Sexual assault case against United States Army general


This video from the USA says about itself:

USA Army General Sodomizes USA Soldier

22 Dec 2012

‘My husband has been home just five years out of the last 11′: Wife of general accused of multiple sexual misconduct charges blames war for adultery in the military

The wife of a U.S. Army general facing adultery and sex charges said military marriages have suffered from the extended U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and described infidelity as an emotional war wound that gets overlooked.

Rebecca Sinclair said she was hurt to learn of her husband Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair’s affair with a subordinate, which led to charges against him for more than two dozen military law violations.

But as the conduct of other U.S. generals is called into question – including that of retired Army General David Petraeus, who on November 9 quit his CIA director’s post over an affair – Rebecca Sinclair said she felt compelled to speak out.

Her husband has been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere five times since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, spending a total of six of the past 11 years away from his wife and two children — the eldest, a sixth-grader, has attended six schools so far, Rebecca Sinclair said.

Many military wives know their husbands are unfaithful but stay silent to preserve their families or their financial security, especially because their spouses’ own careers can be hampered by frequent moves, said Rebecca Sinclair, who has taught business at various community colleges during her 27-year marriage.

Her husband’s affair and the fallout ‘is very painful for me, very hurtful, but I just really feel that this is something I need to talk about,’ she said. ‘Because it’s not an isolated case.’

The wife of an Army general facing sexual misconduct charges in North Carolina has written an opinion piece in support of her husband, claiming that the stresses of a decade of war contributed to recent high-profile military scandals.

Rebecca Sinclair’s husband, Fort Bragg-based Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, faces a long list of charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, violating orders, engaging in inappropriate relationships and adultery.

Sinclair is accused of forcing women to have sex with him during combat tours and threatening at least one victim’s life, as well as her career and the lives of her relatives if she told anyone about his actions.

Prosecutors allege that the married general committed sex crimes against five women including four military subordinates and [a] civilian between 2007 and 2012 in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany.

The 27-year Army veteran was deputy commander in charge of logistics and support for the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan before being abruptly relieved in May.

Rebecca Sinclair’s piece was published just days after retired Gen. David Petraeus admitted having an affair with his biographer and resigned as director of the CIA. Rebecca Sinclair has spoken out about what she sees as the toll of a decade of war on military couples, many of whom have found themselves in a repeated pattern of deployments, homecomings and moves. Her husband – Jeffrey Sinclair is accused of sodomy, forcing women to send him naked photos and threatening violence against a subordinate. Prosecutors say Sinclair threatened one victim’s life, as well as her career and the lives of her relatives if she exposed him.

By Gabriel Black in the USA:

Sexual assault case against US Army general begins

8 March 2014

Opening arguments began in a court martial case Friday in which a US Army general is accused of sexually assaulting a female US Army captain. The case comes as a procedural vote in the US Senate killed a bill, deeply opposed by the Pentagon, which would have removed the prosecution of sexual assault cases from the military commanders of the accused and put them in the hands of independent military prosecutors.

The Army prosecution has charged General Jeffrey Sinclair with sexual assault in addition to five other crimes. Sinclair is the highest-ranking military officer in the United States ever to be court-martialed on sexual assault charges.

According to AP News, prosecutors argued that Sinclair “used his authority to intimidate and coerce a female officer nearly 20 years his junior into sex.” Sinclair and the alleged victim, who, per AP News rules, remains unknown, had an affair for three years while she served under his command in Afghanistan.

The US Army Captain took the stand and described being forced to perform oral sex on the General after heated arguments they had in his office, and, another time, her own. “He grabbed me by the back of the neck and pushed me down. I tried to pull back, and he put his other hand on my shoulder… It felt disgusting. It felt like I had no control over my body.”

The captain broke into tears as she told the court that, after a discussion with the General about his wife and how the captain would like to meet her, “he told me that if I ever told her or anyone else about he and I, he would kill me and then he would kill my family.” She added, “and he would do it in a way no one would ever know.”

The general has pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexual assault. …

While denying having sexually assaulted the Captain, a charge that could lead to life-imprisonment, the General has pled guilty to “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman,” “inappropriate relationships,” adultery, impeding an investigation, and possession of pornography.

He admits asking two women, one civilian one not, for nude photos of themselves, having sexual relations with three women and attempting to have one with another. These are military crimes that could put him in prison for 15 years.

