We got into our automobiles, turned on the headlights, because it was now after nine o’clock, and started driving round. We saw that a large number of stores had been broken into and occasionally we saw soldiers carrying away their booty. Count [Jerzy] Potulicki[-Skórzewski] jumped out of the automobile and stopped some of them. He whistled for a patrol, but there did not seem to be any on the streets. Farther down the street we heard some shots and then a cry. General [Edgar] Jadwin decided that it was impossible for us to organize ourselves into a police force, as we had no authority to arrest Polish soldiers. He therefore decided to go and see the Polish General … General [Daniel] Konarzewski said that he had so few officers that he could not send any of them out as they were needed in the camps to keep the men in hand. His officers had been fighting all day and were too exhausted now to go on patrol duty. General Jadwin pointed out that the soldiers apparently were not too tired to rob.

—Arthur Leman Goodhart, American lawyer and member of the Morgenthau Commission, report on the pogrom in Minsk on August 8, 1919, in Jochen Böhler, Civil War in Central Europe, 1918-1921, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 147.

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Der Angriff der USA auf den Irak vor 20 Jahren

Die Zeit:

21. März 2003: Auf dem Flugzeugträger “USS Constellation” werden Kampfeinsätze zur Unterstützung der Operation “Iraqi Freedom” vorbereitet. © Felix Garza/​AFP/​Getty Images

Von Australien, Asien über Europa, Afrika bis Südamerika und die USA – der Protest gegen den sich ankündigenden Irakkrieg folgte der aufgehenden Sonne. Er war massenhaft und umspannte den gesamten Globus. 12 bis 14 Millionen Menschen, laut dem Guiness-Buch der Rekorde der größte Protest, den die Welt je gesehen hatte, gingen am 15. März 2003 auf die Straße und riefen: “Die Welt sagt Nein zu diesem Krieg!” Das war fünf Tage, bevor US-Präsident George W. Bush mit der Operation Iraqi Freedom den Einmarsch befahl, einen völkerrechtswidrigen Angriffskrieg, der nicht von einer Resolution des UN-Sicherheitsrats gedeckt war. Dem gewaltigen Chor der Kriegsgegner schlossen sich damals auch viele Regierende an, der sozialdemokratische Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder zum Beispiel und Frankreichs konservativer Präsident Jacques Chirac.

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Sevim Dağdelen on Iraq invasion anniversary and Julian Assange

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Gerhard Schröder, 18.03.2003

Ingar Solty:

In Deutschland betrachteten CDU/CSU die deutsche Gegnerschaft zum bevorstehenden Irakkrieg als diplomatisches Desaster. Angela Merkel, die damalige konservative Oppositionsführerin, die zwei Jahre später für die nächsten 16 Jahre Bundeskanzlerin werden sollte, flog eigens in die USA, um sich für die Entscheidung von Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder zu entschuldigen, und schrieb einen Gastbeitrag in der Washington Post mit dem Titel «Gerhard Schröder spricht nicht für alle Deutschen».

Das stimmte jedoch nicht, denn Schroeders Kurs hatte ihm tatsächlich gerade dazu verholfen, das bis dahin Unrealistische zu schaffen: seine Wiederwahl.

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Machines learning

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André Hahn on Nord Stream

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Iraqi drone, 12.03.2003

Associated Press:

A remotely piloted aircraft that the United States has warned could spread chemical weapons appears to be made of balsa wood and duct tape, with two small propellers attached to what look like the engines of a weed whacker.

Iraqi officials took journalists to the Ibn Firnas State Company just north of Baghdad on Wednesday, where the drone’s project director Brigadier Imad Abdul Latif accused US Secretary of State Colin Powell of misleading the UN Security Council and the public.

In Washington’s search for a “smoking gun” that would prove Iraq is not disarming, Powell has insisted the drone, which has a wingspan of 7.4 metres (24.5 feet), could be fitted to dispense chemical and biological weapons.

He has said it “should be of concern to everybody”.

The drone’s white fuselage was emblazoned on Wednesday with the words “God is great” and the code “Quds-10.”

Its balsa wood wings were held together with duct tape. Officials said they referred to the remotely piloted vehicle as the RPV-30A.

Latif said the plane is controlled by the naked eye from the ground, and couldn’t be controlled from more than eight kilometres (five miles). The limit imposed by the United Nations is 150-kilometres (93-miles). He added that the range will be determined when the drone passes to the next testing stage, but insisted it would never exceed the UN limit.

