Pterosaurs, new discovery

This 6 December 2018 video says about itself:

Devil of the Jurassic

Pterosaurs came in all sorts of shapes and sizes during their time on Earth, and one of the most important pterosaur discoveries was the uncovering of this species – Sordes pilosus.


Trump sends more United States soldiers to Africa

This March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

10 Years of AFRICOM: Africa Command

CORRECTION: At the 1:24 mark it should be that Liberia expressed interest in hosting the AFRICOM headquarters, not Libya.

AFRICOM was established by the Pentagon on October 1, 2008. Its been nearly 10 years of this regional command structure so we must ask, what has it achieved?

This 10 year timeline was brought to you by the Black Alliance for Peace.

By Eddie Haywood in the USA:

7 January 2019

In the wake of a hotly contested poll December 30 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Trump administration has deployed a contingent of troops to nearby Gabon, for the purpose of “protecting US assets from possible violent demonstrations” following the election to determine a successor to longtime leader Joseph Kabila. Election results which had been expected to be released Sunday by election officials have been delayed indefinitely due to a delay counting all ballots.

Trump sent a letter to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Friday informing Congress that he had ordered the indefinite deployment of around 80 troops to Gabon to protect US citizens and embassy officials in the DRC. Trump’s letter noted that the first soldiers arrived in the country on Wednesday with the “appropriate combat equipment and supported by military aircraft.” The letter also stated that more troops could be deployed to Gabon, the Republic of Congo and the DRC “as needed.”

By deploying troops to the region, Washington is making it clear that it intends to install a pliant government in Kinshasa that will ensure that America’s economic interests in the country are secured. Trump’s proclamations of “America First” in foreign policy does not mean a retreat from the intervention in the affairs of other nations or the flowering of peace; rather it means the naked pursuit of American imperialist geopolitics by economic and military means against adversaries and allies alike.

The military operation must also be understood within the framework of America’s imperialist aims in Africa of reasserting America’s geopolitical dominance despite its economic decline relative to its global rivals. To this end, Washington has escalated its military operations in nearly every corner of Africa with the key aim of neutralizing Beijing’s vast economic influence on the continent.

Washington’s latest military maneuver puts into practice the strategy laid out in a speech delivered last month by Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton in which he identified the entire African continent as a field of “great power” competition between the United States and its two main competitors, China and Russia, which have been increasing their investments in many Africa countries. Bolton denounced Beijing and Moscow for “predatory practices” that “threaten the financial independence of African nations; inhibit opportunities for US investment; interfere with US military operations; and pose a significant threat to US national security interests.”

In recent years, Kabila has run afoul of the US and Europe by developing closer economic ties to Beijing, hammering out several economic investment agreements worth billions of dollars, something which the imperialist strategists in Washington regard as intolerable.

Also fueling the western imperialists’ lack of confidence has been the inability of the government to secure the Eastern provinces, long wracked by paramilitary skirmishes, home to the greatest concentration of the country’s immense mineral wealth. According to recent estimates, the DRC has $24 trillion in untapped raw resources, including cobalt and coltan, two metals that are critical to the growing smartphone and electric vehicle industries. …

Kabila, who came to power in 2001, has backed his ruling party’s candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary to be his successor. Washington in contrast has favored Shadary’s opponent, wealthy businessman Martin Fayulu, a former oil executive educated in the United States and France. …

Fayulu was employed by American oil giant Exxon-Mobil from 1984 to 2003, first as an auditor, then promoted to director-general, from which he oversaw the company’s operations across the African continent. After resigning from Exxon-Mobil, Fayulu returned to Kinshasa and won a parliament seat in 2006. …

Tensions with Washington and Europe reached a crescendo on December 29 when Kabila, facing immense pressures from Western governments to step aside peacefully, defiantly booted the European Union ambassador from the country.

For its part, the EU, under an initiative begun by Washington during the Obama administration, has imposed sanctions and travel bans on several key figures in the Kabila government, including Kabila himself, along with freezing the assets in European banks held by several Kabila officials.

