May 2015

Robert Fisk – The Independent (Britain)

Tony Blair’s time as Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the UN and the EU has finally come to an end. Eight years after he took up the role, Blair tendered his resignation and left one question: how come a war criminal ever became a “peace envoy” in the first place? The people of the Middle East – and much of the world – have been asking this question ever since Blair was appointed the Quartet’s man in Jerusalem, solemnly and hopelessly tasked to bring “peace” between Israelis and Palestinians ... For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – Blair’s appointment was an insult ... Eight years ago, there just might have been the slimmest chance of bringing a Palestinian state into being. Today there is none.

Uri Avnery (Israel)

... A new government – partly ridiculous, partly terrifying – has been installed. It is time to take stock. The net result is that Israel has given up all pretense of desiring peace and that Israeli democracy has suffered a blow from which it may never recover. Israeli governments – with the possible exception of Yitzhak Rabin’s – have never really desired peace. The peace that is possible. Peace, of course, means accepting fixed borders ... Israel has remained a state without borders that it recognizes itself – perhaps the only one in the world ... No peace agreement will ever be signed by this government. No peace means attempting to keep the territorial status quo frozen forever, except that settlements will continue to grow and multiply.

Dan Sanchez – Antiwar

... For some states, however, its iniquitous origin and character loom particularly large over its historical course. So it is with the State of Israel. This truth can be clearly seen in the Israeli academic historian Ilan Pappe’s masterpiece, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Pappe tells the history of the 1947-48 event that, during this time of year, Israelis celebrate as their “War of Independence” and Palestinians mourn as the “Nakba” (catastrophe) ... The rapacious ruin of the Palestinians is Israel’s foundation story, and its perpetrators were Israel’s founding fathers. The State of Israel was conceived in ethnocracy and born of dispossession and atrocity. Its origin is its character, and its character has been its fate. In ongoing pursuit of its Zionist ideology, Israel has made the lives of the Palestinians one long Nakba ever since.

Alex B. Berezow - Real Clear Science

... Which person from history was the bodily manifestation of intelligence, knowledge, and creativity? ... Nobody doubts that Isaac Newton was an intelligent man, but he also exhibited in spades the two other characteristics outlined above: knowledge and creativity. Newton was a true polymath. Not only did he master physics and mathematics, but he was also a theologian ... Impressive as all that, what truly separates Newton from other luminaries was his unparalleled creativity. He created multiple tools that simply never existed before ... Sadly, despite his fame, Isaac Newton led a very lonely life. His incomparable brilliance came at a hefty cost; his reclusive and anti-social nature strongly suggest that he was autistic, and his obsessive and disagreeable nature suggest mental illness, perhaps obsessive-compulsive disorder ...

Business Insider

Isaac Newton is best known for "discovering" gravity and co-inventing calculus. But newly unearthed writings from Newton's college days show he was equally adept at unlocking the mysteries of plants. During his days as an undergraduate student in the 1660s at Trinity College, Newton kept a notebook for some of his philosophical thoughts. One researcher who analyzed Newton's writings has uncovered a single passage titled "Vegetables" buried deep inside. In the passage, Newton offered an early explanation for how water and nutrients in plants — especially trees — seemingly defy gravity when they move from the roots to the leaves.

Mirror (Britain)

She could be anyone’s lovable granny, waving goodbye on a sunny ­afternoon to her children who have been visiting to brighten up her day. But her arm raised high in farewell could also be seen in a more sinister light. For in her heart Gudrun Burwitz remains Gudrun Himmler, the beloved daughter of Nazi Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler ... It is 70 years since her beloved “Papi” killed himself with a cyanide tablet hidden in his mouth, after being captured by British troops ... She has preserved and nurtured the memory of her father, believing him to be a good and worthy man. She was 14 when he died and, far from disowning her father, she remained as fiercely devoted to him as he was to Hitler, keeping a scrapbook of every newspaper picture she could find of him.

Reuters

A Chinese state-owned newspaper said on Monday that "war is inevitable" between China and the United States over the South China Sea unless Washington stops demanding Beijing halt the building of artificial islands in the disputed waterway. The Global Times, an influential nationalist tabloid owned by the ruling Communist Party's official newspaper the People's Daily, said in an editorial that China was determined to finish its construction work, calling it the country's "most important bottom line". The editorial comes amid rising tensions over China's land reclamation in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea ... China should "carefully prepare" for the possibility of a conflict with the United States, the newspaper said.

Eric Margolis

As tensions in the South China Sea between the US and China continue to rise, the US Navy and Air Force are quietly gearing up to fight a war in the disputed region. If necessary, that is. Both sides say they don’t want any military confrontation on China’s extensive coastal waters, but both are acting as if a military conflict is increasingly likely ... One need not be a swami to see that China’s surging power will soon clash with that of the American hegemon. The battle lines are already drawn ... The US must find a way to accommodate China’s growing power ... Will Washington back off and allow China to be the master of Asia? It seems highly doubtful. But unless some kind of modus vivendi is found, a military confrontation is likely to follow, one that the US might very well lose.

Christopher Layne - The National Interest

.... Much contemporary commentary points to direct parallels between today’s events in East Asia and those that led to the outbreak of World War I in Europe one hundred years ago ... The international system is in the midst of a transition away from unipolarity. As U.S. dominance wanes, the Pax Americana will give way to a new but as yet undefined international order. Historically, transitional periods marked by hegemonic decline and the simultaneous emergence of new great powers have been unstable and prone to war. It is hardly alarmist to say that today China and the United States are on a collision course, due to China’s rise — and Beijing’s accompanying ambitions — and America’s current commitment to maintaining its privileged spot atop the international pecking order. This does not mean war is imminent.

Bloomberg

Japan led a wave of investment into America in the 1980s. Now it's China's turn. A new report described as the first of its kind has broken down how much Chinese money is flowing into America, where it's going and its economic impact. Chinese investors are already the biggest holders of U.S. government debt and are known for snapping up trophy assets like the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The new analysis by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and Rhodium Group has found that Chinese companies and investors are putting money into everything from American copper plants and factories to real estate, across the country ... Between 2000 and 2014, Chinese firms spent almost $46 billion on acquisitions and new establishments across America, much of it in the past five years alone.

S. Mihm - Bloomberg

The U.S. Justice Department last week charged six Chinese scientists for stealing trade secrets and engaging in industrial espionage on behalf of China. A separate case, announced Friday, involved the former chairman of the physics department at Temple University, a China-born U.S. citizen who allegedly passed along semiconductor technology while working at an unnamed American company. Such cases often are held up as evidence of China’s perfidy and unscrupulous dealings in the global economy. But before getting into high dudgeon mode, the U.S., and for that matter, almost every Western nation, might wish to remember their own, no-holds-barred campaigns to swipe industrial secrets.

AFP

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center on Tuesday urged Croatia to stop paying pensions to people who served in the country`s World War II Nazi-allied armed forces, labelling the policy an insult to their victims ... Croatia is currently paying around 10,000 such pensions, to those still living or their spouses, which costs the European Union member around 50 million euros ($56 million) yearly, according to estimates ... Apart from receiving pensions, members of the so-called "homeland army" during WWII, as the law labelled them, were also entitled to special benefits, with each year spent in the armed forces or in detention after the war counting double when calculating their pensions.

Daily Mail (Britain)

With guns firing, men falling to the ground and 1944 tanks thundering across the countryside, hundreds of history enthusiasts dressed up as Nazis and Allied soldiers to re-enact the D-Day landings 70 years on. More than 500 military fans donned full uniform to bring back to life the tide-turning moment that 150,000 troops landed on the beaches in Normandy -- the largest amphibious invasion in history. Members of the second battle group, the UK's oldest living history society, represented the SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte - part of the German elite fighting force - today at the Overlord Military Spectacular in Denmead, Hampshire.

The New York Times

... Anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common mental health diagnosis among college students, though depression, too, is on the rise. More than half of students visiting campus clinics cite anxiety as a health concern, according to a recent study of more than 100,000 students nationwide by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State. Nearly one in six college students has been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety within the last twelve months, according to the annual national survey by the American College Health Association. The causes range widely, experts say, from mounting academic pressure at earlier ages to overprotective parents to compulsive engagement with social media.

Patrick J. Buchanan

...The United States is de-Christianizing at an accelerated rate ... An anti-Christian elite captured the cultural heights — the arts, elite universities, popular culture, the media — and began, through movies, books and magazines, an assault on Christian beliefs and morality ... As Christianity fades away and the moral code and culture it generated recede into irrelevance, what will hold us together? Economically, we are dependent on foreigners for the necessities of our national life. Our politics are poisonous. Our racial divisions, once ameliorated by shared belief in the same God and Bible, are rawer than they were in the 1950s. As for equality, diversity and global democracy, who will march and die for that?

Jacob G. Hornberger

On Memorial Day, Americans honor the soldiers who have died in the defense of our country. There is one big problem though: Those soldiers didn’t die in the defense of our country. Instead, they died in the defense of empire and hegemony ... Consider the Spanish American War in 1898. Did Spain ever attack and invade the United States? Nope. The U.S. government intervened in a war of independence that was being waged between the Spanish Empire and its colonial possessions, including Cuba and the Philippines ... World War I. No one attacked and invaded in the United States in that war either. U.S. soldiers died to make the world safe for democracy and to finally bring an end to war itself.

