Tag Archives: Denmark

The 70th Anniversary Of The Soviet Invasion Of Lithuania

VILNIUS – For the first time, Lithuania has so solidly marked the anniversary of the invasion of Soviet troops into Lithuania, on June 15, 1940. According to Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviviene, some 150,000-250,000 Soviet soldiers entered Lithuania on that day. On June 15, a special session was organized in the parliament to commemorate that sad day which shocked Lithuania 70 years ago. It was attended by President Dalia Grybauskaite. The next day the session was followed by conference of historians in the parliament. During both events the consequences of the Soviet invasion were emphasized.

“Now we can notice the lack of trust in democracy because the communist occupation left its traces in the people’s psyche,” Julius Sasnauskas, Catholic priest and Soviet-era political prisoner, said in the parliament adding that it is quite weird that Lithuania used to commemorate, on a state level, the first mass deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia on June 14, 1941, but the date which took place a year earlier and which caused those deportations was somewhat forgotten on the state level.

“According to scientists, if not for the Soviet occupation, Lithuania would now have five million inhabitants – the same size of population as Norway, Finland or Denmark. Lithuania’s standard of living would be the same as in those countries. There would be no such emigration from Lithuania as it is now,” Parliament Speaker Irena Degutiene said during the June 15 sitting in the parliament.

Earlier on that day, she went to the Uta village of the Varena region to pay tribute to Lithuanian border policeman Aleksandras Barauskas, who was killed by the Soviet army on that day 70 years ago. Barauskas was the first victim of the USSR’s aggression in Lithuania. He rented a flat in a wooden house just 100 meters from the border with the USSR. At 3:40 in the morning, 20 Soviet soldiers crossed the border and attacked that house where Barauskas was sleeping with his wife and children. This attack was carried out before the time limit of the USSR’s ultimatum demanding allowance for the mass entrance of the USSR’s troops ran out. The Soviet soldiers hit Barauskas’ head with a sword, and afterwards shot him. After that action, the Soviet soldiers went back to the USSR, just to return after several hours, together with a mass invasion of Soviet troops. Barauskas died when his colleagues were transporting him to a hospital. His daughter, Ona Marija Brasiuniene, took part in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of her father’s murder in Uta. On June 15, 1940, her father had no idea about the secret Stalin-Hitler deals and the Soviet ultimatum to Lithuania.

On Aug. 23, 1939, the USSR and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, with secret clauses assigning spheres of influence in Central Europe and the Baltic Sea area. Later in 1939, the city of Vilnius was occupied by the Red Army during the Soviet invasion into Poland and the Soviet-proposed Soviet-Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Pact transferred Vilnius and one-fifth of the Vilnius region to Lithuania in exchange for stationing 20,000 Soviet troops within Lithuania. In 1940, Stalin presented the ultimatum to Lithuania. The ultimatum demanded to form a new pro-Soviet government and admit an unspecified number of Soviet troops. Lithuania accepted the ultimatum, as effective military resistance was impossible with Soviet troops already within the country.

“President Antanas Smetona was in favor of armed resistance. He was supported by Defense Minister Kazys Musteikis, Education Minister Kazimieras Jokantas and National Audit Office Chief Konstantinas Sakenis. They were in the minority and the ultimatum was accepted,” Defense Minister Jukneviciene said about the last meeting of the Lithuanian government before the Soviet invasion, at the commemoration ceremony in the village of Uta. Smetona left Lithuania immediately after that meeting, in fear that he could be forced by the Soviets to justify the occupation. Smetona died in Cleveland, USA, on Dec. 9, 1944, during a fire caused by unknown reasons in a house where he lived.

