Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/7/2013

The English Defence League marched across Tower Bridge in London today and held a demo on the outskirts of the heavily enriched borough of Tower Hamlets. As usual, Muslim and UAF protesters scuffled with police while attempting to reach the EDL demonstrators. Tommy Robinson, the leader of the EDL, was arrested for incitement and was still being held at the police station this evening.

In other news, the Coalition dealt a severe blow to the Labor Party in the Australian elections, knocking it out of power. The new prime minister will be the Coalition leader Tony Abbott.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, ICLA, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, 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
» Greek Olympic Medalists Too Will Lose Public Jobs
» Nearly One-Sixth of Population on Food Stamps
» The Global Financial Death Spiral?, Part 3
» Who is Going to Buy Our Debt if This War Causes China, Russia and the Rest of the World to Turn on US?
» California Legislature Approves Trial Program for Electronic Plates
» Majority of Tor Crypto Keys Could be Broken by NSA, Researcher Says
» Meth Found Hidden in Picture Frames in Pa.
» NASA Researches Star Trek Warp Drive for Space Travel
» Natural Law is the Cornerstone of Freedom
» New York Proclaims September as Preparedness Month
» Questions Raised Over Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Author’s Ties to Syrian MB Opposition Group
» The True Story of Obama is Told in Pictures Rather Than Rhetoric (Photos)
Europe and the EU
» British School Serves Muslim Students Bacon Sandwiches, Apologizes
» German Police Remove 40 Children From Controversial Religious Sect
» Italy: M5S Stages Protest on Roof of Lower House
» Italy: Man Uses State Benefits to Establish Lending Activity
» Italy: ‘Paraplegic’ Caught Walking Dog in Amalfi
» Italy: Bloody Mannequins Threaten Kyenge
» Italy: Berlusconi Strasbourg Appeal With Senate Election Cttee.
» Life in the UK Today, Part 4
» Spain: Madrid Harms Gibraltar With Tough Talk, Picardo Says
» Spain: Minimum Age of Consent for Sex Raised From 13 to 16
» The Convivencia in Islamic Spain
» UK: ‘I’ve Done Three or Four. I’ve Had the Best Night of My Life’: Paranoid Schizophrenic Raped Three Women in Less Than an Hour Near Train Station After Voices Told Him to ‘Get Everyone’
» UK: Criminal Who Burned Woman’s Face Can Stay in Britain Because of His Human Rights
» UK: Clashes as Anti-Fascist and Community Groups Protest Against EDL March
» UK: Comedian Russell Brand Slams Hugo Boss’ Nazi Past (Video)
» UK: EDL Marchers Scuffle With Anti-Racist Protesters Near East London Mosque
» UK: EDL Leader Robinson Held on March
» UK: From Tower Bridge and Back [EDL March]
» UK: Operation Bullfinch: Three Men Rebailed
» UK: Zimbabwean Criminal Who Burned Woman’s Face With Melted Plastic Cannot be Deported Because it Would Breach His Human Rights
» Kosovo: Italy’s General Farina Takes Over KFOR Command
North Africa
» 30 Militants Killed or Injured in Egypt’s Sinai Raid: Source
» Child Killed During Brotherhood Attack on Police Station in Egypt
Israel and the Palestinians
» Palestinian Authority Takes $148m From US, Doles Out ‘Grants’ To Convicted Terrorists
Middle East
» “Room for Syrian Refugees in Belgium”
» Almost 100,000 in St. Peter’s Square to Pray for Syria
» Al-Qaida Assassinates 2 Yemeni Intelligence Officers
» France to Wait for UN Report Before Syria Intervention
» France’s Syria Policy in Disarray
» High-Level U.S. Intelligence Officers: Syrian Government Didn’t Launch Chemical Weapons
» If it Wasn’t Syria, It Would Have Been Something Else
» Italy Against Military Solution for Syria, Says PM Letta
» John Kerry Thanks the EU for Its “Strong” Stance on Syria
» Kerry Attempts to Sell Syria Intervention in Europe
» Lebanon-Syria-UN: From October: No More Food Aid for 200 Thousand Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Says UN
» Naval Forces Face Each Other Off Syrian Shores
» No Violence to End Syrian Conflict, Says Minister Kyenge
» Oil Prices Rising Due to Syrian Crisis Says ENI’s Scaroni
» O’Reilly Buys Obama’s Propaganda on Syria
» Pope Says Peaceful Solution Possible in Syria
» Russian Supplying Syrian Regime Join Arms Fair in UK
» Syria: Samantha Power Deployed to Convince Liberals of Case for War
» Syria: The Left’s Irrational Fear of American Intervention
» Syria: What Next for Our ‘Small Island’ And Its Dwindling Armed Forces?
» Syria: A Vote of No-Confidence in the President
» Two-Thirds of French Against Syria Action
» U.S. Ambassador to UN Makes Case for Syria Strike
» U.S. Seeks to Insulate Lebanon From Aftermath of Syria Strike: Ambassador
» UK: No Attack on Syria, No Matter What, Say Voters
» Unintended Consequences From Potential Syrian Attack Continue to Grow
» Vatican: Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Syria
South Asia
» 9 Wounded in Grenade Attack in Indian-Controlled Kashmir
» Gunmen Kill Nine People in Northwest Pakistan
» Pakistan Frees Taliban Leaders to Promote Afghan Peace
» Pakistan Frees Taliban Prisoners in Peace Move
» Why the U.S. Is Building a High-Tech Bubonic Plague Lab in Kazakhstan
Far East
» 20,000 North Koreans Held in Huge Prison Camp Have Simply ‘Disappeared’, Claim Human Rights Group
» Korea Inc. Goes After USA-Made Whirlpool
» Tokyo to Host 2020 Olympic Games
Australia — Pacific
» Election Night as it Happened: Coalition Wins Government as Labor Swept From Power
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Kenya: Displacement Follows Clashes on Kenya-Ethiopia Border
» Nigerian Officials Claim 50 Islamic Insurgents Killed in Military Raids
» Nigerian Government Troops Kill 50 Boko Haram Militants
» Somalia’s Shebaab Jihadis Claim Restaurant Attack
» Uganda: Dispatches: Shoot-to-Kill, All Over Again, In Uganda
Culture Wars
» Archbishop: Christians Must Repent for Homophobia
» Exclusive Interview: ‘There is a Place for Gays in Islam’
» Lawmakers Laugh at Woman Conceived in Rape, Want Resolution Supporting Her Abortion
» Smoothies Are Bad for You: Fruit Juices Are Packed With Sugar and We Would be Better Off Having Vegetable Drinks, Say Scientists

Greek Olympic Medalists Too Will Lose Public Jobs

About 900 athletes were given posts after sporting victories

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 6 — Well known Greek athletes who were appointed in the public sector due to their success in sports, such as Olympic medalists, are to be suspended as well provided that the joint ministerial decree does not make any exceptions, as GreekReport website writes quoting Athens’ media.

According to estimates, about 900 athletes took advantage of the law 2725/99 and were appointed in the public sector. Minister of Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with representatives of the Greek Olympian Association (SEO) and highlighted that no exceptions can be made, however he promised he would take a second look at it. Radical-Leftist party SYRIZA condemned “the dismissal of working athletes (…), does not recognize the layoffs and does not distinguish them from other social groups that suffer.” The opposition claims that the Samaras-Venizelos administration is “attempting to divide athletes in order to silence voices of discontent.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Nearly One-Sixth of Population on Food Stamps

Food-stamp use grew 2.3% in June from a year earlier, with nearly one-sixth of the U.S. population receiving benefits.

Illinois showed the largest enrollment increase from last year with a 14.7% gain, according to Agriculture Department data released Friday. Wyoming was in second place, with rolls up 11.1% since the same time last year. Utah experienced the largest annual decline in food-stamp use, dropping 11.2%, among a dozen states to post a decrease. (Enrollment also decreased in Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington.)

One of the largest social safety net programs in the United States, food stamps — formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — expanded substantially during and after the recession, with enrollment rising about 70% from 2007 to 2011.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Global Financial Death Spiral?, Part 3

Part III — Inflation or Hyperinflation?

Following [Federal Reserve Chairman] Mr. Bernanke’s extraordinary efforts to debase the U.S. currency in late-2010, the dollar had lost its traditional safe-haven status by early-2011. Whatever global confidence had remained behind the U.S dollar was lost in July and August 2012. That was in response to the lack of political will — shown by those who control the White House and Congress — to address the long-range insolvency of the U.S. government, and as a result of the later credit-rating downgrade to U.S. Treasury debt. — John Williams, American Business Analytics & Research, LLC, 2012

The Obama administration and the mainstream media would have the American people believe that we are in a recovery following the deep recession caused by President Bush. It’s just a matter of time, we are promised, before the economy is once again robust and people are back to work. After all, claims Morgan Stanley’s CEO, James Gorman, “When [bond] rates rise, it is a reflection that the economy is recovering.” Louis Basenese, Co-Founder, Chief Investment Strategist for Wall Street Daily agrees: “Contrary to conventional wisdom that rising rates will undercut this economic recovery, it’s actually a sign that the economy is getting back to normal and won’t need the Fed to prop it up much longer.” The Fed is the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Central Bank.

Unfortunately, these are all empty promises surrounded with flashing lights, bells and whistles to distract the American people from the nasty reality that we are heading for dire trouble. It maybe even a collapse that will make the Great Depression look like a walk in the park. This is not the opinion of the authors; it is the concern of dozens of well-known economists and financial advisors cited below. John Williams, in his report above, believes that the “precursors to ultimate dollar disaster are in place; 2014 remains the outside timing for same.” (Italics added)

Williams is a top economist who has had numerous major Fortune 500 corporations as clients. He realized the government was cooking the books to make the economy appear better than it is. He found it to be so bad that any semblance to reality was coincidental. For instance, if today’s unemployment was calculated the same way it was in the Great Depression (including long-term unemployment), it would be over 23 percent; just as bad as the Great Depression.


