Anti-Semitic vandalism in Amsterdam


Dokwerker statue, daubed with ADO colours, NOS photo

Dutch NOS TV reports today that there has been anti-Semitic vandalism in Amsterdam, probably by far-right hooligans of ADO The Hague football club. This photo shows the Dokwerker statue. It commemorates the 1941 general strike by dock workers and other workers against the deportation of Jews by the German nazi occupiers. Green and yellow, the colours of the vandalism, are the ADO colours.

The, presumably, ADO hooligans have painted the slogan JHK at various places in Amsterdam. It is an abbreviation of ‘Jews have cancer’. It is against Amsterdam football club Ajax; according to anti-Semites, a ‘Jewish club’ as it has had some Jewish players and executive members.

Swastika in Amsterdam

This nazi swastika in Amsterdam was also daubed, probably, by ADO hooligans.

Advertisements

Tortured Bahraini footballer returns to Australia


This 11 February 2019 video says about itself:

Hakeem al-Araibi returns to Australia after two months in Thai prison | ABC News

Australian footballer and refugee Hakeem al-Araibi has arrived home in Melbourne after being freed from the Thai prison where he was held awaiting an extradition hearing.

Read more here.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

After a few scary months in Thailand, Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is back home in Australia. Hundreds of fans and friends were waiting for him at Melbourne Airport.

The 25-year-old Araibi was arrested in November during his honeymoon because he was wanted via Interpol. Bahrain had an international arrest order outstanding to Araibi.

Araibi used to play in the national team of Bahrain. He fled the country in 2014 after being indicted in connection with protests against the government during the Arab Spring in 2011. In Australia he plays for Pascoe Vale in the second division.

At the airport, the footballer showed that he was happy to be back. “Australia is my country,” Araibi said. “I do not have the nationality yet, but this is my country, I love Australia.” …

The FIFA world football association and various football professionals had expressed criticism of the arrest.

Hakeem Al-Araibi, a football player and refugee with permanent residency in Australia, was freed by authorities in Thailand yesterday after they dropped court proceedings to extradite him to Bahrain, where he faced politically-motivated charges. Al-Araibi flew to his home in Melbourne, Australia overnight. The release of Al-Araibi is undoubtedly a welcome development. Had the 25-year-old been extradited to his native Bahrain, Al-Araibi would have faced abuse, imprisonment and possibly worse at the hands of the despotic US-backed Middle Eastern regime: here.

Tortured Bahraini footballer freed in Thailand


This 11 February 2019 video says about itself:

Thai court orders release of Hakeem al Araibi

Thailand will free by the end of Monday a refugee Bahraini footballer with residency status in Australia who was arrested more than two months ago, a prosecutor in the case said.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Teammate Van’ t Schip’s ‘intense happiness’ about the freeing of Araibi

By Marijke van der Groef

“For three months you’re in stress, as teammates you do not really know how you can help, you worry, so now the relief is very big.”

The words are by Davey van ‘t Schip, teammate of Hakeem al-Araibi, the footballer who has been detained for months in Thailand. That country wanted to extradite him to his native Bahrain. But on Monday morning the news came suddenly that Araibi, who plays at the Australian Pascoe Vale club, would be released without charge.

Davey van 't Schip

“I was eating out with my friends, one of the boys was on Facebook and he saw it, I really got goose bumps, you are intensely happy that your teammate will get his life back”, says Van ‘t Schip.

Although the son of former [Dutch] Ajax player John van ‘t Schip is still not 100% sure yet: “It seems that when he was arrested there already was a ticket booked for him, so I really only will believe it when I will see him here at the airport tomorrow. ”

Refugee player

That airport will be the airport of Melbourne. The place where the now 25-year-old Araibi started a new life after he fled his homeland Bahrain. He had been indicted there in connection with protests against the government during the Arab Spring in 2011 and also has been tortured. The Bahraini international team player fled to Australia and received a residence permit there more than four years ago.

The footballer is indeed under contract with Pascoe Vale FC, but until he was arrested in Thailand, most teammates knew little about his background. Van ‘t Schip too.

“I knew he was an asylum seeker, but we did not really know much he had been tortured or what his background was, I can imagine that he was terrified that he would be sent back to a country that tortured him for political reasons.”

