Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/13/2013

American and EU intelligence analysts have concluded that the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons in the civil war against Al Qaeda rebels. As a result, the Obama administration has decided to step up its assistance to the rebels to include weaponry and other forms of military assistance.

In other news, terrorists have once again blown up a key pipeline leading from Yemen’s oil fields to ports on the Red Sea.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, McR, TV, 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
» IRS Agents Train With AR-15 Rifles
» Italian Families Struggling With Increasing Debt
» Italy: Letta Praises EU Plan to Stem Decline of Steel Industry
» Italy: Spending Power ‘To Take Over 20 Yrs to Recover From Crisis’
» 22 Nauseating Quotes From Hypocritical Establishment Politicians About the NSA Scandal
» Constitutional Standoff: Obama Syndicate vs. The People
» Exclusive: Insider Speaks Out on NSA Spying
» New Polls: Americans Decry NSA Spying, View Snowden as a Patriot
» New York Lawmakers Propose Ban on Anonymous Online Comments
» NSA Revelations Only ‘The Tip of the Iceberg, ‘ Says Dem Lawmaker
» Obama’s Snooping Excludes Mosques
» Sanity Prevails: US Supreme Court Rules That Human Genes Are Not Eligible for Patent Protection
» ‘Sesame Street’ To Teach Kids About When Mommy Goes to Prison
» Snowden Took an Oath, But So Did Obama
» US Whites Now Losing Majority in Under-5 Age Group
» Video Game Casts Tea Party and Patriot Groups as Enemy Terrorists
» We DO Have Some Problems Here
Europe and the EU
» Belgian Authorities Investigating Report That Diamond Heist Yielded $400m
» Dutch Politician Geert Wilders: ‘What We Need Today is Zionism for the Nations of Europe’
» France: Police Check of Veiled Woman Sparks Clashes
» Greece: Taxi Fares and Dinner Costs Rise in Athens
» Italy: Centre-Left Resurgence Continues in Sicily
» Italy: Dacco’ Sentenced to Nine Years for Milan Hospital Graft
» Italy: Palermo Prosecutor ‘Bungled’ Capture of Mob Boss, Judges Say
» Italy: Mayor Marino Planning Imperial Rome’s Pedestrianization
» Italy: Tariffs for New Solar Project Set to Cease
» Italy: Former Senator Hands State Millions of Embezzled Funds
» Netherlands: MPs Want Answers Over Wilders Snub at King’s Investiture
» New Report Highlights Secretive EU Funding of Anti-Israel NGOs
» Poland: ‘Great Escape of the Young’
» The First Vikings
» UK: ‘This Hooker’s Ugly’: Nuisance 999 Caller Phoned Police to Complain About a Prostitute’s Looks After Meeting Her in the Flesh
» UK: ‘We Don’t Want to Die’: Police Use School Bus Filled With Screaming Children as Roadblock to Stop Gypsy Fair Car Chase
» UK: Hats Off to Sarah Montague [Reader Comment Only]
» UK: My Memories of Henry Cecil
» UK: Police Warning Over Hate Crime After Maidenhead Mosque Attack
» UK: Reporter on the March With Mosque Protestors
» UK: Tensions High in British Town After “Muslim Youths” Attack “White Girls”
North Africa
» Tunisia: EU Surprised at Severe Femen Sentence
» Tunisia to Get USD 1.2 Bln From Islamic Development Bank
Middle East
» Muslims Killing Muslims
» Oil Flow Halts as Tribesmen Blow Up Yemen Pipeline
» Saudi Women With Attractive Eyes May be Forced to Cover Even Them Up, If Resolution is Passed
» Syria Has Used Chemical Weapons Against Rebels, U.S. And European Officials Conclude
» Syria: John Kerry’s Monty Python Diplomacy
» Russia Promises Manned Launches From Its Own Soil in 2018
South Asia
» Burma: Muslim Man Accused of Sparking Burma Unrest Jailed for 26 Years
» Indonesia: Extremists Attack a Peaceful Muslim-Christian Conference in Surabaya
» Italian Envoy Meets India’s Foreign Minister in Marines Case
Far East
» Chinese Dissident Ai Weiwei: “The U.S. Is Behaving Like China”
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Al Qaeda Believed to be in Possession of Fearsome Missile Launcher After Instruction Manual is Discovered at Mali Training Camp
» Census: White Majority in U.S. Gone by 2043
» Repatriations Overtake Immigrant Landings in Italy
» The Swiss Pull up the Drawbridge
Culture Wars
» Euthanasia for Children Nears Approval by Belgian Parliament; Doctors to Mass-Euthanize Children and Alzheimer’s Patients
» Southern Baptists Criticize Policy But Stay With Boy Scouts

IRS Agents Train With AR-15 Rifles

Rep. Jeff Duncan wants to know why IRS law enforcement agents are training with AR-15 rifles.

As chairman of the House Homeland Security oversight subcommittee, Duncan (R-S.C.) toured a federal law enforcement facility in late May and noticed agents training with the semi-automatic weapons at a firing range. They identified themselves as IRS, he said.

“When I left there, it’s been bugging me for weeks now, why IRS agents are training with a semi-automatic rifle AR-15, which has stand-off capability,” Duncan told POLITICO. “Are Americans that much of a target that you need that kind of capability?”

While Duncan acknowledges that the IRS has an enforcement division, he questions if that level of firepower is appropriate when they could coordinate operations with other agencies, like the FBI, especially in a time of austerity.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italian Families Struggling With Increasing Debt

Mortgages leading cause

(ANSA) — Rome, June 11 — Italian families are ever more indebted during the country’s longest recession in 20 years, a study by the country’s central bank Bankitalia warned Tuesday.

The ratio of debt to disposable income for households rose to 53.2% in 2011 from 30.8% in 2003.

Debts have increased especially for families in the south from 26.7% in 2003 to 50.8% in 2011, the survey said. Home mortgages are the leading cause of indebtedness.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Letta Praises EU Plan to Stem Decline of Steel Industry

‘Good news for Italy’ says premier

(ANSA) — Rome, June 11 — Italian Premier Enrico Letta on Tuesday praised the European Union’s plan and recommendations to revive Europe’s steel industry.

“I wholeheartedly approve of the European Commission’s action plan on the competitiveness and sustainability of the steel industry in Europe,” said Letta. “It’s good news for Italy and the government”. Hurt by tumbling demand and plant closures, Europe’s steel industry is in a state of decline, losing 40,000 jobs in recent years, including many at the troubled ILVA plant in the southern Puglia region, Europe’s largest steelworks. The EU plan, presented by Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani, aims to boost apprenticeships and innovation, cut red tape, create an even global playing field and come up with ways to lighten the burden of energy costs, which account for about 40% of operating costs in steelmaking.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Spending Power ‘To Take Over 20 Yrs to Recover From Crisis’

Each Italian household lost 3,400 euros

(ANSA) — Rome, June 12 — It will take over 20 years for Italian spending power to return to the growth levels seen prior to the start of the global economic crisis in 2008, a study by retailers’ association Confcommercio and the Centre for European Reform (CER) think tank said on Wednesday. Each family has lost an average of over 3,400 euros in spending power in Italy, which is enduring its longest recession in 20 years, the study said. The financial crisis is such that a return to pre-crisis growth levels cannot be expected until 2036, Confcommercio and CER said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

22 Nauseating Quotes From Hypocritical Establishment Politicians About the NSA Scandal

Establishment politicians from both major political parties are rushing to defend the NSA and condemn whistleblower Edward Snowden. They are attempting to portray Edward Snowden as a “traitor” and the spooks over at the NSA that are snooping on all of us as “heroes”. In fact, many of the exact same politicians that once railed against government spying during the Bush years are now staunchly defending it now that Obama is in the White House. But it isn’t just Democrats that are acting shamefully. Large numbers of Republican politicians that love to give speeches about “freedom” and “liberty” are attempting to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The government is not supposed to invade our privacy and investigate us unless there is probable cause to do so. Apparently many of our politicians misunderstood when they read the novel 1984by George Orwell. It wasn’t supposed to be an instruction manual. We should be thanking Edward Snowden for exposing the deep corruption that is eating away at our own government like cancer.

