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I have a parallel blog in French at http://anniebannie.net

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Europe

Refugee camp Röszke in Hungary

Michaela Spritzendorfer-Ehrenhause was together with Klaus Kufner and Ilse Lahofer in the night of the 9. sebtember in the Refugee camp Röszke 1, to bring relief supplies. She brought home shocking pictures and photographs. 
The variety of impressions about Roszke 1 reach from a female journaliste who made a refugee trip ,the use of pepperspray by authorities and to these pictures. The people who made it into these halls are already priviledged in comparsion to those that have to sleep in tents or outdoor. Food distribution about 8p.m. in the hungarian refugee camp at the serbian-hungarian boarder. About 300 people tried try to catch sandwiches and waterbottles in plastic bags which are thrown in the crowd by the policemen wearing face masks. Women place their children on the fences hoping that they will get their food handed directly to them or sitting with their children on the dirty mats and waiting for someone to bring them a ration. There are no medical supplies. Two paramedics from the hungarian red cross sitting in an empty room on the first floor waiting for emergencys. They are not allowed to give any information about the camp to the journalists. The ambulance can be called in for emergency cases. In the emergency room there is only a little round table with three chairs and blankets. There are band-aids, two kitchen rolls and a stethoscope. On the wall there are one and a half packages of toilet paper and some diper packs. Some poeple try to get in contact by holding up passports or signs with telephone numbers and names of their missed relatifs (a father is looking for his 14 year old son who got taken away by the police) in Kamera hoping that the world doesn´t look away and helps him. The camp exists since about three years, since the beginning of july the flow of refugees has strongly increased. Only within 3 months the camp couldn´t organise the food distribution anymore and coulnt keep it on a fair and human level.

‘No Camp, No Camp’: Migrants Forced Off Train

Desperate migrants lie on train tracks in protest at being taken to a camp, as one family is wrestled off the ground by police.

14:49, UK, Thursday 03 September 2015

Video: Refugee Family Wrestled To Ground

Desperate migrants hoping to reach western Europe have been forced off a train by riot police in Hungary, as authorities try to take them to a holding camp instead.

Sky’s Europe Correspondent Mark Stone, who was on the train originally bound for the Austrian border and was earlier on the platform at Bicske, said: “We have just witnessed the most awful, awful sight.”

He described seeing a crying mother holding a baby and pleading with police on the platform in the town 22 miles (35km) outside Budapest.

The father, clearly overcome with emotion, then pulled his wife and child onto the tracks, before he was handcuffed and taken away.

The train, which earlier left Budapest’s main railway station, was halted in Bicske, where there is a migrant reception centre.

Migrants, most of them from Syria, banged on train windows from the outside and shouted “No camp, no camp”, while dozens of riot police looked on.

Dozens more lay on the tracks in protest against being taken to the camp, while others caught in the underpass pushed back dozens of riot police blocking the stairs to fight their way back to the train.

Those still in the carriages are demanding water as they sit at the station in the heat.

Hungarian police have declared the area an “operation zone” and have told all media there to leave. They are using batons to push reporters out of the station.

Video: Sky Reporter On Station Platform

Earlier on Thursday, thousands of desperate migrants poured into Keleti railway station after it was reopened, forcing their way onto a train despite announcements that there was no service to western Europe.

The migrants pushed into the carriages and tried to cram their children through open windows.

The train that left Keleti, the first in two days after authorities closed the terminal on Tuesday, was initially thought to be heading to Sopron, a town near the Austrian border.

Hundreds more migrants remain at Keleti, and are waiting on crowded platforms for the next available trains.

Video: Station: Cops Out, Migrants In

An Austrian police spokesman said there are no services running from Budapest to Vienna, while the Hungarian government told Sky News no international trains will be leaving Keleti for “safety reasons”.

Keleti had been closed for two days, but migrants poured into the terminal on Thursday as police withdrew. Thousands had slept outside waiting for the station to reopen.

