Refugees drowning, anti-refugee European razor wire

This 6 August 2015 BBC video says about itself:

Fortress Europe? Hungary’s anti-migrant fence – Newsnight

Hungary has erected a fence to keep out migrants. It’s 110 miles long, nine feet high and covered in razor wire, and its message to migrants is clear: keep out. Will it work? And is this the future for Europe’s borders? Nick Thorpe reports.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Austria, Italy and Germany discussing new ‘axis’ against refugees

ANOTHER boat carrying refugees has sunk attempting the journey across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe, 63 asylum seekers are missing.

A Libyan coastguard boat returned to Tripoli on Monday with another 235 migrants – including 54 infants and 29 women – rescued in two other operations in the same area. Meanwhile, a humanitarian boat carrying 59 asylum seekers was heading to Spain yesterday after Italy and Malta – both much closer to the place of rescue – refused to let it dock in their ports.

According to UN figures, more than 1,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean this year while making the perilous journey from Libya to Europe. Italy’s government also announced on Monday it will provide ten motor launches and two ships to the Libyan coastguard, in order to increase its capacity to intercept and bring back ‘illegal migrants’ [to Libya] from the Mediterranean Sea.

The new government in Rome wants the ‘illegal immigrants’ who seek to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe, to be taken back to North Africa rather than let them enter, and to be put into camps in Niger and Chad.

Late on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally sealed a deal on migration policy with her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a desperate attempt to try to stop her government being brought down, by driving the EU further to the right and kicking refugees out. Austria, which is currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU, warned that it is prepared to take measures for the protection of its southern border with Slovenia and Italy if the agreement in Germany becomes government policy. So much for freedom of movement!

According to the Austrian government, if the deal reached between Chancellor Merkel and German Interior Minister Seehofer is endorsed by the government, ‘we will be obliged to take measures to avoid disadvantages for Austria and its people’ since ‘Germany wants to take national measures to tackle migration flows.’

The government’s statement referred to the deal concluded after tense negotiations between the the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) headed by Merkel and the Christian Social Union (CSU) headed by Seehofer. According to the Interior Minister, Germany must have an opportunity to reject migrants directly at the border, and the two conservative parties have agreed to tighten border controls.

In June, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz suggested that Austrian, German and Italian interior ministers form an ‘axis’ against illegal immigration, which provoked criticism from France, with President Macron even warning that such ‘catchphrases’ . . . ‘did not bring luck’ to Europe in the course of history, referring to the German-Italian axis of the 1940s.

The facts are that the imperialist assaults that destroyed Iraq and then Libya and led on to the Western assault on Syria have led to hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees to seek a better life for themselves and their children. The ‘Free Movement’ of the EU is now turning into ‘Fortress Europe’ with frontiers being restored and barbed wired fences everywhere.

The crisis-ridden EU is moving to the right. Freedom of Movement has given way to an anti-refugee axis. The French ruling class has organised an offensive against the trade unions, while the Italian and German governments are seeking to drive refugees deep into North Africa.

The truth of the matter is that the attacks on refugees are a foretaste of the actions to come against the workers of Europe by the bosses and bankers as the trade wars sharpen.

Refugees are not the enemies of the working class. The EU and capitalism are. This is why UK workers must force through a break with the EU now, welcome all refugees and fight alongside the workers of the EU to bring it down and replace it with the Socialist United States of Europe.

This will give fraternal assistance in the development of Africa and the Middle East so that people are not forced to leave their homes and risk their lives and the lives of their children to try and escape starvation.

On Tuesday, leading Social Democratic Party (SPD) politicians welcomed the reactionary agreement reached between the conservative parties in Germany’s grand coalition, which provides for the erection on German soil of concentration camps for refugees. The SPD is part of the coalition government along with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU): here. And here.

In the wake of the recent reactionary deal struck by the German grand coalition—Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), Social Democratic Party (SPD)—the government is expanding its terror against refugees. In the early hours of July 4, 69 refugees were deported to Afghanistan. The Lufthansa flight from Munich to Kabul was the largest ever mass deportation of refugees to Afghanistan: here.

Refugees ensnared in European dragnet: here.


