Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/11/2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking a hard line against the ongoing demonstrations against him, and says that no more will be allowed. Police forcibly dispersed the latest group of protesters in Taksim Square in Istanbul. The Prime Minister railed against Twitter, referring to those who use social media to promote the demonstrations as “gangrene”.

In other news, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been offered asylum by Russia.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Diana West, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, Kitman, Steen, 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.

Financial Crisis
» Britain Paid an Extra £10billion to Bail Out Irish Banks in Back-Door Deal Through RBS
» Confindustria Chief Blasts Italy’s 2012 Austerity Measures
» Cyprus’ Trade Balance Deficit Continues to Fall
» Greece: 13,000 Fewer Teachers in Public Schools
» Greece Cut to Emerging Market at MSCI in World First
» Pimco Sees 60% Chance of Global Recession in Five Years
» PNA: Financial Crisis Worsening in West Bank
» 27 Edward Snowden Quotes About U.S. Government Spying That Should Send a Chill Up Your Spine
» 86 Civil Liberties Groups and Internet Companies Demand an End to NSA Spying
» A Warning to Public Servants in the Obama Administration: It’s RICO Time!
» A.C.L.U. Sues Obama Administration Over Collection of Phone Logs
» Alabama Police Set Up Roadblocks Asking for Blood, DNA Samples
» Diana West: Truth, Snowden and the Surveillance State
» Did NSA Already Use Its Massive Surveillance Apparatus to Hijack the Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare?
» Government Spying on Americans … and Then Giving Info to Giant Corporations
» IRS Buying Spying Equipment: Covert Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants
» Main Core: A List of Millions of Americans That Will be Subject to Detention During Martial Law
» Most Americans Support Being Spied on by NSA
» National Intelligence Director Attacked for Suggesting No Knowledge of Surveillance
» NSA “Whistleblower” An Enemy Agent?
» Ron Paul: When You Have a Dictatorship, Truth Becomes Treasonous
» Twenty Trillion Phone Calls: “They’ve Been Collecting Data About All Domestic Calls Since October 2001”
Europe and the EU
» British Couple Thrown in Spanish Jail and Fined £600 After Refusing to Pay for Paella They Didn’t Even Order
» France: EPFL Scientists Design Futuristic ‘Modular’ Plane
» France: Paris Man Shot Dead at Dinner in Restaurant
» French Firm Breaks Taboo With Wine in a Can
» Italy: ‘Roma Gypsies Rob Angolan Diplomat of €3,000 in Capital’
» Italy: Indian Arrested for Beating Moroccan and Robbing Him
» Italy: Artisan Association Says Taxes Choking Them Out of Existence
» Italy: Centre Left Consolidates Strong Showing With Sicilian Result
» UK: Boy Suffers Sex Attack in Greyfriars Bus Station Toilets
» UK: Businessman vs Burglars in Midnight Fight at His Premises. Now He’s on GBH Charge
» UK: Bilderberg Conspiracies Are ‘Absolute Nonsense’, Ken Clarke Insists After Being Called to Parliament Over Secret Meetings
» UK: Choudary Slammed Over Fake Pic Claim
» UK: DNA Links Man to Rape of Transsexual Woman in Camden Alley 12 Years Ago, Court Hears
» UK: Doctor in Court on Sex Assault Charges
» UK: EDL Leader: It’s Not Going to End Pretty
» UK: Edward Snowden and Whistleblowers: ‘The Truth Sets You Free’
» UK: Moroccan Man Found Guilty of Stabbing Fashion Designer to Death
» UK: Man, 22, Recovering in Hospital After Stabbing in Croydon
» UK: Muslim Hate Monitor to Lose Backing
» UK: Riot Police Clash With Anti-G8 Protesters in London
» UK: Spying Fantasy
» UK: Thousands in Legal Aid for Man Who Raped and Killed His Niece, Seven, To Fight for Right to Vote
» UK: Tommy Robinson, Islamism and the EDL: When Should We Listen to Extremists?
» Wales: Mohammad Asghar Accuses Senior Worshippers at a Newport Mosque of Publishing ‘Gravely Damaging’ Allegations
» Why Do French Women Make More Babies?
Mediterranean Union
» EIB Provides Further Eur 200 Million for Istanbul-Ankara High Speed Rail Line
» Turkey: EIB, 200 Mln to High Speed Line Ankara-Istanbul
North Africa
» No One Hurt by Car Bomb at Italian Embassy in Libya
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israeli Father Beats African Rapist Unconscious
Middle East
» Syria: Double Attack in Damascus, At Least 14 Dead
» Syria: For Aleppo Bishop, Boy’s Brutal Killing Shows Jihadist Danger
» Turkey: Police Occupy Taksim, Erdogan Adopts Hard Line
» Turkey: Istanbul: The Police Enter Taksim Square. Demonstrations Also Dispersed in Ankara
» Turkey: ‘Sultan’ Erdogan on the Warpath Against Twitter
» Turkey: Video Footage of Cop Firing at Ankara Protesters
» Turkey: PM Erdogan Warns Protesters ‘It’s Over’
» War in Syria: Are Belgian Jihadists Committing Murder Near Aleppo?
» Edward Snowden: Russia Offers to Consider Asylum Request
South Asia
» Afghanistan: Blast Kills and Wounds Around 10 People in Kabul
» Bomb Thrown at Italian-Afghan Convoy Injures Civilians
» India: Christians in Andhra Pradesh Targeted by Hindu Extremists
» India, Pakistan Armies Exchange Fire in Kashmir
» Pakistan Threatens to Ban Google Unless it Cleans Up YouTube
» U.S. Government Has Given Afghan National Army More Than $1 Billion in Ammo
Far East
» Don’t Make the So-Called Surveillance Scandal a Propaganda Coup for Beijing
» Effort to Portray NSA Whistleblower Snowden as Chinese Intelligence Operative Underway
» Obama Admin Considering Resettling Syrian Refugees in U S — And These Are the States Where They May Go
» U.N. Talks to Germany About Resettling 10,000 Syrian Refugees
Culture Wars
» Gay Marriage: France: Mayor Refuses to Marry Couple
» IRS Agent: Keep Faith to Yourself
» Italy Appoints Advisor on Issue of Gender Violence
» Russia Cracks Down on Blasphemy and Pro-Gay Propaganda
» Students Taught About Homosexual Foreplay Disguised as Tolerance
» We Will be Amazed by the Diversity of Exoplanets’

Britain Paid an Extra £10billion to Bail Out Irish Banks in Back-Door Deal Through RBS

British taxpayers have paid more than £10bilion by the back door to bail out the Irish economy in an agreement that was never approved by Parliament, it emerged today.

The figure is more than three times the £3.25billion pumped into Ireland by the British government and approved by Parliament as part of a wider European Union/International Monetary Fund backed bailout of the Irish economy in November 2010.

The additional funds were given to Ulster Bank, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland which is 81 per cent owned by the taxpayer, after the Government rescued the over-stretched bank to the tune of £45billion five years ago.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Confindustria Chief Blasts Italy’s 2012 Austerity Measures

Warns more tightening may worsen economic woes

(ANSA) — Milan, June 10 — The head of the powerful Italian industry federation Confindustria on Monday blasted austerity measures taken by the government last year to tackle sovereign debt crisis, and warned that more austerity was unlikely to provide answers to the country’s current economic woes.

“If rigor and austerity reduce our social fabric to its knees and the patrimony of our companies to the point where others can come shopping and take home our best pieces at discount prices, we must say no,” Confindustria President Giorgio Squinzi told a conference of the federation’s Lombardy branch, Assolombardo, in Milan.

Squinzi warned that the accepted wisdom touted by Italy’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund had only aggravated Italy’s economic squeeze.

“By accepting monetarist cliches, we ended up compromising our domestic market,” Squinzi said. “Keeping to the dictates of austerity as an end in itself and aseptically accepting to reduce the GDP-debt ratio, without any economic logic to accompany this choice”.

Squinzi added that the policy has even failed to achieve its original aim.

“When the Monti government took office, the debt-to-GDP ratio was 117%. Now we are at 127% and the forecasts for this year take us to at least 132%,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cyprus’ Trade Balance Deficit Continues to Fall

(ANSAmed) NICOSIA, JUNE 11 — Imports in the Republic of Cyprus continued to fall as exports continued to rise in April, which led to a fall of the trade balance deficit, daily Financial Mirror reports citing preliminary data published on Monday by the Cyprus Statistical Service. The trade balance deficit continued to fall on a monthly basis for the sixth consecutive month since November 2012, recording in April 161 million euros compared to 373.74 million euros in April 2012 and 261.95 million euros in March 2013. On an annual basis the deficit was down in April for the eighth month running, since September 2012. Additionally, the preliminary data shows a significant reduction in the trade balance deficit by 450 million euros in the period between January and April 2013 which shrank to 1 billion euros from 1.45 billion euros during the corresponding period of last year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: 13,000 Fewer Teachers in Public Schools

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JUNE 10 — The teaching staff of elementary and secondary public schools is going to be reduced this school year by 13,000 teachers because of the deep cuts in the number of substitute hires and because of the thousands of teachers who are considering retirement, as GreekReporter writes. Nearly 6,000 will retire. The rest are alternates who will not be recruited and are around 7,000.

Apart from the teachers who will be redundant and remain out of school, there will be, according to Ethnos newpaper, “several who will be transferred under the new law to places where there is need.” This will result in many teachers and professors resigning, since they will not be able to meet the financial requirements away from their permanent residence. From the new school year, elementary school teachers will also suffer a big blow, since they will not have significant changes in their employment status as their teaching hours will not be increased and any gaps arising will be covered by secondary school substitutes. This school year there will also be 900 transfers from the secondary to primary education. There are now 87,000 teachers, while for the new school year 2013-14, it is estimated they will be reduced to 80,000.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece Cut to Emerging Market at MSCI in World First

By Tom Stoukas

Greece became the first developed nation to be downgraded to emerging-market status by index provider MSCI Inc. (MSCI) after the country’s stocks plunged 91 percent since 2007.

The MSCI Greece Index will no longer be classified as a developed market as it failed to meet criteria regarding securities borrowing and lending facilities, short selling and transferability, New York-based MSCI, whose equity indexes are tracked by investors with about $7 trillion in assets, said in a statement. The gauge consists of two companies, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA, the country’s largest phone operator, and Opap SA, Greece’s biggest gambling firm.

