David Cameron’s Libya, Syria, pig scandals, fellow Conservative reveals

This video from Britain says about itself:

Twitter reacts to Lord Ashcroft’s Cameron biography excerpts

21 September 2015

Lord Ashcroft‘s biography on PM David Cameron have caused a stir after portions were printed in the Daily Mail today. One particular allegation has caught the imagination of Twitter users, causing a small meltdown overnight.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

David Cameron accused of ‘doing an Iraq‘ in Libya as general and White House official condemn ‘incompetent’ PM’s actions

A source at the White House claims they were ‘f****ed over’ on Libya and Syria

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith

Tuesday 22 September 2015

David Cameron’s actions over Libya have been condemned by a former Tory chairman as “doing an Iraq” while his decisions on both Syria and Libya left the White House feeling “f****ed over”, according to revelations made in a new book.

Former Tory chairman Michael Ancram made the comparison between Mr Cameron’s actions in Libya and Tony Blair’s in Iraq, in a new unofficial biography of the Prime Minister entitled Call Me Dave and written by former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft. The book is being serialised in the Daily Mail, where the claims have been published.

Mr Ancram tells the authors – Lord Ashcroft and journalist Isabel Oakeshott – that Mr Cameron’s decisions over Libya have left the country “ungovernable… with vast amounts of weapons from Gaddafi’s arsenal moved south of the border, arming Boko Haram.”

A senior American government insider allegedly said the White House felt “f****ed over” by Mr Cameron on both Libya and Syria, while General Sir David Richards allegedly told the Prime Minister that being in the Combined Cadet Force at Eton did not make him qualified enough to make decisions over complex military operations and the tactics employed in them.

One White House insider is quoted as saying: “It was one of those astonishing displays of incompetence that sort of leaves you wondering about how, you know, have we all got this far?”

The revelation of Mr Cameron’s apparently poor handling of Syria and Libya follows Lord Ashcroft’s extraordinary allegations that the Prime Minister reportedly “inserted a private part of his anatomy” into the mouth of a dead pig and that he smoked cannabis while studying at Oxford University.

In an unauthorised biography of the Prime Minister entitled ‘Call Me Dave’ and serialised in the Daily Mail it is alleged that an anonymous MP knew of a photograph of the incident with the pig’s head, which is claimed to have taken place during a notorious Piers Gaveston Society event although the anonymous MP adds that it could have been a case of mistaken identity and that he had not seen any evidence himself.

The book has been written by ex-Conservative party treasurer Lord Ashcroft, who has donated millions to the party in the past.

It is also alleged that Mr Cameron knew in 2009 of Lord Ashcroft’s “non dom” status – a year earlier than the Prime Minister had previously said to have known. The revelation that Lord Ashcroft did not pay UK tax on his overseas earnings was made in March 2010. At the time the Prime Minister said he had only known of the situation for a month.

The Prime Minister and the Tory peer fell out after the general election when Lord Ashcroft failed to be given a top position in the Coalition government in 2010, though he claims the work is “not about settling scores”.

The book has been co-written by journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who also denied the book was written out of revenge. She told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: “If this was just a revenge job, Lord Ashcroft and I could have published it ahead of the election.”

British politicians are obsessed with bombing the Middle East, says Afghanistan veteran MP. Clive Lewis says launching airstrikes in Syria is a ‘knee-jerk reaction’: here.

Wars, refugees and xenophobia

This video says about itself:

Libyan refugees rejected by Italy set up camp in Hamburg – FOCUS – 06/12/2013

When the Libyan war broke out two years ago, thousands fled the country in search of security and employment. Many made their way to the island of Lampedusa in Italy, but the Italian authorities closed reception facilities, and gave the migrants a few hundred euros to leave. Now hundreds of Africans from Togo, Ghana and the Ivory Coast have set up camp in Hamburg. Our correspondents spoke to some who have taken up quarters in a church.

By Robert Stevens:

Capitalism and the global refugee crisis

21 August 2015

According to the United Nations, there are more refugees in the world today than at any point in recorded human history.

At the end of 2014, almost 60 million people were forcibly displaced. This is nearly three times the number recorded just a decade earlier. On a global scale, one out of every 122 people is now either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum. A majority (51 percent) of the planet’s refugees are below the age of 18.

Millions have been made homeless and thrown into grinding poverty as a result of imperialist-backed wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. The world’s largest refugee crisis is centred on Syria, where the number of those fleeing to other countries has now exceeded four million. Those who are able to do so seek refuge in Europe. That often involves a perilous trip across the Mediterranean, a journey that has taken the lives of thousands of men, women and children.

