German militarist propaganda aimed at children


This video from the USA about nazi Germany says about itself:

PRE-MILITARY INSTRUCTION OF HITLER YOUTHNational Archives and Records Administration – ARC 43680, LI 242-MID-2106 – DVD Copied by Nick Stoller.

Series: Motion Picture Films From G-2 Army Military Intelligence Division, compiled 1918 – ca. 1947. PROMOTIONAL DOCUMENTARY: Animates the contents of the official war book, The Bridge With The Red Tower, as a method for Hitler Youth pre-military training. Shows the German army capturing towns and advancing against Allied forces, dive bombers, burning towns and marching troops. Emphasis is on the invaluable role of the library in pre-military training of German youth.

By Franzi Vier in Germany:

German army targets youth with war propaganda
29 June 2015

When were these images last seen in Germany? Children clamber on tanks, sit in military helicopters, hold anti-tank weapons in their hand and receive orders from soldiers in uniform about their functions. The army and military equipment are shown as a seemingly acceptable part of free time and family excursions.

These images come from Germany’s armed forces day, the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the Bundeswehr on June 13. “Believe it or not, it was 60 years waiting for this day,” states the Bundeswehr’s official homepage. But now it was finally here: “German armed forces day is being celebrated for the first time at 15 locations nationwide.”

The weapons displays, combat and tank manoeuvres, simulations of helicopter operations and personal discussions with soldiers, combined with entertainment activities aimed at children and families, were a spectacle orchestrated as a key part of the foreign policy shift announced by the German government early last year.

Already in 2012, in a speech at the German army’s leadership academy in Hamburg, President Joachim Gauck called for a stronger role in society for the army and more public debate involving the military. “Generals, officers, soldiers—back to the heart of our society!” he proclaimed to his audience.

German armed forces day is only the latest highpoint in an intensive and comprehensive strategy by the army to recruit young people to serve in the military. Gauck’s demand for the merging of civilian and military life recalls the darkest period of German history. Through the militarisation of society, the population is to be conditioned to accept war and violence as normal, and prepared for new wars.

The German army’s plans have confronted widespread opposition among the population. Due to the crimes of German imperialism in two world wars, anti-war sentiment is powerful. As has been the case in the past, the German army has failed to achieve its target of 15,000 to 20,000 new recruits annually.

The army has therefore been investing increasing sums of money to secure new trainees since 2011. While in 2009 only €3.8 million was spent on this, annual spending is now €29.9 million. This is increasing, with €35.3 million in spending planned for 2015.

A central role in the recruitment activities is being played by so-called youth officers and careers advisers, who seek to spread among young people the German army’s goal, pronounced by defence minister Ursula Von der Leyen, to become “one of the most attractive employers in Germany.” German armed forces day, which is to take place annually, is part of a comprehensive recruiting strategy at schools, job fairs and on the Internet.

Youth officers and career advisers, who are specially trained to work among young people, appear at training courses and in front of school classes across the country. They also organise troop visits. According to the children’s support organisation Terre des hommes, between 300,000 and 400,000 pupils are reached annually through this work. In this way, the army influences teaching content at schools. This is taking place “currently throughout the entire federal republic,” stated education journalist Armin Himmelrath in a radio interview with SWR in April.

Appearances by youth officers and career advisers are part of the compulsory curriculum. Pupils are only permitted to leave the military speeches if parents have previously submitted a written request for alternative lessons. However, soldiers often show up unannounced, making this option impossible.

Officers appear at schools as alleged objective experts in foreign and security policy, mainly speaking on foreign interventions and the threat of international terrorism. They not only seek to convince the youth of the correctness of military interventions around the globe, but also of the lack of any alternative.

Along with its immediate presence in classes, the German army is also developing its own propaganda material for lessons. An example of this is the education magazine Frieden und Sicherheit (Peace and Security). The latest edition has the character of a summary of the foreign policy shift of the past year.

