Anti-nazism, a crime in Germany?

This January 2019 film says about itself:

Memory of the [Hitler’s concentration] Camps (full film) | FRONTLINE

In 1945, Allied forces found evidence of atrocities. This is the historical record.

By Justus Leicht in Germany:

Berlin Tax Office withdraws charitable status from Nazi victims’ organisation

30 November 2019

The Berlin Tax Office has withdrawn the charitable status of one of the largest and most long-established anti-fascist associations in Germany. The action removes certain tax concessions from the nonpartisan and nondenominational Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes-Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten (Association of Those Persecuted by the Nazi Regime—League of Anti-fascists). The VVN-BdA was founded in 1947.

The decision is tantamount to a ban. Charitable status allows donors to claim their financial contributions up to a certain amount for tax purposes and thus get back part of the donated money. Charitable status is also a basic prerequisite for accessing funding from foundations, other non-profit associations and state programmes.

Associations with anti-fascist, social or environmental protection goals are often dependent on donations from the population, since they naturally receive little support from the state or large enterprises. Conversely, large companies can deduct lobbying costs from their taxes.

To what extent the work of the VVN can continue cannot be foreseen, the VVN-BdA federal managing director Thomas Willms told the Frankfurter Rundschau. “Those who will be pleased now are the AfD,” he said, referring to the far-right Alternative for Germany.

According to Willms, the VVN-BdA will appeal the decision of the Berlin Tax Office. The withdrawal of charitable status means that the association must now pay five-figure tax bills for 2016 and 2017. Willms fears that VAT (sales tax) claims will be added “and the assessments for 2018/2019 are still pending.”

The VVN was founded in 1947, shortly after the end of the Second World War, by resistance fighters and survivors of the Nazi concentration camps and prisons. Well-known leading members include Kurt Goldstein, Esther Bejarano and the first president of the Central Council of Jews, Heinz Galinski. The writers Eugen Kogon and Victor Klemperer were also VVN members for a time.

Since then, the organisation has mainly undertaken educational and informational work against fascist, militaristic and new-right tendencies, as well as against the presence of old Nazis in state and social offices. For this reason, it was persecuted in the former West Germany from the beginning and faced many attempts to have it banned.

In 1951, the VVN council was banned by the Adenauer government. The implementation of the ban, however, was partially blocked in the administrative courts. In 1959, the federal government made another attempt to ban the VVN. However, a trial in the Federal Administrative Court was broken off after two days in 1962 because the responsible judges and prosecutors had a Nazi past.

The resistance fighter August Baumgarte (a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp), who was persecuted by the Nazis, presented documents in the trial which showed that the presiding judge and president of the Federal Administrative Court, Fritz Werner, had joined the NSDAP (Nazi Party) and the SA (Storm Troopers) even before 1933, and had later been appointed as a higher SA leader. The government lawyer, Hermann Reuß, had also been a former member of the NSDAP and a judge under the Nazis.

Nevertheless, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassunsschutz), as the secret service is called, continued to treat the VVN as an “object of surveillance” and denounce and spy on it as “left-wing extremist”, which for its members often meant a de facto ban on working in the public sector. In recent years, the VVN was mentioned only in the report of the Bavarian state secret service branch, which states that the VVN-BdA is the “largest nationwide left-wing extremist-influenced organisation in the area of anti-fascism,” and pursues a “communist-oriented anti-fascism.”

This report was cited by the Oberhausen South Tax Office to justify withdrawal of charitable status for the VVN-BdA regional organisation in North-Rhine/Westphalia. It was based on section 51 paragraph 3 of the tax code, according to which bodies listed as “extremist organisations” in the report of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of the federal government or of a federal state do not enjoy tax privileges as charitable organisations. Unlike the Berlin Tax Office, however, the Oberhausen office accepted the VVN’s reasoning and revised its decision.

The Berlin Tax Office, however, decided that the VVN-BdA federal association could not refute the accusation of left-wing extremist influence, thus reversing the burden of proof. The VVN-BdA must prove its innocence to a domestic intelligence service whose decisions are completely opaque, and which has been riddled with old Nazis since its foundation.

“We must fully prove that the allegations made are false. This runs according to the motto: ‘Prove that you are not a witch,’” commented Federal Managing Director Willms.