Locked out of bond markets since April 2010, Greece was forced to accept two European Union-led bailout packages as public opposition to pension and wage cuts derailed the pace of promised economic reforms. The benchmark ASE Index (ASE), which has 60 members, sank 83 percent since October 2007.

MSCI put Greece under review for downgrade in June 2012, saying restrictions on in-kind transfers, off-exchange transactions, stock lending and short-selling stopped Greece from having a fully functional market. The probability of a demotion increased after Coca-Cola HBC AG, which previously made up almost a quarter of the Athens Stock Exchange by weight, switched its primary listing to London in April.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pimco Sees 60% Chance of Global Recession in Five Years

Pacific Investment Management Co., the world’s largest active bond manager, said investors should cut risk amid a more than 60 percent chance of a global recession in the next three to five years.

Global growth will slow, keeping inflation in check, and “economic volatility” will increase, Saumil Parikh, a portfolio manager at Newport Beach, California-based Pimco, said in a report being posted on the firm’s website today. Investors shouldn’t add risk in the search for yield, he said.

“The global economy experiences a recession every six years or so, and the frequency of global recessions tends to increase when global indebtedness is high and falling as opposed to when indebtedness is low and rising,” Parikh, who focuses on asset allocation, multisector fixed income and absolute-return portfolios, said in the report. The last global recession was four years ago, he said.

Bill Gross, Pimco’s co-founder and co-chief investment officer, said in a Bloomberg Television interview last week he’s sticking with high-quality bonds as market risks are rising and stocks, high-yield debt, currency and emerging-market bonds are all in “disarray.” Global bonds had their worst month in nine years in May, led by Treasuries, as investors sold debt in anticipation central banks will eventually scale back their unprecedented asset purchases.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

PNA: Financial Crisis Worsening in West Bank

Overall debt of 4,2 billion dollars

(ANSAmed) — RAMALLAH, JUNE 11 — The financial crisis in the West Bank is getting worse, the Economy Minister of the National Palestinian Authhority (PNA), Muhammad Mustafa, told the first meeting of the government of new Premier Rami Hamdallah. ‘The financial crisis has become greater and the PNA has a domestic and external public debt worth 4,2 billion dollars’, Mustafa was quoted as saying by the Maan news agency. ‘We should look for funding sources, review spending and get tax payments to pay our debts in time’.

The PNA has warned against the growing labour market crisis with over 250.000 Palestinians currently out of a job, in particular youths. ‘The government will be hard at work to create jobs, especially for young people, by launching new projects’, said Mustafa.

According to data released by the minister, the PNA has a 600 million dollar debt with banks and owes one billion dollars to international financial institutions. Mustafa, who is part of the new government which took office about a week ago, said a three-year plan is being discussed, starting with a short-term, 100-day strategy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

27 Edward Snowden Quotes About U.S. Government Spying That Should Send a Chill Up Your Spine

Would you be willing to give up what Edward Snowden has given up? He has given up his high paying job, his home, his girlfriend, his family, his future and his freedom just to expose the monolithic spy machinery that the U.S. government has been secretly building to the world. He says that he does not want to live in a world where there isn’t any privacy. He says that he does not want to live in a world where everything that he says and does is recorded. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that the U.S. government has been spying on us to a degree that most people would have never even dared to imagine. Up until now, the general public has known very little about the U.S. government spy grid that knows almost everything about us.

But making this information public is going to cost Edward Snowden everything. Essentially, his previous life is now totally over. And if the U.S. government gets their hands on him, he will be very fortunate if he only has to spend the next several decades rotting in some horrible prison somewhere. There is a reason why government whistleblowers are so rare. And most Americans are so apathetic that they wouldn’t even give up watching their favorite television show for a single evening to do something good for society. Most Americans never even try to make a difference because they do not believe that it will benefit them personally. Meanwhile, our society continues to fall apart all around us. Hopefully the great sacrifice that Edward Snowden has made will not be in vain. Hopefully people will carefully consider what he has tried to share with the world. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about U.S. government spying that should send a chill up your spine…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

86 Civil Liberties Groups and Internet Companies Demand an End to NSA Spying

Today, a bipartisan coalition of 86 civil liberties organizations and Internet companies — including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reddit, Mozilla, FreedomWorks, and the American Civil Liberties Union — are demanding swift action from Congress in light of the recent revelations about unchecked domestic surveillance.

In an open letter to lawmakers sent today, the groups call for a congressional investigatory committee, similar to the Church Committee of the 1970s. The letter also demands legal reforms to rein in domestic spying and demands that public officials responsible for this illegal surveillance are held accountable for their actions.

The letter denounces the NSA’s spying program as illegal, noting:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Warning to Public Servants in the Obama Administration: It’s RICO Time!

What, do you think you are special? Sorry to rain on your hope-and-change parade but it is time for a reality check. For those public servants in the Obama administration, you can’t serve under corrupt leadership and not become corrupt yourself. Not to speak is to speak.

Same goes for the in-the-tank media. What, did you think only FOX News, Associated Press and Canada Free Press reporters would be targeted by the Obama White House’s Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigations or National Security Agency and not you? Forgive my tone, but you are not allowed to be naïve and stupid anymore. This abusive, illegal targeting garbage, as you know, (and if you don’t, forgive my bluntness, but you are a crappy journalist), has been going on for decades.

As I reported yesterday, in It’s RICO time: How to Stop the Obama Administration Crime Wave, Americans now know how to stop the mafia rule that has hijacked their government, and end the special justice system that has corrupted and perverted America’s rule of law.

What stopped the mob? The Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). What will hold the Obama administration accountable? RICO. Let’s call the corruption what it is and face it head on.

To be clear, this Chicago-shakedown, mafia-rule Obama administration, as I noted yesterday that comes straight from Saul Alinsky and notorious mob crime boss Al Capone’s playbook, did not suddenly take hold after President Barack Obama took office but it has been going on for years. It’s all documented in The Whistleblower: How the Clinton White House Stayed in Power to Reemerge in the Obama White & World Stage, in case you are clueless or living in denial.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A.C.L.U. Sues Obama Administration Over Collection of Phone Logs

The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its “dragnet” collection of logs of domestic phone calls, contending that the once-secret program — whose existence was exposed by a former National Security Agency contractor last week — is illegal and asking a judge to both stop it and order the records purged.

The lawsuit, filed in New York, could set up an eventual Supreme Court test. It could also focus attention on this disclosure amid the larger heap of top secret surveillance matters that were disclosed by Edward J. Snowden, a former N.S.A. contractor who came forward on Sunday to say he was the source of a series of disclosures by The Guardian and The Washington Post.

[Return to headlines]

Alabama Police Set Up Roadblocks Asking for Blood, DNA Samples

St. Clair and Bibb county authorities are confirming there were roadblocks at several locations in their counties Friday and Saturday asking for blood and DNA samples. However, the samples were voluntary and motorists were paid for them as part of a study, they said.

According to Lt. Freddie Turrentine of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, it isn’t the first time such roadblocks have occurred in the area.

“They were here in 2007,” said Turrentine, the supervisor in charge of the roadblocks, which took place in several locations in St. Clair County Friday night, early Saturday morning and Saturday night and early Sunday morning. “It’s just with social media and Facebook now, word of it has just exploded.”

[Comment: Why roadblocks? Couldn’t they just go to the local shopping mall for volunteers? Unless of course the public is being conditioned to such roadblocks. Perhaps in the future denial of such “requests” would be met with deadly force.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Diana West: Truth, Snowden and the Surveillance State

On November 14, 2002, the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire wrote a column called “You Are a Suspect.” It is posted below, an early signpost to our current state of dislocation and upset.

It is dislocating and upsetting to be confronted with the Edward Snowden leaks: the leaked court order, the leaked logistical scope of what is being aptly labeled the Surveillance State. This what Safire predicted would be foisted on Us, the People. We are told it is The Only Means Possible to prevent “another 9/11.”

The mendacity of this rationale is as appalling as the totalitarian structure of the hyper-state it supports.

Yesterday, I focused on the failures of former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden to comprehend the quite simple patterns of Islamic conquest that history is replete with, that our own era is undergoing, that Western civlization is being transformed by. Why would an intel chief draw such blanks? One reason might be hostile Islamic penetration of the policy-making chain, which appears to have influenced key actors inside our government. Congress blindly, resolutely refuses to examine any evidence of this. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s political career seems to have cratered after and because she quite logically and patriotically asked for Inspectors General outside Congress to examine the evidence and was demonized as a second coming of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Another wrong on its face, as my new book, American Betrayal, argues.

Hayden, of course, is not alone. Indeed, he exemplifies the hollowness at the very top of our security bureacracies: FBI Director Mueller, DNI Clapper, JCC Dempsey, DHS Secretary Napolitano. CIA Director John Brennan, overtly sympathetic and even protective of Islam, is another bird entirely. He may well be a Muslim himself.

Under the fundamentally flawed guidance of such hollow people, a terrifying super-state has arisen to defend their beliefs, their ideology, not the Constitution.

It doesn’t protect the public, either, although this is the rationale that is supposed to excuse the “overreach.”

If US leaders had really wanted to prevent another 9/11, they would have admitted the obvious: that the world of Islam, from its terrorists to its kings, is engaged in the latest cycle of jihad to extend the reach of Islamic law (sharia). To protect the US Constitutuon they would then have taken wartime (anti-jihad) precautions accordingly. For starters, these would include securing our borders; halting Islamic immigration and travel, canceling Islamic education visas, barring return-travel from jihad nations such as Chechnya, Pakistan, etc.; preventing US institutions, including colleges, media organizations and banks, from accepting money from sharia-ruled dictatorships; closing down mosques where jihad is preached and supported.

Not a single phone call or email would thus have to be read to fend off jihad and the vectors of sharia aimed at the heart of the US Constitution.

But such measures would undermine the prevailing, Marx-derived ideology that has poisoned the wellspring of every American institution, from academia to churches to the family unit itself. This is an ideology that knows no partisan bounds. It is as prevalent on the “right” and it is on the “left.”…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Did NSA Already Use Its Massive Surveillance Apparatus to Hijack the Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare?

(NaturalNews) “Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere… I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President…” — NSA spy grid whistleblower Edward Snowden.

And so it begins: the power to tap the private phone calls of a federal judge or even the President. All at the fingertips of young NSA analysts who sift through masses of private data collected through the government’s back doors into the servers of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Skype, AOL and others. (Here’s the proof.)