On June 16, historians from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland presented their findings about the Soviet aggression against the Baltics. The majority of those facts are well known. However, some interesting findings still take place. For example, according to Polish historian Krzysztof Tarka, during WWII, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt had the intention to agree officially with the Soviet annexation of Finland and the Baltic states with one condition to Stalin: those citizens of Finland and the Baltics who do not want to live under the Soviet rule should have the right to leave the USSR. However, advisers in the White House convinced Roosevelt not to do this, and the U.S., as well as the rest of Western democracies (with the exception of Sweden and Finland) never recognized the Baltics as a legitimate part of the USSR. Tarka made his finding studying documents of the diplomatic service of the Polish government, which moved to work in London when the Nazis and the Soviets divided Poland among themselves.

On June 15, Lithuanians also demonstrated that they remember not only their own history’s wounds. On this significant day, officially called in Lithuania as Occupation and Genocide Day, a square in the Uzupis district of Vilnius was officially given the name of Tibet Square. The artsy community of Uzupis was pushing the Vilnius municipality to do this for a long time, but the Vilnius municipality tried to avoid it because of fear of China’s reaction. However, the Uzupis’ bohemians were so persistent that the municipality surrendered and Vilnius Vice Mayor Gintautas Babravicius took part in the opening ceremony, enriched with various rituals of Tibetan Buddhism.

On June 15, the Lithuanian parliament, using the symbolism of the date, on the initiative of Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene, MP of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, made amendments in the Criminal Code stipulating criminal penalties for those publicly justifying, denying or playing down international crimes, as well as crimes committed by the USSR and the Nazis against Lithuania.

A total of 68 MPs supported the amendments to the Criminal Code. Five lawmakers voted against the bill while 32 abstained. In line with the amendments, those justifying or denying the aggression by the USSR and Nazi Germany against Lithuania, as well as cases of genocide of the Lithuanian people, and “grave crimes committed in 1990-1991 against Lithuania and its people” will face criminal prosecution. Those violating the law will face a fine or a prison term of up to two years only in case they justify, deny or play down the crimes “in an insulting way” or if such actions “result in the violation of public order.”

http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/26506/

Kurt Westergaard Attacked by Islamist Assassin

Just when Denmark thought the worst was over, Islamic fury has come back to haunt it with an assassination attempt on the artist whose cartoon of the prophet Muhammad as a suicide bomber had an explosive impact four years ago on the Muslim world.

An axe-wielding Somali extremist broke into the home of Kurt Westergaard on Friday night as the 75-year-old cartoonist was looking after Stephanie, his five-year-old granddaughter.

Westergaard, whose little ink drawing of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban sparked riots throughout the Middle East in 2006, has received numerous death threats. He pressed an alarm button to summon police when the attacker entered the house in Aarhus, Denmark’s second city, by breaking a window.

He did not have time to collect the child from the living room before locking himself into a “panic room”, a specially fortified bathroom. He said the assailant had shouted “swear words, really crude words” and shrieked about “blood” and “revenge”, as he smashed the axe in vain against the bathroom door.

“I feared for my grandchild,” he told Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that had commissioned the cartoon. “But she did great. I knew that he wouldn’t do anything to her.” He went on: “It was close, really close. But we did it.”

The attacker, who was also carrying a knife, shouted, “I’ll be back”, before going outside to confront police. He smashed a police car window with the axe and was shot in the hand and a knee when he threw the axe at an officer. He appeared in court on a stretcher yesterday to be charged with the attempted murder of Westergaard and the policeman.

Jakob Scharf, head of Danish intelligence, said yesterday the assailant had close relations to Al-Shabaab, a Somali terror group, as well as to Al-Qaeda leaders in eastern Africa. He had been under surveillance by intelligence, although not in connection with any plot against Westergaard.

The attack, Scharf said, “confirms the terror threat directed at Denmark and against Westergaard in particular”.

Angry protesters in Muslim countries in 2006 burnt embassies and stormed several European buildings in a wave of rioting and flag-burning in which more than 100 people were killed. The reaction had come after a dozen “Muhammad cartoons”, including the famous one by Westergaard, were published in several newspapers.

