British LGBTQ solidarity with Calais refugees

This video from Britain says about itself:

Calais Solidarity Trip (11) – Solidarity

28 September 2015

On the ferry back to Dover, Rachael talks about a powerful part of the trip for her – talking to the people in the Calais camp about the refugees welcome solidarity marches which happened all across the UK and the world that same weekend.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

LGBT activists take on May to show solidarity with Calais refugees

Monday 23rd November 2015

LGBT activists took on Theresa May this weekend in a show of solidarity with migrants outside the Home Office as tougher checks and border closures come into place after the Paris shootings.

The Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) protest came less than 24 hours after a British Muslim was prevented from entering France on an aid convoy to Calais.

A drag impersonator of the Home Secretary and masked versions of Prime Minister David Cameron, Ukip leader Nigel Farage and London Mayor Boris Johnson also attended the event.

“Everybody knows diversity is disruptive to a cohesive society,” Ms May’s impersonator told the booing crowds.

LGSM spokesman Morten Thaysen said: “In the wake of the Paris attacks we’ve seen xenophobic and racist violence rise across the UK and Europe.

“We’re here to show that we must stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees, not close our minds and our borders. Blaming terrorism on refugees is like blaming the floods on gay weddings.

“The attacks in Paris are created by the same violence that many people are fleeing and our response should be to open our borders to the people freezing in Calais rather than demonising migrants.”

The rally came after a member of refugee aid group London2Calais was barred from entering France on Friday evening after being flagged as a “threat to national security.”

The activist, who asked to remain anonymous given the allegations, was the only non-white and Muslim member of the convoy and the only person to be stopped at border control.

It was not the first time that members of London2Calais have been harassed by border authorities, who held up the convoy for several hours in August and subjected activists to aggressive interrogation as they tried to return to Britain.

However it was the first time the British passport holder, who has worked in the Jungle refugee camp for the last six months, has been refused entry.

In a statement, the group said: “This is apartheid Europe in action. The constant harassment and intimidation of London2Calais by British and French authorities will not deter us from bringing solidarity.”

A second trip was completed successfully on Saturday, delivering vital materials to build bread ovens in the camp.

The Jungle was ravaged by a fire on the same night as the Paris attacks, leaving over 200 people without shelter.

Its cause was not thought to be suspicious.

Visiting the Calais camps made us ashamed to be British. The levels of support from British people were heartening, but why can’t the government do more? Here.

USA: REP. ALAN GRAYSON: WHEN AMERICA TURNED AWAY MY GRANDMA “There is a reason why my Mom was born in Canada. Her parents, my grandparents, were refugees from Eastern Europe. And America wouldn’t let them in. So they took a right turn, and ended up in Canada.” [HuffPost]

‘2015 IS NOT 1938’ “The faces of the refugees are different. The languages they speak are different. The places and killers from which and from whom they are fleeing are different as well. But the refugees’ anguish and despair, their fear and sense of abandonment, are very much the same. ” [HuffPost]

What the annihilation of Kobane means for Syria’s future.

Examining the new atmosphere for Syrian refugees that live in Michigan.

Terrorism, open letter to French President

This 16 November video from the USA is called American Ahmadiyya Muslims condemn Paris Shooting.

From in Belgium:

President Hollande, you’ve got mail from Brussels!

Mon 16/11/2015 – 14:27 David Van Reybrouck; translation: Colin Clapson

The celebrated Flemish author David Van Reybrouck has written an open letter to President Hollande of France attacking his choice of language during a speech to the French people following Friday’s unprecedented terrorist attacks in Paris.

Dear Mr President,

That was a rather foolhardy choice of words in your speech on Saturday afternoon when you repeatedly spoke of an “act of war” perpetrated by a “terrorist army”. You said:

“What happened in Paris and Saint-Denis is an act of war and faced with war a country must take the appropriate measures. It was an act committed by a terrorist army, Daesh (IS or Isil), against what we are, a free country that speaks with the entire planet, an act of war that was prepared and plan[n]ed from without with support from within that is now the subject of an investigation. It was an act of total barbarity.”

I am in total agreement with those last words, but the rest of your speech is a horrible, nearly word perfect repetition of the words of GW Bush to the US Congress shortly after the 9/11 attacks: “The enemies of freedom have committed an act of war against our country.”

The consequences of those historic words are well known. A head of state qualifying an event as an act of war is obliged to come up with an appropriate response. … This was followed by the totally mad invasion of Iraq, without UN mandate – for the sole reason that the US suspected it possessed weapons of mass destruction.

