This video is about Eurasian Pygmy Owls in Sweden, including mating.
This video is about Eurasian Pygmy Owls in Sweden, including mating.
This video is about the 7 July 2018 demonstration in Brussels, Belgium against the militarism and other right-wing policies of Donald Trump and of NATO.
So is this video.
So is this video.
So is this video.
This is a French language video on the 7 July demonstration.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump will arrive in Brussels to attend a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) amid the greatest crisis in US-European relations since the Second World War. “For the first time,” wrote the Financial Times, “the arrival of a US president on European shores is anticipated with trepidation and even fear”: here.
This 6 July 2018 video shows a young great spotted woodpecker being fed by its mother.
Rob Jackpot from the Netherlands made this video.
By Robert Stevens in Britain:
US defense secretary demands UK hike military spending
7 July 2018
US Defense Secretary [General] James Mattis [nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’] has added fuel to the crisis of Theresa May’s government with a letter to his UK counterpart, Gavin Williamson, stating that Britain’s status as a leading military power “is at risk of erosion.”
The letter, leaked by Williamson, states that the US is veering towards France as a more reliable military partner than the UK. “As global actors, France and the US have concluded that now is the time to significantly increase our investment in defense. Other allies are following suit”, he wrote, adding, “It is in the best interest of both our nations for the UK to remain the US partner of choice.”
Mattis’ letter is the most high-profile intervention into British politics since then US President Barack Obama appeared during the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016 to threaten that, in the event of a leave vote, the UK would “go to the back of the queue” in terms of a trade deal with the US.
President Donald Trump has demanded NATO allies increase their military spending substantially. Britain already spends the 2 percent minimum of GDP, but at this stage May has not committed to a substantial increase. France spends 1.7 percent of GDP on defence. However, President Emmanuel Macron has committed to 2 percent and above, with billions of euros to be spent on a vast rearmament strategy up to 2025.
Mattis’ letter could not have been blunter in demanding the UK increase defence spending or face the effective end of the much vaunted “special relationship” between the two countries.
He wrote, “I am concerned that your ability to continue to provide this critical military foundation for diplomatic success is at risk of erosion, while together we face a world awash with change.”
Britain remains the US partner of choice, but “the UK will need to invest and maintain robust military capability.”
“It is not for me to tell you how to prioritize your domestic spending priorities, but I hope the UK will soon be able to share with us a clear and fully funded forward defence blueprint that will allow me to plan our own future engagement with you from a position of strength and confidence.
“A global nation like the UK, with interests and commitments around the world, will require a level of defence spending beyond what we would expect from allies with only regional interests. Absent a vibrant military arm, world peace and stability would be at further risk.”
Sent on June 12, it was leaked to the Sun, the sister daily of the London Times, both owned by billionaire oligarch Rupert Murdoch. Over the last year, the Times has been the mouthpiece of demands by the most hawkish sections of the British military for a stepping up of the confrontation with Russia and a vast increase in military spending.
In March, the Times interviewed General Sir Gordon Messenger, vice chief of the defence staff, and other senior military figures, who demanded more funding to prevent military defeats in future conflicts.
The Guardian noted the coordinated leaking of the letter, stating it “was sent to Williamson on 12 June, three days after a visit by Mattis to London. Williamson would be unlikely to have leaked it without first seeking approval from his American counterpart.”
The letter was timed to coincide with the completion of a review of UK military spending by MPs on the House of Commons Defence Committee. Published on June 26, it is titled “Indispensable allies: US, NATO and UK Defence relations.”
Its aim is to reinforce the insistence of the Defence Committee that military spending must rise by 50 percent—an additional £20 billion per year—to protect Britain’s position within NATO. It states, “In advance of the NATO summit in July, the Defence Committee publishes a report which concludes that only if its Armed Forces are properly resourced can the UK retain its influence in NATO and in Washington.”
The Conservative chairman of the Defence Committee, Julian Lewis, said, “Defence spending is an area where a strong message needs to be sent to our allies and adversaries alike. The Government has consistently talked about increasing the UK’s commitment to NATO after our departure from the European Union. An increased commitment, in the face of new and intensified threats, means that further investment is essential. Where percentage of GDP for Defence is concerned, our mantra must be: ‘We need 3 to keep us free.’”
The report cited Mattis, pointing out that he was referring to Britain when he said recently that one of America’s allies had cut capacity “to the point where it could no longer speak with strength.”
