This video from the USA says about itself:
1 October 2014
Amber Lyon recounts her time spent covering the Bahrain conflict and how CNN censored her story about the events taking place there.
This video from the USA says about itself:
1 October 2014
Amber Lyon recounts her time spent covering the Bahrain conflict and how CNN censored her story about the events taking place there.
This video from Britain says about itself:
24 March 2008
Harry Roberts shot dead three policemen in London on 12 August 1966. He was eventually caught after a manhunt lasting several weeks and was convicted. 42 years later and well into his 70’s he still remains behind bars and is refused parole.
By Peter Frost in Britain:
Harry Roberts: He Kills Coppers
Saturday 25th october 2014
Harry Roberts, who killed three policemen in 1966, is to be released on parole. PETER FROST looks back at the life of this colonial soldier turned murderer
Harry Roberts, now aged 78, is Britain’s longest-serving incarcerated murderer. He is due to be released on parole this week. Roberts, a professional gangster, was sentenced to life in 1966.
He has served nearly half a century in prison.
I well remember the long hot summer of 1966. Ann and I were planning our wedding. England beat Germany in the World Cup, Harold Wilson was having beers and sandwiches while talking to the TUC about a wage freeze. Groovy Kinda Love was the most popular choice on the jukebox.
On a sunny afternoon in quiet residential Braybrook Street in Shepherd’s Bush, not far from Wormwood Scrubs prison, and not far from where I was living at the time, three gun-toting London gangsters shot down three unarmed police officers.
The incident started when plain-clothes officers approached the van in which Roberts, Jack Witney and John Duddy were sitting planning the final details of an armed robbery nearby.
Roberts opened fire shooting dead two of the officers, while one of his accomplices fatally shot the third.
The shots would reverberate around the nation. Britain had finally abolished hanging just eight months before and the shooting reopened all the old arguments.
Harry Maurice Roberts was born in 1936 in Wanstead, Essex, where his parents ran The George public house.
His was a criminal family. Mother sold stolen and black market goods and fake ration books. Later the bent family business would move to a café in north London.
In his late teens, Roberts was jailed after using an iron bar to attack a shopkeeper during a robbery. He served a 19-month borstal sentence and was released in January 1956.
Later in life and in many prison interviews Roberts would boast of how many Mau Mau Kenyan freedom fighters and Malayan communists he had shot and killed. This was at a time of the worst excesses of British imperialism.
The freedom fighters of the Kenyan Land and Freedom Army were branded as Mau Mau terrorists and jailed, hanged and shot in their thousands.
In Malaya it was communists that Roberts and his fellow soldiers were encouraged to murder. This was the time when the Daily Worker published pictures of British soldiers holding up the severed heads of murdered Malayan communists.
Journalist and former armed robber John McVicar met Roberts in prison. Roberts gloated about his killings, telling McVicar that he had acquired a taste for killing prisoners of war on the orders of his officers.
Back in civvies Roberts returned to his criminal career. Often with Witney and Duddy he carried out scores of armed robberies, targeting bookmakers, post offices and banks.
In 1959 Roberts and an accomplice posed as tax inspectors to gain entry into the home of an elderly man. Once inside the man was tied up and beaten about the head with a glass decanter.
Roberts was captured and tried for the savage crime. Mr Justice Maude said as he passed sentence: “You are a brutal thug. You came very near the rope this time.”
Roberts was given seven years. The victim, who never recovered from his injuries, died one year and three days after the attack. Had he died two days earlier, Roberts could have been tried for his murder under the year and a day rule.
The victims of the Shepherd’s Bush shooting were 41-year-old police constable Geoffrey Fox, detective sergeant Christopher Head, aged 30, and 25-year-old temporary detective constable David Wombwell.
Roberts went on the run with a £1,000 reward on his head. He hid in woods in Hertfordshire to avoid capture. He knew the woods from games as a child and, using his army survival skills, he evaded capture for 96 days. Roberts was finally captured by police while sleeping rough in a barn.
He was convicted of all three police murders and sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 30 years.
While in prison he showed no remorse. On the contrary he made macabre apple pies decorated with pastry cut-outs of policemen being shot. Numerous appeals for release on parole were turned down over the years.