European Union, Australian anti-refugee policies

This video says about itself:

Varoufakis Says There’s an EU Crisis, Not a Refugee Crisis

June 29 — Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis discusses the European Union agreement on migration which he calls “a fudge” and “complete failure”. He speaks on “Bloomberg Surveillance”.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

European Union intensifies campaign of terror against refugees

2 July 2018

The European Union summit at the end of last week marked a dangerous turning point in post-World War II European history. The measures targeting refugees adopted in Brussels have exposed the EU for what it is: a reactionary instrument of the ruling classes. The EU is being used by the European governments, their mounting differences notwithstanding, to intensify their policies of militarism, repression and social attacks on the working class. With the Brussels summit, the EU has shifted far to the right, with rabidly nationalist and far-right forces setting the agenda.

The monstrous persecution of immigrants is an international phenomenon. In the United States, the Trump administration is ripping children from their parents and detaining them in cages, while planning a network of military camps to hold 120,000 people. The global character of this war on the most vulnerable and impoverished sections of the international working class demonstrates that it is a product of the mortal crisis of the world capitalist system.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz,

An article on him in Belgian Christian Democrat conservative daily De Standaard, 30 June 2018, claims that Kurz is becoming more and more the biggest influence on the policies of the [Christian Democrat conservative] European People’s Party; the transnational political party most influential in the European Union. They quote his nickname ‘Prinz Gutgelaunt’, which they translate in Dutch as ‘Prins Goedgezind’; in English ‘Prince Benevolent’. The translation should really be ‘Prins Goedgehumeurd’, ‘Prince in high spirits’.

who governs in Vienna in a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), took over the EU presidency yesterday. Kurz and the FPÖ are being applauded for their anti-refugee agenda by extreme right and fascist forces across Europe. At the party congress of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) over the weekend, federal party spokesman Jörg Meuthen described Kurz as a fellow combatant on the issue of “Fortress Europe”. The AfD leader said, “Those with whom we want to and must cooperate are [FPÖ fuehrer] Hans-Christian Strache, Sebastian Kurz, Matteo Salvini and Viktor Orbán.”

In Vienna, Kurz underscored that the EU’s refugee policy is essentially that of the far right. He stated through a spokesman that he leads “a clearly pro-European federal government” and is striving for a European-wide solution to the refugee issue. He added that his “allies in Germany” in this are “the German government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.” Kurz noted in an interview on Austrian television, “It’s important that what was decided be promptly implemented. We will continue to apply pressure to ensure that happens.”

The proposed measures recall the darkest chapters in European history. They include, among other things, the complete sealing off of “Fortress Europe” and mass deportations to war zones in the Middle East and Africa. The official summit statement agreed to by all of the member states on Friday declared: “The European Council affirms that the member states must ensure effective control of the EU’s external borders with financial and material support to the EU. It notes that the repatriation of irregular migrants must be significantly increased.”

To terrorise refugees, the EU border agency Frontex will add at least 10,000 new personnel by 2020 and be expanded into a de facto military police force. The summit agreed to the establishment of concentration camps in North Africa and within the borders of the EU to hold refugees. In the summit statement, these detention centres were euphemistically referred to as “debarkation platforms” and “control centres” for the “resettlement and new settlement” of refugees. The euphemisms recall those employed by the Nazis to describe their genocidal policies toward Jews, gypsies and other “aliens”.

The EU knows full well that the planned camps in North Africa will be centresof terror and torture, resembling the Nazis’ concentration camps. As the German ambassador to Niger remarked in a 2017 internal diplomatic wire report to the chancellor and various ministries, “[T]he most serious and systematic human rights abuses [are taking place] in Libya.” According to an article in the Welt am Sonntag, the document stated that “authentic mobile phone photos and videos prove the concentration camp-like conditions in the so-called private prisons.”

In the Libyan camps, “executions of refugees who cannot pay, torture, rape, blackmail and abandonment in the desert are on the order of the day”, according to the correspondence. “Eyewitnesses spoke of exactly five executions per week in the prison, announced and carried out every Friday to make room for new arrivals, i.e., to increase the human throughput and thereby the operator’s profits.”

The centres already in existence in Greece, which will set the pattern for detention camps throughout the EU, likewise resemble concentration camps. An article in Sunday’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung about the Moria “hotspot” established on the island of Lesbos … reported on a “visit to hell.” The one-hectare fortified area, a former army barracks, houses 7,500 people, who live under catastrophic conditions.

