CIA torture in Poland


This video from the USA is called Secret CIA Black Site Prison In Poland.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Poland assisted US in torture, Europe’s rights court rules

Thursday 24th July 2014

THE European Court of Human Rights ruled today that the Polish government actively assisted a US “black site” programme, which saw detainees tortured in secret prisons.

The Strasbourg court ruled in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah — a Guantanamo detainee who the US has already admitted it mistakenly believed to be a senior member of Al Qaida.

Judges concluded that it was “established beyond reasonable doubt” that Mr Zubaydah had been flown from a secret site in Thailand to another CIA prison in northern Poland.

They described the evidence as “coherent, clear and categorical” and ruled that it was “inconceivable” that Poland had been unaware of his mistreatment.

The ruling means that Poland actively violated the European Convention on Human Rights in failing to stop the “torture and inhuman or degrading treatment” of Mr Nashiri and Mr Zubaydah, who were transported to Poland in 2002.

Poland was ordered to pay €100,000 (£79,000) to Mr Nashiri and €130,000 (£103,000) to Zubaydah.

The US has previously acknowledged the existence of its “extraordinary rendition” scheme in the years after the September 11 2001 attacks but has never revealed which of its allies hosted the secret jails.

But the ruling has implications for other European states alleged to have hosted CIA prisons — similar cases have been lodged with the court against Romania and Lithuania.

Mr Nashiri and Mr Zubaydah are still being held in Guantanamo Bay prison camp and the court stated that this ongoing imprisonment without charge amounted to a “flagrant denial of justice.”

Polish workers at anti-fascist music festival in London


This punk rock music video from England is called Clash – Live at Rock Against Racism, Victoria Park, London – 30 April 1978.

By Luke James in Britain:

Unite Against Fascism organises festival at stabbing site

Saturday 28th June 2014

A COMMUNITY music festival is to be staged today at the site of a racist stabbing in north London amid concerns over reprisals.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) organised the cultural event at Markfield Park in Tottenham, where a mass brawl was sparked last Saturday when Polish skinheads attacked another free musical event.

But the community is coming together to reclaim the park from the gang, which has used it as a recruiting ground in recent months.

Speaking ahead of the festival, factory worker Jacek Szymanski said the Polish community felt “angry and ashamed” by last week’s violence.

“Ashamed because they are Poles and brought disgrace on the whole Polish community in London,” he told the Star.

“And angry because we are afraid that this case will be used as a pretext for further attacks on the Polish community and the wider eastern European community.”

The attack had seen one man rushed to hospital with stab wounds and two Jewish men also targeted, with one having his kipah cap swept from his head.

Rocks, bottles and a flare were thrown in violent scenes as partygoers repelled the attack by the Zjednoczeni Emigranci (Immigrants Together) group of exiled Polish football thugs.

The group has since plastered the community in far-right stickers that show a crossed out hammer and sickle symbol.

UAF national secretary Weymann Bennett said the police were investigating but added that “the most important thing is that the community deals with it on the ground.”

Mr Szymanski said the fascist group represented a tiny minority and hoped “solidarity will emerge between the different local communities” after today.

He said: “It’s not about division between Poles and British people or Poles and Muslims. The man who was stabbed by the fascists in Markfield Park was a Pole himself.

“So the real division is about fascists and anti-fascists and we need to be united in the common good.”

The festival is being put on after more than 200 local people joined a display of unity organised by UAF at Tottenham Town Hall on Monday.

Archbishop dismissed for sexual abuse


This video is called Vatican tribunal convicts former envoy of sex abuse.

From Associated Press:

Jozef Wesolowski, Vatican Ex-Ambassador, Convicted Of Sex Abuse

By Nicole Winfield

Posted: 06/27/2014 9:26 am EDT Updated: 2 hours ago

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican‘s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been convicted by a church tribunal of sex abuse and has been defrocked, the first such sentence handed down against a top papal representative.

The Vatican said Friday that Monsignor Jozef Wesolowski was found guilty by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in recent days, and sentenced to the harshest penalty possible against a cleric: laicization, meaning he can no longer perform priestly duties or present himself as a priest.

Wesolowski has two months to appeal. He also faces other charges by the criminal tribunal of Vatican City, since as a papal diplomat he is a citizen of the tiny city state.

The Holy See recalled the Polish-born Wesolowski on Aug. 21, 2013, and relieved him of his job after the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, told Pope Francis about rumors that Wesolowski had sexually abused teenage boys in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican authorities subsequently opened an investigation, but haven’t charged him. Poland, too, opened an investigation into Wesolowski and a friend and fellow Polish priest.

Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be investigated for alleged sex abuse, and his case raised questions about whether the Vatican, by removing him from Dominican jurisdiction, was protecting him and placing its own investigations ahead of that of authorities in the Caribbean nation.