The drawings, which first appeared in 2005, had been intended to contribute to the debate about criticism of Islam and self-censorship. This followed the brutal murder in Holland the previous year of Theo van Gogh, the film maker, by a fanatic who resented his depiction of Islam and slit his throat on a street.

Muslims called the cartoons an insult to their religion and, as well as promoting a boycott of Danish goods, some Islamic leaders issued death threats against Westergaard and his publishers.

An affable figure with a wry sense of humour, he has been the intended victim of at least two plots foiled by police. In one, two Tunisians planned to decapitate him in his home.

Two other would-be attackers from Chicago were charged in October with planning to kill Westergaard and Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten who has called the bomb cartoon “a great cultural icon of the 21st century”.

The threats, reminiscent of the fatwa declared against Salman Rushdie, the author whose 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, was considered blasphemous, have made life miserable for Westergaard and his wife, a retired nursery school teacher. Like Rushdie, they have been obliged to spend long periods away from their home in various “safe houses” whenever the threat against them is considered to be high.

The cartoonist’s telephone went unanswered yesterday: he is expected, for a while at least, to go to ground under police protection.

He puts a brave face on his plight. “At my age you are not so much afraid any more,” he told The Sunday Times last year.

He has no regrets about the cartoon, whose original is locked in a bank vault, defending Denmark’s tradition of democracy and freedom of speech. He seems resigned to a life on the run. “This will go on for the rest of my life. There is no way out,” he said.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article6973966.ece

Take Back Al Gore’s Oscar

No, it wouldn’t do anything for the environment.

But two Hollywood conservatives (yes, there are some) have called upon the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to rescind the prestigious, profitable gold Oscar statuette that it gave ex-Vice President Al Gore et al two years ago for the environmental movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd, both Academy members, are among a small, meandering pack of known political conservatives still believed to be on the loose in the liberal bastion of movie-making.

In 2007, Hollywood’s Academy sanctified Gore’s cinematic message of global warming with its famous statue, enriched his earnings by $100,000 per 85-minute appearance and helped elevate the Tennesseean’s profile to win the Nobel Peace Prize despite losing the election battle of 2000 to a Texan and living in a large house with lots of energy-driven appliances.

Chetwynd and Simon were prompted to make their hopeless demand this week by the….


…leak two weeks ago of a blizzard of British academic e-mails purporting to show that scientists at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit systematically falsified data to document the appearance of global warming in recent years.

The university is reportedly investigating the claims, which added dry fuel to the never-ending political debate over whether the Earth really is warming as a result of human activity or if it’s just normal natural cycles and the debate is what’s heated. The demand to withdraw Gore’s award provides yet another opportunity to argue.

The startling leak comes at an inconvenient time just before next week’s United Nations’ climate change meeting that will cause an immense carbon footprint with thousands of people flying up or over to Denmark to talk about saving the environment.

These airplanes will include Air Force One with its primary passenger President Obama, who’s returning to the Copenhagen scene where he didn’t help win the 2016 Summer Olympics for Chicago, which could do with a little global warming at this time of year.

Simon, a screenwriter who is also chief executive officer of Pajamas Media, a network of conservative online blogs, conceded he knew of no precedent for the Academy withdrawing a previously-awarded Oscar, despite decades of Hollywood hijinks and worse. But, he added, “I think they should rescind this one.”

The controversial leaked documents have been assembled here by Pajamas Media and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The joint demand by Simon and filmmaker Chetwynd is available on video here.

The television news-watching world in America has not learned much about the so-called Climategate scandal because it has not really been mentioned on the air except for a notorious cable news channel named for a three-lettered, wily, wild animal that often seems to revel in debunking liberal shibboleths.

Network news programs have been far more concerned with the obviously more important White House party-crasher story involving a couple of formally-dressed phonies.

The falsified documents do not come up in Gore interview excerpts published late last night here by Politico’s John F. Harris and Mike Allen.

This week White House Press Secy. Robert Gibbs claimed that global warming was no longer in dispute by most people. But a subsequent Rasmussen Reports poll of Americans finds only one in four adults believe most scientists agree on the topic.

