Stop Italian anti-refugee policies


This video says about itself:

Evicted refugees left stranded in Rome

22 August 2017

Dozens of Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees have been camping in a square in central Rome since Saturday. Italian authorities evicted the refugees together with hundreds of other people from an office building where they’d been residing for years. The move has sparked angry reactions from humanitarian groups in Italy.

Max Civili reports from Rome.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Refugees are not Terrorists’ – the real terrorists are the bosses and bankers

LAST Saturday thousands of refugees and their supporters marched through the streets of the Italian capital, Rome, venting their anger over the police attack last week on a group of refugees forced to camp out in a city square.

Firing water cannons and wielding batons, police broke up the group of around 100 refugees, mainly from Eritrea, who for several days had been camped in the square in protest at an earlier eviction of a community of 800 who had been living in a nearby building for five years.

These refugees, the majority of whom have been granted asylum, have jobs in Rome and whose children are enrolled in local schools, were forced out from the building the Saturday before in a dawn raid by police after the city council claimed they had refused ‘alternative accommodation’.

In fact no such accommodation existed. The sole intention of the authorities was to re-claim the six storey building and end the established collective that had run peacefully for years. That the elderly, disabled and children were thrown onto the streets with nowhere to live meant nothing.

Saturday’s march calling for evictions to be halted and for refugees to be properly housed carried banners proclaiming ‘refugees not terrorists’.

While the attack on refugees in Rome attracted world-wide condemnation, the Italian prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, met with the French president Emmanuel Macron and his counterparts from Spain and Germany for talks on how to cut migration from Africa to Europe.

In fact the decisions have already been made. Last month the Italian cabinet decided on a plan to send Italian warships into Libyan territorial waters allegedly to combat people smugglers – in reality they will be used to turn back boats with the agreement of Libyan authorities, who have granted the Italian navy a free hand to stop and turn back boats suspected of carrying refugees.

Returning refugees to hostile Libyan ‘authorities’ would be a death sentence for many of those trying to escape the terrorist gangs that run the country after the EU helped bomb the Islamist terrorists to power.

The EU is being torn apart with Italy warring with its EU partners, who have refused to share the burden of refugees fleeing the destruction of their countries by the same EU that now uses water cannon and batons against them.

The scale of the crisis was laid bare when Austria declared it was ready to send troops to the Brenner Pass, the border with Italy, in order to stop refugees entering their country. So much for the boast that the European Union is the greatest bulwark for peace and unity in the continent.

Workers across Europe can clearly see what the EU has always been, an organisation of bankers and bosses set up with one aim only – to exploit the working class at home and throughout the world for their own profit.

Faced with the deepest economic crisis capitalism has ever faced, the EU enthusiastically joined with US imperialism to help overthrow the … government of Libya and attempted to do the same in Syria.

In the process they recruited thousands of Islamists who were sent in to Libya and Syria as allies of imperialism and so encouraged the destruction of the economies of these countries, forcing millions to flee for their lives and the hope of any kind of future.

Now the crisis that the EU caused has returned to create a huge crisis within the EU itself, pitting nation against nation at a time when they have a working class that is rising up and demanding an end to capitalist austerity.

The workers of Europe are learning that refugees are not ‘terrorists’, the real terrorists are the bosses and bankers who in their crises have declared war on the workers at home and the peoples of the world.

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Saving refugees from drowning, criminal?


This German TV video in English says about itself:

Iuventa – Rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean Sea

25 July 2017

Join me in 360 on a rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea. The vessel “Iuventa”, Italian for youth, is run by volunteers of the German NGO “Jugend rettet”. Their area of operation is off the Libyan coast, the deadliest migration route. Lately, the rescuers are confronted with harsh criticism. What do you think?

After hardline European Commission pressure led to torturing refugees in Italy … now it leads to letting more refugees drown.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Italy chains ship of German rescue organization

Yesterday, 21:14

The Italian authorities have chained a ship from a German rescue organization which seeks to save refugees on boats. Italy accuses the organization of taking over refugees from human traffickers at the Libyan coast.

According to the Italian authorities, the aid organization is guilty of illegal immigration. But to Associated Press news agency, Public Prosecutor Ambrogio Cartosio says: “My personal conviction is that the motive [of Jugend Rettet] is humanitarian, exclusively humanitarian.”

