Libya

According to Emmanuel Macron, the days of popular sovereignty are over

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/09/2017 - 12:36am in

by Thierry Meyssan, September 5, 2017, via VoltaireNet Delivering a keynote speech before the most senior of French diplomats, President Macron revealed his conception of the world and the way in which he intends to use the tools at his disposal. According to him, there will be no more popular sovereignty, neither in France, nor in Europe, and therefore no more national or supra-national democracies. Neither will there be any more collective interest, no more Republic, but an ill-defined catalogue of things and ideas which compose the common good. Describing their new programme of work to the ambassadors, he informed them that they should no longer defend the values of their country, but find opportunities to act in the name of the European Leviathan. Entering into the details of certain conflicts, he described a programme of economic colonisation of the Levant and Africa. Participating in the traditional Ambassadors’ Week, President Macron gave his first general speech on foreign policy since his arrival at the Elysée Palace [1]. In this article, all the quotations in inverted commas …

RTUK: Iranians Say They Are Unafraid of Trump

This is a very short clip from RTUK that I found on YouTube. The news agency asks people on the street in Iran’s capital, Tehran, how they feel about Trump’s threats at the UN. They state they are not afraid, with one gentleman rightly pointing out that the UN states that they are complying with the treaty, as do the Europeans and Russia. Another nattily dressed chap says that they’ve been under sanctions for four decades, and in many ways it’s made the country stronger.

I’m posting this because, while I despise the theocratic regime, Iran itself is one of the most of ancient cultures in the world, with a history stretching back almost to the dawn of western civilization in the Ancient Near East. Its people were exploited by we British when we had control of their oil industry, and we created the conditions that led to the Islamic Revolution and the dictatorship of the ayatollahs when we overthrew the last, democratically elected prime minister of the country, Mohammed Mossadeq with the aid of the Americans, because he dared to nationalize their oil industry. The result was the despotism of Shah, who ruled through fear and his secret police force, SAVAK.

The country is abiding by the agreement they signed with America in which they pledged themselves not to build nuclear weapons. The reason Trump is threatening them with invasion is for geopolitical reasons – they’re supporting Assad in Syria, whom Trump would like to overthrow, and sending troops in to assist the Shi’a in Iraq against the Sunnis and ISIS. Both Israel and the Saudis would also like to see Iran invaded as a major threat to their countries. And Iran was one of the nations on a list of seven which the neocons drew up for invasion. This list also included Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. These are not sufficient grounds for invasion, and so Trump is making up more lies about the Iranians developing nukes. Just as Blair and Dubya lied about weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The people of the Middle East do not deserve another war, a war, which will create the same carnage that the invasion of Iraq has wrought in that ancient part of the Arab world. And we should not be sending our courageous young men and women to be killed just so the Saudi and American oil companies can steal their oil industry, and the Americans can loot whatever else they can seize from the Iranian state sector for the enrichment of their already bloated multinationals.

If Trump invades, as he and the American military-industrial complex wish, it won’t be to give the Iranians freedom, and it certainly won’t bring them – or us – peace. It will just be another imperialist war of conquest and exploitation. And it will harm the ordinary people of America and Britain, as we will be forced to shoulder the economic costs of the war, just as the heads of the multinationals get even richer from it. Quite apart from seeing more bodies and maimed and traumatized young people come back from the war itself.

Trump is a menace to everyone on this planet. We have to make sure he never starts the wars he’s threatening.

Redacted Tonight on How Trump Is Lying to Us about Iran and North Korea

This is a very short video from RT’s Redacted Tonight, presented by the left-wing comedian Lee Camp. Camp shows how Trump is lying to America and the world, in order to bring us closer to war with both of these countries. Trump has said this week that he could declare war with Iran over its failure to keep to the agreement regarding its nuclear programme. Except that, according to the Intercept, UN weapons inspectors have found that Iran has kept to the agreement.

Americans have also been told that North Korea is unwilling to negotiate over its nuclear weapons. Except that the North Koreans have said they’re unwilling to negotiate getting rid of theirs, unless America ends its hostile stance and military threat to them.

