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Opposition leader says Russian president is ‘thumbing his nose’ at the rest of the world over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17.
Shorten said Putin knew more about the plane tragedy than he had let on so far. Photograph: Alexey Druginyn / Ria Novosti / EPA
Gay Alcorn and agencies
Australia should not welcome Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit because the Russian leader is “thumbing his nose” at the rest of the world over the shooting down of MH17, the opposition leader Bill Shorten says.
The government has confirmed the Russian president will attend the summit in Brisbane in November.
Shorten said there was plenty of evidence pointing to Russian involvement in the 17 July downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine, in which 38 Australian citizens and residents were among the 298 dead.
Ukraine and western countries have accused Russian-based rebels of shooting down the plane with a Russian-made missile, allegations Putin has denied.
“It was an act of murder,” Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Monday. “How is it that the president of the Russian Federation, Putin, can thumb his nose at the rest of the world, go wherever he wants, without there being any repercussions or any cooperation with the independent investigation as to how this happened?” He said Putin knew more about the plane tragedy than he had let on so far.
“I happen to think that when you deal with an international bully the way you do it isn’t by laying out the red carpet, so no, I don’t think he’s welcome, I don’t think most Australians want him here.”
The Labor leader said Tony Abbott should not meet Putin.
“I wouldn’t give him the time of day,” Shorten said.
On Sunday Shorten said he thought most Australians would be “extremely uncomfortable” about welcoming Putin.
Paul Guard, whose parents, Roger and Jill Guard, were killed in the MH17 crash, said little would be achieved by Putin staying away from the G20 leaders’ summit next month.
“It wouldn’t achieve much by uninviting him because dialogue is the way forward and I hope the G20 might be a good platform on which to strongly voice our disapproval of his government’s policy and approach to Ukraine,” Guard told Guardian Australia.
“It might be uncomfortable for people to shake hands with him (but) at the end of the day, what do you achieve by not inviting someone like that? It would only play to his domestic politics.”
Guard pointed out that Australia had little say in the matter. Russia is a member of the G20 and the federal government has indicated there was little support from other members to exclude the Russian president.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned he intends to use tough language with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Australia next month in demanding full Russian cooperation with the Dutch investigation into the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in July.
Putin has confirmed that he will attend next month’s summit of the world’s 20 biggest economies, being held in Australia’s east coast city of Brisbane.
Abbott told reporters on Monday he will seek a bilateral meeting with Putin about Russian-backed rebels shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine on July 17. The attack killed 298 people, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.
Abbott says he expects his conversation with Putin will be the toughest that the Russian leader has at the summit.
Bomb camera vision showing Australian bombs obliterating Islamic State targets won’t be publicly released.
Defence head Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin says the conflict with IS isn’t a video game.
He says Australia had not released this imagery in 2003 when RAAF Hornets assisted in Iraq and that practice had not changed.
“I don’t want to get into glorifying what’s happening out there,” he told AAP.
“This isn’t a video game. This is the real world. That camera film shows people dying and I don’t think we should glorify that.”
In recent conflicts, the US has released eye-catching bomb camera vision taken by combat aircraft showing guided bombs striking and destroying their targets.
Australia has similar vision, including of the mission this week when two laser-guided bombs released by one of the RAAF’s six Super Hornets struck an IS facility.
Air Marshal Binskin, visiting Australia’s support base in the Middle East, said some people believed that Australia should follow the US and release this imagery.
“Actually if you look at what the US releases, it’s been very, very selective and there hasn’t been a lot out when you look at the number of strikes they are doing,” he said.
Air Marshal Binskin said all indications were that the coalition air campaign was hurting IS. “We have slowed them down in what they want to do. They have to acknowledge the fact that, if they do show themselves, they are a target,” he said.
Air Marshal Binskin said IS forces could no longer mass on the battlefield.
“It forces them to change their tactics. They are still a viable fighting force but they have had to adapt,” he said.
“This is a hard slog. It’s going to be a hard slog for a long time.”
Abu Ousama The man claiming to be Abu Ousama defends beheadings by Islamic State militants. Seven Network
Security agencies will analyse a video featuring an Australian man who is reportedly a combat medic fighting with rebels in Syria, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says.
Channel Seven has aired the unverified footage of the man, who says his name is Abu Ousama and describes himself as a “true blue Aussie”.
In the video, he defends the Islamic State (IS) militant group and questions how beheading people can be wrong.
“You have these beheadings. Some people might call them barbaric,” he said.
“But what is the difference between a missile that hits into a house, which kills 15 kids compared to a man dying getting cut by his throat?”
The man, who appears in the video with a face covering, revealing just his eyes, says he is not afraid to die in the conflict.
“I hope that Allah accepts the good that we’ve done and blesses us with his reward … of the highest of paradise,” he said.
“What more could you want?”
However, he said there was no hatred between him and Australia and that he is disappointed Australian forces are carrying out strikes against IS in Iraq.
“Home is home, everybody is going to love their country,” he said in the video.
“[But] I’m sad to see Australia taking that step to come into a place it doesn’t need to be because it will cause a reaction, it will cause people to hate it.”
Ms Bishop says such men pose a potential threat to national security and the video will come under closer scrutiny.
“We will take whatever steps we can to keep Australians safe but also prevent Australians from taking up with terrorist organisations and similar organisations so our intelligence, police, security will be looking at that video very closely,” she said.
“It’s unthinkable someone would think beheadings are part of a territorial aspiration.
“These are murderous cults and they are using Islam to cover up for their violent behaviour. They are using religion as an excuse for what is simply murder.
“We want Australia to be the tolerant, free, open society it always has been and the example of that video indicates why the Australian Government is taking such a tough stance against foreign fighters.”
Speaking outside the Tasmanian Liberal Party Conference this morning, Ms Bishop indicated she would suspend the passports of people with links to terrorist organisations if she had the power to do so.
The Parliament is considering legislation that will allow passports to be suspended without notification as part of ongoing investigations.
“What we are seeking to do is change the laws so that not only will I have the power to cancel a passport, but also the power to suspend a passport in circumstances where our intelligence agencies are not quite able to meet the threshold required to cancel a passport but want to have enough time to provide the evidence that would give rise to a negative security assessment,” she said.
“In this way we are seeking to stop people leaving the country to take up with terrorist organisations and to prevent them coming back into the country if they have been fighting with a terrorist organisation.”
Ms Bishop said she has now cancelled 60 passports in a bid to stop younger Australians travelling to and from the conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian jet fighter has made the country’s first airstrike against an Islamic State target in Iraq since the Australian government committed its air force to combat missions, defense officials said on Thursday.
The Australian Defense Force did not say what type of facility had been attacked or where in northern Iraq it was.
“Two bombs were dropped from an F/A-18F Super Hornet on to an ISIL facility” overnight, a Defense statement said.
“All aircraft exited the target area safely and returned to base,” it added.
Australia has six Super Hornets based in the United Arab Emirates. A 200-strong ground force including special forces are waiting for legal guarantees from the Iraqi government before they enter that country to advise and assist Iraqi security forces. The Australian troops will not take part in combat.
Defense Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin said on Wednesday that the Australian Super Hornets had flown several missions over northern Iraq without firing their weapons since Australia committed them to combat on Friday last week.
An Islamic State vehicle had been targeted on one occasion, but it had not been attacked because of the risk to surrounding civilians, he said.