Category Archives: USA

The really hazardous side of Trump

When I was younger one could occasionally pick up the innocent notion here that everyone should be eligible to vote for the President of the United States, since the US had such an impact on the whole world. Naiveties like that are mostly gone nowadays, but in one respect they ought to be revived. And that’s about environmental issues.

US is the worst per capita polluter in the world, by a long shot. One emission that is harmful for everyone on earth is carbon dioxide. Alongside nuclear war, climate catastrophe is the greatest threat to survival of the human species. We’re not talking of some people, or even millions of people being exterminated, it’s literarily the entire human species that is at stake.

Global warming is accelerating at a terrifying pace with its deleterious effects measured almost day by day. Our grandchildren will experience changes in global weather never seen by mankind, most of those highly unfavorable. And that’s just the beginning.

In these dire straits a man elected President of the United States declares that he will do the outmost to enhance this treat to the human species, thereby supported by a Congress filled with likeminded climate deniers. To the latter’s defense one should admit that many of them believe Jesus to come back to earth and rescue them personally in a near future, leaving the rest to destruction. For them it’s at least logical to flout the end of humanity. They have rescued themselves by living an impeccable Christian life (voting for every immoral war possible).

To really underscore his fateful ambitions the President appoints a certain Scott Pruitt to be the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a man who according to his own website is “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” This was already prepared for when a man named Myrion Ebell, a really dedicated climate denier, in September 2016 was appointed a member of the transition team, responsible for the EPA.

This is certainly a world that it takes a Jonathan Swift to describe and ridicule in a novel. Kafka would not be credible enough.

The lukewarm war, threatening to become hot

One can’t stop wondering about the deep irrationality and inconsistency that the human species is capable of. I had a friend once who was very emotional and loved his children beyond everything. If they had died, he probably would have lost all reason for living himself. At the same time, he was a raving right-wing apologist, warmongering fiercely against our standard enemies. Never did he connect the two discrepancies and realize that his sons could be among those killed in the war he acted as to facilitate.

And this man is just one among millions deceived in the same way. We are all prone to swallow even the most stupid propaganda and conjure up hatred against “enemies” who for some reason are considered suitable. Today the number one of these enemies is Russia. And that’s nothing new.

Through the centuries Russia has endured constant pressure from western powers, and numerous attempts by them to conquer the vast Eurasian land. Not that Russia ever has posed a significant threat westwards; it obviously must be conquered just because it exists (like mountaineers say about the next mountain top).

In the beginning of the 18th century Sweden’s king Charles XII was one who tried but was stopped already in Ukraine by Петр Великий. Charles ruined his country through endless wars, which he carried through mainly because that kind of life pleased him. The positive side of his catastrophic adventures was that Sweden became forever cured from all dreams of being a permanent great power in Europe. (Instead we eventually turned into a role model in peaceful achievements.)

We know the other attempts to conquer Russia in wars of aggression: France under Napoleon, Germany in WWI and Western powers in the civil war following the revolution. When Germany again in WWII steamrolled its war machine eastwards it was at least with a declared motive, stated in Generalplan Ost. According to the plan, more than half the population in occupied East were to be exterminated or deported, the remaining to be used as slave labor in the service of the Nazi empire. Executing the plan started without delay, and 14 million civilians were murdered by SS and their accomplices before the killers were stopped.

Lack of aggression, comparatively speaking, on the part of Russia against other countries can hardly be attributed to moral superiority, rather to military weakness. Occasionally they have tried, for instance when they occupied Manchuria in 1900, where they were punched in the nose by the Japanese.

During the first Cold War (which we now experience over again) the Soviet Union was pictured by us as the main aggressive power, threatening the whole world. And yes, they performed some horrible atrocities in eastern Europe such as in East Germany 1953 (55 killed), in Hungary 1956 (3 000 killed) and in Czechoslovakia 1968 (72 killed). We have these crimes in vivid memory, frequently reminded by our propaganda outlets.