Now the American people need to pick up the ball and start demanding answers, because without a doubt we are going to see establishment politicians from both major political parties try to shut this scandal down. Establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans both love the Big Brother surveillance grid that the U.S. government has constructed, and they are both making it abundantly clear that they will defend the NSA to the very end. The following are 22 nauseating quotes from hypocritical establishment politicians that show exactly how they feel about the NSA spying scandal…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Constitutional Standoff: Obama Syndicate vs. The People

It’s no secret to anyone who watches any newscast — even once a week — that the Obama syndicate (aka Executive Branch of the US government) has been flexing its muscles, in order to take over all governmental power, since Obama and his Marxist entourage we installed in the White House in 2009. Obama has successfully cowed the US Supreme Court, as well as an increasingly wimpy and supplicant (until — perhaps — recently) Congress into submission to the dictator in chief.

However, with the legitimate and vital-to-the-country’s-survival investigations into Benghazi, the IRS (did you know their agents are now training with AR-15s to be used against us?), extreme data mining (involving at least half of all US citizens’ phone, Internet and email records being seized by the ObamaGov) and the Obama/Holder attempts to silence and “potentially” prosecute reporters — including the Associated Press and Fox News’ James Rosen — in order to end the First Amendment’s freedom of speech) — maybe…just maybe…there is a faint glimmer of hope for us. These investigations must be followed to wherever they ultimately lead — no matter how high the office — or we will be irrevocably lost as a nation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Exclusive: Insider Speaks Out on NSA Spying

On last night’s Infowars Nightly News, Alex spoke with a telecom industry insider who broke news of the widespread government surveillance dragnet intercepting data, phone calls, e-mails, videos and pictures a day before the NSA’s PRISM scandal went public.

Critical infrastructure consultant and transport engineer James Knox confirmed that, as an administrator, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been completely honest with the evidence he has brought forth.

“Given what you know from your perspective, is [Snowden’s information] accurate?” Alex asked.

“Absolutely accurate,” Knox said as he proceeded to describe how certain communication technicians have the ability to literally spy on individual people at whim. “That doesn’t mean that there’s a fellow sitting there in front of a monitor watching you day to day. It only becomes important when, for whatever reason — and it could be just sheer boredom — that they run across you…”

Giving an example of how almost everything is dependent on integrated networks that can be monitored and manipulated, Knox says as a telecom worker he had the “keys to the kingdom” and if he had wanted, he could have shut down power to the capitol building in Sacramento.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Polls: Americans Decry NSA Spying, View Snowden as a Patriot

Contradicting a previous Pew poll which found that a majority of Americans support the NSA spying on telephone records, new surveys find that most Americans decry NSA snooping and view whistleblower Edward Snowden as a patriot for exposing the existence of PRISM.

As we reported on Tuesday, many reacted with shock to a Pew Research Center poll which found that 56% of Americans supported the NSA “tracking the telephone records of millions of Americans,” suggesting that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden — who sacrificed his freedom to expose the existence of PRISM, a program under which the NSA is pulling private data “directly from the servers” of major US service providers such as Google and Facebook — had acted in vain.

However, a new Gallup poll conducted this week finds that “More Americans disapprove (53%) than approve (37%) of the federal government agency program that as part of its efforts to investigate terrorism obtained records from U.S. telephone and Internet companies to “compile telephone call logs and Internet communications.”

“What can one deduce from this discrepancy? Perhaps it is nothing more complex than polling bias, most recently observed during the 2012 presidential campaign, and which shows that sometimes it is more important who is doing the polling than who is being polled and what questions are being asked,” writes Zero Hedge.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New York Lawmakers Propose Ban on Anonymous Online Comments

New York state lawmakers have proposed a ban on anonymous online comments.

Called the Internet Protection Act (A.8688/S.6779), the legislation would require a web site administrator to pull down anonymous comments from sites, including “social networks, blogs forums, message boards or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.”

The bill states:

A web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate. All web site administrators shall have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NSA Revelations Only ‘The Tip of the Iceberg, ‘ Says Dem Lawmaker

The federal surveillance programs revealed in media reports are just “the tip of the iceberg,” a House Democrat said Wednesday.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said lawmakers learned “significantly more” about the spy programs at the National Security Agency during a briefing on Tuesday with counter-terrorism officials.

“What we learned in there,” Sanchez said, “is significantly more than what is out in the media today.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Snooping Excludes Mosques

FBI unaware of Boston bombers’ radical behavior

(IBD) The White House assures that tracking our every phone call and keystroke is to stop terrorists, and yet it won’t snoop in mosques, where the terrorists are.

That’s right, the government’s sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized.

Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sanity Prevails: US Supreme Court Rules That Human Genes Are Not Eligible for Patent Protection

(NaturalNews) In a unanimous ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled today that human genes cannot be patented. The ruling invalidates the thousands of patents that have already been granted on human genes, including the patent by Myriad Genetics on the BRCA breast cancer genes which the company says no one else can research or even detect without paying it a royalty. Click here to read the complete ruling.

“Myriad did not create anything,” said Justice Clarence Thomas. “To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention.”

Well, exactly. This point should have been obvious to the lower courts, too, but in today’s world of corporate domination over seemingly everything, gene industry lawyers were able to argue that patent protection would somehow inspire more innovation and research. “The biotechnology industry had warned that an expansive ruling against Myriad could threaten billions of dollars of investment,” wrote Reuters.

But exactly the opposite is true. Gene patents restricted research and created medical monopolies that raised prices for consumers. Even USA Today seemingly gets this point, saying, “The decision represents a victory for cancer patients, researchers and geneticists who claimed that a single company’s patent raised costs, restricted research and sometimes forced women to have breasts or ovaries removed without sufficient facts or second opinions.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Sesame Street’ To Teach Kids About When Mommy Goes to Prison

It’s brought to you by the letter P — for prison.

PBS’s “Sesame Street” is moving from ABCs and counting numbers to offering its young viewers a bigger lesson in life: how to cope when Mommy or Daddy lands behind bars.

Called “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration,” the program is distributing “tool kits’’ to schools, community centers and even jails in 10 states — including New York — starting today to help kids ages 3 to 8, organizers said.

According to one “tip’’ for caregivers, “Before you visit your incarcerated loved one, let your child know some of the things she can expect to happen. For instance, ‘We won’t be able to sit in the same room with Mommy, but we can see her through a window and read a story together.’ ‘‘

“Phone calls are a great way to reach out,’’ another offers. “Help your child to think of something she’d like to tell her incarcerated parent, and give her a photo of her parent to hold during the call.”

And one instructs: “When explaining where an incarcerated parent is, you can say, ‘Daddy is in a place called prison (or jail) for a while. Grownups sometimes go to prison when they break a rule called a law.’ ‘‘

A video in the kit shows two Muppets — Abby the fairy and lovable monster Rosita — dealing with a little Muppet boy who shamefully admits to them that his father isn’t around to help him build a toy car because he’s in jail.A woman with the kids then tells the boy she knows what he’s going through — because her own dad was in jail when she was his age.

According to “Sesame Street’s’’ Web site, the initiative received “major support’’ from aerospace giant BAE Systems Inc. The Prudential Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, USO, and Military Child Education Coalition also provided money, it said.

Reps for “Sesame Street’’ — which receives funding from the federal budget and private sponsors — did not return requests for comment on whether any taxpayer money is being spent on the initiative.

A woman responding to a Web article about the incarceration kit called the program “pretty awesome.’’

“My brother is in federal prison (conspiracy and gun charges . . .) and it isn’t exactly an easy situation to explain to his two sons who are 5 and almost 4,’’ the writer said.

About 105,000 children in New York state currently have at least one parent behind bars.

“We’re thrilled’’ about the program, said Tanya Krupat, program coordinator for the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents.

“It’s a population that’s in the millions that people usually don’t focus on.”

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Snowden Took an Oath, But So Did Obama

While it’s true that, at some point during his colorful past, Edward Snowden took an oath of secrecy, the powers that be seem to be forgetting that Obama took an oath, too. Let’s just compare the two and see who’s really in violation, shall we?


While some may say that Snowden committed an act of treason by revealing what might be considered “Top Secret Information,” if you take a little closer look you’ll see that it’s really Obama who’s committed treason.

Snowden’s oath states: I pledge that I will never publish or reveal, by any means, classified project information to unauthorized persons.

