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Scenes of Joy as Greeks Vote OXI.

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Manifestation de joie dimanche soir après les résultats du référendum donnant plus de 60% en faveur du non.

 

 

The final result is No: 61.31%, and Yes with 38.69%

 

greece-tuc-meeting

 

I was very struck by the response of one of the Oxi voters broadcast on the television last night.

He said that one thing that had helped them make their choice was when they realised that there were so many people in Europe who stood with the Greeks – against austerity.

News on the departure of  Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis

Here’s our latest report (Guardian) on Varoufakis’ resignation. More details to be added shortly:

The Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned in the wake of the country’s resounding no vote rejecting the eurozone’s austerity terms.

Writing on his blog on Monday morning he said that he would be standing down immediately after pressure from Greece’s European partners.

“Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my … ‘absence’ from its meetings,” he wrote.

The prime minister Alexis Tsipras judged this to be “potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the ministry of finance today”.

He added: “The referendum of 5 July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

“Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25 June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.

More:

“Minister no more”: Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis resigns

In another extraordinary development the Greek finance minister has just announced his resignation.

In a move likely to spark further concerns about the role of other European leaders in Greece’s internal politics, Varoufakis said he was made aware of a preference by “some European participants” of his absence throughout the continuing negotiations.

The post was made on Varoufakis’ blog and there is nothing to suggest it is not authentic. It has also been cross-posted on his Twitter account.

Here’s the post in full:

The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.

Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.

I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.

And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.

We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.

The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

Mannan Family Joins the Islamic State, a “land that is free from the corruption and oppression of man made law.”

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Fatima Az Zahra: Here we are killing the non-believers in order to expand the Islamic State.

Yesterday (Independent):

Fatima Az Zahra: Italy’s ‘Lady Jihad’ who joined Isis in Syria and then persuaded her family to follow on Skype.

It is news that has transfixed Italy. In a few short years an educated and articulate young woman converted to Islam, became radicalised and went to join Isis in Syria before persuading her family to join her.

Fatima Az Zahra, née Maria Giulia Sergio, appeared on a TV talk show in 2009, debating fiercely with right-wing politicians following her conversion from Roman Catholic to Muslim.

After marrying a local pizza-maker of Moroccan origin, the Naples-born 27-year-old, dubbed “Lady Jihad” by the Italian press, rejected her husband’s moderate brand of Islam and left him for an Albanian, Aldo Kobuzi, who “interpreted the faith in the correct way”, as she told a friend, before travelling to Syria with Mr Kobuzi and his mother in September last year.

These comments stands out:

But her views changed radically as she embraced the toxic ideology of Isis. “Here we are killing the non-believers in order to expand the Islamic State. We don’t want to be friends with the non-believers, we don’t want to have anything to do with them,” she said on Skype to her family.

“These are not just idle words, these are obligations… You should see what the Mujahideen do for love of Allah… 15- and 16-year-olds killing 50 non-believers… That’s what we have to do to expand the Islamic State.”

Today, the BBC has just reported

A UK family of 12 who went missing have joined so-called Islamic State and are “safer than ever”, according to a statement said to be on their behalf.

The statement, purportedly sent by a member of IS, said it was “outrageous” to suggest the family had been kidnapped and forced to join the group.

It called on all Muslims to join them and “hasten to the obedience of Allah”.

The family from Luton has not been seen since 17 May and includes three children aged between one and 11.

Police have previously said they may have travelled to Syria.

The BBC has not been able to independently verify if the statement, which includes two photos purportedly of family member Muhammed Abdul Mannan, is genuine.

FROM THE MANNAN FAMILY IN THE LAND OF KHILAFAH.

In the name of Allah the Merciful and especially Merciful

We release this statement to confirm that, indeed we are in the Islamic State. A land that is free from the corruption and oppression of man made law and is governed by the shariah, the perfect and just laws of Allah subhanAllah wa Ta’la.

Yes, all 12 of us and why should this number be shocking, when there are thousands and thousands of Muslims from all corners of the world that are crossing over land and sea everyday to come to the Islamic State? That are willingly leaving the so called freedom and democracy that was forced down our throat in the attempt to brainwash Muslims to forget about their powerful and glorious past and now present.

Or is it shocking that those attempts have clearly failed? That regardless of being born and bred in the west, the epitome of democracy, our Islam was not washed away? And despite the totalitarian rules that are in place, Muslims are still awaking to their obligations?