The extreme breakdown and deterioration of relations between Washington and Europe and the Kabila government was made clear when during a media interview in the days before the poll, Kabila was asked what advice he would impart to his successor, to which he answered, “The biggest recommendation is that he listen to the voice of the Congolese and not follow that of the United States, Europe or elsewhere.”

Liopleurodon, big Jurassic plesiosaurs

This 7 January 2019 video says about itself:

Liopleurodon (meaning ‘smooth-sided teeth’) is a genus of large, carnivorous marine reptile belonging to the Pliosauroidea, a clade of short-necked plesiosaurs. The two species of Liopleurodon lived during the Callovian stage of the Middle Jurassic Period (c. 160 to 155 mya).

Liopleurodon … was the apex predator of the Middle to Late Jurassic seas that covered Europe.

The largest species, L. ferox, is estimated to have grown up to 6.4 metres (21 ft) in length. Liopleurodon fossils have been found mainly in England and France. Fossil specimens that are contemporary (Callovian) with those from England and France referable to Liopleurodon are known from Germany. Currently, there are two recognized species within Liopleurodon. Only L. ferox is known from more or less complete skeletons.

Australian senator joins neo-nazi anti-African rally

This 2 May 2018 Australian TV video says about itself:

The foreign fighters in Ukraine who Australia’s laws won’t stop [because the Ukrainian far-right paramilitarists are sanctioned by the Ukrainian government]

When Australian former (?) Neo-Nazi and registered gun owner Ethan Tilling flew into Brisbane this year, he was returning under the radar of Australian authorities with newfound combat experience from a brutal and forgotten war. Read more here.

By Patrick O’Connor in Australia:

Australian senator participates in neo-Nazi rally

7 January 2019

After heavy promotion in the media, a neo-Nazi rally in Melbourne on Saturday gathered fewer than 150 fascists at St Kilda beach and failed in its aim of fomenting a pogrom against young people of African background. The most politically significant aspect of the rally was the presence of federal Senator Fraser Anning who openly solidarised himself with the white supremacist racism of the neo-Nazis.

The rally was organised amid an ongoing, racist campaign by the media and political establishment over so-called “African gangs” in Melbourne. Whether an incident of theft and assault is reported as news or not now depends on the colour of the alleged perpetrator’s skin. If black, then the spectre of “African gangs” is immediately invoked. The press previously promoted the threat purportedly posed by the so-called “Apex gang”, even after the police admitted no such group existed. In the last month, a new alleged gang, comprising children aged between 14 and 17 and labelled “Blood Drill Killers”, has led to further lurid headlines.

Several openly fascist groups, led by the United Patriots Front, sought to capitalise on the media-stoked xenophobia by organising an event to “take back” St Kilda beach. United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell, a convicted criminal and admirer of Adolph Hitler, organised the provocation in a Melbourne suburb that has a large Jewish population. Just days earlier, neo-Nazis stuck swastikas on a nearby aged-care home. Fascist supporters openly discussed in online forums their hope to recreate the violence seen in Cronulla, Sydney in 2005, when Muslim beach-goers were attacked by a racist mob incited and encouraged by media shock jocks.

Senator Fraser Anning promoted the rally last week through several racist posts on Twitter. The day before the event, he posted a digitally altered image featuring black men with knives alongside a burning Australian flag, with a statement labelling “black Africans” as “grubs” who “hunt in packs like stalking jackals.”

Anning appeared alongside Cottrell during the rally. Several of those in attendance were recorded giving the fascist salute, while one appeared wearing an SS helmet.

A massive deployment of police was ordered by the Victorian Labor Party government to prevent a confrontation between the neo-Nazis and a far larger counter-demonstration organised by anti-racist groups.

Anning later denied that the event was a “racist rally” and falsely declared that the only Nazi salutes were given by the counter-protestors. The Queensland senator described the fascists as “decent Australian people”. Anning also defended claiming parliamentary subsidies for his return business class flight from Brisbane to Melbourne to attend the rally, declaring it was “official business”.

Anning was elected to parliament in 2016 as a member of the extreme-right One Nation Party, only to subsequently defect to the Katter Australia Party. He now sits as an independent, following the furore over his parliamentary maiden speech last August, in which he called for a return to a “White Australia” immigration policy. Combining ferocious anti-communism with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim demagogy, Anning demanded a “final solution to the immigration problem.”