Barbed wire is stretched out over the fences”, the article observes. “All entries to the camp have watchtowers and guards with guns… Anyone who wants in must show ID. The media in particular is not allowed easy access behind the gates.”

The establishment of such institutions in the major capitalist countries is a serious warning to workers and young people. As under fascist regimes, the concentration camps will be used against political opponents, and ultimately against the working class as a whole.

The EU is preparing for a confrontation with the working class, which is increasingly in rebellion against its militarist and anti-working class policies. Some 100,000 workers and young people protested in Vienna on Saturday against the government’s proposal to introduce a 12-hour workday, increasing the maximum number of working hours allowed per week to 60.

Under the slogan “A Europe that Protects”, the EU presidency currently held by Austria intends to accelerate the erection of a European police state. To this end, it will hold an initial EU summit in Salzburg on 20 September.

The World Socialist Web Site and the sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International urge workers to establish independent action committees in their workplaces, schools, universities and neighbourhoods to organise protests and strikes against police raids and attacks on immigrants and refugees. The following demands should be raised and discussed as widely as possible:

The dismantling of detention camps in the Middle East and North Africa, the withdrawal of European and US troops from these regions, and the free and safe passage of refugees to EU countries of their choice.

The abolition of the EU’s Frontex border police.

Non-cooperation with the EU deportation machine and all state policies preparing ethnic cleansing.

The provision of trillions of euros in public services, training and jobs to all workers, immigrant and native-born alike. The wealth squandered on a decade of EU bank bailouts must be expropriated and used to meet the urgent social needs of the working population.

The development of such committees must be connected to the movement of the international working class to abolish the capitalist, nation-state system. The fact that all governing parties in Europe— … the social democratic PSOE in Spain, Germany’s grand coalition, and the far-right parties in Italy, Austria and Eastern Europe—are cooperating so closely to intensify the terror against refugees underscores the fact that workers confront revolutionary tasks. European capitalism cannot be tamed. It must be overthrown and replaced by the United Socialist States of Europe.

Leon Trotsky noted in the manifesto of the Fourth International, written in the early stages of World War II, that the “task posed by history is not to support one part of the imperialist system against another, but to make an end of the system as a whole.”

This task is posed today with renewed urgency. To prevent a relapse into barbarism and war, the working class must oppose all factions of the capitalist class and consciously take up the fight for a socialist and internationalist programme.

‘WE ARE WELL INTO THE FINAL CHAPTER OF THE MERKEL ERA’ In a desperate bid to save her government, German Chancellor Angela Merkel — and the politicians who bet her legacy on welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants into Germany — have agreed to a change in immigration policy that includes building camps for asylum seekers on the border. [The New York Times]

Australia: The people of the rural Queensland town of Biloela, with a population of less than 6,000, have conducted months of protests demanding the Liberal-National Coalition government halt the deportation of a Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker family. Residents have picketed courts in Melbourne numbers of times, travelling nearly 2,000 kilometres to demand the family’s release. They have made direct appeals to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to use his ministerial powers to grant asylum to this family, but the government has continued to try to deport them as quickly as possible, despite their legal appeal rights: here.

European Union crackdown on refugees

This video says about itself:

Fortress Europe? Hungary’s anti-migrant fence – [BBC] Newsnight

6 August 2015

Hungary has erected a fence to keep out migrants. It’s 110 miles long, nine feet high and covered in razor wire, and its message to migrants is clear: keep out. Will it work? And is this the future for Europe’s borders? Nick Thorpe reports.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

European Union adopts far-right refugee policy

30 June 2018

Shortly after the conclusion of the European Union (EU) summit in Brussels on Friday, another tragedy took place in the Mediterranean. According to media reports, a boat with 120 refugees on board sunk off the Libyan coast. Only a few people were rescued and estimates suggest over 100 lost their lives. According to witnesses, large numbers of Moroccan and Yemeni families were on the boat, including babies, women, and children.

As a result of the blockading and criminalization of rescue workers, several accidents in the days leading up to the summit saw the drowning of around 220 people. This is a conservative estimate, according to the head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR. According to UN figures, more than 16,346 people have lost their lives since 1 January 2014 (up to 18 June 2018), and since 2000, the death toll is around 35,000.