The Soviets engaged in one major military operation during the post-war period – the war in Afghanistan. It may have been as close to R2P one can get, since the objective was to help the Afghan government, probably the best government that country has ever had. Nevertheless, the Russians simply proved that war mostly lead to disaster. US was provoked to create the Mujahidin to fight the Russians, the government was overthrown and ultimately the Taliban arrived at the scene. In the end the Soviet system collapsed.

For being the giant threat to the world one must say that Soviet Union was rather modest compared to the western world, led by USA. In almost perpetual wars – one more illegal and immoral than the other – millions and millions of people have been killed, mostly innocent civilians. That is something we more rarely are reminded of.

(To be continued…)

US Election – Swedish media

Since media here overflows with coverage of the circus called the US Presidential Election a postcard from Sweden can’t escape that issue. The fact that the charade is more farcical than usual doesn’t prevent our media from treating it with subservient sincerity, although every enlightened person knows that the outcome is irrelevant for the real policy executed by the next president. It’s just two factions of the same Business Party competing, and the only thing entertaining is the fight itself.

We all remember Barack Obama in 2008. In his victory speech – indeed a rhetoric masterpiece – he appeared as an almost socialist savior who intended to redress every injustice and restore peace in the world. And we know what happened. He kicked off his tenure by bailing out some of the richest crooks in the country with §700 billion and (thus) helped them evade prison sentences. He didn’t fill Guantanamo with new unwanted people, instead he sent drones to kill them in their homes on the other side of the globe (thereby ridiculing the Norwegian Peace Price Committee).

Such issues are handled with kid gloves by our media, eager to bolster Big Brother. Our apologetic and protective attitude towards USA is obnoxious to the brink of suffocation. To have at least some fresh air and rational critique one has to turn to the New York Times, then you’ll understand!

Despite numerous and daily articles and reports on the US election it’s telling how such a central concept in US policy as Citizens United is treated by our main media: namely not at all. Searching the archive of our most important paper yields a few hits where this democratic abnormity is mentioned in passing, without explanation. It’s as if they want to spare their audiences the insight that the leading democracy in the world is nothing of the sort, just a genuine plutocracy.

It’s true that two (what’s called) populist candidates, one to the right and one to the left, have advanced fairly far in the process this time, indicating that people’s voice has some relevance after all. But it was unavoidable that Bernie Sanders were to be outmaneuvered one way or the other (and that was secured by DNC itself). The infamous “pussy grabber” to the right has come a step further, though he seems to stop there. Should he become president – God and the world forbid – he will be forced to implement the basic Business Party policy with just some minor modification.

There is no alternative.

Except that there really is! Real alternatives!

Brendan Dassey to be released – a decade too late, though

A Swede nowadays is not in the least entitled to criticize other countries’ judicial systems. We have our own legal scandal which severely affects a hero exercising his freedom of speech for the benefit of all people’s right to know what despicable or even criminal acts their rulers are engage in, acts that would have been kept secret were it not for his brave work that endangers his life and freedom. I refer to Julian Assange, of course.

Another name today is Brendan Dassey, a once young boy with learning disabilities, known to the world through the TV series “Making a Murderer”. He has become a world citizen, and that’s what gives me permission to comment on his case.

The young Brendan Dassey was 2007 convicted of the murder of Theresa Halbach, together with his uncle Steven Avery. For those who saw the touching and convincing documentary these names will be hard to forget.

What specifically is engraved in viewer’s memories is the perverse police interrogation of Brendan, a sickening exhibition of a technique which is capable of producing false confessions even from normal adults. The sequence is available on YouTube, and should be introduced into the curriculum in every police school.

It’s so glaringly obvious that the confused and absent-minded young boy was desperately trying to give interrogators the answers they wanted to hear, supposedly in the vain hope to be free to go home, something that was implicitly promised him. Instead he was in the end taken into custody, and from there to jail. The fact that a jury with twelve supposedly sane people could watch this totally rigged interrogation and still sentence the immature victim to life in prison is mind-boggling, to say the least.

