Parents of Muslim girls fear ‘jihad prostitution’
“These girls going to Syria will end up in prostitution.” Without hesitation Rachma el Hamdaoui (over 50) of the The Hague Mother and Daughter Foundation explains the greatest fear of parents of prospective jihad brides.
El Hamdaoui has in the The Hague Schilderswijk neighbourhood a discussion group with girls who walk around with jihad plans; and now, she speaks at a meeting of Muslim women in Gouda.
According to the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) twenty Dutch Muslim women are in Syria. Five of them come from Gouda. They marry without parental consent. Not in the mosque, but for example in an apartment, a Gouda district police officer knows. Such marriages are invalid according to Islamic rules which their parents use.
The young women travel after their man, the mujahid (warrior). Or they are persuaded via WhatsApp messages from the front area to come to Syria to marry their hero. They have most often met him through jihadi social media. …
Sex with twenty, thirty, a hundred rebels
But there are also other views. In September last year the Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Bin Jeddo sounded the alarm. He wanted to put an end to the jihad al-nikah, also described as sex jihad. Young women traveling to the Chaimbi Mountains in Tunisia, where Al Qaeda fighters are fighting against the Tunisian regime; and especially to Syria to satisfy warriors. Some girls, according to the minister, have sex with twenty, thirty or even a hundred rebels. …
Pubescent girls traveling
In Dutch Muslim communities there is fear that their daughters landed in Syria in a very different world than the one they were dreaming about. El Hamdaoui: “They are often teenagers who want to travel. They know nothing, they cannot estimate the consequences of their actions.”
Muslim parents read disturbing stories on Arabic sites. They read about young women who are married (briefly) before sexual activity, and then divorce immediately afterwards. There are indications that the sex jihad is not entirely a figment of the imiginations of evil spirits. Thus, the prominent Tunisian Muslim scholar Sheikh Farred Elba stated (to the BBC and others) that he knew young women who had got trapped in this. He said there was medical evidence of that as well.
There are no signals that Dutch girls are in sexual jihad in Syria and go from hand to hand, according to the Gouda police district officer. However, what does happen is that, if it does not click between the “lovers” , the girl is married off to another mujahid. And if that man is killed, another warrior is quickly brought in.
In the eyes of the Muslim women who were gathered in Gouda, that smells like prostitution. As one of them says: “Our prophet has never meant that.”
This video is called Causes of World War 1 – Militarism.
By Ulrich Rippert in Germany:
German government steps up military operations
17 February 2014
The German government is fiercely promoting an aggressive imperialist foreign policy. At the beginning of the year, it declared an end to the previous policy of military restraint. Shortly thereafter, it announced plans to develop a new strategy for Africa.
Last Wednesday, this was followed by the announcement that the German Navy was to be sent to the Mediterranean to fulfill a “robust mandate”. Official statements revealed that the frigate Augsburg is to aid in securing the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons on a US vessel, Cape Ray. The use of combat forces is not ruled out in the operation.
This decision is in line with US President Barack Obama’s announcement that he reserves the right to militarily intervene in Syria. At a joint press conference with French President François Hollande in Washington on Tuesday, Obama stressed that a military option in Syria was not off the table.
At the same time, Berlin is toughening its foreign policy offensive in the Ukraine. In his first official visit to Moscow last week, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social Democratic Party, SPD) warned the Russian government against escalating the Ukrainian power struggle. “Nobody should seek to ignite the fuse to that powder keg”, said Steinmeier.
In fact, Berlin itself is fanning the flames of conflict in Ukraine. It supports the opposition and co-operates closely with Vitali Klitschko and his UDAR party, which is strongly supported by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Via the Adenauer Foundation, the German foreign ministry also has links to Oleh Tyahnibok, chairman of the far-right anti-Semitic Svoboda party.
The foreign policy offensive for more robust Bundeswehr (German army) operations abroad are high on the agenda of the first meeting of the CDU-SPD coalition committee early next week. Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU), Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) and Development Minister Gerd Müller (Christian Social Union, CSU) will meet afterwards to discuss details and coordinate procedures.
Foreign office spokesman Martin Schäfer emphasised that a future focal point of the new foreign policy will be Africa. He added that a new Africa strategy was overdue, but its deliberation and development had been underway in the interior ministry for a long time. “Africa is much more than a continent of crises. There are also a lot of opportunities there”, said Schäfer, adding: “Several African countries show growth rates that are significantly higher than those in the European Union.”
Schäfer went on to say that Germany wanted to significantly expand economic cooperation with a number of African countries. He revealed that the German economy is looking to profit from both the market opportunities and natural resources available in Africa. However, the foreign office prefers to keep its own interests in the background, claiming that it is mainly motivated by humanitarian and security concerns. Schäfer said the goals of German “economic support” were to stabilise African countries and avoid further conflicts.
Immediately after the Munich Security Conference two weeks ago, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen travelled to Senegal and Mali to announce the expansion of the Bundeswehr’s training contingent in Mali from 180 to 250 soldiers.
During her visit to barracks on the Niger River, where a vanguard battalion of approximately 100 German soldiers is already stationed, she rejected criticism of the expansion of Bundeswehr missions abroad. “There have been times when 11,000 male and female soldiers were serving abroad. Currently, there are 5,000 because operations in Afghanistan are drawing to a close”, she said. She declared that the Bundeswehr had the capacity to undertake additional operations.
On Monday of last week, Berlin also confirmed that there is discussion of renewed Bundeswehr participation in the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in the crisis-torn East African state of Somalia. Until the end of last year, Germany had been involved in training Somali military units in Uganda, deploying about 20 soldiers there. When the mission moved into Somalia early this year, the Bundeswehr initially terminated its engagement, because the security situation was considered to be too unstable. This assessment has apparently now been revised.
At the end of January, the n-tv news channel reported on what lies behind the humanitarian arguments currently used to propagate the new Africa strategy.
