Ferguson, Missouri fight for justice continues


This video from the USA says about itself:

Anger mounts in Ferguson, Missouri: “We have the right to protest!”

19 August 2014

The National Guard expanded its presence in Ferguson, Missouri Wednesday, as police killed a 23-year old man in St. Louis only a few miles away. In this video, Ferguson and St. Louis residents voice their anger at police violence and repression.

By Wolfgang Weber:

German journalists arrested in Ferguson

20 August 2014

On Monday, two German journalists were arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, by the police and taken to prison while trying to research and report for their newspapers on the shooting of Michael Brown and the sustained anti-police protests which have followed.

Ansgar Graw, who worked for years as the US correspondent for the major daily Die Welt, and Frank Hermann, who has also reported for many years for newspapers like the Stuttgarter Zeitung in Germany and Der Standard in Austria, were held in a prison cell for three hours without justification and subsequently released without comment.

A few hours later on Monday night, 26-year-old Bild reporter Lukas Hermsmeier was arrested as he sought to report on a demonstration in Ferguson. According to his newspaper’s editors, he was only released on Tuesday.

A photographer for Getty Images was also taken away in handcuffs during a demonstration on Monday, and last week, two reporters from the Washington Post and Huffington Post were arrested and held for several hours.

De facto martial law in Ferguson, Missouri: here.

The Pentagon defended the program that has armed police departments across the country with military gear. [HuffPost]

Dutch politician advocates killing protected gulls


This video is called Common gulls (Larus canus) in a breeding colony.

A year ago, Johan Houwers, Rightist MP for the VVD, the biggest Dutch government party, was in the news because he advocated the killing of wolves in the Netherlands following the discovery of a dead wolf at Luttelgeest.

Since then, Mr Houwers resigned from parliament, as he was suspected of crimes.

Now, there is another politician from the same VVD party, Heerema, who advocates killing protected animals: gulls. He says the law should no longer protect gulls. So they may be shot, or gassed.

BirdLife in the Netherlands has reacted strongly against Heerema’s proposal.

They say shooting gulls won’t help against problems of gulls messing up garbage. Humans not having garbage all over the place, and making safe nesting places outside cities, enabling gulls to leave cities, will help.

From 1999 to 2012, the number of black-headed gull couples in the Netherlands declined from 135,000 to less than 100,000. Herring gulls declined then from 65,000 couples to less than 50,000. Common gulls declined from 6,000 couples to less than 3,000.

Iraq, from 2003 war to 2014 ISIS


This video from the USA says about itself:

Journalists: U.S. Failures in Iraq Helped Fuel Current Sectarian Crisis

12 June 2014

http://www.democracynow.org -Iraq is on the brink of disintegration as Sunni militants seize more towns and now set their sights on the capital Baghdad. In the past few days Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have seized control of Mosul, Iraq‘s second largest city, as well as Tikrit and Dhuluiya. Meanwhile Iraqi Kurds have seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk. The Sunni militants now control a territory that stretches from the eastern edge of Aleppo, Syria, to Falluja in western Iraq and now the northern city of Mosul. Their advance has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, displacing some 500,000 people in Mosul alone. Mosul fell in part because U.S.-trained Iraqi forces abandoned their posts. …

We are joined by two guests: Ned Parker, Reuters Bureau Chief in Baghdad; and Mohammed al Dulaimy, an Iraqi journalist with McClatchy Newspapers who reported from Iraq for years and is now seeking U.S. asylum out of fear for his safety if he returns. This is Dulaimy’s first TV interview after years of maintaining a low-profile to protect his safety.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

The Iraq crisis: The lies of the media and political elite

Wednesday 20th August 2014

The Establishment is resolutely in denial about the truth over the rise of Isis, says IAN SINCLAIR

By authorising airstrikes against the Islamic State (Isis) President Barack Obama became the fourth US commander-in-chief since Ronald Reagan to initiate a bombing campaign on Iraq.

As always, the BBC quickly fell in line. Reporting on the announcement for the Today Programme, the BBC’s Tom Esslemont stated: “Doing nothing here was not an option.”

Like much BBC output it was unclear whether Esslemont was telling us the US government’s view or his own.

There was no confusion about his concluding remark.

“To critics it is too limited an operation that will do little to diminish the power of the Islamic State jihadists.”

BBC diplomatic editor Mark Urban was also far from objective and neutral when he tweeted: “France is considering joining humanitarian intervention in northern Iraq. (US Secretary of State John) Kerry is talking ab[ou]t ‘genocide.’ Time for Downing St to rethink?”

In addition, the Guardian has come out in support of the air strikes — “The Americans have a special responsibility here” — as has the Labour Party.

Often missing from the depressingly narrow debate in the media and political mainstream is expert opinion.

Noting that the rise of the Islamic State is a symptom of the failure of the Iraqi and Western political elites, Jane Kinninmont, deputy head of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, argues: “The air strikes could propagate rather than solve the problem.”

Institute for Policy Studies fellow Phyllis Bennis says: “It should be eminently clear that we cannot bomb Islamist extremists into submission or disappearance. Every bomb recruits more supporters.”

Robert Pape, professor of political science at the University of Chicago and director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, agrees.

Writing in June, he argued: “Far from hurting the terrorists, re-engaging Iraq (and/or engaging Syria) would put us back on the path of a rising terrorist threat that has taken us over a decade to escape,” before concluding: “US military involvement can only hurt, not help.”

Even former Obama administration insiders have been critical of the bombing.

