Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/25/2019

Germany’s former intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen has called for an official parliamentary investigation into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migration policy. Mr. Maassen was forced out of his position last year after he publicly questioned the government’s narrative on the “manhunt” in Chemnitz.

In other news, Israel cut off fuel shipments to Gaza after incendiary balloons were launched from there into the Negev. Hamas accused Israel of harming the puir wee bairns of Gaza by interrupting the electricity supply.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Dean, Insubria, JD, KP, Reader from Chicago, SS, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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Thank You, Gates of Vienna Readers

When I put up the post about Dymphna’s death early last week, I obviously wasn’t begging for money. It wasn’t fundraiser time or anything. I was just notifying readers that there weren’t going to be any posts for a while, and explained why.

When I saw the response over the next couple of days, I was astonished. Almost 400 people commented before I closed the comments on that post, many of them people who never commented before, or did so only rarely. Without my knowledge — and without any urging by me — a regular reader and commenter set up a GoFundMe initiative to cover funeral expenses. Now that he has handed over access to the fund, I can see the list of donors, and I thank you for your generosity.

For those who would like to contribute, the page is here. Between the GoFundMe and individual PayPal donations, a not insignificant portion of the funeral expenses has been covered. If the total amount ever matches my outlays, I’ll tell our readers: “Hey, you can stop now!” Any excess over that amount will be donated to a reputable local charity that assists victims of sexual assault, including children. It’s the same one the family asked people to donate to in lieu of sending flowers.

I always told Dymphna that she had lots of fans, and I think this proves I was right.

Everyone who donated (if I have an email address for them) will get a thank you note, and I’ll eventually reply to all the emailed messages of condolence. But it will take me a while; there were a LOT of them.

In the meantime, I’ll tell all of you here: THANK YOU!

Culture-Enrichers Battle Each Other in Ceuta

The autonomous Spanish city of Ceuta is located on a small peninsula jutting out of the North African mainland just across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain. It has a total area of less than 5,000 acres, and is connected to the mainland of Morocco by a narrow isthmus. Illegal migrants routinely attack the border fence in an attempt to gain access to Spain, and thus the European Union. Once they are inside Ceuta they cannot be expelled, of course, because they’re Puir Wee Bairns.

The following Spanish news video reports on a clash between two different groups of Moroccans at the port. They are attempting to control who gets first dibs on stowing away on boats leaving for Spain. Or maybe the Spanish authorities actually allow the NGO “rescue” vessels to dock there and pick up the migrants.

Notice that the northern group is said to usually live on the esplanades — that is, on the waterfront promenades where one would expect to see tourists strolling.

Many thanks to FouseSquawk for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/24/2019

A prominent Labour Party member has warned that the party may lose forty seats to the Brexit Party in working-class areas it had previously held. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson defended both his Brexit plan and his silence on the “row” with his mistress.

In other news, French President Emmanuel “Toy Boy” Macron’s popularity has now dropped to just 30%, according to the latest polls.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to AF, C. Cantoni, Insubria, KP, Reader from Chicago, SS, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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The Rise of Unrespectable Politicians

Mark Steyn had some cogent words to say in today’s edition of Mark’s Monday Notebook:

In 2002 [Jean-Marie] Le Pen was “unthinkable” and an “aberration”. Then it happened and became thinkable, and now his daughter is a routine presence. What was striking about her victory in the Euro-elections a couple of weeks back was not the narrow margin of her win over Macron in vote totals, but the fact that she prevailed in twice as many départements as he did. Geographically speaking, Marine Le Pen won the country while Macron held a few cities.

Another old line of mine: If respectable politicians are forbidden to raise certain subjects, the voters will turn to unrespectable ones. The people are telling their rulers something important here. The longer the ruling class — in Washington, London, Paris and elsewhere — refuse to listen, the worse it is going to be.

People-Smugglers Busted and Brought to Sicily

The Italian government is really cracking down on the trafficking of migrants from Libya across the Mediterranean. Not only are they denying entry to the NGO migrant-ferries, they are intercepting and arresting the people-smugglers before they can return to Libya.

This “hardline” (as the media describe it) policy is guaranteed to inflame the Puir Wee Bairn Syndrome among the media and the chatterati, who treat every migrant as if he were a child, never mind the fact that he has a receding hairline and a full beard. They are adamant that not a single hair on his itty-bitty head be harmed.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini seems immune to the syndrome, fortunately. He’s doing what needs to be done, which is what the voters elected him to do.

Many thanks to FouseSquawk for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Below are excerpts from three articles (hat tips to Insubria and Reader From Chicago) about a related case, that of the Sea-Watch 3, a vessel which flies a Dutch flag and is owned by a German NGO.