Bill Quigley – CounterPunch

... What must we do? First, we must learn the facts and face the truth that the U.S. is the biggest war maker in the world. Second, we must commit ourselves and organize others to a true revolution of values and confront the corporations and politicians who continue to push our nation into war and inflate the military budget with the hot air of permanent fear mongering. Third, we must admit what our country has been doing wrong, and we must make amends for the violence that the U.S. has waged on countries all over our world. Fourth, we must withdraw our military from all other countries, dramatically downsize our military, disarm our nuclear weapons, and truly stick to defending our own country. Fifth, we must work for peaceful, just solutions to conflict here at home and across our world.

Agence France-Presse

Nuclear non-proliferation talks ended without agreement on Friday after the United States, Canada and Britain opposed a plan to set up a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. More than 150 countries took part in a month-long conference reviewing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology. But talks on a final document outlining an action plan for the next five years hit a wall over a provision on convening a conference by March 2016 on creating a Middle East nuclear-weapons free zone. Israel, which is not a member of the NPT but attended the conference as an observer, opposed the proposal backed by Egypt and Arab countries.

Juan Cole

There is a lot of talk about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and the ways in which an Iranian bomb would provoke Saudi Arabia and others to acquire nuclear warheads of their own. But for decades, the primary impetus to a nuclear arms race in the region has been Israel, which probably had an atom bomb by about 1970. It was helped behind the scenes by France and Britain – which actively proliferated nuclear weapons to Israel ... The UN Security Council has treated Israel very differently from the way they treated Iran ... Israel as a “European” country was allowed to get a nuclear bomb, indeed was helped to do so, and no sanctions were ever applied to it. Iran was targeted for economic warfare just for having an enrichment program.

The New York Times

Bulldozers lie abandoned on city streets. Exhausted surgeons operate through the night. And the wealthy bail out broke police departments. A nearly bankrupt Greece is taking desperate measures to preserve cash. Absent a last-minute deal with its creditors, the nation will run out of money early next month ... In a society that has lived off the generosity of the government for decades, the cash crisis has already had a shattering impact. Universities, hospitals and municipalities are struggling to provide basic services, and the country’s underfunded security apparatus is losing its battle against an influx of illegal immigrants. In effect, analysts say, Greece is already operating as a bankrupt state.

Glenn Greenwald – The Intercept

... For years, human rights groups have fought to obtain old documents, particularly a 37-year-old diplomatic cable, relating to British responsibility for Henderson’s brutality in Bahrain. Ordinarily, documents more than 30 years old are disclosable, but the British government has fought every step of the way to conceal this cable. But now, a governmental tribunal ruled largely in favor of the government and held that most of the diplomatic cable shall remain suppressed ... This is the core mindset now prevalent in both the U.S. and U.K. for hiding their crimes from their own populations and then rest of the world: disclosure of what we did will embarrass and shame us, cause anger toward us, and thus harm our “national security.”

JTA

Israel reportedly wants the U.S. to increase its annual defense assistance package by half, to an average $4.5 billion. Defense News reported this weekend that Israel and U.S. officials have in recent months begun negotiations on the next ten-year aid package. The previous package, negotiated by the George W. Bush and Ehud Olmert governments in 2007, averaged $3 billion of assistance each year, for a total of $30 billion, from 2007-2017. The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants that to increase to $42-45 billion over the 2018-2028 period, Defense News reported, adding that President Barack Obama during his March 2013 visit to Israel “endorsed in principle” that range.

VOA News

Americans are fatter than ever. The U.S. obesity rate climbed to 27.7 percent in 2014, up from 27.1 percent in 2013, and significantly higher than the 25.5 percent recorded in 2008, when Gallup first began tracking obesity. “With roughly 250 million American adults, a couple of percentage points means there’s over five million more people who are obese today than were obese back in 2008 in the U.S.,” said Dan Witters, research director for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. “More states are getting fatter than are getting slimmer. It’s sobering but not surprising.” Mississippi (35.2%) and West Virginia (34.3%) continue to have the top two obesity rates in the nation as they have since 2012. More than one-third of all residents in those states are obese.

Peter Hitchens - The Mail (Britain)

... A wave of human misery is now heading to Europe – and eventually to Britain – from the fiery chaos of post-Cameron Libya. In one week, at least 10,000 migrants have been ferried to Italy by greedy criminal traffickers ... And of course civilised Europe does pick them up. What choice do we have? It goes against centuries of Christianity to leave them (as the ruthless traffickers happily do) to their fate, and hope that this will discourage them. And how can we send them back to the failed and lawless state which has already driven them out after robbing them? So it will not be long before they arrive at Calais and join the queue to be smuggled into Britain. I can see no obvious solution to this. It reminds me of the great illegal migration of Latin Americans that utterly transformed the USA in the 1990s, and continues to do so.

The Times of Israel

President Barack Obama defended his fierce criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the wake of the March elections in Israel, arguing that such criticism lends him credibility when defending the Jewish state in international arenas, and rejected attempts to equate his censure of the Israeli government with anti-Semitism ... in a wide-ranging interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic ... Obama conjured many of Israel’s most iconic figures and symbols to stress his long-standing support and admiration for the Jewish state ... Despite his frayed relations with Netanyahu, Obama claimed the Jewish community in the US has been consistently supportive of his approach ... He also warned against equating support of the Jewish community with unconditional support of Israel.

Jeffrey Goldberg - The Atlantic

... As President Obama was bringing an occasionally contentious but often illuminating hour-long conversation about the Middle East to an end, I brought up a persistent worry ... On Israel, Obama endorsed, in moving terms, the underlying rationale for the existence of a Jewish state, making a direct connection between the battle for African American equality and the fight for Jewish national equality ... He made two things clear. One is that he will not stop criticizing Israel when he believes it is not living up to its own founding values. And two — and this is my interpretation of his worldview — he holds Israel to a higher standard than he does other countries because of the respect he has for Jewish values and Jewish teachings, and for the role Jewish mentors and teachers have played in his life.

Breitbart

Friday in Washington, D.C. at the Jewish American Heritage Celebration, President Barack Obama told the audience The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg once called him the “first Jewish president.” Obama said, “Most of all, I want to thank the entire congregation of Adas Israel for having me here today. Earlier this week, I was actually interviewed by one of your members, Jeff Goldberg. And Jeff reminded me he once called me the first Jewish president. Now, since some people still seem to be wondering about my faith, I should make clear this is an honorary title, but I was flattered. And as an honorary member of the tribe not to mention somebody who has hosted seven White House seders and has been advised by two Jewish chiefs of staff.”

Eli Lake - Bloomberg

After President Barack Obama delivered a pre-Sabbath address Friday about his deep admiration for Israel and the Jewish people, I had many questions ... The way Obama frames this matter is a whitewash of history. In his telling, Israel's founders understood the importance of treating all Palestinians with decency, but over time these nasty right-wingers came into power and Israel is now careening toward a kind of apartheid ... The truth is that Israel's founders didn't think much of the Palestinians ... The national character of Israel is not shaped by a desire to be a light unto nations, as Obama says, but by the ordinary desire to survive. Zionism, at its core, is the recognition that Jews and only Jews can be counted on to save themselves from the people who will inevitably try to destroy them.

Jeff Faux

... Since 1980, we have invaded, occupied and/or bombed at least 14 different Muslim countries. After the sacrifice of thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars, the region is now a cauldron of death and destruction ... Democrats and Republicans snipe over tactics, but neither wants to discuss the question of whether we should be there in the first place ... Iran is not a threat to U.S. security and will not be as far as one can see into the future ... Why, the inquiring American citizen might ask, is it OK for Israel and Pakistan to refuse to sign international treaties and allow inspection of their nuclear facilities, but not Iran?

AFP

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to eight months in prison for corruption on Monday, the latest legal blow in a spectacular fall from grace. Lawyers for Olmert, who was premier from 2006 to 2009, crowning a political career spanning decades, immediately announced they would appeal. The 69-year-old already faces a six-year prison sentence handed down in a separate bribery case which is the subject of an appeal to the supreme court. He remains at liberty until the appeals have been heard, but will have to serve the two jail terms consecutively if they are upheld. The Jerusalem district court convicted Olmert of fraud and corruption in March following a retrial over allegations that he had received envelopes of cash from a US businessman while trade and industry minister in the early 2000s.

Daily Mail (Britain)

Even for the most dedicated of ice cream lovers this sweet treat may prove a little hard to swallow. Unbelievably a brand of ice cream cone is readily available in India which is named after Hitler. It’s difficult to fathom what the Nazi leader may have in common with the crunchy snack, but Hitler’s name is splashed across boxes of the tasteless delicacy which is hawked across the country. Meanwhile the cold eyes of the killer stare out at ice cream customers from the side of the packaging. In some instances he appears in cartoon form in a Swastika-shaped top hat with a jaunty red bowtie, which is somewhat at odds with his furious expression.

CNN

The U.S. and Israel have the worst inequality in the developed world, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD found that the gap between rich and poor is at record levels in most of its 34 member countries. But the U.S. and Israel stood out from the pack. In the U.S., the richest ten percent of the population earn 16.5 times the income of the poorest ten percent. In Israel, the richest ten percent earn 15 times that of the poorest. That compares with the average ratio of 9.6 times across the OECD. The income gap has been growing steadily in recent decades. In the 1980s, the rich made about seven times as much as the poor. The report also reveals wealth inequality is even more extreme than income inequality.

The Times of Israel

The US State Department indicated it will approve an arms sale to Israel worth nearly $1.9 billion, adding thousands of bombs, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles to Jerusalem’s armory for “self-defense” needs. The details of the possible sale were sent for congressional review this week after being approved by the Pentagon, the US Department of Defense said in a statement Tuesday [May 19]. If the agreement is finalized, Israel will receive a supply of precision-guided munitions consisting of 750 bunker buster bombs, 3,000 Hellfire missiles, 250 medium-range air-to-air missiles and 4,100 glide bombs, in a deal worth $1.879 billion ... “The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the statement read.