Obama’s oath states: I will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Whites Now Losing Majority in Under-5 Age Group

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, America’s racial and ethnic minorities now make up about half of the under-5 age group, the government said Thursday. It’s a historic shift that shows how young people are at the forefront of sweeping changes by race and class.

The new census estimates, a snapshot of the U.S. population as of July 2012, comes a year after the Census Bureau reported that whites had fallen to a minority among babies. Fueled by immigration and high rates of birth, particularly among Hispanics, racial and ethnic minorities are now growing more rapidly in numbers than whites.

Based on current rates of growth, whites in the under-5 group are expected to tip to a minority this year or next, Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s acting director, said.

The government also projects that in five years, minorities will make up more than half of children under 18. Not long after, the total U.S. white population will begin an inexorable decline in absolute numbers, due to aging baby boomers.

The imminent tip to a white minority among young children adds a racial dimension to government spending on early-childhood education, such as President Barack Obama’s proposal to significantly expand pre-kindergarten for lower-income families. The nation’s demographic changes are already stirring discussion as to whether some civil rights-era programs, such as affirmative action in college admissions, should be retooled to focus more on income rather than race and ethnicity. The Supreme Court will rule on the issue this month.

Studies show that gaps in achievement by both race and class begin long before college, suggesting that U.S. remedies to foster equal opportunity will need to reach earlier into a child’s life.

“The educational system is likely to be the most widely used and most acceptable policy tool we have for equalizing life chances. But it does not seem so far to achieve this goal,” said Timothy Smeeding, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in income inequality. “This specter of unequal opportunity may be the biggest negative social outcome of the continuing American inequality boom.”

The gap between rich and poor in the U.S. has now stretched to its widest since 1970, making opportunities to reach the middle class increasingly difficult.

Longer-term changes in family structure, such as a decline in marriage, have led to a rise in single-mother households across all racial groups, with the fastest growth now occurring among whites. More than 40 percent of newborns are now born out of wedlock, in families more likely to be low income.

The latest census numbers show:

—The population younger than 5 stood at 49.9 percent minority in 2012.

—For the first time in more than a century, the number of deaths now exceeds births among white Americans. This “natural decrease” occurred several years before the government’s original projection, a sign of the white population decline soon to arrive. For now, the white population is still increasing slightly, due to immigration from Europe.

—As a whole, the nonwhite population increased by 1.9 percent to 116 million, or 37 percent of the U.S. The fastest percentage growth is among multiracial Americans, followed by Asians and Hispanics. Non-Hispanic whites make up 63 percent of the U.S.; Hispanics, 17 percent; blacks, 12.3 percent; Asians, 5 percent; and multiracial Americans, 2.4 percent.

—About 353 of the nation’s 3,143 counties, or 11 percent, are now “majority-minority..” Six of those counties tipped to that status last year: Mecklenburg, N.C.; Cherokee, Okla.; Texas, Okla.; Bell, Texas; Hockley, Texas; and Terrell, Texas.

—In 2012, 13 states and the District of Columbia had an under-5 age population that was “majority-minority,” up from five states in 2000. In 25 states and the District of Columbia, minorities now make up more than 40 percent of the under-5 group.

—Among the under-5 age group, 22 percent live in poverty, typically in more rural states such as Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. Black toddlers were most likely to be poor, at 41 percent, followed by Hispanics at 32 percent and whites at 13 percent. Asian toddlers had a poverty rate of 11 percent.

“More so than ever, we need to recognize the importance of young minorities for the growth and vitality of our labor force and economy,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the census data.

Smeeding’s analysis of the latest research and data on social mobility, provided to The Associated Press, shows that a child’s achievement varies widely depending on a parent’s education and income. The reason: More educated parents tend to have fewer children and generally earn more money than before, allowing them to spend larger amounts of time or money on a child’s development, including music or art classes, extra tutoring, or travel and summer camps.

The gaps in achievement tend to emerge early in childhood, continuing through high school, and disparities are especially evident in SAT admission scores. College Board data show that average scores spread as wide as 130-140 points in each of the reading, math and writing sections for a student with family income of less than $20,000, compared with a student with family income exceeding $200,000.

About 40 percent of whites age 25-29 graduate from college, compared with 15 percent for Latinos and 23 percent for blacks.

Obama proposed expanding pre-K education for any 4-year-old whose family income was below twice the federal poverty rate, or $46,000 for a family of four. That is an increasingly minority age group that would benefit from what Obama calls the single most effective way to boost educational outcomes.

The plan would be paid for by a nearly $1 per pack federal cigarette tax. But at a time of strapped federal budgets, Republican lawmakers have been reluctant to expand the scope of government or raise new taxes. Medicare and Social Security costs due to aging of the mostly white baby boomer generation are also adding to the government burden.

A recent Rutgers University study found that state funding for pre-K programs had its largest drop ever last year, with states now spending less per child than a decade ago.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Video Game Casts Tea Party and Patriot Groups as Enemy Terrorists

Magazine article literally asks, “Do you have what it takes to pull the trigger on a fellow citizen?”

The latest installment of the popular Rainbow Six video game franchise casts Americans fed up with government corruption and banker domination as domestic terrorists intent on carrying out killings and bombings, yet another startling indication of how media is influencing the public to accept protesters and people generally upset with the way their government is being run as the new terrorist threat.

“In Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Patriots, Team Rainbow faces a new and very real threat called the ‘True Patriots,’ a highly-trained, well-organized revolutionary group that claim the American government is irrevocably corrupted by greedy politicians and corporate special interests. The True Patriots will do whatever it takes to reclaim their country,” Ubisoft’s description of the game states.

The description goes on to label members of the fictitious movement as the “new breed of terrorists,” stating, “…players will face critical scenarios that will require them to make tough ethical decisions in order to stop this new breed of terrorists.”…

This is just the latest example of an ongoing media campaign to demonize Constitutionalists and those seeking to uphold the principles of the Founding Fathers of the nation, as terrorists.

Earlier this year, we reported on how the cable TV network AMC was producing a show titled, “We Hate Paul Revere,” following two brothers that hate the famous patriot activist who became a hero during the American Revolutionary War when he went on his “midnight ride” to warn patriots and patriot militias that the British were coming.

In March, we also discussed how the Fox TV series “The Following” attempted to portray Constitutionalists and militia members as serial killers and terrorists.

Add these “coincidences” to a July 2012 report we wrote covering a DHS study that characterized Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists, and you begin to see a pattern.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

We DO Have Some Problems Here recently carried a report saying, “During his speech in San Jose, California on Friday, President Obama took one question from the press on national security monitoring of Americans. Without any sense of irony whatsoever in the aftermath of the IRS’ targeting of conservatives, the administration’s stonewalling on Benghazi, the Department of Justice’s targeting of reporters, the Department of Health and Human Services’ leveraging of private organizations for Obamacare public relations cash, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s secret email addresses, Obama unloaded this line:

“‘If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.’“

See the report: Obama: If People ‘Can’t Trust’ Government, ‘We’re Going To Have Some Problems Here’[url]

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we DO have some problems here! And the culprits are exactly the ones whom President Obama identified: the executive branch, Congress, and federal judges, or in other words, the federal government in Washington, D.C. As I have said repeatedly, the American people have more to fear from Washington D.C., than they do Tehran, Kabul, Baghdad, or Pyongyang.

Foreign governments cannot strip the American people of their liberties; they cannot expunge our First Amendment rights; they cannot eviscerate our Second Amendment rights; they cannot extinguish our Fourth Amendment rights; etc. But Washington, D.C., can do those things. In fact, Washington, D.C., is in the process of doing those very things right now.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Belgian Authorities Investigating Report That Diamond Heist Yielded $400m

Belgian authorities said Thursday they were investigating whether the spectacular diamond heist at Brussels airport in February might have yielded much more than the $50 million reported at first.

The Brussels prosecutor’s spokeswoman Anja Bijnens said Thursday that Moroccan investigators cooperating in the probe have said that the booty was <‘much bigger than originally anticipated.”

De Morgen newspaper said the Moroccan investigators placed the total at 300 million euros ($400 million), but Bijnens would not confirm the figure.

The Antwerp World Diamond Center immediately sought to quash such rumors.

