Refugees suffer, die, who is to blame?


This video says about itself:

Aylan Kurdi father: ‘The most beautiful children in the world’

3 September 2015

Aylan Kurdi‘s father Abdullah said that shortly after their boat left Turkey for the Greek island of Kos it was hit by waves and the captain swam off.

“I tried to catch my children and wife but there was no hope. One by one they died,” Mr Kurdi said.

The family were among thousands fleeing Syria and seeking a new life abroad.

Images of Aylan’s body being recovered from a beach near Bodrum caused an outpouring of sympathy for the plight of those fleeing Syria’s civil war and criticism of European governments for not doing enough to answer the crisis.

Thousands of migrants have died this year trying to reach Europe by sea.

“I tried to steer the boat but another high wave pushed the boat over. That is when it happened,” Mr Kurdi said.

“My children were the most beautiful children in the world. Is there anybody in the world for whom their child is not the most precious thing?” Mr Kurdi said.

“My kids were amazing. They woke me every day to play with me. What is more beautiful than this? Everything is gone.

“I would love to sit next to the grave of my family now and relieve the pain I feel,” he said.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Who is responsible for the refugee crisis in Europe?

4 September 2015

The gut-wrenching images of a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach, lying face-down in the sand, his lifeless body then cradled by a rescue worker, have brought home to people all over the world the desperate crisis that is unfolding on Europe’s borders.

The family of the toddler, Aylan Kurdi, had come from Kobani, fleeing along with hundreds of thousands of others. A protracted siege by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and an intense US bombing campaign has left the northern Syrian city in ruins, its houses as well as water, electrical, sanitation and medical infrastructure destroyed. The boy was one of 12 who drowned in an attempt to reach Greece, including his mother and five-year-old brother. His distraught father, the family’s sole survivor, said he would return to Syria with their bodies, telling relatives that he hoped only to die and be buried alongside them.

There is plenty of blame to go around for these deaths, which are representative of many thousands more who have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean or suffocated after being stuffed like sardines into overheated vans.

Canada’s Conservative Party government ignored a request made in June by the boy’s aunt, who lives in British Columbia, to grant Aylan’s family asylum.

The countries of the European Union have treated the surge in refugees as a matter of repression and deterrence, throwing up new fences, setting up concentration camps and deploying riot police in an effort to create a Fortress Europe that keeps desperate families like Aylan’s at bay and condemns thousands upon thousands to death.

But what of the US? American politicians and the US media are deliberately silent on Washington’s central role in creating this unfolding tragedy on Europe’s borders.

The Washington Post, for example, published an editorial earlier this week stating that Europe “can’t be expected to solve on its own a problem that is originating in Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya and—above all—Syria.” The New York Times sounded a similar note, writing: “The roots of this catastrophe lie in crises the European Union cannot solve alone: war in Syria and Iraq, chaos in Libya…”

What, in turn, are the “roots” of the crises in these countries which have given rise to this “catastrophe”? The response to this question is only guilty silence.

Any serious consideration of what lies behind the surge of refugees into Europe leads to the inescapable conclusion that it constitutes not only a tragedy but a crime. More precisely, it is the tragic byproduct of a criminal policy of aggressive wars and regime change interventions pursued uninterruptedly by US imperialism, with the aid and complicity of its Western European allies, over the course of nearly a quarter century.

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US ruling elite concluded that it was free to exploit America’s unrivaled military might as a means of offsetting US capitalism’s long-term economic decline. By means of military aggression, Washington embarked on a strategy of establishing its hegemony over key markets and sources of raw materials, beginning first and foremost with the energy-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia.

This strategy was summed up crudely in the slogan advanced by the Wall Street Journal in the aftermath of the first war against Iraq in 1991: “Force works.”

What the world is witnessing in today’s wave of desperate refugees attempting to reach Europe are the effects of this policy as it has been pursued over the whole past period.

Decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, waged under the pretext of a “war on terrorism” and justified with the infamous lies about Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction,” succeeded only in devastating entire societies and killing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children.