To help explain why the U.S. is not already in hyperinflation, Monitier has to get down into the weeds where most American’s eyes glaze over and they lose interest — at their peril. If this describes you, understand this: President Obama’s constantly claim he is “saving the middle class” is nothing but misdirection and theater. In fact, he is destroying it. . To grasp what is happening, try to wade through the following pages of discussion. Explains Montier:

[Comment: Great series on the economic travails of the US — which, by the way, is ORCHESTRATED. Recall, that destroying the middle class is an essential step for Communists to implement their agenda.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Who is Going to Buy Our Debt if This War Causes China, Russia and the Rest of the World to Turn on US?

Can the U.S. really afford to greatly anger the rest of the world when they are the ones that are paying our bills? What is going to happen if China, Russia and many other large nations stop buying our debt and start rapidly dumping U.S. debt that they already own? If the United States is not very careful, it is going to pay a tremendous economic price for taking military action in Syria. At this point, survey after survey has shown that the American people are overwhelmingly against an attack on Syria, people around the globe are overwhelmingly against an attack on Syria, and it looks like the U.S. Congress is even going to reject it. But Barack Obama is not backing down. In fact, ABC News is reporting that plans are now being made for a “significantly larger” strike on Syria than most experts had expected.

If Obama insists on going forward with this, it will be the greatest foreign policy disaster in modern American history.

Right now, both Russia and China are strongly warning Obama not to attack Syria. And Russia is not just warning Obama with words. According to Bloomberg, Russia has sent quite a collection of warships into the region…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

California Legislature Approves Trial Program for Electronic Plates

The idea is that rather than have a static piece of printed metal adorned with stickers to display proper registration, the plate would be a screen that could wirelessly (likely over a mobile data network) receive updates from a central server to display that same information. In an example shown by a South Carolina vendor, messages such as ‘STOLEN,’ ‘EXPIRED,’ or something similar could also be displayed on a license plate. …

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Majority of Tor Crypto Keys Could be Broken by NSA, Researcher Says

The majority of devices connected to the Tor privacy service may be using encryption keys that can be broken by the National Security Agency, a security researcher has speculated.

Rob Graham, CEO of penetration testing firm Errata Security, arrived at that conclusion by running his own “hostile” exit node on Tor and surveying the encryption algorithms established by incoming connections. About 76 percent of the 22,920 connections he polled used some form of 1024-bit Diffie-Hellman key. The analysis came a day after revelations the NSA can circumvent much of the encryption used on the Internet. While no one knows for sure exactly what the NSA is capable of cracking, educated speculation has long made a case that the keys Graham observed are within reach of the US spy agency.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Meth Found Hidden in Picture Frames in Pa.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Customs officers say they found a kilogram of methamphetamine hidden in two large picture frames of religious artwork. The frames were delivered to a Pittsburgh store from Mexico.

Federal court documents unsealed Friday say that customs officials intercepted the package at a shipping facility in Memphis last week and discovered the frames were hollow and contained long black packages filled with white powder.

A Pennsylvania state police trooper working undercover as a parcel delivery man allowed the Pittsburgh store owner to sign for the package. Court documents say another man picked it up about four hours later.

That man was arrested. Carmel Rojas-Perez is being held without bail on a drug smuggling charge. His federal public defender declined comment.

[Return to headlines]

NASA Researches Star Trek Warp Drive for Space Travel

Dr Harold White, a physicist at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre, is conducting research to create a warp in space and time. These so called “warp bubbles” could eventually allow spacecraft to at speeds that appear to exceed the speed of light. Essentially the warp creates a fold in the fabric of space and time that allows an object inside to travel a much greater distance in a shorter time. This would allow a spacecraft to overcome one of the central laws in physics — that nothing can exceed the speed of light. However, Dr White claims warp bubbles are theoretically possible and has now begun work to create warp bubbles for the first time in the laboratory.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Natural Law is the Cornerstone of Freedom

Are our most fundamental inalienable rights, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, founded in man-made laws and court opinions? Or, are they founded in Natural Law, otherwise known as the laws of nature, or God’s Law?

Many modern day “law experts” empower themselves with the proclamation that our “Constitutional Rights” are endowed by our Founders, enshrined in our founding documents, our Charters of Freedom. The implication is that our “inalienable rights” are given by men, therefore, at the whims of men, be they law-makers, law interpreters or law enforcers.

But our Founders disagreed and so do I.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

It is on this foundation that our Founders established for all posterity, that our fundamental inalienable rights are “Endowed by our Creator…” — Nature’s God, under the Laws of Nature, not the laws of man.

Our Founders established that these rights are “inalienable,” not to be confused with “unalienable.” Again, despite false propaganda from modern law experts, these two words are not interchangeable. The following words separate the true meaning of these two words…

All men have certain natural rights which are inalienable. The estate of a minor is inalienable, without a reservation of the right of redemption, or the authority of the legislature.”

Today, these two words are often misused as if they have the same meaning. But if you look at 18th Century definitions of these two words in play at the time our Founders used them, they did not have the same meaning.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New York Proclaims September as Preparedness Month

NEW YORK, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — The U.S. state of New York proclaimed September as Preparedness Month on Friday, encouraging individuals, families and businesses to take this opportunity to review their disaster plans and become better prepared for any emergency…

[JP note: About as prepared as fish in a barrel.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Questions Raised Over Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Author’s Ties to Syrian MB Opposition Group

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) commendably provides space for a wide gamut of opinion directed at issues of national importance. However, in the current debate over President Obama’s challenge to the Assad Regime in Damascus, it failed to identify a recent WSJ op-ed author’s connections to a Syrian opposition lobby group in Washington, the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) with Muslim Brotherhood ties. As a result, the credibility of Elizabeth O’Bagy, Senior Research Analyst and the Syria Team Leader at The Institute for the Study of War, the author of the WSJ opinion article, “On the front Lines of Syria’s Civil War”, published on August 31, 2013, has been brought into question. An article by Charles Johnson in the Washington, DC, The Daily Caller revealed that O’Bagy has been a paid contractor for SETF, not indicated in the WSJ author’s by-line.

We had criticized her as myopic in our Iconoclast post, “The Consequences of President Obama’s Challenge to Assad’s Syria”. …

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

The True Story of Obama is Told in Pictures Rather Than Rhetoric (Photos)

Obama and the Syrian spotlight

Like his Portuguese waterdog Bo with a bone, President Barack Obama refuses to drop the spotlight that the attack on Syria is naturally providing him.

With the publicity and world attention Syria affords him, Obama, the most preening of all presidents, has never had it so good.

Facing the specter of defeat on congressional backing for his long-threatened Syria strike, Obama announced on Friday that he plans to make his case to the American people next week from one of his increasingly rare layovers in the White House…

Obama’s astro-turfed profile is wholly refuted by four and a half years of pictures showing the real Marxist McCoy.

Indeed, these pictures show Obama more accurately than any of his Teleprompter-delivered rhetoric.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

British School Serves Muslim Students Bacon Sandwiches, Apologizes

A Muslim teacher at Birmingham’s Ninestiles School said she felt ‘physically repulsed’ after biting into what she thought was a halal chicken and sweetcorn baguette. She soon realized that the smoky thing she was tasting was actually pork, a meat that Muslims are not allowed to eat.

A British academy is apologizing after mistakenly serving Muslim students bacon sandwiches. Principal Chris Quinn, of Ninestiles School in Birmingham, blamed the blunder on “human error” and called it an “unfortunate mistake.” A Muslim teacher tasted the forbidden meat after biting into a baguette she purchased at the secondary school in July. According to the label, the sandwich was supposed to contain halal chicken and sweetcorn…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

German Police Remove 40 Children From Controversial Religious Sect

BERLIN, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) — About 100 police officers raided two communities belonging to a Christian sect in the southern German state of Bavaria on Thursday and removed 40 children due to evidence of ongoing child abuse. The children from the town of Deiningen were temporarily handed into the care of foster families as there was “new evidence pointing to significant and ongoing child abuse by the members,” local media quoted officials as saying.

The Christian group “The Twelve Tribes” follows teachings in the Old and New Testaments as God’s direct word, believing in discipline in children’s education and spank children when they are disobedient. The sect does not send children to public schools, but the Bavarian state withdrew its education license in July due to a lack of suitable teachers…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy: M5S Stages Protest on Roof of Lower House

Anti-establishment movement irked by Constitutional reform bill

(ANSA) — Rome, September 6 — MPs belonging to the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) staged a protest on the roof of the Lower House Friday against a Constitutional reform bill. The bill sets procedures to introduce changes to the Constitution to revamp Italy’s public institutions and make the country easier to govern. The M5S MPs hung a large banner that said “the Constitution is everyone’s”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Man Uses State Benefits to Establish Lending Activity

Illegal financer dodged nine million euros in taxes, say police

(ANSA) — Naples, September 3 — A suspected multi-million euro tax dodger in the southern city of Salerno who ran a lucrative lending activity using State benefits was busted by the Italian finance police on Tuesday.

Police said that the man financed loans valued at 6.4 million euros to entrepreneurs and individuals while evading nine million euros in taxes.

The man was found to have made massive money transfers using 424 benefit checks issued between 2004 and 2006.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Paraplegic’ Caught Walking Dog in Amalfi

Benefit cheat charged with defrauding State

(ANSA) — Naples, September 6 — A man claiming benefit as a paraplegic was caught shopping and weaving through traffic while walking his dog in the coastal resort of Amalfi, police said Friday. He has been charged with defrauding the Italian State.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bloody Mannequins Threaten Kyenge

Forza Nuova protests citizenship proposals

(ANSA) — Rome, September 4 — Mannequins that appeared to be smeared with blood were laid out early Wednesday morning in front of Rome municipal buildings as a threat against Italy’s Integration Minister.

In yet another in a long series of racial attacks against Cecile Kyenge, the country’s first black cabinet minister, members of the far-right Forza Nuova (FN) movement set out the mannequins to protest the minister’s involvement in a debate in Ostia, an ancient sea-side suburb of Rome.

