Bahrain dictatorship’s European friends


This video from the USA is called CNN – Bahrain security forces torture doctors, medics and patients.

Recently, the European parliament condemned the dictatorship in Bahrain.

The dictatorship did not like that.

A mouthpiece of the absolute monarchy, Gulf Daily News, reacted by saying that some European Union bigwigs did not agree with that resolution.

The paper of the ruling dynasty named as a defender of the torturing dictatorship Inese Vaidere, Christian Democrat from Latvia. How Christian, how democratic, is it to defend human rights violating rulers?

Possibly, Gulf Daily News is twisting Ms Vaidere’s words. Like the Bahraini regime earlier twisted the words of the British Cameron government, one of their weapons suppliers; who, however, sometimes have extremely mild criticism which still is too much for the Bahrain monarchy.

The regime’s paper also praises “EU representative Anna Carin Krostade” for defending the Bahraini monarchy. I have been unable to google this person outside of Gulf Daily News pages. Does she really exist?

Or did Gulf Daily News misspell her name, making it impossible to find on search engines?

The third European Union “star” named by the regime daily as regime apologist is Charles Tannock. He is a member of the European parliament for the British Conservative party.

I hope that all three people named by Gulf Daily News will soon either confirm or deny that they are in fact, as the dictatorship’s paper claims, dictatorship apologists.

Latvian nazi attack on Jewish graves


The Jewish Cemetery of Vishki, Latvia. May 2008 from Christine Usdin on Vimeo.

From Ynetnews in Israel today:

Latvia: Swastikas drawn on graves in Jewish cemetery

The Jewish cemetery in Riga, Latvia has been desecrated, with swastikas drawn on 100 gravestones. The local police launched an investigation.

The cemetery was defiled in the past, about seven years ago. Five youths convicted of the act were sentenced to prison terms raging from six months to three years.

Apparently, Latvian nazis, now that an SS veteran and neo-fascist chairs a Latvian parliamentary committee, think it is safe to commit crimes again.

From BSR Russia:

Russia supports European Union’s condemnation of Holocaust

Written by Sayan Guha on Sunday, 05 December 2010 08:18

Moscow has shown solidarity with the European Union’s rebuff to the recent news article that appeared in Lithuanian press.

In a recent newsbyte the publication had termed the Holocaust as ‘legend’ and the Nuremberg war crime trials as ‘farcical’. Moscow has openly condemned such statements and expressed serious reservations about the news of former SS members conducting annual marches in some countries.

Clearing its position on such sensitive issues, Russia congratulated the EU ambassadors in Lithuania for taking a tough stand against the article published in the Veidass weekly magazine.

“We are glad to hear that finally our partners have responded to mass media publications in Lithuania and other Baltic countries that have whitewashed Nazi criminals. Russia calls for the counteracting of unscrupulous attempts to rewrite the history of World War II and encourage pro-Nazi supporters”, according to ITAR TASS. “This encroaches upon the memory of those who died during WWII and humiliated the feelings of WWII veterans, the statement added.

“There is no doubt that the Nuremberg Tribunal is a leading political and judicial achievement of the epoch”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had said on November 21, at the opening ceremony of Nuremberg Trials Museum. Lithuania, apparently don’t agree with Russia’s viewpoint.

“There is no other explanation for annual marches of former SS members in a number of European capital cities, prosecution of anti-fascist veterans or recognition of the swastika by a court as part of the cultural heritage of the Balts, Lavrov concluded.

Professor Dovid Katz of the World Without Nazism Movement thinks that Holocaust denial in the Baltic States is politically motivated.

“It’s a sort of by-product of a much wider problem that I call ‘Holocaust obfuscation’ – the movement in the Baltic states that does not deny the Holocaust, but tries to write it out of history, minimize it, trivialize it, relativize it,” said Katz.

“Its intellectuals, politicians, academics, media people, who are ultranationalists, don’t want any stain on their history. And are confusing it with current political issues, trying to use Holocaust issues in East-West relations as a stick against today’s Russia”, he added.

Efraim Zuroff, Head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, California thinks that the EU has to stand up against distortion of History.

“I think that this is an outgrowth of an atmosphere in Lithuania in which the narrative of the history of the WWII is being consistently distorted. I think it’s high time that the countries of Europe, the countries of the world, of the civilized world make clear to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and these other post-communist countries that the attempt to distort the history of the Holocaust will not be tolerated, the attempt to equate communist and Nazi crimes will not be tolerated.”

“You cannot say and you can’t minimize the role of the Soviet Union in the victory over Nazi Germany and you can’t try and claim that the people that liberated Auschwitz were just as responsible for its establishment and the mass murder that went on there”, he said.