The Vatican has never said how Wesolowski responded to the charges and hasn’t provided any contact information for his lawyer.

The case is particularly problematic for the Vatican since Wesolowski was a representative of the pope, accused of grave crimes that the Holy See has previously sought to distance itself from by blaming the worldwide sex abuse scandal on wayward priests and their bishops who failed to discipline them, not Vatican officials.

The case has also been delicate because Wesolowski was both ordained a priest and bishop by his Polish countryman and former pope, St. John Paul II.

Polish extreme right joining Le Pen, Wilders


This video from Poland says about itself:

5 October 2013

Hundreds of demonstrators marched for gay, lesbian and transgender rights in the annual Equality Parade in the Polish city of Wroclaw on Saturday, despite threats from the right-wing Polish National Rebirth group who threatened to disrupt the demonstration by throwing eggs at marchers.

According to Dutch daily De Volkskrant today, extreme right politicians Marine le Pen of the French National Front and Geert Wilders of the Dutch PVV party, today came a step closer to forming an officially recognized parliamentary group in the European parliament.

To form such an official caucus, members of the European parliament from seven countries are needed.

Le Pen and Wilders already had the support of Vlaams Belang in Belgium; FPÖ in Austria; and Lega Nord in Italy.

Today, they are said to have reached an agreement with Kongres Nowej Prawicy (Congress of the New Right) from Poland.

Maybe, there would also come an agreement with Tvarka ir Teisingumas (Order and Justice) in Lithuania, bringing the total to the seven which they need.

Translated from De Volkskrant about Kongres Nowej Prawicy:

The Polish Party Congress of the New Right is called extreme right in media. Party leader Janusz Korwin-Mikke has advocated the abolition of the right to vote for women. He also expressed itself anti-Semitically. And Adolf Hitler supposedly did not known anything about the genocide by the Nazis on the Jews.

Marine Le Pen fails to form far-right bloc in European parliament. Leader of France’s Front National concedes defeat in bid to secure extra speaking time, staff and funds from EU budget: here.

Marine Le Pen at a recent arms fair. The Front National leader had hoped to create a pan-European extreme Right alliance. Photograph: lCHAM/Sipa/Rex

On Friday, June 6, Jean-Marie Le Pen, honorary president of the neo-fascist National Front (FN), verbally attacked well-known artists in an interview, one of whom is Jewish and who had criticized the FN after the European elections. He threatened them, saying: “We will make an ovenload of you next time”, alluding to the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis in crematorium ovens: here.

White-winged black terns in the Netherlands


This video is called White-winged Terns (Chlidonias leucopterus) in Belarus 2013.

The Dutch SOVON ornithologists report that this year quite some white-winged black terns have been seen in the Netherlands.

This species used to be considered a rare vagrant in western Europe. However, in 2007 over 1000 white-winged black terns passed the Netherlands on their spring migration to their nesting grounds, in Poland and still further to the east. And four couples stayed to nest in the Netherlands.

What will happen this year? It is still too early to say.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Anti-Polish xenophobic crime in Northern Ireland


This is a video about Combat 18, a British neo-nazi terrorist organisation responsible for much violence in Northern Ireland.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Poland’s envoy concerned by attacks on Polish families in east Belfast

Jerome Mullan to hold talks with Police Service of Northern Ireland over rise in assaults and hate crimes

Henry McDonald

Monday 5 May 2014 20.07 BST

Poland‘s diplomatic representative to Northern Ireland has expressed concern over a spike in xenophobic attacks on Polish families in Belfast.

The Polish consul is to hold talks with the Police Service of Northern Ireland on Tuesday over the rise in assaults and hate crimes directed at the Polish population in the city. Three homes where Polish families lived were attacked in east Belfast over the weekend with windows smashed and graffiti sprayed on hoardings with the words “locals only”.

The PSNI has blamed the Ulster Volunteer Force for orchestrating the attacks which have also been directed at Africans and Romanians in recent months.

According to police figures there has been a 40% in increase in race and hate crimes in the region but mainly focused on greater Belfast.

In response the PSNI has set up Operation Orion, a new police unit that will target those behind hate crimes.

Jerome Mullan, the Polish consul, condemned those responsible for the attacks.

“The families are frightened and they don’t understand why this has happened to them I’m concerned about where we are going and we have to get it stopped,” he said.

“It is very sad when you have these continued attacks taking place, they’ve been going on for far too long now.”

Polish community worker Eva Grossman said: “Yet again Northern Ireland is gaining the reputation as the hate crime capital of Europe.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saving birds in Europe


This video from Lithuania is called Globally threatened Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) in Nemunas Delta in 2012. It says about itself:

4 June 2013

Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) is the only globally threatened passerine bird found in mainland Europe.

