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The Manning Show Trial


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I’m shocked — shocked! — that Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge who ruled in February that Bradley Manning could be tried on  various charges even after being held prior to arraignment for more than five times the absolute longest time specified in the US Armed Forces’ “speedy trial” rules, has now also ruled that Manning can be convicted of aiding an enemy that does not exist.

Yes, you read that right: There’s only an “enemy” to aid, in any legal sense, if the United States is at war, a state created by a congressional declaration. There’s been no such declaration since World War II.

Lind had only one legal duty as judge in this case: To dismiss all charges due to the government’s failure to meet the “speedy trial” deadline. If the United States was, as John Adams put it, “a government of laws, not of men,” that’s exactly what she would have done.

Lind’s superiors had a clear duty as well — to remove her from the bench after that first illegal ruling and charge her under Article 98 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice:

“Any person subject to this chapter who –

“(1) is responsible for unnecessary delay in the disposition of any case of a person accused of an offense under this chapter; or

“(2) Knowingly and intentionally fails to enforce or comply with any provision of this chapter regulating the proceedings before, during, or after trial of an accused; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

No, I’m not really shocked that none of this happened. It’s par for the course. Laws, including the “supreme law of the land,” aka the US Constitution, are for us little people. The US government doesn’t need or want them, except for use as camouflage. It does whatever it wants to do (or rather whatever the ruling members of the American political class tell it to do).

The only reasonable takeaway from the Manning trial is that American “rule of law” is a sham. The US government doesn’t operate within the Constitution’s constraints on state power, nor does it honor that Constitution’s list of enshrined individual rights. It never has done so absent extreme compulsion and it never will do so on anything like a regular basis.

The corollary: If the US government isn’t bound by its own alleged rules, why on Earth would anyone else be?

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

via The Manning Show Trial » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

Seeds of Destruction: The Diabolical World of Genetic Manipulation


Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people.”* –Henry Kissenger

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Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” by F. William Engdahl is a skillfully researched book that focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread.

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO.  Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms. The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

Engdahl’s carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and world peace.

What follows is the Preface to ”Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” by F. William Engdahl (available through Global Research):

Introduction

“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so,we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.”
-George Kennan, US State Department senior planning official, 1948

This book is about a project undertaken by a small socio-political elite, centered, after the Second World War, not in London, but in Washington. It is the untold story of how this self-anointed elite set out, in Kennan’s words, to “maintain this position of disparity.” It is the story of how a tiny few dominated the resources and levers of power in the postwar world.

It’s above all a history of the evolution of power in the control of a select few, in which even science was put in the service of that minority. As Kennan recommended in his 1948 internal memorandum, they pursued their policy relentlessly, and without the “luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.”

Yet, unlike their predecessors within leading circles of the British Empire, this emerging American elite, who proclaimed proudly at war’s end the dawn of their American Century, were masterful in their use of the rhetoric of altruism and world-benefaction to advance their goals. Their American Century paraded as a softer empire, a “kinder, gentler” one in which, under the banner of colonial liberation, freedom, democracy and economic development, those elite circles built a network of power the likes of which the world had not seen since the time of Alexander the Great some three centuries before Christ—a global empire unified under the military control of a sole superpower, able to decide on a whim, the fate of entire nations.

This book is the sequel to a first volume, A Century ofWar: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. It traces a second thin red line of power. This one is about the control over the very basis of human survival, our daily provision of bread. The man who served the interests of the postwar American-based elite during the 1970’s, and came to symbolize its raw realpolitik, was Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Sometime in the mid-1970’s, Kissinger, a life-long practitioner of “Balance of Power” geopolitics and a man with more than a fair share of conspiracies under his belt, allegedly declared his blueprint for world domination: “Control the oil and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people.”

The strategic goal to control global food security had its roots decades earlier, well before the outbreak of war in the late 1930’s. It was funded, often with little notice, by select private foundations, which had been created to preserve the wealth and power of a handful of American families.

Originally the families centered their wealth and power in New York and along the East Coast of the United States, from Boston to New York to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. For that reason, popular media accounts often referred to them, sometimes with derision but more often with praise, as the East Coast Establishment.

The center of gravity of American power shifted in the decades following the War. The East Coast Establishment was overshadowed by new centers of power which evolved from Seattle to Southern California on the Pacific Coast, as well as in Houston, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Miami, just as the tentacles of American power spread to Asia and Japan, and south, to the nations of Latin America.

In the several decades before and immediately following World War II, one family came to symbolize the hubris and arrogance of this emerging American Century more than any other. And the vast fortune of that family had been built on the blood of many wars, and on their control of a new “black gold,” oil.

What was unusual about this family was that early on in the building of their fortune, the patriarchs and advisors they cultivated to safeguard their wealth decided to expand their influence over many very different fields. They sought control not merely over oil, the emerging new energy source for world economic advance. They also expanded their influence over the education of youth, medicine and psychology, foreign policy of the United States, and, significant for our story, over the very science of life itself, biology, and its applications in the world of plants and agriculture.

For the most part, their work passed unnoticed by the larger population, especially in the United States. Few Americans were aware how their lives were being subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, influenced by one or another project financed by the immense wealth of this family.

In the course of researching for this book, a work nominally on the subject of genetically modified organisms or GMO, it soon became clear that the history of GMO was inseparable from the political history of this one very powerful family, the Rockefeller family, and the four brothers—David,Nelson, Laurance and John D. III—who, in the three decades following American victory in World War II, the dawn of the much-heralded American Century, shaped the evolution of power George Kennan referred to in 1948.

In actual fact, the story of GMO is that of the evolution of power in the hands of an elite, determined at all costs to bring the entire world under their sway.

Three decades ago, that power was based around the Rockefeller family. Today, three of the four brothers are long-since deceased, several under peculiar circumstances.However, as was their will, their project of global domination—“full spectrum dominance” as the Pentagon later called it—had spread, often through a rhetoric of “democracy,” and was aided from time to time by the raw military power of that empire when deemed necessary. Their project evolved to the point where one small power group, nominally headquartered in Washington in the early years of the new century, stood determined to control future and present life on this planet to a degree never before dreamed of.

The story of the genetic engineering and patenting of plants and other living organisms cannot be understood without looking at the history of the global spread of American power in the decades following World War II. George Kennan, Henry Luce, Averell Harriman and, above all, the four Rockefeller brothers, created the very concept of multinational “agribusiness”. They financed the “Green Revolution” in the agriculture sector of developing countries in order, among other things, to create new markets for petro-chemical fertilizers and petroleum products, as well as to expand dependency on energy products. Their actions are an inseparable part of the story of genetically modified crops today.

By the early years of the new century, it was clear that no more than four giant chemical multinational companies had emerged as global players in the game to control patents on the very basic food products that most people in the world depend on for their daily nutrition—corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, even vegetables and fruits and cotton—as well as new strains of disease-resistant poultry, genetically-modified to allegedly resist the deadly H5N1 Bird Flu virus, or even gene altered pigs and cattle. Three of the four private companies had decades-long ties to Pentagon chemical warfare research. The fourth, nominally Swiss, was in reality Anglodominated. As with oil, so was GMO agribusiness very much an Anglo-American global project.

In May 2003, before the dust from the relentless US bombing and destruction of Baghdad had cleared, the President of the United States chose to make GMO a strategic issue, a priority in his postwar US foreign policy. The stubborn resistance of the world’s second largest agricultural producer, the European Union, stood as a formidable barrier to the global success of the GMO Project. As long as Germany, France, Austria, Greece and other countries of the European Union steadfastly refused to permit GMO planting for health and scientific reasons, the rest of the world’s nations would remain skeptical and hesitant. By early 2006, the World Trade Organization (WTO) had forced open the door of the European Union to the mass proliferation of GMO. It appeared that global success was near at hand for the GMO Project.

In the wake of the US and British military occupation of Iraq, Washington proceeded to bring the agriculture of Iraq under the domain of patented genetically-engineered seeds, initially supplied through the generosity of the US State Department and Department of Agriculture.

The first mass experiment with GMO crops, however, took place back in the early 1990’s in a country whose elite had long since been corrupted by the Rockefeller family and associated New York banks: Argentina.

Seeds of DestructionThe following pages trace the spread and proliferation of GMO, often through political coercion, governmental pressure, fraud, lies, and even murder. If it reads often like a crime story, that should not be surprising. The crime being perpetrated in the name of agricultural efficiency, environmental friendliness and solving the world hunger problem, carries stakes which are vastly more important to this small elite. Their actions are not solely for money or for profit. After all, these powerful private families decide who controls the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and even the European Central Bank. Money is in their hands to destroy or create.

Their aim is rather, the ultimate control over future life on this planet, a supremacy earlier dictators and despots only ever dreamt of. Left unchecked, the present group behind the GMO Project is between one and two decades away from total dominance of the planet’s food capacities. This aspect of the GMO story needs telling. I therefore invite the reader to a careful reading and independent verification or reasoned refutation of what follows.

F. William Engdahl is a leading analyst of the New World Order, author of the best-selling book on oil and geopolitics, A Century of War: Anglo-American Politics and the New World Order,’ His writings have been translated into more than a dozen languages.  

Is Terrorism the New Boogeyman?


Below is the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of two words. Please keep in mind their meaning when reading the article. There is a relationship between the two words:

Boogeyman: a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children

Terrorism: Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. This word also rhymes with absurdism.

The boogeyman is the fictitious monster that haunts kids particularly when they are going to bed. In my case, he hid underneath my bed ready to grab my ankles and pull me under. To avoid him, I leapt into bed to avoid his reach. To avoid seeing him in case he came out, I covered my eyes with the blanket. I think my feelings and childhood fears of this imaginary creature are common.

Use of a boogeyman in the case of children could be to persuade them to go to bed early or eat their vegetables. “If you don’t do this, the boogeyman might get you”! None of as children wanted that, so we did as we were told. A boogeyman is also useful in the case of adults. In the past 75 years adults in the United States have been under the influence of three or more scary boogeymen. The media outlets and the US government kindly supply us with ever-scarier boogeymen. Whether intended or not, the use of a boogeyman works well in persuading and obtaining compliance (getting adults to do something).

The boogeyman 75 years ago was scary. However, he lived less than ten years, and we eliminated him. The boogeyman I refer to was one for my parents and grandparents: he was called the Nazis and he lived in Germany. He was a threat to the freedom and constitutional rights of Americans. He invaded countries and killed our friends (read allies). For some years my parents actually feared being bombed or invaded by that boogeyman. Note they lived in the Midwest and not the East coast. Had they thought it through, they too would have realized that was not possible due to logistical limitations then present in military aircraft (today they can refuel midair). Today it seems rather absurd that people could believe such a thing back then, but it was real to them.

