Saturday, August 1, 2015

German Know-Nothings Today and The Refugees By Victor Grossman

"... too few (people) realize that the wars which force so many (refugees) to risk their lives in leaky death traps were caused or armed by the major western powers in Bagdad, Kabul and Aleppo, or that the poverty sending Africans along the same route derives from giant, lasting exploitation, with cheap exports of “northern“ goods destroying the livelihoods of small farmers, tailors and other craftsmen, forcing them... across the deserts to Libya, where warplanes of the great powers created the chaos conducive to today’s racketeering boat-dealers."
Berlin Bulletin No. 96, August 1 2015
“I don’t know.” Those words, often repeated 160-odd years ago in the USA, earned the gang of those using them the nickname “Know Nothing Party”. Those were no expressions of intellectual modesty; party doings were secret, so members were not supposed to disclose anything about them, but just say “I don’t know”. Their patriotic title was actually “American Party” but many members truly knew almost nothing except that they hated immigrants, especially Catholic Germans and Irish, and wanted to bar them from entry, from citizenship and from the vote. This uplifting program, including violent attacks on those fleeing famine in Ireland or repression in Germany after a lost revolution, won the “Know-Nothings” by 1856 eight state governorships, five seats in the US Senate and forty-three in the House of Representatives. 
Today we are also blessed with Know-Nothings – in many countries. We hear similar views in London and Paris, in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, in Munich and Berlin. And we hear of results worse than in 1855 in Maryland or Massachusetts: of desperate misery in the “Jungle” of Calais or at the Italian-French border, of broken windows and flaming roofs in refugee hostels in more and more German towns. Such attacks, vicious graffiti, insulting hog carcasses, increasingly, Molotov cocktails as well, numbered 173 in Germany alone in the first half of 2015, almost three times the number in 2014.
No-one can deny that serious problems exist. Refugees today are not from Ireland or Germany, now one of their main goals; 160,000 applied here for asylum by June 30th and the numbers are increasing. Very many are fleeing war zones, their direct dangers and their hunger and destruction – people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Turkey, Sudan and South Sudan. Hunger and destitution play key roles for many from African countries, often paired with repression. Then there are those from Bulgaria, Rumania and the countries carved out with the dismemberment of Yugoslavia. These ”Eastern Balkan” asylum-seekers are mostly Roma (“Gypsies”), discriminated against nearly everywhere, pressed into miserable schools, largely bound to the worst of jobs or none at all, subject to hatred and often violent attacks. All the refugees want only a chance to earn a living, care for their families, return where possible or to find peaceful new homes. 
Germany was often faced by waves of newcomers, not only in past centuries. Millions of ethnic Germans, forced to leave Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary after 1945, faced difficult, often frosty receptions in places where they were resettled. Then huge sums were invested to build up West Germany and workers from Spain, Italy and then Turkey were “imported” by government agreement, especially after 1961, when the Wall prevented further recruitment of East Germans. Most of these nicely titled “guest workers” were given heavy and dirty jobs, on shift work and assembly lines, and their employment helped keep wages down in Germany while lessening unemployment and political radicalization in their home countries. The program ended in 1973; almost all 14 million returned home; two million stayed, grew roots, fetched and raised families and are now in their second and third generations. But the integration process is far from concluded and was complicated in the early 1990’s by German unification – or annexation. There was nasty violence against people with different colors, clothes and languages, by West Germans but even worse by East Germans suddenly deprived of their jobs, less accustomed to many nationalities hence more easily misguided in their frustration and disappointment to attack peaceful, industrious people they were led to see as intruders.
The situation cooled somewhat after 2000. But today, with large new numbers arriving, it is again threatening, indeed very threatening. Despite some people’s theories, however, not all Germans are the same! Many feel great sympathy toward them after the terrible scenes of warfare in Syria and Iraq or the terrible tragedies of capsized vessels and lost human beings in the stormy Mediterranean. Perhaps some recalled their own travails. In addition to many who accept the newcomers with at least mental welcome mats, not a few offer food, clothing, toys and personal care to help them settle at least temporarily. Thousands, especially young people, demonstrate in their defense, march with “Welcome” signs, and defiantly confront that other contingent – the modern Know-nothings. 
