United States deathly attack on Afghan hospital condemned

This video says about itself:

Nineteen people killed after Kunduz hospital allegedly bombed by coalition
3 October 2015

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders says 19 people were killed and dozens more injured or missing when its facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was bombed on Saturday by possibly the US-led coalition.

‘Possibly’? Who else could have done it? The Taliban don’t have any warplanes.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Afghanistan air strikes: US faces global condemnation after attack on hospital kills 19 people

The airstrikes continued for more than 30 minutes even though military officials had again been informed of the hospital’s location after staff became aware of the attacks

Serina Sandhu

Saturday 3 October 2015 21:35 BST

The United States is facing international condemnation after its airstrikes devastated a hospital in Afghanistan. The attack, an effort to eject Taliban Islamists from the city of Kunduz, killed at least 19 people at the hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), including 12 staff and three children. It has also emerged that officials in Washington and Kabul had been made aware of the hospital’s location, leading to claims by human rights groups that the strikes could amount to a war crime. A US forces spokesman confirmed the strikes “may have resulted in collateral damage”, although there was no immediate public apology.

More than 100 patients and 80 staff members were at the clinic when it became engulfed in flames in the early hours of 3 October. It was reported that, on top of the fatalities, 40 people were seriously hurt including 19 MSF staff, some of whom were taken to a hospital two hours away in Puli Khumri.

Many people remain unaccounted for and the death toll is expected to rise. The attack was deplored by MSF, which said it had repeatedly told authorities of the hospital’s GPS location.

The airstrikes continued for more than 30 minutes even though military officials in Washington and Nato officials in Kabul had again been informed of the hospital’s location after staff became aware of the attacks.

Colonel Brian Tribus, speaking for the US forces, said: “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility. This incident is under investigation.” Ash Carter, US Defence Secretary, confirmed the “tragic incident” was being investigated with the Afghan government.

Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, said in a statement the commander of Nato’s Resolute Support mission had “explained and [apologised] for the attack”. The Kabul mission said it was unaware of the apology.

Meinie Nicolai, MSF’s president, called the attack “abhorrent” and a “grave violation of international humanitarian law”. She said: “We demand total transparency from coalition forces. We cannot accept this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage’.” …

Nicholas Haysom, the UN special representative in Afghanistan, said: “Hospitals accommodating patients and medical personnel may never be the object of attack, and international humanitarian law also prohibits the use of medical facilities for military purposes.”

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, said the event needed to be independently investigated and the results publicised, adding that a deliberate airstrike on a hospital could be a war crime. The trauma centre was caring for almost 400 people wounded as a result of the violence that followed the insurgent attacks on 28 September.

Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan researcher, said: “Amnesty [believes] the deliberate attack of civilian and civilian targets, hospitals and medical facilities … is in violation of international humanitarian law and [a] deliberate attack may amount to war crimes. Attacking medical facilities, and especially a surgical hospital, could have a grave human cost because this hospital was dealing with a countless number of people, especially in the past few days when the war started in Kunduz.”

Ms Mosadiq added: “We are calling on the Afghan government and others to conduct an independent investigation into this incident and to … bring [those] responsible to justice.”

Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Afghanistan, said: “This is an appalling tragedy. Such attacks against health workers and facilities undermine the capacity of humanitarian [organisations] to assist the Afghan people at a time when they most urgently need it.”

Euro Birdwatch 2015, Dutch Top Ten

This video from Britain is called Amazing starlings’ murmuration.

Dutch NOS TV reports on birds counted during Euro Birdwatch 2015 today, in the Netherlands.

The Top Ten of bird species is:

1. Starling 50.990
2. Chaffinch 27.325
3. White-fronted goose 25.032
4. Meadow pipit 15.575
5. Northern lapwing 12.747
6. Grey lag goose 9250
7. Black-headed gull 8592
8. Common linnet 6834
9. Tundra bean goose 6221
10. Siskin 5208

Rare birds were counted as well: red kite 13 times, yellow-browed warbler six times, red-throated pipit four times, Eurasian penduline tit two times.

