Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/31/2013

According to Reuters, President Obama has ordered the NSA to stop spying on the IMF and the headquarters of the World Bank. Mr. Obama reportedly gave the order at the same time as he stopped the NSA from spying on UN headquarters in New York.

In other news, an Italian man died after his pet pit bull bit off his testicles.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Kitman, Steen, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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

Financial Crisis
» Close to 3.2 Million Italians Unemployed
» Don’t Worry — The Government Says That the Inflation You See is Just Your Imagination
» Greece: Financial Crisis is Contributing to Obesity
» Greece Downgraded to Emerging Market Status
» Greece: Thousands Protest in Athens Over New Tax
» Italian Inflation Drops to 0.7%, Lowest Since 2009
» My Advice to Californians: Get Out Now
» Rates Fall at Italian Bond Auctions
» Boston Red Sox Defeat St. Louis Cardinals to Win World Series
» Court Halts New York Stop-and-Frisk Ruling, Taking Judge Off Case
» Election Integrity Activists: ObamaCare ‘Biggest Voter Registration Fraud Scheme in History’
» Facebook Tests Software to Track Your Cursor on Screen
» Google ‘Outraged’ Over New NSA Spying Claims
» Indomitable Defender of An Interview With Professor Michael Curtis
» Is Being a Communist an Impeachable Offense?
» Obama’s Justice Department Argues Before Supremes: International Treaties Trump Constitution
» Obama Stops NSA Spying on IMF, World Bank Headquarters
» Pentagon Training Manual: White Males Have Unfair Advantages
» Texas Man Arrested and Jailed for Overdue Library Book
» There Are Lies, Damned Lies and Democrats
» Why Changing Demographics Mean More Democrats
Europe and the EU
» Aide to Swedish Terror Attack Appeals Sentence
» Air France-KLM Won’t Help Alitalia Unless Conditions Met
» Barroso Warns of Xenophobia and Nationalism
» Bog Standard: Brussels Demands the Same Toilet Flush Across the Continent After Discovering Brits Use the Most Water
» Bruce Bawer: EU Unveils Crackdown on Free Speech
» Experts Cynical Over French Ransom Denials
» France: Openness or Revolt, Hollande Must Choose
» Germany: From Berlin to the World — The Doner Kebab
» Italy: Secret-Service Cell in US Embassy in Rome, Panorama Reports
» Italy: Puglia Governor Under Investigation in ILVA Probe
» Italy: Police Seize 8.4 Million Euros From Ex-Senator in Tax Case
» Italy: Man Dies After Pitbull Bites Off His Testicles
» Italy: Tarantini Didn’t Blackmail Berlusconi Say Rome Prosecutors
» Libor Scandals: ‘Manipulation Deals Cost European Banks Billions’
» Lufthansa CEO Slams Alitalia Capital Injection Plans
» Netherlands: Praised Staffing Agency Accused of Exploiting Eastern Europeans
» Norwegian Store Forced to Apologise for Stocking Realistic Human Limbs in Its Frozen Meat Section as Part of a Halloween Joke
» Travel: Top 4 Worst Tourists
» UK Government Tightens Its Grip on Print and Online Media
» UK: Car Dealer Wound Back [Mileage] Clocks to Wipe Six Million Miles Off Used Cars is Jailed for Fraud
» UK: Grandmother, 61, ‘Died After Nurse Gave Her Penicillin Despite Seven Warnings That She Was Allergic to it’
» UK: Hard-Working Immigrant Domino’s Delivery Driver Stabbed to Death Minutes Before Finishing Last Ever Shift Before Starting Dream it Job
» UK: Muslim EDL Member Fined for Abusing Asians at Bradford Rally
North Africa
» Egypt’s New Challenge: Writing a New Constitution
» Libya: Cyrenaica Government ‘Illegal’, PM Zeidan Says
» Libyan Government Plans to Build Two New Refineries
» Morsi Trial Expected to Expose Obama’s Ties to Muslim Brotherhood
» Swap Islam for Jesus: Hoax Story Riles Muslims
Israel and the Palestinians
» New English Review: The Failed State of Palestine
» Will There be a Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Palestinians?
Middle East
» Al-Qaeda Recruits Entering Syria From Turkey Safehouses
» Femen Makes Tense Debut in Turkey, Artist Withdraws Support
» Israeli Warplanes Strike Shipment of Russian Missiles at Syrian Port: Officials
» Qatar Removes Zidane Headbutt Statue From Corniche
» Syria: Hezbollah Confident Siege on Damascus to be Lifted Soon
» Syria: Norway’s Teenage Jihadis Held Against Their Will
» The Souls of Muslim Folk
» Turkey: Veiled MPs Enter Parliament in Historic Shift
South Asia
» Afghan Taliban Hung the Limbs of Our Friends From Trees, Says Marine Accused of Killing Captive
Far East
» Dutch Designer Wants to ‘Vacuum’ China’s Smog Away
» ‘10,000 People Leave Portugal Every Month’
» Italy: Migrants Try to Escape From Northeastern Detention Centre
» Italy: Hundreds of Migrants Rescued From Strait of Sicily
» Italy: Syrian Sets Fire to Self Near Colosseum
» Italy: Social-Housing Protest Sparks Havoc in Rome
» ‘Malta Proposes to Cut EU Aid to African Countries That Do Not Accept Migrants’
» More Than 360 Migrants Land on Italian Shores, More Expected
» Third Republican Flips on Immigration Bill
» Taqiyah is Onion Shaped

Close to 3.2 Million Italians Unemployed

Up 25,000 on August, 391,000 more than in Sept 2012

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, October 31 — National statistics agency Istat said Thursday that 3.194 million Italians were unemployed in September, an increase of 29,000 on August and of 391,000 on the same month in 2012, according to provisional data.

The agency said that 22.349 million people in Italy were in work last month, 80,000 (0.4%) down on August, and 490,000 (2.1%) lower than in September 2012, according to provisional data not adjusted for seasonal variations.

It said the proportion of Italians of working age who were in employment last month dropped to the level of 13 years ago in September, 55.4%, down from 55.6% in August and from 56.6% in the same month in 2012. Istat added that 654,000 under-25s were unemployed in September, down 10,000 (1.5%) on August, but up 34,000 (5.4%) on 12 months previous, according to provisional data not adjusted for seasonal variations. Despite the fall in the number of young unemployed with respect to August, the proportion of the overall working population in the 15-24 age group who were unemployed rose, because fewer were classified as actively looking for work.

Istat said 964,000 people in the 15-24 age group were in work last month, down 23,000 (2.3%) on August and 138,000 (12.5%) on September 2012.

The number of ‘inactive’ young people, who do not have jobs and are not actively looking for work, stood at 4.371 million, 64,000 (1.2%) higher than August and 54,000 (1.25).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Don’t Worry — The Government Says That the Inflation You See is Just Your Imagination

If you believe that there is high inflation in the United States, you are just imagining things. That is the message that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve would have us to believe. You might have noticed that the government announced on Wednesday that the cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries will only be 1.5 percent next year. This is one of the smallest cost of living increases that we have ever seen. The federal government is able to get away with this because the official numbers say that there is hardly any inflation in the U.S. right now. Of course anyone that shops for groceries or that pays bills regularly knows what a load of nonsense the official inflation rate is. The U.S. government has changed the way that inflation is calculated numerous times since 1978, and each time it has been changed the goal has been to make inflation appear to be even lower. According to John Williams of, if the inflation rate was still calculated the same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent today. But if the mainstream news actually reported such a number, everyone would be screaming and yelling about getting inflation under control. Instead, the super low number that gets put out to the public makes it look like the Federal Reserve has plenty of room to do even more reckless money printing. It is a giant scam, but most Americans are falling for it.

Meanwhile, the prices of the things that most Americans buy on a regular basis just keep going up. The following are just a few examples of price inflation that we have seen lately…

– -McDonald’s has killed the dollar menu because it is becoming impossible to “make any money selling burgers for $1”.

But don’t worry — the government says that the inflation you see is just your imagination.

