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A police medic did not punch a man in the face and head at London’s Kurdish protest (video)

kurds rally London police


The police tell. They do not listen. They work to an agenda. Media should not be so monocular. It should exercise circumspection. The police make enough mistakes without any need to sensationalise the ordinary.

The Metro trails as story from a march in London by thousands of Kurds protesting against Turkey’s military attack on the Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria. It’s horrendous. Shame on the UK for not backing the Kurds.

This Metro’s conjures the headline: “Police medic punches man in head at Kurdish rally.” It is “shocking” says the paper of the moment a “Metropolitan Police medic repeatedly punches a man” in the head.

Only, he doesn’t. The copper is hitting the man in the shoulder in what appears to be an attempt to get him to release his grip.



The minor incident was reported earlier in the Mail, which also needs a crash course in body parts:

Met police medic punches man in the head at Kurdish rally. Met police medic punches man in the head at Kurdish rally. A man wearing a Metropolitan police medic uniform has been filmed on top of another man who he punches repeatedly in the head as he lays on the road at a Kurdish protest rally in London.


kurds rally London police

The Mail adds: “The man tries to get up, without using much force but is pushed back down by the medic, who then punches him in the face four times“. The Mail says that twice.



The face? No. That’s a shoulder.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police says: “We are aware of a video posted on social media. We are in the process of establishing the circumstances of the incident. The Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed.”

We’re aware of it, too, and it’d be stupid to rush to judgement. No context is offered by the video. Just sensationalist reporting.

Meanwhile…in Afrin…

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

RIP Mehmet Aksoy: the British filmmaker who showed us the Kurds fight against ISIS

British filmmaker Mehmet Aksoy has been killed. The 32-year-old Londoner of Kurdish descent went to Syria in June, joining the Kurdish militant group, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), and filming its battles against ISIS.


Mehmet Aksoy


The Kurds deserve our support. Betrayed by the West after World War 1, the West now arms them in the fight against ISIS. The Kurds are fighting to stop ISIS spreading further into the Middle East. If the Kurds win, they surely deserve the autonomous region they crave.

Posted: 27th, September 2017 | In: News | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Kurdish YPJ Sniper almost hit by ISIS Sniper inside Raqqa. She just laughs it off.

Kurdish YPJ Sniper almost hit by ISIS Sniper inside Raqqa. She just laughs it off.



Spotter: LaloGagach

Posted: 28th, June 2017 | In: Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

If we are at war with ISIS why is Shilan Ozcelik in prison?

Silhan ÖzçelikShilan Ozcelik is in a British prison? Her crime was to try to join the PPK in fighting ISIS in Syria.

In November, Shilan, 18, from north London, was stuffed behind bars following her conviction for trying to join the campaign against Isis jihadis in Syria.

Get your head around that, if you can.

Read this and wonder why she’s in prison:

There was no evidence Özçelik had joined the PKK, made contact with PKK members or travelled to Turkey or Syria before she returned to Britain from Cologne in Germany in January 2015 and was arrested at Stansted airport…

Sentencing her to 21 months in a young offender institution, the judge, John Bevan, described her as “a stupid, feckless and deeply dishonest young woman”…

She would have to live with the “long lasting consequences of a conviction for terrorism”, he added .

Better had she joined the British Army and then demanded they don’t bomb the enemy only from the skies, but also meet them face to face on the ground.

Her friend Mark Campbell puts it well:

“Her family who had contacted authorities for help to bring her home, instead found her being pursued with criminal charges. With the government trying to get support for launching attacks on Isis this is really not the time to be prosecuting a young girl whose intention was to fight Isis. It sends out completely the wrong message and I would urge the Home Secretary to release her now.”

It’s insane.

Posted: 3rd, December 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Silhan Ozcelik betrayed by justice, like all the Kurds



Silhan Ozcelik is in a British prison. You might be outraged. You should be.

This is how the Islington Gazette headlines the story of the young woman who went to join the Kurds, the people fighting Asad and ISIS.

