While a debate about a common EU army is still underway in Brussels, Berlin quietly started building it on its soil, Elizabeth Bro wrote for Foreign Policy. According to the author, divisions of Romanian, Czech and Dutch troops have already entered under Germany’s command.
According to the report, in the next several months Romania and the Czech Republlc will integrate one brigade into the German armed forces.
“In doing so, they’ll follow in the footsteps of two Dutch brigades, one of which has already joined the Bundeswehr’s Rapid Response Forces Division and another that has been integrated into the Bundeswehr’s 1st Armored Division,” the journalist wrote.
Bro argues that such integration will enable the Bundeswehr to increase its combat power in a short time and take care of Europe’s security.
Commenting on Bro’s publication, the German edition of The Huffington Post wrote that the analysis sounds like a conspiracy theory. However, in fact the activities the journalist wrote about have indeed much to do with reality.
“Germans are very serious about multinational military integration,” military expert Johannes Varwick from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg told The Huffington Post. “What we see now is certainly not a European army, but a step towards it.”
According to Varwick, the process of European military integration is quite slow and difficult.
“Not all 28 EU countries want to be a part of an EU army, so they [the Bundeswehr] try to do it in small steps and through the back door,” Varwick said.
In her turn, a security analyst at the Center for Eastern Studies, Justina Gotkovskaya, believes that the initiative of creating a common European army as quickly as possible stems from the “weakness of the Bundeswehr.”
“The Germans realized that they needed to fill in the gaps in their ground forces in order to gain political and military influence in NATO,” the expert told RT.
The idea of creating a common European army has been on the EU’s agenda for a long time. In November 2016 the European bloc agreed on a new EU security and defense plan, which excluded the creation of an EU army. However, some European countries do not want to give up this idea and seek deeper military integration within the bloc.
© Richard Becker / Global Look Press
Magic mushrooms are “the safest drugs to take,” with people who consume them seeking less medical help that those who have used ecstasy, LSD or cocaine, according to a new report from the Global Drug Survey.
The study, released on Wednesday, used data from about 120,000 people from more than 25 countries in 2016.
According to the results of the survey, out of almost 10,000 magic mushroom consumers “only 0.2 percent reported seeking emergency medical treatment.”
“Magic mushrooms were the safest drugs to take in terms of needing to see emergency medical treatment,” the report said.
Magic mushrooms’ “intrinsic safety” – which means the greatest risk you take is picking the wrong type, and the relatively small doses involved – can explain why they are “the safest,” according to researchers.
The riskiest recreational drugs are methamphetamine and synthetic cannabis, according to the survey.
Some 4.8 percent of the respondents sought medical aid after the use of meth, while 3.2 percent rushed to hospitals after taking synthetic cannabis.
Alcohol (1.3 percent), ecstasy (1.2 percent), amphetamine (1.1 percent), cocaine (1 percent) and LSD (1 percent) come next on the list of dangerous recreational drugs.
Natural cannabis is considered the least poisonous after magic mushrooms, with only 0.6 percent claiming to have sought medical help after its use.
Colombia, New Zealand and Norway top the countries where residents prefer to pick magic mushrooms, while in Belgium, Finland and Austria respondents preferred to grow them on their own.
“Death from toxicity is almost unheard of with poisoning with more dangerous fungi being a much greater risk in terms of serious harms,” Adam Winstock, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey, told the Guardian.
However, various circumstances can increase the danger of taking magic mushrooms, as can the addition of other substances to the mix, such as alcohol, Winstock says.
“Combined use with alcohol and use within risky or unfamiliar settings increase the risks of harm, most commonly accidental injury, panic and short lived confusion, disorientation and fears of losing one’s mind,” he added.
‘Magic mushrooms’ is a collective term for mushrooms that contain psychedelic compounds such as psilocybin and psilocin. They can cause visual and auditory hallucinations, similar to those of other hallucinogens, including LSD. They can affect a user’s mood, sensory perception and sleep, according to drugs.com, an online pharmaceutical encyclopedia.