Which as Camp points out, means that they are willing to negotiate.

Others have pointed out that the real reason Trump wants a war with Iran is that, while the country certainly is abiding by the treaty limiting its nuclear capability, it is still supplying arms and other aid to groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad in Syria and the Shi’a in Iraq. In other words, America’s geopolitical enemies. But they have not violated the international treaty regulating their development of nuclear power, so that shouldn’t be an issue Trump can use for pushing America into another devastating war in the Middle East.

As for the North Koreans, while I don’t trust them, and Kim Jong Un really is a murderous b*stard, with the same taste for killing his family as the most degenerate Roman emperors, past experience with other nations has taught him he can’t trust America if he gives up his nuclear weapons. Saddam Hussein did, and the US invaded anyway.

This looks very much like the American military-industrial complex trying to start yet another series of wars, including one that could very easily set off nuclear Armageddon. In Iran’s case, Trump seems simply to be following the policy set by the Likudniks in Israel and the Neo-Cons in the US. They wanted to overthrow the governments of seven nations, including Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran.

As for Israel itself, Tony Greenstein on his blog has posted a piece discussing how no-one wants to discuss the real elephant in the room: Israel’s own nuclear weapons. Israel isn’t supposed to have any, but they do. Nobody has held them to account for breaking the international treaty, and officially the Israel’s don’t have them. But in practice, everyone knows that they do.

http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/israels-nuclear-weapons-consistency.html

I still remember the uproar back in the 1990s when Mordechai Vanunu leaked the information to the international press that Israel had broken the treaty and produced nuclear weapons. He was prosecuted and imprisoned for a very long time. And it seemed shortly thereafter that Robert Maxwell, the obese fraudster, who owned the Mirror, one of the British papers which I think broke the news, fell off his yacht. Of course, I might be wrong about all of this. Maxwell was probably up to his ears in international intrigue, but at the moment it seems that his death was just an accident.

Hmmm….

But back to Greenstein’s article, one of the very interesting things he says there is that a few decades ago one of the Middle Eastern countries did propose a plan for a nuclear-free Middle East. This would have made the world a much safer place.

And the country that put forward this proposal was Iran. Now unfairly accused of building nuclear weapons.

Which bears out in spades what Lee Camp has said about Iran and North Korea. We’re being lied to about them and their supposed nuclear ambitions. And in the case of Iran, they’ve been lying to us for a very long time.

Both of these countries are extremely repressive states, though Iran is more democratic and freer than North Korea. Indeed, according to the book on the country written by the veteran BBC correspondent, John Simpson, Iranians often said things to him about their government, which made him fear for their safety. When he asked them about it, they’d respond with ‘Why not? This isn’t Russia.’ But those countries’ lack of freedom isn’t why the Orange Generalissimo is spoiling for another war with them.

General Smedley Butler was right: war Is a racket. And the western military machine want to be the gangsters that run it.

Radical Journalist Chris Hedges and Cartoonist Dwanyne Booth on the True Horror of War

I see that the government have started running recruiting ads for the armed forces again. It was the navy a few months ago. Now it seems to be the army. The ads show a greasy, disheveled man, who clearly represents some kind of Latin American Fascist or other butcher, being hunted down and snatched by our brave boys, who then whisk him over the sea in the motorized dinghy to a waiting British warship and justice.

Oh, if that were the reality!

It ain’t, of course. Like the Americans, we seem to have spent the last seventy odd years since the end of the Second World War propping up every Fascist mass murderer we could, so long as he would protect British interests from Communism or local nationalist movements. In 1958 we and the Americans organized a coup against the Iranian prime minister, Mossadeq, because he dared to nationalize the Iranian oil industry, which included the equipment and complexes owned by Anglo-Persian Oil, which later became British Petroleum, now BP. Then there was Nasser and Suez, and Mrs. Thatcher’s fave South American buddy, General Pinochet. Quite apart from one of the Libertarian organisations that form part of the Tory party inviting the head of one of the South American death squads over as guest of honour at their annual dinner one year.

