Humans in Shadow, Hidden from Public`s Eyesight


“We went back to the Stone age” …


‘We went back to the stone age’: In the ISIL ‘caliphate,’ daily life is laden with

fear and brutality

by Washington Post

The white vans come out at dinnertime, bringing hot meals to unmarried Islamic State fighters in the city of Hit in western Iraq.

A team of foreign women, who moved from Europe and throughout the Arab world to join the Islamic State, work in communal kitchens to cook the fighters’ dinners, which are delivered to homes confiscated from people who fled or were killed, the city’s former mayor said.

The Islamic State has drawn tens of thousands of people from around the world by promising paradise in the Muslim homeland it has established on conquered territory in Syria and Iraq.

But in reality, the militants have created a brutal, two-tiered society, where daily life is starkly different for the occupiers and the occupied, according to interviews with more than three dozen people who are

now living in, or have recently fled, the Islamic State.

Foreign fighters and their families are provided free housing, medical care, religious education and even a sort of militant meals-on-wheels service, according to those interviewed. The militants are paid salaries raised largely from taxes and fees levied on the millions of people they control in an arc of land as big as the United Kingdom.

Those whose cities and towns are held by the Islamic State said they face not only the casual savagery of militants who behead their enemies and make sex slaves out of some minority women but also severe shortages of the basics of daily life.

Many residents have electricity for only an hour or two a day, and some homes go days without running water. Jobs are scarce, so many people can’t afford food prices that have tripled or more. Medical care is poor, most schools are closed, and bans on most travel outside the Islamic State are enforced at gunpoint.

Over the past two years, the militants have produced a torrent of startlingly sophisticated online propaganda that has helped persuade at least 20,000 foreign fighters, many with families, to come from as far away as Australia.


(AP Photo)


(AP Photo)

The campaign, largely distributed on YouTube and social media, depicts a place filled with Ferris wheels and cotton candy, where local families cheerfully mingle with heavily armed foreigners.

But local people interviewed said their daily lives are filled with fear and deprivation in the Islamic State “caliphate,” governed by the militants’ extreme version of Islamic sharia law.

“We went back to the Stone Age,” said Mohammad Ahmed, 43, a former Arab League worker from Deir al-Zour, a town near Raqqa, the militants’ self-proclaimed capital in northern Syria.

“We used to have a beautiful house with marble and ceramic floors,” said Ahmed, who fled his home in June and now lives alongside 20,000 other Syrians in Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp. “All our lives, we had everything we needed. Then, when they came, we were cooking over a fire outside and washing our clothes in a bucket.”

Several of those interviewed said the Islamic State was actually less corrupt and provided more efficient government services, such as road construction and trash collection, than the previous Syrian and Iraqi governments. In Iraq, some said, the Sunni Islamic State militants treated them better than the Shiite-dominated central government in Baghdad. But none of those interviewed said they supported the militants, and all said efficient government did not excuse the group’s brutal and fanatical behavior.

We hate them

“We hate them,” said Hikmat al-Gaoud, 41, the former mayor of Hit, who fled in April and now divides his time between Baghdad and Amman, Jordan.

The Islamic State came to power in the wake of years of fighting in Syria and Iraq that already had shattered many public institutions. But people interviewed said the Islamic State had made the damage worse, in ways that could be felt for decades to come – reversing gains in public education, ruining the medical infrastructure, establishing a justice system based on terror, and exposing a generation of children to gruesome and psychologically devastating violence.

For women, living in the Islamic State homeland often means being subjected to a virtual assembly-line system for providing brides to fighters, or sometimes being abducted and forced into unwanted marriages.

Many who were interviewed gave only their first name or declined to be identified at all, for their own safety and the security of their family members still living under Islamic State control. They were interviewed via Skype or telephone calls from Syria and Iraq, or in person in Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.

Those who spoke from inside areas controlled by the Islamic State did so at great peril, saying the militants closely monitor Internet access. They agreed to speak so that they could tell their story of life inside the Islamic State caliphate.

There is no work, so you have to join them in order to live

Nearly everyone interviewed said they had witnessed a beheading or another savage punishment. It is virtually impossible to independently verify these accounts, just as it is impossible to verify the claims in much of the propaganda material put out by the Islamic State. The militants almost never allow journalists or other observers inside their territory, and they have posted video of the beheadings of several they have captured.

The interviews, conducted over several months, were arranged largely at random or through long-established contacts in the region. Although several activists were among those interviewed, The Washington Post did not rely on activist groups to provide interview subjects. At the Azraq camp,

Post reporters reviewed records of arrivals and sought out those who recently came from militant-controlled areas. Many of the interviews lasted two hours or longer.


