Stop British government bombing Syria

This video from London, England says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn Fiery Syrian Refugee Rally. FULL SPEECH at Parliament Square After Elected

12 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn addresses Parliament Square refugee rally

Jeremy Corbyn said he was “shocked beyond appalled” over some media coverage about refugees.

In his one of his first speeches since being elected Labour leader on Saturday, he addressed a rally about rights for refugees held in Parliament Square, Westminster.

He claimed “a lot of politicians had rediscovered their principles, their principles of humanity” over the refugees arriving in Europe in recent weeks.

Mr Corbyn called on people to open their hearts, minds and attitudes “towards people who are desperate“.

Jeremy Corbyn has promised to lead a Labour “fight back” after being elected the party’s new leader by a landslide.

The veteran left winger got almost 60% of more than 400,000 votes cast, trouncing his rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.

He immediately faced an exodus of shadow cabinet members – but senior figures including Ed Miliband urged the party’s MPs to get behind him.

Mr Corbyn was a 200-1 outsider when the three month contest began.

But he was swept to victory on a wave of enthusiasm for his anti-austerity message and promise to scrap Britain’s nuclear weapons and renationalise the railways and major utilities.

He told BBC News he had been a “bit surprised” by the scale of his victory but his campaign had showed “politics can change and we have changed it”.

He will now select his shadow cabinet – but without a string of existing members including Ms Cooper, Tristram Hunt and Rachel Reeves – who have all ruled themselves out.

He has also hinted that he wants to change the format of Prime Minister’s Questions – he faces David Cameron across the despatch box for the first time on Wednesday – suggesting other Labour MPs might get a turn.

The Islington North MP won on the first round of voting in the leadership contest, taking 251,417 of the 422,664 votes cast – against 19% for Mr Burnham, 17% for Ms Cooper and 4.5% for Ms Kendall. Former minister and Gordon Brown ally Tom Watson was elected deputy leader.

Corbyn supporters chanted “Jez we did” as he took to the stage, putting on his glasses to deliver his acceptance speech.

The leftwinger, who has spent his entire 32 year career in the Commons on the backbenches, promised to fight for a more tolerant and inclusive Britain – and to tackle “grotesque levels of inequality in our society“.

He said the leadership campaign “showed our party and our movement, passionate, democratic, diverse, united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society that is possible for all”.

“They are fed up with the inequality, the injustice, the unnecessary poverty. All those issues have brought people in, in a spirit of hope and optimism.”

He said his campaign had given the lie to claims that young Britons were apathetic about politics, showing instead that they were “a very political generation that were turned off by the way in which politics was being conducted – we have to, and must, change that”.

Mr Corbyn added: “The fightback now of our party gathers speed and gathers pace.”

His first act as leader was to attend a “Refugees Welcome Here” rally, joining tens of thousands of people marching through central London in support of the rights of refugees.

Addressing cheering crowds in Parliament Square, he delivered an impassioned plea to the government to recognise its legal obligations to refugees from Syria and elsewhere and to find “peaceful solutions to the world’s problems”.

“Open your your hearts. Open your minds, open your attitude to suffering people, who are desperate and who are in need of somewhere safe to live,” added the new Labour leader.

Singer Billy Bragg then led the crowd in a rendition of socialist anthem The Red Flag.

Mr Corbyn earlier told supporters his first day at the helm of his party in Parliament would be spent opposing government plans to “shackle” trade unions by imposing higher thresholds for strike ballots.

By Luke James in Britain:

Corbyn Blows Apart PM Bid to Bomb Syria

Friday 27th October 2015

DAVID CAMERON’S bid to bomb Syria was frustrated yesterday as MPs pulled apart the Prime Minister’s claims that air strikes would be legal, effective or make Britain safer.

Mr Cameron hoped to secure a parliamentary majority in favour of bombing by personally making the case in a Commons statement.

But Mr Cameron held back from calling a snap vote after facing tough questions from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as well as senior Tories.

Wide-ranging concerns raised by MPs from all parties could see the PM face a repeat of 2013, when Labour and progressive MPs united with Tory rebels to block bombing in Syria.

The PM had suggested a vote could be called as soon as Monday when he said earlier this week that MPs should “consider it (bombing) over the weekend.”