As for snatch squads, this ad looks inoffensive over here, but if it was shown on American TV it would actually be very sinister. One of the tactics the American military used to terrorise the Vietnamese during the war there was to use snatch squads to catch Vietnamese peasant farmers during nighttime raids. The farmers would then be killed and their bodies left as a mute message to their compatriots.

Britain’s invasion of Iraq with George Bush, in contravention of the UN legislation against pre-emptive war, and the continuing occupation of Afghanistan, have done precious little except create even more carnage and bloodshed in the Middle East. And these wars were not fought to defend America and the West against evil dictators. In the case of Iraq they were fought so that the oil industry and other western countries could loot whatever they thought was profitable in the country’s economic infrastructure. They also managed to wreck the economy by lowering trade tariffs in order to create the magical free trade utopia fantasised about by the Libertarians and Neo-Cons. Added to this was the ethnic and sectarian bloodshed unleashed by the occupation, and the use of mercenaries and Shi’a militias as death squads by the American overlords.

This makes this next video all the more urgently important. It’s not short – over fifty minutes long. It seems to be a film of the American radical journalist Chris Hedges speaking at an American university gathering about his experiences as a war reporter, and the anti-war cartoonist Dwanyne Booth, alias ‘Mr. Fish’, talking about his work. And it’s strong stuff, which doesn’t pull its punches.

Hedges has a degree in Divinity from Harvard. His father was a Presbyterian priest with radical political beliefs, who was strongly involved in the Civil and gay rights movements. Hedges trained in a seminary, but didn’t joint the clergy. After graduating, he joined the New York Times and served as a war journalist in South America in the 1980s, when Reagan was funding Fascists dictators and their death squads, like Contras in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. After that, he then covered the war in Iraq.

And he presents the unvarnished truth about war and the dehumanizing effect it has on those who are involved, whether as combatants or observers. It’s bloody and horrible, and he states that being in a firefight is terrifying beyond imagination. In fact, terror really doesn’t describe the sheer fear felt during these encounters. These are wars fought for the benefit of big business, and the images and stories about it that we are brought up on are lies.

He describes some of the battles in which he was personally involved, and the times he was captured by hostile forces, like Contras in Nicaragua and the Iraqi Republican Army in Iraq, when he really thought they were going to kill him and his companions. He states that before going into battle, everyone, with himself excepted, used to get drunk or high. Particularly the photographers, as they had to do what you really shouldn’t do in a gun battle and stand up. He states he knew many of them, who lost their lives doing their job. He also states that it is not like the movies. He praises Oliver Stone and his movie about Vietnam, Platoon, but says that the battle in that film is not like real firefights. It’s choreographed. Real battles are just chaos, in which you don’t know what’s going or who’s firing. In all the very many battles in which he was personally involved, he only once saw someone firing in his direction.

He describes how the Contras in Nicaragua called the Sandinistas and forces allied or sympathetic to them ‘periacuas’, a Latin American term meaning ‘motherf***er’. The Contras especially despised the press and media as being allied to the Sandinistas, which made his job even more dangerous. They also used to launch night raids, in which they’d murder a couple of peasant farmers. These people, would have had nothing to do with the war or the Sandinistas, but they were killed and a message left for the ‘periacuas’ on their bodies telling them that this was what was going to be done to them next.

They captured Hedges and his team, when he went looking for a group of them, who had gone underground. He found them, and they really weren’t happy. After capturing him, they radioed their headquarters to ask them whether they should kill them. Fortunately, the answer was, ‘No.’ But they were told to release them and say that if they caught them again, they would kill them and burn their jeep. As if they cared what would happen to the vehicle when they themselves were facing death!

He describes how he and another group of journalists were caught in Iraq by the Republican Army, thrown in the back of a jeep, and had guns pointed at their heads. They were then driven out of the city, and were afraid that their captors would stop somewhere in the desert and shoot them. Fortunately, this didn’t happen, and they were captured by proper, regular soldiers rather than the various militias that had sprung up, including companies formed of 14 year old Shi’a boys, who’d been given guns by Iran.

