Mediterranean refugees-saving captain refuses French authorities’ award


This 20 August 2019 video from Germany says about itself:

Why I fight for solidarity | Pia Klemp | TEDxBerlin

Visit our website www.tedxberlin.de for more information on Pia Klemp.

Captain Pia Klemp is a vegan natur-lover, animal-rights and human-rights activist. She spent the last seven years onboard various NGO vessels and oceans, fighting against illegal whale hunt and illegal fishing. Since summer 2017 she captained Search & Rescue vessels in the Mediterranean Sea to help refugees and migrants in maritime distress on their dangerous route to safety in Europe.

Since June 2018 Klemp and nine other crew members of the IUVENTA are under investigation for ‘aiding and abetting illegal immigration to Italy’ – because they saved the lives. The IUVENTA and its crew were involved in the rescue of over 14,000 people in distress at sea. Today they face up to 20 years in prison.

What lies ahead of the crew is a marathon – not a sprint. The trial is expected to last between 3 and 4 years and the total cost of the trial will be 500,000 €. The iuventa10 are fighting a legal and political fight against the criminalization of solidarity with refugees and migrants.

By Will Morrow:

“We are all equal!” Captain who saved refugees refuses award from Paris mayor

24 August 2019

Pia Klemp, the former captain of the refugee rescue ship Juventa, who together with her crew saved thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, is refusing to accept an honorary prize bestowed by the Socialist Party

infected by Blairism

mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.

This 23 August 2019 video is called Pia Klemp refuses Grand Vermeil medal from Paris’ mayor.

The 36-year-old from Germany announced her decision in a post on her personal Facebook page on Tuesday. She states:

“Madame Hidalgo, you want to award me a medal for my acts of solidarity in the Mediterranean Sea, because our crews ‘work daily to save migrants in difficult conditions.’ At the same time, your police steal blankets from people forced to sleep on the street, while you repress demonstrations and criminalize those who defend the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers. You want to give me a medal for acts that you oppose within your own borders. I’m sure you will not be surprised to see me refuse your Grand Vermeil medal.”

Under conditions of the systematic promotion of nationalism and anti-immigrant chauvinism by the media and political establishments around the world, Klemp’s statement gives voice to the real sentiments felt by millions of workers and youth, who are outraged and disgusted by the ruling elite’s brutalization, persecution and murder of refugees.

Klemp’s post differentiates between the Paris authorities and the population who support refugees. “Paris, I love you for all of the free people and those in solidarity who live there. People who fight for freedom every day … distributing blankets, friendship and solidarity. I love you for those who share their houses … without worrying about the nationality of people or if they have legal papers or not.”

“Paris, I am not a humanitarian,” the statement continued. “I am not here to ‘help’. I am in solidarity by your side. We do not need medals. We do not need authorities who decide who is a ‘hero’ and who is ‘illegal’. In fact, there is no basis for this, because we are all equal.”

“What we need is freedom and rights. It is time to denounce the hypocritical honours and fill in the void with social justice. It’s time for all medals to be thrown like spearheads of the revolution! Papers and housing for all! Freedom of movement and residency!”

Pia Klemp (Creidt: @VivianAngrisani)

The post also included an image of the Hidalgo government’s installation of boulders under the Porte de la Chapelle bridge in February 2017, in order to prevent refugees from erecting tents to sleep there.

On Wednesday, Hidalgo’s deputy for international affairs Patrick Klugman tweeted in response to Klemp’s refusal that “your concerns are justified and questions legitimate”, and invited Klemp to “come to Paris to show you the means we’ve put in place to welcome migrants with dignity.”

In the eyes of the Socialist Party, “welcoming” refugees with “dignity” means throwing them into the street like wild dogs for years on end, with no housing, income, food, or right to work. Between 1,500 and 2,000 refugees sleep homeless every night in tent encampments in the north-eastern suburbs around La Chapelle alone. Many have been in the country for over two years, dependent upon private citizens and charities to survive and offered no pathway out. This anti-immigrant regime is overseen by the Macron administration and supported by the entire French political establishment.

Klemp’s statement is a condemnation of not only the Socialist Party, but the criminal anti-immigrant policies of the Macron administration and the European Union (EU).