– has raised the minimum order size required for free shipping from $25 to $35.

But don’t worry — you can afford to order more stuff thanks to the great new job that you got during this “economic recovery”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece: Financial Crisis is Contributing to Obesity

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 30 — In the last 10 years in Greece the level of obesity in children has increased substantially and has doubled for girls, GreekReporter website writes quoting a new study by the Hellenic Medical Association for Obesity (HMAO). The survey points at the impact the financial crisis has on healthy eating habits. According to the study, the rate of obesity among boys aged 6 to 12 climbed to 14% in 2012 from 9% in 2003, and for girls from 9% to 13%. Efthimios Kapantais, the General Secretary of HMAO, said that the problem is worsening almost in the poor neighborhoods of large American cities where the fast food is cheaper. A series of international studies have shown that the financial crisis and poverty are forcing people to buy inexpensive food with generally a lot of unhealthy calories. One would expect that due to the financial crisis, consumption of fast food would fall, but the opposite is happening: Greeks are now buying cheap, bad quality food, with a high caloric count.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece Downgraded to Emerging Market Status

Greece has been downgraded to emerging market status by S&P Dow Jones, reports the Guardian. The credit rating agency cited “dramatic” and “consistent” reduction in market size over the past few years. The bailed-out eurozone country was first given emerging market status in July by index provider MSCI.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: Thousands Protest in Athens Over New Tax

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 31 — Thousands of anti-austerity protesters clogged today the Greek capital’s streets to demonstrate against government plans to introduce a new property tax as bailout lenders prepare to conduct another inspection next week, as Kathimerini online reports. The anger is being felt across Greek society, with retirees, disabled groups, shipyard workers and high school teachers among those expected to take part in Thursday’s protests. Parliament is due to vote next week on proposals to replace an emergency property tax included on electricity bills with a permanent levy, breaking a pledge made last year by the conservative-led coalition government. More than 50 conservative lawmakers are demanding changes to proposals, arguing they unfairly burden their rural constituents. The government is also planning new cuts to state benefits and the public workforce.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Inflation Drops to 0.7%, Lowest Since 2009

Trolley of most-frequently bought goods hits 4-year low too

(ANSA) — Rome, October 31 — The annual inflation rate in recession-hit Italy dropped to 0.7% in October, its lowest since November 2009, according to preliminary estimates released by Istat Thursday.

The national statistics agency said the inflation rate was down from 0.9% in September.

The fall is surprising as the top band of value added tax (VAT) increased from 21% to 22% at the start of October. Istat added that the trolley of most-frequently bought goods by consumers dived to 0.7% in October — compared to 1% in September and 1.7% in August — the lowest level since October 2009.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

My Advice to Californians: Get Out Now

If you live in California, I have a bit of advice. Get out now while you can afford the gas to load up the van and head north or east. You won’t be alone.

According to “Crazifornia: How California is Destroying Itself and Why It Matters to America”, about 150,000 Californians have been fleeing the state each year of late. “In fact,” wrote Laer Pearce, “Los Angeles alone has lost more households than New York, Miami, and, incredibly, the economically decimated city of Detroit…combined.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rates Fall at Italian Bond Auctions

Five-year BTPs back under 3%, first time since April

(ANSA) — Rome, October 30 — Interest rates fell Wednesday at two big Italian bond auctions.

The Treasury sold three billion euros’ worth of five-year BTPs bonds at an average rate of 2.89%, down below the 3% mark for the first time since April.

The five-year BTPs went for an average rate of 3.38% at an auction in September.

The Treasury also sold three billion euros’ worth of 10-year bonds, with the average interest rate dropping to 4.11% from 4.5% at a sale in September.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Boston Red Sox Defeat St. Louis Cardinals to Win World Series

John Lackey pitched six and two-thirds innings and the Red Sox scored three runs in the third inning and another three in the fourth to beat the Cardinals, 6-1, and win the World Series, four games to two.

The Red Sox won their eighth championship over all and celebrated their title at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.

[Return to headlines]

Court Halts New York Stop-and-Frisk Ruling, Taking Judge Off Case

A federal appellate court on Thursday granted a stay in the landmark police stop-and-frisk ruling in New York City, and removed the trial judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, from the case.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that Judge Scheindlin “ran afoul” of the judiciary’s code of conduct by compromising the “appearance of partiality surrounding this litigation.” The panel criticized how she had steered the lawsuit to her courtroom when it was filed in early 2008.

The ruling effectively puts off a battery of changes that Judge Scheindlin, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, had ordered for the Police Department.

[Return to headlines]

Election Integrity Activists: ObamaCare ‘Biggest Voter Registration Fraud Scheme in History’

Conservatives point to the Obamacare website exploiting a strange loophole in the National Voting Rights Act to question whether the President’s signature healthcare law had a political motive, as well.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Facebook Tests Software to Track Your Cursor on Screen

Facebook Inc. is testing technology that would greatly expand the scope of data that it collects about its users, the head of the company’s analytics group said Tuesday.

The social network may start collecting data on minute user interactions with its content, such as how long a user’s cursor hovers over a certain part of its website, or whether a user’s newsfeed is visible at a given moment on the screen of his or her mobile phone, Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin said Tuesday during an interview.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Google ‘Outraged’ Over New NSA Spying Claims

The NSA hacked into cables used by Google and Yahoo to transport information between data centres around the world to access a vast quantity of information on users, according to a report in the Washington Post on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Indomitable Defender of An Interview With Professor Michael Curtis

by Jerry Gordon (November 2013)

On 9/11/13 Michael Curtis celebrated his 90th birthday by launching his latest published book, Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East, at the Princeton, New Jersey library. Since 9/11 he has largely avoiding celebratory events given the Al Qaeda jihadist attack on what was the twin towers of the World Trade that took the lives of more than 2,700 innocent lives injuring thousands more. After all, Manhattan is less than a one hour’s train ride from Curtis’s home. Professor Curtis is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Rutgers University who has created a significant oeuvre comprised of academic texts in politics and political theory since his arrival in this country six decades ago from England.

As a Fulbright Fellow at Cornell in the early 1950’s he initially intended to research and write a dissertation about American politics to complement his previous publication of a book on British politics. Because of a faculty retirement he turned his attention to examining the spectrum of French antisemitism from left to right in the works of three intellectuals. The resulting Cornell PhD thesis was published by the Princeton University Press, as, Three Against the Third Republic: Sorel, Barres and Maurras. It was later revised with a new introduction by Curtis covering French politics and Antisemitism in the 20th Century. In 2003, his Verdict on Vichy addressed the French collaboration that resulted in the destruction of one quarter of France’s Jews, 76,000 in Nazi Death Camps facilitated by French officials, French police and the officials and workers of the French national railway system.

Professor Curtis has held a number of academic honors that include Fellowships, at the Princeton Center of International Studies, its Institute for Advanced Study and the Bellagio, Rockefeller Institute. Besides being a long term member of the Princeton University political science faculty, he has taught as a visiting professor at Hebrew, Bologna, European University Institute, Fiesole, 1989, Tel Aviv Universities.

A Londoner by origin he is a living witness to the broad sweep of defining historical and political movements in Europe, America and the Middle East. As a teenager in 1936, Curtis “was part of the group that prevented Oswald Moseley and his Fascist organization from marching through the East End — then the Jewish section of London — on Cable Street.” Later in September 1938, he witnessed appeasement of the Hitler regime at Munich by the Chamberlain government. He served in the British Army during World War Two and learned of the effects of the Holocaust on Europe’s Jews when he reached liberated Trieste at the conclusion of the war. As a lifelong Zionist Curtis supported the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. His activism and concern about the continuing existential threats towards Israel gave rise (after the June 1967 Six Days of War) to the formation with several colleagues of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East (APPME) and his leadership and editorship of the group’s respected journal, Middle East Review. During the 1970’s he was a frequent commentator on Israel issues on the McNeil Lehrer News Hour PBS program. Unfortunately APPME went defunct in the 1980s for lack of funding. He is still consulted for his considerable expertise by scholars like Dr. Daniel Mandel, Director of the Zionist Organization of America Center for Middle East Policy. (See our interview with Dr. Mandel in the current edition of the New English Review)…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Is Being a Communist an Impeachable Offense?