They were followed by the US-NATO war for regime change that toppled the government of Muammar Gaddafi and turned Libya into a so-called failed state, wracked by continuous fighting between rival militias. Then came the Syrian civil war—stoked, armed and funded by US imperialism and its allies, with the aim of toppling Bashar al-Assad and imposing a more pliant Western puppet in Damascus.

The predatory interventions in Libya and Syria were justified in the name of “human rights” and “democracy,” receiving on this basis the support of a whole range of pseudo-left organizations … Some of them went so far as to hail the actions of Islamist militias armed and funded by the CIA as “revolutions.”

The present situation and the unbearable pressure of death and destruction that is sending hundreds of thousands of people into desperate and deadly flight represent the confluence of all of these crimes of imperialism. The rise of ISIS and the ongoing bloody sectarian civil wars in both Iraq and Syria are the product of the US devastation of Iraq, followed by the backing given by the CIA and US imperialism’s regional allies to ISIS and similar Islamist militias inside Syria.

No one has been held accountable for these crimes. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell and others in the previous administration who waged a war of aggression in Iraq based upon lies have enjoyed complete impunity. Those in the current administration, from Obama on down, have yet to be called to account for the catastrophes they have unleashed upon Libya and Syria. Their accomplices are many, from a US Congress that has acted as a rubber stamp for war policies to an embedded media that has helped foist wars based upon lies upon the American public, and the pseudo-lefts who have attributed a progressive role to US imperialism and its “humanitarian interventions.”

Together they are responsible for what is unfolding on Europe’s borders, which, more than a tragedy, is part of a protracted and continuing war crime.

Refugee, died in Hungary today

This is a  photo showing a refugee who died in Hungary today. He tried to run away from Bicske prison camp for refugees. Pursued by police, he fell with his head on the railway track, and died.

French soldier raped Central African girl


This video says about itself:

French Troops and the Child Sexual Abuse Allegations in the Central African Republic

1 June 2015

They went to the Central African Republic to protect them but instead they allegedly ended up raping and sodomizing them. This is the story of the French troops in the Central African Republic accused of raping and sodomizing young boys, as young as nine years old in exchange for food and a few coins.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

New allegation of French sex abuse

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: The UN said yesterday another case of sexual abuse by a French solider had come to light.

UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said the alleged victim was in her teens during the abuse about a year ago.

She gave birth to a child in April and has filed a paternity claim with local authorities.

See also here.

European Union correctly criticized about refugees’ deaths


Drowned three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan, dead on the Turkish coast

This photo shows three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, a refugee from the war-destroyed town Kobani, dead on the Turkish coast. Aylan drowned this week, together with his mother, his brother and other Syrian refugees.

Again and again, on this blog there has been sharp well-deserved criticism for President Erdogan of Turkey.

However, even broken clocks indicate the right time twice a day.

Even politicians who are wrong nearly all the time may be right a few times.

Today, it’s Erdogan’s turn for that.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

European Union is partly responsible for death of each refugee

Today, 18:32

“Europe is making the Mediterranean a refugee grave. The EU by its policy is partly responsible for the death of all refugees losing their lives.” That is the harsh criticism by Turkish President Erdogan of the current refugee problem.

“In the Mediterranean not only refugees drowned, but also our humanity,” said Erdogan. His country has since 2011 accepted about one and a half million refugees from the Middle East. The EU is 5.5 times bigger than Turkey and is struggling this year with the reception of between half a million and a million refugees.

Britain: Ukip candidate sparks outrage after blaming Aylan Kurdi’s ‘greedy’ parents for his death: here. And here.

By Markus Salzmann:

Thousands of refugees held at Budapest train station

3 September 2015

More than 3,000 refugees—the majority of them families with children—have been held at the Budapest East Train Station in miserable conditions since the Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban blocked the access of refugees to the station.

Hundreds of refugees participated in a demonstration Wednesday demanding the right to continue their journey to Germany. They shouted slogans such as “freedom, freedom!” Jeering could be heard outside the station as angry refugees shouted at the hundreds of heavily armed police blocking the main entrance.

