28, 2013

Residents help survivors of the boat that sank off the coastal village of Cianjur in Java. Photograph: AFP

Residents help survivors of the boat that sank off the coastal village of Cianjur in Java. Photograph: AFP

Survivors of a boat that sank off Java claim the Australian embassy ignored a distress call. Twenty-two asylum seekers have been confirmed as drowned but authorities in Indonesia fear that number may rise to more than 70.

“I called the Australian embassy; for 24 hours we were calling them. They told us just send us the position on GPS, where are you,” one survivor, Abdullah, a man from Jordan, was reported as saying by Fairfax media. “We did, and they told us, ‘OK, we know … where you are’. And they said, ‘We’ll come for you in two hours’.

“And we wait two hours; we wait 24 hours, and we kept calling them, ‘we don’t have food, we don’t have water for three days, we have children, just rescue us’. And nobody come. Sixty person dead now because of Australian government.”

One of the passengers, a Lebanese man, had reportedly lost his pregnant wife and eight children in the disaster.

Just 25 of those aboard had been rescued before efforts to locate survivors were postponed on Friday evening due to failing light.

It’s believed to be the first fatal attempted asylum-seeker crossing under the Abbott government, and comes after another group of 44 asylum seekers were rescued by an Australian navy vessel in the Sunda Strait on Thursday.

The boat that sank on Friday had departed from the fishing village of Pelabuhan Ratu, in the Sukabumi regency, on the south coast of western Java. It first got into trouble about 10 hours into its journey and efforts were made to return to Indonesia before it sank.

A police official from the district of Cianjur in Java said authorities were alerted to the incident after bodies were discovered floating in an estuary on Friday morning.

“We have now found 22 dead bodies, most of them are children as they cannot swim,” the official said, according to news agency AFP. He said the boat had broken into several pieces.

A spokesman for the Indonesian search and rescue agency, Basarnas, said his office was not advised of an incident involving an asylum seeker boat until 3pm local time on Friday.

He said the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority had contacted Basarnas about the boat.

The latest tragedy in waters between Indonesia and Australia comes amid a ramping up in tensions between Canberra and Jakarta over the asylum seeker issue, and days ahead of talks in Jakarta between Tony Abbott, and the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Abbott and Yudhoyno will meet on Monday, with asylum seeker policy expected to be at the top of the agenda.

Strong waves are preventing Indonesian rescuers from continuing the search for survivors on Saturday morning.

“The waves are just too high for our speed boats to go out yet. They’re four to six metres. We hope conditions improve soon,” Warsono, a police official in Cianjur district on Java, told AFP, adding no helicopter had been deployed.


Fears minors sent offshore alone

September 26, 2013 · 12:41 am

re-blogged from

Fears minors sent offshore alone

September 26, 2013

Christmas Island Dention Centre

The case of the 16-year-old Somali boy found hanging in a bathroom on Christmas Island last month has sparked two government inquiries and prompted refugee rights campaigners to try to intervene. Picture: Colin Murty Source: Herald Sun

REFUGEE advocates are pleading with the federal government not to send a mentally ill Somali boy to Nauru or Manus Island, as speculation builds the Coalition may have secretly flown children to foreign detention compounds without parents or guardians.

The case of the 16-year-old Somali boy found hanging in a bathroom on Christmas Island last month has sparked two government inquiries and prompted refugee rights campaigners to try to intervene.

They fear the boy, who spent almost a month in Perth hospitals after he was cut down in a medical emergency on August 25, may be flown offshore as part of the Papua New Guinea Solution, which was started by Kevin Rudd and continued by the Coalition.

He was among a group of unaccompanied minors held in detention on Christmas Island.

Those asylum-seekers are considered especially vulnerable because they came by boat without a parent or guardian.

In legal terms, the Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, is their guardian.

The policy of both the former Labor government and the Coalition was to send all groups of people offshore, including families and unaccompanied minors, so as not to create an incentive for some people to travel.

When the Coalition’s Operation Sovereign Borders began last week, accompanied by a media blackout, no unaccompanied minors had been sent to Nauru or Manus Island.

But yesterday on Nauru, resident Clint Deidenang claimed to have seen what appeared to be unaccompanied minors getting off a plane from Christmas Island and on to a bus for detention.

