British government jails raped, tortured refugee woman

This video says about itself:

12 September 2015

Many tens of thousands of people marched through London, past 10 Downing Street and up to Parliament in solidarity with refugees. They demand Britain grants asylum to more refugees. Jeremy Corbyn joined and addressed the crowds. London2Calais report.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Raped. Tortured. And locked up in Britain

Friday 9th October 2015

Judge slams Theresa May for ‘truly disgraceful’ asylum regime

A SUDANESE woman who sought safety in Britain after being repeatedly raped and tortured only to be treated “truly disgracefully” by immigration officials won her legal bid in the High Court yesterday.

Mr Justice Collins condemned the “utterly unreasonable and truly disgraceful” treatment of the woman, known only as IKM, and allowed her to claim damages from the government.

The damning ruling comes just days after Home Secretary Theresa May’s rabidly xenophobic anti-immigration and asylum speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

In it, Ms May said the supposedly “wealthiest, fittest and strongest” people who claimed asylum having already reached Britain — like IKM and 97 per cent of those who seek refuge here — were less deserving than people stuck in refugee camps.

Justice Collins said there was clear medical evidence that IKM had been repeatedly raped and tortured in Sudan.

And she suffered further when she was locked up in an English immigration prison from December 7 2013 to January 2014, the court heard, and had to spend three weeks in hospital to recover.

Ordering damages to be assessed either by the High Court or a county court, the judge said: “Very properly the secretary of state has conceded her detention was unlawful.

“It is well known that she was someone who in all probability had sustained torture and that meant she was someone who should not be detained unless there were very exceptional circumstances. There were none.

“It is, I hope, a unique case because the behaviour of those responsible was utterly unreasonable and truly disgraceful.”

IKM, a non-Arab from Darfur, initially came to England to study but then decided to claim asylum in the Republic of Ireland, believing that she could not claim in England because she possessed a student visa.

Her asylum claim was rejected and her appeal dismissed in 2010.

She made her way back to England via Belfast to an area in north-east England where a local Sudanese community came to her aid.

However, the Home Office ordered that she be dumped in Dublin, pointing to the Dublin Convention asylum rules which state that the country where the claim was lodged bears the responsibility.

But the judge said that was rubbish — IKM’s story was solid and five doctors agreed she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“In circumstances such as these, it is difficult to see this as other than a cast-iron case for asylum in this country,” he said.

Ms May “should seriously consider whether it really is humanitarian to require” an unbending following of the rules “rather than adopting a compassionate approach in the particular circumstances of this case.”

David Mitchell, applying for permission to appeal on behalf of the Home Office, claimed the ruling “emasculated” the Dublin Convention.

But Justice Collins dismissed the claim, saying the government had the choice whether or not to stick strictly to it.

Ms May still has the option to go to the appeal court directly.

Saudi royal air force bombs Yemeni wedding, again

This video says about itself:

100+ Yemeni Civilians Killed At Wedding By Saudi Airstrike

29 September 2015

The death toll from an air strike on a wedding party in Yemen has jumped to 131, medics said on Tuesday, in one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in Yemen’s war that drew strong condemnation from the U.N. secretary-general.

That was then. And now …

By James Tweedie:

Yemen: Saudis kill 30 in raid after rebels sign up to UN peace plan

Friday 9th October 2015

AT LEAST 30 people were killed when the Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding, Yemeni officials said yesterday.

Wednesday’s attack came after the UN announced that the rebel Anasarullah movement — commonly known as the Houthis — had agreed to a ceasefire.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the group had signed up to a seven-point peace plan which includes abiding by security council resolution 2216, which requires the Houthis to withdraw from all areas they occupy — including the capital Sanaa — and to lay down their arms.

In return, the movement will be given a role in government and become a recognised political party.

The agreement was confirmed by Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abd al-Salam, according to Yemen’s Saba Net news agency.

Mr Salam also called on UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon and the UN security council to back Yemen’s peace process.

The air raid took place in the town of Sanabani in Dhamar province, an area controlled by the Houthi rebels. The host of the wedding was a local tribal leader alleged to be an Ansarullah supporter.

The three local officials said that hospitals had been overwhelmed with the wounded.

There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia’s military coalition, which last week denied that it was responsible for the bombing of another wedding on September 28, killing more than 130 people.

But as the forces loyal to Houthi-backed presidential pretender Ali Abdullah Saleh possess no aircraft, suspicion fell on Saudi Arabia and its allies.

‘THE LIFE AND DEATH GAMBLE OF ATTENDING A WEDDING IN YEMEN’ “The wedding was almost over. Three brothers waited at their father’s house, as is tradition in Yemen, for their new brides to arrive. Then, according to relatives of the victims, the bombs fell.” [Charlotte Alfred, HuffPost]

English priest charged with making 3,100 child porn images

This video series says about itself:

Abuse of Trust

31 July 2009

Documentary about Catholic Clerical Child Abuse in Ireland. This documentary focuses on the Dublin Diocese and has interviews from survivors who describe their horrendous experiences of sexual abuse as children, Andrew Madden and Marie Collins. This also interviews the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Catholic priest Paul Clarke charged with making 3,100 indecent images of children

Police said there was no evidence of local children being involved

Lizzie Dearden

Thursday 8 October 2015 13:15 BST

A 71-year-old Roman Catholic priest has been charged with making 3,100 indecent images of children.