Today we at last have some positive news. After Brendan has spent almost ten years in prison a federal judge with his head screwed on has finally concluded the obvious. Based on the facts that the interrogation was both illegal (no adult supporting the under-aged Brendan was present) and performed with improper techniques, the judge has ruled that Brendan shall be released. If prosecutors don’t bring him to trial again, Brendan will be released in 90 days.

With all its imperfections the US justice system has some bright spots. Now it’s time for the absurd Swedish prosecutor in the Assange case to exhibit an ounce of sane behavior, free herself from her political bias and stop acting like a US puppet. And do the perfectly obvious thing her bright female predecessor did: Drop the case!!!

Olof Palme murdered on this day 30 years ago

In the early 1980’s, on a holiday trip to Crete in the Mediterranean Sea, I happened to visit a remote village where I passed a small shop selling Greek sandals. The shop-keeper asked if I were a Swedish tourist. When I admitted to that he became exhilarated and urged me to enter his shop. There he pointed joyfully at an enlarged photo in a frame on the wall.

The picture showed him and his wife, together with the former (and later upcoming) Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme and his wife Lisbeth outside his shop. My first thought was that the man was lucky I wasn’t from Swedish upper classes or reactionary circles, in which case he had run the risk of getting a bucket of cold water poured over him. The second thought was: how many foreign politicians would have been recognized at all in a small Cretan village by an ordinary Greek?

Today 30 years have passed since Olof Palme was shot point-blank on a street a late evening in a winter-cold Stockholm, when he was walking home with his wife after watching a movie (and giving his bodyguards the evening off). Nobody has been found guilty of the murder.

On the occasion of this commemoration our print media, which is predominantly corporate owned, have dutifully and critically evaluated Palme’s person and politics. Parts of his many important contributions, which they almost mandatory omits, are the ones on the international arena. It’s easy to understand this omission since he in that context appears as the compassionate politician and moral role model he indeed was.

A reader of ordinary Swedish papers must in fact have difficulties understanding how Palme at all reached his international fame; what made cities around the world name streets after him and a low-educated Greek take a selfie with him. Our well behaved journalists have not been keen to report how Palme reached this status by actively standing on the side of the poor, of the oppressed, of people fighting for their freedom and independence, of people suffering under communist dictatorship; in short by being a true progressive in word and deed.

Olof Palme’s harsh opposition to the U.S. wars in Indochina is both admired and infamous and lead to a unique breaking of diplomatic relations between our countries. Sweden opened its borders to young Americans who hated those wars and couldn’t dream of participating in them. We protected those men in blatant conflict with the superpower (something we nowadays cannot promise a freedom-of- speech-hero such as Julian Assange).

Palme also made sure that his government took a clear stand against the fascist generals in Chile after the violent coup in 1973. Progressive Chileans who were threatened to be cut to pieces or thrown off a helicopter had to flee, and many of them were sheltered in Palme’s country. (Some years ago when I had an assignment as consultant at the Volvo plant in Goteborg I met a blue-collar worker who presented himself with the surname “Jara”. I curiously asked him, and it turned out that he was a nephew of the famous musician and singer Victor Jara who was mutilated and murdered by the Chilean fascists.)

Another major human rights achievement in Palme’s time (also annoying the super power) was the strong support for the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Quite large amounts of money were sent to ANC in comprehensive undercover operations monitored by a special female agent at the Swedish Embassy. The support was substantial, and Nelson Mandela chose Sweden as the first country to visit after he was elected president. (On the other hand Mandela was on the U.S. terrorist list until a few years before his death.)

Sweden had since the 1960s supported liberation movements also in Namibia, Rhodesia, Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, continuing under Palme, who also strongly acted against the dictatorships in Spain and Greece. Worth to mention is his deep criticism of Soviet atrocities, for example those in Czechoslovakia in 1968.

There is a lot more to say about Palme’s contributions, such as his struggle for a world free of nuclear weapons, his support for Palestine, his participation in peace negotiations and on and on. He was industrious and energetic, also on the domestic field. I’ll spare the reader details on that front, other than to say that fundamental and vastly important building blocks in the Swedish welfare construction, still very much in place, were realized on his watch.

