Turkey imprisons journalists? – E U countries murder them!

Bulgarians mourn murdered journalist – raped, beaten and suffocated

Leading EU politicians and media activists urged Bulgaria on Oct. 8 to conduct a fast investigation into the murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova, as mourners planned vigils across the Balkan country.

Bulgarian journalist

Murdered Bulgarian journalist, Viktoria Marinova

Marinova’s body was found in a park near the Danube river in her home town of Ruse on Oct. 6. Prosecutors said she had been raped, then beaten and suffocated.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov, who travelled to Ruse to oversee the inquiry on Monday, has said there was no evidence so far to suggest a link to Marinova’s work as a journalist.

But media focused on her recent work. On her last TV show on Sept. 30 Marinova featured two journalists who were investigating an alleged corruption case involving EU funds. She promised that her recently launched current affairs show ‘Detector’ would do more of its own investigations.

“Shocked by the horrendous murder of Victoria Marinova. Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption,”the European Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmerman tweeted.

Marinova is the third journalist murdered in the European Union over the past 12 months.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s best-known investigative reporter, was killed when a bomb blew up her car in October last year and Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead in February.

Vigils were planned in Sofia, Ruse and the northern cities of Vidin and Pleven.

Bulgaria ranked 111 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index this year, lower than any other EU member and also lower than other countries in the western Balkans, some of which are candidates for EU membership.

In October 2017 hundreds of Bulgarian journalists protested in downtown Sofia downtown against threats from Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov against the country’s biggest broadcasters. He accused the mainstream media of leading a “massive smear campaign” against him.

Advertisements

Porsche’s Dirty Secret – and United States’ complicity

I’ve never owned a Porsche, but an old school friend in New Zealand took me for a ride in his Carrera once. I can’t say I was vastly impressed. It was a pretty bumpy ride. But then we were in the heart of urban Auckland, so I couldn’t experience the full effect of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds or feeling the wind blowing in my hair at the top speed of close to 300 km/h. If you can find somewhere to do that, you may think it worth forking out $NZ 200,000 or more for the buzz. And you may be joining in the 70th birthday celebrations of the Porsche company.

porsche bw

The “first” Porsche

Interestingly, however, an article in the UK Telegraph informed me that Porsche isn’t 70 as is being celebrated here, but 87 years old. It was in 1931 that Porsche formed his own company . . .  Ferdinand Porsche was the majority shareholder, with his son in law Anton Piëch and Adolf Rosenberger, each contributing the remainder of the start-up capital. Rosenberger became the managing director and the staff consisted of Porsche’s former colleagues, including Austrian engineer/designers Karl Rabe and Erwin Komenda, and his son Ferry Porsche.”

Early projects for Porsche’s new firm were a design for a new Wanderer saloon, the Kübelwagen military vehicle, the Elefant Panzerjäger tank, Hitler’s people’s car the Beetle, and the Type 64, a streamlined racing car based on the Beetle. 

Porsche kept his people close, but he wasn’t above borrowing ideas from others or dropping those who’d become an embarrassment. The Beetle’s swinging axles were designed by Edmund Rumpler in 1903, but its backbone chassis and rear-mounted air-cooled engine were all first used by Hans Ledwinka in his designs for Tatra – Porsche even admitted that he ‘might have looked over Ledwinka’s shoulder.”

Adolf-Rosenberger-im-Rennwagen-sitzend-610x343

Adolf Rosenberger in his motor-racing days

Tatra sued for patent infringement and Hitler said he’d sort it out, which he did by invading Czechoslovakia. After World War Two, Volkswagen settled out of court with Tatra. Similarly Rosenberger had to flee Nazi Germany and give up his Porsche shareholding. He changed his name twice and ending up in America. After the war, Porsche and Piëch sent begging letters and Rosenberger sent back food and money, yet when he sued for the reinstitution of his shareholding in 1950 the German courts offered a derisory sum and a Volkswagen Beetle in compensation.