<‘The value of the diamonds that were stolen in Zaventem are well and truly $50 million,” spokeswoman Caroline De Wolf told VTM network. <‘Those figures have been confirmed to us the same day by police, transporters, the insurance companies — and they were checked by customs.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dutch Politician Geert Wilders: ‘What We Need Today is Zionism for the Nations of Europe’

( LOS ANGELES—Europeans “need to follow the example of the Jewish people and re-establish their nation-state” to counter the growing Islamization of their countries, Dutch politician Geert Wilders said Sunday in Los Angeles. “My friends, what we need today is Zionism for the nations of Europe,” Wilders, founder and leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, said at the “Europe’s Last Stand?” conference, organized by the American Freedom Alliance. Wilders described that Europe’s inner cities “have come to resemble Northern Africa and the Middle East” because they are ruled by Islamic Sharia law, noting that Islamic areas border the European Union headquarters in Brussels and that “largely Islamic suburbs” surround Paris. “Europe is in a terrible state,” Wilders said. “Bit by bit, European countries are losing their national sovereignty.” Elan Journo, fellow and director of policy research at The Ayn Rand Institute of Irvine, Calif., said Europe’s history—including “real applications of communism and socialism,” feudalism, and the French Revolution—has led many Europeans to accept a collectivist mentality that closely resembles militant Islamic ideology and now works in harmony with it. That collectivist mentality has also spurred anti-Semitism, Journo explained. “What happens when you bring in an ideology like militant Islam or Islamic totalitarianism [into Europe], which by virtue of its religious creed divides the world into two groups—there’s the believers and the unbelievers—that magnifies an existing view, that the Jews are part of the unbelievers,” Journo told

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]

France: Police Check of Veiled Woman Sparks Clashes

Trouble started when police stopped 25-year-old woman who was wearing a full-face Muslim veil

Cergy, France: Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse an angry crowd in a town on the outskirts of Paris where clashes erupted on Wednesday night after they questioned a woman wearing a full facial veil, which is banned in France.

A police source said the trouble started when police stopped a 25-year-old woman in the centre of Argenteuil, a suburb north-west of Paris, who was wearing a full-face Muslim veil, or niqab.

A passer-by got involved, calling the check “illegitimate”, and soon a crowd of about 60 people gathered and attacked the police, who called for back-up, said the source.

“The police were insulted and beaten,” he said.

A 32-year-old resident who asked not to be named, said police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd in Argenteuil, which has a large Muslim population.

The police source said two men, including a cousin of the young woman, were arrested. Some 40 police officers were called to break up the clashes.

France has outraged many Muslims with its law against full veils, which came into force in April 2011 and bans on covering one’s face in public.

Violations are punishable by a fine of up to 150 euros ($190) or mandatory citizenship training.

About 300 women were caught breaking the veil law in the first year it was in force, according to the interior ministry.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: Taxi Fares and Dinner Costs Rise in Athens

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JUNE 13 — While staying at Athens hotels has become cheaper than last year, food and taxis have actually become more expensive, as Kathimerini online reports citing data from a global survey across 49 cities conducted by the Tripadvisor website. Athens this year ranks 13th among the cheapest city destinations based on the price of one night’s stay in a twin room in a four-star hotel, a two-course dinner for two people with a bottle of wine, two taxi trips and two cocktails at a five-star hotel bar. The Greek capital climbed one spot on the chart though it appears in the survey to be more expensive than last year by five euros. The above package is priced at an average of 184.3 euros: Tourists will this year pay 8.80 euros less for their hotel accommodation, at 92 euros and 3.30 euros less for the cocktails, at a total of 26.80 euros. Their taxi trips will set them back by an additional 6.70 euros, totaling 12.90 euros, while dinner will cost them 10.70 euros more, at an average of 52.60 euros. In terms of accommodation costs Athens ranks the eighth cheapest, in dinner costs and taxi fares it ranks 22nd and in cocktail prices it is 34th among 49 destinations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Centre-Left Resurgence Continues in Sicily

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

(By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) — Rome, June 11 — The centre left has continued its strong showing in the first mayor round of local elections since February’s national vote with a good performance in Sicily, results showed 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 a 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.

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 just missed out on taking Messina in the first round.

He won 49.94% of the vote%, with Renato Accorinti, the head of a group opposed to the idea of building a bridge across the Strait of Messina to connect Sicily to the mainland, second with 23.88%. Centre-left candidates were also ahead in Siracusa and Ragusa ahead of 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”.

The outcome should also strengthen the position of the PD and Letta within the government alliance.

Berlusconi and the PdL had been emboldened by the PD’s recent troubles and their rise to first place in the opinion polls and have made a series of demands about the policies that the government should adopt.

The PD is the biggest group in parliament but it has been ravaged by internal divisions after former party secretary Pier Luigi Bersani squandered a big lead in the polls before February’s election with a colourless campaign.

This culminated with the PD coming first by a narrow margin in the vote and not having a working majority in parliament, which eventually forced it to form a seemingly unnatural alliance with their bitter rivals in the PdL. But the local elections have now put the PdL on the defensive, with several centre-right lawmakers admitting they showed the party is dependent on the campaign prowess of Berlusconi, who took a back seat in the run-up to them. “I think we have to acknowledge the defeat and accelerate the process of reorganising the party that has been launched,” said PdL Senator Domenico Scilipoti. “It clearly emerges from these local elections that the PdL does not have a presence at the local level and when Berlusconi does not make a personal effort in the campaign, the centre right just collects loud defeats”.

Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which captured around a quarter of the vote in the general election, was largely absent from the run-offs after suffering a big fall in support in the first round of voting.

It did, however, manage to get mayors elected in the towns of Pomezia near Rome and Assemini in Sardinia.

The turnout for the run-offs, however, fell dramatically with respect to the equivalent vote in 2008, with less than half of eligible votes taking part.

Experts saw this as another sign the Italian public is extremely disillusioned with its political class.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Dacco’ Sentenced to Nine Years for Milan Hospital Graft

Appeals court lops a year off original sentence

(ANSA) — Milan, June 11 — An Italian appeals court on Tuesday sentenced Milanese businessman Pierangelo Dacco’ to nine years in prison for embezzling money through the San Raffaele hospital in Milan.

This was a year less than the 10 years Dacco’ got from the court of first instance in October.

According to the court, Dacco’ helped create the so-called “San Raffaele system”, whereby entrepreneurs who worked under contract for the hospital would intentionally overbill clients and give the difference to Dacco’ who used the money for slush funds.

He was also found guilty of misappropriating assets and tax fraud.

Mario Valsecchi, the former director of the hospital, has already served 2 years and 10 months in prison.

Dacco’ is also part of a separate multi-million-euro fraud investigation into the Pavia-based Maugeri health-care foundation.

Prosecutors say Dacco’ spent 4.5 million euros on three yachts and lent them to former Lombardy Governor Roberto Formigoni, an ally of former premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Formigoni, who resigned amid swirling scandals along with the rest of the regional government at Christmas, has denied wrongdoing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Palermo Prosecutor ‘Bungled’ Capture of Mob Boss, Judges Say

Messineo ‘influenced’ by Ingroia, CSM suspects

(updates previous) (ANSA) — Rome, June 12 — The judiciary’s CSM self-governing body on Wednesday accused Palermo’s chief prosecutor Francesco Messineo of being responsible for mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro remaining at large.

Messineo, the CSM said in a disciplinary procedure, did not favour the circulation of information within Palermo’s prosecutor’s office and “a consequence of this lack of coordination was allegedly the failure to capture the fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro”. Messineo is also suspected of being influenced by one of the prosecutors in his office, Antonio Ingroia, the CSM wrote, noting that Ingroia withheld wiretaps concerning Messina Denaro for five months from Caltanissetta prosecutors investigating the mafia boss.

The wiretaps were filed by Ingroia in November 2012, just a few days before he left the state attorney’s office in Palermo.

Ingroia founded the left-wing Civic Revolution party shortly afterwards but the movement folded after doing poorly in general elections last February.

The CSM then appointed him as deputy prosecutor in the northwestern city of Aosta, as Valle D’Aosta was the only region where he did not run for office.

Messineo will be heard by the CSM in a hearing next month. He risks being removed from his post.

