Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/29/2013

At least a hundred Taliban fighters, including seven suicide bombers, attacked a major prison in Pakistan today using bombs, grenades, and automatic weapons. The outer wall of the prison was breached, an undetermined number of people were killed, and dozens of Taliban prisoners have reportedly escaped.

In other news, according to Syrian TV, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have retaken a key district of the rebel-held city of Homs.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Kitman, LS, MC, McR, 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
» 7 Charts That Prove That the Stock Market Has Become Completely Divorced From Reality
» Bank of Cyprus Cuts Deposits Over 100k-Euro by 47.5%
» Marc Faber: “It’s Gonna End One Day… Through War or Financial Collapse”
» The Federal Reserve is Bailing Out Foreign Banks … More Than the American People or Economy
» The Final Breath of the US Economy
» Tourism Picks Up in Greece, But Without the Greeks
» Besting Barry Through Chattering Class Communication
» California’s Largest Health Care Insurer for Small Businesses Drops Out of ObamaCare Exchange
» FBI Rescues 105 Victims of Child Sex-Trafficking in Nationwide Operation
» McCain Crosses Aisle to Stand With Obama
» ObamaCare Call Center Will Not Offer Health-Care Benefits to Employees
» Republican Elites Did Seek to Keep Federal Oversight on State Elections
» Rocky Twyman Prays for an Exorcism of Washington — All of Washington
Europe and the EU
» 179 Mn Euros EU Agriculture Funds Misallocated in Italy
» British Women Join Jihad in Syria
» Greece: Monks at Mount Athos Monastery Defy Eviction Order
» Italy: High-Speed-Rail Activists Accused of Terrorism
» Italy: Protesters Light Candles for Victims of Nazi Priebke
» Life in the UK Today
» Sweden: Stockholm Riots: Police Drop 90 Percent of Riot Investigations
» Sweden: Two Men Shot After Stockholm Street Fight
» Sweden: Only One Jailed as Most Husby Cases Are Closed
» UK: Acid Attackers Poured Acid on Mother as She Walked Her Six-Year-Old Twins Home From School
» UK: How to Sink an Entire Navy
» UK: Rape Victim Giving Evidence is Forced to Watch Harrowing CCTV Footage of Attack in Which She Was Smashed Over Head With Bottle and Dragged Into Factory by Her Hair
Mediterranean Union
» Euro-Med Award for Dialogue Has Been Launched
North Africa
» Abandoned Brick Barricades of Cairo: Eerie Quiet Descends in Parts of Capital After Clashes Left 120 Dead and Pushed Egypt to Brink of Civil War
» Daniel Pipes: What to Want in Egypt
» Muslim Brotherhood Demands the U.S and NATO to Invade Egypt and Destroy Its Army
Israel and the Palestinians
» Considering Israel as a Gulf State
» MKs: Has America Ever Freed Murderers?
Middle East
» Eight Kurdish Policemen Die in Carbomb Blast in North Iraq
» Syria: Key Homs District Conquered by Assad Forces, TV
» Syrian Opposition Lobbies UN for Support
» Turkey: Great Kurdistan, A Potential Nightmare for Erdogan
» U. S. Drone Strike Kills Six Al-Qaeda Suspects in Yemen
» Condoleezza Rice’s Office Denies Report She is Advising Georgian Prime Minister
South Asia
» Gunmen Launch Major Attack on Pakistani Prison Holding Militants
Latin America
» Time to Get Tough With Mexico
» 102 Rescued From Fishing Boat Off Calabrian Coast
» Italy: Expulsion Order and Fine Rejected for Immigrant Who Married
Culture Wars
» 32 Facts That Show How Men Are Being Systematically Emasculated in America Today
» Lawmakers Battle Over Push to Create Military ‘Chaplain’ For Atheists
» MSNBC Host Says Newborn Infants Don’t Count as ‘Alive’
» A Very Brief Primer on Islamic Taqiyya (Takiya) — General Features, Not Exclusive to Shiite Islam
» Mysterious Hum Driving People Crazy Around the World
» Notes on ‘Counterjihad’
» Rand Corporation: Al Qaeda Growing, But Less Focused on US

7 Charts That Prove That the Stock Market Has Become Completely Divorced From Reality

The mainstream media would have us believe that the U.S. economy must be in great shape since the stock market has been setting new all-time record highs this month. But is that really true? Yes, surging stock prices have enabled sales of beach homes in the Hamptons to hit a brand new record high [2]. However, the reality is that stock prices have not risen dramatically in recent years because corporations are doing so much better than before. In fact, the growth in stock prices has been far, far greater [3] than the growth of corporate revenues. The only reason that stock prices have been climbing so much is because the Federal Reserve has been flooding the financial system with hundreds of billions of dollars that it has created out of thin air. The Fed has created an artificial stock market bubble that is completely and totally divorced from economic reality.

Meanwhile, everything is not so fine [4] for the rest of the U.S. economy. Economic growth projections have been steadily declining [5] over the past two years, and the growth rate of personal income in the United States has been on a huge downward trend [6] since 2008. The U.S. economy actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs last month [7], and the middle class continues to shrink.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bank of Cyprus Cuts Deposits Over 100k-Euro by 47.5%

As part of troika restructuring deal

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, JULY 29 — The Cypriot government on Monday announced depositors at the country’s biggest lender will lose 47.5% of their accounts over the 100,000-euro insurance limit. Government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos announced the figure as part of the Bank of Cyprus’ restructuring under a deal made by the Cypriot finance minister, the island nation’s central bank, and the troika (EU-ECB-IMF).

This comes after 37.5% of uninsured deposits were converted into shares. Another 10% of deposits will now be converted, half into shares and half into convertible bonds. After approving the measure, the Bank of Cyprus will take steps to allocate recapitalization funds.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Marc Faber: “It’s Gonna End One Day… Through War or Financial Collapse”

Given more than his normal 30-second soundbite on mainstream media, Marc Faber is able to discuss in considerably more detail his views on the massive growth in global financialization (when compared to real economies) noting that “one day, this financial bubble will have to adjust on the downside.”

This will occur via either an inflationary burst or a collapse of the system. Simply put, “it’s gonna end one day,” either through war or financial collapse, “it will be very painful.” The Gloom, Boom, and Doom Report editor notes current asset valuations are driven by excess credit creation, printing money, and distorted market signals, and the unintended consequences of the effect on investor psychology are perfectly mis-timed. Faber concludes with a discussion of the inflationary impact of US monetary policy and where it is seen (and not seen) and the global social unrest implications of middle class discontent.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Federal Reserve is Bailing Out Foreign Banks … More Than the American People or Economy

Federal Reserve Policy Mainly Benefits Big Foreign Banks

We’ve extensively documented that the Federal Reserve is intentionally locking up bank money so that it is not loaned out to Main Street. Specifically — due to Fed policy — 81.5% of all money created by quantitative easing is sitting there gathering dust in the form of “excess reserves” … instead of being loaned out to help Main Street or the American economy.

And we’ve extensively documented that a large percentage of the bailouts went to foreign banks (and see this and this). (A 2010 Fed audit also revealed that of the $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities the central bank purchased after the housing bubble popped, some $442.7 billion — more than 35% — were bought from foreign banks.)

It turns out that these themes are all connected.

Specifically, most of the Fed-created money which is gathering dust is actually being held by foreign banks.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Final Breath of the US Economy

As expected, the final breath of the United States economy will not be one heard by citizens of the world. Instead, the colossal gap between the ultra rich and the ultra poor will expand both drastically yet quietly, ultimately swallowing up any assertion of recovery lest radical changes are imposed.

But even with radical changes, it seems that the United States economy is now an automobile with virtually all of the key components gutted underneath the hood by the banking mafia. Right now the rusty automobile that is the United States has 3 flat tires, a missing engine, taped up windows, and is being pushed down the freeway by the dwindling workforce — and they’re getting quite tired of pushing this dying vessel with no end in sight.

Add that in with the new report that reveals [1] 4 out of 5 adults face joblessness or poverty for at least a portion of their lives, and we really see to that the financial assault on the engine of the United States automobile truly requires immediate repairs. The kind of repairs that involve firing the mega banks that generate 83 billion [2] dollars a year thanks to taxpayers on record. Funds they use, by the way, to fund Mexican drug cartels [3] and terror cells within the US. After all, they need to finance [4] the highly profitable drug trade in order to maximize their profits.