International Business Times

... Artists and locals in several southern states gathered Monday for a simultaneous “burial” of the Confederate flag on Memorial Day to raise awareness of the controversial symbolism of the banner -- and why they think desecrating and burying it should become an annual tradition. “The confederate flag is the N-word on a pole,” said Sarasota, Florida, artist John Sims, who coordinated symbolic burials of the Confederate flag on Monday in the 13 states represented by the stars of the flag ... In New Orleans, a group of locals burned the flag on a BBQ grill at the base of the Robert E. Lee monument, which towers over a popular intersection of the predominately African-American city.

C. Wyatt – BBC News

Are we losing our religion? The answer for the UK seems to be "Yes", while the answer for the developing world is a resounding "No". That was the conclusion of a recent analysis by the Pew Research Center in the US. It suggests that in the UK, if current trends continue, the proportion of the population identifying themselves as Christians will fall from 64 percent in 2010 to 45 percent by 2050, while the proportion of Muslims will rise from five percent to eleven percent. The proportion of the population claiming no religion in the UK - the "unaffiliated" - will also rise significantly, from 28% to 39%.

The Moscow Times (Russia)

Russian investigators opened a criminal case Tuesday against a 16-year-old boy who allegedly expressed admiration for the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland. On the 75th anniversary of the invasion, the teenager posted a photograph of Nazi troops with words in support of the attack on a social media site, Russia's Investigative Committee alleged in a statement. The case is the first of its kind under a law passed by Russia last year imposing criminal liability for rehabilitating or glorifying Nazism ... A campaign against fascist symbolism has gathered pace in Russia ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on Saturday, with numerous new criminal cases and even shoes and toy soldiers sporting Nazi insignia reportedly among the objects targeted by investigators.

M. Viney - New Scientist (Britain)

English is now the language we all use to communicate science. But while it may feel inevitable, the domination of English is very recent and may be down to geopolitics and other accidents, argues a new book / ... Michael Gordin's excellent Scientific Babel asks what drives the languages science uses, and how English came to dominate. As he writes, "scientific languages are not born, they are made, and made with a good deal of effort". Gordin uses chemistry to guide our tour because this was the key science during the transition to monolingualism. His story is insightful, engaging and based on superb scholarship, lightly worn ... With German increasingly forced out of the triumvirate, that left French and English. As English overtook German during both world wars, French was squeezed out.

Tom Sunic - Institute for Historical Review - Audio

Dr. Sunic provides an overview of the brutal "ethnic cleansing" of Germans in the aftermath of World War Two, in which some twelve million people, mostly women, children and elderly, were forcibly expelled from centuries-old homelands in eastern and central Europe. Of these, some two million were killed or otherwise perished. In this address at an IHR meeting, the European-American scholar contrasts the way in which this massive genocide is all but ignored in the US media, whereas Jewish "victimology" has become a central feature of our society's "civic religion."

Allan C. Brownfeld

... All Americans, regardless of their religion, are implicated in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. America is, after all, helping to finance it. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. taxpayer dollars in our history. From 1949 to 2008, the U.S. government provided Israel more than $103.6 billion of total official aid, making it the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance in the post-World War II era. In 2007, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding providing for $30 billion of U.S. military aid from 2009 to 2018. Between fiscal year 2000 and 2009, the U.S. gave Israel $24.1 billion of military aid ... Under what rationale can continued massive U.S. aid be justified? If ever there was a time to reassess our relationship with Israel, clearly that time is now.

J. Dean - PsyBlog

Eighty years ago the top three things people thought were most important for happiness were security, knowledge and religion. By 2014 only security was still in the top three, and the other two spots had changed to good humour and leisure. Meanwhile religion had dropped to tenth, and last place. The results come from two surveys carried out almost 80 years apart. For both surveys people in Bolton, England, replied to an advert asking them to answer the question “What is happiness?”

Institute for Historical Review

[From the postwar prison writings of Hideki Tojo, Japan’s World War Two premier] ... During this period [1939-1941], Japan's peaceful commercial relations were successively obstructed, primarily by the American rupture of commercial relations, and this was a grave threat to the survival of Japan. In particular, the economic blockade by the various powers, led by the United States, inflicted a mortal blow to the survival of Japan ... This, together with the outrageous act of economic blockade by means of the freezing of Japanese assets by the United States, Britain, and Holland, was a mortal threat to Japan, whose economic activities depended on foreign trade ... From a military point of view, the US-British side openly increased its support of the Chungking [Chinese] forces, thus causing the war to continue.

The New York Times

Seven decades after its fiery collapse, the embers remain — including some 1,200 feature films produced under Joseph Goebbels’s ministry of propaganda. Are they historical evidence, incitements to murder, fascist pornography, evergreen entertainments, toxic waste or passé kitsch? All of the above? Those questions are raised by “Forbidden Films: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film,” a documentary essay by the German filmmaker Felix Moeller ... The hard-core propaganda films that followed Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 and the outbreak of World War II “constituted a very small portion of the era’s features,” Mr. Rentschler has written. Nazi propaganda was often deliberately entertaining and, in any case, entertainment films were scarcely immune to ideology ... Around 300 German movies were banned by American occupation forces.

Bruce Chadwick – HNN

Most Americans do not know much about all of the Nazi propaganda films produced and released throughout Germany during the menacing days of the Third Reich. Adolf Hitler’s head of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, was in charge of the movies and became a cinematic wizard for his boss. He oversaw many well-known propaganda films, such as Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, Jew Suss and Kolberg. Altogether, 1,200 films were made in Germany from 1933 to 1945. There are still 40 very offensive films that are not allowed to be shown publicly (except at scholarly events). Now clips of them have been spliced together in a bristling new documentary, Forbidden Fruit: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film.

James J. Sheehan - The New York Times

... "Goebbels: A Biography” [by Peter Longerich], in a fluent translation of the German version published in 2010, is likely to remain the definitive account of the man's life. No other scholar has so successfully mastered the enormous mass of material he left behind. One special feature of this biography is Longerich's skill in analyzing the diary that Goebbels kept virtually every day from 1923 until almost three weeks before his death in 1945. A full copy was discovered in Moscow in 1992 and is now available in an edition that runs to 32 volumes. One must admire the dedication required to separate fact from fantasy in this extraordinarily rich but also extraordinarily problematic source.

Jon Basil Utley - The American Conservative

The newest lie about the Iraq war is that the truth about Iraq was not known before the American attack in 2003. One needs only to search for “lies about Iraq” to see all the many links explaining evidence from before the war started that showed the Bush/ Cheney/ neoconservative claims to be false. That false narrative is important to know because many of the same people are now promoting war with Iran, as they were before with Syria ... All Americans should be reminded again and again that recent wars were based on lies ... Today, when all the Republican candidates are being pressured by right-wing media and neoconservative money men to sound (and be) hawkish, Americans should recall how most of Washington’s establishment lied to promote past wars.

Stephen M. Walt - The New York Times

The war in Iraq was a failure of policy, not intelligence. The Bush administration decided to topple Saddam Hussein and then concocted a bogus case to justify war. Blaming bad intelligence is just a smokescreen the war’s architects and cheerleaders now employ to evade blame for the debacle ... It was always an unnecessary war. Military attacks do not bring about stable nations. They engender hatred and unintended consequences like ISIS. Toppling Saddam was also unwise, as 33 security experts pointed out in a September 2002 New York Times advertisement (“War with Iraq is Not in America’s National Interest”) ... One did not need classified intelligence to spot these obvious dangers, but Bush and the neocons ignored them.

David Corn - Mother Jones

... But here's the truth Jeb Bush and the others are hiding or eliding: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, & Co. were not misled by lousy intelligence; they used lousy intelligence to mislead the public ... Bush and Cheney did not invade Iraq because they had been hoodwinked by bad intelligence. They claimed the intelligence was solid – when it wasn’t. And they made stuff up ... The Iraq war at its heart was not an intelligence failure. Bush, Cheney, and their comrades were hell-bent on invading Iraq — not because of inaccurate intelligence, but because of their own assumptions and desires.

Institute for Historical Review - Audio-Video

Best-selling British historian David Irving draws parallels between aspects of the war in Iraq and World War II, and how the US invasion of Iraq has fueled global hostility toward America. Address at an IHR meeting in southern California, Dec. 2003. Runtime: 55:06 mins.

The New York Times

As the proposed agreement over Iran’s nuclear program is debated in coming weeks, President Obama will make his case to a Congress controlled by Republicans who are more fervently pro-Israel than ever, partly a result of ideology, but also a product of a surge in donations and campaign spending on their behalf by a small group of wealthy donors ... Mr. Cotton and other Republicans benefited from millions in campaign spending in 2014 by several pro-Israel Republican billionaires and other influential American donors who helped them topple Democratic opponents.

Associated Press

To the cheers of supporters, a Serbian court on Thursday voided the treason conviction of Gen. Draza Mihailovic for his collaboration with Nazis during World War II, politically rehabilitating the controversial Serbian guerrilla commander almost 70 years after he was sentenced and shot to death by communists. For decades, Mihailovic's fate has fueled divisions in Serbia, where many see him as a political martyr. The Higher Court of Belgrade said Thursday the verdict from July 1946 is now "null and void" — a ruling met with a thunderous applause by dozens of Mihailovic's supporters who filled the courtroom. Dozens more flag-waving nationalists and leftist opponents of Mihailovic gathered outside the court and were kept apart by riot police.