First, from ANSA:

Dutch Should Intervene on Sea-Watch Salvini Tells Conte

UNHCR urges Italy to let rescued migrants land on Lampedusa

(ANSA) — Rome, June 21 — Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Friday wrote to Premier Giuseppe Conte reiterating his ‘closed ports’ policy and saying that the Netherlands should deal with the Sea-Watch 3, which has been stuck in international waters south of Lampedusa for nine days with 43 rescued migrants aboard.

Salvini, who is also deputy premier and leader of the anti-migrant League party, said “a fresh energetic initiative of sensibilisation” was needed towards the Netherlands, given that the ship, which is run by a German NGO, flies a Dutch flag.

Meanwhile the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, again urged Italy to let the Sea-Watch migrants land on Lampedusa.

“These desperate people must be disembarked, it is an obligation sanctioned by international norms,” said UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch.

“Italy has a responsibility to let these people land,” said Baloch.

“None of them must return”, he said, to war-torn Libya which has no internationally recognised ports of safety.

Salvini has vowed that “none of them will land in Italy”.

He reiterated Friday, after the UNHCR appeal, that “the interior ministry decides who gets into Italy”.

From France24:

Italy Holds Netherlands, EU ‘Responsible’ For Migrant Boat

Italy’s hardline interior minister Matteo Salvini said he would hold the Netherlands and the European Union “responsible” for the fate of 42 migrants that Rome has blocked from disembarking at Italian ports for over a week.

The Dutch-flagged rescue boat Sea-Watch 3 has been stuck in the Mediterranean since rescuing 53 migrants drifting in an inflatable raft off the coast of Libya on June 12.

And again, from ANSA:

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The Political Trial of Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders is on trial, yet again. His “crime” was to ask his supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans. This is the second time he has been prosecuted for this crime; the first ended in a mistrial.

The announcement below was sent by the PVV (Party for Freedom, Partij voor de Vrijheid).

Political trial against freedom of speech resumes tomorrow morning

Tomorrow morning in the extra-secured court at Schiphol Airport the trial against Geert Wilders resumes.

It is a political trial not only because Geert Wilders is being prosecuted for expressing his opinion, which is not favoured by the political elite. It is a political trial as well because of the political interference in the process.

Earlier this month Geert Wilders called for a parliamentary inquiry into the political interference in his trial.

Wilders’ defense team obtained a notary statement from a former official of the Department of Justice in which the official declares overhearing a conversation between the then Secretary-General and then Minister of Justice Opstelten.

According to this remarkable statement Opstelten explicitly said that the public prosecutor should proceed to prosecute Wilders because ‘he is getting in our way’.

Dutch media reported about contact between Opstelten and the head of the public prosecutor about the case in 2014.

They also mention Opstelten was keen to see Wilders prosecuted.

The Current Minister of Justice Ferd Grapperhaus still refuses to send documents detailing the meetings —which had been officially denied — to parliament.

The documents will remain secret, the minister told MPs.

The original appeal began in May last year, but Wilders’ legal team successfully applied for the judges to be removed after alleging bias.

Both Opstelten and former prosecution chief Herman Bolhaar have recently been heard behind closed doors.

This political interference is unworthy of a Western democracy and this trial must be stopped!

  • Click here to read the RTL Nieuws article (Dutch).
  • Click here to read the Telegraaf newspaper article (Dutch).

Let Me Tell You Something, President Bush

Note from the Baron: The following post is the first of a series of old posts by Dymphna, which I’m calling “Dymphna’s Greatest Hits”. I’ll post one every Monday unless something intervenes. They’ll be published under Dymphna’s byline and using her GoV UserID, which will otherwise no longer be seen.

The following post is from December 2005, and is from her series called “I Could Scream”. That was the title of her blog on Wretchard’s site from a few months before this one was posted at GoV. Unfortunately, Wretchard eventually had to close his umbrella site, and as far as I know all her posts from there were lost.

In those days she carried about 80% of the load here at Gates of Vienna, sometimes posting three or four times a day. In recent years she had been despondent about her declining abilities — it was hard for her to focus well enough to write like she used to. In 2004 and 2005 she was a powerhouse.

Let Me Tell You Something, President Bush

by Dymphna
Originally published on December 27, 2005

I wasn’t going to post on Nour Miyati’s suffering again. I swore I wouldn’t. Maybe I thought if I didn’t put up anything, then it would all just go away. However, being an ostrich has real limits. And if we aren’t at least willing to bear witness to another’s agony, then do we have the right to speak at all?

What the Saudis have done, what they have permitted to be done, to Ms. Miyati is so inhumane that it almost beggars description.

Let’s begin with some background from previous posts.