These are the kind of financial repairs that will never happen short of a major intellectual revolution taking this country by storm.

What’s amazing to me is that even when we read the reports like the one I’m about to cover, the media still says we are ‘coming out of a recession’, or that we are ‘recovering’ right now thanks to bailouts and other laughable assertions.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tourism Picks Up in Greece, But Without the Greeks

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JULY 29 — Foreign tourists are finding their way back to Greece’s islands and ancient ruins, offering a rare boost to an economy contracting for the sixth year running as daily Kathimerini reports. Arrivals are on the up again after dismal 2012 figures but domestic tourism is at a standstill and Greece’s second-tier destinations are more deserted than ever.

The Association of Greek tourism enterprises (SETE) this month announced a 10% rise in foreign arrivals at airports for the first half of 2013. The Bank of Greece in turn announced that in the year running up to May 2013, tourism revenue had soared 38.5% and foreign arrivals 24%. It also said that tourism revenue grew 15% between January and May. Head of SETE Andreas Andreadis said that improved political stability compared to 2012, a drop in prices caused by the economic crisis as well as the cancellation of holidays to Turkey and Tunisia all contributed to the recovery. If the upward trend continues through the crucial months of July and August, the number of foreign visitors is expected to pass the 17 million mark in 2013, after dipping under 16 million last year. Much is at stake, as tourism makes up 17% of Greece’s GDP, in a country where unemployment is close to 27%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Besting Barry Through Chattering Class Communication

The most effective way to survive President Barack Obama is to keep right on doing what he doesn’t want you to do. In one word: Communicate.

These are the days when Communication is more important than most anything else. Communicate to as many others as you can by every means possible. Communication is how Obama keeps his control over America.

Patriots taking a page out of Obama’s book will one day turn the tables on the most anti-American president in history.

While he takes away jobs and deliberately stokes racial unrest, Obama wants you to suffer in silence.

Don’t comply.

“He’s stealing our country!” “He’s canceling the Constitution!” “He’s disappearing individual rights!” “He’s impersonating the Creator!”…

Patriots prefer the Internet over the mainstream media. The pentagon’s so worried about it that this is the headline on Drudge this morning: ‘Pentagon vows American people should hear it from us, not as scoop on DRUDGE REPORT’.

“On Thursday, the DoD bemoaned and the fact that, because of citizen journalists, social media and other online platforms reporting news in real time, the public is more quickly becoming aware of the constant patterns of contradictions and habitual lying by a government long ago captured by a group of corrupt interests.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

California’s Largest Health Care Insurer for Small Businesses Drops Out of ObamaCare Exchange

(NaturalNews) The Obamacare disaster continues to unfold, months before the entire law is even supposed to take effect, with everyone from insurance companies to firms and private individuals positioning themselves to best withstand the onslaught of job-killing, care-stealing bureaucracy.

One of the “Affordable” Care Act’s most recent casualties is Anthem Blue Cross, which has announced it will shun California’s small-business health insurance market, which the Los Angeles Times describes as a “a potential setback in the state’s rollout of the federal healthcare law.” Actually, it’s more like a “potential setback” for small businesses needing competitive insurance rates to remain afloat, but I digress.

More from the Times:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

FBI Rescues 105 Victims of Child Sex-Trafficking in Nationwide Operation

The FBI crackdown targets Internet sites, truck stops, casinos, and the streets to identify children forced into sex trafficking. Since 2003, the FBI has recovered 2,700 juveniles and arrested 1,350 adults

Federal agents recovered 105 juveniles involved in prostitution and arrested 150 adults allegedly acting as pimps during a three-day nationwide crackdown against child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, the FBI announced on Monday.

Arrests were made in 76 cities in a massive operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in concert with 230 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The enforcement action marked the seventh version of Operation Cross Country designed to identify and free children forced into the sex industry.

“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement.

“This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere,” he said.

Since 2003, the FBI and other partners of the task force have recovered 2,700 juveniles from the streets and won 1,350 convictions for those seeking to profit from the sexual exploitation of children.

“Many victims of child sex trafficking believe there is nowhere to turn for help,” said Alex, who was rescued five years ago, then 16, in an earlier FBI crackdown.

“At first it was terrifying, and then you just kind of become numb to it,” she said, in an interview posted on the FBI website. “You put on a whole different attitude — like a different person. It wasn’t me. I know that. Nothing about it was me.”

“Operation Cross Country demonstrates just how many of America’s children are being sold for sex every day, many on the Internet,” said John Ryan, chief executive officer of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Federal statistics show the most active operation in San Francisco where 12 juveniles were found and 17 alleged pimps arrested. Detroit was the next most active with 10 children found and 18 pimps charged.

In Milwaukee, agents found 10 juveniles but arrested no pimps, according to the statistics.

In New Orleans, six juveniles were located and six pimps were arrested.

The crackdown focused on areas such as truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and websites that advertise dating and escort services.

There are 13 separate federal crimes outlawing the sexual exploitation of children. They include selling or buy of children, sexual trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion, and the creation of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.

[Video at URL]

[Return to headlines]

McCain Crosses Aisle to Stand With Obama

There was no conciliatory phone call, no heart-to-heart talk to soothe the tensions. No one knows exactly when President Barack Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain went from bitter rivals in the 2008 presidential campaign and foes over health care and national security to bipartisan partners.

Yet in recent months, an alignment on high-profile domestic issues — not to mention an eye on their respective legacies — has transformed Obama and McCain into Washington’s most unexpected odd couple. The Arizona senator is a regular visitor to the West Wing and in near-daily contact with senior White House officials.

McCain, in an Associated Press interview, said that he and Obama “trust each other.” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, among the Obama advisers who speak regularly with McCain, praised the lawmaker as a “refreshing” partner who “welcomes a debate and welcomes action.”

[Comment: “welcomes a debate and welcomes action” = “does what we tell him to do”. Be sure to check out some of the comments to the article.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

ObamaCare Call Center Will Not Offer Health-Care Benefits to Employees

In order to ensure Americans understand how to access the benefits available to them when many provisions of the Affordable Care Act go online October 1, the Obama administration announced last month that it is setting up a call center that will be accessible to Americans 24 hours a day.

One branch of that call center will be located in California’s Contra Costa County, where, reportedly, 7,000 people applied for the 204 jobs. According to the Contra Costa Times, however, “about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits — a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.” The county supervisor, Karen Mitchoff, called the hiring process “a comedy of errors” and said she “never dreamed [the jobs] would be part-time.”

The Times indicates that a job posting advertised all of the jobs as full-time, and one call center employee, who said no reason for the apparent change was provided, told the paper, “It reminded me of that George Clooney movie where he goes around the country firing people [Up in the Air]. The woman said, ‘I know you were led to believe you would be full-time, but things have changed. . . . You are actually ‘part-time intermittent.’“

The Contra Costa employees are currently in training, and the call center — one of three based in California — is set to go live on October 1.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Republican Elites Did Seek to Keep Federal Oversight on State Elections

Last week PJ Media posted a short story that reported that certain operatives in the Republican Party establishment wanted to buck the Supreme Court of the United States of America and look to ways to re-instate federal oversight over elections and redistricting in southern states. The Republican National Committee immediately denied the report and said they absolutely were not looking to re-impose federal oversight on the states.

In June the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down part of the voting rights law and returned oversight of redistricting and elections back to the several southern states. Since 1965 these states had to plead to the federal government to get approval for such things all due to civil rights violations during the days of Jim Crow.

This decision was hailed by conservatives as a move in the right direction but Obama’s racebaiting Attorney General, Eric Holder, has vowed to return the states back to federal oversight quite despite what the SCOTUS decided.

Now, in the original PJ Media report (RNC Operatives Join Holder’s Campaign Against Texas, Several Other States), it was reported that “the RNC have been spending RNC donations plotting to do exactly what Eric Holder is seeking to do—return Texas and other states to federal oversight.”

Within hours RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer immediately denied that PJ Tatler’s report was true, and he denied it rather vehemently at that.

IF the denial is correct, this is a good thing. The idea that the federal government should have the power to tell a state what to do with its electoral process is unacceptable in 2013.

But that is IF the denial is correct.