The trial judge at the time of sentencing told him that it was unlikely that any future Home Secretary would “ever think fit to show mercy by releasing you on licence… This is one of those cases in which the sentence of imprisonment for life may well be treated as meaning exactly what it says.”
Theresa May, always keen to upset the police it seems, has decided otherwise.
Peter Frost blogs at www.frostysramblings.wordpress.com/
Gangs of more extreme football hooligans, some of whom would go on to form the fascist English Defence League, used Roberts’s name to antagonise the police. They chanted “Harry Roberts is our friend, is our friend, is our friend. Harry Roberts is our friend, he kills coppers.”
This video from Britain says about itself:
2 October 2012
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
MI5 spied on Hobsbawm
Saturday 25th October 2014
Files released by the National Archives at Kew in west London yesterday reveal that MI5 closely monitored both academics for years, opening their mail, tapping their phones and scrutinising their contacts.
The files on Hobsbawm show how he fell foul of the authorities during his time as a sergeant in the Army Education Corps during the second world war, when his tendency to leave left-wing literature lying around saw him marked out as a “bad influence.
“We know that Hobsbawm has been continually in touch with prominent communists and with party headquarters and there is no doubt that he is a keen and very active party member,” one report from 1942 noted.
This 2010 video from the USA is called US-Saudi Weapons Deal.
From Jacobin magazine in the USA:
Our Friends in Riyadh
by Toby C. Jones
Last Wednesday, a criminal court in Saudi Arabia sentenced Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, one of the kingdom’s most visible political dissidents, to death. Saudi authorities have justified the verdict in terms of national security. Convicted on vague charges of sedition, Al-Nimr was tried in a court established to judge cases of terrorism.
As is often the case in Saudi Arabia, what passes for the rule of law and national security is more often the theater of the absurd. The execution verdict, which could be commuted to a lengthy prison sentence, is the product of a system based on political exclusion, a system that sacrifices human beings to maintain centralized authority and elite privilege.
Al-Nimr was arrested and subsequently sentenced not because he is a danger to Saudi society, but because he has long been a critic of oppression, has agitated against sectarian discrimination, and led protests demanding reforms to an unjust political order. Al-Nimr has been a prominent figure in supporting what has been a largely unseen, but nevertheless persistent protest movement in the predominantly Shiite communities of eastern Saudi Arabia.
Since 2011, shortly after citizens mobilized against the al-Khalifa in neighboring Bahrain, Saudi Shiites also took to the streets. In response, the authorities have cracked down brutally, criminalizing a broad range of activism, aggressively policing Shiite communities, and chasing down, arresting, or killing scores of activists.
Al-Nimr only poses a threat to the regime itself. The state’s repression, cloaked in the language of security and sedition, is a weak effort to mystify this fundamental fact. Given the stakes of expressing anger at the regime, particularly for the Shiite community, it is noteworthy that street protests have continued daily since the sentence against al-Nimr.
Of course, even casual observers of Saudi Arabian politics are likely unsurprised by the decision to execute a prominent Shia cleric. After all, the kingdom is widely believed to be a center of religious extremism and sectarian ferment. And it is certainly true that anti-Shiism has a history in Saudi Arabia.
Shiites, who make up as much as 15 percent of the Saudi population, have been targeted historically by both religious zealots and a central government tantamount to an imperial regime. The community has faced systematic discrimination and exclusion since the imperial expansion of the Al-Saud from central Arabia in the early twentieth century.
But sectarian pathologies, even in Saudi Arabia, have particular histories. And they are hardly as widespread as we might assume. It is certainly the case that discriminatory sentiment has become more entrenched in the last generation, but the worst varieties of anti-Shiism, especially those advocating violence and supportive of the regionalization of a Sunni-Shiite war, are a small, but powerful minority.
Anti-Shiism today is not so much the product of a retrograde or orthodox interpretation of Islam — widely labeled Wahhabism — as it is the convergence of several political forces, the most important of which is a vulnerable state.