Father Paul Clarke, of Redclyffe Road in Urmston, but formerly of Rye in East Sussex, is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court today.

He has been charged with possessing an indecent image of a child, possessing prohibited images, and making a total of 3,100 indecent images of children.

Police searched his former residence at the presbytery of St Anthony of Padua church in Rye on 13 November last year, seizing computers and other alleged evidence.

The Rye News reported that Father Clarke resigned “suddenly” in February, having been at the church since 2009.

Films on Afghan war, Guantanamo reviewed

This video from Canada is called GUANTANAMO’S CHILD: OMAR KHADR Trailer | Festival 2015.

By Joanne Laurier:

8 October 2015

This is the fourth in a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto International Film Festival (September 10-20). The first part was posted September 26, the second part October 1 and the third part October 3.

The case of Omar Khadr

The “war on terror” is a lying, noxious phrase, endlessly invoked to justify the American ruling elite’s drive for global dominance. This week marks the 14th anniversary of the US military’s invasion of Afghanistan, an exercise in sociocide, which has led to the deaths of tens of thousands and the further laying waste of the already impoverished nation.

The tragic encounter of American imperialism with the Afghan people goes back to the late 1970s, when the Carter administration incited and fomented Islamic fundamentalists, including Osama bin Laden, as part of the strategy of undermining the Soviet Union. The criminality of US policy in Central Asia knows almost no bounds.

Michelle Shephard and Patrick Reed’s documentary, Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr, concerns itself with the Canadian-born youth who was captured in Afghanistan by US forces in 2002 during an airstrike and assault that killed all the anti-American insurgents except the grievously wounded, 15-year-old Omar. He was sent to the Bagram Air Base, site of a notorious US prison in Afghanistan, and tortured, before he was transferred to the even more notorious Guantanamo Bay internment camp in Cuba.

Treated like a “terrorist”—for having fought as a soldier against an invading army—by the criminals in the American government and their junior partners in Canada, Omar, in 2005, became the only juvenile to be tried for war crimes.

In 2010, he pleaded not guilty to “murdering” US Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer during the 2002 firefight. Three months later, he changed his plea, his only means of obtaining release from the Guantanamo hellhole. Over the strenuous objections of the Harper government in Ottawa, Omar was repatriated to Canada in 2012. Since his release in May 2015, Khadr has resided with his lawyer Dennis Edney in Edmonton, Alberta.

As the Shephard-Reed film reveals, Omar Khadr is a remarkable young man, as is his feisty, Scottish-born attorney. Through extensive interviews, Guantanamo’s Child constructs a nightmarish picture of Omar’s ordeal at the hands of the American military.

Although the bright and soft-spoken Omar is forthright in declaring that he was fighting “for a cause: fighting invaders,” the filmmakers are far more defensive about his role. In fact, the initial portions of the documentary tend to take the “war on terror” and the accompanying propaganda campaign at face value, as though “everything changed” as a result of the 9/11 attacks. The implication is that the “Americans” may have overreacted, but they had every right to “defend” themselves.

Any objective examination of the post-9/11 measures by the Bush administration would conclude that the actions corresponded to a long-standing agenda, involving massive US intervention in the Middle East and Central Asia in pursuit of energy supplies and, more generally, American imperialist geopolitical objectives, and that the terrorist attacks merely provided a pretext.

Missing in Guantanamo’s Child is any reference to the history of the region. There is no indication that the bin Laden forces were financed and encouraged by the CIA. It should be noted that Shepard, who wrote a book in 2008 entitled Guantanamo’s Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr, is the national security reporter for the Toronto Star, one of Canada’s largest daily newspapers.

All in all, it seems fair to argue that documentary reflects the views of that section of the Canadian elite that is not happy with the country’s current relationship with Washington, with what it perceives as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s subservience, and is taking the opportunity to “stick it” to the US over the Khadr case.

In any case, whatever the serious weaknesses of Guantanamo’s Child, the majority of the film is devoted to allowing Omar to speak openly about his past and present condition—unusual in the pro-war media propaganda world. He has an insightful, mature and cautious voice.

Omar Khadr was born in Toronto in 1986, but spent much of his childhood in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The film briefly discusses his family and his early life.

As Guantanamo’s Child reveals, after his 2002 capture, the teenager suffered extensive psychological and physical abuse. In one striking scene, a repentant Damien Corsetti, a former US interrogator at Bagram, who was nicknamed “The Monster” for using techniques such as the “Human Mop” (forcing prisoners to wipe up their urine on the floor with their own bodies), movingly talks about how Omar’s youth and bravery humanized him. This contrasts to the self-justifying remarks made by a former CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) official, who features prominently in the film.

