European Union-financed Libyans endanger refugees, rescuers

This 10 May 2017 video is called Libyan Coast Guard puts refugees and rescuers in danger.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

“They brought the people on board without life jackets. That is extremely dangerous. What happens there is unacceptable.”

Captain Ruben Lampart

He has no good word for the action of the Libyan coast guard on the Mediterranean. Ruben Lampart is the captain of Sea Watch lifeboat that was almost collided on purpose by Libyans yesterday. “Those people have seriously endangered us and themselves, and we’re lucky we’re still alive.”

The coast guard attacked to intercept a boat with migrants. According to a spokesman [of one of many governments in Libya], the Libyans were bothered during their work by Sea Watch. “They wanted to bring the migrants to Italy because Libya would not be safe.”

Dear Mr Spokesman of one of the various governments in the bloody civil war in Libya: Libya IS not safe. Ever since NATO started its ‘humanitarian’ regime change war in 2011, Libya became a country of massive bloodshed, torture, ruined healthcare, and the worst child abuse in the world.

The Libyan mission is supported by the European Union with money, equipment and training. At an EU summit in early February, the member states agreed to work closely with the Libyans …

The precedent was the EU-Turkey [anti-refugee] deal … The problem for the EU is that there is big chaos in Libya, which still enables migrants to travel to Italy. There are three governments fighting for power, the EU recognizes one of these. …

To make it even more problematic: the Libyans turn out not to have a strategy to curb the migrant stream. EU officials told Reuters news agency that at the end of last month. …

More than 1150 people drowned or went missing [in the first four months of 2017].

The approximately 500 people aboard the ship intercepted yesterday were mostly from Morocco and Bangladesh. “The latter are a completely new group of migrants that originated in Libya,” says [NOS] correspondent Zoutberg. “The Bengalis are now the third most numerous category of migrants who try to cross.”

Zoutberg makes it look as if Moroccans and Bangladeshis now suddenly appear out of nowhere in Libya. However, before the NATO war started in 2011, Libya was the richest country in Africa. That attracted many immigrant workers: eg, from Morocco and other North African countries, European countries like Croatia, from sub-Saharan Africa, and Bangladesh. When the war started, racist and xenophobic propaganda by NATO’s Libyan allies depicted immigrant workers as supposedly ‘Gaddafi regime mercenaries’. That led to torture and other violence against them. Ever since, these immigrant workers try to flee NATO’s ‘new’ Libya.

The group has been taken to the naval base in Tripoli by the coast guard. According to Sea Watch, the entire operation was illegal because the migrants had to be brought to a safe port from international waters. Libya can not provide safety, the rescuers say. They want the EU to change its migration policy in the Mediterranean.

German racist army officer planned terror attack

This video says about itself:

1 May 2017

Germany’s defence minister has come under fire over a scandal involving an army lieutenant who is accused of plotting a gun attack while posing as a Syrian refugee.

This minister, Von der Leyen, has postponed a visit to the USA because of this scandal. It is said at least five German soldiers are in this far right terrorist network.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

German army officer arrested for planning terror attack

2 May 2017

The arrest of a 28-year-old German army officer suspected of planning a right-wing terrorist attack raises troubling questions. What initially looked like a bizarre isolated case has quickly demonstrated that the Bundeswehr, the German army, provides fertile ground for extreme right-wing elements.

Franco A. was arrested last Wednesday after trying to retrieve a weapon hidden in Vienna Airport. Up until then he had not come to the notice of Germany’s security agencies.

It soon became clear that Franco A. lived a double life. For eight years he has been a full-time soldier in the Bundeswehr, where he rose to the rank of first lieutenant. He was stationed in the French town of Illkirch.

Simultaneously, he registered as a Syrian refugee under the name of David Benjamin at the end of 2015. Although he came from Offenbach near Frankfurt, spoke no Arabic and communicated with the authorities in French, he was recognised as a refugee and assigned to a refugee camp. In addition to his earnings as a soldier he also received benefits as a refugee.

Since his arrest, the suspicion has been substantiated that Franco A., under his false refugee identity, was planning a terror attack against leftist politicians or activists, which was then to be blamed on refugees.

While the security authorities and Defence Ministry are stonewalling and only confirming in part what is already known, research by journalists has revealed that Franco A. espoused extreme right-wing positions, which were known to his military superiors. In house searches, lists with leftist and anti-fascist targets were found.

On Friday, Spiegel Online reported that Franco A. attracted attention with his extreme right-wing views as far back as 2014, when he studied at the French military university in Saint-Cyr. His master’s thesis was rejected because he recapitulated “staunch racial and right-wing extremist opinions and did not distance himself from the relevant thinkers or philosophers.” Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed this.

At that time, a professor at the university drew the conclusion that the master’s thesis “was not compatible with liberal democratic principles,” Spiegel Online reports. A scholar from the Centre for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr, who read the thesis, concluded that the text clearly contained “racial thinking.”