I’m just snipping out a few extracts from the Telegraph article here, since most of it is a car enthusiast getting excited about the 1948 Porsche 356 “Number One”. What I did do was follow up some questions that crossed my mind as I was reading. For example, why did Adolf Rosenberger have to flee Nazi Germany? Why did he change his name twice? What was Hitler’s involvement in the Porsche company?

Well, Wikipedia tells me that Adolf Rosenberger was a successful Jewish businessman born in Pforzheim, Germany in 1900 and a well-known racing car driver in the 1920s. “[W]hen Hitler came to power in Germany [he]was arrested for “Rassenschande” (racial crimes), and imprisoned at KZ Schloss Kislau near Karlsruhe.” He was released with the help of an influential friendbut “forced to leave Germany immediately. He emigrated to France, and later to Great Britain, representing Porsche GmbH in both of those countries. He immigrated to the United States in 1939 and in 1944 he became a US-citizen under the name of Alan Arthur Robert.

rewriting historyDuring the Nazi era, the role in the auto history of many Jews like Adolf Rosenberger . . . was written out of history.”

Two other sources I found provided further information. The Car Aficionada has this to say (again, I am providing excerpts): Devout Porsche enthusiasts are well-versed in the marque’s heroes. They can cite chapter and verse about Ferdinand and his son, Ferry. The roles Dr. Anton Piëch, Ferdinand’s son-in-law, and his descendants played founding and nurturing this brand are well documented. In the modern era, Hans Mezger’s brilliant engine contributions are core to the Porsche legend. But any mention of Adolf Rosenberger draws blank stares from the Zuffenhausen faithful. Here we set the record straight on his place in the Porsche lore.

“When the other Adolf became Germany’s chancellor in January 1933, it became clear to Rosenberger that his Jewish heritage was a distinct liability. He resigned from Porsche and transferred his ownership share and management responsibilities to a close friend, Baron Hans Veyder-Malberg. In spite of the fact that his speed in the experimental Auto Union racer during Nürburgring tests nearly matched Hans Stuck’s lap times, Rosenberger’s competition license was denied by Nazi officials. Since the purpose of the state-backed Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz racing programs was to demonstrate Aryan superiority, Jewish drivers were prohibited.

Rosenberger wisely departed Germany to represent Porsche interests first in France, then in Switzerland. Upon his return in the summer of 1935, he was arrested by the Gestapo and dispatched to a concentration camp for “racial disgrace”—defined as relations with an Aryan woman.

Thanks to the intervention of his ally Veyder-Malberg, Rosenberger was released after but four days of internment; the Reich billed him 953 RM (about $230) to cover the cost of his “protective custody” and legal fees. Taking the beatings he suffered during confinement seriously, Rosenberger relocated to France and changed his first name to Alfred. Then in 1938, he moved to America, settling first in New York before seeking employment in Detroit.

With World War II raging, the U.S. government considered Rosenberger an enemy alien and restricted his movements. Because of that status, no car company would have him, so he moved to Los Angeles, changed his name again to Alan Arthur Robert, and opened a gas station. When that venture didn’t pan out, he worked as a day laborer, selling plastic products on the side. He finally obtained U.S. citizenship in 1944.

porsche-sportscar-together-70th-anniversary

Doesn’t a girl have the right to lie about her age?

Rosenberger sued Porsche for 200,000 DM (about $480,000 today) through the German retribution tribunal. When the dust finally settled in 1950, his award was one-fourth that amount plus his choice of a new Beetle or a 356. While the historical record doesn’t show why Rosenberger chose the Volkswagen, it should be assumed that what he sought was respect, the one thing no one at Porsche seemed willing or able to provide.”

A second source, The Truth about Cars corroborated most of that information in a piece entitled Porsche’s Forgotten Man, adding some extra interesting thoughts:

“In fact, without Adolf Rosenberger, there would not have been a Porsche company in the first place.

According to Ghislaine Kaes, Porsche’s personal secretary, the engineer had a good reputation — but not much money.