The Associated Press reports that the General’s “lawyers are hoping the plea will limit some of the salacious evidence and reduce the case to his word against hers.”

Whatever the outcome of the case the incidence of sexual assaults in the military are endemic. In the 2012 fiscal year, 2,434 cases were reported, in 2013, 3,553 were. It is estimated that only one in ten cases are reported due to fear of demotion, intimidation and violence. The last 12 years of unending wars, military occupations and colonial-style subjugation has encouraged the most brutal and backward sentiments in the military as witnessed by the sadistic sexual abuse of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

In late February, in response to reports of sexual assault and alcohol abuse, the Army removed 588 soldiers from “positions of trust,” including posts as recruiters and sexual assault response coordinators.

In 2010, the Department of Defense estimated that 19,300 sexual assaults occurred, with more than half of the estimated victims being men. While combat trauma is the leading cause of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in male veterans, rape and sexual violence is the leading cause among female veterans.

In an expression of its general disdain for the constitutional principle of civilian control over the military the Pentagon brass—and its supporters in the US Senate–have steadfastly opposed any measures concerning sexual abuse that would interfere with the military’s “chain of command.” On Thursday, a bill by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, that would put the prosecution of such cases in the jurisdiction of independent military prosecutors failed by five votes.

Both the Pentagon and the leadership of the House Armed Services Committee opposed the measure. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who has the closest ties to the military, warned any fellow Republicans considering a run for the 2016 presidential race that a vote for the Gillibrand proposal would wreck their chances.

“People wanting to run for president on our side, I will remind you of this vote. You want to be commander in chief? You told me a lot today about who you are as commander in chief,” Graham said. “You were willing to fire every commander in the military for reasons I don’t quite understand. So we will have a good conversation as to whether or not you understand how the military actually works.”

Opposition to the bill ran across party lines. Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin—Democrat of Michigan—claimed there would be more sexual abuse if “we undermine the authority of the very commanders who must be at the heart of the solution. Powerful evidence should lead us to the conclusion that we should not remove the authority of commanders to prosecute these cases.”

The vote coincided with a damning exposure of the military’s in-house treatment of abuse with revelations that a Lieutenant Colonel, responsible for training military prosecutors working on sexual abuse cases in the Army, is, himself, being investigated for sexually assaulting a female Army lawyer.

On Thursday an anonymous officer told the Stars and Stripes that it was investigating allegations that Lt. Col. Joseph Morse attempted to kiss and grope a female Army lawyer against her will at a training conference. Lt. Col. Morse’s job is to train lawyers in the military who handle sexual and physical abuse cases.

Military judge won’t dismiss sexual assault charges against Army general: here.

UK military allowed to investigate sexual assaults without involving police: here.

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NATO kills its Afghan allies


This video is called NATO Airstrike Kills 5 Afghan Soldiers.

From Khaama Press news agency in Afghanistan:

NATO air strike kills or injures 13 Afghan soldiers in Logar province

By Ghanizada – Thu Mar 06 2014, 10:16 am

At least 13 Afghan national army soldiers were killed or injured following an air strike by coalition security forces in eastern Logar province of Afghanistan.

The ministry of defense of Afghanistan confirmed the report and said the incident took place in Charkh district early Thursday morning.

Gen. Zahir Azimi, spokesman for the defense ministry of Afghanistan said Thursday that the airstrike left 5 Afghan army soliders dead and 8 others injured.

Gen. Azimi further added that the incident took place around 3:30 am local time in Charkh district.

He said an investigation has been launched in this regard and further details will be disclosed soon.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, ”We can confirm that at least five Afghan National Army personnel were accidentally killed this morning during an operation in eastern Afghanistan.”

The Western media agrees that the Afghan assault was ‘UN sanctioned’ — but is that really the case, asks IAN SINCLAIR: here.

The bitter legacy of Western intervention in Afghanistan: here.

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NSA spying on WikiLeaks


This video from the USA is called Julian Assange on Being Placed on NSA Manhunting List & Secret Targeting of WikiLeaks Supporters 1/2.

And this video is the sequel.

By Thomas Gaist:

Leaked documents detail NSA surveillance operations against WikiLeaks

19 February 2014

Documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the US National Security Agency and British GCHQ have carried out political surveillance operations targeting WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange and readers of the whistle-blowing web site. In addition to the US and Britain, the operations also involved the other members “of the “Five Eyes” allied countries (New Zealand, Australia and Canada).

