This 23 May 2019 video says about itself:
This photo shows Italian activists holding up a banner which says ‘Disobey Salvini’ as they protest against the Saudi Arabian freighter Bahri Yanbu docked in Genoa’s port. On the right, a peace flag.
By Steve Sweeney:
Monday, May 20, 2019
Italian dock strike blocks deadly cargo headed for Saudi Arabia
ITALIAN dock workers halted a deadly cargo of weapons bound for Saudi Arabia from being loaded in Genoa today as they demanded [home affairs minister in the right-wing coalition government] Matteo Salvini “open the ports to people and close them to arms.”
Trade unionists and activists hailed “working-class internationalism” as they stopped the Saudi ship Bahri Yanbu from loading with drones and other equipment that would be used in its devastating war on Yemen.
They called their action a “historic act of solidarity”.
Members of the CGiL union united with activists from Potero al Popolo (PaP) anti-fascist and pacifist groups saying: “We will not be complicit with the civilian deaths in Yemen,” as they blockaded the port.
In the face of the strike action, called by the local branch of the CGiL, and mass protest, the Port Authority confirmed the ship would only be allowed to embark with civilian material, leaving a stockpile of deadly equipment unmoved in the dock.
Workers refused to trust the words of the authorities and the strike action went ahead as planned with a blockade preventing the loading of its cargo.
In a joint statement the groups said they were making a “small contribution to [tackling] a big problem for a population that is being killed daily.”
It is the second time the ship, whose journey started in the Tilbury dock in Essex, has failed to load its cargo. Earlier this month French activists launched a legal bid to block the ship loading with eight Caesar cannons in the port of Le Havre.
While the challenge was unsuccessful, the vessel left France without the weapons and made its way across the Mediterranean to Santander in Spain.
It was rumoured that the cannons were instead loaded secretly on to a train that made its way to a military base near Genoa, but workers said they were ready to stop this from happening.
In a shocking bid to silence criticism and an attack on press freedom, three French journalists face five years in jail for exposing the reality of France’s deadly arms trade.
Disclose Media journalists Geoffrey Livolsi and Mathias Destal and Radio France journalist Benoit Collombat face prison for refusing to reveal sources after publishing “secret” reports that showed that 35 civilians died during 52 bombings between March 2016 and December 2018, when French Caesar cannon fire operated.
The devastating Saudi-led war on Yemen, which started in March 2015, has caused at least 50,000 deaths and pushed the country to the brink of the worst global famine in a century.
Despite allegations of war crimes with the deliberate targeting of infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, Saudi Arabia continues to be supported militarily and armed to the teeth by Western countries including Britain, France and the United States.
All three have insisted that jobs would be at risk as they face domestic pressure to end their deadly arms trade.
PaP activist Giacomo Marchetti, who works at the docks and is a member of the USB union, told the Star that the action was a “historic moment” for Genoa.
“It is not the first time the workers and activists have denounced what is happening [the bombing of Yemen] but it is the first time that there has been a strike and demonstration,” he said.
“Genoa has a long history of solidarity. It was the first to block US ships headed to Vietnam and dock workers here also refused to allow war equipment to disembark for the Chile coup or its ships to dock.
“What happened today in Genoa, what happened in Le Havre and Santander showed the importance of international working-class solidarity, especially in stopping wars. And it showed the strength of the dock workers.
“We are winning because the arms will not be loaded here as was planned.”
Migrant rescue NGO defies Salvini
MIGRANT RIGHTS activists proved Italy’s ports are not closed for refuge on Sunday, defying the far-right Interior Minister
German NGO Sea-Watch International (SWI) successfully disembarked 65 people on the Italian island of Lampedusa after being harangued by the EU-funded Libyan coast guard and ignored by Europe for days.
The NGO had rescued the passengers off the coast of Libya last week.
Locals and activists welcomed the ship’s migrants and crew as they waved banners that read: “Welcome to Lampedusa” and “Whoever saves one life, saves the entire world.”
