Marijke Scheffer made this video in her garden in the Netherlands.
This video says about itself:
26 May 2017
At least 106 civilians, including 42 children, have been killed in a series of air strikes by the US-led coalition on … eastern Syria, according to a monitoring group.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says the deaths resulted from air strikes targeting Al Mayadeen in the province of Deir Az Zor.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
Again many civilians killed by air strikes in Syria
In the east of Syria, the United States coalition caused many civilian casualties in air attacks. Initially, it was assumed to be 35 people, but that number has risen to more than one hundred. This report the Syrian authorities [in Damascus] and the [anti-Damascus] Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London.
The air strikes were carried out on Mayadeen town …
In recent months, the number of civilians killed in air raids has increased. Yesterday it became known that more than a hundred people died in an attack led by the US Americans in Mosul [in Iraq] in March. …
The number of civilian deaths is rising for a number of reasons. … In addition, the procedures have changed, allowing commanders more to easily start air attacks without the need for permission.
A change of policy by the new Donald Trump administration in the USA.
According to the US Americans, since the beginning of the war, three years ago, 352 civilians died because of air attacks. The independent research institute Airwars calculates the number of deaths to be many more, namely 3100.
As I blogged on this blog, about 17:30 our bus arrived at Brussel Noord railway station; where a big rally against the visit of Donald Trump to the Brussels NATO headquarters was going on.
At the crowded rally around a big pond, we soon found out we were not the only people who had brought photo cameras. We also saw the first of many pussy hats; a symbol of the anti-Trump movement ever since Trump’s infamous anti-women saying ‘Grab them by the pussy’.
From the rostrum, a female Belgian speaker denounced the Belgian government’s plans to buy expensive dodgy Joint Strike Fighter military aircraft. A plan denounced on banners in the crowd as well.
A slogan on a sign said NATO: game over.
There were flags of the Dutch Socialist Party. And of the leftist Workers Party of Belgium. I saw one flag of the ‘center left’ SP.a party; a sister party of British Labour, German SPD, Dutch PvdA, Greek PASOK, etc. A Workers Party of Belgium member, dressed up like a parody Donald Trump, told me that the Belgian SP.a were ‘little copies of [Dutch Blairite Eurogroup boss] Dijsselbloem‘.
There were also people in jackets of the FTGB trade union federation. And Kurdish flags as well. And flags of the Walloon green party Ecolo and the Flemish green party Groen.
A sign denounced Trump as a ‘climate criminal‘.
The Young Friends of the Earth were present as well, with their banner.
A Dutch language Belgian speaker spoke about solidarity with people in the USA, to whom bad things happen, like the ‘Trumpcare’ health ‘reform’.
A French language Belgian speaker spoke about Trump’s anti-women policies. Which this sign criticized as well. The other sign ‘Grab ’em by the facts’ was also inspired by Trump’s misogyny; and alluded to the Trump administration’s preference for ‘alternative facts’ over facts.
Then came a woman speaker from the USA: Colonel Ann Wright. A former United States soldier, then a diplomat, now a peace activist. To loud applause, she denounced the militarism of Donald Trump and NATO.
Another sign, in German compared NATO to a dinosaur. With a picture of a dinosaur on a tank ‘caterpillar’, firing bullets from its mouth, with the caption ‘NATO-saurus. Too much armour (or: too many tanks), not enough brains. Wanted: extinction‘.
There were people of the German left party Die Linke present as well.
A bit further were Latin American participants in the demonstration. Cubans with Cuban flags (in the center of the photo), Venezuelans, Colombians, Chileans with Chilean flags (on the left of the photo). The banners on the ground were calling for the closing of US American military bases in Colombia, and for stopping United States Trump administration interference in Venezuela.
The rally was over. The march through Brussels city center started. Stay tuned for more reports about that on this blog!
This video from London, England says about itself:
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Did Bomber Learn to Kill in War for ‘Regime Change’?
Friday 26th May 2017
Former Libyan rebel fighters told news site Middle East Eye that Britain had allowed Libyan exiles to travel to the country to join the Western-backed uprising against the dictator, which was dominated by radical Islamist terror groups.
Salman Abedi, whose terrorist attack on Monday night killed 22 people, is believed to have spent time in Libya during the 2011 uprising and was the child of an exiled Libyan couple who returned to fight.
It is understood that Abedi’s name was given to police several years ago because of his extreme views. He was also banned from his local mosque for the same reason.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has admitted Abedi, 22, was known to the security services “up to a point.”
Abedi is now thought by police to have been part of a network and a 23-year-old believed to be his elder brother was arrested in Chorlton, south Manchester, on Tuesday.
Nato entered Libya’s civil war after UN resolution 1973 authorised the imposition of a no-fly zone, ostensibly to protect civilians, but from the beginning actively fought for the rebels by bombing Gadaffi’s forces, resulting in the fall of the regime and a civil war which has lasted ever since.
Russia and China protested at the time that the resolution, which they abstained on, had not authorised an armed intervention against the government.
Testimony from rebels who have returned to Britain now suggests that even known terrorists were cleared to go and fight.
