Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

A little town called Oświęcim ……………………70 years today came liberation.

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)


Tears of emotion as survivor, Mordecai Ronen, 82, returns to the death camp for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Let us also remember the others who suffered at the hands of the SS, namely Gypsies, Gays, Polish and Russian political prisoners.

It would be nice to say that we have learned from what happened at the “death camps” but given recent history, China (cultural revolution), Cambodia (year zero) and the very prescient actions of Islamic thugs in the Middle East and Africa it is difficult to make that statement.

Man continues to demonstrate his inhumanity to man………………………..

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The EU is a hotbed of corruption

under_table_bribe_1600_wht_9467Leaving aside the allegations that the President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, was  party to Luxembourg’s notorious tax-avoidance schemes, which attracted companies like Amazon and Pepsi-Cola, when he was Finance Minister then PM, there is something rotten in the EU.

Bojan Pancevski’s piece in the Sunday Times this week spelled out its extent.

Hungary, one of the first countries to allow escapees from East Germany to cross its borders into Austria, and originally hailed as an example of new democracy, has recently turned its back on liberalism – President Orban talks of a shift to “an illiberal state” – and adopted an authoritarian form of government with close ties to Russia. And corruption is so widespread that the USA has imposed a travel ban on six senior Hungarian officials over allegations of corruption – even though they are partners in NATO.

Slovenia joined in 2004 after emerging from the Balkan conflict. Originally praised for its successful liberal economy an economic development it was the first eastern european nation to meet the criteria to join the euro currency. Now the economy is struggling and corruption seems rife. The former Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who as in power when they joined the EU, is now serving a 2-year jail sentence for corruption. His successor is also under investigation after nominating herself to become a member of the European Commission.

Romania and Bulgaria are both under special scrutiny by the EU as each year they fail to make progress in curbing organised crime and corruption and to establish an independent judiciary. In Romania 30 lawmakers have been prosecuted or jailed for failing to take action against corrupt officials and for pressurising the judiciary. In neighbouring Bulgaria three governments fell in one year in the face of public protests about corruption.

Croatia, the latest country to join the EU, is also struggling with bribery and bad governance. The former Prime Minister, Ivo Sander,  who steered the country into the EU is serving an 8-year sentence for corruption.

There doesn’t seem to be much the EU can do. Once you’re in the EU club you’re in for life it seems (although British eurosceptics might wish it weren’t so).

The candidates for membership of the EU promise to be good democratic. law-abiding countries. Once they’re in the facade slips and the influence of decades of dictatorship re-surfaces.

Let’s not forget that Portugal, Spain and Greece were all ruled by dictators until the 1970s but they don’t seem as bad as the new boys on the block. Hungary and Bulgaria are keen to allow the construction of a gs pipeline from Russia – something the EU has previously stopped.

It’s not all bad news. The three Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all former soviet republics, have done better (although corruption is still around with EU monies ending up in companies set up by MPs and their families).

Poland, the biggest of the new members, has done well economically and its citizens have a reputation for hard work. (The Poles have the highest employment rate (80%) of any nationality in England & Wales  including the Brits). Its President Donald Trusk has been appointed to the post of President of the European Council.

And it’s Poland, and the Baltic countries – who appreciate their hard-earned independence in 1991, who are urging a hard line against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.



Jūs suraižyti

hands_in_handcuffs_pc_1600_wht_3604Scotland Yard is about to recruit foreign police officers for a three-year project, Operation Nexus, to help tackle the increasing number of foreign criminals in the UK.

28% of the arrested suspects last year were foreign nationals.

Broadly the same percentage applies to murder victims, those suspected of  organised crime, and dangerous sex offenders.This is not surprising when you consider that 24% of people living in London are not British.

Romania and Poland have already signed up to the scheme with talks in progress with Lithuania and Ireland.

The police will be plain clothed and won’t have the power of arrest but will take part in raids and in interviewing suspects. They may wear their uniforms if the situation demands which should make it even more confusing for visitors to London!

