La Tarcoteca

La Tarcoteca

viernes, 29 de julio de 2016

NATO Psychological Operations (PSYOP) to Influence Emotions and Sway Public Opinion

Source- NATO Psychological Operations (PSYOP) to Influence Emotions and Sway Public Opinion | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization 27.7.2016
Traslation into spanish- tarcoteca.blogspot

Psychological Operations or PSYOP are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of organizations, groups, and individuals.
The beginning of interest in post-Cold War information operations can be traced to the UN intervention in Somalia and the Rwanda Genocide. Relatively honest and direct reporting from these war zones meant that the public opinion of Western countries was a factor that had to be considered by the political classes. Hence the  complaining at the time about the so-called “CNN Effect” which forced the politicians to send and/or withdraw troops irrespective of what the elites actually wanted to happen at the time.
The early methods of influencing the public opinion by manipulating the media, though reasonably effective, were not enough. We have seen their strengths and limitations during both wars against Iraq, in which the bulk of the media was effectively co-opted through the process of frequent press briefings (featuring no shortage of videos showing NATO bombs unerringly falling toward their obviously evil targets) and later by “embedding” the mostly male reporters in military units, which naturally had the dual effect of stroking their egos and adopting the military’s point of view.
Still, in spite of all that, it proved impossible to control the narrative, and the public support for the various US and NATO wars collapsed under the pressure of inconvenient news coming even from mainstream media which clearly maintained a degree of independence. But if you fast-forward a decade, to the current wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Ukraine, and others, it is clear that something has changed. There is one dominant narrative that is being pushed by literally every mainstream media source, irrespective of their ostensible ideological bent. No matter where you turn, you read or hear about Assad’s “barrel bombs”, Gaddafi’s “massacres”, or “Russian aggression.”
These reports invariably represent a point of view that is not only completely one-sided, but also factually wrong, even on the most basic of issues. How did US and NATO manage to achieve such an amazing discipline within the supposedly free and independent Western media?
There are essentially three parts to the answer:
  • state oversight of the media;
  • co-opting individual reporters;
  • disseminating propaganda through covert means.
The first two are obvious enough and have long been practiced. Media corporations are just that–corporations, subject to variety of laws and regulations whose enforcement can be used to steer individual outlets toward adopting a desired point of view. Individual reporter’s coin of the realm is “access” to privileged information, which may be granted or withheld depending on their effectiveness as government propagandist. The third, the covert dissemination of propaganda, is new, and that factor likely explains the lack of variation from one media outlet to the next. The media are no longer merely encouraged to toe the official line–they have the stories planted for them to pick up through social media and other unofficial channels.
The so-called investigations of the MH17 disaster is a case study, though a fairly crude one due to Ukraine’s crude methods of information warfare. But it is evident that nearly all the “evidence” implicating Russia or the Novorossia insurgents was prepared by Ukrainian secret services, then laundered through social media, before being presented to Western audiences as the truth, the only truth, and nothing but the truth.
NATO is conducting similar operations which are harder to identify and counter because they are more sophisticated, better institutionalized, and provided with higher levels of funding. The United Kingdom, for example, maintains the 77th Brigade whose subunits include the Media Operations Group and the shadowy 15th Psychological Operations Group that has been dubbed the “Twitter detachment.” Germany has established the ZOpKomBw, or the Bundeswehr Rapid Communications Center.
In the US, information operations against the US population appear to be the responsibility of the intelligence community, which is understandable considering the taboo on US military operations on US territory. As such, they remain largely out of public scrutiny, though their handiwork can be readily seen in the form of unverifiable reports from a variety of war zones, and even placing specially prepared “witnesses” in front of Congressional committees. Even non-NATO countries like Sweden are following suit by establishing their own information operations units intended for waging information war on its own population. At the NATO level, information operations are coordinated by NATO doctrine JP 13-3 Information Operations, with practical applications honed by alliance-wide exercises such as the Multinational Information Operations Experiment (MNIOE).
Western voters have been accepting of all these measures because they were sold to them as part of their countries’ counter-terrorism measures. What they failed to take into account is that terrorism is a phenomenon that knows no borders, with the enemy already present among Western societies. Which means that, if counter-terrorist information operations are to be effective, they also have to be aimed at Western publics.
In the short-term, information operations may be effective in manufacturing popular support for policies that otherwise no free society would accept. In the longer term, bypassing the public opinion means the elites are now more free than ever to embark on highly dangerous international adventures that will likely backfire and lower even further the already low standing of the elites. Therefore the fact that the so-called “free world” elites increasingly have to resort to such dirty tricks in order to stay in power means that their grasp on power is slowly weakening.

