Spanish military, war against Spanish people?


This video says about itself:

Spain and the Holocaust

9 October 2008

Maureen Tobin Stanley, associate professor of Spanish language, literature, and culture at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, spoke at Vanderbilt University Oct. 23 as part of the Holocaust Lecture Series.

Maureen Tobin Stanley has spent her career examining Spanish voices of resistance, exile and deportation. Though 10,000 to 15,000 Spaniards were imprisoned in Nazi camps with the implicit endorsement of Francisco Franco‘s regime, their experience in concentration camps has been largely suppressed. As part of contemporary Spain’s critical, literary, and current legislative drive to recover its democratic past and renounce Franco‘s totalitarianism, Stanley’s research seeks to demonstrate the cultural relevance of these frightening realities. Supporting contribution by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

By Vicky Short:

Spanish military prepares for domestic repression

20 November 2014

In response to the socially explosive conditions resulting from high unemployment, attacks on living standards and rising inequality, Spanish military units are being prepared for use in internal repression.

The Spanish digital daily, Público, recently revealed that around 200 soldiers from the Light Armoured Cavalry Regiment Lusitania No.8, based in Valencia, have been receiving special crowd control training, including the use of anti-riot equipment, by the military police.

One of the participants said that “they never explained what mission we needed this training for”. Another said, “People think that a lot of tension can be seen in the streets every day, that there is a lot of unrest … they tell us in the barracks that the National Police are overwhelmed, that it doesn’t have the means or the personnel.”

Sources at the barracks described the training as “strange and absolutely unprecedented,” but added, “We have to be prepared for everything, especially in these current times.”

“We do not remember the PM (military police) training soldiers before from other units to act as ‘anti-riot military police’ against civilians. … We believe that the military police are also doing this type of training in other barracks,” another said.

The sources reported that the training exercise became so violent and out of control, with several casualties, that it had to be stopped.

The Ministry of Defence sought to downplay the revelations, stating that training of the army in riot control was routine and had been going on for years. However, this attempt at reassuring the public was belied by further reports that about 50 soldiers had been interrogated for hours by officers demanding that they reveal the names of those who had made the revelations. At least one of the soldiers is facing expulsion from the army.

The training of army units in crowd control is based on the assumption that insurrectionary struggles are inevitable, because of the intolerable level of suffering the Spanish ruling class has imposed on the working class. The latest developments add to the series of counterinsurgency measures already adopted by the Popular Party (PP) government, including the purchase of new anti-riot equipment.

The new Citizens Security Law going through parliament and expected to be in force early next year will severely restrict the right to protest. Judges will be able to impose huge fines on protesters, particularly those outside Congress and other state institutions, and to fine anyone who distributes photographs of police brutality. The police will receive extra powers to enter and search property, demand identification papers and restrain those who refuse to produce them. The names and details of those penalised can be made public and if they are foreigners they can be deported.

Politicians from the main opposition Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) have been virtually silent about the Público reports, limiting themselves to putting down a question to the government asking for clarification. PSOE defence spokesman, Eduardo González, would not be drawn into any further comments other than stating, “What we need is to know more details and have some clear explanations”.

The historic role of the army in Spain, which in the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War killed hundreds of thousands in a counterrevolutionary uprising led by General Francisco Franco, is well documented. The Spanish establishment is riddled with the heirs of the fascist regime that followed the Civil War. A few old surviving fascists even continued to hold the same positions in the armed bodies of the state.

Madrid is not alone. Throughout Europe the ruling class is once again preparing dictatorial forms of rule. In Greece, for example, the New Democracy/PASOK coalition government of Antonis Samaras, on three separate occasions, has placed striking workers under martial law and has repeatedly used police against strikers and has banned demonstrations.

In France, the unpopular Socialist Party government under President François Hollande launched a savage crackdown on protests sparked by the police murder of Rémi Fraisse, a 21-year-old environmental activist.

English anti-World War I resistance on stage


This video says about itself:

ENGLAND ARISE! – PROMO

A brief promo film of Bent Architect’s research and development project exploring the true story of the Yorkshire Conscientious Objectors of the first world war, at Lawrence Batley Theatre Huddersfield, December, 2013. We are aiming to launch the production in the autumn of 2014 as an alternative commemoration of the centenary.