However, as more and more are assigned to city boroughs, small towns, even villages, as container homes are erected and even school gymnasiums get filled with cots or mattresses, it becomes easier to stir up hatred, spread fear of disease or crime and warn of dangers to schoolchildren. Public aid sums are falsely magnified to encourage envy. Donald Trump’s vicious words about Mexicans or pictures of anti-alien vigilantes in the US-Southwest can give a hint of this. But very icy fears are bor of recollections of the not so distant German past, of similar visages and bulging, shaven napes. 
Among such German Know-Nothings are still the Pegida demonstrators with their “anti-Islamic” shouts and banners. Nationally more organized are those in the Alternative for Deutschland party (AfD), which recently ousted its moderately far right leader and moved even further to the racist right; the split cut its poll numbers to 3-4 %, which would at least keep it out of the Bundestag. The older National Democratic Party (NPD), no longer seated in Saxony’s legislature but very present in its main districts, has now been augmented by a newer group called the Third Way, a mix of violence-prone neo-Nazis which has spread from Bavaria to the eastern Brandenburg -  and of course Saxony.
Though small in number, they are clever in stirring fear and resentment, especially when those responsible for bringing in refugees fail to discuss and explain the move to local residents. Freital near Dresden, in GDR days a flourishing steel town, has been plagued for weeks by noisily menacing rallies led by such right-wing forces. The police hold them back from the hotel assigned to asylum-seekers, but just barely; at a public meeting those supporting the refugees were booed and denied the word, including Saxony’s Interior Minister, who as mayor in another town once took a strong stand on the issue, but more recently, like his boss at the helm in Saxony, often seems nearly tongue-tied. Freital’s mayor, on the other hand, was anything but tongue-tied during his election campaign when he demanded “sanctions against the swarming, violent asylum-seekers…adventurers coming to Germany to live a life of ease at the cost of the community”. All three politicians are from the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of Angela Merkel. 
One city councilor, a leader of the LINKE (Left) party who took a courageous stand for the refugees, awoke one night when his car exploded and burnt. Threats mailed to him had been dismissed by the police. In Meissen, to the north of Dresden, threats to a building being repaired for use by the new arrivals were similarly dismissed. It was also wrecked by fire. 
German politics are again split. With a low birthrate and sinking population, new people are needed by many corporations, to whom national background is of little importance. Upright democratic words come easily to the tongue-tips of politicians – if they want them. But above all the demands of working people must be contained, and how better than, despite all doubletalk, to let them be misled into fighting not the big firms but those “greedy foreigners” – whether Greeks in Athens or Syrians in Dortmund? New laws now demonstrate this bipolarity; refugees who have lived here four to six years, if they speak German and have jobs, have better chances to remain, which is humane. But for those refugees still outside the borders it will be tougher. 
Perhaps not for all of them. Qualified engineers, doctors and other desirable professionals will now have better chances, for they are needed. The right-wing Bavarian leader Horst Seehofer had a new plan, now being copied elsewhere. Sort out those from the “East Balkans” with little hopes of acceptance, keep them in gyms or tents and throw them out speedily. Only a few on the Left or some Greens have noted the possible resemblance of such “Gypsy camps” with those of the Nazis before the trains brought the Roma to Auschwitz. 
No, it’s not the same. But too few realize that the wars which force so many to risk their lives in leaky death traps were caused or armed by the major western powers in Bagdad, Kabul and Aleppo, or that the poverty sending Africans along the same route derives from giant, lasting exploitation, with cheap exports of “northern“ goods destroying the livelihoods of small farmers, tailors and other craftsmen, forcing them into giant, hopeless slums and from there across the deserts to Libya, where warplanes of the great powers created the chaos conducive to today’s racketeering boat-dealers. s.
The solutions will not be easy. They demand peace and justice in the Near East, without western armies and armaments, they demand truly independent, healthy development in Africa, north and south, and fair, humane treatment of everyone living in a country, regardless of origin. No, not easy!

The old Know-Nothings in the USA, with nothing to offer voters except hatred, were soon overrun by the approaching Civil War, though the human problems still remain. In Europe, especially in Germany, the forces misusing the problems of properly treating such increasingly desperate “undesirables” represent a growing threat, far more dangerous than the old Know-Nothings, and actively awaiting their chances – in all continents.   

America’s Barbaric Logic of Hiroshima 70 Years On

Finian CUNNINGHAM | 02.08.2015 | 00:00
Even if we accept that there was a plausible military imperative to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – to bring about a swift defeat of Japan and thus an end to the Pacific War – the horror of civilian death toll from those two no-warning aerial attacks places a disturbing question over the supposed ends justifying the means.