Only this week, the bodies of 49 migrants were discovered inside the hold of a fishing boat, having died of fume inhalation. This adds to the total of more than 2,300 who have perished at sea so far this year.

Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, has reported that 107,500 migrants were detected at its frontiers last month. This is three times as many as in July 2014.

Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers, the vast majority fleeing the war zones of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, attempt to reach Europe via its southern states of Greece, Italy and Spain. Since January, a total of 160,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in the various Greek islands, with more than 20,000 arriving in the last week alone. More than 100,000 have been rescued and brought to Italy this year.

This is only a small portion of those attempting to escape horrific conditions at home. Millions of refugees from Syria, for example, survive in massive city-sized refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey. The refugees who attempt the trip to Europe are those who have managed to scrape together enough money to pay one of the people traffickers operating the boats.

This relatively small percentage of the world’s refugees is treated as an existential threat by Europe’s ruling elite. Refugees and migrants are routinely denounced and cast as criminals, responsible for all of society’s ills, by governments and political parties of all stripes.

Speaking of just 5,000 migrants who live in appalling conditions at the port of Calais, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said, “Europe can’t protect itself and preserve its standard of living and social infrastructure, if it has to absorb millions of migrants from Africa.”

This week German Chancellor Angel Merkel warned in a TV interview that the arrival of thousands of refugees to the shores of the continent would “preoccupy Europe much, much more than the issue of Greece and the stability of the euro.”

The right-wing bile emanating from official circles is echoed and magnified in an outpouring of increasingly overt xenophobic hatred hurled at refugees and asylum seekers by a hysterical media. Right-wing and fascist bands, encouraged by this putrid atmosphere, have stepped up attacks on refugees and asylum seekers. In Germany, for example, more than 200 incidents, including arson attacks on migrants’ homes, have been reported this year.

Muslims in particular face the full force of this venom. This week the government of Slovakia, which is to receive just 200 Syrian refugees as part of an EU relocation scheme, said it would only accept Christians.

What is being cast as a “migrant problem” is in fact a problem of imperialist rule and of the capitalist system. There are two root causes of the massive refugee crisis.

The first is the growing number of predatory wars being conducted by the imperialist powers and their proxies. Indeed, the United States, backed by its allies, has now been involved in perpetual war since 1991 that has displaced entire populations and destroyed entire societies.

The second major factor is the control and economic destruction of the planet by the major capitalist states that has plunged billions of people into abject poverty.

The European powers seek to insulate themselves from the results of the carnage they have wrought through the creation of a “Fortress Europe”. At its June emergency summit on refugees, the EU washed its hands in the face of growing public revulsion at the deaths of thousands in the Mediterranean. They refused to set any quotas for countries to take in the increasing numbers of desperate refugees, agreeing to relocate just 40,000 refugees already in Italy and Greece.

Instead, all efforts are concentrated on strengthening border controls. Hungary’s southern border marks the edge of the EU’s Schengen Zone of passport-free travel. The right-wing government there is building a massive fence along its 109-mile border with Serbia. This week a prime ministerial spokesman said that the fence would be “defended” by thousands of police against “increasingly aggressive” migrants.

New metres-high fortified border fences, miles in length, have been built and strengthened by Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, the UK at the Channel Tunnel port of Calais, and by other countries.

Under conditions in which the global economy is more closely interconnected and more complex than ever before in history, the capitalist system, based on the outmoded division of the planet into antagonistic nation states and private ownership of the means of production, is creating hell on earth.

In the founding programme of the Fourth International, the great revolutionary Leon Trotsky wrote on the eve of the Second World War, “Before exhausting or drowning mankind in blood, capitalism befouls the world atmosphere with the poisonous vapours of national and race hatred.”

These words are as apt today as they were then.

As with all the great problems facing humanity, the only rational solution that can prevent tens and hundreds of millions more becoming refugees is the unification of working people internationally in the struggle for a socialist reorganization of economic life. Socialism, a society based on fulfilling human need, not profit, would rationally use and develop the earth’s abundant resources to provide a life worth living for everyone.

In pursuance of this goal and with all its collective strength, the working class must unswervingly defend the democratic rights of refugees and migrants to asylum and their right to live wherever they wish.