One of the FN leaders, Pablo De Luca, said the protest was aimed at Kyenge’s proposal to extend citizenship to Italian-born children of immigrants.

City staff quickly removed the mannequins.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Strasbourg Appeal With Senate Election Cttee.

(AGI) Rome, Sept 7 — Silvio Berlusconi’s lawyers have lodged his Strasbourg appeal against his 4-year sentence for tax evasion — recently confirmed by the Court of Cassation — with the Senate election committee. The appeal is understood to be based on the fact the Severino Law, which is screened by the election committee, introduces penal sanctions that cannot be applied retrospectively.

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

Life in the UK Today, Part 4

The Hay Wain is a depiction of the British countryside, an idyllic scene from its era. Painted in East Berghoft, Suffolk it is near to a place called Flatford Mill, and shows a hay cart standing in the River Stour, and in the distance, workers collecting hay in the fields. It is a picture of ‘Peace’. It was however recently vandalized, as one of a series of attacks on artwork in Britain. In depth enquiries are now being made into how security was breached and the painting allowed to be ‘damaged’.

Paul Manning, the perpetrator of the Hay Wain crime, and another member and protestor of the organization Fathers4Justice recently attended court and was charged with criminal damage. Paul had glued a photograph of his son Elliot, again with the words ‘HELP’ on the photograph on to the painting in a desperate plea after he lost a final appeal for custody rights to his son. It drew attention to the plight of the numerous fathers and fatherless children across the country who are being alienated from each other. They know about empty spaces.

They believe their children are being damaged by the secret family closed court system, currently operating within the UK. They want to do something about it. They want equal parenting. They have gained attention. They also believe there is a ‘reverse sexism’ taking place, that men are being demonized. It is as unacceptable as discrimination against women, but profoundly damaging to young men and boys who increasing feel isolated and disconnected from their families and society. I agree.

Paul is an alienated father who loves his son. He is one of millions. Contrary to the belief that fathers instigate and abandon families, and in many cases clearly do, statistics show that the majority of family breakdowns are now being instigated by women. In Paul’s case, his wife had stated the ‘spark’ was missing from their marriage. Fifty per cent of children today, before they reach the age of 16, will also hear the news that their parents are divorcing. So what is happening to family life today and what are the effects this is having on our children?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Spain: Madrid Harms Gibraltar With Tough Talk, Picardo Says

Removing the cement blocks is not an option, says Picardo

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 6 — Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo on Friday said Spanish tough talk in an ongoing border spat with the UK is harming the Rock’s citizens.

“The Spanish government is creating an almost prewar atmosphere”, which “puts Gibraltarians in jeopardy” the minister told Cadena Ser in a radio interview. The tiff began in mid-July when the UK sank a cement barrier off the Bay of Algeciras, also known as the Bay of Gibraltar, to form a natural reef.

Saying this compromised the livelihood of its fishermen, Spain retaliated with excruciatingly long customs checks at the border, allegedly to foil tobacco smugglers and money launderers.

Picardo said removing the cement blocks is not an option.

“They were placed there for scientific reasons, to defend the environment”, he explained. Cameron “has nor right or sovereignty to order the blocks removed, and he won’t,” the minister assured.

The Spanish border checks “have nothing to do with tobacco” and everything to do with wanting to reclaim the Rock, which Spain ceded to the UK under the Utrecht Treaty of 1713, the minister alleged.

“Small-time cigarette smugglers are operating all the time, and 80% of those we arrest are Spanish”, Picardo assured, adding that anyone accusing Gibraltar of being an off-shore tax haven is “manipulating reality”. His comments came as UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy prep to meet on this thorny issue today, on the margins of the ongoing G20 summit in St. Petersburg.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Minimum Age of Consent for Sex Raised From 13 to 16

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 4 — The Spanish government has completed a reform to raise the minimum age of consent for having sex from 13 to 16. The measure is part of a draft law to be approved by the council of ministers by the end of this month. It will then be debated in Parliament for its final approval.

Under the new draft law, according to ministerial sources, an adult who has sex with a minor under 16 years of age can be charged with ‘abuse’ and is liable of a jail sentence of two to six years and up to 12 in case of penetration.

The draft measure however provides for an exception so as not to criminalize sexual intercourse ‘between equals’, in particular is case of consensual sex between a minor under 16 and ‘a person close to the victim in age and degree of development and maturity’, as determined by a judge.

A first draft of the measure approved last October by the council of ministers set at 15 the minimum age of consent, which was then raised to 16 at the health ministry’s proposal. The UN had recommended setting the age for consensual sex within the European average of 14-16.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Convivencia in Islamic Spain

For a period of almost four centuries, when Medieval Spain was ruled by the Moors, the believers in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam lived together in peace and harmony. La Convivencia refers to this coexistence. For over 400 years, knowledge and mysticism thrived in the Spanish towns of Toledo, Cordoba, and Granada as students and teachers in all three disciplines helped one another to learn, translate, and understand ancient teachings. The year 1492 marked the destruction of an unprecedented form of coexistence between the Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Al-Andalus, a state that had thrived since the eleventh century…

[JP note: Unconvincing.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘I’ve Done Three or Four. I’ve Had the Best Night of My Life’: Paranoid Schizophrenic Raped Three Women in Less Than an Hour Near Train Station After Voices Told Him to ‘Get Everyone’


A paranoid schizophrenic has been detained indefinitely at a maximum security hospital after he raped three women in less than an hour during a series of violent attacks.

Serial rapist Thomas Hall, 33, attacked four sex workers after prowling around Piccadilly train station, in Manchester.

Hall, who raped three of the women and sexually assaulted the other, is said to have bragged to a friend on the phone ‘I’ve done three or four now. I’ve had the best night of my life’ after attacking his last victim.

Manchester Crown Court heard how Hall had heard voices in his head telling him to ‘get everyone’.

Two of the women ran half-naked down the street and flagged down passing motorists to raise the alarm following the attacks, the court was told.

At the time of the attacks Hall, who has been a paranoid schizophrenic since he was a teenager, was on police bail for raping another woman a month earlier.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Criminal Who Burned Woman’s Face Can Stay in Britain Because of His Human Rights

A violent foreign criminal who burned a woman’s face with melted plastic and scalded her with boiling water has defeated a bid to deport him from Britain because of his human rights, the Telegraph can disclose.

Valentine Harverye, a Zimbabwean national, was jailed for five and a half years for grievous bodily harm after he “mutilated” and “humiliated” his 34 year-old victim, whom he scarred for life. The Home Office tried to deport him under rules which say that any foreigner jailed for more than 12 months should be subject to automatic deportation but the 22 year-old brought a human rights appeal, and won.

Immigration judges ruled that Harverye could face “ill-treatment” if he was sent back to Zimbabwe, which would breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Government is proposing to change the law so that foreign criminals cannot overturn deportation by deploying some human rights arguments — but Article 3 will not be curtailed, meaning that Harverye would almost certainly win his case even under the new rules. It emerged in Harverye’s case that his brother, Matthew, also overturned a deportation bid on human rights grounds last year after being convicted of common assault…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Clashes as Anti-Fascist and Community Groups Protest Against EDL March

Muslim leaders and politicians in London’s East End said they are “fed up” but “united” as they led a protest to counter a controversial march by the far-right English Defence League (EDL) being held on their doorstep.

By lunchtime thousands of people had gathered at the Altab Ali Park in Aldgate East, east London. They had walked past the closed roads and heavy uniformed police security lining the streets a stone’s throw away from the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre (ELM).

The park is in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, home to one of Britain’s largest Muslim populations.

Messages in the mosque relayed after prayers said the numbers of Muslims at the park “were in small numbers” as many people had decided not come out. It assured them that it was a safe and peaceful rally watched by a large number of police and that they would be welcome to show that “we can not live with hatred”.

At the same time the EDL, who had wanted to demonstrate in the heart of Tower Hamlets, began a restricted march under close watch by the police.

They lost a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate. The Metropolitan Police had allowed it to protest but with strict conditions that meant any march would be held at the outskirts of the borough and close to Tower Bridge.

Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman and John Biggs, a local Labour London Assembly member, were among the campaigners who listened to speeches at the Altab Ali park which is named after an Asian garment worker who was killed in a race attack in May 1978…

           — Hat tip: ICLA [Return to headlines]

UK: Comedian Russell Brand Slams Hugo Boss’ Nazi Past (Video)

This week British media launched a coordinated attack on boisterous comedian Russell Brand after he gave a jaw-dropping speech calling out fashion label Hugo Boss at the recent GQ Men of the Year ceremony…

The Daily Mail’s Guy Walters elucidated on why Brand was correct in his criticism:…

“However, on April 1, 1931, Boss took a step that would see his name — and brand — forever associated with Nazism. He joined the Nazi Party and was given the relatively low membership number of 508,889.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Marchers Scuffle With Anti-Racist Protesters Near East London Mosque

600 supporters of far-right group kept away from mosque by police after losing court challenge to restrictions on march

Scuffles broke out as demonstrators tried to break through police lines to confront a march of the English Defence League (EDL) in the City of London. About 600 supporters of the EDL tried to march to the East London mosque on Whitechapel Road on Saturday but were stopped by police near Aldgate East station, around 600 metres from the mosque. East of the police lines a far larger counter-demonstration waved Unite Against Facism and hope Not Hate banners.

The march started just after 1pm south of Tower Bridge and the marchers walked through the City of London shouting and singing: “England” and “I’m English till I die.” Marchers included members of similar groups from Poland, Finland and Germany. Police said they had arrested ten people, including one for possession of a bladed weapon and the other for the possession of an explosive substance, a firework. The EDL leader, Stephen Lennon, was also arrested after the march for breach of his bail conditions.

There were fewer marchers than at a similar event two years ago but police numbers were far greater. All possible routes from Tower Bridge to Whitechapel Road were blocked to demonstrators. The EDL had lost a high court argument on its right to march through the heart of the borough of Tower Hamlets.

The Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman, and John Biggs, a local Labour London assembly member, were among the campaigners who listened to speeches at Altab Ali park, named after an Asian garment worker who was murdered in a racist attack in May 1978.

Rahman said he was “very fed up” with having to deal with these demonstrations, saying: “We just want to get on with our normal lives. We are celebrating peace and tranquillity. We are not espousing violence. The people who want to talk about violence and inflict violence and hate on others can just go back to their nests and their holes. We are a united community and we are a diverse community. Young people are not coming out today because they are frightened.”

Biggs said it was “atrocious” that the march had not been banned and urged people to stand up against racism. He said: “Tower Hamlets is a vibrant and diverse borough which I am proud to call home. Like many other areas of our country, there are problems such as unemployment and poverty but the EDL blame others for our country’s problems in an attempt to divide us”. EDL leaders had wanted to rally in an area in Tower Hamlets which they say is “subject to sharia law”, but Mr Justice King ruled on Friday that a police decision to impose restrictions over fears of “serious public disorder” was reasonable and proportionate.

[JP note: For more on the Muslim extremist Lutfur Rahman and his Labour allies see here: and

See also a recent take-down of the EDL by one of the ultraliberal’s useful idiots, Mark Townsend of the Guardian: ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Leader Robinson Held on March

English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson has been arrested on a controversial march that was prevented from going through the centre of one of Britain’s biggest Muslim communities. A tweet on the EDL website stated: “Tommy’s been arrested for incitement.” A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “A 30-year-old man was arrested for breaching section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 and inciting others to breach section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986. He has been taken to a central London police station where he currently remains.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: From Tower Bridge and Back [EDL March]

By Esmerelda Weatherwax

To Tower Bridge for the EDL’s second attempt to march and demonstrate against sharia law and other nasties in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Regular readers will be aware of what happened last time, in 2011. The reasons for a demonstration, then and now, and theproblems experienced with the route. Police renaging on the agreement because they admitted, and in court, backed by a High Court Judge that they feared they could not control the UAF, Antifa and Muslims of Tower Hamlets and elsewhere.

Frankly, this was 1936 in reverse. In 1936 Sir Oswald Mosley and his blackshirts of the British Union of Fascists wanted to march (in uniform, as well) from the Tower Of London to Victoria Park (which straddles the two boroughs of Hackney and Bethnal Green). They tried several routes but were stopped at Whitechapel and in Cable Street, which being so far south was not an obvious route to take. The police advised Mosley to turn back and the march was cancelled. While the incident is known as the Battle of Cable Street most of the old silent newsreel showing the fighting was filmed at Gardner’s Corner, outside a department store (long gone) at the junction of Commercial Road and Aldgate.


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Operation Bullfinch: Three Men Rebailed

OXFORD: Three men arrested following a raid on the Nanford Guest House on Iffley Road have been rebailed until October 21.

The B&B was visited by police investigating alleged child sex exploitation in June. Guest house owner Jeremiah Cronin, 81, and his sons Bartholomew, 49, and John Cronin, 48, were arrested on suspicion of being a landlord letting a premise for use as a brothel, causing or inciting child prostitution for gain, and encouraging or assisting in an offence believing it will be committed, namely rape and causing child prostitution.The hotel was named in the Bullfinch trial at the Old Bailey as a haunt for gangs who raped and drugged underage girls.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Zimbabwean Criminal Who Burned Woman’s Face With Melted Plastic Cannot be Deported Because it Would Breach His Human Rights


A judge has ruled a Zimbabwean national who was jailed for five and a half years after he scarred a woman for life cannot be deported because it would breach his human rights.

Drug dealer Valentine Harverye burned his 34-year-old victim with a melted cider bottle and scalded her with boiling water. He was said to have assaulted her in front of five or six people at her home in 2009.

An attempt to deport Harverye, made by the Home Office, has now been defeated after he appealed against the move.

Upper Tribunal Judge Christopher Hanson said deporting the 22-year-old could breach his human rights as he would not be able to demonstrate loyalty to Robert Mugabe’s party and so may face ‘ill-treatment’, The Telegraph has reported.

The paper reported the move would have breached Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights…

Almost 300 offenders used Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights to argue their right to stay in the country last year.

Statistics from the Home Office showed that 299 ‘foreign national offenders won appeals’ last year — up from 177 the year before, the Sun reported.

Article 8 protects the right to private and family life.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Kosovo: Italy’s General Farina Takes Over KFOR Command

In Pristina ceremony, with Chief of Staff Binelli Mantelli

(ANSAmed) — PRISTINA, SEPTEMBER 6 — Italian General Salvatore Farina, 56, took command of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) in a ceremony in the Kosovar capital on Friday.

Kosovar President Atifete Jahjaga and Italy’s defense chief of staff, Admiral Luigi Binelli Mantelli, were present at the ceremony in which Farina took over from German General Volker Halbauer, whose mandate expired today. Jahjaga congratulated Halbauer for his leadership of the KFOR mission, which she said is a factor of peace and stability in the region. Kosovo will continue enacting reforms to hasten its path towards the EU and NATO, Kosovo’s first female president said.

Farina has served previously in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The KFOR Italian contingent numbers 504 troops, the third largest after the German (810) and US (750) contingents.

KFOR currently maintains just under 5,000 soldiers in Kosovo, down from almost 40,000 troops deployed there just after the Balkan wars of the late 1990s.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

30 Militants Killed or Injured in Egypt’s Sinai Raid: Source

CAIRO, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) — At least 30 militants were killed or injured on Saturday in a raid launched by the Egyptian army on hideouts of Jihadist militants in North Sinai governorate bordering Israel, a security source told Xinhua. The raids targeted 12 villages in Sheikh Zuwaid city, and the clashes are still going on between security forces and militants, the source said. “It is the biggest military campaign in Sinai since the 1973 war,” the source said, adding around 2,500 soldiers and officers from the army, police and central security forces took part in the operation. Military helicopters carried out several air strikes on suspected militants hideouts, and several houses and weapon warehouses were also destroyed, he said. Three vehicles belonging to the militants were destroyed, but the exact death toll was not clear yet, he added…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Child Killed During Brotherhood Attack on Police Station in Egypt

CAIRO, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — A six-year girl was shot dead while the Muslim Brotherhood, to which ousted president Mohamed Morsi is affiliated, attempted to break into a police station in the upper Egyptian governorate of Minya, state TV reported on Friday. Hundreds of Brotherhood’s supporters besieged the Minya police station, where some of its members were detained. Their clashes with the police forces left one passerby girl killed and several other people injured, the report added. Thousands of Morsi’ supporters took to the streets Friday after the noon prayers, calling for reinstatement of the Islamic president who was removed in what they described as “a military coup.” Two were killed and dozens were injured in clashes between the supporters and opponents of Morsi in Damietta and Alexandria governorates on Friday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Palestinian Authority Takes $148m From US, Doles Out ‘Grants’ To Convicted Terrorists

The Palestinian Authority is doling out millions of dollars in cash grants to convicted terrorists recently released from Israeli prisons in a program announced the same day as the P.A. accepted $148 million in the latest round of U.S. aid.

The authority announced Aug. 18 it would disburse $15 million in so-called “Dignified Life Grants” to more than 5,000 prisoners who had served more than five years in Israeli lockups, but had been recently released as a show of good faith by the Jewish state to bolster the Middle East peace process, according to Palestinian Media Watch.

The announcement came on the same day the State Department’s Michael Ratney, consulate general of the U.S. in Jerusalem, signed off on $148 million in aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, currently in the throes of a budget crisis.

Although the U.S. funnels about $400 million per year in aid to the authority, none of the money, by law, is supposed to go to terrorists or former terrorists. Critics say there is no way to separate money from U.S. taxpayers and the funds which go to the former prisoners.

“We have a lot of funding that goes to the PA that is fungible and co-mingled and there is a lot of concern the money is going to radical causes and extremist issues,” Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the bipartisan think tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracy, told

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

“Room for Syrian Refugees in Belgium”

The Federal Interior Minister Joëlle Milquet (Francophone Christian democrat) has said that she believes that Belgium and other European countries should offer refuge to those fleeing the violence in Syria. Speaking in an interview with the Francophone daily ‘Le Soir’, Ms Milquet said that there is room here for 4,400 Syrian refugees.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Almost 100,000 in St. Peter’s Square to Pray for Syria

(AGI) Vatican City, Sept 7 — About 100,000 people have gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for peace in Syria and the Middle East, according to Rome’s police.

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

Al-Qaida Assassinates 2 Yemeni Intelligence Officers

SANAA, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — Al-Qaida militants assassinated two senior Yemeni intelligence officers in the southern part of the country, government officials said on Friday. Colonel Abulmajid al-Salmi, of a military intelligence body, was shot in the head near his home in the southwestern province of Lahj, a local security official told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity. He said that the assailants rode a motorcycle to al-Salmi’s home and killed him late on Thursday. The 50-year-old was also head of a social, sport and youth club in al-Majhafa area in Lahj’s district of Tibn…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

France to Wait for UN Report Before Syria Intervention

France will await conclusions by U.N. inspectors investigating last month’s chemical weapon attack in Syria before deciding on any action, President Francois Hollande said on Friday.

That could mean French involvement in any military strikes against Bashar al-Assad not being decided until close to the end of the month at the earliest. U.N. diplomats have said the results of the U.N. analysis may not be ready for weeks.

“We shall await the report of the inspectors just as we will await (U.S.) Congress,” he told a news conference after a summit of G20 nations in Russia’s St. Petersburg, referring to an expected U.S. vote on military strikes.

Domestic critics say Hollande risks diplomatically isolating France by pushing it into a military intervention alongside the United States but without a U.N. mandate. Russia and China are seen vetoing such action in the U.N. Security Council.

The French leader acknowledged that G20 leaders at the summit disagreed on who was responsible for an Aug. 21 gas attacks on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus which Washington says killed more than 1,400 people.