Confronted by a number of internal and external threats — the Iranian pursuit of influence in the Gulf; the rise of Shiite power in post-invasion Iraq; the uprising in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia’s satellite state; and most importantly, the rise of a range of domestic challenges to Saudi authority since 2003, including criticism of deep state corruption and the absence of political rights — leaders in Riyadh have responded by fomenting discriminatory anti-Shiism. Rather than broadening participation or overturning inequalities, the regime’s impulse has been to pursue the politics of sectarian escalation.
Seen this way, the verdict against al-Nimr is not so much about national security or a reflection of deeply conservative, anti-Shiite sentiment as it is an indication of the regime’s vulnerability.
It is tempting to say that in threatening to execute al-Nimr the state seeks to dissuade other Shiite dissidents from challenging its authority. This is certainly true. But the regime is also throwing red meat to the worst reactionaries in its midst, engaging in the politics and practice of distraction, and, providing political legitimacy for the strident and virulent forms of sectarianism that have settled in across the region. The obvious effect is that anti-Shiism, both at home and abroad, has and will continue to gain greater currency, as it seemingly has with the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). More subtly, the Saudi gambit is also based on a clear understanding that other potential forms of dissent — against charges of corruption or frustration at what is a heavy-handed security state — can be deflected or set aside by stoking anti-Shiism and by sacrificing Shiite bodies.
The sectarianization of Saudi politics is also political-economic and bound up in the kingdom’s “special relationship” with the United States. Since the uprising in Bahrain in 2011, the United States has continued to support the autocratic Arab regimes in the Gulf rather than democracy or human rights. Justifications include priorities around “security,” the need to contain Iran, and ensuring that oil flows from the Gulf to global markets.
With these priorities in mind, it is unlikely that American officials will do much to challenge Riyadh on either al-Nimr’s verdict or try to alter its sectarian behavior more generally. Critics have called on the United States to rethink its strategic ties to Riyadh. But doing so would require confronting not only the contradictions in American policy, especially given that it is close to a Saudi state that supported the rise of ISIS, even if indirectly, even while it now claims to be committed to the Islamic State’s destruction.
In any case, the United States’ unwillingness to confront Saudi Arabia’s role in ISIS’s rise, aside from comments from Secretary of State John Kerry that seemed to acknowledge this, enables the kingdom’s contradictory behavior. Whatever the limits of American power, the plain reality is that Washington has never meaningfully pressed the Saudis on their complicity in the spread of post-2003 sectarianism or anti-Shiite terrorism.
Beyond these contradictions, it is important to keep in sight the role that the United States government and that American capital have played in the rise of autocracy and discriminatory politics in Saudi Arabia in the first place.
Al-Nimr comes from a small village called Awamiyya in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, a place where American influence runs deep. It is in the east where almost all of the kingdom’s Shiite community lives, and where almost all of its oil sits. For a regime worried about internal threats, Shiite challenges to power are meaningful not only for their content, but also because of their location. The US government and American capital know this all very well.
Although American political and corporate interests surrendered direct control of Saudi Arabia’s oil resources in the early 1980s, they were present in the eastern province, in and around Shiite communities, from the late 1930s through much of the twentieth century.
Fearful of politically mobilized Saudi labor in the mid twentieth century, the Arabian American Oil Company (which was known to employ CIA officials) coordinated closely with Saudi leaders from the 1940s until the 1970s in building a centralized, discriminatory political order that was anti-democratic, anti-labor, and that sought to create disciplined and docile bodies in a place where the al-Saud lacked much in the way of political legitimacy. The very political order that Saudi authorities seek to shore up by way of show trials and capital punishment is the legacy of this twentieth century cooperation.
American policymakers no longer think in terms of the interests of an American oil company that controls Saudi oil. But its practical and political economic interests have changed very little. Since the late 1970s, in fact, these connections have proliferated, most importantly through weapons sales and the entanglement of the American military-industrial complex with Saudi oil wealth. There is no greater engine for the recycling of Saudi and Gulf Arab petrodollars than massive and expensive weapons systems. These sales are largely justified in the language of security and by invoking regional threats like Saddam Hussein and whatever regime sits in Tehran. The reality, though, is that they are hugely profitable.