Zimbabwe: Outrage As Bona Mugabe to ‘Censor’ Public Entertainment
Bona Mugabe, Photo: The Herald
President Robert Mugabe’s daughter Bona Mugabe-Chikore has been appointed to sit on the new Censorship Board, a move which arts activists said it’s a “disaster” meant to “suppress information”.
The announcement was made by Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo Tuesday.
“The Constitution has a provision for the freedom of artistic expression, cultural beliefs and association and the same constitution empowers the board of censors to ensure that these freedoms do not infringe on other people’s rights,” said Chombo.
Controversial actor and producer, Silvanos Mudzvova, said this was being done to make sure artistic products are “silenced”.
“They will never approve any work critical of or against the government, ruling party Zanu PF or the First Family. And Bona will never approve any theatrical scripts or material that critic her father,” said Mudzvova.
He added, “It’s a final nail on the artistic freedom of expression but as artists we should just stop sending our products for censorship but take the government head on.”
Bulawayo-based theatre guru Raisedon Baya said the move showed how serious the government has become about policing freedom of speech, creativity, thoughts and opinions.
“Obviously now anything negative about Mugabe or the ZRP will not be able to see light at the end of the day,” he said.
The new board will be led by former Education Minister, historian and traditional leader Aeneas Shoko Chigwedere.
Other members of the board are Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba who is also the police national spokesperson.
Little known Kozani Ncube is the vice chairperson of the new board and father Fidelis Mukonori.
Chombo said the new board is expected to regulate public entertainment among other issues.
“The board must brace themselves for a challenging term in office in this era of increased internet and social media. There is lot of work for you and the government is willing to fund the board operations to ensure that you carry your mandate responsibly,” said the minister.
A couple of years ago, President Mugabe complained bitterly about how the online media was critical of his government and the First Family. In 2014, Grace told a rally in Marondera that journalists were taking bribes to write negative reports about the First Family.
By Kevin J. Kelley
A US Congress investigative committee has demanded it be provided with key documents related to the proposed Sh43 billion sale to Kenya of armed border-patrol aircraft intended for use against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
The US Air Force, which arranged the deal, was ordered by the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee to produce a set of specified materials “as soon as possible, but no later than noon on June 2.”
Congressman Ted Budd, the leading critic of the pending agreement between the Kenyan government and New York-based L3 Technologies, welcomed the committee’s action as “the next step on a long road to finding out what actually happened with the Kenya deal.”
“We’ll soon find out if this flawed sale is the result of incompetence, or if there is something more serious going on,” Congressman Budd said on Tuesday.
In a letter last week to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the chairman of the US House oversight committee noted that “L3 has no weaponised border patrol aircraft in service and has limited past performance in manufacturing aircraft of this type.”
Iomax, a military contractor based in Congressman Budd’s district in the state of North Carolina, has 48 of these planes currently in combat service in the Middle East.
Iomax has said it can fulfill Kenya’s request for a dozen of the armed border-patrol aircraft and related items and services for Sh20 billion less than the amount L3 is said to be charging.
The cost of the proposed agreement between Kenya and L3 indicates that US “taxpayers and American allies have been overcharged by millions,” Congressman Budd said on Tuesday.
The Republican lawmaker noted that the Air Force has “stonewalled” his own requests for documents pertaining to the Kenya-L3 arrangement. He said was told by the Air Force that the documents in question were “for official use only” or “sensitive, but unclassified.”
“The Air Force has the legal capability to frustrate my inquiry,” Congressman Budd declared on Tuesday, “but they can’t stonewall the Oversight Committee.’
He has previously suggested that favouritism toward a politically influential military contract may have accounted for the Air Force’s effort to steer the Kenya contract to L3 rather than to Iomax.
“A secretive acquisition unit of the Air Force known as Big Safari” is behind the deal, Congressman Budd has said.
In his letter to Air Force Secretary Wilson, oversight committee chairman Jason Chaffetz seeks “all documents and communications referring or relating to the proposed armed airborne ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance] contract from the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), US Liaison Office in the US Embassy in Nairobi, the US Air Force and the Government of Kenya.”