Without much effort I could list at least fifty separate impeachable offenses committed by the Obama Administration over the last five years. But isn’t just being a communist enough?

Let’s stop playing word games here… progressive, socialist, Marxist, liberal, fascist, Maoist, collectivist, anti-imperialism, totalitarian, even the term democracy… these are all terms used as cover for the real agenda, communism.

Karl Marx answered the first question when he said “Democracy is the road to socialism,” and he answered the second question by saying “Socialism is but a stepping stone to communism.” Marx and Engels were the inventors of Democratic Socialism, a process by which average working class voters, referred to as the “proletariat” by Marx, would vote themselves into bondage under varying degrees of collectivism sold as democracy.

I know what you’re thinking… I have heard it many times over the years… this is America and communism died with the fall of the Soviet Union. Wrong… this isn’t America at the moment and communism did not die with the fall of the Berlin Wall, far from it.

The American people scoffed when Nikita Khrushchev said:…

[Comment: Recommended reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Justice Department Argues Before Supremes: International Treaties Trump Constitution

Here’s one you’re not seeing covered by the establishment teleprompter readers.

The Justice Department is going before the Supreme Court and arguing that the Obama administration has the authority to trump the Constitution with international treaties.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is stepping up to the plate to fight this globalist broadside.

“The Constitution created a limited federal government with only specific enumerated powers,” Cruz told the Washington Examiner. “The Supreme Court should not interpret the treaty power in a manner that undermines this bedrock protection of individual liberty.”

In a speech delivered to the Heritage Foundation, Cruz said the Justice Department’s arguments before the highest court represent “an absurd proposition” that “could be used as a backdoor way to undermine” Second Amendment and other constitutional rights the global elite are working overtime to eradicate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Stops NSA Spying on IMF, World Bank Headquarters

US President Barack Obama has called on the National Security Agency to halt spying on the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in conjunction with a review of surveillance activities, Reuters reported.

A US official told the news agency that President Obama curbed the spying within the last few weeks, around the same time he told the NSA to stop eavesdropping on the United Nations headquarters.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Pentagon Training Manual: White Males Have Unfair Advantages

A controversial 600-plus page manual used by the military to train its Equal Opportunity officers teaches that “healthy, white, heterosexual, Christian” men hold an unfair advantage over other races, and warns in great detail about a so-called “White Male Club.”

“Simply put, a healthy, white, heterosexual, Christian male receives many unearned advantages of social privilege, whereas a black, homosexual, atheist female in poor health receives many unearned disadvantages of social privilege,” reads a statement in the manual created by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).

The manual, which was obtained by Fox News, also instructs troops to “support the leadership of people of color. Do this consistently, but not uncritically,” the manual states.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Texas Man Arrested and Jailed for Overdue Library Book

A Texas man was arrested by Copperas Cove Police last week for failing to return a library book checked out over three years ago…

Last year, a 4-year-old in Freeport, Pennsylvania was visited by police after failing to promptly return several books including “Sleeping Beauty” and “Dora The Explorer: The Halloween Cat.”

A 5-year-old in Charlton, Massachusetts was visited by police in 2012 as well, demanding to know why she hadn’t returned several books to the local library, causing the young girl to burst into tears.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

There Are Lies, Damned Lies and Democrats

If you’re old enough to have lived through the days of “no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe” (hat tip: the liberal Gerald Ford), you may remember the spectacle of a Soviet government representative being interviewed on American television. He would just tell the most ridiculous lies. I mean, up was down, black was white, day was night. It really was laughable for any quasi-informed American viewer.

For Soviet subjects, however, it was no joke.

They were living under a government of the lie.

You see, one thing about this big, crazy world we live in where there’s one in every bunch, is that — no matter how corrupt or wicked you are — you can always find someone to do your bidding. There are always a few people willing to stuff the ballot boxes, intimidate political opponents, pull the gas-chamber lever or the trigger, or tell any lie you want told with a face straighter than the last man in a world of women (Jay Blarney comes to mind — the straight face part, not the man part). “I vas just following orders, you zee.”

Of course, we see people telling little lies all the time, lies that don’t exceed the boundaries of their moral framework (it’s not right, just reality). But do understand that with some people, there’s only one limiting factor determining what lies they’ll tell:

What they can get away with.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why Changing Demographics Mean More Democrats

They always shoot the messenger. Even when he’s being optimistic.

The bureau reports 49.2 percent of your fellow citizens received some type of benefit from one or more government programs. A more accurate term would be ‘residents’ since when bureaucrats display their compassion by distributing your money, a lack of documentation is seldom an obstacle. These particular recipients are not conservative, small government voters. They constitute a large portion of the Democrat base.

People in the US that receive means — tested government benefits actually outnumber the people who worked fulltime in 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2011, 108,592,000 individuals were on the receiving end of federal goodies compared with only 101,76,000 working fulltime.

This is a catastrophic situation for supporters of conservative, small government and it threatens to undermine the nation’s social fabric. Possibly you feel sorry for these unfortunates, at least the ones that don’t loot Walmart when the food stamp verification system crashes. But they don’t return the favor.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Aide to Swedish Terror Attack Appeals Sentence

The jailed financier of Swedish-Iraqi suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab appeared in Edinburgh High Court on Thursday to appeal his seven-year sentence. His legal team appeared intent on highlighting the widow’s role in the attack.

Nasserdine Menni was convicted by a lower Scottish court in 2012 for sending money to England-based Abdulwahab, who went on to kill himself in a botched terror attack during Christmas shopping in downtown Stockholm in 2010.

The verdict argued that Menni must have known that money sent to Abdulwahab would finance his terror efforts, a claim that Menni’s lawyer now wants the appeals court to look at.

“If your best friend tells you to help him by sending money, and then uses the money for terrorism, surely Scottish law doesn’t say it’s a crime?” defence attorney William Taylor argued in court on Thursday. The legal team has asked that the appeals court discard the guilty sentence against Menni.

“Scottish law does not rely on ‘no smoke without fire,’ Scottish law demands evience. We have to draw the line somewhere,” Taylor argued, before putting his case to the court in the Scottish capital that Abdulwahab’s wife was implicated in the botched suicide bomb attempt.

The audio message left behind by her husband was made with software downloaded to her computer, the defence attorney noted. The message was emailed to the Swedish intelligence service Säpo alongside the national news agency TT.

“She also destroyed three or four telephones with a hammer so their contents couldn’t be reconstructed,” Taylor underlined.

“The bomb in Stockholm was the work of an amateur… which makes it even more significant that the ‘recipe’ for exactly the kind of bomb used in Stockholm, available in a magazine, was found on the widow’s computer,” he said.

Wiring from Christmas lighting found in the widow’s home was used to make the bomb, the lawyer further noted. The widow was taciturn and failed to answer many questions posed to her during the first trial in Glasgow. She also said she had had no contact with Menni, the suspected financier in her husband’s terror plans.

While Menni was not convicted of abetting a terror act, Abdulwahab called him in Glasgow several times on the date of the attack — December 11th, 2010.The sum of money transferred to the Iraqi-born Swede amounted to some 60,000 kronor ($9,200) — with a further transfer of 10,000 kronor to Abdulwahab’s widow.

No one died in the attack apart from Abdulwahab himself after his suicide belt detonated partially. Prior to the detonation, Abdulwahab set a car on fire on a nearby street before heading to shopping street Drottninggatan in central Stockholm, where he bled to death in the snow following the blast.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Air France-KLM Won’t Help Alitalia Unless Conditions Met

French-Dutch investor says Italian airline needs restructuring

(see related) (ANSA) — Paris, October 31 — Air France-KLM said Thursday that it won’t help troubled Italian carrier Alitalia with a capital injection unless “very strict conditions” are met.

