Arrests for solidarity with Sudanese refugee deported to torture


This 21 January 2018 video says about itself:

Deported from Belgium, tortured in Sudan – BBC News

Last autumn Belgian authorities invited Sudanese officials to identify Sudanese migrants living in Brussels and speed up deportation. But as reports emerge of torture on return to their home country, has this approach endangered those seeking refuge?

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Three passengers on a KLM flight to Nairobi were arrested on Saturday when they opposed the deportation of a refugee who had exhausted all legal remedies. That happened on the plane at Schiphol airport, just before departure, reports NH News.

On board the aircraft was the 25-year-old refugee Ezzedine Mehimmid.

From Darfur province in Sudan. There, and elsewhere, the dictator of Sudan gets away with massacring his own people because is a buddy of NATO countries’ governments.

He was deported to Sudan by the Netherlands, but according to the Amsterdam refugee group We Are Here, Mehimmid would be arrested and tortured on arrival in Sudan.

To prevent the expulsion, a number of people went into the aircraft, so the flight could not leave. Eventually the military police went in and three people were arrested. According to an eyewitness, that went violently.

Violence

“I was shocked by the amount of violence”, passenger Joost Fontein tells NH News. “The last arrested person, a young woman, was even taken into a headlock and dragged out by the policemen.”

Video images deleted

There are no video images of the incident. According to Fontein, this is because passengers were forced to remove the images from their cellphones. “When they saw that I was filming everything, I was told quite harshly that I could choose: remove everything or also leave the plane in shackles.” Eventually he decided to remove his images.

According to the military police, KLM staff has indicated that according to the house rules filming is not allowed on the plane. …

Is that a general rule? If that rule would have been enforced, then it would, eg, been impossible to prove that a British white bigot insulted an African Jamaican woman sitting next to him in an Ryanair plane with racist words.

Amnesty

The flight to Nairobi eventually left half an hour later than planned. Via Nairobi Mehimmid was then brought to Sudan. Human rights organization Amnesty International says that nothing has been heard from him since.

Thursday, January 10, 2019. More deaths in Sudan as Communists report arrest of spokesman Fathi Alfadl: here.

Monday, January 21, 2019. Sudanese forces accused of an ‘unbridled killing spree’ as anti-government protests continue: here.

Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese workers and peasants have staged nationwide protests since December 19 that are the biggest threat to the rule of President Omar al-Bashir since he came to power in a 1989 coup: here.

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Northern cardinal sings in Florida, USA


This 8 January 2019 video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

The sound of a male Northern Cardinal 🐦 whose hormones are stirred up as he spends his days now singing all around the Backyard … It is such a lovely song!

Spanish neo-fascists love Franco, sexism, bullfighting


This 23 November 2014 video says about itself:

Spain: Watch Nazi-saluting supporters celebrate General Franco [at] 39th anniversary [of his death]

W/S Far-right activists doing Nazi salute
M/S Far-right activists doing Nazi salute
C/U Swastika
M/S Spanish flag
W/S Stand selling Spanish flags
SOT, Miguel Menendez Pinar, grandson of [Franco era fascist MP] Blas Piñar (in Spanish):

“It has been the [‘center right’ Partido Popular] PP who has ended with the right of the workers, a conquest achieved by Franquismo”
C/U Supporters clapping and chanting Blas Piñar
W/S Priest chatting to elderly man
C/U Priest chatting to group of people
M/S Protest sign reading (in Spanish) “Right to decide – [Catalan independist] Artur Mas is a son of a whore? yes, yes, yes”
SOT Manuel Canduela, Democracia Nacional leader (in Spanish):

“The communism of Podemos is the salvation of Spain, the salvation of Spain is a man whose name is Pablo Iglesias (Iglesias means church[es] in Spanish) but his name must be Pablo burn Iglesias”

M/S Audience listening to Canduela speak [CUTAWAY]
M/S Journalist filming the speech [CUTAWAY]
W/S Man waving [Mussolini‘s] Italian Social Republic flag
W/S Police M/S Police van
W/S Rally held, Royal Palace of Madrid in the background [CUTAWAY]

SCRIPT Around 300 far-right activists gathered on Orient Square in Central Madrid to commemorate the 39th anniversary of the death of General Franco, Sunday. The Spanish leader lost his life on November 20, 1975.

