Inside the system

Centrelink bullies target the poor in phony debt scam

Turnbull’s criminal Centrelink crackdown is forcing society’s most vulnerable to pay back mountains of bogus debt. Jack Rogerson is a 21-year-old with autism. According to The Guardian he was contacted by a debt collector employed by Dun & Bradstreet—a multinational with the $10.8 million contract to collect Centrelink debts. Rogerson had heard nothing about his supposed $3000 debt before this but he prepared to pay it anyway.

His mother, Nicole Rogerson, is Director of Autism Awareness Australia. She intervened after Jack mentioned the debt in passing in a phone call. Jack’s mother said the debt related to three months where her son received a disability benefit before taking an apprenticeship. She said the debt was false because he had no job in the period, and voiced concern about other intellectually disabled people targeted in the debt recovery fiasco adding, “This hard line of the government is just heartless to the core.”

In another case, a single mother was issued with a $24,215 debt notice two weeks before Christmas. She had written the name of her employer in two slightly different ways when reporting her income. As a result Centrelink’s automated system deemed her ineligible for the parenting payment she had been receiving. “They want to get money back from us low-income Australians instead of the Murdochs,” she said. Even after lodging a dispute she was told she would have to begin paying back the mountain of debt at a rate of $60 per week. Another single mum, Andrea Russel, was hit with a phony debt of $11,800. She has also been forced to start paying the debt while gathering seven years’ worth of pay-slips from four different employers, including one that no longer exists

Obama drops three bombs per hour

A report just published by the Council of Foreign Relations has calculated that the US military dropped an average of three bombs per hour in 2016.

President Obama was elected with a mandate to end Bush era wars. But according to the report Obama spent his last year in office unleashing a tsunami of 27,171 bombs in seven countries.

“This estimate is undoubtedly low”, the report notes “considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single ‘strike’ according to the Pentagon’s definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions.” In 2016 the United States dropped 3028 more bombs than it did in 2015. Iraq and Syria bore the brunt of US strikes: Iraq was hit with 12,095 bombs, while Syria with 12,192.

More evidence of abuse in NT juvenile detention

Two former juvenile detainees are bringing a class action against the Northern Territory government for abuse they suffered while imprisoned. The lawsuit was filed by Maurice Blackburn lawyers on behalf of Dylan Jenkings and Aaron Hyde. If successful it could lead to compensation for hundreds of other juvenile detainees who have been subjected to abuse. Their court application details cases of false imprisonment, battery and assault.

The document claims that Dylan Jenkings was thrown into solitary for two days after being, “punched, kicked and struck … with batons and shields”.

In another incident 15-year-old Hyde says he was bashed by guards, had his head slammed into a door-frame and was handcuffed to a fence. In another he claims he was stripped naked and thrown into solitary confinement for three weeks with no permanent bedding or tap water.

His mother Tracey Hyde explained, “He was stripped naked and he’d been asking for a blanket and a guard told him to masturbate to keep himself warm”.

Hillary Clinton throws party for millionaire donors

One of Hillary Clinton’s first moves following her election loss to Trump was throwing a mega-party for her richest donors. Clinton’s exclusive “thank you” party only included a few hundred of the biggest donors who helped her raise up to $1.3 billion for her failed campaign. The party was held in a columned, 446 square metre “Grand Ballroom” in the Plaza Hotel in New York. Clinton’s biggest single donor was S. Donald Sussman, a venture capitalist and hedge fund manager who donated a total of $21 million to the top Super PAC supporting her campaign. Clinton used her short speech at the Plaza Hotel to blame Vladimir Putin for the election result. It is reported that some donors sobbed as she spoke.

Elite US unit’s atrocities revealed

A January report in The Intercept has detailed horrific war crimes committed by Navy Seal Team 6. This is the celebrated US military unit hailed as heroes after they killed Osama Bin Laden. The report reveals an elite team of murderers, torturers and sadists who slaughtered civilians, committed atrocities and revelled in gruesome “war porn”.

This included the “wedding party massacre” in Afghanistan’s Paktia province in 2002. The US bombed a convoy of cars, who turned out to be civilians heading to a wedding, before deploying Seal Team 6. The group were targeted purely because one man was wearing a “flowing white garb” similar to Bin Laden’s, and also worn by millions of Muslim men.

Lt. Cmdr. Vic Hyder stood over an injured civilian who survived the initial attack. Hyder then shot him in the face and mutilated his body. By 2007 such desecration of the dead had become routine. One Seal said it became a “sport”. Horrific videos of Seals taunting dying men were circulated. “No one would do anything about them,” a retired Seal explained. One of the team was awarded the Medal of Honour by Obama in February 2016.
Top CEOs earn average year’s wage in five days

By Thursday afternoon on 5 January Australia’s top executives had already been paid more than the average yearly income. Fairfax used the latest data from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors to work out the average CEO pay at the top 100 companies on the stock exchange.

It came to about $5.54 million a year. This breaks down to around $15,000 per day for the 2015 financial year. The ABS says the average income in Australia is $81,000, 68 times less than a top CEO. Adjusted for inflation, it took them only 5 days to pass this figure.

Research and writing by Adam Adelpour

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