The editorial accuses Russia of threatening “the sovereignty of Ukraine” and striving “to revive a ‘new Russia’.” The European Union (EU) and NATO therefore faced “new challenges in their relations with Russia.” Further challenges are identified such as the Syrian civil war against dictator Bashar Al-Assad, the Islamic State, and unstable states in general, which are confronted “with the radicalisation of people, civil wars, and migration movements.”

The entire magazine attempts to create the impression that Germany has no other option but to respond to the challenges of the 21st century with a major rearmament programme and militarisation abroad and at home. Under the headline “Army in transformation,” Gauck’s notorious speech before the German army is cited. The section “Bundeswehr and society” defines the army’s tasks as, among other things, global interventions and “a contribution to domestic protection … in internal emergency situations.”

The didactic and methodical suggestions contained in the guide for teachers accompanying the magazine confirm what is involved. Under “competencies and learning outcomes” it states: “identify possible actions with reference to peace and security for oneself and in connection with state, civil society and international organisations, as well as to reflect on and develop strategic concepts backed up by arguments for this.”

In other words, pupils are to be made strategists for German imperialism and, in the best cases, consider the “possibilities for action” for the Bundeswehr. To achieve this goal, the German army is constantly expanding its campaigns and collaborating with radio stations, television broadcasters and newspapers. The military even sponsors school buses so that it can print advertising on their timetables.

On its YouTube channel, with the programmatic slogan “We. Serve. Germany,” the German army publishes advertising for out-of-school sporting activities along with militarist war videos. Since 2012, it has been advertising on the youth magazine Bravo ’s web site for its army adventure camps with colourful images and flowery text. The activities are directed at “girls and boys aged 16 and 17 with German citizenship.” The German army covers all costs.

In order to integrate itself into the daily lives of young people, the army has uploaded posters for young people’s bedrooms, desktop backgrounds with weapons and tanks, or school timetable planners with Eurofighter logos on its youth web site ready for download.

The increased attempts to subordinate schools to the interests of German militarism and win new recruits for the army have met with mounting opposition from pupils, parents and teachers.

On the Internet and in local communities, a number of initiatives have emerged protesting the militarisation of schools. In one prominent example, the Robert Blum gymnasium in Berlin took the decision at a school meeting in 2011 to ban any activities by the military.

On the other hand, there are schools where critical students have already been punished for protesting against the appearance of the military at their school and posing difficult questions. In February, a pupil at a school in Bamberg received a sharply worded warning for posing a question on the Kundus massacre in a career planning seminar in which the Bundeswehr participated as an employer, and later demonstrated with friends against the army’s presence during a break.

The warning was issued based explicitly on political grounds and contained the following threat: “To graduate successfully, he (the pupil) must be careful in the future to avoid making statements expressing his extremist political opinions.”

Regardless of the fact that the school administration withdrew the warning after public protest, the incident is particularly disturbing. Seventy years after the end of World War II and 60 years after the founding of the German army, a pupil speaking out against the return of German militarism has been branded an extremist and threatened with reprisals.

‘The British Armed Forces need to stop targeting and recruiting children': here.

Triassic turtle evolution, new research


This video says about itself:

Evolution of the Turtle Shell (Illustrated)

30 May 2013

Evolution of the turtle shell based on developmental and fossil data. This animation is based on the work of Dr. Tyler Lyson, currently at the Smithsonian Institution.

The animation shows how various fossils, particularly Eunotosaurus and Odontochelys, bridge the morphological gap between a generalized animal body plan to the highly modified body plan found in living turtles.

The paper, published in Current Biology, can be found here.

Animation by Stroma Studios.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

How the turtle got its shell, a not-so ‘Just So’ story

By Sarah Kaplan

June 25 at 5:22 AM

Long, long ago, in a time so far in the past it preceded the dinosaurs and the continents, lived a tiny creature named “grandfather turtle.” It had many of the qualities of the turtles we know and love today: a boxy body, plodding legs, a long neck topped by a small, round head.