Nonetheless, the government fanned the flames of fear (maybe use of terrorism) ,and almost all people believed what they were told by media and government back then. The citizenry, young and old alike, complied with government requests and did what they could do to help eliminate the threat. That boogeyman disappeared through a war that ended in 1945.

Only a few years passed before a new, more global, boogeyman emerged. He was the communists and the threat of communism. If we did not stop this boogeyman, he too, might take our liberty and freedom like the one before. We stared to fear this boogeyman shortly after World War II and into the 1980s. The communists were good boogeyman for decades, and represented the opposite of what we stand for. We were told they have no liberty or freedom, and this boogeyman does not want people of the world to have such inalienable rights like that.

Who would doubt this and not want to comply with government support in the elimination of this boogeyman? We largely complied, trillions of dollars were spent, and thousands of people were killed. We fought wars to ward off this boogeyman (Korea Vietnam, and other armed conflicts of smaller duration). We even helped some friends (read allies) fend off this boogeyman-Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, to name some examples.

The government softened its stand (ended the terrorism) on this boogeyman, and people don’t perceive it a threat any more. This might be due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the despair we are told of in Cuba, and widespread trading with China and Vietnam In fact, it does not seem to matter that China is a communist country, we can travel there, trade with them, but for some reason, Cuba is off limits.

The boogeyman of the modern era is terrorism. He came out in the late 1990’s and made his real debut on September 11, 2001. He is more nebulous than the former boogeymen, as he does not have a permanent address or place where we can easily find him like the Nazis or the communists. However, being so nimble and fast moving, he can be under your bed, like the boogeyman of childhood. He can be down the street and could be your neighbor. This new monster serves better than those of the past to incite fear and compliance. Lacking an address, we are inspired to chase him down in many places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and down the street from your house. He might even be in your home or office now. We even look for him at the airport every day.

The modern boogeyman has more places to hide, and a better strategy than his predecessors. This new boogeyman might even be friends of our friends (allies, or friends), as President George Bush warned us in his address on September 20, 2001 to a Joint Session of Congress

We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. – Bush, George W. (September 20, 2001). “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People”. The White House. Retrieved 2008-09-19.

Our government finds the current boogeyman scarier than his predecessors, as we have parked our constitution to pursue him. We have spent much money to catch him, and many are currently willing to be spied on to avoid him. As former President Bush said to congress, if you keep company with the boogeyman, we consider you an enemy. Obviously we are very serious about this newer boogeyman, and even willing to give up some things we fought boogeymen in the past for. That being our freedom and parts of the constitution (read Patriot Act).

Let us return to the definition of terrorism: It is systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Where did the latest boogeyman come from? Who is creating the fear and the real terrorist? Who wants to bring about a political objective?

Our prior two boogeymen were created by non-United States entities: German and Russian political movements. Maybe the current boogeyman was created because of our past and current follies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. Is it really a boogeyman, or are the good folks that promote him (read terrorists) making him larger than he need be.

Maybe stopping our forays into other parts of the world will eliminate the current boogeyman. However, those wanting to make terror will not have an excuse to bring about a political objective and need this boogeyman. You decide- who are the real terrorists, and who wants political change? Who is who in this game? Is this not all absurdism?

via Is Terrorism the New Boogeyman? – OpenGov.US.

U.S. nuclear site “a true horror story” — Officials should be screaming at top of their lungs in outrage — “Problems could lead to explosions or nuclear reactions” #Hanford


Hanford’s 56 million gallons of the most contaminated nuclear waste in the western hemisphere is a true horror story. [

In February, officials announced that six single-shell tanks were leaking. These are not the first leaks; there have been decades of earth contamination.

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Bechtel National is contracted by DOE to oversee the construction of a vitrification plant. Vitrification means processing the waste into glass logs

The decision was made to begin construction of the plant before the design had been vetted. Consequently, there are design problems that could lead to explosions or nuclear reactions.

Senators Murray and Cantwell, et al., should be screaming at the tops of their lungs in outrage. Instead, it appears it’s up to us to make our voices heard. Surely they’d all want to hear from their constituents.

via Paper: U.S. nuclear site “a true horror story” — Officials should be screaming at top of their lungs in outrage — “Problems could lead to explosions or nuclear reactions” #Hanford.

Price of Injustice


British Occupied Ireland(N.Ireland)

A commoner in British Occupied Ireland, can be designated a “terrorist” on the secret, unaccountable dictat of the unelected British Viceroyal Villiers, without notice and without a trial. Under CMPs(Closed Material Procedures) any Irish person may be jailed, simply on vaguely-defined, highly paid “material support,” against any person or group, labeled by the Viceroyal as “terrorist.” Any political dissent, such as wearing green, as in a recent incident, or singing a ‘Celtic Song’, or holding a piece of paper at an Easter ceremony, can be labeled as “terrorism” or “material support for terrorism,”

Two essentials are driving the trampling of democratic rights in British Occupied Ireland and the shift towards authoritarian Viceroyal fascist rule there. The first is the massive social inequality, which the British Chief Constable in Ireland, Matt Baggott, referred to recently, when pleading for greater efforts to counter the economic and social roots of Irish republican dissent, in turn driven by the historic crisis, of British sponsored sectarianism, within their capitalist system of further inequality. Britain as usual, looks to sponsored state terrorism, police state repression, wartime political internment without trial, as a means to preserve their status, power and wealth.

The second is that real democracy is incompatible, with such high levels of sectarianism, social inequality and injustice, it is also incompatible with low intensity imperialist war, such as Britain is still conducting in Ireland, under the guise of a fake Peace Process. The UK military and intelligence agencies, have for centuries been wading in the blood of every country in the world, with the exception of just 10, in a drive to plunder the world’s resources. The dead, wounded, interned and displaced numbered in the millions, with Ireland its first colony of 800 years suffering incessant genocide and invasions.

A knock on the door! In the early hours of the morning. A door smashed with British jackboot of state terrorism, and armed men breaking into your home. They call them military and British paramilitary police, as you are dragged from your bed. Jail, internment camps, no charge, no trial, indefinite detention. This has been the institutionalized pattern of political internment in Ireland, for more than a hundred years now. It is still happening today, as the well documented cases of Marian Price and Martin Corey still testify, despite a much touted Peace Process.

The current international struggle against real and state sponsored “terrorism” is the latest political cover, misused by the British, for their centuries old, worldwide arrest and murder of tens of thousands of political opponents, youth, workers, intellectuals and other enemies of their colonialism or pirate rape of worldwide communities along with their resources. The UK government, currently asserts the power, to subject anyone Irish who disagrees, as a designated “terrorist,” subject to arbitrary arrest and detention without trial indefinitely. Political internment without trial has become institutionalized in Ireland.

Leaving to one side for a moment, how morally grotesque all of this is, one does not have to be particularly bright, to see, that such obvious injustice, has no place in building a genuine peace process.Those secret service puppets, stooges, who are called politicians in British Occupied Ireland, who have curried favour and made lucrative careers, by exclusively condemning non British state violence, are quite comfortable with all of this institutionalized violence, to the point where a mercenary British Chief Constable was forced to highlight some of it, in a one party British sponsored kleptocracy .

It is vital where ever we are, to oppose such criminal British assaults on freedom, in the first instance, no matter who is targeted, because such state kidnap, when unopposed, has become institutionalized. Now that it has happened, this is difficult to stop, because once it happens, it inevitably occurs, that internment without trial, will expand way beyond just the Irish and other groups originally targeted, to include all of the people of no property, wherever criminal privilege, ensnares.

Anyone Irish who has been paying attention, knows that British concepts of “guilt” and “innocence” are quaint relics of a dead Magna Carta and a discarded habeas corpus. All that matters today in British Occupied Ireland, is how many convictions a prosecutor can get and how many secret service careers are advanced in the secret “injustice” system, of a scum sectarian state, sponsored by supremacist British Tories, under the watch of Viceroyal Villiers. “Justice,” just like everything else in ” British civilized” society, is an industry and a product, that keeps the British Tory ruling classes happy with the restless Irish natives still under the colonial jackboot.

Freedom and truth are not part of the equation as with the ruling class worldwide, now in the advanced stages of preparations for the inevitable confrontation with the international people of no property. We need to make our own preparations, conscious of the examples elsewhere, of progressive, evolutionary, political struggles to genuine government by the people of no property, for the people of no property. It is they and only they, who can be trusted to avert the threats of dictatorship and guard a genuine democracy, with social equality and real justice.

After World War II at the Nuremberg Tribunals, the principal Judge said of the purpose of Nuremberg: “We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it.” The intent was to establish a precedent against aggressive war like, Iraq, just 57 years later. Jackson said: “Let me make clear, that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes and if it is to serve a useful purpose, it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment.

“We are able to do away with domestic tyranny and violence and aggression by those in power against the rights of their own people only when we make all men answerable to the law. This trial represents mankind’s desperate effort to apply the discipline of the law to statesmen who have used their powers of state to attack the foundations of the world’s peace and to commit aggression against the rights of their neighbors.”

On April 24, 1946, one of the Nazi defendants Wilhelm Frick, told the Tribunal, “I wanted things done legally. After all, I am a lawyer.” Frick drafted, signed and administered laws that suppressed trade unions and persecuted Jews. He insisted he had drafted the Nuremberg Laws for “scientific reasons,” to protect the purity of German blood. Frick also knew that the insane, aged and disabled (“useless eaters”) were being systematically killed, but did nothing to stop it.

Frick was sentenced to death by the Nuremberg Tribunal and hanged on Oct. 16, 1946.

I do not advocate capital punishment, even for the likes of Viceroyal Villiers and her ancestor also called Viceroyal George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, who ruled over the genocidal holocaust, that murdered millions of Irish people, in what they call the Great Hunger. I simply want the Villiers and Tories held accountable, as their faux-lawyer Nazi counterparts were. Otherwise Britain has made a liar out of Justice Jackson and made a mockery of the Nuremberg principles, which so many working class people, gave their lives for, including their loyalists in Ireland, which will be revealed as just another case of “victor’s justice” despite promises to the contrary. Their own Churchill called internment, an Act of War in the highest degree Odious and the mark of an authoritarian regime.