Organised by several far-right political parties and nationalist organisations including Nudo Patriota Español, Movimiento Católico Español and Patriotas, the event also marked the anniversary of the death of Jose Primo de Rivera, the founder of [fascist party] Falange Española who was executed by the Spanish republican government on November 20, 1936.

During the rally, officials from the different parties gave speeches about the current situation in the country, targeting the rise of leftist political party Podemos as a cause for of concern. Swastikas and other fascist symbolism were on display, including one attendee waving the flag of the Italian Social Republic [of Mussolini].

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The new far-right Spanish party Vox demands the expulsion of 52,000 [so-called] illegal immigrants from Andalusia. Vox is willing to support a new center-right government in this state only if this happens.

Vox … participated in elections for the first time in December and received, to everyone’s surprise, ten percent of the votes= in Andalusia, in the south of Spain. As a result, the anti-immigration party holds the key of the new regional government in their hands. The center-right Partido Popular and the liberal

rather: neoliberal right-wing, anti-Catalan nationalist

Ciudadanos have already decided to cooperate, but they can not manage to form a government without Vox’s tolerance.

Deportation

The expulsion of 52,000 [so-called] illegal immigrants is a prominent point on the list of conditions of Vox. In addition, the party wants to abolish subsidies for Islamic centers and associations, feminist organizations and other ‘ideological’ NGOs.

There must also be more [so-called] help to pregnant women to stop them from having abortions, and there must be a revision of biology lessons in schools so that they do not teach ‘scientifically unproven things’.

Meaning evolution biology.

A number of local laws can also be abolished as far as the party is concerned. This includes a law that recognizes the rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people. The party also demands that a law on the Franco past should disappear, a law allowing excavations of victims of the dictatorship.

Bullfighting

Vox further suggests that there should be a new holiday to celebrate the Reconquista (the [medieval] reconquest of Spain from the Moors). A new law must also be adopted to protect bullfighting.

Today, representatives of Vox and the PP met at a secret location in Madrid, with the aim of completing the agreement for a new government in Andalusia.

English Jurassic ichthyosaur, new study


This 8 January 2019 video from England says about itself:

Medical scanner helps to unlock the mysteries of a giant ichthyosaur skull

This is the skull and postcranial skeleton of the Early Jurassic (~200 million year old) ichthyosaur, Protoichthyosaurus prostaxalis. It was collected in 1955 at Fell Mill Farm near Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire.

I first began to study this specimen in late 2014, and after more than four years, the research has finally been published.

Working together with Dr Laura Porro and Nigel Larkin, we have thoroughly described this incredible specimen, which has never formally been described. Each individual bone of the skull and skeleton has been examined in great detail and described.

From the University of Manchester in England:

Medical scanner helps to unlock the mysteries of a giant prehistoric marine reptile

January 8, 2019

A nearly metre-long skull of a giant fossil marine ichthyosaur found in a farmer’s field more than 60 years ago has been studied for the first time.

Using cutting-edge computerised tomography (CT) scanning technology, the research reveals new information including details of the rarely preserved braincase.

The almost 200 million year old fossil, which was found in 1955 at Fell Mill Farm in Warwickshire, had never formally been studied prior to this research.

Now, thanks to data collected from CT scans, the research team were able to digitally reconstruct the entire skull in 3D. It is the first time a digital reconstruction of a skull and mandible of a large marine reptile has ever been made available for research purposes and to the public.

Although thousands of ichthyosaur fossils have been unearthed in the UK, this specimen is particularly important and unusual because it is three-dimensionally preserved and contains bones of the skull that are rarely exposed.