Refugees from ‘humanitarian’ wars dying

This video from the USA says about itself:

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Europe’s Secret Plan for Military Force on Refugee Boats from Libya

27 May 2015

WikiLeaks has just revealed secret details of a European Union plan to use military force to curb the influx of migrants from Libya. “The documents lay out a military operation against cross-Mediterranean refugee transport networks and infrastructure,” WikiLeaks says. “It details plans to conduct military operations to destroy boats used for transporting migrants and refugees in Libyan territory, thereby preventing them from reaching Europe.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the EU’s plan from his place of refuge inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

By Robert Stevens:

Scores of refugees die brutally in the Mediterranean

18 August 2015

At least 49 refugees and asylum seekers died a gruesome death in the hold of an overcrowded fishing boat off the coast of Libya, Saturday. According to reports, an Italian navy helicopter spotted the boat at 7 a.m. local time, around 21 miles off the Libyan coast and south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, as it was starting to sink.

Some 320 others were saved. When 312 survivors had been taken on board, Admiral Pierpaolo Libuffo, head of Italy’s rescue operations, said these included 45 women and three children. But when the rescue team searched the boat’s hold they found at least 40 dead people.

Speaking from the ship, Commander Massimo Tozzi said rescuers found the dead, “immersed in water, fuel and human excrement.”

The victims are thought to have asphyxiated after inhaling fumes from fuels after the boat took on water in the hold. …

Even more have crossed from Syria and Turkey into Greece. Vincent Cochetel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR’s) Director of the Bureau for Europe, said this week that 124,000 refugees fleeing war zones have arrived by sea, from Turkey, at the Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos since January 2015. This represents a 750 percent increase in the number of refugees compared to 2014.

Upon arrival in these countries, these desperate refugees face the most appalling conditions.

At least 7,000 refugees and asylum seekers, most of whom are fleeing the Syria and Afghanistan conflicts, are already on Kos.

Refugees confront appalling conditions in the Balkans: here.

Hundreds of refugees drown in Mediterranean, again

This video says about itself:

Libyan refugees recount horrors of journey to Europe

20 June 2015

More than 50,000 boat migrants have arrived in Italy from Libya this year, and roughly 2,000 have drowned while making the journey across the Mediterranean Sea. CCTV’s Stephanie Freid met one Libyan migrant who was terrified of crossing the sea, but grateful he made it alive. Watch the video to know more about his “horrible” journey.

By Martin Kreickenbaum:

Hundreds dead as refugee boat sinks in Mediterranean

7 August 2015

Up to 700 refugees were on board a fishing boat that capsized 15 nautical miles off the Libyan coast on Wednesday. More than 200 are feared drowned. According to the Italian coast guard, around 400 people were rescued, while 26 bodies were recovered from the sea so far. One hundred refugees were below deck at the time and likely went down with the ship.

The small, overloaded fishing boat was caught in heavy seas and sent out a Mayday call. When the Irish coastguard ship LE subsequently approached the boat, several refugees apparently rushed to one side of the boat, causing it to capsize.

“It was a horrific sight,” said Juan Matias, coordinator of Doctors without Borders who was on the ship Dignity I, which also came to the assistance of the refugees. “People desperately clutching life belts, boats and anything, fighting for their lives among the drowning and those who were already dead.”

Dignity I received the call from the coastguard just as it was saving 100 refugees from another fishing boat that was in difficulty. “The fact that we were first called to assist this boat and then shortly afterwards sent to another one highlights the severe lack of resources available for rescue operations,” said Matias.

Wednesday’s tragedy was the first such mass drowning since 1,200 refugees lost their lives in a series of boat sinkings in April, prompting the EU to step up patrols on the Mediterranean and threaten air strikes against refugee boats before they left the Libyan coast.

Some 224,000 refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced Thursday. Italy has registered 97,000 boat refugees and Greece 91,000. One in three refugees traveling by boat comes from Syria, with other main countries of origin including Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia and Nigeria.

The death toll among those people desperately trying to reach Europe is shocking. On Tuesday, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) stated in Geneva that more than 2,000 refugees have lost their lives trying to reach Europe since the beginning of the year.

According to IOM, these figures confirm that “the route across the Mediterranean is the most deadly for migrants,” a development which has intensified over the last six months. In 2014, the attempt to seek protection in Europe from persecution and poverty cost 3,279 refugees their lives.

“It is unacceptable that in the 21st century people fleeing from conflict, persecution, misery and land degradation must endure such terrible experiences in their home countries, not to mention en route, and then die on Europe’s doorstep,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

Terrible incidents take place almost daily on the main route across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. On July 29, 14 refugees arrived dead in the Sicilian port of Messina, on a ship with 456 survivors. On August 1, a rescue ship from Doctors without Borders discovered five bodies on board a boat transporting 120 refugees.

The loss of life in the Mediterranean is not merely a tragic event, but a crime. The imperialist powers in Europe and the United States bear responsibility for the mass deaths of refugees at sea.