BiblioVault

The atrocities and mass murders committed by Josip Broz Tito’s Partisan units of the Yugoslav Army immediately after the Second World War had no place in the conscience of Socialist Yugoslavia ... Among the Slovenes, the communist crimes committed during the turmoil are known as the drama of Viktring or the Viktring tragedy, named after the largest refugee camp of the Slovenes. Reports on the communist postwar crimes and on the countless discoveries of mass gravesites have also begun circulating in the media of the German-speaking world in the last few years. Florian Rulitz’s meticulously researched book [The Tragedy of Bleiburg and Viktring, 1945] now published for the first time in English, provides a corrective to the historical memory that had been previously accepted as truth.

The Local – Switzerland

Drawn by job opportunities, expats from Germany have been crossing the border in large numbers in recent years. Around 300,000 now live in Switzerland but a study from Vienna University of Economics and Business suggests that many Swiss have a problem with Germans in their country. The study, conducted with the support of the University of Saint Gallen, shows that many Germans complain of being on the receiving end of insults, discrimination and rejection on a daily basis. Researchers surveyed 1,000 German expats to find out how they are impacted by Swiss attitudes to people from Germany ... The findings come after Swiss citizens voted in February 2014 to restrict immigration from the European Union. Germans represent the second largest group of immigrants to Switzerland, following closely behind Italians.

The Local (Germany)

If low birth rates and high death rates continue as they are now, a major decline in Germany’s population is “inevitable,” the federal statistics office (Destatis) reported on Tuesday. “In the long term, a decline in Germany's population is inevitable,” Destatis said in a statement. “The positive balance of immigration into and emigration from Germany cannot close this gap for good.” As the number of deaths exceeds the number of births, Germany is expected to see a major decline in population ...

Ron Paul

On Friday the House passed a massive National Defense Authorization for 2016 that will guarantee US involvement in more wars and overseas interventions for years to come ... While squashing debate on ongoing but unauthorized wars, the bill also pushed the administration toward new conflicts. Despite the president’s unwise decision to send hundreds of US military trainers to Ukraine, a move that threatens the current shaky ceasefire, Congress wants even more US involvement in Ukraine’s internal affairs ... While the neocons keep pushing the lie that the military budget is shrinking under the Obama Administration, the opposite is true ... Next year’s military spending plan keeps the US on track toward destruction of its economy at home while provoking new resentment over US interventionism overseas.

RealClearScience (Chicago)

Suicide remains a deeply strange phenomenon ... New research has added yet another layer of complexity. The CDC reports that in the United States, suicide rates increased in both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties from 2004 to 2013 ... While suicide rates are up everywhere, small cities, towns and rural areas showed the largest increase. In those places, suicide rates increased by about 20 percent, while they only increased by about seven percent in large cities ... Whatever the cause, America's suicide epidemic is getting worse.

Uri Avnery (Israel)

... So who is this Netanyahu? Contrary to popular opinion, he is a man of very strong beliefs – the beliefs of his far-right father. The entire world is out to kill us at all times, we need a powerful state to defend ourselves, all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan has been given us by God (whether he exists or not). Everything else is lies, subterfuges, tactics ... Netanyahu will lie, cheat, repudiate himself, raise false flags – all for the purpose of achieving his one and only real goal, the Rock of our Existence (as he loves to say), the heritage of his father – the Jewish State from the sea to the river. The trouble is that in this area, the Arabs are already the majority, a small majority, but one that is bound to grow steadily. A Jewish and democratic state in the entire country is impossible.

Robert Fisk - The Independent (Britain)

... In Canada – and I had to literally rub my eyes when I read this – the totally pro-Israeli Conservative government of Stephen Harper intends to list the boycotting of Israel as a “hate crime”. This is not only ludicrous, stupid, pointless and racist because it assumes that anyone opposed to Israel’s vicious and iniquitous policies of land-grabbing in the West Bank is an anti-Semite, but it is also anti-democratic ... Yet Harper, who would surely be elected to the Knesset if he were an Israeli, went so far as to suggest on a recent visit to Jerusalem that merely to criticise Israel can be a form of anti-Semitism.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Allegations of anti-Semitism leveled at advocates of economic sanctions against Israel have spurred a fight over how colleges should define speech that victimizes Jewish students. Some Jewish groups want colleges to use a definition of anti-Semitism crafted by the U.S. State Department, but many critics of Israel argue that the State Department’s definition is too expansive and covers statements about Israel that should be considered fair game.

Twisted Sifter

Around 1905, Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advances that had been made in color photography to document the Russian Empire systematically. This selection of 30 rare color photographs is from his amazing collection, courtesy of the Library of Congress. His photographs, taken between about 1909 through 1915, offer a vivid portrait of a lost world: the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming Russian Revolution.

The Wall Street Journal

... When it comes to sending immigrants to the U.S., China and India have taken the lead. China was the country of origin for 147,000 recent U.S. immigrants in 2013, while Mexico sent just 125,000, according to a Census Bureau study by researcher Eric Jensen and others. India, with 129,000 immigrants, also topped Mexico, though the two countries’ results weren’t statistically different from each other ... It isn’t just China and India. Several of the top immigrant-sending countries in 2013 were from Asia, including South Korea, the Philippines and Japan ... Immigration from Mexico has been declining due to improvements in the Mexican economy and lower Mexican birthrates.

Victor Davis Hanson - National Review

... Thousands of refugees from the mess in North and East Africa are hiring smugglers to ship them across the Mediterranean into the southern ports of Europe – often with tragic results, as boats sink and passengers drown. Any visitor to Athens quickly notices that tens of thousands of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Albanians have arrived illegally in Greece in hopes of reaching more prosperous Western European countries. In fact, the downtown of almost any European city is full of impoverished non-Western immigrants ... Western societies have altered their traditional strength of introspection and self-criticism into a banal sort of nihilistic self-hatred ... Westerners need first to understand their own culture and then to defend it.

L. Bershidsky - Bloomberg

It's goodbye Lenin, hello Nazi collaborators in Ukraine these days. Laws signed into effect by President Petro Poroshenko require the renaming of dozens of towns and hundreds of streets throughout the country to eliminate Soviet-era names. At the same time, Ukraine will begin to honor groups that helped Hitler exterminate Ukrainian Jews during World War II ... Ukraine's attempts to eliminate its past as a Soviet republic are as extreme as some of the actions taken by Vladimir Putin's hated post-modern empire, where the parliament is now considering a bill that would ban likening the Stalin regime to Nazism.

National Review

Weeks after Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the State Department objected to a proposed consultancy arrangement offered to Bill Clinton by media mogul Haim Saban, citing concerns about conflict of interest. Nevertheless, public records show that Saban’s nonprofit gave millions to the Clinton Foundation throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure. Saban, a billionaire best known for creating Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, has dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship and has spent heavily to support Israel ... Saban has been a longtime friend and supporter of the Clintons, also donating more than $12 million to Democrats since 2002, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He was a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s previous presidential campaign ...

Daily Mirror (Britain)

Newly-found letters from an American Second World War doctor detail how German SS guards were massacred by Allied troops during the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp. Captain David Wilsey was among the first to enter the death camp in Germany where tens of thousands of Jews and prisoners of war were tortured and executed by the Nazis. Invading troops were so abhorred by the piles of bodies and prisoners' accounts that they rounded up the SS guards and tortured and executed them. In the newly published letters to his wife Emily, Captain Wilsey wrote: "I saw captured SS tortured against a wall [by U.S. soldiers] and then shot in what you Americans would call 'cold blood’.” ...

Daily Mail (Britain)

An American WWII doctor told how he calmly watched US soldiers massacre German SS guards in the Dachau concentration camp because they 'So Had It Coming’. Captain David Wilsey wrote to wife Emily that he did not have a 'single disturbed emotion' because he saw the Nazis as 'SS Beasts' that deserved to be slaughtered. GIs tortured them by making them stand for hours in Heil Hitler salutes and pouring iced water over their naked backs before they were shot dead. Captain Wilsey also bragged about looting the camp supplies for eight days in an apparent collapse of the rule of law among the troops.

S. Friess - The New Republic

An Army doctor [Capt. David Wilsey] helped free the Dachau concentration camp in 1945, meticulously documenting his experiences in letters home to his wife. Hidden for the remainder of his life, the letters have resurfaced, and with them, questions about the G.I.’s we know only as heroes ... Reports of American soldiers killing as many as 50 fleeing or surrendering SS troops and other German POWs emerged not long after the liberation of the [Dachau] camp. In June 1945, the U.S. military issued a report titled “Investigation of Alleged Mistreatment of German Guards at Dachau,” which recommended courts-martial for several soldiers involved in the abuses. General George S. Patton dismissed the charges, and they were never adjudicated.

John Cobden – Institute for Historical Review

... All in all Berben's Dachau, 1933-1945: The Official History is fascinating. The book tells us that the prisoners had a brothel, a canteen, Sundays off, church services, plays, lectures, a library, newspapers, concerts, and movies ... It tells us they had a modern hospital with doctors and nurses who made every effort to help the prisoners, until they were finally overwhelmed by disease near the end of the war. It tells us that disease was the primary cause of death at Dachau, and that even the American liberators lost thousands of prisoners to disease ... In the face of continuing propaganda efforts to represent Dachau and other German concentration camps to the public at large as centers of annihilation, Berben's official history if anything gives authoritative support to the revisionist position.

Thomas Sowell - National Review

... The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just an excuse for inexcusable behavior in the ghettos. In a larger sense, it is an evasion of responsibility for the disastrous consequences of the prevailing social vision of our times, and the political policies based on that vision, over the past half century ... We are told that such riots are a result of black poverty and white racism. But in fact — for those who still have some respect for facts — black poverty was far worse, and white racism was far worse, prior to 1960. But violent crime within black ghettos was far less ... You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization ... without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.