Amid the chaos, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his country had done everything to stick to EU rules on border protection, and revealed the army will be deployed to defend Hungary’s border with Serbia.

More than 150,000 migrants have travelled this year to Hungary, a gateway to the EU for those crossing by land from nations including Syria and Afghanistan, across Macedonia and Serbia.

Video: ‘This Is Germany’s Problem’

Mr Orban, meeting European Union leaders in Brussels to discuss the crisis, said other politicians should not criticise his country for “doing what is compulsory to be done”.

He said: “The problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem.

“Nobody would like to stay in Hungary… all of them would like to go to Germany.

“So if the German Chancellor insists on it, Hungary must register them.”

Video: Refugee Baby Born In An Underpass

Berlin has agreed to take in some 800,000 migrants from Syria and the Middle East.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said the influx of migrants “is a problem that concerns us all in Europe” and added her country is doing what is morally necessary.

French President Francois Hollande said he and Ms Merkel are putting forward a series of measures to deal with the migration crisis.

Mr Hollande said this would include a “permanent and obligatory mechanism” by which refugees, “notably Syrian”, would be distributed among the 28 countries in the EU.

These will be submitted to a meeting of European interior ministers on 14 September.

Last weekend, Hungary had allowed migrants to travel by train to western Europe without going through asylum procedures.

Trainloads of migrants arrived in Austria and Germany from Hungary on Monday as asylum rules collapsed under the strain of a wave of migration unprecedented in the EU.

However, Budapest’s stance has since hardened, as demonstrated by the Keleti closure and plans to deploy the military to the border.

source

In Flanders fields

poppies

(lieutenant colonel John McCrae, 1872-1918)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The First World War

……….

European Policy on Syria : the Time for Caution is Past

Syrian anti-regime protesters wave pre-Baath Syrian flags, now used by the Free Syrian Army, during a demonstration after the weekly Friday prayers in the Bustan al-Qasr district of the northern city of Aleppo on February 8, 2013 (photo: Aamir Qureishi/AFP/Getty Images)

18.02.2013

In view of the suffering and the destruction in Syria and the reticence of the US, the Europeans must assume more responsibility. They should expedite the reconstruction of liberated territories, bolster the National Coalition, finance rebels fighting for a democratic Syria and apply diplomatic pressure to pave the way for a political transition, says Kristin Helberg

Damascus may appear to be a city on an alien planet when viewed from Washington, but for Berlin, Paris, Rome and Athens, Syria is pretty much on the doorstep (unlike Mali). If this is why US President Barack Obama believes his nation can do nothing more in Syria than help with the distribution of food, clothing and medicaments, then it is the responsibility of the Europeans to act even more decisively.

Several things need to be happening at the same time. The liberated regions in the northeast of the country need humanitarian aid and support in the establishment of alternative state structures. This necessitates swift, unbureaucratic and creative solutions.

With the help of international NGOs and the local councils that have been set up in many places, EU representatives can establish what the population is lacking and how they can help to set up a functioning administration. Bakeries need flour, garbage trucks and ambulances need fuel and replacement parts, hospitals need medical equipment and staff, and schools need new windows, furniture and heating oil.

Stimulating the economy

In the medium-term, priority should be given to stimulating the economy and not to the distribution of alms – helping people to help themselves, instead of creating dependence and frustration.

(photo: Jan-Niklas Kniewel/dpa)
“If President Barack Obama believes his nation can do nothing more in Syria than help with the distribution of food, clothing and medicaments, then it is the responsibility of the Europeans to act even more decisively,” Kristin Helberg writes. Picture: UN staff members hand out food rations in Aleppo Syrians are experienced businesspeople, and in traditional commercial centres such as Aleppo it makes more sense to enable a soap manufacturer to get his business up and running again and employ staff, than to be continually handing out food. Teachers and doctors must be encouraged to return to their jobs. And in the rural regions of the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, farmers need seeds and customers for their products. Exports from rebel-controlled areas must not be allowed to falter because of a lack of trading regulations.