SWI’s ship, the Sea Watch 3, is currently being held in “probationary confiscation.”
Mr Salvini’s plans to charge NGOs €5,500 (around £4,820) per migrant brought to Italy’s shores was condemned by the UN’s human rights office.
For more on this story, visit mstar.link/SeaWatch3.
This 16 May 2019 video says about itself:
The Saudi-UAE coalition has launched several air raids in and around the Yemeni capital Sanaa. At least six civilians – including women and children – have been killed. … Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra reports.
By Bill Van Auken:
Saudi bombs kill Yemeni civilians, raising war tensions in Persian Gulf
17 May 2019
The savage bombing of a civilian neighborhood in the heart of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, on Thursday signals another escalation of the extreme war tensions provoked by US imperialism in the Persian Gulf.
The airstrikes claimed the lives of at least six civilians, including four children, all of them members of the same family. The Yemeni Health Ministry put the number wounded at 71, including 27 children, 17 women and 27 men.
Witnesses at the scene saw a crowd of men pulling bodies from a demolished apartment bloc, lifting the body of a lifeless child and that of a woman wrapped in a white shroud.
The number killed is expected to rise given the severity of wounds caused by the bombing and as the inhabitants of Sana’a continue to dig through the rubble with their bare hands. Shortages of medicines and medical supplies resulting from the US-backed blockade of Yemen also hinder adequate treatment of the wounded.
Saudi bombs and missiles fell on Sana’a’s densely populated residential neighborhoods in the early morning hours of Thursday, with the greatest destruction wrought at the intersection of Rabat and Rakas streets.
“I know the street,” Yemeni journalist Afrah Nasser told Al Jazeera. “There are no military targets there. There is no excuse for the Saudi-led coalition. It was a deliberate and systematic bombardment attacking civilians.”
The Saudi-led war on Yemen is now in its fifth year, launched after Houthi rebels drove out the corrupt government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, a puppet of Riyadh and Washington, in 2014. It has created the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet in what was already the poorest country in the Arab world.
Riyadh has been able to wage this bloody campaign only thanks to uninterrupted support from Washington, beginning under the Obama administration and continuing under Trump, which has provided the jets and bombs used to murder Yemeni civilians, midair refueling to allow continuous airstrikes, intelligence on targets and support from the US Navy for a barbaric blockade that has cut off food, medicine and other basic supplies.
A congressional resolution calling for an end to direct US military support for the Saudi-led slaughter was vetoed by President Donald Trump last month, with proponents of the measure having nowhere near the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the veto. Since then, Democratic politicians, who backed the legislation as an empty political ploy aimed at corralling broad antiwar sentiment, have fallen silent on the ongoing US-backed war crimes in Yemen.
Washington backs the Saudi-led war as part of its broader buildup toward war against Iran, which has seen over the past week and a half the dispatch to the region of a battleship-carrier strike group, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, and a bomber task force, including nuclear-capable B-52s. This has been followed by the deployment of the amphibious assault warship USS Arlington carrying US Marines, warplanes and landing craft, as well a Patriot missile battery.
Tensions have been further escalated by the highly provocative decision to withdraw all non-essential personnel from the gigantic US embassy in Baghdad, based on claims that are not only unsubstantiated, but have been debunked by a top British general in the US “coalition”, of an imminent threat from Iranian-backed militias.
The Saudi airstrikes on Sana’a came just two days after the Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for a drone attack that struck pumping facilities on Saudi Arabia’s main east-west oil pipeline, calling it retribution for the ceaseless attacks on Yemeni civilians.
The Saudi monarchy, whose air war has killed an estimated 80,000 civilians while demolishing schools, hospitals, factories and housing, denounced the drone attack—which claimed not a single life—as an act of “terrorism” and a “war crime”.
Riyadh insisted that the drone strikes had been “ordered by the regime in Tehran”, a charge that the Houthi-led government in Sana’a vehemently denied.,
“We are not agents for anyone,” said Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the governing Supreme Revolutionary Committee. “We make decisions independently and do not take orders for drones or anything else.”