Responsibility for this mass murder lies with the EU and its national governments, which agreed on a dramatic intensification of their anti-refugee policy at the Brussels summit.

Plans include hermetically sealing off fortress Europe and deporting refugees en masse to war zones in the Middle East and Africa. “The European Council recalls that the member states must ensure effective control of the EU’s external borders with financial and material support of the EU. Furthermore, it notes that the repatriation of irregular migrants must be significantly increased”, stated the official conclusions from the summit.

To enforce the crackdown on refugees, the European border agency Frontex will be “expanded through an increase in its budget and an expansion of its mandate”. In addition, the establishment of de facto concentration camps in North Africa and inside the EU was agreed. In the summit statement, these camps were euphemistically referred to as “debarkation platforms” and “control centres” for “resettlement and new settlement”.

National measures, including border controls within the EU, are explicitly permitted. “Concerning the situation within the EU, the secondary migration of asylum seekers between member states is threatening the integrity of the common European asylum system and the Schengen legal system. The member states should adopt all necessary internal legal and administrative measures against these migration movements and cooperate closely in so doing”, states point 11 in the agreement.

The measures targeting refugees expose the EU as a reactionary monstrosity, which the national governments, their differences notwithstanding, are using to shift European political life sharply to the right. Other sections of the summit agreement include the “strengthening of European defence capacity”, the censorship of the Internet, the expansion of a European police state, and the continuation of austerity policies.

The EU has shifted so far to the right that it was applauded by nationalist and right-wing extremist forces throughout Europe following the Brussels summit. In a press statement, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who governs in Vienna in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party and whose government will take over the EU presidency on July 1, declared that he would “apply pressure” to ensure the results of the summit would be implemented. He expressed satisfaction that “more partners who support our line and that many who campaigned for a Europe of open borders have reconsidered their position.”

In Rome, Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini stated that he was “satisfied and proud”. Europe had been forced by Rome’s firm hand to discuss Italy’s proposals–and ultimately to accept them, he claimed. He would now wait on “concrete promises.”

Among Salvini’s fascistic proposals were the deportation of “all 600,000” immigrants in Italy and the counting of all the Sinti and Roma living in the country, in preparation for their deportation.

In Germany, Armin-Paul Hampel, foreign policy spokesman for the far-right AfD, backed the summit agreement. “It’s moving in the right direction. This is something we’ve been saying for a long time, that the problem must be dealt with at the European borders and not only after immigrants have travelled for thousands of kilometres with the help of criminal gangs and smugglers”, he said on Deutschlandfunk. The “decisive thing” now will be the implementation of the measures, “if these reception centres are going to work, yes or no.”

The Christian Social Union also declared its satisfaction with the outcome. It was “the outcome of a debate in Germany, which is finally engaging with the refugee problem at the European level”, stated CSU parliamentary group leader Alexander Dobrindt in Berlin. A series of points, including better protection of external borders, are demands “that we in the CSU have been calling for strongly for some time.” In addition, he pointed out that in the summit document “the adoption of national measures is explicitly provided for”. They would be “prepared to make use of this”, and believe “still that national measures are required.”

The agreement in Brussels has also prepared at least a temporary truce in the dispute within the grand coalition between the CDU and CSU. CSU deputy leader Manfred Weber appealed in the Münchner Merkur for a positive assessment of the summit’s results. Referring to Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said, “She has delivered.”

For her part, Merkel praised the summit outcome at a press conference and pointed to the necessity for national measures like those demanded by the CSU. They had “developed a comprehensive immigration strategy, which comprises the external borders and the control of these borders, incorporates external actions, meaning actions outside of the EU, and focuses on the internal issues, what we currently call secondary migration”, she said.

Already in her government statement on Thursday, Merkel declared in typical CSU style, “It’s about order, management, effective, sustainable. It’s about our internal security and the EU’s internal security. Both national and European measures are required for this.”

On Friday, Merkel announced the completion of “European” repatriation agreements with Spain and Greece. Both countries are ready “to start accepting asylum seekers once again if they have been stopped on the German-Austrian border by German authorities and have a EURODAC entry from the relevant state”, a government press release declared. In exchange, the member states would “receive more common support on the external borders…financially as well as the provision of more police officers.”