The documents were posted by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher on the Intercept in an extensive expose titled “Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters.” Among other things, they show that the agency has collected IP addresses of computers visiting the WikiLeaks site, considered classifying WikiLeaks as “a malicious foreign actor,” and placed Assange on an NSA “manhunting” list that included alleged Al Qaeda terrorists.

The leaked documents have further exposed as lies the claims of the Obama administration that the NSA police-state apparatus is directed against “terrorists.” In reality, the NSA is using its illegal and secret access to the internet backbone to monitor the internet activity of its political adversaries and anyone considered a threat to the interests of the American ruling class.

The government of the UK has played a major role in the targeting of the web site. The leaked documents contained information about a GCHQ program called ANTICRISIS GIRL. The program is revealed in a Power Point slide prepared by the British spy agency for the 2012 SIGDEV Conference, an annual symposium held by the surveillance bureaucracies of the major powers. Under ANTICRISIS GIRL, GCHQ has been collecting IP addresses of individual computers that visit the WikiLeaks site, allowing them to identify and surveil individuals who access WikiLeaks.

As the Intercept wrote, “GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site. By exploiting its ability to tap into the fiber-optic cables that make up the backbone of the Internet, the agency confided to allies in 2012, it was able to collect the IP addresses of visitors in real time, as well as the search terms that visitors used to reach the site from search engines like Google.”

“Illustrating how far afield the NSA deviates from its self-proclaimed focus on terrorism and national security,” the Intercept wrote, “the documents reveal that the agency considered using its sweeping surveillance system against Pirate Bay, which has been accused of facilitating copyright violations. The agency also approved surveillance of the foreign ‘branches’ of hacktivist groups, mentioning Anonymous by name.”

It must be assumed that by tapping into Internet cables operated by powerful telecommunications companies, the US government and its allies are able to monitor virtually all Internet activity.

Claims that surveillance does not target Americans have also been further discredited by the leak. One entry from the leaked NSA documents states that it is “Okay to go after foreign servers which US people use also” saying that surveillance operators should “try to minimize” the number of American users swept up in their electronic dragnet. When data from a US user is improperly captured, the documents state, this is “nothing to worry about.”

The US government has carried out a coordinated campaign against WikiLeaks in particular, beginning with the release of the Afghanistan War Logs in July of 2010.

An NSA file titled “Manhunting Timeline” from 2010 described the maneuvers of the US as it sought to coordinate an “international effort to focus the legal element of national power upon non-state actor Assange, and the human network that supports WikiLeaks.” In August 2010, the US government pressed 10 other countries to level criminal charges against Assange, describing him as “founder of the rogue WikiLeaks internet website and responsible for the unauthorized publication of over 70,000 classified documents covering the war in Afghanistan.”

For publishing documents that exposed the war crimes of the US ruling class, Assange is now listed in this gruesomely named file, which is filled with high priority enemies of the state. The “Manhunting Timeline,” according to the Intercept, “details, on a country-by-country basis, efforts by the US government and its allies to locate, prosecute, capture or kill alleged terrorists, drug traffickers, Palestinian leaders and others.”

Baltasar Garzón, a Spanish jurist who represents WikiLeaks, said, “These documents demonstrate that the political persecution of WikiLeaks is very much alive. The paradox is that Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks organization are being treated as a threat instead of what they are: a journalist and a media organization that are exercising their fundamental right to receive and impart information in its original form, free from omission and censorship, free from partisan interests, free from economic or political pressure.”

The leaks show that the NSA has proposed listing of Assange as a “malicious foreign agent,” a move which the Intercept said “would have allowed the group to be targeted with extensive electronic surveillance—without the need to exclude US persons from surveillance searches.”

Assange is currently trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He faces the danger of being extradited to Sweden on trumped-up sex charges. An NBC report earlier this month documented the use of sex scandals and other dirty tricks to undermine targets.

ANTICRISIS GIRL is one component of Britain’s surveillance efforts. The Global Telecoms Exploitation (GTE), which plays a role in ANTICRISIS, is also involved in the expansive data mining program TEMPORA. TEMPORA collects data from the backbone of the internet, enabling the surveillance agencies to access vast amounts of private information.