J Christian Adams has his doubts and he should know, he was actually in the Department of Justice when Republicans had only as late as 2006 argued to keep federal oversight in place.

Adams wrote a very informative and revealing pice at PJ Media this weekend that you really need to read: “Yes, the RNC Really DID Support Federal Oversight of State Elections.”

For me, here is the key paragraph that gives the flavor of the violation of conservative principles inherent in the way the establishment Republican Party operates—or at least has operated until just recently.

Speaking of what the RNC was responsible for in recent years, Adams wrote:

He who rides a redistricting tiger becomes afraid to dismount. As the RNC clutched the tiger’s ears tightly and created safe racially gerrymandered districts using federal oversight, Section 5 was also used to destroy election integrity and aid the institutional left. Until you see the abuse of power as it happens from inside the DOJ Voting Section as an employee, you simply cannot fathom how the federal power over the states is abused by DOJ bureaucrats.

This is a description of the very sort of establishment GOP that the Tea Party grew to oppose. Yes Tea Partiers stand foursquare against the left, but the TP also arose over GOP violation of conservative principles, too.

So, perhaps the RNC has decided to accept the new decision by the SCOTUS to stop the decades old federal oversight policy and maybe Mr. Spicer is correct that this stand against oversight is the new RNC position. But the GOP cannot act as if it never supported oversight because it flat out did.

Whatever is going on, the right move would be for the Republican Party to oppose federal oversight of state elections. Period.

[Return to headlines]

Rocky Twyman Prays for an Exorcism of Washington — All of Washington

Rockefeller “Rocky” Ludwig Twyman hasn’t witnessed an exorcism in 12 years. But he’s convinced it’s the Beltway’s only option.

On Friday morning, I attend Twyman’s three-hour vigil at the White House gate in Lafayette Square. He holds a sign proclaiming, “AMERICA!! STOP! JOIN US IN PRAYER—TELL OBAMA TO INVITE POPE/OTHER LEADERS FOR AN EXORCISM OF DEMONS IN WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS.”

Here’s how Twyman sees it: Pope Francis takes a layover in Washington on his way back from World Youth Day in Brazil; he and other religious leaders perform exorcisms at the White House and Capitol Building; demons flee in terror.

“We’re all susceptible to the Devil’s tricks, but politicians are especially vulnerable. They tend to deceive to get ahead, to promise things they know can’t come to pass,” he says.


He sees demons at work in most hot button issues: sequestration, the debt ceiling, unemployment, the August recess. Possession, Twyman says, crosses party lines.

“Paul Ryan, you look at his budget. Whenever you see non-compassion for the masses—that’s a sign of possession.”


An eavesdropping tourist to his left chimes in, “They don’t care about you—they care about power.”

“We’ll know it worked if both parties start working together to pass critical bills that impact jobs,” Twyman goes on. But he admits mass convulsions can’t be ruled out. “I’d take that as a good sign.”

“Maxine Waters got this whole thing going,” he says. “I don’t know why she wouldn’t want to take the lead on this.”


Waters, displaying the spirit of bonhomie and bipartisanship for which she is famous, said in February 2012: “I saw pictures of Boehner and Cantor on our screens [at the California State Democratic Convention]. Don’t ever let me see again, in life, those Republicans in our hall, on our screens, talking about anything. These are demons.”

Satan is a worthier adversary than speculators in the crude oil futures market, making the exorcism PAP’s most ambitious project yet. Twyman wears a peanut butter-stained button down, rather than a clerical collar, which is why he needs the head of the world’s “premier exorcism religion” to intervene.

He’s got the basic theology. Casting out demons played a chief role in Jesus’ ministry—the first miracle documented in Mark’s Gospel was an exorcism. But the devil’s in the details, and Rocky, a Seventh-day Adventist, is short on those.

Even if Pope Francis accepts the invitation, a prayer at the Capitol steps may only cure the most minor demonic activity: infestation, or the presence of demons in a place. Eliminating personal possession, the most serious spiritual torture, requires months and even years of tireless prayer and intercession from the Holy Spirit, saints, and the Virgin Mary. Priests can only begin the rite after multiple psychiatrists conduct exhaustive probes for mental illness.


Logistics are another concern. In the Bible’s most memorable exorcism, Jesus cast one man’s demons into 2,000 pigs, which then drowned themselves in the Sea of Galilee.

“My name is Legion; for we are many,” the demon said.

And you think traffic is bad now: Washington would require nearly 30 million hogs in the event that Legion possessed all of the nearly 15,000 people employed by the White House and Congress. (Four hundred sixty WH staffers and the president plus 23 Cabinet members plus 6,804 House staffers plus 7,000 Senate staffers plus 535 reps and senators equals 14,823; multiply that by 2,000 and you get 29,646,000.)

That would represent 26 percent of all swine killed in 2013, according to July’s Department of Agriculture estimates. Twyman may have to woo the pork lobby and PETA along with Boehner and Pelosi.


NOTE: File this under “Only in America”. Lots more at the URL.

[Return to headlines]

179 Mn Euros EU Agriculture Funds Misallocated in Italy

Country to recoup funds from farmers, especially in south

(ANSA) — Rome, July 29 — An Italian government agency began procedures to recoup 179 million euros of European Union agricultural subsidies illicitly received by farmers over the last 10 years, the Italian Audit Court announced on Monday.

Investigators found an “elevated” number of farmers who received funds through “deception, trickery or fraudulent behavior” and through making “false declarations”.

Sixty percent of Italy’s regions were involved, but nearly all of the farmers were located in southern Italy, the statement said.

Forty-three percent of the false subsidy claims were concentrated in Sicily and in Campania, the region surrounding Naples.

The funds are to be recouped by Italy’s agency for distributing agricultural subsidies, AGEA.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

British Women Join Jihad in Syria

The story followed a woman calling herself “Maryam” who travelled from Britain to marry a rebel fighter from one of the jihadist rebel groups.

Maryam’s marriage to her fighter husband, Abu Bakr, was arranged by his mother three months ago. She didn’t meet him until after they were married, […]

Until her recent departure from the UK for Syria she lived what she describes as an okay life.

She and her husband are shown raising a child together, and are now expecting another. They say that their long-term objective is what they see as the liberation of Syria, followed by the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.

[Hat Tip Yonit]

           — Hat tip: MC [Return to headlines]

Greece: Monks at Mount Athos Monastery Defy Eviction Order

Petrol bombs against bailiffs

(ANSAmed) — Athens, July 29 — A group of monks at the Esphigmenou Monastery in the monastic community of Mount Athos in northern Greece, on Monday defied an eviction order and chased bailiffs off the peninsula by hurling petrol bombs at them, Kathimerini newspaper reports.

“The monks of Esphigmenou Monastery who are in the residential quarters and are in a defense position to defend it, threw some objects from inside out. We are expecting the intervention of the prosecutor from Thessaloniki. We are expecting the police to offer a political peaceful and calm solution, otherwise things will happen that will blacken Greece’s image abroad,” a spokesperson for the rebel monks, Iraklis Moraitis, told the state-run Athens-Macedonia New Agency.

The monks of Esphigmenou Monastery have been declared an illegal brotherhood by the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, over a dispute regarding improving ties with the Catholic Church, which the monks vehemently oppose.

In 2002 Vartholomeos ordered their eviction from the 10th century Mount Athos monastery.

Moraitis on Monday said that the eviction order delivered to them last week was aimed at having them vacate the premises so that the management of the monastic community can get its hands on the monastery’s assets.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: High-Speed-Rail Activists Accused of Terrorism

Police seize computers, phones in ‘No-TAV’ raids

(ANSA) — Turin, July 29 — Activists opposed to a major high-speed-rail project between France and Italy were accused by prosecutors Monday of terrorism.

The allegations by prosecutors, made for the first time against the ‘No TAV’ protesters, came as they ordered searches of their premises in Turin and Val di Susa related to protests at construction sites in mid-July.

Police say they came under attack from stones, firecrackers and other explosive devices when they moved to break up protests. Computers and mobile phones were seized during successive raids.

Several members of the anti-TAV movement — who oppose the cost and environmental damage of the railway between Lyon and Turin — have already been sent to prison for 2010 protests The activists have organized a series of protests against the high-speed rail link throughout Italy over the last few years.

Some have included violent clashes with police and disruption of highway traffic.