But what if the official military rationale touted by US President Harry Truman and his administration turns out to be bogus? That is, the real reason for dropping the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago on August 6 and 9, 1945, had little to do with defeating imperial Japan and saving the lives of American troops. What if the real reason was the deliberate and cold-blooded demonstration of raw military power by Washington in order to warn the Soviet Union of America’s postwar demarcation of global hegemony?
That leads to the most chilling conclusion – a conclusion far worse than the official American narrative would have us believe. For it means that the act of obliterating up to 200,000 Japanese civilians was an event of premeditated mass murder whose intent was solely political. Or, in other words, an ineffable act of state terrorism committed by the United States.
This conjecture about the ulterior motive for the American atomic bombing of Japan has been around for many years. In January 1995, the New York Times reported: «Indeed, some historians contend that the bombing was not aimed so much at the wartime enemy Japan as at the wartime ally Soviet Union, delivered as a warning against postwar rivalry».
With complacent equivocation, the New York Times did not follow through on the horrendous implications of its own partial admission for why the atomic bombs were dropped. If the official US calculation was indeed «a warning against postwar rivalry» to the Soviet Union, then that makes the act an indefensible political decision that had nothing to do with a moral imperative of promptly ending a war. It was, as noted, a supreme act of terrorism.
Professsor Gar Alperovitz – one of several American historians – has over the decades compiled a compelling case that the Truman administration did in fact make the decision to use the A-bombs as a political weapon against the Soviet Union.
The author of ‘The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb’ wrote: «Though most Americans are unaware of the fact, increasing numbers of historians now recognise that the United States did not need to use the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan in 1945. Moreover, this essential judgment was expressed by the vast majority of top American military leaders in all three services in the years after the war ended: Army, Navy and Army Air Force».
Alperovitz cites then US Secretary of War Henry L Stimson and such military luminaries as General Dwight Eisenhower and Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D Leahy who were explicitly opposed to using the A-bomb on Japan. Eisenhower said it was»completely unnecessary» while Leahy noted: «The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender».
This points to covert political decision-making during the critical three-week period between the Potsdam conference (July 17-August 2 1945) and the dropping of the A-bombs on Japan. During that period it appears that Truman and his aides decided in secret that the then Soviet wartime ally was to be henceforth made the postwar enemy. The Cold War was being formulated.
Bear in mind that for months before Potsdam, the US and Britain were appealing to Russian leader Josef Stalin to join the Pacific War soon after the defeat of Nazi Germany. Two months after the Third Reich was vanquished in May 1945, the Potsdam conference between the Big Three allies achieved the much-anticipated commitment from Stalin to redeploy the Red Army against Japan. The Soviet Union was scheduled to officially enter the Pacific War on August 15. As it turned out, Stalin ordered the Red Army into Manchuria on August 8, a week ahead of the scheduled offensive.
As Harry Truman gleefully wrote in a private letter during Potsdam this commitment from the Soviet Union meant that «the Japs were finished».
However, the successful testing of the first A-bomb by the United States in the desert of New Mexico on July 16 – only the day before begining the Potsdam summit – was a point of no return. With this awesome new weapon, US planners must have quickly realised that they could finish the war against Japan without the Soviet Union entering the Pacific theatre, by dropping the A-bomb.
But the primary US objective wasn’t to finish the Pacific War per se. American and British military chiefs and intelligence were convinced that the mere entry of Russia into the war against Japan would precipitate the latter’s surrender. And besides the American invasion of mainland Japan was not planned to take place until November 1945.
It seems clear then that the Truman administration rushed ahead to use its new atomic weapon on Japan because its concern was to circumscribe any advance by the Soviet Union in Asia-Pacific. Not only was the Red Army poised to take Manchuria and the Korean Peninsula but mainland Japan as well.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki – two civilian centres of no military value – were thus selected as the venues for demonstrating the most spellbinding act of terror, not to an all but defeated Japan, but to the Soviet Union. The atomic bombing of Japan was therefore not the last act of the Pacific War, as the official American narrative contends, but rather it was the first, brutal act of the nascent Cold War by the US towards Soviet Russia.
That puts the horrific events in an altogether different criminal light. Because the atomic bombings can then be seen as a deliberate act of mass murder for no other strategic reason other than to intimidate a perceived geopolitical rival – Moscow.