Originally from Trapani in Sicily, Messina Denaro has been a fugitive since 1993. The Cosa Nostra leader is known as the ‘boss of bosses’ and the ‘playboy boss’ for his passion for women and luxury.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mayor Marino Planning Imperial Rome’s Pedestrianization

(AGI) — Rome, Jun 11 — The new Mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, pledged on Tuesday to turn the Imperial Fora into a pedestrian area starting August 15. During a popular public radio talk show, Marino acknowledged the move may prove controversial, saying “it will probably prove to be my ‘first mistake’ as mayor.” .

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

Italy: Tariffs for New Solar Project Set to Cease

Rome, 12 June (Bloomberg/AKI) — Italy, the second-largest market for solar-power, will cease granting feed-in tariffs for new installations after July 6 because its subsidy program has reached its budget cap.

The annual cost of existing or approved photovoltaic plants reached its limit of 6.7 billion euros ($8.9 billion) on June 6, the country’s electricity and gas regulator said on its website. The law restricts above-market rates for solar energy a month after the threshold is reached.

The country is ending the program that has driven a boom in installations surpassed only by Germany. It follows Spain and Portugal, which stopped granting new subsidies last year to prevent further rises in annual costs and consumer bills. Germany, which plans to overhaul its subsidy system after elections set for Sept. 22, is considering a similar cap.

Italy’s solar subsidy plan, introduced in 2005, has driven the installation of more than 526,000 solar plants with more than 17 gigawatts, the latest official data show. In comparison, Germany had 32 gigawatts and France 3.6 gigawatts at the end of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Italy’s solar market was the world’s biggest in 2011 and had already slowed down after a competitive registry was introduced for most projects. Without tariffs, the Italian solar market will depend on net metering and income tax deductions to drive sales. With net metering, consumers can sell power they generate themselves back to the grid.

Solar projects with about 727 megawatts in combined capacity qualified for tariffs this year through the country’s second and last register. All project with 12 kilowatts or more had to register to opt for the subsidies.

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

Italy: Former Senator Hands State Millions of Embezzled Funds

Luigi Lusi ‘admits responsibility’, says court

(ANSA) — Rome, June 13 — Some 16 million euros of property seized from former Democratic Party (PD) Senator Luigi Lusi will be handed over to the State, Italy’s Audit Court said on Thursday. Lusi was indicted earlier this year for allegedly embezzling 22 million euros of funds from the coffers of the now-defunct centre-left Margherita party when he was treasurer.

He spent almost a year under house arrest in an Abruzzo convent before being released on bail in May.

The court ruled that the funds will be handed over to the State, not political parties.

Lusi “has admitted his administrative responsibility and has not contested the damages derived from his illicit management of the political party funds,” the court said. The court subtracted 6.25 million euros from the total of 22.81 million euros Lusi allegedly siphoned from party coffers for previous taxes and levies already paid by the former Senator.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: MPs Want Answers Over Wilders Snub at King’s Investiture

MPs from across the political spectrum have called for answers to claims in Wednesday’s Volkskrant newspaper that anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders was sidelined during the investiture of king Willem-Alexander.

The paper said master of ceremonies and senate leader Fred de Graaf had taken steps to ensure Wilders was not part of the official escort for the new king, despite his seniority as a politician.

De Graaf told the paper he had tried to ensure the escort reflected the make-up of parliament, was divided between men and women and focused on long-serving MPs.

However, he also kept in mind the prospective attention which would be paid to Wilders if he was in close proximity to the king, De Graaf said. Wilders is one of the longest-serving Dutch MPs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

New Report Highlights Secretive EU Funding of Anti-Israel NGOs

In new report presented to European Parliament, NGO Monitor highlights secretive EU funding of radical political advocacy NGOs.

In a new report presented to members of the European Parliament, NGO Monitor details the damaging impact of highly secretive European Union funding for radical political advocacy Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

According to the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, EU funds are going to organizations involved in anti-Israel boycotts and violent demonstrations, which undermine the EU’s efforts to secure peace in the Middle East.

The report, Lack of Due Diligence and Transparency in European Union Funding for Radical NGOs, shows how EU-funded NGOs lead the campaigns to demonize Israel through the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) — actions that entirely contradict the EU’s proclaimed objectives of supporting peace and democratic development.

“The EU’s grantees are centrally involved in the 2001 Durban NGO Forum’s strategy of political warfare and demonization of Israel. The Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) and its allies are driving Europe’s double standards that single-out Israel through product labeling,” stated Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “The EU refusal to release any significant documents that shed light on funding decisions reflects a clear violation of transparency principles, and allows for highly irresponsible EC actions.”

“The study emphasizes the fundamental damage caused by extreme secrecy and the lack of due diligence in the European Commission’s decision-making for funding radical NGOs,” continued Steinberg. “The facts clearly demonstrate that either the officials involved were unaware of the groups chosen to receive taxpayer funds, or that they chose to promote NGOs that fuel the conflict and promote confrontation, under the facade of ‘non-violence.’“

The EU report follows an NGO Monitor report presented in Washington in May on U.S. Government funding for several Middle East political NGOs. On the basis of this publication, members of Congress and U.S. Government officials took action to insure transparency prevent the misallocation of such grants for counterproductive NGOs.

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]

Poland: ‘Great Escape of the Young’

Rzeczpospolita, 10 June 2013

More than 70 per cent of the 2 million Polish emigrees are aged 39 or younger, writes Rzeczpospolita quoting recent data released by the Central Statistics Office (GUS).

“These figures are appalling. We’re bleeding people,” laments professor Krystyna Iglicka, a demographer and head of Lazarski University, noting that this “unprecedented exodus” of young Poles is occurring at a time when the number of newborn children is alarmingly low.

Other experts point out that a lack of young and creative people who “did not know socialism and were to be our hope” has actually resulted in “lower economic growth, less consumption, reduced development potential as well as higher social spending.”

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

The First Vikings

Two remarkable ships may show that the Viking storm was brewing long before their assault on England and the continent

By Andrew Curry

The carefully stacked remains of 33 men were buried in the ship that brought them from Scandinavia to an Estonian island more than a century before the Vikings are thought to have been able to sail across such distances.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘This Hooker’s Ugly’: Nuisance 999 Caller Phoned Police to Complain About a Prostitute’s Looks After Meeting Her in the Flesh

A man has received a warning from police after calling 999 to complain that a prostitute he met outside a hotel was not as attractive as she had promised.

The nuisance caller claimed that the woman had ‘breached the Sale of Goods Act’ by mis-representing her looks in a newspaper advert.

However, officers in Solihull told him that the prostitute had not committed an offence — and reminded him that he may have broken the law against soliciting for sex.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘We Don’t Want to Die’: Police Use School Bus Filled With Screaming Children as Roadblock to Stop Gypsy Fair Car Chase

Terrified children as young as five cried ‘we don’t want to die’ as police used their school bus as a roadblock during a car chase.

Officers ahead of the pursuit asked the bus driver to position his vehicle, carrying about 50 youngsters, across the road as the cars approached.

Children were in tears as the car being chased rammed into the rear of the coach.

Miraculously, none was injured. But parents are furious their children were put in danger.

The drama, in Appleby, Cumbria, is now under investigation by the local Police and Crime Commissioner.

His officers asked the driver of the 70-seat coach to block the path of a car that had failed to stop on its way to the Appleby Horse Fair.

It is understood the BMW slowed as it approached the bus and crashed into the rear as it tried to squeeze past.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Hats Off to Sarah Montague [Reader Comment Only]


[Reader comment by Shazza on 12 June 2013.]

Rod, it is unworthy of you, as one of the few journalists who is prepared to put his head above the parapet walls, to refer to TR as a ‘clown’. The EDL certainly has it’s shortcomings but who else, in this under siege country, is prepared to put his life on the line to attempt to draw attention to the fast-tracked islamification of these once great, British Isles but TR? Why not dig a little deeper and start exposing the muslim (coyly described as ‘Asian’) violence against non-muslim people of all colour and creeds in this country? Why not expose, for example the violence that occurred last night in Ashton under Lyne that seems to be censored? [JP emphasis.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: My Memories of Henry Cecil

by Lord Risby

One of the great joys of being a Suffolk MP for eighteen years was to be able to represent Newmarket in the House of Commons.

