First Danish cosmonaut in space

This video says about itself:

Historic 500th Soyuz rocket sets off from Baikonur

1 September 2015

The 500th Soyuz rocket has successfully lifted off from the Gagarin’s Start launchpad marking a historic milestone for Baikonur Cosmodrome. The spacecraft will deliver three new crew members to the International Space Station.

Russian and Kazakh cosmonauts (Sergey Volkov and Aidyn Aimbetov respectively), along with the first ever Danish astronaut (Andreas Mogensen) have entered history on board Soyuz TMA-18M. The 500th manned rocket launched from the same pad that Yuri Gagarin’s original Soyuz blasted off from on April 12, 1961.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Soyuz slowly blasts off to space station

KAZAKHSTAN: A Russian, a Dane and a Kazakh blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome to the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday.

Andreas Mogensen became the first Dane in space, while Kazakh Aidyn Aimbetov got his chance to go into space when British singer Sarah Brightman pulled out.

The Soyuz spacecraft will take an unusually long two-day flightpath to the ISS due to safety concerns after the station had to adjust its orbit to avoid orbital debris.

Danish soldiers want to get out of re-started Iraq war

This video says about itself:

Outsourcing Torture – “Denmark knew about the world’s first rendition case”

15 June 2015

Three Muslim Danish citizens reveal how they were asked to cooperate with Danish intelligence services. Their stories point to what could be a hidden role for Denmark and Lebanon in a new form of rendition: the outsourcing of torture.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Danish soldiers tired and stressed by fighting ISIS

Today, 15:09

Danish soldiers do not want to participate any longer in the international fight against ISIS. They are tired and stressed by the “extraordinary effort” they have made in recent years in various missions. Military trade unions and trustees write this in a letter, addressed to, among others, Prime Minister Rasmussen.

The Danes since last October participate with seven jet fighters and 280 military personnel in the international fight against ISIS. The Danish parliament will have to decide in October whether the mission will be extended.

The letter writers believe that enough is enough. “People are tired and stressed and do not have time for their families. Absenteeism because of illness has never been so high.” The material has also suffered considerably by the missions abroad.

Denmark ‘violated the rules of war’ in Iraq. Military officials announced on Friday that they will investigate the handling of prisoners of war following “unpleasant” revelations that showed Denmark may have been in breach of the Geneva Convention: here.

What factor is common to Canada, Sweden and Denmark? The snow, perhaps? The cold weather? The social programs? Or maybe smoked salmon? How about rendition to torture? And how about cooperation with the intelligence authorities of countries which practice torture with total impunity? These may be some of the darkest common factors shared by the three countries, ones that not everyone is aware of: here.

This week marks the first anniversary of the initiation of air strikes in Iraq and launching of yet another US war in the Middle East: here.

Starfish, new discovery

This video, in Danish with English subtitles, says about itself:

12 June 2015

Starfish have strange talents. Two biology students from the University of Southern Denmark have revealed that starfish are able to squeeze foreign bodies along the length of their body cavities and out through their arm tips. This newly discovered talent gives insight in how certain animals are able to quickly heal themselves.

More about this is here.

Danish-Prussian war, 1864

This video is the trailer of the Danish TV drama 1864.

By Allan Lloyd in Britain:

Sacrificed for imperial ambition

Saturday 30th May 2015

The bloody context to the Danish TV drama 1864 currently showing on BBC4 is vividly brought to life in an excellent book by Tom Buk-Swienty, reports ALAN LLOYD

1864: The Forgotten War That Shaped Modern Europe

by Tom Buk-Swienty

(Profile Books, £8.99)

IT SEEMS extraordinary to think that it has taken 150 years to properly consider a war whose outcome, arguably, still affects the politics of Europe today. But with this excellently written book and the accompanying TV drama currently showing on BBC4, the origins and outcomes of this conflict now get the exposure they deserve.