But if a 29-year-old working for the NSA could wiretap a federal judge, he could also wiretap a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Anything he found that was embarrassing or even incriminating could be used in a simple blackmail threat to force that justice to change his or her decision on a key issue…

… like Obamacare.

Back in July of 2012, news headlines were ablaze with the revelation that Supreme Court Justice John Roberts suddenly and unexpectedly changed his decision on Obamacare, siding with big government instead of protecting individual liberties. Many facts surrounding this sudden change of decision raise huge red flags when viewed in the context of the NSA being able to wiretap anyone’s emails, phone calls and private files — including a Supreme Court justice.

As CBS news reported in 2012, “Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court’s four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations. Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said.

Regardless of the strength of the supporting evidence brought to Roberts during his time of consideration for the decision, nothing caused him to budge. Roberts was inexplicably immovable, even though he was now siding against nearly everything he had argued and decided in previous court cases.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Government Spying on Americans … and Then Giving Info to Giant Corporations

You’ve heard that the government spies on all Americans.

But you might not know that the government shares some of that information with big corporations.

In addition, Reuters reported in 2011 that the NSA shares intelligence with Wall Street banks in the name of “battling hackers.”…

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found in 2012 that fusion centers spy on citizens, produce ‘shoddy’ work unrelated to terrorism or real threats:

“The Subcommittee investigation found that DHS-assigned detailees to the fusion centers forwarded ‘intelligence’ of uneven quality — oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.”…

In essence, big banks and giant corporations are seen as being part of “critical infrastructure” and “key resources” … so the government protects them. That creates a dynamic where the government will do quite a bit to protect the big boys against any real or imagined threats … whether from activists or even smaller competitors. (Remember that the government has completely propped up the big banks, even though they went bankrupt due to stupid gambles.)

And given that some millions of private contractors have clearance to view information gathered by spy agencies, and that information gained by the NSA by spying on Americans is being shared with agencies in other countries, at least some of the confidential information is undoubtedly leaking into private handseven without the government’s knowledge or consent.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

IRS Buying Spying Equipment: Covert Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants

The IRS, currently in the midst of scandals involving the targeting of conservative groups and lavish taxpayer-funded conferences, is ordering surveillance equipment that includes hidden cameras in coffee trays, plants and clock radios.

The IRS wants to secure the surveillance equipment quickly — it posted a solicitation on June 6 and is looking to close the deal by Monday, June 10. The agency already has a company lined up for the order but is not commenting on the details.

“The Internal Revenue Service intends to award a Purchase Order to an undisclosed Corporation,” reads the solicitation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Main Core: A List of Millions of Americans That Will be Subject to Detention During Martial Law

Are you on the list? Are you one of the millions of Americans that have been designated a threat to national security by the U.S. government? Will you be subject to detention when martial law is imposed during a major national emergency? As you will see below, there is actually a list that contains the names of at least 8 million Americans known as Main Core that the U.S. intelligence community has been compiling since the 1980s. A recent article on Washington’s Blog quoted a couple of old magazine articles that mentioned this program, and I was intrigued because I didn’t know what it was. So I decided to look into Main Core, and what I found out was absolutely stunning — especially in light of what Edward Snowden has just revealed to the world. It turns out that the U.S. government is not just gathering information on all of us. The truth is that the U.S. government has used this information to create a list of threats to national security that the government would potentially watch, question or even detain during a national crisis. If you have ever been publicly critical of the government, there is a very good chance that you are on that list.

The following is how Wikipedia describes Main Core…

Main Core is the code name of a database maintained since the 1980s by the federal government of the United States. Main Core contains personal and financial data of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data, which comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, and other sources, is collected and stored without warrants or court orders. The database’s name derives from the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”

It was Christopher Ketchum of Radar Magazine that first reported on the existence of Main Core. At the time, the shocking information that he revealed did not get that much attention. That is quite a shame, because it should have sent shockwaves across the nation…

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Most Americans Support Being Spied on by NSA

“Good German” syndrome runs rampant as government becomes tyrannical

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has sacrificed his freedom, his future, his family, his home and his model girlfriend in order to warn Americans that they are the targets of a monolithic spy agency which is working feverishly to ensure that privacy is demolished — and most Americans simply don’t care…

“A majority of Americans — 56% — say the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program tracking the telephone records of millions of Americans is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism,” reports Pew Research Center.

A comparison with a previous poll from January 2006 highlights the fact that more Americans are now likely to support NSA surveillance despite the huge scandal it caused for the Bush administration. Under Bush, 47% found NSA wiretapping of Americans unacceptable whereas just 41% find it unacceptable under Obama.

The poll also finds that whereas 61% of Democrats found blanket NSA surveillance unacceptable under Bush, only 34% oppose it under Obama — underscoring once again how partisanship is used to dismantle American freedoms no matter who is in office.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

National Intelligence Director Attacked for Suggesting No Knowledge of Surveillance

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is under fire for statements he made before Congress that suggested he had no knowledge about federal government programs that collected data on millions of Americans’ phone calls and Internet activities.

In March, Clapper said at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that he was not aware that the National Security Agency was involved in such large-scale efforts.

The questioning of Clapper’s statements follow blockbuster news last week that the federal government has since 9/11 been logging millions, perhaps billions, of calls and Internet activities and as the NSA’s top official goes before the same Senate committee for a closed-door briefing on the issue.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NSA “Whistleblower” An Enemy Agent?

The fingerprints of America’s enemies and adversaries are all over the disclosures about the NSA’s terrorist surveillance program. It is significant that NSA contract employee Edward Snowden would flee to Hong Kong — controlled by China — and that he would select Glenn Greenwald, a far-left columnist, as his mouthpiece.

Greenwald, an open homosexual now living with his “husband” in Brazil, came to our attention in 2009 when he proudly received an award named after I.F. Stone, a leftist journalist exposed as a Soviet agent.

After first giving Greenwald and his then-secret source tons of favorable publicity and softball coverage, the media seem to be having second thoughts, with CNN asking about Snowden, “Is this guy a hero or a traitor?” Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, told the channel that Snowden is “a defector” from the U.S.

Former CIA officer Robert Baer told CNN that Edward Snowden may be a Chinese agent under the control of the Chinese regime. Referring to the fact that Snowden has fled to Hong Kong, Baer said the region is “controlled by Chinese intelligence” and that “I’ve talked to a bunch of people in Washington today in official positions and they are looking at this as a potential Chinese espionage case.”

Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian columnist who used Snowden as his source, is no fan of the United States. He specializes in articles protesting tough treatment of terrorists bent on destroying the U.S. and Israel. In an exchange with Bill Maher, a fellow left-winger, Greenwald even disputed the view that Islam is uniquely violent and threatening.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ron Paul: When You Have a Dictatorship, Truth Becomes Treasonous

Former Congressman Ron Paul offered up a heaping portion of Constitutional liberty on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live yesterday when he addressed the recent NSA spy grid scandal, which has linked several high tech giants, including Facebook, Microsoft and Skype, to a secret program in which the government agency was allowed access to those companies’ servers.

Asked if he considered NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden a hero, Paul answered, “Well… he’s done a great service because he’s telling the truth and this is what we are starved for. The American people are starved for the truth.”

Snowden’s actions, first reported by the UK’s Guardian newspaper and next the Washington Post, have come under fierce scrutiny by members on both sides of the political divide, leading several politicians to label him a “traitor” and his leak of government secrets “treasonous.”

According to Paul, these are the tell-tale signs of a dictatorial government: “And when you have a dictatorship or an authoritarian government, truth becomes treasonous. And this is what they do if you are a whistleblower, or if you are trying to tell the American people that our country is destroying our rule of law and destroying our Constitution, they turn it around and say, ‘You’re committing treason…’“

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Twenty Trillion Phone Calls: “They’ve Been Collecting Data About All Domestic Calls Since October 2001”

“The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government. We must be alert to the … danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.”

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Farewell Address

January 17, 1961

In 2011, when we noted that Everything You Do Is Monitored, we weren’t embellishing or fear mongering.

This is as real as it gets.

The National Security Agency’s collection of phone data from all of Verizon’s U.S. customers is just the “tip of the iceberg,” says a former NSA official who estimates the agency has data on as many as 20 trillion phone calls and emails by U.S. citizens.

William Binney, an award-winning mathematician and noted NSAwhistleblower, says the collection dates back to when the super-secret agency began domestic surveillance after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I believe they’ve been collecting data about all domestic calls since October 2001,” said Mr. Binney, who worked at NSA for more than 30 years. “That’s more than a billion calls a day.”…

The surveillance grid is being put into place all around us and its capabilities are unimaginable to most — something that could only exist in the realm of Hollywood plots.

But this is no $80 million Hollywood movie. The budget for the U.S. government’s surveillance program is 1,000 times that.

At an estimated $80 billion this production employs nearly one million people.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

British Couple Thrown in Spanish Jail and Fined £600 After Refusing to Pay for Paella They Didn’t Even Order

A British couple who say they were charged for an extra paella while on holiday ended up in a Spanish prison cell after complaining.

Geoff Cox and his partner Bridget Keyes visited a restaurant on their cycling vacation from Cordoba to Granada.

They noticed a meal for an extra €15 (£12.70) on their bill and highlighted it with the waiter. But he argued with them and they refused to pay the extra cash.

Mr Cox, speaking after returning to the UK following his and Miss Keyes’ arrest on May 17, told the Dorking Advertiser: ‘We pointed out the extra paella and the waiter went off like a firecracker.

‘We put down €105 and said we would pay that, but he wanted €120.’

It got a bit ugly and when he said he would call the police we said, ‘Right, fine’, because we were certain they would side with us.’

But when the police arrived the couple were arrested. They spent the night in the local police cells having their shoes confiscated and given nothing to eat or drink until the next morning.

The next day they were given access to a lawyer and a translator, only to find out that Mr Cox had been charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and defrauding a restaurant.

‘It’s a bloody outrage and we must still make sure our fine gets paid to the right place.

‘If it gets lost in the system we could find ourselves facing a European extradition warrant, so I’m still worried about it.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

France: EPFL Scientists Design Futuristic ‘Modular’ Plane

The model of a modular plane, with wings that can be attached to train carriages or other components, will be shown at the Paris Air Show next week, inventors from the Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne (EPFL) said on Monday.

The “Clip-Air” project is fresh off the drawing board and features a single flying wing that could be clipped onto for instance train “capsules” carrying passengers or cargo, the technical university said in a statement.

“More than a new type of flying device, its innovative concept could revolutionize the airports of the future,” researchers said.

