Irish anti-torture flight protesters arrested


This video from Ireland says about itself:

Protest against the use of Shannon Airport by the CIA and US military 10-7-2011

Organised by the human rights activist group Shannonwatch, today’s protest at Shannon Airport was notable for the excessive numbers of Garda and Special Branch operatives oppressively policing and harrassing the peaceful attendees — a ratio of more than two to one counting the guards on the side road and buzzing police cars and the Special Branch unmarked car. Shortly before the start of the protest Gardai set up a checkpoint close to the roundabout where the protest is always held and in the space of thirty minutes the only vehicle pulled to the side of the road for inspection was John Lannon’s, coordinator of Shannonwatch.

Directly after the protest, Fred Johnston, a Shannonwatch activist from Galway was similarly pulled to the side of the road in his car where his valid vehicle insurance documentation and accompanying pet dog; Tristan, were spuriously taken exception to – as John Lannon remarked; “There has been a more determined effort to impede peaceful opposition to Shannon Airport’s role in U.S. military and CIA operations since the present government and Minister for Justice took office”. Shannonwatch object to the continued misuse of a civilian airport, under the blind eye of a complicit government, as a transit stop for CIA torture flights and US troops transiting to America’s imperial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Ireland: US military flights protesters arrested at Shannon airport

Thursday 26th May 2016

TWO Irish peace campaigners were arrested yesterday morning after protesting on the main runway at Shannon airport against US military flights from there.

Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy walked into the airside zone at dawn, carrying the Irish flag and a banner, before painting red crosses on the runway in remembrance of US-led wars in the Middle East.

They were not detected until they approached a US government-owned Learjet and a Boeing 757 parked by the disused runway 11, half a mile away.

As they walked past the two planes, soldiers in an Irish army vehicle spotted them and alerted nearby Garda officers in a patrol car, who in turn called the airport police to arrest the pair.

The BBC’s Newsnight programme, the New York Times and Amnesty International alleged in 2005 that Shannon airport had been used for dozens of “rendition” flights of prisoners to third countries.

‘Stop British government recruiting child soldiers’


This October 2013 video is called Child soldiers in the British Army: one recruit’s story | Guardian Docs.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Army puts kids at risk, says rights charity

Monday 23rd May 2016

CHILDREN enlisting in the British Armed Forces are facing “significant risk and disadvantage,” a human rights campaign warned yesterday.

According to Child Soldiers International, recruits under the age of 18 were “actively sought” for more dangerous infantry roles.

In a letter to Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt, the charity urged the government to raise the minimum enlistment age to 18. At present, kids can take to the colours at 16 and apply to from 15.

The letter was co-signed by the National Union of Teachers general secretary Christine Blower and the children’s commissioners for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

LEGOS HAVE GOTTEN A LOT MORE VIOLENT “The number of Lego weapons overall has increased greatly since then. Researchers found that nearly 30 percent of all Lego sets sold today now include at least one weapon. In 1978, that figure was under 5 percent.” [HuffPost]

British cluster bombs killing Yemeni children?


This video says about itself:

Yemen: Cluster Munitions Kill and Wound Civilians

(Beirut, August 27, 2015) – Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces appear to have used cluster munition rockets in at least seven attacks in Yemen’s northwestern Hajja governorate, killing and wounding dozens of civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. The attacks were carried out between late April and mid-July 2015.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Are British-made cluster bombs killing kids?

Monday 23rd May 2016

Amnesty demands full probe after bombs found in Yemen

HUMAN rights campaigners are demanding an urgent investigation into evidence that banned British-made cluster bombs may have been used to slaughter children in Yemen.

Amnesty International demanded “full government disclosure” over whether any British personnel were involved in dropping the BL-755 bombs from British-supplied Tornado jets.

The campaign called on Prime Minister David Cameron to review Britain’s alliance with Saudi Arabia, which is leading attacks on Yemen and still receives British arms licences despite an EU embargo.

Amnesty UK arms control director Oliver Sprague said: “Cluster bombs are one of the nastiest weapons in the history of warfare, rightly banned by more than 100 countries, so it’s truly shocking that British cluster munition has been dropped on a civilian area in Yemen.

“Given that this type of cluster bomb is very likely to have been used in combination with Tornado war planes which the UK has also sold to Saudi Arabia, there’s even a possibility that British support personnel might have been involved in the cluster bombing of Yemen.”

Amnesty inspectors found a partially exploded BL-755 near a farm in the Hajjah governorate. The bomb was originally manufactured in the 1970s by Bedfordshire’s Hunting Engineering Ltd.