He said a clear U.N. mandate was preferable but said that he would aim to bring together a coalition of states in favour of intervention if the U.N. Security Council could not agree.

“We will do everything we can so that France only strikes military targets to avoid civilian casualties,” he said of any action chosen to punish Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, adding that the objective would be to push a political solution to the 2-1/2 year civil war rather than directly oust Assad.

He said U.S. President Barack Obama had told him a U.S. Congress vote on any intervention was due around the middle of next week.

“If we did not respond … it would mean that a dictator who uses chemical weapons and massacres almost 1,500 people and many children would have no punishment for his actions meaning that in Syria or elsewhere dictators could act with impunity,” Hollande said.

Hollande, who has struggled to get backing from European partners on a possible strike, said he was hopeful he could at least get their political support. “I am trying to make sure that the Europeans agree, at least on the political position.

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

France’s Syria Policy in Disarray

French President Francois Hollande said on Friday he will wait for the UN inspectors’ report on their investigation of a chemical weapons attack in Syria before deciding whether to intervene militarily. But his comments appeared to catch French Foreig Minister Laurent Fabius off guard in Vilnious, Lithuania -where he was telling his EU counterparts that there was no need to wait for the UN report- and leave US President Barack Obama increasingly isolated.

Hollande told reporters at a Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday: “Yes, we will wait for the inspectors’ report, as we will wait for the Congress vote.”

It was the first time Hollande said he would wait for the UN report.

It appears that France’s will to launch a punitive attack against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which Paris along with Washington and London accuse of launching an August 21 chemical weapons attack that they say killed hundreds- was swayed during the G20 summit in Russia.

French diplomatic official noted that Hollande’s announcement came after discussions in St. Petersburg with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders, suggesting that those discussions persuaded the French President to wait.

Fabius on the same day had been assuring his the EU Foreign Ministers Council in Vilnius that the UN report was unnecessary because it would imply confirm what was already known — that the chemical weapons attack had occurred — but would not say who was responsible.

Hollande’s statement means yet another setback for Barack Obama’s plans and leaves the US President in an awkward position.

Obama originally wanted to strike ahead of the G20 summit held today and yesterday. But a no vote by the British parliament last week, when UK Prime Minister David Cameron asked for authorisation, was a bad omen. Now the US President is also facing a Congress vote which he admitted himself earlier today he may lose. Obama refused to say what he would do in that case.

France, which firmly backs the Syrian rebels and has strategic and historic interest in the region, had been ready to act last week but held off when President Barack Obama declared he would consult Congress first.

Fabious meanwhile was rebuffed by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and other ministers who said countries contemplating military action must await the findings of UN chemical weapons inspectors, which could take weeks.

“We believe that it is necessary to wait for the report of the U.N. chemical weapons experts before taking any further decisions, also on possible measures of a military nature. That’s our appeal to those who talk and think about military measures,” Westerwelle told reporters in Vilnius.

Germany had urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to speed up publication of the report, Westerwelle said.

He also said Germany was in “extraordinarily close talks with the Russians” to try to make progress on the diplomatic track. Divisions between Western powers and Russia and China have blocked effective action in the UN Security Council to resolve the Syrian conflict.

100,000 people have died since hostilities begun in Syria in the first half of 2011 and around 2 million people have been displaced .

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

High-Level U.S. Intelligence Officers: Syrian Government Didn’t Launch Chemical Weapons

Preface: Without doubt, intelligence is being manipulated to justify war against Syria. Here, here,here, here and here.

Without doubt, the Syrian rebels had access to chemical weapons … and have apparently used them in the recent past.

Associated Press reported last week:

An intercept of Syrian military officials discussing the strike was among low-level staff, with no direct evidence tying the attack back to an Assad insider or even a senior Syrian commander, the officials said.

So while Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that links between the attack and the Assad government are “undeniable,” U.S. intelligence officials are not so certain that the suspected chemical attack was carried out on Assad’s orders, or even completely sure it was carried out by government forces, the officials said…

For example, the Daily Caller reports:

The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

According to these officers, who served in top positions in the United States, Britain, France, Israel, and Jordan, a Syrian military communication intercepted by Israel’s famed Unit 8200 electronic intelligence outfit has been doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.


According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major “hotly denied firing any of his missiles” and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.

The report contains a note at the end that the major was interrogated by Syrian intelligence for three days, then returned to command of his unit. “All of his weapons were accounted for,” the report stated.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

If it Wasn’t Syria, It Would Have Been Something Else

by Victor Davis Hanson

It is very possible that the president will not obtain a join authorization to bomb Syria; if he chooses to go ahead and attack anyway, Obama will incite a constitutional crisis—the first time in history that a president has decided to go to war against the declared wishes of Congress. The public and the courts will adjudicate the legality of that act, and it would be contentious.

So the corner that Obama has painted himself into is now inescapable. Defying Congress will put the country into a Watergate/Monicagate mess. Not doing anything will confirm the administration’s impotence and only enhance Russia, Iran, Assad, China, Islamists, and almost anyone else who does not like the U.S. Doing something small, with or without congressional approval, will be looked upon as a cynical waste of human lives to restore Obama’s credibility, the sort of craven, immoral political act that a younger Obama made a career out of mocking. Doing something big will invite public and global outrage if only moderately successful, and doom the Obama presidency if unsuccessful.

How did Obama get himself into this mess? It was bound to happen, given his past habits. All we are seeing now is the melodramatic fulfillment of vero possumus, lowering the rising seas, faux Corinthian columns, hope and change, the bows, the Cairo speech, and the audacity of hope. Hubris does earn Nemesis.

1) His inclination is to damn straw men, blame others for his self-inflicted errors, and spike the ball when he should keep quiet and become modest (cf. the bin Laden raid). So in Syria we heard the same old, same old: A host of bad guys, here and abroad, wants to do nothing. Obama alone has the vision and moral compass to restore global and U.S. credibility through his eloquence; but the world disappointed him and is now at fault for establishing red lines that it won’t enforce: He came into the world to save the world, but the world rejected him. After five years of this, the world caught on, and sees juvenile and narcissistic petulance in lieu of statesmanship—and unfortunately a sinister Putin takes great delight in reminding 7 billion people of this fact almost daily. In terms of geostrategic clout, Obama has nullified the power of his eleven aircraft-carrier battle groups, Putin through his shrewd insight and ruthless calculation of human nature, has added five where they didn’t exist.

2) Obama thinks in an untrained manner and for all the talk of erudition and education seems bored and distracted—and it shows up in the most critical moments. Had he wished to stop authoritarians, prevent bloodshed and near genocide, and foster true reform in the Middle East, there were plenty of prior, but now blown occasions: a) the “good” war in Afghanistan could have earned his full attention; b) the “bad” Iraq War was won and needed only a residual force to monitor the Maliki government and protect Iraq airspace and ensure quiet; c) the green revolution in Iran was in need of moral support; d) Qaddafi could have been continually pressured for further reform rather than bombed into oblivion; e) postwar Libya needed U.S. leadership to ensure that “lead from behind” did not lead to the present version of Somalia and the disaster in Benghazi; e) long ago, the president could have either kept quiet about Syria or acted on his threats when Assad was tottering and the resistance was less Islamist; f) he could have warned the one vote/one time Muslim Brotherhood early on not to do what everyone in the world knew it would surely do; g) he need not have issued tough serial deadlines to Iran that we have not really enforced and probably have no intention of enforcing.

Instead, Obama relied on his rhetoric and talked loosely, sloppily and inconsistently from crisis to crisis, the only common denominator being that he always took the path of least resistance and thus did nothing concretely to match his cadences. Usually to the degree he made a decision, he made things worse with empty, first-person bombast.

3) Obama cannot attract top talent. Those from prior administrations who are gifted and worked for him or who were promoted by him—Robert Gates, David Petraeus, Paul Volcker, Richard Holbrooke, James Mattis, Stanley McChrystal—either were treated badly, not fully utilized, or ended up regretting their experience. Instead a host of mediocrities are recruited on the basis of either their partisanship, loyalty or demonstrated past lightness—an Eric Holder, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, Timothy Geithner, Chuck Hagel, etc.

Nowhere than in the present crisis is this unfortunate trend more telling: Pro-war John Kerry has opportunistic anti-war baggage, pontificates rather than persuades, and freelances into serial embarrassments; Martin Dempsey, to his credit, cannot square the circle of being an honest man assigned to say things he knows simply cannot be true, and so pleads the military’s version of the Fifth; Chuck Hagel has not recovered from the confirmation hearings, and just wishes Syria would go away; anything that a surprisingly quiet Joe Biden says on the crisis will probably be incoherent and incendiary, and surely contradictory of some past statement; Susan Rice astutely outsourced this crisis; Hillary Clinton whose “what difference does it make?” fingerprints are all over the Syrian and Libyan fiascos wisely got out of town ahead of the posse.

What is now the least bad choice between terrible and even more terrible alternatives? If the congressional vote is yes, the choice is cynically wasting a few American lives for a possible point, or killing lots more people for a more possible point. Not good choices. If the congressional vote is, as I hope, no, Obama should quietly (i.e., don’t blame Congress, the world, the public, etc.) back out of the bombing mode, more quietly continue the belated work of promoting a pro-Western resistance to Assad, mend fences with allies most quietly, and prepare very carefully (but without the bombast) for a real crisis on the near horizon that will need the public, the Congress, our allies, and the president’s full attention and response. In our new Vienna-summit-to-Cuban-missile-crisis era of danger, I fear our enemies and rivals are digesting the Syrian misadventure and calibrating to what degree they might soon turn our present psychodrama into a real American tragedy.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy Against Military Solution for Syria, Says PM Letta

(AGI) Rome — At the end of the G20, Italy’s Prime Minister Letta said he was against a military solution in Syria ..

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

John Kerry Thanks the EU for Its “Strong” Stance on Syria

(AGI) Vilnius, Sept 7 — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the EU for its “strong” stance on the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons. Kerry also expressed his gratitude for the position taken by the European Union in the informal meeting of foreign ministers in Vilnius.