Titled “Uranium, gold, diamonds, minerals: Germany discovers Africa”, its report examined German business interests regarding the country. It began with a quotation from Wolfgang Ischinger, who heads the Munich Security Conference. Ischinger said Germany had a lot of catching up to do and “Africa should not be left to the Chinese.”
This video says about itself:
31 Jan 2013
Mali‘s natural resources
Gold: Mali: Africa’s third largest gold producer with large scale exploration ongoing. Mali has been famous for its gold since the days of the great Malian empire and the pilgrimage to Mecca of the Emperor Kankou Moussa in 1324, on his caravan he carried more than 8 tonnes of gold! Mali has therefore been traditionally a mining country for over half a millennium.
Mali currently has seven operating gold mines which include: Kalana and Morila in Southern Mali, Yatela, Sadiola and Loulo in Western Mali, and mines which have recently restarted production notably Syama and Tabakoto. Advanced gold exploration projects include: Kofi, Kodieran, Gounkoto, Komana, Banankoro, Kobada and Nampala.
Uranium: encouraging signs and exploration in full swing. Exploration is currently being carried out by several companies with clear indications of deposits of uranium in Mali. Uranium potential is located in the Falea area which covers 150 km² of the Falea-North Guinea basin, a Neoproterozoic sedimentary basin marked by significant radiometric anomalies. Uranium potential in Falea is thought to be 5000 tonnes. The Kidal Project, in the north eastern part of Mali, with an area of 19,930 km2, the project covers a large crystalline geological province known as L’Adrar Des Iforas. Uranium potential in the Samit deposit, Gao region alone is thought to be 200 tonnes.
Diamonds: Mali has potential to develop its diamond exploration: in the Kayes administrative region (Mining region 1), thirty (30) kimberlitic pipes have been discovered of which eight are show traces of diamonds. Some eight small diamonds have been picked in the Sikasso administrative region (southern Mali).
Precious stones consist of the following and can be found in:
Circle of Nioro and Bafoulabe: Garnets and rare magnetic minerals
Circle of Bougouni and Faleme Basin: Pegmatite minerals
Le Gourma — garnet and corindons
L’Adrar des Ilforas — pegmatite and metamorphosing minerals
Hombori Douentza Zone: quartz and carbonates
Iron Ore, Bauxite and Manganese: significant resources present in Mali but still unexploited. Mali has according to estimates more than 2 million tonnes of potential iron ore reserves located in the areas of Djidian-Kenieba, Diamou and Bale.
Other mineral resources and potential in Mali
Calcarous rock deposits: 10 million tonnes est. ( Gangotery), 30 million tonnes est. ( Astro) and Bah El Heri ( Nord de Goundam) 2.2 Million tonnes est.
Copper: potentialities in Bafing Makan ( Western Region) and Ouatagouna ( Northern Region)
Marble: Selinkegny ( Bafoulabe) 10.6 MT estimated reserves and traces at Madibaya
Gypsum: Taoudenit (35 MT est.), Indice Kereit ( Nord de Tessalit) 0.37 MT est.
Kaolin: Potential estimated reserves ( 1MT) located in Gao (Northern Region)
Phosphate: Reserve located at Tamaguilelt, production of 18,000 t/per annum and an estimated potential of 12 million tonnes. There are four other potential deposits in the North of 10 million tonnes.
Lead and zinc: Tessalit in the Northern Region ( 1.7 MT of estimated reserves) and traces in Bafing Makana (Western Region) and Fafa (Northern Mali)
Lithium: Indications in Kayes (Western Region) and estimated potential of 4 million tonnes in Bougouni (Southern Region)
Bitumen schist: Potential estimated at 870 million tonnes, indications found in Agamor and Almoustrat in the Northern Region.
Lignite: Potential estimated at 1.3 million tonnes, indications found in Bourem (Northern Region)
Rock Salt: Estimated potential of 53 million tonnes in Taoudenni (Northern Region)
Diatomite: Estimated potential of 65 million tonnes in Douna Behri (Northern Region)
The Ulrich Rippert article continues:
The programme warned that, compared to China, Germany was lagging behind. Since the early 1990s, China had been engaging in a “veritable spending spree”, acquiring strategic resources and increasingly winning favour in many African countries. The secret of Chinese policy towards Africa was seen to lie in the fact that, in exchange for raw material supplies, Beijing was building “schools, hospitals and stadiums for the common people.”
The n-tv report cautioned that a new German strategy with respect to Africa should not be perceived as a neo-colonial venture. However, it also suggested that, “if Germany engaged with France, for example in central Africa, one would be able to speak of a European instead of a German raw materials policy.”
The television report went on to propose that the Central African Republic (CAR) could develop into a testing ground for this kind of cooperation. Although the landlocked African country north of the Congo is almost twice the size of Germany, it has virtually no infrastructure. Some 60 percent of the population is illiterate and very poor. However, the former French colony possesses great economic advantages: it is rich in gold, diamonds, uranium, timber, coffee and numerous other commodities.
It was also speculated that other mineral resources would likely be available in the country; these included copper, graphite, iron ore, kaolin, lignite, limestone, manganese, quartz, salt and tin. “And by no means can it be said that the Central African Republic has yet been fully explored”, the n-tv report enthused.
The “new Africa strategy” has nothing to do with safeguarding humanitarian aid, as Steinmeier and von der Leyen claim. Rather, it recalls the “scramble for Africa” that occurred at the height of imperialism on the eve of World War I—when Germany colonised what is now Namibia, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Togo. The current deployment of combat troops in Mali also serves the imperialist interests of the German economy. Geostrategic interests, like those pursued by the German Africa Corps (DAK) during the Second World War, are also part of the strategy.
A series of European Union (EU) discussion papers and meetings have made it clear that the European powers are pushing for a more assertive militarist policy. The unfolding of this aggressive imperialist foreign policy takes place amid concerns that these powers are, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, losing influence in the scramble for vital energy resources and markets in Asia and Africa: here.