The VVN-BdA is not listed in the report of the Berlin state branch of the secret service, and the Berlin Senate, an alliance of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Left Party, has refused to express any official response. But the responsibility for the tax office that made the decision lies with the so-called “red-red-green” Senate. SPD Senator Matthias Kollatz is in charge of the financial administration in Berlin.

Jewish organisations have reacted with horror. Sigmount Königsberg, the representative of the Jewish Community Against Anti-Semitism, condemned the decision with the remark, “What kind of signal is this? Showing commitment against Nazis is sanctioned. That cannot be allowed.” Königsberg warned that it could affect the VVN-BdA today and another association tomorrow.

The International Auschwitz Committee has also sharply criticized the denial of charitable status. Against the background of daily right-wing extremist threats, Executive Vice President Christoph Heubner described the decision as a scandal in a statement on Saturday.

Auschwitz survivor and honorary VVN-BdA chairman Esther Bejarano wrote in an open letter to Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD), “The work of Antifa, the work of anti-fascist associations is—still—bitterly necessary today. For us survivors it is unbearable when Nazi slogans are again shouted today, when Jewish people and synagogues are attacked, when people are chased and threatened through the streets, when death lists are circulating and extreme right-wingers do not even shy away from attacks against representatives of the state.”

Denouncing Scholz, Bejarano wrote: “The house is on fire—and you lock out the fire brigade! You want to make the work of the largest and oldest anti-fascist association in the country impossible? This devaluation of our work is a serious affront for all of us… We survivors of the Shoah are the uncomfortable admonishers, but we have not lost our hope for a better and peaceful world. For this, we and the many who think like us need help! We need organisations to support and coordinate this work.”

She had never imagined, Bejarano continued, “that the charitable nature of our work could be doubted or denied!” She continued: “That I have to experience it today! Have those already won who want to falsify the history of our country, who want to rewrite and overwrite it? Who speak of memorials as ‘memorials of shame’ and call the Nazi state and its murder machine ‘bird shit in German history’?” The latter was a direct reference to a leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany.

She asked, “What can be more charitable than conducting this struggle? Does a tax authority in this country really decide on the existence of an association of survivors of Nazi crimes?”

Apparently so. Olaf Scholz has plans that go even further.

As the newsweekly Der Spiegel reported, the federal minister of finance and favourite to win the leadership of the SPD wants to place politically active associations on a leash, with the help of the tax offices. Tax concessions for charitable associations would be abolished if the organisations interfered too much in day-to-day politics. Concretely, this would mean that an association could express itself politically within the context of its objectives but could not intervene in the wider political debate. Attac and [environmentalist] Campact have already been deprived of charitable status on this basis.

The action against Attac was approved by the Federal Fiscal Court (BFH). In a ruling in January of this year, the court stated: “Anyone who pursues political ends by exerting influence on political decision-making and shaping public opinion does not fulfil a charitable purpose.”

The court added that “influencing political decision-making” is incompatible with receiving tax benefits. This applied even to “minor general political activity by a student association.”

Demands directed against welfare and labour reforms, such as “Away with Agenda 2010 and Hartz IV,” “No dismantling of social benefits,” “Against forced labour,” “For the introduction of a statutory minimum wage,” “No EU constitution” and “Abolition of the WTO” are, according to the BFH judgement, “incompatible with tax relief according to section 52 AO (of the tax code).”

While the campaign against fascism, social cuts and neoliberalism is not “charitable”, according to German tax offices and courts, the situation as far as right-wing organisations is concerned is quite different. For many years, notoriously far-right federations have been considered charitable and enjoyed tax concessions.

One example is the “Landsmannschaft Schlesien,” which, according to its own account, “politically, legally and culturally represents the interests of Silesia and the Silesians” and demands “the right to self-determination and the right to one’s homeland, including the right to property”—in other words, revanchist goals that can be achieved only through war against Poland. In recent years, the organisation’s youth group has repeatedly made a name for itself through its links with the neo-Nazi German National Party (NPD) and other right-wing extremist organisations.