AP Photo

AP Photo

The militants control small farming communities and large urban areas, including Mosul, an Iraqi city with a population of more than 1 million people. The Islamic State’s policies differ somewhat in each area, so there is no single, uniform way of life; but in the interviews, consistent themes emerged about women, health, education, justice and the economy in the Islamic State.

Women must be fully veiled and can be whipped for leaving the house without a male-relative escort. Many simply stay at home for fear of being picked up on the street and forced to marry a foreign fighter.

Hospitals are usually reserved for foreign fighters and are staffed by doctors who have come from as far as Britain and Malaysia. Local people are forced to seek care in ill-equipped clinics, which have expired medications and poorly trained staff.

Life under Daesh is a nightmare each day

In some places, the Islamic State has shut down cellphone service and Internet access. Where it still exists, the militants try to control it closely.

They have set up Internet cafes that have become centers for propaganda, where recruiters encourage young people around the world to leave their homes and come to the Islamic State. They have persuaded about 200 Americans – some still in their teens – in Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and other U.S. cities to try to come to Syria. Most were arrested before reaching their destination, according to U.S. law enforcement officials.

Except for religious schools for the children of foreign fighters, schools are generally closed. Militants have confiscated college diplomas and burned them publicly.

“Life under Daesh is a nightmare each day,” said a female math teacher who lives in Mosul, using an Arabic name for the Islamic State.

Canadian Press

Canadian Press

“We have an unknown future,” she said, asking that her name not be used. “Maybe Daesh will kill us or maybe we will die in the war, or maybe after. What we are going through right now is a slow death.”

The militants have established checkpoints to prevent people from fleeing.

But those interviewed said a growing network of smugglers is helping people flee, and they are entering Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and non-militant-controlled areas of Iraq in increasing numbers. U.N. officials said that 60 percent of refugees who have crossed the Syria-Jordan border recently were escaping areas controlled by the militants.

The Islamic State’s propaganda portrays the militants as liberators; one recent video showed armed fighters delivering sweets to a home for the elderly. But according to those interviewed, the majority of residents view the militants as a merciless occupying force, and they stay away from them as much as possible.

“Even if we see them in the streets or in the shops, there is no mingling,” said an activist who calls himself Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi, a native of Raqqa who runs a social media site called Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.

People in Raqqa, he said, “feel like strangers in their own city.”


The Islamic State has had some success recruiting local people. Those interviewed said many of their friends and neighbors in Syria and Iraq have chosen to join the Islamic State, becoming fighters, teachers or workers in their government offices.

Some do so because they believe in the militants’ goal of uniting the world under their extreme interpretation of Islamic law.

But most of the people who work for the Islamic State do so out of economic desperation, according to those interviewed. In places where the cost of food has skyrocketed and where many people are living on little more than bread and rice, some men have concluded that becoming an Islamic State warrior is the only way to provide for their family.

Maybe Daesh will kill us or maybe we will die in the war, or maybe after. What we are going through right now is a slow death

“There is no work, so you have to join them in order to live,” said Yassin al-Jassem, 52, who fled his home near Raqqa in June. “So many local people have joined them. They were pushed into Daesh by hunger.”

Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence at King’s College in London, said that although foreign fighters have given the Islamic State a boost, “in the long term, they will turn out to be a burden.” He said that local tribes rose up against al-Qaida in Iraq in the mid-2000s partly because that group was perceived as a foreign organization. He said people now under Islamic State control could do the same – especially in Iraq.

But those interviewed who had lived under the Islamic State said it has gone to great lengths to suppress any potential uprisings, killing anyone suspected of disloyalty.

Faten Humayda, 70, a grandmother who fled her town near Raqqa in May and now lives in the Azraq camp, said the violence increases local anger at the militants, but it also creates suspicion among local people. It is harder for any kind of resistance movement to form when people think their friends and neighbors might be informants for the militants.

“They have turned us against each other,” she said.

Ahmed, who fled his town near Raqqa in June, said some of the Arab fighters would try to mix with the local population, but the Europeans and other non-Arabs never did. He said that although the Islamic State militants claimed they were there to create a better life for Muslims, they seemed mainly focused on battles with other rebel groups and government forces.

“They were always very aggressive, and they seemed angry,” he said. “They are there to fight, not to govern.”

Interviewed in his baking-hot metal hut in the Azraq camp, Jassem recalled that while he was living under Islamic State control, his 2-year-old grandson developed a brain tumor. Doctors wanted $800 to remove it.

Jassem, a farm hand, hadn’t worked since Islamic State militants took over his home town. He was desperate, so in late May he went to the militants to beg for his grandson’s life, and they offered him a choice.