Seventy years on, history proves that this barbaric logic of the US ruling elite still holds. After the official end of the Cold War nearly a quarter of a century ago, Washington has evidently no intention of disarming its nuclear arsenal. In fact, the US government under President Barack Obama is planning to spend $355 billion over the next decade to upgrade its stockpile of some 5,000 nuclear warheads – each many times more powerful than the A-bombs that were originally dropped on Japan.
Furthermore, Washington has offiicially declared Russia, along with China, as its top strategic enemy, as recent as this month, according to senior Pentagon figures.
The unilateral withdrawal by the US from the Anti-Ballistic Missiles Treaty in 2002 and the ongoing expansion of US missile systems on Russia’s borders and in the Pacific with provocative reference to China are testimony to the inherent bellicose intent that resides in Washington.
As with the first and only use of nuclear weapons 70 years ago, the US logic that led to the holocaust at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a barbaric logic than pertains to this day. It is still being aimed at Russia, as it was seven decades ago.
Only the full exposure and eradication of this uniquely American barbaric logic will lead to peaceful international relations.

Greece – The Refugee Crisis and the Horror of Europe By Peter Koenig, July 31, 2015

greece destruction
A voice from Hellas, Greece. According to UNHCR about 50 million refugees are on the move every day on our globe. This is most likely an understatement, as this figure doesn’t take into account what takes place in the almost hermetically closed-off Central Africa, Congo, Za├»re, where western corporations are exploiting for a pittance and with millions of slaves precious metals, uranium, hydrocarbons and rare earths – and where millions have died over the past ten years, by butcher regimes supported and armed by the west – and where millions are on the run.
The real figure of refugees on the run is easily 60 to 65 million; forced migrants in temporary camps, in transit to nowhere and under the most horrible human and abject hygienic conditions, no running water, hardly any medical attention, sparse food if any. At least a quarter of them originate in the Middle East.
And most, if not all of these tens of millions, are fleeing countries destroyed directly or by proxy by the US empire and its European vassals. They try to escape as their homes have been burned to the ground, their families in many cases decimated. They are under constant threat of being bombed, by the ISIS and sorts, all fully funded by Washington, the EU, Turkey, the Saudis, Qatar – and militarily supported and trained by the CIA, Pentagon and NATO. This is not new. It has been known for years. But known to whom? The truth does still not penetrate the brain of most people. – Why? – Because the west is totally brainwashed with lies and distortions by its own corporate presstitute media.
I fully subscribe to Andre Vltchek’s plea to the world – we must demand that at least public places like airports, railway stations, hotel lobbies switch channels from the bought rightwing, CNNs and BBCs of this world –to TeleSUR, CCTV, PressTV, RT and other emerging truth news channels. People must wake up. A growth swell of truth must engulf our western society – if we have any chance to be salvaged from ourselves.
When people are confused and ask in desperation – how to stop this flow of refugees? – The answer is simple:
stop the wars and conflicts, stop NATO; and for those who are NATO members like Greece and Turkey – quit NATO! – Stop the eternal war machine; stop the western business of killing – launch truth news against the propaganda lies, destroy them economically...
Yes you can! – boycott western economies. Join the peaceful eastern economies – the alliances of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), consisting of Russia, China and most of the Central Asian States, as well as the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union) with their new financial development institutions, the AIIB (the new Chinese-funded Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank), as well as the NDB (the BRICS’ New Development Bank).
Today TeleSUR reports that Javier Couso, a member of the European Parliament from the Spanish United Left, was threatened with death for admonishing the EU for slandering Venezuela, for defending the truth about Venezuela! – At the same time it is reported that Greece’s PM Tsipras, traitor not only of the Greek people, but of all of Europeans who strive to be free, is poised to sell the elite of the so-called ‘creditors’ (sic) – the troika – 1,200 of the Greek islands, as a fraction for paying off illegal debt! – Yes, totally illegal, as all contracts concluded under duress and corruption, as is the case with almost all of Greek’s debt – are void, null, illegal; and would be declared as such by any justinternational Court of Justice – if there is still something left like a just court of justice – that has not been corrupted by the west, or worse, whose judges are not yet coerced and threatened with their life if they deviate from the western norms and wants, irrespective of whether the law would stand behind them.
Dear Reader, this is as far as we have fallen since the ascent of neoliberalism in the last twenty-some years. No ethics, no moral, no law, just coercion for greed and ultimate hegemony – enslavement of the people while and after they are lulled and dulled with lies 24/7.