The more quickly a functioning public order is established, living conditions are improved and post-war job prospects created, the less likely it is that radical groups will gain a foothold in society. In addition, liberated regions could then serve as a positive example to the rest of the country of how a future Syria can look.

But thus far, the Syrian opposition has unfortunately not been in a position to take up the many impressive local initiatives and flesh them out into coherent structures. It is still waiting for a certain energetic support promised to it by Washington and other “Friends of Syria” in the event of an agreement. But the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces formed in November 2012 urgently needs financial, logistical, structural and content-related support if it is going to establish a provisional government within Syria.

This is the only way it will be able to gradually assume the administration of liberated territories, build up trust in oppositional institutions, become a credible point of contact for international donor countries and thereby provide an answer to the key question of what is in store for the nation after the toppling of Assad.

The National Coalition’s shrewd tactis

By offering to negotiate with Syria’s Vice President Farouk Al Sharaa, National Coalition leader Mouaz Al Khatib has shown that the coalition is doing its political homework and gaining a greater appreciation of the rules of international diplomacy.

Head of the National Coalition of Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition, Ahmad Mouaz Al-Khatib arrives to a meeting with European foreign affairs ministers in Brussels, Belgium, 10 December 2012 (photo: dpa)
Doing their political homework: Despite the appalling violence, Mouaz al-Khatib, the president of the opposition coalition, has said he would negotiate with representatives of Syria’s governing party – though not with Assad or members of his security services. This move puts the ball firmly in the regime’s court, Helberg writes Al Khatib does not want to discuss the future of Syria with Assad, but rather give the leadership of the regime the opportunity to peacefully hand over power to prevent any further bloodshed.

Instead of making Assad’s resignation a pre-condition for negotiations, it is hoped a political solution will bring this about – a shrewd move that puts the ball firmly in the regime’s court.

Rulers in Damascus will find it difficult to write off Al Khatib as a “marionette of the West” and refuse talks, particularly after even Syria’s allies Russia and Iran met with the coalition leader in Munich. In doing so, the Syrian leadership is exposing its own dialogue rhetoric for what is really is: hollow talk and a play for time. In the end, Assad and his cronies emerge as the true obstacle to a political solution.

The National Coalition and international diplomacy

The EU can expedite this delegitimisation of the Syrian regime by not only formally recognising the National Coalition as the representative of the Syrian people, but also by practically treating it as such. Its members could be accredited as new Syrian ambassadors, as they already have been in France and several Gulf states, and embassy buildings handed over to the coalition, as happened recently in Qatar.

Of course, the National Coalition still lacks the necessary democratic legitimisation at home and its actions have triggered much criticism. But at the present time, it is the broadest opposition alliance making it the only body capable of spawning an initial alternative to the Assad regime. This fact must be realised by Moscow above all, to step up diplomatic pressure on Assad and his entourage.

A picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is seen on the ground at the army base at Hawa village, north Aleppo December 23, 2012 (photo: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)
“The vexing issue of armed resistance”: In view of the increasing militarization and imminent radicalisation of society, a swift and decisive victory by the Free Syrian Army would currently be the best scenario for Syria, Helberg writes As soon as possible, Syria should be represented at the Arab League and United Nations by members of the opposition and not by diplomats from the regime. Only then does international aid for Syria recently approved by the UN make sense – a package totalling 519 million US dollars. The regime is supposed to use this money to help those it previously bombed out of their homes, look after the widows and orphans left behind by the men it has killed, and reconstruct the schools and hospitals it has intentionally reduced to rubble. Humanitarian aid could hardly be more cynical.

In these circumstances, the Europeans would be well advised not to put their Syria funds in the UN pot, thereby indirectly financing Assad’s war against his own people. Instead, they should assign a portion of this money to the National Coalition, and use another portion to promote projects in liberated territories, preferably in areas of their own core competence: Establishment of infrastructure and administration, transitional justice, political education and the strengthening of civil society structures.