This video says about itself:
Greece: Families of survivors from “Greek Lampedusa” arrive
23 Jan 2014
A total of 16 Afghan and Syrian refugees arrived at the port of Piraeus, Thursday, after 12 people drowned following an incident involving the Greek coast guard pulling a refugee boat towards the Turkish coast. As the refugees arrived, they were greeted by sympathisers and protesters, some of whom holding banners comparing the incident to the tragic incident in Lampedusa, when more than 350 refugees drowned off the coast of Italy.
Refugees had tried to land their boat at Farmakonisi, a Greek island in the eastern Mediterranean. A total of three women and nine children drowned in the incident. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) has condemned the Greek coast guard following interviews with survivors, who said their boat capsized while they were being pulled back to the Turkish coast.
Migrant drowns off Rhodes
Posted on 04/02/2014 by icantrelaxingreece
Man, believed to be Syrian, died while trying to swim ashore …
The man’s death comes two weeks to the day after a dozen people, including three women and nine children, drowned when their vessel capsized while being towed in a controversial coastguard operation near the island of Farmakonisi, also in the eastern Aegean.
Behind the Coast Guard officers and illegal ‘refoulements’, there is the government which provokes anyone seeking clarifications about the Farmakonisi affair: here.
UN’s High Commissioner Muiznieks expressed concern about the escalation of anti-migrant rhetoric in Greece: here.
The German press speaks of relations between Golden Dawn and neo-nazi organizations from the south of Germany, while it is noted that a delegation of fascist organizations participated in the Golden Dawn demonstration on the anniversary of the Imia crisis: here.
Ths video from the USA says about itself:
19 March 2010
Blair Tied to Iraq-Linked Oil Firm
The Guardian of London is reporting former Prime Minister Tony Blair has received payments from a South Korean oil firm with extensive oil interests in the US and Iraq. The company, UI Energy Corporation, hired Blair around the same time its Iraqi consortium struck a controversial oil deal with the autonomous Kurdish government. Blair denies his dealings with the company were linked to Iraq. His dealings with UI Energy were kept under wraps for twenty months after Blair convinced a British government committee it should be kept secret due to market sensitivities.
When George W. Bush and Tony Blair started the bloody Iraq war, government propaganda, slavishly echoed by the corporate media, said the war was
because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction … oops, it did not have those arms … the war was because secularist Saddam Hussein had links to ultra-religious Al Qaeda … oops, that was a lie as well … the war was because Saddam was a dictator and it would bring human rights to Iraq … oops, Saddam was one of many dictators, most of them supported by Bush’s USA and by Blair’s UK (like used to be the case for Saddam); and torture, killings, and other human rights violations got worse, not better, after Bush and Blair had invaded Iraq.
When someone dared to say “No blood for oil“, the Bushite and Blairite apologists for the Iraq war went hysterical. Their lovely baby, their lovely Iraq war, could never ever be about something as prosaic as oil corporations’ profits (or arms dealers’ profits … oil was and is a major factor in a complex of causes, not the sole 100% cause).
Let us return to Blair’s point about Saddam being a dictator, emphasized after the exposition of the “WMD” and “9/11 connection” propaganda lies. Is Tony Blair really opposed to dictators?
As turns out, he is not.
There is one of Blair’s many lucrative jobs, as an adviser to the Colombian death squad government.
And then, there is Blair and the absolute monarchy in Kuwait.
And, as this picture says, Nicolas Sarkozy is not the only prominent NATO country politician with a dodgy Libyan track record. It shows Blair embracing Colonel Gaddafi of Libya. Gaddafi, to whom Blair deported people for torture. Gaddafi, who later (like had happened to Saddam Hussein before), in the corporate media, suddenly magically transformed from an ally to the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. Gaddafi, who was brutally murdered with the consent of his suddenly ex-crony Tony Blair.
Tony Blair was very chummy with Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya while in office; including in torture scandals. After people in Britain had become sick of his warmongering and pro-fat cat policies, Blair had to resign prematurely as Prime Minister of Britain. After his resignation, Blair made lots of money. Not only from oil in Iraq; also as an overpaid adviser to Gaddafi.
But then, Gaddafi tried to increase to Libyan government’s share of Libyan oil profits. Suddenly, presto! Gaddafi’s friends among the rich and powerful in NATO countries turned on him. They waged bloody war on Libya and had Gaddafi murdered brutally. Tony Blair agreed completely with that flip flop.
Recent reports say that Blair considered asking the Queen to bestow a honourary knighthood on Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Then, more recently, Blair urged Western governments to stop ”wringing our hands” and intervene militarily in Syria: here.
And then, Blair and Egypt. Tony Blair said about Egyptian dictator Mubarak, just before the Egyptian people drove him away, that he was ‘immensely courageous and a force for good’.
From daily The Independent in Britain:
Thursday 30 January 2014
Robert Fisk: If only Tony Blair could grasp the truth about Field Marshal Sisi
Do the British people love Blair? Do they eat Blair chocolates and wear Blair pyjamas?
It was, of course, utterly inevitable that Tony Blair would back Egypt’s new authoritarian leaders.
After all, can you imagine Blair – our very own Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara – stepping forth to offer his courageous, unstinting support to a democratically elected President overthrown in a military coup d’état? Can you imagine him condemning a General – no, I forget, General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has just been made a Field Marshal – whose men have gunned down 1,000 protesters since last summer and who has now put the elected President on trial for his life as a “terrorist”? Ye Gods, if such bravery burned within the heart of Lord Blair, we would all suffer immediate cardiac arrest.
