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Two NATO commanders wore Nazi regalia in Afghanistan
It has just been discovered that two commanders of the Czech military working under NATO command used Nazi symbols on their helmets during their deployment in Afghanistan.
The story was made public after Czech police serving in Afghanistan reported the case, the Russia Today website reported on Tuesday.
According to the daily Mlada fronta Dnes, the soldiers, identified as Hynek Matonoha and Jan Cermak, wore the symbols of the 9th SS panzer division Hohenstaufen and the SS Dirlewanger brigade respectively, which were probably the most infamous SS combat units of World War II.
Unaware of their sordid actions, Czech Defense Minister Martin Bartak decorated the soldiers for bravery on Friday after their return from Afghanistan.
Later, the minister said that at the time, he had not yet learned about the helmet controversy, which has caused quite a stir among the country's armed forces.
A specialist in extremism, Michal Mazel, has rejected the excuse given by one of the men, who said that he had unintentionally used the symbols.
“He is an elite troop who graduated from university, he is no teenager. The SS symbols on their helmets show a totally perverse view of the world of the NATO military's elite troop,” Russia Today quoted Mazel as saying.
Anti-violence activists say the case with the soldiers is nothing new for the Czech Republic.
“There were several attacks on Roma and other communities in recent years, and these problems in our army, of course, shocked all Czech people,” said Ivona Novomestska, spokesperson for an anti-violence movement.
Petr Prochazka, the commander of the Czech contingent in Afghanistan's Logar province, had ordered that any photographs showing the controversial helmet covers be burnt.
After the facts came out, the commanders were immediately suspended, and they will be facing disciplinary action for their conduct.
All detainees transferred by Canadians to Afghan prisons were likely tortured by Afghan officials and many of the prisoners were innocent, says a former senior diplomat with Canada's mission in Afghanistan. Appearing before a House of Commons committee Wednesday, Richard Colvin blasted the detainees policies of Canada and compared them with the policies of the British and the Netherlands. The detainees were captured by Canadian soldiers then handed over to the Afghan intelligence service, called the NDS.
He said the most common forms of torture were beatings, whipping with power cables, the use of electricity, knives, open flames and rape.
On May 27, 1942, SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, had been attacked in Prague by Free Czech agents who were trained in England and brought to Czechoslovakia to assassinate him.
They shot at Heydrich as his car slowed to round a sharp turn, then threw a bomb which exploded, mortally wounding him. Heydrich managed to get out of the car, draw his pistol and shoot back at the assassins before collapsing in the street. Heydrich survived for several days, but died on June 4 from blood poisoning brought on by fragments of auto upholstery, steel, and his own uniform that had lodged in his spleen.
In Berlin, the Nazis staged a highly elaborate funeral with Hitler calling Heydrich "the man with the iron heart." See also: Biography of Reinhard Heydrich Meanwhile the Gestapo and SS hunted down and murdered Czech agents, resistance members, and anyone suspected of being involved in Heydrich's death, totaling over 1000 persons.
In addition, 3000 Jews were deported from the ghetto at Theresienstadt for extermination. In Berlin 500 Jews were arrested, with 152 executed as a reprisal on the day of Heydrich's death.
As a further reprisal, Hitler ordered the small Czech mining village of Lidice to be liquidated on the fake charge that it had aided the assassins. In one of the most infamous single acts of World War Two, all 172 men and boys over age 16 in the village were shot while the women were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died. Ninety young children were sent to the concentration camp at Gneisenau, with some taken later to Nazi orphanages if they were German looking.
The village of Lidice was then destroyed building by building with explosives, then completely leveled until not a trace remained, with grain being planted over the flattened soil. The name was then removed from all German maps.
There have been a number of neo-Nazi and skinhead marches into Roma ghettos, including one earlier this month, and there have been reports of unauthorized sterilizations of Roma woman as recently as last year. Roma children are routinely segregated in classrooms and often put in schools for developmentally challenged children, a fate that ensures difficulty in the job market, and shuts the door on post-secondary education.
And the Roma (gypsies) thing is for a long discussion. You need to know something about it before making judgement