However, the suspicions raised against Franco A. were dropped after he had assured his German superior at the university that the right-wing passages in his work were the product of time pressure. The superior arrived at the conclusion that Franco A. did not hold extreme right-wing positions and gave him a “second chance.” Franco A. then wrote a new thesis that was accepted.

Allegedly, the incident was neither recorded in Franco A.’s personnel files nor forwarded to the responsible military security service (MAD). According to Spiegel Online, it only came to light because a soldier who could remember the incident reported it to his superiors.

On Sunday, Spiegel Online then reported that a “list of possible targets for attacks or assaults against leftist and anti-fascist organisations and individuals” was found in house searches. Security circles have confirmed the existence of the list, but have refused to comment on its likely purpose.

At least two people—the Berlin Left Party deputy Anne Helm, who campaigns against far-right tendencies, and the head of the organisation “Centre for Political Beauty,” which has organised artistic activities against right-wing extremism and arms exports—have been informed by the police they were on the list.

The case of Franco A. confirms that far-right elements are drawn to the Bundeswehr where their neo-fascist opinions are either tolerated or encouraged. In the course of the past few months there have been a series of scandals involving the abuse and sexual assault of cadets during training, including incidents at barracks in Pfullendorf and Sonderhausen.

This trend has assumed a new dimension with the latest report that a far-right terrorist attack was apparently being planned from within the ranks of the Bundeswehr. It is difficult to imagine that Franco A. had no confidantes or accomplices.

Even advocates of the Bundeswehr, such as the defence spokesman of the SPD parliamentary faction, Rainer Arnold, had to admit: “Filtering out extreme right-wing radicals has not always worked well in the Bundeswehr. Evidently not enough has been done.”

According to Hans-Peter Bartels (Social Democratic Party, SPD), the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, the Bundeswehr is “structurally more susceptible” than other sectors of society. “Hierarchies, weapons, uniforms—that appeals to some applicants whom the Bundeswehr should not want,” he told Welt am Sonntag.

Von der Leyen had to concede that the military leadership of the Bundeswehr had a “problem of demeanour” and a “misconceived esprit de corps,” which repeatedly leads to a situation where misconduct is not properly pursued. “Instead they look away, until a scandal erupts. And that’s not okay,” she told the ZDF television channel. “The Bundeswehr has problem of demeanour and evidently has leadership weaknesses at different levels.”

In fact, what is at issue here is neither a “problem of demeanour” nor a “weakness.” The appeal of the Bundeswehr for right-wing and far-right forces is the inevitable result of the return of German militarism. Its transformation into a professional army, which wages war and kills all over the world, inevitably attracts elements who espouse right-wing and militaristic conceptions with regard to other political and social issues.

The demand by von der Leyen and other members of the government, that Germany once again “take responsibility” and play a political and military role appropriate to its economic clout, also serves to attract such elements.

In the Weimar Republic, the General Staff of the Reichswehr, the Freikorps and the paramilitary groups, which emerged from the army after Germany’s defeat in the First World War, formed a state within the state. They provided a breeding ground for far-right organizations and acts of violence. Many socialists, including Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, were murdered by them, and they formed the basis for Hitler’s notorious storm troopers.

For a long time all this seemed to be relegated to history. But now it is clear that all the talk about “citizens in uniform” and “inner leadership” has changed nothing about the character of militarism. The case of Franco A. is a warning. With the growth of militarism, the danger from the extreme right-wing is also growing.

Footballing refugees succesfull in Greece

This video says about itself:

(15 Feb 2017) A former Greece national football player is heading a project to help refugees stranded in Greece regain a sense of purpose.

The team that former goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis helped build is called “Hope” and made up of players who fled war zones like Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Most players live in a large trailer park at Skaramagas, an industrial zone west of Athens, where metal containers are turned into shoebox-shaped homes.

They train during the week, and on Sundays play in an amateur league against teams made up of professional groups like lawyers, telecom workers, and accountants.

Football’s governing body in Europe, UEFA, sponsors the refugee team as well as Greek charity Organisation Earth, which spearheaded the idea for the team.

Nikopolidis, who was key to Greece’s stunning 2004 European Cup victory, says the team provides a distraction for team members who face an uncertain future in the European Union’s slow-moving relocation programme.

Football is the main source of entertainment for many of the 60,000-odd refugees in Greece, housed in army camps, abandoned factories and disused facilities of the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Nearly 9,000 refugees have been moved from Greece to other European Union countries, but the EU says the speed of relocation is still just over half the target rate.

Several Hope players have been lost to the relocation scheme, but most are expecting a long wait in Greece.