So it was that the man who brought us victory in Afghanistan and glory in Iraq – and who has always fearlessly condemned the Israeli colonisation of the West Bank – yesterday threw his entire reputation and honour behind Field Marshal Sisi, Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Deputy Prime Minister of the Egyptian Arab Republic and Minister of Defence. The Egyptian army had “intervened” and had done so “at the will of the people”. Thus quoth Lord Blair. And Field Marshal Sisi saw that it was good, and smiled upon him. But I have to admit – let’s be fair – that Field Marshal Sisi really doesn’t deserve this frivolous “peace envoy”. Unlike some of the dictators with whom Blair frolics, al-Sisi is a personally uncorrupt man. He comes from a conservative, decent family. His uncle was himself a Muslim Brother. Field Marshal Sisi spent months serving poor old Mohamed Morsi as a loyal minister before chucking him out. He even warned Morsi, faithful servant of state that he was, that a coup was on the cards. Sure, Sisi’s comrades killed hundreds of Egyptian protesters – but the Field Marshal doesn’t have the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on his hands. Besides, the Egyptian people love Sisi. Why else should Cairo be awash with Sisi chocolates and Sisi T-shirts and Sisi pyjamas? Do the British people love Blair? Do they eat Blair chocolates and wear Blair pyjamas?
Of course, for a man who said of Saddam that “he has used gas against his own people”,
which happened, by the way, when Saddam was an ally of the Reagan-Rumsfeld-Cheney administration in the USA and the Thatcher administration in Britain
it must have been difficult for Lord Blair to resist the phrase – on arrival in Cairo to meet another military autocrat – that “he has used live bullets against his own people”. Neither did he mention the lads of Al Jazeera banged up in the Tora jail for “terrorism” (ho hum) – why, isn’t that just what Blair should have done with his own country’s treacherous journos when they failed to back his and George W’s crusade against World Evil?
Blair, a prosaic man, thus concentrated on the banal. Egypt had “an ancient civilisation”, he said. Egyptians were “a great people” with “great energy and determination” – this was positively colonial in approach – and we should support these people who wanted an “open-minded society”. And that, announced Lord Blair, “means we support the government here in Egypt”.
If he could have grasped a mere semblance of the truth, Blair would have understood the irony of the words he used of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, he said, “tried to take the country away from its basic values of hope and progress”. But isn’t that exactly what Blair did to his own country? Didn’t Blair – with his mendacious wars – take Britain from its basic values of hope and progress? It almost makes you wish that Sisi could have brought his chaps over to London in early 2003 to do a spot of “intervention” with the support of millions of Britons.
But Blair waffled away, apparently unaware that armies have been “intervening” rather a lot in modern history. Let’s forget for a moment that the Soviets also said that their army had “intervened” in Central Asia in 1979. But I was thinking of someone else. Austria? Czechoslovakia? Small man. Moustache. Used to be a corporal. No matter. Just comfort yourself with the thought of Lord Blair taking off his Sisi T-shirt tonight, pulling on his Sisi pyjamas and sucking away at his Sisi chocolates.
This video is called ‘Beatings & Burning’: Dossier accusing UK of Iraq war crimes goes to ICC.
It says about itself:
14 Jan 2014
The ICC has been urged to investigate the alleged war crimes of UK politicians during the Iraq conflict. A dossier detailing reports of sexual assault, torture and mock executions carried out by British soldiers in Iraq has been submitted to the Court. READ MORE: here.
By Jean Shaoul in Britain:
Ex-UK minister of defence and former army chief of staff named in Iraq war crimes case
21 January 2014
Britain has been referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague over allegations of war crimes committed during the occupation of Iraq. There was a call for an ICC investigation under Article 15 of the Rome Statute into the actions of senior British officials during the conflict.
The submission specifically names the former chief of staff General Sir Peter Wall and two ministers in Tony Blair’s Labour government, former defence secretary Geoff Hoon and former defence minister Adam Ingram, as officials who should have to answer claims about the systematic use of torture and cruelty.
The secretary general of the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Wolfgang Kaleck, said, “With the current communication to the ICC we want to move forward the criminal prosecution against those political and military leaders in the UK who bear the most responsibility for systematic torture in Iraq.”
The formal complaint, The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008, was lodged by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the ECCHR with the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor. It says that its 250-page submission, the result of years of work by both organisations, “is the most detailed ever submitted to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor on war crimes allegedly committed by British forces in Iraq.”
The ECCHR said that given the scope and scale of the crimes carried out between 2003 and 2008, the responsibility and blame lay at the feet of “individuals at the highest levels” of the British Army and political system. UK military commanders “knew or should have known” that forces under their control “were committing or about to commit war crimes,” but failed to act. “Civilian superiors knew or consciously disregarded information at their disposal, which clearly indicated that UK services personnel were committing war crimes in Iraq.”
The report cites evidence from more than 400 Iraqis, representing “thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”. They included “hooding” prisoners, burning, electric shocks, “cultural and religious humiliation”, sexual assault, mock executions, threats of rape, death, and torture, both against the victims and their families.
There is, according to the authors, evidence of the “systematic use of brutal violence that in some cases led to the death of detainees while in the custody of UK Services Personnel.”
It claims “there is evidence of brutality combined with cruelty and forms of sadism, including sexual abuse, and sexual and religious humiliation”, and points to the widespread use of hooding, forcing people to remain in painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, noise bombardment and deprivation of food and water.
One victim who suffered more than 60 punches to his head said that a soldier brought the prisoner’s eight-year-old son into the room and started slapping the boy about the face and shouting at him. Another victim who was hooded said, “Sand kept coming into the hood. It was extremely uncomfortable and difficult to breathe…. We were left to kneel in the sun for hours. If I moved position and bent my head forward at all, a soldier would come and kick me hard.”
These interrogation techniques were widely used by British soldiers against IRA prisoners in Northern Ireland until public outrage led to their being banned in 1972. The army ignored the ban, and it was not included in the 2001 Ministry of Defence guidelines on the treatment of prisoners.