“There were kids with their parents all together in little groups but there was also teenagers walking alone, one by one,” he said. “They seemed to be unaccompanied minors.”

One refugee advocate told The Australian that unaccompanied minors on Christmas Island were visited on Tuesday night by immigration officials who told them to prepare for transfer to Nauru “within 40 hours”.

Refugee Council of Australia board member Judyth Watson said it was wrong for any immigration minister to be the nominated guardian for unaccompanied minors. “Scott Morrison is the children’s jailer as well as their guardian, it’s a hopeless conflict,” she said.

Dr Watson said the sad story of the troubled Somali boy deeply concerned her.

“He is so vulnerable, he is alone and he needs advocates,” she said.

Mr Morrison’s office did not respond when The Australian asked him to confirm whether the first unaccompanied minors had arrived in Nauru yesterday.

On Christmas Island, administrator Jon Stanhope has praised hospital staff for their actions during the emergency involving the boy and said they saved his life.

The island’s hospital staff frequently treat detainees and, across many years, have dealt with traumatised asylum-seekers.

“As a consequence of this unfortunate event there will, as a matter of routine, be a full inquiry conducted by (the Department of Immigration and Border Protection) and the (Indian Ocean Territories Health Service) into all aspects of the circumstances of the attempted suicide,” Mr Stanhope said in a newsletter.



Family demands independent investigation into death in custody in Alice Springs Hospital

Published on Treaty Republic –   Indigenous Australia Sovereignty, Genocide, Land Rights and Pay the Rent   Issues (

Family demands independent investigation into   death in custody in Alice Springs Hospital

The family of Arabana man, Peter Clarke, issued a call today for the   Northern Territory Government to launch an independent enquiry into his death   in Alice Springs Hospital. He was 56 year old.

Mr Clarke died on Tuesday 3 April 2012. He’d been due for parole on 26   March 2012 but was hospitalised on 19 March.

When Peter Clarke’s younger brother Wayne and sister Gladys visited the   hospital, they were shocked to find their brother cuffed by the ankle to the   hospital bed. A Corrections Officer was also standing guard at the door. He   was kept like this for the first two days he spent in the Intensive Care   Unit. Clarke’s eldest daughter, Kylie Hampton, who is the family   spokesperson, described this treatment as “appalling and inexcusable.”

After the death, a doctor told the family a Coroner might need to do an   autopsy as the death could be treated as a death in custody. But the death   would not be investigated. His family was told Mr Clarke was “a free man” as   of 26 March. The family disputes this, as Mr Clarke could not sign his   release forms due to being in an induced coma.

Mr Clarke had been in jail for 3 and half years. He was jailed for   possession of an ounce of marijuana. Ms Hampton said her father was “looking   forward to his parole so that he could get on with his life, travel and see   his children.” She is angry that he spent his last conscious hours shackled   in leg irons.

The facts leading up to Mr Clarke’s death have left the family with many   questions.

Why was a man sick enough to be in intensive care shackled to the hospital   bed? Did Mr Clarke receive proper treatment while in custody for his   diabetes? Could there have been early warnings to suggest Mr Clarke had   cancer? Did Corrections follow all of their protocols?

They are calling for Corrections to release his medical records and for   these to be compared with the records made by Alice Springs Hospital in time   leading up to his death.

Peter Clarke was from Arabana nation. The Arabana people are the   traditional owners of a large part of South Australia, including Lake Eyre.   His mother Thelma Ahchee, was Arabana and was born in Anna Creek in South   Australia an lived in Ooodnadatta with her mother and father until she moved   to Alice Spring’s in her teenage years where she is now laid to rest. His   father, Keith Clarke, was a non-indigenous man from Sydney. Thelma, a single   mother, provided for and raised 14 children. Peter grew up in Alice Springs   and spent most of his life in the Northern Territory.

Kylie Hampton says the family wants the Minister for Correctional   Services, Gerald McCarthy, to launch an independent inquiry into events   leading up to her father’s death. “My family wants to expose the flawed   nature of the system and wants justice,” she said.


