DIMA signing off on death.

I couldn’t care less if I am sending you to your death. In fact, I know I am sending you to your death. You see these forms? They have been written in order to send you to your death. Even if I wanted to let you live, I couldn’t do it. These forms won’t let me…

ATT Media Release 10 February: Asylum seeker suicide

February 11, 2014 at 9:41pm


ATT Media Release 10 February 2014     For immediate release

Rejected asylum seeker drowns himself in MaribyrnongRiver

Last Wednesday a talented, compassionate asylum seeking young man drowned himself in the Maribyrnong river rather than be returned to probable torture and execution in his home country of Eritrea.

Mr Rezene Mebrahtu Engeda, like most of the young men in Eritrea, was conscripted into a military-run ‘development’ program at an early age.* These programs are pointless work and virtual slave labour; the objective of them is simply to ensure that there can be no rebellion against the government.  Conscripts are ragged and half-starved, paying for food and clothing from bare subsidence wages.  Like many of these young men, Rezene escaped, choosing to brave a dangerous and difficult journey across Ethiopia  to Kenya, where he lived for about a  year in the most marginal of conditions as a part of the refugee community in Nairobi.

Five years ago, Rezene gained a spouse visa to enter Australia.  The relationship lasted for two years but was unsuccessful.  Rezene moved out with friends and applied for refugee acceptance.

The application process lasted for a tortuous three years.  With no permission to work, and no government benefits, Rezene was supported by the generosity of his friends in the African-Australian community and by odd jobs.  He was a talented builder who did good-quality work on fences and small construction jobs.

During the week ending the second of February, Rezene received his latest letter from DIMA.  Puzzling with his friends over complex bureaucratic language that even postgraduate English speakers find it hard to unravel, he understood that he was called to attend a meeting with DIMA on Wednesday the 5th of February. Even to someone who understands the process and language, such a letter can come as a thunderbolt.   It seems certain that at that meeting, his application would finally be refused and he would be given a short-term deadline to return to Eritrea.

Rezene never made that meeting.  On the morning of the 5th, he told his friends he was going to it.  Instead, he drowned himself in the Maribyrnong River. Rezene Engeda had run out of options.

What options did Rezene have?  As a refugee, he could not obtain a visa or passport to return to Sudan.  Eritrea was the only country that would accept him.  Until recently, the official policy of Eritrea was that army deserters are to be executed out of hand.  Although this has softened slightly, people that have fled Eritrea still face, on their return,  at the least, imprisonment and torture.  For this reason, UNHCR, the International Red Cross, and Human Rights Watch have all issued advisories that refugees are not to be returned to Eritrea.  118 refugees driven onto planes with rifle-butts by the Egyptian government and returned to Eritrea in 2011 vanished without trace on their return.  Similar fates have befallen refugees forcibly returned by Libya, Israel and Mali, with the International Red Cross in most cases unable to find out what happened to them.  A very few have been located alive in atrocious conditions in prisons in remote areas or in the notorious Saba military camp.

Over 120 distressed members of the Eritrean communities met at Flemington on Sunday to grieve for a man who was well-known among them as courageous, gentle, and compassionate.  In Rezene’s Christian community, it is the custom to bury people in the same ground as their families, as was Nelson Mandela, and the meeting raised a substantial amount towards this.  The communities also spoke of how five or six members have suicided in the Maribyrnong in the past two years, and remembered the drowning of Michael Atakelt in 2012, with the long fight for answers which many of the community still feel to be unsatisfactory.

“He asked me to join him for a beer last Sunday,” said one of his friends.  I told him I was too busy at the time.  I didn’t know how much he needed to talk.  Now that is like a dagger in my heart.”

ATT chair Dr Berhan Ahmed said today, “We understand the difficulty for DIMA in having a spouse migrant apply for refugee status.  But the process is unnecessarily long and complicated.  Australia has to accept the international advisories from many sources that people who have fled Eritrea, and some similar countries, must not be returned to those countries.  This promising young man ran out of choices.  He was the victim of an inhumane policy that amounts to little else than sending people to their deaths.”

1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, article 33:

‘1. No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.’

Rezene Mebrahtu Engeda was, according to Australia, not a refugee.  But the result was the same.


* Some biographical details are still being verified by the Australian-African communities


Fossils, Memes and Strange Attractors

Working out on the treadmill this morning, going nowhere uphill and fast, lulled into accepting the inevitability of my lot for the following ten minutes, my calves aching for distraction, my mind in free fall landed on a fossil etched in rock. While my legs marched forward on the spot, my mind sat like the Cheshire cat smoking the hookah, captivated by the  concept of a New World Order.

