Poland integrates far-right paramilitary groups into the army


This 6 March 2015 Ukraine Today video is called Poland Military Training: Polish parliament members to be offered military training.

By Markus Salzmann:

Poland integrates paramilitary groups into the army

31 March 2015

The Polish government has integrated paramilitary groups into the army, strengthening right-wing forces within the police and army while intensifying the confrontation with Russia in the process.

On March 21, volunteer militias, citizens’ defence groups, paramilitary associations and schools with so-called defence training classes in the Warsaw region came together to form an association at a conference with over 800 participants.

Poland’s National Security Adviser Stanislaw Koziej explained that the paramilitary militia would work closely with the army. This isn’t about creating an army outside of the army, he stated. The integration of civil defence organisations was an important step in increasing the country’s security.

It remains unclear which tasks these paramilitary groups will take on and where they will be deployed. Military exercises with the reserves and the utilisation of military training grounds were discussed at the Warsaw conference.

According to estimates, there are approximately 120 groups in Poland composed of some 45,000 members carrying out military exercises, shooting practice or tactical training. Almost all are closely aligned with right-wing political parties and groups. Their actions are not only directed against the alleged external threat of Russia, but also domestically against minorities, left-wing forces and homosexuals.

The extreme right-wing Ruch Narodovy, which has close ties to Hungary’s Jobbik party and other right-wing parties in Europe, controls its own paramilitary group. Many groups maintain links to the fascist militias in Ukraine, which are fighting alongside the Ukrainian army against separatists in the east of the country, having played a major role in the Maidan movement.

The association is to be led by General Boguslaw Pacek, who was responsible for improving military training in Ukraine as part of the NATO programme. Pacek spoke of the collaboration between the groups and the defence ministry reaching a “new quality.”

Pacek was also adviser to defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak, who personally attended the conference. In the lead-up to the conference, Siemoniak declared that these organisations would potentially need to be utilized more. He referred to the positive experiences in providing rescue services or disaster protection, in which volunteers had successfully partnered with professionals. The government was considering paying a wage to 2,500 volunteers. These would then serve as the backbone of the volunteer organisations at the local level and be mobilised in the event of war.

In tandem with the creation of the paramilitary association, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz changed the law on involvement in military exercises. While previously only active soldiers and reserves could be called up for duty, now any Pole can be called up in principle. In addition, the government is pushing to reintroduce military service, which was abolished in 2010.

The New York Times wrote on the collaboration between the government and the volunteer groups: “The defence ministry has been trying to entice the groups to join an alliance with the government, offering equipment, uniforms, training and even money in exchange for a clearer idea of who they are—and a chance to assemble a new generation of energized recruits.”

According to Pacek, beyond the roughly 120 paramilitary groups in Poland, there are approximately 1,500 so-called uniform classes in Polish schools in which pupils are taught military techniques. There could be possible joint exercises between these civilian volunteers and the reserves. Already in 2014, the Polish government decided to increase the size of the reserves.

The provoked conflict with Russia is not only being used in Poland to push forward with a military build-up and give right-wing militias a semi-official status. This is also a prominent development in the Baltic states, which together with Poland, have taken the lead in the conflict with Russia.

In Latvia, on March 16, veterans of the German SS held their annual parade under the protection of a massive police escort. Around 1,500 people marched through Riga, according to police estimates, including several parliamentarians. They celebrated the 140,000 Latvians who fought in the Second World War in the uniforms of the SS against the Red Army, and committed unspeakable atrocities, as independence fighters.

In Lithuania, President Dalia Grybauskaite ordered the distribution of a government pamphlet to every household providing advice on what to do in the event of a Russian attack. In this way, a climate of fear is being created, enabling the government to implement planned cuts and increase the military budget.

