Woodlark sings, video


This 4 May 2018 video is about a singing woodlark.

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London Grenfell fire disaster, Conservative crime


This video from England says about itself:

Grenfell: The first documents that show official fire safety warnings months before fire | ITV News

7 August 2018

ITV News has seen documents which are the first to reveal there were official warnings about fire safety at Grenfell Tower before the fire that killed 72 of its residents.

A fire deficiency notice from the then London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), served in November 2016, and a separate independent Fire Risk Assessment, both identified multiple failures at Grenfell that required prompt action by the building management, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).

The warnings from the independent assessor were issued in June 2016, one year before the fire, with deadlines for action.

By Robert Stevens in London, England:

Further evidence of official criminality surfaces as Grenfell fire inquiry resumes

1 September 2018

The Grenfell fire inquiry resumes next week after its summer recess, with further evidence surfacing of the criminality of those who ignored warnings that the tower was a death trap.

The inquiry will not bring justice. It is the creature of the Conservative government and, under the provisions of the 2005 Inquires Act, has no powers to prosecute anyone. Its fraudulent character was epitomised by chairman Sir Moore-Bick’s insistence that issues of a “social, economic and political nature” will not feature in its deliberations.

Issues that have emerged during the recess include the revelations this month by ITV News that it has seen documents proving official warnings about fire safety at Grenfell Tower were ignored just months before the June 14, 2017 fire that resulted in the horrifying deaths of 72 men, women and children.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council (RBKC) and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), which managed the building on its behalf, were served a fire deficiency notice from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) in November 2016. They were also given, months earlier, a deficiency notice from an independent Fire Risk Assessment that flagged up multiple failures at Grenfell, requiring urgent action by the KCTMO.

ITV reported that the fire safety audits revealed “problems with damaged or poorly fitted fire doors, fire doors that didn’t self-close, and raised questions about how the refurbishment had affected the operation of the building’s smoke venting system and the fire-fighter’s lift controls.”

The “warnings from the independent assessor were issued in June 2016, one year before the fire, with deadlines for action”, reported ITV. The assessor, as part of a routine inspection during the buildings refurbishment, recommended that action be taken to remedy more than 40 “high risk” issues at Grenfell Tower within two to three weeks.

Nothing was done by the KCTMO on more than half of the issues identified, with ITV reporting, “In October [2016], the fire risk assessor wrote to the KCTMO asking why action still hadn’t been taken on more than 20 issues he had identified in his June report.”

LFEPA’s fire deficiency notice was dated November 2016, with a deadline for remedial work to be finished by May 2017—just one month before the fire.

This evidence reveals a criminal level of indifference towards the basic safety of residents in a tower block able to house around 600 people.

The broadcaster points out that “based on inspections of the building after the fire by experts for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, there appears to be no evidence action was taken on many of the failings.”

Sandra Ruiz, the aunt of 12-year-old Jessica Ramirez, who died in the fire, told ITV, “It makes me really angry that somebody would have received that information and didn’t act on it.”

The issues cited in the fire audits have already been identified by Dr. Barbara Lane at the public inquiry. Lane was tasked with informing the inquiry as to why a small kitchen fire on the fourth floor of Grenfell was able to spread in a matter of minutes to engulf the entire 24-storey building, leaving many with no chance of escape.

The authorities didn’t act on the reports then and refuse to take any responsibility now. In response to ITV’s report, RBKC passed the buck to the public inquiry and the police investigation, knowing that they will do nothing. “This will be a matter for the public inquiry and to comment further could risk prejudicing the police investigation”, said RBKC. Neither the public inquiry nor Metropolitan Police investigation into the fire made any statement.

Nothing has been done to apprehend those responsible for the social murder committed by the authorities at Grenfell. The level of inaction is staggering. In nearly 15 months not a single person has been charged or even arrested. Since announcing in July that all they have done is to complete three interviews in relation to Grenfell, the police have said nothing more.

Many families made homeless by the fire have still not been rehoused. As of August 16, of the 204 households who lived in the tower, 53 households were still in emergency accommodation, 41 were in temporary accommodation, while 110 have moved into permanent accommodation. Of 129 households evacuated from the wider area, eight were in emergency accommodation, 74 in temporary accommodation and just one household moved into permanent accommodation.

Thousands of other public buildings around the UK are clad in flammable material of the type that resulted in the Grenfell fire becoming an uncontrollable inferno. Almost nothing is being done to make any of these structures safe. This led the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the UK’s human rights watchdog human rights, to declare the government in breach of its duty to protect lives under Article 2 of the European convention on human rights and schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998.

It warns, “Combustible cladding is still present in many other buildings as well, including schools, leisure centres and hospitals… Estimates of the number of buildings affected run into the thousands, with the estimated costs of replacing combustible materials running into many millions of pounds. All those costs stem from the state’s failure to provide a building construction and fire safety system that is fit for purpose.”