“I think the main thing is that we’ve created a group of friends, a family with bonds of friendship,” Nikopolidis said.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Footballing refugees win (almost) everything in Greece

Today, 07:08

“Run, run”, the players shout on the soccer field to a team-mate sprinting past the high fences. The training of the refugee team is about to begin, on the artificial grass field of Atromitos amateur club at Piraeus. “That’s Tufan, from Afghanistan. He’s always late,” says a laughing Syrian boy.

That is a well-known problem, assistant coach Abdullah Sulleman, who comes from the Iraqi city of Mosul, explains. Public transport is irregular from the refugee camp. By bus and metro it takes about an hour to get to the training site.

There in Skaramagas refugee camp all began last year. It is one of the largest camps in Greece, with more than 3000 people living in container houses. Many are waiting for a verdict on their asylum procedure, relocation to EU member states or family reunification.

That often long wait leads to boredom and frustration. Boys and young men tried to kill time with – of course – football.

“Then I thought why we do not make a team,” says Abdullah, who has done sports training in Iraq. “We started with a ball, without sportswear or soccer shoes. On a simple concrete ground.” …

By calls on Facebook, and after selections, eventually 25 players were selected, a trainer and doctor appointed and a technical manager. He is a well-known person: ex-keeper Antonis Nikopolidis from the Greek national team who became European champions in 2004. …

“We now have a team of players from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and recently from Morocco and Tanzania. They play in an amateur competition, against, eg, company teams, and are doing very well.”

“We’ve only lost two times,”said 23-year-old Mohammad Omar Shurdji of Damascus proudly. “Winning more than twenty times,” adds Abdessadek Chahine, a tall Moroccan boy from Casablanca, who has lived for a year and a half in Greece. Who also plays at a Greek club. 25-year-old Mohamed Wael Sefi played at an Aleppo club before leaving his country. “Soccer is all, it’s my life,” he says.

What the young players of this team, most of them between the ages of 18 and 25, have in common is that they played competition in their homeland, some at high level. Their dream is to play at a European club.

German racist army officer prepared terrorism to blame Syrian refugees

This video says about itself:

15 September 2016

An orchestra made up of Syrian musicians who fled their homeland is selling out venues across Germany. The Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra was founded a year ago and performs a mixture of classical and Arabic folk music.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

German soldier pretends to be asylum seeker ‘to do an attack

Today, 15:06

A 28-year-old German military officer has been arrested on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack. At the same time he is accused of fraud: he registered as a Syrian asylum seeker by the end of 2015. The German public prosecution service calls the case “more than curious”.

The reason for this double life is not yet clear, but the public prosecution service suspects that with this trick he would try to make a refugee the suspect of the crime.

The 28-year-old lieutenant from the German city of Offenbach got into the sight of the justice department three months ago when he hid a gun at the Vienna airport in the shower bowl of a toilet. He was arrested, but there was not enough evidence to hold him. However, his fingerprints were recognized, strangely enough as those of a Syrian refugee in the German city of Giessen. Yesterday the German was arrested.

Many questions

In Germany, there is an outrage on the case. How does a German man, who does not speak Arabic and has no Arabic background, register as a Syrian and apparently is believed to be so? The man was assigned a shelter and also the corresponding allowances for his costs of living.

“I have no answer now,” said the spokesman for the public prosecutor today. The soldier himself picked up the money, but he did not show himself much in the shelter.

The motive for the planned terror attack is said to be xenophobia. That would be apparent from voice messages between the military and a suspected accomplice. That man, a 24-year-old student and fellow city denizen of the suspect soldier, has also been arrested. In his house weapons and explosives have been found. He is said to have been aware of the plans.

‘European refugee camps are concentration camps’, pope says

This video says about itself:

Pope likens migrant holding centers to ‘concentration camps’

22 apr. 2017

Pope Francis urged governments on Saturday to get migrants and refugees out of holding centers, saying many had become “concentration camps”.

During a visit to a Rome basilica, where he met migrants, Francis told of his trip to a camp on the Greek island of Lesbos last year.

He met a Muslim refugee from the Middle East there who told him how “terrorists came to our country”. Islamists had slit the throat of the man’s Christian wife because she refused to throw her crucifix on the ground.

“I don’t know if he managed to leave that concentration camp, because refugee camps, many of them, are of concentration (type) because of the great number of people left there inside them,” the pope said. …

Francis praised countries helping refugees and thanked them for “bearing this extra burden, because it seems that international accords are more important than human rights”.

He did not elaborate but appeared to be referring to agreements that keep migrants from crossing borders, such as deals between the European Union (EU) and Libya and the EU and Turkey. Humanitarian groups have criticized both deals.

The pope urged people in northern Italy, home to an anti-immigrant party, to take more migrants, hoping that the generosity of southern Italy could “infect the north a bit”.

Noting that Italy had one of the world’s lowest birth rates, he said: “If we also close the door to migrants, this is called suicide.”