As the Intercept wrote about GTE and its role within GCHQ, “Operating in the United Kingdom and from secret British eavesdropping bases in Cyprus and other countries, GCHQ conducts what it refers to as ‘passive’ surveillance—indiscriminately intercepting massive amounts of data from Internet cables, phone networks and satellites. The GTE unit focuses on developing ‘pioneering collection capabilities’ to exploit the stream of data gathered from the Internet.”

In response to the leaks, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange posted a statement online, saying that the intelligence agencies were operating above the law.

“News that the NSA planned these operations at the level of its Office of the General Counsel is especially troubling,” Assange said. “The NSA and its UK accomplices show no respect for the rule of law.”

Gus Hosein, head of the human rights organization Privacy International, similarly cited the documents as evidence of the collapse of the rule of law. “We may be tempted to see GCHQ as a rogue agency, ungoverned in its use of unprecedented powers generated by new technologies. But GCHQ’s actions are authorized by [government] ministers. The fact that ministers are ordering the monitoring of political interests of Internet users shows a systemic failure in the rule of law.”

Students elect Edward Snowden to be rector at historic university: here.

USA: Department of Homeland Security invests $6.9 million to spy on Boston commuters: here.

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Afghan war, as seen by a British soldier


This video is called The Patrol – Official Trailer.

By Jeff Sawtell in Britain:

Film: The Patrol (15)

Friday 7th February 2014

War worse than a waste of time

The Patrol (15)

Directed by Tom Petch

4 Stars

After all the Hollywood propaganda films about the war on the world, along comes a more modest offering from Britain suggesting it has been worse than a waste of time.

Written and directed by former soldier Tom Petch, it’s the first British feature film to deal with attitudes to the war from the point of view of the soldiers fighting it.

It questions the veracity of those politicians who described their mission in Afghanistan as one of “reconstruction,” since “we are pulling out in 2014 with 444 dead.”

The film opens to reveal that the patrol of the title is made up of two officers, five regulars and a Territorial Army soldier, representing different ethnic and class origins.

The officers refer to the men as “chaps” while the latter address them as “boss” and between themselves as “Ruperts.”

There are no mass battle scenes. What is depicted is the daily grind, the moans about lack of equipment and armaments and the desire simply to try to avoid being killed.

There are casualties, differences of opinion, insubordination and even accusations of treason – all definitely not in the tradition of the British army.

As we have learnt to our cost that tradition is a lengthy one of lions led by donkeys, the former having to force the latter to face up to reality even though, as the men say, “this is not our war.”

Afghan Civilians Deaths Up 14% in 2013; 35% for Women, Children: here.

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Rape legal in Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Former Afghani Parliamentarian Reveals Impact of US Occupation – MALALAI JOYA

4 Nov 2013

SAN DIEGO | After being passed up for the Nobel Prize and four assassination attempts former Afghani Parliamentarian MALALAI JOYA has made her way to the San Diego to tell of the true impact of the US war in Afghanistan. She appears exclusively on the Next News Network.

Twelve years after the invasion of Afghanistan by U.S. forces, that country continues to suffer through horrific violence. The Taliban has been removed from power, but in its place is a government many consider to be too anxious to continue the war.

In a country where many people consider women to be second-class citizens, a few brave activists are beginning to step forward. Many of these women become victims of repeated assassination attempts. Religious extremists determined to stop them from speaking out include the Taliban, which holds a significant military presence in the nation.

Those who also dare to speak out against their government and the U.S. occupation also face opposition from the government of Hamid Karzai.

Malalai Joya was named one of Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential people in 2010. Raised in the refugee camps of Afghanistan and Iran, Joya rose to become one of the youngest members of the Afghan Parliament. She taught in secret schools for girls, and helped establish a free medical clinic.

Joya stood up against what she called a parliament of warlords, and was forced from office in 2007.

The young activist has a new book about her experiences, called “A Woman Among Warlords.” Joya has now survived four assassination attempts.

Malalai Joya is out guest on the show today. She is here to talk to us about her experiences as a female activist in Afghanistan. We will also talk about the effects of the American occupation on the ordinary people of that nation, as well as the future of Afghanistan.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

A law that would permit Afghan men to hurt and rape female relatives

President Karzai is about to ratify a law that would prevent relatives testifying against men accused of domestic violence

Manizha Naderi

Thursday 6 February 2014 10.11 GMT

It is hard sometimes to describe the enormous efforts taken by the Afghan political elite and conservative lawmakers to roll back hard won progress on women’s rights in Afghanistan. Here we have yet another frightening example: a new law, passed by both houses of the Afghan parliament and waiting for President Hamid Karzai’s ratification, would prohibit the questioning of relatives of an accused perpetrator of a crime, effectively eliminating victim testimony in cases of domestic violence.