The news of placards and flags with Nazi symbolism appearing in the streets of the capital of Lithuania (Vilnius) surfaced at the end of April. Lithuanian nationalists conducted the provocative action to mark Hitler’s birthday. Flags with Nazi swastika were found on April 20 on Tauro mountain in Vilnius: here.

Vandals in Poland destroy six Jewish gravestones: here.

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Dutch amphibians saved from traffic


This is a video from Latvia about the natterjack toad mating season.

From NOS TV in the Netherlands:

More toads helped to cross

Thursday, September 9, 2010, 09:07

Volunteer pro-toad groups this spring helped nearly 300,000 amphibians to cross busy roads. That was 50,000 more than last year. This number of animals together would be a queue of twenty kilometers.

Every year in spring, the animals flock to water to mate and lay eggs.

European toads were helped most, followed by common frogs and smooth newts. But volunteers also helped increasing numbers of rare amphibians, such as the natterjack toad, great crested newt and the moor frog [see also here].

See also here.

Dutch toad migration, spring 2012: here.

Moor frogs: here.

A video about smooth newts in Nijmegen city in the Netherlands is here.

Dutch amphibians: here. And here.

Dutch amphibians autumn migration: here.

Saving Dutch amphibians from gullies: here.

With its distinctive markings and a mating call that can be heard up to 2km away, the natterjack toad is one of Britain’s most striking amphibians. It is also one of the rarest, with less than 50 breeding populations in mainland Britain. Britain’s prolonged dry weather threatens to make it rarer still and Natural England is stepping in to take early action to help the natterjack make it through the drought: here.

Common frog colours: here.

Charity to build ponds for toads: here.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 12, 2012) — Midwife toads and palmate newts are run over and their habitats are fragmented by roads in the Trubia valley (Asturias). According to a Spanish study, alleviating traffic is not enough to minimise the impact on midwife toad populations: here.

A new study rates the effectiveness of highway underpasses for wildlife, and found that a notable number of creatures were saved – and that fewer vehicles were damaged: here.

Kenya: a new highway “safety” underpass for elephants reunites a herd: here.

A new study rates the effectiveness of highway underpasses for wildlife. Researchers found that the cost of building these underpasses in the highway proved to be a savings of property and life: here.

Latvian SS nazi chairs parliamentary committee


Latvian nazis commemorate Adolf Hitler and Latvian SS men. Former veterans of the Latvian Legion protest in Riga (Ilmars Znotins/AFP/Getty Images)As far as I have been able to find out, media in English speaking countries so far have not reported on an ex-member of the Latvian legion of Adolf Hitler’s SS becoming chairman of the Latvian parliamentary committee on “ethnic minority” affairs. German language and, obviously, Latvian language media did report on this issue. See also here.

This is my translation from the German report by Markus Salzmann:

Latvian government appoints SS veteran as committee chairman

17 November 2010

Latvia’s government on 8 November chose a former member of the Waffen-SS as chairman of the parliamentary committee responsible for dealing with the Russian minority in the Baltic state.

The 86-year-old deputy Visvaldis Lacis will lead the parliamentary committee responsible for the implementation of the citizenship laws. Lacis is a member of the neo-fascist party “All for Latvia”, which in the elections of 2 October entered parliament. It calls for a ban on the Russian language in schools and the deportation of ethnic Russians who make up about one-quarter of the inhabitants of the country.

Lacis, who fought in the Second World War as a member of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS against the Soviet Union, has published numerous articles and books which glorify Hitler’s Germany, the Waffen-SS and the war against the Soviet Union. He is revered by the Latvian neo-fascists and maintains close contact with Rightist hoodlum groups, which are notorious for provocations and violence against minorities. With them he celebrates every year the invasion of German troops in 1941.

Since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union virtually all Latvian governments have contributed to the mobilization of extreme right, anti-communist forces. Lacis also has been decorated for his services in the fight against the Soviet Union with medals. With his appointment as committee chairman, the partnership with the neo-fascists has reached a new quality.

The 39-year-old Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis even for a long time has been pushing to include the neo-fascists in his new government, but eventually he failed because of resistance in his own right-wing coalition “Unity”.

After the elections in early October about four weeks of long discussions and negotiations on the composition of the new government took place. Although the previous government parties “Unity” and “Union of Greens and Farmers” had 55 of the 100 parliamentary seats and quickly agreed to continue their coalition under Prime Minister Dombrovskis, a long debate over whether the government should include even ultra-right forces started.

In the end it was agreed that the ultra-right would not be officially included in the government, but the eight members of “All for Latvia” and “Fatherland and Freedom” still voted for Dombrovskis and confirmed him in office.