The basilica of St Bartholomew is a shine to Christians killed for their faith in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The European Union bosses not only blackmail the Greek leftist Syriza government into breaking their promises to the Greek voters of stopping the disastrous austerity policies.

They also pressure Greece, and other European Union member governments, into treating refugees more harshly.

Another video which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

Greek minister slams conditions at Idomeni refugee camp

18 March 2016

Greek Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis compared the Idomeni refugee site on the border between Greece and Macedonia to the infamous Dachau concentration camp while on a visit.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this is a modern Dachau,” Kouroumplis said during his visit to the camp where thousands of people live in improvised tents, deprived of basic necessities, on Friday.

Idomeni “is a logical result of closed borders,” he said, adding that Greece “believes in Europe without borders.” Two improvised camps, hosting over 15,000 migrants, sprung up near the Idomeni crossing in late February after the Macedonian authorities closed its borders amid a massive refugee crisis in the EU.

Kouroumplis expressed regret over “the awakening of a kind of nationalism against the persecuted people” in Europe. He acknowledged that accepting 1.5 million migrants in no easy task, but said that the people stuck at Idomeni “didn’t leave their countries by choice, but were forced to flee by wars, in which Europe also participated.”

Kouroumplis is hardly the only one comparing the present refugee camps to Adolf Hitler’s camps, as we can see about Pope Francis.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 22 April 2017:

The situation in the Greek islands is very bad according to human rights organizations. … Migrants sleep in unheated tents, many refugees are ill and there are too few resources on the islands to recover health.

Tragedy off Lesvos: Sixteen Migrants Drown in Open Sea. By Katherine Filippeos – Apr 24, 2017: here.

Refugee children’s plight in Europe

Pro-refugee graffiti in Serbia, photo Mitra Nazar

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Ten-year-old Jami from Afghanistan sleeps between rats in Serbia

10 April 2017

Jami is only ten years old, comes from Afghanistan and has been on the road for six months. Via Iran, Turkey and Bulgaria, he ended up in Serbia. He sleeps in an abandoned factory behind the railway station in Belgrade, on a dirty mattress between rats. “It’s better here than in Bulgaria,” Jami says. “There, I was beaten by the police.”

Aid organizations including Save the Children and Refugee Foundation are sounding the alarm about children traveling alone on the former Balkan route. …

Jami is also traveling alone. His parents have remained in Afghanistan. He says his parents always cry when he hears them on the phone. But they had no choice but to send him off because the Taliban put his family under pressure. …

Most stories of beatings, robberies and expelling people illegally from the country come from the EU countries Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria. That latter country pushes them over the border to Serbia; Croatia and Hungary push them back into Serbia. Unaccompanied children are not spared.

According to Save the Children, the European Union must do more to tackle the problem of unaccompanied refugee children in the Balkans. “The EU must have a plan for these children not be left to their fate, instead of saying that the borders are closed and they do not come anymore,” says [Jelena] Besedic [of Save the Children in Serbia]. “Because they still come.”

‘European Union, don’t send refugees back to Hungarian xenophobia’

This video says about itself:

(21 Sep 2016) Hungarian prison inmates have ramped up their production of razor wire, working around the clock as Hungary prepares to build a second fence on the border with Serbia to keep out refugees and other migrants.

Razor wire manufacture at the prison in Marianosztra, northern Hungary, has increased from two shifts earlier this year, to three.

Besides its domestic use, Hungary has also sold or donated fence elements, including wire and steel posts, to other countries in the region, including Slovenia and Macedonia.

Human rights organizations, meanwhile, consider Hungary’s fences erected last year as the first step in efforts by Prime Minister Viktor Orban‘s government to dismantle the country’s asylum system.

Hungary’s Helsinki Committee for Human Rights says the fence, the closure of asylum centers and other measures are destroying the asylum system.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

UN: don’t send refugees back to Hungary

Today, 17:05

The UN refugee agency UNHCR wants EU member states to stop returning asylum seekers to Hungary. According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, the situation for asylum seekers in the country has deteriorated significantly since the establishment of closed refugee camps on the border with Serbia.

The country has built two closed container camps late last month and they are intended for refugees who are still in the asylum procedure.

Dublin agreements

EU Member States may return refugees according to the so-called Dublin agreements to the first safe country which they had reached in the EU. In many cases this is Hungary, because refugees now often opt for that route to get to Western Europe. Prime Minister Orbán hates the current asylum seekers coming. He has long argued for a stricter approach to reduce the number of refugees.

His attitude and the new law led to sharp criticism from the international community. UN Commissioner Grandi calls on European countries to suspend the “Dublin transfers” until the Hungarians will bring their policies in line with European and international law.

He says that since March 28 in the camps 110 people have been detained, including children. Orbán denies that the asylum seekers re jailed. He points out that the refugees can leave the camps indeed, through an opening which opens in Serbia.