Police attack refugees, politicians promote refugee-making invasion of Syria

This video says about itself:

Serbia/Hungary: Refugees stuck in ‘no-man’s land’

16 September 2015

More than 1,000 people, including many families fleeing conflict in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, remain stuck in abysmal and rapidly deteriorating conditions along a Serbian motorway after Hungarian authorities closed the border crossing yesterday, Amnesty International said today from Horgoš on the Serbian side.

Humanitarian organizations, including the UN Refugee Agency, have been virtually absent so far and the Serbian authorities’ only response has been to send a handful of police to the border area. Hundreds of refugees are sleeping rough on a closed motorway, with only ad hoc aid from volunteers and severely restricted access to food, running water or toilets.

“The refugees we’ve spoken to have described the uncertainty and indignation they feel, stuck in limbo with a complete lack of information. They are effectively stuck in a no-man’s land on the Serbian border and the Hungarian border fence,” said Tirana Hassan, Director of Crisis Response at Amnesty International, from Horgoš.

“Even more refugees are streaming in today as the situation rapidly deteriorates. The Serbian authorities and the European Union knew this was going to happen and yet failed to respond adequately, meaning hundreds of the most vulnerable people are now stuck between razor wire and the abyss of not knowing what comes next.”

By Chris Marsden:

Hungarian border police fire tear gas and water cannon at refugees

17 September 2015

Hungarian police used tear gas and water cannon Wednesday in an unprovoked attack on hundreds of refugees seeking access to Europe.

The excuse offered was that some in the crowd had thrown plastic water bottles at the police, injuring no one. Later this was upgraded to accusations of stone-throwing and “aggression” that allegedly injured 20 officers. In reality, the stone-throwing occurred after the police attack.

There were also claims of an “attempted breakthrough” in the 4-metre-high border fence, which is topped with razor wire. The fence was fully sealed on Monday.

James Reynolds of the BBC gave a revealing account of what took place. He wrote: “For more than an hour, in the afternoon heat, a group of migrants and refugees stood inches from a line of Hungarian riot police at the border gate. A water cannon stood behind the police. ‘Open the gate, open the gate,’ the group shouted…

“Several people began to throw empty water bottles towards the Hungarian line. Minutes later, riot police fired tear gas canisters in unison. The crowd ran backwards, nearly knocking over tents. I ran back with the crowd, with the sting of tear gas in my eyes. Several refugees pointed me towards a father carrying a baby—both had been caught up in the tear gas… From the back, we watched the Hungarian police fire water cannon…”

Television reports showed the very real injuries sustained by asylum seekers, with pictures of ambulances arriving on the Serbian side of the border after the firing of tear gas and water cannon led to a stampede of refugees seeking safety. Many, including children, suffered from the impact of tear gas.

Protesters, mainly young men, were filmed facing off against police and pouring water over their eyes and covering their faces. People received medical treatment from the Serbian ambulance service. Two children were injured in the clashes after they were thrown over the security fence, an adviser to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on TV.

The clash occurred at a border crossing between the Hungarian town of Röszke and Horgos in Serbia, one of the main frontier crossings in the European Union. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said he had demanded that Serbia act against migrants who “attacked” police on the border. “Police are taking lawful and proportionate measures to protect the Hungarian state border and the external frontier of the European Union,” the government declared in a statement.

While Serbia has protested the firing of tear gas into its territory, Hungary has ordered the border crossing with Serbia to be suspended for 30 days.

A reported 373 people, including 73 children, entered Croatia from Serbia after the Hungarian border fence closure. The Guardian reported that mine cleaners had been despatched to the Croatian frontier “amid concerns that refugees may inadvertently stray” into “minefields left over from Croatia’s 1991-95 war.”

Hungary boasted of a drop in migrants entering the country from 9,380 on Monday to 366 on Tuesday. That day, it declared a crisis in two southern counties, stating that the border zone there would be extended to 60 meters from 10 meters to accommodate the expected swell of refugees trapped there. Orbán told Austria’s Die Presse that Hungary would now build a fence along parts of its border with [fellow European member] Croatia.

The brutal treatment of refugees has been documented by aid agencies as well as reporters. The Guardian cited Muntada Aid official Kabir Miah explaining, “What we witnessed at Röszke shocked us. We saw women, children, babies and elderly people being herded into an open field where they were kept for days without shelter, exposed to the cold and rain.

“On Monday night it was raining and the refugees burned anything they could find, including wet blankets, to keep themselves warm. Children were suffering asthma attacks from inhaling the smoke. Diabetics were having fits as no insulin was available. One person was coughing blood. There were no doctors.”