By Bernadette Horton in Britain:

Theatre review: England, Arise!

Wednesday 19th November 2014

BERNADETTE HORTON highly recommends a powerful dramatisation of working-class resistance to the carnage of WWI

England, Arise!
People’s History Museum, Manchester/Touring
5 stars

FORGET ceramic poppies and sentimentalised dramas about the first world war.

Instead, go and see Bent Architect’s production of England, Arise! about the real lives of political activists Arthur Gardiner (Chris Lindon) and Percy Ellis (James Britton) who opposed the war.

Gardiner (Chris Lindon) and Ellis (James Britton) lived in Huddersfield in the early 1900s and were part of a vibrant socialist movement which gave them hope as young people that life was only going to get better.

They portray a strong friendship between the two men — in performances which occasionally veer almost into music hall routine — which shows how these young men were confident about the future, determined in their anti-war stance and inspired by the Suffrage movement which at that time was in its 60th year of campaigning for women’s right to vote.

The Suffragette campaign is forcefully represented in the character of Lillian Lenton (Stephanie Butler) who shows the eccentricity and tenacity of the real-life activist who was imprisoned and force-fed and turns up in Huddersfield on her escape from the police.

Local women Sis Timmins (Laura Bonnah) and Lavena Saltonstall (Stephanie Butler again) are shown as complex characters who are learning about being independent women as well as supporting their men when they refuse to serve in the war.

Gardiner and Ellis were both sentenced to military prison and brutalised in much the same way as the soldiers who volunteered to go to war.

Crucial to the power of the play is the use by playwright Mick Martin in Jude Wright’s production of Gardiner’s verbatim defence of his opposition to the war when facing a military tribunal.

Isolated and victimised by their military jailers, both men are inspirational in their determination to maintain their principled response to militarism, whether in refusing to call their warders “sir” or facing their fears as they are separated and put into isolation for long periods.

Outside the prison the campaign to support the two conscientious objectors carries on, spearheaded by the women, even though they face violence at meetings and are often seen as outcasts by sections of their community.

Though only 20,000 people refused to take part in WWI, this small number was seen as a major and direct threat by the government.

This play is thus a reminder of the importance of that courageous anti-war stance and the high price that working-class people have always paid in the war games of the ruling classes.

Next performances at the Rochdale Pioneer’s Museum on November 18 and 19, details: www.rochdalepioneersmuseum.org.

US military and CIA interventions since World War II


This video from the USA is called Piero San Giorgio – In English – William Blum Interview.

William Blum is the author of Rogue State and Killing Hope.

By Carlos Martinez:

Monday 17th November 2014

Carlos Martinez salutes a salutary account of rogue US state on the global rampage

Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II
by William Blum
(Zed Books, £8.99)

THIS updated edition of William Blum’s Killing Hope provides a comprehensive, thoroughly researched and meticulously referenced account of US interventionism over the past century.

Detailing the activities of the US security forces over the course of 75 years and in more than 50 countries — from Italy to Nicaragua, from Angola to Korea, from Grenada to Syria — Blum demonstrates clearly that the US is not the force of “freedom and democracy” that it claims to be. The “policeman of the world” is in fact a rogue state that will stop at nothing to protect its economic, political and military dominance.

The book highlights the fanatical McCarthyite anti-communism that has underpinned US foreign policy during this period. Framing communists as the quintessential “bad guys” — psychotic, evil, world-dominating, cat-stroking villains who detest freedom and democracy — the US and its allies have been able to justify their horrific campaign of violent subversion against the countries of the socialist and non-aligned world.

In the context of the current patriotic hysteria surrounding the WWI centenary, it’s worth remembering that it was Britain’s national hero Winston Churchill who led the charge against the fledgling socialist world, proposing “to strangle at birth the Bolshevik state.”

Blum makes the important point that in the context of a wide-ranging campaign of hostility from the West, including invasion, bombing, infiltration, espionage, funding and arming terrorist groups, spreading disinformation, round-the-clock media propaganda, the socialist countries were forced to develop an extensive security apparatus.