First of all, this woman didn’t go to the authorities — her owner dropped her bruised and battered body at the hospital, denying any responsibility for her condition:

A 25-year-old maid who came to Saudi Arabia as a guest worker will leave behind most of her fingers and toes and part of her right foot when she is repatriated to Indonesia. In addition to the amputations, necessitated by gangrene, several teeth had been knocked out and she is in danger of losing an eye as a result of severe beatings.

That was back in April of this year. I warned then that she would be under the aegis of sharia law, and thus her life — being a mere female, Muslim or not — wasn’t worth much. I also noted that the jerks who did this to her would be let go. Prince (at the time) Abdullah, busy doing a quick cover-your-a** move, stuck his big nose into it, insisting that she get good care and transferring her to the lad-de-dah King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center. Abdullah even sent the Health Minister over to check on her. They both declared her experience at the hands of her employers “disgusting”.

That was then. In May, things started to go sideways. All of a sudden, it wasn’t the employers’ fault. Or if it was, they were only guilty of neglect. But the maid, she was really the guilty party. That woman had the nerve to accuse her owners employers of mistreating her. Therefore she had violated the law by making false allegations. Here are my remarks in May, followed by the hideously criminal medical report from a bunch of Saudi butchers with M.D. after their names:

Brutalization is not just a family affair in Saudi Arabia. The state is a willing and eager partner. And it can twist arms with a mighty force, especially arms with hands whose fingers are missing. On the one hand, there is the medical committee’s report:

A medical committee set up by Riyadh Governor from a number of specialists from the Ministry of Health concluded that the maid suffered wounds and bruises to her body, “suggesting she has been the victim of violence and that the gangrene could not have been caused as a direct result of beating and that it probably was caused by an inherent disease suffered by the patient.”

Her “inherent disease” is simply the grinding poverty which drove her to seek employment far from home. She wound up in Hell. The “inherent disease” of the Saud tribe is corrupt, terminally evil governance. These spawn of Stalin are unspeakable.

Now, to bring you up to date, in case you’ve managed to avoid this until now. It’s hardly “news” anymore, since it’s been floating around the blogosphere for awhile. The Religious Policeman (whose blog is dedicated “In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter”) had a few sardonic things to say about how judges arrive at their numerology when it comes to handing down lashings for false allegations:

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Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/23/2019

Back in March the candidate for the Turkish ruling party AKP lost in Istanbul’s mayoral election. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invalidated the result and ordered a new election. Today the opposition party candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, won again with 54% of the vote. This time Mr. Erdogan congratulated the winner.

In other news, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said that the Netherlands and the EU are responsible for the fate of migrants aboard a Dutch-flagged migrant-ferry ship that has been denied entry to Italian ports.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, FJ, Insubria, JD, Reader from Chicago, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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Cyberattack on Iran

President Trump ordered a cyberattack yesterday on Iranian military systems. This is interesting news for three reasons:

1.   It avoids the media frenzy that would have erupted after a missile strike. CNN reporters would have stood next to piles of smoking rubble and interviewed wailing Iranian women about the death of their puir wee bairns. It’s harder to gin up public outrage over the disabling of a puir wee server farm.

In terms of military effectiveness, I don’t know which is preferable, the missile strike or the cyberattack. However, in terms of the Information War — which is largely what this is — the cyberattack is a better move.

2.   This is not the response the military-industrial complex would have preferred. They don’t have much skin in cyberattacks. They want to see expensive physical assets employed so that expensive replacements must be procured by the Pentagon. They want to be able to test their weapons systems under real-life battlefield conditions. This did not meet their needs at all.
3.   A number of years (maybe even more than a decade) ago, it was rumored that the Israelis and the Russians had collaborated to make sure all of Iran’s military computer systems were infected by malware, so that a cyberattack could be launched by either country whenever it became necessary. I don’t remember the source for the story, but it was more credible than DEBKA.

The Russians have been enabling the Iranian nuclear program, which under normal circumstances wouldn’t make any sense, given the proximity of Iran to the southern border of Russia. However, if they’ve ensured that all the Iranian systems are reliably booby-trapped, they can make a lot of money by supplying Iran with technical expertise, and then disable everything if it becomes a threat to them.

Below are excerpts from an article in The Washington Times:

U.S. cyberattack strikes Iran’s military computers

The U.S. launched a sweeping cyberattack against the Iranian military last week in direct response to Iran’s downing of an American surveillance drone, U.S. officials told the Associated Press over the weekend, confirming that President Trump personally approved the retaliatory measures.

The response was aimed at Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the nation’s military that the White House officially labeled a terrorist organization earlier this year. The cyberattack targeted computer systems that control the Corps’ rocket and missile launchers, administration officials said.

Yahoo News first reported the strike over the weekend.

