Peace, not another Hiroshima


This 2015 video says is called Hiroshima atomic bomb: Survivor recalls horrors – BBC News.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain, 6 August 2020:

75 years after Hiroshima, campaigners call for peace and disarmament

CALLS for the British government to abolish its obscene arsenal of nuclear weapons will intensify today as the world marks Hiroshima Day — 75 years since US forces dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city, killing 140,000 people.

The calls come amid progress on the criminalisation of nuclear weapons by the United Nations, where three more countries have voted to ratify the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The treaty needs 50 countries to ratify it, at which point it would become international law — though the pact is binding only on those countries which are party to it.

By last month, 40 countries had signed, with Sudan, Fiji and Botswana being the most recent signatories.

Britain, the United States and other nuclear powers have refused to sign and did not attend the 2017 session of the UN general assembly which voted for the treaty.

The abolition calls also come against the background of intensifying belligerence and military threats from United States President Donald Trump.

Campaigners against nuclear weapons said the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was bombed three days later, remain relevant today in a world where nuclear bomb stockpiles cast the shadow of potential global obliteration.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament secretary Kate Hudson said: “We are facing an increasingly dangerous military situation driven most alarmingly by Trump’s policies.

His withdrawal from key treaties, the possibility of the resumption of nuclear testing, all increase the risk of nuclear war.

“Of course, we understand the context for this: the US is a declining power economically and seeks to assert itself militarily.

“This has been the case for some time — noticeable under the Bush administration, which sought to compel non-compliant states to bend to the US will.

“Trump’s drive to war is far more dangerous. The US National Security Strategy focuses on what it describes as strategic rivals or competitors, notably China and Russia. Its goal is to be able to defeat them militarily, to prepare for war on a massive scale.”

She said that “so-called usable nuclear weapons” have been deployed.

“Taking these two strategies together, it is clear that there is a significant danger of a US war on China and that opposing this is a fundamental task for the movement today,” she said.

“This is a conflict where nuclear weapons will be used and we need to work with all our strength to prevent such a war.”

She said the world today is “closer to tragedy” than it has ever been.

“On this anniversary, we must recommit to working together, in unity, to ensure that those hands never reach midnight.”

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings: “We must never forget these atrocities, and we must never give up on the mission to rid our world of nuclear weapons.”

Stop the War Campaign convenor Lindsey German said: “For my generation, Hiroshima meant that there could never be another major war without the destruction of all humanity.

“We still see this terrible barbarism everywhere today. The major states are nuclear-armed and there is the ever-present threat of conflict, now growing between the US and China in particular.

“Today, August 6, we should redouble our efforts to oppose war and all nuclear weapons.”

CND Cymru chairwoman Jill Evans said: “People in Wales and internationally are marking this anniversary by joining the many events online.

“We cannot hold our planned event at the National Eisteddfod, but we can still raise our voices to call on governments to act. I urge everyone to take some time this week to listen to the powerful testimony of nuclear survivors.”

How Nato promotes its nuclear agenda. The supposed ‘defensive alliance’ is anything but – as RAE STREET reminds us.

See also here.

‘Nuclear weapons worsen global warming problem’


This 24 July 2019 video from Britain says about itself:

Interview with Susi Snyder, from the Don’t Bank on the Bomb campaign

Susi Snyder is the project lead for the PAX No Nukes project, she also coordinates the Don’t Bank on the Bomb research and campaign.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 3 August 2020:

Nuclear weapons are incompatible with action on climate,’ report warns

CAMPAIGNERS called for a “vigorous and united” movement to abolish nuclear weapons today, as a new report warned of the bomb’s role in climate catastrophe.

Ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks later this week, Don’t Bank on the Bomb’s study argues that ridding Britain of its nuclear stockpile is essential in addressing climate change.

Nuclear Weapons, the Climate and Our Environment warns that the combination of a new arms race and increasing disruption from climate change make nuclear war more likely.

British military accused of killing Afghan civilians


Demonstration in London, England against the war on Afghanistan

From daily News Line in Britain:

EXECUTING AFGHAN CIVILIANS – SAS unit is accused

3rd August 2020

A unit of the British Army’s Special Air Service (SAS) has been accused of carrying out night missions in which they executed civilians in Afghan villages between 2010 and 2013.

According to court documents, the SAS unit killed over 33 Afghan people in 11 different night raids on homes.

The evidence had been previously withheld from an ongoing High Court legal case by the government, prompting a judge to demand a full explanation from British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

The documents show that SAS operatives falsified mission reports and that members of the British government have tried to keep them secret.

In one case under investigation, the unnamed SAS unit arrived by Chinook helicopter at the village of Gawahargin in southern Helmand province on February 16, 2011 to find a young man identified as Saddam, who was suspected of being a member of an enemy gang planting roadside bombs.

They raided his home but family members, including his 19-year-old brother Saifullah, stepped out into the night with their hands up.

The unit tied up the women and children and placed black hoods on their heads, detaining them in one part of the small compound.

In the next few minutes, gunfire was heard and after the troops left, Saifullah went back into the house to look for his father, but found him dead.

His brothers and cousin were also dead with several bullet holes in their heads.