In 2014, as part of a project at Thinktank Science Museum, Birmingham, palaeontologists Dean Lomax, from The University of Manchester, and Nigel Larkin began to study the skull and its incomplete skeleton for the first time and were soon convinced of its importance.

Dean, the lead author and one of the world’s leading ichthyosaur experts, explains: “The first time I saw this specimen I was puzzled by its excellent preservation.

Ichthyosaurs of this age (Early Jurassic) are usually ‘pancaked’, meaning that they are squished so that the original structure of the skull is either not preserved or is distorted or damaged. So to have a skull and portions of the skeleton of an ichthyosaur of this age preserved in three dimensions, and without any surrounding rock obscuring it, is something quite special.”

The ichthyosaur was originally identified as a common species called Ichthyosaurus communis, but after studying it closer, Dean was convinced it was a rarer species. Based on various features of the skull, he identified it as an example of an ichthyosaur called Protoichthyosaurus prostaxalis. With a skull almost twice as long as any other specimen of Protoichthyosaurus, this is the largest specimen so far known of the species.

Co-author Nigel Larkin added: “Initially, the aim of the project was to clean and conserve the skull and partially dismantle it to rebuild it more accurately, ready for redisplay at the Thinktank Museum. But we soon realised that the individual bones of the skull were exceptionally well preserved in three dimensions, better than in any other ichthyosaur skull we’d seen. Furthermore, that they would respond well to CT scanning, enabling us to capture their shape digitally and to see their internal details. This presented an opportunity that couldn’t be missed”

The skull isn’t quite complete, but several bones of the braincase — which are rarely preserved in ichthyosaurs — are present. To unlock information contained in the skull, these bones were micro-CT scanned at Cambridge University in 2015 by expert palaeontologist and co-author, Dr Laura Porro of University College London (UCL).

The fossil only preserved bones from the left side of the braincase; however, using CT scans these elements were digitally mirrored and 3D printed at life size to complete the braincase. Finally, the entire skull was CT scanned at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) using a scanner typically reserved for horses and other large animals.

Dr Porro added: “CT scanning allows us to look inside fossils — in this case, we could see long canals within the skull bones that originally contained blood vessels and nerves. Scans also revealed the curation history of the specimen since its discovery in the ’50s. There were several areas reconstructed in plaster and clay, and one bone was so expertly modelled that only the scans revealed part of it was a fake. Finally there is the potential to digitally reconstruct the skull in 3D. This is hard (and risky) to do with the original, fragile and very heavy fossil bones; plus, we can now make the 3D reconstruction freely available to other scientists and for education.”

The use of modern technologies, such as medical scanners, have revolutionised the way in which palaeontologists are able to study and describe fossils.

Dean added: “It’s taken more than half a century for this ichthyosaur to be studied and described, but it has been worth the wait. Not only has our study revealed exciting information about the internal anatomy of the skull of this animal, but our findings will aid other palaeontologists in exploring its evolutionary relationship with other ichthyosaurs.”

French government against free speech


This 21 December 2018 video says about itself:

What started as a protest against fuel taxes, blew up into a full-scale uprising in France. Hundreds of thousands of Yellow Vests have been taking to the streets, blocking roads and clashing with police across the country.

But is the movement really organic or is it controlled by political interests?

redfish went to the battleground in France to speak to the Yellow Vests who made Macron flinch.

SUBTITLES AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH, FRENCH AND GERMAN

By Alex Lantier in France:

French Prime Minister proposes government registry of demonstrators

8 January 2019

Following the large turnout throughout France for the eighth week of “yellow vest” (Gilets jaunes) protests this past Saturday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on French television Monday night the imposition of an extraordinary law to suppress the demonstrations. Taking up measures initially put forward by the neo-fascists, he proposed that demonstrators be placed on government subversive lists and subjected to financial sanctions.

Philippe admitted that the “yellow vest” protests express social anger shared by workers throughout France, and indeed across Europe. “From the beginning, in the statements of the ‘yellow vests’, there were demands for more purchasing power, speaking for French people who felt forgotten and ignored”, he declared.