In a future of Clip-Air planes, people would be able to “go to the train station to take the plane,” EPFL said.

“Board on a capsule to reach the airport by rail, and then — without leaving (their) seat — fly to another city,” it said.

EPFL acknowledged that the project its researchers have worked on since 2009 remained “very futuristic,” but its scientists were convinced it was technically feasible.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Paris Man Shot Dead at Dinner in Restaurant

A 38-year-old man has been shot dead while eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Paris, it was reported on Tuesday. Some 20 fellow diners were left shocked by the killing.

The victim was sitting down to dinner at the ‘Cheval d’Or’ on rue des Panoyeaux on Monday night when an armed assailant burst into the Chinese restaurant at around 10.30pm French time.

To the horror of 20 or so fellow diners, the gunman opened fire, shooting his target three times as he ate, before fleeing the establishment, in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, in a Renault Mégane.

Emergency services were immediately called to the scene of the crime, but were unable to revive the 38-year-old victim, who was having a heart attack when they arrived.

The perpetrator’s vehicle was later found burnt-out in the Parisian suburb of Seine Saint-Denis.

According to police sources cited by French television TF1, the Algerian-born victim was well-known to police for his alleged involvement in acts of violence, extortion, and drug trafficking.

For this reason, investigators’ chief line of inquiry is into the possibility of gangland revenge as a motive for the killing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Firm Breaks Taboo With Wine in a Can

An award-winning French viticulturist is about to sell his wine in colour-coded cans, breaking yet another taboo in France, where something as seemingly innocent as a rubber cork only a few years ago had faces contorted in disgust.

Winemakers at the Château de l’Ille in the Languedoc-Roussillon department of southeastern France are behind the bold move, which involves packaging AOC wine in cans.

AOC (“appelation d’origine controlée”) is a special label given to a selected number of products by the French government, and indicates that this wine in a can is no watered-down swill, but rather meets a set of strict production standards and guidelines.

The three cans, with the colour of the rim corresponding to the type of wine inside, will be launched by the company Winestar at the Vinexpo conference in Bordeaux this weekend. A pink rim signifes the rosé, for example.

“We want to become the Nespresso of wine,” Cédric Segal, co-founder of the company behind the innovation, Fabulous Brands, told French daily Le Figaro.

The move is an attempt to lasso younger generations of would-be wine lovers, as the small cans are so easily carried in a handbag or rucksack, and they sell at €2.50 each.

“They don’t consume wine in the same way as their elders do, but they are equally demanding about quality,” said the company Winestar in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Roma Gypsies Rob Angolan Diplomat of €3,000 in Capital’

Rome, 4 June (AKI) — Pickpockets — allegedly two young Roma Gypsies — stole 3,000 euros from an Angolan diplomat in central Rome on Monday and one of them managed to escape with the cash.

One of two Roma Gypsy women seized the wad of banknotes wrapped in plastic from the diplomat’s trouser pocket on the via del Tritone shopping street Monday, according to police.

The diplomat carried out a citizen’s arrest on the other Roma Gypsy, named as 19-year-ld Dana Osmanovic, who had tried to grab his shoulder-bag.

But as the diplomat held Osmanovic in an arm-lock, her accomplice allegedly reached into his pocket and grabbed the 3,000 euros before running off.

Police arrested Osmanovic, who faces charges of complicity in aggravated robbery.

Police were on Tuesday searching for Osmanovic’s accomplice and the 3,000 euro booty.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Italy: Indian Arrested for Beating Moroccan and Robbing Him

Bari, 6 June (AKI) — Police in southern Italy on Thursday arrested an Indian accused of beating a Moroccan with a chain and robbing him of 200 euros.

The 35-year-old Indian was arrested after eye-witnesess told police they had seen him fleeing down a side street after the attack in the town of Modugno outside the coastal city of Bari in the Puglia region.

Police returned to the Moroccan the 200 euros allegedly found in the Indian’s pocket.

The Moroccan was taken to nearby hospital where doctors diagnosed a fractured ankle that would take 30 days to heal.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Italy: Artisan Association Says Taxes Choking Them Out of Existence

Small business group slams bureaucracy

(ANSA) — Rome, June 11 — The head of an Italian federation of artisans on Tuesday blasted heavy Italian taxes and its accompanying jungle of rules for choking Italy’s businesses in a speech to an assembly of members.

“The tax authority in Italy takes 68.3% of businesses’ gross margins, in Switzerland, it’s barely 30.2%,” said Confartigianato president Giorgio Merletti.

“Italian enterprises are running blindfolded the wrong way into traffic on a one way street,” Merletti added.

“It seems one has to do everything to push beyond limits to find normal conditions for doing business,” he said. Merletti warned that businesses can no longer take the fiscal pressure, which in 2013 will reach 44.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP), or 2.4% more than the eurozone average.

Italians pay 38 billion euros in taxes more than their European partners, or 639 euros more per resident, Merletti continued.

Between 2005 and 2013, tax increases sapped 132 billion euros from potential GDP growth, he claimed.

“We can’t get out of the tunnel of crisis this way,” Merletti said.

Merletti added that from the beginning of the last legislature to today, Italian parliament has passed 491 new laws pertaining to taxes, or 100 per year, each accompanied with a kit of implementation decrees and explanatory circulars. Merlett said bureaucracy alone costs Italy 31 billion euros per year, and is particularly difficult for small business people to cope with.

Those who lead Italy “don’t understand that artisanal products and small businesses are the heart, hands and intelligence of products made in Italy,” Merletti said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Centre Left Consolidates Strong Showing With Sicilian Result

Victory for PD in Catania, ahead in Messina, Siracusa, Ragusa

(ANSA) — Rome, June 11 — The centre left has continued its strong showing in the first nationwide round of local elections since February’s national vote with a good performance in Sicily, early results suggested on Tuesday.

Candidates representing the centre-left Democratic Party, which has been hit by internal turmoil after it failed to win February’s general election, took Rome and 10 other provincial capitals in run-off votes staged Sunday and Monday.

The outcome gave the PD and 16-0 win over ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right alliance when one counts the victories centre-left candidates sealed in the first round last month by winning over 50% of the vote, making run-offs unnecessary in these cases.

Sicily, meanwhile, held first-round votes for many town and city councils on Sunday and Monday, including provincial capitals Catania, Messina, Siracusa and Ragusa.

Former PD Senator Enzo Bianco is the new mayor of Catania, after claiming just over 50% of the vote in the first round, while centre-right incumbent Raffaele Stancanelli had around 37%.

The centre left’s Felice Calabro also looked like he may prevail in the first round in Messina.

He had 50.18% of the vote after over 80% of the papers had been counted, with Renato Accorinti, the head of a group opposed the hypothesis of building a bridge across the Strait of Messina to connect Sicily to the mainland, second with 23.74%. Centre-left candidates were also ahead in Siracusa and Ragusa, although both contests look set to go to run-offs. Premier Enrico Letta, a PD member who has been at the helm of an unprecedented left-right government since April, said Monday that the local election results had strengthened his administration.

“It seems that overall this result reinforces the system of a broad coalition government,” said Letta, who has repeatedly reiterated that his government was the only way out of two months of impasse following February’s inconclusive vote. “That’s how I read it. It’s a result that spurs me and us to keep working”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Boy Suffers Sex Attack in Greyfriars Bus Station Toilets

A teenage boy was sexually assaulted inside the men’s toilets in Northampton’s Greyfriars Bus Station, police have revealed.

The 15-year-old was attacked on Friday while using the public toilets in the bus station, some time between 3.45pm and 4.15pm.

Police say he was approached by a man who stood at the urinal next to him.

He then committed “a lewd act” and spoke to the boy before indecently assaulting the teen.

The man is described as Asian, aged between 40 and 50.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Businessman vs Burglars in Midnight Fight at His Premises. Now He’s on GBH Charge

A businessman who confronted suspected burglars raiding his premises at night could be jailed after he grabbed one of the gang’s weapons and used it to fight back.

Andrew Woodhouse, 43, claims he was chasing thieves off his property when one of them ‘came at’ him with a wooden stick.

In the scuffle, he managed to grab the stick and used it to injure the man’s legs before holding him down and screaming at his wife to call the police.

After a series of burglaries at his paving firm in Abergavenny, South Wales, Mr Woodhouse thought he might finally have helped to bring one of the robbers to justice.

But then police arrested Mr Woodhouse as well and held him in a cell for 18 hours.

He has been charged with grievous bodily harm with intent and will appear before magistrates on Thursday, along with the two men he apprehended.

Mr Woodhouse’s case has led to calls for the Crown Prosecution Service to show ‘common sense’ in dealing with those who defend themselves outside, with MPs calling the decision to prosecute him ‘astonishing’.

If found guilty, he could face a sentence of life imprisonment.

Mr Woodhouse employs six staff including two of his sons at the family business, which was set up 20 years ago. The firm has lost £15,000 in recent years to thefts of diesel and tools.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Bilderberg Conspiracies Are ‘Absolute Nonsense’, Ken Clarke Insists After Being Called to Parliament Over Secret Meetings

Ken Clarke today dismissed conspiracy theories about the secretive Bilderberg Group conference as ‘absolute nonsense’.

And in a thinly-veiled swipe at Commons Speaker John Bercow, he said he could not believe he had been dragged to the Commons to comment on an event held by a private organisation.

The senior minister attended the Bilderberg meeting with David Cameron and George Osborne last week, but Downing Street has refused to give any information about who they met or what was discussed.

Labour figures including Ed Balls and Lord Mandelson also attended.

Today Mr Clarke was called to the Commons to explain what happened at the four-day conference, after Mr Cameron once promised to lead the ‘most open and transparent government in the world’…

But Mr Meacher, an environment minister in Tony Blair’s government, insisted there was something amiss.

‘It is said by some, and indeed by you, that Bilderberg is a conspiracy — of course it’s not a conspiracy.

‘But at the same time 130 of the world’s top decision-makers don’t travel thousands of miles simply for a cosy chat.

‘They have come here in order to concert their plans to deal with a particularly awkward stage in western capitalism and as such we, the public, are entitled to ask some questions and to hold them to account.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Choudary Slammed Over Fake Pic Claim

They were taken in the late 1980s when he was known as a drunken womaniser called Andy studying at Southampton University.

Last night the former student who took them insisted: “For him to claim these are faked is laughable. Why can’t he just come clean?”