miércoles, 27 de julio de 2016

Thirty Seconds to Midnight: the Doomsday Clock moves forward. The End of the world will come by miscalculation or simply Insanity

Source- The 4th Media » A US-instigating Nuclear War against Russia The US-made Armageddon Approaches, …..

Armageddon Approaches

The Western pubic doesn’t know it, but Washington and its European vassals are convincing Russia that they are preparing to attack. Eric Zuesse reports on a German newspaper leak of a Bundeswehr decision to declare Russia to be an enemy nation of Germany.

This is the interpretation that some Russian politicians themselves have put on the NATO military bases that Washington is establishing on Russia’s borders.

Washington might intend the military buildup as pressure on President Putin to reduce Russian opposition to Washington’s unilateralism. However, it reminds some outspoken Russians such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky of Hitler’s troops on Russia’s border in 1941.

Zhirinovsky is the founder and leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party and a vice chairman of the Russian parliament.

In a confrontation with the editor of a German newspaper, Zhirinovsky tells him that German troops again on Russia’s border will provoke a preventive strike after which nothing will remain of German and NATO troops.

“The more NATO soldiers in your territory, the faster you are going to die. To the last man. Remove NATO from your territory!”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed his frustration with Washington’s reliance on force and coercion instead of diplomacy.

It is reckless for Washington to convince Russia that diplomacy is a dead end without promise. When the Russians reach that conclusion, force will confront force.

Indeed Zhirinovsky has already reached that point and perhaps Vladimir Putin also. As I reported, Putin recently dressed down Western presstitutes for their role in fomenting nuclear war. See also:

Putin has made it clear that Russia will not accept US missile bases in Poland and Romania. He has informed Washington and the imbecilic Polish and Romanian governments.

However, as Putin observed, “they don’t hear.”

The inability to hear means that Washington’s arrogance has made Washington too stupid to take seriously Putin’s warning. If Washington persists, it will provoke the preventive strike that Zhirinovsky told the German editor the Merkel regime was inviting.

Americans need to wake up to the dangerous situation that Washington has created, but I doubt they will. Most wars happen without the public’s knowledge until they happen.

The main function of the American left-wing is to serve as a bogyman with which to scare conservatives about the country’s loss of morals, and the main function of conservatives is to create fear and hysteria about immigrants, Muslims, and Russians.

There is no sign that Congress is aware of approaching Armageddon, and the media consists of propaganda.

I and a few others try to alert people to the real threats that they face, but our voices are not loud enough. Not even Vladimir Putin’s voice is loud enough. It looks like the West won’t hear until “there remains nothing at all of the German and NATO troops,” and of Poland and Romania and the rest of us.

Part II

30 Seconds To Midnight

Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry warns that the world is on the knife edge of nuclear catastrophe. Such catastrophe can result accidentally from electronic failures or glitches in warning systems and from the recklessly aggressive and unnecessary force buildup against Russia.

Conn Hallinan discusses these issues. I doubt Hallinan is correct about Washington’s military predominance. This is Washington’s view, and this view makes Washington confident that it holds the aces. It is a mistake for Hallinan to encourage Washington in this view.

Nevertheless, Hallinan makes it clear that we could all be vaporized at any minute. This extremely high risk has been created entirely by the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes in which Zionist neoconservatives have controlled foreign and military policies.