By Sean Adl-Tabatabai
A list of 22 popular brands of bottled waters that contain fluoride has been leaked online, proving that the poisonous chemical is still pushed on the American public, even when they they try to avoid their widely contaminated public drinking supply.
Fluoride is a by-product of the phosphate fertiliser industry, and it consumption wreaks havoc on the brain and body. It is used in the production of 70 percent of the public drinking water supplies in the U.S.
Realfarmacy.com reports: Moreover, even the processed beverages and foods, like tea and bottled water contain fluoride. Yes, you read well, numerous popular brands of bottled water contain a known neurotoxin added to them.
This explains why the dental fluorosis has skyrocketed in the United States over the past 60 years. Dental fluorosis is the side effect of fluoride intake that usually occurs in children. It is very unpleasant and it looks pretty bad.
In addition, those peer-reviewed proofs against fluoride that we mentioned at the beginning of the article include a publication in the world weekly medical journal, The Lancet. In this report, the fluoride is presented as neurotoxin and it is concluded that it significantly lowers the IQ of children.
Fluoride is a toxic waste from the phosphate fertilizer industry
Back in 1950’s, it was resolved that phosphate factories emitted poisonous gases that were environment-unfriendly. The crops were burned, ruined and the cattle became crippled. Environment and chemical engineers were paid for accomplishing the task of filtering this poisonous waste so that it would not go into the atmosphere.
One professor of chemistry was amongst them and he talked about the days spent developing and designing what the industry later referred to as scrubbers. These scrubbers were set up to filter out the toxic waste and protect the environment from harmful gases that when leaked into the atmosphere would destroy their health and ecosystem. But, how protected were the citizens really?
It is pretty likely that you are currently a victim of the fluoride emissions by the industry even though you do not lice anywhere close to a phosphate plant.
This is a list of offending bottled water, which is pretty useful for you to make sure that you are not feeding fluoride to yourself and your family.
May 17, 2017
De Schie Penientiary, Rotterdam, from where Hüseyin Baybaşin continues to protest his innocence, 2017. Photo credit: Sheri Laizer/Ekurd.net
A Prison Visit With Kurdish Entrepreneur, Huseyin Baybasin. An Innocent Man Held Hostage
Sheri Laizer visited Hüseyin Baybaşin, held hostage in Holland for the past twenty years with Turkey having blackmailed the Dutch over the ‘Demmink Dossier’ and the intended quashing of Kurdish foundations.
The rain falls relentlessly. It is cold for a spring day. Painted in royal Dutch orange and hard blue, the designer of the 1989 built De Schie penitentiary, Carel Weeber, perhaps hoped it would appear cheerful set alongside the murky De Schie canal. Those incarcerated within cannot enjoy the view as the windows are opaque and within there is a cold blue and dirty cream. Blank windows deprive inmates of all natural perspectives on the world beyond, aside from onto the exercise yard; the clear windows are only outside the walls.
In legal terms, Hüseyin Baybaşin should not be held in this prison at all: it is categorised as a short stay or remand prison1 and he was unjustly condemned to the living-death row of those without parole. For lifers, different support facilities are the rule. But as with everything in this case an exception has been exercised – exceptions that are always against the wellbeing of Hüseyin Baybaşin. These exceptions repeat the message “We are in control!”
Determined to cover up falsified police and prosecution evidence – including the splicing together of unrelated phone recordings to create suitable scenarios for crime, the reconsideration process has already taken an abnormal seven years. The Dutch Justice Ministry continues to persecute this Kurdish man primarily to protect certain lofty heads from rolling… but roll they must. This is the Dutch ‘Dreyfus Affair’ that refuses to go away.
This is the Dutch ‘Dreyfus Affair’ that refuses to go away.
Confined to a cell 9 metres square, deprived of access to art materials and books “unless sent in by the publisher” Hüseyin Baybaşin refuses to be broken or give up insisting on his innocence. He has survived six years’ deliberate deprivation in solitary confinement in EBI Vught Maximum Security Prison intended to break his mind, body and spirit. Had he caved in the long term problems posed by his case for the conspirators would have been resolved but Baybaşin is strong willed, strengthened by the knowledge of his innocence and determined never to give up.