Until the second battle of Copenhagen in 1807 Denmark had been one of the world’s great powers, largely through the might of its navy. Although after that defeat by Nelson and the British navy forced them to begin again from scratch, this did not curb the ambitions of the Danish ruling class to recover past glories, culminating in the adoption of a new Danish constitution in 1863 which annexed the largely autonomous Duchy of Schleswig.

This move coincided with the coming to office of Otto von Bismarck as Minister-President under King Wilhelm I. Von Bismarck saw the annexing of this largely German-speaking area as an ideal chance for a successful war which would advance his agenda for a unified Germany and to finally ensure Prussia’s prominence over their natural allies, Austria.

Denmark was also in the grip of a political class gung-ho for a war that anyone with a clear mind could see was hopelessly unwinnable. Sadly, the general population were also whipped up by the usual jingoistic ploys used by a ruling class whenever they wish a nation’s working class to sacrifice themselves for their vanity, ambition or egos in a war. They were also misled into believing that Britain or France would come to their aid as an underdog. Denmark had broken an international treaty by its actions and Britain was also worried about the rise of Prussia and the delicate balance of power that existed in Europe.

Palmerston, as Britain’s prime minister, did his best to broker a peaceful outcome. But Denmark refused to accept any compromise to its position.

When hostilities commenced in February 1864, they quickly centred round a huge Danish defensive emplacement at Dybbol in the south of the country. After a massive two-month artillery barrage the Prussians and Austrians launched a final assault on April 18 of that year. The Danish army had long recognised the hopelessness of its position but the political class in Copenhagen was adamant that there should be no retreat.

Although the Danish army fought with great bravery and inflicted heavy losses on the assailants, the result was something of a massacre. Peace, when it came, resulted in Denmark ceding a third of its territory and a million of its population. The population was forever relegated to rule by a minor monarchy, while the rise of Bismarck and then a united Germany began.

As one of the bloodiest battles in European history, this account by Tom Buk-Swienty is made all the more poignant and sad by the fact that it is told through a host of eyewitness accounts, from those of the humblest private up to generals. All of them were needlessly sacrificed on the altar of imperialist ambitions.

Nazi homophobic doctor helped by Britain to escape justice

This video from Britain says about itself:

My hunt for anti-gay Nazi Doctor, Carl VaernetLGBT History Month, 14 February 2015

By Peter Tatchell in Britain:

The Nazi doctor who experimented on gay people – and Britain helped to escape justice

The Danish authorities have still not explained why Carl Værnet, who escaped to Argentina with British collusion, was shielded from prosecution

‘Carl Værnet had been a member of the Danish Nazi party from the late 1930s. As a doctor, he specialised in hormone research; including treatments to “cure” homosexuality.’

Tuesday 5 May 2015 11.42 BST

Today is the 70th anniversary of Denmark’s liberation from Nazi rule by British troops. The Danes are rightly proud of their anti-Nazi resistance and their heroism in saving the lives of almost all their Jewish citizens. But Denmark also had a dirty little secret that remained hidden for many decades.

A Danish Nazi, SS Dr Carl Værnet, conducted medical experiments on gay concentration camp prisoners. Unlike most other Nazi doctors, he was never put on trial at Nuremburg. Instead, with Danish and British collusion, he was able to escape to Argentina, where he lived openly and continued his research into methods for the eradication of homosexuality.

Værnet was a Copenhagen doctor who, realising the opportunities offered by the homophobic policies of the Third Reich, joined the Nazi party and enlisted in the SS to pursue his research to “cure” gay men.

This research was conducted on the personal authority of Heinrich Himmler. The Gestapo chief demanded the “extermination of abnormal existence … the homosexual must be entirely eliminated”.

The campaign to expose Værnet only took off in 1998, when I wrote to the then Danish prime minister, Poul Rasmussen, calling for an inquiry into Værnet’s wartime activities. Media coverage of this letter triggered a public outcry in Denmark, where most people had been unaware of Værnet’s war crimes and the high-level measures taken to shield him from prosecution.