While it has sometimes bristled at American policy over the last decade, Riyadh remains committed to its relationship with Washington. The opposite is also true. American policymakers continue to see Saudi Arabia as indispensable not because it has shown itself willing to change or develop a more inclusive and tolerant political order, but because it does not.
To push for democracy in Saudi Arabia, or even simply a more critical approach to the ways that Riyadh’s domestic political maneuvering courts regional catastrophe, would be to open up the possibility of a government that wouldn’t subordinate the interests of its citizens to American energy needs. That’s a risk the US government and capital aren’t willing to take.
Toby C. Jones is associate professor of history and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
This video says about itself:
Through painting, a Korean woman breaks her 50 years of silence on being forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army during World War II.
By Ben McGrath:
Japanese ministers visit Yasukuni war shrine
24 October 2014
Three Japanese ministers visited the notorious Yasukuni Shrine on Saturday, continuing the push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s right-wing government to revive militarism and whitewash the war crimes committed by the Japanese army during World War II. Saturday’s visit came a day after 110 lawmakers went to the shrine.
The ministers were Sanae Takaichi, the internal affairs and communication minister, Eriko Yamatani, the head of the National Public Safety Commission, and Haruko Arimura, the minister tasked with promoting female empowerment. All three women were added to Abe’s cabinet during the shakeup that took place in September.
Abe, who visited the shrine in December 2013, the first sitting prime minister to do so since Junichiro Koizumi in 2006, did not attend Yasukuni last weekend. However, he sent an offering, the third this year—along with one sent in spring and another on August 15, the anniversary of the end of World War II.
The Yasukuni Shrine is a symbol of Japanese militarism, where those who died in Japan’s wars, primarily World War II, are symbolically interred, including 14 class A war criminals. An associated museum has military displays and literature that downplay such crimes as the Nanjing massacre, during which the Japanese army murdered an estimated 300,000 captured Chinese soldiers and civilians in 1937.
The Chinese government released a statement, saying: “China would like to reiterate that Sino-Japan relations can only realize healthy and stable development when Japan seriously faces up to and repents of its aggressive past and disassociates itself with militarism.” While there are legitimate fears among working people about the re-emergence of Japanese militarism, the Beijing regime exploits those concerns to whip up Chinese nationalism.
Abe has held off going to the shrine this year in part so as not to exacerbate tensions with China. He is reportedly seeking a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month when Beijing will host a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group. Since coming to office in December 2012, Abe has not met the Chinese leader.
Paying homage at the Yasukuni Shrine is just one aspect of Abe’s agenda of remilitarisation. His government has increased the military budget, established a National Security Council along the lines of its US counterpart, and “reinterpreted” the constitution to allow for “collective self-defence”—in reality, for Japan to join US wars of aggression.
The three ministers who visited the shrine all have ties to Japan Conference, an ultra-nationalist grouping founded by former elements of the imperial military, Shinto fundamentalists and other conservatives. The group calls for “patriotic values” to be taught in schools, while seeking to cover up the crimes of Japanese imperialism.
In line with this agenda, the government is trying to rewrite the history of the Japanese military’s systematic coercion of about 200,000 women from throughout Asia into military-run brothels in the 1930s and 1940s. Many of the women remained silent out of shame before beginning to come forward in the 1980s as light was shone on the extent of this war crime.
Last week, Japanese diplomat Kuni Sato asked Radhika Coomaraswamy, a former special UN rapporteur, to revise her 1996 report detailing the Japanese army’s abuse of so-called comfort women. Coomaraswamy rejected the request. Her report detailed the systematic sexual abuse committed by the military and called on Japan to formally apologize and pay compensation to the victims.
In calling for the revision, the Abe government seized on the decision last August by Asahi Shimbun, the leading liberal paper, to retract a series of articles dating back to 1982 on comfort women. The articles were based on the account of Seiji Yoshida, a former Japanese soldier, who wrote about his assignment to round up hundreds of women on Korea’s Jeju Island as sex slaves for the army. Before he died in 2000, Yoshida admitted to changing aspects of what happened, but did not withdraw his overall story.