BL-755s are banned under international law and can contain up to 147 bomblets designed to burn through tank armour, which scatter on impact but often don’t detonate until picked up.

Cluster bombs and their bomblets often take the lives of civilians unaware of their dangerous nature.

In one recent incident on March 1, an eight-year-old was killed after unwittingly playing with some discarded bomblets while herding goats with his older brother.

In the explosion, the 11-year-old brother lost three fingers and suffered severe shrapnel injuries.

He said: “We go down every day to the valley to herd goats, where there are many small bombs.

“We found four of them in the morning, they were cylindrical with a red ribbon.

“We carried them with us while herding. At around 1pm, I started to take the red string with my right hand and pull and [my brother] pulled on the other end of it and then it went off and I fell back.

“[My brother] was hurt in his stomach and he had fallen down too. We didn’t know it would hurt us.”

According to Campaign Against Arms Trade, the British government has made £2.8 billion in arms sales to the Saudi monarchy since March 2015 — when its attacks on Yemen began.

Stop the War’s Lindsey German said: “This is the latest example of Saudi Arabia’s dirty British-backed war in Yemen.

“British military advisers, British planes and British bombs are killing civilians including children there.

“We should break all links with Saudi now and stop supporting this ultra-reactionary regime.”

Britain trains soldiers of over sixteen torture regimes


This video from India says about itself:

3 Kerala men trapped in Saudi Arabia, tortured by employer

23 December 2015

A horrifying video of three Indians being beaten brutally by their Saudi employer has evoked strong reactions in Kerala. The men, were who are from Haripad, a town in north Kerala, had forwarded the video to their family members, with an appeal for help.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Britain trains soldiers for many regimes on its own human rights abuse watchlist

Sixteen nations on the Foreign Office watchlist for use of torture and sexual violence benefit from military and security support

Jon Stone

Britain is providing military training and support to the majority of the countries named on its own human rights abusers watchlist, The Independent can reveal.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) designated 30 nations as “human rights priority” countries last year, warning of their conduct on a range of issues from internal repression to the use of sexual violence in armed conflict.

But information released by ministers shows that British armed forces trained “either security or armed forces personnel” in 16 of the listed countries since 2014.

According to the Ministry of Defence, British soldiers have trained the armed forces of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, China, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe – despite the human rights records of those countries.

The revelation comes days after the Government announced it would step up the level of military training it provided for the armed forces of Oman. Though Oman is not among those nations named on the FCO’s watchlist, human rights observers working for Amnesty International say they have identified widespread use of torture and detention in the country.

Methods in use in Oman include mock execution, beating, hooding, solitary confinement, subjection to extremes of temperature and to constant noise, abuse and humiliation,” the organisation said in its 2014 report. “These practices are allowed to flourish within a culture of arbitrary arrest and detention in secret institutions.”

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon stated that Oman “is our friend” and that the UK was “working more closely than ever with them across military, counter-terrorism and intelligence fields to tackle shared threats to stability.”

The UK could also build a permanent military training facility in the country, Mr Fallon added.

In March, The Independent reported that British commandos are training Bahraini soldiers in using sniper rifles – despite the alleged use of such specialist troops to target protesters during a pro-democracy uprising in 2011.

Soldiers from the Gulf monarchy were again hosted at the Infantry Battle School in Wales last week, according to Ministry of Defence publicity.

They visited alongside troops from Nigeria, whose top military generals Amnesty say should be on trial for war crimes. The human rights group produced a 133-page dossier alleging Nigerian forces caused the deaths of 8,000 people through murder, starvation, suffocation and torture during security operations against Islamist militants Boko Haram.

A senior military official told Amnesty that Nigerian solders respond to Boko Haram attacks by going “to the nearest place and kill[ing] all the youths” whether they were armed or not.

Andrew Smith, of Campaign Against Arms Trade, said Britain should not be “colluding” with countries it was well aware were led by authoritarian regimes. “The UK army has provided training to some of the most authoritarian states in the world,” he said.

“The fact that many of them are included on the government’s own ‘human rights priority’ list is a sign of how oppressive they are. The UK military should not be colluding with or legitimising human rights abusers.”

The Government has faced criticism from campaigners in recent months for continuing to rubber stamp arms sales to repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of committing war crimes during its military campaign in Yemen, something the country denies. The aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontiers states that Saudi war-planes have bombed multiple hospitals in which it operates in the area. Other reports include the bombing of schools and weddings.

The British government has however ignored calls for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia from both the European Parliament and the House of Commons International Development Committee.

Defence minister Philip Dunne confirmed last month that British liaison officers had trained Saudi Arabian troops in using weapons systems supplied by Britain and that they were present in the country’s operations centre.