Murders in Germany, wars in the Middle East


This Associated Press video says about itself:

First anniversary of deadly NATO airstrike

SHOTLIST

Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

1. Mid of site where airstrike on tankers happened
FILE: Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 05 September 2009

2. Former NATO commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal visiting the site a day after strike, burnt tanker in background

3. Mid of McChrystal and other NATO officials

4. Various of destroyed tanker
Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

5. Zoom out of site

6. Mid of children playing at site
Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 27 August 2010

7. Wide of locals in Char Dara district

8. House of Haji Abdul Basir, who lost three of his sons and one of his grandsons in the strike

9. Various of Basir’s family

10. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Haji Abdul Basir, father and grand father of strike victims:

“Germany is our biggest enemy; they bombed us because of the two fuel tankers. If they hadn’t done what they did we would have been ready to sell our lands and pay them the cost of the tankers.”

11. Mid of Basir’s grandchild
Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

12. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Hayatullah Khan, provincial director for Afghan Human Rights Commission in Kunduz:

“From the day after the incident, the commission started its investigation on the incident. After ongoing meetings with German PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) in Kunduz and meeting officials from German Defence ministry, we asked them if they could help the families of the victims in a way to repent for what happened and we also asked them to make sure there will not be anymore civilian casualties in future military operations.”

Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 31 August 2010

13. Wide shot of NATO military base in Kunduz province

14. SOUNDBITE (German) Major Stephen Wessel, German military spokesman in Kunduz:

“The one who did that from a military point of view at the time, who was responsible, had his reasons to act as he had decided. I can’t say anything more than this at this point.”

15. Close of hands

16. SOUNDBITE (German) Major Stephen Wessel, German military spokesman in Kunduz:

“The German army supported financially the victims’ relatives we could research and concerning this, the compensation to the victims’ relatives is now over. There are no further intention of support from the German army’s side. Beyond that, there are some further projects to support, but the security situation here in the region doesn’t allow for it at the moment.”
Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

17. Wide of police checking cars and people in Kunduz city, rifle in foreground

18. Various shots of police checking car

19. Wide of checkpoint

STORYLINE

A year after a German-ordered airstrike on two tankers in Afghanistan that is believed to have killed scores of civilians, families in Char Dara are remembering their relatives.

On 4th September 2009, German Colonel Georg Klein ordered the NATO airstrike against two tanker trucks that had been seized by Taliban insurgents near Kunduz, fearing they could be used to attack troops.

The attack in the northern Afghan province killed up to 142 people, many of them civilians.

German officials have said the Taliban may have been planning a suicide attack on the military’s base using the hijacked tankers.

A year on, 65-year old Haji Abdul Basir was embittered by the incident which took the lives of his three sons and one of his grandsons.
“Germany is our biggest enemy they bombed us because of the two fuel tankers. If they hadn’t done what they did we would have been ready to sell our lands and pay them the cost of tankers,” said Basir.

Hayatullah Khan, the provincial director of the commission added that the issue of the civilian casualties in the military operations still remains a concern for them.

By VICTOR GROSSMAN in Germany:

These tragedies are born close to home

Wednesday 27th July 2016

VICTOR GROSSMAN reports from Berlin on causes of the spate of violence striking Germany and across Europe

ONE, two, three, four — so many killing scenes in Bavaria in little over a week. And that against a backdrop of terrible, even worse killings in so many towns and cities elsewhere.

My main reaction is sorrow. Sorrow for the innocent people who only took the train, went shopping or went to a concert and then never came home. And even more sorrow for the families and friends for whom they were irreplaceable.

Among the many, many flowers, candles and toys placed at the sites of the killings one word is often repeated: “Warum?” — “Why?”

In the hunt for answers we must look first at the perpetrators of these killings. Almost all were young men whose feelings had been twisted into hatred. Some had been diagnosed as mentally ill but the others must surely have suffered too to do such terrible things.

We need not look all too far to find possible causes of such hatred or, frequently, of distorted despair. I think of what hundreds of thousands of people have gone through. War-torn home towns, shootings, explosions and bombings in their native Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, a terrifying flight to get away, to find some haven, some place where they can escape and perhaps even realise their hopes and wishes but a hellish journey to get there.

For those who reached the Promised Land, Germany, some were lucky and found some of the many warm-hearted people who welcomed and helped them.

But all too many were met with callousness, rejection, neglect and greed, even violence, and the constant threat of being sent back to ruins and poverty.

In even the best cases there were the problems of finding oneself in a strange land, with a strange language and very different customs.

This is enough to twist the minds of many people, but not least of all those of young males barred from work and dignity, from family, from women.