As Air France-KLM announced it has written off the value of its 25% stake in Alitalia, chief executive officer Alexandre de9 Juniac said his Air France-KLM group has been “clear from the beginning” that it could still assist Alitalia — but only under “very strict conditions” including financial restructuring and changes to the airline’s medium- and long-haul networks.

“We have always said that we are a serious and loyal partner of Alitalia, which means that we will help Alitalia but (under) very strict conditions,” said de Juniac.

Published reports on Wednesday said that the Air France-KLM group would consider offering assistance if Alitalia ran into another liquidity crisis next February or March.

Earlier this month, Alitalia shareholders approved an emergency 300-million-euro capital hike to pull the airline from the brink of bankruptcy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Barroso Warns of Xenophobia and Nationalism

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso told Reuters in an interview Wednesday that nationalism and xenophobia is on the rise in Europe. He said the “crisis and the rise in unemployment is an occasion for populist forces to become more aggressive” ahead of the European parliament elections next May.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Bog Standard: Brussels Demands the Same Toilet Flush Across the Continent After Discovering Brits Use the Most Water

People in Britain must stop flushing their toilets so often, the EU has declared.

Brussels wants to impose a new bog standard flush across the continent to reduce water use after splashing out £72,000 on a study into toilet habits in 26 countries.

The bizarre edict on cistern size from Eurocrats suggests David Cameron’s hopes of cutting unnecessary regulations has gone down the pan.

Already dubbed the ‘euroflush’, Brussels wants to standardise toilet flushes across the EU. It wants toilets to be limited to five litres and urinals one litre.

A ‘half-flush’ will be allowed three litres, according to a draft of the policy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bruce Bawer: EU Unveils Crackdown on Free Speech

The first thing I ever wrote about Islam was an essay for Partisan Review entitled “Tolerating Intolerance,” which was published a few months after 9/11.. My argument, in brief, was that Islam is not just a religion but an ideology that teaches an extreme and violent intolerance — and that Europeans had a right to protect the freedom of their societies by implementing well-informed immigration and integration policies. Now the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), founded in 2008 and consisting largely of former European presidents or prime ministers, has issued a report whose thrust is — and I quote — that there’s “no need to be tolerant to the intolerant.”

But the argument of the report — which was presented to the European Parliament in late September and takes the form of a “Model Statute for Tolerance” that the ECTR hopes to see enacted by all EU member states, is light-years away from the one I made all those years ago in Partisan Review. The ECTR’s concern is not with addressing the importation into Europe of Islamic intolerance but, rather, with addressing the purported intolerance of Europeans toward (among other things) imported Islam.

If you want an idea of where the ECTR is coming from, check out a recent article, “Divided We Fall: Intolerance in Europe Puts Rights at Risk,” by Benjamin Ward of Human Rights Watch. Here’s how Ward starts out:…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Experts Cynical Over French Ransom Denials

France’s denials it handed over a huge ransom for the release of four hostages are being met with widespread scepticism, with experts saying such payments are common and may be fuelling kidnappings.

The four French hostages, seized by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in northern Niger in 2010, returned to France on Wednesday after more than three years in captivity.

French officials have repeatedly denied that a ransom was paid for their release, but sources in Niger and France have told AFP and other media that more than 20 million euros ($28 million) was paid to AQIM and intermediaries.

Quoting a well-placed French source, newspaper Le Monde said the payment came directly from “secret funds allocated to the intelligence services”.

Experts said there was little doubt a payment was made.

“Governments and companies pay in almost every case,” a former senior French intelligence official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There is always a ransom or an exchange of some sort: money, the release of prisoners, arms deliveries.”

The US Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, said last year that “terrorist organisations” had raised more than $120 million in ransom payments in the previous eight years.

He told an audience at Chatham House that the amounts of ransom demands were going up and that Europeans were being mainly targeted because of the belief their governments would pay.

“AQIM, the Al-Qaeda affiliate that has likely profited most from kidnapping for ransom, has collected tens of millions of dollars through KFR (kidnapping for ransom) operations since 2008,” he said.

“It has become increasingly clear that AQIM is using revenues from kidnapping for ransom to expand its reach and influence.”

As well as the French, the Spanish and Italians have been singled out for allegedly paying ransoms, including a reported 15 million euro payment last year to free two Spaniards and an Italian held in Mali.

“There is an established precedent of ransoms being paid to kidnappers… This primarily involves European governments,” said Geoff Porter, the head of New York-based North Africa Risk Consulting.

“If you pay ransoms to kidnappers, then there’s a potential industry in hostage-taking,” he said.

The United States and Britain have repeatedly raised concerns about such payments, with Britain using its presidency of the G8 this year to push for a ban on ransoms.

G8 leaders gathered in Northern Ireland in June signed a deal to “unequivocally reject the payment of ransoms to terrorists” but did not impose a formal ban.

British officials said at the time that Al-Qaeda-linked groups around the world had made $70 million from mainly Western hostages over the last two years.

A former US ambassador to Mali, Vicki Huddleston, said this year that European governments were “helping AQIM to grow strong, buy weapons and recruit” with ransom payments.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Openness or Revolt, Hollande Must Choose Paris

Sagging in the polls, battered from both left and right and up against a surging wave of social protest, the French president has his back to the wall. His only way out is finally to “de-Marxify” the left, writes a columnist. Excerpts.

Eric Le Boucher

So, here we are. This is the key moment in the strategic manoeuvre that François Hollande started, and he is caught in the crossfire from his own camp and the right. Can he emerge from it still standing?

I believe that François Hollande’s task is to finally convert French socialism into social democracy: that he must de-Marxify the left. He has inherited a party that — and this is the fault of all socialist leaders including himself — has come up with a topsy-turvy analysis of the crisis, calling for a return of class struggle! The struggle “against” capital!

The Socialist Party (PS) has not entered the 21st century. Instead, seeking refuge, it has crawled back into the 19th. For it, the central question is inequality: the rich must be taxed. Following his election Hollande has been hobbled by advisers and ministers who believe this. He presides over a parliament filled with politicians who believe this.

As a candidate, Hollande understood that the crisis was undoubtedly more complex than this lazy reasoning would have it. He didn’t promise a lot. He dared to say that the start of the five-year term would be hard, and that the fruits would not ripen until the second half. He is prudent — some would say a ditherer.

Lack of intellectual clout

The problem with François Hollande is that he is not an intellectual, and it is his fundamental weakness. He lacks a vision. Realistic and pragmatic, he was quick to grasp that the socialist software had become obsolete, but he has nothing to put in its place, except trial-and-error and a taste for compromise. He makes guess-timates on the balance of power. A man of small cobbled-together compromises, he has no grand compromise to offer between socialism and modernity….

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

Germany: From Berlin to the World — The Doner Kebab

The man credited with inventing the doner kebab, Kadir Nurman, passed away last Thursday aged 80. The Local pays homage to him and his famous creation in our German of the Week.

Being a universally popular snack, the doner has also proved a useful integration tool. It has created a point of contact between Germans and Turkish-Germans and is something that both groups enjoy eating and can be proud of. The doner’s immense popularity has helped cement the Turkish influence on German society.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Secret-Service Cell in US Embassy in Rome, Panorama Reports

Cites Snowden leak, US spies keeping tabs on politicians

(ANSA) — Rome, October 30 — A secret-service cell made up of NSA and CIA operatives working out of the US embassy in Rome is allegedly spying on Italian politicians, Panorama magazine reported Wednesday.

The newsweekly cited 2010 documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The NSA agents allegedly analyze voice and data traffic from tapped cell phones and follow various money trails.

The CIA has allegedly set up contacts with database administrators, bankers and engineers who have access to high-security sites.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Puglia Governor Under Investigation in ILVA Probe

Nichi Vendola suspected of trying to oust environment official

(ANSA) — Taranto, October 30 — The governor of the region of Puglia, Nichi Vendola, is among those under investigation in a probe into the troubled ILVA steel plant, according to the legal documents seen by ANSA on Wednesday.