“Porsche didn’t have the financial means at the time for such an establishment. These funds were supplied by Adolf Rosenberg.” Adolf Rosenberger put up 30,000 marks to capitalize the design agency. Dr. Porsche got 80 percent of the stock, Anton Piëch received 10 percent and Rosenberger was allotted the remaining 10 percent. Facilities were rented at Kronenstrasse 24 in Stuttgart.

In 1933, [a] sponsor was found in the person of Adolf Hitler, newly installed as German chancellor. Hitler saw auto racing as a means of projecting German prowess and power. In February 1933, Hitler gave a speech opening the Berlin auto show and Dr. Porsche sent the soon-to-be-dictator a congratulatory letter, offering his services. A month later, Ferdinand Porsche, Baron von Oertzen, and racer Hans Stuck met with Hitler in the Reich Chancellery. The result was that Porsche and Auto Union were given 300,000 reichsmarks to build a race car.

Later, of course, Hitler’s commission to Porsche for the KdF Volkswagen people’s car would put Dr. Porsche’s company on even better financial footing.

While all that was going on, Rosenberger began to have concerns about himself being a Jew in Germany and Adolf Hitler, no great judeophile, being in power. Rosenberger brought in his friend Baron Hans von Veyder-Malberg to serve as Managing Director of the design agency and apparently gave nominal control of his shares in the company to Malberg in a strawman deal.

To keep the company afloat before Hitler’s sponsorship of the Auto Union racecar came through, Rosenberger made a stockholder loan of 80,000 reichsmarks to the firm. That means that not only did Rosenberger provide the startup capital for the Porsche company, he kept it in business for the first two years of its existence.

In September of 1935 . . . the Gestapo arrested Rosenberger for “racial shame.” In other words, he had an “Aryan” German girlfriend. After about three weeks in the Kislau concentration camp, where the treatment was apparently brutal enough that it permanently affected his health, Rosenberger was released and made to pay 53 reichsmarks for the cost of his “protective custody.”

In 1945, Ferry Porsche, Dr. Porsche’s son said that the Porsche and Piech families had interceded on behalf of Rosenberger, to get him released. However, Rosenberger maintained until his death that the only help he got was from Baron von Veyder-Malberg, who bailed him out.

In terms of the wider picture, I read that an exhibition has opened at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – Americans and the Holocaust. According to Lily Rothman, “news that publications like TIME ran in the 1930s and ’40s shows that, in fact, Americans had lots of access to news about what was happening to Europe’s Jewish population and others targeted by the Nazi regime.

In fact, Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister, [was]on the cover of the July 10, 1933, issue of TIME Magazine.

It would have been public knowledge in the late 1930s (and not entirely controversial) that the U.S. was denying entry to some refugees from Hitler’s regime . . .”

Well, it’s ancient history now, I guess – but nevertheless, there are lessons for us

First, writing inconvenient facts out of history is common practice in all countries.

Second, the truth tends to come out long after the events took place.

That being so, we should be suspicious that similar “adjustment” of facts is taking place today, at national and international levels. Fortunately, we today have the internet, and it is much more difficult for unscrupulous businessmen/women and politicians to hide what is really going on. As always, however, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Can Turkey do anything good?

I’m translating for your information an article I came across in our Turkish daily this morning

No one knows we are looking after 3.5 million refugees

On Wednesday, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Şimşek, participated in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The session, chaired by well-known New York Times writer, Thomas Friedman, was titled “Finding a new equilibrium in the Middle East”

davos refugees

Wilful ignorance? Or just plain ordinary ignorance?

[Others on the panel were Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, and Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Minister of Defence of Germany; Member of Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum.]

When Mr Şimşek mentioned that Turkey was currently hosting 3.5 million refugees from Syria, and if you included those from Iraq, the total reached 3.7 million, Friedman expressed surprise.

“Did you say 3.5 million?” he asked Şimşek.

Isn’t it rather strange that Friedman, who knows the Middle East very well, and has been writing about the region for years, wouldn’t know this figure?

Clearly, we have been unable to sufficiently publicise how many refugees we have in our country, and what we are doing for them.