But despite this admission, Philippe stressed that his government would not change its widely hated policy, but rather would seek to suppress the movement by putting in place additional obstacles to the right to demonstrate and strengthening the vast police apparatus for use against the population.

He announced that protesters would be registered on a list in order to ban them from demonstrating, using a method similar to the “hooligan card”, which permits police to prevent certain individuals from entering football stadiums. In addition, he would impose penalties against demonstrations that have not been registered with the prefecture. “The government is in favor of changing our law and punishing those who do not respect this reporting [registration] obligation”, he declared.

Philippe also proposed measures to allow the police to impose heavy sentences on protesters. “For those who come in hoods (cagoulé), today it is a misdeed; tomorrow it must be a crime. It must be the thugs who pay and not the taxpayers”, he said. He added: “We cannot accept that some people take advantage of these demonstrations to riot, to break and burn things. These people will never have the last word in our country.”

The prime minister announced a mass mobilization of the police, comparable to that in early December 2018, which closed off the center of Paris. He stated: “Specialized equipment used by the police, such as armored vehicles and water cannons, proved effective. We must therefore seriously consider using these again and increasing their operational capabilities.” He pledged to mobilize 85,000 police, CRS police reserves, paramilitary gendarmes and other forces next weekend, especially in Paris.

This makes clear the antidemocratic orientation of President Macron and the European Union, which backs him. In the face of workers’ support for the “yellow vests” and the widespread rejection of European-wide austerity policies, Macron wants to impose the diktat of the banks by force. The attempts by Philippe and Macron to pose as defenders of democracy in order to justify the construction of a police state that tramples on workers’ opposition to austerity and war are nothing but hypocritical lies.

The press has poured out a torrent of slander against the “yellow vests,” labelling them as fascists. It is Macron, however, who is carrying out a far-right policy. Philippe’s proposals repeat the demands that Alliance, the police union close to the neo-fascists, called for following Saturday’s demonstration. These measures would seek to stifle social anger by threatening protesters with preventive arrest and exorbitant fines.

On Sunday, the secretary general of Alliance, Frédéric Lagache, proposed that protesters be registered “on the model of stadium bans” (the “Hooligan card”). He called for the wearing of a hood in demonstrations to be punished as a crime, and for “harsher penalties” to be imposed on demonstrators.

While proposing a significant increase in repressive measures, the alternate

‘moderate’, originally Roman Catholic

police union CFDT opposed some of the proposals put forward by the neo-fascist Alliance. It criticized the proposal to register demonstrators as “useless and counterproductive.” The CFDT statement declared: “An administrative file alone will be useless, except to identify individuals who might be dangerous during demonstrations, but would lack any coercive power before an action is carried out.”

Indeed, the creation of a registry only opens the door to preventive arrests of a fundamentally illegal character of people who have displeased the police for one or another reason, prior to a demonstration in which they could not even participate.

Despite the very close links between the CFDT and the government, Philippe and Macron have taken up the proposals of the neo-fascist Alliance union.

This proves the correctness of the analysis made by the Parti de l’égalité socialiste (PES) when Macron was elected president in 2017. The PES stated that the decisive question was to prepare a workers’ movement against both candidates—Macron and the neo-fascist Marine Le Pen—because Macron was not a more democratic alternative.

The central question raised by the radicalization of workers in the “yellow vest” movement is the need to mobilize workers as widely as possible against attempts to establish police states throughout Europe.

Macron’s declaration last November that it is legitimate to honor the military career of Marshal Philippe Pétain, the fascist dictator who collaborated with the Nazi occupation, made clear that he is seeking to erect an authoritarian regime, in the guise of the “defense of the Republic.”

Increasingly reactionary and provocative police measures are multiplying across France since the eruption of the “yellow vest” movement.