Vendola is suspected of trying to oust the managing director of the regional environmental authority ARPA, who allegedly was “disliked” by ILVA management, the document said.

The ILVA plant, located in the southern Italian port city of Taranto, has been at the centre of a long-running judicial and political drama as courts have moved to force the company to make expensive environmental upgrades to plant, accused of polluting the area and creating health problems for more than a decade.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Seize 8.4 Million Euros From Ex-Senator in Tax Case

Riccardo Conti accused of not paying VAT on property flip

(ANSA) — Milan, October 30 — Financial police said Wednesday they have seized 8.5 million euros in assets from former Italian Senator Riccardo Conti on suspicion of tax avoidance.

Police say Conti failed to pay VAT on the purchase and sale of property in Rome.

The property on Via della Stamperia was reportedly purchased and resold on the same day, Jan. 31, 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Man Dies After Pitbull Bites Off His Testicles

A man who had his testicles bitten off by his pet dog on Monday has since died of his injuries, Italian media reported. The 30-year-old man was rushed to hospital on Monday evening, after his girlfriend became worried that she had not heard from him.

The fire brigade then broke into his Milan apartment and found the dog owner unconscious. It is believed that either one of his two pitbulls attacked him, or the diabetes sufferer became ill and was bitten after he fell unconscious.

He died from his injuries on Thursday morning, Il Messaggero reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Tarantini Didn’t Blackmail Berlusconi Say Rome Prosecutors

But Bari prosecutors say he did

(ANSA) — Rome, October 31 — Rome prosecutors said Thursday Bari businessman Giampaolo Tarantini did not blackmail ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi to withhold information on escorts he provided the centre-right leader.

Dropping the charges, prosecutors said a 500-million-euro payment was a gift after Berlusconi heard Tarantini was in financial trouble.

But prosecutors in Bari are set to ask for Tarantini’s indictment on the same charges. Berlusconi, who is appealing a six-year conviction for paying for sex with an underage prostitute in a separate case, says he never paid anyone for sex.

One of the escorts Tarantini took to Berlusconi’s Rome palazzo, Patrizia D’Addario, taped the ex-premier before and after sex.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libor Scandals: ‘Manipulation Deals Cost European Banks Billions’

Der Standard, 30 October 2013

“Major European banks are paying dearly for their alleged participation in the manipulation of interest and exchange rates,” reports Der Standard.

On October 29, in the Netherlands Rabobank has announced that it has reached an agreement with US authorities, under the terms of which it will pay a fine of €774m for its involvement in the manipulation of the Libor and Euribor interest rates.

In response to the prospect of similar fines, Germany’s Deutsche Bank has set aside €4bn and Swiss bank UBS, which has already been forced to pay out more than €1bn, has prepared a provision of €500m, explains the daily. All of these sums will weigh heavily on the banks’ balance sheets.

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

Lufthansa CEO Slams Alitalia Capital Injection Plans

Franz says limits exist in relation to ‘repeated State aid’

(ANSA) — Berlin, October 31 — Lufthansa Chief Executive Officer Christoph Franz slammed recent developments in relations to rival Alitalia’s planned capital increase, saying that while there were legal ways of helping carriers currently facing difficulties, limits existed in relation to repeated State aid being offered to them.

Troubled airline Alitalia earlier this month announced a planned capital increase that includes a controversial injection of 75 million euros from Italy’s State-owned post office.

European authorities have asked the carrier for more information on the transaction.

Franz made the comments during a conference call for analysts, in which he also added that repeated actions of State aid distort the level of the playing field. He said his company had repeatedly asked the European Union to apply the policy guidelines on this matter.

The International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes the airlines Iberia and British Airways, earlier this month said it was is considering taking legal action over a bailout package for the Italian carrier. At the time of the announcement, the group’s chief executive Willie Walsh called the details of the capital increase plan “flagrant State aid”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Praised Staffing Agency Accused of Exploiting Eastern Europeans

A staffing agency with turnover of €12m which has been praised for its ‘creative approach’ is exploiting workers from eastern Europe, Trouw reports on Wednesday.

The Werk & Ik agency, which claims Schiphol airport, Swissair and Amsterdam’s RAI exhibition centre among its clients, requires temporary workers to work long days, often for less than the official wages, Trouw claims.

The company, set up in 2009, does not give its workers pay slips and deducts €2.50 an hour from wages for a bed in a garage. This takes the price of a place to sleep up to €150 a week, Trouw says. Nor does it always give staff holiday pay, as required by law.


Amsterdam city officials on Monday raided a building where illegal temps were living, alderman Els Verdonk told the paper.

The company, which booked turnover of €12m last year, has some 1,200 temps on its books. Owner Ivan Kerels told Trouw that the long days — up to 20 hours in some cases — are the result of people ‘begging’ for work.

The company has grown too quickly and needs to get its paperwork and pay slips organised, he said. ‘I am simply an entrepreneur who works hard and wants to grow quickly. Then you get growing pains,’ he is quoted by Trouw as saying.

The company is being investigated by a special foundation which looks into the way staffing agencies comply with the central pay and conditions agreement for temporary and flexible staff.


Last year Werk & Ik reached the final of a competition to find Amsterdam’s top entrepreneur and was praised by the judges for its creative approach and for managing to make a profit when the sector was shrinking.

Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher has pledged to crack down on staffing agencies which exploit staff and break labour laws.

In the first six months of this year, social affairs ministry inspectors have issued fines totalling €90m to companies which have broken the rules.

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

Norwegian Store Forced to Apologise for Stocking Realistic Human Limbs in Its Frozen Meat Section as Part of a Halloween Joke

A Norwegian shop has been forced to apologise to children and their families after it packed realistic looking severed plastic hands and feet in butchers’ plastic trays and sold them as part of its Halloween collection.

Furious parents were horrified when they discovered the severed limbs in the meat freezers which terrified children looking for Halloween costumes and decorations.

Europris, which has stores across Norway, has now been forced to withdraw the range of fake, shrink-wrapped body parts.

Knut Spaeren, the company’s spokesman, said: ‘We also didn’t want to cause any upset, especially not to children and we are withdrawing the range with immediate effect.’

But the move failed to lessen the storm of protest on Facebook and other social media platforms.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Travel: Top 4 Worst Tourists

4. The Drunk Norwegian in Rome

A drunk Norwegian was on his way back to Oslo when he passed out at the Fiumicino Airport. The 36-year-old tourist reportedly passed out right on the luggage belt and slept for a bit. He even did not stir when he passed through an X-ray scan, according to Thrillist.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK Government Tightens Its Grip on Print and Online Media

Following in the footsteps of the infamous words of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, British politicians from all sides are set not to let a good crisis go to waste as they push what amounts to censorship legislation against the UK press.

The move comes following the News of the World scandal that revealed high level phone hacking leading to the paper’s closure. In response Westminster, with the leading three parties in agreement, has decided to introduce much more sweeping regulations to control stories, particularly ones that may be damaging them.

The move is a chilling assertion of government control. It is highly possible under the new Charter that recent major stories like the one about Ralph Miliband, Marxist father of the Leader of the Opposition, would not have seen the light of day. Likewise the scandals of parliamentary expense abuses may well have been nixed if this legislation was in place 4-5 years ago, had MP’s exerted pressure to silence it. (some had claimed at the time it was not in the public interest)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Car Dealer Wound Back [Mileage] Clocks to Wipe Six Million Miles Off Used Cars is Jailed for Fraud

Adil Hussain was sentenced today at Nottingham Crown Court having raked in hundreds of thousands of pounds by rigging the mileage on used cars and selling them online.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Grandmother, 61, ‘Died After Nurse Gave Her Penicillin Despite Seven Warnings That She Was Allergic to it’

Susan Hammond, 61, had previously suffered bad reactions to the medication on two occasions, an inquest in Lincoln has heard.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Hard-Working Immigrant Domino’s Delivery Driver Stabbed to Death Minutes Before Finishing Last Ever Shift Before Starting Dream it Job

He came to Britain to complete his university education and try to build a better life.

