No to nuclear war about Syria

This 10 April 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

“A Very Dangerous Moment”: Trump Threatens to Strike Syria as Warmonger John Bolton Joins Cabinet

We speak with Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, author of several books, including, most recently, “Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror”. Her latest piece for In These Times is headlined “It’s John Bolton’s First Day in the White House. We Must Stop Him from Escalating War in Syria.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A US-Russia confrontation in Syrian skies is unlikely to be contained there

THINGS have come to a pretty pass when Turkey poses as the voice of moderation over the conflict in Syria, but Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s “healing wounds” comments merit attention.

Ankara has itself been no slouch in causing Syria’s wounds, having initially worked with Saudi Arabia and Qatar to arm, train and provide entry into Syria for every jihadist outfit, including Isis and al-Qaida affiliates.

Its obsessive hostility to Kurdish self-determination in Turkey and Syria has served to justify backing Isis when it tried to drive the Kurds from Kobane and sending its own armed forces to occupy the Afrin canton of northern Syria’s Aleppo province.

The regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan understands, however, that direct confrontation between the Russian and US air forces in the skies over Syria is unlikely to be contained there.

Moscow’s threat to shoot down missiles directed at targets in Syria and to target the “source of the missiles” could have implications for Turkey, especially its Nato air base at Diyarbakir.

Ankara has distanced itself from the US in recent years — or possibly been distanced by Washington — as its erstwhile friends ignored its pleas not to ally themselves with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which not only stood firm against Isis at Kobane but drove the jihadists out of much of northern and eastern Syria.

In response the Erdogan government has rebuilt relations with Russia that were at rock bottom after Turkish fighters shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane over the Syrian-Turkish border area in 2015.

Russia has said and done nothing about the Turkish occupation of Afrin and expulsion of the YPG.

More significantly, the same applies to the US, despite its recent close co-operation with the Kurds, using YPG troops as its military cutting edge against Isis in Syria as it did previously in Iraq before remaining silent in the face of Baghdad, first, and then Ankara dislodging its allies.

Donald Trump won the presidency partially through his assurance that his administration would not repeat the blood-soaked overseas adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. He stated earlier this month that he would soon bring home all US forces in Syria.

This position was put on hold under pressure from the State Department and Pentagon, but it confirms the lack of public support for GIs being sent to war when the US is under no direct security threat.

There is a similar lack of desire for overseas conflicts in France and Britain, which is why recent involvement by the Nato forces has been restricted to aerial bombardment while proxy ground troops risk their lives in combat.

This meets the requirement of both brass hats and the hand-wringing “we have to do something” B-52 liberals whose consciences are always salved by bombing raids, irrespective of civilian “collateral damage”.

Sending warplanes into Syria’s Russia-defended airspace — or firing missiles from outside its borders — will be no picnic.

It won’t assist in investigating the truth behind the poison gas allegations made by the Jaish al-Islam jihadists and lapped up avidly by the Nato powers and mass media.

Nor will it help the long-suffering Syrian people, whose welfare is supposedly paramount for all concerned.

Bombing plans should be halted and full assistance given to prioritising scientific evidence over assertions to expose the reality of what happened in Douma.

With Trump as president, United States economist Jeffrey Sachs ‘fears a nuclear war every day‘.

The Dutch right-wing government, NATO allies of the USA, yesterday said that the allegations of the Trump administration about Douma were ‘probably’ correct (probability is hardly the same thing as certainty). The Dutch government dissociated itself from Trump’s choice of words in his Twitter message to Russia that ‘the missiles are coming’. However, they failed to dissociate themselves from Trump‘s military escalation plans as a whole.

German government supports war preparations against Syria: here.

According to Dutch NOS TV today, Trump is talking to Turkish President Erdogan about Turkish participation in attacking Syria. The Turkish government has re-stated its support for regime change in Syria.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

It is becoming clearer that PM May intends that UK land, air and naval forces will take part in the Franco-American strike against Syria that is now just hours away. She is however so nervous of the prospect, that she is not willing to recall parliament to give MPs a vote on whether the UK should join Trump’s war.