Supporters of the link maintain that it will decrease pollution by minimizing highway shipping and automotive transportation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Protesters Light Candles for Victims of Nazi Priebke

Anger over house arrest for Nazi convicted in massacre

(ANSA) — Rome, July 29 — Protesters opposed to possible birthday celebrations for a convicted Nazi war criminal rallied outside his home Monday with candles lit for hundreds of Eric Priebke’s victims.

Anger was also expressed over the house arrest of Priebke, who turned 100 on Monday, after his conviction for the 1944 reprisal massacre of 335 men and boys at Rome’s Fosse Ardeatine.

“He is 100 years old, my grandfather was killed at 28,” said one protester.

Others called for more Italians to rally against Priebke and what they see as a light sentence for the former German officer sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the Second World War massacre. Some protesters wore the kippah, the headdress of observant religious Jews, while others waved flags bearing the Star of David representing Rome’s Jewish community, which suffered heavily during the Second World War.

There had been concerns that friends and followers of Priebke, who was extradited from Argentina in 1995, would be allowed to throw a sizable birthday party.

However, last week Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino said that he would “personally make sure” that there would be no public celebrations.

“No one should celebrate someone responsible for massacres,” said Marino.

The massacre at the Fosse Ardeatine on Rome’s outskirts in March 1944 was carried out in reprisal for a partisan attack that killed 33 German soldiers.

In retaliation, for every one German killed, the army seized 10 Italians including civilians as well as numerous political prisoners and Jews who were in custody, with five more also executed.

All were shot in a network of caves on the outskirts of Rome, under Priebke’s supervision.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Life in the UK Today

In the late 1990’s, The Liverpool Care Pathways, (LCP) was set up by the Royal Hospital, Liverpool, England, together with the Marie Curie Hospice. It was considered by some to be a very encouraging programme and meant there was a standard to follow, a set of guidelines, where medical staff, together with the patient and their family could put a legal and compassionate plan in place to ensure a ‘palliative’ care patient did not suffer, when it had been determined, without doubt, that the patient was terminally ill. In effect it meant that they could ‘assist’ them.

It was later extended to all patients that the medical profession could consider dying.

It did receive a lot of criticism over the years, as more and more people complained that the LCP was being used as a back door to legally killing someone, who may have had the possibility of recovering. It was also reported that there had been many examples of patients who had been left without adequate nutrition, hydration and had been inappropriately sedated. It created a great amount of distress and many legally actions have been taken against hospitals across the country. I can testify myself to a family member who I believe was inappropriately sedated, and the distress and confusion that causes.

Indeed, it was also found that in many cases, patients who had been admitted to hospital were not aware that a member of the medical profession had put an LCP plan, Do Not Resuscitate rule on their files. In December 2012 it was reported 57,000 patients in NHS hospitals did not know that no effort to resuscitate them would be made if they fell into unconsciousness or suffered a heart attack through distress…

Philip Nitschke, an Australian, who promotes his ‘peaceful pill’ and other ways of promoting how to kill yourself, was recently granted entry in to the UK by Home Secretary, Theresa May. He came to deliver a workshop on how to kill yourself successfully and also his ‘pill’ he has developed to do it very serenely, thank you. A bit like the death in Soylent Green. Mr Nitschke from Exit International would like his peaceful pill to be available in all supermarkets!

The Home Secretary, it’s worth noting, is the person in the UK who also recently banned Michael Savage and Pamela Geller from the USA, labelling them as ‘terrorists’, and a danger to British citizens.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Stockholm Riots: Police Drop 90 Percent of Riot Investigations

Ninety percent of investigations into incidents reported to police during the Stockholm riots last May have been abandoned, Swedish Radio News has found.

Stefan Holgersson, a police officer who also researches criminal justice issues at Linköping University, says the police have given a whitewashed version of their efforts to control the riots.

Police say that it has been virtually impossible to identify individual rioters due to the large number of people involved and because many wore balaclavas. There is also a lack of witnesses, police say.

There were 400 police reports in total during the riots, which lasted for around 10 days.

One person received a prison sentence after torching two cars. Two others received fines, one for using drugs and the other for carrying a teargas canister. Another person, accused of crimes against Sweden’s knife laws, is awaiting trial and several cases of violent rioting are still under investigation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Two Men Shot After Stockholm Street Fight

Two men were shot in western Stockholm on Sunday night following an altercation on the street, in an area police say has hosted several recent shootings between rival gangs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Only One Jailed as Most Husby Cases Are Closed

Over 90 percent of reports made to police during the Husby riots in May have been closed, with only one person sentenced so far in the aftermath of the unrest.

Only one man has been jailed following the week-long troubles that plagued Stockholm in late May. He was sentenced to prison for burning two cars, while another two men have been fined for weapon and drug crimes.

Of the other 400 cases reported to police, over 90 percent have been put to sleep by police officials.

Daniel Ångman, a Husby police officer in charge of following up the reports, said that the most difficult challenge has been identifying the perpetrators.

“Much of it now is impossible to solve. There are no witnesses, no one has seen anything. There were a lot of people, many of them masked, it was dark, and many of the officers needed to defend themselves more than look at what was happening,” he told Sveriges Radio.

Even the security footage of the incidents has been largely unhelpful to police, as the vast majority of crimes were committed after sundown.

Now, Ångman and his team at the Västerort police are concentrating on the the last few cases they have, in which they are investigating ten separate incidents with 16 suspects.

“It may not sound like a lot,” Ångman said. “But for us it’s a success.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Acid Attackers Poured Acid on Mother as She Walked Her Six-Year-Old Twins Home From School

A gang who laughed as they doused a woman in acid while she walked her six-year-old twins home from school have been jailed for a total of 44 years.

Speaking after the attack the woman, who suffered horrendous burns to her face and body, said: ‘I saw a man approach me who was carrying something in a bottle.

‘He threw it over me and after a few seconds it started burning. I was crying: “Please help me! Please help me!”‘

It is thought Yannick Ntesa, 25, sprayed the acid and made his getaway in a red BMW with Abdul Motin, 28, and 31-year-old Ahad Miah.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: How to Sink an Entire Navy

Just pretty much stop funding it, is howOn June 6, 1944, more than 900 British warships sailed across the English Channel escorting the troops that would liberate Europe from Nazi Germany.

Today the Royal Navy is capable of routinely deploying no more than six warships on short notice. The British navy, once the world’s mightiest, is now a token force.

Why? Because the country stopped paying for it.

To be fair, all the world’s major navies have been getting smaller, trading large numbers of older ships for fewer new vessels that are generally bigger and more high tech. The U.S. Navy, by far the world’s leading maritime force, has declined from more than 600 ships and support vessels to fewer than 400 today, including just 280 frontline warships.

But the Royal Navy’s decline has been more precipitous, resulting in a devastating loss in capability. As recently as 1982 the U.K. could quickly muster no fewer than 115 ships—including two aircraft carriers carrying jet fighters plus 23 destroyers and frigates—to retake the Falkland Islands from Argentina.

Today the navy doesn’t even have jet fighters, having mothballed the last Harriers in 2010.

The fleet has declined amid steady cuts to the Ministry of Defense’s budget as a share of overall government spending, from 4.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 1988 to 2.6 percent in 2010. Reductions in 2010 sliced another eight percent from the ministry budget in real terms.

Today the Royal Navy possesses 97 ships. That includes two helicopter carriers, five other amphibious assault ships, six destroyers, 13 frigates, seven attack submarines and four ballistic-missile submarines. The rest are minesweepers, survey ships and other support vessels. Roughly half the ships are in maintenance or training at any one time. Several others are committed to small standing patrols, leaving a tiny core of vessels to respond to emergencies.

This so-called “Response Group Task Force” is built around a helicopter carrier plus one assault ship, a pair of escorts—frigates or destroyers—plus probably one each submarine and supporting tanker ship: between four and six vessels in all. “The keynotes to the Navy’s Response Force Task Group are flexibility and adaptability in size, shape and range,” the sailing branch crowed in its latest yearbook.

But the task group is dwarfed by the British naval forces that helped attack Iraq in 1991 and again in 2003. Twelve years ago the Royal Navy mustered 11 frigates and destroyers and 23 other ships. In the 2003 assault on Iraq the British naval force included some 40 vessels. Britain’s contribution to the next war at sea will be a footnote in comparison.