A prison visit
On this rainy Sunday afternoon when Hüseyin walks into the simple visiting room and sits opposite me I feel that I have known him forever: In a way, actually, I have. I first met him and his family in the 1990s while working with the Kurdish community in London. At the time I was making frequent films in the Kurdish region as well as coordinating refugee projects for arrivals from the war torn Kurdish homeland. After Hüseyin was arrested a second time by the Dutch police in 1998 I agreed to translate Mahmut Baksi’s book on the affair, despite its many flaws. My uncorrected manuscript with its translation typos went straight to print. Years later, contact having been lost, I was truly surprised to learn that Hüseyin had not been freed in the interim.
Police theatrics and media circuses
In 1998, nearly twenty years ago, when Hüseyin was manhandled into captivity in the course of a showpiece police raid on his residence in the Netherlands (he had already been prohibited from leaving after an initial arrest and release the year before) the siege was all about appearances: There was no Interpol arrest warrant. The Dutch police could have gone about their business quietly and asked Hüseyin to accompany them but the show of force was required to convey the message that something was amiss. Raids were also orchestrated on the homes of his friends and relatives – these later came to nothing. But it served the Turkish media well. A web of lies was spun that holds till this day.
The smear campaign: “My family didn’t suddenly turn into criminals overnight!”
“My family didn’t suddenly become criminals overnight!” Huseyin said, explaining that the plot was constructed in such a way to cause maximum damage to his friends and family.“ The UK had welcomed my relatives on account of my good relations with senior UK figures. They didn’t suddenly turn into criminals overnight! They led normal lives and still do. My brother, Apo, was also set up but was acquitted when no direct evidence was found to link him to the incidents concerned.2 All of my family members were checked by the UK authorities before they entered the UK in 1995 and all had clean records. They had never set foot in a police station in all their lives. People don’t suddenly become criminals when they are over the age of 40. I was taken hostage in 1995 and suddenly all my family were labelled criminals in 1996. This smear campaign was part of the master-plan to present my family as “drug barons” instead of our being just Kurds from a reputable family back home. We had resources there, including a marble quarry, very large agricultural farming lands with crops and livestock as well as watermills etc. From the early 1990s onwards we could not run the farm and derive an income because of Turkish military operations against Kurdish villages. We came to the UK and everything about our profiles and assets was checked, documented and we were cleared.
With the Turkish military and Special Teams everywhere no Kurds were growing poppies or would even have thought to do so! This is not Afghanistan – look at the map! In that area poppies don’t even grow. If it were possible, they could take a license and grow them, like they do in the west of Turkey in such places as Isparta, Karahisar, Afyon and so on. The government licences such crops in western Turkey and take their cut as with tobacco. Our environment doesn’t support such a crop so not a single license was ever sought. Lice is not situated on Syria’s border where they claimed the poppies were being harvested. A little common sense shows this is just nonsense. The Turkish government knows it to be quite impossible. It was a claim they made to the media just to suit their own purposes and damn the Kurds, my family included.
Over the years, a number of former prison governors and wardens have come to believe in Hüseyin Baybaşin’s innocence – and this chiefly through close proximity. One civil servant indeed organised a legal public protest. He told me he knew all about Baybasin being innocent and was fed up with the situation. He wanted to make a statement in moral support and send Hüseyin a greeting through the air. The civil servant hired a plane and left Roosendaal flying for four hours over his country trailing a banner across the Dutch skies accompanied by a second plane filming. Hüseyin was in Zuyder Bos Prison near Alkmar at the time and the plane flew overhead where by sheer chance Hüseyin saw it. The banner read “Free Baybaşin Now.” A short video was published on YouTube. Hüseyin was punished for the action and spent two weeks in solitary confinement in EBI Vught because of the protest action.
“I was then sent on to De Schie Prison, Rotterdam, where I am now and where I have no creative or other outlets. Before this I had a small garden with chickens as they sentenced me to life without parole. The “ugly treatment and pressure on me continued.”