At the beginning of this year, the Somme police department in northern France adopted a decree forbidding the use or transport of respiratory protection equipment. This measure—which immediately illegalized work by firefighters, doctors, nurses and law enforcement itself—was intended to permit police to stop and question protesters with gas masks and to confiscate their protective equipment.

Christophe Dettinger, the former boxer who struck gendarmes during a police charge against the “yellow vests” on Saturday, went to the police yesterday accompanied by his lawyer. He had been the subject of a hysterical campaign in the media and of a manhunt by police, who raided his home.

In a video posted online before his surrender, Dettinger explained his actions: “I wanted to advance towards the CRS when I was gassed… At a certain point, my anger mounted, and yes, I reacted badly. Yes, I reacted badly, but I defended myself, and that’s all… French people, “yellow vests”, I am wholeheartedly with you. We must continue peacefully, but please continue the fight. “

Now the state is threatening him with five years in prison and a €75,000 fine, aimed at making it illegal for demonstrators to defend themselves against police brutality.

Dettinger’s former coach, Jacky Trompesauce, commented: “Christophe is a top athlete. He is a respectful man, he is not a thug…. He could not stand to see the gendarmes go after those who are weaker than them. I think I see pictures of women being teargassed, perhaps his own wife. He has three children. He is not wearing a hood, he has only his bare hands. He is not a brawler.”

Portuguese beetle living in groundwater discovered


The newly discovered beetle species Iberoporus pluto. Credit: Ignacio Ribera CC-BY 4.0

From ScienceDaily:

The first case of a Portuguese beetle living exclusively in groundwater

January 8, 2019

A diving beetle demonstrating various adaptations to the life underground, including depigmentation and evolutionary loss of eyes, was discovered at the bottom of a clay pound in the cave Soprador do Carvalho, Portugal. The species turned out to be the very first in the whole order of beetles (Coleoptera) to be known exclusively from the underground waters of the country.

Despite not being able to find any other specimens during their study — save for the single female, the team of Dr Ignacio Ribera, Institute of Evolutionary Biology (Spain) and Prof Ana Sofia P. S. Reboleira, University of Copenhagen (Denmark) identified the beetle as new to science, thanks to its unambiguous morphology in combination with molecular data.

Aptly named Iberoporus pluto in reference to the ruler of the underworld in Greek mythology Pluto, the species was recently described in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

With a uniformly pale orange body measuring 2.8 mm in length and 1.1 mm in its widest part, the beetle is larger than the rest species known in its genus, and its appendages are longer and more slender. While blindness and depigmentation are clear adaptation to life away from sunlight, the elongated limbs and antennae reflect poor swimming abilities needed in a subterranean habitat. Going for 4 km in horizontal direction, Soprador do Carvalho is the largest in the Dueça cave system, located in the north-eastern part of the Sicó karst area in central Portugal. In recent years, the cave is being explored for tourism.

“The knowledge of the subterranean fauna from Portugal has significantly increased over the last decade, with the description of a high number of obligate subterranean species (tripling their number) and the establishment of new biogeographic patterns”, explain the authors of the study. “A high number of these species are stygobiont (i.e. confined to groundwater), mostly from wells in the north of the country, where evapotranspiration is higher.”

Immigrants dying in Trump’s ICE prisons


This 11 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

As Hurricanes Approach Trump Caught Taking Money From FEMA To Give To ICE

You’re not gonna believe what Trump said today about Hurricane Florence. Cenk Uygur, Michael Shure, and John Iadarola break it down on The Young Turks.

“MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported Tuesday that the Trump administration transferred $9.8 million from FEMA’s budget to ICE, citing budget documents provided by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)”

Read more here.

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

Twenty-two deaths reported in immigrant detention centers since Trump took office

8 January 2019

At least 22 immigrants have died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since Donald Trump took office in January of 2017, according to a review of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents by NBC News.

The deaths come as the Trump administration has escalated the assault on immigrants in the United States, increasing the number of people held in its sprawling network of some 200 jails and detention camps to 42,000 per day in 2018.