Don’t be shocked when we say that none of us were forced against our will. In fact it is outrageous to think that an entire family could be kidnapped and made to migrate like this. It wasn’t by the command of a single person in the family but by the command of the Khalifah of the Muslims. Who has called all Muslims, whether young or old, single or in families, to make hijrah to the state of Islam. A land that has established the Shariah, in which a Muslim doesn’t feel oppression when practising their religion. In which a parent doesn’t feel the worry of losing their child to the immorality of society. In which the sick and elderly do not wait in agony, tolerating the partiality of race or social class.

Alhamdulillah for the establishment of the Khilafah.

We say to those that are concerned for our safety to put your hearts at rest for we feel safer than we have ever felt before. We call all Muslims, to rush to the command of your khalif. Race to your state. Race to what will give you honour in this life and the hereafter. Hasten to the obedience of Allah. Do not fear losing the life you built for yourselves by making hijrah but fear losing your Imaan and Islam whilst residing in darul kufr and not making hijrah.

‘Verily! As for those whom the Angels have taken (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory to them), they (angels) asked them, “In what condition were you?”. They replied, “We were weak and oppressed on earth”. The Angels asked, “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to migrate therein?” Such men will find their abode in Hell – what an evil destination!” [Chapter Nisa:97]

We pray Allah saves from such a fate and guides us all to be obedient to His commands. Ameen.

 The Mannan Family in the Islamic State.

There is no reference whatsoever to Western foreign policy or interventions.

Instead there are complaints about the “totalitarian rules” of “so-called freedom and democracy” and its “immorality”, “tolerating the partiality of race or social class”.

The answer to this “feeling” of “oppression”  “when practising their religion?”

Emigration to “A land that is free from the corruption and oppression of man made law and is governed by the shariah, the perfect and just laws of Allah subhanAllah wa Ta’la.”

Where, as Fatima Az Zahra says, they are busy  “killing the non-believers in order to expand the Islamic State

More on Harry’s Place.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 4, 2015 at 11:42 am

Boko Haram: Islamic State’s African Ally, Murder 150 in Nigerian Mosques.

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Nearly 150 Killed in Suspected Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria

 

Boko Haram, Daesh Affiliate in Nigeria.

While – rightly – marking our respect for the dead in Tunisia today we should remember these victims as well.

Nearly 150 Killed in Suspected Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria.

Maiduguri, Nigeria (Agence France-Presse) Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed nearly 150 people in northeastern Nigerian villages, mowing down men and children while they prayed in mosques and shooting women preparing food at home, witnesses said on Thursday.

Dozens of militants stormed three remote villages in the flashpoint Borno state on Wednesday evening, setting houses ablaze in the bloodiest day of attacks by the extremist group since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in May.

Gunmen killed at least 97 people in Kukawa, the worst-affected village, a local who gave his name as Kolo and who said he had counted the bodies told AFP.

“They wiped out the immediate family of my uncle… They killed his children, about five of them,” Kolo said.

A fisherman who witnessed the attack corroborated the death toll.

‘Victims as Young as Four’

Babami Alhaji Kolo, another witness in Kukawa who fled to the state capital Maiduguri, said more than 50 militants had stormed the village.

“The terrorists first descended on Muslim worshippers in various mosques who were observing the Maghrib prayer shortly after breaking their fast,” he said.

“They… opened fire on the worshippers who were mostly men and young children.

“They spared nobody. In fact, while some of the terrorists waited and set most of the corpses on fire, others proceeded to houses and shot indiscriminately at women who were preparing food,” he said.

Malami Abdulkareem, an Arabic teacher in Kukawa, said some of the victims were as young as four.

“The attackers did not spare even children between four and 12 years old who went to mosques with their fathers.

“I saw at least nine kids who were killed in two mosques,” he said.

A military source in Maiduguri, who refused to be named, confirmed the attack but could not yet give a death toll.

“The military responded with aerial bombardments on terrorist positions,” he said, without giving further details.

‘Volleys of Bullets’

In two other villages near the town of Monguno, meanwhile, gunmen killed 48 people and injured 11 others, local lawmaker Mohammed Tahir and witnesses told AFP.

“They selected particular male residents from among the crowd of worshippers… and opened fire on them before setting the two villages on fire and razing them to the ground,” Tahir said.

Another resident who managed to flee said the militants arrived in vans and on motorcycles.

“Many of us managed to escape amid volleys of bullets,” said the resident who asked not to be named for safety reasons.

Kukawa is around 50 kilometres (30 miles) away from the two villages near Monguno.

All three are located near Lake Chad, which straddles Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon and has been a focal point of the unrest.

Boko Haram had captured scores of towns and villages in the northeast last year, but has since been pushed back into hide-outs by a four-nation military offensive that kicked off in February.

Despite their territorial losses, the insurgents have kept up their deadly raids, explosions and suicide attacks on “soft” targets such as markets and mosques.