Another organisation whose charitable status is recognized by the state is the “Uniter” association. This is part of a right-wing radical network of soldiers and policemen suspected of being involved in the construction of a right-wing shadow army … . According to research in the Tagesspiegel, Uniter not only explicitly advertises the tax deductibility of donations, it is also awarded regular “donor orders”.

Conversely, democratic, social and anti-fascist organisations are under constant observation by the domestic intelligence services and in danger of losing existentially necessary funds at the nod of the secret service.

According to research by the blog FragdenStaat, from 2015 to 2018, the Ministry of Family Affairs forwarded the data of a total of 51 projects to the secret service, including six project sponsors in the field of anti-Semitism, eight project sponsors in the field of racism and six project sponsors in the field of living together in the immigration society. The secret service then informed the ministry whether or not the promoters were eligible. The ministry keeps secret the criteria and data used in the checks.

French Macron austerity drives students to suicide

This November 2019 video says about itself:

Over a thousand students took part in a demonstration in Lyon on Tuesday to remember a classmate who set himself on fire on November 8 over his dire financial situation.

“[His suicide attempt] serves a purpose, to put student precariousness and political fights in the news. But it’s terrifying that this could be the only way to get that,” remarked one of his friends.

The rally was organised close to where the Lyon University student performed his self-immolation after struggling to survive on the monthly stipend of €450 ($495). The 22 year old is now fighting for his life in hospital with burns to the body of 90 per cent.

The individual in question has not been officially identified but the student union who organised the rally said he posted a message on Facebook explaining that financial difficulties had become too much. In the message he accused French politicians as well as the European Union for creating the situation.

The demonstrators marched towards the rectorate and university of Lyon II’s campus where they staged a sit in and chanted that they would neither forgive, nor forget that authorities let the situation deteriorate so badly.

The university authorities said they would set up a psychological support unit due to the incident, while the president claimed the institution was not aware of his “personal struggle”, despite being “very involved” with the student body.

By Francis Dubois in France:

After student sets himself on fire, French youth protest: “Precariousness kills”

30 November 2019

Following the self-immolation of Anas K., a student from the city of Lyon, demonstrations organised by student unions mobilized thousands of students across all of France last Wednesday, including in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Grenoble and Rennes.

This 26 November 2019 video is called French students begin nationwide protest over high living costs.

Anas K., 22, is studying political science at the University of Lyon. His self-immolation on November 8 triggered protests throughout the country. His desperate action and his scathing denunciation of the Macron government and of capitalism reverberated powerfully among tens of thousands of students who face the same conditions. Anas K., with burns to 90 percent of his body, is still in hospital in a grave but stable state.

Another suicide attempt, this time by a senior high school student aged 18, who tried to burn herself to death on Monday in a suburban Paris high school, is an indication of the immense social distress that students in France are suffering.

This 25 November 2019 French video is called, translated: A high school girl has attempted suicide by setting herself on fire in Seine-Saint-Denis region.

In his letter, Anas described the poverty-stricken conditions that students are enduring: “This year, doing the second year of my degree for a third time, I had no government assistance. And even when I did, is 450 euros per month enough to survive?”

He then directly denounced the government: “I condemn the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and by extension the entire government. Let us fight this rising tide of fascism which does nothing but divide us and create liberalism, which creates inequality. I accuse Macron, Hollande, Sarkozy and the EU of killing me.”

Anas was living under conditions of very severe economic insecurity, according to his friends. During the first year of his degree, he was living with his parents in St. Etienne and was making the daily trip to Lyon (approximately 55 km away). Having obtained university accommodation last year, he lost it this year along with his bursary, and accommodation subsidy. It was cancelled by CROUS because he had to re-take some classes. (CROUS is the government body under the Ministry for Higher Education and Research responsible for providing public assistance to students). He was also refused any emergency assistance.

Even with his bursary, Anas was having difficulty in paying his bills. “Furthermore, his accommodation was unhealthy and substandard. It was infested with bed fleas and cockroaches,” according to a female friend. Since then, he has been living partly with his parents and partly with his girlfriend, who describes him as “proud of his home town’s popular working-class traditions.”

Anas’ act was followed by dozens of student meetings and demonstrations in university towns as well as barricades being set up at numerous universities.