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UK: Rape Victim Giving Evidence is Forced to Watch Harrowing CCTV Footage of Attack in Which She Was Smashed Over Head With Bottle and Dragged Into Factory by Her Hair

The victim of a rape was forced her to watch harrowing CCTV footage of the attack in front of a jury.

The woman was made to relive her terrifying ordeal at the hands of Mohammed Azim, 31,at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Footage showed the moment Azim smashed her over the head with a bottle at a bus stop in in Oldbury, West Midlands, before dragging her into a nearby factory by her hair.

She was then subjected to a 25-minute rape ordeal, which was all captured on the firm’s CCTV security cameras.

Azim, who was drunk and high on cocaine at the time of the attack in November last year, denied three charges of oral rape.

His not guilty plea meant his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was forced to watch back the video in court during Azim’s trial so she could be properly cross-examined.

Azim was found guilty of all charges on May 28 and was jailed for a minimum of 16 years at Stafford Crown Court on Friday.

After the case outraged anti-rape charities condemned the ‘appalling’ decision by legal teams to put the victim through the torture of viewing the footage.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Euro-Med Award for Dialogue Has Been Launched

Theme is ‘migrants as ambassadors of mutual understanding’

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JULY 29 — The Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures (ALF) and Fondazione Mediterraneo (FM) are launching the Eighth edition of the Euro-Mediterranean Award for Dialogue between Cultures, an annual prize which recognizes the achievements of individuals and organisation working for the promotion of intercultural dialogue. This year’s theme is “Migrants as Ambassadors for Mutual Understanding”.

According to the Enpi website (, the Anna Lindh Foundation invites all its network members in the 42 countries across the Euro-Med Region to nominate the best candidates for this year’s award which will bestow organisation(s) or individual enhancing dialogue involving migrants as main target group and actors for mutual understanding, taking into account the multiple facets and the interactions existing between development, democracy, diversity and dialogue. The deadline for nomination is 10 September 2013.

The selection of the winner of the Euro-Med Award is a participatory process which involves the Heads of the Networks and the members alike. The Anna Lindh Foundation for Inter-Cultural Dialogue promotes knowledge, mutual respect and inter-cultural dialogue between the people of the Euro-Mediterranean region, working through a network of more than 3,000 civil society organisations in 43 countries. Its budget is co-funded by the EU (7 million euros) and the EU member states (6 million euro).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Abandoned Brick Barricades of Cairo: Eerie Quiet Descends in Parts of Capital After Clashes Left 120 Dead and Pushed Egypt to Brink of Civil War

Uneasy stillness spread across the streets of Cairo today, where hastily flung up barricades are the only evidence of a ferocious crackdown on supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi yesterday.

More than 24 hours later, the abandoned brick barriers still blocked the main street of Nasr City, an eastern district of the Egyptian capital, signs of resistance against the dawn raid.

They were not enough to hold back the surprise attack by state security forces just before morning prayers yesterday, in which it is claimed that officers aimed their shots at the heads and chests of demonstrators…

Today, Egypt’s new military-appointed minister of the interior pledged to deal decisively with any attempts to destabilise the country, a thinly veiled warning to Mr Morsi’s supporters who still occupy two squares in Cairo.

‘I assure the people of Egypt that the police are determined to maintain security and safety to their nation and are capable of doing so,’ Mohammed Ibrahim told a graduation ceremony at the national police academy.

‘We will very decisively deal with any attempt to undermine stability,’ added Mr Ibrahim, who is in charge of the police.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Daniel Pipes: What to Want in Egypt

In the aftermath of the coup d’état in Egypt, a consensus has emerged, to cite an anonymous Obama administration official, that “Trying to break the neck of the [Muslim] Brotherhood is not going to be good for Egypt or for the region.”

The thinking behind this view is that (1) it’s better to have Islamists in the political process than violently rebelling and (2) participating in civil society has the potential to tame Islamists, making them see the benefits of democracy and turning them into just another interest group.

May I vociferously disagree?

Yes, we do indeed want to break the brotherhood’s neck because that is good for Egypt, the region, and (not least) ourselves. Both the above assumptions are wrong. (1) Islamists can do more damage within the political process than outside it. To put it graphically, I worry more about a Turkey, with elected Islamists in charge, than Syria, where they are engaged in a civil war to attain power. (2) Islamists have a history of using the political process for their own ends, and not of being tamed by it: see Mohamed Morsi’s year in power for one clear example.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Muslim Brotherhood Demands the U.S and NATO to Invade Egypt and Destroy Its Army

Cairo, Egypt-In the weirdest statement yet announced by a person belonging to any country in the world, a Muslim Brotherhood leader called Mohammed El-Beltagy, asked the United States, the European Union and NATO to send their armies to Egypt to fight against the Egyptian army and destroy it, under the pretext that the army wants to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood and scatter them.

The statement was made after the rally of about 40 million Egyptians, who went out on to the streets in the biggest show of support the world had ever known. The people voted with their bodies and feet, in order to support Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for National Security Abdel Fattah Saeed al-Sisi.

This abnormal statement from one of the leaders of the Brotherhood, considered as an official spokesman indicates many things, including that the Brotherhood does not care about anything but power, position and the presidency, even if the price to get them is the destruction of their country and the elimination of its army, which is the most powerful army in the Middle East and the tenth most powerful army in the world. The Muslim Brotherhood does not care if thousands of Egyptians die in order to achieve and maintain power and implementation of the agenda of global caliphate, which is their biggest dream…

Bravado notwithstanding, the Muslim Brotherhood must have felt a sense of dread since July 26th, when they saw huge protests fill the streets all over Egypt.

This dread felt by the Brotherhood also indicates that they know they are the biggest threat to Egyptian national security and civil peace. The Brotherhood also knows it has lost many of its supporters especially after the violence carried out by them, and with the spread of information and videos that show that the brotherhood is killing its own members and supporters in order to falsely portray to the world that the army and police are carrying out the killings, so that they can then ask for intervention of foreign powers and the United Nations.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Considering Israel as a Gulf State

by Malcolm Lowe

It is a longstanding complaint that Israel is unfairly harassed in those international forums that deal with human rights. On the other hand, countries that are too big to harass, such as Russian and China, or that are oil rich, such as the Gulf states, get away with anything. Well, here’s news: Now that Israel has discovered vast offshore deposits of natural gas and even some oil, it can aspire to the status of a Gulf state. Not quite geographically, but in terms of the scruples that others can brush aside in their eagerness to do business.

This applies above all to the European Union (EU). According to a recent report, “Valeria Termini, vice president of the Council of European Energy Regulators, has held talks with senior Israeli Energy and Water Ministry officials” on the proposal to link Israel’s natural gas fields to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline. The EU would benefit from reduced dependence on Russian natural gas, while the cost to Israel of marketing the gas would be greatly reduced, since there would be no need to liquefy the natural gas (LNG) and ship it on tankers. “An LNG terminal is estimated to cost between $7 billion to $10 billion while a pipeline to the European network can be built for $2 billion-$3 billion.”

Yet Israel is not putting all its gas eggs in the EU basket. Another report tells us: “In July 2012 President Vladimir Putin visited Israel, largely to discuss the gas fields. The Russian Gazprom has signed a deal with Israel on the future distribution of the large Israel gas resources, and plans to build a floating facility off Cyprus to convert the product to LNG.” The reason given was that the civil war in Syria has frustrated an earlier Gazprom project to pump gas from Iran to the Lebanese coast. In other words, Israel is being courted by both Russia and the EU and can choose what to award to either of those suitors. “Human rights” issues are off that agenda.

Recent Gestures toward Israel

Now, there has been a lot of fluttering of feathers over the recently publicized EU guidelines on Jewish settlements across the “green line.” We shall turn to that in a moment, but it should not distract our attention from a series of remarkably friendly gestures toward Israel, emanating from Europe in recent months.


Ever-Looming Problem

We cannot claim, of course, that all is well between Israel and Europe. On the contrary, there is a major problem that overhangs and threatens everything. It was highlighted in a recent debate between Manfred Gerstenfeld and Robert Wistrich, both authoritative researchers, about a German university research report on various forms of “group-focused enmity” in eight EU countries. The report included the conclusion (p. 58) that “around 40 percent of respondents in most participating countries affirm the drastic assessment that the Israeli state is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.” More exactly, apart from Poland (63.3%), the figure varied from 37.6% in Italy to 48.8% in Portugal (the other countries were Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands and Hungary). That is, those respondents rank Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with the Nazi treatment of Jews.

