YouTube censors German anti-fascist video


This 3 February 2018 German video by Analyse der Politik (Political Analysis) is called Aktuell: #120db: Das “Politikum”, was der AfD aber auch den Altparteien nutzen soll – Lobbyismus.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

YouTube censors video opposing far-right Alternative for Germany

10 February 2018

One week ago, YouTube blocked a video opposing the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The anti-AfD video by the left-wing, socialist channel “Political Analysis” remained blocked for a number of hours. The video shows how right-wing groups exploited the murder of a young German girl by an Afghani youth at the end of last year to whip up a pogrom-type sentiment against refugees. The video ends with the words: “For over two years you have been agitating against refugees day and night, as if there was nothing else going on. This is as miserable as the political consensus today…”

The video was evidently censored following appeals by far-right circles to YouTube. In a message, the editor of the channel, Andreas Niess, told his audience: “YouTube sent me its stupid STANDARD message, so much for community rules. They did not even check the video, but blocked it. Just because the right-wing trolls have fun reporting my videos in response to their content. YouTube has become an anti-social platform where racists and fascists spread their trash every day.”

Niess told the World Socialist Web Site that right-wing activists had declared they would report his videos to YouTube shortly before the suspension came into effect. Niess could not confirm that the recently passed Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) was used to censor his video. “But it could be that it played a role.” Typically, there was “no information” about who or what was behind the decision. The blocking of the video was justified under the rubric “bullying and stalking” and originally was due “to run for three months.”

The fact that YouTube has censored a channel that sharply attacks the witch-hunts of right-wing extremists confirms the warnings made by the World Socialist Web Site. Under the pretext of combating “fake news”, “hate speech” or “bullying and stalking” on the Internet, it is mainly leftist and socialist anti-war websites which are being suppressed. Since the end of April, Google (the parent company of YouTube), in close coordination with German government circles, has been censoring leftist and progressive websites, including the World Socialist Web Site.

The ruling class is pursuing the same goal with its NetzDG law, which was drafted by Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (Social Democratic Party, SPD) and passed by the grand coalition government. It has been in force since January 1. In recent weeks, left-wing sites and material have been repeatedly censored, including Twitter messages from the satirical magazine Titanic directed against the AfD, and anti-fascist posts by the well-known Berlin street artist Barbara.

“Political Analysis” is a YouTube channel with over 7,000 subscribers that campaigns against war and in favour of socialism. The current logo of the channel is a graphic with the inscription “No war on Syria.” The top of the page shows the three last presidents of the United States, George Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, each labeled with the words “war” and “world war.” It also states: “There is a worldwide crisis of capitalism. Cause: Capitalism. Solution: Socialist Revolution. Duty: Independent working class. Duty: Fall of capitalism.”

“Political Analysis” regularly posts articles from the World Socialist Web Site and provides information about its activities. In recent days, there have been links to WSWS articles on the growing strike wave in Germany and the appeal by the Socialist Equality Party (SGP) “For the expansion of the strike and new elections.” In mid-January, Andreas Niess also promoted the webinar on internet censorship, featuring journalist Chris Hedges and WSWS Chairman David North.

Against a background of growing popular resistance to war and austerity, the ruling class is desperately trying to suppress political views that reject the official political line of the government, military, and intelligence services. The next federal government has already announced it will intensify censorship of the internet.

The SPD and CDU/CSU expressly support the NetztDG in their draft program for a new edition of a grand coalition. The document describes the law as a “real and important step in combating hate crime and criminal social media.” It is already clear that the law will increasingly be used to censure left-wing and socialist content on the internet. The NetzDG falls under the jurisdiction of the legal committee of the Bundestag, which—with the support of all the parliamentary parties—is headed by a member of the AfD.

These dangerous developments underline the importance of the appeal by the WSWS for an international coalition against internet censorship. Opposition must be mobilised against the alliance of the political establishment, multibillion-dollar internet corporations and extreme right-wing circles that is determined to abolish the right to freedom of expression on the internet and erect a capitalist police state in the 21st century.

USA: YouTube Won’t Ban Neo-Nazi Group Linked To Blaze Bernstein’s Murder: here.