In Lyon, more than a thousand students demonstrated and set up barriers to prevent lectures taking place in several faculties at the University of Lyon, while surrounding Anas’ girlfriend Laetitia. In Lille, students prevented a conference by former French President Francois Hollande (Parti Socialiste) on the “crisis of democracy” from taking place, with cries of “Hollande: murderer!”

It was Hollande who was responsible for setting up the structure of a police state in France, for imposing a state of emergency, under which fundamental democratic rights were abrogated, and for resuscitating the politics of Vichy. The Lille students also organized “free meal operations” in which they blockaded the cash registers of the university cafeteria. Several marches left different Paris universities.

At Tolbiac, students shared with WSWS reporters their emotion and their anger at the role of the public authorities. Marius stated that he was able to “understand if living as a student in precarious and sometimes very complicated situations led some to go that far. Such things could be stopped earlier with a little more assistance, not only financial, just psychological support for example.”

Aissata added: “I think that the government and the heads of institutions are not close enough to the students, and I think that is why they burnt themselves.” She added, “at uni, the standard is more demanding than at high school. The university lecturers mark harshly and students must really work hard … If I attend class, I go home, and I must do more study there in order to get the best marks, it’s really difficult.”

The mobilisation of students in France against the relentless conditions of financial precariousness imposed by the financial aristocracy and its political representatives is part of the rapid radicalisation of students and youth worldwide, their rebellion against social inequality and impoverishment.

The youth have been at the forefront of the recent mass popular movements, facing bloody police repression in Iraq, Hong Kong, Chile, Algeria and many other countries. They … are rebelling against the social attacks, against the deeply unjust manner in which social resources are distributed. They are rejecting the divisions of race, religion and gender that governments such as that of Macron use to divide them.

Terrified by the perspective of a unified movement of students and the working class against Macron, various figures in the Macron government are making despicable attempts to deny the political character of Anas K.’s act. Gabriel Attal, Secretary of State to the minister of National Education and Youth, declared viciously before the National Assembly: “It is never a political act to put an end to one’s life.” He received an ovation from the government party deputies.

Anas K.’s horrible and tragic action does not offer a perspective for millions of youth and workers now mobilizing in struggle against the Macron government. However, it is evident that his gesture is a condemnation of the policies imposed by successive governments on the youth in France.

The conditions of life and study for students from less well-off sections of society have been deteriorating for years, and the degradation has accelerated since the arrival of Macron. One in every five students today lives on the brink of poverty. One in five goes without a meal several times a week. One in three cannot adequately look after their health due to lack of money. Three out of four have no social welfare entitlements.

Student bursaries (covering 38 percent of students), amounting on average to 234 euros per month, are sufficient neither to live nor to study. Many students are forced to work, which either causes a delay in their studies or impedes them. This in turn causes them to lose the right to any assistance. The bursaries are only paid for 10 months. Many students must abandon their studies before obtaining a degree. According to the OVE (Student Life Observer), nearly half of all students (46 percent) work outside of their studies.

Once accommodation assistance is deducted, a bedroom is available to a student for 80 euros per month, while a fitted-out apartment of 18 square metres would cost between 150 and 200 euros per month, according to CROUS. CROUS manages the stock of student accommodation, which only has the capacity to house 6 percent of the total student population (2.3 million).

In the towns, the cost of renting a room is exorbitant. The 800,000 students who receive Accommodation assistance (APL) have been directly impacted by the cut of 5 euros (the price of a meal and a half) imposed by Macron in 2017, as well as the deindexation of rents.

Half of all students cannot finance accommodation outside their academic institution. Half cannot study what they would like due to lack of means.

Already in 2016, 22.7 percent of students surveyed reported to the OVE that they had been confronted with “significant financial difficulties during the year.” About 60 percent were experiencing fatigue and were suffering from stress, 45 percent mentioned problems with sleep, and 32 percent were depressed.

Numerous interviews with students bring out the impossible conditions they are compelled to endure. “If I stop before I have submitted my thesis, I will have lost all these years, and developed chronic illnesses for nothing,” declared one female student who works up to 40 hours per week.

A student message on Twitter said: “We, the precarious ones, have a duty to let our difficulties be seen, to stop hiding them, and to stop being ashamed of them. For it is not our fault if we are slaves, if we panic, if we have psychological problems linked to our material situation. The State is pushing us over the edge. It is killing us every day.”