Since Tuesday, refugees have been camping outdoors since they are no longer permitted on the grounds of the station from which trains leave for Austria. A few found shelter in the neighboring subway station.

The hygienic conditions are disastrous. Only four portable toilets have been provided. The refugees have received no public assistance or accommodation. Help has come only from small organizations and private individuals who have distributed donated food and clothing and provided basic medical care. A reporter for the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel called the situation a “fundamental violation of human rights.”

The clearing of refugees from the train station was abrupt and harsh. Departures from the station were completely halted. Then, after a few hours, the station was reopened to passengers, but refugees were no longer permitted to enter, even though many had already bought tickets.

“The police came and told the Syrians: the trains are open,” a refugee told the German television news program Tagesschau. “Then they all bought a ticket here, 200 euro per person. Then the police came back when they had blocked everything off and said: ‘The trains are closed for you.’ We have not gotten our money back.”

The Hungarian police had unexpectedly allowed refugees to travel on Monday. The trains out of Hungary were stopped at the Austrian border, however, and the passengers had to wait for hours in extreme heat. According to the Austrian police, refugees who had already been registered in Hungary had to return to Budapest. The others would be permitted to seek asylum in Austria. The “aid” promised by the government for refugees in Budapest is contemptible given the situation. A tent camp is supposed to be erected beside the station within two weeks. With a capacity of between 800 and 1,000, it will barely accommodate a third of the immigrants.

Though EU countries such as Germany shed crocodile tears over the brutal treatment of refugees by Eastern European governments, the measures being carried out have their full support.

The heavy influx of refugees from Syria and other countries that have been devastated by the military and political interventions of the Western powers has led to the breakdown of the so-called Dublin Rule, which requires refugees to register and be processed in the first EU member country they enter. The authorities in Greece and Hungary are unable and unwilling to deal with the large numbers passing through their territories.

Berlin, in particular, has exerted pressure on the government in Budapest to prevent the refugees from traveling. As asylum seekers left for Germany on Monday, a spokesman for the German Interior Ministry declared, “Germany has not suspended Dublin.” In other words, the refugees should stay in Hungary and not seek better conditions by travelling to the north and west.

One can assume that the German government is frantically working behind the scenes to ensure that the Hungarian government prevents the onward journey of more refugees. This may well be the reason why the Orban government cordoned off the train station again.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is also exerting pressure on Orban to stop the stream of refugees. The two will meet on Thursday in Brussels to discuss the crisis.

In spite of the dramatic scenes unfolding in the Hungarian capital, Orban announced that he would treat refugees more harshly in the future. Chancellery Minister János Lázár said the police would be mobilized at the border and equipped with water cannon and rubber bullets. The security forces would not actively prevent refugees at the border from entering the country. “But the time for that will arrive,” Lázár declared.

Lázár confirmed media reports that the right-wing government in Budapest wants to deploy the army against refugees. The parliament will create the necessary legal framework in the coming week, he said. The government plans to use 13 new emergency laws to reduce the flow of refugees, starting in the middle of the month.

Hungary has erected a 175-kilometer fence on its border with Serbia. Most refugees travel through Greece and the Balkans until they get to Serbia. From there, they cross into the so-called Schengen area, the contiguous territory of 28 EU member-states where there is free movement across internal borders.

According to press reports from the German federal police, between 750 and 800 refugees a day travel to Hungary by land from Greece, through Macedonia and Serbia. The refugees originate predominantly in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

At a meeting of the Visegrád countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), Orban and his counterparts discussed plans for treating refugees even more harshly.

Twenty-five years after the collapse of Stalinism in these countries, the false promises of democracy and freedom have been replaced by chauvinism and police repression. Capitalism is revealing its ugly and inhuman face. Refugees who have been on the road for weeks are being greeted by the authorities with hostility and rejection.