And while only 20% claim to have followed the leaked e-mail story Very Closely, nearly 60% believe it is at least somewhat likely that scientists have falsified environmental data to support their own global warming beliefs and theories.

— Andrew Malcolm

Obama Goes Begging

Obama demeans the office of the presidency by traveling to Denmark, where he will  reduce himself to the role of Billy Mays pitchman in the U.S. bid to win the 2016 Olympic games for Chicago.

A one day in-and-out trip to Denmark will cost the U.S. taxpayer tens of millions of dollars. In excess of 600 people will travel in advance and with Obama. Numerous military cargo planes will be dispatched to fly in his limos and support equipment. Embassy Staff will be beefed up with support staff from all over Europe and beyond. Air Force One, a back up Air Force One and top secret military aircraft will join the presidential flight operation on the trip over and back. The costs and logistics are immense.

Politically, economically and historically it makes no sense for Obama to travel to Denmark. This is just another example of a White House that is out of touch with the realities and priorities of governing.

Senator Kit Bond has a point when he says “it’s baffling that the president has time to travel to Copenhagen, to be on ‘Letterman’ and every channel except the Food Network, and, yet, he doesn’t have time to talk with and listen to his top general.”

Let’s hope General Stanley McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan, wasn’t hoping for a meeting tomorrow. That’s when Obama will be busy upstaging Brazil’s soccer star Pele and Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

According to Senator Bond, who is keeping track, it’s been more than two months since Obama had the kind of face time with McChrystal that he’s giving the International Olympic Committee.

Polls show that about half of Chicagoans are wary of the games coming, citing the cost, the traffic, the general hassle felt by all for the attendance of the few well-connected ticket holders.

Maybe this is payback to the Chicago Political Machine and all the developers who will make millions building an Olympic Village at our expense?

Fighting to Secede

From Texas to Hawaii, these groups are fighting to secede.


American secessionist groups today range from small startups with a few laptop computers to organized movements with meetings of delegates from several states.


The Middlebury Institute, a group that studies and supports the general cause of separatism and secessionism in the U.S., has held three Secession Congresses since its founding in 2004.


At the most recent gathering, held in New Hampshire last November, one discussion focused on creating a new federation potentially to be called “Novacadia,” consisting of present-day New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. An article highlighted on the group’s Web site describes Denmark as a role-model for the potential country. In the months following the convention, the idea “did not actually evolve into very much,” says Kirkpatrick Sale, the institute’s director.


Below the Mason-Dixon Line, groups like the League of the South and Southern National Congress hold meetings of delegates. They discuss secession as a way of accomplishing goals like protecting the right to bear arms and tighter immigration policies. The Texas Nationalist Movement claims that over 250,000 Texans have signed a form affirming the organization’s goal of a Texas nation.


A religious group, Christian Exodus, formed in 2003 with the purpose of transforming what is today South Carolina into a sovereign, Christian-run state. According to a statement on its Web site, the group still supports the idea, but has learned that “the chains of our slavery and dependence on Godless government have more of a hold on us than can be broken by simply moving to another state.”


On the West Coast, elected officials representing greater San Diego County, Imperial County and Northern Baja, Mexico, have proposed creating a “mega-region” of the three areas called “Cali Baja, a Bi-National Mega-Region.”

Hawaii is home to numerous groups that work toward the goal of sovereignty, including Nation of Hawaii. The group argues that native Hawaiians were colonized and forced into statehood against their will and without fair process, and therefore have the right to decide how to govern themselves today. In Alaska, the Alaska Independence Party advocates for the state’s independence.


There is also a Web site for a group called North Star Republic, with a mission to establish a socialist republic in what today is Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.


A group of American Indians led by activist Russell Means is working to establish the Republic of Lakotah, which would cover parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. In 2007, the Republic presented the U.S. State Department with a notice of withdrawal.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204482304574219813708759806.html