A week became three months

Araibi left for his honeymoon to Thailand in November. He was opposed to stay away for a week, which was almost three months. His name turned out to be on an international search warrant after which he was detained. The football community in Australia came into action and human rights organizations also spoke out.

Last Friday all captains from the highest division clubs in Australia asked for attention for the situation of Araibi. Before the start of the Australian Supercup, they showed football shirts with number 5, Hakeem al Araibi’s number.

Australian team captains' pro-Araibi demonstration

Van ‘t Schip is convinced that all attention has helped. “Without the club, and the people within the club who started an entire campaign and have exerted pressure on Thailand and Bahrain, it would have been different, without the club he would have been in Bahrain.”

For a long time, it looked like the military dictatorship in Thailand might send Araibi to Bahrain, to be tortured by the Bahraini royal dictatorship. While the Australian right-wing government did not really care about this footballer with an Australian residence permit as a recognized refugee. Like Donald Trump, they don’t mind if dictatorships are dictatorships and torturers, as long as they are allies.

Now, however, it turns out pro-human rights activism, even against dictatorships, can work.

Back to football

Araibi will be released on Monday evening according to a Thai spokesman and he will be able to return to Australia. The Australian football competition will start on Thursday. Van ‘t Schip will be happy to see his teammate again.

“I think Thursday is a bit too early for him, but it’s nice that he can build up his whole life again and football is a big part of that.” I assume he will start training again next week.”

Before that, Araibi will get a warm welcome on Australian soil. “The president of the club will send us his flight details so I think there will be some guys at the airport tomorrow”, Van’t Schip concludes, relieved.

Don’t extradite tortured footballer to Bahrain regime


This 28 December 2018 video says about itself:

Hakeem al Araibi: Football’s Political Prisoner

The story of Hakeem al Araibi, and how regimes punish those that speak out, and how football and the Asian Football Confederation became complicit in that persecution.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

FIFA demands release of Bahraini footballer in Thailand

FIFA, the world football association, demands that the Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi be immediately freed from his Thai prison. Al-Araibi was arrested in Thailand in November at the request of Bahrain and has been in a cell since. Bahrain has asked for his extradition.

Araibi applied for political asylum in Australia in 2014, where he plays with a refugee status at Pascoe Vale, a club in the second division. He was arrested during a holiday to Thailand. …

The case causes a lot of turmoil, especially in Australia. Craig Foster, former Australian team captain, campaigns actively for the release of Araibi and met with FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura in Zurich on Monday.

“We all feel that this is an emergency situation that requires steps from all parties involved to protect Hakeem”, Foster said. “We call on Thailand again to release Hakeem immediately and to respect his international human rights.”

Araibi fears that he will be tortured if he would be handed over to Bahrain. “He was physically tortured in 2012 and he knows what lies ahead”, Foster said. “That’s why the Australian footballers have spoken up so strongly.”

British Thatcherite police on trial for Hillsborough football disaster


This video from England says about itself:

Liverpool fans sing anti Thatcher song at Sunderland. Sept. 15th 2012.

Liverpool fans make their feelings known in the wake of the Hillsborough “real truth” report.

By Thomas Scripps in Britain:

UK: Trial begins of police commander in 1989 Hillsborough football disaster

17 January 2019

The prosecution began its case against David Duckenfield and Graham Mackrell on Tuesday, for charges relating to the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans following the disaster at Hillsborough football stadium in Sheffield, on April 15, 1989.

Duckenfield was the South Yorkshire Police match commander in charge of policing the stadium on that day and faces 95 counts of gross negligence manslaughter. Mackrell was Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s designated safety officer at the time and is charged with contravening the stadium’s safety certificate and a health and safety offence.

Retired police officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster, and police solicitor Peter Metcalf, are due to stand trial later in the year for acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice.

The Hillsborough families have worked for decades to achieve justice for their loved ones. The trial of Duckenfield and Mackrell, who will now be properly cross-examined, is a welcome landmark in their campaign.

Addressing Preston Crown Court, Richard Matthews QC outlined the prosecution’s case against Duckenfield. In addition to failures to plan for the crowds beforehand, he said, “Sadly, there were also many collective and individual failures to intervene effectively once the disaster unfolded.” Duckenfield failed to declare a major incident or use emergency measures to help those in danger. “Nor did he make any attempt to even monitor what was occurring, let alone avert the tragedy.” He also failed to provide “emergency medical attention, particularly attempts at resuscitation” in a timely fashion.