Downing Street sources were cautious after yesterday’s debate, insisting: “We’re not putting a timetable on a vote.”

And Mr Cameron told MPs: “Let me be clear — there will not be a vote in this House unless there is a clear majority for action, because we will not hand a publicity coup to Isis (Islamic State).”

With Parliament sitting for just 16 more days before the Christmas break, he is running out of time to call a vote.

Mr Cameron argued Britain’s intervention was legal on the grounds of self-defence and claimed the RAF’s capabilities could reduce civilian casualties.

The PM insisted he had “learned the lessons of previous conflicts,” but added that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose army is the main ground force engaged in fighting Isis, would not be part of the solution.

But Mr Corbyn raised fears that bombing could trigger “unintended consequences” that would put Britain at more risk of attacks and further destabilise Syria.

He said: “The question must now be whether extending the UK bombing from Iraq to Syria is likely to reduce or increase that threat and whether it will counter or spread the terror campaign Isis is waging in the Middle East.”

Labour veteran Paul Flynn went further, warning bombing would boost Isis and “escalate a regional war into a world war between Christians and Muslims.”

Dennis Skinner also ordered Mr Cameron to “keep out” of the “crazy war,” while only a handful of Blairites suggested they would break the Labour whip to back bombing.

Labour’s shadow cabinet met to consider the party’s position yesterday afternoon and will meet again on Monday.

Within the Tory ranks, Mr Cameron was boosted by the support of Crispin Blunt, the foreign affairs select committee chairman who voted against bombing in 2013.

But defence select committee chairman Julian Lewis was among senior Tory backbenchers who were sceptical of Mr Cameron’s plan.

Mr Lewis expressed disbelief at Mr Cameron’s claim that there were 70,000 Free Syrian Army soldiers which Britain could support with air strikes. US general Lloyd Austin estimated the number of “moderate” rebels in Syria as “four or five.”

European governments plan intensified military intervention in Syria: here.

Refugees news update

This video from Canada says about itself:

Refugees Welcome! March Through Vancouver

6 September 2015

Rally held today on Coast Salish Territories, standing up with the global movement in solidarity with refugees and demanding Canada repeal exclusionary refugee policies. Part of 18 actions across the country.

By Janet Browning and Roger Jordan in Canada:

Canada: Right seeks to whip up backlash against refugees

24 November 2015

A right-wing, fear-mongering campaign has been whipped up in Canada by much of the political establishment and media in the 10 days since the Paris terrorist attacks.

Claiming that Syrian refugees constitute a “security threat,” the Conservatives and other right-wing forces are demanding the new Liberal government abandon its pledge to settle 25,000 Syrian refugees in the country by the end of 2015. Many have baldly declared that “Harper was right,” a reference to the former Conservative Prime Minister who callously resisted demands to take in more than a trickle of refugees and put in place mechanisms to effectively prohibit Syrian Muslims from finding refuge in Canada.

The latest attempt to whip up an anti-refugee backlash has included open Islamophobic appeals and has helped fuel a wave of attacks and threats against Canada’s Muslims.

By Martin Kreikenbaum in Germany:

Thousands of refugees stuck on the Balkan route

24 November 2015

Thousands of refugees have been stranded along the Balkan route with almost no care or accommodation after the Balkan countries Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia virtually closed their borders to refugees last week, only allowing asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq to cross.

The borders were shut under pressure from Germany and France so as to allegedly prevent Islamist terrorists from entering the European Union (EU). In fact, the measure, which represents a blatant violation of international agreements on the protection of refugees, is aimed at repulsing as many asylum seekers as possible at Europe’s borders.

At the weekend, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) counted up to 6,000 refugees who were temporarily stranded near the Greek city of Idomeni at the Macedonian border and prevented from travelling further. The temporary refugee camp had places for just 900 refugees. Thousands of refugees, including the elderly, children and pregnant women, had to sleep in the open in pouring rain and freezing conditions. There was also no provision of food. Instead, the Greek government deployed additional police officers to the border region to prevent refugees from going further.