Further pressure was exerted on May by NATO head [Jens] Stoltenberg, who said in a speech in London on June 21 that the UK could play a central role in NATO because it has “full spectrum” capabilities and spends 2 percent of GDP on defence. He added, “I expect the UK to continue and to maintain that role. To maintain that role, you need to spend and invest in defence.”
This followed May asking Williamson to produce a report defining the UK’s military status, after she refused to state that Britain would remain a “tier one” military power—a term denoting a nation has a full range of military capabilities, including nuclear arms. Asked in Parliament by Tory MP Johnny Mercer if Britain would remain a tier one military status, May didn’t use the term, replying, “There is no question that the government will do what it needs to do to ensure that we are a leading military power.”
This week, Williamson and General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff, were scheduled to meet May to demand an immediate increase of at least £2.5 billion for military spending. This comes after Carter’s predecessor, Lord Houghton, who retired as chief of defence staff in 2016, complained that pledges of more National Health Service funding were good for winning votes but not for defending “Britain’s standing in the world.” He demanded a ramping up of military funding, as the UK must “make a decision” as to “what country we aspire to be.”
The Sunday Times reported that May faces a revolt from Tory MPs over defence spending, with “About 50 MPs … pressing Downing Street to give more money to the military and 10 have signalled a willingness to vote against the budget unless May backs down, a move that could topple the government.”
To further these demands, “Defence chiefs and ministers are planning to drum up the support of the royal family to persuade Theresa May to give more money to the armed forces.” The newspaper reported, “A senior figure in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said serving and retired generals and admirals will reach out to the senior royals, including Prince Harry, who served in Afghanistan.”
The newspaper cited a MoD source who “said failure to fund the armed forces would leave May ‘an international laughing stock’ and contribute to the collapse of the NATO alliance.”
Mattis’ intervention comes ahead of next week’s NATO summit in Brussels.
Trump has repeatedly threatened moves against NATO members, including Britain, who do not increase their military budgets. The Sunday Times cited a “senior government source” who said, “If [Trump] doesn’t think NATO countries are doing enough, don’t be surprised if he starts talking about pulling the plug.”
From the summit, Trump will arrive in the UK for a three-day visit on July 13.
This video from the USA says about itself:
5 July 2018
Has the Trump administration set up concentration camps in Texas for migrants? The answer is yes, according to at least one expert: Andrea Pitzer, the author of “One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps”. In one of her latest articles, Pitzer writes, “While writing a book on camp history, I defined concentration camps as the mass detention of civilians without trial, usually on the basis of race, religion, national origin, citizenship, or political party, rather than anything a given individual has done. By this definition, the new child camp established in Tornillo, Texas, is a concentration camp.” We speak with Andrea Pitzer in Washington, D.C.
By Eric London in the USA:
Hundreds more immigrant children detained than previously reported
7 July 2018
On Thursday, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar told reporters that the number of immigrant children separated from their parents was around 3,000—50 percent higher than the 2,000 previously reported. Many of these children have been separated from their parents for weeks.
According to Azar, 101 of the children are under the age of five. The Justice Department reported that of the youngest children, 16 have not yet been linked to any parents, while the parents of 19 children have already been deported. The government is unable to locate the parents of another 19 children. It is likely that many will never see their children again.
Earlier on Thursday, Commander Jonathan White, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response, reported that the government was performing DNA tests of immigrant children to test whether those seeking their liberation from detention were their biological parents.
The compilation of a DNA database of immigrant children calls to mind the types of measures employed by the Nazis against Jews and other “undesirables”. And those few parents who have been able to free their children have been forced to pay for the cost of relocation—often thousands of dollars—echoing the Nazi requirement that the relatives of those shot pay for the bullets.
Late Thursday night, the Trump administration filed a motion requesting an extension of a court deadline requiring the government to reunite children with their parents. The administration claimed that more time was needed to genetically test immigrant children and locate their parents. A judge responded by saying he needed more time to consider the administration’s request, meaning the children will remain in limbo.
Though the media reported Trump’s announcement of an “end” to family separation last month as an “about face” and a “reversal”, only a handful of detained children have been united with their parents. The Los Angeles Times wrote of one mother’s letter about her detained son:
“It’s been a month since they snatched him away and there are moments when I can’t go on… If they are going to deport me, let them do it—but with my child. Without him, I am not going to leave here.”