In 2013, Saifullah’s uncle sued the UK government over unlawful detention and mistreatment.

He himself had been kept behind bars for 20 days after the raid before being released without charge.

Later in March 2014, the special investigation branch of the Royal Military Police (RMP), who felt the claims were sufficiently serious, decided to launch an investigation.

Meanwhile, there is also a concern that of the 33 deaths, 10 were near-identical in their circumstances, where a captured male family member is sent back into his empty home to clear the way for the troops to carry out a search of the premises, only to get their hands on a weapon and attack the soldiers in ‘clearly impossible odds’.

THE TORY defence secretary Ben Wallace has been ordered by a judge to come up with an explanation as to why the British government has deliberately withheld evidence that indicates UK special forces troops executed 33 civilians in Afghanistan in 2011: here.

Elon Musk, United States billionaire and warmonger


This 21 February 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Elon Musk’s SpaceX wins $300M Pentagon contract

The US Department of Defense has awarded the United Launch Alliance $441.7 million, while $297 million was awarded to SpaceX to expand US space exploration. RT America’s Ashlee Banks reports on this development.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Elon Musk embodies the unity of capitalism and imperial war

IT IS an almost unbelievable expression of late imperial arrogance for the entrepreneur and futuristic motor manufacturer Elon Musk to boast that the entity that he represents can carry out a coup wherever it fancies.

It cannot of course — large parts of the world are closed off to Yankee imperialism and even in its traditional backyard, Latin America, the sway of the mighty dollar is much reduced.

Even right-wing and authoritarian leaders in Latin America would pay their respects to Fidel Castro because they knew that every inch of breathing space that Cuba’s resistance created was an inch of territorial integrity for them, a small space in which they would be able to take decisions in their own interest rather than that of the big neighbour to the north.

The US deploys an enormous armoury of weapons and mechanisms to limit the independence and autonomy of the peoples of the Southern Cone, of Central America and even the Caribbean where traditionally British imperialism held the decisive power.

With the integration of British and US capital, it is almost axiomatic that Anglo-American imperialism is a partnership of profits to be made at the expense of the working people of the region.

But over recent decades, country after country, people after people have found ways to displace the satraps and local placemen who served US interests and have instituted a wide range of progressive measures that have lifted millions out of poverty and raised hopes that further progress could be made.

The Bolivian coup is the latest attempt to reverse this tide of progress and it is instructive that, although the local right was able to displace the president-elect and was able to capture part of the machinery of government, in vast parts of the country the forces of popular power and socialism of a particular Bolivian kind hold the loyalty and affection of the people.

Election date after election date has been deferred, the latest reason being the Covid-19 pandemic for fear that the popular masses will recapture popular power.

This is the new reality in Latin America — the state is feared but the people are no longer cowed and in the months and years to come we will see the revolutionary process mature and the skills of government and the exercise of power will be more skilfully employed by the revolutionary forces of each of these states.

This is not to underestimate the difficulties.

The reduction in oil prices has put obstacles in the way of Venezuela’s progress and in Colombia it is still dangerous to be a trade unionist or a community activist.

But the pressure of international solidarity, the example of Cuba, the resurgence of the popular mood in Brazil, all these factors are signs that the US and local reaction don’t it have it their own way.

Britain, of course, has a lousy record in these parts. From the undemocratic overthrow by the colonial authorities of Cheddi Jagan’s government in Guyana to the military aid New Labour gave the Colombian ultras, British imperial interests have a way of dominating our government’s foreign policies in this region.

We can do something about this — we must do something about it.

Lisa Nandy must put Britain’s Labour Party on the side of progress. Now is the time to deploy the basics of an ethical foreign policy of solidarity with the people of Latin America.

How nazis persecuted Anne Frank, other girls


This 4 June 2020 video shows a guided tour of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, by two young Dutch girls. The Dutch subtitles can be changed to four other languages, including English.

By Joanne Laurier in the USA:

#Anne Frank Parallel Stories: The young victim of the Nazis

18 July 2020

Directed by Sabina Fedeli and Anna Migotto

#Anne Frank Parallel Stories, directed by Italian journalists Sabina Fedeli and Anna Migotto, is a documentary streaming on Netflix that retraces the life of Anne Frank, as well as five living women who survived the Nazi concentration camps in World War II.

The story of Anne Frank and her diary became known to millions in the wake of the Second World War and was famously adapted as a film in 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank, directed by George Stevens, featuring Millie Perkins.

Anne Frank was born in 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany to a Jewish family. When Anne was four, the family fled the Nazis, moving to the Netherlands. By 1940, the Franks were trapped in Amsterdam by the German occupation of the country. Two years later, Anne’s father started furnishing a secret place in the annex of his business premises.

On her 13th birthday, Anne and her family went underground, and during those two years in hiding, Anne wrote, with a sharp eye and tender soul, about life in the “Secret Annex.” When the Minister of Education of the exiled Dutch government in England made a radio appeal to listeners to hold on to war diaries and documents, Anne started rewriting her diary, but before she was finished, she and the others in the annex were discovered and arrested by the Gestapo on August 4, 1944.

Anne, together with her parents and sister, was transported by train to Auschwitz. Later that year, she, her sister and mother were taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lower Saxony, where Anne died in early 1945, probably of typhoid, at the age of 15.

