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.

British government peddling xenophobia


This video says about itself:

UK refuses group entry to France’s Syrian refugees

4 October 2013

British border police on Friday ruled out group entry for some 60 Syrian asylum seekers at the French port of Calais who are trying to enter the UK.

By Alex Scrivener in Britain:

‘Rivers of Blood’ rhetoric raises hackles

Thursday 13th August 2015

Philip Hammond’s anti-migrant tirade echoes Enoch Powell’s famous speech, and we should be worried, believes ALEX SCRIVENER

IT IS depressing that so little has changed in almost half a century. In 1968, Enoch Powell gave his infamous Rivers of Blood speech. He predicted that immigration would cause falling living standards, shortages of hospital beds and school places and spoke of the “privilege” that migrants enjoyed over and above the existing population.

Fast forward 47 years and here we are, hearing it all over again. Not, as we would expect, from that open admirer of Powell, Nigel Farage, but from the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

Out came the same old tired lines (or more accurately lies) about how, as the world’s ninth richest country, we don’t have the resources to accept a few thousand desperate refugees camped out in the “jungle” near Calais and how immigration will grind the NHS to a halt. But the language — these people are now “marauders” — took the toxicity of the comments to another level.

When David Cameron referred to “swarms” of migrants last week, many were critical of his unfortunate choice of words, but there was also some appetite to give the PM the benefit of the doubt. After all, it is a phrase used at times to describe shoppers at sales and other more harmless situations. But Hammond’s comments crossed a red line. He consciously used language designed to pander to the xenophobic sentiment of the right-wing press, using many of the same arguments advanced by Powell many years ago.

And as with Powell, none of Hammond’s arguments have any basis in truth. We know now that far from leading to shortages of hospital beds, the Commonwealth migrants of the 1960s and ’70s went on to form the backbone of the NHS (and arguably still do to this day). We also know that research has shown that migrants are generally net contributors to British society, and are far less likely to claim benefits (non-EU migrants can’t legally claim benefits anyway) than the local population. If Britain’s health and welfare systems are under threat it is government policy, not migration, that’s to blame.

But in a very important way, all of this argument about what “we” should do about the people seeking to reach Britain from Calais is a distraction from the real question that should be asked: why are these people so desperate to come here in the first place?

The answer is obvious. Where they are not escaping outright war and persecution, it is because the standard of living here is far higher than that in their countries of origin. But why do people accept this state of affairs as part of some preordained “natural” order of things?

It would be an exaggeration to say that all of migration is somehow “our fault” (in fact, even discussing it in this way presupposes that migration is a bad thing). But British foreign policy, economic structures, and even aid provision have played a role in perpetuating the root causes of migration.

British arms companies sell weapons to dodgy regimes who then use them against their own people. British trade policy forces developing countries into unequal trade relationships that undermine their economic development. And multinational companies based here in Britain extract much more profit from many countries in Africa, than they receive in aid.

All of this contributes to the terrible poverty and unprecedented inequality between rich and poor countries that powers migration.

Of course, if we got rid of the inequality people would still migrate, but it would be for good reasons such as really liking a particular place, or wanting to be closer to their parents. In fact, people would migrate in the same way that hundreds of thousands of British citizens do every year — not because of war or poverty, but because they have the urge to move freely from place to place. But if we got rid of the chasm of economic opportunity that exists between Europe and its southern and eastern neighbours, there would no longer be an immigration crisis and there would be no “jungle” in Calais.

No-one in Britain questions what they have done to deserve all of the privileges that come with a British passport. A British citizen can have breakfast in Paris, lunch in London and supper in New York with little more hassle than an official giving their passports a cursory glance.

To arrive here legally, someone from the global south has to go through a humiliating and expensive process lasting weeks or months, involving embassies and the collation of mountains of paperwork, just to visit Britain for a day. Even with all of this done, they can still be turned away at the border for pretty much any reason and without any recourse.

Only the wealthiest refugees can afford to go through this arduous process and so most have no other option but to try to get here illegally.

This is what Hammond is ignoring when he castigates illegal immigrants, and it’s what Theresa May forgets when she talks of creating a “hostile environment” for them in Britain. These people would certainly avail themselves of a legal way to escape poverty and war if they could. It is the lack of this choice that means people are drowning in the Mediterranean or dying trying to cross the English Channel.

There is a pressing need to fight the ideas of Hammond and his allies who, like Powell before them, see migrants as threatening invaders. Their policies are inhumane and morally wrong, but they are also doomed to fail even on their own terms. No wall, electric fence or xenophobic immigration policy will ultimately stop this movement of people until the root causes are dealt with.