Both the US and Saudi governments have long claimed, without providing a shred of evidence, that Iran has shipped arms to the Houthi forces, despite the maintenance of a naval blockade that has kept even food supplies from getting into the country. The real concern of both US imperialism and its principal ally in the Arab world is that any government in Yemen that is not fully controlled by Riyadh poses a threat to the reactionary monarchical dictatorship of the House of Saud.
The Saudi monarchy’s attitude toward the war buildup in the Persian Gulf was spelled out in an editorial published Thursday by Arab News, an English-language broadsheet that serves as a propaganda outlet for the regime. It called for the US to carry out “surgical strikes” against Iran.
It stated: “Our point of view is that they must be hit hard. They need to be shown that the circumstances are now different. We call for a decisive, punitive reaction to what happened so that Iran knows that every single move they make will have consequences.”
On Wednesday, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) delivered a harrowing report to the UN Security Council on the effects of the US-backed, Saudi-led war on Yemen’s children. Citing an official tally of 7,300 children killed outright by the violence, Henrietta Fore acknowledged that the “actual numbers are no doubt higher.” Referring to a Saudi air strike that tore apart a girls’ school in Sana’a last month, she said, “Imagine the pain endured by the families of the 14 children who never made it home.”
She reported that a child is dying of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes, that 360,000 suffer severe acute malnutrition and that fully half of the country’s children under five—or 2.5 million—have stunted growth, an irreversible condition.
Fore’s report was followed by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, who told the Security Council that the “specter of famine still looms” over Yemen, with 10 million people surviving only on emergency food relief, and that 300,000 people have been affected with cholera in the first four months of this year alone, compared to 370,000 for the whole of 2018.
The immense human suffering wrought by US imperialism and the Saudi regime in Yemen over the past four years would be rapidly eclipsed by a war against Iran, which would drag in the entire region and threaten to ignite a third world war.
This 1 July 2018 video says about itself:
The court said authorities in Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia region had failed to examine the kingdom’s human rights record before issuing the permits. The decision affected planned sales to the kingdom by Belgium’s leading weapons manufacturer FN Herstal, which is based in the region.
Also known as FabriqueNationale, the company specializes in making firearms, ranging from pistols to heavy machineguns. Last year, the kingdom bought €153 million ($179 million) worth of arms from the company. Two years earlier, it had bought more than €575 million ($672 million) — 65 percent of Wallonia’s arms exports.
Last September, the European Parliament approved a resolution calling on the European Union to impose an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia as accusations flew against Riyadh of rampant rights violations and arms abuse.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
Belgian weapons turn up in Yemen war
The Belgian government has been embarrassed by an international group of investigative journalists. Saudi soldiers fight with Belgian weapons in Yemen, although the Belgian government has always denied that, VRT News writes. …
Saudi Arabia has been buying weapons for years from the Liège-based arms manufacturer FN Herstal, which is 100 percent owned by the Walloon government. Due to the criticisms of the Saudi action in Yemen, sales to the Saudi army were stopped in 2017, but sales to the Saudi National Guard were not.
According to Prime Minister Willy Borsus, these weapons are “in no way intended to conduct military operations outside of Saudi Arabia,” VRT News writes. The guard supposedly would only be used for border control and protection of the royal family.
The journalists’ research shows that the guard is indeed fighting in Yemen. “Dear followers, we are now live from Yemen to follow the offensive by the National Guard,” says a spokesperson in a video posted by his father on Twitter. In the same video, a member of the guard orders an attack on [Yemeni] Houthis.
The journalists also discovered that Saudi Arabia is deploying Canadian armored vehicles in Yemen, which are equipped with gun turrets of the Walloon CMI Defense. …
The Walloon prime minister Borsus informed VRT News via e-mail that since the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in October 2018 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, no export permits have been issued for Saudi Arabia. Previously issued permits remain valid for two years. This year, Walloon ammunition was also exported to Saudi Arabia, writes VRT Nieuws.