Certainly, there is no excuse for Friedman’s not knowing the actual extent of the refugee crisis caused by the ongoing war in Syria. Spokespersons for the United Nations Refugee Agency have been speaking out on the issue for years and calling on First World nations to provide more assistance.

On the other hand, “experts” in the west seem to know some things about Turkey with absolute certainty:

  • They “know”, for example, that Turkey is responsible for the genocide of one-and-a-half million Armenians in 1915.
  • They “know” that Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus in 1974, divided it in two, and refuses to leave.
  • They “know “that Turkey has been buying oil from ISIS terrorists and supplying them with weapons.
  • They “know” that Turkey has more journalists in prison than any other country in the world.

Pretty much anything bad about Turkey, Western media are happy to circulate uncritically – but when it comes to giving credit for positive actions and achievements . . . ZILCH!

So, is Turkey at fault for not getting its message across? Or is it that Western interests don’t want to know? Draw your own conclusions.

Hidden History: When Muslims Ruled in Europe — The Most Revolutionary Act

When the Moors Rules in Europe Bettany Hughes (2011) Film Review When the Moors Ruled in Europe corrects many common misconceptions about Muslim rule in Spain between 711 and 1492 AD. Historical and archeological evidence contradicts the prevailing belief that this 700 year rule represented a violent military occupation. At the time Muslim Berbers from […]

maxresdefault

via Hidden History: When Muslims Ruled in Europe — The Most Revolutionary Act

https://turkeyfile.com/2014/11/28/cultural-amnesia-islamic-contributions-to-modern-science-and-technology/

Balancing free speech and censorship

Twitter suspends 300,000 accounts tied to terrorism in 2017

“Twitter, under pressure from governments around the world to combat online extremism, said that improving automation tools are helping block accounts that promote terrorism and violence.

Twitter-Ban“In the first half of the year, Twitter said it suspended nearly 300,000 accounts globally linked to terrorism. Of those, roughly 95 per cent were identified by the company’s spam-fighting automation tools. Meanwhile, the social network said government data requests continued to increase, and that it provided authorities with data on roughly 3,900 accounts from January to June.

“Twitter, along with Facebook and YouTube, are instead building automation tools that quickly spot troublesome content. Facebook has roughly 7,500 people who screen for troublesome videos and posts.

“It’s also funded groups that produce anti-extremism content that’s circulated on the social network.

“American authorities made 2,111 requests from Twitter from January to June, the most of the 83 countries tracked by the company.

“Twitter supplied information on users in 77 per cent of the inquiries. Japan made 1,384 requests and the UK issued 606 requests. Turkish authorities continued a trend of aggressively policing Twitter, making 554 requests for account data and issuing court orders to remove 715 pieces of content. Other governments made only 38 total content-removal requests.”

Seems the word “aggressive” only applies to Turkey. Wonder what those other governments are doing with the information supplied by Twitter?

Remembering and revising history – Smash that statue!

It seems to have become a worldwide phenomenon recently, almost an epidemic – statue-smashing. It used to be just Islamic fundamentalists – the Taliban in Afghanistan, for example – but suddenly everyone seems to be doing it, and I have to tell you, I’m confused.

CFjkJQOW8AAk-IF

Diogenes the Cynic

Of course, religious fanatics are still at it. In Turkey there’s been a spate of attacks on statues of Atatürk, the revered founder of the Republic. And in Sinop on the Black Sea coast, members of a local conservative religious foundation have taken exception to the effigy of an ancient Greek philosopher that stands on the outskirts of town, demanding its removal.

Well it’s easy to dismiss religious fundamentalists as cranks and nutcases, but clearly there are political motives at work too. We’ve been following with interest events in the USA, where violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia over some controversial statuary, and the trouble has apparently spread further afield. Hundreds of protestors gathered at the campus of North Carolina University insisting that a statue of a Confederate soldier be torn down. Adding fuel to the fire, a prominent businessman, politician and diplomat, Ray Mabus, called such images “monuments to treason” and insisted that they “must be removed now and forever”.