Not a day goes by in the land of social media without some reference to an imminent New World Order. Myriad permutations appear in memes that clog up my facebook newsfeed. Orwell’s 1984 has become a stock reference. That old fossil Henry Kissinger is wheeled out as the epitome of evil and the United Nations document on sustainability and development (Rio Summit, 1992) Agenda 21 is cited as the chilling evidence of Kissinger’s heinous plan that will in likelihood see 80% of us exterminated before too long. http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf

I admit to observing the emergence of a kind of corporate fascism, the logical yet paradoxical consequence of neoliberalism. Other terms, such as oligarchy and plutocracy describe the same scenario.  Recently there has been a plethora of examples of the emergence of just such a system, everything from Edward Snowdon’s revelations of blanket spying to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (free trade agreement), the implementation of draconian laws of repression of citizens in free democracies (in Australia the Bikie Laws, in UK the imprisoning of two youngsters for the creation of a facebook page during the London riots) to the global maltreatment of asylum seekers and first peoples.

Many of us are alarmed at the amount of power corporations already have. The way democracies have been hijacked to do their bidding. Those who like to look behind the scenes shine the spotlight on secret organisations such as the Bilderberg Group or the Council on Foreign Relations and go on to make references to  hidden inner circles, whether the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Zionists, the Rothschilds.

I am not  sure about the clamber to identify the prime mover. I feel myself walking in dense fog the moment I give it any thought. One problem I can see straight away is the linear and simplistic thinking involved.  I suggest that those who do hold the power in our world have already adopted or hired those who have adopted complex systems thinking, which is (simply put) non-linear. Research identifying 147 corps (including banks) that control the world, published in New Scientist is helpful, mostly because it is using complexity thinking. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed–the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html

If we seek more, if we seek to see behind the veils, then we enter a quasi-esoteric world of labyrinth, illusion, obfuscation, where just about everything is its own other, for in my view this is what is in creation, just as in the age of the great religious faiths, vast bodies of scripture were created that served to control the masses.

I hold to the idea that a small group of corporations seek global dominance.  Antony Loewenstein in Profits of Doom describes members of this group as vulture capitalists. Taking this metaphor of the vulture into the realm of our collective consciousness  is the notion of the psychic vulture.  Vultures who co-opt concepts, disengage them from their theoretical context and distort their meaning. The notion of empowerment that has its roots in Feminism is now used to underpin the Gucci-led Beyonce fronted campaign, Chime for Change  The term sustainability has been appropriated in much the same way. Corporations are masters of gloss, creating illusory images of themselves, presenting to the world some clean ethical reality anathema to what goes on within the veil.

Perhaps absolute corporate  freedom requires absolute human  oppression. Even if this is the case the notion of a New World Order is not helpful. The notion emerged in a number of quarters between the first and second world wars. It entered esoteric thinking in the work of Alice Bailey. She argued that not only would a new world order occur, it would be founded on esoteric principles in accordance with the Plan of a Spiritual Hierarchy of ascended masters. http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/3903221?q=isobel+bailey&c=book&versionId=47259310

Bailey’s esoteric thinking appropriated the new science of the day, developing an esoteric epistemology around the new discoveries of the nature of the atom.  In esoteric thought, scientific concepts become metaphors that have explanatory power when applied to the human condition through analogy. In a similar fashion, contemporary corporate thinking has adopted scientific theory and applied it to organisational management and change. While we still think in pairs of opposites (us and them, right and wrong, good and bad) corporate thinkers apply notions of emergence, innovation and fitness. in an effort to manage complex systems.



I suggest that any argument putting forward the emergence of a new world order needs to situate the argument in both esoteric and complexity thinking. Old world order is that of the Plan. Of fixed Agendas such as Agenda 21. Of the likes of Kissinger. The new world order is likely to look more like a Mandlebrot set. Those in power will seek to manipulate chaotic systems.  The new age may well be the age of the strange attractor.

While books such as Jeffrey Winter’s Oligarchy, framed within the theoretical limitations of political science, make substantial contributions to understanding the nature of what is occurring and the historical roots of power and privilege, in my view to understand how corporations view the world and therefore how they may go about controlling the world, we need to look beyond simple, linear thinking, we need to reach behind the veil of fear created by Agenda 21. We need to let go of outmoded ideas of any sort of fixed Plan or Agenda. We need to accept that innocence and goodwill can exist alongside and within global institutions such as the United Nations. In short, we need to thicken our thinking.