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Saudi crown prince not welcome, arrest him


 Saudia Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US President Donald Trump

By Kim Sharif in Britain:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Yemen: War criminals are not welcome here

Rather than being treated to a state visit, writes KIM SHARIF, Saudia Arabia’s crown prince should face arrest for the atrocities he has committed against the people of Yemen

WITH the deteriorating situation in Yemen due to the “worst man-made catastrophe” in the world today, we say it shames us as a nation greatly if we are to receive the architect of this catastrophe, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman, on a state visit.

We have a legal and moral duty, however, to summon him to our courts to answer charges of war crimes under British law.

The law is very clear on this point: there is jurisdiction to try in British courts anyone who commits war crimes anywhere in the world, whatever their diplomatic status.

Will the rule of law prevail or will “political expediency” debase our legal system and undermine the independence of our judiciary? That is the critical question that our application for an arrest warrant for Mohammad bin Salman will answer.

That the Saudi coalition has committed thousands of war crimes in Yemen is indisputable.

The vast evidence collected by the Legal Centre for Rights and Development, based in Yemen, for over 1,000 days since the start of the unlawful military intervention proves beyond reasonable doubt that these crimes have been committed by the Saudi coalition. Further evidence of war crimes is being recorded daily.

Reports from various reputable international NGOs such Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and UN agencies all confirm the commission of war crimes by the Saudi coalition.

As a matter of law, any strike on any civilian area amounts to a war crime, even if it is later discovered that such places were used for military purposes.

The evidence shows that the Saudi coalition has targeted thousands of schools, homes, hospitals, farms, food storage depots, airports, seaports, water plants, electricity plants, weddings, funerals, leisure centres, refugee camps, ancient heritage sites — even moving civilian cars did not escape air strikes.

Children are often killed by air strikes on their schools or as they are playing football in the streets.

There is frequent use of prohibited weapons — such as cluster, chemical and uranium-enriched bombs, which are continuing to claim civilian lives, including causing severe birth defects of the type that we saw following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

These prohibited weapons are often used in densely populated areas. It’s as if the Saudi coalition’s war is being waged on Yemeni civilians rather than anyone else. Why?

The answer is simple: to prevent and suffocate the democratic movement in Yemen that kicked off with the Arab Spring in 2011 and to force the people of Yemen to reject their chosen government based in Sanaa.

Frequently, millions of people from all over Yemen come to the streets of Sanaa to show support for the government, but the Saudi coalition and their allies don’t want that.

They want the people of Yemen to accept the puppet cabal of Saudi Arabia, led by Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi — who is currently based in Riyadh hotels. It has neither legitimacy under international law nor under the Yemen constitution, and is receiving substantial payments for services from the Saudis.

If, as the Saudis and their allies claim, their total destruction of Yemen and killing of thousands of civilians is “to restore” Hadi to power, then why has he not returned to the south of the country, which the coalition claims has been “freed” since late 2015?

Instead, the south is currently occupied by a hotchpotch of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and Isis elements, plus United Arab Emirates forces which have opened 18 secret detention centres used to torture Yemenis to death and have wreaked a havoc on the world heritage site of Socotra.

As a result of the near total destruction of the country’s infrastructure by bombing, there has been a rapid and shocking spread of cholera and over a million people have been infected with the disease.

This has never happened anywhere else in the world. It is absolutely despicable and a very dangerous situation for the world.

This could happen to any other country. We must reject this type of violation of the sovereignty of any nation. It is in our collective interest to do so.

There is a very strict blockade on Yemen, arbitrarily enforced by the Saudi coalition by sea, air and land. The country depends on imports for 80 per cent of its consumables. Thus, vital food and medicine cannot arrive in the country.

Up to 17 million people face famine. Up to 130 children under the age of five die per day due to malnutrition, according to Unicef figures. This doesn’t include those of all ages who die from daily bombardment and those who die of malnutrition over the age of five.

Sanaa airport has been closed for over two years. Victims of air strikes and the blockade who require urgent medical attention cannot travel abroad and die as a result.

Kidney disease and cancer sufferers are worst affected and are dying at alarming rates due to a lack of medicine and medical centres to care for them.