Peter Alexander Clarke Date of Birth: 24th August 1956 Parole release date: 26th March 2012

17th March – Visit by Aunty Glad (Dads eldest sister) to   Alice Springs Prison

18th March – Visit by Aunty Gladys to Alice Springs   Prison – signs of continuous coughing (emphysema)

19th March – Dad admitted to Alice Springs Hospital.   Visit at 7pm by Aunty Glad and Uncle Wayne (Dad’s youngest brother) to Alice   Springs Hospital. Uncle Wayne stated that Dad’s left ankle was hand cuffed to   the end of the hospital bed and was like this for the next two days whilst in   I.C.U.

Ask if Corrections followed their protocols?

Subpoena his release/parole records from Corrections.

Dad also had diabetes so he should have been followed up at the prison   from the Doctor. Could there have been an early warning from his medical   information from Corrections to suggest that Dad had Cancer?

20th March – Aunty Gladys to Alice Springs Hospital.   Doctors advised that Dad needed to be sedated to help him breathe as he   couldn’t breathe normally due to diagnosing him with Emphysema and Pneumonia.   Previously Dad was admitted into Alice Springs Hospital with Pneumonia in   October 2011.

22nd March – Peter Clarke Jnr found out Dad was in ICU   and visited him. This day he then messaged me to let me know how serious Dad   was. This was the first time we found out he was in I.C.U.

Subpoena his medical records from   Corrections.

26th March – I flew to Alice Springs, I was advised by   Doctor Raj that Dad would not live for long. Dr Raj called a meeting once all   family was there and stated he had Emphysema, and pneumonia that he had had   for obviously quiet some time

He also gave us the inevitable, which was that the CT Scan showed signs   Dad had cancer and that it was on both lungs and his condition was   worsening.

Was there conflicting information from the Hospital to his   Corrections medical records?

2nd April – I was advised by Dr Raj that palliative care   needs to be considered

3rd April – Dad passed away early in the morning at 6am   on 3rd April 2012.

5th April – My brother Peter and I started planning   funeral proceedings

6th April – I rang Dr Raj to let him know we needed my   father’s body released to funeral services so we can go ahead with   arrangements.  I was advised by Hospital we could not plan a date due to the   Coroner needing to do an Autopsy as “this could be treated as a death in   custody”. Dr Raj said “he will ring the coroner and will ring me back”.

7th April – I asked Dr Raj if he could follow this up and   advise what the process is as I explained we desperately wanted to put my Dad   to rest.

8th April – Dr Raj rang me and advised that this will not   be treated in a “Deaths in Custody” due to his release date being 26th March  and was a “free man as of midnight”.

How could he be a free man if Dad could not sign his release   forms due to being in an induced coma?

20th April – Dad’s Funeral at Alice Springs Catholic   Church.

8th June – Corrections Apologised to Aunty Glad on her   loss.

Why didn’t Corrections advise Dad’s children of their   loss?

Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody National Network Sydney: Ray Jackson, President, Indigenous Social Justice Association, 0450   651 063 Melbourne: Alison Thorne, Indigenous Social Justice Association Melbourne,   0411 080 031 Perth: Bruce Campbell, WA Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, 0409 947 457

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE24th Session UN Human rights council-Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers

24th Session UN Human rights council-Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers condemned on the world stage:
Please TAKE ACTION by:
Contacting the UN and expressing your concerns about the illegal actions of the Australian government:
Email (subject heading: Attention-Navaneetham Pillay)
It is also important that the Australian people also contact international organisations such as Amnesty International and Human rights watch and ask them to highlight the illegal actions of the Australian government.
Amnesty International UN Office in New York
777 UN Plaza, 6th floor New York, NY 10017 Telephone: + 1212 867 8878 Fax: + 1212 370 0183 E-mail:
Head of Office and Representative at the United Nations: José Luis Díaz
Amnesty International UN Office in Geneva
22 rue du Cendrier – 4th floor 1201, Geneva Telephone: + 4122 906 9480 Fax: + 4122 731 7457 E-mail:
Head of Office and Representative at the United Nations: Peter Splinter
Human Rights Watch: Geneva:
If you live outside Australia please contact the local Austalian embassy and also express your concerns about the government’s actions against asylum seekers and refugees.
for more information see