He also talks about the numbing effect war has on its participants, and the way it becomes a drug. Nothing can beat the high experienced by actually surviving a battle. And so he, like the soldiers he covered, became addicted to combat, playing a weird game with God to see if he could survive ever increasingly dangerous situations and battles.

He also talks about the immense alienation former soldiers feel, an alienation that prevents them from fitting back into society when they’ve returned from combat. He describes them as speaking a language no-one can understand, and makes the point that no-one wants to hear what they’re saying. He makes the point that when you find yourself in a war, you realise that everyone, from your government, the media and your educators, has lied to you. He discusses how old soldiers hate being told how well they’ve served their country, and how no-one wants to hear from them what war is really like. Of the troopers who took Iwo Jima, for example, several took their own lives, while a couple of others drank themselves to death. Hedges himself states proudly that he concentrated on talking to ordinary soldiers. He didn’t talk to anyone above the level of lance corporal, because he wanted to get the truth from them, rather than get caught up in the propaganda spouted by the generals and commanding officers. And he was unique in this. Most journalists wanted to see the top people, and so when he went for the job with the Times, he was told that the queue for the job began and ended with him.

As for the brutal reality of war, it is not like it is portrayed on television on the nightly news. He describes how, when he was in Iraq, in one area they visited the Iraqi army had been without water for three days. Dying of thirst, they tried to cross a minefield in the hope that Hedges and the squaddies he was with would give them some. One of the Iraqi troopers had both legs blown off by a mine. It took him six hours to bleed to death.

Hedges says that it’s quite possible now to show incidents like that using a satellite feed, so you can see in real time real soldiers suffering and dying. But no-one wants to see it, or broadcast it, because if they did, there’d never be another war.

Booth in his work is also angry and bitter about war, and the corporations and individuals standing behind it. One of his cartoons shows a little boy pointing into the camera in the classic Uncle Sam/ Lord Kitchener pose in the war recruiting posters. The legend below reads

I want YOU to give me a future not f*cked up by all your crazy bullsh*t about how moral and just the United States of America is when it invades and occupies other countries and how heroic and brave I’d be to kill for you because you’re too f*cking lazy and bigoted and unimaginative to prefer peace to hegemony and terrorism.

Another of his cartoons shows a child’s body in its grave, with corporate logos covering the shroud.

After speaking, there’s also a question and answer session with members of the audience, who include staff at the university. Some of these link the military action of the American empire to the destruction of the environment and other issues.

This is hard-hitting stuff, and it needs to be heard. We still have our politicians telling us lies about Iraq, and the other interventions in the Middle East, like Libya and Syria. And we haven’t been told the whole truth about Afghanistan – that the Taliban were utterly defeated, but the allied occupation was so terrible, and created so much chaos, that they were able to return and actually be welcomed by the people, they’d formerly oppressed.

Despite the fact that he’s a war criminal, Tony Blair’s still at large and desperate to get back into politics.

We need journos like Hedges. But the corporate media aren’t going to allow them to speak. In fact, the New York Times did its best to suppress the truth about what was going on in Iraq. And tens of journalists have died out there in highly suspicious circumstances, which suggests that the American army might have been killing those members of the media, who didn’t follow the approved line and described what they saw, rather than what the military wanted them to.

Don’t believe the corporate claptrap and the rubbish put out in the recruiting films. Support the independent media that dares to say what they won’t. And for heaven’s sake let’s get our young men and women out of the Middle East. Let’s stop wasting the precious lives of courageous people, who are being butchered simply so Haliburton and Aramco can make even bigger, more obscene profits.

Call for submissions: Listening to Libya - Intervention and its aftermath

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 28/08/2017 - 12:18am in

Tags 

Libya

NAWA seeks to provide a deeper look into Libya by inviting Libyan
writers, and readers to submit their thoughts, articles and pitches but
also their reading recommendations to us.