Hyena saves impalas from hunting leopard

This 30 November 2019 video from Africa says about itself:

A Leopard’s Carefully Planned Ambush is Ruined by a Hyena

A female leopard uses her superior night vision to get closer to a herd of grazing impala. Just as she’s about to pounce, a hyena shows up revealing her position and taking away her element of surprise.

Trump ambassador warmongering at racist party conference

This September 2017 Dutch video clip from a radio debate says (translated): ‘I want white supremacy and culture to stay as it is in Europe’; the racism of [FvD leader Thierry] Baudet and the FvD [political party].

Dutch NOS TV reports today that Pete Hoekstra, the ambassador of United States President Donald Trump to the Netherlands, was one of the speakers at the conference of the far-right FvD party.

The inspiration for FvD party leader Thierry Baudet are United States neo-nazi Jared Taylor and French Holocaust denialist Jean-Marie Le Pen.

In his speech, Hoekstra said (once again) that Dutch taxpayers should pay more on bloody wars … sorry, Hoekstra used the euphemism ‘defence’. Against Russia and China, which are so dangerous, he said. Baudet reacted that, as far as that depends on FvD, the Netherlands would obey the Trump administration.

Hoekstra ‘got a long applause when he called himself the representative of his president, Donald Trump‘.

Translated from the NOS report:

FvD MEP Rob Roos spoke out unambiguously for a departure from the Netherlands from the European Union. …

This was in contrast to another speaker, the Belgian [Dutch speaking right-wing] politician Theo Francken from N-VA. “It would hurt me terribly if the Netherlands would leave the EU. And I don’t know if it’s the solution to migration problems“, he said. …

A few months ago, FvD co-founder Henk Otten split off after a fight with Baudet. He took two senators along to his Otten Group and a number of FvD members in various provincial assemblies also opted for Otten.

Thierry Baudet’s private bodyguards’ violence against peaceful anti-fascist: here.

Fungi, birds, young toad of Terschelling island

Bovine boletes, 25 September 2019

After 24 September 2019 on Terschelling island came 25 September. It started with a robin singing. And with a walk in the woodland near West-Terschelling, where we saw these bovine bolete mushrooms.

Penny bun, 25 September 2019

One of many penny buns.

A blue tit. A jay calls.

Young natterjack toad

A young natterjack toad crawling through the moss. Still just about one centimetre in size, but already with a yellowish line on its back.

Pinwheel mushrooms, 25 September 2019

Then, small mushrooms. Probably pinwheel mushrooms.

Russula, 25 September 2019

A Russula fungus.

Lichen, 25 september 2019

Then, moss and lichen.

Stay tuned for more on 25 September on Terschelling!

Free war crimes whistleblower Assange, London meeting

The platform at the London Free Assange meeting

From the World Socialist Web Site in London, England:

Hundreds attend London meeting to demand freedom for Julian Assange

By our reporters

30 November 2019

Hundreds packed the St Pancras New Church in Euston Thursday night for a meeting demanding freedom for imprisoned WikiLeaks founder and journalist Julian Assange.

The largest meeting held in London to date reflects growing opposition to plans by the US government to extradite and imprison Assange for exposing war crimes, illegal mass surveillance and state corruption.

Headlined “Free the Truth”, speakers included United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, former UK ambassador Craig Murray and veteran investigative journalist John Pilger.

An accompanying art exhibition featured paintings, drawings and sculpture, while the meeting opened with a piano recital of “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”—a favourite of Assange. The meeting was organised by academics Deepa Driver and Iain Munro, with the support of the Julian Assange Defence Committee.

This 28 November 2019 video from the London meeting is called “Turkeys voting for Christmas” – Lowkey has stark warning for “stenographers” in the press.

Rap artist Lowkey began by quoting the words of jailed Chartist leader Ernest Jones: “Because I tried to extend your liberties, mine were curtailed. Because I tried to rear the temple of freedom for you all, I was thrown into the cell of a felon’s jail… Because I tried to give voice to truth, I was condemned to silence.” These words, Lowkey explained, were taken from an article by Karl Marx written in 1852 for the New York Herald Tribune. Marx was then a political refugee in London.