Rasmussen passed the buck to the ministry of justice, and it passed the buck to the National Archives of Denmark.

Refusing to launch an inquiry into Værnet’s crimes and his escape from prosecution, the ministry of justice advised me to conduct the criminal investigation. They referred me to the Danish National Archives to secure the necessary evidence. But the archives told me the files on Værnet were classified and closed until 2025.

Faced with mounting public, media and parliamentary pressure, the Danish government eventually relented. Access was given to the previously top secret files. They revealed Værnet’s medical Nazism, his protection by the postwar Danish state and inaction by Allied war crime prosecutors.

Værnet had been a member of the Danish Nazi party from the late 1930s. As a doctor, he specialised in hormone research; including treatments to “cure” homosexuality.

After Denmark was occupied by the Nazis, few patients visited Værnet’s clinic because of his pro-Hitler sympathies. This prompted him to approach the Nazis, who were well known for their hatred of gay people and their bid to “eliminate the perverted world of the homosexual”. Værnet met the chief Nazi doctor, Reichsarzt-SS Ernst Grawitz, who proposed that he research the treatment of homosexuality on behalf of the SS.

This led to Værnet operating on gay prisoners in Buchenwald concentration camp, inserting artificial hormone glands in their groins. Two of these men died from infections caused by the insanitary conditions.

When Denmark was liberated on 5 May 1945, Værnet was arrested and detained at Alsgade Skole prisoner-of-war camp in Copenhagen. It was run jointly by the British military and the Danish police. The head of the camp was a British major, Ronald F Hemingway, who declared Værnet “undoubtedly will be sentenced as a war criminal”.

Despite this prediction, Værnet appears to have convinced the British and Danish authorities that his hormone treatments to turn gay men heterosexual were important, worthy scientific research.

In November 1945, in response to Værnet’s claim that he was suffering from a serious heart condition, Hemingway authorised his transfer to a Copenhagen hospital. In fact, the medical records show that Værnet’s heart tests were normal and that he received no treatment during his hospital stay.

In August 1946 a medical colleague of Værnet’s informed the Danish public prosecutor that his deteriorating health required urgent vitamin E treatment that was only available in Sweden. Astonishingly, Værnet was given a permit to go to Sweden and was even paid a state stipend to support himself.

Letters written by Værnet in this period don’t mention his declining health. Instead, they state “everything is ready in Argentina” and “the money is ready in Sweden”.

The Danish police were informed in 1947 that Værnet had settled in Buenos Aires. He was living there under his own name and had resumed his hormone research with funding from the Argentinian ministry of health. Despite calls for this prosecution, the Danish government decided against extradition proceedings.

Værnet remained in Argentina until he died in 1965, living there with the full knowledge of the Danish and Allied authorities. They made no attempt to prosecute him for war crimes, possibly because they regarded his research to “cure” homosexuality as legitimate, even commendable.

The Danish authorities have still not explained why Værnet and his Danish protectors were shielded from prosecution and why it took my public challenge to force them to open the Værnet files. I’m still waiting for an answer.

Nazi occupation and resistance in Denmark: here.

Glaciers on Mars, covered by dust, discovered

This 7 April 2015 video is called Glacial Belts of Water Ice Found On Mars.

From Astronomy Now:

Mars has belts of glaciers composed of water ice

8 April 2015

Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water. New studies have now calculated the size of the glaciers and thus the amount of water in the glaciers. It is the equivalent of all of Mars being covered by more than one metre of ice. The results are published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Several satellites orbit Mars and on satellite images, researchers have been able to observe the shape of glaciers just below the surface. For a long time scientists did not know if the ice was made of frozen water (H2O) or of carbon dioxide (CO2) or whether it was mud. Using radar measurements from the NASA satellite, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, researchers have been able to determine that it is water ice. But how thick is the ice and do the glaciers resemble glaciers on Earth? A group of researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have now calculated this using radar observations combined with ice flow modelling.