It is tiresome to hear the argument that nuclear war won’t happen because it makes no sense.

William Perry points out that the failure of a 49-cent computer chip resulted in NORAD’s computers signaling that the Soviets had launched 220 nuclear missiles at the United States.

Just think about all the failures and glitches in our own personal computers, even the best ones. Human miscalculation is also an enormous risk. Miscalculation is a dominant human trait.

Consider that 50 percent of Americans’ choices of marriage partner are miscalculations as established by the divorce rate.

The mere existence of nuclear weapons means the nonexistence of life on earth. It will happen sooner or later. To raise the risk as the crazed American government is doing with irresponsible provocations of the Russians and Chinese is the ultimate criminal act.

There is no greater threat to human rights than to endanger all life, and that is what Washington and its two-bit punk NATO vassals are doing by increasing tensions between nuclear powers.

The neoconservatives in Washington have replaced nuclear disarmament with a new nuclear arms race. All of the hard work and accomplishments of previous US administrations to ease tensions and to reduce the stockpiles of nuclear weapons has been thrown away by the psychopaths who control the government in Washington.

Part III

The Atlantic Council: The Marketing Arm of the Military/Security Complex

How much did the military-security complex pay the Atlantic Council to publish this sales pitch to Poland to load up on US weapons systems?

The sales pitch was written by arms salesmen Richard Shirreff, a partner at Strategia Worldwide Ltd., and Maciej Olex-Szczytowski, a “business adviser specializing in defense.”

The sales pitch is titled “Arming For Deterrence.” The Kremlin is unpredictable, say the arms salesmen, and could at any moment decide to attack Poland. However the Russian regime “respects a show of force” and would back down if Poland has a sufficient inventory of US weapons.

The sales pitch encourages Poland to take many aggressive and dangerous steps toward Russia, such as targeting Russia cities and facilities including RT. But before provoking the Bear like this, Poland needs “to join the tactical nuclear capability scheme within NATO, so enabling its F-16s to be carriers of tactical nuclear ordnance.”

Poland also needs to be able to strike deep inside Russia and for this needs to purchase American long-range JASSM air-launched cruise missiles, the Navy Strike missile coastal missiles, and the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.

Poland also needs “offensive cyber operations” and “more tandem-warhead Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) capable of penetrating reactive armor, and also anti-aircraft (including anti-helicopter) and anti-UAV missiles. “

The bill for this deterrence against non-existent “Russian aggression” comes to
“some US $26 billion” on top of planned expenditures of US $34 billion. “Poland should move forward expeditiously with procurements,” say the arms salesmen or risk being attacked by superior Russian forces.

The Zionist neocons get away with their warmongering because it is profitable for the US military/security complex. Whereas the crazed neocons want real war, the military/security complex only wants the propaganda threat of war.

The numerous military/foreign policy think tanks funded by the military/security complex provide the propaganda and made-up threat. This is a dangerous game, because the Russians see a real threat in the hostility that is directed at them.

The anti-Russian propaganda is universal and includes the Olympic Games. Washington wants Russia excluded based on the allegation that only Russians take performance-enhancing substances.

What extraordinary nonsense. I have a relative who travels widely to test athletes of every sport, even golf, for the use of performance-enhancing substances.

It is not the Russians who have corrupted “clean sports.”

It is the money that the corrupt Americans have poured into sports. To be a champion, to win the Masters at Augusta National, to win a gold medal means to be a multi-millionaire.

Sports that people once played for enjoyment are now a lucrative profession.

Money corrupts everything, and it is capitalism that turns everything into a commodity that is bought and sold. In capitalist regimes everything is for sale: honor, integrity, justice, truth.

Everything is reduced to the filthy lucre.

domingo, 24 de julio de 2016

Novaya Zemlya, from natural paradise to radioactive hell. Russian nuclear bases in the Arctic

Tarcoteca Spanish Version Here!