She knows that after the House of Commons voted for war with Iraq in 2003 – a war that was based on lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that it was about to use, a war that destroyed Iraq and ushered in ISIS – the House of Commons will be reluctant to repeat the Iraq, and then the Libyan disasters in Syria.

The US, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and other American allies internationally continue to threaten military action against the Assad government in Syria: here.

British Blairite helps Turkish Erdogan’s war crimes

This video, by USA Stand with Afrin, says about itself:

Turkish War Crimes in Afrin

1 March 2018

Over 40 days into the invasion of Afrin, the world is still silent. Turkey has broken a unanimous UN-sponsored ceasefire and killed over 200 innocent civilians. We all must call attention to these atrocities!

By Marcus Barnett in Britain:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Young Labour activists condemn Blairite MP as an ‘apologist’ for Turkish war crimes

YOUNG Labour activists have condemned Blairite Labour MP John Woodcock as an “apologist” for Turkish war crimes.

The organisation, which represents approximately 110,000 Labour Party members under the age of 27, voted last night to back a national demonstration in London this Saturday calling for a ceasefire in Afrin and for the body of Anna Campbell to be repatriated.

Ms Campbell, 26, from Lewes, East Sussex, was a volunteer in the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), an all-female militia that is currently fighting Turkish forces and jihadi gangs in Afrin, a Kurdish region of northern Syria.

The statement noted the deliberate targeting of civilians and refugees by Turkish forces, and decried the political imprisonment of thousands of members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a Turkish sister party of Labour’s.

It went on to accuse Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of excusing Turkey’s invasion of Syria in the name of procuring profitable arms deals, but also condemned Mr Woodcock.

The Barrow and Furness MP has long been accused by Kurdish campaigners of being a Turkish propagandist.

Young Labour’s statement highlighted remarks he made in December 2017, in which he praised Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “tolerant” and “plural” rule, as well as his fight against “extremism” – presumably meaning socialists, trade unionists and Kurdish activists, labelling them as “hurtful and damaging”.

It also saluted the forces of the YPG/J currently defeating Isis, called upon “all democratic and progressive forces to declare solidarity with the people of Afrin”, and encouraged YL members to attend the demonstration at Marble Arch this Saturday afternoon.

Though she was not a Labour member, Ms Campbell was friendly with many Labour activists involved in the anti-austerity, anti-fascist and tenants’ rights movements.

In a comment to the Star the youth representative on Labour’s national executive committee Lara McNeill said: “Anna was a committed comrade who died fighting against fascism, the enemy of all progressive humanity”, she said.

“It is the duty of socialists everywhere to honour her memory by demanding her body be brought home, and we must fight to support the people of Afrin against the murderous provocations of Isis and Erdogan.”

Mr Woodcock told the Star: “I have decided not to give comment to media organisations which represent the Communist Party of Great Britain [sic [disbanded in 1991]]”, though the Morning Star is a reader-owned co-op in which Mr Woodcock’s trade union the GMB is among nine that hold a maximum shareholding.

LABOUR MP Angela Smith, who has vested interests in the water industry, told a conference today that she backs private water suppliers over her party’s plans for renationalisation: here.

Erdogan regime persecutes Turkish pro-peace students

This video says about itself:

A wind of peace, a song of freedom: Aslı Erdoğan | Journalists Jailed in Turkey

10 December 2016

Turkey has at least 145 (and, unfortunately, counting) journalists behind bars. That’s more than the runner-up countries China, Egypt and Iran combined. Among them is a master of stories and an award winning novelist, Aslı Erdoğan.

Erdoğan studied computer engineering at Boğaziçi, one of Turkey’s top universities, and is an accomplished physicist, who received a master’s degree from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). A lover of literature, she would later give up pursuing her physics doctorate, while in Brazil, to pursue her love of writing.

With her novel Kabuk Adam (The Crust Man), released in 1994, she broke through the crust of her emotional world. Two years later, her next novel, Mucizevi Mandarin (Miraculous Mandarin) has established her as one of Turkey’s most exciting novelists, with a tone and stance of all her own.

