‘US Air Force destroyed our hospital senselessly’, Doctors Without Borders says

This 3 October 2015 video, from the (Conservative) Daily Telegraph in England, is called Video shows the bombed Kunduz hospital which claimed 50 lives.

The introduction to a report by MSF/Doctors Without Borders says:

5 November 2015

Public release of initial MSF internal review

Hospitals have protected status under the rules of war. And yet in the early hours of 3 October, the MSF hospital in Kunduz came under relentless and brutal aerial attack by US forces.

Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC-130 gunship while fleeing the burning building. At least 30 MSF staff and patients were killed.

This week, MSF concluded an initial review of the facts before, during and in the aftermath of the airstrikes. Although our internal review is an ongoing process, we have decided to share these initial outcomes with the public, to counter speculation and to be transparent. Details that could identify individuals have been removed. Explanatory footnotes have been added in places where an external reader may need additional clarification.

This is the view from inside the hospital. What we lack is the view from outside the hospital – what happened within the military chains of command.

The facts compiled in this review confirm our initial observations: the MSF trauma centre was fully functioning as a hospital with 105 patients admitted and surgeries ongoing at the time of the US airstrikes; the MSF rules in the hospital were implemented and respected, including the ‘no weapons’ policy; MSF was in full control of the hospital before and at the time of the airstrikes; there were no armed combatants within the hospital compound and there was no fighting from or in the direct vicinity of the trauma centre before the airstrikes.

What we know is that we were running a hospital treating patients, including wounded combatants from both sides – this was not a ‘Taliban base.’

The question remains as to whether our hospital lost its protected status in the eyes of the military forces engaged in this attack – and if so, why. The answer does not lie within the MSF hospital. Those responsible for requesting, ordering and approving the airstrikes hold these answers.

We know that there were many different forces fighting in the area around our hospital: special forces, regular army, police and the armed opposition. Each of these forces may have been operating according to different understandings or interpretations of how international humanitarian law applies to medical work in war. Any ambiguity has deadly consequences for our ability to work on frontlines.

What we demand is simple: a functioning hospital caring for patients, such as the one in Kunduz, cannot simply lose its protection and be attacked; wounded combatants are patients and must be free from attack and treated without discrimination; medical staff should never be punished or attacked for providing treatment to wounded combatants.

On 7 October 2015, MSF launched a call for an independent investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission. Although the IHFFC has made itself available for an investigation, the United States and Afghan Governments have yet to consent to this request. Consenting to the IHFFC is a critical step in demonstrating a commitment to the Geneva Conventions. Today, we are handing over this internal report to both the public and the IHFFC.

The attack on our hospital in Kunduz destroyed our ability to treat patients at a time when we were needed the most.

We need a clear commitment that the act of providing medical care will never make us a target. We need to know whether the rules of war still apply.


Dr Joanne Liu, MSF International President

While spelling out the carnage inflicted upon wounded men, women and children as well as doctors, nurses and other medical staff that day, the report adds to the already overwhelming evidence that the attack was neither an accident nor a case of “collateral damage,” but rather a deliberate war crime ordered by the Pentagon to further US military objectives in Afghanistan: here.

See also here.

Disabled Palestinian refugee from ISIS now in Dutch ex-prison

Rafiq in the Haarlem prison building, photo: NOS

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Man on crutches in ISIS area, nearly drowns, but makes it to the Netherlands

Today, 18:24

In late August of this year we got to know him, Rafiq, a 65-year-old Palestinian from Syria, sweaty and exhausted, breathing heavily and inching, using crutches, crossing the border between Serbia and Hungary. He wanted only one thing: to go to the Netherlands. Correspondent Marcel van der Steen saw him disappear into the night.

Van der Steen decided to keep in touch with Rafiq and recently received notice that he had managed to reach the Netherlands. Rafiq is now staying in the Panopticon Prison in Haarlem, which is now an emergency shelter. Reporter Nicole le Fever met him there.