“Julian Assange is not being punished for anything he has done wrong. He is being punished for everything he has done right,” Lowkey said to applause. The brutal treatment of Assange was a “slow-motion crucifixion… what they are trying to crucify is the truth.”

Condemning the mainstream media’s vilification of Assange, Lowkey said its journalists were just “stenographers.”

“Those who have joined in this demonization of Julian Assange are like turkeys voting for Christmas. How much profit did you generate off of Julian’s three million cables that WikiLeaks revealed?… Today Julian Assange, tomorrow you.”

This video is called Fidel Narvaez: “Julian’s case sets a precedent for the institution of political asylum”.

Fidel Narvaez, former Ecuadorian counsel at the Ecuadorian Embassy, said that Assange was “along with Chelsea Manning, the most important political prisoner in the world today.”

The allegations against Assange in Sweden had never been credible and the investigation had been “opened and shut more times than a fridge door.” Assange was being “denied the chance to adequately prepare his defence against the fiercest persecution of a journalist so far this century, which is a powerful reason to demand due process for Julian Assange.”

Narvaez said, “Julian’s case is also a precedent for the institution of political asylum, because he, along with Edward Snowden, was the most important political asylee in the world.” His treatment was an attack on a small country, Ecuador, by some of the most powerful nations in the world.

Ecuador had every sovereign right to determine whether Julian Assange was being politically persecuted in 2012. In order to protect him from the odious persecution of a Grand Jury…that can open a secret investigation against you and indict you on secret charges that will only be revealed once you are arrested. That is what happened to Julian Assange this April.”

“This Grand Jury wants to sentence a journalist to 175 years in prison for publishing truthful information about war crimes,” he said. For years the world’s media had attacked the warnings made by Assange about the existence of a Grand Jury “as paranoia…an excuse to hide from Swedish justice.”

The United Nations had ruled that Assange was being subject to arbitrary detention and the UK should free him and provide compensation. Lenin Moreno’s government had “committed the crime of delivering a political refugee to those who persecuted him.” This had broken the “sacred principle of asylum.”

This video is called “This is mob rule!” Top Women’s Group spokesperson Lisa Longstaff makes defense of Julian Assange.

Lisa Longstaff from Women Against Rape addressed the meeting. “The pursuit of Julian Assange is not about rape. It’s the US government weaponising and distorting rape in order to punish him for the WikiLeaks exposés of war crimes, rape and torture.”

“In 2010 and 2012, we pointed to the unusual zeal with which Julian Assange was being pursued. It’s unlike any other rape investigation we’ve seen anywhere… In his case the judicial process was corrupted from the beginning.”

“Evidence emerged that the UK ordered Sweden not to drop the case sooner,” Longstaff explained, “so it’s clearly politically motivated.”

Longstaff said, “Rape and sexual allegations have been used to pursue a political agenda from the start, intent on actually hiding rape, hiding torture and hiding murder committed by the state. They are the rapists, they are the racists, they are the murderers.”

This video is called “I am extremely concerned for his life” – Nils Melzer describes Assange’s “Psychological Torture”.

Professor Nils Melzer was given a prolonged standing ovation. He explained that his mandate as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture was to report to states when their actions contravened international law. He had assumed that signatories to international law would “act in good faith.”

“In my investigation I found that this isn’t about the law…because if it was about the law, then Julian Assange would not be sitting in extradition detention, accused of espionage for having exposed serious misconduct on the part of states, including war crimes.”

Assange, he explained, would not have been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for a bail violation for seeking and receiving political asylum, or had his asylum terminated and his citizenship withdrawn by Ecuador without explanation, or been portrayed as a suspected rapist by Sweden for more than nine years with no charges ever brought.

He would have been granted the right to prepare his defence and would not be detained in a high security prison, “under oppressive conditions of isolation and surveillance” and facing extradition for a political offence in contravention of UK law, “to a country where he will be exposed to a politicised trial, with secret evidence, behind closed doors, facing draconian punishments that is unlawful under US law and the First Amendment and sentencing to a supermax prison for the rest of his life.”