And the armed group has intensified its campaign of violence since Buhari came to power on May 29 vowing to crush the jihadists’ bloody uprising that has claimed at least 15,000 lives.

Since then, some 400 people have been killed in attacks blamed on the extremists, who have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group, according to an AFP tally.

March 13th Reuters.

Islamic State leader accepts allegiance of Nigeria’s Boko Haram

The leader of the Islamic State militant group that controls tracts of Syria and Iraq has accepted a pledge of allegiance from Nigerian Islamists Boko Haram, his spokesman said, calling on supporters to fight in Africa.

Boko Haram, which has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds during a six-year campaign to carve out an Islamist state in northern Nigeria, pledged its allegiance last week, highlighting increased coordination between jihadi movements across north Africa and the Middle East.

“Our caliph, God save him, has accepted the pledge of loyalty of our brothers of Boko Haram so we congratulate Muslims and our jihadi brothers in West Africa,” Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani said in an audio message, referring to his group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

So far as we can tell the reaction of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC)  to Boko Harem centres on demands for no outside military intervention.

Last year they published this by Xavier Best:

Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls and US policymakers and the “free press” have exploded into a fit of pro-interventionist hysteria. It’s hard to escape media reports about the ruthless cruelty of Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau and his vow to sell his hostages into slavery.

…..

It is widely conceded that the popular base of Boko Haram is a response to severe economic inequality that has disproportionately impacted Nigeria’s northern region. Unlike the south, Nigeria’s north faces severe problems meeting basic human needs of education, healthcare and clean water. Unemployment among young males in northern Nigeria “is in excess of 50 percent.”

Written by Andrew Coates

July 3, 2015 at 11:23 am

Christine Lagarde: the Wrong Person to Deal with the Greek Crisis.

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 http://www.london24.com/polopoly_fs/1.4131724!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/image.jpg

 

Protesters gather in Trafalgar Square to support the Greek government’s attempts to throw off austerity (Photo: Chris Plexidas via Twitter).

 

Yesterday Evening:

The Greece Solidarity Campaign wants a European conference to cancel Greece’s debts, and around three thousand people are at the square now to show their support and hear speeches from a range of MPs and activists including Paul Nowak from the TUC, Owen Jones, Sarah-Jayne Clifton of Jubilee Debt Campaign, Andrew Burgin of Left Unity, and John Rees of the People’s Assembly.

Jeremy Corbyn has said: “There is an escalating crisis of Greek society. There is no sane solution to the situation in Greece that involves repaying this debt. “The only sensible way forward is to cancel the Greek debt – or at least substantial swaths of it – and for the international community to support Greece’s democratically elected government to rebuild its society and its economy.”

Andrew Burgin from Greece Solidarity Campaign said: “We are coming together today to stand with the people of Greece and say: no to austerity, yes to democracy.

London 24.

The news today:

If Greece does not transfer the equivalent of €1.6bn to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, it will become the first advanced economy to default to the fund in its 71-year history. The country will also take a step closer to what some fear could be its exit from the eurozone and another round of economic turmoil in Europe.

Writes the Financial Times.

It continues on site with a list of “10 things worth keeping in mind.”

One should add another “thing” to remember.

Christine Lagarde is the IMF managing director.

 Christine Lagarde was appointed head of the IMF – following Dominique Strauss Kahan’s ‘resignation’.

One reason was that it was “buggin’s turn’ – the post would still be held by a French person, but after the (Socialist politician) this time it would be a right-wing French politician.

Largarde’s political career has taken place  essentially in the exalted regions of appointees, beyond more than nominal engagement in electoral politics (councillor in the 12th arrondissement of Paris).

But she was, from 2007 to 2011, Ministre de l’Économie under  Prime Minister François Fillon (more detailed summary on French Wikipedia)

That is,  perhaps more significantly, during the reign of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

This was a right-wing government pursuing a neo-liberal economic strategy, mired in scandal.

This relates to a notorious, and long-lasting, ‘affaire’.

Investigation into alleged misuse of power

On 3 August 2011, a French court ordered an investigation into Lagarde’s role in a €403 million arbitration deal in favour of businessman Bernard Tapie. On March 20, 2013, Legarde’s apartment in Paris was raided by French police as part of the investigation.[57] On 24 May 2013, after two days of questioning at the Court of Justice of the Republic, Lagarde was assigned the status of “assisted witness”, meaning that she was not herself under investigation in the affair. According to a press report from June 2013, Lagarde has been described by Stephane Richard, the CEO of France Telecom (a former aide to Lagarde when she was Finance Minister), who has himself been put under formal investigation in the case, as having been fully briefed before approving the arbitration process which benefited Bernard Tapie. Subsequently in August 2014 the Court of Justice of the Republic announced that it had formally started a negligence investigation into Lagarde’s role in the arbitration of the Tapie case.