“They said to me, ‘If you give us your son to fight with us, we will pay for your grandson’s treatment,’ ” he said.

The idea of one of his sons becoming an Islamic State fighter turned his stomach, and the thought of losing his grandson broke his heart. So Jassem took his family and escaped in the back of a smuggler’s truck. He said his son is now asking Jordanian authorities for medical help for the little boy.

“I am never going back to Syria,” Jassem said, looking out from his 12-by-18-foot hut at the bleak expanse of empty Jordan desert. “It’s not my Syria anymore.”

Washington Post | October 4, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Tags: Iraq, Middle East, SP, Syria | Categories: News, World | URL:


NRA: Killing America’s Children One Kid At A Time: #FuckTheNRA #FuckThe@NRA

NRA: Killing America’s Children One Kid At A Time: #FuckTheNRA #FuckThe@NRA


#FuckTheNRA #FuckThe@NRA #FuckNraTrolls

1F2 1F3 1Fkeep-calm-and-fuck-the-nra

#NRAsucks #gunsense #NotOneMore #GunReligion   #MomsDemandAction @ #NRA   

Gun Control Now USA A Great Country Like The USA Needs Gun Control, Registration And Legislation To Prevent The Senseless Murder Of Americans. The Second Amendment Should be Repealed. Comments Are Moderated Accordingly.

“Let their people drown: Europe’s self-inflicted migration crisis”

Monday, 27 April 2015

Let their people drown: Europe’s self-inflicted migration crisis

In recent months, a record number of refugees and migrants have drowned in their attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea. According to recent UN estimates, in 2014 almost 220,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean, and at least over 3,500 died during their journey. Over 30,000 have already made the crossing so far this year, with around 1500 reported dead or missing  – more than 50 times greater than at the same point in the previous record year 2014.

And, again, we hear the familiar appeals from European politicians to stop this tragedy by ‘fighting’ or ‘combating’ smuggling (and trafficking) in order to stop the suffering of migrants on the European borders. Although this all may sound very lofty, blaming the smugglers is a convenient scapegoating strategy that conceals politicians’ own responsibility for this humanitarian tragedy.

Politicians (and the media slavishly copying their rhetorics) ignore that there is a direct relationship between the level of border controls and the number of migrant deaths. As I argued earlier, smuggling is a reaction to border controls, not the cause of migration. Smugglers are service deliverers who help migrants to cross closed borders. They may be involved in illegal activities, they may be criminals, they may deceive migrants, but smugglers are basically running a business. And there is only a market for this business because of the difficulties to migrate legally in search for work or to apply for asylum. So, the more governments militarise borders, the more they make it difficult to apply for asylum, the more they increase migrants’  dependency on smugglers to cross bordes.

Irregular boat migration across the Mediterranean is anything but a new phenomenon. It has ever existed since the early 1990s and resulted from the introduction of visas for North Africans by the European Union countries in 1991-1992. This interrupted previously free seasonal and circular (back-and-fort) migration flows of workers from countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and compelled more and more people to migrate illegally.

From the 2000s, an increasing number of workers and also refugees from sub-Saharan Africa have joined this boat migration. The number of crossings oscillated between 30,000 and 80,000 per year (roughly 1-3 per cent of total legal immigration – about 2.5 million a year – into the EU), mainly depending on labour demand in Europe. The marked increase in the number of detected crossings since 2013 is mainly the result of the increase in the number of refugees, particularly from Syria, but also countries like Eritrea and Somalia.

25 years of European border restrictions have not only totally failed to curb immigration but have had counterproductive results through an increase in irregular migration and an increasing dependence of migrants on smugglers to cross borders. They have also interrupted the previous circular movement, pushing migrants into permanent settlement and border controls led to a constant diversification, shifting and geographical expansion of crossing points. The toughening of border controls and ‘combating smuggling’ have also increased the likelihood that smugglers will exploit the vulnerable position of migrants by extorting them increasing amounts of money or abandoning them on sea.

Recurrent proposals to ‘combat irregular migration’ by toughening border controls and closing off legal migration routes are bound to fail, as these restrictions are among the very causes of the phenomenon they pretend to combat. Policy making is caught in a vicious circle of more restrictions-more illegality-more restrictions.