German professor Jörg Baberowski hates refugees

This video says about itself:

“Welcome to Germany” – People applaud and greet migrants with gifts as they arrive in Munich

5 September 2015

Hundreds of migrants have arrived in Munich, Germany, after they were allowed to leave Hungary and cross through Austria.

They are among thousands who have been on the move after Germany and Austria agreed to take more refugees, waiving asylum rules.

By Christoph Dreier in Germany:

German academic Jörg Baberowski stirs up hatred against refugees

3 October 2015

In a number of recent articles and interviews, Jörg Baberowski, professor of Eastern European history at Humboldt University in Berlin, has argued for a drastic curtailment of the right to asylum. In doing so, he has employed the kinds of arguments one typically associates with the extreme right. The professor had previously made a name for himself defending Hitler apologist Ernst Nolte and relativizing the war of annihilation waged by the Nazi regime. Now he is intervening in current political debates with his far-right conceptions.

Baberowski began with a guest commentary for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on September 14. In it he criticizes the “chatter about a welcoming culture” and sharply attacks the refugee policies of the German government from the right. “Naturally, the immigration of 500,000 people annually can be managed technically,” he writes. “But do we want to manage it? No one has posed this question.”

Baberowski answers the question himself with a resounding no. He argues that immigrants from foreign cultures will undermine the foundation of society. “The integration of several million people in a very short time disturbs our traditional continuity which provides social stability and consistency.”

“Mutual experience, what we have read and seen together,” he adds, “is the social cement that once held our society together.”

The racism which underlies this hostility toward other cultures is so blatant that even the fascist National Democratic Party (NPD) has taken note. Their local chapter in Neuruppin has expressed its agreement with the passage in question and posted it on their Facebook page. The monthly NPD newspaper Deutsche Stimme (German Voice) dedicated an article in its latest edition to the defense of Baberowski against left-wing critics.

In a manner typical of the radical right, Baberowski attempts to incite the poorest layers of society against immigrants. “Secretaries, construction workers, mothers who only have a little money left in their old age, hairdressers who can’t find an apartment because they don’t make enough money, don’t understand why the social safety net should be available to anyone who hasn’t contributed to its financing,” he writes, asking, “Why should an immigrant get for free that which those already here have spent decades working so hard for?”

Baberowski practically encourages violence against refugees. During a September 24 discussion on Germany’s 3sat television network, he declared, “Wherever many people come from a foreign context and the population is not involved in solving all of these problems, it naturally leads to aggression.” According to official figures 61 arson attacks on refugee housing took place in the first nine months of this year, in which several homes were completely burned down. Against this backdrop, Barberowski argues, “Given the problem we currently have with immigration in Germany, I think that’s rather harmless.”

The effort to make refugees and immigrants into scapegoats for low wages, social cuts and unemployment is the standard repertoire of the extreme right. It makes up a large part of the propaganda of the National Front in France, the Freedom Party of Austria, the Swiss People’s Party and the German NPD. In adopting these arguments, Baberowski clearly identifies himself with the political far right.

In the 3sat interview, he argues openly for the building of such a party in Germany. According to Baberowski, it is notable “that in countries where there are parties articulating this problem, as in Austria, Switzerland or France, violence against immigrants is much lower. We should perhaps consider that it may help if people simply have a way to vent and talk about these problems.”

Baberowski’s political conclusions are also drawn from the arsenal of the far right. He calls for a virtual elimination of the right to asylum, which was embedded in the German constitution as an answer to the crimes of the Nazi regime. Baberowski claims that with the right to asylum, Germany “gave up its national sovereignty” and let “illegal immigrants decide who can come and who can stay. He insists on speaking of “illegal immigrants” instead of “refugees” to strictly limit immigration and only allow into the country those who would be useful and keep out anyone who “would only be a burden.”

Above all, Baberowski wants to keep out “illiterates.” He arrogantly asks, “Does every immigrant enrich us?” before answering that “Anyone who takes a look at Duisburg-Marxloh or at Görlitzer Park in Berlin-Kreuzberg, will know better.”

Baberowski is well aware that he is putting forward extreme right positions, though he tries to deny it. He angrily denounces all who criticize his reactionary views as well as those who only want to stand up for moral principles and solidarity. While he crudely attacks his enemies, he portrays himself as the victim of a campaign. Here, too, he employs the methods of the radical right who continually insist that they speak for the people, for the majority, for reason and are therefore suppressed. The phrase “There’s no law against saying what one thinks” runs like a red thread through the racist tirades of the far right.