The fact that all governing parties in Europe—from … the social democratic PSOE Spanish government, Germany’s grand coalition, and the openly far-right governments in Italy, Austria, and Eastern Europe—are cooperating so closely to intensify the terror against refugees underscores the correctness of the International Committee of the Fourth International’s perspective. To beat back these dangerous political developments, which recall the darkest periods in European history, workers and young people must take up a struggle against all factions of the capitalist class and consciously fight for a socialist programme.

EU backs anti-immigrant deal after Italy threatens to torpedo Brussels summit: here.

More European Union anti-refugee xenophobia

This video says about itself:

1 August 2017

Aid groups helping refugees in Greece are packing up and leaving after the European Union withdrew its funding.

The EU says there is no further need for emergency funding since refugee flows from Turkey have slowed.

The bloc is paying Greek authorities to take over services instead.

But many aid groups say Greece is unprepared and refugees may lose access to vital services.

Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports from the Greek island of Chios.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Ahead of Brussels summit, EU steps up attacks on refugees

28 June 2018

As today’s European Union (EU) summit begins in Brussels, the EU powers are rivaling one another to demand draconian measures against refugees.

On Tuesday, Austria

where the coalition government includes the FPÖ party, founded by ex-members of Hitler‘s nazi party, and members of which sing songs advocating the gassing of Jews

mobilized a vast force of heavily-armed riot police, armored vehicles and helicopters to shut its border with Slovenia. As Vienna prepares to take over the EU’s rotating presidency, it was signaling that the EU is set to escalate the attacks on refugees now taking place.

After Italy’s new far-right government stranded 629 starving men, women and children on the rescue ship Aquarius, reports emerged that 220 refugees had drowned in the Mediterranean off Libya. Italy’s neo-fascist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini responded by refusing to let the rescue ship Lifeline disembark in Italy. The EU-funded Libyan coast guard also intercepted ships carrying 460 migrants and sent them to Libyan detention camps.

In the camps set up with EU support since the 2011 NATO war in Libya, tens of thousands of innocent people endure hell on earth. Reports by the United Nations and human rights groups have documented how refugees in the EU’s Libyan camps are assaulted, raped, sold into slavery, or murdered. Echoing the French government, Salvini is now calling for more such camps to be built in Libya—while the EU works with Turkey and other Middle East countries to detain millions fleeing war in Iraq and Syria.

The EU is now pressing these countries to commit atrocities to keep refugees from reaching Europe. In the last year, Algeria has forced over 13,000 African refugees into death marches back southward across the Sahara Desert. Many, including pregnant women and children, have died. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini responded to this report only by pledging more funds for “migrant screening” in North Africa.

Now, these policies are to come home to Europe. As this weekend’s EU mini-summit on migration collapsed, rival proposals emerged to expand the network of EU “hot spot” camps—little more than concentration camps—for migrants in Italy and Greece. EU Council President Donald Tusk called for camps in Albania and Tunisia, while Paris and Madrid proposed “closed detention centers” in the main EU countries.

After pledging to deport 600,000 people, Salvini is moving to register the Roma population, which was targeted for genocide by the Nazis, and calling for deporting all of them, though he added that “unfortunately, we have to keep the Italians among them.”

Millions of people across Europe and around the world are horrified at the EU’s barbaric treatment of the refugees, as the European bourgeoisie moves towards policies of mass state terror and ethnic cleansing on a scale not seen since the Nazi era. To fight this offensive, however, requires a revolutionary perspective and strategy. Moral appeals to one or another faction of the ruling elite, all of which support the persecution of the refugees, will do nothing to resolve a crisis rooted in the breakdown of world capitalism.

This fascistic offensive can only be opposed via the independent, international mobilization of the working class in struggle on a socialist and anti-war program.

The present refugee crisis is the greatest since World War II. It stems from a quarter century of neo-colonial wars and interventions across the Middle East and Africa, carried out in defiance of broad popular opposition, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Over 60 million people have fled wars in Iraq, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Mali and across the Sahel.

A new stage of this international crisis has been reached with the emergence of direct inter-imperialist conflicts between Washington and its EU “allies”. After the G7 summit collapsed over the mutual imposition of trade-war tariffs by US and EU authorities, the EU is aiming to develop as a military rival of the United States, Russia and China. The move toward unbridled militarism and the formation of competing trade blocs internationally goes hand in hand with attacks on democratic rights at home.