Embarrassed Choudary, 46, begged followers to get the pics taken off the internet and even whined on Twitter: “The Sun have resorted to using photoshop to invent stories!”…

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: DNA Links Man to Rape of Transsexual Woman in Camden Alley 12 Years Ago, Court Hears

Mohamad Salim, 43, is alleged to have plucked charity worker Anna Vincent from the street outside Camden Town Tube station and raped her in a nearby alleyway on January 23, 2001.

Salim, of St Anthony’s Flats, Aldenham Street, Somers Town, was not linked to the crime until a cold case review in 2011 when semen discovered in the alleyway was found to be a one-in-a-billion match with his DNA, the Old Bailey heard.

Ms Vincent, who had undergone a sex change four years prior to the attack and was still legally regarded as a man, died in 2006 and can be identified as a result.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Doctor in Court on Sex Assault Charges

A SWINDON doctor faced a judge and jury yesterday after pleading not guilty to three counts of sexual assault on a patient.

Narendra Sharma, 55, of The Boulevard, Taw Hill, appeared at Salisbury Crown Court charged with three offences, relating to July 18, 2011, while he was working in the Clover Centre, at the Great Western Hospital.

He is said to have sexually assaulted a 33-year-old female patient with a medical instrument, and sexually touched her without her consent and without reasonably believing that she had consented.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Leader: It’s Not Going to End Pretty

The English Defence League’s initials were scrawled on the mosque that was burnt down in north London last week and the Met Police has said there has been a rise in Islamophobic attacks following the Woolwich murder.

EDL Leader Tommy Robinson told the Today programme’s Sarah Montague: “Our tactics are completely questionable… But what choice do we have?”

He said that he “utterly condemns” a violent act “by anyone” but also admitted that he had been “arrested for assaulting someone” after they had given a Nazi salute.

He said that he wanted “all aspects of Sharia outlawed” in the UK and explained that the idea that EDL initials were written on a mosque by his members “seems ridiculous”.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

UK: Edward Snowden and Whistleblowers: ‘The Truth Sets You Free’

Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s electronic surveillance make him one of the most damaging whistleblowers in history. But what drives loyal employees to reveal the truth? And how do they live with the backlash?

Annie Machon

A former MI5 officer, Machon resigned from the security service, along with her then partner David Shayler, in 1996, and blew the whistle on alleged failures and crimes, including illegal MI5 phone taps.

I think Edward Snowden is in for a rough ride. But the way he has run the whole exposure and disclosure of the crimes of the NSA and what they are doing against the American people and people around the world has been very sophisticated. Obviously, he will have taken on board the sort of security and extradition issues that he needs to think about. From what I can see, he has taken very careful steps to protect those closest to him. The message he is putting out now is why he is doing it, why it is important, why people need to listen to what he is saying. I think it has been very, very well done.

What the NSA is doing is turning the US — and, by extension, the rest of the world — into a Big Brother surveillance state. As soon as you get into this situation where the nuts and bolts of the internet — Google, Facebook, a system we all use — can be used to spy on us, whether those companies know it or not, we have no privacy whatsoever. And once we have no privacy on the internet, we lose any sense of freedom to express ourselves openly. We lose our freedom to download information and ingest information openly. So we lose free society. Free thought requires free media.

I hope the Obama administration has learned from prosecuting and persecuting multiple whistleblowers, Bradley Manning being just one of them. They are not winning the war of the desire for information to be free, the desire for people to be informed. I think normal young people within the intelligence agencies are going to think: Well, actually, we are doing this for good reasons not bad reasons. And they will speak out.

Often people who blow the whistle try to deal with the issue in-house. We certainly did. You go to your boss and say: “This is wrong.” You say: “We should learn from mistakes made.” And they tell you just to shut up, not rock the boat and follow orders. What does it take to be a whistleblower? Often the very trait that attracts you to intelligence work — that is, to make a real difference, protect your country’s way of life and potentially save lives. To stand up against organisational groupthink and say: “This is wrong”, knowing you face not just loss of career but also loss of liberty, takes courage — and Snowden has that in spades…

Derek Pasquill

A former Foreign Office official who was sacked but cleared of Official Secrets charges in 2008 for leaking documents about what Britain knew of the US’s policy of extraordinary rendition, and guidance about which Muslim organisations ministers should embrace.

Snowden raises the whole question of civil liberties and of the government spying on people. It is a huge case. Whistleblower cases over the last 10 years have got bigger and bigger — WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning. You can reveal things at the touch of a button. So governments might be quite concerned about the level of their security in the future.

Why do people blow the whistle? It comes down to intuition. Something’s not quite right. I was in a specific position to do something. There were two strands — the policy of “extraordinary rendition” of terror suspects and confusion surrounding that term — and concern about using the Muslim Council of Britain as a one-stop shop [for guidance on the British Muslim community]. It was a misguided policy, so I blew the whistle. Snowden will be in a difficult position. I was dismissed by the Foreign Office for gross misconduct. I am now working on a project on 17th-century art…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Moroccan Man Found Guilty of Stabbing Fashion Designer to Death

A Moroccan man has been found guilty of stabbing a fashion designer to death in his north London flat.

Shaun Akanbi’s body was found in his locked bedroom in Exeter Road, Kilburn, last December.

Achraf Jandara, 20, of Comber Grove, Camberwell, was found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey. He was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 28 years.

He was captured on CCTV leaving wearing clothes from the 26-year-old victim’s label Billy Boyce, the jury heard.

Mr Akanbi founded the fashion label in 2008 and his clothing range was popular with celebrities, the court heard.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Man, 22, Recovering in Hospital After Stabbing in Croydon

A MAN is recovering in hospital after being stabbed in Croydon town centre.

Police were called to reports of a fight in St George’s Walk at 4.20am last Sunday

When officers arrived they found a 22-year-old man with two stab wounds.

He was taken to a south London hospital where he remains in a stable condition.

Croydon Police have only today released details of the attack.

Detectives believe an argument occurred between two groups and a number of suspects have then attacked the man, leaving him with stab wounds.

One of the attackers is described as a black man, of slim build, approximately 5ft 6 with long black plaited hair.

Another suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6ft 1 with black hair and facial hair.

DC Lucy Shears, from Croydon CID, said the victim was lucky to be alive.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Hate Monitor to Lose Backing

by Andrew Gilligan

Ministers end funding for body that claimed ‘wave of attacks’ against Islam.

A controversial project claiming to measure anti-Muslim attacks will not have its government grant renewed after police and civil servants raised concerns about its methods. The project, called Tell Mama, claimed that there had been a “sustained wave of attacks and intimidation” against British Muslims after the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, with 193 “Islamophobic incidents” reported to it, rising to 212 by last weekend.

The group’s founder, Fiyaz Mughal, said he saw “no end to this cycle of violence”, describing it as “unprecedented”. The claims were unquestioningly repeated in the media. Tell Mama and Mr Mughal did not mention, however, that 57 per cent of the 212 reports referred to activity that took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook, or that a further 16 per cent of the 212 reports had not been verified. Not all the online abuse even originated in Britain.

Contrary to the group’s claim of a “cycle of violence” and a “sustained wave of attacks”, only 17 of the 212 incidents, 8 per cent, involved the physical targeting of people and there were no attacks on anyone serious enough to require medical treatment…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Riot Police Clash With Anti-G8 Protesters in London

(Reuters) — Riot police clashed with anti-capitalist protesters in running confrontations through the streets of central London on Tuesday and arrested 32 people as activists targeted some of the world’s biggest companies before next week’s G8 summit.

About 100 protesters gathered outside oil company BP Plc’s headquarters, while others chanted “war criminals” at the office of U.S. defence company Lockheed Martin Corp…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Spying Fantasy

SOUNDS terrifying, doesn’t it?

Spooks at GCHQ, in league with shadowy button-pushers in America, putting us all under surveillance, trawling our Facebook photos, even reading our words as we type them. Except that, for almost every single one of us, they’re not.

This “Big Brother” nightmare is a hysterical fantasy hyped mainly by the Left. Think about it. The amount of data at the spies’ disposal is mind-boggling. How could they sift it all? Why would they? They’re not remotely interested in the millions of ordinary citizens leading law-abiding lives.

As William Hague convincingly explained, this mountain of information is collected to flag up suspicious trails left by terrorists or serious organised criminals. Our spooks just can’t win, can they? When, despite all fears, they kept us safe during the Olympics, Britain shrugged its shoulders. Now we know how that was done — and there are cries of anguish about our civil liberties…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Thousands in Legal Aid for Man Who Raped and Killed His Niece, Seven, To Fight for Right to Vote

A killer who raped and strangled his seven-year-old niece has been given tens of thousands of pounds in legal aid to demand the right to vote.

Peter Chester’s lawyers argued in the Supreme Court yesterday that the UK’s ban on prisoners voting breached his human rights and EU law.

The case in the country’s highest court was given the go-ahead despite the Prime Minister’s insistence that the voting ban will remain in place.

The case has already been heard twice in two other courts, costing taxpayers thousands.

Seven Supreme Court justices are conducting a two-day hearing that will finish today, with a judgment expected later this year.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Tommy Robinson, Islamism and the EDL: When Should We Listen to Extremists?

by Dan Hodges

When should we listen to the extremists? This morning there’s been a strong reaction to an interview with English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson on the Today programme. I didn’t take any notes, but by and large Mr Robinson made a pretty good fist of pulling the wool over the eyes of his interviewer Sarah Montagu, and the nation as a whole.

He utterly rejected violence, he said, even though he has convictions for football hooliganism and common assault. He claimed the EDL was an organisation committed to peaceful protest, even though last year its planned march through Walthamstow was banned by the Home Secretary in order to “ensure local communities and property are protected”. Perhaps most significantly, he claimed his stalwart group of English patriots were simply the natural working-class response to the encroachment of Islamic extremism and Sharia. “Who wants to sit down and debate with, and listen to, working people like us,” he said, or words to that effect…

[JP note: Still too sensitive a subject for the Telegraph to allow reader comments: Comments are closed.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Wales: Mohammad Asghar Accuses Senior Worshippers at a Newport Mosque of Publishing ‘Gravely Damaging’ Allegations

South Wales East AM has lodged papers at the High Court accusing senior worshippers at a Newport mosque of publishing “gravely damaging” allegations

The first ethnic minority politician elected to the National Assembly has accused five senior worshippers at the mosque he attends of publishing “gravely damaging” and wholly unfounded allegations against him. But all five are defending themselves against a High Court libel claim brought against them by Conservative Shadow Equalities and Sport Minister Mohammad Asghar.