Yes, my sorrow extends to all of them too — and to the tragedy of young lives distorted by such experience, lacking guidance or a chance to fight back properly, often so very much alone.

I cannot absolve them of guilt. But I can find guilt elsewhere as well. How many of the good, peaceful people in Bavarian towns and cities — or in other peaceful places — know or care about the killing in the homelands of these people and who has been responsible for them?

What was the punishment for the German colonel who in 2009 ordered the bombing in Kunduz which killed up to 100 civilians? Or was it 150? Who cares, really — except their families? And they, after all, received a full $5,000 for each death. Colonel Klein, who ordered the raid, was promoted to general a few years later.

Who still cares that in 2015, also in Kunduz, 30 or 40 medical personnel or patients, some of them children, were killed by a US war plane in repeated “mistaken” bombing attacks despite immediate pleas to desist? This time relatives were paid $6,000 for each family member killed. After all, one must not disregard inflation!

How many hundreds of thousands were killed in Iraq after a war based on conscious lies? The counting has not been so accurate as in the sad Bavarian massacre. How long have US weapons and German weapons been used to kill civilians in Yemen, in Syria, in Somalia? How long have US weapons and military assistance been used in the destruction of Gaza and repression in Palestine?

Most Arab people certainly know of all these things — and do not easily forget them. How many in Bavaria are aware of them? Or in Germany? Or the US?

The “unfortunate mistakes” at wedding parties and the like are not easily forgotten by sons or brothers. Is it surprising that some seek retribution, even blind retribution? Sadly, very tragically, the ones to suffer and die from such retribution are sometimes peaceful citizens of Arnsbach, Munich or other cities, who are just as innocent of any wrongdoing as those in Kunduz or Kirkuk. And, until the shots or blasts can be heard and felt, just as uninvolved.

This means that everything must be done, wherever we are, to get as many involved as possible. Not only must we oppose the bloody attacks from the sea, ground or air, but also the shipment of the utensils of death to those areas, indeed, to any areas.

We must let the people of other countries solve their own problems — without our pressures, our interference, above all without our weapons.

My sorrow extends even further, to much of what I see in the world which leads to death thoughts, large and small scale.

I firmly believe that we must oppose the cult of killing which pervades our entire culture, the war films, the video games and the media heroics which idolise Western snipers, torturers and killers of all kinds while detailing over and over the misdeeds of a tiny number of immigrants.

But the arms industry brings in billions. Its crooked influence is related, in no small measure, to killings of all kinds, whether by a mentally ill youngster on a peaceful street in Bavaria — inspired or not inspired by Isis leaders — or committed by a handsomely uniformed and decorated general and his men, praised by their embedded journalists as heroic saviours of our civilisation.

Indeed, they and the men behind them in their skyscraper boardrooms are, directly or indirectly, the truly guilty ones, for the wars, the waves of refugees, the misery and countless personal tragedies.

Can they be removed before we all kill each other off in some final hungry desert — or in a sudden final atomic blast?

Pentagon defends killing pregnant Afghan women


This video from the USA says about itself:

Pentagon: Killing Pregnant Afghan Women Is ‘Appropriate’ Use Of Force

2 June 2016

An internal Defense Department investigation into one of the most notorious night raids conducted by special operations forces in Afghanistan — in which seven civilians were killed, including two pregnant women — determined that all the U.S. soldiers involved had followed the rules of engagement.

Read more here.

In an open letter to the White House published June 3 by The National Interest magazine, 13 retired American generals and diplomats demanded the suspension of all further US troop withdrawals from Afghanistan: here.

The war we forgot to end: Why are we still in Afghanistan?. President Obama just announced he’s keeping 8,400 troops in Afghanistan – but it’s time for the U.S. to withdraw fully: here.

Kunduz, Afghanistan hospital bombing impunity update


Kunduz hospital after the bombing, AFP photo

From Doctors Without Borders/MSF:

Kunduz: Initial reaction to public release of U.S. military investigative report on the attack on MSF trauma hospital

29 April 2016

NEW YORK, APRIL 29, 2016 — The United States military today released its investigative report on the attack on the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on 3 October 2015. The attack killed 42 people, including 14 MSF staff members, and wounded dozens more. …

MSF acknowledges the U.S. military’s efforts to conduct an investigation into the incident. Today, MSF and other medical care providers on the front lines of armed conflicts continually experience attacks on health facilities that go un-investigated by parties to the conflict. However, MSF has said consistently that it cannot be satisfied solely with a military investigation into the Kunduz attack. MSF’s request for an independent and impartial investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission has so far gone unanswered.