Explosive Remnants of War in post revolution Libya. Picture by United Nations Development Programme / Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Some rights reserved. During the month of September, North Africa West Asia (NAWA) is calling for submissions and pitches on Libya.

Since the beginning of the Libyan uprising and especially with the military intervention that led to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become a ghost haunting any discussion of internationalism in Syria, and as primary evidence of western conspiracies for regime change. While much is discussed about Syria, very little has been heard from Libyans and Libya outside of the simplified dichotomy that we see in mainstream media. While indeed part of the story of Syria is located in Libya, the latter’s story is crucial to be told for its own sake.  

NAWA seeks to provide a deeper look into Libya by inviting Libyan writers, and readers to submit their thoughts, articles and pitches but also their reading recommendations to us. Though many foreigners have studied and written on Libya, we aim to bolster the voice and experience of Libyans for this series.

Our focus will be on the call for and the aftermath of intervention. How has the Libyan uprising altered internationalism and what is happening in Libya in the aftermath of the intervention?

You can submit your pitches or texts (50 to 100 words) and / or reading suggestions to NAWA@opendemocracy.net

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دعوة إلى تقديم المقالات: الاستماع إلى ليبيا – التّدخّل وآثاره

Country or region: 

Libya

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

Call for submissions: Listening to Libya - Intervention and its aftermath

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 28/08/2017 - 12:18am in

Tags 

Libya

NAWA seeks to provide a deeper look into Libya by inviting Libyan
writers, and readers to submit their thoughts, articles and pitches but
also their reading recommendations to us.

Explosive Remnants of War in post revolution Libya. Picture by United Nations Development Programme / Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Some rights reserved. During the month of September, North Africa West Asia (NAWA) is calling for submissions and pitches on Libya.

Since the beginning of the Libyan uprising and especially with the military intervention that led to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become a ghost haunting any discussion of internationalism in Syria, and as primary evidence of western conspiracies for regime change. While much is discussed about Syria, very little has been heard from Libyans and Libya outside of the simplified dichotomy that we see in mainstream media. While indeed part of the story of Syria is located in Libya, the latter’s story is crucial to be told for its own sake.  

NAWA seeks to provide a deeper look into Libya by inviting Libyan writers, and readers to submit their thoughts, articles and pitches but also their reading recommendations to us. Though many foreigners have studied and written on Libya, we aim to bolster the voice and experience of Libyans for this series.

Our focus will be on the call for and the aftermath of intervention. How has the Libyan uprising altered internationalism and what is happening in Libya in the aftermath of the intervention?

You can submit your pitches or texts (50 to 100 words) and / or reading suggestions to NAWA@opendemocracy.net

Sideboxes
Related stories: 

دعوة إلى تقديم المقالات: الاستماع إلى ليبيا – التّدخّل وآثاره

Country or region: 

Libya

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

Jimmy Dore: Taliban Have Surrendered Several Times, Each Time Refused by America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/08/2017 - 10:47pm in

Here’s another very important clip from the Jimmy Dore Show. It’s one that should be viewed by everyone interested in what the various wars we’re fighting around the world are really about. Dore and his co-host, Ron Placone, discuss a review of Anand Gopal’s book No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War through Afghan Eyes by Ryan Grimm in The Intercept. And its more of what the mainstream media aren’t telling us about these wars.

Dore starts the show by making the point that mainstream media never reveals the truth about the reasons behind America’s various wars in the Middle East and the Maghreb. They don’t mention the petrodollar, Libya, or the reason why Iran’s now a theocratic state under the ayatollahs. It’s because America – and Britain – over threw its democratically elected prime minister, Mossadeq.

And this is just as devastating. Gopal’s book reveals that the Taliban surrendered several times to America and its allies, only to be rebuffed. It was traditional in Afghan civil wars for the losing side to surrender to the victors. They would, in turn, incorporate them into the new government. Dore makes the point that this is a sensible system for governing a country, where people still have to live together as neighbours after the fighting. The Taliban tried to do this with the Allies, and were rebuffed. Several times. He also points out that the Taliban itself withered away, as its members put down their guns, either going back and vanishing into the rest of the population, or heading over the border into Pakistan.