This is what Lagarde said in an interview with the Guardian in  May 2012 when asked about the crisis in Greece.

….when she studies the Greek balance sheet and demands measures she knows may mean women won’t have access to a midwife when they give birth, and patients won’t get life-saving drugs, and the elderly will die alone for lack of care – does she block all of that out and just look at the sums?

“No, I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education. I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.” She breaks off for a pointedly meaningful pause, before leaning forward.

“Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”

Even more than she thinks about all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services? “I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively.” How? “By all paying their tax. Yeah.”

It sounds as if she’s essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you’ve had a nice time and now it’s payback time.

“That’s right.” She nods calmly. “Yeah.”

At the time Le Monde commented that the Greeks felt “shocked” and  “humiliated” by the Director of the IMF’s lecture on how, after living the life of Riley, they should now pay their taxes.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon remarked that it was Greek ship-owners and the Orthodox Church who ahd avoided paying taxes, not the ordinary people.  (Les Grecs se disent “humiliés” par les propos de Christine Lagarde.)

Largarde has made one notable further gaff (Wikipedia),

In January 2015, on the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Lagarde said “he was a strong believer in pushing forward women’s rights”.

Christine Lagarde is a vegetarian and is near-teetotal. Her pastimes include hanging out in the gym, swimming and cycling.

 

Solidarity with our Kurdish Sisters and Brothers and all Democrats Fighting the Islamic State/ISIS!

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Kurds to Come Out onto the Streets for Kobanê Once Again

Solidarity with our Sisters and Brothers Fighting the Islamist Murderers .

Latest attacks:

Tunisia.

1530 Ministry of Health confirms 28 dead and 39 injured. Nationalities involved are French, German, Russian, Belgian and British.

1513 British, German and Belgian tourists are among the dead according to agency reports

1443 Among those transferred to hospital are British and Germans

1434 Second gunman captured by police

1415 Retired General Mokhtar Ben Nasser said: “This type of terrorist attack was expected and is intended to the tourist industry. Beji Caid Essebsi and Habib Essid to visit Sousse.

1400 Six Nationalities among dead according to Ministry of Interior.

Gunmen have attacked two tourist hotels in the Tunisian town of Sousse.

Reports claim that a man entered the hotel armed with a kalashnikov rifle and opened fire on tourists shortly before lunchtime.

Meanwhile another gunman opened fire at holidaymakers in another hotel adjacent to the shoreline resort.

Ministry of Interior spokesperson Mohamed Ali Alaroui confirmed that at least 27 people have killed.

At least one gunman has been killed, according to security sources cited by the Reuters news agency.

The other gunman has since been apprehended and is being held in police custody.

Tunisia Live.

France.

France has begun a terror investigation after a decapitated body was found at the scene of a suspected Islamist attack on a US-owned gas factory near the south-eastern city of Lyon.

One arrested man suspected to have rammed a car into the factory had been investigated over possible ties to Islamist radicals, officials said.President Francois Hollande said the aim was to blow up the factory

Officials say the decapitated person was a local businessman.

His head was found on a post at the gates to the Air Products gas factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, some 40km (25 miles) from Lyon.

Mr Hollande said the decapitated body had “inscriptions” on it. The French interior minister said: “A flag with Arabic writing on it was found at the scene”.

BBC

Syri,  Kobani:

Fighters with the Islamic State, or ISIS, are holding at least 50 hostages inside a besieged hospital in the Syrian city of Kobani in the aftermath of Thursday’s attack on the Kurdish city, a Rudaw reporter inside the city has said.  Rudaw

According to the London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and journalists on the ground, the death toll in Kobanê has reached 146.

The massacre carried out by ISIS gangs on Kobanê has left 146 mostly civilians, women and children, dead according to SOHR. 120 people injured in the suicide attacks in the town centre of Kobanê have died in hospital. 72 civilians were massacred in the Halnaj area of while the others were from the Maqtala neighbourhood. Of the 200 wounded some are still in critical condition and it is feared the death toll could rise.

The number of people who were executed in the village of Berx Botan located near the town of Serrin south of Kobanê has risen to 26, including children and women, while others were wounded too, some of them in critical situation.

This is the second-largest massacre perpetrated by ISIS gangs since the declaration of its alleged ‘caliphate’.

Kurdish Question.