Robert Parry – Consortium News

If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets the same fate as Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, much of Official Washington would rush out to some chic watering hole to celebrate – one more “bad guy” down, one more “regime change” notch on the belt. But the day after Damascus falls could mark the beginning of the end for the American Republic ... Senior Israelis have been saying since 2013 that they would prefer a victory by Al-Qaeda over a victory by Assad. For instance, in September 2013, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post in an interview: ... “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

... While few would mourn the passing of the Assad dynasty [in Syria], there is a problem: If Assad falls, a slaughter of Christians will follow and the battle for control of Damascus will be between the Syrian branch of al-Qaida, the Nusra Front, and the crazed terrorists of the Islamic State. Victory for either would be a disaster for America ... In Syria, Iran is backing a regime we recognized until a few years ago, that is under attack by terrorist rebels we detest. In Iraq, Iran is backing the government we support, against ISIS rebels we detest. Bottom line: A U.S. attack on Syria is being pushed by the War Party to propel us into a confrontation with Iran, and thereby torpedo any U.S. nuclear deal with Iran. Cui bono? For whose benefit?

The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

Violence engulfed Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv on Sunday night [May 3], as an anti-police brutality protest by Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent spun out of control, with protesters throwing rocks and bottles at police, who fired stun grenades and charged the square repeatedly on horseback ... By late evening a number of vandalized police cars and motorcycles stood immobile next to the square, and a few protesters were seen trying to light trash canisters. The protest was held just days after a similar one in Jerusalem ended with arrests and injured protesters and police. Both were triggered by a video of an IDF soldier of Ethiopian ethnicity in uniform being beaten by a policeman and a police volunteer in Holon.

James Bamford - Reuters

Last summer, after months of encrypted emails, I spent three days in Moscow hanging out with Edward Snowden ... He told me that what finally drove him to leave his country and become a whistleblower was his conviction that the National Security Agency was conducting illegal surveillance on every American ... Few people, for example, are aware that a NSA program known as Treasuremap is being developed to continuously map every Internet connection — cellphones, laptops, tablets — of everyone on the planet, including Americans ... He said one of his most shocking discoveries was the NSA’s policy of secretly and routinely passing to Israel’s Unit 8200 — that country’s NSA — and possibly other countries, not just metadata but the actual contents of emails involving Americans.

The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

United States led by Hillary Clinton would be “great” for Israel, Haim Saban said in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post. In the interview ... Saban declined to provide specifics on Clinton’s diplomatic policy for the region but said, “We have yet to see all of Hillary’s detailed positions, and I will not give anything away. However, one thing I know: Hillary will be great for Israel.” The billionaire philanthropist and media mogul, whose financial backing is seen as a crucial to Clinton’s candidacy, said, “Hillary has been a steadfast defender of Israel’s interests. She will be a fantastic president for the US, an incredible world leader and one under whom the relationship with the US and Israel will be significantly reinforced.”

Associated Press

Pope Francis praised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as an "angel of peace" during a meeting Saturday at the Vatican that underscored the Holy See's warm relations with the Palestinians as it prepares to canonize two 19th century nuns from the region. Francis made the compliment during the traditional exchange of gifts at the end of an official audience in the Apostolic Palace ... In a statement Saturday, Abbas praised the two new saints as inspirational models for today’s Palestinians and urged Christians like them to remain in the region ... Abbas’ visit comes days after the Vatican finalized a treaty with the “State of Palestine” that made explicit its recognition of Palestinian statehood.

J. P. O’Malley - The Times of Israel

... In his recently published book “Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle For Israel 1917-1947,” author Bruce Hoffman — a terrorism analyst, who was once a scholar-in-residence for counterterrorism at the CIA — claims that the [1946] bombing of the King David Hotel, even 69 years later, remains one of the most infamous acts of terrorism the world has ever seen ... Powell admitted that powerful Western governments throughout the 20th century — particularly the British — operated with appalling hypocrisy by initially claiming that men like Nelson Mandela, Martin McGuinness, and Menachem Begin were terrorists, then, in the blink of an eye, portraying these men as honorable statesmen and forgetting about past atrocities.

The Times of Israel

The Israeli army and the Defense Ministry provided some arresting details on Monday about the rotten “Lavon Affair” of 1954, but did not provide a clear answer to the still lingering question of who authorized terror attacks in Egypt in hopes of preventing the pending British departure ... The plan, which Dayan opposed and which was executed while he was abroad, was to carry out terror attacks against British targets in Egypt, thereby, according to the logic of the plan, inducing Her Majesty’s army to stay. Israel had trained several squads of Jewish Egyptians in Israel ... They were told, over what later turned out to be a poor connection, to attack British targets, stirring up unrest and quite possibly killing innocent civilians.

Brenton Sanderson – Occidental Observer

... Garfinkle’s 2009 book, Jewcentricity: Why the Jews are praised, blamed, and used to explain just about everything, is touted as an examination of “the various roles Jews are imagined to play on the world stage that they do not, in fact, actually play.” ... Garfinkle characterizes any suggestion that hostility toward Jews stems from very real conflicts of interest as a manifestation of “postmodern anti-Semitism.” ... Nowhere in his book does Garfinkle make the obvious and foundational point that “anti-Semitism” stems from conflicts of interests between Jews and non-Jews in a Darwinian world.

James Zogby

The New York Times' coverage of Congressional antics related to the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation has ignored so many critical aspects of the bill ... On March 2nd, the Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously to insert an amendment into the TPA legislation ... The intended targets of this effort are the countries of the European Union that have called on Israel to clearly mark whether products they export originate in settlements in occupied Palestinian lands. For the first 14 years of the occupation, the US called Israeli settlement construction "illegal". Beginning with the Reagan Administration, however, the US dumbed down its language referring to settlements as "unhelpful", "illegitimate", or "an obstacle to peace".

AFP

A Hungarian prosecutor has ordered a man to read up on the Holocaust after he shared a picture on social media depicting Auschwitz as an imaginary fun camp. The 33-year-old, from Gyongyos east of Budapest, must visit a Holocaust museum and read a well-known history book on the period, the chief prosecutor in Heves county said in a statement Tuesday ... In February 2010, the Hungarian parliament made denying the genocide committed by the Nazi regime a crime punishable by a maximum three-year prison sentence. Suspending jail sentences or the pressing of criminal charges on condition of fulfilling certain tasks is common in Hungary since a reform of the country’s criminal code in 2012.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... An era is ending, a post-Cold War era where the United States threw open her markets to nations all over the world, as they sheltered their own. The end of an era where America volunteered to defend nations and fight wars having nothing to do with her own vital interests or national security. The bankruptcy of a U.S. trade and foreign policy, which has led to the transparent decline of the United States and the astonishing rise of China, is apparent now virtually everywhere. And America is not immune to the rising tide of nationalism. Though, like the alcoholic who does not realize his condition until he is lying face down in the gutter, it may be a while before we get out of the empire business and start looking out again, as our fathers did, for the American republic first. But that day is coming.

Walter G. Moss – HNN

... Like Peter the Great, Putin emphasizes the importance of strengthening the government and of state patriotism ... Under Putin the concept of autocracy has been replaced by “sovereign democracy.” According to Hill and Gaddy, “Sovereign democracy ... is the epitome of a strong and powerful state, just as autocracy was in the tsarist era.” The new term is meant to suggest that “Russia is accountable and answerable to no one (certainly no outside power) apart from the opinion of the majority of its population.” Furthermore, the “universal norms of democracy are not Russian and have in fact damaged Russia’s political development. Russia must, therefore, return to a political system that is uniquely its own, that is sovereign and historically rooted.”

RT News (Russia)

The Russian president has denounced any attempts to rehabilitate Nazism as immoral and dangerous in his message to the Russian-Chinese conference dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. “We consider the cynical attempts to rewrite history so that it matches someone’s urgent political interests, to rehabilitate Nazis and their collaborators, as absolutely inadmissible,” Vladimir Putin said in his address to members of the Russian-Chinese conference on the role of USSR and China in the victory over Nazi Germany and militarist Japan in the Second World War. ... Putin also praised the role of the Chinese people in securing victory and emphasized that Russia would always honor the heroism of Chinese soldiers and their input in defeating the enemy.

RT News (Russia)

As little as 13 percent of Europeans think the Soviet Army played the leading role in liberating Europe from Nazism during World War Two, a recent poll targeting over 3,000 people in France, Germany and the UK reveals. The majority of respondents – 43 percent – said the US Army played the main role in liberating Europe. The survey, carried out from March 20 to April 9, 2015, was conducted by the British ICM Research agency for Sputnik News. Over 50 percent of Germans and over 61 percent of French citizens believe their ancestors were liberated by the Americans ... The Red Army also had to face the lion's share of Nazi forces on the Eastern Front - about five million soldiers ... By the end of the war, the Soviets had destroyed over 70 percent of the enemy’s forces.

The Local – Switzerland

Revelations that one of the world's most famous modern architects, Switzerland's Le Corbusier, was a "fascist" with links to France's Second World War collaborationist Vichy regime have been published just ahead of a major Paris exhibition of his work. The disclosures made in two new books about Le Corbusier confirmed previous, less-categoric assertions and threaten to mar his legacy in a year in which the 50th anniversary of his death is being commemorated in Switzerland and France ... The revelations in the books will also come as unwelcome news in the country of his birth, where seven of his buildings are heritage listed ... and where he is regarded as a cultural hero. His portrait adorns the Swiss ten-franc note, issued in 1997.