However, America and the Allies offered rewards for those informing on the Taliban. With the real Taliban having vanished, and al-Qaeda down to a mere handful of people, the venal and unscrupulous amongst the Afghan population used the system to settle personal feuds. They smeared their neighbours as Taliban, for them to be killed or arrested by the US forces, and get the reward money. This naturally has created massively hostility against Allied forces. When America and the Allies first defeated the Taliban, the Afghans were glad to see them go. Now, having had their peace overtures repulsed, and the country reduced to more chaos and warfare, the Taliban have returned with popular backing.

But Dore states, you are not going to hear it from the mainstream news, such as MSNBC and Rached Maddow, because the media automatically backs the American war machine. And that war machine must be kept fed. He notes that Congress, with the backing of the Democrats, has just voted another $100 billion for the defence budget, in addition to what had already been voted for it last year. America already spends more on defence than the next 13 countries on the list combined. And the country and her allies have been in Afghanistan for 16 years. In other four years, the war will get a gold watch and be able to retire.

That’s it. There are absolutely no good reasons anymore for us to be anywhere in the Middle East. I backed the invasion of Afghanistan because I believed that it was a justified response to an act of war by al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies. I heard a few years ago from a friend that the Taliban tried to stop the invasion by offering to surrender Osama bin Laden, claiming that they didn’t know that he had been planning the attack. I wasn’t sure whether to believe it or not. But after this, it looks much more credible.

We’re not helping anyone in Afghanistan by staying there, except perhaps an already corrupt government, propped up by us, western mercenaries, and the opium trade, which has flourished more than it ever did previously. Dore states that the only areas in Afghanistan, which weren’t troubled by fighting, were those where there wasn’t a western military presence.

Of course, there are other, corporate reasons why we’re still there. Trump announced that America would stay in the country to exploit its valuable mineral resources, in order to defray the costs of the invasion. As well as the gas pipeline that was supposed to be built, but wasn’t, as Dore also mentions.

But the humanitarian reasons touted as justification for the invasion have vanished. We’ve long outstayed our welcome. As Grimm’s review concludes, we’re losing to an enemy who’s already surrendered. A hard thing to do. We’re just killing and maiming people for the benefit of the military-industrial complex. And our boys and girls are also being killed and maimed.

They’re coming back traumatized and with terrible injuries, not for defending their country and its allies, as they and we have been told. They’re being mutilated and killed purely for the profit of the big arms manufacturers.

Disgusting.

Dore encourages everyone watching this to pass it on. I agree. We are not going to hear about this from mainstream media, which includes the Beeb.

General Smedley Butler was right. War is a racket. We need to get out, bring our troops back home, and close all the wars and interventions in which we’re currently involved down.

Until then, there will never be peace across the world.

The Battle of Charlottesville?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/08/2017 - 1:29pm in

by Jon Jeter, August 14, 2017 Mothafuckas just gonna have to be mad at me, I don’t give a fuck. This right here be some bullshit. Is Trump a neo-fascist?  By any critical measure, indeed he is. But for the life of me, I cannot come up with a single definition of fascism that would NOT also include Obama.  I suppose that if we stick to Cobb’s narrow prescriptions of “Nazism” it’s true that we have never before seen a feebler response as Trump’s inaction this weekend, sort of like it’s true that Michael Jordan and John Paxson once combined to score 71 points in a single game. But for those of us who are NOT sophists and understand Nazism as Germany’s particular expression of fascism, we recognize that there is a seamless continuity between Bush, Clinton, Baby Bush, Obama and the White House’s current occupant. Was Obama’s failure to prosecute a single police officer for the murders of black and brown people that occurred on his watch some kind of testament to liberal democracy? …

Stop blaming the rescuers

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/07/2017 - 1:21am in

Tags 

eu, Libya, Conflict

Attacks against rescue efforts in the Mediterranean must stop. The recent Italian and EU proposals are just the last steps of an ongoing de-legitimisation campaign that is putting the lives of thousands of migrants at risk.