Lithuania is among eight countries worldwide with suitable breeding habitats for this rare species. From 2011 it is breeding only in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. In 2012 63-64 singing males were found in Lithuania.

Aquatic Warbler is a habitat specialist occurring mainly in open sedge fen mires and marshy habitats. Today it is facing extinction due to an increasingly abandoned farmland or transformation of meadows into a grazing land. Therefore its conservation is closely linked to sustainable farming practices.

Video recording made with special permission from Lithuanian Environment Protection Agency.

For more info about Aquatic Warbler conservation in Lithuania and Latvia visit www.meldine.lt/en.

From BirdLife:

BirdLife Partners are LIFE masters!

By Elodie Cantaloube, Mon, 28/04/2014 – 15:34

Each year, the European Commission evaluates all completed projects funded through the LIFE programme and this year, 4 out of the 11 Best LIFE Nature projects receiving the award have been implemented by BirdLife partners. Tomorrow, an award ceremony will be held in Brussels where the leading BirdLife Partners, OTOP (Poland), the RSPB (UK), BirdLife Finland, HOS (Greece) and SPEA (Portugal) will receive an award.

Iván Ramírez, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Europe stresses “It is an extremely important recognition for our partnership, 2013 was a difficult year for conservation, but even more for our BirdLife Partners that fought the financial crisis without weakening their conservation objectives. These four awards are just another example of their incredible work.”

OTOP (BirdLife in Poland) and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) joined forces in the “Aquatic Warbler” project aiming to improve the conservation status of the Aquatic Warbler, at the edge of global extinction.

Europe hosts 99% of the global population of the Vulnerable Aquatic Warbler and Poland is a critical habitat for their survival, being its second-largest population stronghold. During the past century, this species experienced a steep decline due to the drainage of its territories for agriculture. The Aquatic Warbler LIFE project, spanning from 2005 to 2011, sought to stabilise populations at key sites (totally 4,200 ha) in Poland and Germany through the enlargement of suitable habitats and improvements to their condition. The project resulted in increasing populations of the bird species and the re-occupation of restored habitats. New management and enforcement plans are now in place and the future of the species is secured thanks to the project “Facilitating Aquatic Warbler habitat management through sustainable systems of biomass use.”

Kokemäenjoki – From Ancient to the Present Estuary, Kokemäenjoki Wetland Chain”, a BirdLife Finland project aiming to restore natural sites on the River Kokemäenjoki.

The purpose of the Kokemäenjoki project, started in 2006 by BirdLife Finland, was to restore five valuable natural sites on the River Kokemäenjoki, including eight Natura 2000 areas. Mowing and excavation were used to prevent overgrowth and preserve the wetlands that were at risk of becoming marshy and overgrown, causing the loss of valuable species. The area was also managed by cultivating and furrowing the reed roots, imitating the effects of being trampled by cattle, which has proven to be very effective at other similar sites. Birdwatching towers and information boards were put up and a number of nature trails were laid to increase awareness of the incredible natural value of the area. Finally, management and land use plans were developed to ensure future sustainable use of the site for both conservation and recreational activities.

BirdLife Greek and Portuguese Partners complete the project “Concrete Conservation Actions for the Mediterranean Shag and Audouin’s gull in Greece”.

This project, run by HOS (BirdLife in Greece) and SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal), focused on improving the conservation status and breeding performance of Audouin’s Gull and Mediterranean Shag, which inhabit the Aegean Sea and Ionian Sea areas of Greece. The project actions addressed the most relevant threats for the conservation of these two species, namely, rat predation, gull competition and commercial fishing activities that cause accidental birdcatch. Specific actions at project sites included the complete removal of all rats from five Natura 2000 sites, the modification of fishing gear and/or fishing regulations to reduce seabird bycatch and the pilot implementation of control measures to reduce Yellow-legged gull populations, a competitor for food and nesting sites. As a parallel result, 41 marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) were identified and will be included in the Greek Natura 2000 network, securing their protection as a necessary step to avoid habitat loss and degradation. The project was of utmost importance for seabird and marine conservation in the Eastern Mediterranean; it improved critical habitats, allowed for better seabird breeding sites and created a model that could be easily repeated by neighboring countries.

SPEA and RSPB receive a second award for the project “Safe Islands for Seabirds”.The Azores islands used to be the home of millions of breeding seabirds, but today most of these colonies have decreased drastically as a result of introduced predators and invasive exotic plant species. Started in 2009 and focusing on Corvo (the smallest of all Azorean islands) and Vila Franca islet, this project worked towards the conservation of seabird colonies in the Azores, through habitat restoration and control and eradication of invasive alien species. It also built the first “pest-proof fence” in Europe, following successful experiences carried out in other remote areas such as the Hawaiian islands and New Zealand. As part of a wider restoration plan, several tests evaluating the chances of making Corvo an alien-free island were also implemented. The future of the pest-free fenced zone will be secured thanks to a management protocol signed into place by SPEA and the local authorities.