When the war ended, Anne’s father Otto, the only surviving member of the family, returned to Amsterdam where he was given his daughter’s diary, which was found after the family was taken away. In 1947, he had it published. To date The Diary of Anne Frank has been translated into more than 60 languages and has sold over 30 million copies.

The new documentary has chilling and moving elements. Anne’s tragedy is brought to life through the heartfelt reading of excerpts of her diary by actress Helen Mirren. That narration is intertwined with the perspectives of five Holocaust survivors—Arianna Szörenyi, Sarah Lichtsztejn-Montard, Helga Weiss and sisters Andra and Tatiana Bucci. Several of them were Anne’s age when they were sent to concentration camps.

Aish.com provides an outline of the women’s backgrounds. Andra and Tatiana Bucci are Croatian sisters, who were four and six when they were arrested with their mother and a cousin. “First taken to Risiera di San Sabba concentration camp in Trieste [in northern Italy], they were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. When the Soviet army arrived in Auschwitz in 1945, only 650 children of various nationalities were alive, including Andra and Tatiana.”

Arianna Szörenyi also lived in Croatia. “She was 11 when deported and went through four concentration camps, from Risiera di San Sabba to Bergen-Belsen. She survived but lost seven members of her family.”

Helga Weiss was born the same year as Anne Frank. At age 12, she and her family were deported from Prague to the Terezin concentration camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, then to Auschwitz, Freiberg (in Germany) and Mauthausen (in Austria). Since childhood, Helga has kept a diary, mainly of elaborate and skillful drawings.

“Sarah Montard escaped the Vel d’Hiv roundup [the mass arrest of French Jews in July 1942—the victims were temporarily held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver (Winter Velodrome), an indoor sports arena] in Paris and went into hiding with her mother for two years until 1944 when she was reported, arrested and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.” She forthrightly tells the camera: “The worst, most terrible thing was the flame from the crematorium. Night and day it rose and made a terrible noise, lighting up the sky that was pink with the flames. After what I experienced, I’m not afraid of anything anymore.” Like Anne Frank, Sarah was a prisoner at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

A number of the women’s descendants talk about the impact of this history on their own lives, including a gifted violinist and another who tattooed his forearm with his great-grandmother’s concentration camp number. One moving scene shows the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, a memorial to the nearly 80,000 Jewish victims of the Shoah from the Czech lands.

#Anne Frank Parallel Stories explains that 75 percent of Dutch Jews were deported and eventually killed. In February 1941, there was a general strike in the country organized by the then-illegal Communist Party against the Nazis’ anti-Jewish arrests and pogroms. The strike is considered to be the first mass protest against the Nazis in Europe. After three days, the strike was brutally suppressed by German forces.

As a sidebar, the documentary follows a teenage girl, #KaterinaKat (Martina Gatti), who texts an imaginary Anne while exploring Bergen-Belsen, museums and historic sites. She feels a generational connection to Anne, trying to relate the latter’s story to today’s reality. Gatti’s texts are an updated version of “Dear Kitty”. the fictional character to whom Anne addressed many of her diary letters.

The core of #Anne Frank Parallel Stories is Mirren’s reading from Anne’s diary in a replica of the clandestine refuge in Amsterdam by set designers from the Piccolo Theatre in Milano. Anne’s youthful words and thoughts capture humanity’s hopefulness and resilience even as she records the Holocaust—the greatest crime in human history. Several entries are worth highlighting:

November 19, 1942: The news is terrible. The authorities have taken away so many friends and people we know to concentration camps. Army cars go round the streets day and night to arrest people. They’re looking for Jews; they knock on every door, and ask whether any Jews live there. When they find a Jewish family, they take everybody away. They even pay money for information. In the evenings, when it’s dark, I often see long lines of innocent people walking on and on. Sick people, old people, children, babies—all walking to their deaths.

April 5, 1944: I want to make something of my life. I want to be a journalist. I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, a lot of my diary is alive and amusing, but … I don’t know yet if I can be a really good writer. But then if I can’t write books or for newspapers, I can always write for myself. I don’t want to live like Mother, Mrs van Daan, and all the other women who simply do their work and are then forgotten. I need more than just a husband and children! I want to be useful, and to bring enjoyment to all people, even those that I’ve never met. I want to go on living after my death!

April 16, 1944: Remember yesterday’s date, because it was special for me. When a girl gets her first kiss, it’s always an important date …

It was a kiss through my hair, half on my left cheek, and half on my ear. I ran downstairs and didn’t look back! Last night, Peter [van Daan] and I were sitting on the sofa as usual, in each other’s arms. Suddenly, the usual Anne disappeared—the confident, noisy Anne—and the second Anne took her place. This second Anne only wants to love and to be gentle. Tears came to my eyes. Did he notice? He made no movement. Did he feel the same way as I did? He said very little. There were no answers to my questions.

May 3, 1944: Why do governments give millions each day for war, when they spend nothing on medicine or poor people? Why must people go without food, when there are mountains of food going bad in other parts of the world? Oh, why are people so crazy?

May 25,1944: The world is turned upside down. The best people are in concentration camps and prisons, while the worst decide to put them there.