The Iuventa of the NGO Jugend Rettet rescues several migrants in distress during the Easter weekend 2017. Due to continuing inadequacy of state rescue operations, NGOs present in the area are often working at the limit of their capacities. Credit: Moonbird Airborne Operation / www.sea-watch.org, www.hpi.swissIt
has been spreading like a trail of powder. A heinous argument
blaming rescue efforts in the Mediterranean for colluding with smugglers,
encouraging more migrants to attempt the perilous sea crossing and ultimately
endangering their lives, has, over the past few months, broken out of the small
circles of far-right conspiracy theories to reach the headlines of prominent
newspapers and become the official position of European states and
institutions. The latest proposal by the Italian government to block its ports
to nongovernmental rescue vessels and the subsequent EU-endorsed
plan
to impose a code
of conduct
to limit their activities are only the most recent outcomes of
months of virulent attacks. These proposals disturbingly converge with the
initiative of far-right groups which are chartering their
own vessel
to stop NGOs at sea. Should these different initiatives succeed
in blocking or hindering rescue efforts, the consequences for migrants would
be disastrous.

The
accusation that rescue efforts would be the cause of the soaring numbers of
crossings and deaths at sea is far from new. Already in 2014, the
Italian military-humanitarian Mare Nostrum operation, which had for a year deployed
unprecedented means to rescue migrants at sea, was accused of constituting a “pull-factor
that endangered migrants’ lives. The termination of Mare Nostrum, however, did
not lead to less crossings, only to a staggering rise in the number of deaths
at sea. It was precisely to fill the lethal gap in rescue capabilities left by
the EU and its member states that NGOs courageously stepped in with their own
vessels. During recent months, they have repeatedly given proof of
their fundamental life-saving role, often operating at the limit
of their capacities
to make up for the lack of state rescue means. Despite
this, it is their activities which are today threatened by a campaign of
criminalisation and de-legitimisation.

While the most heinous accusations of
collusion with the smugglers have been revealed to be baseless
and receded from mainstream discourse, a subtler but no less grave
accusation initially formulated by Frontex, the European Union border and coast
guard agency, and reminiscent of that formulated against Mare Nostrum, has
proven remarkably resilient. A recent article
by the New York Times titled
“Efforts to Rescue Migrants Caused Deadly, Unexpected Consequences” offers the
latest example of this argument. After showing through data visualisation and
cartography that in the past few years rescue operations have moved closer to Libyan
coasts, the NYT authors uncritically voice the concerns raised by Frontex that this
shift would have “introduced a deadly incentive for more migrants to risk the
journey and for smugglers to launch more boats”.

They also
claim that the presence of rescue vessels would have
encouraged smugglers to use even more dangerous tactics, such as using “flimsy
boats and provide just enough fuel to reach the edge of Libyan waters”. In sum,
while admitting that “rescuing migrants closer to the Libyan
coast saved hundreds of people at sea”, the article casts a dark shadow over
rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, claiming that, despite themselves, “strategies
to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea […] have pushed desperate migrants
into even more desperate situations”. With a cunning sleight of hand, the
rescuers are turned here into the culprits for the growing numbers of deaths at
sea.

Rescued migrants on the deck of the Iuventa of the NGO Jugend Rettet during the Easter weekend 2017. Despite a nominal capacity of no more than 100 people, the Iuventa had to take on board hundreds of people to make up for the absence of state-led rescue assets. Credit: Giulia BertoluzziAs humanitarian actors know all
too well, they must always confront the possibility that their intervention may
unwillingly amplify the problem they set out to alleviate. But today,
there is solid evidence that these arguments are fundamentally mistaken and that
rehearsing them uncritically only contributes to legitimising a dangerous
policy.

