Saudi war crimes against Yemeni civilians continue


This video says about itself:

Crimes of Saudi aggression against YemenDisplaced camp massacre in Hajjah

20 June 2015

About 45 civilians died, including women and children.

That was then. And now …

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Dozens of civilian deaths in new airstrike in Yemen

Today, 15:55

An air strike in Yemen has claimed the lives of at leat 36 civilians. The bombing by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia was officially against the Houthi rebels.

The bombs fell on a factory where drinking water is bottled in the Hajjah region. According to one of the residents severely mutilated bodies were removed from the burned ruins of the factory. …

War crimes

In recent months, thousands of civilians were killed in air strikes in Yemen. Human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say that the coalition possibly commits war crimes.

Nazi violence, anti-nazi pro refugee demonstration in Germany


Welcome party for refugees in Heidenau, Germany

This video is about the welcome party for refugees from wars in Heidenau, Germany, yesterday. The caption of the photo says (translated):

The deputy leader of the Left Party, Caren Lay, takes part in the welcoming party in Heidenau. She said: “I am delighted that the festival can take place thanks to the court decision, the Saxon CDU [‘center right’ governing party] has once again demonstrated their complete failure in the asylum policy. And because they have been doing nothing for years when one needs to combat the right-wing mob, it bears partial responsibility for the situation!”

Translated from weekly stern in Germany today:

Pirna – In Pirna in Saxony an office of the Left Party has been attacked in the night. Unknown attackers destroyed in the district office five window panes and damaged the front door, as police in Dresden said. Whether there is a connection with the xenophobic protests in neighboring Heidenau, the police could not say. Heidenau itself has remained calm after protests by the far right. Left-wing groups in Dresden have called for a demonstration today for the protection of refugees and against the government’s asylum policy in Germany.

See also here.

German neo-nazis, the political establishment and anti-refugee violence


This video says about itself:

Germany: Protesters march for refugee rights as Interior Minister arrives in Magdeburg

25 August 2015

Refugees and pro-refugee activists took part in a “March against racist asylum laws” in Magdeburg, Tuesday, marching from the city centre to the Regiocom GmbH headquarters where German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere made an appearance.

By Christoph Dreier in Germany:

Attacks on refugee camp encouraged by German government’s right-wing policies

26 August 2015

Right-wing extremists attacked refugee accommodations over the weekend in the small town of Heidenau near Dresden. Over three successive nights they repeatedly attacked police and left-wing counter-demonstrators with fireworks and stones, all while chanting Nazi slogans.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democrats, CDU) Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (Social Democrats, SPD) and other politicians released official statements in which they condemned the violence against refugees. But the crocodile tears being shed cannot disguise the fact that the state apparatus and the German government’s right-wing policies contributed considerably to the violence.

The attacks came as no surprise; the fascist National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) registered a demonstration to pass through Heidenau on Friday. On social media and in forums, right-wing extremists urged “blockades” and “civil war” to stop the plan to open the housing for refugees over the weekend.

Despite this, only 135 police officers were present. Encouraged by this balance of forces, between 600 and 1,000 right-wing extremist demonstrators entered the empty warehouse, which was due to begin accommodating asylum seekers on Saturday. They attacked police with stones and fireworks, injuring 31 officers. Nazi and anti-immigrant slogans were repeatedly chanted, such as “We are the people,” “Foreigners Out!” and “national resistance.” “Sieg Heil!” calls were also heard.

Even after this experience, the contingent of police was strengthened by 40 to 175 officers for the opening of the accommodation on Saturday. In addition, 150 people gathered in front of the building to demonstrate their solidarity with the refugees.

After right-wing extremists once again gathered at the warehouse on Saturday evening, throwing stones and fireworks, the police called on the supporters of the refugees to end their demonstration on the grounds that their security could not be guaranteed. In subsequent clashes, more police were injured. The first refugees were brought into the accommodation under police escort.

On Sunday, a large contingent of officers was deployed, two water cannons were set up and a so-called control zone was established in a 500-metre radius around the camp, within which police could search individuals merely on suspicion, issue expulsions, and ban people from the area.

But the state power was ultimately deployed more against counter-demonstrators who had travelled to the town from Leipzig and Dresden, rather than the right-wing vandals. As the protesters clashed with right-wing extremists at a petrol station, the police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets, and according to eyewitnesses forced the left-wing demonstrators to the train station and onto trains. There were no further attacks on the refugee centre on Sunday.