I do not know how British law, hold it’s supposed professionals to account but I do know that Viceroyal Villiers obtained a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) from Jesus College, Oxford, in 1991. After graduating she worked as a barrister and as a lecturer at King’s College London (1994–99). It is understandable that these international colleges may simply be places of ill repute and vice, bearing in mind the British track record, of not honouring it’s Royal pardons and their SS shredding her Majesty’s writs. But if by chance, they even aspire to any claim of morality in their lawless neo-colony, then they sshould not need me to explain to them, how to commence what the Price of Justice requires.

As with freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, is also meant to be guaranteed, in a democratic peace process, with the reality, however being, that political assembly is a semi-criminal activity in British Occupied Ireland. Political protests are routinely met with vastly disproportionate police mobilizations, “kettling” (in which protesters are surrounded and forcibly moved in one direction or prevented from leaving an area), beatings, tear gas, pepper spray, stun grenades or plastic bullets are the standard British response to a peaceful, political protest, in a massive show of force, complete with riot gear and police snipers on rooftops. What is this but a police state, repression, combined with internment without trial, death squads, that murder human rights lawyers and journalists. A foundation for a Peace Process?

Ask the people of no property ghettoized across the neo-colony. They will tell you justice is locked up, it is political interned right now, in the form of Marian Price and Martin Corey. Like a slow burn fuse, internment without trial, is an instrument of war that burns in the Irish psyche and heart. It has no place in a peace process. Nobody can be that stupid, not even the Brits but to realize, it guarantees more war, especially in the instance of icons of Irish street resistance, to British colonial occupation in Ireland. It hasn’t worked in a hundred years and it will not work now. No, like recent British aggressive wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria the British industrial war complex, demands permanent wars of profit and political research laboratories for their state terror in police state neo-colonies, such as British Occupied Ireland.

Related Link: http://bit.ly/13C9IdY

via Price of Injustice – Indymedia Ireland.

via Price of Injustice – Indymedia Ireland.

A thousand days of austerity


It is now three years since Europe-imposed cutbacks were first imposed on Spain

With rampant unemployment, the country’s suffering has never been more acute

Rereading John Williams’ novel Stoner recently, I was struck by the author’s description of the years between the end of World War I and the start of World War II. Williams describes the widespread feeling of desperation that he had seen as a child, before the Great Depression hit in 1929: the men and women whose lives had been destroyed, walking the streets aimlessly, reduced to begging for a crust of bread.

Williams’ description of the years leading up to the Great Depression will be increasingly familiar to many Spaniards. This week, in the early hours of Thursday to be exact, marks the third anniversary of the beginning of what might be called Spain’s age of austerity, the moment when European economy and finance ministers pressured the Socialist Party administration of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to change its economic policies: from the combination of growth and fiscal consolidation that Zapatero had been trying to apply to a policy of rigor mortis and constant sacrifice that continues to this day and shows no sign of abating. More than 1,000 days of worsening unemployment, reduced spending power and social protection, and a weakened democracy.

Three years ago, Spain’s public deficit was 11.2 percent of GDP, and unemployment was 20 percent of the workforce, or 4.6 million people. The EU communiqué outlined an agreement to create a European Financial Stability Mechanism to help countries in difficulty, in exchange for which, Spain and Portugal would intensify their fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. Three days later, a bruised and battered Zapatero appeared before Congress and left deputies speechless by announcing a series of unprecedented spending cuts: public sector workers’ salaries would be reduced and pensions frozen; the 2,500-euro payment to new parents aimed at increasing the birth rate would be stopped; state investment slashed, some of the payments to families caring for dependents ended; and huge savings imposed on regional governments, among other measures.

Zapatero was desperately trying to save Spain from the fate of the PIG nations of Portugal, Ireland and Greece, where the EU had sent in the men in black from the so-called troika of the IMF, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the European Commission to run things, or would soon do so. These states would be subject to deep-rooted adjustment programs in return for money to keep their near-bankrupt economies functioning. Spain’s economy would be spared this indignity, but only at the cost of Zapatero having to apply the same policies. It would cost him the leadership, and his party the next election in a defeat from which it is still struggling to recover.

A battered Zapatero appeared before Congress and left deputies speechless

More important for millions of Spaniards is that on May 9, 2010, an age of austerity was ushered in that has changed the way that most people live and see the world: an economy based on fear (on uncertainty, economic insecurity, being left behind in an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, of being made permanently unemployed…) has morphed into one based on suffering (unemployment, impoverishment, no social protection and the demise of countless businesses…).

The nearest thing to the constraints imposed on Zapatero three years ago this week took place 19 years before, when French President François Mitterrand, after winning elections amid a kind of collective ecstasy during the high point of Socialist Party hegemony, was obliged by the markets to change his leftwing policies based on increasing demand and forced to backtrack on minimum wage promises, an increase in the deficit to pay for more public investment, a shorter working week, the nationalization of 36 banks and other reforms. Mariano Rajoy would sum up his country’s position in 2012, shortly after winning the general election, by telling Congress: “Spaniards cannot choose; we do not enjoy that freedom.”

The second stop in the “authoritarian austerity” program (so called because it has been imposed) took place one year later. The summer of 2011 was a time of speculative attacks on the Spanish economy, sending borrowing rates to dizzying heights. The volatility of the international markets made the cost of financing Spanish debt ever more expensive, and made life harder for businesses and households denied credit by the banks.

Three important events took place during this long, hot summer. First of all, Zapatero would call elections for November that year. The idea was that the winner (which from the outset was clearly going to be Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP), and by a landslide, giving it an absolute majority) would have the parliamentary and moral authority to continue the austerity program. Next, the ECB would send a still largely secret letter to Zapatero and another to Silvio Berlusconi, then prime minister of Italy (who made no bones about revealing its contents), obliging them to take bolder steps toward adjusting their respective economies and implement further reforms. In Spain’s case, this would be the second turn of the screw in as many months. In its missive, the ECB, an institution that has always defended its independence, told the Spanish government that it would have to implement a root-and-branch reform of the labor market, eliminate wage increases in line with inflation, impose further fiscal restrictions, and reform the energy, property, and professional services markets.

Rajoy: “Spaniards cannot choose; we do not enjoy that freedom”

What makes the letter particularly special is that it is signed by Miguel Ángel Fernández Ordóñez, then governor of the Bank of Spain and a member of the board of the ECB. The next signature is that of ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet. Fernández Ordóñez, obsessed with labor reform, was writing to Zapatero from Frankfurt to demand of him what he could not in his capacity as governor of the Bank of Spain. In exchange for the cuts and reforms, Spain would receive the ECB’s help in resisting the international markets’ repeated attacks, which Zapatero had described thus: “The speculative bombardment that Spain is suffering is comparable to that suffered by the Americans at Pearl Harbor.”

Zapatero’s third measure aimed at calming the markets was the most controversial: the reform of the Constitution. In a country like Spain, where two main political parties have been unable or unwilling to reach agreement on updating constitutional issues, the Socialist Party and the Popular Party did just that, and with little fuss, limiting the structural deficit, putting a ceiling on public debt, and above all, prioritizing the payment of loans to meet interest on government borrowing above any other obligation, whether that be health, education, pensions, unemployment or other welfare spending. This had long been a demand of Europe’s rightwing parties: handing over the weapon of fiscal policy, and was undertaken by Spain’s Socialist government without any debate.

The most recent austerity measure has been with us without interruption since 2012. One might say that the first 18 months of PP government in Spain has been a kind of permanent May 9, 2010. When Rajoy took up residence in the Moncloa Palace, he threw out the electoral program that had won him an absolute majority, and began applying the policies dictated by Brussels. He abandoned each and every one of the six pillars of his “Join the change” platform: economic growth and employment creation; education; protecting the welfare state; modernizing the public sector; strengthening the country’s institutions and re-establishing Spain’s international credibility. From December 31, 2011, when Rajoy approved the biggest spending cuts in the country’s history along with a major tax hike, the country has been headed in the same direction. Rajoy’s goals are the same as Zapatero’s: to prevent the troika from sending in the men in black.

We have now seen two Spanish governments unable to apply their own policies to deal with the crisis, and who are subject to outside pressure – governments that, de facto, are not governing on the basis of the programs they were elected on. Spain’s membership of the European Union and the single currency means that whoever is in power is obliged to ignore the wishes of the people. As EL PAÍS columnist José Ignacio Torreblanca notes in a survey on Spain’s democracy commissioned by the Fundación Alternativas think-tank, there is a widespread perception that national governments’ room for maneuver has now been reduced beyond the point where it is democratically acceptable. Voters throughout the EU feel that the policies and decisions that affect their lives are no longer subject to the democratic process. Institutions such as the ECB, which are not elected, are imposing harsh conditions in order to keep the markets happy, while democratic national governments have no alternative but to apply the technocratic policies cooked up in Brussels, Frankfurt or Washington.

If all parties apply the same recipes, the electorate can vote, but not choose”

This has led to unprecedented levels of disaffection among the electorate. At the start of the crisis, in 2007, some 65 percent of Spaniards said they trusted the EU, with just 23 percent unhappy with it. At the end of 2012, that figure had grown to 72 percent, with barely 20 percent of those surveyed saying they still had faith in the EU. In December 2012, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a non-elected multilateral body, suggested that Spain increase sales tax, make it cheaper to sack workers, limit tax breaks for home buyers, and make it harder to claim unemployment benefit. If any government, regardless of its political affiliation, has to apply such measures, even if it does not agree with them, the main political parties supporting it will end up like Tweedledee and Tweedledum: arguing with each other over trivialities; they will be seen like Pepsi and Coke, or Tintin’s Thomson and Thompson.

In his book Las promesas políticas (or, Political promises), sociologist José María Maravall notes: “Representative democracy requires that the electorate be able to decide between two genuinely different alternatives and that parties with different proposals on important issues compete with each other. If the differences between the parties were to disappear, if they promise different things, but can only apply the same recipes, the electorate can vote, but not choose.”

The street protests organized by the myriad organizations and associations that make up the so-called Indignant Movement are an expression of the former. Slogans such as “they don’t represent us,” or “they call it democracy but it isn’t” reflect a widespread feeling among the electorate that their vote no longer counts for anything and that economic power (which cannot be punished through the ballot box because it is not democratic) will always prevail over political decisions. In the book Democracy’s Intimate Enemies, Bulgarian writer and thinker Tzvetan Todorov argues that the main threats to democracy today do not come from without, from those who openly declare themselves as its enemies, but from within, from ideologies, movements and acts that are supposed to defend those values: “In the fight against totalitarianism, democracy faced forces that impeded the individual’s freedom. This was a kind of hypertrophy of the collective to the detriment of the individual, and the collective itself was subject to a small core of tyrannical leaders. But in the present-day West, one of the main threats to democracy does not come from the uncontrolled expansion of the collective, but has to do with the unprecedented rise of certain individuals who suddenly endanger the wellbeing of the whole of society.”