The Italian government arrested Klemp and her crew and seized the Juventa in August 2017. They face charges of “aiding and abetting illegal migration” because of their actions in saving up to 14,000 refugees seeking to travel from Africa to Europe via the Mediterranean. Italy’s fascistic interior minister Matteo Salvini has not been able to proceed with the charges in over two years, aware of the absence of any legal basis for the case and the widespread support for the rescuers in the working class.

This 1 July 2019 video says about itself:

Revelations about/ Rivelazioni su Pia Klemp, Sea Watch & Jugend Rettet

ENGLISH / ITALIANO

Pia Klemp is facing unfair and fake accusations of adding illegal immigration, in this video you will find our analysis of the situation.

We find a complete injustice in the fact that someone is accused in justice just because she is fulfilling her duty of saving human lives.

Even more because she is acting according to the international maritime conventions SAR, SOLAS and UNCLOS.

The Will Morrow article continues:

More than 393,000 people have signed a petition demanding the dropping of all charges against Klemp and the other crew members. A fundraising campaign for their legal defense has raised over 380,000 euros. Similar numbers donated and signed petitions for the freeing of Carola Rackete, the 32-year-old who took over captaincy of the Sea-Watch 3 from Klemp, and who was arrested by Salvini in May after defying an illegal ban by the Italian government on arrivals of rescue ships carrying refugees.

Both Rackete and Klemp were offered the Paris prize in July, as part of the cynical and fraudulent efforts by the Macron administration, as well as the German and other EU governments, to posture as more “humanitarian” than the fascistic Salvini. But the truth, expressed in Klemp’s own statements, is that none of them have any substantial differences with Salvini’s policies at all.

The policy of the European Union toward refugees is one of conscious and deliberate mass murder. More than 14,000 refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean since 2014, but the real number is likely far higher. The EU has cancelled all rescue operations in the sea, instead providing funding, boats and arms to extreme-right Libyan militias to intercept asylum seekers and either allow them to drown or return them to EU-funded concentration camps in Libya, where they are forced to labor or directly sold into slavery, robbed, beaten, raped or killed.

The rescue ships such as those commanded by Klemp and Rackete have been targeted by the EU precisely because they have refused to return refugees to Libya and insisted upon the transferring them to a European port of entry. They have been systematically stripped of sailing rights and refused flags to sail under.

Since March, the EU governments have withdrawn all the ships previously supplied to “Operation Sophia”. This mission, which is supposedly responsible for saving the lives of refugees, now does not possess a single ship of its own, instead relying on aerial drones to observe immigrants drowning from above or direct Libyan forces to catch them.

To the extent there are differences, it is that Macron and Merkel believe that the attacks on refugees can be carried out more efficiently and provoke less outrage than via Salvini’s strategy.

That is why on July 22, Macron announced a new accord, initiated by Paris and Berlin, under the Orwellian title of the European “solidarity mechanism”. Its purpose, Macron explained, would not be to welcome more refugees, as one might naively believe from the title, but to “create mechanisms for the return to their countries of origin of those who do not have the right to asylum, in a manner that is much more rapid and much more efficient than that which we have today.”

Toronto International Film Festival 2019: Part 1. Paris Stalingrad: The plight of refugees in the French capital, once “one of the best cities”: here.

An interview with Hind Meddeb, director of Paris Stalingrad: “It’s not a film about refugees, it’s a film about human beings”: here.

Paris, France children Notre-Dame fire lead poisoning


This 6 August 2019 video from France says about itself:

A top French labour union and environmental health groups have banded together to demand Notre-Dame Cathedral be covered and sealed after the fire that destroyed its roof, deeming it an ongoing source of lead pollution.

By Sam Dalton:

Paris’s Notre Dame fire: Two children test positive for lead poisoning

12 August 2019

Four months after the April 15 fire at the Notre Dame cathedral, during which up to 440 tons of lead roofing was dispersed by smoke into the surrounding areas of Paris, at least two children have tested positive for dangerous levels of lead in their blood.

The revelations are an indictment of the local Parisian government of Socialist Party Mayor Anne Hidalgo and the national government of Emmanuel Macron, which have worked to cover up the lead poisoning scandal since the fire occurred and insisted that there is no danger to the population. The government’s actions, including its refusal to close local schools, have meant that hundreds of children have been kept at creches and on school grounds contaminated by lead for months. They are now in danger of permanent damage.