In a September 27 article for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), Baberowski describes Germany as a “republic of virtue,” in which anyone who violates her conventions “is banished to the darkest quarters.” He says, “Level-headedness and rationality are forbidden in the moral high ground which the media has made of Germany. Whoever refers to common sense risks becoming marginalized and ostracized.”

Coming from Baberowski, this accusation is absurd. The Humboldt University professor has at his disposal not only a major professorial chair financed by many third parties, he is also a fixture on talk shows, panel discussions, in newspapers and on television channels. His books are highly publicized. No one has prevented him from spreading his reactionary views.

At the same time, Baberowski has a record of throwing his critics out of public meetings and silencing dissenters. In the summer, he responded to the criticism of students with the demand that the university issue a ban on such “crackpots” and bring charges against them.

Baberowski’s open incitements against refugees confirm what the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) have documented over the last year and a half: that he relativizes the crimes of National Socialism and the war of annihilation waged by the Wehrmacht.

In a February 2014 interview in Der Spiegel, Baberowski came out in support of Nazi apologist Ernst Nolte, declaring “Hitler was no psychopath, he was not vicious.” Basing themselves on these and other statements, as well as a careful analysis of his books, the PSF and the IYSSE exposed how Baberowski uses his position as a university lecturer to systematically pursue a deeply reactionary program.

“Such historical falsifications were previously voiced only by ultra-right and fascist circles. Their promotion today is closely linked with the attempts of the German government to revive German militarism,” we write in the foreword to the book Scholarship or War Propaganda, which documents the conflict with Baberowski and his colleague Herfried Münkler, and which we strongly recommend to our readers.

The university administration and the media reacted with a storm of defamations without answering or refuting even a single one of the well-documented accusations against Baberowski. The Department of History and the university administration accused the PSG and the IYSSE of “slander” and “character assassination” and declared that criticism of Baberowski’s public statements would no longer be tolerated “in the halls of Humboldt University.”

FAZ editor Jürgen Kaube attacked the PSG and the IYSSE in an article titled “Mobbing, Trotskyist style.” Friederike Haupt, writing for the same newspaper, compared the criticisms to “bomb threats and appeals for murder.” Some two dozen articles appeared in the NZZ and other media outlets, all of which supported Baberowski.

Now the same newspapers that defended Baberowski then, open up their pages to his xenophobic agitation. It underscores that these networks support Baberowski not as a supposedly respectable academic, but rather as a political operator with a right-wing program. At issue is the attempt to turn the universities into “state-directed cadre-training centers for right-wing and militarist ideologies,” as we write in the previously-cited foreword. Through the falsification of history, the crimes of German imperialism are being relativized and new wars are being prepared.

Far from being a genuine academic Baberowski is in reality a right-wing ideologue. The scholarly content of his pronouncements are worthless. While he has taught for more than 10 years as a professor at Humboldt University, he has failed to produce any work worthy of international attention. His books are filled with errors, falsifications and inconsistencies. His position in academia is entirely due to the political network which has found it useful to engage him as a right-wing agitator.

That an extreme right ideologue like Baberowski teaches at one of the best-known universities in Germany, and is defended by heads of the university and its various departments as well as influential journalists is a clear warning. The ruling elite is working hard to remilitarize German foreign policy and to institute authoritarian forms of rule. Figures like Baberowski have the task of laying the ideological groundwork for militarism—just as they did prior to both world wars.

Red-breasted merganser couple swimming, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

22 July 2015

Red-breasted Mergansers are a species of sea duck, a group that lacks the broad flat bill of a typical duck. They are fairly common along seacoasts in winter, where they dive for fish and other prey. They are more frequently seen in saltwater than Common Mergansers.

Red-necked grebes feed young, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

22 July 2015

Red-necked Grebes are large grebes with long, powerfull bills and a neat white cheek patch. In breeding plumage the necks of both sexes are a rich cinnamon. Grebes nest on floating mounds of vegetation; the young shelter on the backs of their parents, and the adults feed them small fish.