The diary’s postscript simply states: “On the morning of 4 August 1944, a car arrived at 263 Prinsengracht, the address of the Secret Annex. The eight people from the Annex were first taken to a prison in Amsterdam. Then they were sent to Auschwitz, the concentration camp in Poland.

“On 16 January 1945, Peter van Daan had to go on the terrible prisoners’ walk from Auschwitz to Mauthausen in Austria, where he died on 5 May 1945 [at the age of 18]. He died only three days before the Allies got to the camp. Edith Frank, Anne’s mother, died in the Auschwitz concentration camp on 6 January 1945, too tired and too hungry to live any longer.

“Margot and Anne Frank were taken from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp near Hanover, in Germany. A terrible illness attacked the prisoners there. They both died in the winter of 1944-5. Anne must have died in late February or early March. All the bodies of the prisoners were thrown together. The British army arrived at the camp on 12 April 1945.”

One of the film’s commentators observes: “Imagine the talent that Germany destroyed … when you destroy children, you destroy infinite possibility.”

Anne Frank is one of the best known and best-loved figures of the 20th century. It is timely and commendable that the documentary revisits her story. Mirren’s reading of the diary excerpts is deeply affecting, evocative and sobering. In fact, Anne Frank’s words reveal a bright, unflinchingly honest and insightful young girl. They also give some sense of a highly cultured milieu.

Since the late 1950s, there have been almost two dozen theatrical and television films based on Anne’s story. In this case, the filmmakers clearly have been impelled to one extent or another by the current political situation, including the rise of far-right movements and the attacks on immigrants and refugees. “With the advent of the wars in Syria, Libya, Iraq,” states Mirren, “with the immigration issue that’s happening in Europe, it’s so easy to start pointing your finger at different races, different tribes, different cultures, different people and say ‘you’re to blame for my problems.’”

She goes on to explain that Anne Frank’s diary “is an amazing teaching tool, an amazing vessel to carry the real understanding of human experiences of the past into our present and very much into our future. I find it very, very important and that’s why I wanted to do this piece.”

Unfortunately, once again, despite the genuine feeling poured into the project, there is no effort here to explain the origins and rise of fascism. Parallel Stories adopts a somewhat amorphous and abstract attitude toward history. Anne Frank herself had some intuitive insights into the driving forces of the phenomenon. There was a general understanding at the time that fascism was connected to the defense of big business and was a response to the Russian Revolution and the threat of revolution in every country.

Global capitalism today has not solved any of the problems that led to the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. On the contrary, its contradictions are erupting with convulsive force.

Saudi regime killing Yemenis with British weapons


Yemeni men offer prayers at the grave of their relative who was killed during the Saudi war on Yemen, at a cemetery in Sanaa, Yemen/>

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 15 July 2020:

EIGHT children were killed in attacks in Yemen just days before and after [British Conservative] ministers decided to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia, an investigation by website Declassified claims.

Evidence obtained by Declassified suggests that two airstrikes on July 1 and July 12 were carried out by the Saudi-led coalition.

On July 7, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss announced that she would begin licensing new arms exports to the kingdom.

British Conservatives and Saudi war on Yemen


British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir at the G20 Summit in 2018

This photo shows British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting with Saudi Arabia‘s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir at the G20 Summit in 2018.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 13 July 2020:

Britain’s fingerprints are all over Saudi Arabia’s murderous war

GETTING on for 100,000 people have died in Saudi Arabia’s war on the Yemeni people and the number of children and infants dying from hunger, malnutrition and other conflict-related afflictions is also close to that number.

Imperial Britain’s exploitative relationship with the Middle East is a long-standing affair. One distinctive mark of imperialism’s poisonous legacy is the post-colonial persistence of ethnic and political divisions which have bedevilled Britain’s former colonies.

India, Ireland, Cyprus, Malaya, Sri Lanka, Guyana are all places where independence has been disfigured by divisions that, in the main, owe their toxicity to the tactics of a British ruling class that was and is a past master in the techniques of divide and rule.

If the most toxic of the time bombs it left behind is to be found in the irreconcilable expectations engendered by the Balfour declaration, in which a beneficent Britain promised both Palestinians and zionists the lands on which Palestinians lived, then the dispensation which divided up the neighbouring Arab lands with set square and ruler runs it close.

When the British empire still included millions of subject peoples east of Suez, an obscure tribal figure was plucked from the remote Arabian hinterland to rule over the sands that covered the precious oil needed to fuel the Royal Navy in its defence of imperial plunder. And no less important was the Yemeni port of Aden, a way station and refuelling point for their majesties’ ships.

It is that impossibly reactionary regime, driven by its deeply obscurantist Wahhabi brand of primitive religion and today headed by the murderous Mohammed bin Salman, that is responsible for the air war on Yemen. The Saudi air force is trained by Britain, our country and the United States supply the aircraft, the bombs, the replacement parts and maintenance services that keep it flying.