This makes sense as the UK is the No 1 target for economic migrants. Crime knows no boundaries and in Lithuania, for example, the police there joke about the criminals joining the EU before the country did.

Lithuanian police in Trakai

Lithuanian police in Trakai

I was with an American friend in Lithuania when he had his lap-top snatched. The police sergeant who took my witness statement said he was surprised as he thought the criminals were all in England.

And Lithuanians in the UK have a bad reputation for illicit vodka stills and gun trafficking They are also involved in charity scams.

It’s hoped that Operation Nexus will improve the ability to deal with foreign suspects eg making it easier to check criminal records in their own country, and work more closely with the UK Border Agency to deal with overstayers and criminals trying to get into the UK.

But the Lithuanians are not the biggest group arrested because there aren’t that many of them. Poles and Irish are the two largest foreign nationalities arrested because there are so many of them here.

The Romanians are known to have criminal networks and made their criminal reputation here with their gangs of pick-pockets using children. And they haven’t officially arrived here yet!

Other countries in the top 10 list for crime are Pakistan, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Somalia, and Portugal.

FYI the post heading says “you’re under arrest” in Lithuanian.

Scotland Yard has just published figures showing that almost 35,000 Poles were arrested last year for serious offences in London including 84 for murder.

Romanians are the second most prolific foreign offenders with almost 28,000 arrests including 1o for murder, 142 for rape and 666 for other sex offences.

Lithuanians were the third most arrested foreigners in the capital.

The high number of Poles perhaps isn’t surprising considering the number over here (more than half a million) and the fact it’s now our second most spoken language.

Romanians aren’t officially due yet until next year so the criminals are following a well-worn path to the UK. To add to their track record of pickpocketing, child trafficking and begging they are now getting rich on stealing metals.

Lithuanians seem to punch above their weight when it comes to crime. Apart from violent crime they are known to be involved in charity scams as well as gun-running and illicit vodka.

Lithuanians in Charity scams

The Sunday Times has uncovered a number of scams where gangs collect clothes from the public which are intended for charities but are actually sold at second-hand clothes shops or markets in Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary and Ukraine.

The clothes sell for about £900 per ton and charities such as The British Heart Foundation and The Tree of Hope estimate they are losing millions of pounds each year.

The Sunday Times investigators met with two Lithuanians, one called Algis and his boss Lenny Jurkonis, from the UK Clothing Caravan Ltd (which appears to be connected to SOS Clothes Ltd) based in Essex.

They were offered a 40 ft container full of clothes – which is about 24 tons, once a month. At £1,05 per kilo that would be over £300,000 per year. The Men also explained how they would fiddle the books so no-one knew exactly how mcuh had actually been collected.

Lithuanians are getting a bad press in the UK due to publicised convictions for gun-running, people trafficking, illicit vodka, and charity scams.

There is a joke in Lithuania that the criminals joined the EU before the rest of the country. When an American colleague was robbed of a lap-top in Lithuania  a few years ago the policeman taking my witness statement joked that apparently not all their criminals had gone to the UK.

Lithuanians, like Poles, have a strong work ethic, are generally well-educated, and many come to England and Ireland to work. Having visited the country many times I know how friendly and generous they can be. It’s a shame that the activities of a criminal minority damage their reputation.

Women in uniforms

CNV00014_3You might have seen the photos of the Ukrainian female border guards or passport control staff having makeovers ready to greet the football fans.

What you have to understand is that women in uniform over there always dress up to look their best.

Police women wear high heels on duty – as you can see from the photograph I took in Kyiv. I don’t know how good they are in a chase, maybe they just shoot you.

The female Polish border staff at Warsaw were the same. Big soviet style hats, tight short skirts, heels, guns and, the scary bit, rubber gloves.

Much the same in Italy I remember. Police women with big hats, big hair, big heels, shades, full war paint, and a gun of course.

Must confess though that my favourite photo is of these female Ukrainian soldiers (thank you Bohdan) and no, that’s not me with the camera!ukrainian_army