Instead, he was stabbed to death in a senseless and brutal attack.

Thavisha Lakindu Peiris — who had moved to Britain from Sri Lanka to study — had been excited about starting a new career as an IT consultant.

On the night he died, he had been delivering his last pizza on his final shift as a Domino’s courier in Sheffield, a part-time job that had helped fund his studies.

The 25-year-old, described by his family as a ‘gentle boy’, was found slumped over the wheel of his car after the vicious attack on Sunday night. A small amount of cash was found on him and police have yet to discover a motive for the crime.

Detectives said Mr Peiris was a ‘hard-working, bright and caring’ man whose death was ‘an absolute tragedy’.

He was close to his family, who had sent him to a good school in Sri Lanka and saved every penny to pay for him to travel to Britain to study. Yesterday, his family in Colombo — who are planning to fly to Britain soon — said they were devastated by the killing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim EDL Member Fined for Abusing Asians at Bradford Rally

Abdul Rafiq, 43, admitted using threatening language and behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

But he is free to continue his activities with the far-right group after magistrates declined to impose an Anti-social Behaviour Order.

Rafiq, who has four brothers and four sisters, said: “The Muslim community does not like me for my EDL membership.

“They made me an outcast. I cannot go to Muslim areas any more and I get death threats online.”

Rafiq was fined £110 after admitting the public order offence. He must also pay a victim surcharge of £20 and a contribution to prosecution costs of £85.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Egypt’s New Challenge: Writing a New Constitution

As Egyptians wait for the constituent assembly to produce the country’s new foundational document, the world can only speculate as to how well the new draft will distinguish Egypt’s future from its past. Article 2 of Sadat’s 1971 constitution is the controversial point today. Since 1980, it states:

“Islam is the state religion, and the Arabic language is its official language. The principles of Islamic sharia law are the main source of legislation.”

If its wording is written into the draft of Egypt’s new constitution, that will substantiate a religious state and a draft that is unsuccessful for the third time since the Egyptians rebelled against authoritarianism and religious supremacy, and in all likelihood, mark the end of a modern renaissance sought by the people who rose up in January 2011.

Article 2 spells out two critical foundational points — a state designated religion and religious doctrine as the source of civil law — which clash with the formation of democracy. Even if these Islamic measures are accompanied by words promoting liberty, equality and human rights elsewhere in the same writing, the use of Article 2 will present a huge problem for the liberal, secular, pro-democracy freedom movement. This could well be a signal for the continuance of Egypt’s already two-year old revolt which originated against supremacies of a political class using religion to accrue power.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Libya: Cyrenaica Government ‘Illegal’, PM Zeidan Says

‘Barqa’ region divided into four districts

(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI, OCTOBER — Those who declared the formation of a Cyrenaica government are breaking the law, said Prime Minister Ali Zeidan Wednesday at a press conference in Tripoli. He was speaking about the recent creation of a local government of Barqa, the Arabic name for the eastern region of Libya.

The head of the Cyrenaica Transitional Council and descendent of King Idris Ahmad Al Zubair Al Senussi — who had proclaimed Cyrenaica a semi-autonomous province back in March 2012 — also denied any connection with the declaration made by the local government formed by the Barqa political office.

In a press conference from Ajdabiya, the latter announced a few days ago the formation of a new government of 24 ministers representing all the cities and social groups of the region. Cyrenaica would also be divided into four districts: Benghazi, Green Mountain, Tobruk and Ajdabiya.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libyan Government Plans to Build Two New Refineries

Strikes at terminals causing massive losses

(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI, OCTOBER 30 — Two new oil refineries will be built in the eastern and southern parts of the country, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan announced in a press conference Wednesday. The government is planning to build a refinery with productive capacity of 300,000 barrels per day in the eastern city Tobruk, where strikes underway for over two months have forced the Marsa Hariga terminal to shut down. The other refinery, with a capacity of 50,000 barrels per day, is expected to be built in Ubari, where a group of Tuareg are protesting against marginalisation by blocking the Sharara facilities co-managed by the Spanish company Repsol. The Marsa Hariga and Sharara facilities continue to be non-operative.

Both the prime minister and Oil Minister Abdel Bari Al Arusi, on a visit to the eastern part of the country to negotiate with those on strike, announced on Tuesday that they would be reopened soon.

On Saturday evening, an armed group of Amazigh Berbers protested and threatened to shut down the Mellitah facilities co-managed by ENI in the western part of the country, demanding greater representation in the Constituent Assembly and that their cultural features receive official recognition. A strike by the security guards of the largest oil fields and terminals that began in late July is still ongoing, and has caused the worst oil crisis since the 2011 conflict, with 130 million dollars in losses per day.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Morsi Trial Expected to Expose Obama’s Ties to Muslim Brotherhood

Cairo, Egypt — Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s trial begins on Monday November 4th, (Valentine’s day in Egypt), and intel rumors are rife that the trial will prove President Barack Obama’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

If former Chief of Egyptian Intelligence Murad Muwafi, can prove Morsi’s agreement to the presence of terrorists in Egypt and providing them with protection, he will be executed for the crime of high treason.

Egyptian intelligence had begun spying on and recording the telephone calls of ousted President Morsi after it was discovered that he was leaking information to Palestinian Hamas and jihadi groups in efforts to sabotage the Egyptian Army’s efforts to eliminate terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula, mainly the demolition of secret tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, which Hamas was using to smuggle arms, money, drugs and terrorists.

These are the facts Muwafi will present to the trial:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Swap Islam for Jesus: Hoax Story Riles Muslims

A satirical news piece claiming Spanish citizenship would be granted to Moroccan citizens who gave up Islam and converted to Christianity has been taken seriously by the North African country’s media. The ‘news’ has not gone down well in Morocco.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

New English Review: The Failed State of Palestine

a review by Jerry Gordon (November 2013)

State of Failure: Yasser Arafat , Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State

by Jonathan Schanzer
Palgrave Macmillan, October 2013
ISBN 978-1-137-27824-1

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry met in Rome on October 23, 2013 for a seven hour conference to discuss the latest round of P5+1 negotiations with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program. Netanyahu stressed the looming nuclear breakthrough and the tragic possibility of the US relenting on tough sanctions while he contends that the Islamic republic is on the ropes economically. During the press conference, Netanyahu and Kerry made statements regarding the final status agreement peace process discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas. Few details emerged about progress in the final status talks. The US is monitoring those talks through the efforts of former US Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk and Phillip Gordon, the National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and Persian Gulf.. Those talks are fragile at best given an increase in low level violence in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria and entreaties by PA President Abbas to EU companies to boycott Jewish businesses located there.

PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, effectively ended the peace process when he obtained full membership status at UNESCO in 2011, and non member status on November 29, 2012 when the UN General Assembly voted 138 to 9 to raise the status of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas demanded in memos to UN Secretary General Moon that the PA should be referred to the State of Palestine. The status at the UN brought recognition of the PA as a virtual state with upgrades in diplomatic recognition by a host of countries as a result of an intensive two year lobbying campaign by Abbas across the globe…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Will There be a Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Palestinians?

An Interview with Daniel Mandel, Director of the Z0A Center for Middle East Policy

by Jerry Gordon with Daniel Mandel (November 2013)

A renewal of Israeli Palestinian peace discussions were begun after a hiatus of three years under the aegis of US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, DC on July 29th and 30th, 2013 at the State Department and with President Obama. The goal set by Secretary Kerry was completing discussions leading to a possible final status agreement on all core issues within nine months of launch. Kerry has appointed former US Ambassador Martin Indyk to monitor these discussions with senior Israeli representative Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. The cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu approved a national referendum vote for any agreement that might eventuate from these discussions. The most controversial pre-condition for these peace discussions was the release of 104 Palestinian and Israeli-Arab terrorist prisoners in stages over the nine month period. Both Israelis and Palestinians are skeptical that any agreement can be reached given the failures in previous rounds. It is unclear what the underlying objectives are of the Obama Administration in re-launching these discussions at a time of great turmoil in the countries that border Israel in the Middle East. That turmoil was initiated by the rebellion against Islamists in the Arab Spring, crystallized in the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi by Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in July 2013. This was preceded by massive protests by millions of Egyptians spurred on by the Tamarod (rebellion) national petition campaign. Sporadic violence continues in Egypt as well as in the Sinai Peninsula against Jihadist groups and destruction of tunnels underneath the Egyptian Gaza frontier virtually isolating Hamas.

