Refugees in Yemen, coronavirus and war


This 20 June 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus: Yemen refugees face terrible conditions

Many Africans say they cannot find work and want to return home.

Al Jazeera’s Victoria Gatenby reports.

UNICEF WARNS MILLIONS OF CHILDREN COULD STARVE AS COVID-19 SWEEPS YEMEN Millions of children could be pushed to the brink of starvation as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across war-torn Yemen amid a “huge” drop in humanitarian aid funding, the U.N. children’s agency warned.  The stark prediction comes in a new UNICEF report, “Yemen five years on: Children, conflict and COVID-19.” It said the number of malnourished Yemeni children could reach 2.4 million by the end of the year, a 20% increase in the current figure. [AP]

French, Turkish NATO partners’ Libyan oil conflict


This 2019 video is called France and Italy on Different Sides of Libya’s Civil War.

There is a proxy war in Libya between French President Macron and French Total oil on one side, and the Italian government and Italian Eni oil on the other side.

In which Macron supports warlord Haftar; and the Italian government the jihadist-supported government in Tripoli.

The Turkish Erdogan regime, a NATO ‘partner’ like Italy and France, supports the Tripoli government as well.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Nato probe into stand-off in Libyan waters

NATO has opened investigations into a stand-off between French and Turkish ships off the coast of Libya with Ankara accused of continuing to breach a United Nations arms embargo.

Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Nato would look into claims that the Turkish navy ignored French calls for an inspection earlier this month.

Paris has consistently accused Ankara of shipping arms to Libya and wanted to check the ship’s consignment as it was behaving suspiciously, turning off its transponder and failing to give its final destination.

British Conservative lawbreaking helping Saudi Yemen war


This 13 August 2018 video is called Yemen: Thousands mourn children killed in Saudi air strike

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Arms inspections rules broken at Scottish missile factory

THE British government has broken inspection rules at a Scottish missile factory supplying the Saudi air war in Yemen, an investigation revealed today.

Reports by The Ferret and Declassified UK showed that officials failed to meet criteria for three-yearly inspections at Raytheon’s Fife bomb-making plant.

The US arms giant’s Glenrothes factory has not been inspected since November 2016, despite making components believed to be used in missiles linked to Saudi war crimes in the Middle East.

Neo-nazi network in German armed forces


This 28 May 2020 video is called Germany’s KSK commando unit in turmoil over neo-Nazi infiltration.

By Gregor Link in Germany:

Fascist network uncovered in German Army’s Special Forces unit

18 June 2020

On Friday, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on a 12-page letter sent by a sergeant in the Army’s Special Forces commando unit (Kommando Spezialkräfte—KSK) to Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. The letter makes clear that the 1,100-strong unit, which operates in top secrecy and specialises in lethal operations, is directed toward suppressing domestic opposition with the methods of fascist terrorism. According to the letter, some of the KSK soldiers compare the unit to Hitler’s Waffen-SS.

Right-wing extremist tendencies” are “tolerated” in the KSK and “sometimes consciously covered up”, wrote Der Spiegel, based on the soldier’s letter. According to the author of the article, evidence of the presence of right-wing extremist soldiers is “internally acknowledged, but for a variety of motives collectively ignored or even tolerated.” It is “drummed into” the soldiers from their superiors “not to report any incidents”.

According to the news magazine, the letter describes “accurately” and “in detail” how the trainers silence their recruits. They are “taught to be subservient”, which, in the words of the commando soldier, is “incompatible with the limits of the system of orders and obedience in the Army.”

The letter states that “To bring soldiers and, above all, critical officers into line”m “punishments” are used to create a “type of carcass obedience” and “a culture of accepting illegal behaviour”. Through the “firm leadership of newly recruited KSK fighters in training”, the recruits are “taught a rigorous obedience”, which, according to the text of the letter cited by Der Spiegel, “has been compared by commando soldiers in training to that of the Waffen-SS.”