Alex Scrivener is policy officer for Global Justice Now.

Don’t believe the press – Britain is far from a refugee magnet, by Owen Jones: 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.

Will German army deal with refugees?


This video says about itself:

Lomazy, Poland: 1942 massacre of all 1800 Jewish residents

Lomazy, east Poland.

On 18 August 1942 Wehrmacht Battalion 101 together with its Ukrainian Auxiliary Company and local Polish collaborators executed 1,800 women, men, children, elderly people, the entire village Jewish population and refugees.

The massacre took place into pits in the nearby ‘Haly Forest’.

This was merely one of many genocide atrocities committed against European Jews.

This is the short 15m version of the 1h10m film.

Film was taken by Meir Garbarz Gover in 2005 depicting the last surviving Polish eyewitness to the massacre. He was aged 13 in 1942 and lived in the farm next to the massacre forest location.

Gover’s own great uncle and his family were among the 1,800 victims.

By Martin Kreikenbaum in Germany:

Calls for deployment of German army to deal with refugees

4 August 2015

Refugees in Germany face miserable living conditions, with many forced to reside in hastily and poorly built tent camps. In Bavaria, the first emergency camps for Balkan refugees have opened, and calls are growing for the deployment of the German army. The emergency situation created by the authorities is aimed at deterring refugees from seeking protection in Germany and preparing the way for a dramatic restriction of the right to asylum.

Although the increase in refugees has been predicted for several months, neither the federal government nor any state government made any serious preparations for the immigrants’ accommodation. Factories, schools and empty army barracks are being hurriedly turned into reception centres. There are neither sufficient sanitary facilities nor the possibility for private areas of any kind for the frequently traumatised refugees at these locations.

Terrible conditions exist in the temporary tent camps established in Hamburg, Eisenhüttenstadt (Brandenburg), Neuenstadt (Baden-Württemberg) and numerous other places. Up to 1,300 refugees have been crammed in together at these locations.

Conditions are particularly disastrous in the refugee camp in Dresden. When the first refugees were due to move into the camp established by the German Red Cross 10 days ago, a right-wing mob gathered in front of the camp and began attacking volunteers with bottles and stones. Police did nothing to protect the refugees or their helpers.

A few days later, the refugees protested the catastrophic conditions with a blockade. The tents at the Dresden site are jammed together side by side, sanitary facilities are totally inadequate and medical care and rubbish disposal facilities are virtually non-existent. It only took a few days for the first illnesses caused by the miserable conditions to make their appearance.

Authorities in Berlin have gone a step further and are leaving refugees homeless. According to the Berlin Council for Refugees, the state department for health care and social welfare is only giving out hostel vouchers to refugees, although just a third of the refugees find accommodation in hostels. Most hostels are filled with tourists or refuse to accept refugees, because the city of Berlin has failed to pay outstanding bills.

Refugees are compelled to sleep in parks or at the main train station in the open air. In violation of the law, they are given only €6 [$US6.56] per day, half the standard social security rate, to support themselves. If refugees then try to take action to help themselves, they are bullied. According to the Berlin state senate, begging in subways, on streets and in squares is “out of control”, resulting in its plan to ban begging by children.

In Ingolstadt, Bavaria, the Max Immelmann barracks are being refurbished to serve as a refugee camp for migrants from the Balkans. Up to 1,500 refugees will be accommodated there. Under the Bavarian government’s plan, a sped-up asylum procedure will see the applications processed within four weeks and the rejected refugees immediately deported. The Bavarian Refugee Council strongly criticised the planned reception centre and correctly described it as an “emergency camp with its own deportation airport”.

At the same time, calls are growing for the deployment of the army to intervene. German law excludes such a deployment in principle, because in the 20th century the Reichswehr—the army under the Weimar Republic—and the Wehrmacht—the armed forces under the Nazis—were used to brutalize the population. But this ban has been repeatedly watered down in recent years.

The German army was not only called on to assist during such natural disasters as the Elbe River flooding in 2002, but also at the G8 conference in Heiligendamm in 2007, when fighter jets and tanks were deployed to intimidate and suppress protests.

Now, the chairman of the committee on internal affairs in Saxony’s state parliament, Mario Pecher (Social Democratic Party, SPD), has called for the army to operate refugee reception centres. Saxony’s state premier Holger Stahlknecht (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) went even further, describing the number of refugees in Germany as an “international crisis resulting in conditions resembling the migration of entire peoples”. On this reactionary, hysterical basis, Stahlknecht raised the demand for “the current restriction of the German army to foreign deployments and disaster response” to be reconsidered.