The report says that there are “clear patterns” of the banned techniques being used “in a variety of different UK facilities [in Iraq]…from 2003 to 2008,” and that “failures to follow-up on or ensure accountability for ending such practices became a cause of further abuse. The obvious conclusion is that such mistreatment was systematic.”
This pattern of abuse by UK military services personnel continued over almost six years of military occupation.
Britain’s practices were not very different from those of the infamous US torture prison, Abu Ghraib.
In submitting his report, Kaleck made the point, “The International Criminal Court in The Hague is the last resort for victims of torture and mistreatment to achieve justice. Double standards in international criminal justice must end. War crimes and other severe violations of human rights must be investigated and prosecuted, regardless of whether they are committed by the most powerful.”
Almost all or most of the ICC’s indictees have been African head of states or officials, while the US, which is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, and the other major powers get off scot-free and use the court to target figures hostile to their interests. The ICC has turned a blind eye to the most blatant human rights abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the West Bank and Gaza, where their perpetrators are protected by a US veto at the United Nations Security Council.
In 2006, the ICC’s then-prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said that he had received more than 240 complaints relating to alleged war crimes during the Iraq war and occupation, mostly by the US and Britain. He concluded that there was little doubt that wilful killing and inhuman treatment, crimes that fell within the ICC’s jurisdiction, had been committed. He refused to mount an investigation because of the small number of cases—fewer than 20. Since then, hundreds of other claims have surfaced, making a mockery of his decision.
Legal experts have backed the referral to the ICC. Professor William Schabas, an expert on human rights law at Middlesex University, said, “There is definitely a case for an investigation by the ICC.” Professor Andrew Williams, a law expert at the University of Warwick, said the complaint amounts to “a prima facie investigation mapped out for the prosecutor” and is “supported by sophisticated legal argument which adheres to the requirements of the [ICC].” Williams is the author of A Very British Killing: the Death of Baha Mousa.
The officials concerned, Wall, Hoon and Ingram, have declined to comment.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was no need for the ICC to investigate the allegations. “These allegations are either under investigation already or have been dealt with already in a variety of ways, through the historic abuses system that has been established, through public inquiries, through the UK courts or the European courts.”
“There have been some cases of abuse that have been acknowledged and apologies and compensation have been paid appropriately,” he added. “But the government has always been clear and the armed forces have been clear that they absolutely reject allegations of systematic abuses by the British armed forces.” The Ministry of Defence said, “We reject the suggestion the UK’s Armed Forces—who operate in line with domestic and international law—have systematically tortured detainees.”
They are all lying through their teeth. The government has resisted every effort to be held to account for its infamous practices in Iraq.
Baha Mousa, a hotel worker, was brutally beaten to death while in British custody on September 15, 2003. Corporal Donald Payne was found guilty at a court martial in 2007 of inhumane treatment. He was sentenced to just one year in jail. Six of his colleagues, including his commanding officer, Colonel Jorge Mendonca, were cleared of serious charges relating to Mousa’s death. The government was forced to hold a public inquiry, which when it reported in 2011 was a whitewash.
Apart from this one conviction, as Phil Shiner, the lead lawyer in PIL, which compiled the report, said: “Nobody has been found guilty of anything of any seriousness at all.”
Yet in July 2010, the High Court ruled in response to an appeal case brought by Shiner to order a public inquiry into claims by more than 200 Iraqi civilians that they were systematically abused and mistreated while in detention, “There is an arguable case that the alleged ill-treatment [of Iraqis] was systemic, and not just at the whim of individual soldiers.”
The government was forced to establish the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) in 2010. In three years, it has spent £15 million hiring former detectives employed by multinational security corporations to investigate. It has completed just 6 out of 144 cases on its books, fining one soldier a measly £3,000 fine for badly beating an Iraqi, which was captured on video.
Last month, the Daily Telegraph disclosed 11 new inquest-style inquiries are due to begin into abuses by British troops in Iraq after a human rights ruling by the High Court to fulfil the requirements of Article 2 (the right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), requiring an investigation of suspicious deaths involving the state.
A comment on this by Ray Comeau says:
It is about time. But, now these people accused of war crimes need to fees up and point fingers at those who gave them the orders and means to commit such atrocities, and those were: Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al. If the International Criminal court does not indict these people, then it is true they only want to convict African leaders which is a blatant racist act! And we will require purging the International Criminal court and reconstruct an honest one!
Blair’s outreach to Muammar al-Qaddafi while in office may have been justifiable at the time, but reports that he considered asking the Queen to bestow honorary knighthood on Bashar al-Assad are a bit more embarrassing. More recently, Blair urged Western governments to stop ”wringing our hands” and intervene militarily in Syria: here.
Iraq: Sectarian violence the legacy of West’s war: here.
This video is called The Elephant Documentary.
Elephant Mystery at Ancient Syrian Battle Solved
By Tia Ghose, Staff Writer
January 21, 2014 08:01am ET
The mystery of an ancient battle between two warring troops of elephants has been solved, thanks to a modern genetic analysis of the lumbering beasts.
Researchers have now found that Eritrean elephants, which live in the northeastern portion of Africa, are savanna elephants, and are not related to the more diminutive forest elephants that live in the jungles of central Africa.
That, in turn, discounts an ancient Greek account of how a battle between two warring empires played out, with one side’s elephants refusing to fight and running away, the scientists report in the January issue of the Journal of Heredity. [10 Epic Battles That Changed the Course of History]
In the third century B.C., the Greek historian Polybius described the epic Battle of Raphia, which took place around 217 B.C. in what is now the Gaza Strip, as part of the Syrian Wars. During these wars, Seleucid ruler Antiochus III the Great fought against Ptolemy IV Philopator, the fourth ruler of the Ptolemaic Dynasty in Egypt, whose last leader was Cleopatra. The matchup included tens of thousands of troops, thousands of cavalry and dozens of war elephants on each side.
The elephants were the “ace in the hole,” able to trample the enemy and sow terror with their massive size.