Novaya Zemlya Archipelago (Новая Земля, Novaya Zemlya, "New Land" [6]) Natural arctic paradise was transformed into a radioactive hell the day that was chosen as a testing nuclear arsenal and radioactive landfill. His story will be forever linked to the Tzar Bomb [1], [2], the largest atomic monstrosity ever launched on earth.

The Arctic Line is the first Russian defense against a possible invasion from the north. Also is the source of gas and oil [3]. Its protection is vital to the established order. The rearming of the area is inevitable as we are seeing in recent times [4].

Governments have been testing nuclear weapons in these islands since the 50s and then used them as dumping grounds for the eternal toxic waste, becoming one of the world's most polluted areas, paradise of mutants. Russia will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons to defend them.

The only force able to attack Russia is NATO. It would not be defeated by land, so we will not see long fortifications as in the WWII. The war would be decided aerealy thanks to radar systems, hidden missiles batteries between mountains and especially thanks to submarines.

We do not know the level of staff turnover, but it must be quite high, because the radioactive exclusion areas that actually cover the entire island. Of which, can be assumed that the bulk of installations are underground, protected from the cold and high-energy clouds, coated with gross lead plates.

Brief history

In the past this archipelago in the Russian Arctic was boast with a unique ecosystem. However, after 1954, when it become nuclear weapons testing site, it that took up half of the surface of the island, the prefix 'eco' lost all its meaning.

This field testing site of Novaya Zemlya was the scene in 1961 of the most powerful nuclear weapon detonation in history, the Zar Bomb (AN602) . This Bomb had a power thousands times that ones of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (51.5 megatons) and was one of the reasons that led to the signing of several international treaties for banning nuclear tests. In addition, the bays of the archipelago were used to store radioactive waste. Catastrophes Alert [5]

With an average temperature of -2°C, 100 days of sun, 0 hours of light between November and January. The southern part of the island is dotted with thousands of uncontrolled radioactive waste dumps, virtually every one of the fjords, more than 100, and even offshore. The area can be consider  as a paradise orchard, only for mutants.

What Russian propaganda tells About the island

Defense Ministry to complete works to seal off Russia’s Arctic borders by 2017 — RT 4.7.2016

Russia has almost completed construction works on new defense installations on islands in the Arctic, and the military expects to be operating in the new bases before the end of the year, according to Russian media.
In March 2015 the Russian military held major exercises on the orders of President Vladimir Putin, seeking to test its readiness to counter challenges in the country’s north and particularly in the Arctic. The drills involved about 38,000 troops, 41 ships, 15 submarines and 110 aircraft.
Rusia duplicará sus tropas en la isla ártica Nueva Zembla para el 2020 7.9.2915
An unidentified Defense Ministry Sources told the newspaper Izvestia that in mid-summer, construction works will be completed with the construction of new barracks and checkpoints in the Novaya Zemlya and Norther Land archipelagos, as well as the in the Alexandra , Franz-Joseph and Wrangel islands.
Los sistemas de misiles Bastión fortificarán las fronteras rusas en el Ártico - sputniknews 1.6.2015
The Northern Fleet meets this June 1 the 282 anniversary of its founding.
The admiral added that the air defenses of the Northern Fleet has began its rearmament with the S-400 anti-aircraft missile complexes, and certain arsenals Arctic units with Pantsir-S missiles complexes are already present.
Coastal missile system Bastion, armed with anti-ship missiles Onix 24, is able to guarantee the defense of a coastline of over 600 Km against enemy landing operations.
Overview of the current nuclear situation
More than 2,000 nuclear detonations since 1945

Today, the world has around 17,300 nuclear warheads, although its exact number is impossible to determine, Russia is the country with the largest number of warheads (8,500) followed closely by the United States with 7,700.

It is estimated that each of the two great powers has around 1,800 bombs ready to be launched at any time. In any case, the number of warheads is today less than 25% of which was at the time of the Cold War, in the mid-eighties.

Today, as then, the axis of the nuclear defense of the great powers are not the bombers or missiles, although they occupy the center of the popular imagination, but nuclear undetectable submarines and, in the case the Ohio Class US, they can each carry more than 200 hydrogen bombs, each with a power hundreds of times greater than Hiroshima.