Also interviewed are the well-spoken Moazzam Begg and Ruhal Ahmed, both British citizens who bear witness to the horrors perpetrated in American prisons—Moazzam having been incarcerated with Omar at Bagram and Ruhal with him at Guantanamo. In addition, Omar’s mother and sister make critical, but unsurprisingly disoriented, remarks about the invaders.

The film also shows Omar’s amazing fortitude. Despite his age, and imprisonment for more than a decade, he never cowers before his tormentors and their false accusations. He also defied the incredible odds against being released from Guantanamo.

During the 2002 firefight, the Americans inflicted serious wounds on Omar, including two holes in his chest, that would eventually destroy one eye and greatly impair the other. Were it not for the intrepid efforts of Edney—his lawyer who was initially not allowed access to Omar for four years—he would still be locked away as an “enemy combatant” in the internment camp.

These two remarkable individuals and their bond drive the movie, but as well highlight the documentary’s major internal contradiction: Omar himself is prima facie evidence of the inhuman, illegal nature of the war. Unfortunately, the filmmakers never follow the political logic of the story of their protagonist and the forces who calumniated and tried to destroy him.

Thank You for Bombing

From Austria comes Thank You For Bombing, directed by Barbara Eder (Inside America, 2010), which provides an unflattering portrait of contemporary journalists on assignment in war zones.

The fiction film comprises a triptych of stories related to the war in Afghanistan. The first concerns an Austrian reporter, Ewald (Erwin Steinhauser), forced by his boss to go to Afghanistan. Clearly suffering from a post-traumatic nervous disorder that has rendered him incontinent, Ewald sees a man at the airport who may or may not have been involved in the murder of his cameraman during the war in Bosnia. Neither his unsympathetic editor nor his sympathetic wife are inclined to believe a man plagued by horrible wartime memories.

The next two segments are indictments of the unrelenting careerism and opportunism of war correspondents. In the first, American reporter Lana (Manon Kahle) will stop at nothing to obtain an interview with two US soldiers in Afghanistan who allegedly have burned copies of the Koran. The episode is based on the incident that memorably set off massive protests in 2012. Lana bribes and cajoles anyone and everyone to obtain what will be a major “scoop.”

The two soldiers, more like caged wild animals, are being held in an isolated bunker by the American military. Lana buys her way into their presence. But after the interview, they turn the tables on her. She allows herself to submit to gross humiliations and a near-rape to get the story. Although a revealing sequence, the encounter between Lana and the two offending soldiers takes on a gratuitous character at a certain point. It does, however, depict a demoralized, dehumanized American army.

In the movie’s final chapter, Cal (Raphael von Bargen), once a respected journalist, is tired of waiting for the bombs to begin falling. He even tries to stage young Afghan boys throwing rocks at American soldiers. A heavy drinker, he gets fired. On a drive in the middle of nowhere, a tragic accident takes the life of his driver, which has little impact on the callous reporter.

Eder’s Thank You for Bombing is rightfully contemptuous of the media, but says little or nothing about the war itself. It is critical of ambitious journalists who use and abuse the native population, going so far as to be grateful for the dropping of American bombs that will devastate the country, thus giving them new headlines. Although an angry protest (one assumes against the war), the movie suffers from a lack of serious context.

During the question-and-answer period after the film’s public screening in Toronto, director Eder explained that the work was based on real incidents that she fictionalized to safeguard the identities of the journalists.

Demonstration against occupation and violence in Israel, tomorrow

This video from the USA says about itself:

Israeli Peace Activist Uri Avnery on The Nicole Sandler Show

25 July 2014

Nicole Sandler speaks with the founder of the Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery.

From the peace movement Gush Shalom in Israel:

Protest Vigil against the Occupation and Escalation – Tel Aviv, Friday, October 9

Tomorrow, Friday, October 9, at 13:00 there will be held at the corner of Ben-Zion Boulevard and King George Street in Tel Aviv a Protest Vigil against the Occupation and Escalation.

Military operations and settlement construction are not the solution – they are the problem. Only a peace agreement can end the violence.

In between wars and military operations, right-wing governments construct more settlements. In between one round of futile negotiations and the next one, the government is creating facts on the ground which prevent the attainment of peace and security and which lay the ground for the next war. In between one peak of escalation and the next, the government repeatedly turns a blind eye to the violence of the nationalist settler gangs which rampage, burn and kill throughout the Territories. And in between one round of violence and the next, Netanyahu is convinced he has found the magic formula which will allow him to manage the conflict and to maintain the occupation forever.

Reality is now exploding in our faces. Moment by moment, the occupation becomes ever more violent and dangerous. This right-wing government is a grave danger to all who live here. We all, on both sides, pay the price – and it becomes ever higher, with every passing day.

The right-wingers assert that the answer to the escalation and the wave of violence is ever more use of brute force: more detentions, more killing, more shooting at minors and more construction of settlements. That is totally false. There is only one way to end the escalation and break the cycle of violence and death: a political agreement: ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, side by side with the State of Israel in its internationally recognized 1967 borders.

Demo: Friday, October 9, at 13:00 – corner of Ben-Zion and King George, Tel Aviv.

Facebook event here.

Contact: Noa Levy +972-(0)52-3872231