The alarm must be sounded: as in the 1930s, fascistic policies target not just refugees but the entire working class. Last year, the EU’s Generation What survey, which found that a majority of Europeans under 35 oppose joining the army but would support participating [in] a “mass uprising.” If the workers let the EU consolidate its concentration camps and police agencies, this apparatus of police-state terror will be turned on political opposition in the working class.

Workers across Europe are increasingly mobilizing against austerity policies designed to funnel hundreds of billions of euros into the war machine. Rail, airline and energy workers in France, metalworkers in Germany and Turkey, and airline and retail workers in Spain have taken strike action. The EU’s turn to the extreme right is a sign that, as in the 1930s, the question to be settled is which class will rule. It is urgent to unify workers’ struggles across Europe in a common fight for state power.

Opposing the EU’s offensive requires the independent organization of workers in workplace and neighborhood committees to coordinate resistance and strikes against police raids and attacks on immigrants and refugees. The defense of fundamental democratic rights requires:

* The dismantling of detention camps in the Middle East and North Africa, the withdrawal of European and US troops from these regions, and the free and safe passage of refugees to EU countries of their choice.

* The dismantling of EU “hot spot” concentration camps, and the granting of legal status to all refugees and undocumented immigrants in Europe.

* The abolition of the EU’s Frontex border police.

* Noncooperation with the EU deportation machine and all state policies preparing ethnic cleansing.

* The provision of trillions of euros in public services, training, and jobs to all workers, immigrant and native-born alike. The wealth squandered on a decade of EU bank bailouts must be expropriated and used to meet the urgent social needs of the working population.

In its emerging conflict with a European bourgeoisie moving rapidly towards far-right forms of rule, the working class will have no other choice than to take the revolutionary road. Events are blowing apart the claim that the dissolution of the USSR and the formation of the EU a year later signaled an end to the 20th century era of wars and social revolutions. A return to the traditions of irreconcilable struggle embodied in the October 1917 Revolution and the struggle against fascism is essential to averting new catastrophes in the 21st century.

Above all, the critical task is the international unification of the working class in a revolutionary struggle for socialism. In Europe, this means the overthrow of the capitalist EU and its replacement by the United Socialist States of Europe.

European Union policies kill refugees in Algerian desert

This 25 June 2018 video says about itself:

🇳🇬 Deported by Algeria, migrants abandoned in the Sahara Desert | Al Jazeera English

The United Nations migration agency says Algeria has neglected more than 13,000 migrants in the Sahara Desert in the past 14 months. The migrants, who include pregnant women and children, are left without food or water and forced to walk long distances.

Al Jazeera’s Victoria Gatenby reports.

By Bill Van Auken:

Thousands of refugees forced onto death march into Sahara desert

26 June 2018

More than 13,000 refugees and migrants, including pregnant women and children, have been force-marched into the Sahara desert by Algerian security forces over the past 14 months, where many of them have died from hunger and exposure.

The shocking revelation by the Associated Press was substantiated by videos showing hundreds of migrants stumbling through a sand storm and others being driven in massive convoys of overcrowded trucks to be dumped at Algeria’s southern border with Niger and forced into the desert at gunpoint.

As the AP itself makes clear, the murderous policy of the Algerian government is being carried out at the behest of the countries of the European Union, which have increasingly sought to induce North African regimes to act as their border guards, impeding the flow of migrants by means of intimidation, violence and death.

The refugees are being forced by Algerian security forces into the Sahara without food or water and, in many cases, after being robbed of their money and cellphones. They are pointed in the direction of the nearest settlement in Niger, over nine miles away, across empty sands where the temperature rises as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

The migrants told AP of “being rounded up hundreds at a time, crammed into open trucks headed southward for six to eight hours to what is known as Point Zero, then dropped in the desert and pointed in the direction of Niger. They are told to walk, sometimes at gunpoint.”

Two dozen different migrants who survived the crossing told the news agency that in their groups a number were unable to go on and died in the desert. “Women were lying dead, men … Other people got missing in the desert because they didn’t know the way”, said Janet Kamara of Liberia, who was pregnant when she was forced across the border. “Everybody was just on their own.”

Kamara’s baby died at birth and she was forced to bury him in a shallow grave in the desert. “I lost my son, my child”, she said.