A component of the growing militarism directed against Russia is the almost 1,800-kilometre-long trip of a US military convoy through Eastern Europe. Two weeks ago, a group of American tanks set off from Estonia to drive through Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic. Two further groups started in Lithuania and Poland. On April 1, all three groups will meet at the Rose barracks in Vilseck, Germany. The convoy is part of a massive rearmament of the US and NATO in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski recently called for a reorientation of NATO’s strategic concept. The Western allies confronted a movement by Russia “away from straightforward cooperation towards one-sided confrontation with the Western world”, he said. The conclusion to be drawn by Poland was that its defence capabilities had to be increased.

Last week, American Patriot missiles were sent to Warsaw from Germany. As part of the “Atlantic Resolve” operation, which is supposed to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank, around 100 US soldiers and 30 vehicles have been stationed there.

A Ferguson demonstrator speaks


Michael Brown memorial in Ferguson, USA

From boingboing.net in the USA:

Ferguson protestor describes traumatic nights following Mike Brown’s death

By Caroline Siede at 8:15 am Tue, Mar 31, 2015

St. Louis native Johnetta “Netta” Elzie has been one of the most active voices in the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that sprang up in response to the killing of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO.

In a new article for Ebony, Elzie describes the first few traumatic nights in Ferguson following Brown’s death—when the city saw massive police militarization—and the motivation she’s found to continue leading the movement:

The next day [after Mike Brown’s death], a few hundred people gathered in front of the Ferguson Police Department‘s new million dollar headquarters to peacefully protest. The crowd was filled with people from all walks of life. We marched on the station’s grounds, past officers and into and out of the building yelling phrases like “HANDS UP! DON’T SHOOT!” I could feel the tension in the air. Everyone was angry. I was angry. Being among such a large group of people—some strangers and others, familiar faces—I was not afraid of standing with them. The anxiety and fear grew inside of me as more and more police officers arrived to the station from different municipalities, including the K-9 unit.

We were all there for the same reason: to demand answers, to know why an unarmed Black teenage boy was gunned down. Mothers among the protesters gave testimonies to anyone who would listen about how the men in their family, or their sons (and even themselves) have experienced a form of police brutality. This was the first time I had ever seen police dogs ready for attack in real life. I felt as if time was rewinding back and showing me scenes from Selma, Alabama in the 1960’s instead of Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. I never imagined that this would be my reality as a young adult in America in the 21st century. I tried to remain as calm as possible in such a volatile situation but seeing those police dogs snarling at young Black children filled me with anger and rage.

I became less of a peaceful protester and more of an active one. Using my voice to chant loudly along with other protesters seemed to be enough but it wasn’t. Instead, I decided to yell directly at the police. I decided to dare the police to look at the faces of the babies and children their dogs were so ready to chase down. As more people began to look directly at the police and yell their grievances, the more aggravated they became.

Read the full article on Ebony and follow Elzie on Twitter to learn more about her activism.

(Image: Memorial to Michael Brown, Jamelle Bouie, CC-BY)

Saudi Arabia’s refugee-killing bombs in Yemen


This video says about itsdelf:

Many dead in ‘air strike on north Yemen refugee camp

30 March 2015

At least 40 people have been killed in an attack on a camp for internally displaced people in north Yemen, as a Saudi-led coalition continued to strike Houthi targets around the country for a fifth day. Al Jazeera‘s Kim Vinnell reports.

By Niles Williamson:

Dozens of refugees killed in Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen

31 March 2015

The International Organization for Migration reported on Monday that an airstrike on the Al Mazraq refugee camp in Yemen’s Hajjah Province killed at least forty people and injured two hundred others. The attack occurred on the fifth consecutive day of airstrikes carried out by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by intelligence and logistical support from the United States.

According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at least five hundred families had entered the camp in recent days to escape airstrikes in northern Yemen being carried out by Saudi Arabia and its allies with the support of the United States.

MSF reported that its doctors treated 34 people wounded in the airstrike at its hospital in the nearby town Haradh. The group also reported that women and children were among 29 people dead on arrival at the facility.