The number of refugees has dramatically increased over the past three years, according to calculations by the UN agency for refugees. Almost 60 million people were on the move in 2014, 40 percent more than in 2011.

The Syrian civil war, which was triggered by the United States and its Arab allies in 2011, and is still raging, has driven more than 3.5 million people over the border. An additional 7.5 million people within Syria have fled their homes.

The NATO-led war against the Gaddafi regime in Libya, which began almost simultaneously, turned more than 1 million people into refugees. A further 500,000 refugees from Syria, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia are marooned on the Libyan coast, which is now under the control of rival militias, desperately hoping for a place on a boat to Europe.

Hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes as a result of the imperialist wars and subsequent famine crises in the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia). The US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had disastrous consequences for the populations of both countries. In Yemen, the US-aligned Saudi Arabian regime’s bombing raids on the country, using US supplied weapons, together with Washington’s drone war, have forced countless people to flee.

In addition, there are numerous Palestinian refugees who lost their livelihoods in the Israeli war in the Gaza Strip and are effectively imprisoned by the closure of the border by the Israeli government, on one side, and the Egyptian military dictatorship on the other.

In western and central Africa, it is above all the neo-colonial policies of the European powers that have forced thousands to flee from Mali, Mauritania, Central African Republic, Niger and Chad in the face of wars and the plundering of these countries by European companies.

The European Union has responded to this humanitarian catastrophe by pulling up the drawbridge and expanding fortress Europe. The deaths of refugees on the EU’s external borders are meant to serve as a deterrent.

In Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, and in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, barriers several metres tall with razor-sharp spikes have been constructed to guard against refugees. In November 2013, the EU began the Eurosur programme for the surveillance of the Mediterranean with drones, satellites and reconnaissance aircraft.

Under pressure from the German government, the military mission conducted by the Italian government, which used warships to search for refugees throughout the Mediterranean, sending them back to Libya, was incorporated into Operation Triton, run by the EU border agency Frontex. The EU states cynically declared that the Italian mission, known as Mare Nostrum, had encouraged too many refugees to travel to Europe.

In response to the two tragedies in April this year, the EU sent additional warships to the Mediterranean. However, these ships were not primarily to focus on rescuing refugees from the sea, but to wage war against “smugglers” as part of the Eunavfor Med mission and destroy refugee boats. In addition, measures were agreed to accelerate the process of deporting refugees back to Africa and the crisis regions of the Middle East.

At the same time, the fight against the “root causes” of migration, proclaimed by the EU, has been revealed as an effort to arm dictatorial regimes in Africa so that they could more effectively prevent their populations from fleeing. The German television programme Monitor reported that Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and Egypt have been integrated more closely into the EU border management system through the training of their soldiers.

British ship sent on Mediterranean migrant mission has not rescued a single person: here.

NATO war brought ISIS to Libya, Tunisia, Tunisian Prime Minister says

This video from London, England says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn – Emergency Protest – Stop the Bombing of Libya Now! – Stop the War Coalition 20.03.11

From daily The Independent in Britain:

War on Isis: Tunisian PM says Britain has a responsibility to protect nation from militants

Exclusive: Habib Essid blames Western intervention for destabilising Libya

Yasmine Ryan, Ian Johnston

Wednesday 05 August 2015

Britain has a responsibility to stop Isis from infiltrating Tunisia, the country’s Prime Minister has said, because the UK is partly to blame for creating the violent chaos that allowed the extreme Islamist movement to flourish in neighbouring Libya.

In an interview with The Independent, Habib Essid blamed Western intervention in Libya, which helped bring about the downfall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, for destabilising that country and leaving his nation more vulnerable to terrorism.

He spoke as British police said the attack in the Tunisian resort of Sousse in June that left 30 British tourists dead was almost certainly linked to a mass shooting at the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March.

Mr Essid said the UK and France, which led the air campaign against Gaddafi’s forces, were not solely to blame for the current turmoil in Libya, but they had been “part of the problem”. Asked if this meant Britain and France had a responsibility to help Tunisia police its border with Libya, he said: “They have responsibility. Terrorism has no borders.”

However Mr Essid stressed that Tunisia was “against all military intervention in Libya”. “We consider that the current situation is the result of the [2011] intervention, which created chaos. The solution must be a political solution,” he said. …

The Sousse and Bardo shootings, which killed a total of 60 people, have both been claimed by Isis. Commander Richard Walton, of the Metropolitan Police, said there were “strong” links between the two attacks.

See also here.

‘US meddling in Mid-East led to rise of radical extremism’: here.