When a few hundred refugees nonetheless managed to break through police lines, they were intercepted by the Macedonian border police and sent back. Refugees subsequently occupied the only railway connecting Greece with Macedonia. The camp at Idomeni was transformed into a protest camp.

Some refugees have gone on hunger strike and sewn their mouths shut. They have rejected calls from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to return to Athens. “We will cross or die,” they cried. On quickly improvised banners, they demanded to be allowed to continue their journey. “We are not terrorists. We are just looking for a better life. Please let us go,” one stated.

The division of refugees into national groups has produced bizarre scenes. One family was refused the right to enter Macedonia because only the husband could produce an Afghan passport, while the wife and children only had Iranian citizenship. Thirty-year-old Mohammed Mirzam told news broadcaster Al-Jazeera, “We’re trapped. … They won’t let my family across. We have no money, and we’re waiting without any idea of what is to happen.” Other Afghans were not allowed to cross because they were accused of allegedly falsifying travel documents.

The humanitarian crisis now emerging along the Balkan route began on 19 November, when the Slovenian government announced it would not allow any more economic migrants into the country. A police spokesman told Reuters, “More and more people have entered the country over recent days who we have good reason to believe are economic migrants.” Slovenia would thus only accept migrants from countries where armed conflict was taking place.

But it is the governments in Germany and France who initiated the partial border closings. They are exploiting the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13 to further seal off Europe from refugees.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for a “significant strengthening of measures to secure European borders” at a meeting of justice and interior ministers in Brussels last Tuesday. The ministers subsequently agreed that refugees would not only be fingerprinted during registration, but also checked against databases of the European security agencies. Police officers from Europol and the border agencies will supervise the registration at the “hot spots”.

Slovenia, unlike the neighbouring EU member Croatia, is also part of the Schengen zone. In border management, it works closely with the Austrian and German governments. It is therefore likely that the idea of a partial border closing originated with German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, who has been agitating for stronger restrictions on the inflow of refugees for weeks. This is also suggested by the justification offered by the Slovenian government. It declared that only refugees from countries at war or in military conflict would gain asylum in Germany and other European countries, while all others would be rejected as “economic migrants”.

The Slovenian government’s move was part of a domino effect in Serbia, Macedonia and Croatia. According to a report by German public broadcaster ARD’s “Tagesschau”, the European Commission in Brussels pressed for the borders to be closed. “That is the intention of Juncker’s plan, that the humanitarian aspect, meaning any assistance, is limited to those affected by war.”

Serbia’s labour and social minister Aleksandr Vulin said his government had no other option but to follow the example of Slovenia and Croatia. “We need to protect our country, and that is why we have brought in reciprocal measures toward those for whom Croatia and Slovenia have no room. We will not allow into Serbia anyone who cannot continue their journey.”

Since the change in course by Slovenia and Croatia was so obviously agreed with the European Union and Germany, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski also announced the closure of the border. At the same time, he warned the EU against exploiting his country as a buffer zone against “economic migrants.”

Gruevski recently was informed at a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban about the Hungarian approach of sealing its borders. Macedonia subsequently also began the construction of a barbed wire fence made available by the Hungarian government.

The sealing of the borders for refugees not from Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq represents a serious violation of human rights, since everyone is entitled to an individual review of an asylum application. For refugees who cannot produce any papers, which is hardly unusual after several weeks of travel, face checks are used to determine who will be allowed to travel further.

“What is taking place here is racial profiling instead of the individual reviewing of each case in accordance with the law,” stated Hagen Kopp from Project Moving Europe. It remains completely unclear why refugees from Eritrea or Somalia are being turned away at the borders, even though they are among those whose need for protection is high within the EU.

The spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Athens, Ketty Kehayioylou, in the Guardian criticised the claim that the rejection of refugees was a necessary measure to prevent terrorists from entering Europe. “This business of placing restrictions and erecting fences to keep terrorists out when terrorists are already in their countries makes no sense whatsoever. Profiling by nationality defies every convention”, she said.

In addition, human rights activists are contending that the conditions facing refugees worsen considerably when borders are closed and they are left in a legal no man’s land. “We fear that precisely at the onset of winter, people will be stranded without accommodation, food or assistance,” a spokesman from MSF said in Serbia.