Czech Republic Finance Minister and Vice President Andrej Babis is demanding a NATO deployment to keep refugees out of the EU. “We must close the Schengen area from the outside,” the millionaire businessman and founder of the right-wing liberal party ANO declared Tuesday on Czech radio. The flow of refugees is “the biggest danger for Europe,” he added.

Czech President Miloš Zeman echoed these remarks and accused countries such as Greece and Italy of a “lack of will power” when it came to protecting their borders. At the beginning of August, he said in an interview: “No one has invited refugees here.” He added that his country would rather take Ukrainian refugees because they “integrate themselves better in society than Muslims.” Social Democratic Minister President Bohuslav Sobotka spoke against the required quotas of refugees announced by the EU.

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico denounced the refugees and said it was impossible to determine for certain that there were no terrorists among them. Before that, Ivan Metik, spokesperson of the Slovakian Interior Ministry, said that Slovakia would accept only Christian Syrians.

Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke in favor of closing the border to refugees, adding that Poland wanted to take only Ukrainian refugees. “Other European countries should take that into account when we talk about readiness to help,” Duda told the German Bild newspaper.

The right-wing Polish government has already explained to Brussels that it is willing to accept only 2,000 refugees from Syria and Eritrea. Even this token number has prompted harsh criticism from Duda’s national conservative camp, which refers to the “Islamization” of Poland.

The Balkan countries Macedonia and Serbia, which are not EU member-states, are likewise taking harsh action against refugees. Macedonia blocked the border with barbed wire for two days and fired tear gas and rubber bullets on refugees.

The xenophobic attitude of the Eastern European governments, which are highly unstable and lack significant public support, is encouraging attacks on refugees by the most right-wing forces in the region.

On August 27, the fascist “64 Burgkomitate” held a demonstration in front of the Budapest East train station. Ahead of the demonstration, a group of neo-Nazis attacked several refugees who were waiting for their train. When the police arrived, they left the attackers alone and detained the refugees, including children, and took them to provisional refugee lodgings.

Refugees and Hungarian supporters at the train station in Szeged faced a similar situation when refugees were attacked by fascist gangs with close ties to the ultranationalist Jobbik party. Here as well, the police did not intervene. Various groups publicly and repeatedly boasted on social networks that they were hunting refugees on the Serbian border and “maintaining order.”

In Slovakia, the government campaign against refugees has led to riots. On Tuesday, several hundred right-wing extremists from the Our Slovakia party of Marian Kotleba demonstrated in the village of Gabcikovo, where some 500 refugees have been taken.

Meanwhile, today a train departed from Budapest station. Refugee passengers thought that at last their train tickets to Austria and Germany would bring them to Austria and Germany indeed. The xenophobic Hungarian government had a cruel surprise for them: it made the train stop at a prison camp in Bicske town.

Hungarian police dragging refugee family off railway track

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Refugees lie down out of despair on rails at Hungarian camp

Today, 17:10

In protest, a man pulls his family on the train rails at the station where the train stopped. “I will not go,” he shouts. “I had to leave my country. I left everything. I’m staying here on this track.”

Many of the refugees who just arrived on a train from Budapest do not know how to cope. They were on their way to Sopron, near the Austrian border, but were stopped in the Hungarian town of Bicske, where there is a refugee camp.

Policemen pull the man harshly off the track. They have been trying to catch all afternoon refugees from the trains, but these resist strongly. Before this man and his family already dozens of others lied down on the rails.

‘No camp’

The train left at the end of the morning from Budapest. It is the first train since Tuesday transporting migrants. The vehicle seemed on the way to the Austrian border, but stopped already after 40 kilometers.

In Bicske, the Hungarian police has by now sent all journalists away from the station. The refugees are still not giving in. …

Meanwhile refugees bang on the windows of the train. “No camp, no camp!” they cry.

UPDATE 3 September, 22:52, NOS TV: Refugees in three trains are now surrounded by police at Bicske.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

German chancellor feigns sympathy for refugees

3 September 2015

Merkel has finally found the right words,” “Merkel’s words are encouraging,” and “Suddenly chancellor for refugees” read the headlines on the traditional summer press conference given Monday in Berlin by Chancellor Angela Merkel. The press was enraptured by Merkel’s references to “human dignity” and the “incredible suffering” of refugees, her description of the refugee problem as a “national task that affects everybody,” and her threat to confront violent xenophobes with “the full force of law.”