One who had been under a control order on suspicion of planning to join terrorist groups in Iraq said he was “shocked” to be allowed to travel to Libya “no questions asked.”
He also alleged British authorities had returned passports to members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a radical anti-Gadaffi outfit funded in the 1990s by MI6, knowing they wanted to return home to wage war.
Another, named as Belal Younis, says he was asked by an MI5 officer if he was willing to fight the government — which overruled police when they tried to stop him from travelling.
The former fighters say they didn’t know Abedi and doubted someone who was 16 at the time would have been allowed to fight, but terror groups in Syria and Iraq frequently field child soldiers.
NHS England said yesterday that 116 people were treated after the bombing and 75 are still in hospital, including 23 who are “critical.”
This video says about itself:
Ariana Grande Concert & PTSD | Dissociation, Depression and Anxiety
25 May 2017
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester: I am getting a lot of messages from you about dissociation, stress, anxiety, and signs of PTSD in the aftermath of what has happened. So today’s video is about what PTSD signs to watch out for, what to do if you are experiencing it, how & who to reach out to for help. You are not alone. Your feelings are valid.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
A history of fuelling terror
Friday 26th May 2017
Her comment exposes the Prime Minister’s inability to examine the causes of jihadist extremism or to critically assess imperialism’s record of collaboration with it.
Allowing home-grown jihadists to go to Libya to overthrow the Muammar Gadaffi regime while providing them with air support, as Britain and France did, might have seemed clever at the time.
It secured the removal of an inconvenient leader who had metamorphosed from terrorism sponsor to valuable trading partner — remember Tony Blair’s “tent-in-the-desert” reconciliation with Gadaffi — and back to outcast status.
But Gadaffi’s removal had unforeseen consequences — not least fragmentation of the Libyan state, its supplanting by clan-based regional warlords and an opportunity for Islamic State (Isis) to fish in troubled waters.
That chaotic outcome was foreseen by Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and just 11 other MPs in the House of Commons.
The rest were carried along by the “we’ve got to do something” brigade, which translates almost always into military meddling, supplying arms or unleashing the RAF to bomb one side or the other.
How short politicians’ memories are. Assisting regime change in Libya followed just eight years after Blair’s dodgy dossier and a media tsunami of pro-war propaganda convinced gullible MPs and those desperate to be persuaded that invading Iraq was a sound idea.
The result: a dysfunctional state, sectarian government, political priorities guided by national or religious affiliation and the birth of Islamic State powered by the arms and demobilised troops of the defeated Iraqi army.
Corbyn called this one right too, unlike those Labour backbenchers who deride his leadership qualities and, of course, our “strong and stable” Prime Minister.
Before Iraq was Afghanistan when Ronald Reagan’s US administration authorised supplies of sophisticated weaponry, including surface-to-air missiles, to the so-called mojahedin, including one Osama bin Laden, who had risen up against a progressive government backed by the Soviet Union.
Their seizure of power was succeeded by a carnival of corruption and chaos, following which the Taliban, armed and trained by Pakistani intelligence services, drove out the warlords only for the US and Britain to return them to power in 2001 after the Twin Towers atrocity carried out by a largely Saudi Arabian conspiracy.
Neither he nor May, who also sells arms to the House of Saud, is unaware that this is the source of Wahhabism, the extreme interpretation of Islam adopted by jihadists who have declared war on the 21st century and been armed by Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Yet the US and Britain choose to ride the Saudi tiger, supporting its bloody rampage in Syria while being shocked by outrages such as Manchester when European targets are hit.
Ramping up an arms race in response to Manchester is both wrong and futile.
It makes more sense to rethink foreign policy, help to end wars in the Middle East and work through the United Nations to help the millions of civilians ravaged by wars.
This video from England says about itself:
By Robert Stevens in Britain:
Manchester’s dead: Victims of British regime-change operations in the Middle East
26 May 2017
More details have emerged about the prior familiarity of British intelligence agencies with the Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, whose murderous assault Monday evening left 22 people dead.
Given Abedi’s connections and his travel movements leading up to the attack, the only explanation for him being able to remain at large for so long is that he was a protected asset—part of a broad network of operatives utilised by Britain and the US to conduct their nefarious operations in the Middle East.
It is the exposure of these operations which accounts for the fury of Prime Minister Theresa May over the US leaking of intelligence information about the UK’s investigation into the bombing. Whatever the specific reasons for these leaks, they have completely undermined the British authority’s original claims that Abedi was an unknown, “lone wolf”. Rather, it is now clear that those killed and maimed while enjoying a pop concert are the victims of British regime-change policy in the Middle East and North Africa.
We know now that British intelligence had received warnings, on at least five separate occasions in the last five years, that Abedi presented a danger, including that he had discussed committing a suicide bombing.