Mr Asghar, who was born in Pakistan, was elected as a Plaid Cymru regional AM for South Wales East in 2007. He later defected to the Tories and was re-elected to the Assembly under that banner in 2011. WalesOnline has seen details of the claim lodged by Mr Asghar and Newport businessman Abdul Rahman Mujahid against Manzoor Ahmad, Frarzand Ali JP, Shokat Bhutt, Mohammad Ali Hayat and Javed Javed. Mr Mujahid chairs the Muslim Welfare Association of Wales, while all five defendants are either members of, or associated with, the interim management committee of the Jamia and Al-Noor mosques in Newport…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Why Do French Women Make More Babies?

While a ‘baby recession’ has hit Europe along with a dire economic climate, the French are bucking the trend with the highest birth rate on the continent. The government has been forced to make cutbacks, but even these are unlikely to stop the trend.

Julie is up at the crack of dawn.

A frantic day, packed with diapers and court appointments, has just begun. The 34-year-old attorney is the mother of 2-year-old Milan and 6-month-old Martin. After the feeding and dressing rituals of the morning, she drops the boys off at a part-time nursery school. She then rushes either to meet clients at the courthouse or the police station, or to the small practice she opened by herself two months ago in the town of Tourves, about 45 minutes north of Marseille.

She never takes a lunch break. That small sacrifice allows her to pick up Milan and Martin around 4:30pm and enjoy some playtime before preparing dinner. When the kids are finally sleeping peacefully, the young lawyer can get down to tackling the housework.

Julie’s case is fairly typical in France in as much as her children are in enrolled in some form of long-term childcare, even when they are a few months old.

That is not the case of her peers in the rest of Europe. Even in Scandinavian countries that spend comparable amounts on social programmes aimed at families and children — in France about 4% of GDP— kids usually stay home longer. But many French toddlers “graduate” from a part- and full-time nursery school or home-based care with a nanny to start public pre-school as early as 3.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EIB Provides Further Eur 200 Million for Istanbul-Ankara High Speed Rail Line

The European Investment Bank is providing EUR 200 million to the Turkish State Railways, as a further contribution to upgrading the country’s main transport corridor between Ankara and Istanbul. This additional funding brings total EIB support for this high speed railway line to some EUR 1.5 billion.

The finance agreement was signed today in Ankara in a public ceremony. Mr Ibrahim Çanakci, Undersecretary of Treasury, signed on behalf of the Republic of Turkey, and President Werner Hoyer signed on behalf of the EIB, in the presence of the EIB Vice-President responsible for Turkey, Mr Pim van Ballekom, during an official visit to Turkey.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: EIB, 200 Mln to High Speed Line Ankara-Istanbul

Country is the biggest receiver of fundings outside Union

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JUNE 11 — The European Investment Bank is providing 200 million euros to the Turkish State Railways, as a further contribution to upgrading the country’s main transport corridor between Ankara and Istanbul. This additional funding brings total EIB support for this high speed railway line to some 1.5 billion euros.

“I am pleased to sign this loan agreement today bringing further EIB support for this flagship project linking Europe with Asia” EIB President Werner Hoyer stated. “Over the last decade, the Bank has lent as much as 17 billion euros. It is especially since 2005 that we have seen a surge in the Bank’s activity, which is now stands at a robust annual volume of some 2 billion euros. That makes Turkey the biggest recipient country by far of EIB funds outside the Union, and would even put it as the 7th largest beneficiary country in the Union” Hoyer said. The project was first financed by the EIB in 2006. It aims at building the country’s first high speed railway between the country’s two largest cities. It will interconnect with the Marmaray Bosphorus Tunnel, also financed by the EIB.

In this way it will enable train connections between the two continents. EIB has been strongly supporting this effort and hence the total value of EIB financing for the Turkish rail system in the last five years comes to some 2.5 billion euros. In addition, the project is strongly supportive of key strategic objectives of EU policy and is a continuation of Pan-European Corridor IV. The European Union is therefore also providing a grant of EUR 120 million to the high speed line project through its Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) funds.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

No One Hurt by Car Bomb at Italian Embassy in Libya

(AGI) Tripoli, June 11 — Ambassador Buccino Grimaldi has reported that no one was injured by the car bomb placed under an embassy vehicle in Tripoli’s Zawyat Edlahman district. “No one has been injured thanks to the driver’s prompt reaction when he understood something was wrong,” said Ambassador Buccino Grimaldi talking to AGI.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Israeli Father Beats African Rapist Unconscious

Around five in the morning, Wednesday, a 20-year-old foreign national from Africa burst into an apartment in the Yad Eliahu neighborhood in south Tel Aviv and started to molest an 8-year-old girl sleeping in her room, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported.

As a result of the attack, the girl began to cry and her mother, who was sleeping in the next room, woke up. When she entered her daughter’s room, she saw the intruder in the process of raping the girl, and ran over to try and stop him. In the fighting that ensued, the African stabbed the mother, who sustained light to medium injuries.

Moments later, the girl’s father woke up, realized what was happening and rushed to attack the intruder. According to police, the father, who studied martial arts, began beating the infiltrator, wounding him severely.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Syria: Double Attack in Damascus, At Least 14 Dead

Sana, some 30 wounded in two suicide attacks downtown

(ANSAmed) — DAMASCUS, JUNE 11 — At least 14 people were killed and 31 wounded in a double suicide attack on Tuesday in central Damascus, according to the official Sana news agency.

Sana confirmed that the explosions in Merge square were caused by two suicide bombers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: For Aleppo Bishop, Boy’s Brutal Killing Shows Jihadist Danger

Muhammad al-Qatta, a 14-year-old coffee seller, was killed on Sunday by a group of Islamists, executed in public, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. For Bishop Jean Clement Jeanbart, a jihadist victory would mean that Christians could no longer practice their religion in Syria. In an appeal to all Catholics, he calls on them to pray for an end to the war and for the reconciliation of the Syrian people.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) — The public execution of Muhammad al-Qatta, a young coffee seller brutally assassinated on Sunday by a group of jihadists in Aleppo for insulting Muhammad, “is a terrible event that shocked the entire population of the city, Muslims and Christians, who do not want an Islamic state in Syria,” Mgr Jean Clement Jeanbart, Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, told AsiaNews. For the prelate, such an act is yet another example of the brutality of foreign militants fighting in Syria.

“Christians,” he explained, “are terrified by these militias and fear that in the event of their victory they would no longer be able to practice their religion and that they would be forced to leave the country.” Sending more weapons to the country would only lead to more such cases of violence, he added.

Reported by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organisation run by rebels in exile Muhammad al-Qatta’s case has been repeated around the world.

The incident occurred on Sunday in one of the districts of the city controlled by Islamist insurgents. The young man was working at his kiosk when two men approached him demanding a cup of coffee for free. The boy protested, saying that “even Muhammad himself would have done the right thing and paid.”

Outraged by the answer, the two fighters took away little Mohammed. After beating him, they led him to the streets getting people to bear false witness against him by saying that the boy had insulted the prophet and Islam.

After reading the verdict, the teenager was blindfolded and killed with two shots to the neck and the back, in front of his parents and a crowd of over a hundred people, forced to watch the execution. What actually happened has yet to be confirmed however.

In a video aired on a rebel website, a woman claiming to be Muhammad’s mother describes her son’s brutal killing, saying that the boy was working to help the family.

This morning, the Islamic court of the “Caliphate of Iraq and the Levant”, the name by which Islamists call the districts of Aleppo under their rule, issued a statement in which it denied responsibility in the case, claiming that it had never authorised Muhammad al-Qatta’s execution or trial.

For Mgr Jeanbart, Islamic Courts are a scourge that plagues most of the areas controlled by al-Qaeda affiliated foreign militias, which are also opposed by local pro-rebel groups, not to mention by supporters of Bashar al-Assad.

“As soon as they reached the city,” the bishop said, “Islamist guerrillas, almost all of them from abroad, took over the mosques. Every Friday, an imam launches their messages of hate, calling on the population to kill anyone who does not practice the religion of the Prophet Muhammad. They use the courts to level charges of blasphemy. Who is contrary to their way of thinking pays with his life (see video).”

The prelate called on all Catholics to pray for Syria. “Let us turn to God for an end to the conflict and the violence and for the reconciliation of our people.” (S.C.)

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Police Occupy Taksim, Erdogan Adopts Hard Line

Premier attacks, we will cut Gezi Park trees

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JUNE 11 — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has adopted a hard line against demonstrators who have been protesting against him for two weeks. On Tuesday morning, police regained control of Taksim square in Istanbul, which had been occupied by Turkish activists for ten days, after violent clashes with groups of demonstrators.

During the night new incidents were reported in Ankara, in the Alawite district of Gazi in Istanbul and in other cities.

In a speech to the parliamentary group of his Islamic AKP party on Tuesday Erdogan said the trees of Gezi Park would be cut. The unrest began two weeks ago after a crackdown on a protest against the park’s redevelopment. The premier once again accused financial lobbies and the foreign media of attacking the country.

Hundreds of anti-riot police stormed Taksim square at dawn Tuesday with tanks, water cannons and tear gas. Hundreds of demonstrators patrolling the square withdrew into adjoining Gezi Park. A few groups hurled stones and Molotov cocktails against police. Injuries and arrests were reported.

Several demonstrators claimed police deployed in the square included officers instigating violence. Later, bulldozers started to dismantle barricades set up in the past few days.

A group of protesters had gathered every day in Taksim square and Gezi Park — which has been turned into a libertarian citadel — ever since police withdrew on June 1. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Turkey asking Erdogan to step down.

The premier confirmed on Tuesday that four people, three demonstrators and a policeman, died since the beginning of the unrest. According to the national doctors’ association, 5.000 demonstrators have been injured. The violent repression operated by Turkish police has been criticized worldwide.

Many are awaiting the protest movement’s response.

Yesterday Erdogan, in an apparent move to promote a detente, announced he would meet today with representatives of the protest movement against the destruction of Gezi Park.