Response:

26 June 2015

KQ News Desk

Kurds and their friends around the world are coming out onto the streets to condemn the attacks by ISIS gangs on innocent civilians in Kobanê. The multiple attacks on 25 June have already claimed the lives of 146 people, mostly women and children and wounded over 200.

There have already been demonstrations in Copenhagen, Paris and Saarbrucken. Demonstrations in other major European cities are being planned after the Democratic Kurdish Society Congress of Europe made a declaration calling people to come out onto the streets to condemn, uncover and take a stand against ISIS and the powers behind them.

Many of the demonstrations are targeted at the Turkish state for its support of the ISIS gangs. Many sources are claiming that the ISIS gangs who perpetrated the massacre crossed over from the Turkey border into Rojava (Northern Syria) and were allowed passage by the Turkish state.

Children executed in their homes by ISIS gangs in Berx Botan village

Our Sisters and Brothers Massacred by the Islamic State/ISIS.

Kurdish Question News Desk

According to reports from journalists in Kobane the multiple and co-ordinated attacks by ISIS gangs who crossed into the city from the Turkey border has left 42 people dead and 55 wounded.

22 civilians were massacred in the city centre and 55 were wounded while over 20 people were executed in their homes in the village of Berx Botan 30km to the south of Kobanê. There is no information about the 5 families kidnapped by the gangs to use as human shields.

The operation carried out against the attackers by by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Asayish (security) forces is ongoing. 11 gang members were killed in the Azadi square in the centre of Kobanê.

Claims that the ISIS gangs crossed over from Jarablus rather than the Turkey border have been refuted by the Kobanê Canton administration. There is no crossing from Jarablus into Kobanê because the bridge that connected the two areas was blown up by ISIS gangs recently.

A second attack was carried out later in the morning (5.15am) at Turkey’s Mursitpinar border gate to Kobane and a truck was blown up.

 

A demonstration is being held in London at 13.00 in front of the Turkish Embassy on Friday 26 June. 

French Demonstration: Massacres commis par Daesh à Kobanê, avec le soutien de la Turquie. Friday 26 June 18h, Place de la République

Written by Andrew Coates

June 26, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Syrian Kurds Beating Back ISIS Genociders.

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 Syrian Kurdish fighters take control of key Islamic State base north of Raqqa.

Is there no end to the rush to “explain” why some British Muslims have gone to join Daesh?

This was the latest:

British police are partly responsible for the radicalisation of three sisters thought to have taken their children to join extremists in Syria, it has been claimed.Mohammed Shoaib and Akhtar Iqbal, whose wives both left their homes in Bradford to travel to Syria, suggested that police encouraged their radicalisation by urging the women to contact their brother who had already left for Syria. It is believed he is fighting for with the Isis terror group. Independent.

Everyone is responsible, except the volunteers for oppression, terror and  genocide.

On the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) site, they posted  – not too long ago –  Russell Brand (6.3.15.) spouting  this self-indulgent piffle.

‘Jihadi John’ – widely regarded to be the masked executioner featured in several videos, produced by the extremist group Islamic State (ISIS), showing the beheading of a number of captives in 2014 and 2015 – has been revealed as West Londoner Mohammed Emwazi. Russell Brand ask whether the attraction of Islamic State for some young people in Britain, like Mohammed Emwazi, is due to the loss of identity and power in our communities.

More recently there is an article that singles out ‘Islamophobia’ as the greater menace, The status of Muslims in the west is under threat by David Miller, Narzanin Massoumi, Tom Mills & Hilary Aked.

The (academic) authors are very big on “anti-Muslim hate crime” – no doubt a serious problem.

But they fail to mention the actually existing Islamist hate crimes of the jihadis.

The template: ‘Islamophobia-Identity-Crisis-Imperialist-Intervention-in-the-Middle-East‘ – a kind of puddle of images, not an argument –  just about overwhelms any rational explanation  from this quarter.

One thing is, nevertheless clear – they are asserting that the Jihadis are just as much ‘victims’ as those they slaughter.

A rare glimpse of sanity came when Shiraz Maher published these words in the New Statesman on the 17th of June.

The experience of Britain’s suicide bombers shows how these men are full participants in the war engulfing Syria and Iraq. Over the past two years British fighters have tortured prisoners in their care, executed prisoners of war, beheaded journalists and aid workers, and participated in the revival of slavery. As this brutal nihilism has taken hold, some fighters, among them many Britons, have grown weary of its trajectory and left the conflict. Not so the suicide bombers. Theirs are the actions of the conscientious and committed.

Western liberals and the left could perhaps do better by first considering the acts of those resisting  Daesh.