Which countries have nuclear weapons?

What Media Propaganda does not tell about the military facilities in Novaya Zemlya

Where are not hidden the bases
- Not in the atomic test areas, because of radioactivity, which could interfer the equipment. That excludes a quarter part of the island.

- The barracks are not in near the coast, which excludes half of the island and quite limites the location of the equipment. This is due to the porosity of the rock and the likelihood of flooding in the event of a nuclear attack.

- We did not find images of quarry areas, but many alluvial fans, which could mask subterrain excavations. Mining areas seem quite neglected.

- The missile silos are well hidden and camouflaged, besides its small size. The only thing you can see are the old structures and a large network of roads and rails. It is quite likely that in an attack usasen mobile devices.

- Of the 13 airfields we have found only 4, are well hidden. Places and marks on old maps. Atmospheric control towers are scattered across the terrain.

Where could be found the bases

- Having mountains over 1,500 m is quite likely that are placed there.

- The maps are outdated and there is ample undercover areas. We don't know since when, but these areas coincide with mountainous areas, and therefore with possible bases, mainly missile silos and radars.

- We have found many roads and railways to get "nowhere" in the mountains, so we can deduce that are underground.

- The most other areas covered are located in the northern and central mountains, making them the most likely location silos, barracks and equipment areas.

- If we consider the Japanese islands tunnels design in the 2WW, which allowed them to maintain 2 fronts at once throught intraterrestrial railway, and we think on modern tunneling machines, we can say that these islands are empty inside and furrowed north-south and east-west.

What have we found

Here a French map indicating nothing more and nothing less than the areas of "diving" and that has guided us initially. Idyllic tourism. Brown areas landfilling. Good schematic map.

On satellite photos we see that the image of the archipelago appears fully edited and pixelated in many areas, making it impossible for any identification.

They have disappeared from the images several settlements, physically or pixelating covert. The southern part of the island is clearly less populated because of all the pollution.

We refer to the first map of this post. 
To find the loalizaciones of the photos you only have to enter the numbers of the lower panel in each photo and introduce it in the finder browser at google maps:

A-Area is crisscrossed by roads and perpendicular paths without beginning or apparent purpose. Dunpping area for radioactive waste, both by immersion in its fjords as burial in silos. A real Dead Zone.

1 Rogachevo- civil facilies. Radiation Free Zone.

Imagen de archivo

2 Belushya- High-capacity airport. With 3 tracks,  2'5km the longest. It is located in a hidden area of more than 40 km long. Able to accommodate heavy transport.
Hangars are not observed, so it is covert or underground structures.

Belushya pixelated area 40 km north to south, connecting with the former nuclear test sites at south side of the channel.

3 Rogachevo's northern roads and facilities- Rogachevo connects with the airport. We found gas deposits and other buildings that we can not identify with this level of resolution. We also find bridges connecting the fjords.

Facilities located along the Rogachevo road 

B-Zone- appears to be the military settlement zone and control of nuclear tests carried on the north in the area known as Zone C or Dead Zone and south side of the channel, in an unclassified area but with many buildings. Formed by structures 4, 5, 6 and 7.

4 Legernoye- in the East Village in the channel Matochkin Char, north shore. It includes port. Today looks abandoned. Box what looks like a silo.

5 Reka Choumilikha Mountain Area1450m- underground testing site. Ridged area of railways and roads to the south. Of course, not airfield found.
- Observe circles which could correspond to silos or warehouses. Also a control building at channel's south area from which start several rails and roads.

Zone 5 roadways  heading west to a possibly artificial mountain where intraterrestrials bombs would be tested. East roads communicate with the roads to give the 'Nameless Twon'.

 Ivan the Great Test Site, the world's largest nuclear bomb. Area around Reka Choumilikha Mountain 

6 Routes and roads of the test area to Facilities on the beach, inside the channel

 'Nameless Twon' in the center of the Matochkin Char channel, south side. We can distinguish a port and fuel tanks. We calculate for its capacity of several girdles of people and is certainly one of the new buildings announced by the Kremlim for 2020.