“Today’s briefing amounts to an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely populated urban area, during which U.S. forces failed to follow the basic laws of war,” said Meinie Nicolai, MSF President. “It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the U.S., the attack was not called off.”

The hospital was fully functioning at the time of the airstrikes. The U.S. investigation acknowledges that there were no armed combatants within – and no fire from – the hospital compound.

“The threshold that must be crossed for this deadly incident to amount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law is not whether it was intentional or not,” said Nicolai. “With multinational coalitions fighting with different rules of engagement across a wide spectrum of wars today, whether in Afghanistan, Syria, or Yemen, armed groups cannot escape their responsibilities on the battlefield simply by ruling out the intent to attack a protected structure such as a hospital.”

The nature of the deadly bombing of the MSF Kunduz Trauma Centre, and the recurring attacks on medical facilities in Afghanistan, demand from all parties to the conflict a clear reaffirmation of the protected status of medical care in the country. MSF must obtain these necessary assurances in Afghanistan before making any decision on if it is safe to re-start medical activities in Kunduz.

“We can’t put our teams – including our colleagues who survived the traumatic attack – back to work in Kunduz without first having strong and unambiguous assurances from all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan that this will not happen again,” said Nicolai. “We need explicit agreement from all parties to the conflict, including the Afghan authorities and the U.S. military, that there will be no military interference or use of force against MSF medical facilities, personnel, patients and ambulances. Equally, we must be assured that MSF staff can safely provide medical care based solely on medical needs, without discrimination, and regardless of their religious, political or military affiliations. Every day that passes without securing these assurances adds to the death toll from the attack, given the loss of lifesaving medical services to people in the region.”

The administrative punishments announced by the U.S. today are out of proportion to the destruction of a protected medical facility, the deaths of 42 people, the wounding of dozens of others, and the total loss of vital medical services to hundreds of thousands of people. The lack of meaningful accountability sends a worrying signal to warring parties, and is unlikely to act as a deterrent against future violations of the rules of war.

At the same time, it has become clear that the victims and their families have neither the option to pursue legal action against the U.S. military, either in Afghanistan or in the US, nor to claim compensation for loss of life and livelihood. This has only compounded the devastation of the attack.

U.S. Military Investigates And Finds Itself Not Guilty Of War Crimes In Afghan Hospital Bombing: here.

NYT INVESTIGATES WHETHER AFGHAN FORCES TARGETED DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS HOSPITAL “There is evidence — both buried in the report and from interviews conducted on the front lines in Kunduz — that suggests that Afghan troops may have deliberately provided the hospital as a target.” [NYT]

OBAMA BROADENS TROOPS’ ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN “President Barack Obama has approved giving the U.S. military greater ability to accompany and enable Afghan forces battling a resilient Taliban insurgency, in a move to assist them more proactively on the battlefield, a U.S. official told Reuters.” [Reuters]

US Still Can’t Escape Calls for War Crimes Investigation into Its Bombing of MSF Hospital: here.

Impunity for Kunduz, Afghanistan hospital bombing


Kunduz, Afghanistan hospital after the bombing, photo Najim Rahim / AFP

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

No prosecution for United States attack on MSF clinic

Today, 18:28

The American soldiers who were involved in an attack on a Doctors Without Borders/MSF hospital in Afghanistan will not be prosecuted. They will only be disciplined by the military, the Pentagon announced. During the attack last October, 42 people were killed. …

Inexcusable

Injured people and relatives of killed people have reacted angrily to the US decision not to prosecute the soldiers involved. Zabibullah Neyazi, a nurse who lost his left arm, an eye and a finger of his right hand, told Associated Press he thought the attack was “inexcusable.” He said he and other victims want justice.

Only administrative penalties are insufficient according to Neyazi. “There should be a trial in Afghanistan, in our presence, in the presence of the families of the victims, to be just to them.”

Refugees’ human rights violated in deportations to Turkey


This video says about itself:

Protesting deportation to Turkey at the VIAL detention Center on Chios, Greece, April 3, 2016

18 April 2016

A video given to Human Rights Watch shows Shila Ahmadi wailing as about 15 riot police with helmets and shields approach. A group of men nearby starts chanting: “This is Europe, it’s a shame on you!” and “It’s not human rights!”

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Human rights violated by expulsions to Turkey

Today, 11:10

The first expulsion of migrants from Greece to Turkey was chaotic and violated human rights. So says Human Rights Watch after conversations with 12 friends of 19 Afghans who were returned on April 4 from the Greek island Chios to Turkey.

According to HRW, the migrants did not know they were deported, they had no idea where they were going and some were not allowed to bring personal belongings like backpacks and mobile phones.