Even so, the government is interspersed with ultra-right figures.

Foreign Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis, Chairman of Dombrovskis’ “Unity”, on Tuesday just survived a no-confidence vote, following revelations that he had expressed in an e-mail exchange with a Latvian doctor living in the U.S., the same racist views as “All for Latvia “. His most ardent defender in the parliamentary debate on the confidence vote was former SS-man Lacis.

The use of neo-fascists and of stirring up ethnic tensions against the Russian minority are directly related to the economic difficulties of Latvia and the social attacks on the working class. Latvia has been damaged as badly as any other EU country by the international economic crisis. In 2009, the economy declined by 18 percent and, according to the Latvian Ministry of Finance, GDP will shrink again this year by at least three percent.

After about half of the hospitals in the country have been closed, there is already no longer sufficient capacity to care for patients. In the remaining hospitals there is a lack of medication. So many doctors and nurses have been sacked that even some necessary operations cannot be performed.

Public employees’ wages have been reduced by up to 60 percent. Even senior executives need a second job to make ends meet. In many cases the fear was expressed that a harsh winter would lead to many people dying because of the cold, because people can not pay the heating bills.

Dombrovskis and his government, despite the social consequences, are determined to make their cutback policies even harsher.

The involvement of extreme right forces in the government is used to suppress any opposition to the brutal austerity measures and social impoverishment of broad layers.

Update: a complete English translation is here.

Germany: The Bluff of the Brown Shirts: How Waffen SS Veterans Exploited Postwar Politics: here.

Suspected Nazi death camp guard Samuel Kunz dies before trial: here.

British Conservatives link up with Latvian Waffen SS


Latvian nazis commemorate Adolf Hitler and Latvian SS men. Former veterans of the Latvian Legion protest in Riga (Ilmars Znotins/AFP/Getty Images)The Times daily in London, England, traditionally has links to the Conservative party.

Now that it is owned by Australian far Right warmonger Rupert Murdoch, it has been moving in an ultra-Conservative direction.

However, judging from this article in the London Times today, the daily is not moving as fast to the far Right as the party:

June 22, 2009

Conservative MEPs link up with Latvian party that honours Waffen SS

David Charter in Brussels

A small Latvian party that honours its country’s Waffen SS veterans was today named among David Cameron’s new allies in the European Parliament as the Conservatives unveiled the members of their anti-federalist group.

One MEP from Latvia’s nationalist For Fatherland and Freedom Party will be among the 55 MEPs in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group which the Tory leader pledged to form during his leadership campaign in 2006.

The Conservatives have been attacked by their own former MEPs for leaving the main centre right group of 264 MEPs in Strasbourg, causing a rift with the parties of Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.

They face a loss of influence in the European Parliament as well as criticism for joining up with 15 MEPs from the staunchly Catholic Law and Justice Party from Poland, which, like the Latvian party, has banned gay pride marches.

The 26 Conservative MEPs’ other main allies are nine members from the ODS of Mirek Topolanek, the former Czech Prime Minister photographed naked at a party thrown by Silvio Berlusconi.

When Berlusconi and Murdoch still were chums, it would have been doubtful whether this sentence would have been published in The Times. However, now that Silvio and Rupert have become enemies

The threshold of seven countries needed for an official group was passed by recruiting one MEP from a Christian party in Holland, one from a nationalist Flemish party in Belgium, one from Finland and one from Hungary, a former finance minister.

Timothy Kirkhope, leader of the Tory MEPs, today defended the new group, which he said would be the fourth largest in the European Parliament behind the centre right European People’s Party (EPP), the centre left (161 MEPs) and the liberal group (80 MEPs). It will be just two seats ahead of the European Greens who have 53 MEPs. …

Former MEP Christopher Beazley, who stood down at the recent elections, has accused Mr Cameron of trying to “rip up 30 years of work by Tory pro-Europeans” in forming he new group. Another recently retired MEP, Caroline Jackson, described the move as stupid, warning that it would create “bad blood” with traditional centre-right allies.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband stood by his criticism of the Tories’ “sickening” alliance with a Latvian fascist party on Sunday: here.

Polish Tory new ally accused of anti-Semitism: here.

A Tory MEP who criticised the NHS and praised Enoch Powell in quick succession will not face official censure from his party, it has been revealed: here.

France: Racist campaign against burqa threatens democratic rights: here.

Hungarian neo-nazis: here.

Great egret


This is a video of a great egret nesting colony in Latvia.

Today, from the train, a great egret standing in a shallow marsh on the west side of the Naardermeer.