The Turkish economy is suffering from the unrest. Part of foreign capitals invested in the country are being withdrawn and the Borsa Istanbul lost over 10% last week, burning one billion dollars. The central bank had to intervene to support the lira which fell to its lowest level compared to the dollar since October 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Istanbul: The Police Enter Taksim Square. Demonstrations Also Dispersed in Ankara

Policemen in riot gear and armored cars sweep away the barricades and launch tear gas and jets of fire hydrant to disperse the demonstrators. Yesterday police dispersed demonstrations in Ankara city center. Erdogan agrees to meet leaders of the protest tomorrow. In 12 days, at least two people dead and 4800 wounded in the clashes.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) — Hundreds of police in riot gear and with dozens of armored trucks this morning entered Taksim Square, for weeks now home to a decisive protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse activists camped out in the square.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister agreed to meet with the leaders of the protest tomorrow. But he also warned that “illegal demonstrations will no longer be allowed in Turkey.” Erdogan put his words into action last night and the police also dispersed demonstrations in the center of Ankara.

This morning, hundreds of police with helmets and shields surrounded Taksim square, while the armored vehicles exceeded the barricades erected by the protesters.

The protests began 12 days ago in Taksim Square, against a building project which involved the felling of trees in Gezi Park, one of the few green lungs of Istanbul. The demonstrations grew in number and began criticizing Erdogan’s government, accusing it of authoritarianism and wanting to Islamize the secular state.

The law enforcement response has been heavy handed. According to the union of doctors, the protest led to the death of two protesters and a police officer, with more than 4,800 injured. Erdogan said that at least 600 policemen were injured.

The 59 year old leader is considered the most influential personality in the country after Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey. His party, the AKP has won elections three times in succession, on the back of the country’s great economic development.

Sure of his popularity, Erdogan has asked his supporters to defy the protesters to give the AKP victory in the upcoming elections to be held in 2014.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Turkey: ‘Sultan’ Erdogan on the Warpath Against Twitter

Mass arrests,ruling Islamics ponder new law to curb social media

(by Francesco Cerri) (ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JUNE 11 — From the streets of Turkey, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters are using social media to bypass the official information clampdown, and nationalist Islamic Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan cannot berate them enough. Since the embattled premier last week went on the verbal offensive, using expressions such as “gangrene” and “menace to society” to denounce the “lies” being propagated via Twitter, at least 47 youths have ended up in handcuffs on charges of sending “seditious” messages. In Smyrna, 34 teenagers have been arrested for allegedly “spreading propaganda and incitement to revolt” via Twitter: they retweeted a photo of a policeman pulling a girl by the hair and beating her with his truncheon. “It is now clear that sending such a photo is tantamount to organized crime. This is the meaning of advanced democracy”, leftist daily Sozcu wrote ironically.

In the southern city of Adana, another 13 have ended up behind bars on the same charges. Moderate daily Taraf published some of the “incriminating” messages: “Meeting in Gundogu Square at 7:30pm”, “Avoid Losanna Square, the police is there”, “They are beating us with truncheons”. Turkey is the number one country in the world in terms of jailed journalists, and mass media are either government-controlled or muzzled in other ways. Social networks are therefore proving to be a real menace to Erdogan’s system of power, as protesters turned to Twitter and Facebook to exchange information, ask for help, and denounce police brutality: two million messages were sent between 4pm on May 31 and June 1 at 2pm.

“None of this would have been possible without the social networks”, said Turkish Twitter founder Sedat Kapanoglu, adding that the wave of arrests in Smyrna and Adana have intimidated a lot of people. “Tweets have decreased significantly. The resistance movement is still fragile, and we must watch out for disinformation”, he warned. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is busy devising a law to clamp down on social networks, according to Hurriyet daily. “A tweet filled with lies and slander is much more dangerous than a carbomb”, thundered the AKP mass media chief, Ali Sahin. Social networks contribute to the ongoing “conspiracy to overthrow the government”, and a law is needed to curb them, Sahin said. Or to “censor” them, accused the main opposition whose Social Democratic leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chief of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has called Erdogan “a dictator”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Video Footage of Cop Firing at Ankara Protesters

Documents the killing of protester Ethem Sarisuluk, media says

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JUNE 11 — Video footage by opposition Turkish broadcaster Halk TV and posted online shows a policeman firing into the crowd in the Kizilay neighborhood in the heart of Ankara, during a protest last week. The video shows the agent firing two shots into the air and one at the demonstrators, one of whom falls to the ground. The video documents the killing of young protester Ethem Sarisuluk, according to Turkish media.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: PM Erdogan Warns Protesters ‘It’s Over’

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on protesters to leave Istanbul’s Taksim square, warning that his patience is running thin.

Speaking in Ankara as the massive police operation unfolded in Istanbul, Mr Erdogan said: “To those who want to continue with these incidents, I say ‘It’s over.’ Be warned, we will not tolerate it anymore.” Throughout the protests, Mr Erdogan has struck a defiant tone, vowing to press ahead with the Taksim redevelopment plans, dismissing the protesters as extremists and the protests as undemocratic plots to topple his government, which was elected with 50 per cent support in 2011. He insisted again on Tuesday that the protests were part of a conspiracy against his government. “A systematic project to tarnish Turkey’s image has been put in place. It has been put in place with the collaboration of inside and outside forces,” Mr Erdogan said. The protesters, he said “are being used by some financial institutions, the interest rate lobby and media groups to [harm] Turkey’s economy and [scare away] investments.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

War in Syria: Are Belgian Jihadists Committing Murder Near Aleppo?

De Standaard, De Morgen

“A Belgian is leading killing sprees and rapes against ‘non-believers,’“ in Syria, reads a headline in Belgian daily De Standaard, following the discovery, on June 7, of a web video dated last March. It shows the decapitation, by a group of jihadists, some of them Flemish-speaking, of a man presumed to be Shia. “There are chances that the execution was linked to Hussain Elouassaki, a 22-year-old nursing aid for the handicapped from Vilvorde,” near Brussels, writes the paper, adding —

“>Telephone surveillance and the questioning of combatants returning from Syria made available to newspaper De Morgen, show that a group of 35 to 40 Belgians has settled around Aleppo. They are under the command of Hussain Elouassaki, who left for Syria in September. In a telephone conversation with his brother Abdelouafi […] he explained how he had decapitated someone and how he had raped and murdered 30 women.

The paper reports that among the 600 to 700 European combatants in Syria, most of the Belgians are “closely or distantly, linked to Sharia4Belgium. […] Those who are complicit in this execution are liable to life imprisonment in our country.”

In De Morgen’s leader article entitled “Our boys in Syria,” Yves Desmet is indignant in front of “the banalisation of evil” demonstrated by the combatants —

How did these guys arrive at such a transformation? […] From being pariahs in a country that did not want them, they suddenly became heroes in a holy war. It is not surprising. At the same time, it is a cold comfort to know that most of them never want to return [to Belgium].

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Edward Snowden: Russia Offers to Consider Asylum Request

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says any appeal for asylum from whistleblower who fled US will be looked at ‘according to facts’

Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, in the Kremlin’s latest move to woo critics of the west.

Snowden fled the United States before leaking the details of a top-secret US surveillance programme to the Guardian this month. He is currently believed to be in Hong Kong, but has reportedly changed hotels to keep his location secret.

Fearing US retaliation, Snowden said at the weekend that “my predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values”, citing Iceland as an example. He defended his decision to flee to Hong Kong by citing its relative freedom compared with mainland China.

Snowden is not known to have made any asylum requests, including to Russia. Yet speaking to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, said: “If such an appeal is given, it will be considered. We’ll act according to facts.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: Blast Kills and Wounds Around 10 People in Kabul

KABUL, June 11 (Xinhua) — A powerful blast rocked Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday afternoon killing and injuring around 10 people, a local official said. “The blast took place on a road leading to Kabul international airport, killing and injuring some 10 people, mostly civilian passersby,” the official told Xinhua but declined to be identified, saying authorized officials would brief the media after investigation. However, he added that the site of blast is close to the Afghan Supreme Court compound and the U.S. embassy. Security personnel have cordoned off the area and do not allow journalists to get access.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bomb Thrown at Italian-Afghan Convoy Injures Civilians

(AGI) Rome — A man threw a bomb at an Afghan-Italian military convoy this morning near Farah injuring some civilians .

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

India: Christians in Andhra Pradesh Targeted by Hindu Extremists

Sajan George, head of the Global Council of Indian Christians, complains of a climate of terror imposed by the Rashtriya Swayanmsevak Sang (RSS). On Wednesday, more than 50 extremists attacked the Protestant community in Mandal (Hyderabad). Six pastors were beaten and left unconscious. The authorities failed to intervene.

Hyderabad (AsiaNews) — The Rashtriya Swayanmsevak Sang, a Hindu extremist organisation, has imposed a reign of terror in Andhra Pradesh with the approval of the authorities. For months, the Protestant community has been the victim of attacks by radical groups. The last one occurred on Wednesday when a group of 50 extremists armed with sticks and stones attacked the Telugu Baptist Church in Mandal, Ranga Reddy District (Hyderabad).

For Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, such events besmirch the reputation of the Republic of India, which has tried to project itself to the world as a secular state and a country of tolerance. “These intolerant extremists,” George said, “have imposed their own reign of terror in Andhra Pradesh and threaten the existence of Christians.”

Wednesday’s attack took place at lunchtime, during the community’s monthly meeting. According to witnesses, Hindus broke into their building and dragged six pastors into the streets accusing them of forced conversions to Christianity. Outside, they beat them, leaving them on the ground unconscious. The incident unfolded amid the complete indifference of the authorities.

Yesterday, the Protestant community in Mandal staged a sit-in protest outside the headquarters of the local government urging the authorities to arrest those responsible for the attack and uphold freedom of religion and worship.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

India, Pakistan Armies Exchange Fire in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, June 11 (Xinhua) — The armies of India and Pakistan Tuesday exchanged heavy fire and artillery shells on line-of-control (LoC) in Kashmir, officials said. The ceasefire violation took place Tuesday afternoon along the LoC in Krishna Ghati sector of frontier Poonch district, around 185 km southwest of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian- controlled Kashmir. “Pakistani troops today resorted to unprovoked firing using machine guns and artillery on our several posts in Krishna Ghati sector,” said S N Acharaya, Indian army spokesman based in Jammu.” However, we have not suffered any damage because of the heavy firing.” The exchange started at around 1:10 p.m. and lasted until 2:20 p.m. Indian army also fired in retaliation…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pakistan Threatens to Ban Google Unless it Cleans Up YouTube

Pakistan’s new government has threatened to block the search engine Google as part of the country’s long-running attempts to bar what it considers blasphemous web content.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has been banned since September when clips from a controversial film, Innocence of Muslims, triggered demonstrations around the world. Now Pakistan’s new minister for IT and telecommunications has hinted she will block the search engine altogether if YouTube does not remove unsuitable material. Anusha Rahman said her ministry would start work this week on a web filter that would screen out blasphemous and pornographic content, as well as asking Google for help…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

U.S. Government Has Given Afghan National Army More Than $1 Billion in Ammo

The U.S. government has given the embattled Afghan National Army (ANA) more than $1 billion in taxpayer-funded ammunition, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) latest oversight report.