‘Feckless’ Islington teen convicted over bid to join PKK


A “feckless” teenage girl from Islington has become the first Briton to be convicted of trying to join the banned Kurdish group PKK. Silhan Ozcelik, 18, of Highbury Quadrant, Holloway, was on trial at the Old Bailey charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts.

Go on:

The court heard she left Britain on the Eurostar in October 2014 and was arrested in January after getting off a flight from Germany at Stansted airport.

She left letters and a video for her family telling them she had gone off to try to fight with the Kurdistan Workers Party, the court heard.

But in her defence, she claimed that was a lie and she actually went to see a man she had formed a romantic attachment to in Brussels.

Young women, eh. In the thrall of hormones and dreamy guys.

The jury deliberated for less than a day to find her guilty and she was sentenced to 21 months in prison by Judge John Bevan QC.

Does that sound like a “feckless” teenager to you? Or does that sound like a very active teenager, a young woman who wanted to join the Kurds in taking the fight to the nihilists and nutjobs? US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters:

“We congratulate [Kobane’s] brave defenders. We’ll continue to support [the YPG and the Kurdish Peshmerga] as we look to the coming weeks ahead. This is an important step in the first phase of a long-term campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIS.”

Oddly, the US also says the PKK are terrorists.

Meanwhile in the UK, we’ve slapped our home-grown, would-be defender in prison:

The judge rejected a plea for a suspended sentence, and told her: “You are a stupid, feckless and deeply dishonest young woman. You have lied to your family and this jury.”

If she’s stupid, what is he?

Before she left home, Silhan Ozcelik wrote a letter to her family:

“Believe me this is the right thing for me to do. I am so happy right now that I have become a militant… My fight, my struggle is not just for the Kurdish people, it is for all people, for all women. It must not be misconstrued. This is not a Kurdistan matter. Even if Kurdistan is established today I will not return…”

“The only people defending them over there was the YPG, the PKK. It was amazing, the fact that they were there and they were trying to protect innocent people – I just admired it.”

Is he feckless and clueless? Does he sound like a women without direction?

Asked if she regretted it now, Miss Ozcelik, replied: “Yeah I regret everything – it’s caused trouble for my family and everyone else.”

The paper hears from Commander Richard Walton, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15). Just to recap: She was going to fight for the Kurds against the West’s common enemy.

“We continue to remain concerned about the number of young women and girls being drawn into all forms of terrorism. We urge parents and families to talk to us at the earliest opportunity if they have concerns about any girl or women being enticed into supporting terrorist groups like the PKK or Isil.”

The PKK or ISIL. One group wants a Kurdish homeland; the other wants your land, your soul and a photo of your decapitated head on a tweet.

David L. Phillips, Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, has a few words on the Kurds:

The Kurds of northern Syria, together with the Kurds of Turkey and Iraq, have been at war with ISIS since the latter rose up and declared their so-called caliphate. It was the Syrian Kurds and their Kurdish comrades in Turkey who helped rescue the Yezidis, after they had fled the ISIS onslaught to take refuge in the Sinjar mountains. It was the Syrian Kurds and their comrades in Turkey who liberated the city of Kobani from ISIS.

But the Kurds of northern Syria have not just been waging war. They have also been waging peace: creating new, democratic structures, declaring autonmous cantons; setting up schools, universities, hospitals. They have taken their inspiration from the Zapatistas of Mexico, who in their thousands retreated into the jungles of Chiapas and together with the Mayans created a new society, free from the oppression of the Mexican authorities.

In short, the northern Syrian Kurds have created and are living a social revolution. It is no wonder, therefore, that the authoritarian and neo-Islamist Erdogan Government of Turkey is doing everything it can to break the Kurds, including providing covert support to the Kurds’ main enemy, to ISIS.

In a recent article in the Guardian, Professor David Graeber of the London School of Economics stated how “Back in August, the YPG, fresh from their victories in Kobani andGire Spi, were poised to seize Jarablus, the last Isis-held town on the Turkish border that the terror organisation had been using to resupply its capital in Raqqa with weapons, materials, and recruits – Isis supply lines pass directly through Turkey.” Graeber added: “Commentators predicted that with Jarablus gone, Raqqa would soon follow. Erdoğan reacted by declaring Jarablus a “red line”: if the Kurds attacked, his forces would intervene militarily – against the YPG. So Jarablus remains in terrorist hands to this day, under de facto Turkish military protection.”