While some talk about a three-year “dictatorship of austerity,” Pierre Moscovici, the French Minister of Economy and Finance, had redefined the concept: “Austerity is when they kill the patient.” The outcome so far of these 1,000 days of cuts, adjustments and sacrifices is one of increased poverty and inequality: Spain’s per capita income is around the same as it was in 2002: based on that piece of data alone it is now possible to talk in terms of a lost decade. According to Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics office, Spanish society is now the most unequal in the EU, alongside Portugal, Bulgaria and Latvia. The fall in living standards has been far more extreme than in most other EU member states; poverty is more widespread and deeper. People’s expectations have fallen, hit hard by the lack of any hope that these reforms will have any impact in the short or medium term. Much of the country seems in the grip of a collective psychological malaise, and which has reduced spending on consumer goods; the negative impact on salaries and labor conditions (spurious objectives within an aggressive labor reform) is hard to overestimate.

Beyond a certain point, there is no return. One day the ruin will collapse

Novelist and essayist Antonio Muñoz Molina warns in a recent piece entitled Todo lo que era sólido (or, All that once was solid) that it is not possible to reduce spending on education and health, legal aid and emergency services indefinitely without destroying society as we know it. Beyond a certain point, there is no return. Things deteriorate little by little, and then suddenly, one day, instead of continuing along lines that we have grown used to, the whole thing collapses, without transition, in the same way that a house that seemed to be an eternal ruin collapses overnight.

Long-term austerity programs imposed on societies with growing needs due to their economic difficulties do not reduce poverty, and instead generate further inequality. The way out of the crisis imposed on Europe until now has meant a hugely regressive distribution of income, wealth and power: from below upwards, a kind of Robin Hood in reverse.

The economist Joseph Stiglitz’s explanation of the widespread rejection of such policies is hardly surprising: most people see that the markets are not working, and particularly the labor market; they see that the political system we have created (democracy) does not correct the market’s faults; and as a result, there is growing disaffection with democracy and the market economy, something that sadly reminds us of less happier times.

No end in sight: a timeline of Spain’s crisis

  • 02-05-2010. Greece accepts an EU/IMF bailout, followed in July by a second. In November, Ireland asks for help, and in April of the next year, Portugal’s economy is put under Brussels’ control. In March 2013, Cyprus requests a bailout.
  • 12-05-2010. Prime Minister Zapatero announces spending cuts of 15 billion euros.
  • 15-05-2011. The 15-M “Indignant” movement is born.
  • 25-08-2011. The PP and the Socialist Party agree on changes to the Constitution limiting the public deficit to 0.4 percent of GDP from 2020. In August the European Central Bank (ECB) decides to buy Italian and Spanish debt, and sends a letter to both countries listing reforms they must implement.
  • 20-11-2011. Rajoy wins a landslide election victory.
  • 30-12-2011. The new government announces cuts of 8.9 billion euros, saying that the previous administration had under-calculated the true size of the public deficit.
  • 10-02-2012. Labor reforms pushed through by decree.
  • 29-03-2012. First general strike against Rajoy’s policies.
  • 09-04-2012. The government announces further cuts of 10 billion euros to education and health.
  • 09-05-2012. Failed lender Bankia is nationalized.
  • 10-06-2012. The government asks Brussels for up to 100 billion to bail out Spain’s banks.
  • 24-07-2012. The risk premium on borrowing reaches an unprecedented 638 basis points.
  • 26-07-2012. ECB president Mario Draghi says he will take all necessary measures to save the euro. Spain’s risk premium falls 50 basis points in response.
  • 11-07-2012. The PP imposes unprecedented spending cuts of 65 billion euros over two years.
  • 29-09-2012. The government brings forward the 2013 budget, with yet more cuts.
  • 14-11-2012. Second one-day general strike against the government’s economic policies.
  • 30-11-2012. Government says it will not increase pensions in line with inflation.
  • 25-04-2013. Unemployment hits 27.2 percent. There are 6.2 million people officially registered as being without work, and 1.9 million homes have only one wage earner. More than 52 percent of unemployed are aged under 25. The government admits that there will be 1.3 million fewer jobs when its term finishes in 2015 than when it took office.
  • April 2013. The government says that there will be no economic growth until at least 2016, two years later than it had previously forecast. It maintains income tax hikes, and says that public debt will be around 100 percent of GDP in 2016. GDP for 2013 will fall by 1.3 percent, three times the figure previously forecast.

via A thousand days of austerity | In English | EL PAÍS.

via A thousand days of austerity | In English | EL PAÍS.

World War II: The Holocaust-


One of the most horrific terms in history was used by Nazi Germany to designate human beings whose lives were unimportant, or those who should be killed outright: Lebensunwertes Leben, or “life unworthy of life”. The phrase was applied to the mentally impaired and later to the “racially inferior,” or “sexually deviant,” as well as to “enemies of the state” both internal and external. From very early in the war, part of Nazi policy was to murder civilians en masse, especially targeting Jews. Later in the war, this policy grew into Hitler’s “final solution”, the complete extermination of the Jews. It began with Einsatzgruppen death squads in the East, which killed some 1,000,000 people in numerous massacres, and continued in concentration camps where prisoners were actively denied proper food and health care. It culminated in the construction of extermination camps — government facilities whose entire purpose was the systematic murder and disposal of massive numbers of people. In 1945, as advancing Allied troops began discovering these camps, they found the results of these policies: hundreds of thousands of starving and sick prisoners locked in with thousands of dead bodies. They encountered evidence of gas chambers and high-volume crematoriums, as well as thousands of mass graves, documentation of awful medical experimentation, and much more. The Nazis killed more than 10 million people in this manner, including 6 million Jews. (This entry is Part 18 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)[45 photos]

Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full, not screened out for graphic content. There are many dead bodies. The photographs are graphic and stark. This is the reality of genocide, and of an important part of World War II and human history.

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An emaciated 18-year-old Russian girl looks into the camera lens during the liberation of Dachau concentration camp in 1945. Dachau was the first German concentration camp, opened in 1933. More than 200,000 people were detained between 1933 and 1945, and 31,591 deaths were declared, most from disease, malnutrition and suicide. Unlike Auschwitz, Dachau was not explicitly an extermination camp, but conditions were so horrific that hundreds died every week. (Eric Schwab/AFP/Getty Images

This photo provided by Paris’ Holocaust Memorial shows a German soldier shooting a Ukrainian Jew during a mass execution in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, sometime between 1941 and 1943. This image is titled “The last Jew in Vinnitsa”, the text that was written on the back of the photograph, which was found in a photo album belonging to a German soldier. (AP Photo/USHMM/LOC) # 

German soldiers question Jews after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. In October 1940, the Germans began to concentrate Poland’s population of over 3 million Jews into overcrowded ghettos. In the largest of these, the Warsaw Ghetto, thousands of Jews died due to rampant disease and starvation, even before the Nazis began their massive deportations from the ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising — the first urban mass rebellion against the Nazi occupation of Europe — took place from April 19 until May 16 1943, and began after German troops and police entered the ghetto to deport its surviving inhabitants. It ended when the poorly-armed and supplied resistance was crushed by German troops. (OFF/AFP/Getty Images) # 

A man carries away the bodies of dead Jews in the Ghetto of Warsaw in 1943, where people died of hunger in the streets. Every morning, about 4-5 A.M., funeral carts collected a dozen or more corpses from the streets. The bodies of the dead Jews were cremated in deep pits. (AFP/Getty Images) # 

A group of Jews, including a small boy, is escorted from the Warsaw Ghetto by German soldiers in this April 19, 1943 photo. The picture formed part of a report from SS Gen. Stroop to his Commanding Officer, and was introduced as evidence to the War Crimes trials in Nuremberg in 1945. (AP Photo) # 

After the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Ghetto was completely destroyed. Of the more than 56,000 Jews captured, about 7,000 were shot, and the remainder were deported to killing centers or concentration camps. This is a view of the remains of the ghetto, which the German SS dynamited to the ground. The Warsaw Ghetto only existed for a few years, and in that time, some 300,000 Polish Jews lost their lives there. (AP Photo) # 

A German in a military uniform shoots at a Jewish woman after a mass execution in Mizocz, Ukraine. In October of 1942, the 1,700 people in the Mizocz ghetto fought with Ukrainian auxiliaries and German policemen who had intended to liquidate the population. About half the residents were able to flee or hide during the confusion before the uprising was finally put down. The captured survivors were taken to a ravine and shot. Photo provided by Paris’ Holocaust Memorial. (AP Photo/USHMM) # 

Jewish deportees in the Drancy transit camp near Paris, France, in 1942, on their last stop before the German concentration camps. Some 13,152 Jews (including 4,115 children) were rounded up by French police forces, taken from their homes to the “Vel d’Hiv”, or winter cycling stadium in southwestern Paris, in July of 1942. They were later taken to a rail terminal at Drancy, northeast of the French capital, and then deported to the east. Only a handful ever returned. (AFP/Getty Images) # 

Anne Frank poses in 1941 in this photo made available by Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In August of 1944, Anne, her family and others who were hiding from the occupying German Security forces, were all captured and shipped off to a series of prisons and concentration camps. Anne died from typhus at age 15 in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but her posthumously published diary has made her a symbol of all Jews killed in World War II. (AP Photo/Anne Frank House/Frans Dupont) # 

The arrival and processing of an entire transport of Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia, a region annexed in 1939 to Hungary from Czechoslovakia, at Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland, in May of 1944. The picture was donated to Yad Vashem in 1980 by Lili Jacob. (AP Photo/Yad Vashem Photo Archives) # 

Czeslawa Kwoka, age 14, appears in a prisoner identity photo provided by the Auschwitz Museum, taken by Wilhelm Brasse while working in the photography department at Auschwitz, the Nazi-run death camp where some 1.5 million people, most of them Jewish, died during World War II. Czeslawa was a Polish Catholic girl, from Wolka Zlojecka, Poland, who was sent to Auschwitz with her mother in December of 1942. Within three months, both were dead. Photographer (and fellow prisoner) Brasse recalled photographing Czeslawa in a 2005 documentary: “She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn’t understand why she was there and she couldn’t understand what was being said to her. So this woman Kapo (a prisoner overseer) took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing. Before the photograph was taken, the girl dried her tears and the blood from the cut on her lip. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn’t interfere. It would have been fatal for me.” (AP Photo/Auschwitz Museum) # 