The StWC lost interest in the Kurdish people’s battle around the end of last year, some of their supporters darkly hinting at US or ‘Zionist’ involvement in their operations.

By contrast many of us, socialist internationalists,  continue to back our Kurdish sisters and brothers.

There are some important recent articles on the fight back by the Syrian Kurds against ISIS/Islamic State. Or, as it’s widely known, Daesh.

This is one, from Arab Awakening

Syrian Kurds have won a strategic victory in Tel Abyad, uniting two of their self-run cantons and putting ISIS on the back foot.

The struggle against ISIS continues to be a topsy-turvy affair. Recent setbacks include ISIS’ capture of historic Palmyra in eastern Syria and the important Iraqi city of Ramadi. In northern Syria, along the Turkish border, however, the situation is entirely different.

On 16 June, the Kurdish militia of the YPG (People’s Protection Units) and YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), accompanied by allied Arab military units and supported by US-led airstrikes, captured the ISIS stronghold of Tel Abyad (Girê Sipî‎ in Kurdish).

Tel Abyad was of pivotal importance to ISIS as a gateway to the Turkish border post of Akçakale, through which foreign fighters had allegedly come, and as a supply route to ISIS’ self-declared capital of Raqqa.

In recent months, Kurdish forces have moved rapidly to reclaim large swathes of territory from ISIS in northern Syria. The capture of Tel Abyad came after a pincer movement of Kurdish militia and their allies from the east and west.

Prior to the capture of Tel Abyad, units from the separate Kurdish-run cantons of Kobanê and Cizîrê made contact for the first time. With Tel Abyad in YPG/YPJ hands, two of the three autonomous cantons of the Syrian Kurds’ self-declared Rojava territory are now linked and Kurdish control extends almost 400 km along the Syria/Turkey border, from the Iraq frontier in the east to the Euphrates in the west.

This represents a remarkable reversal of fortune for Syria’s Kurds and their allies. Late last year, ISIS appeared all but unstoppable in Syria. Equipped with heavy weapons abandoned by retreating Iraqi troops, it swallowed up territory and pushed the lightly armed Kurds into a corner.

In October, ISIS was poised to capture the Kurdish city of Kobanê and extinguish one of the fledgling Kurdish cantons. It was only the determined resistance of the YPG and YPJ and the commencement of a US-led air campaign against ISIS that saw the city saved.

Kobanê became a rallying point for the Kurdish cause. Kurds in Turkey who I spoke to at the time of the siege remarked that it had brought together Kurdish communities spread across the borders of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. “We have thousands of years of history,” one man remarked, “now, for the first time all our hearts are beating together.”

The siege also saw greater coordination between the Kurdish YPG and the US military. On January 26, after a siege that had lasted 134 days, Kurdish forces broke ISIS’ stranglehold on Kobanê. Since then, the Kurds and allied forces have made rapid gains.

In the course of their brave fight against ISIS, the Kurdish militias of Syria (and Iraq) have won considerable international attention and sympathy. They have also attracted western recruits to the cause. In February, Australian Ashley Johnston was the first westerner to be “martyred” fighting alongside the YPG militia. An American, Keith Broomfield, was also killed earlier this month.

Kurdish advances in northern Syria have not been without controversy, however. Social media users and some ethnic Arab and Turkmen refugees have accused Kurdish forces of ethnically cleansing areas they have captured. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has echoed these allegations.

In a battlefield rife with conspiracy theories and misinformation it is difficult to determine the veracity of such claims. Kurdish activists, for instance, often allege that Turkey has supported ISIS against the Kurds.

The YPG, for its part, denies that it has ethnically cleansed the areas that it has recently captured. In fact, it has issued an appeal to refugees fleeing combat zones, regardless of their ethnicity, to come to “safe areas” under its control, an appeal that many have eagerly taken up.

It is also clear that the Kurdish YPG and YPJ militias are not acting alone in the campaign against ISIS. The recent battle for Tel Abyad included ethnic Arab brigades of the Free Syrian Army, participating under a joint operations command known in Arabic as Burkān al-Furāt (the Euphrates Volcano). It seems implausible that Arab militia would allow the ethnic cleansing of their kin by the Kurdish forces they are fighting alongside.

The Turkish president, meanwhile, has also expressed his displeasure at US air support for the Kurdish campaign. Citing the YPG’s affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), he argues that it amounts to western backing for terrorist forces.

Turkey’s misgivings about the Syrian Kurds’ advances have been evident for some time. Notably, the day after the siege of Kobanê was lifted, Erdoğan stated that Turkey would not tolerate an Iraq-style Kurdish entity on its border with Syria.