Read it all. And then wonder why Silhan Ozcelik is in prison?


Posted: 24th, November 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Kurds: let’s back them with all we have

The Kurds are at the bleeding edge of the war with Islamists. But the West is not backing them. Shilan Ozcelik, the British woman who allegedly wanted to fight Islamic State, has been dragged through the courts. A Kurdish homeland will free Israel and rid the Middle East of violent racism and misogyny. But the Kurds are not being cheered and championed. Why not?


U.S. officials are trying to persuade Turkey that the Syrian Kurdish fighters are not hostile toward Ankara. To underscore the U.S. commitment to Turkey’s security, Obama sent a squadron of F-15 warplanes in November to protect Turkey’s airspace against a growing number of Russian incursions after Moscow began its military buildup in Syria. At the same time, however, the U.S. has delayed deliveries of weapons Turkey needs to fight Kurdish militants, and many analysts suspect the move is intended to hobble further Turkish attacks on the YPG.

For now, heavier U.S. arms shipments to the Syrian Arab Coalition also appear frozen. A White House official tells Newsweek the administration plans to do more to support the group. But Carter, the defense secretary, recently said he’s still looking for more local forces to work with in Syria; that suggests the low ratio of Arabs to Kurds in the coalition remains a problem for a Raqqa offensive. And until that’s resolved, U.S. military cargo planes won’t be making any special deliveries of heavier weapons.

The Jerusalem Post:

On November 12, in the early morning, more than 10,000 Peshmerga started the military operation to liberate of Shingal (Sinjar) using artillery, tanks and with the help of other countries from the international coalition against Islamic State (IS). Due to the injustice of what had happened to the Yazidi in Shingal, thousands of volunteers from their community from Shingal, Duhok and other areas joined the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to take part in the liberation.

The operation moved slowly as we had to contend with the large number of booby traps, IEDs and TNT explosives on the roads. IS did not put up an efficient defense. One of the Peshmerga commanders jokingly said “if the coalition jets bombed the other IS locations like they did in the past week in Shingal, a week would be enough to clean the whole of Iraq of IS.”

Brendan O’Neill:

This oddness is summed up beautifully — or horrendously — in the current G20 gathering in Turkey to discuss how to keep IS militants out of Europe in the wake of the barbarism in Paris. Cameron, Merkel, Obama: various world leaders have gathered in Antalya to denounce the assaults in Paris as an ‘attack on the civilised world’ and to promise ‘global efforts’ to smash IS. And they’re doing this while posing for photos alongside Turkish president and G20 host Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has okayed airstrikes against the Kurdish forces in Syria and northern Iraq that have shown more commitment to defeating IS than all those leaders put together. Our leaders talk war on IS, while green-lighting war on the most implacable enemies of IS.

The dearth of any true solidarity with the Kurds is striking. Of all the wicked things happening in the world today, the terrorising of the Kurds is up there with the worst, yet there’s little anger, barely any protest…

Posted: 16th, November 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Shilan Ozcelik: British persecute Kurdish woman who wanted to fight Islamic State

free_silanIt’s a widely held belief that IS – or “so-called Islamic State”, if you’re a BBC viewer – are murderous Islam supremacists who spend their days raping, pillaging and dreaming up news ways to brutalise humanity. Against them, we have Barack Obama’s rhetoric, President Assad of Syria’s murderous regime and the Kurds. Now thanks to the British justice system we can see one of these kurds at the Old Bailey, where Shilan Ozcelik is on trial for allegedly attempting to join the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

IS would surely have raped and murdered her my now, but we can assume they are broadly in favour of the British courts’ criminalising someone trying to fight for the West.

Shilan Ozcelik, 18, has been charged with “engaging in conduct in preparation to for giving an effect to an intention to commit acts of terrorism” under section 5 (10) (a) of the Terrorism Act 2006. Arrested in January, Shilan has been held on remand in Holloway prison since early March.

