Ironically, it’s inside Poland now: the radio station at Gleiwitz, where the first actual shots of the Second World War were fired. Fittingly, for a war caused by 20th Century European utopian totalitarian ideology, the shots were fired into defenseless captives.
In the city now called Gliwice, the ethnic German majority is gone, never to return. Some fled with the beaten Deutsche Wehrmacht as it fell back before the Red Army; some were expelled postwar. Many of today’s Gliwice families are Poles who were ethnically cleansed from Polish territory annexed by the USSR in 1945.
The radio station’s antenna still stands, and is one of the tallest wooden structures in use globally. That radio station was the scene of one of the most significant false flag attacks in the long history of warfare.
The False Flag Attack on Sender Gleiwitz
On the night of 31 August 1939, a group of SS men under the command of one Alfred Naujocks stormed the station. It was one of a half-dozen or so “false flag” actions that took place to give Hitler the casus belli he wanted to seize the Lebensraum his ideology demanded a Greater German Empire needed.
Essential to the deception were a Polish troublemaker who’d been seized by the Gestapo — the general area of Silesia had mixed Polish, German, Czech, Slovak and Hungarian settlements — and a half-dozen nameless souls from Germany’s already-thriving network of Konzentrationslager.
In the light of their part in the production, it’s a safe bet that they, unlike the SS men, weren’t volunteers. They probably didn’t know the codename for their part in the operation, which translates to English as “Canned Goods.”
The camp inmates and the Pole were dressed in Polish Army uniforms, and then given lethal injections.
Then, they were shot and their bodies were artfully arranged around the place, while a Polish-speaking Nazi read a script over the radio.
The next day, the media were brought in to see how badly Germany had been put upon. Gullible and easily played, then as now, many of them went along with it.
Did Erdo Stage His Own Coup?
You can’t turn on a glowing rectangle this week without seeing the suggestion that Erdogan’s coup was, well, Erdo’s coup. Was it the Radio Station at Gleiwitz? We’re agnostic on the subject: he could have staged it, but he could merely be refusing to “let a crisis go to waste,” to borrow a phrase. (Indeed, the latter is more likely). Some Turks are even suggesting that Erdogan knew about the coup in advance, and let it go so he could have a crisis not to waste.
Foreign Policy reports that the purges in the wake of the coup have begun to alarm outsiders:
NATO allies have been troubled by the massive government crackdown in the wake of the violence however, which has seen 50,000 people either arrested or fired from their positions. That includes the arrest of 6,000 military personnel — among their ranks over 100 generals and admirals — hundreds of police, and thousands of judges and academics. While events are moving quickly, Stoltenberg said that Turkish military officers working directly with NATO “are safe and secure,” and that the confusion “has not hampered our operations.”
When it comes to the military, Erdogan looks to be taking control. A Turkish government official told the Washington Post that “an outline” of a new military restructuring plan could be floated as early as Wednesday. Speaking on a conference call on Tuesday, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Steven Cook said that in the wake of the crackdown, “the military is now Erdogan, …it is now in chaos and subject to the control of President Erdogan.”
The purge victims include not only all generals not of Erdo’s party, but all college deans, tens of thousands of academics who are secularist or not the right strain of Islamist — particularly followers of exiled mullah Fatih Gulen, whose extradition from the USA Erdogan has demanded — and what is emerging is, in all but name, a sultanate.
The rapidity and breadth of the roundup does suggest that the Erdogan government had a plan (and a list) on file, if not actively in their pocket on the day of the abortive uprising. In fact, Al Jazeera quoted a member of Erdogan’s party as saying the coup was triggered prematurely by the imminent arrest of key plotters.
John Kerry, assuming his usual negotiation position (i.e., supine), has already said, with some weasel words, that if Erdo wants Gulen’s head on a plate — and Erdo most assuredly does — he’s got it. (And that’s literally head on a plate — Erdogan is talking about reinstating the death penalty which had been previously discontinued in hopes of Turkey joining the EU — something that is extremely unlikely now at any rate).