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

Kerry Attempts to Sell Syria Intervention in Europe

US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Lithuania Saturday at the start of a four-nation European diplomatic trip aimed at boosting international support for a military intervention on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.


US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with his European counterparts Saturday in a bid to boost support for military strikes against Syria after last week’s G20 summit exposed a bitter international divide on the issue.

Kerry is holding talks with the European Union’s 28 foreign ministers in Lithuania, which currently holds the EU’s rotating chair. Later on Saturday, he flies to France — the only European country ready to cooperate in military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime following the British parliamentary vote against military involvement in Syria.

The US secretary of state’s European trip was originally scheduled to bolster European and Arab support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But one of the most intractable Middle East issues has once again taken a backseat as the Syrian crisis dominates international attention.

Syria also overshadowed the G20 summit, which ended Friday in St. Petersburg with the host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, stating that a military intervention in Syria without UN approval would be “outside the law “.

Putin also said Russia would “help Syria” if the US were to strike, pointing to existing military, economic and humanitarian cooperation.

Moscow’s veiled warning is likely to be carefully scrutinised thousands of miles away in the US, where US President Barack Obama has been attempting to sell a military intervention to a sceptical, war-weary nation ahead of next week’s Congressional vote.

Addressing reporters at the end of the G20 summit Friday, Obama said the world could not “stand idly by” after the Assad regime allegedly killed more than 1,400 people in a chemical weapons attack in the eastern suburbs of Damascus on August 21.

But Obama admitted he faced an uphill battle convincing the international community and Congress on the need for punitive strikes against the Assad regime. “I knew this was going to be a heavy lift,” he said.

Hollande backtracks, catches his foreign minister off-guard

The extent of the challenge was highlighted in St. Petersburg when French President François Hollande — Obama’s staunchest supporter on Syria — appeared to reverse his charge-ahead position on Friday, saying that before committing France to military action, he would wait for UN weapons inspectors to issue their report….

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

Lebanon-Syria-UN: From October: No More Food Aid for 200 Thousand Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Says UN

The 2013 funds are insufficient, while refugee flow has increased. Risk of humanitarian crisis in the event of a military attack. After threats of a U.S. attack, average 12 thousand Syrian refugees pour into Lebanon every day.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The UN is reducing food aid to the refugee camps in Lebanon. According to UNHCR (the UN agency for refugees), funds for 2013 are insufficient to cover the entire budget. Because of this, at least 200 thousand refugees will now have reduced aid. These include many Syrians who fled to Lebanon because of the war between Bashar al-Assad and the rebels.

From October UNHCR will offer only “targeted assistance”: 70% of the refugees will receive food aid, and those most vulnerable will also receive medical aid and educational services.

“Because of the shortage of funds — said spokeswoman Roberta Russo — we are forced to cut some of our direct lending.” “If we do not see an increase in funding soon — she continued — we will no longer be able to help needy families with which we have dealt with so far, not to mention the new waves of refugees that could arrive is the fighting intensifies”. In the case of U.S. military action, the situation is likely to worsen. Sources tell AsiaNews that speculation of a military attack against Syria immediately generated an increased flow of refugees to Lebanon which has risen from a few thousand to over 12 thousand per day.

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

Naval Forces Face Each Other Off Syrian Shores

Mounting pressure for a Western strike on Syria has seen naval forces both friendly and hostile to Damascus build up off the embattled country’s coastline.

The potential of a US strike against Syria in response to an August 21 chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb gained steam on Wednesday, when a resolution backing the use of force against President Bashar Assad’s government cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a 10-7 vote.

President Obama has decided to put off military action until at least September 9, when the seemingly recalcitrant US House of Representatives reconvenes to vote on the measure…

Below is a brief summary of the naval hardware currently amassed off Syria’s shores.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

No Violence to End Syrian Conflict, Says Minister Kyenge

(AGI) Saluzzo, Sept 7 — Violence is not the way to end the conflict in Syria, said Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge. “We all have to work towards peace and democracy in the area [Syria],” said Kyenge on Saturday. “I have always believed in avoiding violence and I have never responded with violence to attacks against my person. Non-violence, in my view, is the right way to start a dialogue.” ..

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

Oil Prices Rising Due to Syrian Crisis Says ENI’s Scaroni

(AGI) Cernobbio — Oil prices have increased by around ten dollars per barrel due to crisis in Syria, said Eni’s CEO Paolo Scaroni .

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

O’Reilly Buys Obama’s Propaganda on Syria

Bill O’Reilly objects to “bloviating,” which I think means giving opinions not based on fact. So what should we make of his claim that “I believe there is overwhelming evidence that the Syrian tyrant Assad did gas civilians, including children.” Where is the “overwhelming evidence?”

One day earlier, O’Reilly had claimed, “The evidence is strong that Assad violated the Geneva Convention by using poison gas to kill civilians.”

So in the course of one day the evidence had gone from “strong” to “overwhelming.” On what basis did this occur? O’Reilly doesn’t say.

I submit that O’Reilly is engaged in bloviating.

O’Reilly, who is about to begin celebrating his 18th year on the air as the host of the most popular Fox News program, is doing tremendous damage to the notion that he can be relied upon for “fair and balanced” coverage of the major issues of the day.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pope Says Peaceful Solution Possible in Syria

(AGI) Vatican City — A peaceful solution is possible in Syria, Pope Francis said .

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

Russian Supplying Syrian Regime Join Arms Fair in UK

A Russian government arms supplier accused of providing the Syrian regime with more than three quarters of its weaponry will be among 1,400 firms at the world’s biggest arms fair in London next week.

Rosoboronexport has sold Bashar al-Assad missiles, fighter jets, ammunition and tank parts in the past five years and has continued to deliver arms to the Syrian president as he has waged war against rebels. Campaigners said the decision to host Syria’s main arms supplier was “perverse to say the least” after David Cameron called for military strikes to punish Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

Oliver Sprague, Amnesty UK’s arms programme director, said: “As the world abhors the catastrophe unfolding in Syria, it is astonishing that the British Government has allowed one of President Assad’s main weapon suppliers to showcase its wares on these shores — the same weapons that have caused such widespread suffering.”

Russia has a pavilion at next week’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) fair in London’s Docklands. It will showcase weapons including the PP-2000 close-combat sub-machinegun, the Pecheneg heavy machinegun, which is already used in Syria, the RG-6 grenade launcher and sniper rifles…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: Samantha Power Deployed to Convince Liberals of Case for War

The White House today deployed Samantha Power, the former human rights activist turned UN ambassador, to try to convince President Barack Obama’s liberal base to support strikes against Syria.

Speaking at the Centre for American Progress, a prominent liberal think tank, Ms Power acknowledged “how ambivalent Americans are” at the prospect of another Middle Eastern conflict but argued there is “something different” about chemical warfare which demanded action. Ms Power worked her way through a list of progressive objections to Mr Obama’s plan for intervention, saying: “Those of us who are arguing for the limited use of force must justify our position, accepting responsibility for the risks and potential consequences of action.”

She insisted that the US had “exhausted the alternatives” to war, saying that all efforts to engage the Syrians directly and through intermediaries like Iran, Russia and the UN had failed. Ms Power also addressed concerns that Mr Obama, a president elected partly on his opposition to the Iraq war, was about to follow George W Bush’s path of launching military action without the blessing of the UN. She said Russian support for Bashar al-Assad had “paralyzed” the UN Security Council and blocked even a press statement signaling the global body’s disapproval of the civilians death in Damascus on August 21.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: The Left’s Irrational Fear of American Intervention

by Niall Ferguson

In Syria, as elsewhere, US military might is the best available means of preventing crimes against humanity

Not for the first time, human rights violations by a Middle Eastern tyrant pose a dilemma for leftists on both sides of the Atlantic. On the one hand, they don’t like reading about people being gassed. On the other, they are deeply reluctant to will the means to end the killing, for fear of acknowledging that western — meaning, in practice, American — military power can be a force for good.

Ever since the 1990s, when the United States finally bestirred itself to end the post-Yugoslav violence in the Balkans, I have made three arguments that the left cannot abide. The first is that American military power is the best available means of preventing crimes against humanity. The second is that, unfortunately, the US is a reluctant “liberal empire” because of three deficits: of manpower, money and attention. And the third is that, when it retreats from global hegemony, we shall see more not less violence.

More recently, almost exactly year ago, I was lambasted for arguing that Barack Obama’s principal weaknesses were a tendency to defer difficult decisions to Congress and a lack of coherent strategy in the Middle East. Events have confirmed the predictive power of all this analysis…

Yet the president may not be able to sustain his brand of minimalist interventionism until 2016. While all eyes are focused on chemical weapons in Syria, the mullahs in Iran continue with their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. The latest IAEA report on this subject makes for disturbing reading. I find it hard to believe that even the pusillanimous Obama would be able to ignore evidence that Tehran had crossed that red line, even if it was drawn by the Israeli prime minister rather than by him. The Iranian factor is one of a number of key differences between the break up of Yugoslavia and the breakup of countries like Syria and Iraq.

The Middle East is not the Balkans. The population is larger, younger, poorer and less educated. The forces of radical Islam are far more powerful. It is impossible to identify a single “bad guy” in the way that Slobodan Milosevic became the west’s bete noire. And there are multiple regional players — Iran, Turkey, the Saudis, as well as the Russians — with deep pockets and serious military capabilities. All in all, the end of pan-Arabism is a much scarier process than the end of pan-Slavism. And the longer the US dithers, the bigger the sectarian conflicts in the region are likely to become.

The proponents of non-intervention — or, indeed, of ineffectual intervention — need to face a simple reality. Inaction is a policy that also has consequences measurable in terms of human life. The assumption that there is nothing worse in the world than American empire is an article of leftwing faith. It is not supported by the historical record.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: What Next for Our ‘Small Island’ And Its Dwindling Armed Forces?