The only thing the ruling elite is doing is developing a carefully-orchestrated campaign, led by the Royal Family, to present a picture of everyone working in common purpose for the Grenfell community. The day after the Inquiry resumes, the BBC will screen an episode of its DIY SOS series that will feature Prince William chipping in to help construct a new building for the Dale Youth Boxing Club that was previously located in Grenfell Tower.

This is nauseating. William and his family have nothing in common with those being patronised with such stunts. A hard hat and high visibility vest cannot disguise the fact that he is a representative of the same British state responsible for the Grenfell atrocity. He resides just two miles from the burnt-out husk, but he may as well live on another planet.

Worth tens of millions of pounds, this privileged scion of the aristocracy lives in Kensington Palace. Thirteen other Royal parasites, including Prince Harry and Megan Markle, live in the same splendour.

Those guilty of social murder at Grenfell Tower must be arrested and charged, including former London Mayor Boris Johnson, Prime Minister Theresa May and her predecessors, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Those instrumental in the decision to add the cladding to Grenfell must also be arrested and charged.

We demand:

  • Justice for Grenfell means no cover-up and no inquiry whitewash!
  • Arrest the political and corporate criminals responsible!
  • Stop the scapegoating of firefighters!
  • Quality public housing is a social right!
  • For an emergency multibillion-pound programme of public works to build schools, hospitals, public housing and all the infrastructure required in the 21st century!

The Grenfell Fire Forum, initiated by the Socialist Equality Party, will be discussing these issues at its next meeting on Saturday, September 1, at the Maxilla Social Club in North Kensington, London. All are welcome to attend.

Grenfell Fire Forum meeting
Saturday, September 1, 4 p.m.
Maxilla Social Club, 2 Maxilla Walk
London, W10 6SW (nearest tube: Latimer Road)

For further details visit facebook.com/Grenfellforum

Mountain lions caring for their kittens


This 30 August 2018 video from North America says about itself:

How Mountain Lion Mothers Care for Their Kittens | Nat Geo Wild

A new study reveals insights into mountain lion family life, and also recommends delaying cougar-hunting season to reduce the number of orphaned kittens.

Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, RIP ceremony


This 30 August 2018 video from Israel says about itself:

Farewell ceremony for Uri Avnery

Sokolov Press House, Tel Aviv. Editing: Eran Vered and Anat Saragusti.

Sharp rise in right-wing attacks on Palestinians and Israeli peace and rights activists: here.

Nazi-official collusion in Germany


The image of Lutz Bachmann styled as Adolf Hitler was published by the Dresden Morgenpost after a reader spotted it on Facebook

This image of Lutz Bachmann, fuehrer of the racist Pegida organisation in Germany, who had styled himself as Adolf Hitler, was published by the Dresden Morgenpost.

Bachmann‘s Pegida is the driving force behind the recent neonazi violence in Chemnitz city.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

Fascist rampage in Germany exposes ties between right-wing extremists and the state

1 September 2018

After neo-Nazis rioted on Sunday and Monday in the east German city of Chemnitz almost undisturbed by the police, and attacked people they identified as foreigners, more and more details have come to light about the close coordination and cooperation between the right-wing extremists, the police and the state apparatus.

On Thursday, an official from Dresden Prison was suspended, suspected of having passed on the arrest warrant for a 22-year-old Iraqi to right-wing extremists. The Iraqi is accused of stabbing a 35-year-old man on Sunday near the city festival in Chemnitz.

The arrest warrant was published by Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann, numerous far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) politicians and the “Pro Chemnitz” initiative, which organized the right-wing march on Monday evening in Chemnitz. Another right-wing politician who published the arrest warrant on the Internet is Jan Timke, a federal police officer and member of the right-wing populist electoral association “Bürger in Wut” (Angry Citizens).

According to a report by the Berlin Tagesspiegel, the two-page document contains the full names of the victim, the alleged perpetrator and the judge. Also mentioned is the place of residence of the alleged perpetrator, but only the street; the names of witnesses were blacked out in first published versions. Later, however, the arrest warrant appeared on the Internet without anything blacked out, including the complete address of the alleged perpetrator and the names of the witnesses.

Apparently, the official who passed on the arrest warrant to the right-wing extremists sought to further fuel agitation against supposedly violent refugees and immigrants and incite the neo-Nazi mob to carry out vigilante attacks. Ronald Gläser, the deputy chairman of the AfD parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives (state legislature), tweeted the arrest warrant with the words: “indict, convict, punish, deport.” The far-right blog Journalistenwatch published the arrest warrant with the comment, “Chemnitz killer is rejected asylum seeker with ‘considerable criminal convictions’.”