In article 26 of the proposed change in the criminal prosecution code, those prohibited from testifying would include: husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and descendants of those relatives up to the second generation. Doctors and psychiatrists would also be banned from giving evidence.

This proposed law is particularly troubling in a country where violence against women is endemic and, most commonly, is at the hands of a relative. In a 2008 study, Global Rights found that 87% of Afghan women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime; 62% experience multiple forms of violence, including forced marriage and sexual violence.

Women for Afghan Women (WAW) can attest to these findings. Over 90% of the nearly 10,000 women and girls we have served since 2007 have been victims of domestic violence. Our clients have been raped, sold, beaten, starved and mutilated – primarily at the hands of a family member, or in some cases, multiple family members.

Should Karzai sign this law into effect, justice for these women would be virtually impossible. Not only would they be barred from testifying against family members who committed crimes against them, any family member who witnessed the crime would be barred as well.

Under the proposals, WAW clients, such as 15-year-old Sahar Gul who was kept in a basement and tortured by her in-laws, would have been robbed, not only of justice, but of the opportunity to reclaim her power and testify against her tormentors. Furthermore, the doctors who treated her bloodied, malnourished, and burned body would also be barred from testifying. Sahar Gul’s in-laws are serving a five-year prison sentence for torturing her. Had the new measure been law in 2012, her in-laws would likely be free to torture and abuse more women.

Other clients, such as 16-year-old Naziba who was raped by her father, would be left with no other option but to live with the abuse. At Naziba’s rape trial, her mother and uncles courageously testified against her father, and he is now serving a 12-year prison sentence. If Naziba’s relatives had been barred from testifying on her behalf, Naziba’s father might still be raping her today.

The timing of this proposed change to the law is important: a recent report by UN Women found that reported cases of violence against women was up 28% in the past year. This finding is significant because it illustrates that Afghan women are beginning to understand their rights and demand access to them.

Since 2007, our organisation has worked hard to build coalitions with local police departments, government ministries and court officials. As a result of our advocacy, these agencies are referring more and more victims to our services, instead of sending them back home or imprisoning them for running away. In some provinces, such as Kabul, the police are our biggest ally – they refer more women than any other agency. This gives us hope, illustrating that there has been a shift in attitude and perception about violence against women, not only among Afghan women, but at an institutional level as well.

However, should Karzai ratify this law, I fear that women would stop coming forward because prosecutions would be nearly impossible to secure. As an organisation that has been working tirelessly to obtain justice for women and girls who have suffered so much and so needlessly, our hands would be tied. There would be little we could do.

We, along with other human rights activists, refuse to stand back and allow this to happen. The stakes are too high and the consequences too horrific to imagine.

A US federal agency that sought to pay photographers for “positive images” of its work in Afghanistan has canceled the program. The project, created to combat negative news coverage, collapsed amid charges that the effort amounted to propaganda: here.

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Afghan refugees say Greek government killed our children


This video, recorded in France, says about itself:

Afghan refugees in Paris speak out

19 Dec 2011

Homeless Afghan asylum seekers discuss their dangerous journeys to Europe and their desperate struggle for survival.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 27 January 2014

AFGHAN REFUGEES CLAIM THEIR BOAT WAS RAMMED BY GREEK COASTGUARD!

THREE Afghan refugees who survived last Monday’s wreckage of their boat off the Greek island of Farmakonisi in the eastern Aegean, emphatically and repeatedly accused the Greek Coast Guard patrol boat of ramming their boat so as to drown its passengers.

At an open air Press Conference on the pavement opposite the Vouli (Greek parliament) last Saturday, the three men, Abdul Sabur Azizi who lost his wife and child, Fada Mohammed Akhmadi, who lost his wife and three children, and Ekhsada Soufi, who lost his wife and four children, narrated the barbaric actions against them of the Greek Coast Guards that resulted in three women and nine children being drowned.

‘We were 26 persons in the boat, 23 Afghans and three Syrians. We are refugees from Afghanistan where war is fought for the last 38 years.

‘We sailed from the Turkish coast towards the Greek islands but our boat’s engine failed close to an island.