The cyberattack was presented to the president as one of several options following last week’s incident in which Iran shot down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz. While no Americans were abroad the aircraft, the shoot-down still added more fuel to growing military tensions between the two sides and brought Mr. Trump to the brink of ordering airstrikes against Iranian targets.

Also, here’s an article about the attack from CBS News, but I haven’t really looked at it yet.

Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/22/2019

London police were called to the home of Boris “BoJo” Johnson after neighbors reported a screaming row between Mr. Johnson and his girlfriend, who is 24 years younger than he is. Meanwhile, a number of members of the Conservative Party are threatening to defect to the Brexit Party if BoJo doesn’t deliver Brexit. And George Osborne, an anti-Brexit Tory, has now endorsed Mr. Johnson as party leader.

In other news, more than 100 migrants in three boats were rescued in a single day off the coast of Spain.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to JD, Reader from Chicago, SS, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/21/2019

NOTE: Tonight’s news feed, as I mentioned in the previous post, is taken from tips sent in last Sunday and Monday, so it is not current.

There are some interesting items in tonight’s feed — notably reports about the Brexit Party and the Tories in the UK — but there is nothing about the more recent news of the downing of a US drone in Iran.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Insubria, JD, Reader from Chicago, Srdja Trifkovic, SS, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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The Ground Has Been Closed

I buried my wife late yesterday afternoon in the graveyard of our little rural church in Central Virginia. The Episcopalian service was everything that one could have hoped for, and I know that Dymphna was pleased with the liturgy, the music, and the fellowship in the parish hall after the Committal.

A year or two ago, after a discussion about this eventuality, Dymphna gave her assent to the publication of the photo below. It was the only photo of her that she would allow to be posted. It was taken a number of years ago, in happier times.

Discussions about her eventual demise became more and more frequent in recent years, as her condition gradually worsened. She would tell me what she did and didn’t want for her funeral and so on, and I promised to honor her wishes. The most recent such conversation occurred last Thursday, when we were talking about Protestant hymns. Since she was raised a Catholic, she didn’t really know any Protestant hymns until she became an Episcopalian. I asked her which ones she liked. She named a few, and then said, “I really love ‘There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy’. I want that at my funeral.”

I honored her wish.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Dymphna and I first met forty years ago last month. We had a small celebration for the occasion. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it to our fortieth wedding anniversary.

On our first date we went out to dinner to the Double T Diner in the southern suburbs of Baltimore. I was attracted to her for all the normal reasons, of course; but what really made us fall in love with each other was our intellectual compatibility. Her fields were theology, philosophy, psychology, literature, history, and poetry. Mine were mathematics, art, science, linguistics, literature, history, and poetry. So we had some overlap, but the territory where we had the greatest meeting of minds was in poetry. Both of us loved to read poetry, and both of us wrote it. Sitting there in that diner over dinner, I found out that she knew about Wallace Stevens — amazing! I had never met a woman who had read Wallace Stevens, never mind understood him. In the next few weeks she introduced me to poets I hadn’t read, and I did the same for her.

We were both head-over-heels. In due course she moved down here and we got married. Now that she is gone, I’m allowed to tell you that she was ten years older than I. We agreed that we were fortunate the difference was only ten years. Still, it was anxiety-inducing to contemplate the age gap. I remember thinking about it back in those early days, when I was so happy. I did the actuarial estimate in my head and said to myself, “Well, I think I can expect to get forty years.”

That’s what I got. And I’m so grateful for every one of them.

In the summer of 1979 I suddenly acquired three teenage stepchildren. That was a learning experience like no other, but I won’t go into any details here. Suffice it to say that the two surviving stepchildren were down here in the house all week, along with the future Baron. I can’t tell you how gratified it made me to have them all here.

The extent to which I will miss her is hard to describe. Any time I had some insight or question about current events, politics, history, religion, sociology, or any other general intellectual topic, I knew I could always count on her being interested and engaged in a discussion about it. The future Baron can tell you how interesting (and sometimes heated) our dinner-table conversations were.

That is what I will miss the most. During the past five days, when something important occurred, I found myself thinking, “I must tell her about this.” And then it hit me — the person to whom I could tell all the stories is no longer here.

It’s going to be a hard time for a while.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Although her condition had been slowly deteriorating for fifteen years, Dymphna’s death was sudden. On Friday she was outside working on the flowerbeds. On Saturday the fever and cough came back. Early Sunday evening I had to take her to the emergency room, and she died just after midnight, before she was even admitted to the hospital. I was with her during her last moments.

Dymphna wrote the following poem in the mid-1990s, a few months after her mother died under similar circumstances. The month and time of day are slightly different, but in other respects the poem is exactly descriptive of last Monday’s events. Two of her sons read it out to the congregation during the eulogy portion of yesterday’s funeral:

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