zaterdag 6 mei 2023

Ukraine Arrests American Journalist

NATO to Open Office in Japan, the Alliance’s First in Asia


NATO to Open Office in Japan, the Alliance’s First in Asia

China warned against NATO's 'eastward foray into the Asia Pacific'

NATO is planning to open a liaison office in Japan next year, the alliance’s first in Asia, Nikkei Asia reported Wednesday.

In recent years, NATO has turned its gaze toward the Asia Pacific region and named China a “systemic challenge” in its 2022 Strategic Concept. As part of its strategy against China, the alliance is deepening cooperation with countries in the region.

According to Nikkei, the purpose of the liaison office in Japan is to “allow the military alliance to conduct periodic consultations with Japan and key partners in the region, such as South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand as China emerges as a new challenge, alongside its traditional focus on Russia.”

The report said NATO and Japan will take more steps to increase cooperation by signing an agreement known as an Individually Tailored Partnership Programme ahead of the NATO summit that will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, in June. Japan also plans to open an independent mission to NATO, separate from the Embassy in Belgium.

In response to the news, China warned of NATO’s plans to expand into Asia. “Asia is an anchor for peace and stability and a promising land for cooperation and development, not a wrestling ground for geopolitical competition,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning.

“NATO’s continued eastward foray into the Asia Pacific and interference in regional affairs will inevitably undermine regional peace and stability and stoke camp confrontation. This calls for high vigilance among regional countries,” she added.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave. 

The Eurofiles: The EU as the Sick Man of Europe

 The Eurofiles: The EU as the Sick Man of Europe

April in Europe is what could be called Dark History Month. Between the morose commemorations of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Katyn massacre in Poland, the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine and the genocide in Armenia. And several Eastern European countries host their Jewish Holocaust memorials in April. Even the Rwandan genocide is now commemorated, since Macron recognized the “overwhelming responsibility” of France. There is a lot of history on the old continent to go around, alas the editorial privilege lies with compulsive hagiographers who attach barbs of relativity and moral lessons to even the most innocuous milestones of Western tradition. These days there is much competition for which state is The Sick Man of Europe, to the point that public opinion landed on the idea that it is the European Union as a whole. With this much longevity in illness, it’s hard not to think that Europe isn’t already in a glass-house purgatory.

A fortnight ago, on the conspicuous date of April 20, the parliament of the EU voted in favor of a new Migration Pact, which will not only make the process easier for asylum seekers to enter and stay in the EU, it will make migrant relocation quotas mandatory and unlimited for all member states. Ratification by the EU Commission seems guaranteed, since the vetoes of a couple of dissenters like Hungary and Poland will not be enough. There is something ghoulishly kitsch about the parliamentary echo chambers of the EU that manages to disconnect most representatives from the expressed interests of their constituents. With no less than 754 members in an architectural hivemind decked with blue carpet and upholstery, conforming to the bureaucratic cult is almost a matter of subliminal coercion. Blue isn’t the color of the EU because the Smurfs originate in Belgium—although there is a certain pseudo-utopian vibe in synchronicity. The vibe has more to do with the fact that a third of MEPs are designated “friends” of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, which received funding to the tune of 18 billion euros.

The recent arrest of Vice-President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili indicates that corruption goes right to the top and is in no way isolated. The glamorous Greek MEP is now under house arrest, but her case is not looking strong. Her lawyer argued that the prosecutor’s case was largely symbolic and that Kaili was being kept behind bars as a “trophy.” But Kaili and her human-rights NGO-founding husband were apprehended with €600,000 cash dropped off by Qatari mules as part of the World Cup bribery operation. Though she’s not quite the European Elizabeth Holmes, the case deals another blow to younger women entering politics in the hope of one day getting a cabinet position—only to end up in the trophy cabinet instead.