Beyond the criminal complicity of our government in this war is the hypocrisy which finds any excuse to clothe imperial ambition in the guise of “humanitarian” intervention when the local regime is out of favour – Syria, Iraq and Libya spring to mind – but when the crimes are committed by a favoured ally, no sanctions can be applied.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn established a baseline of opposition to the unsavoury alliance of Britain and Saudi Arabia, an alliance sanctified by intimate ties between the two royal families, cemented by massive flows of capital and lubricated with the exchange of oil and armaments.

Keir Starmer won office by promising Labour members that he would continue the party’s progressive policies and if there is a critical starting point for an ethical foreign policy in the Middle East, it is in ending the supply of aircraft, parts, training and logistic support for this inhuman war.

Death in Bahrain

THE decision by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation on Monday to reinstate the death sentences for two local Shi’ite men is a transparently prejudicial act and an illustration of the double standards that Britain displays in its relations with its favoured regimes in the Middle East. Bahrain repays hypocritical words from Britain with more of the same.

It was pressure from solidarity and human rights groups that led to the earlier court ruling that the confessions of these two men had followed torture.

Reprieve director Maya Foa was spot on when she said: “To Western partners, Bahrain promises human rights reform. To citizens, it threatens that if you speak out, you will be imprisoned, tortured and convicted of crimes you did not commit.

“These unlawful death sentences are intended as a warning to would-be dissidents.”

It is time to clip the claws of these despotic regimes.

Neo-nazis in German military and police


This 14 October 2016 video says about itself:

Police in Germany say they have recovered DNA from the recently discovered remains of a girl who disappeared 15 years ago, claiming it matches that of a dead member of a neo-Nazi terror cell.

Peggy Knobloch was 9 years-old in 2001 when she vanished in broad daylight in the Bavarian city of Lichtenberg on her way home from school.

Her remains were finally found in July this year in a forest in the centre of Germany.

The discovery of DNA belonging to Uwe Böhnhardt on the girl’s body marks a dramatic breakthrough in the long-unsolved case.

Read more here.

By Jordan Shilton, 10 July 2020:

Massive neo-Nazi penetration of German military and police

In a lengthy July 3 article, the New York Times extensively documented a right-wing extremist conspiracy involving sections of the German military, intelligence agencies and police to carry out a violent uprising on “Day X”, The article, based on a year-long investigation, documents wide-ranging far-right networks within the military and police, the infiltration of the elite special forces unit (KSK) by fascists and the growing influence of right-wing extremist political forces like the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Headlined “As neo-Nazis seed military ranks, Germany confronts an enemy within,” the article details how shadowy networks for planning attacks and storing weapons have been tolerated and even supported by army commanders for years. One former KSK commander, Gen. Reinhard Günzel, published a book in which he likened the KSK to the Waffen-SS, the Nazi stormtroopers notorious for carrying out numerous mass executions of Jews during the Holocaust.

In a raid on the house of just one KSK soldier in May, investigators found “two kilograms of PETN plastic explosives, a detonator, a fuse, an AK-47, a silencer, two knives, a crossbow and thousands of rounds of ammunition,” according to the Times. Another former KSK member nicknamed Hannibal ran a chat group in which the plotting of terrorist attacks were discussed. Several members of the group are under investigation, and one has been placed on trial. Interviewed by the Times, “Hannibal” described his group as being about “war gaming” against “gangs, Islamists and antifa,” who are “the enemy troops on our ground.”

The Times’ piece appeared just days after Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was forced to announce the restructuring of the KSK, including the disbanding of one of its companies, due to its emergence as a hotbed for right-wing extremists. This extraordinary event, which illustrates how the German state apparatus and security forces are increasingly dominated by neo-Nazis 75 years after the collapse of Hitlerite fascism, forced the Times and a host of newspapers internationally to report on a reality they have largely sought to ignore for years.

Recalling political conditions during the Weimar Republic following World War I, the Times’ article paints a picture of a nominally democratic state confronting far-right conspiracies on all sides, above all from within. Right-wing extremist networks are “hoarding weapons, maintaining safe houses, and in some cases keeping lists of political enemies” to execute, the Times noted. Within the KSK alone, 48,000 rounds of munition and 62 kilograms of explosives have gone missing.

The Times article pointed to the comments of Brenton Tarrant, the far-right terrorist who gunned down dozens of Muslim worshippers in a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, to the effect that “hundreds of thousands” of soldiers in Europe’s militaries hold fascist and right-wing nationalist views. It continued, “Germany’s military counterintelligence agency is now investigating more than 600 soldiers for far-right extremism, out of 184,000 in the military. Some 20 of them are in the KSK, a proportion that is five times higher than in other units.

“But the German authorities are concerned that the problem may be far larger and that other security institutions have been infiltrated as well. Over the past 13 months, far-right terrorists have assassinated a politician, attacked a synagogue and shot dead nine immigrants and German descendants of immigrants.”

The true extent of the far-right infiltration remains unclear, the Times continued, because sections of the intelligence agencies are dominated by right-wing extremists as well. It referred to a tip-off given to KSK soldiers by a military counter-intelligence agent about a raid in May, before quoting Stephan Kramer, president of the domestic intelligence agency in the state of Thuringia, as saying, “What we are dealing with is an enemy within.”