Writing for Foreign Affairs magazine, Steven Simon, who served as senior director for Middle Eastern and north African affairs at the White House from 2011-12, argues that US air strikes “will almost certainly unite Sunnis against other sects and boost support for Isis while fuelling disdain for the United States.”

So if US military attacks are not the solution, what is?

With the Islamic State feeding off the support given to it by significant sections of the Sunni community in Iraq, there is a broad consensus among Middle East observers that the answer lies in Baghdad.

In short, the threat from the Islamic State will only be solved when there is a broad-based, non-sectarian Iraqi government that Sunnis feel they have a stake in.

Nouri al-Maliki’s decision to step down as Iraq’s prime minister is therefore an important step towards this goal, although questions remain over whether his replacement, Haidar al-Abadi — from the same political party as Maliki — will make the changes that are necessary for national reconciliation.

Second, pressure needs to be applied to those, mainly in the Gulf, who support the Islamic State.

The recently announced United Nations resolution threatening sanctions against those who finance, recruit or supply weapons to the jihadist group is therefore welcome.

More broadly, rather than external states arming one side or another, all arms deliveries to the region need to be stopped.

It is common knowledge the Islamic State has captured large amounts of the US-supplied Iraqi army’s armoury.

Less well known is the fact the Islamic State has been seen using Croatian-made weapons — which the CIA helped to send in to Syria, according to the New York Times.

These are medium and long-term solutions. However, contrary to the media’s framing of the crisis, the US is not the only global actor who is able to respond quickly to an immediate crisis.

As Diane Abbott MP noted on BBC Newsnight, if there is to be external intervention in Iraq, it should be conducted by the United Nations — exactly what it was set up to do.

“We’ve forgotten the role of international institutions,” she noted.

Media commentators unable to comprehend anyone but the US acting should take note.

They would do well to also take note of the recent New York Times report about the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: “At every turn, Mr Baghdadi’s rise has been shaped by the United States’s involvement in Iraq.”

Quoting the research of Iraqi scholar Hisham al-Hashimi, the article noted that Baghdadi had spent five years in a US prison “where, like many Isis fighters now on the battlefield, he became more radicalised.”

As Abbott sardonically noted on Newsnight about the West’s violent relationship with Iraq, the definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Ian Sinclair is the author of The March that Shook Blair: An Oral History of 15 February 2003, published by Peace News Press.

Save Irish Rathlin island golden hares, petition


This video says about itself:

Rathlin’s Golden Hare, Ireland

22 June 2008

Join Wyllie O Hagan in an evening encounter with Ireland’s Award Winning Wildlife Photographer Tom Mc Donnell.

See Rathlin Island from a photographer’s viewpoint. You will have seen Rathlin Island‘s seals, puffins and bird sanctuary before. Here we share with Youtubers the first video recorded sighting of the Island’s famous “Golden Hare”. Wyllie O Hagan filmed this footage of the hare on Rathlin Island in May 2008.

It was an extraordinary event, and this is the inspiration for O Hagan’s next relief print which will accompany “The Wild Swans at Coole“.

See the artist make the print here.

From the 38 Degrees site, this petition:

Save Rathlin Island Hares

To: Minister Mark Durkan, DOE

Make Rathlin Island into a hare reserve and reintroduce special protection for hares in Northern Ireland.

Why is this important?

This is important because the hare is being hunted out of existence on Rathlin, with a shooter being brought in by local farmers – apparently hares eat too much grass and are considered a pest. This beautiful animal is an integral part of our wildlife and heritage. Rathlin used to be one of its strongholds in Northern Ireland and people still come from all over the world to see these animals, including the rare genetic variant – the Golden Hare. Surely these amazing animals have a right to survival on their island home, where we can enjoy them for years to come. Once they are gone, like in so many other places in Northern Ireland, they are gone. Please help us protect them before it’s too late.

Bird report from Dorset, Britain


This video is called Winter birds at Long Rock, Swalecliffe – Kent, UK.

Debby Saunders from Weymouth, Dorset in England reports in a Twitter message today:

2 Yel[low] Wag[tails], 3 Com[mon] Sand[pipers], 5 C[ur]‘lew, 3 S[an]d[er]‘ling, R[ed]‘shank, Bar[-tailed god]wit, 2 L[ittle] R[inged] P[lover], 18 T[urn]‘stone, 7 Swift, S[and]d Martin, 2 Sp[arrow]‘hawk→S[outh], lots Swallow.

Bahrain dictatorship violating children’s rights


This video is called Bahrain police throw stun grenades at women and child.

From ANSA news agency in Italy:

Bahrain violating children’s rights, human rights center

Minors arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment, BCHR

19 August, 17:54

ROME – Bahraini authorities continue to violate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child including by sentencing minors to life in prison, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). The BCHR is led by activist Nabeel Rajab and Maryam Al-Khawaja, daughter of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, a Bahraini activist serving a life sentence and who staged a much-publicized hunger strike during the 2012 Formula One races in the small Gulf-region island.

A statement released by the center reports that a criminal court sentenced 14 youth to life imprisonment on August 13 under a counter-terrorism law for the murder of a policeman in Sitra, including two under age 18: one is 16 years old and the other was 17 at the time of the arrest. The BCHR noted that last week three minors were arrested, including one that had been hit by a police vehicle. The youngest of those arrested is 13 years old. The center said that about 30 people had been subjected to arbitrary arrest over the past week, and that about 3,000 people were in arbitrary detention in the country. Security forces in Bahrain – whose Shia-majority population is ruled by a Sunni monarchy – continue to make excessive use of force, tear gas and firearms, according to the organization.

This video, Bahrain – The Clouds Of Death, is about lethal teargas in Bahrain.