Eva Kaili
Eva Kaili

It’s not been a good run for female heads of state, no matter how photogenic, media savvy and establishment-protected they may be. The OnlyFans prime ministership of Finland’s Sanna Marin came to an end after voters decided they’d had enough of her Instagram lifestyle and fake leadership. Marin failed to tackle any of Finland’s domestic problems and took orders from abroad on covid and Russia, which is why she back-flipped on her previous stance of keeping Finland out of NATO. Though she was refreshingly feminine (for a woman raised by lesbians) she was reduced to a puddle of tears a little too easily when the rather milquetoast footage surfaced of her dancing at a party. A month before her April 6 election loss, a puff-piece by America’s 60 Minutesdeclared that Marin was Finland’s “most popular prime minister in thirty years.” One can get a sense of Marin’s brainless centrism from the question of Europe’s lurch to the right on immigration, in which Oblivion NPC narratives like “ageing population” and “new jobs” pop up like an overworked script.

Sanna Marin’s sojourn in politics to some degree resembles the tenure of her antipodean best friend, Jacinda Arden. Recall that, as Prime Minister of New Zealand, her most profound impacts were donning a hijab in response to the extraordinary Christchurch terrorist event, elbowinga language signer in a fit of jealousy, and having a child during her term in office. Since it wasn’t quite clear why the PM of Finland took a visiting trip to New Zealand to establish bilateral relations, one journalist took one for the team by asking whether it was because the two were of same gender and similar age. Gliding into the gig unelected and treating office like a public relations position while backroom experts and officials do most of the decision making is a luxury of Western democracy that clearly appeals to a certain careerist mindset. What else, other than self-aggrandizement, can be expected from people who both finish studying and enter politics in their mid-twenties? Unfortunately, this same formula appears in the biography of the popular new hope of the European right: Giorgia Meloni.

Active in politics from the age of fifteen and becoming a councilor at twenty-one, Meloni has gone though as many political parties as Berlusconi has social ones. Meloni’s crypto-pivot to the mainstream in recent years may have been a little more sincere than some had hoped—declaring herself to being aligned with Republicans in America and Tories in the UK. Her policies are a blend of paleo- and neocon. She visited Yad Vashem in 2009. The party she co-founded, Brothers of Italy, is perhaps a little antiquated and elicits semantic comparison to the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, under her administration Italy has banned artificial meat and the AI bot ChatGPT. Meloni remains steadfastly anti-cannabis, anti-euthanasia and anti-abortion, but none of these are the reason why Meloni was elected. It’s the African flotilla landing on Italian shores that she was tasked with, and far from ameliorating the crisis, the numbers are worsening—37,000 this year by last count. Just how much judicial and extra-legal obstruction she and her deputy Salvini are up against may not entirely be clear, but what is known is that the duo has had plenty of time to devise a strategy. Instead, Meloni has been racking up the frequent flyer miles on various diplomatic missions abroad — India, Algeria, Ethiopia, Britain and of course Ukraine. Domestically, she has been on a constant apology tour for her prior ideological affiliations, and the latest test of resolve came on Liberation Day (April 25) in which she predictably played defense in the standard homily against fascism, in exchange for unrelenting hostility from her detractors. Moderating to respectable center-right politics has been an enlightening transformation for the Sardinian blonde and the role of savior is really starting to grow on her. In perhaps her most melodramatic performance yet, Meloni pinned the problem of African migration on President Macron and French “neocolonialism.”

The other great hope of European nationalists has been Eastern Europe, a beacon that has never truly been tested until now. The signs are not good. It’s no secret that the appeal of life in Slovakia, Bulgaria or Romania is not high on the list of Third-World asylum shoppers. Even so, by sheer backlog, significant clusters of foreigners from non-European countries are starting to amalgamate. Fortress Hungary saw its first inter-ethnic mass brawl in a Budapest shopping mall, involving Syrian and Jordanian clans. Whatever advantages eastern Europeans may have from a stronger sense of ethnic identity and a heightened allergy toward leftist doctrines, it seems that these will be insufficient to compensate for the greater incompetency, corruption and kleptomania that plague this region. This applies to the highest levels of government down to the common citizen who might stand to make a bit of money from letting out a spare room. Eastern Europe is a place of trolley buses and ubiquitous graffiti. A startling number of cities can’t even solve their stray dog problem, let alone marshal migrants with policemen who often can’t speak basic English. The East is plagued with brain-drain, economic emigration and low birth rates. The most prominent success stories of human capital are from individuals primarily based in Western Europe, but who maintain links with their homeland. Athletes and models are perhaps the region’s most notable exports. And for those who might be wondering how Emily Ratajkowski managed to become the world’s highest paid model, you should know that she was in fact born in London not Warsaw, and has incredible agents.