The Parisian Regional Health Authority (Agence Regionale de Santé–ARS) announced the results of the tests of 175 children on August 6. Sixteen were measured to have lead blood levels requiring continued monitoring (between 20 and 49 micrograms of lead per litre of blood), and two with levels above the 50 micrograms indicating a risk of lead poisoning.

While the French government’s categorization assumes levels below 50 micrograms of lead per litre of blood do not pose an immediate risk of blood poisoning, the World Health Organization states that even levels as low as 5 micrograms per litre can pose a significant danger to children. Given the small number of tests conducted so far, it is likely that many more people are now threatened with lead poisoning.

Of the two children recorded with higher lead levels so far, one was a student at a school located in the 6th arrondissement—within a 500-meter radius of the cathedral—that was closed on July 25, when Parisian authorities were finally compelled to respond to a popular outcry at the reports of lead contamination in the playground shared with a second neighbouring school.

Part of the school grounds had recorded lead concentration levels of up to 5,000 micrograms per square meter (μg/m2). This is more than 70 times the level of 70 μg/m² level specified by a 2016 French General Health Directorate advisory as signifying “risk of lead poisoning to children.”

The authorities’ cover-up of these results meant the school continued to function more than three months after the fire had occurred, during which time the government denied that there was any danger to the students.

On July 29, Annie Thébaud-Mony, the honorary research director at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research, told Le Monde that a measurement of 5,000 μg/m2 was “gigantic” and “corresponds to what one can see in decontamination factories for recycling batteries or treating electromagnetic waste materials. They are a sign of massive contamination that will inevitably create victims.”

On July 26, the environmental protection NGO Robin Hood filed a lawsuit against multiple government organizations for placing the population in danger through its response to the lead danger. The suit charges the Macron administration’s Ministry of Culture, the mayor of Paris, the local councillors of the 4th, 5th and 6th arrondissements of the city, as well as the ARS, with the placing of other individuals’ lives in danger, non-assistance to individuals in danger, and providing false and misleading information to the public.

“We estimate that, since the start, there has been a shortcoming of information diffused to the public and that [people] have been victims of false information and toxicity,” said Jacky Bonnemains, the president of the organization.

The organization had published an alert about the risk of lead pollution from the cathedral’s spires and roof on April 19—four days after the fire. This was followed up by a letter sent to the ARS for the Ile-de-France, the Minister for Culture, Minister of Health and the Minister for Labour. The letter requested that the authorities “put in place as soon as possible a coordinated protocol for monitoring dust and lead particles and other toxic substances in and around the cathedral.”

These appeals were ignored.

The Robin Hood NGO also published a letter received from University of Manchester Professor Michael Anderson. He emphasized the importance of rapid decontamination, given the risk that “lead particles will be carried into water sources.”

Not until a month after the Notre Dame fire were tests for lead levels ordered by the Parisian authorities. The results of the tests were made public in leaks published by Médiapart on July 18. They showed that of 196 tests in 10 schools and creches within 500 meters of the cathedral, 31 recorded levels equal to or greater than the 70 μg/m2 threshold, and some many tens of times over.

The local Parisian government covered over these figures, citing only average concentrations of lead, rather than the highest local points of concentration, which children could nonetheless be exposed to.

Bonnemains noted that the government has focused its attention on rebuilding Notre Dame rapidly before the 2024 Olympic games, but “making the cathedral sanitary has been completely overlooked.”

Children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, absorbing four to five times more lead than adults. Lead poisoning can cause many health difficulties, most severely, irreversible brain damage.

A deep clean of the schools that had been closed down in July began last week. The cleaning teams wore heavy protective gear appropriate to the danger of the site, which in the past three months children used regularly for play. Meanwhile the reconstruction efforts have now been halted on the site of Notre Dame itself, acknowledging the danger posed to workers. Nonetheless, the government has refused to accept calls by NGOs and the … CGT trade union federation to place a plastic cover over the cathedral itself.

Even the totally inadequate measures enacted so far have been due to public outrage at the government’s lies and indifference to the health of the population. The emergency bill passed in the confusion following the fire ordering the immediate reconstruction of Notre Dame provides authorities with “exemptions or adaptions applying to the protection of the environment and the evacuation and treatment of waste.”

The fire itself was the outcome of the starvation of resources on the cultural site, including staffing cuts and overworked personnel unable to properly utilize the complex fire detection system.