Turkey, the US and the EU classify the PKK as a terror group. Erdoğan’s scolding is a reflection of Turkey’s refusal to view the PKK as anything other than a terrorist vehicle, despite the significant role it has played in pushing back the jihadi forces of ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. It is also evidence of a deep-seated Turkish mistrust of Kurdish intentions.

Turkish concerns notwithstanding, the Kurds’ recent victories have changed the complexion of the region. By linking two of their cantons, the Syrian Kurds will now find themselves on a much stronger strategic footing.

Despite (as yet unsubstantiated) claims of ethnic cleansing, the Kurds in Rojava have established a political entity run according to a post-nation-state model of democracy and accepting of diverse ethnic groups. On the battlefield they have proven reliable and highly effective.

It beggars belief that western governments, looking upon the chaos of the region with dismay, have not established formal alliances with the PYD, the political entity administering the Syrian Kurdish cantons.

Perhaps most importantly, the Syrian Kurds have demonstrated that ISIS is not the military powerhouse it was once envisaged as, but is in fact eminently beatable.

It beggars belief that the majority of the British left has not followed the example of the rest of the European left and backed our Kurdish sisters and brothers.

This the latest news, from the Kurdish news agency Rûdaw:

BEIRUT (AP) — Kurdish fighters and their allies have captured a Syrian military base once held by the Islamic State group, activists and officials said Tuesday, moving within some 50 kilometers (30 miles) of the extremists’ de facto capital.Taking the Brigade 93 base further squeezes the extremists, especially after they lost a major supply line when the Kurds captured the town of Tal Abyad on the Turkish border last week.However, even with the aid of U.S.-led airstrikes, battling even closer to the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa could prove costly for the Kurds and allied rebel factions.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kurdish activist Mustafa Bali said Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, captured the base Monday night. Both said YPG fighters and their allies later entered parts of the nearby town of Ein Issa, the last major residential area north of Raqqa, which the Islamic State group considers the capital of its self-declared “caliphate” across Syria and Iraq.

The YPG’s official Facebook page said “dozens of Daesh mercenaries were killed” at Brigade 93, using an Arabic acronym for the extremist group. The Observatory said that Islamic State militants transferred the corpses of 26 of its fighters to Raqqa after they were killed in Ein Issa by airstrikes.

The U.S. has found a reliable partner in the YPG, who have been the main force in the battle against the Islamic State group in Syria. They are moderate, mostly secular fighters, driven by revolutionary fervor and deep conviction in their cause. They are backed by Arab tribesmen, Assyrian Christian gunmen and members of the rebel faction known as Burkan al-Furat — Arabic for the “Volcano of the Euphrates.

“The Islamic State group continues to have a supply line to Turkey running through northwestern Syria to Raqqa. It’s not clear whether the Kurds will push in further on Raqqa. When cornered in the past, the militants have relied on coordinated mass suicide car bomb attacks and other scorched-earth tactics.Those tactics have included mass killings. On Tuesday, a media arm of the Islamic State group in Iraq posted a video online purporting to show it kill over a dozen men it described as spies by drowning them in a cage, decapitating them with explosives and firing a rocket-propelled grenade at them in a car.

More News: Syrian Kurdish fighters take control of key Islamic State base north of Raqqa.

We note the words “The U.S. has found a reliable partner in the YPG…” in this article: so expect the StWC to wash their hands of the Kurds completely.

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report from Ipswich.

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Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report.

Around 80,000 people (the Tendance’s estimate) marched in London on Saturday. They protested against the newly elected Conservative government’s plans to continue, and deepen, austerity.

It’s unnecessary to list the faults of these policies. It’s enough to see the people begging in the streets, a few hundred metres from the office of Ipswich Tory M.P. Benedict Gummer. Without the response of the People’s Assembly, the unions, the diverse groups and parties on the demonstration, and the wider public, Cameron and Osborne will have free rein to create a mean-spirited free-market Britain.

From Ipswich and Stowmarket 42 people piled in our coach – there were more travelling to London by train. Up to 70% were under the age of 40, with a large percentage in their teens and twenties. This was reflected amongst the marchers, with a strong presence of young people.

While assembling by the Bank of England we were addressed by various speakers. Those advertised included Kate Hudson (Chair, Left Unity, CND) and Diane Abbott (Labour MP and candidate to represent the party for the London Mayoral contest). They and others made good, rousing, contributions on the need to fight austerity.

Weyman Bennett (SWP/Unite Against Fascism) linked people being rude to women wearing the Islamic veil to the massacre at Charleston and the heart-rending plight of migrants drowned in the Mediterranean. Lee Jasper (Respect Party), the ‘controversial’ former Director for Policing and Equalities under Ken Livingstone’s Greater London Authority Assembly continued in this vein.