It was only missing one thing: a shell.

Thanks to the newly discovered fossil of that tiny creature, scientists say they have solved the story of how the turtle got its shell. But this is no Rudyard Kipling fable. It’s science.

The not-so “Just So” story, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, tracks the evolution of the turtle body plan through millions of years of history. By examining fossils that spanned millennia and continents, researchers were able to figure out how the modern turtle’s unique shell evolved from what was just a brief expanse of belly bones about 240 million years ago.

The origin of the turtle shell has long bewildered scientists (this was, apparently, the one natural phenomenon Kipling hadn’t written a story to explain). Though they had fossils of turtle predecessors from the beginning and the end of the Triassic period, there was little evidence of what happened to ancient turtles during the intervening years. The bones of the 260 million-year-old Eunotosaurus, a reptilian creature found in South Africa, had wide, flat ribs and a sprawling, turtle-like figure, but it was far from the armor-encased animal we know today.

The next time a turtle ancestor popped up in the fossil record, the Odontochelys about 220 million years before present, it had a fully developed belly plate called a “plastron” that would eventually expand to enclose the turtle’s whole body, protecting it from attacks from above and below. (The first turtle with a true shell wouldn’t appear on the scene until about 6 million years after that.)

But there was nothing in the yawning 40 million-year void between the two ancient species to explain where that plastron came from.

“Hopefully we’ll find more,” Robert Reisz, a paleontologist at the University of Toronto, told National Geographic after the Odontochelys was first found in 2008. “We’re closing the gap, but there is still a big morphological gap between this turtle and its non-turtle ancestors.”

Enter Pappochelys, the hero of our story, ready and willing to fill that gap.

Pappochelys, whose name means “grandfather turtle,” lived about 240 million years ago in a warm sub-tropical lake, Hans-Dieter Sues, a co-author of the Nature study and curator at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in D.C., told NPR. Discovered in a limestone quarry near Stuttgart, Germany, it is the precise chronological and morphological midpoint between the two previously known fossils: about eight inches from tip to tail, it had slender legs and an oddly boxy body with a rib cage that looked like the beginnings of a “little bony house.”

This physiological setup was good for protection and also worked as “bone ballast,” according to Smithsonian, allowing the animal to control its buoyancy in the water.

In addition, the Pappochelys had a series of hard, shell-like bones lining its belly — the beginnings of the plastron that would turn up 20 million years later.

“It has real beginnings of the belly shell developing, little rib-like structures beginning to fuse together into larger plates and then ultimately making up the belly shell,” Sues told NPR.

Sues’s co-author, Rainer R. Schoch, a paleontologist at the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Stuttgart, called Pappochelys a “transitional creature,” one that illustrates how ancient lizards became modern turtles.

“Transitional creatures are the most important contribution that paleontology can make to the study of evolution,” Schoch told Voice of America. “They are often unexpected and show surprising features.”

And, in Pappochelys case, they tell pretty good stories.

Big protest against European Union anti-refugee policy


This video says about itself:

Germany: Ruptly journalist pepper-sprayed covering migrant justice protest

21 June 2015

Protesters clashed with police, as thousands rallied through Berlin for World Refugee Day, Sunday, protesting against the European policies towards the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. A Ruptly producer got pepper-sprayed by police as he was filming the protest in front of the German Bundestag.

German activist group the Centre for Political Beauty converted the area in front of the Chancellery and the Bundestag into a symbolic graveyard, dedicated to “unknown migrants” to shed light on unprecedented numbers of migrants dying attempting the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean.

By Stefan Steinberg in Germany:

5,000 protest in Berlin against EU refugee policy

24 June 2015

Over 5,000 people marched through central Berlin on Sunday to protest against the inhumane policy of the German government and European Union towards refugees. Many of the marchers carried flowers or candles and walked behind a funeral car symbolising the massive loss of life on European borders. Handheld banners declared: “Europe’s borders kill” and “Every person is legal”.