That was the main pretext, but not the only pretext.

The other pretext were the lies about Iraq supposedly being involved in the 9/11 atrocities in the USA.

The United States Bush’s administration’s third pretext, turning up when the two other pretexts had turned out to be lies, was ‘Saddam Hussein is a dictator violating human rights’.

True in itself, but NOT a pretext for aggressive war violating international law, as:

1. Saddam Hussein committed his worst crimes when he was still an ally of the United States Reagan-Rumsfeld-Cheney administration.

2. Under George W Bush’s occupation of Iraq, human rights violations became even worse than under Saddam.

3. Recently, Iraq warmongers Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair both confessed that they had never been in favour of democracy in Iraq and the Middle East; contrary to their March 2003 war propaganda lies.

None were found, but the invasion led to the total destabilisation of the region that we witness to this day. When US troops left the country in 2011 a power vacuum ensued. When civil war broke out in neighbouring Syria shortly afterwards as part of the fallout from the Arab Spring it became clear to all how destabilising America’s military intervention had been. In the North West of a dismembered Iraq and in the East of a Syria shot to bits there was room, next to the Syrian army and the FSA for the establishment of a third, major player: Isil, Isis or IS.

In short, without Bush’s idiotic invasion of Iraq there would never have been any talk of IS. Millions of us demonstrated against the invasion in 2003. I was among them. It was a worldwide protest. We were right. Not that we were able to look twelve years ahead into the future. We were not that clairvoyant. But now we do realise it: what happened in Paris on Friday night is an indirect consequence of the war rhetoric that your colleague Bush employed in September 2001.

And what do you do? How do you respond within 24 hours of the attacks? You use exactly the same terminology that your US counterpart at the time employed. You are making wine from the same barrel.

You walked straight into it, with your eyes open, Mr President. You did it because you could feel the hot breath of Nicolas Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen in your neck. True, you already had a reputation for being a weakling. Elections are on the way on 6 and 13 December, even though these are only regional elections, following the attacks they will be dominated by national security issues. You walked straight into it, because you gave the terrorists what they wanted: a declaration of war. With great pleasure you accepted their invitation for a Jihad. In your attempt to respond in a forthright fashion you are risking an escalation of the spiral of violence. To me this doesn’t seem like a good idea.

You spoke of a “terrorist army”. First of all, no such thing exists. It’s a contradiction in terms. A “terrorist army”, that’s a bit like a bulimic diet. Countries and groups can have armies, when they fail to establish one they can opt for terrorism. This means that they commit incidental actions aimed at a maximum psychological impact instead of a structural, military deployment of power involving geopolitical ambitions.

But an army? Let’s be clear: so far we do not know if the perpetrators are returning Syria fighters or people dispatched from Syria on purpose. We do not know if the attacks were planned in the caliphate or in European suburbs. Even though there are indications for a Syrian master plan (the near coincidence of the attacks in Lebanon and the Russian plane crash), it strikes me that the IS communique came late in the day and hardly contained any elements that had not circulated on the internet. Is this a question of co-ordination or recuperation?

For equal measure, these could be individuals who have simply run amok, probably chiefly French nationals who have returned from Syria where they became experienced in explosives and fire arms and where they were submerged in a totalitarian ideology, crypto-theory and acts of war. They became monsters, but not an army.

The IS communique spoke of locations that had meticulously been chosen, your own services stress the professionalism of the perpetrators. As far as that is concerned you both speak the same language. But the facts beg to differ. The three who went to the Stade de France where you were attending a friendly against Germany seemed amateurs. They clearly wanted to get inside, possibly to launch an attack against your person; it is possible. But whoever blows himself up next to a McDonald’s and only manages to kill one other person is a poor terrorist. People who need three suicide attacks to kill four others, while minutes later a human mass of 80,000 souls sets itself in motion are bunglers. Someone who together with four others wants to exterminate a concert hall but fails to block the emergency exit is no strategic genius. Someone who steps from a car are shoots at unarmed, innocent civilians on pavement cafes isn’t a soldier schooled in tactics, but a coward, a bastard, a loner who has completely gone off the rails and who has aligned his fate with several other completely derailed individuals. It’s a pack of lone wolves.

Your analysis about a “terrorist army” does not hold water. Your term “act of war” is exceptionally biased, even though this bellicose rhetoric has unashamedly also been adopted by the Dutch Premier Mark Rutte in the Netherlands and Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon in Belgium. In your attempt to placate your nation you threaten to make the world less safe. In your attempt to use forceful language, you have shown your weakness.