The Trump administration has responded to growing popular protest by defending the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agencies and ramping-up its inflammatory xenophobic rhetoric.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted: “Every day, the brave men and women of ICE are liberating communities from savage gangs like MS-13. We will NOT stand for these vile Democrat smears in law enforcement. We will always stand proudly with the BRAVE HEROES of ICE and BORDER PATROL!”
He reiterated his demand that immigrants be stripped of all due process rights, tweeting, “Tell the people “OUT”, and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn. Hiring thousands of ‘judges’ does not work and is not acceptable – only Country in the World that does this!”
He also tweeted, “A vote for Democrats in November is a vote to let MS-13 run wild in our communities, to let drugs pour into our cities, and to take jobs and benefits away from hardworking Americans. Democrats want anarchy, amnesty and chaos—Republicans want LAW, ORDER and JUSTICE!”
Responding to Trump’s claim that Democrats support abolishing borders, Minority Leader Charles Schumer tweeted on June 21, “Open borders, @realDonaldTrump? The bipartisan immigration bill I authored had $40 billion for border security and would have been far more effective than the wall.”
Vice President Mike Pence gave a televised address at ICE headquarters yesterday, calling the American immigration Gestapo “American heroes” and proclaiming: “We will never abolish ICE.” He denounced those who are demanding the agency’s abolition, stating: “The American people have a right to their opinions, but these spurious attacks on ICE by our political leaders must stop. The type of language that’s being used to describe the men and women in this agency and the work that you do every day is unacceptable.”
Behind the rhetoric aimed at shoring up institutional support for the US deportation forces, the government is rapidly militarizing ICE and preparing for a new round of mass raids. According to a July 3 report by Ken Kippenstein of the Young Turks, ICE “is quietly training its deportation officers in the use of weapons more familiar to the US military than to domestic law enforcement, federal records show.”
Citing federal procurement records and contracts, Kippenstein reported that ICE’s “enforcement and Removal Officers are being trained in the use of M4 assault rifles, chemical agents, stun grenades, and flash bangs.” The M4 is the primary service weapon of the US Marine Corps. ICE and CBP have recently doubled their M4 contracts, acquiring 8,000 assault rifles, records show.
“Sounds like they’re getting ready for war”, former ICE agent Rob Uribe Alvarez told the Young Turks. In June, the Young Turks reported that “ICE had retained a former CIA interrogator to train agents in handling ‘terrorist suspects’.”
In a further sign the government is preparing to use the military to raid immigrant neighborhoods, the military has begun discharging dozens of immigrants. The Associated Press reported Thursday that dozens of “US Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged.”
Some recruits were told they posed “security risks because they have relatives abroad”, AP reported.
Hector Barajas, a military veteran who was deported from the US, told the World Socialist Web Site: “Just like with the mistreatment of immigrant children, this has been going on since the Obama administration, only now it is worse and the government is more blunt.”
Barajas, who fought in the Persian Gulf War, was allowed to return only in April after a years-long struggle to win re-admittance to his home country.
“I’ve been deported for 14 years”, he said. “There’s always been anti-immigrant sentiment, whether against the Italians, Irish or whoever. Now it’s Hispanics mostly. Right now, they say immigrants are causing problems by crossing borders. How many people did Obama deport? Millions of people. Now Trump says to immigrants, ‘We don’t need you.’ But if there’s a war with Russia, they’re going to take everyone and they don’t care if you speak English or not. They will send us to war even though they treat us like second class soldiers.”
Polls show that Trump’s anti-immigrant policies are increasingly unpopular. Nearly 70 percent of Americans said they opposed the family separation policy, according to a new poll from the Washington Post. The Trump administration’s attack on immigrants, including the establishment of detention camps and the arming of special Gestapo-like deportation units, is directed ultimately against the entire working class and all social opposition to inequality and war.
Following public protests and rallies around the country, the Trump administration has formally ended its practice of separating immigrant families. However, the end of family separation has not meant a change for the better, particularly when it comes to the fate of immigrant children. For one, there’s still the question of how as many as 3,000 children still in federal custody will be reunited with their parents. Beyond that, what should be of great concern is what will happen to immigrant children even if the families are kept together: here.
Democrats abstain on House resolution praising ICE thugs. By Andy Thompson, 20 July 2018. The US House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass a resolution supporting the actions of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency: here.
This 6 July 2018 video shows four young white storks and their parents at their nest in Drongelen town in North Brabant province in the Netherlands.
Hans Verbeek made this video.