Anning’s attendance at the rally has provoked an outpouring of utterly hypocritical criticism in the media and by mainstream political figures. The chief responsibility for Anning’s presence in the parliament, and the emergence of fascist groupings like the United Patriots Front, lies with the entire Australian political establishment. For decades, successive Liberal-National Coalition and Labor governments have stoked paranoia over refugees attempting to enter the country. Since 2001 and the launch of the “war on terror”, the Muslim community has been vilified and persecuted as potential terrorists to justify Australian involvement in the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the US-led intervention in Syria.

Since 2016, under conditions in which Australia is fully aligned with the US military build-up in Asia and preparations for war with China, a new campaign has developed alleging that Australians of Chinese background are potentially a dangerous fifth column for the Chinese regime.

In every instance, the scapegoating is intended to divert mounting social tensions into reactionary nationalist channels and protect the interests of the corporate elite. Amid a worsening economic and political crisis, its purpose is to promote division and backwardness and cut across the development of unified working-class resistance to deepening social inequality and hardship.

Twelve months ago, in an open pitch to a narrow extreme right wing constituency, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull denounced “African gang crime,” alleging that it was responsible for “growing lawlessness” in Victoria. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton followed with the claim that people in Melbourne were “scared” to go out to dinner because of “these gangs”. The federal Labor opposition joined in by criticising the government for not handing over more money to the Australian Federal Police.

The state Victorian Labor government of Premier Daniel Andrews responded by boasting of its “law and order” credentials, including locking up children in adult high security prisons, increasing mandatory jail terms for various offences, and increasing police spending by an unprecedented $2 billion, expanding the number of officers by 20 percent.

The entire media, from the Murdoch press to the state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation, has given prominent coverage to so-called African crime on the one hand, and has increasingly promoted various right wing and openly fascist formations on the other.

In January last year, Channel 7 News featured a segment describing Blair Cottrell and other fascists as “patriots”, and promoting their attempt to create violent vigilante groups as “a kind of neighbourhood watch.” The ABC reported a December 28 provocation staged on St Kilda beach by fascist Neil Erikson—who aggressively video-recorded a group of black youth peacefully playing soccer—as a “clash” between “activists” and “youths of African appearance.”

The Australian ruling class, steeped in colonial genocide and white nationalism, has a long record of promoting racist divide-and-rule policies. However, the emergence and promotion of neo-Nazi tendencies now reflects international processes.

Fascist movements in Europe and other regions have emerged due to high-level sponsorship from within the state apparatus. In Germany, for example, the neo-Nazis in the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) were designated the official opposition party in the Reichstag despite winning just 12 percent of the vote. The German fascists also benefitted from support from the media, academia, and within the security apparatus, including the secret service. In Italy, the ultra-right Lega party has been brought directly into the government.

The small attendance at Saturday’s racist rally in Melbourne—despite the wide media coverage beforehand—underscores the absence of a mass constituency in Australia for fascism. The involvement of Senator Fraser Anning, however, must be taken by the working class as a serious warning. Extreme right-wing forces now enjoy open support from within the federal parliament. There is no reason to doubt that, just as in Europe, they have sympathisers within the state apparatus, including the military, the police and intelligence apparatus.

The New Year statement published by the WSWS on January 3, “The Strategy of International Class Struggle and the Political Fight Against Capitalist Reaction in 2019”, explained: “Fascism is not yet, as it was in the 1930s, a mass movement. But to ignore the growing danger would be politically irresponsible. With the support of sections of the ruling class and the state, right-wing movements have been able to exploit demagogically the frustration and anger felt by the broad mass of the population.”

The statement continued: “In this situation, the fight against the resurgence of extreme right-wing and fascistic movements is an urgent political task. All historical experience—and, in particular, the events of the 1930s—demonstrates that the fight against fascism can be developed only on the basis of the independent mobilisation of the working class against capitalism.”

More ministers quit Australia’s disintegrating government: here.