Confronted with this chronology of events, the question is posed: to what extent were the attacks encouraged by the Saxony state government, or at least tolerated by it? Shaghayegh, a 30-year-old activist from the Asylum Seekers Movement who was in the area on Friday and Saturday, said in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung that even the choice of accommodation had been dubious.

“The question we are asking ourselves is why accommodate refugees in a town like this,” Shaghayegh said. Heidenau has a strong right-wing scene. At the most recent town council elections, the NPD secured 7.5 percent of the vote. In addition, the warehouse, left unoccupied for two years, is not a fit place for people to live in. A total of 600 refugees are to be housed in one large room.

Similar scenes played out 15 kilometres away in the state capital, Dresden. According to doctors, at a tent camp for 800 refugees that was established earlier this year, human rights were trampled underfoot. There were insufficient sanitary facilities and inadequate medical care.

The NPD organised demonstrations in July against the refugees in Dresden. Left-wing counter-demonstrators were attacked by right-wing extremists, and several counter-demonstrators were seriously injured.

These are not isolated cases. According to official government figures, there were 200 attacks on refugee centres during the first six months of the year. Remarkably, 42 of them took place in Saxony. However, the state takes in only around 5 percent of all refugees.

The reason for this is that the connections between the government and the right-wing extremist milieu are particularly close in Saxony. The judiciary, police and domestic intelligence agency have been targeting Nazi elements for years, while the right-wing extremists continue with their activities unhindered.

Last year, the right-wing Pegida movement was systematically built up. The anti-Islamic group, which had its centre in Dresden, immediately won the support of the state office for political education. Along with SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel, several members of the state government spoke out in favour of a “dialogue” with the right-wing radicals.

In addition, the government of Saxony has adopted the programme of the far right in recent years. Two weeks ago, Saxony CDU General Secretary Michael Kretschmer welcomed the Hungarian plan to build a 175-kilometre long fence along its border with Serbia.

The state spokesman for interior affairs in the CDU, Christian Hartmann, even called for the reintroduction of border controls within the European Union. Last year, Saxony’s interior minister Markus Ulbig urged the creation of a special police unit to target asylum seekers committing criminal offences.

The ability of the neo-Nazi mob to run riot again in Germany is the direct product of these right-wing politics, not only at state level but also throughout the country. Right-wing extremist forces have been encouraged by a refugee policy that is openly based on deterrence.

The unrest involving ultra right-wing elements has in turn been exploited by politicians and the media to justify renewed attacks on refugees. Even as the violence in Heidenau continued, Peter Karstens published a comment in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung headlined “The downside of the open culture.” In it he criticised the fact that, “in a climate of misunderstood tolerance and laziness,” politicians for years had avoided “deporting rejected asylum seekers.”

Then he cited the interior spokesman for the CDU/Christian Social Union parliamentary faction, Stefan Mayer, who said, “The inadequate level of deportations of rejected asylum seekers is one of the main problems in overcoming the tense asylum seeker situation.”

The foul propaganda against refugees and immigrants can only be understood in a broader political context. A policy is being carried out against refugees, in collaboration with right-wing forces, which is in reality aimed against all workers. The basic social and democratic rights denied to refugees today will be called into question in general tomorrow. A policy like that being imposed by the German government in Greece, and the preparation of new wars, are not compatible with democratic rights for the working class.

It is thus all the more cynical when representatives of all the establishment political parties respond to attacks on refugees by calling for the further strengthening of the state apparatus, which is itself responsible for organising the misery faced by refugees.

Saxony’s representative for external affairs, Geert Mackenroth (CDU), has already announced the deployment of “professional security services”, as well as video surveillance and bans on demonstrations. Such security services have been in the headlines many times over the past year for torturing and severely abusing refugees.

FOLLOWING THE SEA OF EUROPEAN MIGRANTS Documenting the mass exodus from the Middle East and Afghanistan. [NYT]

Around 50 refugees and asylum seekers were found dead in the hold of a boat off the coast of Libya Wednesday morning. While rescuers were able to save 439 other people on board, the latest reports indicated that 51 people had died: here.

Up To 50 Refugees Suffocate In Back Of Truck In Austria, Local Media Says: here.