And Now for Coup Nº 2: Armenia
Another coup has been in the news, but at a lower level in the West. It was an attempt by a group of Armenian oppositionists to trigger a revolution — an attempt that has failed and yielded a hostage situation. Richard Giragosian, an Armenian think-tank head based in Yerevan, gives us a run-down through Al Jazeera (again! Has this blog ever quoted Al Jihad twice in one post before?):
More than a dozen people seized the police station, taking hostage several police officers, including the deputy head of the national police, Vartan Yeghiazarian, and Yerevan’s deputy police chief, Valeri Osipian.
The two senior police officials were reportedly taken hostage, willingly or involuntarily, after coming to the scene to negotiate with the group. One police hostage was subsequently released, reportedly for health reasons.
Although the gunmen may have genuinely expected some sort of popular support, they were quickly disappointed. Moreover, the incident and the lack of any popular reaction only confirmed the marginal standing of this radical fringe group within Armenian society.
Yet, this hostage standoff was serious, for two reasons. First, this particular police station was targeted for a reason – as one of the largest depositories of police weapons in the capital, with an onsite arsenal that was seized by the attackers.
Second, the gunmen were veterans of the Karabakh war, with little to lose and with extensive experience in handling the weapons at their disposal.
And after an initial police assault to retake the police station on the first day failed, the gunmen were better prepared, and strengthened their positions, using the hostages as human shields, making any rescue operation especially difficult.
Armenia has increasingly re-subordinated itself to Russia since 1992. For example, Armenia’s borders with non-Russian-controlled states are under the management of Russian border guards; thousands of Russian soldiers are based in the country; its air defense is managed by Moscow and staffed with Russian jet and missile crews.
Russian forces in Armenia, whom the Armenians believe are necessary for protection from Turkey and Azerbaijan, have a most unusual de facto status of forces arrangement: near-complete impunity. Like American sailors and Marines in Okinawa, the Russians have a few bad apples among their ranks, but unlike the Americans’ sensitivity to Okinawan sentiment which leads to miscreants getting the judicial hammering they deserve, Russians’ understanding of their relationship with their junior partners means, essentially, that Russian troops can do no wrong — or at least, bear no punishment for wrongdoing.
Two Russian soldiers, privates Popov and Kamenev, who murdered two civilians and wounded 14 during gunplay (yes, Judgment Juice™ was in da house) in the garrison town of Gyumri were given token sentences and allowed to serve them in Russia — which immediately released them.
In 2015 a Russian deserter, one Valery Pavlovich Permyakov, broke into a house seeking [more] vodka. (Do we see a pattern emerging in this misconduct? Pretty similar to the Okinawa cases, actually, young men and Judgment Juice™). He got his vodka and a change of clothes, leaving behind his uniform, his service rifle, a bunch of expended casings: and six murdered and one wounded members of the family that lived there. The mortally wounded victim, a six-month-old baby, suffered for a week in hospital before expiring from his wounds. The dead included two adult men, three women and a two-year-old daughter as well.
Permyakov was captured immediately — by Russians — and the Russians refused to allow him to be tried in an Armenian court. Instead, a court-martial was convened, but there was a sudden discovery that Permyakov was “mentally deficient” and thus unable to stand trial. (“Sorry about that!”) The fact that he had been drafted, the Russians explained, wasn’t proof that he wasn’t “mentally deficient,” but just a consequence of an error in the draft system. (“Sorry about that!”)
He was sentenced to 10 years — for desertion and unlawful possession of a firearm. The murder trial seems to have dropped out of the media.
If the Russians have lost the capability for dealing firmly with mass murderers, all faith in humanity is forfeit.
The present coup seems to be used, if not intended, like the Turkish coup, to identify, expose, and annihilate political opponents of an authoritarian government. Hundreds have already been arrested in Yerevan in what seems to be a “round up the usual suspects” purge.
The proximity, timing, and ultimate beneficiaries of these coups suggests that their may be a foreign hand in each. We leave his identity as an exercise for the reader.