Gareth Porter - Aljazeera

Since the start of the US nuclear negotiations with Iran, both Israeli and Saudi officials have indulged in highly publicised handwringing over their belief that such a nuclear deal would represent a fundamental strategic shift in US policy towards the region at the expense of its traditional alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia. But the Obama administration is no more likely to lurch into a new relationship with Iran than were previous US administrations. The reason is very simple: The US national security state, which has the power to block any such initiative, has fundamental long-term interests in the continuation of the policy of treating Iran as an enemy.

U.S. Institute of Peace (Washington, DC)

Increasingly strict U.S. and E.U. sanctions during the last decade, coupled with corruption and mismanagement under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), took a toll on Iran's economy. But President Hassan Rouhani made significant headway in stabilizing the economy after he took office in 2013. The economy grew by three percent in 2014, after contracting in 2012 and 2013. Inflation had dropped from nearly 40 percent to 15.6 percent by early 2015 ... But the Islamic Republic still faced daunting challenges.

The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

In a startling revelation in his so-called “Black Notebooks,” one of Germany’s leading philosophers of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger, blames the Jews for the Holocaust. According to article in last week’s Italian daily Corriere della Sera by Heidegger expert Donatella Di Cesare, “The Shoah was an act of self-destruction by the Jews. This is the view that emerges from the new volume of Heidegger’s Black Notebooks.” Heidegger wrote during the Holocaust in 1942 that the “community of Jews” is “in the age of the Christian West – the age of metaphysics – the principle of destruction.” ... Heidegger, a towering figure in the school of continental European philosophy who died in 1976, was the rector at the University of Freiburg and summarily dismissed Jewish professors at the outset of the Nazi movement in the 1930s. He was a member of the Nazi Party.

Donatella Di Cesare - Corriere Della Sera (Italy)

The Shoah was an act of self-destruction by the Jews. This is the view that emerges from the new volume of Heidegger’s Black Notebooks, edited by Peter Trawny and soon to be published ... Heidegger continues to seek a new beginning, the dawn of Europe, despite the near impossibility of finding any bearings ... The Jews are the agents of modernity and have disseminated modernity’s evils. They have besmirched the spirit of the West, undermining it from within ... This is why the global conflict was primarily a war of Germans against Jews ... The Allies failed to understand the Germans’ mission and stymied their global project. This crime is held to be more serious than all the other crimes ... Heidegger does not think that all is over, precisely because the “peak of self-destruction” has not been reached.

Eric Margolis

... Americans and Canadians like to believe they won the war in Europe and give insufficient recognition to the decisive Soviet role. Most Europeans would rather not think about the matter ... Were it not for the USSR’s victory, Nazi Germany might be alive and well today. Let’s do the numbers. The Soviet armed forces destroyed 507 German divisions and 100 allied Axis divisions (according to Soviet figures) .... The Red Army accounted for 75-80% of Axis casualties in World War II ... No one likes to admit it was Stalin who defeated Nazi Germany. Stalin killed far more people than Adolf Hitler ... At that time, both Roosevelt and Churchill lavished praise and thanks on the Soviet Union, admitting its “gigantic effort” in defeating Hitler’s Germany. Today, however, we have chosen to forget who really won the war in Europe.

The Washington Post

The world this weekend celebrated the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. So a day after the big party, why was Russian President Vladimir Putin praising an agreement between the Soviet Union and the Nazis that helped spark World War II? That’s what he did standing next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on Sunday after the two ­leaders honored the war’s toll. “When the Soviet Union realized that it was left to face Hitler’s Germany on its own, it acted to try to avoid a direct confrontation, and this resulted in signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,” Putin told a reporter ... Putin, who once called the deal “immoral,” has been rehabilitating Soviet history in recent years. The latest revision is on the 1939 deal that split Eastern Europe between the Soviets and the Nazis.

Marion Smith - National Review

Behind his push to make May 9 a glorious national holiday is an effort to whitewash atrocities of the Soviet era ... Russian president Vladimir Putin’s historic spectacle will be the latest in a long line of cynical and systematic attempts by the Kremlin to minimize the horrors of Soviet Communism — and the decades of occupation it imposed on millions of human beings throughout Europe and Eurasia ... Putin’s false narrative depends on suppressing historical truths ... So intent is Putin on exploiting an imagined past that last year he made it a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, to “distort” Russia’s role in World War II ... It might be a felony to report, as acclaimed historian Ian Kershaw has done, that Soviet soldiers raped approximately one of every five women living in eastern Germany.

Reviewed by Joseph Bishop -- Institute for Historical Review

How close did Hitler come to winning World War II? What was the real turning point in the war, and why? In this pathbreaking revisionist study [Hitler’s Panzers East], Professor Stolfi provides some startling answers to these questions. If Hitler had played his cards just a bit differently, contends the author -- a professor of Modern European History at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California -- he could have won the war. German forces came very close to defeating the Soviet Union in 1941. Because Britain alone posed no mortal threat to German power, the defeat of Soviet Russia would effectively have ended the war, resulting in German hegemony over all of Europe. The result would have been a drastic change in the course of world history.

Nicholas Kristof - The New York Times

To better understand the roots of racial division in America, think about this: The human brain seems to be wired so that it categorizes people by race in the first one-fifth of a second after seeing a face. Brain scans show that even when people are told to sort people by gender, the brain still groups people by race. Racial bias also begins astonishingly early: Even infants often show a preference for their own racial group. In one study, 3-month-old white infants were shown photos of faces of white adults and black adults; they preferred the faces of whites ... What’s particularly dispiriting is that this unconscious bias among whites toward blacks seems just as great among preschoolers as among senior citizens.

EU Observer (Belgium)

Russia has vexed some of its allies in extreme-right EU parties by calling them “neo-Nazis”. It did so in a report entitled “Neo-Nazism - A Dangerous Threat to Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law” published by the Russian foreign ministry. The 121-page survey says the ideology of Adolf Hitler “[sic] gradually reappears in some regions of modern world, particularly in Western Europe, evolves and assumes new hideous forms.” It gives a country-by-country analysis of the EU, naming several “neo-Nazi” parties, some of which have friendly ties with Russia. Its list includes: the “Vlaams Blok” (now known as Vlaams Belang) in Belgium; The Danes party in Denmark; the NPD in Germany; and the BNP in the UK. The four parties sent people to a congress in St. Petersburg, Russia, in March ...

Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation

This 121-page Russian government survey, titled “Neo-Nazism -- A Dangerous Threat to Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law,” claims to be a survey of rising “neo-Nazism” around the world.

TASS (Russia)

Russia is concerned about the situation in Ukraine, where attempts are made to rehabilitate Nazi criminals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday in a preamble to the Foreign Ministry’s report "Neo-Nazism - Dangerous Threat to Human Rights, Democracy and Supremacy of Law." ... “Unfortunately, the vaccine from the Nazi virus, developed at the Nuremberg tribunal, gradually weakens," Lavrov said. "This is, in particular, showing in a number of European countries. Nazi ideas and values are openly promoted, nationalist radicals are raising their heads. Special concern arises about the situation in Ukraine, where Nazi criminals are in fact rehabilitated. All this not only insults the memory of millions of victims, but also threatens fundamental principles of ensuring democracy and human rights," the foreign minister stressed.

TASS (Russia)

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, acknowledged on Thursday that the activity of OUN-UPA (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists - Ukrainian Insurgent Army) was the fight for the country’s independence. In the second reading on Thursday, the lawmakers adopted a law on the legal status and honoring the memory of participants of the fight for Ukraine’s independence in the 20th century ... The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) is an ultra-right political organization in western Ukraine in the 1930's-50's of the last century ... The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists during World War II worked for German intelligence. In 1943, OUN organized the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), forming the backbone of the SS Division Galicia.

RT News (Russia)

Hundreds took part in a march to mark the anniversary of the formation of the Ukrainian SS division, which fought for the Nazi’s against the Soviet Union during World War II, in the city of Lvov in the western Ukraine. Around five hundred neo-Nazi supporters took to the streets in the center of the city on Sunday [in April 2014] to celebrate the creation of the 14th SS-Volunteer Division ‘Galician’ on April 28, 1943. Many of the participants wore embroidered national Ukrainian shirts and held SS Galician divisional insignias (a yellow lion and three crowns on a blue background) in their hands. The demonstrators made their way from the monument to the Ukrainian nationalist icon of Stepan Bandera, and to the local cemetery where a memorial to the Galician soldiers is erected.

The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

A government-convened international conference on anti-Semitism in Jerusalem on Thursday issued an action plan calling for Internet censorship as a remedy for anti-Jewish sentiment. Recommendations coming out of the three-day meeting included the scrubbing of Holocaust denial websites from the Internet and the omission of “hate websites and content” from web searches. Convened by the Foreign Ministry and the Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism (GFCA) is a biennial gathering bringing together Jewish community leaders, civil society representatives and diplomats to discuss ways to grapple rising levels of anti-Jewish prejudice.

Patrick Cockburn - The Independent (Britain)

... The triumph of the Scottish Nationalist Party on Thursday and the annihilation of all other parties in Scotland has led to lamentations on left and right over the likely passing of Great Britain as a unitary state ... It is ironic to recall that a decade ago British officials talked glibly about “nation building” in Afghanistan and Iraq, without a thought about the staying power of their own nation ... Over the past year it has become evident that British political leaders are equally at sea when dealing with nationalists and nationalism on their home turf ... Scottish nationalism has acquired momentum over the past year that will be difficult to stop. The annihilation of all other political parties in Scotland by the SNP means that opposition to separatism will find it difficult to take an organised shape and gain a public platform.