AUSTRIAN MIGRANT TRUCK HORROR WORSENS Investigators say more than 70 bodies have been found in an truck abandoned on the Austrian autobahn. The refugees most likely suffocated to death. [Reuters]

Neo-nazis attack pro-refugee Germans


Pro-refugee demonstrators in Heidenau, Germany, with 'Stop nazis' sign, photo by Florian Boillot

Translated from daily Junge Welt in Germany today, about yesterday evening 23 August 2015, in Heidenau town near Dresden, where neo-nazis had earlier violently attacked refugees from the war in Syria and police:

Again, only 170 police officers were deployed. With little preparation there were about 250 anti-fascists in the town to demonstrate against the right-wing violence. Every now and then, refugees dared to come out of the shelter and to thank the demonstrators for their solidarity. Police concentrated their attention on the leftist demonstrators while meanwhile in the background violent hooligans and neo-Nazis prepared a new attack.

Repeated shouting of “Sieg Heil” [Third Reich slogan, illegal in Germany] and other provocations were not punished by police. Instead, the police announced they were no longer able to guarantee security. By nightfall, the situation had become more threatening, said photojournalist Christian Ditsch against jW. … Shortly before 23 o’clock up to 150 neo-Nazis attacked in a coordinated way anti-fascists and police. Stones, bottles and dangerous fireworks flew. “The police took no action against that, they were afraid”, Ditsch continued. At least this time one violent perpetrator was arrested [which had not happened during earlier nazi anti-refugee violence in Heidenau].

Pro-refugee demonstrators in Heidenau

Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s satire of Conservative prime minister censored


This video from Canada says about itself:

Protesters impersonate Mike Duffy, Stephen Harper outside Duffy trial

12 August 2015

Two protesters dressed as Mike Duffy and Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood outside the courthouse Wednesday holding a cheque for $90,000 dollars, a reference to the money Harper‘s former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright paid Duffy – allegedly without the PM’s knowledge.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Hair today, gone tomorrow: Margaret Atwood in Canada censorship row

Author’s satirical piece on prime minister Stephen Harper’s hair is removed within hours of publication on National Post website: ‘Did I just get censored?’

Oliver Laughland

Sunday 23 August 2015 15.26 BST

She is a prize-winning author who has conjured vivid dystopian futures, but on Friday Margaret Atwood found herself at the centre of a somewhat mundane censorship debate in the present.

The acclaimed author penned a satirical column lambasting Canada’s conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s hair, which has become an unusual talking point in the lead up to the general election in October.

Hours after publication on the National Post website, the piece was removed. Senior newspaper staff later said “the necessary fact checking had not been completed”.

“Um, did I just get censored? For my flighty little caper on Hair?” Atwood tweeted after #Hairgate began trending on Twitter.

Throughout the election campaign, the Canadian Conservative party has attacked Liberal leader Justin Trudeau as inexperienced and lacking in policy focus. It has also mocked him simply for having “nice hair”. Trudeau has hit back through advertising, arguing Harper is struggling to talk about anything else.

Atwood’s piece argued the entire debate had trivialised the election. “Hair, an election issue? Really?” she wrote, before going on to poke fun at Harper.

“Of the three national male leaders, which one travels with a personal grooming assistant – lavishly paid for in whole or in part by you, gentle taxpayer – so that none of his hairs will ever be out of place … Hint: Initials are SH.”

The column was eventually republished by the National Post, with three sentences, which made reference to Harper’s political donations and a recent travel expenses scandal, removed.

The edits appeared to outrage the author even more – Atwood said the piece had been submitted nine days before it was published.

“Which of my facts were Wrong? What are the alternate facts, presumably Right? Cite sources please,” she tweeted at the National Post on Saturday, after thanking readers for the flurry of puns mocking the episode, which had erupted on Twitter throughout the day.

Canada’s Conservatives boast mighty war chest but corruption scandal looms. Stephen Harper’s ruling party has maintained campaign spending advantage before October vote, but a senator’s expenses trial could yet derail Conservatives: here.

Canada’s prime minister wants to make it harder for people to vote against him, by Caroline Konrad. Stephen Harper, who won by an uncomfortably small margin in the last election, has passed laws that may keep voters who oppose him from the polls: here.

Cecil the lion killed, animated cartoon


This animated cartoon by Mark Fiore in the USA says about itself:

Trophy Hunting and You

20 August 2015

The world, or at least the World of the Internets, is furious with the Minnesota dentist who stupidly killed Cecil the Lion. (How you shoot a huge lion with a tracking collar and claim to think it was, literally, fair game, I’ll never know.) You can see more here.