Our political leaders’ cloying rhetoric masks a confusion about what Britain is fighting for

by Charles Moore

Tony Blair is right. I realise that this is not the most persuasive way to start an article in a modern national newspaper, but it is the columnist’s task to shock, as well as to please.

In his interview with the BBC, which will be broadcast in full on Monday, Mr Blair says that it is not mistrust about weapons of mass destruction that lies at the root of public anxiety about any attack on Syria. Unlike in Iraq, no one seriously disputes that chemical weapons were recently used, and therefore exist. The anxiety, says our former war leader, is about the aftermath. After what happened in Iraq, people want to know not only what you will start off by doing, but what you want to happen next and whether you are ready to achieve it. Bitter experience has seared this point upon Mr Blair’s mind.

Here the military are privately at one with the public. Before David Cameron’s debacle in the House of Commons last week, the top brass were recalled from their August beaches and boats to be briefed on what would be laid before Parliament. They were told about the plan for what President Obama had called “a shot across the bows” of President Assad; so they naturally asked what would happen after that shot had been fired. Answer came there almost none. You can see a similar pattern in the United States, where the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, is asking the same thing of President Obama, with uncomfortable rigour.

So Mr Obama, like Mr Cameron in the specially assembled Commons last week, is in a strange position now that the G20 leaders have flown tetchily home from St Petersburg. He wants to be seen to be doing something big — anything military is always big — but at the same time, he wants to keep emphasising that it is really quite small. “I’m going to hit those horrid Syrians,” he is saying, “but not very hard or for very long.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: A Vote of No-Confidence in the President

As members of Congress reveal that calls to their offices are overwhelmingly against the war, and the House considers it may not vote at all, in order to spare Obama embarrassment, we can see a version of what refusing to vote for a president on election day looks like.

It looks like: no-confidence.

Every four years, I write about this possibility. Suppose only 19% of eligible voters showed up at the polls. It would speak loudly: The American people no longer trust the major candidates. They no longer trust the charade. They no longer trust the vote-count. They know both major candidates work for the same Globalist machine.


Well, here it is. On the issue of the war.

I’m not saying the Congress will reject war. They may go ahead and drive the steamroller over the people. But it’s getting a little hairy for them.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Two-Thirds of French Against Syria Action

(AGI) Paris — More than two-thirds of French people are against participating in a strike on Syria.

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

U.S. Ambassador to UN Makes Case for Syria Strike

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — The Obama administration on Friday deployed U.S. ambassador to UN Samantha Power to make the case for a military strike against Syria, even if it is unlikely to win UN backing. Delivering a speech at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank Power said the alleged chemical weapons use in Syria represents “one of the most critical foreign policy challenges” facing the United States, as it could threaten regional stability and non-proliferation regime, while the American public remain ambivalent to overseas military venture after more than 10 years of war.

Staking the claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in the civil war, Power said the United States has to act even without UN backing, because “there is something different about chemical warfare,” in its ability to kill indiscriminately large numbers of people in gruesome ways. The Syrian government denies the U.S. accusation…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

U.S. Seeks to Insulate Lebanon From Aftermath of Syria Strike: Ambassador

BEIRUT, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — Newly-appointed U.S. ambassador to Lebanon David Hale said here on Friday that Washington was working to “insulate” Lebanon from any repercussions of a possible Syria strike. “We are much focused on insulating Lebanon from any aftermath of any response to Syria’s chemical attack,” Hale said following a meeting with Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati, according to a statement by the U.S. embassy in Beirut. He also criticized Hezbollah group for participating in the Syrian conflict, saying it “blatantly violated” Lebanon’s disassociation policy…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: No Attack on Syria, No Matter What, Say Voters

British voters oppose any military attack on Syria, even if it is proved beyond doubt President Bashar al-Assad’s government used chemical weapons on his own people, a opinion poll reveals.

The ICM survey for The Sunday Telegraph shows the biggest proportion of voters would not want MPs to stage a second Commons vote on intervention if United Nations weapons inspectors confirm that the August 24 attack on civilians involved chemicals. The poll also reveals that fewer than one in five voters believes Britain should join the United States in strikes on Syria, with almost half supporting restricting action to providing humanitarian aid to refugees…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Unintended Consequences From Potential Syrian Attack Continue to Grow

Following an informal meeting on Thursday between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Putin made clear that he would continue to provide all manner of military aid to Syria’s President Assad. S-300 similar to ones given to Assad by Russia. Credit: ShinePhantom via Wikimedia Commons

Such aid would include completing delivery of the S-300 defense missiles ordered by Syria but temporarily delayed over payment issues. The S-300 radar system can simultaneously track up to 100 different targets and deploy as many as 12 missiles in retaliation inside five minutes.

Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) quizzed General Martin Dempsey, chairman of Obama’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, about the dangers of such an action: “We can certainly say that Russia would have options to strike us in that theater in retaliation for us striking their ally… [What would the United States do] if Russia decided to strike at us…?” Dempsey demurred, saying only that “it wouldn’t be helpful in this setting to speculate about that.” But a retaliatory action of some sort by Russia is one possible consequence of a U.S. attack on Syria.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vatican: Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Syria

Various Christian denominations , Muslims, members of other religions and atheists take part. The prayer vigil, with the presence of Pope Francis starts at 19 in St. Peter’s Square. Obama receives the full support of France and generic support of 10 other states.

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) — A day of prayer and fasting was launched by Pope Francis for today, for peace in Syria , the Middle East and in the world and against any military intervention in Syria. The highlight of this day will be a prayer vigil with the participation of the Pope himself , in St. Peter’s Square starting at 7pm (local time) ..

At last Sunday’s Angelus, Francis had said that “a cry for peace … rises from every corner of the earth, from every nation, from every heart”. His wish that “peace break out” in Syria and around the world through this day of prayer and fasting, was welcomed by Christians of other denominations, by Muslim communities and other religions and even atheists.

The vigil , with moments of prayer, song and silence , will last until at least 11pm. It will begin with the enthronement of the icon of Mary, Salus Populi Romani and Queen of Peace, because the following day is the Nativity of Our Lady, a very dear feast day for Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims.

The recitation of the Rosary will follow, the Joyful Mysteries, which the pope wants preceded by short reflections from St. Therese of Lisieux.

After the Marian prayer, the Pope will give an address, followed by Eucharistic adoration, interspersed with prayers for the peace by popes down through the years, biblical and patristic readings. Five families from Syria, Egypt, the Holy Land, United States and Russia will be present, for the offering of incense.

In recent days, Pope Francis wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the G20 to avert a military attack against Syria, which could lead to an explosion in the region, bringing further suffering to the peoples of the Middle East. He also strongly advocated that the international community wakes up from its “inertia “ and implement a peace conference for Syria. While condemning the use of chemical weapons, he also demanded that the United “ abandon all vain pretense of a military solution ..”

The U.S. government is the most determined on a military attack against Syria because it believes the government guilty of using chemical weapons against the population. At the G20 President Barack Obama sought to rally allies for an attack, even without a UN resolution ..

Until now he has only the full support of the French president. But he gained the support of up to 10 states for a generic “strong international response” against the use of chemical weapons by Damascus. The signatories are: Great Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia , Turkey. Other traditional U.S. allies such as Germany, Mexico and the European Union did not sign.

For its part, Russia, which casts doubt on responsibilities for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, remains opposed to a military attack and has the backing of China, India, Indonesia , Argentina, Brazil , South Africa and Italy .

Meanwhile, ahead of a possible U.S. attack and possible counter attack, American , French , Russian and Iranian warships are gathering.

Barack Obama has called on the U.S. Congress — which resumes session September 9 — to express themselves in favor of armed intervention. Both is staff and he personally, have pledged to lobby parliamentarians to push for a vote. But the U.S. Catholic Church and the majority of the population (at least 60%) are opposed to any military action.

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

9 Wounded in Grenade Attack in Indian-Controlled Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) — At least nine people including five policemen and two personnel of India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were wounded Saturday in a grenade attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said. The grenade attack was carried at Pulwama town, around 35 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir. “Suspected militants threw a grenade towards a contingent of police and CRPF outside hospital in Pulwama,” said a senior police official posted in Pulwama. “In the attack five policemen, two CRPF men and two bystanders were wounded,” he said. The attack created panic in town and all the wounded were immediately rushed to hospital, locals said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Gunmen Kill Nine People in Northwest Pakistan

Gunmen attacked a minibus and two other vehicles near Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar late on Friday, killing nine people, police said.

The incident happened in the Mattani area on the outskirts of Peshawar city, the gateway to Pakistan’s troubled tribal regions where security forces have been battling Taliban and al-Qaeda linked militants. “Gunmen in two cars opened fire on a minibus, two other vehicles and on people who came out of their houses after hearing the gunfire, killing a total of nine,” local police official Abid Khan told AFP. He said those killed in the firing included six passengers and three local residents, adding the motive and the perpetrators of the attack were not immediately known. Another police official, Iftikhar-ud-din, also confirmed the attack and casualties. Pakistan says more than 40,000 people have been killed in attacks by al-Qaeda and Taliban-led militants in the last decade…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pakistan Frees Taliban Leaders to Promote Afghan Peace

(AGI) Islamabad, Sept 7 — The Pakistani government released seven Taliban prisoners in a bid “to further facilitate the Afghani reconciliation process”. The issue of peace in Afghanistan has always been a cause of friction between the two countries: Kabul has often accused Islamabad and especially Pakistani intelligence of secretly supporting the Taliban.

Recently, Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked Pakistan to facilitate peace talks with the militants.

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

Pakistan Frees Taliban Prisoners in Peace Move

Pakistan freed a group of Afghan Taliban prisoners on Saturday as part of ongoing efforts to improve troubled ties with its northerly neighbour. The seven detainees follow 26 others to have been released over the past year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why the U.S. Is Building a High-Tech Bubonic Plague Lab in Kazakhstan

Today, biologists who worked in the former Soviet Union — like those who responded to a case of the plague across the border in Kyrgyzstan this week — are likely to brush Alibek’s fears aside. But they’ll also tell you that the fall of the Soviet Union devastated their profession, leaving some once prominent scientists in places like Almaty scrambling for new work. That sense of desperation, underlined by Alibek’s defection to the US, has helped pump hundreds of millions of dollars into a Pentagon program to secure not just nuclear materials but chemical and biological ones, in a process by which Washington became, in essence, their highest bidder.