Dear Reader, dear Citizen of this World, dear Souls, Friends, Comrades – wake up! Wake up for your own sake, but also for the sake of solidarity and for the salvation of our planet, of our humanity! – There must be something badly wrong, if an EU parliamentarian who defends and proclaims the truth about a socialist country, Venezuela, which is denigrated, slandered and lied upon by the very European Commission, for propaganda and defeat – and the looting of its resources – if a representative of their own is threatened to death for telling the truth!
Friends – of this globe – there is something terribly wrong, if Greece, a member and brother of the very European Union, is forced to sell off its pristine islands to robbers, thieves, murderers, represented by entire governments and an assembly of governments called the EU! – Can you imagine! Selling your islands! – selling part of your country to settle illegal debt? – People, please wake up. Stop these crimes. NOW. – How? – By taking to the streets, by disobedience, by unlimited strikes, by staying home instead of going to work, by no more traveling, flying, no more consuming. Do whatever it takes to suffocate this killing system. – You are not lost. There is the East with another mindset, with peace and equality as an objective, with an alternative economic scheme, not based on destruction and dominance.
All the southern European countries that are being lynched to death by the world’s most horrendously deadly financial guns – the Zionist-run Wall Street and European banksters – would be more than welcome in this alliance that comprises more than 50% of the world population and controls more than one third of the globe’s economic output. Why accept the Washington-EU dictated financial waterboarding of the west? Economic terror – outright economic fascism? – Nobody needs the west. It’s an obsolete sinking ship.
People don’t know it. They are confused when they are told that the refugees – the endless and steadily growing flood of refugees – are the direct result of western destructive interventions in these peoples’ home countries – destroying not only their families, homes and employment – but also their hope for a decent life – their sense of living – not even living well, god forbid, just living a decent life, with food on the table, medical care and free education for their children; they had lives with rich cultures before the western killing machine destroyed their livelihoods for greed and hegemony. That’s what the West doesn’t know, because no presstitute media talks about it.
Greece is perhaps number one in receiving involuntary migrants, so called paperless refugees. At best (or worst) Greece and Italy compete for number one. But hardly anybody talks or writes about Greek refugees. – Why? – Because the western media, prostitutes to the western powers, cannot on the one hand help to financially strangle Greece to death, while also admitting that Greece, despite all its own misery still is a country with a sense of solidarity receiving thousands of refugees every day- so-called illegal immigrants, coming from countries illegally destroyed by the very west, mostly northern EU nations, Germany, France, UK, Netherlands, Belgium – the most vicious allies of Washington that refuses the most minimal shelter to those plundered and deprived souls, deprived by the west’s fascist war economies.
Greece and the refugees –most of them come from Turkey; many through Bodrum to the Greek Islands of Kos, Lesbos and Samos. Turkey is a hub – a sad hub – for about 2 million refugees, most of them, from Syria. Turkey has spent about 6 billion dollars for building and maintaining refugee camps. But, at the same time Turkey is in full connivance with Washington and the Saudis in funding the Jihadists, ISIS and whatever other pseudonyms they are given – to destroy Syria – to cause the flood of misery. Turkey is a shame.
Kos island hosts some 500-700 paperless migrants, in transit – in transit to where? – Some to Athens to refugee camps, some dream of going to Germany, France, Italy – they have no clue how unwelcome they are in those countries that helped destroy their homelands. In Kos, some 500 refugees from Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Sudan – live in an abandoned hotel “Captain Elias”. It is the epitome of misery; lack of hygiene, food, medical services – some volunteers come three times a week to help them clean the place, distribute food – a medical doctor shows up maybe once a week. The Greeks do what they can with their strangled economy.
Yesterday morning a little Iraqi boy of three years, let’s call him Tariq, has been found in a park in Kos, with his father. The boy has cancer – what doctors diagnose may be ‘terminal’. With the help of volunteer, Georgia, the boy was immediately delivered to the only local public hospital, where adequate treatment for his case cannot be obtained. If there is the slightest chance to save him, he will be airlifted to a northern European city, where all will be done to save him. Georgia and her friend Hara are accompanying this boy with all their heart and attention. May this be a sign of solidarity – a cry to open the eyes of Europe, that there is more to our human civilization than war, greed and destruction. There is a little human life to be saved – a symbol of our own fragile lives.
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik News, TeleSur, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.
Copyright © Peter Koenig, Global Research, 2015