Then, what do we learn from our mainstream media in connection with this day of sadness, when we commemorate the death of a political giant and a profoundly compassionate individual? Well, our main paper – Dagens Nyheter – had a lead article by the editorial board last Friday, supposedly issuing its principled view on Olof Palme. And what did we read there?

First of all, not a word on Palme’s real achievements, only about his “unreasonably aggressive” style in debates, his “poisonous rhetoric remarks”, his ability to “arouse strong feelings”, to “inspire people – or drive them insane”, and other profound editorial insights of the same sort. This was perhaps to be swallowed, were it not for two reasons.

One: These remarks, obviously not intended to embellish Palme’s memory, have been perpetually reiterated ad infinutum through the years by our corporate media (covering 80 percent of the printed media). There is hardly a new word in this DN editorial, its main theme has been printed innumerable times and the readers know it by heart.

The second reason would have been that even an enemy is expected to show some respect on a day of mourning. But such attitudes of decency are not required in the case of Olof Palme.

There is one more thing to mention about Palme, something that distinguishes him from every other person in his country. No one has been so openly and shamelessly persecuted, vilified and despised – ever. The most horrible rumors were spread: Palme was mentally ill, he was a drug addict, a KGB agent and whatever.

There were no limits to the stupidities, and they were spread even by the upper classes in Stockholm’s finest quarters and treated by these “sophisticated” people as pure truths. Internet was hardly invented, but the hate speech appeared openly in most media. Most photos of Palme showed him from an unfavorable angel and with a distorted look in his face. Not to speak of the cartoons which often looked like something taken from Der Stürmer, like this one (The text says: “Moscow’s parrot is silenced”):

Palme karikatyr

The day after the murder the Swedish people suddenly got to see some normal portraits of Palme in their papers, such as the one below, and probably hardly recognized him.

Palme 2016

All of this is nothing to be surprised about. It’s just the class war in which the ruling classes are merciless, and for the moment have the upper hand (and have had so for the last 30-40 years). We just have to keep on struggling, and in that we may look to Olof Palme and many others for inspiration.

Americans prefer “Swedish” wealth distribution (would that it were!)

(Back to keyboard after necessary disturbances of different kinds during some months.)

Has the presidential election in the United States anything to do in a postcard from Sweden? Well, we will all be affected by the outcome, one way or the other, and it’s interesting and often telling to follow commentaries in our domestic MSM.

Most astonishing is the fact that income and wealth distribution, as well as justice and fairness, have come into focus, thanks mainly to Bernie Sanders. After decades of him tirelessly agitating from the back benches in the US Senate, to promote the interests of less affluent Americans, he surprisingly enters the center stage. (I happened to find him online some years ago, and have followed him with interest since. But until now I haven’t seen a single word about him in Swedish MSM – very typical).

From Noam Chomsky we’ve learned that a majority of Americans since at least some 30 plus years have preferred a policy similar to Sander’s, but that an effective propaganda apparatus has produced election results often diametrically opposed to people’s real wishes. But it seems as if the inequities finally have become too grotesque to conceal or brain wash away. And suddenly “everybody” talks about wealth distribution and the other progressive issues.

“Yes, the economy is rigged in favor of those at the top” says Hillary Clinton; “The deck is stacked against ordinary people” writes New York Times (N. Kristof) the other day. He goes on to present a study by two scholars (M. Norton and D. Ariely) showing i.a. that 92 percent of Americans prefer a wealth distribution of a “Swedish” type to the really existing one in the US. But this study has a serious flaw.

These are the three choices of wealth distribution laid before a group of nationally representative respondents (the labels “Sweden”, “Equal” and “USA” were not shown to the respondents).