“Elephants were considered the tanks of the time, until eventually the Romans figured out how to defeat war elephants,” in later times, said study co-author Alfred Roca, an animal scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Unfortunately, that strategy didn’t work out so well: According to Polybius’ account, the African elephants turned tail and ran when they saw how gigantic the Asian elephants were. Ptolemy, however, was able to recover due to missteps by Antiochus and eventually won the battle.
In reality, Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants, so some historians speculated that perhaps the Ptolemies were using African forest elephants, which tend to be smaller, Roca said.
So Roca and his colleagues conducted a thorough genetic analysis of the elephants found in Eritrea, the descendants of the losers in the ancient battle.
“We showed using pretty much every genetic marker, that they were savanna elephants,” Roca told LiveScience. “This was contrary to some speculation that there may be forest elephants present in that part of the world.”
The findings suggest that Polybius had it wrong, and the African elephants got spooked for some other reason than the overpowering size of the Asian elephants.
In other ancient documents, “There were these ancient semi-mythical accounts of India, and they claimed that India had the biggest elephants in the world,” Roca said.
Polybius, who wasn’t actually at the battle, likely read those accounts and surmised the Asian elephants’ bigger size caused their opponents to panic.
In fact, until about the 1700s, when scientists actually measured the two, most people still thought Asian elephants were the larger species, Roca said. (And even now, games such as Age of Empires that recreate the Battle of Raphia depict the Ptolemaic elephants as smaller.)
This video is called You Wouldn’t Want to be Black in the New Libya.
By Patrick Martin in the USA:
New York Times report: CIA-backed militias linked to Benghazi, Libya attack
30 December 2013
A lengthy front-page report in Sunday’s New York Times provides additional confirmation that the attack on a US facility in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012 was the outcome of the Obama administration’s use of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in its war against the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
The Times article, based on dozens of interviews in Benghazi, asserts that the attack that killed four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was carried out by Libyans who had previously been allied with the US government in the 2011 war that overthrew and murdered Gaddafi. Times correspondent David D. Kirkpatrick writes that the attack was not organized by Al Qaeda or any other group from outside Libya, but “by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi.”
The main US facility in Benghazi was not the small mission building in which Stevens and an aide died, but a larger unmarked compound described as “the Annex” that housed at least 20 people from the CIA. Two security guards at this building were killed by a mortar barrage eight hours after the attack that killed Stevens.
The disparity in staffing between the CIA compound and the diplomatic outpost is telling: the main mission of the US government in Benghazi was the CIA operation, which had spearheaded the campaign against Gaddafi in 2011, but by 2012 was devoted to a different and even bloodier operation: recruiting manpower and supplying weapons to the Islamic fundamentalist insurgency against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.
As the World Socialist Web Site reported, within days of the Benghazi killings:
“There is every reason to believe that the robust CIA presence in Benghazi after Gaddafi’s fall also involved more than just surveillance. Libyan Islamists make up the largest single component of the ‘foreign fighters’ who are playing an ever more dominant role in the US-backed sectarian civil war being waged in Syria with the aim of toppling the government of President Bashar al-Assad. According to some estimates, they comprise anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 of approximately 3,500 fighters who have been infiltrated into Syria from as far away as Chechnya and Pakistan.”
The Times article identifies one militia leader, Ahmed Abu Khattala, as a principal figure in the Benghazi attack, although Khattala has admitted only being present outside the building at the time. He also names another militia leader, Abdul Salam Bargathi, head of the Preventive Security Brigade, as the man who told the Libyan guards at the US facility to flee when attacked.
Both these individuals, and many others named in the Times account, worked in close collaboration with the CIA and Stevens personally during the six months of NATO bombing and seesaw fighting that culminated in the overthrow of the Libyan government and the lynch-mob murder of Gaddafi.
These Islamist militants were in many cases veterans of guerrilla fighting in Afghanistan, either as part of the US-backed war against the Soviet army in the 1980s, or in the ongoing war against the US-NATO occupation regime established in 2001. They had fought both for and against the US government, and they were about to change sides again.
A major purpose of the Times article is to bolster the Obama administration in its ongoing conflict with congressional Republicans, who have sought to exploit the Benghazi fiasco by claiming that administration officials lied about the events to prevent damage to Obama’s reelection campaign.
The last section of the article is a virtual point-for-point rebuttal of the claims made by House Republican leaders like Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers and Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa that Benghazi was a major Al Qaeda operation planned well in advance.
This dispute between the Democrats and Republicans is a political sideshow concocted to conceal the more fundamental issues at stake in the Benghazi events, and particularly the connection to ongoing US subversion in Syria.
The attack on the US mission was a classic case of “blowback.” The CIA had mobilized Islamic fundamentalists, including veterans of the Al Qaeda and Taliban war in Afghanistan, to fight Gaddafi, and was recruiting them for a new war against Assad.
At a certain point, some of these Islamists had a falling out with their imperialist paymasters. It may well have been exactly that—a dispute over money in which the Islamists felt themselves slighted and short-changed in the year that followed the overthrow of Gaddafi.
The Times article begins with a suggestive anecdote, describing a meeting on September 9, 2012 between a US official and militia leaders in Benghazi.
The militia leaders evinced hostility and told the American that Benghazi was not safe and they should leave as soon as possible, Kirkpatrick writes. “Yet as the militiamen snacked on Twinkie-style cakes with their American guests, they also gushed about their gratitude for President Obama’s support in their uprising against Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi. They emphasized that they wanted to build a partnership with the United States, especially in the form of more investment. They specifically asked for Benghazi outlets of McDonald’s and KFC.”
The US official summarized their views as wanting the Obama administration to become more engaged “by ‘pressuring’ American businesses to invest in Benghazi.”
The Times account also touches on another dubious and murky incident in the US intervention in Libya: the July 2011 murder of Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, at the time the main commander of the US-backed rebel forces in Benghazi. Younes, a former interior minister under Gaddafi who defected to join the rebels, was hated by the Islamic fundamentalists.
