Lord, what a week. We’ve had Islamic State conduct interviews, the first step of the impeachment of Donald Trump and a drug tale that it certainly on the nose.
Hello and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had an up and down week for President Trump, shocking behaviour from a couple of NSW’s boys in blue and a world first in contraband smuggling in Sydney.
US President Donald Trump started the week with a rare win after announcing the successful assassination of Islamic State Group leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by US forces.
In a raid that the US has described as “US only”, a little under 100 US troops travelled from Iraq by air to a small compound outside the village of Barisha in the Idlib province of Syria, around 6 km south of the Turkish border.
Reports suggest that the air convoy was fired upon by ground forces when approaching the compound and returned fire, resulting in the destruction of at least one house at the compound. The US forces then landed and called for Baghdadi to surrender at which point two adults and eleven children emerged, but not Baghdadi.
US forces then proceeded to blow holes in the walls of the compound to enter, which caused Baghdadi to detonate a suicide vest he was wearing, killing himself and two children he had taken with him.
Trump, addressing the media after the raid, said that Baghdadi died “like a dog”, “whimpering and crying and screaming”. US defence secretary, Mark Esper, indicated he knew nothing of any “whimpering”.
Later in the week, IS confirmed the death of Baghdadi and named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi as their new leader and “caliph”. However, his name is one that security forces are apparently not aware of which has led them to believe it is a pseudonym. The audio, sent via the Telegram account of IS central media arm, al-Furqan Foundation, said, “The Shura Council of the Islamic State convened immediately, once they were sure of the martyrdom of Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
The audio also pointed to potential revenge attacks, “Beware vengeance their nation and their brethren of infidels and apostates.”
Experts have been postulating as to the possible true identity of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quarashi; Aymenn al-Tamimi, a researcher at Swansea University who focuses on Islamic State indicated that it could be a reference to “Hajj Abdullah”, a leading figure within IS and a man that had been previously identified as a potential successor.
Other experts have named Saudi national, Abu Abdullah al-Jizrawi or Iraqi Abdullah Qaradash as potential identities.
Either way, it’s very unlikely that Islamic State hadn’t prepared for this eventuality and are likely to have a well-planned succession strategy in place.
Trump’s good start to the week quickly came unravelled, however, with the announcement late in the week that a vote in the US House of Representatives to formally proceed with an impeachment inquiry against Trump passed 232 to 196.
All Republicans voted against the resolution as expected with the Democrats majority in the lower house carrying the vote. The resolution represents the first big hurdle in the push to remove Trump from office and has set out the rules for how the next stage of the investigation would take place; including outlining the rights of Trump’s lawyers during proceedings, how public hearings are to be handled and how reports are to be conducted.
Trump’s response to the vote on Twitter was simple, “The Greatest Witch Hunt in American History!”
Yeah…except for ..the actual Witch Hunts Don. Or that pesky Obama birther movement that you so gleefully pushed before you were in office.
House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who has been spearheading the impeachment push, said, “Today the House takes the next step forward as we establish the procedures for open hearings…so that the public can see the facts for themselves…..What is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy”.
Whilst it’s an important hurdle in the impeachment process, there is still a long way to go before we could see a situation where two-thirds of the Republican-led senate vote to impeach the Prez – which is ultimately what is required. However another issue has raised its head, and many including myself believe that Trump has been pushing for it. Rhode Island Democratic Congressman, David Cicilline, received a voicemail from a Trump supporter which he released on Twitter after the vote, “You’re trying to impeach my President, punk? Get some f***ing evidence, take a f***ing vote…David, you weak little f***ing p****. Cicilline, you trying to start a f***ing civil war? Well, you just keep on talking, pal, we’re already starting it, we’re planning it, and it’s not going to be good for you or your f***ing weak a**, I’ll tell you that right now. Cicilline. Punk little b****. Trump 2020!”.
Trump has deliberately thrown “civil war” into his rhetoric a few times in relation to the impeachment push. Would any of us really be surprised if he actually tried to mount one? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Halloween has been and gone with children (and a few adults) undoubtedly left with a few sore tummies on Friday morning. For one young girl, the result was unfortunately far worse.
The three-year-old girl, Abby Van Der Spuy, was out trick or treating in Bacchus Marsh, northwest of Melbourne, when she became extremely ill just after 8 pm. Tara Robe, Abby’s mother, noticed her bad turn and called an ambulance which transported her to hospital. Tara told the media that Abby was “zonked and wobbly on her feet”. She continued, “I thought she was choking on the lolly. Then she showed me a packet of tablets and I went, these don’t look like lollies. I felt anxiety, sick in the belly”.