Duckenfield, the court was told, had “ultimate responsibility” for the police operation. “It is the prosecution’s case that David Duckenfield’s failures to discharge this personal responsibility were extraordinarily bad and contributed substantially to the deaths of each of those 96 people who so tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives.”

Mackrell, Matthews said, “[E]ffectively shrugged off all responsibility” for arrangements for admission to the ground and the drawing-up of contingency plans—“important aspects of the role he had taken on as safety officer.” By “agreeing to, or at the very least turning a blind eye to” the fact the fact that the club had failed to agree methods of entry to the stadium with police, he is alleged to have breached the conditions of the club’s safety certificate.

More than 20 family members of those killed at Hillsborough sat in the public gallery and other relatives watched from Liverpool via a video link.

What the events at Preston Crown Court highlight above all is the immense scale of the state cover-up carried out over the Hillsborough events—presided over by successive Conservative and Labour governments alike. It has taken fully 30 years of tireless campaigning, at great personal cost to those involved, in the face of vicious media lies and government opposition, for the bereaved families to see anyone finally held to account for the worst sporting disaster in British history.

The government and the press initially responded to the deaths caused by actions of various institutions of the state by blaming a “tanked-up mob” of Liverpool fans and lauding the actions of “brave cops.” The first official report, carried out by Lord Justice Taylor in 1989, was forced to admit some of the truth, pointing to police mismanagement of the event and criticising South Yorkshire police for blaming Liverpool supporters instead of accepting responsibility themselves. However, no one was charged or even disciplined as a result of these findings. An inquest ruled that the 96 deaths were “accidental.”

In 1997, due to mounting pressure, the incoming Labour government ordered the scrutiny of new evidence, which had been brought to light by campaigners and documentary makers in the previous eight years. It emerged that South Yorkshire police changed 164 officers’ accounts of the disaster before sending them to the Taylor inquiry. Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to call a new public inquiry, however, writing “What is the point?” Blair’s Home Secretary Jack Straw claimed that nothing significant had been added by the new evidence.

It took more than a decade’s campaigning and protests by the families and their supporters for the Labour government to finally establish the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP), in 2009. The HIP published a report in 2012 which demolished the official police narrative and established that it was not the fans who were responsible for the deaths but the police and the authorities. Then Home Secretary Theresa May was forced to order a criminal inquiry. Now, six years later, and nearly 30 years after the event itself, the first trials of those involved have begun.

This is despite all the evidence and materials for a prosecution of the real criminals being available within the first days and weeks after the disaster. The tortured process leading to the first trials is entirely the result of the state’s efforts to deceive and delay the Hillsborough campaigners’ pursuit of the truth and justice—a deliberate strategy to render a proper accounting for the disaster impossible.

So long has the fight for justice taken that many individuals involved in the events that led to the deaths and their cover-up—including the filthy slander campaign against Liverpool fans which followed it—have died without ever facing investigation or being asked to testify.

Chief amongst these is former Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Her government defended the officials at Hillsborough to the hilt and supported the right-wing media and Tory MPs in smearing Liverpool supporters. The leading role was played by Irvine Patnick, then MP for Sheffield Hallam, who contributed to the Sun newspaper’s disgusting lies about the behavior of Liverpool fans—published under the now infamous headline, “ The Truth.” Patnick died in 2012, still holding a knighthood.

Peter Wright, chief constable of South Yorkshire police at the time of Hillsborough, came under suspicion for diverting blame from members of the police but died in 2011. Stefan Popper, the coroner who oversaw the original and thoroughly discredited inquest into events at the stadium, died in 2016. Bernard Murray, the ground commander and Duckenfield’s immediate subordinate on the day, is also deceased.

The passing of time has also made it increasingly difficult to prosecute still-living suspects. Sir Norman Bettison, former chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, is a case in point. He was originally charged alongside the other five defendants, in his case, for lying about his part in South Yorkshire police’s response to the tragedy and about his views on the role fans played in it. But the prosecution was forced to drop proceedings against Bettison when a key witness died and the evidence of two other witnesses changed.