The camp, which currently houses approximately 5,000 people in crude tent shelters, was established in 2001 to house people displaced by fighting between the Yemeni government and Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi militia in the northern provinces. “People in Al Mazraq camp have been living in very harsh conditions since 2009, and now they have suffered the consequences of an airstrike on the camp,” Pablo Marco, MSF operational manager for Yemen, said in a statement released on Monday.

The MSF also reported that it has treated more than 500 patients at its emergency surgical unit in the southern port city of Aden …

Saudi-led airstrikes over the weekend destroyed power plants in Houthi stronghold Saada, knocking out power to most of the province. Jet fighters also hit targets throughout the capital of Sanaa for a fifth straight day Monday. Bombs rained down on the presidential palace as well as air defense systems, missile launch pads and jet fighters. Sanaa has been under the control of the Houthis since last September.

In less than a week, the Saudi-led campaign of unrelenting airstrikes has reportedly destroyed a significant portion of Yemen’s air force and anti-aircraft defenses. Military bases and arms depots throughout the country have also come under attack.

The Houthi rebels have continued their assault on Aden, where Hadi had rallied loyal military forces before he fled the country for Saudi Arabia last week. Houthi forces that made an assault against Aden’s northeastern suburbs Monday were met with heavy rocket and artillery fire from Egyptian warships.

Saudi and Yemeni officials have asserted that military operations will continue until the Houthi militias are militarily defeated and Hadi is in a position to reassert control over the entire country. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud promised that his country would continue its military operations “until stability is returned” to Yemen.

Speaking at the Arab League meeting in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday, ousted Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin rejected the prospect of a negotiated settlement with the Houthis. “The operation will end when Yemen is safe and secure. But we will only negotiate with those who are willing to disarm,” he stated. “We won’t negotiate with [the Houthis] because they carried out a coup. They used the state’s weakness to take over.”

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both close US allies, have backed the expanding campaign of air strikes with the threat of an imminent ground invasion to push back the Houthis. Saudi Arabia has mobilized as many as 150,000 soldiers and has positioned heavy artillery on its southern border with Yemen. Egypt has reportedly stationed troop ships off the coast of Yemen in preparation for an amphibious assault.

A delegation headed by Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaj Asif and foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz will be in Saudi Arabia today, where they are expected to officially announce Pakistan’s decision to send troops to take part in the military assault in Yemen.

A senior Pakistani official told Reuters on Monday that his government was planning on dispatching a contingent of soldiers to Saudi Arabia to support military operations. “We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition,” the official stated.

The open participation of Sunni majority Pakistan, which shares a border with Iran, in a ground invasion spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and Egypt and backed by the United States would mark a significant escalation in the conflict. What began as a proxy war between the Shiite Houthis backed by majority Shiite Iran and the Yemeni government backed by the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia could rapidly devolve into an open sectarian conflict drawing in countries from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

Another suicuide in Missouri Republican party anti-Semitism scandal?


This video from Missouri in the USA says about itself:

Just over a month after the suicide of his boss, Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, communications director Spence Jackson was found dead Sunday in his apartment in Jefferson City in what police are investigating as a suicide. Jefferson City Police Captain Doug Shoemaker takes media questions about the investigation on Monday, 03/30/2015.

From Slate.com in the USA:

Aide to Missouri Politician Who Committed Suicide Is Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

By Ben Mathis-Lilley

An upsetting story out of Missouri: A former aide to a political figure named Tom Schweich—who died Feb. 26 in an apparent suicide—has been found dead in what is also thought to have been a suicide. Spence Jackson, 44, was the media director for Schweich, a former Bush administration official and state auditor who was “a frontrunner,” per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, to be the Republican party’s nominee in the 2016 Missouri governor’s race.

Schweich and Jackson were both recently involved in a strange scandal involving allegations of an “anti-Semitic ‘whisper campaign’” against Schweich perpetrated by fellow Missouri Republican John Hancock. Schweich was not, in fact, Jewish.

