The horror experienced by Jewish and anti-Nazi outcasts shipped to the Australian Outback by the British Government during the war has been documented in a new film that highlights the darker side of Britain's fight against Nazi Germany.
The men, mainly scientists, academics and artists who had fled to Britain from Nazi Austria and Germany at the outbreak of the war, were considered a security threat after the fall of France.
On the orders of Winston Churchill, they were dispatched from Liverpool on the Hired Military Transport (HMT) ship Dunera in July 1940.
When the overcrowded Dunera set sail from Liverpool, its 2,500 internees were told they were bound for Canada.
Watched over by 309 poorly trained British soldiers, the men endured horrendous conditions. They were stripped of their personal possessions, including documents and false teeth, many of which were thrown overboard. They were beaten and insulted as "Jewish swine" and forced to sleep below deck on floors awash with human waste. The hatches and portholes were battened shut.
"There was so little air that to get the job of peeling potatoes on deck was seen as a life-saver," said Walter Kaufmann, 82, a Jewish refugee now living in Berlin whose book Touching Time details the Dunera experience.
Klaus Wilcynski, 86, author of The Prison Ship, recalled being told to walk on the deck in bare feet. "Soldiers had smashed beer bottles so people cut their feet."
WASHINGTON, May 21 — The Bush administration is moving to establish a new antimissile site in Europe that would be designed to stop attacks by Iran against the United States and its European allies.
The administration's proposal, which comes amid rising concerns about Iran's suspected program to develop nuclear weapons, calls for installing 10 antimissile interceptors at a European site by 2011. Poland and the Czech Republic are among the nations under consideration.
A recommendation on a European site is expected to be made this summer to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Pentagon officials say. The Pentagon has asked Congress for $56 million to begin initial work on the long-envisioned antimissile site, a request that has run into some opposition in Congress. The final cost, including the interceptors themselves, is estimated at $1.6 billion.
The establishment of an antimissile base in Eastern Europe would have enormous political implications. The deployment of interceptors in Poland, for example, would create the first permanent American military presence on that nation's soil and further solidify the close ties between the defense establishments of the two nations.
While the plan has been described in Congressional testimony and in published reports, it has received relatively little attention in the United States. But it is a subject of lively discussion in Poland and has also prompted Russian charges that Washington's hidden agenda is to expand the American presence in the former Warsaw Pact nation.
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Under intense pressure from shipping companies concerned about costly delays, the Coast Guard is tipping off some large commercial ships about security searches that had been a surprise, according to high-ranking Coast Guard officials.
The searches began after the Sept. 11 attacks as part of a major revamping of the Coast Guard and its new antiterrorism mission. But shipping companies say the surprise boardings at sea cause unnecessary delays, costing up to $40,000 an hour.
"We're trying to facilitate commerce and keep the port secure — and sometimes the two conflict," said Capt. Paul E. Wiedenhoeft, who is in charge of the port complex here at Los Angeles and Long Beach. "When possible, we're trying to give shippers as much notice as we can."
The practice has caused considerable confusion and debate within the Coast Guard. Commanders in some ports acknowledged in interviews that they provided up to 24-hour notice. Others said the practice undermined the inspections.
Even within the command at some ports, there was disagreement about the best approach. The port captain in San Francisco, Capt. William J. Uberti, said shippers and carriers were "not supposed to have a clue" about possible random boardings. Yet his security chief said the command gave companies notice.
A typical search involves checking the crew and cargo manifests against those filed with the ports. Sea marshals check identification cards against the faces of crew members. They sometimes arrive with bomb-sniffing dogs and inspect with hand-held radiation detectors. Depending on the circumstances, a review can last a half-hour or a half day, officials said.
Capt. Frank Sturm, a top policy official at headquarters in Washington, said the national policy on the boardings was fluid, depending on the presence of reasonable suspicions, based on what a ship reported it was carrying and the makeup of its crew. Captain Sturm said he could not provide details of how many ships were given notice, in which ports or under what circumstances.
"In some cases," he said, "it would not surprise me to tell a captain of a ship in advance."
Another Coast Guard official in Washington, Cmdr. Paul D. Thorne, said the practice had not compromised security."Threats are being adeptly managed by local captains of the port," Commander Thorne said.
But critics worry that the practice may undermine an important component of the layered security effort to keep terrorists out of the nation's longest border, its more than 96,000 miles of coastline.
"The purpose of the inspections is for the Coast Guard to send a message to all these ships that they might be boarded at any time, basically to make sure there's no mischief on board," said Stephen E. Flynn, a former Coast Guard commander who is now a fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations. "If you say, 'Heads up, when you get close to port in two days we're going to board you,' that sort of defeats the purpose of the boarding."
May 22, 2006 -- WASHINGTON - The Hezbollah terror group - one of the most dangerous in the world - may be planning to activate sleeper cells in New York and other big cities to stage an attack as the nuclear showdown with Iran heats up, sources told The Post.
The FBI and Justice Department have launched urgent new probes in New York and other cities targeting members of the Lebanese terror group.
Law-enforcement and intelligence officials told The Post that about a dozen hard-core supporters of Hezbollah have been identified in recent weeks as operating in the New York area.
Sources said the activities of these New York-based operatives are being monitored by FBI counterterrorism agents as part of a nationwide effort to prevent a possible terror strike if the confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program spins out of control.