Her incredible voice and intelligence have been recognized with many awards. Her story Tahta Kuşlar (Wooden Birds) won a contest organized by Deutsche Welle, in 1997, and was translated into nine languages. Her third novel, Hayatın Sessizliğinde (In the Silence of Life) was chosen as the book of the year in 2005. She received the Sait Faik Story Award for her story Taş Bina ve Diğerleri (The Stone Building and the Others). Lire, a French literature magazine, listed Erdoğan among the 50 writers who will mark literature in the 21st century. In 2012, PEN International chose Erdoğan as Zurich’s “Writer in Residence”. In 2013, she received the Ord i Grenseland Prisen (Words on Borders Award) in Norway.

She has always remained attached to Brazil; in her novel Kırmızı Pelerinli Kent (The City in the Crimson Cloak) she wrote about the experiences of a girl who decided to explore Rio de Janeiro.

Aslı Erdoğan is a great writer and intellectual, but above all, she is an activist for peace and justice. Her mother, Mine Aydoslu, described her as, “A wind of peace, a song of freedom.” Erdoğan has stood up for free speech, especially as her own country has illegally cracked down on journalists, artists, and dissidents. She has said, “In Turkey, it is no different anymore to be in front or behind bars.” Just five months after speaking these words, she was arrested because of her writings for the Özgür Gündem newspaper.

Despite her arrest, which has no legal standing, Erdoğan keeps writing in prison. She is writing letters on every piece of paper she can find, and sends them out to the world from Bakırköy Women’s Prison. She says, “We are paying the heavy price for Turkey’s democracy crisis. As writers, journalists, Kurdish people, Alevis, and, of course, women, we pay the price.”

From the Toplumsal Esitlik (Social Equality) organisation in Turkey:

Stop the prosecution of left-wing anti-war students in Turkey

28 March 2018

Toplumsal Esitlik strongly opposes and denounces the police raids and arrest of left-wing anti-war students at Bogaziçi University in Istanbul, following the barely concealed order of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The wave of crackdowns took place after some 25 left-wing, anti-war students organised a peaceful march in protest against a small group of Islamists, who celebrated the victory of the Turkish army and its proxy force, the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), in the Syrian province of Afrin, on the university campus on Monday, March 19.

Following the anti-war protest under the banner “There is nothing to celebrate about war and occupation”, pro-government Islamist and nationalist forces launched a witch-hunt against left-wing students in the social and mass media. Meanwhile, the university rector, one of Erdogan’s henchmen, denounced the anti-war activists as “terrorists”, while defending the “freedom of expression” of the Islamist students.

According to media, some 14 students have been arrested and 10 of them released, with 4 remaining in custody, and the police are seeking to detain another 8 students. Most of the activists arrested so far are from Marksist Fikir Toplulukları (Communities for Marxist Ideas, MFT) and the Sosyalist Emekçiler Partisi (Socialist Laborers’ Party, SEP).

Toplumsal Esitlik has unbridgeable and documented political differences with these tendencies. Nevertheless, these differences do not lessen our opposition to these police raids and arrests against their members or sympathisers, which are motivated by the most reactionary objectives and are directed against essential democratic rights.

The ongoing crackdown against Bogazici University students is part of broader repression against the working class and the youth by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has escalated under the state of emergency declared after the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

Erdogan has personally denounced the arrested students. Speaking at a provincial congress of his AKP, in Samsun on Saturday, Erdogan tried to distort the facts, presenting the Islamist students as victims of an attack by “communist, traitor-to-the-nation youth who attempted to break up the stall.” He also vowed to expel left-wing students from the university, saying, “We will not allow them the right to study. Universities cannot raise terrorist youths.” The Turkish president has repeatedly declared that Bogaziçi University, one of the few liberal universities in the country, does not reflect “Turkish values”.

In Turkey, political activity in schools and universities has long been strictly banned for socialists and punishable with dismissal, if not with imprisonment, while pro-government Islamist and Turkish nationalist fascistic forces have a free hand.

Turkey’s working class and youth must recognise the police crackdown and arrest of the Bogazici University students as another sign of a new wave of oppression, prepared by the AKP government, against the backdrop of an ever-deepening economic crisis and its reactionary war in Syria.