This is in addition to $288 million that has been spent on ammunition for the troubled Afghan National Police (ANP), which has been cited by SIGAR for its widespread corruption.

The United States has spent more than $54 billion in total to arm, train, and sustain Afghanistan’s security forces, which continue to underperform and suffer low enlistment rates, according to SIGAR’s quarterly progress reports.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Don’t Make the So-Called Surveillance Scandal a Propaganda Coup for Beijing

by Garvan Walshe

Garvan Walshe was National and International Security Policy Adviser for the Conservative Party until 2008.

I remember once reading in the New Yorker that American special forces were working in Iran looking for nuclear weapons sites. My immediate thought was “Good. That’s exactly where they should be.”

So with the “revelations” this week that the National Security Agency and GCHQ have been co-operating in spying on British and American citizens. They are just the kind of thing you expect intelligence agencies to be doing. Why do you think they hire all those mathematical whizzes? I, for one, find it reassuring that the realm’s clandestine services spend taxpayers’ money on more than the construction of ostentatiously spectacular offices .Indeed, despite all the spying that goes on, Britain and the United States remain free countries.

In Britain, petty officialdom, rather than the secret state, seems responsible for most interference with people’s lives. It does so because both the NSA and British agencies are limited, at home, to gathering intelligence. The evidence they gather can’t be used in court, so doesn’t affect people’s liberty. The agencies are governed by strict laws to prevent leaks. They don’t just deter their staff from leaking to left-wing newspapers, they also stop them from leaking information about their friends’ business competitors or spouses’ lovers…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Effort to Portray NSA Whistleblower Snowden as Chinese Intelligence Operative Underway

Efforts are underway to portray the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as an intelligence operative working for China. On Sunday, it was reported that officials in the United States are seriously considering the possibility the Booz Allen analyst works for the Chinese.

“On the face of it, it looks like it’s under some sort of Chinese control,” former CIA officer Robert Baer told CNN. Baer said because Snowden fled to Hong Kong, one of two Special Administrative Regions of China, instead of a more friendly country such as Sweden or Iceland, it is likely he is working for the Chinese government. Baer said that if Snowden “really wanted to make a statement” about NSA surveillance, “he should have done it on Capitol Hill.”

“We’ll never get him from China. There’s not a chance. He’ll disappear there,” he predicted. “He won’t be able to go anywhere else, but if, in fact, the Chinese had a hand in this … they’re not about to send him to The United States.”

It was was reported on Tuesday that Snowden had in fact disappeared. Members of the corporate media, eager to interview the whistleblower, fanned out around Hong Kong, but said they were unable to locate him.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Admin Considering Resettling Syrian Refugees in U S — And These Are the States Where They May Go

The Obama administration is considering resettling some refugees who have escaped war-torn Syria in the United States, a development first reported by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday and later confirmed by the State Department.

According to the Times, the resettlement of the refugees would be “part of an international effort that could bring thousands of Syrians to American cities and towns.”

The Times reports [emphasis added]:

A resettlement plan under discussion in Washington and other capitals is aimed at relieving pressure on Middle Eastern countries straining to support 1.6 million refugees, as well as assisting hard-hit Syrian families.

The State Department is “ready to consider the idea,” an official from the department said, if the administration receives a formal request from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, which is the usual procedure.

The United States usually accepts about half the refugees that the U.N. agency proposes for resettlement. California has historically taken the largest share, but Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia are also popular destinations.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

U.N. Talks to Germany About Resettling 10,000 Syrian Refugees

(Reuters) — The United Nations refugee agency is talking to Germany about resettling up to 10,000 Syrian refugees, UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said on Tuesday.

UNHCR was also working with other European governments to find ways to resettle some of the 1.6 million Syrians who have fled the country, a number the United Nations expects to reach 3.45 million by the end of 2013, Edwards said.

The U.N. agency plans to hold a meeting on the subject with governments around the end of June in Geneva, but details and the participants were not yet known, he said. Specific numbers had not yet been discussed with other countries.

However, resettlement is only an option for the most vulnerable cases and the bulk of the refugee burden will still fall on four of Syria’s neighbors: Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

“The priority right now is to maintain asylum in that region,” he said. “But yes we do think it’s important that the countries outside the immediate region show solidarity with the countries most affected by this crisis.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Gay Marriage: France: Mayor Refuses to Marry Couple

Government warns he risks ‘grave sanctions’

(by Luana De Micco) (ANSAmed) — PARIS, JUNE 11 — Jean-Michel and Guy have been together for 16 years and wanted to get married discreetly, with just a few guests, without all the reporters present at the first same-sex wedding celebrated in France on May 29 between Vincent and Bruno, who got married in Montpellier, in the South.

Their story however has emerged in spite of their wish for privacy. The mayor of Arcangues, where the couple lives in the French Basque country in the South-West, has categorically refused to perform the ceremony. The two are ready to take the matter to court, if necessary.

Along with the first marriage of a gay couple, the first refusal by a mayor-conscientious objector in France could not but make headlines. The mayor of Arcangues, Jean-Michel Colo, a right-wing politician, does not intend to follow the same-sex marriage measure declared law for all by President Hollande on May 18. Ever since then, many gay couples were married across the country but Colo, 60, says the law is “illegitimate”. ‘I refuse to marry two men’, he said. ‘No homosexual weddings will be celebrated in Arcangues’.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned the mayor of the ‘grave sanctions’ he is risking, up to five years in jail, a fine of 75.000 euros and suspension. Government spokeswoman Najad Vallaud-Belkacem also warned him that ‘the law must be implemented across the whole nation’ and this is an obligation.

Jean-Michel Martin, 55, and his partner Guy Martineau-Espel, 53, met in Paris in 1997 and fell in love right away. They have been living in Arcangues, a small town of 3.000 people close to Biarritz, for ten years now and have already been joined in a civil union known as PACS, a domestic partnership contract, which was the legal alternative to gay marriage in France so far.

‘Ours is not a militant act’, the duo told the local press.

‘We only want to sign a document, discreetly’. After the mayor’s refusal, they asked the local administration to be married at home by a councilor. But the town’s six councilors have all refused, invoking a clause of conscience cited once by Francois Hollande.

The government is still paying for the faux-pas. The two aspiring spouses have then asked a city nearby but, under the law, they must get married without exception in the city of residence. As a sign of protest, Jean-Michel and Guy have sent their voter registration cards to the justice ministry and are threatening not to pay local taxes. If they will decide to sue the mayor, he will not be able to escape from a conviction for discrimination.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

IRS Agent: Keep Faith to Yourself

An Internal Revenue Service agent was recorded on audiotape telling a pro-life organization that they had to remain neutral on the issue of abortion and lectured the group’s president about forcing its religious beliefs on others.

“You have to know your boundaries,” IRS agent Sherry Wan can be heard telling Ania Joseph, president of the Pro-Life Revolution. “You have to know your limits. You have to respect other people’s beliefs.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom said Joseph recorded the March 8, 2012 conversation during a two-year battle with the IRS to obtain tax-exempt status.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy Appoints Advisor on Issue of Gender Violence

Italy has appointed Isabella Rauti — the wife of Rome’s former mayor, Gianni Alemanno — as the government’s advisor on the issue of violence against women.

Her appointment will reinforce the government’s promised crackdown on ‘femicide’, the killing of women because they are women.

According to Italy’s national statistics agency ISTAT, 120 women were murdered in such attacks in 2012, and a third of all Italian women are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives.

“The appointment of Isabella Rauti, chosen for her high level of professionalism and for her constant commitment to this issue, confirms the government’s commitment towards these serious problems,” Italian daily Il Messaggero reported Deputy Prime Minister Angelo Alfano as saying.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Russia Cracks Down on Blasphemy and Pro-Gay Propaganda

(AGI) Moscow — Russia has cracked down on blasphemy and gay propaganda after the Duma passed two laws by a large majority on Tuesday ..

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Students Taught About Homosexual Foreplay Disguised as Tolerance

A school district in Maine is apologizing after middle school students learned about homosexual foreplay during what was supposed to be a “Diversity Day” presentation

“I don’t want my child taught heterosexual foreplay, let alone homosexual foreplay,” said an outraged parent Kristy Howard.

The principal of Gorham Middle School sent a letter to parents apologizing for the graphic nature of the presentation by PRYSM, Proud Rainbow Youth of Southern Maine…

Bob Emrich, of Protect Marriage Maine, said he wasn’t surprised by the content of the so-called “diversity” class.

“Homosexual activists rarely advertise that they are going to indoctrinate children to their point of view,” he said in a statement. “It’s done under the radar, through mandatory ‘diversity, anti-bullying and tolerance’ lessons.”

“If there was any doubt that gay marriage would be taught to young children in Maine schools just as it is in Massachusetts and Canada, that doubt should be removed now,” he said. “If they are willing to teach our kids how homosexuals engage in foreplay, do you really think they won’t force gay marriage instruction of young children when it is the law of the land?”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

We Will be Amazed by the Diversity of Exoplanets’

The Kepler space telescope’s search may be at an end, but Didier Queloz, who found the first world around a sunlike star, says more planet hunts are afoot

In 1995, you discovered the first exoplanet orbiting a sunlike star. Did you foresee just how far the field would have come since then?

At first looking for exoplanets was seen as weird. A lot of people were negative about it. Then the field began to grow, and the establishment of the Kepler mission in 2009 showed the field was fully mature. In parallel, exoplanet meetings also grew. Many other disciplines are also interested now; it is much wider than just astronomy.

But isn’t NASA’s Kepler space telescope all but shut down now?

Yes. They wanted to push the mission as long as they could to increase exoplanet detections, and they found many super-Earth and Neptune-size planets. But unfortunately attempts to detect an Earth-sized planet orbiting its star with an Earth-like year seem to have failed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/11/2013

  1. I doubt the EDL is far right or extremist or racist other than it is nationalistic! compared to their opponents they are very peaceful but have been subject to intimidation by the government the press and islam (well attempted intimidation) btw I am not in England any more and Im not a member or supporter!

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