Other forms of firmness to bellicose language do exit. Immediately after the attacks in Norway Prime Minister Stoltenberg unreservedly called for “greater democracy, greater openness and greater participation”. In your speech you spoke of freedom. You should also have pointed to two other values of the French Republic: equality and fraternity. I believe there is greater need of these at this minute than of your questionable war rhetoric.

David Van Reybrouck is the author of the award-winning “Congo. A History”. He is a writer of prose, poetry and drama as well as an essayist.

David Van Reybrouck also wrote Dear rest of the world on the Paris crimes and politicians’reactions to it.

Guests at the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel in Antwerp because suspicious on Tuesday night and called the police. They thought that one of the hotel’s guests had been acting suspiciously, but the suspicious person turned out to be no one other than the Red Devils’ [Belgian international football team] star Radja Nainggolan: here.

Radja Nainggolan is of Christian Flemish and Christian Indonesian ancestry.

French government bans pro-environment marches, helps Volkswagen, ExxonMobil

This Greenpeace video says about itself:

People’s Climate March Australia – November

27 October 2015

Something BIG is happening.

While world leaders gather in Paris, we will be coming together for something far more powerful.

Millions are joining the People’s Climate Movement. Are you in?

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

Fabius, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs has banned two huge marches during the climate summit in Paris because of the terrorist threat.

The marches were scheduled for November 29 and December 12, before the start and after the end of the summit. In Paris and other French cities people were expecting hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. Activists wanted the marches to put governments under pressure to take measures against the emission of greenhouse gases.

The UN summit is from November 30 to December 11.

So, the French government abuses ISIS terror for attacking civil liberties … not of ISIS; not of conservative but non-violent Muslims; not of liberal Muslims; but of the pro-environment movement, most supporters of which in France are non-Muslims.

This ban looks in practice like an unholy alliance between ISIS, anti-democratic politicians and Big Oil and other bigwigs. Big Oil, corporations like ExxonMobil, bankrolling pseudo-science denying climate change. Volkswagen and other cars producing corporations, with their fraudulent polluting products. Now, the Big Oil and similar lobbyists will be able to lobby in the smoke-filled backrooms of the Paris conference without countervailing power of now banned pro-environment demonstrators; if Fabius will have his way.

Paris attacks “only strengthened our resolve”: activists push for massive climate march: here.

Paris climate summit march in doubt after talks deadlock. Activists object to French government proposals to scale down protest on 29 November amid security fears following terrorist attacks: here.

How Exxon Mobil and Koch brothers created a culture of climate doubt: here.

An inherent conflict of interest. Report exposes the truth behind #COP21 corporate sponsors: here.

Attacks in Paris, France kill 140

Injured people at ambulance in Paris

By Alex Lantier in France:

France declares state of emergency after terrorist attacks kill 140 in Paris

14 November 2015

Horrific scenes of bloodshed filled the streets of Paris last night, as multiple simultaneous terrorist attacks starting around 10 p.m. claimed at least 140 lives and left at least 110 wounded, including dozens in critical condition.

Shortly before midnight, French President François Hollande announced that France was closing its borders and imposing a state of emergency under a 1955 law that suspends key democratic rights. Several areas of Paris were on lockdown early Saturday morning, and authorities called on Parisians to stay inside, as police helicopters circled overhead and paramilitary police and army units deployed across the city.

According to anonymous high-ranking officials cited by the media, there were at least seven nearly simultaneous terrorist attacks, which were likely coordinated. These attacks included:

* At the Bataclan theater in Paris’ 11th district, a team of three or four gunmen armed with grenades took hundreds of people hostage at a concert of the Eagles of Death Metal, an American band. According to some concertgoers who managed to flee the scene, the gunmen were shouting “Allah Akbar” and “This is for Syria.” Paramilitary police units stormed the building shortly after 12:30 a.m. Saturday, killing two terrorists. They said they found horrific scenes inside, with over 100 dead.

* Three bombs went off at restaurants and a cinema near the Stade de France stadium just north of the city, in the near suburbs, where tens of thousands of fans were watching a football match between France and Germany. One of the bombs was reportedly activated by a suicide bomber. According to initial reports, there were four dead and 50 wounded, including 11 in critical condition, in these attacks. Hollande, who was at the Stade de France watching the game, left for the Interior Ministry after the blasts, but the game was nevertheless allowed to continue to its conclusion.