A victim of Nazi medical experimentation. A victim’s arm shows a deep burn from phosphorus at Ravensbrueck, Germany, in November of 1943. The photograph shows the results of a medical experiment dealing with phosphorous that was carried out by doctors at Ravensbrueck. In the experiment, a mixture of phosphorus and rubber was applied to the skin and ignited. After twenty seconds, the fire was extinguished with water. After three days, the burn was treated with Echinacin in liquid form. After two weeks the wound had healed. This photograph, taken by a camp physician, was entered as evidence during the Doctors Trial at Nuremberg.(U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, NARA) # 

Jewish prisoners in Buchenwald concentration camp, after the liberation of the camp in 1945. (AFP/Getty Images) # 

American soldiers silently inspect some of the rail trucks loaded with dead which were found on the rail siding at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, on May 3, 1945. (AP Photo) # 

A starved Frenchman sits among the dead in a sub-camp of the Mittelbau-Dora labor camp, in Nordhausen, Germany, in April of 1945.(U.S. Army/LOC) # 

Bodies lie piled against the walls of a crematory room in a German concentration camp in Dachau, Germany. The bodies were found by U.S. Seventh Army troops who took the camp on May 14, 1945. (AP Photo) # 

A U.S. soldier inspects thousands of gold wedding bands taken from Jews by the Germans and stashed in the Heilbronn Salt Mines, on May 3, 1945 in Germany. (AFP/NARA) # 

Three U.S. soldiers look at bodies stuffed into an oven in a crematorium in April of 1945. Photo taken in an unidentified concentration camp in Germany, at time of liberation by U.S. Army. (U.S. Army/LOC) # 

This heap of ashes and bones is the debris from one day’s killing of German prisoners by 88 troopers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar in Germany, shown on April 25, 1945. (AP Photo/U.S. Army Signal Corps) # 

Prisoners at the electric fence of Dachau concentration camp cheer American soldiers in Dachau, Germany in an undated photo. Some of them wear the striped blue and white prison garb. They decorated their huts with flags of all nations which they had made secretly as they heard the guns of the 42nd Rainbow Division getting louder and louder on the approach to Dachau. (AP Photo) # 

General Dwight D. Eisenhower and other American officers in the Ohrdruf concentration camp, shortly after the liberation of the camp in April of 1945. As American forces approached, the guards shot the remaining prisoners. (U.S. Army Signal Corps/NARA) # 

A dying prisoner, too weak to sit up amid his rags and filth, victim of starvation and incredible brutality, at the Nordhausen concentration camp in Germany on April 18, 1945. (AP Photo) # 

Prisoners on a death march from Dachau move towards the south along the Noerdliche Muenchner Street in Gruenwald, Germany, on April 29, 1945. Many thousands of prisoners were marched forcibly from outlying prison camps to camps deeper inside Germany as Allied forces closed in. Thousands died along the way, anyone unable to keep up was executed on the spot. Pictured, fourth from the right, is Dimitry Gorky who was born on Aug. 19, 1920 in Blagoslovskoe, Russia to a family of peasant farmers. During World War II Dmitry was imprisoned in Dachau for 22 months. The reason for his imprisonment is not known. Photo released by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.(AP Photo/USHMM, courtesy of KZ Gedenkstaette Dachau) # 

American soldiers walk by row after row of corpses lying on the ground beside barracks at the Nazi concentration camp at Nordhausen, Germany, on April 17, 1945. The camp is located about 70 miles west of Leipzig. As the camp was liberated on April 12, the U.S. Army found more than 3,000 bodies, and a handful of survivors. (AP Photo/US Army Signal Corps) # 

A dead prisoner lies in a train carriage near Dachau concentration camp in May of 1945. (Eric Schwab/AFP/Getty Images) # 

Liberating soldiers of Lt. General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army, XX Corps, are shown at Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany, on April 11, 1945. (AP Photo/U.S. Army) # 

General Patch’s 12th Armored Division, forging their way towards the Austrian border, uncovered horrors at a German prison camp at Schwabmunchen, southwest of Munich. Over 4,000 slave laborers, all Jews of various nationalities, were housed in the prison. The internees were burned alive by guards who set fire to the crude huts in which the prisoners slept, shooting any who tried to escape. Sprawled here in the prison enclosure are the burnt bodies of some of the Jewish slave laborers uncovered by the US 7th Army at Schwabmunchen, May 1, 1945. (AP Photo/Jim Pringle) # 

The corpse of a prisoner lies on the barbed wire fence in Leipzig-Thekla, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, near Weimar, Germany. (NARA) # 

These dead victims of the Germans were removed from the Lambach concentration camp in Austria, on May 6, 1945, by German soldiers under orders of U.S. Army troops. As soon as all the bodies were removed from the camp, the Germans buried them. This camp originally held 18,000 people, each building housing 1,600. There were no beds or sanitary facilities whatsoever, and 40 to 50 prisoners died each day. (AP Photo) # 

A young man sits on an overturned stool next to a burnt body in the Thekla camp outside Leipzig, in April of 1945, after the US troops entered Leipzig April 18. On the 18th of April, the workers of the Thekla plane factory were locked in an isolated building of the factory by the Germans and burned alive by incendiary bombs. About 300 prisoners died. Those who managed to escape died on the barbed wire or were executed by the Hitler youth movement, according to a US captain’s report. (Eric Schwab/AFP/Getty Images) # 

Burned bodies of political prisoners of the Germans lie strewn about the entrance to a barn at Gardelegen, Germany on April 16, 1945 where they met their death a the hands of German SS troops who set the barn on fire. The group tried to escape and was shot by the SS troops. Of the 1,100 prisoners, only 12 managed to escape. (AP Photo/U.S. Army Signal Corps) # 

Some of the skeleton-like human remains found by men of the Third Armored Division, U.S. First Army, at the German concentration camp at Nordhausen on April 25, 1945, where hundreds of “slave laborers” of various nationalities lay dead and dying. (AP Photo) # 

When American troops liberated prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp, Germany, in 1945, many German SS guards were killed by the prisoners who then threw their bodies into the moat surrounding the camp. (AP Photo) # 

Lt. Col. Ed Seiller of Louisville, Kentucky, stands amid a pile of Holocaust victims as he speaks to 200 German civilians who were forced to see the grim conditions at the Landsberg concentration camp, on May 15, 1945. (AP Photo) # 

Starved prisoners, nearly dead from hunger, pose in a concentration camp in Ebensee, Austria, on May 7, 1945. The camp was reputedly used for “scientific” experiments. (NARA/Newsmakers) # 

A Russian survivor, liberated by the 3rd Armored Division of the U.S. First Army, identifies a former camp guard who brutally beat prisoners on April 14, 1945, at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Thuringia, Germany. (AP Photo) # 

Dead bodies piled up in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after the British troops liberated the camp on April 15, 1945. The British found 60,000 men, women and children dying of starvation and disease. (AFP/Getty Images) # 

German SS troops load victims of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp into trucks for burial, in Belsen, Germany, on April 17, 1945. British guards hold rifles in the background. (AP Photo/British Official Photo) # 

Citizens of Ludwigslust, Germany, inspect a nearby concentration camp under orders of the 82nd Airborne Division on May 6, 1945. Bodies of victims of German prison camps were found dumped in pits in yard, one pit containing 300 bodies. (NARA) # 

A pile of bodies left to rot in the Bergen-Belsen camp, in Bergen, Germany, found after the camp was liberated by British forces on April 20, 1945. Some 60,000 civilians, most suffering from typhus, typhoid and dysentery, were dying by the hundreds daily, despite the frantic efforts by medical services rushed to the camp. (AP Photo) # 

Manacled following his arrest is Joseph Kramer, commandant of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Belsen, photographed on April 28, 1945. After standing trial, Kramer, “The Beast of Belsen”, was convicted and executed in December of 1945. (AP Photo) # 

German SS women remove bodies of their victims from trucks in the concentration camp at Belsen, Germany, on April 28, 1945. Starvation and disease killed hundreds of the many thousands imprisoned at the camp. British soldiers holding rifles in the background stand on the dirt which will fill the communal grave. (AP Photo/British official photo) # 

A German SS guard, standing amid hundreds of corpses, hauls another body of a concentration camp victim into a mass grave in Belsen, Germany in April of 1945. (AP Photo) # 

Piles of the dead at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 30, 1945. Some 100,000 people are estimated to have died in this one camp alone. (AP Photo) # 

A German mother shields the eyes of her son as they walk with other civilians past a row of exhumed bodies outside Suttrop, Germany. The bodies were those of 57 Russians killed by German SS troops and dumped in a mass grave before the arrival of troops from the U.S. Ninth Army. Soldiers of the 95th Infantry division were led by informers to the massive grave on May 3, 1945. Before burial, all German civilians in the vicinity were ordered to view the victims. (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, U.S. Army Signal Corps)

World War II: Women at War


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Symbolic of the defense of Sevastopol, Crimea, is this Russian girl sniper, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who, by the end of the war, had killed a confrimed 309 Germans — the most successful female sniper in history. (AP Photo)

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Members of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) pose at Camp Shanks, New York, before leaving from New York Port of Embarkation on Feb. 2, 1945. The women are with the first contingent of Black American WACs to go overseas for the war effort From left to right are, kneeling: Pvt. Rose Stone; Pvt. Virginia Blake; and Pfc. Marie B. Gillisspie. Second row: Pvt. Genevieve Marshall; T/5 Fanny L. Talbert; and Cpl. Callie K. Smith. Third row: Pvt. Gladys Schuster Carter; T/4 Evelyn C. Martin; and Pfc. Theodora Palmer. (AP Photo)

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Three Soviet guerrillas in action in Russia during World War II. (LOC)

 

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Ack-Ack Girls, members of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), run to action at an anti-aircraft gun emplacement in the London area on May 20, 1941 when the alarm is sounded. (AP Photo)

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The German Aviatrix, Captain Hanna Reitsch, shakes hands with German chancellor Adolf Hitler after being awarded the Iron Cross second class at the Reich Chancellory in Berlin, Germany, in April 1941, for her service in the development of airplane armament instruments during World War II. In back, center is Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering. At the extreme right is Lt. Gen. Karl Bodenschatz of the German air ministry. (AP Photo)