Y. Ridley - Middle East Monitor

... When the polls closed, the dramatic count that followed saw the emergence of a new political landscape ... As the polling dust settled, the SNP [Scottish National Party] had won an unprecedented 56 of the 59 constituencies across Scotland, turning them into Zionist lobby-free zones for the first time in decades. Indeed, the Westminster lobby groups of various political Friends of Israel were heavily depleted following high profile departures from the ranks of MPs which left the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats with just one representative in Scotland each. To add to their woes, none of those left standing from the political blitz in Scotland are active supporters of the State of Israel ... The arrival of the new Scottish MPs is ringing alarm bells among some of the pro-Israel lobby groups in Westminster and Tel Aviv.

The New York Times

The debates can stretch from dusk to dawn, punctuated by tearful speeches and forceful shouting matches, with accusations of racism, colonialism and anti-Semitism. At dozens of college campuses across the country, student government councils are embracing resolutions calling on their administrations to divest from companies that enable what they see as Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians. And while no university boards or administrators are heeding the students' demands, the effort to pressure Israel appears to be gaining traction at campuses across the country and driving a wedge between many Jewish and minority students. The movement is part of the broader Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, or B.D.S., which has spread in recent years both in Europe and the United States.

Associated Press

The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday, immediately sparking Israeli ire and accusations that the move hurt peace prospects. The treaty, which concerns the activities of the Catholic Church in Palestinian territory, is both deeply symbolic and makes explicit that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine. The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state and had referred to the Palestine state since. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state, giving the Vatican's former signs of recognition an unambiguous confirmation in a formal, bilateral treaty.

Reuters

The Vatican's decision to recognize the state of Palestine in a treaty for the first time has drawn a stern response from Israel, but it may usher in a freer debate in Europe about how to proceed on the vexed Palestinian question. The Holy See has referred to Palestine since 2012, but the treaty concluded on Wednesday, which covers the Church's activities in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, marks a more formal recognition, which Vatican officials said they hoped would benefit Israeli-Palestinian ties in time ... The Vatican, increasingly proactive in foreign policy under Pope Francis, is far from the only state to have recognized Palestine -- 135 members of the United Nations already do so, nearly 70 percent of the total. By comparison, 160 of the UN's 193 members recognize Israel.

Reuters

Austrian prosecutors have charged the owner of a basement filled with Adolf Hitler paraphernalia as a Nazi sympathiser after his collection featured in a documentary film by cult director Ulrich Seidl last year. Re-engagement with National Socialism has been a crime since 1947 in Austria, which for decades maintained that it was Hitler's first victim, and often glossed over the enthusiastic welcome he got from many Austrians. Nazi Germany annexed Austria, Hitler's birthplace, in 1938. The scene from Seidl's "Im Keller" (In the Basement) shows five men in traditional dress singing a drinking song in a room featuring a portrait of Hitler, a swastika flag and mannequins wearing Nazi uniforms and helmets.

BBC News

The number of Americans who identify as Christian has fallen nearly eight percentage points in only seven years, according to a new survey. Pew Research Center found that 71 percent of Americans identified as Christian in 2014 - down from 78 percent in 2007. In the same period, Americans identifying as having no religion grew from 16 percent to 23 percent. Fifty-six million Americans do not observe any religion, the second largest community after Evangelicals. The United States still remains home to more Christians than any other nation, with roughly seven-in-ten continuing to identify with some branch of Christianity. In 2007 and then again in 2014, Pew conducted the "Religious Landscape Study", interviewing 35,000 people each time.

Jonathan Cook

With potential candidates for next year’s US presidential elections starting to declare their hand, the chief donors on both sides of the political divide appear to have one issue uppermost in mind: Israel. Among Republican hopefuls, there has been especially intense pressure to prove their unwavering support for the right-wing Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu ... The influence of billionaire donors on the positions of presidential hopefuls has grown rapidly in recent years as the sums they are allowed to invest in campaigns have swollen dramatically ... It is almost certain that the campaign runs of both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates in 2016 will depend on financing from hawkish, pro-Israel donors such as Adelson and Saban.

R. Kampeas - JTA

Election Day is 19 months away, but the campaign already has begun. Aside from Democrat Hillary Clinton, three Republican candidates with reasonable chances at the nomination have declared and several others are on the cusp. The Republican Party says it’s been making inroads with Jewish voters, who traditionally have favored Democrats by 2-to-1 margins. Here’s a rundown of the views of three declared Republican candidates — and two likely candidates — on issues of Jewish interest, and their connections to the community.

The Guardian (Britain)

Sheldon Adelson, the multibillionaire casino magnate and key Republican party donor, spent four combative days in a Las Vegas court this week defending his gambling empire from accusations of bribery and ties to organised crime. By the time the hearing was over, Adelson had argued with the judge, contradicted the evidence of his own executives and frustrated his lawyers by revealing more information than he was required to in response to simple yes or no questions ... If these allegations are shown to be true, then Adelson’s gambling licences could be in jeopardy because associations with organised crime could prompt action by Nevada’s gambling authorities, always sensitive to Las Vegas’s history with the mafia. That in turn may threaten the huge sums of money Adelson feeds into the Republican party.

Forward (New York)

Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino billionaire and prodigious conservative donor, spent last week testifying in a court hearing that could determine the future of his empire ... The court’s decision will have crucial influence far beyond the employment case itself ... It could also lead to Nevada stripping him of his casino licenses, the main source of his wealth. Forbes in 2015 lists Adelson as the 18 th wealthiest person in the world and the 13th wealthiest in America, with assets totaling $31.4 billion. The magazine’s real- time wealth ticker, a relatively new feature, shows his assets as of May 12 to total $27.7 billion.

PTI - The Times of India

The prestigious George Washington University is contemplating a ban on the swastika, a sacred symbol for Hindus and Buddhists, as authorities believe it resembles the Nazi symbol and may hurt the sensibilities of some Jewish students ... The student who placed the symbol on the bulletin board now faces permanent expulsion, Daily Caller reported. Steven Knapp, president of the George Washington University, said in a statement that the intentions behind the on-campus Nazi motif will not affect his determination to call it a hate crime ... If the student suffers expulsion or any kind of discipline, the effect will be to ban a sacred religious symbol from the George Washington campus, Banzhaf said.

Eric Margolis

... In one of America’s most humiliating events, US military and government personnel bugged out of Vietnam, abandoning their local allies and girlfriends to the Communists ... As I look back, it’s very painful to realize that the war was, to paraphrase the wicked Tallyrand, “worse than a crime, a mistake.” ... Alas, we seem to have forgotten everything about Vietnam and learned nothing. We prop up squalid puppet regimes or brutal dictators because they do our bidding. The new bogeyman is Iran instead of China, but the song remains the same.

P. Iyer - The New York Times

David Brooks’s gift — as he might put it in his swift, engaging way — is for making obscure but potent social studies research accessible and even startling, for seeing consistency as the hobgoblin of little minds and for ranging as widely across the private domain as the public ... In 1950, we read — as we read in “The Social Animal,” with slightly different dates — 12 percent of high school students told the Gallup Organization they considered themselves very important; by 2005, the figure was 80 percent. In a recent survey of middle-school girls, nearly twice as many said they wanted to be personal assistant to a celebrity than president of Harvard — and the person they most wanted to dine with was Jennifer Lopez (followed by Jesus Christ and Paris Hilton).

Uri Avnery (Israel)

... The new law does not prohibit boycotts in general. It singles out political boycotts of a certain kind. Yet political boycotts are commonplace in any democracy. They are part of the exercise of freedom of speech. Indeed, the most famous modern boycott was launched by the Jewish community in the United States in 1933, after the Nazis came to power in Germany. In response, the Nazis called for a [one day] boycott of all Jewish enterprises in Germany. I remember the date, April 1, because my father did not allow me to go to school on that day (I was 9 years old and the only Jew in my school.) Later, all progressive countries joined in a boycott of the racist regime in South Africa.

Reuters

Twenty-dollar bills could soon be known as "Tubmans" if a grassroots campaign succeeds in persuading President Barack Obama to remove Andrew Jackson's portrait from circulation on U.S. paper currency in favor of a famous woman in U.S. history. Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave, abolitionist and "conductor" on the so-called Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape to freedom during the 1850s, was the overwhelming choice to replace Old Hickory on the $20 note, an online poll showed on Tuesday. More than 118,000 of the 609,000 people surveyed for the "Women on 20s" petition picked Tubman to be the face of the popular U.S. currency denomination, followed by former first lady and U.N. ambassador Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights hero Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Philip Giraldi

... The federal government undoubtedly compiles meticulous reviews of drone strikes, but the official public announcements, when they are actually made, seem to vary considerably from what those on the ground are experiencing. They routinely indicate that only militants or terrorists have been killed and are often accompanied by the word “confirmed.” But how do we know that to be true as the details of such operations are generally considered classified, and how does that square with independent estimates suggesting that only two percent of the thousands killed fit the high-level terrorist profile? The Guardian has reviewed drone strikes in Pakistan and has concluded that 28 civilians are killed as collateral damage for the death of each certifiable “bad guy” target.

Forward (New York)

Sixty-seven years after the State of Israel’s founding, its president told reporters that it is “not obvious” that Israel will survive into the future. Offering sober remarks timed for release on the eve of his first Independence Day as Israel’s chief of state, Reuven Rivlin pointed to fissures deep within Israeli society and to the lack of acceptance Israel faces from its Palestinian neighbors as among the issues that cause him to worry about his country’s durability ... He cited Jewish racism against Arab citizens of Israel, who constitute one-fifth of the country’s population, as one of the main concerns for his worries about the country’s future ... Since he assumed office last July, Rivlin, who is 75, has served as a kind of grandfatherly figure for the fractured Israeli public.