For Gerstenfeld, it means that 40% of Europeans are antisemites, for Wistrich, that 40% are idiots to believe such nonsense. The reality is much more complex, however, in view of factors that both of them disregard.


NOTE: Much more at URL,including embedded links.

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MKs: Has America Ever Freed Murderers?

Members of Knesset expressed frustration Sunday that Israel is releasing terrorist killers in order to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, following intervention from United States Secretary of State John Kerry.

The United States would never do what Israel is being asked to do, they accused.

“It isn’t moral to release murderers. It isn’t safe to release murderers… Has the United States ever released murderers as a concession to terrorism?” asked MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi)


MK Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu) also brought up the stark contrast between Pollard’s case and that of the terrorist murderers who are expected to be released as part of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s gesture to the PA.

“Pollard didn’t commit murder, and he is still serving a harsh sentence in prison. Just as the Americans guard their honor, so we must guard our national honor, and respect the families of the victims,” she argued.

“It’s unthinkable that we release prisoners, murderers, terrorists who murdered innocent Israeli citizens, before we even sit down to talk,” Regev declared…

           — Hat tip: MC [Return to headlines]

Eight Kurdish Policemen Die in Carbomb Blast in North Iraq

(AGI) Baghdad, July 28 — At least eight Kurdish policemen were killed in a car-bomb blast at the Kurdish police headquarters in the city of Tuz, in northern Iraq.

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

Syria: Key Homs District Conquered by Assad Forces, TV

New major defeat for rebels after fall of Qusayr in June

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT — Syrian government forces have gained control of Khaldiyve, a key area in the city of Homs so far considered a rebel stronghold, state-run television reported on Monday.

‘The armed forces have once again brought security and stability to the whole district of Khaldiyeh’, said the official broadcaster which in the past few days had shown footage of government troops advancing in the rebel-held neighbourhood.

On Saturday troops loyal to the regome re-gained control of the old mosque of Khalid Ibn al Walid, another stronghold of the armed opposition.

The fall of Khaldiyeh is another major setback for rebels after they lost the strategic city of Qusayr, some ten km from the border with Lebanon, to government forces at the beginning of June.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syrian Opposition Lobbies UN for Support

Syrian opposition political leaders, including Ahmed Jarba, president of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), came to the United Nations on July 26th to appeal for support from the UN Security Council.

One of the opposition representatives, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, who was identified as the Special Representative of the Syrian Coalition to the United Nations, told reporters after his delegation’s closed door “informal” meeting with the members of the Security Council, that the opposition was supportive of the proposed peace conference that the United States and Russia are trying to organize, known as Geneva II. However, he said at a press conference hosted by the United Nations Correspondents Association that there could only be a peaceful political solution if a transitional government is created with full executive powers, including over the military and security, and such government “does not leave room for Assad in the future of Syria.”

In an effort to further delegitimize and isolate the Assad regime within the international community, the opposition delegation asked the Security Council to refer the regime to the International Criminal Court for prosecution. The opposition is also looking to take over the Syrian seat at the UN. In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya’s New York Bureau Chief Talal al-Haj, Jarba disclosed that “after taking the Syria seat in the Arab League, the SNC will go after Syria’s seat at the United Nations most likely this September.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Great Kurdistan, A Potential Nightmare for Erdogan

Syrian Kurds toward autonomous entity, border heating up

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JULY 29 — Over two years since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the situation developing in the warn-torn country is looking increasingly like a nightmare for Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is behind Ankara’s regional ‘neo-Ottoman’ strategy.

Turkey’s ‘sultan’ ahas severed ties with former ally Bashar al-Assad and sided with Sunni rebels, banking on a quick defeat for the Syrian president and a new Islamic government in Damascus led by the Muslim Brotherhood.

But things didn’t go as planned. Assad did not fall and is instead gaining ground, the rebels are divided and have lost international credibility. In areas abandoned by the army, jihadist militants and different armed groups are ruling as the country seems to be dangerously divided — an unpleasant scenario for Ankara as an autonomous Kurdish entity is taking shape in the North along the border with Turkey and Iraq, with Al Qamishli as capital. This would be part of a ‘Great Kurdistan’ embracing parts of Iraq, Iran Syria and Turkey which since the proclamation of the republic in 1923 over he ruins of the Ottoman empire has been a top concern for the Turkish central administration first run by Kemalists and now by Islamists.

Ever since the end of the war in Iraq, a north-Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region has been in place under the government of Massud Barzani, in practice an independent ‘state’ from Baghdad. Militias with PYD, Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which is close to Turkey’s PKK have gained control of a good part of the country’s North where Assad’s forces were withdrawn to defend key interests of the ‘Alawite’ country between Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and Lattakia on the Mediterranean coast.

The Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) have conquered in the past few days the strategic posting of Ras al-Ayn on the border with Turkey, chasing jihadists with al Qaeda’s al Nusra front. Clashes along the border have left three dead in the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar right next to Ras al-Ayn on the border: two young men were hit by stray bullets last week and a man died last night in a mortar attack, probably by al Nusra.

The jihadist group has deployed its men and tanks around Ras al-Ayn to try and re-gain control of the crossing with Turkey where, according to Kurdish sources, men and weapon supplies are crossing the border with Ankara’s consent.

With the likely creation of a Kurdish autonomous region in Syria ‘Turkey has a new neighbour in the south’, analyst Yalcin Dogan wrote on Hurriyet. The risk is a rise in irredentism in the country’s Kurdish south-east while peace talks are ongoing between Erdogan and PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Davutoglu and Erdogan have warned in the past few days PYD leader Saleh Muslim not to embrace a separatist stance: ‘we will not accept a fait accompli’. Ankara also boosted its military presence on the border — a muscular rhetoric and show of military force also used in the past with Iraqi Kurds which did not prevent the creation of an autonomous region, Milliyet noted.

Erdogan’s and Davutoglu’s strategy proved itself once again wrong, Dogan noted. Erdogan’s strategy to create a ‘Sunni axis’ with Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi to govern the Middle East has failed. The fall of Cairo’s ‘pharaoh’ leaves Ankara’s ‘sultan’ as lonely as he has ever been. Moreover, his image has been badly damaged by the brutal repression of demonstrations by Turkish youths demanding more democracy and freedom.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

U. S. Drone Strike Kills Six Al-Qaeda Suspects in Yemen

(AGI) Aden, July 28 — Six suspected Al-Qaeda militants were killed overnight in a U.S. drone strike in southern Yemen, military sources reported. The six were travelling in a two-vehicle convoy in Mahfad, a town in Abyan province.

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

Condoleezza Rice’s Office Denies Report She is Advising Georgian Prime Minister

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s office is denying Russian media reports that she was hired as a consultant to Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Russian newspaper Izvestia quoted Georgian official Tedo Japaridze saying Rice promised to advise Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream administration on Thursday, after a meeting between Japaridze and the former secretary of state.

“This story is wrong,” a spokesman for Rice told the Washington Free Beacon on Friday. “Dr. Rice has no relationship, formal or informal, to the Georgian government or any other foreign government for that matter. She regularly sees visiting legislators, ambassadors, and other government officials from all over the world when they are in town but nothing more.”

“My understanding also is that Tedo Japaridze has retracted his comments,” the spokesman added.

Ivanishvili, who was elected in October 2012, said on Friday that he would “welcome” Rice as an adviser, but that she was not serving as one, according to Defense & Freedom Watch.

Japaridze said Rice “will not have any official status and of course this information is not true. But she is observing the processes in Georgia with great interest and she remains an active supporter of our country.”

Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition has been stepping up its lobbying activity in Washington, D.C., in an effort to quell concerns from lawmakers that the new administration has been cozying up to Iran cracking down on the country’s pro-American opposition.

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Gunmen Launch Major Attack on Pakistani Prison Holding Militants

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) — Grenade-wielding Taliban fighters battled Pakistani security forces during a sophisticated midnight attack on a major prison holding hundreds of Taliban and other militants, police said on Monday.