If bullied countries like those of the Visegrad Four (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) have not left by now, then it seems likely they will stay in the abusive relationship with the EU to the end. New kid on the bloc Croatia has little to show a decade after joining, other than the perfunctory progressions to the euro currency and Schengen Area membership. These are pitiful perks that have been exchanged for accelerated brain drain, heightened inflation, property and assets being sold off, and, worst of all, the relinquishing of sovereignty. Croatia has been one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in Europe since independence but is now being flooded with cheap labor, particularly from South Asia. One is most likely to see such individuals in the employment of Wolt and Glovo, the European equivalents of Uber Eats, as they ferry hamburgers on their bicycles and Vespas to people apparently too lazy to leave their building and purchase food from the wide range of vendors located on every corner. This tuk-tuk culture of street butlers is a scourge continent wide, but it is a particular blight for Croatia as the most overweight country in Europe. As for the ethnic street food takeaways that seem to enchant so many—be it Greek, Lebanese or Mexican—they are neither owned nor staffed with representative minorities but rather by Indians and Filipinos. Europe in 2023 is where 1990s multiculturalism arguments come to die.

Croatia is led by president Zoran Milanović and prime minister Andrej Plenković—who are at constant odds with one another but are united by the fact that both were draft-dodgers during the war. The PM is the one with the policymaking power, which is a shame since Plenković is a 6’5 poodle of Brussels. His bookwormish demeanor even translates into his overly clerical pursuit of superficial accolades and delegated benchmarks that only look good on paper. In a recent scandal involving the attempted smuggling of children from a Congolese orphanage to Croatian couples, Plenković sided with the smugglers and declared the children to be Croatian citizens in spite of them having never left Africa, on the rationalization that corrupt Croatian officials had provided legal paperwork through an illegal process. Mimicry of Western vices among Eastern Europeans has become a vice in itself. Croatia had one of the best records for free speech in the world, but that all changed last week as the parliament led by Plenković voted to make the World War II slogan “For homeland ready” illegal, thereby copying the Western model of policing speech and thought. The gesture of atonement was not coincidental in its timing, since it coincided with their Holocaust Memorial Day. What’s more, 2023 is the year that Croatia presides over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance—an intergovernmental organization that most Jews have never heard of, let alone gentiles. It’s no wonder Plenković is the favorite to succeed Jens Stoltenberg and become the next Secretary General of NATO, which is not bad for the caretaker of a meals-on-wheels economy.

Thirty years after Croatia fought for independence, its victory is looking increasingly Pyrrhic. It may not be the Croats’ fault, but in place of the absconded Serbs they are now acquiring people from South Asia with a far different character. The Croats have a right to be skeptical of people from such a heavily populated area as the Indian-subcontinent, but who have less achievement om s[prts than themselves. Based on news coverage alone, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Indian male population comprises spelling bee champions and gang rapists with few in between—a harmful stereotype that the media ought to answer for. Years of such news items would normally be enough for people to draw at least tentative conclusions, while others, in the words of Trump, still prefer to monitor the situation. But Indians are the new Chinese and are migrating to the West in large numbers, rather than curtailing their population growth. In 2015, only 44% of the population used toilets—in a country that was pursuing a space program. And that is the handiwork of the world’s largest democracy. Last week, Der Spiegel encapsulated the sentiment perfectly, with a cartoonlampooning India’s pride and preference for quantity over quality.

Only those on the lower rungs of Hindustani society care to migrate to the realms of their fellow Satem speakers in Eurasia. The upper echelons naturally cast their lures on either side of the Atlantic, which of course includes their former colonizer, the United Kingdom. The number of Brits who have ethnic origins on the subcontinent currently stands at four million—and their influence is being felt. The UK now surely leads the world on the spicy food to mild weather index, which isn’t without its drawbacks. Indians in particular are flourishing: 14% of households bring in more than £2000/week, compared to 6% for White British. Between the House of Commons and the House of Lords there are enough subcontinentals to field seven cricket teams. And yet somehow, at a time when the English PM, Scottish FM, Mayor of London and even Irish Taoiseach have origins between the Indus and the Ganges—a week cannot pass without a mewling PSA on the menace of institutional racism.