In November last year, the European Parliament called on member states to stop supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain due to the war in Yemen. France and the United States do so.
Not just Saudi weapons from Wallonia, but also from Flanders.
This 28 March 2019 video by United States Congresswoman and Democratic party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:
Why an Afghan American is Crying for Our Future
Some films from the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 2. Kabul, City in the Wind, Midnight Traveler and What We Left Unfinished: The catastrophe of US intervention in Afghanistan: here.
This 4 December 2018 Deutsche Welle video from Germany says about itself:
Weapons manufactured in the West and exported to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have ended up in the hands of Yemeni [Saudi puppet or UAE puppet mercenary] militia.
This is directly in contravention of international law and arms trade treaties. A documentary by the independent journalist network Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) reveals the shocking details.
Egyptian journalist Mohamed Aboelgheit spent a year tracing and documenting the origin of weapons that have ended up in the hands of armed groups fighting in Yemen’s civil war. The countries of origin include Germany, the US, the UK, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Serbia, Bulgaria and others.
Yet according to international treaties, these arms should never have reached Yemeni militia groups. Aboelgheit created social media accounts using false Yemeni names to get access to the informal trading networks and groups. In some cases the sellers were at pains to emphasize that the weapons were brand new and had never been fired. The documentary airs weighty evidence to show that Gulf states have been passing arms sold to their military on to other parties in Yemen – for political reasons. This is clearly in breach of “end user” certification laws intended to ensure that exported arms are not passed on to third parties.
From daily The Guardian in Britain, 26 April 2019:
Addressing the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Indianapolis, the president said he would revoke America’s status as a signatory of the arms trade treaty regulating conventional weapons including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.
This 11 April 2018 video says about itself:
France: President defends sale of weapons to Saudi led coalition
France: President Emmanuel Macron defends sale of weapons to Saudi led coalition. 75% of French people oppose arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE.
By Will Morrow:
Macron moves to prosecute journalists who revealed French arms sales in Yemen war
26 April 2019
In a far-reaching assault on democratic rights and free speech, the government of Emmanuel Macron is moving to prosecute journalists who have exposed both France’s complicity in Saudi Arabia’s illegal war in Yemen as well as the Macron government’s efforts to cover it up.
The government’s actions are a response to the publication of a report on April 15 by the journalistic organization Disclose, in partnership with the Intercept, Radio France, Mediapart, Arte Info and Konbini. The report includes a leaked, classified intelligence report to the president and leading ministers from September last year with precise information on the use of French arms in Yemen. It proves that the Macron government’s claims that it had no evidence that French arms were being used in the war, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians, were lies.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Disclose and its partners published a joint statement reporting that its co-founders Geoffrey Livolsi and Mathias Destal, as well as Benoit Collombat of Radio France, had been summoned to appear before police yesterday for questioning in relation to the revelations.
“We have learned that a preliminary investigation for ‘compromising national defence secrets’ has been launched by the Paris prosecutors,” it states. The investigation is being conducted by the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI), the domestic intelligence agency.
Condemning the Macron government’s assault on a free press, the Disclose statement notes: “The confidential documents revealed by Disclose and its partners presents a major public interest: making citizens and their representatives aware of what the government has sought to conceal. That is, indispensable information for the conduct of a balanced debate on arms contracts tying France to countries accused of war crimes.”
“These proceedings against journalists have no other aim than to reveal our sources. In effect, this summons by the DGSI is an opening to find the principal author of the offense that we were the recipients of: those who allowed the sharing of information in the public interest.
“Let us be clear. This police investigation is an attack on the freedom of the press, which requires the anonymity of a journalist’s sources. An attack that is all the more serious given that the executive power is abusing ‘defence secrets’ to extend the notion of protecting the interests of the nation to include the question of commercial transactions with countries at war…
“To the question: ‘Do the French people have the right to be informed about the use of arms sold to countries accused of war crimes?’, the government has thus chosen to answer with threats.”