The author of the article, Katrin Bennfold, observed that “military and intelligence officials” and “avowed far-right members” told her about “nationwide networks of current and former soldiers and police officers with ties to the far-right.” Some media outlets describe it as a “shadow army,” recalling the campaign of assassinations, coup plots and conspiracies conducted by far-right forces within the military during the Weimar Republic with the aim of overturning bourgeois democracy.

“In many cases, soldiers have used the networks to prepare for when they predict Germany’s democratic order will collapse,” continued the Times, in perhaps its most startling revelation. “They call it Day X. Officials worry it is really a pretext for inciting terrorist acts, or worse, a putsch.”

For many Times’ readers, the news that Germany, held up by ruling circles as one of Europe’s leading democracies following the defeat of Nazism in 1945, faces the imminent threat of a military coup by the far-right will have come as a surprise. However, the reality is that the same objective contradictions of capitalism that led the German bourgeoisie to back the installation of Hitler as Chancellor in January 1933 behind the backs of a hostile working class are propelling its descendants towards the cultivation of the far-right and outright fascist forces. On the one hand, German imperialism is confronted by the necessity of advancing more ruthlessly its predatory economic and geostrategic interests around the world under conditions of accelerating tensions between the major powers. On the other, it faces deep-seated opposition among working people to its policies of austerity and war.

The German Trotskyists of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP) and the World Socialist Web Site warned from the outset that the attempt to develop a more aggressive foreign policy to assert German imperialist interests on the world stage was intimately bound up with the rehabilitation of right-wing extremist views and the promotion of pro-Nazi forces. The SGP declared in a September 2014 resolution adopted at a special conference against war, “The propaganda of the post-war era—that Germany had learnt from the terrible crimes of the Nazis, had ‘arrived at the West,’ had embraced a peaceful foreign policy, and had developed into a stable democracy—is exposed as lies. German imperialism is once again showing its real colours as it emerged historically, with all of its aggressiveness at home and abroad.”

This resolution was adopted in opposition to the statements of German President Joachim Gauck, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen, who all proclaimed at the 2014 Munich Security Conference that the era of German military restraint was over. Germany was too large to comment on world politics from the “sidelines,” argued Steinmeier, before going on to call for a more decisive and substantial intervention by the armed forces in foreign military operations.

The same month Gauck, Steinmeier and Von der Leyen delivered their remarks, Jörg Baberowski, a professor of Eastern European history at Berlin’s Humboldt University, told Der Spiegel magazine, “Hitler was not a psychopath, he was not vicious. He did not want to talk about the extermination of the Jews at his table.”

Not a single voice from academia or the political establishment was raised against this gross falsification of history by Baberowski, who also proclaimed his support for Ernst Nolte, the most well-known pro-Nazi historian in post-war Germany. On the contrary, Baberowski and his co-thinkers were defended and supported by Humboldt University’s management, which declared “attacks in the media” on him to be “unacceptable.” This support extended beyond Germany, with Princeton University awarding Baberowski a research grant of $300,000 for his work on dictatorship, which the professor studies as a legitimate and even popular “alternative political order” to democratic forms of rule. When Baberowski travelled to Princeton in the spring of 2019 to attend a closed-door conference, he was accompanied by his research assistant Fabian Thunemann, who was identified as a leading participant in a neo-Nazi demonstration in the German city of Hannover in 1998. (See: Why did Princeton University provide funding for the German right-wing extremist Jörg Baberowski?)

While Baberowski’s far-right rewriting of history enjoyed sympathetic backing from the media and academia, the SGP and its student organization were subjected to a vicious media campaign. In 2018, the SGP was placed on a watch list by the Secret Service for being “left-wing extremist.” In its justification of the move, the intelligence agency, which was headed at the time by the AfD sympathiser Hans-Georg Maassen, argued that “the struggle for a democratic, egalitarian, socialist society” and “agitation against alleged ‘imperialism’ and ‘militarism’” are anti-constitutional, i.e., illegal.

The reason for this ruthless response was that the SGP’s opposition to Baberowski, the trivialisation of the Nazis’ crimes, and the revival of German militarism cut across the ruling elite’s conspiracy to shift politics sharply to the right. The neo-fascist AfD has been systematically built up since its founding in 2013. After it secured 12.6 percent of the vote in the 2017 federal election and became the first fascist party since 1945 to be represented in the federal Parliament, Steinmeier, who was by then German president, met with the AfD’s leaders and urged other parties to dismantle the “walls of irreconcilability” around the AfD and strive for “German patriotism.” Several months later, the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats concluded the formation of a new grand coalition government, which had the effect of making the AfD the official opposition party in Parliament.

The AfD has since been able to dictate large parts of the grand coalition’s policy, particularly in the areas of immigration and refugees. All of the parliamentary parties ensured that positions were left open at the head of important parliamentary committees for the far-right party to fill.

In February, the liberal Free Democrats and Christian Democrats took this cooperation with the AfD to its next logical step in the state of Thuringia, where they relied on the votes of the neo-fascists to elect the FDP’s Thomas Kemmerich as the state’s Minister President. Widespread popular outrage over the first Minister President in a post-war German state to be elected with the votes of a fascist party forced Kemmerich to resign soon afterwards. (See: Sound the alarm! Political conspiracy and the resurgence of fascism in Germany)

It is within this reactionary right-wing political climate that the activities of fascist terrorists and coup plotters in and around the military, police and intelligence agencies have flourished.