It is still unclear what exactly happened in Chemnitz Saturday night. According to the police, “several people of different nationalities” were involved in a dispute following the city festival. Several people then fled the crime scene. A short time later, the Iraqi mentioned in the warrant and a 23-year-old Syrian were arrested. Both men are accused of having stabbed the 35-year-old several times “without justification.”

According to various media outlets, the victim was carpenter Daniel H., a Cuban-German who grew up in Chemnitz and held left-wing political view. According to a report by Spiegel Online, Daniel H. had liked pages of the Left Party and various anti-fascist groups. In one comment, he wrote positively about the anti-fascist fashion label Storch Heinar, and in a post about “Nazis are mad” shirts, he commented with the words, “I would also like one, in Chemnitz there are still too many of the nut cases.”

The Freie Presse, the largest subscription newspaper in Saxony, quoted from a Facebook post by Daniel W, a good friend of Daniel H.: “I ask you one thing, don’t let your grief become anger and hatred. These right-wingers, who use this as a platform, with whom we had to fight earlier, because they did not regard us as German enough. Anyone who knew Daniel H. knows that this would not have been what he wanted. Don’t let yourself be used, but mourn.”

Against the backdrop of recent events, and the way in which the alleged knife attack on a left-leaning worker with an immigrant background is being politically exploited, it would be politically naïve to exclude the participation of right-wing extremists or elements in the state apparatus. In Saxony in particular, the security services have repeatedly used their close ties with right-wing extremist circles to pursue reactionary political goals.

When two bomb attacks were carried out on September 26, 2016, on the Fatih Mosque and the International Congress Centre in Dresden, counterfeit letters accepting responsibility by the Dresden Antifa and the Anti-Einheitsfeier-Alliance 3oct were published on the website “linksunten.indymedia.org”, which has since been banned by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Later, it turned out <a href="http://that a speaker of the right-wing Pegida movement, which was in part built up by the Saxony State Agency for Civic Education, and has close ties to the Saxony police and the intelligence services, was behind the attacks.

In spring of 2017, it became known that Franco A., a right-wing professional army officer, had hoarded weapons and registered in Bavaria as a Syrian refugee, where he received protection status despite his full-time service with the Bundeswehr. There is a suspicion that he, together with at least two other accomplices—one of them, Maximilian T., who is now working as a personal advisor for the AfD member of parliament Jan Nolte—planned attacks on high-ranking politicians and institutions such as the Central Council of Muslims and the Central Council of Jews in Germany, to then blame them on refugees to stir up right-wing and xenophobic sentiments.

On Thursday, new details about the role of the secret service (BfV) in the 19 December 2016, truck attack of at Berlin Breitscheidplatz came to light. According to research by broadcaster ARD’s political magazine Kontraste, the rbb and the Berliner Morgenpost, the secret service had apparently tried to ensure that the fact that the BfV had placed an undercover informant in the vicinity of the assassin Anis Amri did not become public.

The document, which Kontraste was able to review, says: “Public knowledge of the use of sources must be avoided for reasons of source protection” and “further inflaming the topic must be prevented.” Anis Amri, who committed the attack, had been driven to Berlin by an undercover informant from the North Rhine-Westphalian state secret service. The same undercover informant is said to have repeatedly incited Amri to act.

Like the attack in Berlin, the events in Chemnitz are being used to intensify the xenophobic anti-refugee campaign and to strengthen the extreme right. Neo-Nazis who publicly give the Hitler salute and roar “foreigners out” are considered by the media to be “concerned citizens”. Representatives of the right-wing extremist AfD are granted even more airtime on talk shows and news broadcasts to justify the neo-Nazi riots in Chemnitz. And politicians from the establishment parties, who pretended to be shocked immediately after the riots, are singing the same tune.

On Thursday, Saxony state premier Michael Kretschmer (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) and Chemnitz mayor Barbara Ludwig (Social Democratic Party, SPD) organized a so-called civil dialogue in Chemnitz, in which they played down the violent actions of the right-wing extremists. Ludwig expressed understanding “for the anger and consternation” in Chemnitz and, in the style of the AfD, Kretschmer added, “When you describe that as ‘rabble-rousing through the city’ or a ‘pogrom’, then it does not apply to what happened there. That is totally exaggerated. That’s nonsense.”

After the right-wing extremist mob was able to march through Chemnitz almost undisturbed by the police on Sunday and Monday, thousands of police are now being concentrated in Chemnitz. The target is not the fascists, but the workers and young people seeking to oppose them. A “Rock Against the Right” concert with well-known bands like the Toten Hosen and Kraftklub is planned for next Monday, with tens of thousands expected. On the first day, more than 12,000 people signed up to participate in the event. In Berlin, more than 10,000 workers and young people protested on Thursday under the slogan “Take to the streets against right-wing violence.”