Fighting continued into the early hours of Tuesday, and security forces said they had imposed a curfew on the city, Dera Ismail Khan, 200 miles west of Lahore.

The Pakistani Taliban sent 100 fighters and seven suicide bombers on a mission to free some of their top leaders, said Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid.

He said they had freed around 300 prisoners, a claim that could not immediately be verified. Some of the suicide bombers had blown up at the prison walls and some were in reserve, he said.

The prison houses around 5,000 prisoners. Around 250 are Pakistani Taliban and members of banned sectarian groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni militant group that has killed hundreds of Shi’ite civilians this year.

Up to 40 gunmen wearing police uniforms launched their attack by blowing up the electricity line to the prison and detonating heavy explosions that breached the outer walls, said provincial prisons chief Khalid Abbas.

“It’s completely dark in there. We don’t know what’s going on but there is fighting,” he said.

The militants fought their way inside using rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, district police chief Sohail Khalid said.

Mushtaq Jadoon, the town’s civil commissioner, said dozens of prisoners had escaped. “The Taliban have loudspeakers and they are calling the names of their friends,” he said.

The gunmen also took over a nearby house and hospital, holding the residents hostage as they fired on police from the rooftops and laid ambushes for reinforcements.

Police Constable Gul Mohammed said he was rushing to the scene when he was challenged by two young boys holding rifles.

“They told me to stop. I told them I am a policeman, and that’s when they opened fire,” he said, adding that he was shot three times.

Police said there were other small groups of gunmen in the streets leading to the prison.

The number of casualties was unclear because the fighting was ongoing. Police said they had called for military reinforcements…

           — Hat tip: LS [Return to headlines]

Time to Get Tough With Mexico

NAFTA came into force in 1994. Between 1985 and 1994, the United States averaged only a modest annual trade in goods deficit with Mexico, at $2.9 billion (all values are in constant 2012 US dollars). From 1991 through 1994, the USA ran trade surpluses with Mexico each year for a total of $17 billion over this period. In 1995, the USA instantaneously had a large post-NAFTA trade deficit of $24 billion with its southern neighbor, and has not seen a trade surplus with Mexico since. The lowest post-NAFTA trade deficit with Mexico was $21 billion in 1997, and the largest was $83 billion in 2007 (the 2012 deficit was $62 billion). The average post-NAFTA trade deficit is $49 billion per year, for a total US trade deficit with Mexico of over $881 billion between 1995 and 2012.

We see the same trends in Canada. Between 1988 (the earliest year in the Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database) and 1994, Canada averaged a $2.8 billion (all values in constant 2012 Canadian dollars) trade in merchandise deficit with Mexico. From 1995 through 2012, the trade deficit with Mexico has increased steadily to $21 billion in 2012, and averaged $13 billion per year over this timeframe, for a total post-NAFTA trade deficit of $228 billion.

While the USA and Canada both saw large declines in manufacturing as a percentage of GDP over the past two decades (similar to what we find throughout the OECD), Mexico actually increased the manufacturing share of its economy since NAFTA came into force. How was this accomplished? By vacuuming up high-paying manufacturing sector jobs from the USA and Canada with that “giant sucking sound going south” that Perot predicted.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

102 Rescued From Fishing Boat Off Calabrian Coast

Rescue comes days after 31 lost at sea while heading for Italy

(ANSA) — Crotone, July 29 — Authorities are investigating suspicions two people traffickers were among the 102 Syrian migrants, including two women and children, rescued from a small fishing boat Monday off the Calabrian coast.

Police intercepted the 17-metre-long fishing boat near the port of Crotone after it was spotted Sunday night off the Italian coast in international waters. The rescue comes mere days after 31 people, including nine women, reportedly drowned in a shipwreck off Lampedusa in southern Italy on Friday, while 22 others were rescued.

Lampedusa is often the first arrival point for migrants fleeing north Africa into Europe but the death toll is high in the treacherous sea crossing. Earlier this month, Pope Francis visited Lampedusa to highlight the plight of migrants and refugees at a community filled to bursting with new arrivals.

It’s believed more than 900 migrants are now crowded into Lampedusa’s welcome facilities, creating emergency conditions.

Authorities said the 102 Syrian migrants rescued Monday were helped to board the police cutters and given first aid while the migrants’ vessel was taken to the port of Crotone.

The migrants, all reported to be in good condition, were to be transferred to the migrant holding center of Sant’Anna in Isola Capo Rizzuto.

Another ten migrants, all men, were apprehended by coast guards in Gallipoli, Puglia, right after they landed in Marina di Mancaversa in the Salento area. They were on board a five-meter-long motor boat and had called rescuers saying their boat had broken down.

Italy’s justice minister called the migrant situation “complex”.

“Arrivals are continuing and the situation is extremely delicate because the season is favourable but with all things going on in the Middle East we all must be extremely careful”, said Anna Maria Cancellieri during a trip to Palermo.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Expulsion Order and Fine Rejected for Immigrant Who Married

Judge nullifies offense for foreigner who wed in Italy

(ANSA) — Rome, July 29 — Italy’s supreme Cassation Court on Monday tossed out a 5,000-euro fine, expulsion order and conviction for a non-European immigrant caught on Italian territory without a visa just prior to marrying an Italian citizen. The young man was stopped by police in August 2011 just before his planned wedding, which took place less than three months later.

The marriage made him eligible for a residence permit, which he received in January 2012.

A Cassation judge ruled that the man was within his legal rights when he married on Italian territory, and thus subject to neither expulsion nor the fine.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

32 Facts That Show How Men Are Being Systematically Emasculated in America Today

What is wrong with men in America? Why isn’t our country producing lots of strong, independent, hard working men of character like it once did? Well, many believe that it starts at a very young age. When compared with girls, boys in the United States get lower grades, they are much more likely to get into trouble at school and they are much more likely to be put on behavior-modifying drugs. When it comes time to pursue a higher education, most of our young men are ill-prepared to do that. Today, nearly 60 percent of the students enrolled at U.S. colleges are women. And of course it has become much more difficult for men to find good jobs. In fact, less than 65 percent of all men have a job right now. Without a good job, a man is not considered to be “marriage material”, but a large percentage of our young men don’t want to get married anyway. Society has told them that it is okay to be a “slacker”. Today, far too many of our young men are far more interested in their various addictions (beer, drugs, sex, video games, gambling, etc.) than they are in starting a family. But the truth is that men are far more happy when they have a purpose. When men are raising families, starting businesses or doing something to transform society they feel fulfilled.

Sadly, the message that our young men are getting from our television shows and our movies is that men are idiots. Instead of being portrayed as leaders that are eager to get married and raise strong families, young men are often being portrayed as passive slackers that love to party and chase women.

Start paying attention to how men are portrayed in the media. In particular, pay attention to how they are portrayed in our commercials. Our boys and young men are exposed to thousands upon thousands of hours of this “programming”, and it has a dramatic affect on them.

Our system beats up our boys and young men so badly that only a relatively small percentage of them emerge into adulthood as strong, independent young men that are able to take care of themselves and start families of their own.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lawmakers Battle Over Push to Create Military ‘Chaplain’ For Atheists

Members of Congress are set to square off over a push to create military chaplains for people who do not believe in God.

The effort to create a chaplain for atheists and “humanists” has been building over the last several weeks. While the title might sound inherently contradictory, supporters say the point is to give atheists in the military someone who will pro-actively reach out to them and facilitate meetings.

Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Free Thinkers, claims that 23 percent of those in the military ranks assert no religious preference. And he argues chaplains are not providing enough “positive outreach and support” in the way “they do for all of those beliefs that aren’t their own.”

As might be expected, the campaign is running into some heated criticism.

Lawmakers turned away a Democratic-sponsored amendment last month that would have created the post — and now, Republicans are trying to formally quash the idea, with an amendment to a defense budget bill that would require military chaplains to be affiliated with a particular faith.

“When it comes to the idea of an atheist chaplain, which is an oxymoron — it’s self-contradictory — what you’re really doing is now saying that we’re going to replace true chaplains with non-chaplain chaplains,” said sponsor Rep. John Fleming, R-La. “It’s just total nonsense, the idea of having a chaplain who is an atheist.”

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who is also an Air Force chaplain, said he often dealt with atheists who were simply asking about their problems.

“What I have found is so many times people in our world today just need someone to listen,” he said.