This explains the hulking concrete structure I recently visited at a construction site on the outskirts of Almaty. Set behind trees and concrete and barbed-wire, Kazakhstan’s new Central Reference Laboratory will partly replace the aging buildings nearby where the USSR kept some of its finest potential bioweapons — and where scientists study those powerful pathogens today. When it opens in September 2015, the $102-million project laboratory is meant to serve as a Central Asian way station for a global war on dangerous disease. And as a project under that Pentagon program, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the lab will be built, and some of its early operation funded, by American taxpayers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

20,000 North Koreans Held in Huge Prison Camp Have Simply ‘Disappeared’, Claim Human Rights Group


More than 20,000 inmates of North Korea’s notorious Camp No 22 are feared to have perished during the regime’s recent closure of brutal facility.

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) claims the prisoners — most of whom have never committed a crime — may have been allowed to die of disease or starvation in the run-up to the camp’s closure last year.

The organisation’s latest report, North Korea’s Hidden Gulag: Interpreting Reports of Changes in the Prison Camps, says the prison population shrank dramatically in the months leading up to December.

Camp 22 is believed to sprawl across 770 square miles, making it larger than London.

The report stated: ‘Through this vast system of unlawful imprisonment, the North Korean regime isolates, banishes, punishes and executes those suspected of being disloyal to the regime.

‘They are deemed “wrong-thinkers”, “wrong-doers”, or those who have acquired “wrong-knowledge” or have engaged in “wrong-associations”.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Korea Inc. Goes After USA-Made Whirlpool

In spite of being found guilty of dumping their washing machine products on the USA market, Korea’s government-supported makers Samsung and LG (Lucky Goldstar) are continuing to export greater and greater amounts to our nation. Combined, they have gone from just over 10% market share to over 25% of the USA appliance market in just five years!

Samsung and LG have been able to accomplish this by buying sweetheart deals with national retail chains to foster this dangerous penetration into our market. One only need walk into a Best Buy to see that it has literally given over the center of the store to serve as a Samsung showroom. A Best Buy manager told me privately that Samsung even has contractors dressed very similarly to Best Buy employees there to push their products.

Most Whirlpool (who now also owns Maytag) appliances are at least assembled here, if not completely made here. All Samsung and LG appliances are made abroad. This import surge is directly costing good American jobs at our appliance makers and their hundreds of suppliers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tokyo to Host 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo residents were elated on Sunday after it was announced the Japanese capital had beaten out rivals Istanbul and Madrid in the race to host the 2020 Olympics.

Long considered a slight favorite, Tokyo beat out Istanbul in the final round of voting at the International Olympic Committee meeting in Buenos Aires. Madrid was eliminated in the first round.

Even though it was 5 a.m., a gathering of 1,200 dignitaries and Olympic athletes crammed into at a convention hall in downtown Tokyo to celebrate the news. Cheers of “Banzai” filled the hall when the announcement was made that Tokyo had won.

Tokyo had been on the defensive in the final days of the campaign amid mounting concerns about the leak of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Election Night as it Happened: Coalition Wins Government as Labor Swept From Power

Tony Abbott has claimed electoral victory for the Coalition in a speech to his supporters in Sydney.

The man who will be Australia’s 28th prime minister took to the stage not long after Kevin Rudd conceded defeat and stood down as Labor leader.

“From today, I declare that Australia is under new management and that Australia is once more open for business,” Mr Abbott said.

Labor saw a primary vote swing against it of around 4.5 per cent, although the voter rebellion in western Sydney and in Queensland was not be as bad as the party had feared.

In one of the shocks of the night, Clive Palmer was on course to become the MP for the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax after his party grabbed more than 11 per cent of the vote in Queensland.

And while the Coalition will have a large majority in the House of Representatives, it looks like minor parties — including the Palmer United Party and the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party — will hold the balance of power in the Senate.

[Return to headlines]

Kenya: Displacement Follows Clashes on Kenya-Ethiopia Border

Moyale — Thousands of families remain displaced from the northern Kenya district of Moyale, close to the Ethiopian border, following the latest spate of clan violence, which has left at least two dozen dead since it broke out on 30 August. Aid agencies say they have been unable to conduct a comprehensive assessment of humanitarian needs, essential for providing emergency assistance to populations in some of the district’s more volatile areas.

Two days of inter-clan fighting among the Gabra, Burji and Borana communities saw houses torched, gunfire exchanged and business come to a standstill in the areas of Somare and Teti. The violence has since subsided, but tension remains high in the area. Education officials say all 32 primary and secondary schools in Moyale remained closed on 2 September, as all both teachers and students remained displaced, too afraid of renewed violence to return home. The violence is believed to be part of a series of revenge attacks that began when the Borana and Gabra clashed on 15 July, leaving one dead and three wounded…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigerian Officials Claim 50 Islamic Insurgents Killed in Military Raids

Nigeria’s military raided an Islamic insurgent camp and launched air and ground attacks over two days, killing about 50 sect members, a military official said on Friday.

This came as Nigerians mourned the death of nine people who died after Boko Haram staged a highway attack on Thursday at Bulabulin-Ngabura village, 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of Maiduguri, the birthplace of the Boko Haram insurgency. The military’s newly formed 7th division, established to quell the insurgency in the northeast, participated in the raid, spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said in Maiduguri. The attack on the camp also involved a military gunship as back up, he said. Military helicopters have been seen hovering in the skies near Maiduguri for the past two days.

Musa said the counterattack took place near Bulabulin-Ngaura and in Gajiram village, where 15 people were killed by suspected Boko Haram members who raided a local market Wednesday. Troops pursued the terrorists to their camps and destroyed the camps with air support,” he said.

Residents in Bulabulin-Ngabura village said Boko Haram members who staged the highway attack early Thursday also kidnapped a family of five who were travelling to their country home in Biu for the weekend…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigerian Government Troops Kill 50 Boko Haram Militants

(AGI) Maiduguri, Sept 7 — Nigerian government troops killed at least 50 members of the Islamist Boko Haram Jihadist group.

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

Somalia’s Shebaab Jihadis Claim Restaurant Attack

(AGI) Mogadishu — The Jihadi al-Shebaab al-Mujahideen have claimed responsibility for a twin bomb attack in Mogadishu ..

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

Uganda: Dispatches: Shoot-to-Kill, All Over Again, In Uganda

Uganda’s police force recently announced that the “Flying Squad,” a new unit tasked to fight violent crime, had instructions to shoot-to-kill robbers. Activists were right to quickly point out that this is a clear violation of presumption of innocence and violates Uganda’s constitution. Sadly, the announcement is more an admission of status quo than anything new. Unlawful tactics and impunity have characterized Uganda’s violent crime units for years. The only thing new about the Flying Squad is that the police are being honest about the fact that operatives may kill people without facing investigations into the circumstances, and innocent lives will be lost without justice efforts.

Violent crime units have changed names and commanders with surprising frequency. Operation Wembley, established in 2001, originated an unofficial “shoot-to-kill” policy and earned a reputation for torture and prolonged illegal detention. Wembley morphed into the Violent Crimes Crack Unit in 2003, later to become the Rapid Response Unit in 2007…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Archbishop: Christians Must Repent for Homophobia

Christian malice toward homosexuals and homosexuality is “totally wrong” and “demands repentance,” Britain’s archbishop of Canterbury told evangelical leaders. “The church has not been good at dealing with homophobia,” the Most Rev. Justin Welby told a gathering of leaders of the Evangelical Alliance, representing Great Britain’s 2 million evangelical Christians. “In fact, we have, at times, as God’s people, in various places, really implicitly and even explicitly supported it — and that demands repentance,” he said. “And we have to be really, really repentant about that because it is utterly and totally wrong,” the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion told the group at the dedication of a new headquarters.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Exclusive Interview: ‘There is a Place for Gays in Islam’

Abdellah Taia, the only openly homosexual Moroccan writer, was in Venice to present his debut film, “Salvation Army”, adapted from his autobiographical novel about growing up gay in Morocco. FRANCE 24 sat down with Taia for an interview.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Lawmakers Laugh at Woman Conceived in Rape, Want Resolution Supporting Her Abortion

Rebecca Kiessling knows what it’s like to be targeted by abortion. She is one of the rare people to escape an abortion after her birthmother became pregnant following a sexual assault.

But Kiessling was targeted more directly today when she testified before local lawmakers in support of a pro-life resolution. Laughing at her story of how she survived an abortion that too frequently claims the lives of unborn children conceived in rape, they passed a resolution supporting abortions in cases of rape or incest as an “in your face” gesture.

As Kiessling shares her story:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Smoothies Are Bad for You: Fruit Juices Are Packed With Sugar and We Would be Better Off Having Vegetable Drinks, Say Scientists

Smoothies and fruit juices have been branded the ‘new danger’ in the battle against obesity.

The two scientists who blew the lid on the corn syrup in soft drinks scandal described claims that smoothies are good for us as ‘deceiving’, arguing they contain the same amount of sugar as a large coke.

And Barry Popkin and George Bray say that while smoothies are lauded for containing the equivalent of six oranges, they actually provide none of the health benefits received by simply eating an orange instead.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

4 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/7/2013

  1. Smoothies are bad for you if you buy them off the store shelves. Blend some fruit with some water and plain yoghurt and you’re good to go.

  2. Somali politicians financed by Norwegian taxpayers

    The Norwegian regime has started a program of paying salaries of politicians and employees in Somalia’s department of finance and department of state audit (VG)

    In addition, the same Norwegian taxpayers are financing a substantial amount of Somali immigrants in Norway, the most costly immigrants of all in the country.

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