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A group of young Jewish resistance fighters are being held under arrest by German SS soldiers in April/May 1943, during the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto by German troops after an uprising in the Jewish quarter. (AP Photo)

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The first “Women Guerrilla” corps has just been formed in the Philippines and Filipino women, trained in their local women’s auxiliary service, are seen here hard at work practicing on November 8, 1941, at a rifle range in Manila. (AP Photo)

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Little known to the outside world, although they have been fighting fascist regimes since 1927, the Italian “Maquis” carry on their battle for freedom under the most hazardous conditions. Germans and fascist Italians are targets for their guns; and the icy, eternally snow-clad peaks of the French-Italian border are their battlefield. This school teacher of the Valley of Aosta fights side-by-side with her husband in the “White Patrol” above the pass of Little Saint Bernard in Italy, on January 4, 1945. (AP Photo)

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A nurse wraps a bandage around the hand of a Chinese soldier as another wounded soldier limps up for first aid treatment during fighting on the Salween River front in Yunnan Province, China, on June 22, 1943. (AP Photo)

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Two women of the German anti-aircraft gun auxiliary operating field telephones during World War II. (LOC)

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Mrs. Paul Titus, 77-year-old air raid spotter of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, carries a gun as she patrols her beat, on December 20, 1941. Mrs. Titus signed-up the day after the Pearl Harbor attack. “I can carry a gun any time they want me to,” she declared. (AP Photo)

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Nurses are seen clearing debris from one of the wards in St. Peter’s Hospital, Stepney, East London, on April 19, 1941. Four hospitals were among the buildings hit by German bombs during a full scale attack on the British capital. (AP Photo)

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Polish women are led through woods to their executions by German soldiers sometime in 1941. (LOC)

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The first contingent of U.S. Army nurses to be sent to an Allied advanced base in New Guinea carry their equipment as they march single file to their quarter on November 12, 1942. The first four in line from right are: Edith Whittaker, Pawtucket, Rhode Island,; Ruth Baucher, Wooster, O.; Helen Lawson, Athens, Tennessee,; and Juanita Hamilton, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, (AP Photo)

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A French man and woman fight with captured German weapons as both civilians and members of the French Forces of the Interior took the fight to the Germans, in Paris in August of 1944, prior to the surrender of German forces and the Liberation of Paris on August 25. (AP Photo)

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Elisabeth “Lilo” Gloeden stands before judges, on trial for being involved in the attempt on Adolf Hitler’s life in July 1944. Elisabeth, along with her husband and mother, was convicted of hiding a fugitive from the July 20 Plot to assassinate Hitler. The three were executed by beheading on November 30th, 1944, their executions much-publicized later as a warning to others who might plot against the German ruling party. (LOC)

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Miss Jean Pitcaithy, a nurse with a New Zealand Hospital Unit stationed in Libya, wears goggles to protect her against whipping sands, on June 18, 1942. (AP Photo)

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62nd Stalingrad Army on the streets of Odessa (The 8th Guard of the Army of General Chuikov on the streets of Odessa) in April of 1944. A large group of Soviet soldiers, including two women in front, march down a street. (LOC)

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A girl of the resistance movement is a member of a patrol to rout out the Germans snipers still left in areas in Paris, France, on August 29, 1944. The girl had killed two Germans in the Paris Fighting two days previously. (AP Photo)

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Women and children, some of over 40,000 concentration camp inmates liberated by the British, suffering from typhus, starvation and dysentery, huddle together in a barrack at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in April 1945. (AP Photo)

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Some of the S.S. women whose brutality was equal to that of their male counterparts at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Bergen, Germany, on April 21, 1945. (AP Photo/British Official Photo)

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In this June 19, 2009 photo Susie Bain poses in Austin, Texas, with a 1943 photo of herself when she was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II. Bain is one of 300 living WASP members that hoped at the time to be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed and on March 10, 2010, more than 200 WASP veterans attended a ceremony to be presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. (AP Photo/Austin American Statesman, Ralph Barrera)

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Specially chosen airwomen are being trained for police duties in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). They have to be quick-witted, intelligent and observant woman of the world – They attend an intensive course at the highly sufficient RAF police school – where their training runs parallel with that of the men. Keeping a man “in his place” – A WAAF member demonstrates self-defense on January 15, 1942. (AP Photo)

 

Think Again: European Decline


No. These days, many speak of Europe as if it has already faded into irrelevance. In the words of American pundit Fareed Zakaria, “it may well turn out that the most consequential trend of the next decade will be the economic decline of Europe.” According to Singaporean scholar Kishore Mahbubani, Europe “does not get how irrelevant it is becoming to the rest of the world.” Not a day went by on the 2012 U.S. campaign trail, it seemed, without Republican challenger Mitt Romney warning that President Barack Obama was — gasp — turning the United States into a “European social welfare state.”

With its anemic growth, ongoing eurocrisis, and the complexity of its decision-making, Europe is admittedly a fat target right now. And the stunning rise of countries like Brazil and China in recent years has led many to believe that the Old World is destined for the proverbial ash heap. But the declinists would do well to remember a few stubborn facts. Not only does the European Union remain the largest single economy in the world, but it also has the world’s second-highest defense budget after the United States, with more than 66,000 troops deployed around the world and some 57,000 diplomats (India has roughly 600). The EU’s GDP per capita in purchasing-power terms is still nearly four times that of China, three times Brazil’s, and nearly nine times India’s. If this is decline, it sure beats living in a rising power.

Power, of course, depends not just on these resources but on the ability to convert them to produce outcomes. Here too Europe delivers: Indeed, no other power apart from the United States has had such an impact on the world in the last 20 years. Since the end of the Cold War, the EU has peacefully expanded to include 15 new member states and has transformed much of its neighborhood by reducing ethnic conflicts, exporting the rule of law, and developing economies from the Baltic to the Balkans. Compare that with China, whose rise is creating fear and provoking resistance across Asia. At a global level, many of the rules and institutions that keep markets open and regulate world trade, limit carbon emissions, and prosecute human rights abusers were created by the European Union. Who was behind the World Trade Organization and the International Criminal Court? Not the United States or China. It’s Europe that has led the way toward a future run by committees and statesmen, not soldiers and strongmen.

Yes, the EU now faces an existential crisis. Even as it struggles, however, it is still contributing more than other powers to solving both regional conflicts and global problems. When the Arab revolutions erupted in 2011, the supposedly bankrupt EU pledged more money to support democracy in Egypt and Tunisia than the United States did. When Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi was about to carry out a massacre in Benghazi in March 2011, it was France and Britain that led from the front. This year, France acted to prevent a takeover of southern Mali by jihadists and drug smugglers. Europeans may not have done enough to stop the conflict in Syria, but they have done as much as anyone else in this tragic story.

In one sense, it is true that Europe is in inexorable decline. For four centuries, Europe was the dominant force in international relations. It was home to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. It industrialized first and colonized much of the world. As a result, until the 20th century, all the world’s great powers were European. It was inevitable — and desirable — that other players would gradually narrow the gap in wealth and power over time. Since World War II, that catch-up process has accelerated. But Europeans benefit from this: Through their economic interdependence with rising powers, including those in Asia, Europeans have continued to increase their GDP and improve their quality of life. In other words, like the United States — and unlike, for example, Russia on the continent’s eastern frontier — Europe is in relative though not absolute decline.

The EU is an entirely unprecedented phenomenon in world affairs: a project of political, economic, and above all legal integration among 27 countries with a long history of fighting each other. What has emerged is neither an intergovernmental organization nor a superstate, but a new model that pools resources and sovereignty with a continent-sized market and common legislation and budgets to address transnational threats from organized crime to climate change. Most importantly, the EU has revolutionized the way its members think about security, replacing the old traditions of balance-of-power politics and noninterference in internal affairs with a new model under which security for all is guaranteed by working together. This experiment is now at a pivotal moment, and it faces serious, complex challenges — some related to its unique character and some that other major powers, particularly Japan and the United States, also face. But the EU’s problems are not quite the stuff of doomsday scenarios.

“The Eurozone Is an Economic Basket Case.”

Only part of it. Many describe the eurozone, the 17 countries that share the euro as a common currency, as an economic disaster. As a whole, however, it has lower debt and a more competitive economy than many other parts of the world. For example, the International Monetary Fund projects that the eurozone’s combined 2013 government deficit as a share of GDP will be 2.6 percent — roughly a third of that of the United States. Gross government debt as a percentage of GDP is around the same as in the United States and much lower than that in Japan.

Nor is Europe as a whole uncompetitive. In fact, according to the latest edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, three eurozone countries (Finland, the Netherlands, and Germany) and another two EU member states (Britain and Sweden) are among the world’s 10 most competitive economies. China ranks 29th. The eurozone accounts for 15.6 percent of the world’s exports, well above 8.3 percent for the United States and 4.6 percent for Japan. And unlike the United States, its current trade account is roughly in balance with the rest of the world.

These figures show that, in spite of the tragically counterproductive policies imposed on Europe’s debtor countries and despite whatever happens to the euro, the European economy is fundamentally sound. European companies are among the most successful exporters anywhere. Airbus competes with Boeing; Volkswagen is the world’s third largest automaker and is forecast to extend its lead in sales over Toyota and General Motors in the next five years; and European luxury brands (many from crisis-wracked Italy) are coveted all over the world. Europe has a highly skilled workforce, with universities second only to America’s, well-developed systems of vocational training, empowered women in the workforce, and excellent infrastructure. Europe’s economic model is not unsustainable simply because its GDP growth has slowed of late.

The real difference between the eurozone and the United States or Japan is that it has internal imbalances but is not a country, and that it has a common currency but no common treasury. Financial markets therefore look at the worst data for individual countries — say, Greece or Italy — rather than aggregate figures. Due to uncertainty about whether the eurozone’s creditor countries will stand by its debtors, spreads — that is, the difference in bond yields between countries with different credit ratings — have increased since the crisis began. Creditor countries such as Germany have the resources to bail out the debtors, but by insisting on austerity measures, they are trapping debtor countries like Spain in a debt-deflation spiral. Nobody knows whether the eurozone will be able to overcome these challenges, but the pundits who confidently predicted a “Grexit” or a complete breakup of the single currency have been proved wrong thus far. Above all, the eurocrisis is a political problem rather than an economic one.

“Europeans Are from Venus.”