Detail of the port and a fuel tank

Roads out of the 'Nameless Town' south side of the channel, in what could be test sites, silos or nuclear waste dumps.

Zone C area of atmospheric nuclear tests. Used in this way until well into 1975. High radioactivity Zone .

8- Building at the Cape that could form a system of radio beacons or antena.

9 Smidovich-small town. Aerodrome located.

No sign of Arkhangel`s Skoye town- should be 5 km south from Smidovitch

10 Test Site in North

11 Zelaniya/ Nataliya- unlocalized aerodrome 

12 Town not found. It is shown in some guides

13 Southern areas of nuclear tests

14 West Entrance to th Channel throught Matochkin Char and Litke. We have not found traces of population or any construction, although they should be placed as per strategy.

15 Malyya y Karmakouly- despite be clearly placed on maps we do not find its localization in the coast at north of Rogachevo.

The Blue Areas, mainly mountainous and permanently frozen areas, are marked as highly potential areas for facilities and construction.
[1] Cinco cosas increíbles sobre la Bomba del Zar, el arma nuclear más potente de la historia
[3] Rusia extraerá en 2030 más de la mitad del petróleo y del gas árticos
[5] Los 5 campos de pruebas nucleares más escalofriantes del mundo | Alerta Catastrofes
[6] <<historia de Novo Zembla en ruso

lunes, 18 de julio de 2016

The Chinese volunteers who fought in the Spanish civil war - their amazing courage and obscure fates

Source- The Chinese volunteers who fought in the Spanish civil war - their amazing courage and obscure fates | Post Magazine | South China Morning Post
Spanish translation at tarcoteca
Illiterate farmers, manual labourers, civil servants – some 100 Chinese joined the International Brigades helping fight General Franco’s fascists 80 years ago. Despite being few in number, they left a lasting impression

In the autumn of 1937, Zhang Ruishu was enjoying a rare break from his 14-hour days on the frontline. One of very few, if not the only, Chinese in Madrid, he hadn’t asked for time off – there was so much to do – but his commander had insisted he take a break. The Spanish capital was decorated with defiant if raggedy banners reading No pasarán (“They shall not pass”) and Madrid será la tumba del fascismo (“Madrid will be the tomb of fascism”). Zhang had seen many such signs before. At a newsstand, however, a large promotional poster for Spanish news magazine Estampa caught his eye.

