Greece, let refugees drown, Brussels dictates

This video from Britain says about itself:

27 January 2016

Greece’s migration minister Yiannis Mouzalas claims Belgium told his country to “push” migrants “back in the sea“. He was speaking in an interview with BBC Newsnight‘s Evan Davis, discussing what will happen next to the Schengen Agreement.

Newsnight is the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.

From the BBC:

Belgium said ‘push migrants back to sea‘ – Greek minister

27 January 2016, Last updated at 15:41 GMT

Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas claims Belgium told his country to “push” migrants “back in the sea”.

He was speaking in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Evan Davis, discussing what will happen next to the Schengen Agreement – and what the European Union can do to help resolve the migrant crisis.


January 28, 2016

Asked on the issue, Mr. Mouzalas said that Belgium told Greece: “Go against the law! We are afraid! We don’t care if they are drowned” adding that “hopefully no other minister accepted it”.

Regarding the refugee camps, he said that “the only time in history where there were camps for 400,000 prisoners was the Nazi period. And refugees are not prisoners, they have rights”.

Asked on whether he was angry, he said “I am not angry, I am a minister and I must have all doors open. But we are tired. Imagine that during the summer period 10,000 per day were passing through the islands of 3,000 population. They are drowning in our seas and we are collecting bodies every day. We want to find a solution more than anyone else”.


“An unbelievable minister proposed setting up a camp for 300,000 refugees in Athens and referred to the possibility of leaving the Schengen zone and pushing back into the sea, which is illegal and constitutes a criminal act,” Mouzalas said in an interview with SKAI TV on Tuesday referring to the Belgian minister.

Meaning Theo Francken. Mr Francken, of the nationalist party N-VA, is controversial because he participated in a commemoration ceremony for a Flemish World War II nazi collaborator.

Save drowning refugees, get four years in jail?

Susan Sarandon helping refugees

This photo shows United States film actress Susan Sarandon, helping refugees with the charity Team Humanity, near Lesbos island in Greece in December 2015.

However, today sad news about Team Humanity.

From the Copenhagen Post in Denmark:

Two Danish aid workers charged with human trafficking in Greece

Co-founders of Team Humanity were arrested on the island of Lesbos after helping refugees from a sinking boat

January 15th, 2016 8:25 am| by Lucie Rychla

Two Danish aid workers from the non-profit organisation Team Humanity were on Wednesday arrested on human trafficking charges on the Greek island of Lesbos, reports Information.

This reminds me of someone in the Netherlands, who helped a sick refugee child and was arrested on spurious ‘human trafficking’ charges for that. Fortunately, these charges were dropped soon. One should hope this will happen soon now in Greece as well.

These outrageous arrests may be a result of the pressure of European Union governments on the Greek government to have harsher anti-refugee policies.

According to the organisation’s chairman Walle El Ghorba, the two men, aged 26 and 33, are now sitting in custody awaiting a trial that could possibly see them get four years in prison.

El Ghorba told Information the men were saving refugees from a sinking boat in the Aegean Sea.

Escorted by coast guard

Allegedly, they contacted the Greek coastguard, but when it did not show up, the Danes together with three Spanish volunteers began to help the refugees onto their own boat.

According to Dutch NOS TV, the three Spanish Team Humanity volunteers are now in jail as well. Their lifeboat is sponsored from the Netherlands.

Then they called the coastguard again, this time it responded by escorting them to the island.

Later that day, the volunteers were arrested and charged with human trafficking.

El Ghorba said the NGO had a good co-operation with the Greek authorities and the coastguard prior to this incident.

Team Humanity was established spontaneously in the autumn of 2015, when a group of young friends, mostly from Copenhagen, decided to travel to Lesbos to help save refugees from drowning.

Rare bird news from Scotland

This video is called Barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria) singing. Prespa lake, Greece, May 2012.

This species is rare in western Europe.

From Lothian Bird News in Scotland, on Twitter:

Barred Warbler still at feeders near Torness, also up to 5 Little Egrets at Belhaven Bay.

7:32 PM – 8 Dec 2015

European Union pressure on Greece for yet harsher anti-refugee measures

This video says about itself:

Drowned Syrian Boy Symbolizes Refugee Crisis Sweeping Europe

2 September 2015

A 3-year-old Syrian-Kurdish boy from Kobani who drowned in the Mediterranean last night has come to symbolize the tragedy of the refugee crisis sweeping Europe. #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (“Humanity washed ashore”) went viral as the harrowing photo was shared.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

EU threatens to expel Greece from Schengen

Today, 15:59

Gwen ter Horst, Editor Brussels Office

If Greece does not take swift measures to control its borders better, the country risks to be expelled from the Schengen area. With that threat, the European Union puts the Greek government under pressure to finally work now on guarding the European external border. This year alone an estimated 700,000 migrants entered Europe from Greece.

On Friday the EU Ministers for Home Affairs will meet in Brussels. According to insiders involved in the preparation of these consultations the patience with Greece is running out. There are said to be serious attempts to pressure Greece. …

[Dutch] Prime Minister Rutte is also irritated by the inability of Greece to monitor the external border of the EU. He blamed Greece repeatedly that the border between Turkey and Greece is “totally porous”.

That is another one of your many lies, Mark Rutte. At the land border between Turkey and Greece, near the Evros river, there is a big cruel anti-refugee barbed wire fence, similar to the one the Hungarian government erected recently at the border with Serbia, and later at other (European Union internal) borders.

The rest of the Turkish-Greek border is not land, but sea water. I never heard about a sea being ‘porous’. I myself was privileged to cross the sea from Turkey to the Greek island Lesbos sitting on a seat on a ferryboat. I then saw beautiful bottlenose dolphins. I saw beautiful Scopoli’s shearwaters. I have fond memories of this.

Why, why does not a refugee from bloody war in Syria have the same right as I then had to travel in this comfortable way, trying to forget the horrors of bloodshed? Why does a woman refugee from the re-started Iraq war not have the right to enjoy wild bottlenose dolphins? Why does a boy, fleeing from the drone war in Pakistan, not have the right to admire the Scopoli’s shearwaters? Why should a girl refugee from the massacres in Somalia drown in the Mediterranean in some leaky inflatable vessel, rather than to have better experiences than when she was raped by Pentagon-allied ‘peace soldiers’ in her homeland; according to the ‘logic’ of Mark Rutte and of other NATO and European Union bigwigs?

Reportedly, Rutte at an EU summit last month in Malta attacked his Greek counterpart Tsipras directly for his refusal to accept help. Athens refuses help from the other EU countries and the European Frontex border authority in the management of external borders.

European Union (EU) heads of government and state agreed a shameful deal with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the EU-Turkey conference on Sunday in Brussels. Turkey has pledged to prevent refugees from entering the EU and in exchange will receive €3 billion in financing and a commitment to speed up negotiations for EU membership and visa-free travel: here.

European Council President Donald Tusk called for interning refugees for 18 months after their arrival and sealing off Europe’s borders, in an interview with six leading European newspapers including the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the British Guardian: here.

Up to 50,000 workers marched in Athens Thursday, in a one-day general strike that was one of the biggest mobilisations to protest austerity in Greece in recent years. The strike testifies to explosive anger in the working class at the austerity policies now being imposed by the Syriza (“Coalition of the Radical Left”) government: here.