The fact that the Times now feels compelled to report so explicitly on the danger of right-wing extremist networks speaks to the deepening crisis of bourgeois rule under conditions of world capitalist breakdown that are unprecedented since the 1930s. Faced with glaring levels of social inequality, a resurgence of inter-imperialist rivalries and the erosion of democratic forms of rule, ruling elites everywhere are turning to authoritarian and right-wing extremist forces to defend their interests against the working class at home and their national competitors abroad. As Trotsky wrote in 1929, analysing the growing trend towards dictatorship in Europe and the strengthening of fascist forces, “The excessively high tension of the international struggle and the class struggle results in the short circuit of the dictatorship, blowing out the fuses of democracy one after the other.”

While the infiltration of the German military and state apparatus by fascist forces with the backing of the political establishment is the most graphic example of this process, no less dangerous developments are underway in other leading capitalist countries.

In neighbouring France, President Emmanuel Macron has lauded the legacy of Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain as a national hero and ordered a brutal military-style crackdown on Yellow Vest protesters, resulting in fatalities and the maiming of hundreds.

In the United States, Trump continues to cultivate a base of support among far-right and fascist layers, as shown most recently by his retweeting of a video showing one of his supporters shouting “white power.” Confronted by mass, multi-racial protests against police brutality in early June, the US president responded by initiating a military coup with the aim of creating an authoritarian regime under his personal command.

Far-right and fascistic forces are also being promoted in Canada, including to intimidate and disperse working class struggles. Just a day prior to the publication of the Times’ exposé of the far-right in Germany, an army reservist motivated by right-wing extremist views launched a failed assassination attempt against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

There could be nothing more criminally light-minded than to underestimate the threat from the fascist far-right. But unlike the 1920s and 1930s, the far-right in Germany and elsewhere does not yet enjoy a mass following. In fact, the AfD and its backers are widely despised among the broad masses of the population, who have not forgotten the barbaric crimes perpetrated by the Nazis throughout Europe, above all the Holocaust. The far-right’s apparent strength comes exclusively from the fact that it has powerful allies within the ruling elite and its state apparatus.

To prevent the far-right conspiracies of the ruling elites in Germany and other countries from succeeding, the widespread working-class hatred towards right-wing extremism must be transformed into a conscious political movement against the revival of fascism and militarism, and the rotten capitalist profit system in which this process is rooted.

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German defence minister plans more effective organization of army’s far-right elite force
[4 July 2020]

British Conservatives complicit in butchering Yemeni civilians


A Yemeni woman offers prayers at the grave of her husband who was killed during Yemen's ongoing conflict, at a cemetery in Sanaa

This photo shows a Yemeni woman offering prayers at the grave of her husband who was killed during Yemen’s ongoing conflict, at a cemetery in Sanaa.

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 10 July 2020:

Government’s decision to resume arms sales to Saudis is ‘tantamount to signing the death warrants’ of thousands of Yemeni children

THE government’s decision to continue licencing arms sales to Saudi Arabia is “tantamount to signing the death warrants” of thousands of children in Yemen, charity War Child said today.

Despite a court ruling last year ordering the government to cease sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss claimed there was no pattern of deliberate breaches of international humanitarian law involving British-made weaponry in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition was responsible for killing and injuring at least 3,481 children from 2015 to 2019, according to the UN.

French-Italian proxy oil war in Libya continues


This 8 May 2019 video says about itself:

Italy Pressures France Over Support For Libya’s Rebels

France has backed Libyan rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s efforts … But after complaints from the Italian government, the French have apparently backed off their vocal support of Haftar’s advance on Tripoli. But the head of Libya’s Taghyeer Party says Haftar is taking advantage of diverging international interests in Libya to get ahead.

Guests:
Guma el Gamaty
Head of Libya’s Taghyeer Party

Mohamed Eljarh
Founder and CEO of Libya Outlook

Anne Giudicelli
CEO of Terr(o)Risc

By Alex Lantier in France:

Bombing of Turkey’s Watiya base escalates Franco-Italian proxy war in Libya

8 July 2020

Even as COVID-19 spreads, the decade-long civil war between rival imperialist-backed warlords triggered by the 2011 NATO war in Libya is spiraling out of control.

On July 5, unidentified warplanes bombed al-Watiya airbase, which Italian-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) forces recently retook from French-backed Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar. The attack damaged hangars and destroyed military equipment from Turkey, which is coordinating its support for the GNA with Italy. LNA official Khaled al Mahjoub told Al Arabiya that “other attacks similar to the one on the base will soon be carried out. … We are in a real war with Turkey, which has oil ambitions in Libya.”

Turkish military sources told Spanish news site Atalayar the raid included “nine precision airstrikes against Turkish air defense systems,” which wounded several Turkish intelligence officials. They added that the attacks were “successful” and left “three radars completely destroyed.” However, Atalayar refuted reports that MiG-29 or Su-24 jets Moscow has given the LNA carried out the strikes, saying that it was the work of French-made Rafale jets.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and France itself all field Rafales, support the LNA, and could have bombed al-Watiya. On June 21, Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi threatened to intervene in Libya against Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office reacted to the strike by tweeting that Turkey would escalate operations in Libya, attacking the coastal city of Sirte and Al Jufra, Libya’s largest airbase, both located in central Libya and held by LNA forces. It cited control of oil supply lines and Russian support for the LNA to justify its intervention.