Assange’s persecution, he stressed, “is about setting an example, about scaring other journalists away, of instilling fear, preventing others from following the example of Julian Assange and of WikiLeaks, and to show to the world what happens when you expose the misconduct of the power of a state.”

During his May 9 visit with Assange at Belmarsh Prison, he had “found typical evidence of someone who has been exposed to a prolonged period of psychological torture,” Melzer explained. “Psychological torture is not ‘torture lite.’ Psychological torture aims to wreck and destroy the person’s personality and identity…to make them break.”

“We were able during our medical examination to confirm that this ill-treatment had already had neurological consequences. If that is not stopped, it can end up having irreversible consequences on the cardiovascular system and the neurological system. This is extremely serious… Today I am extremely concerned for his life.”

Melzer had written to the UK, Sweden, the US and Ecuador to present his conclusions and ask them to take urgent measures to alleviate the pressure on Julian Assange and protect his human rights. All refused to do so: “If they no longer engage with the institutions that they have created to report their compliance with human rights, then I only see a very dark future for us and our human rights and for the rights of our children.”

This video is called Lissa Johnson: “You can’t adequately medically treat a torture victim while continuing to torture them”.

Clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson spoke on behalf of more than 60 medical doctors who have issued an open letter calling for Assange’s urgent transfer from Belmarsh Prison to a tertiary care hospital: “If the UK government fails to heed their advice there will be very serious consequences, including that Julian Assange may die in prison.”

Johnson cited the findings of medical experts led by Nils Melzer who examined Assange inside Belmarsh on May 9: “Julian does show signs typical for someone exposed for a prolonged time to psychological torture… the doctors know that is very serious physically for Julian’s life and survival.”

Pointing to the public’s response to worldwide media coverage of the doctors’ open letter, she observed, “There’s a lot more public support for Julian than the media’s censorship and antagonism toward him suggests.”

“While institutions are failing us, while authorities are failing us, while the courts are failing us, here’s a group of people who took a matter of weeks to get this letter together. I think that’s where the pressure and the change is going to come.”

This video is called “We live in what has become a rogue state!” – Craig Murray.

Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, began his remarks by pointing to the meeting’s magnificent venue. At the rear of the church were monuments erected to honour those families—the Burnleys of Barbados, the Beale family of Canton, the Page family of Bombay—who gave funds to build the church and who were doubtless involved in the slavery and opium trade.

This building is like the British Establishment itself—on the surface it is beautiful, solid and harmonious, but inside it is rotten and corrupt to the core.”

“We are seeing illegality in the treatment of Julian Assange. The abuses of process by the British justice system throughout the last decade have been absolutely astonishing,” Murray recounted. “There is no legality, there is no justice.”

“It is not only that he is the victim of torture. It’s not only that his life is at stake. It is not only that we need to save him from this dreadful injustice. We also want to save him because the world needs Julian Assange as a symbol of resistance!”

This video is called Historian Mark Curtis: Corbyn’s media treatment “The biggest propaganda campaign since the war”.

Historian, author and journalist Mark Curtis told the audience, “Julian has support all over the world.” He suggested actions that people could take to fight for Assange’s freedom, beginning with information available on the website. “Obviously there’s no point in relying on the establishment media, not unless you want to brainwash yourself.”

Curtis attacked the “propaganda tropes” employed by the media against Assange—that he is a “rapist”, a “Russian asset”, a “supporter of Trump”—singling out the Guardian ’s November 2018 fabrication that Trump’s lawyer Paul Manafort had met Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy.

He called for mass pressure on human rights organisations to actively defend Assange … He called on MPs to follow the lead of former Labour MP Chris Williamson who has campaigned publicly in Assange’s defence. …

“These are the people who are meant to represent us and hold the executive to account. I know I’m confusing the UK with a democracy… In our system, which we clearly see in this case, the law has been stitched-up, the media is a platform for the elite and the political class is an appendage of the executive. That’s why we, as ordinary people, need to take action on these issues.”

He urged the audience to become involved in grassroots organisations such as the Julian Assange Defence Committee and to take part in events being organised in the weeks ahead, “culminating in a global day of protest in February when the extradition hearing will be held.”

The final speaker, Australian journalist John Pilger, told the audience he had visited Assange in Belmarsh Prison earlier that day. He described his visit with Julian and the draconian security regime inside the prison for visitors and inmates. A transcript of Pilger’s report is posted separately.