Data Combined with Modelling

“We have looked at radar measurements spanning ten years back in time to see how thick the ice is and how it behaves. A glacier is after all a big chunk of ice and it flows and gets a form that tells us something about how soft it is. We then compared this with how glaciers on Earth behave and from that we have been able to make models for the ice flow,” explains Nanna Bjørnholt Karlsson, a postdoc at the Center for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

Nanna Bjørnholt Karlsson explains that earlier studies have identified thousands of glacier-like formations on the planet. The glaciers are located in belts around Mars between the latitudes 30° and 50° — equivalent to just south of Denmark’s location on Earth. The glaciers are found on both the northern and southern hemispheres.

From some locations on Mars they have good detailed high-resolution data, while they only have more sparse data from other areas. But by supplementing the sparse data with information about the flow and form of the glaciers from the very well studied areas, they have been able to calculate how thick and voluminous the ice is across the glacier belts.

Could Cover the Entire Planet

“We have calculated that the ice in the glaciers is equivalent to over 150 billion cubic metres of ice — that much ice could cover the entire surface of Mars with 1.1 metres of ice. The ice at the mid-latitudes is therefore an important part of Mars’ water reservoir,” explains Nanna Bjørnholt Karlsson.

That the ice has not evaporated out into space could actually mean that the thick layer of dust is protecting the ice. The atmospheric pressure on Mars is so low that water ice simply evaporates and becomes water vapour. But the glaciers are well protected under the thick layer of dust.

Nasa’s Curiosity rover finds water below surface of Mars. New measurements from the Gale crater contradict theories that the planet is too cold for liquid water to exist, but Mars still considered hostile to life: here.

Danish nazi murderer dies a free man

This German video says about itself:

Hitler’s best friend: still alive!

13 October 2006

Søren Kam – war criminal

Former Danish SS officer. Hiding in München!

Protected by the “New Germany“.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Søren Kam: World’s most-wanted Nazi dies aged 93 a free man

The Nazi was convicted in absentia over the death of a newspaper journalist

Lamiat Sabin

Thursday 02 April 2015

One of the most-wanted Nazis in the world has died aged 93 without having been punished for a murder conviction.

Danish former volunteer officer Søren Kam died on 23 March, just a little more than a fortnight after his wife passed away – according to the German newspaper Allgauer Zeitung as reported by Reuters.

Kam was the fifth-most wanted war criminal by Jewish rights organisation Simon Wiesenthal Center, that seeks to bring former Nazis to justice and educate about the Holocaust.

The Dane had been a volunteer officer in the Schalburg Corps, a [unit of the] SS-Viking division, and was one of three men who killed Danish anti-Nazi newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen in 1943.

A Danish court convicted him in absentia of the murder after the war. Another man was executed for the same crime.

Kam had fled to Germany where he obtained citizenship in 1956 and his new home country had refused to extradite him to Denmark several times, according to Danish media.

“The fact that Søren Kam, a totally unrepentant Nazi murderer, died a free man in Kempten (Germany), is a terrible failure of the Bavarian judicial authorities,” Dr Efraim Zuroff, from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in the statement.

“Kam should have finished his miserable life in jail, whether in Denmark or Germany. The failure to hold him accountable will only inspire the contemporary heirs of the Nazis to consider following in his footsteps,” Dr Zuroff added.

On 30 August 1943, Clemmensen insulted chief editor of the pro-Nazi publication Fædrelandet (the Fatherland) Poul Nordahl-Petersen.

Hours later, believed to be just after midnight the next day, Clemmensen was shot dead by eight bullets by three different guns in Lundtofte.

His body was found in the morning with bullet wounds to his head and upper body.

The center’s most-wanted list, which now lists names of eight men, is based on realistic chances that the accused can be brought to justice. It is not a list of the most notorious Nazis, Dr Zuroff said.