* On Bichat street in Paris’ 10th district, there were 14 dead and 20 wounded including 10 in critical condition, according to Fire Department figures, after a series of drive-by shootings carried out by gunmen in a black car at several restaurants. Further shootings occurred across the area nearby, which is a popular hangout on Friday nights.

* There were four dead and 21 wounded, including 11 in critical condition, in shootings on the nearby Avenue de la République.

* There were 19 shot dead and 23 wounded, including 13 in critical condition on Charonne street.

* There were seven wounded, including three in critical condition, in shootings on Boulevard Beaumarchais.

* There were reports of other shootings in several other locations across downtown Paris, including at the Forum des Halles shopping area.

Authorities had been aware of potential threats earlier in the day. A bomb threat phoned in at noon to the Hotel Molitor, where the German national football team was staying, forced the evacuation of the hotel, which was sealed off with police tape before it was searched and then declared safe two hours later.

In a brief public address before attending a Council of Ministers meeting at midnight, Hollande announced that he had ordered an all-out deployment of the security forces and an intervention by the military.

“Two decisions will be taken: the state of emergency will be decreed, which means several places will be closed off, and traffic will be limited in certain areas,” he said.

Hollande continued: “The state of emergency will apply across the country. The second decision I have taken is to close the borders, so that the people who have committed these crimes can be apprehended. We know where this attack came from. We must show compassion and solidarity, but we must also show we are united.”

Though Hollande remarked that French officials “know where this attack came from,” as of this writing no terrorist group has taken responsibility. However, several media reports suggested that the attacks were carried out by members of the Western-backed Sunni Islamist militias fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

Former CIA director James Woolsey told ABC News that since the United States, France and other countries had killed top “management” of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militia, “We have to realize we are at war.”

The immense sympathy for the victims and the terrible suffering that their families will endure does not relieve us of the responsibility of assessing the source of this tragedy. If, as seems likely, the attacks were carried out by European veterans of ISIS or a similar militia, the hundreds of dead and wounded in the streets of Paris are victims of imperialist wars in the Middle East, waged for cynical geopolitical ends, that are now spiraling out of control.

Twelve years ago, when the Bush administration launched an illegal invasion of Iraq, the French government, foreseeing the disaster that would flow from the war, refused to participate. The reintegration of France into NATO’s military command in 2009, followed by its decision to join the United States and other NATO powers in Middle East wars in 2011, has proven to have disastrous consequences.

The French political establishment backed Islamist militias in proxy wars for regime change in Libya and Syria, encouraging its citizens to join these militias by widely presenting them in the media as “revolutionaries” fighting Gaddafi and Assad. Now these forces, trained to carry out terrorist attacks and guerrilla warfare in the Middle East, are returning home. This has created a political environment in which terrorism can flourish and spread rapidly, and as a result the war has come home to France.

“The danger comes from a more or less large team of guys from theaters of operation where they were blooded, maybe Syria or Libya, Yemen, who find weapons at home (in France) and go into action,” commented Yves Trotignon, the head of French foreign intelligence’s anti-terrorist services, to AFP. “Guys who are determined and ready to die, who have studied the target and are solid from an operational point of view can do enormous damage. The number of veteran jihadists is increasing every day.”

Since the Kouachi brothers waged their deadly terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in January, the ruling elite has reacted to such dangers not by shifting away from the policy of war for regime change in Syria, but by building up the state’s anti-democratic police powers.

After Hollande’s announcement, reporters on iTélé repeatedly said that France is at war, and that numerous harsh measures specified by the 1955 state of emergency law would be put into effect. The law allows French authorities to impose curfews, carry out arbitrary searches of private homes at any time, censor the press, impose military tribunals, order the house arrest of individuals without trial, close public places, and collect private weapons.

The last time the state of emergency was invoked was in 2005, when it was partially invoked in response to mass suburban riots provoked by the electrocution of two youth fleeing police. However, the last time all these powers were invoked by the French state was in the years after its promulgation, when it was used to impose a state of emergency in Algeria in a failed attempt to crush the revolt against French colonial rule in Algeria.

Media reported that there are plans for mass searches in the Paris area later today. Schools and universities, as well as all Paris public facilities, are to be closed and some political parties are closing down their campaigns for next month’s regional elections.

Dutch Muslims strongly condemn Paris terror: here.

Vonk paper in Belgium condemns Paris terror: here.