The vast majority of those assembled were young people and students, but the march also included families and refugee organisation activists.

The original aim of the demonstration was to assemble in front of the office of the German chancellor and, in the form of coffins, confront the head of government with the results of her policy. At the last minute the police banned the demonstration from marching on the chancellor’s office and set up a no-go cordon around the building. Determined to carry out their protest, the marchers changed their route and assembled in front of the German parliament (Bundestag).

The protesters then dug symbolic graves in the turf in front of the Bundestag decked with around 100 wooden crosses to mark a small number of the thousands of victims who have already died this year attempting to enter Europe. Later on Sunday evening police intervened and detained 50 of the protesters. The following morning the grounds of the Bundestag were cleared of the crosses.

The rally was organized by a group of artists called the Center for Political Beauty, which has organised a series of campaigns in recent years directed at drawing attention to political abuses by governments and institutions such as the United Nations and the Deutsche Bank. Supporters of the group, bearing T-shirts with the slogan “The Dead Are Coming”, formed a cortège around the funeral car which headed the demonstration through Berlin. Their aim is to put pressure on existing governments and EU institutions to implement their verbal commitment to human rights, despite the fact that these institutions are at the forefront of the attack on migrants.

The demonstration met with a broad response from layers of the population appalled at the daily reports of men, women and children dying on European borders. Some participants explained why they decided to attend the demonstration.

Sylvie is a student at the Humboldt University. She attended the demonstration with two friends. She said she had been shocked and sickened by the refugee deaths that had already taken place this year. “The actions of the German and other European governments are criminal”, Sylvie said. “Instead of welcoming immigrants with open arms the Merkel government and EU governments have set up a system aimed at deterring and punishing them.”

“25 years ago people celebrated here in Berlin when the wall came down”, she added, “but now new walls are being set up to separate people. A wall has been established around Europe to keep immigrants out and walls are being built inside Europe itself to keep people apart. Hungary plans to build a wall to keep Serbian refugees out. Greece is building barriers along its borders. This madness has to stop.”

Rolf, a refugee activist in Berlin, told WSWS: “The German government tries to wash its hands of any blame and claims it takes in more refugees than other countries. But it is the German government that has played a key role in making sure that immigrants are not allowed to move into central Europe after they have attempted to land in countries on the fringe of Europe.”

“All of the parties are equally to blame”, Rolf said. “Instead of taking responsibility for their actions and allowing people into Europe, the SPD is discussing a points system based on a Canadian model where only the best and brightest gain access to the labour market. If refugees can prove they have a master’s degree in computer science they will be allowed in. But there is no place for the rest and their families who are fleeing poverty and war.”

The response to Sunday’s protest came despite the fact that the demonstration had been called at short notice and against a background of fiercely hostile comments in the media and from leading politicians.

Activists from the group had staged funerals in Berlin last week for refugees who had died in the Mediterranean and been summarily buried in Italy. In a statement the group explained its aim: “We are commemorating all those who have died daily on the borders of Europe and are buried in unmarked graves, without their names ever reaching the public.”

The response by sections of the press was vitriolic, with articles claiming that the burials were “macabre”, “gruesome” or even “political pornography” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). The German government commissioner for refugees, Aydan Özoguz (SPD), also criticized the march on Sunday. “With all due respect for the anger of activists in the face of thousands of refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, staging a spectacle of corpses goes beyond moral limits”, he told Die Welt on Saturday.

Germany’s leading newspapers and politicians recently declared it was necessary to enter into a serious dialogue with the right-wing, racist Pegida movement, which vilifies and terrorises refugees. Now, just a few weeks later, the same newspapers and political parties viciously condemn those seeking to highlight the EU’s criminal role in the death of thousands of immigrants.

EU begins military intervention in Mediterranean: here.