The soldier goes into detail about the fascist outlook of his trainers. He says that one of them, who always uses Nazi codes in radio communications, makes no secret of his “national conservative ideology.”

One of the trainers mentioned in the letter is Daniel K., who, according to Deutsche Welle, was “heavily involved in the founding of the elite unit” and previously, in 2007, attracted notice due to his right-wing extremist ideology. At the time, he sent a threatening letter signed with his full name to a higher-ranked Army officer. That officer, a spokesman for the critical soldiers’ organisation “Darmstädter Signal”, had requested on the grounds of conscience to be relieved from duties related to drone operations in southern Afghanistan.

K. wrote at the time, “I deem you to be an internal enemy and will direct my actions to destroy this enemy with a decisive blow.” He attacked the “contemporary conglomerate of left-wing uniform-wearing recipients of care,” and urged the critical officer to return “to the swamp of Stone Age Marxism.” In conclusion, he warned, “You are being observed, no, not by impotent instrumentalised services, but by a new generation of officers who will act if the times demand it.” He wrote in the postscript, “Long live holy Germany!”

The officer filed a formal complaint concerning the threat, but no action was taken in response to K.’s letter, other than it being noted in K.’s personnel file. Although his superiors knew by 2007 at the latest that K. was a right-wing extremist, he was allowed to continue training soldiers and rose through the ranks to become a lieutenant colonel.

He was suspended in 2019 only after it emerged he was a supporter of the far-right “Reichsbürger” and the right-wing extremist “Identitarian Movement”. According to media reports, he claimed that the state no longer had the situation under control due to the influx of immigrants, meaning that “the Army now has to take things over.”

The author of the letter to the defence minister stressed that it would be “naive” to view K. as an isolated case.

Just a month ago, another KSK soldier was suspended after his close ties to the Identitarian Movement were revealed. The Tagesschau reported last Wednesday that the soldier played a part in the mistreatment of Murat Kurnaz in Afghanistan.

Kurnaz, who was born in Bremen, was held in the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp for four years as a “Taliban fighter.” After his release, he accused two KSK soldiers of having abused him in Afghanistan in 2002. The Defence Ministry confirmed that the incident involved the soldier who was suspended a month ago and a fellow soldier, who were posted to the US air base in Kandahar on “guard duty.”

Kurnaz testified in 2006: “Then one of the two Germans said to me, ‘You picked the wrong side. Eyes on the ground … Do you know who we are? We are the German force, KSK.’… Then he slammed my head on the ground and one of them kicked me.”

According to research by Southwest Broadcasting (SWR) and Tagesschau, the soldier remained stationed in Calw with the KSK before “making a career in the United States.” After a leadership training course at Fort Bliss, Texas, he took a post at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and later became an official liaison between the German and US militaries.

Spokesmen from the Army and the Bundeswehr refused to discuss the content of the allegations with SWR.

The links of the two KSK soldiers to the Identitarian Movement are also significant because one of the movement’s most prominent supporters, Brenton Tarrant, carried out a fascist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019, killing 51 people and injuring another 50. One year earlier, he donated €1,500 to the Identitarian youth movement, prompting its leader, Martin Sellner, to initiate enthusiastic direct email contact with Tarrant.

Under far-right Austrian Foreign Minister Herbert Kickl (Austrian Freedom Party), Sellner was able to delete the messages from his hard drive shortly before the Austrian police carried out a search warrant on his home. According to the Military Intelligence Service (MAD), the KSK soldier suspended in May also donated money to the Identitarians.

The KSK pursues the interests of German imperialism around the world in secretive operations and specialises more than any other Army unit in killing people.

Against the backdrop of the return of German militarism and the revival of the class struggle, such capabilities are increasingly required at home. Der Spiegel wrote that according to the letter, K. demanded that his recruits write “essays … that sketch out a potential KSK domestic intervention.”

Such plans are already well advanced. The letter to the defence minister makes clear that the far-right network in and around the KSK, which has repeatedly been in the headlines in recent years, is no mere “isolated case”, but is systematically promoted from above and covered up.