Someone (one can imagine who) compared his peroration  unfavourably to Ali G.(1)  One Suffolk comrade remarked that on what she called the “shouting”.

It was to be regretted that there was nobody from the National Shop Stewards Network – a group which, whatever one’s political differences, represents a lot more than the former two users of the demo microphone – was not invited to speak.

The route of the protest, which began next to the City, took us from Ludgate Circus, down the Strand, past Trafalgar Square. This was the venue of a – poorly attended- commercial beano, a pop radio concert. It symbolised the use of public space for corporate gain.

Local People’s assembly groups (like Suffolk People’s Assembly) unions, Left Unity, anti-cuts organisations, disabeld rights groups,the SWP, the Socialist Party, and other (even) smaller left parties, the Labour Assembly Against Austerity , the Green Party …to Class War, were present.

In Parliament Square there were more speeches. Again there were solid well-argued arguments against the Cabinet’s plans, from Steve Turner (UNITE and the People’s Assembly) onwards. John Rees included a reference to the rights of atheists in a call for to defend the freedoms of different beliefs. His claim that the demonstrators were from all ethnic backgrounds was perhaps not fully substantiated by a glance at the overwhelmingly  white crowd.

Charlotte Church made an exceptional contribution.

The Mirror called it an “incredible speech“.

The Conservatives’ intention was to create a society around their principles, of private profit and public loss.

Describing the idea that Britain needs austerity as “the big lie”, Charlotte said: “They will sell off our schools and our hospitals. When it’s done, it will he hard to reverse.

“One aspect of this that really gets under my skin is that it’s all wrapped up in a proud-to-be-British package.

“I’m proud to be British because of the NHS and David Bowie, not because of the Union Jack.

“Be proud for the right reasons. We need to win back these young minds and save ourselves from years of yuppie rule.

“If you are ashamed that you have to use a food bank, because this Government would rather see you starve than put a note in your pocket, walk tall. You have the moral high ground.

“We are not afraid of national debt and we will not let our public services be attacked.”

She added: “What this country needs is economic stimulation – most economists around the world would say the same. We need to get the blood pumping.”

Earlier, she said: “I’m here today in a show of solidarity with everyone here – it is a massive turnout – everybody who thinks that austerity isn’t the only way and thinks it is essentially unethical, unfair and unnecessary.”

It was hard not to be moved by Charlotte’s clear and heart-felt words.

Her call for positive alternatives and hope will resonate across the country.

For many present, Jeremy Corbyn, standing for the Labour Party leadership, made a decisive call to make sure there is a strong left, anti-austerity,  vote in this election.

End Austerity Now was a success.

Where we go from now is the subject of serious discussion.

One way forward can be seen in the multitude of protests against welfare reform: from the continued campaign against the Bedroom Tax, Benefit cuts, Workfare, to the – still not fully implemented – psychological treatment of some claimants.

It is to be regretted that some parties see groups like the People’s Assembly as a recruiting ground.

In Suffolk the Green Party does not appear to publicise this:

Suffolk’s best-known Green Party politician has pulled out of the battle to become Ipswich MP in next May’s general election – because he hasn’t “got the heart” to take on Tory Ben Gummer.

Mark Ereira-Guyer, leader of the Green and independent group on Suffolk County Council and an experienced election campaigner, was chosen earlier this year to fight for the Ipswich seat, but has now dropped out.

“Although I find Conservative policies odious and overly focused on free market fundamentalism, crass cost-cutting measures and ecological destitution, I am of the view that the current MP Ben Gummer is dedicated and hardworking.

“I respect his honest endeavours for the town. And, therefore, I can’t drum up sufficient energies to really take him on. I like my politics to work on a human level, and not in a tribalist way.

Ipswich Star.

The day was an achievement for the organisers.

It was, as they say, only a beginning.

(1) This is what Jasper said (Charlie Hebdo and Europe’s rampant racism. 17th of January) about the massacre at Charlie Hebdo  (he doesn’t even mention the anti-Semitic murder at the Hyper-Casher):

“JeSuisCharlie in this context is nothing more than appeal from right wings white’s to be allowed to be racist without opposition in the name of free speech.  It’s a sort of ‪#WhiteLivesMatter statement particularly when viewed in the context of the tragic violence and world silence about the Nigerian massacre by Boko Haram.

This privilege allows them to disregard the social environment and political context of such satire and its consequences.  Writing in this flawed tradition is the perogative  of white, middle class Libertarian anarchists. Charlie Hebdo is for me,  a silly magazine and quintessentially an exercise in white privilege and arrogance.