Hardly. In 2002, American author Robert Kagan famously wrote, “Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus.” More recently, Robert Gates, then U.S. defense secretary, warned in 2010 of the “demilitarization” of Europe. But not only are European militaries among the world’s strongest — these assessments also overlook one of the great achievements of human civilization: A continent that gave us the most destructive conflicts in history has now basically agreed to give up war on its own turf. Besides, within Europe there are huge differences in attitudes toward the uses and abuses of hard power. Hawkish countries such as Poland and Britain are closer to the United States than they are to dovish Germany, and many continue to foresee a world where a strong military is an indispensable component of security. And unlike rising powers such as China that proclaim the principle of noninterference, Europeans are still prepared to use force to intervene abroad. Ask the people of the Malian city of Gao, which had been occupied for nearly a year by hard-line Islamists until French troops ejected them, whether they see Europeans as timid pacifists.

At the same time, Americans have changed much in the decade since Kagan said they are from Mars. As the United States draws down from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and focuses on “nation-building at home,” it looks increasingly Venusian. In fact, attitudes toward military intervention are converging on both sides of the Atlantic. According to the most recent edition of Transatlantic Trends, a regular survey by the German Marshall Fund, only 49 percent of Americans think that the intervention in Libya was the right thing to do, compared with 48 percent of Europeans. Almost as many Americans (68 percent) as Europeans (75 percent) now want to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Many American critics of Europe point to the continent’s low levels of military spending. But it only looks low next to the United States — by far the world’s biggest spender. In fact, Europeans collectively accounted for about 20 percent of the world’s military spending in 2011, compared with 8 percent for China, 4 percent for Russia, and less than 3 percent for India, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It is true that, against the background of the crisis, many EU member states are now making dramatic cuts in military spending, including, most worryingly, France. Britain and Germany, however, have so far made only modest cuts, and Poland and Sweden are actually increasing military spending. Moreover, the crisis is accelerating much-needed pooling and sharing of capabilities, such as air policing and satellite navigation. As for those Martians in Washington, the U.S. Congress is cutting military spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years and by $43 billion this year alone — and the supposedly warlike American people seem content with butter’s triumph over guns.

“Europe Has a Democratic Deficit.”

No, but it has a legitimacy problem. Skeptics have claimed for years that Europe has a “democratic deficit” because the European Commission, which runs the EU, is unelected or because the European Parliament, which approves and amends legislation, has insufficient powers. But European Commission members are appointed by directly elected national governments, and European Parliament members are elected directly by voters. In general, EU-level decisions are made jointly by democratically elected national governments and the European Parliament. Compared with other states or even an ideal democracy, the EU has more checks and balances and requires bigger majorities to pass legislation. If Obama thinks it’s tough assembling 60 votes to get a bill through the Senate, he should try putting together a two-thirds majority of Europe’s governments and then getting it ratified by the European Parliament. The European Union is plenty democratic.

The eurozone does, however, have a more fundamental legitimacy problem due to the way it was constructed. Although decisions are made by democratically elected leaders, the EU is a fundamentally technocratic project based on the “Monnet method,” named for French diplomat Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of an integrated Europe. Monnet rejected grand plans and instead sought to “build Europe” step by step through “concrete achievements.” This incremental strategy — first a coal and steel community, then a single market, and finally a single currency — took ever more areas out of the political sphere. But the more successful this project became, the more it restricted the powers of national governments and the more it fueled a populist backlash.

To solve the current crisis, member states and EU institutions are now taking new areas of economic policymaking out of the political sphere. Led by Germany, eurozone countries have signed up to a “fiscal compact” that commits them to austerity indefinitely. There is a real danger that this approach will lead to democracy without real choices: Citizens will be able to change governments but not policies. In protest, voters in Italy and Greece are turning to radical parties such as Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party in Greece and Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement in Italy. These parties, however, could become part of the solution by forcing member states to revisit the strict austerity programs and go further in mutualizing debt across Europe — which they must ultimately do. So yes, European politics have a legitimacy problem; the solution is more likely to come from policy change rather than, say, giving yet more power to the European Parliament. Never mind what the skeptics say — it already has plenty.

“Europe Is About to Fall off a Demographic Cliff.”

So is nearly everybody else. The EU does have a serious demographic problem. Unlike the United States — whose population is projected to increase to 400 million by 2050 — the EU’s population is projected to increase from 504 million now to 525 million in 2035, but thereafter to decline gradually to 517 million in 2060, according to Europe’s official statistical office. The problem is particularly acute in Germany, today the EU’s largest member state, which has one of the world’s lowest birth rates. Under current projections, its population could fall from 82 million to 65 million by 2060.

Europe’s population is also aging. This year, the EU’s working-age population will start falling from 308 million and is projected to drop to 265 million in 2060. That’s expected to increase the old-age dependency ratio (the number of over-65s as a proportion of the total working-age population) from 28 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2060. Such figures can lead to absurd predictions of civilizational extinction. As one Guardian pundit put it, “With each generation reproducing only half its number, this looks like the start of a continent-wide collapse in numbers. Some predict wipeout by 2100.”

Demographic woes are not, however, something unique to Europe. In fact, nearly all the world’s major powers are aging — and some more dramatically than Europe. China is projected to go from a population with a median age of 35 to 43 by 2030, and Japan will go from 45 to 52. Germany will go from 44 to 49. But Britain will go from 40 to just 42 — a rate of aging comparable to that of the United States, one of the powers with the best demographic prospects.

So sure, demography will be a major headache for Europe. But the continent’s most imperiled countries have much that’s hopeful to learn from elsewhere in Europe. France and Sweden, for example, have reversed their falling birth rates by promoting maternity (and paternity) rights and child-care facilities. In the short term, the politics may be complicated, but immigration offers the possibility of mitigating both the aging and shrinking of Europe’s population — so-called decline aside, there is no shortage of young people who want to come to Europe. In the medium term, member states could also increase the retirement age — another heavy political lift but one that many are now facing. In the long term, smart family-friendly policies such as child payments, tax credits, and state-supported day care could encourage Europeans to have more children. But arguably, Europe is already ahead of the rest of the world in developing solutions to the problem of an aging society. The graying Chinese should take note.

“Europe Is Irrelevant in Asia.”

No. It is often said — most often and loudly by Singapore’s Mahbubani — that though the EU may remain relevant in its neighborhood, it is irrelevant in Asia, the region that will matter most in the 21st century. Last November, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed that the U.S. “pivot” to Asia was “not a pivot away from Europe” and said the United States wants Europe to “engage more in Asia along with us.”

But Europe is already there. It is China’s biggest trading partner, India’s second-biggest, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s second-biggest, Japan’s third-biggest, and Indonesia’s fourth-biggest. It has negotiated free trade areas with Singapore and South Korea and has begun separate talks with ASEAN, India, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. These economic relationships are already forming the basis for close political relationships in Asia. Germany even holds a regular government-to-government consultation — in effect a joint cabinet meeting — with China. If the United States can claim to be a Pacific power, Europe is already a Pacific economy and is starting to flex its political muscles there too.

Europe played a key role in imposing sanctions against Burma — and in lifting them after the military junta began to reform. Europe helped resolve conflicts in Aceh, Indonesia, and is mediating in Mindanao in the Philippines. While Europe may not have a 7th Fleet in Japan, some member states already play a role in security in Asia: The British have military facilities in Brunei, Nepal, and Diego Garcia, and the French have a naval base in Tahiti. And those kinds of ties are growing. For example, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is trying to diversify Japan’s security relationships, has said he wants to join the Five Power Defense Arrangements, a security treaty that includes Britain. European Union member states also supply advanced weaponry such as fighter jets and frigates to democratic countries like India and Indonesia. That’s hardly irrelevance.

“Europe Will Fall Apart.”

Too soon to say. The danger of European disintegration is real. The most benign scenario is the emergence of a three-tier Europe consisting of a eurozone core, “pre-ins” such as Poland that are committed to joining the euro, and “opt-outs” such as Britain that have no intention of joining the single currency. In a more malign scenario, some eurozone countries such as Cyprus or Greece will be forced to leave the single currency, and some EU member states such as Britain may leave the EU completely — with huge implications for the EU’s resources and its image in the world. It would be a tragedy if an attempt to save the eurozone led to a breakup of the European Union.

But Europeans are aware of this danger, and there is political will to prevent it. Germany does not want Greece to leave the single currency, not least due to a fear of contagion. A British withdrawal is possible but unlikely and in any case some way off: Prime Minister David Cameron would have to win an overall majority in the next election, and British citizens would have to vote to leave in a referendum. In short, it’s premature to predict an EU breakup.

This is not to say it will never happen. The ending of the long story of Europe remains very much unwritten. It is not a simple choice between greater integration and disintegration. The key will be whether Europe can save the euro without splitting the European Union. Simply by its creation, the EU is already an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of international relations — and a much more perfect union than the declinists will admit. If its member states can pool their resources, they will find their rightful place alongside Washington and Beijing in shaping the world in the 21st century. As columnist Charles Krauthammer famously said in relation to America, “Decline is a choice.” It is for Europe too.

via Think Again: European Decline – By Mark Leonard and Hans Kundnani | Foreign Policy.

Some world WW 2 PHOTOS


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Japanese Kawanishi H8K seaplane after strafing. Kwajalein

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Squad of Rufe’s at Bougainville . These things were very nimble even with the pontoons.-

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The A6M2-N float plane version of the Zero did extremely well,
suffering only a small loss in its legendary maneuverability.
Top speed was not affected, however, the aircraft’s relatively light armament was a detriment.

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Snow on deck. USS Philippine Sea North Pacific 1945

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HARVS on the way in shot by a P-47. Rare shot.ATT00006

Deck crew climbing up to get the pilot out. They  did. Thats a fuel tank his foot is on. Empty?

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Marines disembark LST at Tinian Island.

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Bougainville …

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Guam

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Outside Bastogne
(Dec 1944 )

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German 280mm K5 firing————————————————————–

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U.S.  Munitions ship goes up During the invasion of Sicily.

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GERMAN V1

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Spitfire “tipping-off” a V1. If you’ve never heard of this insane tactic …….
At First V1’s were shot down by Gunfire. With the high risk of Being blown up, some of the best Pilots started tipping the V1’s wing, Because of damage to
wing tips chúng later Developed a tactic of disrupting the Airflow by Placing Their wing very close to the V1’s wing, causing it to Topple . Not every pilot did this. At night this was not possible, the flame from the V1 blinded the pilot to everything else, though some Mossie pilots flew past Closely in front of the V1, again causing it to Topple. The Thought of doing this at 450mph, 4,000 feet above the ground, at night, and being blinded gives me the willies.
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Panzerkampfwagen VI “E Tiger”
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Ju-88 loading a Torpedo. This is one HUGE bomber … And it’s on Pontoons!!!!
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German “KARL” mortars. Sebastopol
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Reloading a KARL
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BOOM!