In fact, the policy of the German government has not changed. It continues to be characterised by a brutal disregard for refugees fleeing for their lives from the war zones in the Middle East and Africa.

For months, Merkel remained silent on the fate of refugees and the series of arson attacks on refugee shelters in Germany. As recently as mid-July, a video went viral showing Merkel in her typically bureaucratic manner reducing a Palestinian student to tears by telling her that she still faced deportation despite her excellent academic performance.

Merkel has adopted a different tone in recent days basically for two reasons.

First, she completely misjudged the mood of the population. Despite determined efforts, in particular by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Saxony and the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria, the government has failed to incite xenophobic sentiments on a large scale. Refugees have been met with a wave of solidarity, which intensified after the recent series of arson attacks and neo-Nazi demonstrations in front of refugee centres. Many people instinctively realise that the refugees are victims of a policy that is also a threat to themselves.

Merkel’s cynical expressions of compassion are aimed at absorbing such sentiments. The pastor’s daughter from East Germany is adept at such gestures. She owes her stunning political ascent not to any firmly held beliefs, but rather to her ability to detect and adapt to the prevailing trend—only to steer it in a reactionary direction.

Second, even if it sought to do so, the government could not immediately curb the influx of refugees. The Dublin Rule that for years kept asylum seekers away from Germany’s borders has virtually collapsed. The agreement, which came into force in 1997, stipulates that refugees must seek asylum and remain in the first European Union (EU) country they enter. The agreement has proved extremely beneficial for Germany, which has no external borders with the regions from which most of the refugees come.

The massive influx of refugees from Syria and other countries that have been ruined as a result of the military and political intervention of the Western powers has overwhelmed the Dublin agreement. Refugees are either prevented from crossing borders by means of brute state force, or handed on as soon as possible to the next country.

This begins on the Greek islands, where fugitives, having crossed the Aegean Sea, are housed under unspeakable conditions, and continues at the borders of Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary.

The Hungarian government has sealed off its border with Serbia with a fence and is considering the use of the military. The main railway station of Budapest was temporarily blocked and then cleared of refugees by the police. On Monday, thousands of desperate refugees were able to board packed trains before the station was cordoned off again. The trains were stopped again at the Austrian border, ostensibly for security reasons. Finally, Austria organised special trains to transport some of the refugees to Germany.

Previously, the Dublin Rule kept refugees out of Germany. Now, it is doing the opposite. There is no country to which the German government can pass on the refugees.

In addition, many EU countries, especially Greece, have been so impoverished by the austerity policies imposed by Berlin that many refugees have concluded that better opportunities await them in Germany. Merkel was cynical enough to cite this as proof that “the world sees Germany as a land of hope and opportunity.” She added, with a nod to Germany’s past, “This really was not always the case.”

If one looks at Merkel’s statements to the press more carefully, it becomes clear that she is trying to buy time. She wants to impose her conditions on the other EU member states to remove refugees to the fringes of the EU and—under the pretext of combatting the roots of the refugee problem—prepare new wars and military interventions in Africa and the Middle East.

She has insisted that other European countries, and eastern European countries in particular, take in more refugees. “Europe as a whole needs to move,” she declared. The EU as a whole would be damaged, she said, if Europe failed to address the refugee issue. She announced that, together with France, she will push for the rapid erection of registration centres in Greece and Italy.

In Brussels, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who works closely with Merkel, wrote a letter to all EU member governments threatening them with fines if they failed to comply with the Dublin procedure. On Thursday, Juncker will admonish Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán personally in Brussels.

In Germany itself, Merkel announced, the processing of asylum applications is to be accelerated, so that rejected applicants can be deported quickly. Refugees will be compelled to remain in prison camp-like reception centres until their applications are processed. Only in the event of acceptance will they be transferred to accommodation in the municipalities.