Under Trump the population of the immigrant prison network has risen 30 percent over the average under Obama and twice that under George W. Bush, filling many jails to capacity. The rapidly rising number of immigrants held in federal custody has contributed to the recent rise in deaths. Despite this, the administration has requested that the capacity be expanded to 51,000 as it continues its anti-immigrant rampage in 2019.

Reports of unsanitary conditions, spoiled food, abusive guards and lack of medical staff are common. Detainees are treated like convicted criminals and are frequently placed in solitary confinement regardless of their age or health. A report published by Human Rights Watch last year found that “dangerously substandard care in immigration detention” contributed to the deaths of 15 people in ICE custody between December 2015 and April 2017.

“You’ll see someone who is clearly an asylum seeker who came into custody with a serious medical condition, whether a heart condition or otherwise, and you have to ask, ‘Why is this person in jail?’” Heidi Altman, director of policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center, told NBC News. “There’s no reason for it.”

Ten deaths were recorded in 2017 and the 12 reported in 2018 matched the number of migrants who died in 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration. In total there have been 188 deaths in immigration detention centers since 2003 when DHS began to oversee the operation of ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

This grim tally for the first two years of the Trump administration does not include the recent deaths of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin and 8-year-old Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, who both died after becoming ill in the custody of CBP last month. Nor does the total include Mariee Juarez, a one-year-old who died in early 2018 after being held in detention along with her mother. It also does not count those who have died or been killed shortly after their release or deportation.

The largest number of immigrants to die in US custody since 2017 were from Mexico (4), Cuba (4), Honduras (3) and Russia (2), with one each from Armenia, Eritrea, India, Vietnam, Iran, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama and Jamaica.

The Southern US state of Georgia had the highest number of deaths with four, followed by Florida, California and Texas which each recorded three deaths. Deaths were also reported in Louisiana, New York, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Washington.

A review of the circumstances leading to the death of each person in ICE custody reveals that most died as the result of criminal neglect or abuse.

Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, a 33-year-old transgender woman from Honduras seeking asylum in the US, died in New Mexico in August 2018 after being arrested at the border in San Diego and shuffled around detention centers. Hernandez, who was HIV positive, became severely ill in ICE custody and did not receive any treatment for several days before being transferred to the hospital where she died. An independent autopsy found that she had been subjected to physical assault while in detention.

Sergio Alonso Lopez, a 55-year-old man from Mexico, died in February 2017 of internal bleeding after medical staff failed to give him several doses of the methadone he had been taking to treat his addiction.

At least five men died by suicide in US detention facilities in the last two years and a sixth was the victim of an apparent suicide after being transferred to Egyptian custody.

Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba, a 32-year-old asylum seeker from Nicaragua, died of suicide by hanging in March 2017 after being placed in solitary confinement at the Adelanto Detention Center in California. A review of his death found that despite becoming withdrawn and reporting hallucinations, Gonzalez-Gadba did not receive appropriate medical attention. A surprise visit by the inspector general to Adelanto in 2018 found nooses hanging in multiple cells.

Jeancarlo Jimenez-Joseph died of a suicide in May 2017 while in solitary confinement at a detention center in Georgia. A fellow detainee told investigators that he had heard Jimenez-Joseph tell guards that he was suffering from psychosis.

Zeresenay Ermias Testfatsion, a 34-year-old asylum seeker from the east African country of Eritrea, was found dead of an apparent suicide in the shower area of Cairo International Airport in Egypt. He had been transferred by ICE into the custody of the brutal Sisi dictatorship, notorious for its torture and murder of prisoners, for repatriation to Eritrea. Testfatsion had told immigration officials that he feared returning to his home country where citizens are conscripted into indefinite military service.

A recent report by the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) provides data on the dramatic increase in courthouse arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in New York state. According to the IDP report, courthouse arrests have increased by 1,700 percent since 2016, before President Donald Trump took office: here.

Under a service agreement with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, New Jersey, has been detaining immigrant workers in shocking squalor: here.