Meanwhile, a news item from Australia informed me that “there is fury” over a statue of Captain Cook in Sydney’s Hyde Park. In this case, it’s not so much the figurine itself raising hackles, but the inscription on the pedestal claiming that the 18th century British explorer “discovered this territory”. Spokespersons for the indigenous aboriginal community are pointing out that the country wasn’t actually in need of discovering since there had been people living there for 60,000 years or so.

Carrot

Carrot adventures

So who’s right, and who’s at fault? Clearly human beings love making graven images – have done since time immemorial – to remember a famous person, to commemorate an event, to show off their wealth or prestige, to worship in place of an invisible deity . . . Most of the time they sit discreetly on their plinths quietly collecting verdigris and bird droppings. Some people think having an enormous model of a carrot (yes, a carrot!) in the New Zealand town of Ohakune is a great idea. Others think it’s pretty stupid, but no one seems to get overcome with blind destructive hatred. Same goes for the giant lobster in Kingston, South Australia. Some local authority in Paris, France, had a 12-metre, 18-tonne bronze thumb erected in their neighbourhood, and I haven’t heard of any complaints. Akşehir in Turkey, birthplace of Nasrddin Hodja, contains several sculptures of the legendary folk philosopher, of which citizens are rather proud.

On the other hand, America’s one-time allies in Afghanistan, the Taliban, attracted much international ire when, a few years ago, they dynamited several large statues of Buddha at the ancient site of Bamiyan. It seems the heresies implicit in the Buddhas overrode any historical value they may have had – at least in the opinion of the dynamiters.

Bamiyan+Buddha+before

One of the Buddhas – before the dynamiting

This, then, seems to be the nub of the problem. Carrots, lobsters and thumbs are relatively neutral when it comes to arousing emotional response, either positive or negative. Representations of religion, politics (and sex), however, stir strong feelings. In the years after the Roman Empire officially adopted Christianity, zealots of the new faith journeyed around the temples of earlier ages chiselling off female breasts and male appendages from carvings they considered immoral.

We in the post-modern world like to think of ourselves as more enlightened, but many of us have sympathy for the indigenous peoples of Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, who may not have felt the same way about colonial invaders using superior technological might to steal their land and birthright. So what to do about Captain Cook? Remove the statue? Edit the inscription? Is this, as one politician asserted, “Stalinist revision”, or belated sensitive recognition that the ancestors of the aboriginal inhabitants have a valid point?

What about that statue in the Black Sea town? Diogenes the Cynic is believed to have been born there in the early 5th century BCE when it was an Ionian colony, Sinope. Cynical he may have been, but the poor man can hardly be blamed for the tragic events that unfolded a century ago after the Greek military invasion of Anatolia. Feelings still run high in some circles, on both sides of the Aegean, but I suspect current objections to Diogenes represent a small minority of opinion. Attitudes to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, however, are a far more controversial issue in Turkey. For decades a small elite backed by a powerful military controlled the country, fostering a cult-like adoration of the national hero to suppress religious and political opposition to their rule. I read an interesting article the other day in a Turkish newspaper entitled, “Let’s just stop abusing Atatürk.” The writer, Nazlan Ertan, was finding fault with the pseudo-faithful, who decorate their car rear windows with his signature, prefix their Facebook accounts with the initials TC, and claim to know how the great man would vote in elections and referenda if he were around today. And she has a point.

6207998629_e5206c9872_z

Robert E Lee in Charlottesville

All of which brings me to the most recent controversy over symbolic statuary – the one currently raging in the United States over the question of whether representations of Confederate heroes or their cause should be permitted in public places. Personally, I don’t care one way or the other, but it seems to me that the issue has become a focus for the lovers and haters of President Donald Trump to vent their hyperactive spleens. And the man does seem to have polarised opinion in the USA in a way that few of his predecessors were able to do. What is clear is that there is still some feeling in Southern states of the old Confederacy that their cause was just, and they were unfairly treated. It seems also certain that the victors, as is generally the case, wrote the history books with their version of the story. Was slavery the only, or even the main issue over which the Civil war was fought? Were those soldiers of the Union really fighting for the rights of black Americans to be treated equally? I have read suggestions that Abe Lincoln himself wasn’t 100% certain about that. Were their opponents in the Confederate army all slave-owners or believers in the system?