The government’s actions were also condemned in a statement signed by 36 French press outlets, including Le Monde and AFP. It states that “defence secrets cannot be opposed to the right to information, indispensable to a dignified public debate, or serve as a Damocles sword to dissuade journalists from investigating and publishing.”
The classified intelligence report leaked to Disclose is entitled “Yemen: Security Situation.” It was presented to Emmanuel Macron for a defence council meeting on October 3, 2018, at which Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Minister of Defence Florence Parly were also present.
It provides detailed information about the locations of arms used in Yemen. It documents that French-supplied CAESAR howitzer artillery were stationed along the Yemen-Saudi Arabian border with their turrets facing towns and villages inhabited by hundreds of thousands of people. Disclose states that satellite images confirm that the artillery has been used in Saudi coalition offensives. French tanks and laser-guided missile systems for aerial bombers were also confirmed to have been used.
The war against Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, has been waged by the Saudi monarchy since 2014 with the assistance of both the Obama and Trump administrations and the European imperialist powers, including Britain and France. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed. Up to 14 million people, or half the population, face starvation as a result of the Saudi monarchy’s strategy of blockading Yemeni ports to stop supplies of food and humanitarian aid.
The report makes clear that France’s actions are in violation of international law, including the 2014 European treaty on arms trade, which outlaws arms sales when the country has “knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of” war crimes. It strongly suggests that top Macron administration officials have violated European law.
While the government has refused to respond to the revelations, Minister of Defence Parly tried to downplay their significance last week, telling Radio Classique on April 18 that “to my knowledge, these arms are not used in an offensive manner in this war in Yemen and … in any case I do not have any proof permitting to state that French arms are the source of civilian victims.”
These weasel words should be rejected with the contempt they deserve, as an examination of the objective record makes clear. On January 20, two months after the Macron government received the classified report, Parly told France Inter that she had “no knowledge of whether [French] arms are being used in the conflict,” and added that “we have not recently sold any arms which could be used in the conflict.”
In the wake of Disclose’s revelations, this line has simply been shifted. At the same time, according to AFP, citing an anonymous juridical source, the government had discovered the leak of the report in December last year, and ordered an internal investigation on December 13, while maintaining its lies. Yet on April 18, Parly grotesquely added that “all our efforts … are oriented to seeking to end this conflict and find a political solution,” denouncing what she called a “dirty war.”
The Macron government is responding to an exposure of its own complicity in war crimes by seeking to prosecute those who have made this information available to the French and international working class. Its actions are part of the trampling on democratic rights and turn to authoritarian forms of rule by the capitalist elite in countries across Europe and internationally.
This finds its sharpest expression in the persecution of WikiLeaks and its editor Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, whose sole “crime” consists in their courageous actions in exposing documentary evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the criminal activities of other capitalist governments. Through a conspiracy of the governments of Australia, Britain, the US and Ecuador, Assange is now in prison, threatened with an illegal extraordinary rendition to the United States, where the torturers and war criminals he exposed are seeking to put him in jail for life, or worse. While Manning remains behind bars in the US for refusing to testify at a grand jury established to bring further frame-up charges against the WikiLeaks publisher.
The Macron government’s actions confirm the warnings issued by the World Socialist Web Site: the persecution of Assange and Manning is aimed at setting a precedent for the criminalization of journalism and prosecution of those who bring government crimes to light. All of the European powers support the rendition of Assange to the United States, because they are no less terrified of the growing social opposition to their own rule at home in the working class, and are determined to utilize the same police-state methods to repress opposition.
The WSWS is utilizing its annual online May Day rally this year to build the opposition to the persecution of Manning and Assange, and connect the fight for their defence to the construction of an international socialist movement of the working class against war, inequality, the growth of the far-right and the capitalist system.
French human rights activists celebrate victory over Saudi ship war cargo: here.