‘The Greek patrol boat appeared and we were glad that we were saved, but they did not want to save us.

‘They started shooting in the air and the Coast Guard patrol boat started ramming our boat to sink it.

‘Two Coast Guards jumped on our boat and put their guns against our necks shouting, “We will kill you! Fuck you, fuck you!” and tied a rope; they started towing us at high speed back to the Turkish coast.

‘We shouted to stop, but they increased speed and sailing in zigzags to sink our boat. Water started flooding our boat. Women and children fell off the boat and the rope was cut.

‘Women shouted “please help us’ but the Coast Guards shouted ‘fuck you’. The patrol boat started ramming our boat once again. We threw ourselves into the sea and we tried to get on the patrol boat to save ourselves.

‘But the Coast Guards started hitting us to prevent us from going onboard. Those who were still on the sinking boat cried out for life-jackets but the Coast Guard men did not give them any life-jacket.

‘The Coast Guards hit a 16-year-old Syrian boy on the head because he threw a wood plank to a woman who was struggling in the water.

‘We men managed to get hold of the Coast Guard boat but the women couldn’t make it. We saw with our own eyes our wives and children being drowned.

‘Then two boats appeared sailing towards us from the Turkish shores and the Greek Coast Guards took us onboard, otherwise they would have drowned us too. They threatened us that if we say anything they will punish us.

‘When we reach the Greek island of Farmakonisi the Coast Guard passed us on to the police who were kicking us.

‘They took us to a luxurious restaurant to show that we were treated well. But we only stayed there for a while.

‘Then they pushed us into a prison without any food or drink and we were still wearing soaked clothes.

‘Next day they interrogated us one by one always with the wrong interpreter.

‘They forced us to sign papers that we did not understand what it was written on them.

‘When a UN representative came into the room they would stop.

‘For the last two days we have been to Athens and we live in a refugee hostel but every time we go out, the Greek police are picking us up and harassing us.

‘All we ask now is for the bodies of our families to be found.

‘The Greek Merchant navy Minister M Varvitsiotis says that the Coast Guards came to rescue us. No, this is a lie, they came to drown us!

‘Let them if they can bring anyone to challenge what we are saying.

‘They (Greek Coast Guard) now say that they brought us to Greece, but if that was the case, the bodies of the drowned women and children would have been found on the Greek shore.

‘Up to now, bodies have been found only on the Turkish shore. They are lying.

‘They (Greek Coast Guard) say that we thanked them for rescuing us! How can you thank those who killed our families?’

Several speakers representing SYRIZA (the Coalition of the Radical Left), ANTARSYA (the anti-capitalist formation), trades unions, migrant organisations and civil liberties committees, demanded that the surviving refugees been given asylum and that there should be an investigation and severe punishment for those responsible for such atrocities against the refugees.

They also demanded trade union action to stop such crimes against migrants and refugees and castigated the European Union policies on migrants and refugees.

The speaker from the Community of Afghan Refugees in Greece said that there have been hundreds of drownings, ‘the whole eastern Aegean between Greece and Turkey is a cemetery,’ he said.

Such barbaric crimes as those carried out by the Greek Coast Guards, as narrated by the Afghan refugees, are a direct consequence of the EU’s policies and of the Greek parliamentary junta’s counter-revolutionary attacks on Greek and migrant workers.

These crimes are parallel to the tortures carried out by the imperialist armies in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and point out to Nazi concentration camps of mass extermination.

Following the Press Conference, over 1,000 workers, refugees, youth and unemployed marched through Athens city centre shouting, ‘Asylum to all refugees!’ ‘The Minister kills – he should resign now!’ ‘Immigrants are not the reason that we are going hungry – it’s the Prime Minister Samaras!’

and ‘Farmakonisi was not a tragedy – it was a premeditated murder by the government!’

A banner at the front of the march read ‘Fortress Europe kills even children – Locate the political and penal responsibilities now!’

While the Afghan refugees‘ press conference was on, a group of fascist Golden Dawn thugs carried out a provocation at the Keratsini working class district of the port of Piraeus.

With the police absent they attacked the offices of a left-wing organisation and tore down anti-racist and anti-fascist banners near the spot where rapper Pavlos Fyssas was stabbed to death by a Golden Dawn member last September.

A few hours later, hundreds of youth gathered to confront them but the fascists had disappeared.

Golden Dawn gang desecrates Fyssas memorial in Keratsini: here.