According to new leaks Thursday, Abedi had travelled extensively in the run-up to the attack, including flying from Istanbul to the UK via Germany’s Dusseldorf airport. For years, Turkey has been used as a transit point into Syria by European jihadists, joining Western-led efforts to topple the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
Several sources, including French intelligence, have made public their conclusions that Abedi had been to Syria and received training there. The Financial Times also reported that a “Turkish official” said that Abedi had travelled through Istanbul on at least two other occasions over the past year. The newspaper reported, “In mid-April he flew from Amsterdam to Libya, while in late May 2016 he flew from Manchester to Libya, transiting through Istanbul Ataturk airport both times.”
Abedi may have travelled through at least two European Union countries on his way from Turkey to Manchester. Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that Abedi flew from Dusseldorf to Manchester on May 18—four days before the attack. The newspaper cited German intelligence sources who said that he arrived in Germany from Libya via Prague.
The Guardian reported, “It is known that the 22-year-old travelled to Germany at least twice, including a visit to the financial city of Frankfurt.” It added, “Düsseldorf is in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Anis Amri, the Berlin Christmas market attacker, spent time.”
Further leaks were reported by the German magazine Focus. Citing German intelligence sources, it said Abedi flew to Frankfurt from Britain in 2015. Focus said that Germany’s intelligence agency BKA had been told by police in the UK that this visit took place before Abedi undertook paramilitary training in Syria. It reported that he had not been apprehended in Germany, as he was not on any watch list.
There is no innocent explanation for the fact that Abedi was able to travel to Libya, Syria, Turkey and the UK unhindered. It has nothing to do with the spurious claims about the UK having “leaky borders”, or too few border guards. Abedi’s ability to pass through customs without interference can only mean that he had been given the all clear.
For decades, successive British governments have worked with jihadi groups, prepared to use atrocities to achieve their objectives. This has meant that, behind the “war on terror” and the relentless assault on democratic rights that it has entailed, UK authorities have been harbouring Islamist extremist operatives and groups who can be set into motion at the required time, in line with British imperialist foreign policy objectives.
Groups such as Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda all had bases in London. Al-Qaeda considered London the nerve centre of its operations in Europe, with the security services collaborating with some of these organisations and their leaders, the most well known being Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada.
Likewise, British imperialism worked closely with Libyan Islamists, supporting them in their opposition to then Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. As former MI5 agent David Shayler revealed, MI6 collaborated with one such organisation, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, in the attempted assassination of Gaddafi in 1996.
For years, a group of LIFG members were active in the Whalley Range district of Manchester, close to Salman Abedi’s home. Salman Abedi’s father, Ramadan Abedi, an airport security officer, was an LIFG member. He and his wife, Samia Tabbal, a nuclear scientist, fled Tripoli in 1991 after he was arrested by the Gaddafi regime. He had been employed in the regime’s internal security service and was reportedly suspected of tipping off members of anti-Gaddafi Islamist groups about pending police raids. The Daily Mail reported, “It appears that Ramadan’s life revolved at several points around toppling Gaddafi…”
After fleeing Libya, Ramadan and his wife lived in Saudi Arabia for a period. They both then went to the UK and applied for and were granted political asylum. They lived first in London and then moved to the south Manchester area, which had become a centre for many anti-Gaddafi elements with which British intelligence maintained the closest links.
Ramadan returned to Libya some time in 2011 in order to fight in the imperialist proxy war that resulted in the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi in October of that year by US/UK-backed “rebels”. This took place after a NATO bombing campaign in which untold numbers were killed nationwide over the preceding eight months. Ramadan went on to become an administrative manager of the Central Security Force in Tripoli, one of the many militias vying for control of the country.
Samia, Abedi’s mother, is a close friend of Umm Abdul Rahman, the widow of a former Al Qaeda commander, Abu Anas al-Libi. Accused of involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings, the Daily Mail reported that al-Libi “spent five years in Manchester—having won political asylum in Britain in 1995.” The Mail said that “Abdul Rahman went to college in the Libyan capital with Abedi’s mother, who was studying nuclear engineering. She [Rahman] said the two women also lived together in Manchester for a number of years.”
Al-Libi was seized by US forces in Tripoli in October 2013 and died in 2015 of liver cancer before coming to trial. Following the Manchester bombing, Ramadan Abedi and his youngest son, Hashem, were arrested in Tripoli Tuesday night.
Salman Abedi was also known to have been a close associate of one of the main Islamic State recruiters in the UK, Raphael Hostey, who was killed in a drone strike in Syria in 2016. Hostey grew up in Moss Side, just a mile away from Abedi’s home in the Fallowfield district of the city.
In a statement on the bombing, the government of Abdullah Thinni in Bayda, Libya said it had warned the British government it was harbouring terrorists. Thinni’s government was driven out of Tripoli in 2013 by Islamic extremists, including UK-based Libyan exiles. It accused May’s predecessor David Cameron of backing terrorist groups who “have been destroying our cities and towns in an attempt to shape Libya into an exporter of terror to the whole planet.”
MORE money will be put into the government’s controversial Prevent “anti-extremism strategy” in the wake of the Manchester bombing, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced yesterday: here.
HOLLYWOOD actor Tom Hardy launched an appeal to raise funds for the victims of the Manchester bombing yesterday as workers across Britain paused in their duties to remember those who lost their lives: here.