The best scenario

Which leaves the vexing issue of armed resistance. In view of the increasing militarization and imminent radicalisation of society, and in view of the fact that 100 to 250 people are dying every day, a swift and decisive victory by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) would currently be the best scenario for Syria. After all, the longer the conflict continues, the less likely it is that an orderly transition can be achieved and peace re-established across the nation, and the greater the risk that Syria will descend into a state of protracted war thereby destabilising the entire region.

Kristin Helberg (photo: Jan Kulke / Foto Art Berlin)
Kristin Helberg worked as a freelance journalist in Damascus from 2001 to 2009. She is considered to be among the best Syria experts in Germany If it is going to defeat the regime, the armed opposition must be better organised and establish central command structures with the help of the National Coalition. Then, in the event that the regime is ousted, these structures could produce a new military leadership and defence ministry capable of restoring the state monopoly on the use of force and guaranteeing security for all Syrians.

Unfortunately, the West has still not understood that its reticence concerning the Free Syrian Army has in fact played into the hands of radical Islamist groups. While the FSA needs to sell flour to buy weapons, the well-funded Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front buys this flour and uses it to make bread, which it then distributes to the people. It may well be that the residents of Syria’s most conservative Sunni regions around Aleppo and Idlib regard the Jihadists with scepticism, but morally and financially, the radicals are already superior to the FSA.

For this reason, it can only be in the interests of the Europeans to support those forces within the FSA that are fighting for a free democratic Syria in which all confessional and ethnic groups coexist with equal rights.

When the Supreme Military Council – which was formed in December 2012 as an alliance of several brigades from various provinces ready to cooperate with the National Coalition – receives more money and better weapons, only then can it assert itself against Jihadist groups, bring more rebel units into its fold and protect liberated areas from regime air attacks.

The aim must be to gradually bring the armed resistance under political control, so that the demise of the Assad regime also means an end to the fighting.

Kristin Helberg

© Qantara.de 2013

Translated from the German by Nina Coon

Editor: Lewis Gropp

source

The tourists held by Greek police as illegal migrants

By Chloe Hadjimatheou BBC News, Athens

Hyun Young Jung

Greek police have stepped up efforts to catch illegal immigrants in recent months, launching a new operation to check the papers of people who look foreign. But tourists have also been picked up in the sweeps – and at least two have been badly beaten.

When Korean backpacker Hyun Young Jung was stopped by a tall scruffy looking man speaking Greek on the street in central Athens he thought it might be some kind of scam, so he dismissed the man politely and continued on his way.

A few moments later he was stopped again, this time by a man in uniform who asked for his documents. But as a hardened traveller he was cautious.

Greece was the 16th stop in his two-year-long round-the-world trip and he’d often been warned about people dressing in fake uniforms to extract money from backpackers, so while he handed over his passport he also asked the man to show him his police ID.

Instead, Jung says, he received a punch in the face.

Within seconds, the uniformed man and his plainclothes partner – the man who had first approached Jung – had him down on the ground and were kicking him, according to the Korean.

 

In shock, Jung was by now convinced he was being mugged by criminals and began shouting for help from passers-by.

“I was very scared,” he says.

It was only when he was handcuffed and dragged 500m (500 yards) up the road to the nearest police station that he realised he was actually under arrest.

Jung says that outside the station the uniformed officer, without any kind of warning, turned on him again, hitting him in the face.

“There were members of the public who saw what happened, like the man who works in the shop opposite the police station, but they were too afraid to help me,” he says.

Inside the police station, Jung says he was attacked a third time in the stairwell where there were no people or cameras.

“I can understand them asking me for ID and I even understand that there may have been a case to justify them hitting me in the first instance. But why did they continue beating me after I was handcuffed?” he asks.