But he questioned the idea of creating a new atheist-specific position, as there are other counseling services available.

“They need to come at it differently instead of just saying we want an atheist chaplain,” Collins said. “I think there’s plenty of opportunities for them to talk.”

The Armed Forces has counselors of all kinds, including psychologists and psychiatrists. While calling a newly created post something else — like a counselor — might sit fine with the military, it doesn’t satisfy those who specifically want a non-faith chaplain established.

Torpy said current chaplains are not doing enough to embrace non-believers. Further, in response to the effort to require chaplains be affiliated with an endorsing faith, he said the Humanist Society is recognized as a religious organization by the one agency that matters, at least for taxes — the IRS.

“Basically, the standard is to be recognized as a church by the Internal Revenue Service,” he said.

The U.S. military could decide on its own to allow non-faith chaplains, but members of Congress are trying to both require — and prohibit — the post.

Fleming vowed to oppose it.

“Let’s define what a chaplain is. A chaplain is a minister of the faith — someone who believes in a deity of a spiritual life who is assigned to a secular organization,” he said.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

MSNBC Host Says Newborn Infants Don’t Count as ‘Alive’

Infanticide is the new abortion

Today Natural News denounces Melissa Harris-Perry, the latest talking head “death worshipper” to publicly imply that she supports the murder of living, breathing newborn children. According to Harris-Perry, life begins when the parents feel like life begins. And together with some twisted new “ethics” arguments from the radical left, this can include months or years after a child is born.

That’s why I need to premise this article with a disclaimer: This article is not about abortion. It’s about the murder of children after they are born. Because once a child is born alive, terminating that life is no longer a “choice” … it’s murder by every legal and moral standard. Because while abortion friends and foes can argue about when life begins in the womb, no one disagrees that a child born alive is, well, ALIVE… do they?

Indeed, they do. MSNBC talking head Melissa Harris-Perry insists that life only begins when the parents have a “feeling” that it begins. “When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling — but not science,” Harris-Perry said to nationwide astonishment on her July 21 MSNBC show.

And in one stroke, she simultaneously condones the murder of newborn infants (i.e. “post-birth abortion”) while attacking the science of biology which unambiguously states that a living, breathing infant with a heartbeat and brain function is alive, not dead.

But don’t tell that to the radical abortion whackos. Far beyond arguing for the “right” to abort a baby in the first or second trimester, many abortion advocates who run in the same circles as Melissa Harris-Perry are now publicly arguing that it is okay for parents to kill their children up to age three. This is now being promoted as a “post-birth abortion.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Very Brief Primer on Islamic Taqiyya (Takiya) — General Features, Not Exclusive to Shiite Islam

by Andrew Bostom

(To understand the concept “musically,” think of the refrain from the song “Tradition,” in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof, “ substitute “Taqiyya” for the word “Tradition,” and sing to yourself—or others, to help them understand, too!.)

The great Sunni historian and Koranic commentator Al-Tabari (d. 923), author of one of the earliest and most important Koranic commentaries, explains Koranic verse 3:28, which sanctions “taqiyya,” Islamic religious dissimulation, as follows (translation by Raymond Ibrahim):

If you (Muslims) are under their (non-Muslims’) authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them … (know that) God has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers-except when infidels are above them (in authority). Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.

Tabari also wrote the following exegesis on Koran 16:106 (the verse states, “Whoso disbelieves in God, after he has believed — excepting him who has been compelled, and his heart is still at rest in his belief — but whosoever’s breast is expanded in unbelief, upon them shall rest anger from God, and there awaits them a mighty chastisement”)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mysterious Hum Driving People Crazy Around the World

It creeps in slowly in the dark of night, and once inside, it almost never goes away.

It’s known as the Hum, a steady, droning sound that’s heard in places as disparate as Taos, N.M.; Bristol, England; and Largs, Scotland.

But what causes the Hum, and why it only affects a small percentage of the population in certain areas, remain a mystery, despite a number of scientific investigations.

Reports started trickling in during the 1950s from people who had never heard anything unusual before; suddenly, they were bedeviled by an annoying, low-frequency humming, throbbing or rumbling sound.

The cases seem to have several factors in common: Generally, the Hum is only heard indoors, and it’s louder at night than during the day. It’s also more common in rural or suburban environments; reports of a hum are rare in urban areas, probably because of the steady background noise in crowded cities…

Only about 2 percent of the people living in any given Hum-prone area can hear the sound, and most of them are ages 55 to 70, according to a 2003 study by acoustical consultant Geoff Leventhall of Surrey, England.

Most of the people who hear the Hum (sometimes referred to as “hearers” or “hummers”) describe the sound as similar to a diesel engine idling nearby. And the Hum has driven virtually every one of them to the point of despair.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Notes on ‘Counterjihad’

By Bruce Bawer

“Counterjihadist.” If you had told me a couple of decades ago that this would be one of the many labels that would someday be attached to my name with some regularity, I would hardly have known what to say. Counter what? What jihadist?

But then these are strange times. On the evening of September 11, 2001, you might’ve expected responsible-minded, in-the-know public servants, journalists, and academic Islam experts throughout the Western world to start giving their respective publics a crash course (as it were) in Islamic jihad, so as to ensure that absolutely everybody understood exactly why those men wanted to take down those buildings. Instead, the President of the United States, the Karen Armstrongs and John Espositos, and virtually the entire Western media were quick to begin issuing fervent assurances that the terrorists were a fanatical minority who’d hijacked not only airplanes but Islam itself. Similar assurances followed hard upon every major terrorist act in the succeeding years. Those of us who knew better — who recognized that the terrorists were doing exactly what the Koran ordered them to do, and who believed that it was vitally important for everyone in the West to understand this — began to see our names yanked to a term that identified us not as people who were seeking to educate and inform but as antagonists of something to which every one of us, after all, should be opposed…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Rand Corporation: Al Qaeda Growing, But Less Focused on US

Al Qaeda not only remains a threat to the United States, but its capabilities and scope are expanding, a new analysis from a respected think tank has concluded.

“There has been a net expansion in the number and geographic scope of Al Qaeda affiliates and allies over the past decade, indicating that Al Qaeda and its brand are far from defeated,” argues Seth Jones, an analyst at the RAND Corporation and the study’s author.

Why, after a decade of wars — the longest in America’s history — is the terrorist organization that the US military set out to defeat still active and growing? And does it really have an impact on the everyday safety of most Americans?

There are a few reasons for the growth of the terrorist group, Mr. Jones argues. “One is the Arab uprisings, which have weakened regimes across North Africa and the Middle East, creating an opportunity for Al Qaeda affiliates and allies to secure a foothold.”

This expansion — coupled with the weakness of central Al Qaeda in Pakistan — “has created a more diffuse and decentralized movement,” Jones added in little-noted testimony last week before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the topic of “Re-examining the Al Qaeda Threat to the United States.”

As a result, most of Al Qaeda’s local affiliates “largely run their operations autonomously, though they still communicate with core leadership in Pakistan and may seek strategic advice.”

The good news is that within this disparate movement, most Al Qaeda affiliates and allies are not actively plotting attacks against the US homeland, according to the RAND analysis.

“Contrary to some arguments, most Al Qaeda leaders are not interested in establishing a global caliphate and do not seek to overthrow regimes in much of the world,” Jones writes.

Instead, they tend to have rather more parochial goals. “They want to establish Islamic emirates in specific countries or regions, though they may be agnostic about a broader violent jihad.”

The goal for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, for example, is to overthrow regimes in North Africa, particularly Algeria, and replace them with an Islamic government, Jones notes.

In many cases, “France, rather than the United States, is the most significant foreign enemy.”


[Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/29/2013

  1. Could we please have a comment from Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Milliband on this acid attack in London? Could they please let us know how letting into Britain millions of low iq barbarians from the Third World has really improved one of the most civilised countries on earth? I suggest that anybody totally unaware of what London was like before mass third world immigration and the dispossession of the native cockneys watches David Lean’s “This Happy Breed”. Just a shame that the likes of Stanley Holloway and Celia Johnson didn’t realise that they were missing out on the multiculturally diverse heaven that is today’s London. No wonder Celia Johnson looked so miserable at times. She was just so unhappy that the Gibbons family were living in the 1930s rather than in the vibrant and exciting London of the 21st century.

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