However, it did not start at all well. The French and Irish had obtained a generous VAT derogation from the European Commission in respect of their horse racing and training industries, ahead of the introduction of Single European Market legislation. Bluntly, it looked as if much of our historic racing industry would depart these shores lock, stock and barrel. A vigorous campaign was fought, but mercifully it was in a subsequent Budget that Norman Lamont opened the way for racing to survive and prosper. It is to him that I, as the then local MP, and the racing industry, remain eternally grateful.

Because of the high profile campaign, I got to know well all the main players in racing in Newmarket. All except Henry Cecil. Early one morning, I was watching racehorses exercising on Warren Hill, above Newmarket. Leading a long line of horses, the biggest in the town, was the man himself. I introduced myself to him and he invited me back to his house. With boyish enthusiasm, he showed me the dressage ring he had built for his wife and his enormous and beautifully presented collection of miniature soldiers. But his overwhelming equine passion manifested itself when he showed me the sacks of different feed for his beloved horses, meticulously describing the quality and purpose of each, and exactly where the feed came from, here or abroad. It was like watching a Bond Street jeweller handling precious gems. In due course, I departed after a wonderfully entertaining and interesting morning, but completely convinced that Henry had not the faintest idea who I was.


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Police Warning Over Hate Crime After Maidenhead Mosque Attack

Thames Valley Police has warned hate crime will not be tolerated following two further religiously-motivated acts at Maidenhead Mosque. On Monday, a piece of bacon was posted through the Holmanleaze mosque’s letterbox, while ‘England till I die’ graffti was sprayed on nearby tarmac last week. It comes after stones were thrown through a pane of glass at the mosque on May 22 — the night after Drummer Lee Rigby was attacked and killed in a suspected Islamist attack in Woolwich…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Reporter on the March With Mosque Protestors

Hundreds of Anti-Islam protestors descended on Lincoln city centre on Saturday. Echo reporter Mark Williams walked with the demonstrators to discover how far they would go to make their point heard…

Amid the odour of cheap booze, protestors of all ages gathered in our historic city. As a 76-year-old woman roared “Muslims go home”, an 11-year-old boy squared up to police officers. Lincoln women, draped in patriotic gear, sang anti-Muslim chants as they pushed prams through the crowds.

The gathering had been organised by the East Anglian Patriots to protest against plans to build a mosque in Boultham Park Road. Yet, at no stage, did any demonstrator offer up to me a worthy argument as to why the mosque should not be built. Instead, the tone in the throng of the crowd was simply anti-Muslim. There were protestors — men, women and teenagers — who could barely stand up straight because of the huge quantities of alcohol they had consumed earlier.

Following an emotional “There’s only one Lee Rigby” song, a man turned to me and, with a puzzled expression and almost incoherent speech, asked: “Who the hell is Lee Rigby?” And let us not kid ourselves. There were more than enough of these so-called protestors sniffing out every opportunity for a brawl…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Tensions High in British Town After “Muslim Youths” Attack “White Girls”

A video from earlier this week claims to show a gang of “Muslim youths” attacking “white girls” in the town of Ashton-under-Lyne

Tensions are running high in the northern English town of Ashton-under-Lyne after a video circulating online showed a gang of what is reported as British-Pakistani youths attacking young “white girls” at a bus stop. The incident, which occured in the town just outside of Manchester, has led to a number of groups calling for a ‘march’ or ‘rally’ in the town this coming Saturday, with the English Defence League quickly setting up an ‘Ashton-Under-Lyne’ branch of the group.

The video, which has been removed from YouTube but can still be found on LiveLeak, describes the incident last night as, “This is a video that has been taken in Ashton Under Lyne, England that shows a gang of Muslim youths attacking a group of white kids. Just before the filming had started one of the muslim youths had punched one of the white girls in the face. This is becoming a regular occurence on the streets of the UK.”

While there have been reports of arrests after last night’s incident, Tameside Police are yet to confirm this to The Commentator, though police services for the local area have said that they have received, “Lots of messages about the video, it’s being investigated arrests are being made. We have no further comments until after the investigation.” The force also tweeted that it arrest four people for “minor public order offences” after groups gathered in Ashton town centre last night…

[JP note: Liveleak clip here ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: EU Surprised at Severe Femen Sentence

Change laws that restrict freedom, Ashton spokesman

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JUNE 13 — The European Union has expressed “surprise” at the severity of jail sentences handed down to three European feminists who staged a topless protest in Tunisia.

A Tunisian court sentenced one German and two French activists from the women’s rights group Femen to four months in prison on Wednesday after they appeared topless in the capital Tunis last month.

“The EU is surprised by the severity of the judgment,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

He said the EU usually refrained from commenting on judicial sentences but could not help but express “surprise” and urged a review.

“The EU underlines the need to revise laws inherited from the previous regimes which can be used to restrict it,” Mann said. Referring to the Femen case he said freedom of expression had to be reinforced in line with the aspirations of those who took part in the Tunisian revolution.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia to Get USD 1.2 Bln From Islamic Development Bank

IsDB will also acquire 25% of Tunisian bank Zitouna

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JUNE 13 — As part of its financial cooperation with Tunisia, the Islamic Development Bank will be making 1.2 billion dollars available to it, announced IsDB president Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Madani in an interview with Radio Express. The agreement involves three sectors: the financing of infrastructure projects reducing the differences between regions, the contribution to Maghreb regional integration and technical cooperation between Tunisia and Sub-Saharan countries for healthcare, education and trade. Al-Madani also announced that the IsDB would be acquiring 25% of the Tunisian bank Zitouna during the upcoming capital increase.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Muslims Killing Muslims

The Muslim Civil War: Sunni extremist against Shiite extremist Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan

Don’t feel bad if you can’t tell a Sunni Muslim from a Shiite Muslim. It has been a source of confusion for many people outside the world of Islam. If Bret Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Wall Street Journal is right, we are witnessing “The Muslim Civil War.”

Here’s a quick lesson regarding the two sects within Islam. Suffice to say that the Sunnis are the vast majority throughout the Middle East and in nations where Islam is the predominant religion. The greatest concentration of Shiites is found in Iran and Iraq. Both Hezbollah and Hamas, Palestinians, are pledged to destroy Israel, are Shiite.

Islam was invented by Mohammed in the seventh century, an amalgam of pagan beliefs common to Arab tribes in Arabia and a light overlay of Judaism with practices such as the prohibition against eating the meat of pigs. In its earliest years, Mohammed instructed converts to face toward Jerusalem when praying. After Jewish tribes in Arabia refused to accept him as the new prophet of God, he slaughtered them and Mecca became the center of Islam. He had some knowledge of Christianity but disparaged it and, in time, embraced a hatred for all “infidels” (unbelievers) unless they too converted.

Mohammed’s death in 632 A.D. led to what could be called a family fight because a branch of the family, his direct heirs — now known as Sunnis — became the first four caliphs, taking over the leadership of Islam and ruling continuously in the Arab world until the breakup of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. The Sunnis saw this as a devastating loss. The Sunnis comprised an estimated ninety percent of all Muslims at the time and remain the majority.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Oil Flow Halts as Tribesmen Blow Up Yemen Pipeline

AFP — Oil flow from a key Yemeni pipeline came to a halt on Thursday after tribesmen carried out a fresh attack on it, tribal sources and industry officials said.

The dawn attack by tribesmen took place in the Sarwah region between Sanaa and Marib, in the country’s east, the tribal sources said.

“Oil flow has completely stopped” from the the 320-kilometre (200 miles) pipeline that links the Safer oil fields to the Red Sea port of Hodeida, the industry official said.

The pipeline has been hit repeatedly by saboteurs, with the last attack on May 24.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Saudi Women With Attractive Eyes May be Forced to Cover Even Them Up, If Resolution is Passed

Women with attractive eyes may be forced to cover them up under Saudi Arabia’s latest repressive measure, it was reported yesterday.

The ultra-conservative Islamic state has said it has the right to stop women revealing ‘tempting’ eyes in public.

A spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, Sheikh Motlab al Nabet, said a proposal to enshrine the measure in law has been tabled.

Women in Saudi Arabia already have to wear a long black cloak, called an abaya, cover their hair and, in some regions, conceal their faces while in public.

If they do not, they face punishments including fines and public floggings.

One report on the Bikya Masr news website suggested the proposal was made after a member of the committee was attracted by a woman’s eyes as he walked along a street, provoking a fight.

The woman was walking with her husband who ended up being stabbed twice in the hand after the altercation.