The blockade is illegal and amounts to a use of hunger as a weapon of war, a practice used by the nazis in World War II. That is the kind of action supported by all those who back the Saudi coalition.

The blockade is collective punishment, and is leading to genocide — all this a grotesque violation of international law.

So to receive Mohammad bin Salman, a notorious dictator, on a state visit to Britain is gross insult to all the values the British government claims to hold dear.

We say he must be summoned to answer war crimes charges, not dignified with stately decorum.

Kim Sharif is the director of Human Rights for Yemen.

Olympic speed skating and Donald Trump


Dutch speed skating fans' on Donald Trump

Today, the speed skating races of the Winter Olympics in Korea started. The Dutch fans on this photo were at the first race: 3000 meter for women.

In that match, all three medals, gold, silver and bronze went to Dutch skaters.

The fans had predicted that well on their banner. The sign jokes about United States President Trump‘s ‘America First policy‘.

Sometimes, sports authorities ban political allusions by spectators. Good that that did not happen with this banner in Korea.

This is a Dutch video with speed skater Carlyn Achtereekte; of 8 February 2018, two days before she became the surprising gold medal winner.

This video is about today, about Ms Achtereekte winning gold, and her two Dutch team mates silver and bronze.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump, Pence Rain on Koreas’ Olympic Unity Parade

9 February 2018

In a show of unity, athletes from North and South Korea marched at the Winter Olympics‘ Opening Ceremony under the same flag. But the Trump administration is doing its best to thwart hopes for peace on the peninsula, says Christine Ahn of Women Cross DMZ.

Narwhals, new research


This video is called Narwhals | World’s Weirdest.

From the American Geophysical Union:

Mysterious lives of narwhals

February 9, 2018

Narwhals are some of the most elusive creatures in the ocean, spending most of their lives in deep water far from shore. But research being presented at the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting here on Monday may shed a bit of light on these enigmatic marine mammals.

New research shows narwhals may prefer to congregate near unique glacier fjords with thick ice fronts and low to moderate calving activity, where icebergs break off infrequently. It appears narwhals prefer the freshwater coming off still, serene glaciers over the silt-filled runoff discharged from very active glaciers.

The findings could help scientists understand a little more about the elusive narwhal and how these marine mammals might fare in a changing climate, according to the researchers.

“Arctic marine mammals are really good indicators of climate change because they are very specialized,” said Kristin Laidre, a scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle who will present the research Monday at the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, co-sponsored by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanography Society and the American Geophysical Union. “They are finely attuned to specific environmental conditions, so they are good indicator species for how the physical changes many scientists are documenting in the Arctic can reverberate throughout the ecosystem.”

Scientists have known narwhals spend time at the fronts of glaciers in Greenland during the summer, which are hotspots for marine mammals, seabirds and fishes, but they did not know why narwhals have an affinity for these glaciers.

To better understand what glacier features narwhals prefer, Laidre and her colleagues used data from 15 narwhals outfitted with recorders that tracked each animal’s movements over four years in the 1990s and 2000s in Greenland’s Melville Bay, where narwhals congregate in summer. They combined this data with information about glaciers in Melville Bay over the same time period.

The researchers examined how narwhals behaved at the glaciers and collected information about each glacier’s physical properties to create models of narwhal behavior and tease out the animals’ preferences.

“Narwhals like slow-moving, big walls of ice where conditions are still and serene instead of a lot of runoff and disturbance,” Laidre said.

The researchers don’t know why the narwhals prefer these glaciers. They think the freshwater could shock small marine critters that are food for fish, which narwhals eat. Narwhals are also close relatives of beluga whales, which also seek out freshwater in summer to shed their skin, and it is possible there is something similar going on at the glacier front, Laidre said.

Laidre and her colleagues are performing additional research using a combination of moored instruments at glacier fronts, acoustic monitoring and land-based cameras to collect year-round data on narwhals to shed additional light on what physical properties of glacial fjords influence narwhal occurrence, relative abundance and acoustic behavior.

Laidre is also working on a project to use instrumented narwhals to examine the seafloor and measure ocean water temperatures. The research will help scientists better understand climate change in the high Arctic, Laidre said.