Since the Asahi Shimbun’s retraction, Coomaraswamy’s report has come under attack from the extreme right in Japan. However, she stated that while her report cited Yoshida’s story, it was “only one piece of evidence,” with much of the report relying on the testimonies of “a large number of comfort women,” whom she interviewed.
South Korea’s foreign ministry spokesman No Gwang-il criticized the attempt to change the UN report, saying: “Historical truth cannot be concealed even if Japan tries to gloss over the sex slave issue. Only grave criticism from the international community will follow. Seoul will not tolerate Japan’s attempt to blur the truth of history.”
Japan’s right wing has long denied the military’s use of “comfort women” or claimed that the women were not coerced. The Abe government is seeking to revise a limited government apology over the Japanese military’s abuse of women issued in 1993, known as the Kono Statement. It released a report in June calling into question the testimonies of former Korean comfort women, collected before the statement’s release.
Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine last December was the signal for an ideological offensive on a broad front. He appointed a number of known right-wingers to the board of governors of NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster. In February, one appointee Naoki Hyakuta bluntly declared that the Nanjing massacre “never happened.”
Last Friday, the London-based Times reported that NHK banned the use of particular words and references related to the massacre, “comfort women” and the territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. An October 3 document sets out guidelines for writers and translators preparing English-language material. The term “Nanjing Incident” must be used instead of Nanking Massacre. When referring to the comfort women, the words “sex slaves,” “brothels,” and “forced to” have been banned.
The Abe government’s use of the public broadcaster to pursue its militarist agenda was summed up earlier this year by NHK head Katsuto Momii, another Abe appointee. “It would not do for us to say ‘left’ when the government is saying ‘right,’” he said.
This video is called Islamophobia and Antisemitism: Same message, different minority.
After the Dutch policeman who illegally kept wild animals, now another policeman. Apparently a police officer supposed to teach police students how to become good police officers …
Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:
Police: officer insulted Muslims
Friday Oct 24, 2014, 18:19 (Update: 24-10-14, 19:06)
The police dissociate themselves from “very insulting statements” about Muslims which a police officer made off duty on Facebook. The police regrets the statements and dissociates itself fully from them, the police supreme officers report on Twitter.
The message has since been removed from Facebook. According to nu.nl it was on an account of a teacher to the police of Rotterdam-Rijnmond region. He is said to have written: “I’m all done with these f*cking Muslims. I hope they will very soon die a slow painful death. In other words: Death to Islam!!!”
Translated from ANP news agency in the Netherlands:
October 24, 2014 14:06
The Kurdish fighters of the PYD in Kobani deny that there is an agreement on the arrival of 1300 troops of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to the Syrian border.
A leader of the fighters on Friday denied words to that effect from the Turkish president Tayyip Recep Erdogan earlier in the day.
The Kurds in Kobani fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). The PYD leader also reported that it might be better if the FSA instead of going to Kobani would instead open a second front against ISIS.
The ‘Free Syrian Army’ are hardly less sectarian Sunni anti-Kurdish fundamentalists than ISIS or the ‘official’ Al Qaeda in Syria called Al Nusra. As a rule, the FSA have pretty good relations with Al Nusra. It would indeed be much better, if the ‘moderate’ FSA, instead of selling their prisoners like Steven Sotloff to ISIS for beheading, would start fighting ISIS somewhere away from Kobani. It would also be better if they would no longer commit cannibalism, like happened before.
According to Erdogan there were already talks about the route that the FSA troops supposedly would follow to go to Kobani.
Apparently, Mr Erdogan wanted to ram a fait accompli down the Syrian Kurds‘ throats. He wants to subject them to the FSA; the FSA, in its turn, being largely subject to the Turkish secret police. Earlier, the Turkish government had demanded that the Syrian Kurds should subject themselves to the FSA; which they have refused.
Apparently, the Syrian Kurds are not the only people knowing nothing about Erdogan’s fait accompli. From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Mr Erdogan said that the FSA forces were negotiating their route with Kurdish forces in the town.
However, a spokesman for the Western-backed Syrian opposition in exile, Kenan Mohammed, said that he was not aware of any such plans.
Solidarity with Kobani in Zaandam, the Netherlands: here.