As it stands, just five people—aged between 68 and 80 and having since retired from their positions of responsibility—are standing or due to stand trial. Duckenfield himself is 74 years old, having been retired for almost three decades on a full index linked pension of £23,000 a year.

The lesson of these events is that the ruling class will not allow its representatives to be held to account for the crimes they inflict upon the working class and will fight tooth and nail to prevent justice from prevailing. This is especially significant considering their response to the Grenfell Tower fire, where a similar cover-up operation is underway. This is despite the ongoing struggle by local residents, who angrily denounced the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council in the immediate aftermath of the fire and insisted that the fight for justice for the victims of social murder at Grenfell not end up going down the same path as Hillsborough.

However, the fact is that the Grenfell public inquiry being held under Sir Martin Moore-Bick is designed to be a whitewash. From day one, it was specifically barred from discussing issues of a “social, economic and political nature” and “limited to the cause [of the fire], how it spread, and preventing a future blaze.” The first phase of the inquiry took nearly 18 months to complete. The next phase has been delayed until at least 2020. This was confirmed by Moore-Bick at the very end of the first phase of the inquiry in December, at the same time as the Metropolitan Police confirmed its investigation is expected to “take years” to complete.

The author recommends:

Criminal prosecutions finally brought 28 years after 96 Liverpool fans killed at Hillsborough stadium
[30 June 2017]

Second phase of Grenfell inquiry delayed for a year
[14 December 2018]

Argentine dog prevents football goal


This 3 December 2018 video about football says about itself:

Dog makes incredible goalline save

Watch the incredible moment a dog stops a shot on the line in an Argentine third division match between Defensores de Belgrano de Villa Ramallo and Juventud Unida.

Afghan women footballers abused sexually


This 3 December 2018 video says about itself:

Afghan women’s soccer team members accuse officials of sexual abuse | DW News

Some former and current women’s players on Afghanistan’s national football team made allegations of sexual abuse by football federation officials. … Former player Khalida Popal, who reported alleged abuse told DW she’s been waiting for months for FIFA to take action. FIFA is investigating claims that high-ranking Afghan sports officials sexually abused, raped and threatened members of the country’s national women’s football team.

After similar reports about the Sri Lankan women’s cricket team.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Afghan president has instructed the Public Prosecution Service to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against members of the national women’s football team. The British newspaper The Guardian wrote Friday that players have been abused by, eg, the chairman of the Afghan Football Association AFF. …

The FIFA world football association has also begun an investigation and the Danish sportswear manufacturer Hummel has broken its ties with the Afghan federation. …

Training camp

The Guardian spoke with, eg, the former head of women’s football at the AFF, Khalida Popal. She told about the events at a training camp in 2016 in Jordan.

Popal herself lives just like some players abroad.

Ms Popal was forced to flee the country in 2016 and seek asylum in Denmark.

Players who traveled to the training camp from Afghanistan were accompanied by two men. “They were bullying and harassing the girls, particularly the ones from Afghanistan because they knew they wouldn’t speak up.” said Popal. “I confronted them, told them they can’t do that and I’d make a complaint.”

“It continued. These guys were calling on the rooms of the players and sleeping with the girls. AFF staff members would say to girls that they could get them on the team list and would pay them £100 a month if they would say yes to everything. They were pushing and forcing the girls.”

Popal complained to the AFF chairman. The two male officials then received better paid posts within the federation. Nine players living in Afghanistan were expelled from the team because they were supposedly lesbian.

Popal: “The president labelled them lesbians to silence them from speaking out about the sexual abuse in Jordan and abuses by coaches. He beat one of the girls with a snooker cue.”

Abuse, threats, rape

The whistleblower herself started an investigation that lasted six months. This has yielded several examples of sexual abuse, death threats and rapes.

In this way she discovered that the union president had a room in his office with a bed. Players were abused there and then removed from the team, says Popal. If they were to tell about the abuse, then it would appear that they were doing so out of revenge, because they no longer belonged to the selection.

USA GYMNASTICS FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY USA Gymnastics is turning to bankruptcy in an effort to ensure its survival. The embattled organization filed a Chapter 11 petition as it attempts to reach settlements in dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits. [AP]