The virtue and vice committee has repeatedly been accused of human rights violations.

Founded in 1940, its function is to ensure Islamic laws are not broken in public in Saudi Arabia.

In 2002, the committee refused to allow female students out of a burning school in the holy city of Mecca because they were not wearing correct head cover.

The decision is thought to have contributed to the high death toll of 15.

They are also banned from driving by religious edict and cannot travel without authorisation from their male guardians.

In September, a Saudi women sentenced to 10 lashes for defying the driving ban was only spared when King Abdullah stepped in to stop the public flogging.

Also in September, the king announced that women would be given the right to vote for the first time and run in the country’s 2015 local elections.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Syria Has Used Chemical Weapons Against Rebels, U.S. And European Officials Conclude

American and European intelligence analysts now believe that President Bashar al-Assad’s troops have used chemical weapons against rebel forces in the civil war in Syria, an assessment that will put added pressure on a deeply divided Obama administration to develop a response to a provocation that the president himself has declared a “red line.”

According to an internal memorandum circulating inside the government on Thursday, the “intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.” President Obama said in April that the United States had physiological evidence that the nerve gas sarin had been used in Syria, but lacked proof of who used it and under what circumstances. He now believes that the proof is definitive, according to American officials.

But a flurry of high-level meetings in Washington this week only underscored the splits within the Obama administration about what actions to take to quell the fighting, which has claimed more than 90,000 people. The meetings were hastily arranged after Mr. Assad’s troops — joined by fighters from the militant group Hezbollah — claimed the strategic city of Qusayr and raised fears in Washington that large parts of the rebellion could be on the verge of collapse.

[Return to headlines]

Syria: John Kerry’s Monty Python Diplomacy

by Peter Foster

Just back from the State Department where the US-UK diplomacy on Syria has reached Monty Python levels of double-speak. William Hague was agitated and impotent as usual. Reflecting long-standing British impatience with the US sitting on its hands over the Syrian conflict, he lambasted Assad in the usual manner: “murder” “tyranny” “grave threat” “urgent crisis”. You get the picture.

Mr Kerry spoke with even more emptiness than Mr Hague, before letting slip this pearl: “We are determined to do everything that we can in order to help the opposition to save Syria,” he said. Really? “Everything that we can?” Ho-ho. You can just imagine the dark banter among the rebels camps in Aleppo or Homs tonight as Assad’s forces mass in preparation for an attack. Picture the scene:

Revolutionary 1: Where are the Americans? I thought they promised to help us?

Revolutionary 2: Yes. Indeed they have. They are the world’s unrivalled super-power and they are doing “everything they can” — that’s what that nice Mr Kerry said, anyway.

Revolutionary 1: Okay. But isn’t that a helicopter gunship coming towards us? They have all those F-16s, what happened to the no-fly zone?

Revolutionary 2: Ah, yes, that’s right, but what they mean is, it’s “everything they can”, apart from a no-fly zone.

Revolutionary 1: I see. So we’re getting surface-to-air missiles to shoot down the helicopter, right? Thing is, I’ve been back to the pick-up, but I can’t seem to find them? Searched everywhere, even under the seats. There’s Kalashnikovs and a couple of RPGs, but not sure that’s gonna cut it.

Revolutionary 2: Ah, well, no. I should have been clearer. It’s “everything” apart from the no-fly zones and the SAMs. They can’t do SAMs, apparently, worried the Nusra Front boys might point them in the wrong direction.

Revolutionary 1: Mmm. Okay. Wait…pass the binoculars…oh sh*t. Is that tanks? Well at least the American’s sent those long-range, wire-guided anti-tank missiles…they did, right?

Revolutionary 2: Er…well, not exactly. But aside from no-fly zone, the SAMs and the anti-tank missiles, they’re giving us everything they’ve got.

Revolutionary 1: What?! So what part of “everything” did they send?


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Russia Promises Manned Launches From Its Own Soil in 2018

Russia, one of the world’s space powerhouses, has been launching its rockets from Kazakhstan since the early days of its space program, but now plans to shift its launches to Russian soil within five years. But some experts question whether such a pace is realistic.

This spring, President Vladimir Putin pledged $51.8 billion by 2020 to place his country back in the top ranks of world space explorers. The centerpiece of that promise is Vostochny, a cosmodrome, or launch site, under construction in eastern Siberia, near the Chinese border. Within five years, Putin promised that an International Space Station crew would launch from Vostochny.

“Construction work is accelerated here,” Putin told the space station’s Expedition 35crew in Russian remarks translated on NASA Television April 12. Russia will be launching manned vehicles by 2018, he added. “The next stage, by 2020, we plan to launch extra-heavy vehicles.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Burma: Muslim Man Accused of Sparking Burma Unrest Jailed for 26 Years

Court verdict follows pattern of convictions for Muslims, who have been the main victims of Buddhist-led violence

A Muslim man whose attack on a Buddhist woman set off sectarian rioting in north-east Burma last month has been sentenced to 26 years in prison, a local politician said. The court sentenced 48-year-old Ne Win on Tuesday after he was convicted of attempted murder, causing serious injury and possession and use of illegal drugs, said the National League for Democracy member Sai Myint Maung, who attended the trial.

The rioting in Lashio in Shan state marked the extension of anti-Muslim violence from areas in western and central Burma.

The unrest in Lashio began on May 28 after Ne Win splashed petrol on a woman and set her on fire. She was taken to hospital with serious burns. Buddhist mobs took revenge by burning several Muslim shops, one of the city’s main mosques, an Islamic orphanage and a cinema. One person, a Muslim, died…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Extremists Attack a Peaceful Muslim-Christian Conference in Surabaya

Members of the Islamic Defenders Front stopped an interfaith meeting by force. The images caught on video were posted on YouTube. Complicit with the violent protesters, police detain event organisers. Orthodox Christian activist notes the conference had the right permits, bemoans rising intolerance.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — A group of extremists from to the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) stormed a Christian-Muslim conference on religious freedom and peaceful coexistence between the two faiths, disrupting its activities. The raid, which took place on Tuesday afternoon, was due to the fact that the meeting, planned initially for a public venue, was underway in a place of worship owned by the Diocese of Surabaya (East Java). Christian activists noted that the police did not intervene to fend off the attack, showing a complicit attitude towards the extremist group, confirming a growing climate of intolerance in the country.

A video taken with a mobile phone and posted on YouTube (click here to view) shows the Islamist group attacking an organiser of the event at the front desk, as he welcomed arrivals.

In the days leading up to the meeting, police warned organisers against holding the event, asking them to cancel it because the issues it addressed, like better “relations between Christians and Muslims”, were too sensitive.

Members of ‘Gus Dur’ groups were among those who sponsored the meeting. They are followers of the late former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, also known as Gus Dur, an iconic figure in the country’s human rights community, and a man who promoted peaceful coexistence in the country.

Christian and Muslim activists from Surabaya and Sampang (Madura Island) were expected to participate in the event as well.

Towards the end of the conference, which was going smoothly, FPI militants led by a local branch chief stormed the assembly, interrupted its activities and threatened all those present despite the fact that it had all the necessary permits. In Indonesia, public gatherings require a permit from police.

Bambang Noorsena, an Orthodox Christian who spoke at the conference, told AsiaNews that “the permits were in order,” but on the day of the conference, police cancelled them.

The meeting’s aim was to “improve Muslim-Christian relations”, but police showed partisan behaviour that left the field open to the attackers.

In fact, police later detained meeting organisers and kept them in custody for several hours. By contrast, no action was taken against the members of the Islamist group, who were able to go home unhindered.

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

Italian Envoy Meets India’s Foreign Minister in Marines Case

Case slow-moving due to ‘unprecedented nature’

(ANSA) — New Delhi, June 11 — The unprecedented nature of the case of two Italian marines charged in India with double homicide have made it slow to resolve, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

He spoke after meetings late Monday between the Italian government’s special envoy to India, Staffan de Mistura, and Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in New Delhi.

Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin acknowledged that progress has been slow, saying that’s because the case is unusual and therefore there are few precedents to follow.

“We are working together as friendly countries to seek…a solution acceptable to both,” he said. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are on trial for shooting and killing fishermen Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after allegedly mistaking them for pirates while guarding a merchant ship off the Kerala coast in February 2012.