By September 24, the government plans to present a programme that will significantly lower the standards for accommodation of refugees under the pretext of reducing bureaucratic hurdles. For example, the regulations for fire and pollution control are to be watered down.

Merkel promised that the federal government would support the states and municipalities with “billions” to bear the costs of accommodation and management of refugees. She did not specify an exact amount. However, it is assumed that the sum will be well below the €5 billion Finance Minister Schäuble is due to rake in this year due to increased tax returns.

In the media, there is a growing chorus demanding that the refugee crisis be fought at its root—i.e., via military intervention in those countries already destroyed by previous Western military actions.

On Monday, Richard Herzinger thundered in Die Welt against the “conspiracy theory” that “with its aggressive intervention, especially in the Middle East, the West created the bloody chaos that has forced millions of people to flee.” He continued: “Not the intervention of the West, but its shameful retreat has detonated the region…. The current crisis reminds the West, and particularly Europe, to undertake not less, but more global interventionism.”

Dutch air force non-commissioned officer joins ISIS


This 9 May 2015 video is called ISIS MEMBER: TURKEY SUPPORTED US WITH WEAPONS.

Dutch NOS TV reports today that a Dutch air force sergeant has gone to Syria to join the terrorist ISIS movement.

The Dutch Minister of War … sorry, I am supposed to use the euphemism ‘Defence’, Ms Hennis-Plasschaert, reacted to this today (translated):

It hurts when it appears that someone joins evil, while his colleagues risk their lives for the freedom of other human beings.

Ms Hennis-Plasschaert is simplistic in counterposing here ‘evil’ ISIS to the armed forces of the Netherlands and their NATO and other allies, supposedly being all about ‘freedom’.

Without any doubt ISIS is evil.

However, how about war crimes by Dutch armed forces in Indonesia? And, more recently, in Afghanistan? And killing civilians when they helped George W Bush in his brutal occupation of Iraq?

In Dutch, and other, armed forces, the aim is to kill people. In ISIS, the aim is to kill people. Often (not always) different people; often (not always) for different reasons. Still, the transition for this air force sergeant who went to Syria is not one from absolute good to evil.

Talking about Syria. In 2013, if peace movements would not have protested, and British Prime Minister David Cameron’s war plans would not have been defeated in the House of Commons … then Britain, the USA, and other NATO countries, probably including the Netherlands, would have been at war in Syria, on the same side as al Qaeda and ISIS.

So, this air force sergeant is going one step further from what almost became official NATO policy in 2013.

He might have been inspired in this by his ex-commander in chief. In May 2014, on Dutch radio, General Peter van Uhm praised the jihadists in Syria. This blog wrote then:

General Peter van Uhm in 2008-2012 was commander-in-chief of the Dutch armed forces. Which then, as now, were involved in war in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Now, retired General Van Uhm has expressed sympathy for confused Dutch teenagers going to the bloody war in Syria. Boys who often end up there in fanatically religious sectarian paramilitary organisations, with big chances of getting disabled or killed. Or girls, who may end up as ‘religious military prostitutes‘, and have big chances of getting disabled or killed too.

According to distraught parents of misguided Dutch teenagers joining jihadis in Syria, the Dutch government is not helping those parents to stop that.

There are more reasons why Minister Hennis-Plasschaert is simplistic in totally counterposing ISIS to ‘pro-freedom’ Dutch armed forces and their allies. Many of the allies of the Dutch government in the present, officially anti-ISIS, war in the Middle East, are dictatorships. From the Saudi absolute monarchy, a staunch ally of NATO countries, came ISIS’ fanatical sectarian Wahhabi ideology, their cruel beheadings, lots of money, etc. From the Bahraini absolute monarchy, another staunch ally of NATO countries, came officers from its sectarian armed forces for ISIS, money for ISIS, etc. From the Qatari absolute monarchy came … etc.

From the Turkish Erdogan government, NATO allies of Minister Hennis-Plasschaert, came lots of support for ISIS.