This same security apparatus was then used to provide “proof” of communism’s repressive and anti-democratic nature. As Blum notes: “We in the West are never allowed to forget the political shortcomings (real and bogus) of the Soviet Union; at the same time we are never reminded of the history which lies behind it.”

Of course, a government does not need to actually be communist in order to qualify as a target for CIA-sponsored regime change. It’s enough simply to have friendly relations with socialist countries, or to have “communist-inspired” ideas such as land reform, nationalisation and political independence.

Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz and Iran’s Mohammad Mossadegh could not reasonably be called communists — they were progressive nationalists who aimed to improve the lives of the poor, while having friendly relations with both West and East.

This was too much for the CIA, which engineered successful coups against both of them, ushering in periods of vicious and exploitative rule in both countries.

As the consummate cold warrior John Foster Dulles put it: “For us there are two sorts of people in the world: there are those who are Christians and support free enterprise and there are the others.”

Sadly, Killing Hope is not the story of a bygone era. It is an account of the historical epoch we are still living in. The techniques of intervention, destabilisation, demonisation, disinformation and terrorism are all employed as extensively today as they ever were, most prominently in the Middle East. As such, Blum’s book is an essential tool for understanding the world we live in today.

Britain: John Moore looks at some top brass spin on foreign ‘threats’: here.

CIA CONTEMPLATES OVERHAUL Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan is evaluating potentially dividing the spying and analysis units of the agency in order to create hyper-specialized sections. [WaPo]

Italian fascists attack refugees


This video is called Mussolini Italy’s Nightmare.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Racial tensions in Rome: ‘Long live Il Duce’ chants as locals attack immigrant centre with rocks and petrol bombs

Residents in the Tor Sapienza district blame the African and Bengali refugees inside for the ‘insupportable’ levels of street crime in the area

Michael Day

Rome, Wednesday 12 November 2014

Racial tensions have exploded in Rome’s suburbs after locals chanting pro-Mussolini slogans attacked an immigrant holding centre. Police responded with baton charges and tear gas.

Were all of these violent racists really ‘local’? Were some of them not organized fascists, bused in or shipped in from elsewhere in Rome, or in Italy?

UPDATE: Indeed, Italian media have confirmed that. See also here.

Locals are calling for the building in the Tor Sapienza district to be closed after blaming the migrants it houses for “insupportable” levels of street crime in the area.

But the nastier side of the protests were apparent on Tuesday night with hundreds of people chanting: “The blacks have to go,” and dozens more shouting: “Long live Il Duce (Mussolini)”.

The violence in Tor Sapienza began simmering on Monday night with hooded men throwing stones at the Sorriso reception centre in Viale Giorgio Morandi. On Tuesday night the situation escalated dramatically. At around 10pm around 50 people, at the head of a 250-strong crowd, attacked the centre with rocks and petrol bombs. At least 14 people, including four policemen, were injured in the clashes that saw cars and rubbish bins set alight and used as barricades. …

The 36 African and Bengali refugees inside pleaded with police to be led away to safety, according to Corriere Della Sera newspaper. A few hours earlier one of the refugees was attacked in the street.

The ugly developments are the latest sign of a wave of anti-immigration sentiment sweeping Italy, with populist political leaders appearing to profit from, even encourage it. Matteo Salvini, head of the xenophobic Northern League, has seen his ratings rise after appearing in a T-shirt bearing the phrase: “Stop Invasion”.

Mr Salvini said: “Tor Sapienza represents the failure of the state, caused by the stupid politics of that part of the left that allows everyone to do anything they like.”

Even ex-comic Beppe Grillo, who leads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, appears to have stepped up the anti-immigration rhetoric.

Mr Grillo is the partner of the British UKIP party in the European parliament.

According to some reports, the protests were encouraged by local drug dealers who are unhappy at the high level of policing in the area as a result of the migrant centre.

The violence at Tor Sapienza is the latest in a series of racially-motivated confrontations in the capital in the past few months. In September there were several clashes between refugees and locals in the Corcolle district.