Attention of the Obama Administration was diverted by new developments in addressing the overarching threat of Iran achieving nuclear weapons capabilities. With the inauguration of Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani in August 2013, Iran began a charm offensive at the UN General Assembly meetings. Rouhani engaged the Obama Administration directly in a new round of P5+1 negotiations in Geneva in late October 2013 with Iran Foreign Ministry officials to explore possible options for the curtailment of nuclear enrichment. The possible quid pro quo was lifting onerous sanctions. Notwithstanding Administration outreach to President Rouhani and Iranian nuclear negotiators Congress and the Netanyahu government in Israel remain skeptical about the prospects of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program. Separately, the 29 month old civil war in Syria reached a critical stage. A UN Security Council agreement, keyed to suggestions of Russian President Putin, dispatched the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to undertake the destruction of the vast non-conventional arsenal with the consent of the Assad regime. Further, there are continuing concerns that the opposition in Syria had splintered with the rise of al Qaeda affiliates vanquishing alleged secular opposition. This has divided opposition sponsors Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia elected not to accept a seat on the UN Security Council in late October 2013 out of pique that the US had not been more pro-active in the Syrian conflict. It accused the Administration of succumbing to engagement with Iran seeking regional hegemony under a nuclear umbrella.

Against this background we held an interview with Dr. Daniel Mandel of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) concerning the issues and history of US involvement in Israeli-Palestinian peace discussions. Dr. Mandel is a Fellow in History with a PhD from Melbourne University (Australia) and, since 2005, Director of the ZOA Center for Middle East Policy. He is the author of H.V. Evatt and the Establishment of Israel: The Undercover Zionist. Dr. Mandel has warned of the totalitarian nature of radical Islam and its fellow-travelers; the dangerous and widely misunderstood significance of resurgent anti-Semitism; and the perils of forming Middle East policy on the basis of real or imagined Arab and Muslim perceptions of America. His research has appeared in leading scholarly journals, including Middle Eastern Studies (London), Middle East Quarterly (Philadelphia), Australian Historical Studies (Melbourne), Jewish Political Studies Review (Jerusalem), and respected reference works, including the Australian Dictionary of National Biography.

Jerry Gordon: Dr. Mandel, thank you for consenting to this interview.

Daniel Mandel: Thank you for inviting me.

Gordon: To begin why did the Obama Administration pressure Israel for a new round of negotiations with the Palestinians, the first in three years?…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Al-Qaeda Recruits Entering Syria From Turkey Safehouses

Foreign jihadists — including Britons — are flooding into Syria to join al-Qaeda from safe houses in Turkey

Hundreds of al-Qaeda recruits are being kept in safe houses in southern Turkey, before being smuggled over the border to wage “jihad” in Syria, The Daily Telegraph has learned. The network of hideouts is enabling a steady flow of foreign fighters — including Britons — to join the country’s civil war, according to some of the volunteers involved.

These foreign jihadists have now largely eclipsed the “moderate” wing of the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is supported by the West. Al-Qaeda’s ability to use Turkish territory will raise questions about the role the Nato member is playing in Syria’s civil war.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Femen Makes Tense Debut in Turkey, Artist Withdraws Support

Rift over words considered insulting to religion

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 30 — The bare-breasted protestors of Femen, a group created in Ukraine and now present in Europe and the Middle East, made a tense debut Wednesday in Turkey.

Femen had recently opened an office in Istanbul as well as the Twitter account ‘@Femen_Turkey’, in which it calls itself an “international feminist organisation” and urges Turkish women to join their struggle against the sex industry, dictatorships and the exploitation of religion.

Many young Turkish women joined and posted topless photos of themselves on the page, some with a Turkish flag painted on their chests.

One of the first to do so, the artist Didem Dinc, has since decided to “disengage” from the group, reports Hurriyet Online. Her reaction stemmed from a tweet posted on the site: “The Bible, Quran and Torah are all the same sh*t. We are against religious exploitation!”.”Opposing religious exploitation doesn’t mean religion can be disrespected. I have no connection with the insulting tweet about religions that was sent by the @Femen_Turkey account,” Dinc said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israeli Warplanes Strike Shipment of Russian Missiles at Syrian Port: Officials

Officials say Israeli warplanes attacked a military target inside Syria. An Obama administration official confirmed the attack happened overnight Thursday but provided no details. Another security official said that the attack occurred in the Syrian port city of Latakia and that the target was Russian-made SA-125 missiles.

At least twice earlier this year Israel launched airstrikes on shipments of missiles inside Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Qatar Removes Zidane Headbutt Statue From Corniche

A five-metre (16ft) bronze statue of French footballer Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt has been taken down from the Corniche in Doha, Qatar.

The sculpture was removed just weeks after being installed, having prompted strong reactions on social media. It generated criticism from religious conservatives who believe it encourages idolatry; others thought it promoted violence or was in bad taste.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Syria: Hezbollah Confident Siege on Damascus to be Lifted Soon

Decisive battle at Lebanese border, Al Manar TV bureau chief

(by Alberto Zanconato) (ANSAmed) — DAMASCUS — “The situation in the past three months has reversed itself in favor of government forces, and if things go according to plan the siege on Damascus could be lifted shortly”, Al Manar TV Syria bureau chief Wael Abbas told ANSAmed in an interview.

He was referring to the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, which is fighting alongside regime forces in the Syrian civil war.

The great battle that could allow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to retake various rebel-held suburbs around the capital will be over a strategic corridor along the Lebanese border in the Al Qalamoun region, Abbas said. Control of this strip would mean cutting off provision lines for rebels north of the capital, and eliminating all threats on the road leading to the city of Homs and from there to the coastal region of Latakia, which is an Assad stronghold.

Hezbollah fighters continue on the front lines. Last summer, they made a decisive contribution in wresting the town of Qusayr from rebels, cutting off the flow of arms through the Sunni Lebanese region of Arsal blocking the rebel advance towards Damascus in what was the first long-range strategic victory for the regime.

Meanwhile in the north, the regions of Idlib, Aleppo and Raqqah remain under the control of an increasingly jihadist rebel force that is ever more in the power of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaeda affiliate. Hezbollah has never officially said how many of its militias are fighting in Syria. Abbas, whose Damascus bureau employs 40, including 14 journalists, is reticent on this issue, but he admitted that half of the 30,000 Lebanese Shiites who live in Syria have been armed and inducted into the ranks of the Party of God. However, not more than 1,000 elite troops were sent from Hezbollah in Lebanon, he added. At least 120,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war so far, the National Observatory for Human Rights said today.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: Norway’s Teenage Jihadis Held Against Their Will

The two Norwegian-Somali teenaged sisters who travelled to Syria to aid the civil war effort are now being held against their will and are desperate to return home, the girls’ father has told state broadcaster NRK.

“They want to return to Norway, and they regret what they have done,” he said.

The father, who travelled to Turkey this month to find his daughters before they reach the front line, was contacted by his daughters, who are 19 and 16 years old, over the social networking site Facebook on Tuesday night.

He said the two girls were now in Syria, although they could not tell him how they had crossed the border.

He said that the rebels fighters from the Free Syrian Army had offered to take him into Syria and help him find his daughters.

“I am willing to go into Syria anytime, preferably as soon as possible,” he said.

Frode Andersen, a spokesman for Norway’s foreign ministry said he they had so far not been informed of the alleged kidnapping.

“If it’s true that there are now concerns of a kidnapping, and that they are being held against their will in Syria, this is of course a very serious matter,” he said.