So, apparently there is Mr Cartosio the human being, telling the truth.

And there is Mr Cartosio the robot of xenophobic governmental and European Union policy, making saving human beings from drowning a crime.

The Iuventa, navigating under the Dutch flag may no longer leave the port of Lampedusa, a small island near Sicily. The ship is manned by volunteers from the group Jugend Rettet (Youth Saves) from Berlin.

Fewer relief organizations

Italy wants to significantly reduce the number of aid organizations active in the Mediterranean area. The country only wants to allow ships from non-governmental organizations affiliated with Frontex, the European border agency for the external borders of Europe.

Dear Italian government: if a non-governmental organization gets affiliated with governmental Frontex, then it ceases to be ‘non-governmental’. Frontex aims to keep refugees out, whatever the cost in human lives. This is like telling a non-governmental organisation criticizing torture by police that they will be banned unless they affiliate with that torturing police force.

Accusations are false, Jugend Rettet says.

On August 3, the Italian government sent the frigate Commandante Borsini into Libyan territorial waters to stop refugees fleeing Libya for Europe. This violation of the sovereignty of Libya, a former Italian colony, aims to destroy refugee vessels and force refugees back into Libya, where the militias that have controlled the country ever since the devastating NATO war against Libya in 2011 detain them in appalling conditions: here.

Saving refugees from drowning, a crime?


This Associated Press video says about itself:

NGOs help rescue migrants in Mediterranean

(3 Feb 2017) The number of migrants risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean sea surged on Friday … an NGO operating in the area said.

Doctors Without Borders said in a tweet that their rescue boat north of the Libyan coast was operating over capacity and holding 720 migrants after five rescues.

The Aquarius was receiving assistance from a another vessel operated by Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish NGO, that rescued 222 migrants, including one baby and two children, from two boats on Friday.

There were more boats in the sea, said the Proactiva Open Arms spokeswoman Laura Lanuza.

The migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, were being transferred to an Italian port in Sicily, Lanuza said.

By Marianne Arens:

European Union and Italy step up pressure on organisations assisting refugees

29 July 2017

On July 25, Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti (Democratic Party) ordered representatives of nine non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in the rescue of refugees to attend a meeting at his ministry. There they were called upon to sign a “Code of Conduct,” restricting their activities in the Mediterranean Sea.

As the WSWS noted two weeks ago, the new code violates “existing law”: “On the high seas international maritime law prevails, which obligatorily demands the rescue of people in distress … this is precisely what the ‘Code of Conduct’ is designed to prevent the NGOs and their rescue boats from undertaking.”

Should NGOs fail to sign the sinister, illegal code, Italy has threatened to close its ports to their ships. This is the latest disgraceful attempt by Italian authorities to rein in the activities of voluntary aid organisations and thereby reduce the number of migrants arriving from Africa. They want to restrict the NGOs and drive them out of the Mediterranean—or at least transform them into reliable adjuncts of the European Union (EU) Frontex operation and the Italian coast guard.

The migrant flight route across the Mediterranean is extremely dangerous. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), as of July 23, 2,361 people had either died or gone missing in 2017, while some 95,000 migrants had reached Italy by sea. The dead include an estimated 300 children.

Without the NGOs, the number of drowned and missing people would be considerably higher. Currently more than 40 percent of refugees rescued at sea owe their lives to organisations such as Sea-Watch, Sea-Eye, MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), Jugend Rettet (Rescuing Youth), Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, SOS Méditerranée, Proactiva Open Arms, etc.

“We are just in mid-July,” noted Timon Marszalek, the director of SOS Méditerranée Germany, “and we’ve saved as many people in the Mediterranean as we did last year. In view of the failure of the European Union, the intervention of civilian organisations like our own is indispensable to prevent the deaths of thousands of people.”

Marszalek pointed to one recent incident on July 11, in which a baby was born during a rescue operation. Mother and child were still connected by an umbilical cord when they were brought on board the Aquarius. This was the fifth birth at sea on this one rescue ship alone. “What would have happened if our team had not been there on time?” the SOS Méditerranée official asked. Such examples also show how desperate people must be to take to sea.