To defeat the drive to war and dictatorship of the Turkish ruling class, politically personified by Erdogan, and enthusiastically supported by Islamist and nationalist fascistic forces, workers must take the lead in defending democratic rights and demand the immediate release of the arrested students. …

We strongly condemn the police raids and arrest of the Bogazici University students and demand their immediate release, and call on all workers and youth to organise workplace and school committees to fight against the drive to war and dictatorial forms of rule, as a fundamental component of struggle for international socialism.

London protest against Erdogan’s invasion of Syria

This video from London, England says about itself:

24 March 2018

Protesters outside Downing Street demanding an immediate halt to Turkey’s attack on Afrin.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Syria: Five-day protest highlights Turkish aggression in Afrin

A FIVE-DAY protest outside Downing Street organised by Defend Afrin Platform has come to an end.

The platform, consisting of various Turkish and Kurdish community groups and activists, staged the demo for nine hours each day before it ended yesterday.

Campaigners aimed to inform members of the public about Turkey’s invasion of Afrin region in north-west Syria.

A spokesman for Defend Afrin, who is originally from Syria, said the Kurdish-administered region was “peaceful, democratic and has equality rights” and that is why it had been targeted by the Turkish military.

Henry, a protester and a young member of the Kurdish community in London, said the demonstrations had been “effective” but they were “not being loud enough.”

He said: “We were out here every day but to the government it’s nothing, just random civilians shouting.”

Another young activist, Gulizar, called for the public to join them in future protests to be a “voice” for the many civilians in Afrin.

She said the demos were important as “there’s so many people in London who don’t know what’s going on.”

On January 20, the Turkish government launched an unprovoked invasion against the people of Afrin in violation of international law.

Its invasion, including widespread air strikes and shelling, have killed hundreds and forced thousands to flee.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly said he would “cleanse” the region, has also been accused of recruiting al-Qaida-linked fighters who have indiscriminately killed, looted and terrorised the civilian population.

The British government supports Turkey’s attack, claiming it has the right to defend its borders. Theresa May recently signed a major arms deal with the Turkish government, despite evidence of its use of weapons against civilians.

The Defend Afrin Platform are calling for an end to Turkey’s invasion of Syria and for the government to stop the arms trade to Turkey and other bloody regimes in the Middle East.

Campaigners also want an independent investigation into war crimes in the region and for humanitarian support for civilians in Syria.

A London demonstration will be held on March 31 at 2pm. Protesters will gather outside Marble Arch station before marching to Parliament Square.

Turkish singer jailed for criticizing Erdogan

This Turkish music video is called Zuhal Olcay – Pervane.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Turkish singer jailed for insulting Erdogan

The Turkish singer and actress Zuhal Olcay has been sentenced to ten months in prison. A Turkish court found her guilty of insulting President Erdogan during a performance in 2016, reports the Hürriyet newspaper.

During the performance, Olcay replaced a number of words in a song with Erdogan‘s name. “Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it’s all empty, it’s all a lie, life will end one day and then you’ll say: I had a dream”, Olcay sang. In addition, she is also said to have made an insulting hand gesture.

In her testimony, Olcay contradicted that she had evil intentions. Erdogan‘s name simply fit in the meter and rhyme scheme. The hand gesture was meant for someone in the audience, she said.

National security

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey with a maximum of four years in prison. According to the government, this type of punishment is necessary for the stability of the country and to protect national security.

The 60-year-old Zuhal Olcay is a laureate TV, film and theater actress in Turkey. As a singer she released a number of successful albums. Last December she performed in Amsterdam.

Turkish soldiers, ‘Free Syrian’ puppets looting Afrin in Syria

This video says about itself:

In Afrin the Turks are Looting and Pillaging with Gunfire

20 March 2018

Journalist for the Independent, Patrick Cockburn, returning from Northern Syria says one of the most peaceful places in the region has turned into a swamp of human misery for the Kurds.

This 19 March 2018 video is called FSA [Free Syrian Army, puppets of Turkey’s Erdogan] busy looting civilians’ properties in Afrin.

Turkey’s seizure of Afrin and the growing danger of a regional war the Middle East: here.