Other NATO governments, like David Cameron‘s in Britain, secretly arm jihadis in Syria as well.

The only effective force fighting ISIS are Turkish and Syrian Kurds. However, like other NATO governments including David Cameron’s and the Australian government, the Dutch government which includes Ms Hennis-Plasschaert, has defamed these Kurdish opponents of ISIS as ‘terrorists’.

Australia’s prime minister has drawn fire from the Jewish community after he compared Islamic State with Hitler’s Germany, saying the jihadists are in some respects “worse than the Nazis”: here.

Stop US drone attacks on Yemeni civilians


This video says about itself:

Drone attacks in Yemen mostly hit civilians

17 July 2013

US drones strikes in Yemen nearly tripled last year compared to the year before, from 18 to 53, according to the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been up to 154 strikes by US drones in Yemen since 2002, that has killed almost 800 people. But it is mostly civilians who are often injured or killed in these attacks. Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow reports from the village of Subul in Northern Yemen.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 3 September 2015

STOP US DRONE STRIKES ON YEMEN

A YEMENI family whose relatives were killed in a US drone strike have appealed to a German court to ensure that a US base in the country is not used for further attacks, which might endanger their lives.

In May 2014, a court in Cologne heard evidence from Faisal bin Ali Jaber, an environmental engineer from Sana’a, following revelations that Ramstein air base is used by the US to facilitate American drone strikes in Yemen.

Mr Jaber is bringing the case against Germany – represented by international human rights organisation Reprieve and its local partner the European Centre for Human Rights (ECCHR) – for failing to stop the bases on its territory from being used for the attacks that have killed civilians.

Although the court ruled against Mr bin Ali Jaber in the May hearing, it gave him immediate permission to appeal the decision, while the judges agreed with his assertion that it is ‘plausible’ Ramstein air base is crucial in facilitating drone strikes in Yemen.

Today’s appeal, filed at the Higher Administrative Court in Münster, asks the German government to end the country’s complicity in the extrajudicial killings. Mr Jaber lost his brother-in-law Salim, a preacher, and his nephew Waleed, a local police officer, when a US strike hit the village of Khashamir on 29 August 2012.

Salim often spoke out against extremism, and had used a sermon just days before he was killed to urge those present to reject Al Qaeda. Kat Craig, Legal Director at Reprieve, said: ‘It is now clear that US bases on German territory, such as Ramstein, provide a crucial hub for the launching of drone strikes in countries like Yemen – leading to scores of civilians being killed.

‘Faisal bin Ali Jaber and the countless other victims like him are right to call for an end to European countries’ complicity in these terrible attacks. The German courts have already signalled their serious concerns – now the government must be held accountable for allowing the use of German soil to carry out these killings.’

Andreas Schüller of the ECCHR said: ‘Drone strikes carried out outside of conflict zones are nothing but extrajudicial targeted killings – the implementation of death sentences without any trial. German authorities are under an obligation to protect individuals – including people living in Yemen – from suffering harm caused by breaches of international law involving Germany, but the exchange of diplomatic notes between the German and US government has to date proven to be wholly unsuitable. There needs to be a public debate on whether Germany is really doing enough to prevent violations of international law and the murder of innocent people.’

Background information on Faisal bin Ali Jaber’s case:

Faisal bin Ali Jaber is an engineer from Yemen. His brother-in-law Salem and nephew Waleed were killed by a US drone strike in 2012. Salem was an imam who was known for speaking out against al-Qaeda in his sermons, and Waleed was a local policeman.

Faisal’s relatives were given a bag containing $100,000 in US dollar bills as compensation, but the US has never admitted responsibility. ‘Our family are not your enemy. In fact, the people you killed had strongly and publicly opposed al-Qaeda. Salem was an imam.

‘The Friday before his death, he gave a guest sermon in the Khashamir mosque denouncing al-Qaeda’s hateful ideology. It was not the first of these sermons, but it was his last.’ Faisal went to Washington, DC, where he met with members of Congress and members of the National Security Council, and told his story to a number of journalists.