Thousands of refugees already live homeless on the streets and squares of Athens. … Instead of accepting the refugees who are in need of protection, the EU is using batons and barbed wire against them, leaving them to their fate as winter begins.

Britain: TENS of thousands of refugees and migrants will lose English language lessons as a result of the government’s adult education cuts, it was revealed yesterday: here.

German arsonist burns refugees’ home

This video says about itself:

Germany remembers Turks who died in 1993 arson which raised fears over neo-nazi threat

30 May 2013

Twenty years after two women and three children of Turkish origin were killed in an arson attack in western Germany by right-wing extremists, survivors and German officials have remembered those who died. Relatives of the victims of the 1993 attack spoke at a remembrance service of the need to “live in friendship, respect and tolerance”, while the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister spoke out against racism.

Translated from DPA news agency in Germany:

Arson in refugees’ home

11.24.2015, 08:49

An unknown person has set on fire in northern Germany a multi-family house, in which ten refugees were also housed. A 76-year-old and a 14-year-old girl had to go to a hospital with suspected smoke inhalation poisoning.

According to police the fire had been set on Monday night in the basement of the house. As the smoke went into the stairwell, for a total of 35 residents their escape route was cut off. The firefighters had to rescue people with a ladder.

The house in Woldegk in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is uninhabitable for the time being. The residents had to be housed in temporary shelters.

Canadian couple cancel wedding to help Syrian refugees

Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousef had a smaller wedding at Toronto City Hall. Photo: Jim Martin

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Canadian couple cancel wedding to donate money to help Syrian refugees

‘It was definitely the perfect way to start our marriage,’ the pair say

Ashley Cowburn

A couple have cancelled their expensive wedding to donate money to help the plight of Syrian refugees settling in their country.

Canadians Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousef decided to give the cash they would have spent on thier nuptials to charity after being moved by the photo of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy found dead on a Turkish beach in September.

The couple, who got engaged in the summer of 2014, had already booked the venue, hired a caterer and drawn up a guest list of 130 people. But instead of going through with lavish wedding, they cancelled it all and had a small reception at Toronto’s City Hall last month.

Speaking to ABC News, Mrs Jackson said: “We were in the midst of wedding planning in September when that devastating photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi found on a beach came out.

“Like so many other people, we became acutely aware of how bad the situation was getting and how important it was to act and do something positive, so we cancelled the wedding and redirected the funds.”

The couple volunteer for Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, which has been raising money to help cover essential costs for Syrian families resettling in the area. So far the newlyweds have raised $17,500 towards the cause.

Mrs Jackson added: “Our family and friends were absolutely thrilled and supportive… and rather than giving the traditional gift, they made donations to help fund our sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family.”

“Our wedding was perfect…and it was definitely the perfect way to start our marriage.”

“These are people who are fleeing the very destruction of Daesh [ISIS] that we have seen in Paris”: here.

Turkish government sending refugees back into war

This video says about itself:

Hungary Lets Refugees Board Trains, Then Kicks Them Off

3 September 2015

The Hungarian police let some refugees, who were trying to get to Germany, board trains. Then they kicked them all off 25 miles later.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

“Turkey sends Syrians back into war”

Today, 13:33

Turkey violates international human rights treaties by sending Syrians back across the border. This says Human Rights Watch. The human rights organization says this means that for Syrian refugees there is no alternative to involvement with people traffickers.

“Turkey has the right to control its borders for security reasons, but it can not send refugees back into the war,” said HRW researcher Gerry Simpson. Since March, the official crossings from Syria to Turkey, according to him, have been almost completely closed.

HRW spoke recently with fifty Syrians who had managed to reach Turkey. Six of them stated that they had to make several attempts because they were sent back. Refugees are said to be beaten by border guards.

Pakistani government: European Union, stop sending Afghan, Pakistani refugees back to our country.
And sometimes shot dead.

Isis in Syria: Stop the march to war – There are alternatives: here.

While Official Washington devotes much sound and fury to demands for a wider war in Syria and the need to turn away Syrian refugees, Democrats and Republicans dodge the tougher question: how to confront Saudi Arabia about its covert funding for Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorists: here.

Closing migration routes into France won’t stop terrorism – resisting xenophobia might: here.

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.