Migrants saved in Greek boat accident mourn relatives – and dispute claims. Survivors say coastguards refused to help them as vessel sank and stamped on hands of those clinging to Greek boat: here.

‘Greece’ (Human Rights Watch – World Report 2014): here.

Media interviews with asylum seekers on boats forced back to Indonesia by the Australian navy under the Abbott government’s “stop the boats” regime have confirmed earlier reports of physical assaults and abuse, with asylum seekers being beaten, pepper-sprayed and handcuffed: here.

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British government recruits child soldiers


This video is called Going Underground: UK’s child soldiers & taxing times for Boots.

By Steven Walker in Britain:

The shame of British child soldiers

Saturday 18th january 2014

The army’s policy of recruiting 16-year-olds is misguided and fraught with negative social consequences, writes STEVEN WALKER

How embarrassing for war minister – sorry, Defence Secretary – Philip Hammond that the MoD announces a failure to recruit enough soldiers as he preens himself ready for the first world war’s 100th anniversary commemorations.

Usually in years of high unemployment the army loves the chance to soak up numbers of people with very few options. The capitalist media treats this news in a superficial way, but look harder and there are some quite rational reasons why young people do not relish an army career.

For example, less attention has been paid to the British armed forces’ attitude to using under-18-year-olds in armed conflict and their vulnerability to developing serious mental health problems.

According to MoD research, young soldiers are three times more likely to commit suicide than their civilian counterparts.

Britain recruits 16-year-old children to all three branches of the military, the only European country to do so.

There are clear contradictions in the British government’s use of minors with its legal obligations under the 1992 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the 1989 Children Act to protect and safeguard children.

The Ministry of Defence has ensured that the needs of military power and political control override the best interests of those under-18s in the armed forces. Article 38 of the CRC emphasises the particular vulnerability of children as civilians and soldiers and recommends signatories refrain from sending children into battle.

It recognises that children’s rights are particularly vulnerable to violation during armed conflict and lays down specific obligations on the state to protect children caught up in situations of war.

If the non-deployment of personnel under the recommended CRC minimum ages would “destabilise” the unit that they are part of, then the MoD reserves the right to deploy younger recruits.

The government claims that once children are trained in the armed forces they are considered to be professionals and are treated as such. They play an important role in their unit, and their removal would undermine the effectiveness and cohesiveness of the unit.

This would be demoralising and unpopular among other soldiers and add to the training burden.

The World Health Organisation recognises that young soldiers exposed to conflict situations can more easily develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) leading to persisting patterns of problematic behaviour and functioning.

As numerous research studies have now proven, these problems may not emerge until years later or after the symptoms are revealed by alcohol, domestic violence, self-harm and/or substance abuse.

Many young soldiers may be withdrawn, depressed, go awol and display difficulties in social relationships.

Children deployed in Northern Ireland, the Gulf, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq have had to undergo very traumatic experiences such as removing the bodies of dead soldiers they had just shot at, some of whom were not older than 12 years, or dealing with women and young girls who were rape victims.

Demographic profiles indicate that the majority of army recruits are from poorer socio-economic groups where it is known that a higher proportion of children and young people are at greater risk of developing mental health problems.

The British army encourages recruitment at low income, high unemployment, disadvantaged areas where children with few academic or career prospects are able to sign up to six-year minimum service contracts at 16 years of age seduced by glamorous images of travel, adventure, machismo, and employable skills training.

The adverse publicity over the culture of bullying and suicides at military training establishments such as Deep Cut revealed a tiny, previously hidden, glimpse of what many vulnerable young people may also be subjected to on a routine basis once they enter service.

Combined with more frequent deployment into war-fighting zones it is no wonder that the charity Combat Stress has called PTSD a “ticking time-bomb” among ex-soldiers.

Since 1971, 24 children have died and 10 been seriously physically injured while on active military service in the British army. The MoD requires a yearly recruitment of under-18s of about one third of the annual intake into the armed forces.

While it says under-18s are not deployed to combat zones, ministers’ responses to parliamentary questions over the past two decades have shown that around 50 under-18s were involved in peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, for example, while BBC reports in 2002 suggested that under-18s had had to be removed from a contingent in Afghanistan.

It seems that in 2014, ironically, young people are much wiser than politicians and war-mongers assume, and perhaps they have learned the real lesson of history – make peace not war.

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