In July 2014, one of Faisal’s relatives was offered a bag containing $100,000 in US dollar bills at a meeting with the Yemeni National Security Bureau (NSB). The NSB official told a family representative that the money was from the US and that he had been asked to pass it along.

The payment came after the Yemeni government confirmed in writing that the US carried out the drone strike, and that the deaths of Faisal’s relatives were ‘a mistake’. The US has never publicly admitted that the strike that killed Waleed and Salem was a mistake.

The killings have never been investigated and the US has never apologised to Faisal and the rest of his family. ‘My family received money from the US government as an admission of their guilt for “mistakenly” killing our relatives in a drone strike. But this is not justice. There are many other families in Yemen who have lost innocent relatives in US drone strikes but do not receive hush money for speaking out,’ said Faisal bin Ali Jaber.

The Friday before he was killed, Salem had given a sermon at the mosque in the village of Khashamir, denouncing al-Qaeda’s ideology. A few days later, some strangers arrived in the village, demanding to speak with him. Salem eventually agreed to meet them, and took Waleed with him.

The two men went to meet the strangers near the local mosque, where they had parked their car. The whole group was then hit by a US drone missile, killing all of them. The strike took place on the second day of family wedding celebrations, which Salem and Waleed were attending.

Cori Crider, Reprieve’s Strategic Director and Faisal’s attorney, said: ‘President Obama is as reluctant as ever to admit the full extent of the US drone programme in Yemen – but money talks, even if the White House won’t.

‘Cash payments without full accountability won’t quell the outrage about civilian drone deaths, and continued US strikes will only bring further instability to Yemen. The victims’ families want and deserve an explanation, while the American people need to hear the truth about what is being done in their name.

‘In October 2014, we helped Faisal take legal action in the German Constitutional Court. We had discovered that German military bases were being used to facilitate drone strikes in Yemen – including the strike that killed Faisal’s relatives.

‘Our claim asked that the German administration stop the use of German territory for illegal actions by the US in Yemen. We argued that the German government is acting in breach of the country’s constitution by permitting the US to use its Ramstein airbase for illegal drone attacks abroad.

‘In May 2015, the court ruled against us, but the judge gave us immediate leave to appeal. This is a rare move, and means that our case could be heard again within months. This is the first time that the crucial role of Ramstein in facilitating the US drone programme has been challenged in court.

‘Without Germany – and other Western allies – the US could not fly the drones that kill innocent people. In June 2015, we heard that the German Federal Prosecutor’s office – Germany’s highest prosecuting office – has launched a “monitoring process”, which will investigate possible violations of international law involving Ramstein.

‘They have requested documents from government agencies, including the Ministry of Defence, that might indicate that they had an idea about what was happening in Ramstein. This is the first step of a much bigger journey towards making sure that people like Faisal and his family are able to live in peace, without the constant fear of drones hanging over them. We will continue to seek justice for Faisal and his family, and demand an end to US-led drone strikes.’

The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are carrying out a secret drone missile assassination program in Syria, the Washington Post reported late Tuesday: here.

Corbyn ‘insane’ for not invading Iraq, Tony Blair says


Tony Blair, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Iraq war

From the British satirical site The Daily Mash:

Corbyn insane not to invade Iraq, says Blair

01-09-15

JEREMY Corbyn’s lack of a plan to invade Iraq would spell disaster for Labour, Tony Blair has claimed.

The former prime minister attacked Corbyn’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ politics, saying Labour would be unable to win future elections without a huge war instigated by right-wing Americans.

Blair said: “He clearly has no plans for an invasion of Iraq, which is an insult to British voters who so wisely put their faith in me, George W. Bush and Jesus.

“He needs to ditch this drivel about taxing the rich and set out his bombing plans. Right now, I don’t know who he wants to bomb, or if he even wants to bomb at all.”

He added: “In politics you’ve got to be realistic. That’s why the next Labour leader needs to re-invade Iraq using these special robot soldiers I’ve drawn and coloured in myself.

“They’re nuclear and have lasers.”