Jung was held with a number of migrants from Africa and Asia who had also been rounded up as part of the police’s anti-immigration operation Xenios Zeus – named, strangely, after the ancient Greek god of hospitality.

The operation aims to tackle the wave of illegal immigration which over the last decade has changed the face of Athens’s city centre.

read full article here

Photo : Al Jareera live blog.

Lady / Madame Catherine Ashton.

*Neither patronizing nor despising the Egyptian people, tuesday 02-08.
“The critical thing that we want to do is make sure that the Egyptian people are able to have democracy. Democracy is not a moment in time, it’s a process that you have build for. It’s for the Egyptian people to have to work out who takes them forward with that transition. What we’ve urged is that it’s quick and that it moves forward meaningfully. The institutions, the way in which you develop society so that it is able to have democracy, to have human rights, to ensure that you’ve got in place everything you need, that takes a little bit of time, but a lot of support. What we’re clear about is we’ll be offering that support to ensure it will happen.”

America: The Silence of a Nation.

Excerpts from a speech by: Chris Hedges.

The author spoke at the Revolution Books Town Hall Meeting at Ethical Culture Society on January 13, 2009 condemning Israel and USA complicity in Israel’s murderous destruction and genocide of the innocent men, women and children of GAZA and the West Bank.

Dedicated to the children of GAZA.

Score: Angels Of The Universe.
Song: b um b um bambal.
Composed By: Sigur Ros & Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson.

Bahrain-based Saudi-financed “Islamic” bank Arcapita doing rich business with Israel military

Posted by Ali Abunimah

This blog reported on 9 October that American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) Board Member Marwan M. Atalla and his investment firm NEST U.S.A. Inc. are shareholders in Cirrus Design Corporation, an aircraft manufacturing firm which does millions in business with Israeli military contractors closely tied to the Israeli military establishment. (See “Board member of Ziad Asali’s ATFP does millions in business with Israeli military firm” )<!–more–>

As the earlier post explains, Cirrus has a long history of working with Israeli companies and recently chose an Israeli military contractor called TAT Technologies to supply $10 million worth of aircraft parts. TAT Technologies is run by Israeli military officers, including a former commander of Israeli occupation forces in southern Lebanon, and its factory is built on the land of the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of Yasur.

Since publishing that post, I have received new information from a former employee who is also a current minority shareholder at Cirrus. According to this individual Atalla was an active board member of Cirrus until 2001, but was forced to resign along with other independent board members when another investor, the First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain took a majority stake in Cirrus. Atalla and his firm NEST U.S.A. Inc. remain shareholders of Cirrus as of this time, according to NEST’s own website.

In 2005, the First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain changed its name to Arcapita. Arcapita is financed by investors in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and is well-connected to those countries’ ruling families.

The Arcapita website states on its current corporate investments page that it acquired a stake in “Cirrus Design Corporation” in 2001, but does not say how big the stake is. A 2007 report on aviation industry website AVweb, put Arcapita’s stake at a controlling 58 percent.

While the AVweb report mentions that Arcapita was seeking to divest from Cirrus, in fact it has become more deeply involved. An April 2009 press release from Cirrus stated that Arcapita had pumped even more money into the company during the global financial crisis.

As an Islamic investment bank, all of Arcapita’s investments are screened by its Shariah Supervisory Board which currently includes a religious scholar and former judge from the Supreme Court in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as well as religious scholars from Pakistan and Bahrain. Such advisory boards are supposed to screen investments to make sure they comply with Islamic banking standards — typically avoiding interest, or investments in alcohol or pornography.

But for Arcapita, at least, there seems to be nothing un-Islamic about profiting from deals with the Israeli military establishment — the same military that has slaughtered more than nine thousand Muslims, Christians and others and injured and permanently maimed tens of thousands more in Palestine and Lebanon in the past decade alone in what numerous international investigations have termed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Needless to say, Arcapita-controlled Cirrus’ business with the Israeli military establishment is a gross violation of the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel.

source

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