The Kurdistan Tribune reports:

Her arrest and charge was met with outrage by the Kurdish community in the UK and supporters of the Kurdish struggle, who condemned it as a blatant example of selective and political criminalisation of the Kurdish community, which has continued since the PKK was listed as a ‘terrorist organisation’ in 2000.

We reject this labelling of the PKK, which we believe confuses the Kurdish people’s legitimate struggle for self-determination with terrorism and has the effect of criminalising anyone in the Kurdish community who is part of peaceful political activity. We know that Shilan has never committed any act of violence and poses no threat to the people of this country. As such, we reiterate our call for the charges against her to be dropped.

A woman keen to fight our enemy has been arrested for, er, trying to fight our enemy.

But this is also about the Turks. In July the Turkish government saw its chance to bomb the Kurds as it bombed IS:

[President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] said the peace process, launched in 2012 in order to put an end to the bloody conflict between the Turkish government and the PKK that has killed over 40,000 since it began in 1984, had become impossible to maintain. The PKK has said the air strikes, launched virtually in parallel with Turkish strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria, rendered the peace process meaningless. But it has stopped short of formally pulling out.

The Turkish air strikes on Kurdish rebels were launched in tandem with Turkey’s first ever military operations against Islamic State in Syria after a suicide bomb killed 32 in the small border town of Suruç last Monday, an attack that Ankara blames on Isis. Critics have accused Turkey of using the Isis threat as a pretext to weaken the Kurdish opposition. Turkey’s Nato allies have expressed unease about the operations aimed at the PKK, since the Kurds have been a crucial ally in the fight against Isis both in Syria and in Iraq.

So instead of trying to fight for her people, Shilan Ozcelik is in jail.

The Peace in Kurdistan Campaign sums up well:

Given this context, the arrest of a young Kurdish woman for allegedly attempting to join the YPJ seems more than a little contradictory.

It’s nuts.

Posted: 8th, September 2015 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Britain learns to love the Kurds as the ISIS cannibals makes a mother eat her son

For those of you still unconvinced that Islamic State is policed by depraved, murderous nutjobs comes news that jihadis fed a Kurdish fighter to his mother. The Sun leads with the news:




We meet Yasir Abdulla, 36, who has left his home in Yorkshire to fight for a Kurdish homeland. Says he:

“I hate IS because of what happened to an old Kurdish woman from a nearby tribe. Her son was captured by IS fighters and taken as a prisoner to Mosul. She was determined to find her son and went to IS headquarters and asked to see him. The IS men told her to sit down because she had travelled a long way and said she should have some food before they took her to meet her son. They brought her cups of tea and fed her a meal of cooked meat, rice and soup. She thought they were kind. But they had killed him and chopped him up and after she finished the meal and asked to see her son they laughed and said, ‘You’ve just eaten him’.”

And, as ever, we hear the news that the killers do not represent Islam:

“All the tribes are united against IS. They burn people alive, they chop off people’s heads, there is no limit to their depravity. They are not Muslims, they have hijacked Islam. All they do is hate.”

He’s right. It’s tribal. It is Islam. It is nationalistic. It is far more complex than simply being a Muslim problem.

But what of the story of the poor woman who ate her son? It just ends. We want to know what happened to the mother forced into cannibalism. We want to know who did it.  We want to know if it is true. Of course, it sounds like it could be.

And what of the kurds, now called “brave” and noble, who are alone defending the West from barbarism, who with the other indigenous peoples of the area (and, yep, let’s include the Jews) are countering the notion that all of the Middle East is exclusively Arab land?

Why didn’t they have their own state, already?

In the early 20th Century, many Kurds began to consider the creation of a homeland – generally referred to as “Kurdistan”. After World War One and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the victorious Western allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres.

Such hopes were dashed three years later, however, when the Treaty of Lausanne, which set the boundaries of modern Turkey, made no provision for a Kurdish state and left Kurds with minority status in their respective countries. Over the next 80 years, any move by Kurds to set up an independent state was brutally quashed.