Spanish judge to question Assange over illegal CIA spying in Ecuadorian embassy. By Oscar Grenfell, 2 December 2019. British authorities had previously sought to block the interview, because the spying operation exposes the illegality of the entire US-led campaign against the WikiLeaks publisher.

UK Socialist Equality Party national committee member Linda Slattery addressed a November 26 meeting of the Greater Manchester Unite Community branch on the international campaign to prevent WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s rendition to the US. In September, the branch took a principled stand by passing a resolution demanding the immediate release from prison of Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning: here.

Big anti-Trump anti-NATO demonstration, London this Tuesday

This July 2018 video says about itself:

Belgium: Anti-war protest hits Brussels ahead of Trump‘s NATO visit

Anti-war activists protested in Brussels on Saturday against the upcoming NATO summit on July 11-12, which US President Donald Trump is also expected to visit.

The protesters held up numerous banners denouncing the NATO and Trump, such as ‘Stop the war coalition‘, ‘NATO game over’ and ‘Make peace great again.’

Donald Trump is coming to London, England for a NATO summit conference. He is pressuring other NATO governments, like Germany and Belgium, to waste even more taxpayers’ money on ‘defence’ bloody neocolonial warmongering.

There will be a big demonstration against Trump and NATO in London this Tuesday.

Anti-Trump demonstration in London

This photo shows part of a big demonstration in London during another Trump visit.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday, November 29, 2019

NHS staff frontline for Trump demo

NHS nurses and doctors will lead the march against Donald Trump’s visit to Britain on Tuesday in a show of defiance against US privatisation plans, protest organisers said today.

On Thursday Labour released documents it said were “proof” that the NHS was “up for sale” under a new trade deal between the US and Britain.

One of the protest organisers, Global Justice Now (GJN), which has also played a role in exposing the planned trade deal, said that the demonstration would show Mr Trump that “Britain is not for sale.”

GJN’s Nick Dearden said: “This week we discovered just how great a threat Donald Trump is to our NHS.

“That’s why Tuesday’s demonstration will be led by nurses and doctors — to symbolise the millions of people who will stand up for our health service against a US President who simply represents the biggest, greediest corporate interests in the world.”

The demonstration will assemble at Trafalgar Square, London, from 4pm onwards before finishing at Canada Gate, opposite Buckingham Palace, at 5.45pm.

Anti-Trump demonstration

From the organisers of the demonstration:

No to Trump – No to NATO – National Demonstration

03 December 2019

Assemble: Trafalgar Sq, London – 4PM

March to Buckingham Palace

Facebook event here

Organised by: Stop the War Coalition & CND

4pm: Assemble on south of Trafalgar Sq. for speeches & music

5pm: March leaves Trafalgar Sq. to Buckingham Palace via The Mall

5.45pm: Arrives at Canada Gate opp. Buckingham Palace

6pm: NATO reception begins

7pm: R3 Soundsystem – Dance Music Against Trump at Buckingham Gate

We are encouraging everyone to bring glow sticks and fairy lights etc for visibility as well as horns, whistles, pots, pans and other instruments to make as much noise as possible at the protest.

Donald Trump is coming to London in December for the NATO Heads of State summit. On Tuesday 3rd December, the Queen will be hosting a reception for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace and it’s crucial we raise our voices against the world’s largest nuclear-armed military alliance which is overseen by one of the most reckless US Presidents in history.

Donald Trump is a racist, a misogynist and a climate change denier who threatens communities at home while destabilising the rest of the globe.

NATO, as an aggressive and expansionist nuclear and military alliance, plays a dangerous global role – it’s still in Afghanistan 18 years on and is expanding further into Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Turkey, a NATO member, is currently attacking the Kurds in North Eastern Syria.

The summit is a crucial opportunity for our movement to oppose Trump, his nuclear warmongering, interventionism and destructive social and political agenda. Let’s unite against war and military aggression and ensure President Trump’s visit to Britain will be met with the response that it deserves.

Assemble at 4PM in Trafalgar Square on 3rd December for music and speeches before we march to Buckingham Palace saying loud and clear: no to Trump, no to NATO!