While the world’s media has focused on the dangerous crossing from northern Africa to southern Europe having turned the Mediterranean into a watery graveyard for countless thousands, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), for every refugee who drowns in the sea, two more succumb to the relentless heat and harsh conditions of the Sahara. It estimates that the death toll in the desert exceeds 30,000 just since 2014.

The migrants expelled by Algeria come from countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including Niger, Mali, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Liberia and others.

“They come by the thousands … I’ve never seen anything like it”, Alhoussan Adouwal, an IOM official in Assamaka, Niger told AP. “It’s a catastrophe.”

A spokesperson for the European Union told AP that the EU is aware of what Algeria is doing with refugees and migrants, but that its view is that “sovereign countries” can carry out such expulsions so long as they comply with international law.

The revelations about the horrors inflicted upon refugees in the Sahara desert come on the eve of a summit meeting of EU member states on Thursday to discuss the issue of immigration.

On the eve of the summit, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has been urging EU member states to put more money into an Africa trust fund with an eye toward financing the construction of “migrant screening” camps in North Africa. At the top of the EU summit agenda is expected to be a proposal for holding asylum seekers at such camps in countries that include Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia.

In the run-up to the summit, Matteo Salvini, the leader of the right-wing, anti-immigrant Lega party and Italy’s new interior minister, flew to Tripoli on Monday to praise the regime for its “excellent work” in “rescuing” nearly 1,000 people on Sunday after the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted them. The purpose of the coast guard, which is financed, trained and to some degree directed by Italy and other European powers, is not to rescue refugees trying to reach Europe, but rather to drag them back to Libya. There they face imprisonment in camps where torture and executions are commonplace and even being sold into slavery.

Salvini said that Italy would work with the UN-recognized regime, which controls little outside of Tripoli, to stop a “full-on invasion” of Libyan waters by aid groups seeking to rescue refugees at sea. He also called for migrant detention centers to be placed at Libya’s southern border in the Sahara desert.

Salvini has become infamous for refusing to allow rescue ships carrying refugees to dock at Italian ports. He ordered the Aquarius carrying over 600 refugees, including pregnant women and children, turned back earlier this month, forcing it to make a dangerous voyage to Spain. Presently, there are two ships in limbo in the Mediterranean carrying hundreds of refugees, a boat operated by German aid group Mission Lifeline with 234 aboard, and the Danish-flagged Alexander Maersk cargo ship with 100. In a statement laying bare the depth of the racism and reaction of the new Italian government, Salvini referred to the refugees as “human meat”.

Meanwhile the new PSOE government in Spain, which allowed the Aquarius to dock and condemned the Italian response, dispatched its own interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, to Morocco with much the same mission as Salvini’s in Libya, securing cooperation for immigrant detention camps.

Spain’s new development minister, Jose Luis Abalos, told Cadena Ser radio that, while Spain is taking “a respectful humanitarian approach” toward the refugees’ plight, it had no intention of becoming “Europe’s maritime rescue organization.”

Human rights groups have warned that refugees will be subject to abuse and denied asylum rights if kept in camps in Libya, Egypt and other North African countries with records of massive human rights abuses. EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, who is playing a central role in plans for setting up these centers, responded to these concerns last week, declaring, “I want to be very clear on that. I’m against a Guantanamo Bay for migrants.” He was referring to the Guantanamo Bay Naval base prison camp where those rounded up in the US “war on terror” were

rather: are

subjected to systematic torture.

In Europe, as in the US—where President Donald Trump has expressed his own desire to throw Central American refugees back into the desert without any asylum proceedings—the number of refugees and migrants has actually fallen steadily, even as the political hysteria whipped up by right-wing governments and politicians has sharply escalated.

According to the UN refugee agency, the number of migrants arriving in Europe is on track to reach just half the number for last year, and less than a quarter the number in 2016.

The “immigration crisis”, both in Europe and America, is a noxious political invention, aimed at dividing the working class and scapegoating the most oppressed layers of the population and the victims of imperialist war and oppression for the continuously worsening conditions created by capitalism.

Refugees, stay out, European Union says

This video says about itself:

Human Flow Official Trailer

18 August 2017

A ground-breaking new documentary about the global refugee crisis from Ai Weiwei.

About Human Flow: Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II.

Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact.

Captured over the course of an eventful year in 23 countries, the film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey. Human Flow is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future.