According to the Times, Younes was seized by the Islamists and held overnight in the headquarters of the militia unit commanded by Abu Khattala. The next day, the bullet-riddled bodies of Younes and two of his aides were found on a roadside near the city. There was no serious investigation into the circumstances and motivation of this assassination, either by the Libyan “rebels” or their US-NATO sponsors.
The author also recommends:
Attack in Libya disrupted major CIA operation
[25 September 2012]
- Libya policeman dead in Benghazi attacks (skynews.com.au)
- Clash, order slowed CIA team’s response to attack in Benghazi, Libya (triblive.com)
This video from Britain says about itself:
Anti Iraq War Demonstration, London 15/2/2003.
By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
US prepares strikes against Islamists in Iraq
27 December 2013
Two years after President Barack Obama declared that his administration had ended the catastrophic US war in Iraq “responsibly… leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant” government, the US has rushed emergency shipments of Hellfire missiles to Baghdad and appears to be preparing for a possible renewal of direct military intervention in the form of drone missile attacks.
These measures are a response to an appeal from the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the New York Times reported Thursday, and come in the face of a rise in violence to a level not seen since the US military “surge” of 2008, with over 8,000 Iraqis having lost their lives over the last year.
A shipment of 75 Hellfire missiles arrived in Iraq last week, according to the Times report. The Pentagon is also set to deliver dozens of reconnaissance drones to the Baghdad regime in the coming year, along with F-16 fighters and Apache helicopter gunships. US intelligence is also providing targeting information for Iraqi air strikes.
Military experts cited by the Times, however, expressed skepticism that the Iraqi military, even with such material assistance, will prove capable of defeating a growing Al Qaeda-affiliated insurgency in the country’s predominantly Sunni Anbar province.
The prospect for a more direct US military intervention through the launching of a drone airstrike campaign has been raised in recent months by Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari.
Last Sunday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki signaled the escalating US involvement in Iraq, declaring that Al Qaeda-connected insurgents were “seeking to gain control of territory inside the borders of Iraq” and describing these elements as the “common enemy of the United States and the Republic of Iraq, and a threat to the greater Middle East region.”
This “threat,” however, is one of Washington’s own making, and the “common enemy” in Iraq has been the de facto proxy force of US imperialism’s war for regime-change in neighboring Syria.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known by the initials ISIS, has claimed responsibility for some of the latest terrorist attacks inside Iraq, including the bombing on Monday of two television stations in Baghdad in which five journalists died. The group was suspected of being behind the horrific Christmas Day bombings in Christian areas of the Iraqi capital that killed at least 38 on Wednesday, including 24 who died from a bomb that went off as they left Christmas mass.
The ISIS had its origins in Iraq during the US military occupation of the country. Its resurgence has come as a byproduct of the US-backed war for regime-change in Syria, across Iraq’s eastern border, where it has battled forces loyal to the Syrian government and seized swathes of territory. Last month, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) described the ISIS, which includes thousands of foreign jihadis from as far away as Russia and Western Europe, as “the strongest group in Northern Syria.”
From Syria, the group has dispatched suicide bombers to attack government targets in Iraq as well as Shia and Christian communities.
The group has also revived its training camps and hideouts in the western desert of Anbar province. In an ambush there last Saturday, it killed some 18 Iraqi military personnel, including a major general who commanded the local army division and several other senior officers.
On Tuesday, the Iraqi government ordered the military to close the country’s border with Syria as part of a major military operation against Al Qaeda-associated forces in the area dubbed “Avenge the Leader Mohammed,” after Maj. Gen. Mohammad al-Karawi, the division commander killed in last Saturday’s attack.
Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari told the AFP news agency that the military had detected “the arrival of weapons and advanced equipment from Syria to the desert of western Anbar and the border of Nineveh province.” He added that intelligence indicated that “whenever there is pressure on armed groups in Syria, they withdraw to Iraq … to regroup and then carry out terrorist operations in the two countries.”
The US aid to the counterinsurgency operation by the Iraqi military is being carried out in conjunction with the reconfiguration of US policy toward the Syrian civil war in the wake of the Obama administration’s pullback from direct US military intervention last September and its reaching of agreements both on the chemical disarmament of the Syrian regime and the Iranian nuclear program.
Washington has also been forced to confront the rout of the so-called “moderate” forces of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which it had officially been backing against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and the growing dominance of Islamists of various stripes among the so-called “rebels.” Earlier this month, the Obama administration cut off aid to the Syrian armed opposition after Islamist guerrillas of the recently formed Islamic Front overran a compound and a dozen weapons warehouses of the FSA’s Supreme Military Council in Babisqa, just south of the strategic Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey. US-backed commander Gen. Salim Idriss, the titular head of the FSA, was sent fleeing across the border into Turkey.
With the FSA and its political arm, the National Coalition, exposed as representing virtually nothing outside of a clique of Syrian exiles tied to the CIA and other western intelligence agencies, the Obama administration instructed its Syrian envoy Robert Ford to make contact with the Islamic Front in the hope of developing it as a Western-aligned “third force” between Al Qaeda and the Syrian regime.
Of immediate concern is next month’s US-Russian brokered talks, known as “Geneva II,” in which representatives of the Syrian government have agreed to sit down with opposition delegates. The negotiators for both sides are supposed to be named today, December 27. The problem confronting the US and the other Western powers is that the forces they have backed are being exposed as having virtually no support within Syria itself, either among those carrying out attacks against the regime or in the society at large.
The Islamic Front, which is apparently funded by Saudi Arabia, rejected the US overtures and has reportedly established a close working relationship with the ISIS and the Al Nusra Front, another Al Qaeda-associated force in Syria.