Rafiq’s journey is hard to summarize. To flee Syria he had to cross ISIS territory. A Chechen stopped him and asked why he had no beard. “That does not grow with me,” he replied. But the young man thought that was not a good excuse and Rafiq received twenty lashes.

When asked if he smoked, he lied, because he had heard that he should never admit it. Fortunately, the cigarette pack that he had was not found on him. Finally, the legs of his trousers above his ankles were cut off because Muslim men, according to tradition, must not wear clothing over their ankles.

Once in Turkey, it turned out that as a Palestinian he was not allowed to stay because he had no papers. “Stateless”, therefore, says the new card which he received from the Dutch authorities.

Nearly drowned

So the only way was to try to reach a Greek island by boat. The first attempt failed. The boat made water and Rafiq would have drowned if he would not have been saved by an Iraqi friend. The second attempt succeeded though.

Late August Marcel van der Steen saw him stumble in the dark towards the Hungarian border. He managed to enter the country and for 1000 euros he took a taxi to Germany. The last stage, to Amsterdam Central Station, was by train. There he got a ticket for the train and bus to Ter Apel refugee camp to report there.

Rafiq is grateful that he has arrived safely in the Netherlands. Syria and his problems with the government he won’t talk about much because he is worried about his wife, who stayed behind in Syria. However, he talks about his old life, including in Dubai and Eastern Europe, where he used to own electronics stores and a furniture store.

Will he still see his wife?

His greatest wish is that his wife may come to the Netherlands, but he is concerned about the length of the procedure. First he was told he would hear something within 5 to 12 months, but that is now a year. And then it takes another year before family members can come. Rafiq is afraid that he will not live that long.

All is not well with his health. He has many problems with his legs and kidneys. He also has to follow a special diet. Fortunately, he gets help from two Syrians in the cell next to him. They help him out of bed and with cleaning. For one of his neighbours bad news came today. One of his sons was killed in Syria and his 16-year-old daughter has remained all alone. The man is desperate.

“So, we all have our stories and problems.” says Rafiq.

Benedict Cumberbatch condemns UK government’s inhumane refugee policy: here.

While thousands of refugees risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean each day to commence an arduous journey through the Balkans, the governing coalition in Berlin is fighting over the most effective way to send them back: here.

Deadly radiation in Fukushima

This music video from Japan says about itself:

“The Scrap” punk band blasts Fukushima aftermath. Thousands still homeless after earthquake and tsunami. Nobutaka Takahashi, lead vocal, “The Scrap”. Wednesday, May 23, 2012.

From the Japan Times:

Deadly 9.4 sieverts detected outside Fukushima reactor 2 containment vessel; checks stop

Oct 30, 2015

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday that radiation levels of up to 9.4 sieverts per hour have been detected near a reactor containment vessel at the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Sept. 4-25 checks found the extremely high radiation levels in a small building containing a pipe that is connected to the reactor 2 containment vessel at the plant, which was devastated in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Tepco said.

Exposure to such a dosage for some 45 minutes would result in death. Tepco said it expects decontamination work at the site to take at least one month.

Although details surrounding the high radiation levels remain scarce, the highest contamination was detected near the floor of the building, according to the company.

Tepco had planned to begin checking the inside of the containment vessel in August by using a remote-controlled robot, but high radiation levels have stalled the examination.

Extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel make it impossible for the utility to chart the course of its planned decommissioning of the reactors at the plant.

Time has come for an ‘honorable retreat’ from Tokyo 2020 [Olympics] over Fukushima — Dr. Brian Victoria, The Japan Times: here.

Cancer and Fukushima: Who to trust? — The Japan Times: here.

JAPAN Nuclear Fuel Ltd announced yesterday that it was postponing the opening of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant until September 2018. The company cited regulators’ lengthy inspection procedures and the time needed for safety upgrades: here.