As
we have demonstrated in a recently published report, rescue efforts were not
the main driver of increasing arrivals over 2016. Data collected by Frontex
itself provides evidence that the overall
increase during that year was mainly due to more crossings by migrants from
several West and Central African nationalities which predated the deployment of
NGO vessels. Furthermore, a 46% increase in the number of arrivals was
registered in the western Mediterranean for 2016, while no proactive rescue
operation was deployed in that area. Faced with political and economic crises
in several countries on the African continent and with appalling conditions in
Libya, migrants have little choice but to attempt the sea crossing, with or
without resuce means.

We
also demonstrate that rescue efforts by NGOs were not the main cause of
worsening conditions of crossing but a life-saving response to evolving
smuggling practices that predated their intervention. For instance, the shift
from larger and more solid wooden boats to rickety and smaller rubber boats,
which has been acknowledged as a major factor in the increasing deaths at sea,
occurred already in late 2015, when the presence of NGOs was still marginal.

One
of the most important factors leading to this trend was the EU’s anti-smuggling
Operation
Sophia
, which, by destroying smugglers’ vessels once migrants had been
rescued, prevented the re-use of wooden boats. Another crucial factor has been
the increasing attempts by the Libyan Coast Guard to (selectively) intercept
migrant boats. These and other factors converged to push even further the
downward spiral in the conditions of crossing offered by smugglers. While it
cannot be ruled out that NGO rescue efforts contributed to consolidate specific
tactical shifts in the practices of smugglers, it is wrong, we show, to claim
that they were driving them.

Finally,
and most importantly, our statistical analysis indicates that there is a strong
negative correlation between the migrant mortality rate and the deployment of
NGOs’ rescue vessels. In short, over the course of 2016, the more NGO vessels
were deployed, the safer the crossing became for migrants. This provides the
strongest demonstration of the life-saving role played by rescue efforts and a
forceful empirical rebuttal of their supposed “deadly consequences”.

Monthly migrant mortality rates for 2016 (based on IOM and UNHCR data) and number of deployed NGO rescue vessels, showing a striking negative correlation: the more vessels are present, the safer the crossing becomes for migrants. Credit: Forensic Oceanography

The ending of Mare Nostrum was
recognised too late by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European
Commission, as a “serious mistake” that “cost human
lives
”. Today EU institutions and members states are on a course to
repeat this same “mistake”, with a wicked twist. This time they are not simply
persisting in their resolve to not
provide adequate rescue means in the aim of deterring migrants from crossing,
but they are also actively seeking to stop those who made up for their lethal
absence and continue to remind the EU of the unacceptable deaths at its shores.

The
only "rescue" activities European policy makers wish to see are those
operated by the EU funded and equipped Libyan Coast
Guard
, regardless of the proven collusion of its agents with smugglers, the
repeated deaths their intervention has caused and the horrendous conditions
migrants face once pulled-back to Libya. This is the cynical and lethal policy
of containment implemented today by the EU.

In the night of 21 October 2016, the Coast Guard of Zawiya, Libya, violently interrupted a rescue operation that had been started by the rescue vessel of the NGO Sea-Watch. This led to the death of at least 25 people. Credits: Christian Ditsch. NGOs
themselves are acutely aware that rescue at sea cannot be the
“solution”
to the death of migrants in the Mediterranean. Only a
fundamental shift towards policies enabling the passage of migrants through
safe and legal means will bring an end to the daily reality of thousands of
migrants in distress, and with it the need to rescue them. But as long as
migrants are forced to resort to smugglers for lack of legal pathways, and
while states continue to refuse to deploy their own proactive rescue
operations, the presence of NGOs close to the Libyan coast will remain both a
humanitarian necessity and a much-needed expression of the refusal to silently accept
the ongoing carnage at sea.

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Blaming the rescuers (2017) a report by Forensic Oceanography (Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani)

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The Economic Motive for America’s Current Wars

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/07/2017 - 10:00pm in

Russia has long been the chief seller of energy — mainly gas and oil — in the world’s largest energy-market: the EU, or Europe. This means that U.S.-based energy companies, such as Exxon and Halliburton, aren't the ones who dominate in supplying oil, gas, pipelines, and other energy-supplying needs, to the consumers and businesses in the world’s largest energy-market: Europe.

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