Human Flow comes at a crucial time when tolerance, compassion and trust are needed more than ever. This visceral work of cinema is a testament to the unassailable human spirit and poses one of the questions that will define this century: Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity? Amazon Studios, Participant Media and AC Films present Human Flow, a film directed by Ai Weiwei.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

EU now wants to keep refugees outside its borders

The European Union wants refugees to be stopped “on the edges of the EU” from now on. This must be done at special places where ‘real’ refugees are separated from economic refugees. …

Now, dear European Union bureaucrats, what is an ‘economic refugee’? A farmer in Syria who cannot keep farming because of climate change? A worker in Yemen, unemployed as the Saudi royal air force has bombed his factory and who cannot get food in any other way because of Trump-Saudi royals coalition famine warfare? A fisherman in Sri Lanka, whose ship was bombed by the government as part of their civil war? A poor Afghan, who, if he wants to survive, has two ‘solutions’: selling his eight-year-old daughter as child bride to a rich warlord; or selling his little son as child prostitute ‘dancing boy’ to a rich warlord; neither of which he wants, so he flees the country?

This can be read in the preliminary conclusions that European leaders will talk about at a summit next week. At this moment, top diplomats discuss the texts.

The reception of refugees on the edges of the EU probably means creating special places

an euphemism for prison camps. Called ‘concentration camps’ by, eg, Pope Francis and by the Greek government.

in countries such as Tunisia or candidate country Albania. …

The Libyan Coast Guard needs to be strengthened further

So they can do more torture and more selling of refugees into slavery.

and new refugee routes must be stopped immediately.

Furthermore, it is stated in the text that refugees who are not entitled to asylum will be deported sooner. …

The diplomats did not agree on a thorny issue in the refugee debate: who would let the migrants in and then will they be allowed to travel to other countries? Later today, German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron discussed the migration problems at a meeting in Berlin.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk from Poland, will take the conclusions during the course of his tour of several European capitals in the coming days. Today he is in Stockholm and later he will fly to Madrid. Tomorrow he will visit the Austrian Prime Minister Kurz,

who has a government coalition with a neofascist xenophobic party

who will play an important role as the new President of the EU from July onwards, and on Friday Tusk will call on the Hungarian capital Budapest for an interview with Prime Minister Orban. Next week he will also visit the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte, Merkel and May. He hopes to get the European countries singing from the same hymn sheet with his tour.

The idea of ​​receiving refugees outside the EU has already been suggested in the aftermath of the major refugee crisis of 2015 by, among others, the Hungarian Prime Minister Orban. Almost two weeks ago it became known that Denmark

where the government steals refugees’ jewelry and persecutes old ladies for helping refugee babies

and Austria were writing a plan to absorb refugees outside the European Union.

Dutch daily De Volkskrant headlines on this today: ‘Tusk chooses Fortress Europe’.

The same Volkskrant writes today that in 2017 there were more refugees than ever fleeing violence and oppression.

EU ‘deliberately condemning people to drown at sea’, warns Doctors Without Borders.

Hungarian right-wing Orban government wants to jail people for helping refugees.

There is agreement between liberal and far-right ‘populist’ EU leaders over strengthening the repressive Fortress Europe measures against refugees and asylum-seekers. They just disagree about how to do it, writes KEVIN OVENDEN.

Macron moots sanctions against EU members who won’t co-operate over refugee crisis: here.

Germany: The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has approved the asylum package of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU). The SPD, which is part of the ruling three-party grand coalition government, has lined up behind the refugee programme of CSU Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, which lays out a policy of sealing off the country’s borders, accelerating deportations and establishing closed refugee camps: here.

EU foreign policy chiefs asks for cash for network of African refugee holding camps: here.

Under the slogan “Stop the deaths in the Mediterranean,” tens of thousands demonstrated in Germany on Saturday against the savagely inhumane refugee policy of the federal government and the European Union. In Berlin, over 10,000 people demonstrated, more than ten times as many as the organizers of the coalition “Seebrücke” had originally expected. Demonstrations also took place in Hamburg, Hanover, Bremen and a dozen other cities in Germany: here.

European Union reduces maritime rescue operations in the Mediterranean: here.

European Union emulating Australian anti-refugee policy; in some ways even worse than Australia: here.