Xie Weijin (left) and Zhang Ji (right) with a fellow Chinese in Spain, in 1938. Photo: courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives
The intriguing poster featured a man’s face in profile. It wasn’t a handsome face, but ruddy and weathered, with tightly cropped hair, hollow cheeks and a muddle of crooked teeth in a mouth set slightly agape – the face of a no-nonsense man who had known hardship. Suddenly, a crowd was gathering around Zhang; eyes were widening and fingers pointing. “That’s him!” they cried, lunging forward to shake the stranger’s hand.
Almost 20 years to the day since he had first set foot on European soil, the humble 44-year-old from Shandong province, now a medic with Republican forces fighting fascism in the Spanish civil war, was being hailed as a hero in a country almost 10,000km from home.
Zhang Ruishu on the cover of Estampa magazine.
Just over a year earlier, on July 17, 1936, at the same time as militaristic Japan was becoming increasingly assertive in China, a group of right-wing officers in the Spanish Army, led by General Francisco Franco, rose against the demo­cratically elected Republican government. The move marked the beginning of a civil war that was to last for two years and eight months and provide a prelude to an even greater conflict in Europe.
While Franco’s Nationalists were openly assisted by the German and Italian forces of fascist dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, democratic nations including France and Britain operated an official policy of non-intervention, to the disgust of many of their own people, who saw the struggle as a fight against the evils of fascism and a prelude to even greater conflict in Europe.
In response to their governments’ indifference, tens of thousands of workers, trade unionists and left-wing students mobilised and headed to Spain, to take up arms. The number of overseas combatants who fought in what came to be known as the International Brigades has been estimated at 40,000, with volunteers flooding in from 53 countries, including France (9,000 people), the United States (2,800), Britain (2,500), Poland (3,000) and even Germany (4,000) and Italy (3,000). They came from Costa Rica and Albania, from Greece, Cuba and Argentina, from Finland, Ireland, South Africa and Bulgaria.
And they came from China.
Hwei-Ru and Len Tsou.
A multi-decade investigation by Len and Hwei-Ru Tsou, two American-Taiwanese research scientists (now retired and living in San Jose, California), has shown that more than 100 Chinese fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the Republicans. Some of their stories are detailed in the couple’s book, The Call of Spain: The Chinese Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), which was first published in traditional Chinese in Taiwan in 2001 (and extended in 2015), and in Spanish and simplified Chinese in 2013, with new material to be added as it comes to light.
The Tsous’ call to arms was a documentary film made in the US.
Xie Weijin in Spain, as a soldier in the Spanish civil war.
“I think it would have been around 1986 when we saw The Good Fight,” says Len Tsou, pointing out that the documentary focused on the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a battalion of American fighters that had travelled to Spain. “We were really surprised that so many volunteers from everywhere in the world had joined up. Our interest in the International Brigades started then, and we learned as much as we could.”
That year was the 50th anniversary of the war’s commencement, and Abraham Lincoln Brigade veterans published a brochure to mark the occasion. It contained a complete roster of the volunteers.
“Len and I looked through and there were three Chinese-looking names in there,” says Hwei-Ru Tsou. “We were so shocked. The Chinese at that time were fighting for their own survival – trying to push away the Japanese aggression.”
A seed had been sown, and the couple dug deeper. With many war veterans growing old, the researchers had to move fast, travelling many times to Spain, China, France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Germany and other countries to interview ex-soldiers, former volunteers, relatives and friends, and sifting through reams of official documents.
Bi Daowen (fourth from right) as a guest in Yanan of Mao Zedong (far right), in the 1940s.
They discovered that the Chinese had come from all backgrounds, some from civil-servant families, others had been the lowliest of manual labourers and illiterate farmers. As their numbers had been relatively small, there had been no official Chinese brigade in Spain, and they fought in battalions from other nations, usually chosen depending on their language skills.
While Franco’s Nationalists had might on their side, the Republicans were not completely alone: they received material aid and more than 2,000 combat troops from the Soviet Union.
Mao Zedong sent an open letter of support to the Republicans in May 1937.
A banner from Zhu De, Zhou Enlai and Peng Dehuai supporting the Chinese volunteers fighting in the Spanish civil war.
“If not for the fact that we have the Japanese enemy in front of us,” Mao wrote, “we would surely go join your troops.”
What Mao perhaps did not know was that, by then, a number of Chinese were already there.