Who signed the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the final treaty concluding World War I. Well, Turkey, Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Romania, and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Yugoslavia).

In 2010, the BBC wrote:

Could Turkish and Kurdish gangs become new ‘mafia’?

The Britsh Kurdish community is focused on Hackney and Harringey, London. The Kurds fled persecution in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, arriving in large numbers in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The Museum of London reports:

The Kurdish minority has frequently suffered oppression, for example in Turkey speaking Kurdish was banned from the 1920s.

A few Iraqi Kurds arrived in Britain after the 1958 coup in Iraq when the nationalist Ba’ath party seized power.

Iranians seeking asylum in London from Shi’ite Muslim Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in 1979 included Kurds.

In 1988, thousands of Kurds were murdered with chemical weapons in the ‘Anfal’ military operations carried out under Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and some escaped to Britain when the Gulf War ended in 1991.

Kurds in Turkey are still not recognised as a separate culture and are discriminated against.

In the late 1980s Alevi Kurds began to come to Britain to escape persecution by Turkish Sunni fundamentalists.

Although Kurds in London may share political sympathies with other expatriates like the Turks, they are nevertheless determined to differentiate their culture from Turkish and other mainstream cultures.

British bureaucracy has often not distinguished Kurds from other refugees from Iran, Iraq and Turkey, so the exact number of Kurds in London is unknown.

They just need a State and a flag to be known by.

In 1999, the British State was no fan of exported Kurdish violence:

Kurdish language station Med-TV has had its licence suspended by the Independent Television Commission. The ITC said several broadcasts by the Kurdish-language company Med-TV had included calls to carry out violent acts in Turkey.

Med-TV has been given three weeks to convince the ITC to allow the station to continue broadcasting.

“The essence of these recent breaches is that the broadcasts contain calls to direct violence and criminal actions of various kinds,” ITC’s Director of Programmes and Cable, Sarah Thane, said.

The broadcasts were made after Turkey’s arrest of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan last month. They featured messages from Kurdish leaders calling for acts of violence in Turkey.

There has been killing and mayhem in the name of Kurdistan in Turkey. But whereas once we condemned it, the West now applauds it. The Kurds have become a useful ally. We love them fighting hard for their ancestral homeland. It’s just that we don’t want them to have the land when the fighting is over. So. Thanks, Yasir, but don’t expect too much from the West…

Posted: 2nd, March 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

A Kurdish homeland will free Israel and rid the Middle East of violent racism and misogyny

A Kurdish family walks down a mountain road near Shiranish carrying their few belongings to a refugee resettlement camp near Zakho in the allied security zone, May 9, 1991. Thousands of Iraqi Kurds were displaced from their homes in northern Iraq following failed rebellion against Saddam Hussein. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper)

A Kurdish family walks down a mountain road near Shiranish carrying their few belongings to a refugee resettlement camp near Zakho in the allied security zone, May 9, 1991. Thousands of Iraqi Kurds were displaced from their homes in northern Iraq following failed rebellion against Saddam Hussein. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper)


Kurds are edging closer to getting their own State. Redrawing national boundaries is not a quick business. But the Kurds are making headway:

Kurdish forces in northern Iraq are claiming their biggest victory yet against Islamic State (IS) militants.

They say they have broken the IS siege of Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis and other displaced Iraqis have been trapped since August.

IS controls a swathe of Iraq and Syria, where it has declared a caliphate.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s top officer says US air strikes have killed several high-ranking military leaders of IS in Iraq.


Iraqi Kurdish fighters flashed victory signs as they swept across the northern side of Sinjar mountain on Saturday, two days after breaking through to free hundreds of Yazidis trapped there for months by Islamic State fighters.

A Reuters correspondent, who arrived on the mountain late Saturday, witnessed Kurdish and Yazidi fighters celebrating their gains after launching their offensive on Wednesday with heavy U.S. air support.

The Iraqi Kurdish flag fluttered, with its yellow sun, and celebratory gunfire rang out. Little children cheered “Barzani’s party”, in reference to the Kurdish region’s president, Massoud Barzani.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 28th, December 2014 | In: Reviews | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0