The bombing of al-Watiya, barely 150km from Tripoli, followed visits by Turkish and Italian officials. It came only a few hours after Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar concluded a trip to Tripoli, during which he proclaimed, “Turkish sovereignty and our return, after the withdrawal of our ancestors, to return forever in Libya.” This apparently referred to the Turkish Ottoman Empire’s control over Libya, until Italy seized Libya and held it as a colony from 1911 until 1943 and its defeat during World War II.

On June 24, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio visited Tripoli, after meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara and amid joint Turkish-Italian naval drills. In Tripoli, he said the war was central to Rome’s strategic interests, calling Libya “a priority for our foreign policy and national security.”

The strike on al-Watiya has revealed the bitter divisions among the NATO imperialist powers, as well as between the regional powers, over the division of the spoils from the 2011 war.

Amid revolutionary uprisings of the working class in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, Paris, London and Washington pushed NATO to bomb Libya and arm Islamist and tribal militias to topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Berlin declined to join the war, and the belligerent powers ran roughshod over initial Turkish objections. Western media and petty-bourgeois pseudo-left groups like France’s New Anti-capitalist Party claimed it was a humanitarian war to protect Libyan protesters, but it was an imperialist rape of Libya.

It set the stage not only for the ongoing proxy war in Syria between Russia and NATO, which sent to Syria many Islamist proxy militias it had mobilized in Libya, but for a ruthless struggle to carve up Libya and its massive oil reserves.

Thousands have died in fighting between rival militias unleashed by the 2011 war, and the coronavirus pandemic is now ravaging Libya. The number of cases doubled in the last two weeks of June, to 713, and now stands at 1,117. Only 269 have recovered while 34 have died, as the disease spreads across a country whose health and industrial infrastructure have been shattered by a decade of bloodshed.

This month, the International Rescue Committee reported: “This year Libya has recorded the highest number of attacks on health facilities of any country in the world. Just yesterday, an ambulance was hit by an airstrike, severely damaging the vehicle and the health facility close by. Last week two doctors were killed by a mine that exploded under a body they were moving from a hospital. With Libya’s health system already on its knees, continued attacks such as these are making it even harder for medical teams in the country to respond to the pandemic.”

The NATO powers are not bringing medical and humanitarian aid, however, but plundering Libya and threatening to escalate the fighting into an all-out regional war. Several regional powers play a major role—with Turkey and Algeria backing the GNA, and Egypt and the UAE backing the LNA. Moscow has also intervened to back the LNA against the Islamist-dominated GNA. However, a decisive aspect of the conflict is between major oil corporations like France’s Total and Italy’s ENI.

On July 3, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency wrote that the GNA is “advancing on Sirte, the gateway to the east of the country and oil fields.” It called Sirte “crucial” for two reasons: “First, Sirte has significant economic value as a gateway to Libya’s oil crescent region, consisting of vital ports such as al-Zuweytinah, Ra’s Lanuf, Marsa al Brega, and as-Sidr, which reportedly supplies 60 percent of Libya’s oil exports. Secondly, it is a strategic city that could enable the GNA to take control of the Libyan coastline from the capital to the west and Benghazi to the east.”

ENI dominates the oilfields in GNA-held northwestern Libya. But many of the oil reserves and refineries in the “oil crescent” region are held by Total and LNA militias in the Cyrenaica region around Benghazi, the center of the NATO-backed revolt against Gaddafi, and in the Fezzan. This region in southern Libya borders two former French colonies, Niger and Tchad, that Paris exerts control over as part of its so-called war on terror in Mali and the Sahel.

Conflicts between the NATO imperialist powers are increasingly evident. Commenting on French support for Haftar, Tarek Megerisi of the European Council on Foreign Relations told the Financial Times: “France has different interests to Germany and Italy in Libya, and it has moved to protect these interests. It has security interests in the Sahel and a wider security partnership that it is building with the United Arab Emirates—and in which Egypt is a big part.”

Dorothée Schmid of the French Institute on International Relations (IFRI) said there is “strategic panic” in Paris at Haftar’s recently suffered reverses. She pointed to growing chaos and uncertainty in NATO: “France is rather isolated in this affair, and everyone is waiting for the American elections.”

The only way to avert a further escalation is a mobilization of the working class in Africa and the Middle East, resuming the struggles launched a decade ago, and the unification of these struggles with growing strikes and protests in America and Europe in a socialist anti-war movement. Absent a revolutionary intervention of the working class, the ruling elites are all sliding towards war.

Naval tensions continue to grow in the Mediterranean. France withdrew from NATO operations in the Mediterranean on July 1, protesting that a Turkish warship allegedly threatened to fire on a French frigate as it tried to inspect a merchant ship bound for Libya. Egypt has for its part reportedly acquired a Russian “Bastion” coastal defense battery amid reports that Turkey intends to set up a naval base in the Libyan city of Misrata.