Muslims like Sadiq Khan have no greater public figure for an ally than King Charles, whose dapper brand of wokeness and racial progressivism is already well documented. The level of pandering includes Ramadan/Eid well-wishing, something his counterparts in the Gulf States would never do. But as the Gods would have it, this year on Eid his long-time friend Barry Humphries died, meaning Charles was committed to honoring a man famous for dressing in drag as Dame Edna Everage. Irony and awareness gel about as well as oil and water in the mainstream of modern Britain. Over the weekend, the largest Eid event in the UK took place on Trafalgar Square—the very monument that honors the battle that prevented the invasion of Britain. Others may be succeeding where Napoleon failed.

White-on-White imperialism in Europe is a bit like Black-on-Black crime in America — awkwardly ignored or poorly fig-leafed phenomena that don’t align well with Marxist grift or critical race theory pretense. Which brings us to the issue of Northern Ireland. It’s almost certainly the case that, had the Irish been Black, the six counties still part of the UK would have been returned long ago. This makes the current plight of the Irish Republic all the more tragic. Engaging in a long and bloody struggle to kick out the English, only to open the floodgates of immigration to the Third World seems a lot like cutting off your nose to spite your race. The Irish, with their squeaky-clean history free of imperialism are embracing those whose tendencies for grievance-aggression will be simply based on present frivolities rather than invoking a past. One of the most draconian legislations against free speech has already passed the first house of parliament and if made law will enable prosecution of anyone in possession of material deemed offensive to minorities—presumably including articles from TOO. Ireland survived the Great Famine and The Troubles, but may not survive their current jig on the edge of madness.

Americans are largely oblivious to just how small and demographically fragile Ireland is, which is an ignorance borne from the unusually large numbers of Irish descendants in America. Few Americans shy away from claiming and emphasizing Irish ancestry, whereas the same cannot be said for English or German ancestry. Namedropping Irish ancestry has become a rather craven form of underdog-signaling among Whites. The Elizabeth Warren-style Flight from White may be discredited, but the Split from Brit is in season. This trend has no greater poster boy than President Biden, who has both English and Irish ancestry, but is vitriolically pro-Irish and anti-English. His April visit to Belfast was well received on account of his American identity, not to mention him being the mascot of useful senility. In a roundabout kind of way, perhaps the Irish are imperial after all. Ireland only has six million Irish, compared to the United States’ 36 million Irish-Americans—with the President of the American Empire being one of their own. Whether Biden is the emperor with no clothes or the emperor with no marbles is a question that doesn’t appear to concern most Europeans, who are still fed a steady diet of bread and circuses.

As for the Sick Man of Europe, its ailment is clearly far more spiritual than physical. The stewarding elites are in a confused stupor, extending the hand of charity to intercontinental interlopers rather than their own vulnerable souls. And they choose to militarize Chernobyl, forsaking Grenoble. Migrants only have to swim across water, while the patriotic sons of Europe must struggle in virtual quicksand, in which greater effort only results in hastened punishment. Perhaps the old European remedial practice of blood-letting to rid the body of malaise has been misunderstood all along.

(Republished from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: EUEurope 

Minister Ollongren Steunt ook deze Oekrainse Nazi's

 | Screen Shot 2022 07 31 at 41140 PM | MR Online

“These are animals, not people”: Zelensky frees convicted child rapists, torturers to reinforce depleted military

Originally published: The Grayzone  on July 30, 2022 by Esha Krishnaswamy (more by The Grayzone |  (Posted Aug 01, 2022)

Once condemned by Ukrainian officials and imprisoned for sadistic torture and the rape of minors, leaders of the notorious Tornado Battalion are free under Volodymyr Zelensky’s orders.

After banning virtually his entire political opposition, publishing a blacklist of foreign journalists and academics accused of advancing “Russian propaganda,” and ramming through a law exempting 70% of Ukrainians from workplace protections, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy has freed from prison fascist militants convicted of some of the most heinous crimes the country has seen since World War II.