Zhang’s road to Europe began as early as 1917, when – at the height of the first world war – Britain and France recruited more than 100,000 Chinese to labour in factories whose regular workforces were now fighting at the front. Born into extreme poverty in 1893, Zhang – orphaned since a teenager, jobless, illiterate and desperate – signed up, boarding a ship packed with almost 2,000 other Chinese men bound for Marseilles.
After a gruelling 70 days at sea, Zhang was put to work in a French paper mill. In less than a year, however, Germany had surrendered, the war ended and the Chinese workers were surplus to French requirements. The majority were shipped home.
With no family and no prospects back in China, Zhang decided to stay and try his luck, taking on the unpleasant and dangerous jobs (disinterring corpses and detonating unexploded gas bombs, for instance) that the French avoided.
Also hailing from Shandong, stout and plucky Liu Jingtian was born in 1890. After a stint in the Chinese army he too journeyed to France in 1917, remained when the war ended and, in 1924, he and Zhang (increasingly an auto­didact now teaching himself French) secured steady employ­ment at the Renault car-manufac­tur­ing plant in the western Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt. Like many industrial workers at the time, they joined the French Communist Party and, when the Spanish civil war broke out, they were called upon to down tools, cross the Pyrenees on foot and slug it out with fascism.
Zhang and Liu arrived in Spain in November 1936, and though they asked to become International Brigade machine-gunners, their ages (both were in their 40s) saw them assigned to medical teams as stretcher-bearers, frequently charged with rescuing wounded soldiers while under fire. As described in Estampa, Zhang was wounded in the chest, shoulders and hands while discharging his duties. A dramatic, heat-of-battle photograph depicting Liu rescuing a wounded soldier was published in Spanish newspaper Frente Rojo, and he was lauded in print for his heroism.
“At the time, it was likely they would not get their [Renault] jobs back; they might not even be able to return to France,” says Hwei-Ru Tsou, “but they went anyway, because it was a very important fight. These two guys were not young, they were both single, and they said to them­selves, ‘If the French workers are going, when they have families, they have children, then we are going, too.’ They were extraordinary, and so well loved by their comrades. They were so brave.”
A Republican fighter in Barcelona, in July 1936. Photo: AFP
Fighting with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Zhang Ji from Minnesota and Chen Wenrao from New York were also originally from China. Chen, born in Guangdong province, was killed at the bloody Battle of Gandesa, in 1938, aged 25. Zhang, however, survived the war in Spain.
Coming from an educated family of relative privilege in Hunan province, Zhang Ji had left China for San Francisco in 1918, receiving a degree in mining engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1923. After the financial crash of 1929, he lost his job as an engineer and became radicalised, joining the Communist Party of the United States in 1935. In March 1937 – aged 37 – Zhang Ji boarded the SS Paris ocean liner in New York and headed for France, then cross­ed the Pyrenees into Spain. Tall, slim and ungainly, and not the physically strongest of volunteers, Zhang Ji was initially assigned as a truck driver, before taking desk duties.
Xie Weijin delivers a banner from strikers in Hong Kong to German Communist Party leader Ernst Thalmann in Berlin in 1927
Described in The Call of Spain as quiet and mysterious, Chinese-Indonesian doctor Bi Daowen (who also went by the Indonesian name Tio Oen Bik) of Java was 31 when he arrived in Spain, in September 1937, while one of the most fervently political of the Chinese was slight, bespectacled Xie Weijin, who was born in Sichuan province in 1899. Xie participated in the anti-imperialist May Fourth Movement in Shanghai in 1919 before heading for France.
In the 1920s, he joined the Communist Youth League in Europe and the Communist Party of China’s European Branch, and a photo taken at a meeting in Berlin in 1927 shows Xie handing over a banner reading “from the strike workers of Hong Kong and Kowloon” to the German com­munist leader Ernst Thälmann, who would be shot on Hitler’s orders in Buchenwald concentration camp in 1944.
Spanish Republicans armed against Nationalist rebels in the late 1930s. Photo: AFP
A young Republican during the Spanish civil war. Photo: AFP
Xie headed for Spain in April 1937. In a letter to the Communist Party of Spain, he wrote, “I came to Spain not for a short stay but to go to the battlefront. I will exert my utmost to fight as a soldier. I hope the committee will grant me this right and let me join the International Brigades just like many other foreign comrades.”
Xie was made a machine-gunner with the Austrian battalion but was removed from the frontline after being shot through his right leg, below the knee.
According to the Tsous’ research, Chen Agen was possi­bly the only Chinese volunteer who came to the war directly from China. Chen was, in fact, fleeing the authorities, having organised a trade union in Shanghai. While heading for Europe in 1937, a Vietnamese cook – rumoured to have been Ho Chi Minh – regaled Chen with tales of the anti-fascist derring-do in Spain, so he travelled there to fight, only to be captured and put to labour as a prisoner of war.
I felt that this great man had been forgotten, not only by his own people, Indonesian people, and his comrades, but also by the world
Hwei-Ru Tsou, author