The “Code of Conduct” that NGOs are now being required to sign by the government of Paolo Gentiloni (Democratic Party) is a crude and deliberate attempt to sabotage rescue efforts. It establishes harsh guidelines and demands that refugees be transported directly to the Italian mainland instead of being transferred to larger ships belonging to the coast guard, merchant marine or navy. This forces the small NGO ships to undertake longer journeys and restricts their presence in the most dangerous waters where their work is most necessary.

Ruben Neugebauer of Sea-Watch told Deutschlandfunk (German radio): “What they want to achieve is obvious: they are trying to keep ships out of the danger zone because we undermine the concept of dying on Europe’s borders.”

NGOs are also forbidden to enter Libyan territorial waters, even if refugees’ lives are at stake. They must look on as people drown, without being able to intervene. NGOs must also accept Italian police accompanying their vessels to track down smugglers among the refugees. This can only lead to a worsening of relations between the rescue teams and refugees.

The “Code of Conduct” is not merely the work of the Italian authorities. It was agreed upon at a meeting of EU ministers in Tallinn, Estonia in early July. At that meeting German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière repeated his slanderous claim that NGOs were working with so-called people smugglers.

German newspapers have also run articles accusing NGOs of collaboration with smugglers. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung claimed, for example, that the rescue organisations were “involuntarily becoming an important element in the smugglers’ strategies.”

The Berliner Zeitung scandalously asserted that the NGOs’ role was not rescuing those in need at sea, but rather “assisting refugees and the transfer of emigrants.” The newspaper referred disapprovingly to Sea-Watch, based in Berlin. That organisation, which has not signed the “Code of Conduct,” rightly argues that there is already an International Law of the Sea, which obliges every boat owner to assist in sea rescue when necessary.

The Berliner Zeitung complains, however, that while it is “self-evident” that shipwrecked persons be saved, “this does not answer the question as to where to land those rescued. Sea-Watch 2 does not return the stranded to Libya, but brings them all to Europe.”

This slanderous article and the steps taken by the various EU interior ministers against the NGOs reveal there is a concerted campaign to drive private organisations out of the seas along the Libyan coast.

This campaign is bound up with unprecedented military deployment taking place in the Mediterranean off the North African coast. Taking part in the operation, which has been ongoing since June 2015 under the innocuous name of “Operation Sophia” (formerly known as Eunavfor [European Union Naval Force] Med), are the navies of Germany, Italy, Great Britain and other European countries.

On the same day the NGOs were summoned to the Italian Interior Ministry, the EU decided to extend the “Sophia” mission to the end of 2018. Officially, the remit of the operation is to combat “smuggler criminality on the Mediterranean” and thus prevent deaths at sea. In fact, the combined navies are responsible for just 8 percent of sea rescue operations.

In reality, mission “Sophia” is an important part of Europe’s plans for imperialist intervention in Africa. The Great Powers regard Africa as a strategically crucial area, with huge oil and natural gas deposits and other resources. With the war against Libya in 2011 and the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the new colonial “scramble for Africa” entered a new phase.

For the past six years the imperialist powers have been trying to install a new, reliable and loyal regime in Libya, which is key for access to Africa as a whole. This explains the background of a third important meeting in Paris on July 25: the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, invited the two main rivals in the Libyan civil war, Fayez al-Sarraj, the unelected head of the Western-backed Libyan Presidential Council, and Khalifa Hafter, [unelected] head of the so-called Libyan National Army and an “asset” of the CIA since the 1980s. The two men subsequently agreed to suspend their armed struggle and hold parliamentary elections in the spring of 2018. On Wednesday, Sarraj visited Italian government officials in Rome.

The EU has committed itself to continue financing the Libyan coast guard and equipping it with weapons. The European Union is supporting an organisation notorious for trafficking in human beings, torture and murder. At the request of the EU, the Libyan coast guard forces refugees into Libyan prisons, where around 300,000 people are currently being held under appalling conditions.

For their part, NGOs must decide whether or not to cooperate with the Italian government and sign the “Code of Conduct.” The NGOs rely on private donations and young volunteers. Their efforts demonstrate a widespread willingness to assist and defend refugees.