South American leaders sent condolences to France and condemned the barbaric attacks that left at least 127 dead: here.

Nation mourns 43 killed in Hezbollah bastion. By James Tweedie. SCHOOLS and universities across Lebanon were closed yesterday as the country mourned the 43 victims of Thursday’s Islamic State (Isis) suicide bombing in Beirut: here.

British World War II veteran’s solidarity with Calais refugees

This video says about itself:

Refugees Welcome‘ demonstration Calais | Syrian refugee‘s message to David Cameron

A partially-blind Syrian refugee speaks at the Stand Up to Racism ‘Refugees Welcome’ demonstration in ‘The Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais; sending a message to British Prime Minister David Cameron. Saturday 17th October, 2015.

By Caroline Gregory in Britain:

Worse than after WWII: Harry Leslie Smith‘s condemnation of ‘the Jungle’

Wednesday 11th November 2015

The campaigning veteran and author recently visited the Calais camp to see for himself the place that is home to 6,000 refugees.

WINTER has been slow to arrive at the Calais refugee camp, but just this last week the mornings have had a new chill to the air.

“I’m too angry to be cold,” said veteran campaigner Harry Leslie Smith, “this is absolutely disgraceful.”

Smith’s early morning visit took in the church, sanitation arrangements, schools and medical provision. The conditions are “a disgrace to our Western nations,” he said.

Smith is well-known for his campaigning on austerity, the NHS and humanitarian issues. Harry’s Last Stand, his book published last year, is a powerful invective on today’s world and current politics.

As he himself said: “I am not an historian but, at 91, I am history, and I fear its repetition.”

The worry that history is repeating is what motivates a lot of the British volunteers, many of whom have left their jobs in order to help in Calais indefinitely.

Organisations such as Help Refugees (formerly Help Calais) began as small fundraising operations which rapidly filled the gap that NGOs such as the Red Cross would generally fill.

The politics surrounding migration have resulted in a noticeable absence of the large charities on the ground.

Nonetheless it is startling to hear someone who has lived through extreme poverty, the Great Depression and World War II RAF campaigns describe somewhere in 21st-century France as “appalling.”

The vast majority of the British volunteers here are under 40. This is beyond anything most have ever witnessed. Smith’s shocked reaction confirms fears. The Calais “Jungle” does not meet even minimum refugee camp standards.

Last week the French court ordered the government to implement camp improvements within eight days.

Some 6,000 residents from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Sudan are living in the shanty town, burning waste for heat and to make small cooking fires.

Three water points service the entire camp, although the supply is contaminated with E coli.

The Pas-de-Calais prefecture has been told to install more water points, waste collection and some semblance of child protection for unaccompanied minors.

The improvements would naturally cost thousands of euros. The fine for failing to comply? Just €100 a day.

Smith was visibly moved at the sight of refugees lining up to receive basic supplies, likening it to queues in Soviet Russia.

These men are dignified, intelligent, many are lawyers and engineers. Many have also previously lived for extended periods in Britain and carved out successful and productive lives.

Near the tent that serves as an occasional school, Smith recalls his childhood.

“I had a bad young life. My parents didn’t have the funds to provide food for us. It affects family life when money is short and your living conditions are bad — it’s a fact of life that I can vouch for.”

Many of the youngsters here are unaccompanied or living in groups, which seems difficult to comprehend in Britain where there are strict child protection rules and criminal records checks for those who work with children.

Smith explains to a Syrian five-year-old that he himself had to start work at just seven years old.

Now 92, Smith is more indomitable than ever. He nimbly hoists himself up backwards onto a high carpeted bench inside a makeshift Afghan cafe and takes in his surroundings.

He describes the refugee camps in Hamburg after World War II, with shelters neatly arranged in rows.

“It was organised. It looked like a little town, well-kept. The people there were starving too, but they were well looked after. It frightens me here. Quite honestly, I don’t know how they are coping.”

Two years ago Smith announced he was wearing the remembrance poppy for the last time. He explained that, for him, the symbol has been hijacked as a justification for present conflicts and national austerity.

This RAF veteran is far from unpatriotic, however. As he said at the time: “My despair is for those who live in this present world.”

He is also relying on Britain to solve this refugee situation in Calais, and makes a final appeal.

“Don’t start thinking: ‘It’s not me, it doesn’t matter, they’re not near me.’

“Please start thinking as human beings. We must get this fixed immediately — I’m sure as hell hoping and relying on British ingenuity and guts.”