Just a few weeks ago, investigators took a KSK soldier into custody after he was found to be hoarding military weaponry, and a large underground store of explosives and munitions from the German Army’s supplies was found on his private land.

As the World Socialist Web Site reported, a right-wing extremist “shadow army” composed of KSK soldiers, police officers, judges, lawyers and intelligence service agents is preparing to round up and kill political opponents on “day X”, using death lists, military transports and munitions seized from the Army. Witnesses reported in 2017 that in this context, discussions about a “final solution” had taken place.

A central figure in this terrorist network is Andre S., code-named “Hannibal”, a former KSK soldier and friend of Franco A., an army officer strongly suspected of planning political assassinations, using the fabricated identity of a refugee. Together with an intelligence agent, Andre S. founded the organisation “Uniter”, which provided the personnel and organisational basis for the network.

The available information leaves no doubt about the fact that these right-wing extremist command structures have enjoyed the backing of figures at the highest levels. The MAD (Military Intelligence Service), in collaboration with the domestic intelligence service, placed the leading figures under surveillance and even used “Hannibal” as an informant during his time as a soldier.

In its official annual report, the agency wrote that it was supporting “members of the Army who are in a ‘social close relationship’ to suspected extremists, to protect them from … unjustified suspicion.” In this context, the MAD described the KSK as the “focus of the work.”

The cover-up will continue even after the sergeant’s letter. Eva Högl (Social Democratic Party), the new parliamentary commissioner for the Army, confirmed this in an interview with Deutschlandfunk. She said it was “very, very important to say that there is no blanket suspicion, neither towards the army or the KSK.” The army is “not a hotbed for right-wing extremists,” she continued, but rather a “piling up of isolated cases.”

Högl said she intended to carefully review “whether the right-wing extremist structures or networks exist.” But she would leave the investigation to a working group composed of the MAD and the KSK. This means the criminals—the KSK and the MAD, which covered up these developments—will be investigating themselves.

Asked whether “the dissolution of the elite unit could take place at the end of the review process in a worst-case scenario,” Högl answered: “This is not the time to talk about or even consider the dissolution of the KSK. Next year, we will celebrate—if it comes to that, and I hope it will—25 years since the founding of the KSK, and I am firmly convinced that we need this elite unit. It performs a tremendous service under extremely difficult conditions.”

The author also recommends:

Right-wing networks in the German state exposed
[18 October 2019]

Germany: Links found between right-wing network inside army and police officer murdered by far-right terrorists
[1 April 2019]

British singer Vera Lynn, RIP


This is a video of British singer Vera Lynn singing We’ll Meet Again.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

British singer Vera Lynn has died at the age of 103, reports British public broadcaster BBC. …

The song We’ll meet again, which she recorded in 1942, was seen as a boost for the many lovers who were separated by the war. The song helped the soldiers express and share their experiences, their fears and their sorrows, she later said, “A lot of these boys never told anything about the war.”

Ms Lynn supported the World War II fight against nazi Germany. However, later she opposed the Afghan war of United States President George W Bush, British Blairite Prime Minister Tony Blair and later Conservative Prime Ministers.

A side of Vera Lynn not mentioned in either the BBC or the NOS reports.

Saudi torture prison discovered in Yemen


This 28 November 2019 video says about itself:

Freed Houthi rebels speak of torture in Saudi prisons

Yemen prisoners released by the Saudi-led coalition speak of torture in Saudi jails.

By Steve Sweeney, 16 June 2020:

Secret Saudi torture prison revealed in Yemen

SAUDI ARABIA has allegedly established a secret prison in Yemen where, it is claimed, thousands of detainees are held and many have been tortured to death by the military.

A prominent Saudi activist and whistleblower, known by the online pseudonym Mujtahidd, posted a leaked report on Twitter today, claiming the jail had been established in Yemen’s largest province, Hadhramout.

“I received a report from former detainees in a prison run by Saudi forces in Yemen,” he said. “[The prison] is kept secret [as well as] what is going on in it.”