Fabricated phone recordings –like something out of Dr Who
Several days before finally securing a visit to see Hüseyin in De Schie Penitentiary I listened to sections of phone conversations where the intercept recordings had clearly been tampered with; the recording quality changed, mechanical noises intervened, the voice quality of the speakers also changed as if from different sessions and finally, the female technician in the police recording studio who was stating the time codes suddenly interrupted the recording mid conversation rather than at the beginning or end, as required. The recording sounded like something out of Dr Who accosted by the Daleks.5 These intercepts/phone tap recordings taken from normal conversations have not been competently handled – they are not forensic, not ‘secure’ as the Dutch Attorney General has been determined to argue, ignoring the obvious.
Incredibly, 95% of the prosecution evidence used to sentence Hüseyin Baybaşin has been based on these faked telephone conversations. In key sections missing phrases and key words have been filled in by complicit police interpreters on paper so as to create a ‘criminal’ scenario where none originally existed. The recordings have also been spliced together from disparate conversations. Just to frame him.
Turkish Aydinlik newspaper recently published a series of supportive updates on the case exposing the deeper basis of the plot between Turkey and the Dutch authorities as well referring to the fabricated phone tap ‘evidence’ used to secure the conviction.6
The article reminds its audience how at the time in question, former PM Tansu Çiller was determined to “silence Baybaşin” because he had accused her and and former police chief, Mehmet Agar, among others, of heading the narcotics trade in Turkey. Çiller met with Dutch Justice Minister, Winnie Sordrager, at the beginning of 1997 and the “Demmink file” concerning the rape and violation of underage Turkish boys7 was set on the table in exchange for Baybaşin’s silencing. At the time, Demmink was Director General of International Affairs of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and as a member of the EU K4 committee he was especially responsible for the Kurdish-Turkish conflict.
Former Head of the Dutch Department of Criminal Intelligence finds there to have “been a conspiracy of which Baybaşin was the victim”
Former Head of the Dutch Department of Criminal Intelligence, who specialised in major cases of organised crime, Mr Klass Langendoen, also addressed the Helsinki Commission. He had carried out an independent investigation into the case nine years before “examining alleged manipulation of wire taps… as well as blackmail by the Turkish government…I mused that this level of corruption could never occur in my country where I had worked so hard fighting against organised crime. I used the method of the “reverse burden of proof” … “the research that I did in the Netherlands proved to me that it was possible to manipulate wire taps and also allowing innocent people to be found guilty…eventually the Dutch Justice Department hired an expert who was not qualified to carry out the research and (who) came to his own conclusion. The result was that this expert gave a wrong assessment upon which Baybaşin was sentenced for life in prison. After the sentencing I continued my research…I did extensive research in Turkey. I’ve spoken with almost all the witnesses in this case individuals and officials… the results of my research were shocking for me: there was a conspiracy of which Baybaşin was the victim – there was a set up, or cover up, between the Turkish and the Dutch government officials at the highest level…8
At the time, Demmink was Director General of International Affairs of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and as a member of the EU K4 committee he was especially responsible for the Kurdish-Turkish conflict. 9
The media circus went to town determined to brand not Çiller et al, but Baybaşin, as the drug baron. Çiller has enjoyed wealth, liberty, and perhaps a certain peace of mind ever since? And Demmink still eludes full investigation.
Obstruction of justice continues
Hüseyin sneezes suddenly – a symptom of stress. “I have had to lodge some 4,000 complaints for the various infringements of my rights and civil liberties since being taken hostage,” he went on as the raindrops slid down the slanted skylights overhead. “Every little thing that they can deny me they do deny me even though a judge has ordered otherwise. These measures against me contravene their own laws. No Dutch prisoner – not even a convicted killer – is treated like this. What does that tell you? The system is ugly and lacks all moral responsibility. The former governors that came together in support of me were horrified by their own administration and have protested loudly. They are people with morals that those who keep their fists pressed down tight on this file could learn a lot from! They have formed a foundation called ‘Restore Justice’ and my case is their project. I would like the international rights organisations to look into this case and see for themselves, ask themselves how could this happen in a country like Holland and why are they keeping silent on this case.
Huseyin Baybasin, Rotterdam prison, Nov 2015. Photo: Dutch prison service
Visit over, case continues