This readiness was confirmed a few weeks ago in a poll carried out by the European Broadcasting Agency. Almost 1 million young people between the ages of 18 and 35 were interviewed. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) said they were willing to actively support immigrants. Some 78 percent of respondents in Germany said they noticed growing nationalism, and considered it a bad thing. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of young people in Germany and the overwhelming majority of young people surveyed said they were not ready to fight in a war.

The poll demonstrates the abyss between the vast majority of the population and establishment politics. Millions of workers and young people express their solidarity with the refugees and are ready to help them, while the political elite and governments are permitting thousands to drown in the Mediterranean.

Wild mammals in Italy, video


This National Geographic video says about itself:

11 July 2017

A camera set up in Molise National Park, Italy, filmed a tree for 365 days. A myriad of animals visited the spot including bears, deer, wild boar, wolves, and badgers.

Eritrean cyclist Teklehaimanot, king of Italian mountains


This 6 May 2017 Daniel Teklehaimanot – Post race interview – Stage 2 – Tour of Italy / Giro d’Italia 2017.

Today, Eritrean cyclist Daniel Teklehaimanot arrived first on a second category climb in the mountains of Sardinia island, in the second stage of the Giro d’Italia race.

This meant that Daniel Teklehaimanot took over the King of the Mountains jersey (a blue jersey in the Giro).

After Teklehaimanot had already been King of the Mountains in the Tour de France, as first African ever, now he is the first African ever in the Giro’s blue jersey.

This will generate big enthusiasm in Eritrea, where cycling is popular.

Teklehaimanot is a member of a South African team.

There is also a new leader in the general classification after this second stage: Greipel from Germany, the winner of today’s bunch sprint.

Genoa G8 police brutality victims compensated at last


This 2002 Associated Press video says about itself:

1. Wide shot pan of Genoa city and port
2. Various activists clapping to mark the moment of Carlo Giuliani’s death
3. Close up Carlo’s father, Giuliano Giuliani, shaking hands with people and clapping
4. Release of balloons
5. Photo of Carlo
6. Photo of police vehicle that ran over Carlo Giuliani
7. Flowers marking his death
8. Demonstration with poster
9. Shops barricades over the front
10. Deserted streets
11. Wide shot thousands on march
12. Ground shot of march
13. Top shot of marchers
14. Close up top shot of marchers with banners
15. Police outside McDonald’s
16. Demonstrators at front of march
17. Police at McDonald’s
18. Wide shot thousands of marchers, pullout
19. Banner and protestors
20. Sign with cross through riot police
21. Riot police heading towards marchers who wanted to go towards a prison
22. Wide shot standoff during demo
23. Police walking away
24. Top shot march

STORYLINE:

Tens of thousands of people held commemorations in Genoa, Italy, on Saturday for an anti-globalisation protester killed last year by police at the Group of Eight summit.

A 23-year-old protester, Carlo Giuliani, was shot dead …

Since his death, Giuliani has become a symbol for the movement, with activists condemning his death as an act of police brutality.

During Saturday’s commemoration in the square where Giuliani was killed, protesters let loose colored balloons printed with the words “Ciao Carlo” at the time of the shooting, 5:27 p.m. (1527 GMT). …

Crowd estimates varied with police saying about 60,000 people attended while organizers estimated it at 100,000.

The overwhelming majority of demonstrators held peaceful demonstrations.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

After 16 years compensation for demonstrators abused in Genoa

Today, 15:07

Six demonstrators who were injured in 2001 at the G8 summit in Genoa will each receive compensation of 45,000 euros from the Italian authorities. Italy admits that the police used excessive force.

The summit of eight major industrialized countries was marred by violent clashes between protesters and police in July 2001. In three days, hundreds of people were injured. One demonstrator was shot dead … .

Torture

Amnesty International spoke of the greatest violation of human rights in a Western country since World War II. Most criminal cases against the responsible police officers of the last few years led to acquittal, especially as torture is not a crime in Italy.

In a case before the European Court of Human Rights Italy and six protesters have now reached a settlement. The authorities will not only pay 45,000 euros per person, but also costs.

Code

In 2015, the European Court already awarded damages of 45,000 euros to an injured demonstrator. Also Italy was then commissioned to work on the inclusion of torture in the Criminal Code. However, that has still not happened.