A friend of three expelled Afghans told Human Rights Watch: “Ilias, Mohammad and Reza were told they had to register, they walked away happily and when they came out the police was waiting for them. If they had known that they would be deported, then they would have brought their bags, their papers and their money.”

Crying protest

According to HRW the group of 66 people was driven together in one building, where later that day a protest broke out. About 15 police officers with helmets and shields kept the group under control.

According to HRW policemen then tied the hands of the refugees behind their backs and they were then put into a police van. Jackets, bags, money and cell phones were not allowed to go along.

It seems that the Greek authorities were in a hurry to reach the number of deportees that had been agreed between the European Union and Turkey, HRW concludes.

According to numerous news sources, another disaster involving a refugee boat took place Monday in the Mediterranean Sea. Italian President Sergio Mattarella spoke of several hundred deaths, while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirmed over 300. Somalia’s ambassador in Egypt told BBC Arabic that there were 400 deaths: here.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have now confirmed that a refugee boat went down earlier this week between the Libyan port of Tobruk and the Greek island of Crete. Both organisations, based on the testimony of 41 survivors, estimate that up to 500 refugees died in the disaster: here.

Hollande sheds crocodile tears over refugees in Lebanon visit: here.

United States drones kill Afghan civilians


This video from the USA says about itself:

U.S. Drone Strike Kills 17 Civilians, Including First Responders In Afghanistan

11 April 2016

American airstrikes in the southeastern Afghan province of Paktika killed at least 17 civilians, local officials and elders said on Thursday, differing from official American and Afghan claims that only militants had been killed…

Read more here and here and here.

7-year-old Afghan refugee boy saves fifteen lives


This music video from England is called The English Disco Lovers protest at M19 Refugees Welcome march central London 19th March 2016.

From Associated Press:

Boy’s trans-Atlantic text, fast police work save 15 migrants

By GREGORY KATZ

April 8, 2016 11:48 AM EDT

LONDON — The text message from a young boy, writing in broken English on a no-frills cellphone, was frightening enough to set off a frantic, trans-Atlantic search that saved the lives of 15 migrants trapped in a locked truck in England.

The message flashed on the cellphone of volunteer Liz Clegg, who was attending a conference in New York: “I ned halp darivar no stap car no oksijan in the car no signal iam in the cantenar. Iam no jokan valla.” It was written by Ahmed, an Afghan boy of about 7, trying to say: “I need help. The driver won’t stop the car. No oxygen in the car. No signal. I’m in a container. I am not joking. I swear to God.”

In March, Clegg and others volunteering at a squalid migrant camp in Calais, France, had handed out hundreds of basic cellphones to children living there, programming in a number for them to text in a crisis.

She knew Ahmed wouldn’t text something like that if he wasn’t in danger. So she called Tanya Freedman, from the Help Refugees charity in London, to tell her the boy seemed to be suffocating.

Freedman called police in southeast England to tell them of the emergency. The police response was swift and effective, she said.

“I conveyed to them that it was a life-and-death situation,” Freedman told The Associated Press on Friday. “I had Ahmed’s number and the first thing they did was find an interpreter who spoke Pashto to talk to him. They called him and immediately they realized it was an emergency, and they were able to put a trace of his cellphone and find out he was in a lorry (truck) in Leicestershire.”

Kent Police said in a statement they received a call at 2:50 p.m. Thursday reporting that migrants were believed to be in danger in a truck, and that police established the truck was in Leicestershire. The information was given to police in Leicestershire, who quickly found the truck parked at a highway service station, broke into the back and freed 15 oxygen-starved migrants.

Only then did Freedman exhale: “It was absolutely nerve-wracking waiting to see if the police could find this boy in time to save his life,” she said.

Leicestershire Police said 14 migrants were detained on suspicion of entering Britain illegally, with their cases to be handled by immigration officials, and one man was arrested on suspicion of illegal trafficking.

Police said one child was placed in protective care. None involved gave his last name because he is a minor.

“I think it’s extraordinary that a 7-year-old boy knew his life was in danger and had the presence of mind to know what to do and give the right information and save himself and the others in the truck,” Freedman said. “We hope he’s getting the right kind of care.”

Praise for little Ahmed, Ms Clegg and Ms Freedman for helping to save human lives.

And praise for the British police for helping to save human lives. However, no praise at all for the British Cameron government, ordering police to arrest fourteen humans who fled the bloody war in Afghanistan, to which the British government contributed. Arresting them like they were murderers or rapists, instead of refugees from bloodshed.

European Union mass deportation of Afghan refugees: here.