A second reason why European politicians bear direct responsibility for the rising number of deaths is their decision to stop the search and rescue ‘Mare Nostrum’ programme in November 2014. Many EU governments argued that cutting search and rescue operations would stem migration – as if refugees had no reason to flee their countries. (In October 2014, for instance, Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary, defended her decision to end British support for search-and-rescue operations for migrants in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean (which had so far saved the lives of over 150,000 migrants) were acting as a “pull factor” for irregular migration)

How wrong could they be? As a direct result of the suspension of Mare Nostrum, the number of border deaths has gone drastically up, while the number of migrants and, particularly, refugees has further increased. So, politicians’ have defended their voluntary decision to let people die at sea with the outrageous argument that this would deter people from coming. This shows politicians’ de facto disregard for human rights despite their hypocritical public grievances and crocodile tears about migrants’ tragic fate. These public displays of grief are nothing more than cynical attempts to appear humane while factually being involved in a political rat race who can appear ‘toughest’ on migration. Whatever reason politicians have to defend such tragic decisions, by doing so they have lost their credibility for public shows of moral outrage.

The lack of credibility among European politicians is shown by their unwillingness to save migrants in distress and host significant number of refugees. It would be outrageous to suggest the EU (the worlds’ richest economic block with more than half a billion habitants) lacks the resources to host refugees coming from worn-torn countries such as Syria. What we are dealing with here is not an uncontrollable movement of masses of poor and desperate people from Africa and the Middle East to Europe. What we are dealing with is a humanitarian tragedy and a displacement crisis unfolding in the European periphery, in the turmoil of which a sizeable, but comparatively still small proportion of refugees seek protection in Europe.

Despite all talk about ‘regional solutions’, it is easily forgotten that the vast majority of refugees stays in their own region. For instance, the vast majority of the 3 million Syrians refugees live in relatively poor neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Compared to that the numbers of Syrians coming to Europe (a few hundreds of thousands so far) is quite limited. Europe currently hosts 4 percent of all Syrian refugees (see figure). With the exception of a few countries such as Sweden and Germany, most European countries have only accepted tiny numbers of Syrian refugees. As Alexander Betts has argued in a brilliant article “Forget the ‘war on smuggling’, we need to be helping refugees in need“, the recent proposal for a “voluntary” resettlement scheme for 5,000 refugees to emerge at last week’s Brussels meeting “is absurd against the backdrop of three million Syrian refugees”.

The truth is that there is no ‘solution’ in the sense of stopping this migration, which is likely to persist at current levels as long as conflicts in countries such as Syria continue, and migrants will inevitably keep on crossing the Mediterranean illegally as long as legal entry channels are blocked. Immigration restrictions and border controls create lucrative markets for smugglers and traffickers.

The only short- to medium-term ‘solution’ should be focused on helping refugees in need through (1) a serious scaling up of search and rescue operations; (2) a significant increase in refugee resettlement quota by EU countries and other wealthy nations; and (3) increased support to countries such as Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan to host refugees in the region.

Any thinking about ‘solutions’ in terms of a further toughening of borders controls and closing legal routes for migration will not stop migration but will only increase migrants’ dependency on smuggling and increase the death toll. The lack of support for serious search and rescue operations and the unwillingness to host significant numbers of refugees shows that the current response of EU countries is tantamount to saying “let their people drown”. EU politicians have become tragic actors in a self-inflicted drama which they decry so melodramatically.

Syria´s children – excuse me for begging for them – i cannot stop it!

Slavery in America was much worse than you probably imagined RawStory

Haifaas Flucht aus Syrien – mit seinem Baby – Video in Englisch

Militia Camp Overrun With Disease and Suffering (Excerpt from ‘Libya’s Migrant Trade’)

Militia Camp Overrun With Disease and Suffering (Excerpt from ‘Libya’s Migrant Trade’)

October 2, 2015 | 1:04 pm


In a desperate bid to seek a better life in Europe, thousands of refugees and migrants leave the shores of Libya and cross the perilous Mediterranean Sea every month. Over 2,000 people have died making the journey in 2015 alone.

The routes to and journey through Libya are also dangerous, however, and since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, the country has struggled to achieve and maintain stability. Porous desert borders, rival fighters, and weak governance have left much of Libya in complete chaos. …

“994 mass shootings in 1,004 days: this is what America’s gun crisis looks like” TheGuardian

994 mass shootings in 1,004 days: this is what America’s gun crisis looks like

The Oregon school shooting is evidence that the US response to gun violence ‘has become routine’, Barack Obama says. The data compiled by the crowd-sourced site Mass Shooting Tracker reveals an even more shocking human toll: there is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident – nearly every day. …


“One´s Destination is never a Place, … ” Henry Miller

Dishonest Prosecutors: Railroading Citizens

Originally posted on My Activism:


For years, the district attorney’s office in Orange County, Calif., has gotten away with unconstitutional abuses.

Read the Article: Dishonest Prosecutors, Lots of Them –

View original


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