The pair is currently waiting for a new investigation to be completed by India’s NIA anti-terrorism police.

They issued a statement Monday proclaiming their innocence as Italy marked Armed Forces Day.

The two countries have been in a diplomatic row and relations have been tense since the shooting.

Italy has contested India’s claim that it has jurisdiction over the case, arguing that the deaths occurred in international waters.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Chinese Dissident Ai Weiwei: “The U.S. Is Behaving Like China”

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political dissident. Although he collaborated on the construction of Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics, his criticism of the government later led to his arrest without charges and imprisonment for several months. I believe there are two main takeaways from the following article he wrote for The Guardian. First, he knows what it is like to live in an authoritarian regime with very little freedom or civil liberties. Thus it would be wise to take his warning to heart. Second, he illustrates a key point I have been trying to make for years. All citizens of the world must refuse to allow their respective governments to drag us into a war started by various oligarchs located in distinct geographic locations.

99.9% of the population must come together and understand that oligarchs within the U.S. and oligarchs within China are united against us all. We must never forget this. These guys don’t fight wars. Rather, they rape, steal and pillage and then send you to do their dirty work. Don’t fall for it. — From The Guardian:

“I lived in the United States for 12 years. This abuse of state power goes totally against my understanding of what it means to be a civilised society, and it will be shocking for me if American citizens allow this to continue. The US has a great tradition of individualism and privacy and has long been a centre for free thinking and creativity as a result.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Al Qaeda Believed to be in Possession of Fearsome Missile Launcher After Instruction Manual is Discovered at Mali Training Camp

An Al Qaeda cell was feared to be in possession of a missile launcher capable of taking down a commercial aircraft after blueprints and instructions for the weapon were discovered at a training camp in Mali.

The 26-page document in Arabic strongly suggests the group now possesses the SA-7 surface-to-air missile, known to the Pentagon as the Grail, according to terrorism specialists.

Photocopies of the manual, which contained a detailed guide, diagrams and photographs, lay in heaps on the floor of a building once occupied by the terror group in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu.

The manual, recovered by The Associated Press, also confirms that the Al Qaeda cell is actively training its fighters to use these weapons, also called man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS, which likely came from the arms depots of ex-Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Census: White Majority in U.S. Gone by 2043

For the first time, America’s racial and ethnic minorities now make up about half of the under-5 age group, the government said Thursday. It’s a historic shift that shows how young people are at the forefront of sweeping changes by race and class.

The new census estimates, a snapshot of the U.S. population as of July 2012, comes a year after the Census Bureau reported that whites had fallen to a minority among babies. Fueled by immigration and high rates of birth, particularly among Hispanics, racial and ethnic minorities are now growing more rapidly in numbers than whites.

It’s the latest in a series of reports that have signaled a major, long-term shift in the demographics of the United States, as non-Hispanic white Americans are expected to become a minority group over the next three decades. For years, Americans of Asian, black and Hispanic descent have stood poised to topple the demographic hegemony historically held by whites.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Repatriations Overtake Immigrant Landings in Italy

From 2008 to 2012, 46,777 foreigners awarded citizenship

(ANSA) — Rome, June 13 — A total of 4,319 refugees landed on Italy’s coasts in the first five months of this year, during which time period some 13,304 immigrants were forcibly repatriated to their home nation, according to data released by Italy’s Interior Ministry Thursday. In the first five months of the year Italian authorities issued 730,607 visas for long-term stays in Italy, according to Interior Ministry Chief of Staff Giuseppe Procaccini.

From 2008 to 2012, 46,777 immigrants were awarded citizenship, of which 22,673 due to marital status and the other 24,104 due to the applicant’s residence.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Swiss Pull up the Drawbridge

El País Madrid

The June 9 vote in favour of tightened up asylum laws is the first in a series of referendums on the welcome that the Swiss offer foreigners. The Confederation, which was once open to immigrants, may under pressure from the crisis, redefine its identity and isolate itself.

Ana Carbajosa

It’s seven o’clock in the morning on a Thursday on the train that runs between Zurich, the Swiss financial centre, and Bern, the capital, and there is not a single seat available in the first-class carriages. In almost any country, this would merely be a full train — nothing more that that. Not in Switzerland. On this island of European prosperity, the trains and the traffic jams on some roads have become clear signs for many Swiss that something isn’t working, and that the welfare state is straining to pay the bills.

In the end, the country is just too small to take in everyone, they feel, and so it’s time to bring some order to the borders. This talk isn’t just heard on the street; it’s reached government offices too, in an echo of the political agenda that the extreme right has been trumpeting for years.

Yesterday a vast majority (79 per cent) of Swiss voted yes to a referendum backing a tightening of the country’s asylum law. Traditionally Switzerland has been a very generous country, compared with the countries of the EU, when it comes to accepting political refugees. The referendum held yesterday is only one step in a range of initiatives with which the political class is trying to respond to the growing public anxiety.

The measure that was most hoped for, and which has angered Brussels, has been the activation of the so-called safeguard clause, by which Switzerland has restricted long-term permits for workers from the European Union, including Spaniards. In the next 18 months, up to three referendums will decide on the entry of foreigners into the country and will help redefine the identity of a country in which immigrants (23 per cent of the population, most of them European, and mostly Germans) have historically been the engine of the economy.

The safeguard clause has been more a symbolic measure than anything else. It will affect about 3,000 workers from the EU, who in any case may request a short-term permit until the restriction expires next year. As recognised by the governments themselves, it was a measure to mollify the population and show that the governments are capable of taking decisions to control the entrance and exit of workers, even it that goes against Brussels.

Crisis fuels fears

The financial troubles of the EU countries have greatly helped exacerbate fears. The storm powerfull raging over the rest of Europe has bypassed Switzerland, where the economy is doing well: the growth forecast is 1.2 per cent, unemployment is almost neglible — around 3 per cent — and the exercise of their particular direct democracy still guarantees them an enviable political stability. Swiss society is afraid that hordes of foreign workers will come and spoil the party….

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

Euthanasia for Children Nears Approval by Belgian Parliament; Doctors to Mass-Euthanize Children and Alzheimer’s Patients

(NaturalNews) A proposed law on the verge of approval by the Belgium parliament would allow children to decide for themselves whether they should be euthanized (“killed”) by medical personnel. Currently, Belgian law limits euthanasia to persons 18 and older, but with the rise of autistic children thanks to biopesticides, GMOs and vaccines, nations are increasingly trying to figure out what to do with all these children who have been permanently damaged by the medical and biotech industries.

The answer, of course, is to simply kill them. It’s difficult to kill children off under current law without being charged with murder, however. So this proposed new law would allow doctors to decide whether children of any age (yes, even a five-year-old) can, themselves, “consent” to being euthanized without parental consent.

Not surprisingly, the bill was introduced by the socialist party, since socialists tend to hate humanity no matter what country they live in. The proposed legislation calls for, “the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate,” reports AFP.

That story goes on to report, “Socialist Senator Philippe Mahoux, who helped draft the proposed changes, said there had been cases of adolescents who ‘had the capacity to decide’ their future.”

Because, of course, a six-year-old isn’t old enough to drive a car or buy a beer, but they can certainly consent to being killed by the state… especially if they’re already a burden on health care costs.

As the law proponents claim, it “marks a turning point in the nation’s approach to the rights of young people, some of whom would be able to choose to die if the law were to pass, even while still being legally barred from driving, marrying, voting or drinking liquor until they turned 18,” reports

Alzheimer’s patients to also face euthanization under proposed law

But wait, there’s more! It’s not just children who will be euthanized under this new law, it’s also scores of Alzheimer’s patients.

“Parliamentarians would also consider extended mercy-killing to people suffering from Alzheimer’s-type illnesses,” said the socialist senator.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Southern Baptists Criticize Policy But Stay With Boy Scouts

A resolution approved Wednesday falls short of calling for an exodus.

About 70% of Scout troops are run by faith-based organizations, the BSA says. About 37% are Mormon, 10% Methodist and 8% Roman Catholic.

Instead, the Baptists’ resolution criticizes the organization over the policy and calls for ouster of Boy Scout board members and staff who supported gays becoming more involved in Boy Scouts.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/13/2013

  1. Once mr Obama stated that using chemical weapons was “crossing a line” we all knew it was just a matter of time.

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