David Shulman - New York Review of Books

... What really counts is the fact that the Israeli electorate is still dominated by hypernationalist, in some cases protofascist, figures. It is in no way inclined to make peace. It has given a clear mandate for policies that preclude any possibility of moving toward a settlement and that will further deepen Israel’s colonial venture in the Palestinian territories, probably irreversibly ... The international boycott [against Israel] will intensify to a level far beyond what we have seen. It may in the end force a change, at immense cost to the cohesion of Israeli society and to the state’s claim to legitimacy. In this respect, I think we are approaching the tipping point ... One thing is certain. The demand to fully enfranchise the Palestinians now suffering under Israeli rule will eventually prove irresistible. What happens after that, no one can say.

Associated Press

Lauryn Hill is canceling a planned performance in Tel Aviv because she wasn't able to also schedule a concert in the nearby Palestinian city of Ramallah. The singer-songwriter said in a statement Monday that she originally intended to perform in both cities in hopes of being "a presence supporting justice and peace." She says setting up a show in the Palestinian territories "proved to be a challenge." ... In recent years, pro-Palestinian activists have launched a global campaign calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel to protest its policies toward the Palestinians. The BDS movement has included calls for a cultural boycott of the Jewish state. Hill joins a list of performers that includes Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters and Elvis Costello who have refused to perform in Israel because of political reasons.

Der Spiegel (Germany)

... In Berlin a debate is unfolding over whether the old rules still apply in dealing with Israel, only this time it is not being led by right-wing firebrands or errant left-wingers, who have always viewed Israel as a satellite of American imperialism. Instead, these issues are being raised by outspoken friends of Israel ... Still, this is precisely what puts [Chancellor] Merkel in a dilemma: On the one hand, she is losing patience with a stubborn prime minister and Israeli policies that, Berlin is convinced, pose a risk to the actual security interests of the Jewish state. On the other hand, Merkel doesn't want to call into question the old rule: When in doubt, favor Israel. Every German chancellor has adhered to this unwritten policy ...

The New York Times

As the Allies stormed through Germany in 1945, museum officials in Dessau scurried to hide their art treasures in a nearby salt mine, where they would soon be discovered by American soldiers. Much of the art was preserved, but three paintings by old masters somehow ended up in a poker game won by an American tank commander ... Though stories of art looting during World War II invariably focus on Nazi plunder, German and American officials say thousands of works, among them masterpieces by Dürer, Cranach and Hals, crossed the Atlantic in footlockers and mail parcels in the 1940s. Very few have trickled back.

M. Miner - Chicago Reader

I mourn the death of essayist William Pfaff at the age of 86. Pfaff seemed to me deeper and wiser than other international correspondents ... We were not, in his eyes, humanity's savior or crown jewel (for all our lovable mistakes); our silliness often marginalized us ... Pfaff called the Republicans "myth-addicted" and sounded disgusted with them. "Consider the credulity and ignorance Republicans displayed at the Congressional address of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As Netanyahu delivered a twisted discourse on the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, congressional Republicans cheered as if he, rather than Barack Obama, were President of the United States."

Murray Polner - HNN

William Pfaff died on April 30, 2015. His death is nothing less than a serious loss to the shrinking number of American daily newspaper columnists who question and contest American Exceptionalism and its “unnecessary and unwinnable” wars ... Pfaff, virtually alone, raised a fundamental question rarely posed: “Has it been a terrible error for the U.S. to have built an all-but-irreversible worldwide system of more than 1,000 military bases, stations, and outposts? This seemingly was created to enhance U.S. national security, but what if it has actually done the opposite, provoking conflict and creating the very insecurity it was intended to prevent”? ... He took on Israel’s American take-no-prisoner supporters, the Third Rail of American politics.

The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

Approximately 500 ultra-nationalists, some bearing Nazi swastikas, marched through a Lithuanian city that during the Holocaust saw the region’s most effective massacre of Jews. Monday’s march through Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city 60 miles from the capital of Vilnius, was the eighth annual event organized by the Lithuanian Nationalist Youth Union on Feb. 16 – one of their Baltic state’s two independence days ... Tomas Skorupsis, an organizer of the march from the youth movement, said the event was not anti-Semitic. Repeating a popular view in far-right circles in the Baltic nations, he added: “There are many Lithuanians who find it hard to forgive Jews who, during Communism, killed nationalist freedom fighters. But I think we should leave it in the past and look ahead.”

MTI (Hungary)

The district prosecutor’s office in Gyöngyös, in North-east Hungary, has launched a criminal suit against a 33-year-old man for the public denial of the Holocaust, the Heves County chief prosecutor said. The prosecutor suspended charges for two years, during which the man will be put under supervision, and ordered him to visit the Holocaust Memorial Center. The man posted an image online ridiculing and indicating the denial of the Holocaust in September last year.

CBS News - New York

A new poll released Monday indicated that Americans believe race relations are at their worst in more than two decades. The CBS News/New York Times poll said 61 percent of Americans characterize race relations in the U.S. as “bad,” including a majority of white and black respondents. The figure is the highest since 1992 ... This was also the first time since 1997 that majorities of both white and black Americans believe race relations in the U.S. are poor, the poll said. Opinions among white Americans have grown sharply more negative in the poll even compared with earlier this year – with 62 percent of whites saying race relations are bad compared with just 35 percent in February.

The Wall Street Journal

Americans are bracing for a summer of racial disturbances around the country, such as those that have wracked Baltimore, with African Americans and whites deeply divided about why the urban violence has occurred, a new Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll has found. A resounding 96 percent of adults surveyed said it was likely there would be additional racial disturbances this summer, a signal that Americans believe Baltimore’s recent problems aren’t a local phenomenon but instead are symptomatic of broader national problems. When asked to explain recent events in Baltimore and other cities that have seen confrontations between police and members of the African-American community, blacks and whites viewed the situation differently.

CBC News (Canada)

The Harper government is signalling its intention to use hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel. Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions. If carried out, it would be a remarkably aggressive tactic, and another measure of the Conservative government's lockstep support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ... The government's intention was made clear in a response to inquiries from CBC News about statements by federal ministers of a "zero tolerance" approach to groups participating in a loose coalition called Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) ...

The Washington Post

Russia’s vast celebrations Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany had nearly everything: 16,000 marching soldiers, medal-bedecked veterans and families carrying photographs of those who died long ago. But conspicuously absent from the memorial of the Soviet Union’s joint victory with the West were the leaders of those wartime allied nations. A year into a conflict in Ukraine that the West says is fueled by the Kremlin, the tribunes in Red Square were stocked with officials from nations that had little association with the Soviet Union’s painful wartime sacrifices ... The most prominent visitor’s seat went to Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom Putin has tried to build bridges as relations with the West have soured because of the war in Ukraine.

VOA News

The U.S. and Europe marked on Friday the 70th anniversary of what is known as Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day - the day in 1945 when Nazi troops laid down their arms, ending World War II on the continent. In the United States, a large array of World War II aircraft flew over Washington in honor of veterans in town for a ceremony at the World War II memorial. Organizers billed the Arsenal of Democracy: World War II Victory Capitol Flyover as “one of the most diverse arrays of World War II aircraft ever assembled.”... U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute to those who served in the war, calling them "the generation that literally saved the world." Obama urged Americans today to rededicate themselves "to the freedoms for which they fought."

BBC News

Events have been held across Europe to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two on the continent. Ceremonies were held in Paris, London and Berlin. Moscow will hold its event on Saturday. US Secretary of State John Kerry joined the commemoration in Paris, laying a wreath at the Arc de Triomphe ... A ceremony was held at the national World War Two memorial in Washington, followed by a flypast of vintage fighter planes ... It was on 8 May 1945 that Allied forces accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, marking the end of the war in Europe.

Peter Hitchens - Daily Mail (Britain)

... We shall soon be marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the supposedly ‘Good’ Second World War ... The 1939-45 conflict is still wreathed in delusions, delusions often employed to try to justify modern wars which are alleged to have comparably ‘good’ aims. The belief in its goodness is in fact ludicrous. Our main ally (rejected at the beginning with lofty scorn, embraced later with desperate, insincere enthusiasm) was one of the most murderous tyrants in human history ... During and immediately after the war, as I have discussed here, we employed methods which would have disgusted our forebears and which ought to disgust us, but which were so frightful that we still lie to ourselves about them, or hide them from our consciousness.

David Frum

… Max Hastings’s book, Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-45, rates among the most tragic books I have ever read. Opening in September 1944, after the battle for Normandy, when the western Allies believes the war was all but over, Hastings plunges into seven months of violence more total than anything our planet had ever suffered before, or ever will again barring a nuclear war … The Germans resisted to the last as ferociously on the western as on the eastern front. And since the German army, man for man, was the best fighting force in Europe, this extended resistance prolonged the war months beyond all Allied expectations.

The Atlantic

A striking collection of 45 photos from the final months of the Second World War in Europe, Dec. 1944 to May 1945.

BBC News

... It is only because of the dogged detective work of a Spanish historian that their memory has not been sullied by an impostor, who ten years ago was president of Spain's main association of Nazi victims, the Amical de Mauthausen ... Far from fighting fascism, he had signed up as one of 20,000 Spaniards who worked for the Third Reich under a 1941 agreement between Franco and Hitler ... Marco eventually admitted publicly that he had never been in a concentration camp. Now 94, he remains unrepentant about his deception, arguing his aim was to keep the memory of Hitler's Spanish victims alive. "Who would have listened to me if I hadn't created that persona?" he said recently.