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1. ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
17th December 1944
The Malmedy Massacre
84 American prisoners of war were murdered by their German captors near Malmedy, Belgium, during The Battle Of The Bulge in World War II. The massacre was committed at Baugnez crossroads, by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st SS Panzer Division), a German combat unit, commanded by Joachim Peiper. This unit committed several other massacres on the same day, bringing the total death toll to 362 POWs and 111 civilians.
On January 13, 1945, American forces recaptured the site where the killings had occurred. The cold had preserved the scene well. The bodies were recovered on January 14/15, 1945. The memorial at Baugnez bears the names of the murdered soldiers. The massacre, just one of many committed by German troops in World War 2 was the first to be widely publicized and caused outrage in the USA.
In what came to be called the "Malmedy massacre trial", which concerned all of the war crimes attributed to Kampfgruppe Peiper during the Battle of the Bulge, the highest-ranking defendant was General Sepp Dietrich, commander of the 6th SS Panzer Army, to which Peiper’s unit had belonged. Joachim Peiper and his principal subordinates were defendants. The tribunal tried more than 70 persons and pronounced 43 death sentences (none of which were carried out) and 22 life sentences. Eight other men were sentenced to shorter prison sentences.
After the verdict, the way in which the court had functioned was disputed, first in Germany (by former Nazi officials who had regained some power due to anti-Communist positions with the occupation forces), then later in the United States (by Congressmen from heavily German-American areas of the Midwest). The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which made no decision. The case then came under the scrutiny of a sub-committee of the United States Senate. A young Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy (who was Irish-American but represented a heavily German-American ethnic constituency), used it as an opportunity to raise his political profile. He stated that the Court had not tried the defendants fairly.
This drew attention to the trial and the judicial irregularities that had occurred during the interrogations that preceded the trial. But, before the United States Senate took an interest in this case, most of the death sentences had been commuted, because of a revision of the trial carried out by the U.S. Army. The other life sentences were commuted within the next few years. All the convicted war criminals were released during the 1950s, the last one to leave prison being Peiper in December 1956.
A distinct lawsuit about the war crimes committed against civilians in Stavelot was tried on July 6, 1948, in front of a Belgian military court in Liege, Belgium. The defendants were 10 members of Kampfgruppe Peiper; American troops had captured them on December 22, 1944, near the spot where one of the massacres of civilians in Stavelot had occurred. One man was discharged; the others were found guilty. Most of the convicts were sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment; two officers were sentenced to 12 and 15 years.
Peiper lived in France following his 1956 release from jail. In 1974 he was identified by a former Communist resistance member of the region who issued a report for the French Communist Party. In 1976 a Communist historian, investigating the STASI archives, found the Peiper file. On June 21, tracts denouncing his presence were distributed in Traves. A day later, an article in the Communist publication L'Humanité revealed Peiper's presence in Traves, and he received death threats. Because of the death threats, Peiper sent his family back to Germany, but he remained in Traves. During the night of July 13/14, 1976, a gunfight took place at Peiper's house and his house was set on fire. Peiper's charred corpse was later found in the ruins with a bullet in his chest. The perpetrators were never identified, but were suspected to be former members of the World War II French Resistance or Communists. Peiper had just started writing a book about Malmedy and what followed.
2. TODAY IN MY LIFE
Client Consultation and follow-up
Various minor external errands
Quality Missus Time
Twitter Followers = 2,043 (no change)
Non-followed eliminated = 1
Unfollowers eliminated = 0
New Followers followed back = 0
Spammers not followed back = 1
3. TODAY'S SELF-OBSERVATION
What sabotages this ideal is when consciousness is overwhelmed by strong emotional reactions. I believe it is possible to completely dissociate consciousness from even the strongest raging emotions, allowing the "truest self" to remain in control of behaviour. I'm not really anywhere near this goal yet, but my attention is on it and I know how to get there - by keeping the conscious elevated in peaceful moments so routinely that I can still do it when strong emotions are triggered.
The bottom line of all mental wellbeing is FOCUS, never letting your consciousness wander for even a moment. It takes considerable practice to strengthen your focus to such a high level, but the rewards in peace-of-mind and a fulfilling life experience are enormous! The secret to strong mental health can be summarized as GRATEFULLY PAY ATTENTION.
4. TODAY'S QUESTION FOR YOU
Are you in full control of your own mind?
5. TODAY'S WEATHER IN BRADFORD
Dry, mild and cloudy in the morning
Showers arrive around noon but will move away by evening
Dry mild and cloudy thereafter
A moderate to strong gusty south-westerly will blow throughout
Max Temp = 12 degC at 11am
Min Temp = 10 degC at midnight
Sunrise at 08:20
Sunset at 15:46
Weathertrack: A weak cold front will cross the country today
Air Pressure: 1012 millibars and falling slightly
6. TODAY'S ONELINER
Jogging with a buggy is great exercise! And hard work for whoever is pushing me. :D
7. NOW THAT'S FUNNY!
Richard Pryor - The Mafia nightclub
To raise depressions in the carpet left by heavy furniture, hold a steam iron close enough for steam to reach the carpet, but don’t let the iron touch the carpet. Lift the fibres by scraping them with edge of a coin or spoon.
9. ZEN WISDOM
Everything passes. Both soaring joys and crushing sorrows fade away like a dream. However, the knowledge of having lived one’s life to the fullest never disappears.