Miah explained that the largely Muslim refugees were repeatedly and over several days offered only pork salami sandwiches to eat by police, despite repeated appeals and protests.

Zahir Habbal, a 29-year-old Syrian, told of how his request for asylum was summarily denied after a few perfunctory questions. He was one of just 16 or so applicants whose appeals were “heard” Tuesday, with all of them “turned down in a maximum 20 minutes.”

The suffering is underscored by a report by Germany’s chamber of psychotherapists that half of those refugees who have made it to Germany are suffering from “psychological illness” such as post-traumatic stress disorder, including one in five children. “Forty percent have already had suicidal thoughts or have even attempted to kill themselves,” the organisation reported.

Whatever official criticisms are levelled against Hungary, all of the major European powers are responding in a similarly brutal fashion. Both Britain and Germany have sent troops to the Mediterranean to clamp down on people smugglers. The UK’s Royal Navy frigate, HMS Richmond, is to take part in a blockade-style naval operation, described as a “more aggressive” phase two of a European Union initiative.

Austria has closed its border with Hungary, while the Austrian rail operator EBB yesterday suspended its service between Salzburg and Germany. This was done under instructions from the Merkel government in Berlin, which has closed its borders with Austria and the Czech Republic and sent hundreds of border guards to Bavaria to stop refugees crossing.

British Home Secretary Theresa May told Parliament Monday that the government was opposed to any European Union-wide quota system for taking in refugees and relocating “120,000 people already in Europe.” She supported the creation of “screening centres” in refugee “hotspots”—a de facto endorsement of the measures put into practice by Hungary. “Claiming asylum must not be viewed as an easy means of resettlement in Europe,” she insisted.

Refugee crisis: UN Secretary General urges compassion as Hungary fires tear gas at refugees: here.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

German politicians and media promote military intervention in Syria

17 September 2015

The German elite are using the refugee crisis in Europe to intensify their campaign for militarism and war. Since the government sealed the borders to stop the flow of refugees into Germany, politicians and the media have been pushing for a military intervention in Syria.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) led the way on Sunday. On the same day he announced Germany would reintroduce border controls, telling the German newspaper Die Zeit that Europe has “not acted decisively enough in its foreign and security policies.”

Although “the West bombed Libya,” they had “ended engagement as soon as the dictator was gone,” complained the interior minister. He added that “The fight against Syrian dictator Assad and the so-called ‘Islamic State (IS)’ was also not being carried out with the necessary determination.” One cannot stand by and “watch the killing any longer,” he added.

De Maizière exemplifies the militarist turn of German foreign policy during the last two years. In 2012, when he served as minister of defense, he criticized proponents of military intervention in Syria as “coffeehouse intellectuals” who “call for the deployment of soldiers without having to be accountable for it.” Now he raises the possible deployment of ground troops in the fight against IS in order to defend the interests of German imperialism in the Middle East.

To quote de Maizière: “We need a security strategy. One cannot defeat IS out of thin air. One cannot rely on the fight of the Kurdish Peshmerga on the ground alone.”

Wolfgang Ischinger sang the same tune in an interview with the Münchner Merkur Tuesday. The leader of the Munich Security Conference also called for military intervention in Syria and even sending in German ground troops if necessary.

A “comprehensive political strategy” (Ischinger refers to the proposal of Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to establish a large Syrian Contact Group, taking Moscow and Tehran into account) would “only be credible […] if it is backed by credible military options.”

The EU would have to “be able to talk seriously about questions like protection zones in Syria for the millions of refugees” and “speak with the US and other nations about possible flight bans in and around Syria.” According to Ischinger, anyone who could not commit to that, should not “be surprised when hundreds of thousands or millions of refugees land here.”

The use of the German military was, therefore, “obvious.” While Germany had “wrongly looked away” before, it has now learned “with difficulty and somewhat late, that looking away does not free us from responsibility,” he said. “Inactivity” has consequences and the Syrian conflict had now “come crashing on our doorstep.”

The entire Middle East is “on the verge of a great explosion” and the “threat of instability spilling over” is enormous. With regard to ground troops, he would “not rule anything out.” For that, however, one would also have to “engage Syria’s neighbors in the region.” What was not permissible, according to Ischinger, was “the planning of crusade-style events”.

The war and propaganda strategies of the German elite are as repugnant as they are transparent. In reality, the “great explosion” of the Middle East, with its dramatic consequences, is not the result of “looking away” or “inactivity.” It is the result of the neo-colonial war policies of the West, which de Maizière, Ischinger and Co. now want to massively expand.