Speaking to media at the Ibin Fernaz Military Aviation Training facility, about 60kms south west of Baghdad, a spokesperson for the monitoring directorate said the RPV on show was only for “air-defence purposes, reconnaissance and jamming”.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, complained this weekend that chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix didn’t mention the drone in his oral presentation to the Security Council on Friday.

Blix mentioned the drone in a 173-page written list of outstanding questions about Iraq’s weapons programs last week. While small, Blix said, drones can be used to spray biological warfare agents such as anthrax. He said the drone hadn’t been declared by Iraq to inspectors.

But Iraq insisted it declared the drone in a report in January – and Hussein held up its declaration to prove it. The confusion, he said, was the result of a typo: The declaration said the wingspan was 4.4 meters (39.6 feet) instead of 7.4 meters (24.4 feet).

Hiro Ueki, spokesman for the UN weapons inspectors, said the United Nations was investigating the drone’s capabilities, and said he was unsure whether Iraq reported the drone before inspectors found it on an airfield or after.

Meantime, UN arms experts continued their inspections with a visit to the That Al Sawari chemical company at Al Taji.

At the time I had relatives who avoided travel into downtown Philadelphia for fear that drones of this nature launched from Iraqi fishing trawlers lurking off the Atlantic coast might fly over Philadelphia and release anthrax spores. I was astounded by the gullibility of Americans who could believe what to me — and millions of others around the world — were so obviously government lies. In cities around the globe we turned out in millions to protest the imminent US/UK invasion.

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Guardian UK view of mass murder based on lies

Patrick Wintour, Guardian:

At this distance, on the eve of the twentieth anniversary on 20 March, it seems to matter less whether the war was launched on a deceit, a distortion, a wilful misapprehension, or a sincere false premise. It was a blunder that looks worse with every passing anniversary and memoir. Barack Obama drew one lesson from the episode: “Don’t do stupid shit.”

Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian, May 4, 2019:

Early in 2003 Katharine Gun, a young GCHQ translator, leaked a document, subsequently passed to the Observer, showing how the US had asked GCHQ to bug the phones of diplomats from the so-called UN “swing states” – countries believed to be open to persuasion to back an invasion of Iraq.

She was charged under the 1989 Official Secrets Act which had replaced the discredited “catch-all” statute. The case against her was suddenly dropped when the prosecution realised that evidence would emerge at Gun’s trial that even British government lawyers believed the invasion was unlawful.

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Berliner Zeitung:

Erschütternd sei aber eine Einsicht, die sich aus Gesprächen mit Ukrainern ergebe: Dass sich reiche ukrainische Männer vom Krieg freikaufen könnten. 10.000 Euro würde es heute kosten, das Land zu verlassen, wenn man nicht eingezogen werden möchte, erzählt ein Taxifahrer. Die Armen in der Ukraine, sie tragen das Leid auf ihren Schultern, sagt er. Sie hätten keine Wahl und müssten kämpfen. Es ist eine von vielen polnischen Perspektiven auf den Krieg.

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Federico Dolce from MERA25 Italia and Julijana Zita from MERA25 on the attack on Yanis Varoufakis that they and other DiEM25 members witnessed in Athens.

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The three major Polish paramilitary operations in Upper Silesia are commonly known as “uprisings,” and will be therefore also called so in the following. One has nevertheless to keep in mind that the area with its indigenous population, and especially with its prosperous industrial area, was claimed by Germany and Poland at the same time, and that the Germans had the better arguments—given the fact that the area had been part of the Holy Roman Empire for centuries and was not a Polish territory taken away in the course of the partitions of the late eighteenth century. The conflict was about territory and economic assets, not about challenging an oppressive German regime by Polish freedom fighters.

—Jochen Böhler, Civil War in Central Europe, 1918-1921, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 108.

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Paul Levi, etwa 1920 bis 1925

„Levi hat den Kopf verloren. Er war allerdings der einzige in Deutschland, der einen zu verlieren hatte.“

—Lenin, in Charles Bloch, Paul Levi – ein Symbol der Tragödie des Linkssozialismus in der Weimarer Republik, in Walter Grab, Julius H. Schoeps (Hg.), Juden in der Weimarer Republik, (Sachsenheim: Burg-Verlag, 1986), 249.

This quote seems today quite apropos.

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