Thankfully, Abby is listed as in a stable condition at the Sunshine Hospital. Victoria Police released a statement regarding the incident, “Investigators have been told that the child may have ingested a prescription medication and are currently making inquiries as to how this happened. At this early stage in the investigation, it is not believed there is any malicious intent surrounding this incident”.
Whilst no official indication has been given, Channel 7 has reported that it’s believed the tablets in question were “Seroquel”, a drug commonly used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Malicious intent or not, stay safe out there ladies and gentlemen – and always check what your child has been given by strangers, even if it’s from Trick or Treating.
Two members of the NSW Police Force have been found guilty of engaging in serious misconduct by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC). The incident in question occurred back in April this year when the officers were dealing with two women during a traffic stop in Sydney’s west.
The commission have released video footage of the incident which began when officers followed the car containing the two women because one of the officers believed that one of the women wasn’t wearing her seatbelt. The video in question shows one of the officers approaching the car and saying to the 24-year-old woman behind the wheel, “You have to be the most (sic) stupidest person I’ve met as the driver of a motor vehicle.”
The officer then proceeds to threaten the passenger with prison after demanding that the two women produce identification and after learning that the passenger had recently migrated to Australia, “We’re taking her back to jail anyway”.
He then threatens the woman, saying, “Don’t argue with me, love, or you’ll be going in the back of the paddy wagon as an accessory to bloody murder”. He later says, “don’t take advantage of our system”.
The two women are of Afghani background with the investigation being launched after the driver of the car made a formal complaint. She also indicated that other offensive comments were made after the body camera was switched off; this allegedly included an accusation of having drugs in the car (there weren’t) and a suggestion that she would have been “shot from behind” if police in Afghanistan had pulled her over.
The LECC report has recommended disciplinary action against the officers however what that action might be is yet to be determined.
Hopefully, it’s removal from the Police Force. That type of behaviour isn’t acceptable from anyone, but we simply must hold those that we give the level of authority that we give to police to a higher standard – if you bully and threaten innocent people, you shouldn’t be carrying a badge or a gun.
Just when you thought that Peter Dutton couldn’t attempt to erode our freedoms any further, he has absolutely outdone himself. A report in the New York Times this week indicated that Dutton’s Department of Home Affairs has put forward a proposal that would require facial recognition verification prior to accessing pornography on the Internet.
I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
The proposal is allegedly designed to prevent minors from watching pornography online; which by the way, isn’t actually illegal in Australia. The idea is, of course, to make it illegal and enforce it via facial recognition against official identity documents.
If Dutton has his way, the next time anyone logs on to PornHub to engage in some self-love, they would need to smile at the camera which would match their face against their passport or driver’s license photo before proceeding.
Which of course would then immediately provide the government with information on every bit of porn you watch in great detail.
Senator Rex Patrick from the Centre Alliance party said what we were all thinking, “I think people should be very concerned about any government department that’s seeking to store this kind of information”.
We should be concerned. Dutton and his department have been slowly attempting to erode our personal freedoms for years, but even putting this type of proposal forward indicates that their desire to intrude and control has no limit. Apart from the infringement of our privacy and basic freedoms, the idea that Peter Dutton knows your porn habits is enough to simultaneously destroy the libido of every Australian.
No one has come close to achieving that since Abbott starting running around in Budgie Smugglers.
Wacky and Wonderful
As each year goes by, I have to admit I become more forgetful. Maybe it’s age; maybe it’s years of treating my body like an amusement park; or maybe it’s because I have a child under two. So far, that forgetfulness hasn’t resulted in any major calamities; or any major detriment to my health.
A 48-year-old guy in Sydney recently discovered that a bout of forgetfulness 18 years earlier resulted in a variety of medical issues, and what scientists believe to be a world first.
The man in question had been admitted to Westmead Hospital after complaining about headaches. Doctors took a CT scan of his head which showed a “firm gray mass” in his right nasal cavity. The docs asked him whether he’d suffered from any nasal infections and it turned out he had suffered from recurring nasal infections for some time.
Doctors put him under General Anesthetic and got to work on removing the gray mass. Or “rhinolith” – a “nose stone” formed by the buildup of minerals around a foreign body in the nose – as it’s referred. They removed the blockage and found it to be a “rubber capsule containing degenerate vegetable/plant matter”.
In other words, it was a balloon full of marijuana.
It turns out that the man had spent some time incarcerated around 18 years earlier and had his girlfriend at the time smuggle in a small amount of weed in a balloon. Not wanting prison guards to discover his stash, he shoved the balloon up his nose; only to find out later that it was too deep to retrieve it. He assumed that he had just swallowed it and didn’t give it another thought.
The doctors on the case wrote, “To the best of our knowledge, our case represents the first report of a prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith”.
No word on whether the “sticky-icky” was still useable.
That’s it from me TBSers, have a cracking week!