 

wealth distr

The authors reveal in a footnote that the pie chart named “Sweden” depicts the income distribution, which was chosen solely to get some middle alternative between Equal and USA. The Swedish wealth distribution is something completely different, and in fact quite similar to the US one, as seen in this diagram:

The y-axis shows the sum of net wealth in billions SEK (§1 = appr. 9 SEK), debts subtracted, in the percentiles 1 to 10. Adding 9th and 10th percentiles one gets around 85 percent of total wealth, which is almost identical to the US figures. 60 percent of the population has no net assets at all.

Since Sweden endured its neoliberal, right-wing government (2006-14) the economic divide between rich and poor has grown faster than in any other European country. That government was lead by an empathy exempt man who as a young man was living an Ayn Randian wet dream. But that’s a story worth a separate chapter.

Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/opinion/americas-stacked-deck.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely%20in%20press.pdf
http://ekonomihandboken.se/rika-och-fattiga-i-sverige/hur-rik-ar-varje-svensk/

Refugees rightfully gets attention – causes though neglected

To its credit our main daily – Dagens Nyheter – has engaged in the refugee crisis on a large scale (just like many media in Europe). The now famous picture of the dead child increased the engagement manyfold for a disaster with hundreds of dead refugees going on for months. (There are other, even more horrible pictures of drowned children to be found on the Internet, but this particular one made it through the mainstream filter.)

DN focuses on the humanitarian aspect, urging their readers to be more open to immigration and to support charity organizations. They have opened a hashtag (#jagdelar) on social media and engaged celebrities for a campaign in favor of the refugees. It’s almost a total commitment on a large part of the staff.

Implicitly this campaign also points at the Sweden Democrats, a rapidly growing, semi-fascist party which recently became the largest one among Swedish men in polls. Historically the party has a Nazi background, but some smarter leaders realized the benefits of putting on a blazer and a tie and let their shaved sculls regain some hair. But they are still haunted by their history and one or other racist roughneck stepping out of line has to be excluded now and then.

The Sweden Democrats is based on the one single issue of eliminating immigration, sold to the public with untimely nationalistic rhetoric. Its success originates undoubtedly from a decade of right-wing government politics which worsened living conditions for unemployed, sick and other people in need, without reducing unemployment, especially not for the young. A wave of privatizations of schools, hospitals, pharmacies and many other institutions delivered few benefits but the more of scandals, such as mismanagement from greed, outright fraud and enormous private profits. This created the fertile soil of discontent on which the Sweden Democrats grew like mushrooms.

To the refugee disaster charity is the one thing individuals can contribute to at present, and must be endorsed. But the prospect of changing the wide-spread popular sentiments towards immigration through media propaganda is probably meager. An important newspaper, however, should also analyze the events that caused the need for people to flee their countries, to find out what should be done now to put out the fire, and what should be avoided in the future.

It’s an obvious truism that the violent turbulence in the Middle East area derives directly from brutal western activities in the region, starting (this time) with the wars of aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq, reinforced with violent interference in a number of other countries.

The first step that we in the West should take is self evident: Stop all our own military activities, use western overwhelming might to force all militant parties into peace negotiations and funnel a part of our wealth to humanitarian aid. We must simply realize that our military power no longer is a working means of dominating the world, if it ever really were. Apart from everything else, the violent counter-forces are becoming too strong.

Ruling elites are of course aware of these conditions, they are not stupid, but they simply don’t care. Destruction of the world, especially other people’s world, has no priority over short term profit or other gains. But WE, the people, must use our democratic power to MAKE THEM realize our priorities.

How? Well, that’s just the good question!

McCain’s perpetual wars, and Swedish naivety

Last week John McCain visited Sweden in his official capacity as a US congressman. (Whenever he visits Ukraine the slaughtering of civilians by the Nazi battalions intensifies afterwards; interesting to see what his visit here will imply, hmmm…) He was greeted very respectfully as Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services, and taken care of by the Swedish Minister of Defense, a Social Democrat by the way. No impertinent questions have been asked, no demonstrations rallied, everything just peaceful and quite.

The important US guest gave an improvised press conference on his way to a helicopter, during which he stressed that Vladimir Putin is aggressive, and therefore a danger to surrounding countries. This said by certainly one of the most aggressive politicians from undoubtedly the most aggressive nation on earth the last 70 years. Our brain washing works so well that no one even hears the screaming hypocrisy.