For more information, please contact Elodie Cantaloube, Media and Communications Officer at BirdLife Europe.

Scientists confirm worst fears: new EU Policy on Agriculture is bad for nature: here.

Massacre of Poles ‘celebrated’ in ‘new’ Ukraine


This video says about itself:

Polish president egged during visit to Ukraine massacre site

15 July 2013

Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski has been egged during a visit to the site of a 1943 massacre of Poles in Ukraine.

The attack followed a move by the Polish parliament to recognise the massacre by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as “ethnic cleansing bearing the hallmarks of genocide”.

The move upset Ukrainian nationalists who view the UPA as heroes and freedom fighters.

By Sonja Bach in Germany:

Ukrainian nationalists commemorate massacre of Yanova Dolina

2 May 2014

On April 24 Ukrainian nationalists, mostly members of the fascist Right Sector and Svoboda party, commemorated the perpetrators of the massacre of Yanova Dolina.

Seventy-one years ago, 600 Poles were murdered by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in what is now Bazaltovoye. The massacre marked the beginning of ethnic cleansing in what is now western Ukraine, where tens of thousands of Poles were killed within a few months. Today the political successor of the UPA celebrates this mass murder as one of the “greatest victories over the Polish-German occupation.”

From April 1943 until their defeat at the hands of the Red Army in late 1944, the UPA carried out numerous massacres of the Polish population in western Ukraine. Together with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) led by Stepan Bandera, the UPA sought to exploit the retreat of the German army to increase its influence in the provinces of Volhynia (today the region around Lusk) and Eastern Galicia (today the region around Lviv). The aim was to create a bourgeois Ukrainian state, independent from both the Soviet Union and Poland.

The UPA served as a military executive organ of the OUN. It was founded in the spring of 1943 and recruited primarily from Nazi collaborators who were previously active in the SS. The leadership and organization of the massacre of the Poles fell to Dmytro Klyachkivsky, the first commander of the UPA.

Klyachkivsky’s battle cry was, “We should undertake the great action of the liquidation of the Polish element. As the German armies withdraw, we should take advantage of this convenient moment for liquidating the entire male population from the age of 16 up to 60 years. We cannot lose this fight, and it is necessary at all costs to weaken Polish forces. Villages and settlements situated next to the large forests should disappear from the face of the earth.” (Tadeusz Piotrowski, Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn: Recollections of the Ukrainian Nationalist Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against the Poles During World War II, p. 180)

In reality the UPA liquidated not just men but the entire population. The massacres began in Yanova Dolina in Volhynia.

The village was constructed in the late 1920s for the workers of a nearby basalt quarry. The population grew rapidly after the opening of the quarry in 1929. In 1939 the population of Yanova Dolina totaled over 2,000 people, 97 percent of whom were Polish.

From 1921 to 1939 Volhynia was part of the Second Republic of Poland. After the invasion of the Red Army in 1939 the region became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The massacre of Yanova Dolina took place on the night of April 22, 1943. UPA soldiers led by Ivan Łytwyńczuk invaded the village and brutally murdered the remaining 600 Poles in the manner of the atrocities carried out by the Nazis. Then the assailants burnt the village to the ground. In the months following, between 40,000 and 60,000 Poles died at the hands of the UPA in Volhynia alone. In Eastern Galicia the total of victims was over 30,000.

Today, two memorials commemorate the massacre of Yanova Dolina. One is dedicated to the Polish victims, while the other boasts of the “blow for freedom struck by the UPA against the Polish-German occupation”. The latter was the scene of the celebration by Svoboda a week ago. This action speaks volumes about the character of the transitional government in Kiev. The regime came to power February 22 as the result of a coup d’état with the help of the paramilitary thugs of the Right Sector and with the support of the West. Three ministries are occupied by leading members of Svoboda.

Both the Polish and German media have failed to report the memorial march for the mass murderers of 1943. Berlin works closely with the Kiev government and helped organize the coup in February. The same applies to Warsaw. Although almost all of the victims of the massacre were Poles the Polish government regards it politically inopportune to protest against the glorification of the killers.

Enhanced by Zemanta

First hummingbird hawk-moth of spring


This is a hummingbird hawk-moth video from Poland.

The Dutch Butterfly Foundation reports on Twitter that yesterday, 5 March 2014, the first hummingbird hawk-moth of this spring was seen in Breda.

Enhanced by Zemanta