Soldiers guarding camps of refugees from the Balkans recalls the Nazi concentration camps. In 1935, the Hitler government declared that Sinti and Roma were enemies of the Reich. More than 25,000 were registered in the German Reich and deported. In total, 500,000 fell victim to the Nazi butchery throughout Europe.

Today, relatives of the Roma make up the majority of the refugees from the Balkans. According to figures from the German government, 90 percent of asylum seekers from Serbia are Roma, 72 percent from Macedonia, 60 percent from Bosnia and 42 percent from Montenegro.

These refugees, in particular, are the target of scurrilous propaganda from the German media and politicians. Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer (Christian Social Union, CSU) has denounced them as “mass abusers of asylum”, while Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz (SPD) sounded a similar note by contemptuously saying that the immigrants were “refugees without any perspective of staying”.

Scholz also appealed for special reception centres to “arrive at quicker, non-bureaucratic decisions”. This means nothing less than the illegal curtailing of the asylum process and the swift deportation of refugees. Markus Ulbig (CDU) has also demanded the legal restriction of the right to asylum. He has begun reviewing “whether there is the possibility of curtailing the rights of obviously groundless asylum applications by reforming the basic law”.

Baden-Württemberg’s state premier Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) also called for additional anti-immigrant measures, including the cutting of the pocket money of €143 per month and the more decisive deportation of refugees. He also supports demands from SPD and CDU figures to declare Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro “secure” countries of origin, so asylum applications can be more quickly rejected and refugees more swiftly deported.

Roma in the Balkans, who already suffer from high unemployment and lack of prospects, are often discriminated against. They have virtually no chance of getting work, housing or education. Their settlements are regularly cleared by bulldozers and residents left homeless. Where settlements are tolerated, they are often located on or near rubbish dumps without electricity or water supply.

The German government is, in large part, responsible for the disastrous conditions in which the Roma live. In the early 1990s, Germany played a key role in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and the subsequent brutal civil war. In 1999, it actively intervened to devastate the Balkans with its participation in the war against Serbia. At that time, an estimated 100,000 Roma were forced to flee their homes and many remain homeless and stateless to this day.

Last year, a journalist described the situation of the Roma in Serbia for the Federal Agency for Civic Education: “They live in slums, which do not exist, in streets, which do not exist, in huts that have no numbers outside. Their children do not effectively exist because they were born in a place that does not exist, and this place does not exist, because it is not listed in any land registry office and officially does not exist.”

ProAsyl cites a legal opinion arguing that the inhumane conditions under which the Roma live in the Balkans, constitutes a “cumulative persecution” within the meaning of the right to asylum, which means that the Roma should be granted protection status.

Instead, the Roma in Germany are denounced as “social state spongers”, incarcerated in special camps, which are then guarded by German soldiers. This can only be described as cynical, racist policies. The official stigmatization of Roma as “social parasites” creates the climate for incitement and racist attacks against refugee facilities.

British neo-nazis attack pro-refugee demonstrators


This video is called Neo-Nazi group Britain First ‘invade’ East London Mosque.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

EDL blamed for Folkestone protest attack

Monday 3rd August 2015

Rally called for end to migrant deaths on line

A PEACEFUL migrant solidarity protest at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone on Saturday was attacked by members of Britain First and the English Defence League.

A vigil organised by the Folkestone United group to mark the deaths of 11 desperate refugees trying to enter Britain was marred by the violent mob.

Speaking to the Star, Thanet People’s Assembly organiser Bridget Chapman said “scuffles” followed an attack by the racist groups, despite heavy policing.

Ms Chapman, who organised the protest, explained that she had to act after “some friends and I were very moved by the death of the Sudanese boy on one of the Channel tunnel trains.

“We wanted to send a clear message to the migrants that we support them.”

She added they also aimed to “tell the media that we will no longer tolerate irresponsible reporting of this crisis and that the focus needs to be firmly on the plight of the migrants and not on the inconvenience to holiday makers.

“We wanted to ask Eurotunnel how a boy could up up dead on the freight deck of one of their trains.”

Last week’s news that a 30-year-old Sudanese man died trying to cross the Channel brought the number of migrant casualties on the tunnel line to nine just over a month.

Coverage of the ongoing refugee crisis taking place on both sides of the English Channel has been heavily criticised by migrant groups and charities who have described it as “inflammatory” and skewed.

A Church of England bishop has also come out against the Prime Minister’s approach to the tragedy after David Cameron described those seeking refuge in Britain as a “swarm.

Bishop of Dover Trevor Willmott said: “We’ve become ana increasingly harsh world, and when we become harsh with each other and forget our humanity then we end up in these stand-off positions.

“We need to rediscover what it is to be a human, and that every human being matters.”