Schweich was a Protestant Christian. One of his grandfathers was Jewish.

Poem about British right-winger Katie Hopkins


This video from Britain says about itself:

Katie Hopkins Racial Stereotypes

11 July 2012

Radio Scotland interview with an English ‘business woman’ who also appears to be a self-appointed spokesperson for all that is English. In this part of the interview she lets fly at both Andy Murray and a caller who is Welsh and is living in England. You may remember this woman from the TV programme The Apprentice, where her right-wing outspoken views ruffled a few feathers. She is both quintessentially ‘English’ and outrageous in equal amounts – the very embodiment of imperialism that made England what it used to be.

Katie Hopkins from England, sometimes Rupert Murdoch tabloid employee, sometimes television personality, is famous ‘for being famous’ and infamous for racism.

This poem is by British poet Benjamin Myers:

Tuesday 31st March 2015

I Saw Katie Hopkins

I saw Katie Hopkins shoplift from Oxfam a porcelain figurine of a Newfoundland dog with a wooden barrel on its back in which you put brandy.

I saw Katie Hopkins asleep in a plate of chicken nuggets at a Little Chef; she was wearing a Cats tour jacket and one glove.

I saw Katie Hopkins urinate in a homeless war veteran’s begging cup from a distance of six feet.

I saw Katie Hopkins scratch a swastika onto a Mothercare billboard at the bus stop.

I saw Katie Hopkins shove a cork in a dolphin’s blowhole at SeaWorld.

I saw Katie Hopkins go berserk at a Ghurka for wearing a burka.

I saw Katie Hopkins getting a tattoo of a lethargic gryphon.

I saw Katie Hopkins selling used batteries at a carboot sale.

I saw Katie Hopkins buying Jethro DVDs from the garage.

I saw Katie Hopkins jogging with James Delingpole.

I saw Katie Hopkins eating worms at Kew Gardens.

I saw Katie Hopkins trying to set fire to Rochdale.

I saw Katie Hopkins force a child up her chimney.

I saw Katie Hopkins alone on a waltzer at 11am.

I saw Katie Hopkins grope Rod Liddle in Aldi.

I saw Katie Hopkins punch a newborn lamb.

I saw Katie Hopkins playing bass for UB40.

I saw Katie Hopkins smash a pint glass.

I saw Katie Hopkins snorting Bisto.

I saw Katie Hopkins’ rotten soul.

I saw Katie Hopkins laughing.

I saw Katie Hopkins sobbing.

I saw Katie Hopkins alone.

I saw Katie Hopkins.

Not that one.

Benjamin Myers is a novelist, poet and journalist. His novels include Beastings (2014), Pig Iron (2012) and Richard (2010). His most recent poetry collection is Heathcliff Adrift. His website is https://benmyersmanofletters.wordpress.com/.

‘Anne Frank died earlier in Hitler’s concentration camp than thought’


Symbolic tombstone for Anne and Margot Frank in Belgen-Belsen concentration camp

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Anne Frank died earlier than thought”

Today, 12:11

Anne Frank and her sister Margot died probably earlier than hitherto assumed. The Red Cross said in the 1950s that the date when the Jewish sisters died in the camp Bergen-Belsen from typhus should be between 1 and 31 March 1945. New research by the Anne Frank Foundation shows that they probably died a month earlier.

The exact date when Anne and Margot died is not known. As stated in the statement of one of their fellow camp inmates: “One day they were just not there anymore”.

Researchers looked therefore at archives of the Red Cross and testimonies of survivors of Bergen-Belsen. The girls arrived in November 1944 at the camp.

Twelve days

The Anne Frank House in its research about the last months of Anne and Margot Frank concluded that it is unlikely that the girls were still alive in March. The sisters in early February 1945 had already, according to statements from inmates, symptoms of typhus. According to the National Institute for Public Health and Environment most people die about twelve days after the first symptoms.