He warned that the secret facility was operating outside of both Saudi and Yemeni law, and was not subject to international law.

Conditions inside the prison, where thousands of Yemenis have allegedly been tortured, were described as not fit for animals.

He called on human rights organisations and the international community to press the Saudi regime to allow international monitoring of the prison.

In 2017 Saudi Arabia’s coalition partners in the war on Yemen, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was accused of operating secret prisons in the south of the country amid reports of torture, sexual abuse and rape.

The United States admitted involvement in the so-called black sites, with the Department of Defence admitting that they “participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies.”

Those rounded up and held in the UAE’s secret prison network include journalists, opposition activists and community leaders.

On Monday the Yemen Press Agency reported the death of a young man who had allegedly been tortured at a jail … in the port city of Aden.

Hussein Marwan Aidroo was reportedly kidnapped 12 days before his death, after taking part in protests demanding water and electricity services.

Peace movement history, 1815-1949


This 10 June 2020 video says about itself:

History of the Peace Movement Part 1: 1815 1949

IPB (International Peace Bureau) presents a two-part webinar series to explore the past two centuries of peace movement activities, including the role of the IPB, which was founded in 1891.

In the first session, speakers Guido Grünewald and David Cortright discuss the peace movement of the 19th century and early 20th century, leading up to the First World War. Special attention will be given to the role of the IPB prior to, during, and upon the conclusion of World War I. The presentation then turns to the interwar period, the Second World War, and the years immediately following the war.

Speakers:

Guido Grünewald, Author & Historian

David Cortright, Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

Moderated by Amela Skiljan, IPB Coordinator

This video is the post-1949 sequel.

Coronavirus disaster in Europe, update


This video from Britain says about itself:

Ventilators not exterminators. With Hilary Wainwright and Sam Mason

Earlier this year, a nuclear weapons contractor began manufacturing 10,000 ventilators. It demonstrates how highly-skilled workers could be redeployed to produce socially useful goods and services once the Trident nuclear weapons system is scrapped.

We discussed these fascinating developments on Saturday 25th April with Hilary Wainwright, founding editor of Red Pepper, who has written extensively on defence diversification and democratising the economy, and Samantha Mason, policy officer at the PCS union. The seminar was hosted by Ian Chamberlain, CND‘s press and communications officer.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Swedish coronavirus strategist admits mistakes: ‘We should have worked differently’

Sweden should have adopted a different coronavirus strategy, Swedish epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said in an interview with the country’s public radio station. …

Tegnell heads the Swedish health authority and is the architect of the controversial Swedish coronavirus approach. He became a cult hero …

In the Scandinavian country, unlike many countries in the rest of the world, cafes, restaurants, gyms and primary schools remained open. Society thus remained open, but the slogan of the Swedes was that the elderly and the weak would be better protected.

More than 4,400 people died in Sweden. That is much more than in neighbouring countries, even when adjusting for population numbers. Despite the better protection they supposedly would receive, the virus hit hard on Swedish elderly people. …

Because of his approach, too many people in Sweden have died, the epidemiologist now admits.

NOS radio also reports that in Göttingen city in Germany, at least 80 people have become infected with COVID-19 after a party.

Britain‘s excess death toll nears 60,000 confirming it is one of the worst-hit countries globally: here.

Legal action filed against decision not to publicise findings on Britain’s preparedness for a flu pandemic: here.

UK police dismiss spitting case in COVID-19 death of rail worker Belly Mujinga. By Michael Barnes, 3 June 2020. A petition calling for Justice for Belly now has well over half a million signatures.

Health privatisation is wrecking Ukraine‘s ability to fight Covid-19: here.

Syrian villagers drive away Trump’s occupation soldiers


Barley crop ablaze in Sweida province in Syria – US forces are using Apache helicopters to drop ‘thermal balloons’ to set the crops alight

This photo shows a barley crop ablaze in Sweida province in Syria – US forces are using Apache helicopters to drop ‘thermal balloons’ to set the crops alight.