HOW A NOTRE DAME CONSPIRACY THEORY LED TO A SHOOTING  When the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire, far-right pundits spread groundless accusations that Muslim attackers started the blaze. Last week, a former far-right political candidate who had embraced that conspiracy theory went to a French mosque and tried to set it on fire. He shot two Muslim men who confronted him. [HuffPost]

USA: Bottled water distributions begin as lead water poisoning crisis erupts in Newark, New Jersey: here.

LEAD CRISIS HITS NEW JERSEY Residents in Newark, New Jersey, are facing a growing emergency over lead contamination in the city’s drinking water supply. The crisis is the result of years of mismanagement and has forced city officials to warn tens of thousands of residents against drinking tap water for fear of lead poisoning. [HuffPost]

On Tuesday, city officials in Newark, New Jersey were forced to halt handouts of bottled water over concerns over expiration labels. The emergency distribution had just begun on Monday in response to reports last week of high lead contamination in the city’s drinking water even after the use of home tap filters: here.

Earlier this month, the results of testing conducted in Newark, New Jersey’s public schools in August 2018 were released, showing that seven schools have lead-contaminated water. These results were released as the result of a public records request by WNYC/Gothamist; the city government of Newark did not post the results on its website, a violation of state rules: here.

Many anti-xenophobia protests


This 13 July 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Eugene, Oregon Lights for Liberty Vigil

Candlelight vigil in Eugene, Oregon following the rally and march at the Federal Building.

A candle was held for each of the 37 people who have died in the custody of United States government agencies and was raised high to honor them as their names were read aloud. Following this emotional reading, the gathering further honored their memory by chanting three times the word “presente”, indicating that those who died are both remembered and here with us.

The ceremony concluded with a prayer by a Methodist Minister.

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA, 13 July 2019:

Thousands protest immigrant concentration camps at vigils across the US

Two days before the largest immigration raid in US history, thousands of people in over 700 cities held vigils and protests yesterday to voice their anger at the mass imprisonment and brutal treatment of immigrants at concentration camps. The vigils were an international event, with at least one event taking place in every US state and across five continents.

The protests show that there is broad popular opposition to Trump’s fascistic attacks on immigrants. They were organized after reports of standing room only cells, Customs and Border Protection officials denying children toothbrushes and diapers, and the drowning of a father and his young daughter at the US-Mexico border sparked international outrage.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Police crack down on undocumented workers occupying Paris Pantheon

13 July 2019

Yesterday afternoon, 700 undocumented African workers occupied Paris’s historic Panthéon building, chanting “Black vests” and demanding recognition of their right to reside in France. The protest, whose name referred to “yellow vest” protests against social inequality over the past six months, was met with a violent police crackdown.

Police forcibly evacuated the Panthéon, then kettled and charged at demonstrators behind the building, arresting at least 37.

Honey bees survive Notre Dame Paris fire


This 19 April 2019 video about Paris, France says about itself:

The bees that live on the roof of Notre Dame are alive and buzzing, having survived the devastating fire that ripped through the cathedral on Monday.

Beekeeper Nicolas Geant told CNN that he received a call from the Notre Dame spokesman saying there were bees flying in and out of the hives. “Which means they are still alive!” Geant said.

“Right after the fire I looked at the drone pictures and saw the hives weren’t burnt but there was no way of knowing if the bees had survived. Now I know there’s activity it’s a huge relief!”

Notre Dame has housed three beehives on the first floor on a roof over the sacristy, just beneath the rose window, since 2013. Each hive has about 60,000 bees. Geant said the hives were not touched by the blaze because they are located about 30 meters below the main roof where the fire spread.

The beekeeper Nicolas Geant settled these three hives on the roof of the sacristy of Notre Dame

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The bee colony that lives on the roof of Notre Dame also survived the fire. There was still uncertainty about this, but the three hives, in which 180,000 honey bees live, were not affected by the fire. The hives were placed on the roof in 2013 as a contribution to biodiversity in the center of Paris. They stood about 30 meters below the tip of the roof that burned down.

According to the beekeeper of Notre Dame, bees can survive a fire by filling themselves with honey as soon as they detect a fire. Insects have no lungs and cannot choke because of smoke. European bees will never leave their hive and will protect their queen at all times, beekeeper Geant says.