Swedish politicians use deceitful tactics when they lure their countrymen into NATO. They know that Swedes at heart don’t want to see a full membership, so the process proceeds incrementally. During a former Social Democratic government we suddenly found Swedish combat troops engaged in the Afghan war. Without any debate a 200 years long era of peace had been broken furtively.

Recently we welcomed NATO troops to a large joint exercise in the northern parts of the country and similar cooperation in the whole area has become more or less a routine procedure. And all of it takes place without much public debate or (as far as I know) decisions in parliament.

It’s significant to contrast the reverent reception of McCain by Swedish media with the scornful treatment of him by American comedians. He advocates violent solutions to nearly every conflict on earth, and want his country engaged actively in spite of the embarrassing failures of the two last wars (as well as most previous ones).

Another interesting comparison can be made between McCain’s ideal USA and the competing Chinese power. When USA spends (printed) money on perpetual wars, the Chinese conquers the world with giant infrastructural projects in developing countries, financed through aid and trade. These massive civilian campaigns serve as antidotes to war in that they tie countries together in fruitful dependencies (just like the idea behind EU).

When will we realize that wars are obsolete means to achieve world dominance? Do we have to wait until China has taken the definite economic lead, and the dollar is rejected as reserve currency? In that case: let’s just hope that the world exists by then.

Circle of violence – is it eternal?

One week in 1988 I happened to be in New York. This was the year of the 350th anniversary of the first Swedish colonizers landing in Wilmington, Delaware. As part of the celebrations the Swedish Royal Couple held a luncheon in Waldorf Astoria for prominent Americans with some connections to Sweden.

By coincidence I stayed at the same hotel that day, now waiting in the lobby for a friend who had attended the Royal lunch. When the doors opened a stream of celebrities walked by, among them Henry Kissinger with a newspaper stuck under his arm. He walked in a relaxed manner straight on to Park Avenue, catching a regular yellow cab. No lifeguards, no company whatsoever.

My first reflection was how things can change in politics. Kissinger was a key player in Nixon’s administration when the tensions with Sweden were the gravest ever. Olof Palme had expressed intense critique of USA regarding the Vietnam War, and had gained support from people all around the world. Now Kissinger had become a guest of honor to a country once treated almost like an enemy.

My second reflection was naturally how this man could move around without protection; he was after all by many considered one of the most culpable war criminals alive. One could expect there to be millions of people in Indochina with a fair reason to revenge the death of innocent relatives or friends. All it would take had been for a single one of those to be on Park Avenue with a gun at the right time.

Naturally this came to mind again after 9/11. USA had challenged countries and people for decades, relying on its strength for protection. At the same time it had been an open society vulnerable for all kinds of attacks. The question was rather why it had taken so many years for an atrocity like 9/11 to happen, than why it had happened at all.

Since 2001 security has been upgraded considerably in the West, but there is no ultimate protection in societies like ours. We are reminded of this by an article in New York Times yesterday, reporting about an online threat by the Islamic State to kill 100 US service members whose names, photos and purported addresses are posted on its website. Knowing that ISIS is recruiting fighters in countries all around the world, also in the West, threats like these are obviously not to take easily.

If one wants a definition of a vicious circle it must be this: Imperialist violence created violent resistance, generating even more repressive violence, boosting more counter violence etc., on an ever growing scale. When will we ever learn that the only way to break this circle is to cut it off? And that we are the once obliged to initiate the peaceful way? (Provided the masters of mankind really want the violence stopped, which regrettably can be put in question.)

 

Not just Auschwitz but Holocaust in its entirety mainly ended by the Russians

27 January, the day in 1945 when Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz, is also instituted by the United Nations as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The fact that Vladimir Putin wasn’t invited to the 70 year commemoration of the liberation has attracted some attention, as we saw. But no greater interest in main media has been shown for the Soviet (mainly Russian) role in terminating the Nazi Holocaust altogether.