German government arrests journalist on behalf of Egyptian dictatorship


This video from Germany says about itself:

Germany: Protesters demand Germany release Al Jazeera reporter Ahmed Mansour

21 June 2015

Protesters gathered outside Berlin’s State Criminal Police Office in Berlin, Sunday, to demonstrate against the detention there of Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour.

The protesters also demonstrated against incumbent Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the 2013 Egyptian government coup. Two of Mansour’s lawyers, Patrick Teubner and Fazli Altin, were also present. Teubner said German authorities had arrested Mansour despite Interpol rejecting an international arrest warrant that had been issued by the Egyptian authorities. “In this respect there are still unanswered questions,” the lawyer said.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Germany: Journalist held on Egyptian warrant

Monday 22nd June 2015

PROTESTERS called for the release of al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour yesterday after German authorities arrested him on an Egyptian warrant.

Egyptian-British Mr Mansour, a senior journalist with the Qatar-based broadcaster’s Arabic service, was detained at Tegel airport in Berlin on Saturday while trying to board a Qatar Airways flight to Doha.

He had previously been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison in Egypt for allegedly torturing an unnamed lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011, a charge both he and al-Jazeera rejected.

“During the course of the day there will be several meetings and of course there can be at any time also a decision to set him free again,” said Berlin Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Martin Steltner.

In a video posted on Facebook, Mr Mansour criticised German authorities for detaining him on behalf of Egypt.

This video says about itself:

Germany: arrested Al Jazeera journalist expecting to face extradition judge

21 June 2015

A high-profile Al Jazeera journalist, arrested in Germany at the request of Egypt, says he is surprised about his detention.

Ahmed Mansour, who is a leading talk show host on the channel’s Arabic service, is expecting to face a judge who will decide on whether he should be extradited.

Cairo’s criminal court sentenced the journalist to 15 years in prison in absentia last year.

By Alex Lantier:

Germany arrests Al Jazeera journalist on warrant issued by Egyptian junta

22 June 2015

In an unprecedented move, the German government on Saturday detained senior Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the bloody regime of Egyptian military strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Mansour was arrested at Tegel airport in Berlin. He was taken from court to prison in the Moabit district on Sunday, according to Berlin court spokesman Martin Steltner. “Today’s meeting was about formalities,” Steltner said, adding that “next week there will be an assessment regarding the validity of the warrant.”

On Monday, German courts will begin examining a request from the Sisi regime to extradite Mansour to Cairo, according to Mansour’s lawyer, Fazli Altin. Mansour, a dual British-Egyptian national, is receiving consular advice from British authorities.

“This case has clearly taken on a political dimension, and there are currently lots of background talks and various consulates are also involved,” said Patrick Teubner, a second lawyer for Mansour.

By honoring an arrest warrant issued by the Sisi junta, which has shot thousands in the streets of Egypt after launching a coup two years ago against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, Berlin is endorsing the Egyptian junta and its frame-ups of journalists. It is a naked assault on freedom of the press and fundamental democratic rights.

This persecution of a journalist at the behest of a blood-soaked regime comes only months after German Chancellor Angela Merkel marched with other European leaders in Paris and proclaimed their devotion to freedom of the press and the rights of journalists following the attack on the anti-Islamic, racist French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Dozens of protesters, including many Egyptians, gathered outside the Berlin court yesterday to protest Mansour’s arrest.

Last year, Egyptian courts imprisoned three journalists from Al Jazeera, a news channel based in Qatar, whose government is aligned with Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The journalists were jailed on charges of acting to discredit the Sisi junta.

Correspondent Peter Greste, Cairo Bureau Chief Mohamed Fahmy, and news producer Baher Mohamed received prison terms of seven to ten years, though prosecutors provided no probative evidence against them. Prosecution witnesses contradicted prosecutors’ claims and suggested they had tampered with evidence. The trial attracted international condemnation and Cairo ultimately released Greste in February.