According to a July 11 report in Ukrainian media, Ruslan Onishenko, commander of the now-disbanded Tornado Battalion, was freed as part of President Zelensky’s scheme to release prisoners with combat experience. Along with an unwavering commitment to fascism, Onishenko is known as a psychopathic sadist who was involved in sexually assaulting children, brutally torturing prisoners, and murder.

Onishenko’s release follows a February 27 order by Zelensky to free other convicted former Tornado members like Danil “Mujahed” Lyashuk, a fanatic from Belarus who has openly emulated ISIS and boasted of torturing captives for sheer enjoyment. According to Zelensky‘s decree, prisoners with combat experience would be allowed to “compensate for their guilt” by fighting in the “hottest spots.”

Back in 2015, when the Ukrainian state provided official support to his Tornado Battalion, Onishenko texted two fellow “patriots,” Voldomor and Svetlana Savichuk, propositioning Svetlana Savichuk to “suck my cock in front of the [toddler] children.” (See screenshots of the conversation here). He also asked Savichuk to perform lewd acts on her children for his viewing pleasure. Despite the magnitude of his crimes, which included torture, murder, rape – including that of children – kidnapping, amputation, and more, Onishenko was sentenced to a mere 11 years in prison on April 11, 2017.

Now, after serving just five years of his sentence, the convicted predator has been freed by a president hailed by  Western patrons as a defender of democracy.

Zelensky’s move is not just a signal of desperation as his military is ground down by Russian forces in the east. It extends the virtual impunity that Ukrainian battalions infested with hardened criminals and neo-Nazis have enjoyed for over eight years as official enforcers of the post-Maidan regime’s rule.

| | MR Online
Tornado battalion founder Ruslan Onishenko

As regular units defect after Maidan, battalions fill the gap

Back in February 2014, when the US-backed Euromaidan coup drove out Ukraine’s democratically elected president, the new regime in Kiev faced a crisis. All across the country, military units and local governments were still filled with ethnic Russians and other supposedly “unpatriotic” elements. Ethnic Russian politicians mostly from the east were branded as “radical deputies” and kidnapped, hunted down or otherwise forced to flee.

On February 23, 2014 Oleksandr Valentynovych Turchynov became acting President of Ukraine and enacted sweeping legislation without an electoral or constitutional mandate. Across Ukraine, a majority of citizens refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new coup regime. Areas east of the Dnieper river inhabited by a large number of Russian speakers, Jews, Muslims, and other national minorities would soon become targets of right-wing paramilitaries like Onishenko’s Tornado battalion.

In the eastern cities of LuganskDonetskMariupolOdessaand Kharkiv, residents besieged local government buildings and buildings of the Ukrainian security services to create pressure for a referendum on independence. Neither the local military nor the police tried to stop these protesters.

According to a 2016 US military report:

Certainly, no armed resistance was met by the pro-Russian forces in the beginning. In fact, the true situation on the ground was even worse. According to the Ukrainian interior minister, up to 70 percent of police in the region had allowed or actively assisted the building takeovers.

When the post-Maidan government refused to give these citizens either a referendum or meaningful representation in the government, two of the eastern regional Oblasts, Donetsk and Lugansk, declared independence.

The post-Maidan government’s crisis of legitimacy grew when Ukrainian military units sent to Donetsk to quell the rebellion ended up defecting to the side of the anti-Maidan coup residents. Desperate to save his new regime, the unelected interim President Oleksandr Turchynov announced large-scale anti-terrorist operations in order to “quell the terrorists” in the east.  Yet the Ukrainian military remained obstinate, largely refusing to follow Kiev’s orders.

In April 2014, the 25th separate airborne brigade of the High Mobility Assault Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was sent to Donetsk to wage war on its residents. However, in the words of the embittered interim-president Turchynov on April 17, 2014 at the Verkhovna Rada, “the 25th separate Airborne Brigade, whose military showed cowardice and surrendered arms, will be disestablished… The Defense Ministry has received this instruction.”

Turchynov sent a corresponding order to the Prosecutor-General’s office demanding the criminal punishment of the disobedient servicemen. While the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense denied that the brigade defected to the side of the separatists, the unit’s tanks began to fly the flag of the DNR, as even mainstream Western media reported.

