Tag Archives: Italy

As Trump Downplays Attack on Kurds, Amnesty Details Turkish War Crimes and ‘Utterly Callous Disregard for Civilian Life’

“Killing defenseless people in cold blood is utterly reprehensible and a blatant war crime,” said Amnesty International secretary general Kumi Naidoo

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2019

The Kurdish authorities have been accusing the Turkish Army of using chemical weapons against the YPG fighters and the civilian population. Photo: Yan Boechat/Twitter

Just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump downplayed Turkey’s assault on Kurds in Syria by likening it to a parking lot squabble, Amnesty International on Friday presented damning evidence that Turkish forces and their allies have committed war crimes and displayed a “shameful disregard for civilian life” in northeastern Syria.

Based on video footage, medical records, and witness testimony from journalists and aid workers, Amnesty’s new report details numerous appalling instances of Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies indiscriminately bombarding residential areas, abducting civilians, and committing murder in cold blood. Continue reading

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Judge Releases German Rescue Ship Captain, Saying Carola Rackete Was Fulfilling ‘Her Duty to Protect Life’

“A big win for solidarity with all people on the move…and against the criminalization of helpers.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-3-2019

Carola Rackete. Photo: Sea-Watch

In a rebuke of far-right Italian leader Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration policy, a judge on Tuesday ordered the release of Carola Rackete, the captain of a German rescue ship, who had been arrested for bringing African migrants to Italy.

Rackete should not be held in custody, Judge Alessandra Vella said, because she had simply been fulfilling “her duty to protect life.”

The captain was arrested Saturday for hitting a police boat in June when she entered the port of Lampedusa carrying 40 migrants, who she rescued off the coast of Libya with her charity organization, Sea-Watch. She had been under house arrest in Italy since then and potentially faced up to 10 years in prison before Judge Alessandra Vella’s ruling. Last year, Interior Minister Salvini ordered rescue ships to stay out of Italian ports Continue reading

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‘Sea Rescues Have Been Criminalized’ as German Boat Captain Faces 20 Years in Prison For Saving Refugees

“We have only followed international law, especially the law of the sea, where the highest priority is to save people from distress.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-11-2019

Captain Pia Klemp in 2017. (Image: Seawatch)

A German boat captain faces a long and costly trial in Italy for charges targeting her humanitarian efforts on behalf of refugees.

Captain Pia Klemp, 35, told Basler Zeitung on June 7 that her upcoming trial in Italy for years of efforts with the civilian lifeboat “Iuventa” that saved at least 1,000 lives will take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Klemp faces up to 20 years in prison, but, she said, whether or not she ends up in jail—she would challenge any conviction in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France if necessary—the damage has been done. Continue reading

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Europe’s far-right bid to take back ‘Christian Europe’

Focus on Russian ‘interference’ risks ignoring the growing role of American religious conservatives in fuelling the far-right surge.

By Mary Fitzgerald. Published 5-24-2019 by openDemocracy

Handmaids outside a church in Verona, Italy 2019. | | Photo: Federica Delogu

“The Bible, borders and Brexit” will “make Europe great again”, declared Ed Martin to roaring applause. The Republican pundit who co-wrote ‘The Conservative Case for Trump’ was speaking at a global gathering of religious conservatives in Verona this March. Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, was a headline speaker.

Verona, Italy’s ancient ‘city of love’, is emblematic of how Europe is changing. It is now a stronghold for Salvini’s Lega party which, together with right-wing populists across the continent, is challenging the laws and social norms that have defined European life for decades. Continue reading

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The People will only take so much – and we have reached that point

Written by Carol Benedict

White supremacists beating Deandre Harris in a Charlottesville parking ramp. Photo: Zach Roberts/Nation of Change

Across this country, we are witnessing the general population respond to the Charlottesville tragedy. Never since the Civil War have we seen such a divisive point. Even the Viet Nam era protests were more civilized than this, notwithstanding the killings at Kent State that to this day have never been served justice.

But what we are not talking about is scarier and even more detrimental to our way of life and what it says about Americans overall. What we are witnessing is the degeneration of a once proud society, now brought to its knees by what would have been considered just one year ago as preposterous and impossible.

In 1945, at the end of WWII, the world recoiled when the death of Benito Mussolini was reported in April. By 1956, civilization took to tearing down of the statues of dictators and rulers who were later judged to be on the wrong side of humanity, beginning with Stalin’s statue in Budapest. Saddam Hussein’s statue met the same fate in 2003 in the town of Firdos, Iraq. It followed with similar actions in other countries; Iran, Egypt, Ukraine and Poland, to name a few.

When Hussein’s statue was pulled down to a screaming throng of angry citizenry, many Americans looked on in horror, grateful nothing like THAT could ever happen in America. We were, after all, a nation of law and order, respect and civilized discourse.

In 2008, the world congratulated America for finally elevating itself to a seemingly post-racial society. Since that time, we have seen eight years of political obstruction referred to as “governance” in Washington DC, championed by Mitch McConnell , who proudly stated that the number one goal for the GOP was to obstruct any policy put forth by the Obama Administration.

In 2016, America responded to that recognition by our international friends and allies through electing a recognized businessman and self-elevated media celebrity with absolutely no political prowess or experience, to lead a country as if it were a corporate enterprise and all that matters is the bottom line profit margin at the end of the day. Along the way, he has collected the most incompetent cabinet that represents what Americans refer to as “the good ole’ boys” of white Caucasian men making the decisions for all of the country.

We now must ask ourselves, “What have we become? What will we accept as a society? Where do we turn when our own President praises the actions of racist bigots while promoting divisiveness through despicable stances on the first amendment protections for freedom of religion and freedom of the press?”

When it takes a ground-swelling effort from the veterans of this nation to protect the family of the victim killed in Charlottesville, we have said we will not take this any more.

Perhaps what we really need to say is, “The People will only take so much, and we have reached that point.”

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendent researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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The Expo is a dark window into Italy’s future

Mafia, McDonalds and youth exploitation: The Milan World Expo, opening on May Day, prepares a new generation for the years to come.

Written by Jamie Mackay, a writer and journalist based in the UK and Italy. He is a contributing editor to openDemocracy. Published May 1, 2015.

Milan World Expo 2015. Image via Flickr.

Milan World Expo 2015. Image via Flickr.

Today sees the launch of the Milan Expo, an international exposition of food and agriculture which will take place in Italy’s financial capital over the next six-months. This year’s theme, ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ will see farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs from around the world set-up stall to sell their wares alongside stage-shows, concerts and talks by a roster of esteemed futurologists. This is a real-world pop-up show of all the things that might normally be encountered in Wired magazine: avant-garde art, gourmet cooking and sci-fi tech, all on display in a gargantuan ‘agro-park’ which is expected to host 20 million visitors. Continue reading

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