The rise of IS and the suffering of millions of refugees, which the German elite now uses as a pretext for direct military intervention in Syria, are direct results of previous interventions that left entire countries in ruins and cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Among them are, above all, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the NATO bombardment of Libya in 2011 and the civil war in Syria instigated by the West.

If anything is “explosive,” it is the offensive of the German government. While it did not, officially at least, participate in the wars in Iraq and Libya, it is now using the consequences of these illegal crusades to secure its piece of the pie in the redistribution of the Middle East and to promote the return of German imperialism on the world stage.

An interview with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) in the Monday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung underscores just how aggressive Berlin has become. Schäuble, who embodies more than anyone the role of the German “task master” of Europe with his brutal stance toward Greece, now demands, under the title “We cannot duck away,” proceeding with the drive to war despite the anti-militarist sentiments of the majority of the population.

According to Schäuble, Europe will naturally have to engage more strongly in Syria, and “in Germany we will have to get used to taking on even more foreign policy responsibility.” That the German population is “skeptical, even hostile” was “no badge of honor for Germany.” The government will have to “take note of it” but must “not be content with it.” Germany “cannot duck away.”

Then he threatens: “I know that especially in foreign policy we’ve come a long way since 1990. But we are far from finished. We must adjust to that. Our policies must show that we have the courage to lead, even when the opinion polls seem to speak another language.”

That is the voice of war and dictatorship! A further comment in the weekend edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung made clear how far German ruling circles are prepared to go in carrying out their reactionary plans. Under the title “The Order of the Day,” reserve officer Reinhard Müller argues not only for “an intervention” in Syria and a “robust” deployment for the “home front protection” of refugees, but also for the deployment of the military within Germany.

After noting that the military was until now on call only “as a kind of armed, technical aid organization,” he dresses up further demands in the form of questions: “Or must the military be used for the defense of housing accommodations? Or should it enable or prevent right-wing and left-wing extremist demonstrations, in case the police force is too weak?”

“Necessity knows no law,” concludes Müller.

It should be recalled that Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg justified the invasion of Belgium by Reich Defense on August 4, 1914 with precisely these notorious words. “We are now in a state of necessity, and necessity knows no law,” said the Reich Chancellor. “Our troops have occupied Luxemburg, perhaps already entered Belgian territory. Gentlemen, this is a breach of international law […] the wrong that we are committing we will endeavor to repair as soon as our military goal has been reached.”

Poll shows 81 percent of Syrians believe US created ISIS: here.

17 thoughts on “Police attack refugees, politicians promote refugee-making invasion of Syria

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  2. Thursday 17th September 2015

    posted by Morning Star in World

    by Our Foreign Desk

    HUNGARIAN police used tear gas and water cannon against desperate refugees trying yesterday to cross its militarised border with Serbia.

    Budapest demanded that Belgrade crack down on “attacks” by refugees after frustrated crowds bottlenecked at border crossings threw plastic bottles and stones at riot police massed on the Hungarian side.

    “We fled wars and violence and did not expect such brutality and inhumane treatment in Europe,” said Amir Hassan, an Iraqi who was soaking wet from the water cannon and trying to wash tear gas from his eyes.

    “Shame on you, Hungarians,” he shouted, pointing at the shielded Hungarian police who were firing volleys of tear gas canisters directly into the crowd.

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has erected a 170-mile razor-wire fence along the frontier with Serbia and is now extending it along the Romanian border.

    On Tuesday, it enacted draconian new immigration legislation that would see anyone illegally crossing the border jailed for up to three years.

    Authorities said yesterday that they had already made 519 arrests under the new laws, charged 46 people and convicted two Iraqi men.

    Two men were expelled from Hungary, with one banned from re-entering the country for a year, the other for two.

    Televised images from a court in the southern town of Szeged earlier showed four charged Iraqi men with their hands tied in front of them and their shoelaces removed prior to their trial.

    Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto denied that his goverment was xenophobic and repeated the government’s claim that most of those entering Hungary were actually economic migrants.

    “Based on our history, we are always in solidarity with the refugees,” he claimed.

    “What we’re saying is that we cannot accept economic migrants because we cannot bear the burden.”

    Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic criticised Hungary’s decision to seal its border with Serbia and said that Croatia would continue to allow refugees to cross its territory on their way to Austria, Germany and Sweden.

    “Barbed wire in Europe in the 21st century is not an answer — it’s a threat,” he said.



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