More important than discovering Auschwitz was to stop the Nazi murder machine that otherwise could have exterminated millions more. For this the Soviet Union had the overwhelmingly most important role by grinding down the up till then strongest military machinery in history, thus sacrificing around 25 million of its people, in addition to unbelievable destruction of half the country.

It would have been most appropriate to give Russia some recognition on a day like that. Not so in Sweden, although the day was commemorated with a prestigious ceremony in Stockholm’s largest synagogue in the presence of the Swedish King and Queen, the Prime minister, the US ambassador and a number of other dignitaries. Russia is expelled from the “international community” for reacting logical to a Nazi infected coup d’état in a neighboring country, while an ambassador representing a power responsible for major war crimes, the last ones most recently, is treated with outmost respect. Well, Jonathan Smith, you know how it is!

When Dagens Nyheter’s editor in chief Peter Wolodarski acknowledged this Stockholm ceremony in a lead article he did it with dedication and compassion. He described the anti-Semitism of today, and concluded: “The mechanisms of Holocaust must be recognized as latent dangers in all civilized societies. They require perpetual vigilance and resistance”. It’s all admirable, except that his statement challenges his own position on the contemporary Ukraine issue.

Wolodarski’s newspaper is blatantly propagandistic, blaming Russia for every evil event and for being the aggressor (no proof given), while keeping almost totally silent about everything that could cast a shadow on the Ukrainian actions. Among the neglected topics is the key role that Nazism plays in that country’s present and history, a main reason for the revolt in Donbas, where people know what it’s all about, many having lost parents and other relatives murdered by Nazis.

Wolodarski describes how ordinary people in the Holocaust era could be transformed into rapists and murderers, “prepared to shove the city’s Jewish citizens into a barn and set it on fire”. The military historian Anthony Beevor describes in fact this method as a Ukrainian specialty in his book on WWII, adding that Ukraine stood out as the country in which people most willingly and in largest numbers assisted the German Nazis in exterminating Jews, Communists, Poles and other unwanted creatures.

This “Ukrainian specialty” was duplicated in Odessa in 2014, where a group of pro-Russian Odessa inhabitants were captured in a building which was set on fire by pro-Nazi elements that then killed some who tried to flee. This mass murder of more than 40 people took place without DN paying any attention to the historical parallel which could be called ironic had it not been so outrageous. Instead Wolodarski naively writes about the same method of extermination months later, ignorant of its horrible implications.

Ukrainian Nazism has a long and ugly history, dating back to at least the 1930s when the so called Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) “began a campaign of assassinating and otherwise terrorizing people who didn’t agree with them”, according to Russ Bellant, interviewed in The Nation, March 2014. In his book Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party Bellant reveals astonishing facts about the collaboration between revered politicians and pure Nazi elements in USA.

At the end of WWII Eastern Europe was swarming with Nazi collaborators guilty of all kinds of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Looking forward to hard punishment by the Soviet justice system, not known for its humanity, their best option was to flee westwards, and many of them ended up in USA and Canada. There they were kindly taken care of and soon reached some prominence as anti-Soviets. Bellant deals in detail with their connections with the Republican Party and some of the Presidents from that party. His findings are too many to fit in this short blog post, but are very much worth reading (thenation.com).

My country had the “honor” of receiving a number of war criminals from the Baltic States, perpetrators guilty of killing Jews and other “unworthy” humans. They mixed with entirely decent refugees and were never hunted down by Swedish police. For this Sweden has received harsh criticism from the Simon Wiesenthal Center (so much for that civilized country).

The Ukrainian connection is interestingly reflected in a recent vote in the UN General Assembly on a resolution that condemned the glorification of Nazism, brought by Russia, undeniably in response to the raise of neofascism in Ukraine. Three countries voted against the resolution: USA, Canada and Ukraine! 155 voted for and 55 abstained, among them the European countries. A fact to consider: Israel voted for the resolution.

A column like this has no punch line, these battlefields will no doubt be revisited.