So noxious is the stench of criminality and blood that hangs over the Sisi junta, the international police agency Interpol refused to honor its request last year for a warrant against Mansour. In October, Interpol declared that the Sisi junta’s warrant request against Mansour “did not meet Interpol’s rules.”

In a statement issued Saturday, Mansour declared, “I informed [the German police] that the global police organization has rejected Egypt’s request and that I have this document from Interpol to prove that I am not wanted in any charge. I also told them that all the cases that were filed against me in Egypt were fabricated. They, however, insisted on holding me in their detention center for investigation. They told me that they will transfer me to face an investigating judge, who will determine my case.”

The accusations against Mansour are manifestly as baseless as those against Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed. Egyptian Foreign Minister Badr Abdelattie told the Associated Press that Egyptian judicial authorities, including the chief prosecutor in Cairo, were in contact with German authorities and are still trying to decide what charges to bring against Mansour. However, they apparently include claims that Mansour “harmed the reputation of Egypt massively” by his coverage, and that he tortured an unidentified lawyer during mass protests in 2011.

“It’s unacceptable for freedom of the press and embarrassing for Germany that Mansour is being held here on these clearly political allegations,” said Mansour’s lawyer, Altin.

The German government’s decision to act on politically-tainted allegations is an infamous act. Its arrest of a journalist—based on accusations of harming the reputation of a junta that massacres unarmed protesters and tortures thousands of political prisoners—amounts to outright censorship. If Mansour is deported to Egypt, he will undoubtedly face a long a prison term, or even a death sentence.

Media organizations denounced the jailing of Mansour. Reporters Without Borders issued a statement calling the detention “Egypt’s terrible revenge against journalists that cross the regime,” and warning that if Berlin decides to extradite Mansour, “it will be putting itself at the service of a dictatorial regime and will dishonor itself.”

Al Jazeera Acting Director General Mostefa Souag declared, “The crackdown on journalists by Egyptian authorities is well known. Our network, as the Arab world’s most watched, has taken the brunt of this. Other countries must not allow themselves to be tools of this media oppression, least of all those that respect freedom of the media as does Germany.”

Like Washington, the European financial aristocracy supports the Sisi junta, which they see as the only force capable of suppressing the revolutionary struggles of the Egyptian working class that broke out in 2011. Earlier this month, Sisi traveled to Berlin, where he was showered with honors and tens of billions of euros in defense contracts and business deals. (See: Al-Sisi in Berlin: Red carpet for the hangman of Cairo) He was similarly received in earlier visits to Paris and Rome.

The arrest of Mansour marks, nonetheless, an escalation in the brazenness of the European Union (EU) powers’ support for the Sisi regime.

It is a calculated signal sent by Berlin that it is ready to publicly collaborate with repressive measures by military dictatorships taken, as in Egypt, to muzzle the press and crush opposition in the working class—despite popular opposition in Europe itself.

One of the intended recipients of this message is doubtless the Greek premier, Alexis Tsipras. He is currently seeking to renegotiate austerity measures demanded by Berlin and the EU, which are threatening to cut off credit to Greece and drive it into bankruptcy, though at the risk of provoking a new global financial meltdown and the possible disintegration of the EU itself.

Greece was ruled from 1967 to 1974 by the junta of the colonels, which came to power in a CIA-backed coup and employed mass torture and murder to suppress popular opposition.

If Berlin is capable of working so openly with the Egyptian junta, it will have no difficulty making arrangements with a new Greek military junta imposed to enforce austerity on the working class. Tsipras can see what his intended fate would be in such a scenario by looking south across the Mediterranean to Egypt, where Mursi is in jail on trumped-up charges, facing multiple death sentences.

AL-JAZEERA journalist Ahmed Mansour who was detained in Germany on Saturday on an Egyptian arrest warrant, was released from custody yesterday. Berlin prosecutors’ office spokesman Stefan Stoehr confirmed that Mr Mansour “is free,” but he was unable to provide any more details: here.