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Macchi 202v

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Italian 303 Bombers over N Africa

Pearl Harbor
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PHOTOS Stored IN AN OLD CAMERA BrownieThought You might find these photos very interesting.
What quality from 1941. These Pearl Harbor Photos were Found in an old Brownie stored in a foot locker and just recently taken to be Developed.
They Are from a Sailor who was on the USS Quapaw ATF-110.
PEARL HARBOR December 7th, 1941
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10 Lesser-Known Iconic Photos from WWII


10 Lesser-Known Iconic Photos of WWII

by Patrick Weidinger,

There are many iconic photos that emerged from the Second World War. Many of the people in these photos are instantly recognizable – Churchill flashing the “V” for victory sign, for example. In other photographs, however, you may not know the name of the people depicted – the sailor kissing the nurse on VJ Day, the Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima – but you definitely know the story.

Ten of those somewhat lesser-known photographs are presented here, along with the fascinating stories of the people in them.

10

Blanche Osborn Bross

This WWII era photograph was used to show Americans that women were doing their part to fight the war – even when they really weren’t. The four women pictured here, in front of the famous “Pistol Packin’ Mamma” aircraft, were part of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots program – better known as the WASPs. One of the four – the farthest on the right – is Blanche Osborn Bross.

The WASPs were a very exclusive club. Over 25,000 women applied for the program, and only 2,000 were selected of which barely 1,000 graduated and became pilots. Though they did not see wartime action, some of them did die in airplane accidents. After the war, Blanche Osborn Bross continued to fly, and later served with the Red Cross in China. She died at the age of 92.

9

Aleksey Gordeyevich Yeremenko

This Soviet WWII photograph was unidentified for 23 years until the man in it, Aleksey Gordeyevich Yeremenko, was recognized by his wife and children when they saw the photograph in Pravda. It remains one of the most iconic photographs of World War II. Yeremenko was a junior political officer serving with the 220th regiment of 4th Rifle Division. On July 12, 1942, the commander of his regiment fell during battle. Rallying his troops to the attack, Yeremenko stood and waved them on. Seconds after this photograph was taken, Yeremenko was shot dead.

8

Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda

Many WWII photographs are shocking because of what they depict (“The Last Jew of Vinnitsa” for example). This Japanese photograph is shocking because of what it implies. Seen here are two Japanese officers, Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda, each leaning against his Samurai sword. The photograph was widely shown in Japanese newspapers in 1937, and depicted a “contest” between Mukai and Noda to see who could be the first to cut off 100 heads.

The photograph and story came from about the time of the Japanese invasion of China and the slaughter and rape of Chinese cities such as Nanking, where the Japanese army systematically raped and killed untold thousands of civilians and Chinese prisoners of war.

The newspaper articles tried to describe the killing contest as being performed during “hand to hand combat”, but in all likelihood, the beheadings by sword were carried out on helpless civilians and prisoners. Later editions of the newspapers stated that each had broken the “100 head” goal, and were therefore resetting the goal to 150 heads. After the war, one of the men admitted that only four of the beheadings had taken place during combat – most of his total came from passive, lined-up Chinese prisoners. After the war, both Mukai and Noda were executed for war crimes.

7

Last Jew of Vinnitsa

On September 16 and September 22, 1941, the Nazis rounded up all of the Jews in the town of Vinnitsa, Ukraine, and executed them. Pictured here in this famous photograph we see a man, kneeling before a pit filled with bodies, about to be shot by a German soldier. This photograph was found among a German soldier’s photo album, and on the back was written the title “The Last Jew of Vinnitsa”.

A Wehrmacht officer who observed the slaughter described it in all its horror. The people were told to show up at the already dug pit for a “census”. They were then forced to disrobe and turn in all their belongings. A row of naked people were then lined up along the pit, and mowed down by German soldiers using pistols. The next group would be ordered to shovel quicklime onto the still-writhing bodies in the pit, then repeat the process of undressing, turning over their valuables, and being shot – until each and every one of them joined their families and neighbors in the pit. All 28,000 Jews from Vinnitsa were killed in this manner.

6

“Ukraine 1942, Jewish Action Ivangorod.”

So many images from World War II, like this one, do not have captions detailing who was in the photograph. In some cases, photographers quickly snapped photographs of soldiers who were on the move or in action. The photographers never had the time to ask their name, company, or other information.

Other images, similar to this one, were never documented because of what they depicted. Though the year and campaign are given for this tragic photo, there is little wonder why the name of the woman and her child were never recorded. They were about to be executed by a German soldier. Who were they? All we know is that the photograph was taken in the Ukraine, and shows the execution of Jews from Kiev. Mailed from the Eastern Front back to Germany, the photograph was intercepted by a member of the Polish Resistance who kept it as documentation of German war time atrocities. The only description written on the photograph was “Ukraine 1942, Jewish Action [operation], Ivangorod.”

5

Gerald Paul Thursby and Douglas Lightheart

hough largely over shadowed by the bloody fighting the U.S. Marines and Army encountered on other islands such as Okinawa and Iwo Jima, the battle for Peleliu Island in 1944 was just as bloody – maybe even more so. The fighting on Peleliu was sheer butchery on both sides. The US Marines and army would suffer 6,800 casualties, the Japanese army at least double that.

Captured here in an iconic photograph of WWII, on September 15, 1944, are two Marines enjoying a brief respite from the constant battle. Gerald Churchby (later found out to be Thursby) and Douglas Lightheart are sitting in a shell hole, with the jungle of Peleliu shattered and broken all around them. That’s private Lightheart from Michigan, sitting holding the large machine gun in his lap, with a cigarette butt hanging from his mouth. The look in his eye is one of acute awareness, as if the enemy were about to attack at any second (which they probably were). Sitting to his right is private Churchby, seen holding his rifle with a far more casual and unconcerned look. Maybe he was just trying to smile for the picture?

4

Thomas J. Murray

Thomas Murray would do his part to win WWII by being the poster boy for rationing. During the war, Americans had to use ration stamps to buy all manner of goods that were in short supply, because these goods were needed for the war effort. Coffee, butter, rubber, and many other staples were hard to come by. The US used poster campaigns to put a face on the soldier who was fighting for the country and who needed these goods, as a way to encourage Americans to make sacrifices and tolerate rationing. This iconic photograph of Murray smiling to the camera and holding a military cup of “Joe” was one of the most popular “support rationing” posters of the war effort. Murray died in 2002 at the age of 87, and was buried with full military honors.

Murray’s face would later be used in another war effort – the war (still ongoing) for Internet discussion board civility. A copy of the poster, with the words changed to “How About a Nice Big Cup of Shut the Fuck Up” (Think Before You Say Something Stupid) was – and still is – commonly used on discussion boards to try to shame trolls into thinking before they post. The rationing effort was far more successful.

3

“Grief”

Not much is known about this iconic World War II photograph, but to many it is instantly recognizable, and is titled simply “Grief”. The photograph was taken by Soviet photographer Dmitri Baltermants. He photographed many Soviet battles including Stalingrad, and he himself was wounded twice. All of his photographs were censored by the Red Army. Only the ones that fit into the Soviet propaganda campaign would be published. Though this photograph was sent around the world during WWII, few newspapers or magazines would publish it, considering it to be another piece of staged Soviet propaganda.

The photograph did not become widely known until the 1960s, and is now one of Baltermant’s most famous images. Shown is the aftermath of a German army massacre of Jews in Kerch, in 1942. The village women search the bodies for loved ones. The brooding, saturated sky adds to the drama of the photo. The woman standing with her arms out would later find the body of her murdered son.

2

Wallace C. Strobel

Everyone recognizes General Dwight D. Eisenhower in this famous image. He is seen here addressing American paratroopers on June 5, 1944, the day before the D-Day invasion of Europe. The tall man standing directly in front of Eisenhower and wearing the #23 around his neck was Lt Wallace C. Strobel. Strobel was part of an airborne infantry regiment that parachuted behind enemy lines, the night of the D-Day invasion. Of the 792 men in Strobel’s regiment, only 129 would still be fighting six days later. One of those 129 was Strobel. He died in 1999.

Strobel remembered meeting Ike. He and the other paratroopers had smeared burned cork or cooking oil over their faces, to blacken them for night-time operations. The number hanging around his neck was meant to designate his assigned plane. Strobel was the jump master for his plane. He and his fellow crew were making last minute preparations for the mission when Ike appeared and walked straight up to him. Ike asked him what state he was from, and whether or not he felt ready for the mission. Strobel told Eisenhower that he was from Michigan – and yes, they were ready. Eisenhower responded that he had been to Michigan, and loved the fishing there. Though Strobel felt Eisenhower had come to try to reassure the men and lift their spirits, it actually seemed to be they who lifted Ike’s spirits. Strobel remembered how well-trained and prepared they were, and that their confidence had a real calming and reassuring effect on Eisenhower.

1

Leonard Siffleet

Sergeant Leonard Siffleet was a commando fighting with the Australian Army in New Guinea when he was captured by natives, who turned him over to the occupying Japanese army. Trained as a radio operator in the Special Forces, Siffleet was part of a secret surveillance detachment sent to New Guinea to watch the coast and report back on enemy activities.

After they were turned over to the Japanese, they were held for about two weeks, tortured, and then – on October 24, 1943, on the orders of Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada of the Imperial Japanese Navy – Siffleet was executed by beheading. He was beheaded by a Japanese officer, Yasuno Chikao. Chikao ordered another soldier to photograph him while he performed the execution. U.S. forces later recovered the photograph from the body of a Japanese major, in April 1944. Though the Japanese often executed prisoners by beheading (see Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda above), this is the only known surviving photograph documenting the beheading of a prisoner.

via 10 Lesser-Known Iconic Photos from WWII – Listverse.

via 10 Lesser-Known Iconic Photos from WWII – Listverse.

HOW HUMANS RUN THE EARTH


A quick  look at how we humans run our planet

It would appear we as a race are clueless when it comes to population control.

In relation to the  distribution of resources and wealth we appear to be  equally naive.

When it comes to the subject of Ecocide this is an area where humans appear to have developed considerable skills

 

population

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