Days after the interim President “disbanded” the 25th Brigade, the newly installed “deputy governor” of Dnipropetrovsk announced the formation of “special forces” in order to “protect the oblast” from falling into “Russia’s hands.” While the median Ukrainian salary for 2014 was 3480₴ ($117 USD),“volunteers” for these battalions, according to the Deputy Governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Hennadiy Korban, received 29528₴ ($1000) per month. That’s nearly ten timesthe average salary in Ukraine.

After the loss of parts of the Oblasts of Lugansk and Donetsk and the entire peninsula of Crimea, Kiev believed that Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, with its large Russian-speaking population, would be the next Oblast to declare independence. Unable to rely on the Ukrainian military, nor the current police force, which they deemed to be “infiltrated by pro-Russian separatists,” Kiev officially deputized the fascistic paramilitary forces that functioned as street muscle during the Maidan coup.

In March 2014, Kiev passed a law establishing a “national guard” which was to be overseen by the Ministry of the Interior. With the consent of the then-Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kholmoisky bankrolled the creation of some of the country’s more notorious territorial defense forces. The first of these “special police battalions,”Dnipro-1, was born from the oligarch’s fortune. One of Kholmoisky’s deputies, Boris Filatov, stated that the goal of these special battalions was to “knit the country back together.”

Instead, the special battalions (Dobrobats) recruited from the core of Maidan activists who battled the deposed president’s riot police. Oleg Lyashko, a self-styled “people’s deputy” who founded the Radical Party and appeared on the main stage during the Euromaidan pro-coup rallies, attempted to establish his own Dobrobat named “Ukraine.” Because Lyaschko did not have the money to finance a formal battalion, his group would have to audition for support from oligarchs by volunteering to fight in the city of Torez in the Donetsk Oblast.

By this time, Ruslan Onishenko was known as a career criminal with three convictions for robbery, hooliganism, and unlawful imprisonment (kidnapping) under his belt. Born Ruslan Abalmaz, he adopted the family name of his wife, “Onishenko,” after Euromaidan. As a native of Torez, he became a central figure in the “test formation” of Lyashko’s new battalion.

The plan to retake Torez from the separatists failed, however, prompting Onishenko and his crew to flee to the neighboring city of Dnepropetrovsk, the home of billionaire Igor Kholmoisky. Eventually, with the support of Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov and his deputy, right-wing political fixer Anton Gerashenko, Onishenko was able to convince Kholmoisky to finance a new battalion called “Shaktorysk.”

In June 2014, a public relations campaign for the Shaktyorsk Battalion began on EspressoTv, the unofficial outlet of the “special battalions,” as well as on UkroTV, lionizing Onishenko as “the one man who struggles for the soul of the country”

| | MR Online
Ruslan Onishenkos break out moment on Ukraines Espresso TV

That same month, Shaktorysk fighters underwent training under the auspices of the regional police headquarters. On July 8, 2014, the newly minted police unit officially “graduated” and took its oath of office before being posted to Mariupol.

According to former SBU agent turned whistleblower Vassily Prozorov, “From the decision of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov to establish special police ‘patrol’ units within the structure of the ministry of the interior (MVD), these divisions began to appear like mushrooms after a rainy day.” The special battalions grew from only two in the days after Euromaidan to fifty-nine within several months.

| | MR Online
Onishenko training for combat

Seven days before graduating from its training camp, Shaktoyrsk battalion members flaunted their sadistic tendencies. On July 1, just a week before the unit’s training ended, a local civilian named Ruslan Kyrenkov was visiting a friend’s house when he was accosted by “a gang of men with weapons.” They dragged him out of the home, claiming he was a separatist, and took him to one of their secret basement prisons. While his ordeal only lasted two days, he told this reporter, “it felt like fifteen days.”

Kyrenkov was tied to a chair, while a masked member of the battalion whipped out a blow torch and seared the flesh on the chest and arms. He was tortured for three days straight. Even today, he bears the scars of his torture. “They used to be much darker,” he said of his third degree wounds, “but now they have lightened up”