From daily News Line in Britain, 30 May 2020:

SYRIAN VILLAGERS DRIVE OUT US MILITARY VEHICLES – as US planes drop ‘thermal balloons’ to set grain fields ablaze

SYRIANS in the villages of al-Qahira and al-Dushaisha – in Tal Tamir in Hasaka northern countryside – have intercepted US occupation force vehicles and driven them back to another of their illegitimate bases in the region.

(Syrian Arab News Agency) SANA’s reporter in Hasaka said that a number of US occupation armoured vehicles had tried to cross the road that passes through the lands of the villages of al-Qahira and al-Dushaisha, in the Tal Tamir.

But locals intercepted them, threw stones, chanted slogans against the occupation and forced them to return back where they came from. …

Meanwhile the Western military coalition, purportedly fighting the Daesh [ISIS] Takfiri terrorist group,

United States President Donald Trump, in moments of honesty between his many lies, has repeatedly admitted that United States soldiers in Syria are in fact waging a war for oil.

has according to reports deployed three Patriot missile batteries at a US base in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

The Arabic-language al-Alam television news network, citing local sources, reported on Wednesday that the batteries were deployed to the base set up at the Koniko gas field – which is located about 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) east of the provincial capital city of Dayr al-Zawr – during the past few days.

Koniko is one of the largest gas plants in Syria. The sources added that the US-led coalition forces are working to install similar batteries in several other locations in the province. …

Since late October 2019, the United States has been redeploying troops to the oil fields … in eastern Syria, in a reversal of President Donald Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country.

The Pentagon claims that move aims ‘to protect’ the fields and facilities from Daesh attacks. That claim came although Trump had suggested that Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oil fields – and Syria, which hasn’t authorised the presence of US military in its territory, says Washington is ‘plundering’ the country’s oil.

In fact, the presence of US forces in eastern Syria has particularly irked the civilians, and local residents have on several occasions stopped American military convoys entering the region.

Burning agricultural crops in the Syrian al-Jazeera region, especially wheat, to empty the Syrian basket of its bounties is another goal that unites the American and Turkish occupation forces in aggressive behaviour and a violation of international laws that amounts to a war crime – added to other crimes committed by those occupying forces against the Syrians

‘Deliberately setting fire to the strategic wheat crop through which the Syrians have achieved over dozens of years of self-sufficiency (and which) has constituted a major pillar of food security in the country, nowadays . . . has become a clear target in the context of an economic war and unjust starvation policy practised by the US and the new Ottoman Turkish regime against the Syrian people’. …

‘The crime of burning wheat crop in Syria comes in the context of the American and Western terrorist and economic war against the Syrian people, and it is an American plan prepared in advance in implementation of direct orders from US President Donald Trump – according to an international media report published by the “International Business Times” news website in its version issued in Singapore a few days ago.

‘This indicated that: “The US occupation forces were carrying out orders approved by the White House and that Trump signed orders to burn agricultural lands in Syria.” And the fires which have erupted in the fields in southern Syria may be part of that plan as observers say.

‘The vandalism and destruction agendas prepared by the US administration integrate with the aggressive behaviour of its regional client in the region, namely Erdogan and his terrorist mercenaries.

In light of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, they make US-Turkish practices rise to the level of war crimes as they expose hundreds of thousands of people to the risk of falling into poverty and famine.’

Extreme right and militarism in Latin America


This International Peace Bureau video says about itself:

The Extreme Right and Militarization in Latin America. Webinar 28.5.2020

Dr. Pedro Páez Pérez, professor at the Central University of Ecuador and specialist on economic development and the political economy, joins IPB to discuss contemporary Latin American politics with particular attention to the ascension of far-right forces to power and their role in the militarization of the region.

In recent years, Latin American politics has shifted and brought to power far-right leaders. A central aspect of these politicians’ platforms has been a glorification of national militaries and policies of confrontation. Such positions highlight the increasing militarization of the region. Dr. Páez will cover these developments and provide insights into what this means for the future of the region.