In backing the Iraqi regime, which has aligned itself with the Assad government in Syria and the Iranian government against the Sunni Islamists, the Obama administration is attempting to at least contain the catastrophic sectarian civil war it has unleashed upon Syria. There remain deep divisions in Washington over how to handle this debacle, with some elements still denouncing Obama for failing to make good on his vow that Assad would be toppled, and others arguing that Assad staying in power would be preferable to the fall of Syria to the jihadists.
In aiding the corrupt, sectarian and dictatorial government of al-Maliki, however, Washington is only deepening the crisis in the region. Al Qaeda’s resurgence in Iraq is driven by not only the US-backed war in neighboring Syria, but also by the political marginalization of and heavy-handed repression against Iraq’s Sunni minority.
In launching the latest offensive in Anbar, Prime Minister al-Maliki issued a simultaneous threat to unleash a bloodbath against an ongoing sit-in protest in Ramadi, Anbar’s largest city. In a statement broadcast on Iraqi television last Sunday, al-Maliki declared that the sit-in “has turned into a headquarters for the leadership of Al Qaeda.” He demanded that all those not involved in “sabotage” evacuate the protest camp “so that Al Qaeda stays alone,” adding that protesters had a “very short period” in which they could escape the implied threat of repression.
Last April, the army raided a similar Sunni protest encampment in Hawija, west of Kirkuk, leaving at least 42 people dead and 153 wounded. In clashes that followed over the next two days, hundreds more were killed.
U.S. Rushes Weapons to Iraq Amidst Bloody Sectarian Conflict Set Off by 2003 Invasion: here.
See also here.
This video from Greece says about itself:
Syrian refugee families suffer in Greece
9 April 2013
The plight of Syrian refugees in Greece as reflected through their stories. How they arrived in Greece, under what circumstances were imprisoned, what they expected and what they found at last.
The 29-year old Syrian woman named Jihan recounts the sufferings of her family, in the small room they share to live in Athens.
Video by Christos Stamos.
Quoting from British daily News Line, in an earlier post on this blog:
THE fact that the UK ruling coalition is involved up to its neck in organising the war in Syria, and is also keeping it going, is well known. It has permitted hundreds of Islamists to go from the UK to fight the Assad regime and still insists that it is in favour of regime change – that is, the carnage continuing.
Only a ‘no’ vote in the UK House of Commons stopped Cameron and Hague sending British troops into Syria as part of an Anglo-American invasion force.
That vote, in fact, reinforced the opposition of the US public to the war and prevented Obama from going to war.
From daily The Independent in Britain:
Aid agencies join Labour in demanding Coalition show support for victims of civil war as policy defies UN appeal and distances Britain from 16 leading nations
Wednesday 25 December 2013
The Government has been accused of adopting a “no room at the inn” policy after rejecting a United Nations appeal to allow refugees fleeing the crisis in Syria to live in Britain.
Ministers have decided not to join 16 nations, including the United States, France and Germany, which have pledged to allow a total of more than 10,000 refugees from the bloody three-year civil war to move to their countries.
Aid agencies are describing the UK Government’s approach as “there’s no room at the inn”. Now the Labour Opposition is calling for ministers to accept between 400 and 500 Syrian refugees – including torture victims, people with family connections in Britain, and women and girls at high risk.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, told The Independent today: “We should be rightly proud of our humanitarian aid effort and the generosity of the British people. But we should also do our part, alongside other countries within the UN’s programme, to provide a safe haven for some of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees fleeing this murderous conflict.
“The British Government cannot turn its back on these people. It is our moral duty to respond to the UN’s call for help for Syrian refugees – just as our country has helped those fleeing persecution for hundreds of years.”
The Refugee Council said only about 0.1 per cent of Syrians fleeing the violence had found safety in the UK. It is urging people to ask their MPs to tell David Cameron “that we must play our part in providing a safe haven for the most vulnerable fleeing the war”.
“It also includes receiving through resettlement, humanitarian admission, family reunification or similar mechanisms, refugees who are today in the neighbouring countries but who can find a solution outside the region.”
Australia has pledged to take 500 Syrians for permanent resettlement and Sweden 400, while Germany will allow 5,000 temporary “humanitarian admissions” for two years and France 500. The US has not set an upper limit.
The UNHCR hopes other countries will follow suit through the flexible use of family reunification rules, waiving some visa requirements and allowing Syrians to enter for work, study, family or humanitarian purposes.
Home Secretary Theresa May agreed to admit a few hundred Syrian refugees yesterday amid allegations that Britain is snubbing a bigger UN-backed scheme: here.
- Syrian refugees ‘disappear’ in Greece (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- UK urged to take in Syrian refugees (therebel.org)
- VIDEO: Syrian refugees try to travel to UK (bbc.co.uk)
- Cooper: Govt cannot turn its back on Syrian refugees (itv.com)
- British government supports war in Syria, opposes Syrian refugees (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Government urged to accept refugees (standard.co.uk)
- David Cameron’s proposed immigration laws criticised by UN (telegraph.co.uk)
- 150 Syrian Refugees “Disappear” in Greece (greece.greekreporter.com)
By Jason Ditz in the USA:
150 Syrian Refugees ‘Disappear’ From Greek Village in Police Crackdown
Locals Fear Police Forced Refugees Back to Turkey
December 24, 2013
Locals and human rights activists are up in arms today in the remote Greek village of Praggi, where some 150 Syrian refugees who were living in the courtyard of the local church have mysteriously “disappeared.”
The only clue about what happened is that white police vans were seen moving toward the church. After that, all the Syrians were simply gone.
Greek police have been very open about their desire to make life “unbearable” for refugees to convince them to flee somewhere else, but they’ve so far been mum on the Praggi refugees. It is believed they were forced back across the border into Turkey.
- Greece to Syrian refugees: Don’t get too comfortable (csmonitor.com)
- Greek border police illegally deporting Syrian refugees (irishtimes.com)
- Syrian (?) refugees drown in Greece again (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)