More and more of American history is being shown up as mythology and politically motivated censorship. Books such as James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me, Oliver Stone’s The Untold History of the United States (and its associated TV documentary series) and Stephen Kinzer’s Overthrow, are highlighting serious cracks in the foundations of the American ideal. Maybe we should just pull down all the statues everywhere until we sort the whole business out.

Grenfell fire: Protests, anger as death toll rises

A spokesperson for the European Parliament has expressed strong support for a Turkish opposition politician embarking on a march demanding justice. Let’s see what the European parliament has to say about the unspeakable crime committed in London.

Al Jazeera: Scores of people attending a rally on Friday for victims of a tower block fire tragedy in London stormed a local town hall as the death toll rose to at least 30. The angry protesters barged their way through an automatic door at Kensington and Chelsea town hall and sought to gain entry to an upper floor. Police barred their way and scuffles broke out.

protest-“We want justice!” “Shame on you!” and “Killers!” the protesters shouted, with some holding up pictures of those still unaccounted for and now feared dead.

Earlier, Commander Stuart Cundy said police would examine whether criminal offences had been committed although they said there was nothing to suggest the massive blaze at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in West London was started deliberately.

“We know that at least 30 people have died as a result of this fire,” Cundy said. “Sadly, it is expected that the total will rise and it is not expected that any survivors will be found.”

“When you have a fire that takes hold like that, that is literally an inferno. You get a lot of fragmentation of bodies, charring of bones and sometimes all that’s left is ash,” said Peter Vanezis, a professor of forensic medical sciences at Queen Mary University in London. He said the temperature of the blaze at Grenfell Tower was comparable to a cremation.

UK Telegraph: The confirmed death toll has risen to 30 but is expected to soar significantly, police have said, as anger mounts over a litany of failings that led to the disaster.

Missing people

As yet unaccounted for . . .

After a string of politicians have been heckled by angry locals demanding answers, more than 2,700 people are said to be attending a Westminster rally on Friday night to demand “justice” – raising fears that tensions could boil over.

The Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington Council has refused requests to release a list of known residents in Glenfell Tower.

UK Telegraph: Man jailed for sharing photo of dead Grenfell Tower fire victim on Facebook

A man who posted pictures on Facebook of the body of someone believed to have leapt to his death from the Grenfell Tower fire has been jailed for three months.

Omega Mwaikambo, 43, posted one video and two pictures of the body bag with the man inside and then later five pictures of the victim’s face and body after opening it to look inside.

He pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates Court to two counts of sending by a public communications network an offending, indecent or obscene matter.

And from a less mainstream source:

In a Channel 4 News interview with Jon Snow on Thursday, singer Lily Allen, who lives in the area, accused the media and the government of downplaying the death toll, which was 17 at the time.

“Seventeen [people]? I’m hearing frm people that the figure is closer to 150 and many of those are children.,” Allen added, saying she’d been given this information off-the-record from emergency services at the scene.

Tower block fire in London

Are you telling me 12 people [or 17] are dead?

A woman speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire said on Thursday afternoon: “More than 50 children are dead and it’s not confirmed because their parents are missing . . . look at that building. Are you telling me 12 people are dead?”

Journalist Rozan Ahmed says that for the past 24 hours she has been contacting hospitals for information about the missing people from the Glenfell Tower blaze. She claims the authorities are not providing adequate information about missing people.

In an Instagram post, Ahmed said: “How are 17 dead when hundreds are yet to be accounted for? Where are they? My auntie and her 2 children are nowhere to be found. Every hospital has been scoured and not one was able to provide a LIST of patients from #Grenfell? Why?”