Richard Orange (

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Souls of Muslim Folk

The author uses double consciousness theory in an attempt to understand problems in the contemporary Muslim world.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Veiled MPs Enter Parliament in Historic Shift

Dashing symbol of Ataturk’s secular republic, over opposition

(by Francesco Cerri) (ANSAmed) — ANKARA — For the first time in 90 years, four women MPs wore Islamic veils to Parliament, dashing a potent political symbol of the secular republic founded in 1923 on the ashes of the Islamic Ottoman empire by founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

As the Turkish press dubbed it a “historic day”, the opposition slammed what it said was yet another step in the re-Islamization of the country at the hands of Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Until today, all Turkish women MPs, even those from ultra conservative parties, went to work without a veil in the name of the Ataturkian separation between state and religion.

There has been just one precedent: in 1999, newly elected MP Merve Kavakci from the Islamic Virtue Party, which was outlawed in 2001 and was the predecessor of Erdogan’s AKP party, showed up at her swearing-in wearing a veil. Met with jeers and whistles, she was immediately expelled.

“The state will not be challenged here: inform that woman of her limits!” thundered then-premier Bulent Ecevit.

Much has changed in Turkey since then. Today, secular MPs’ protests were far more moderate than 14 years ago and the four veiled women, after a couple of hostile shouts, participated in the session undisturbed, applauded and photographed with cell phones by their fellow party members.

Since the Islamic Erdogan government came into power in 2002, it has toppled Ataturk’s rules preserving the secular nature of institutions one by one: banning alcohol, building thousands of new mosques, opening new Islamic schools, and, last month, lifting the ban on Islamic veils for civil servants.

The four observant MPs, all from the absolute majority AKP party, announced they would be coming to work in a veil today upon their return from a pilgrimage to Mecca in a sign of respect for their religious identity. Of the three opposition parties, the ultra nationalist MHP and the Kurdish BDP parties made known that they would not object. The CHP was divided, with its Social Democratic leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, calling on his MPs “not to exaggerate” in their protests.

At least 72% of Turks don’t object to MPs in veils, according to a survey published by pro-government Sabah daily: more evidence of the deep change that Turkish society has undergone under Erdogan, who restored voice and pride to its Islamic, conservative elements after the secular, pro-European hegemony that preceded his administration.

“What will we do when they show up in a burqa?” CHP MP Engin Altan asked tonight.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Afghan Taliban Hung the Limbs of Our Friends From Trees, Says Marine Accused of Killing Captive

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

Three Royal Marines accused of executing a wounded prisoner in Afghanistan had been sickened by the Taliban hanging limbs of maimed comrades in trees as trophies, a court martial heard.

Tensions had built up before the killing after insurgents paraded the body parts of close colleagues blown up by improvised explosive devices.

The gruesome detail emerged as one of the commandos admitted he was ashamed of shooting the captured enemy in the chest at point-blank range with a 9mm pistol.

But the experienced sergeant, who can only be identified as Marine A, insisted he believed the gunman was already dead when he pulled the trigger. He blamed lack of self-control and poor judgement for the ‘spur of the moment’ decision sparked by ‘pent-up emotions’.

In one instance, a respected officer and a second colleague were killed and others badly wounded in a roadside bomb strike. Some of the injured men’s limbs were not recovered and were picked up by the Taliban and hung in trees as a ‘kind of trophy for the world to see’. He said that atrocity had ‘quite a harsh effect’ on the Marines.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dutch Designer Wants to ‘Vacuum’ China’s Smog Away

Daan Roosegaarde unveils ambitious project as Beijing moves to crack down on air pollution

Last week, Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde unveiled a new “electronic vacuum” capable of purifying air by magnetically pulling smog particles to the ground. The idea, he says, is to eventually deploy the device at public parks across Beijing, carving oases of clean air and sunshine out of the country’s smog-plagued metropolises.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘10,000 People Leave Portugal Every Month’

Diário de Notícias, 30 October 2013

The number of Portuguese workers leaving the country hit a new annual high last year, with the departure of 121,418 — ahead of the previous record set in 1966 when just over 120,000 left, according to National Statistics Institute data.

Every month an average of 10,118 people depart — mainly to France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the UK and former Portuguese colony Angola — and this trend looks set to continue, writes Diário de Notícias.

The newspaper adds that “today’s exodus is different from the 1966 one,” in which —

the people who emigrated were mainly workers without higher education, who sent most of the money they earned to Portugal. Today’s emigrants are characteristically youngsters with higher education who are leaving to work in other European countries after being educated at Portuguese expense.

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

Italy: Migrants Try to Escape From Northeastern Detention Centre

Gorizia, 31 Oct. (AKI) — Migrants mainly from North Africa tried to break out of a detention centre in northeast Italy overnight and to set bedding on fire.

Police were on Thursday trying to identify the organisers of the unrest at the detention centre in the town of Gradisca d’Isonzo in the province of Gorizia.

A small group of migrants who scaled the roof of the detention centre in the town of Gradisca d’Isonzo abandoned their bid to escape as they were buffeted by gale-force winds.

Several fire-proof mattresses in a dormitory were badly damaged by smoke after a second of group of migrants tried to set them alight.

None of the migrants suffered smoke inhalation according to emergency services who were called to the detention centre along with the fire brigade.

Around 60 migrants are currently being held in the detention centre.

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

Italy: Hundreds of Migrants Rescued From Strait of Sicily

Lampedusa and Catania, 31 Oct. (AKI) — Italian coastguard intercepted 360 migrants in three overnight rescue operations in the Strait of Sicily.

A total of 161 mainly Eritrean migrants including women and children were rescued from a motorised rubber dingy and transferred to the tiny island of Lampedusa’s detention centre.

A military vessel docked in the eastern port city of Catania early on Monday with 199 migrants on board who were picked up in two separate operations.

Despite the drownings in October of over 400 mainly Africans in two shipwrecks in the southern Mediterranean, the influx of boat migrants has continued almost daily in recent months.

Coastguard overnight on Tuesday rescued 337 migrants aboard several boats in the southern Mediterranean who were transferred to the Sicilian ports of Porto Empedocle and Trapani on Wednesday.

A total of 36,278 boat migrants reached Italy this year, as of 24 October, according to the Italian interior ministry.

Italy has boosted its search and rescue operations in the Mediterrnean since this month’s tragedies.

European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels last week pledged “determined action” to prevent further migrant deaths at sea including boosting border patrols.

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

Italy: Syrian Sets Fire to Self Near Colosseum

Violent protests in Rome

(ANSA) — Rome, October 31 — A Syrian migrant set fire to himself near the Colosseum Thursday as immigrants calling for better rights and treatment clashed with police in Rome.

The man was taken to hospital with burns to his face and part of his body.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Social-Housing Protest Sparks Havoc in Rome

Four demonstrators, two police hurt

(ANSA) — Rome, October 31 — Four policemen and two demonstrators were hurt as a demonstration for social housing turned violent in Rome’s historic centre Thursday.

Homeless numbers have risen steadily in Italy’s longest recession in 20 years while tenants are finding it hard to pay the rent and evictions have hit a high, especially in big cities like Rome. Immigrants are among the worst affected, and, unlike in other countries, they are put lower down housing waiting lists than Italians.

At the same time, rents have shot up after rent controls were lifted and countless Italians have joined the ranks of the ‘new poor’.

A string of recent surveys say social tensions are rising to boiling point among the jobless, poor and disenfranchised.

Thursday’s demo, which included immigrants, was the worst in the Italian capital since an anti-capitalist protest wreaked mayhem in October 2011 in the most violent protest since the leftist and rightist clashes of the 1970s.

A big group of protestors, who were also demanding job-seeking allowance, lit flares when they reached the square outside the Italian Lower House after clashes with police caused havoc in central Rome.

Four police officers and two protestors were taken to hospital with injuries that were reportedly not serious, while about 10 others — mostly police — received medication on the spot.

Police sealed off access to Premier Enrico Letta’s office, which is adjacent to the House, as around 300 protestors shouted “we won’t stop”.

Earlier on Thursday police fired tear gas to dispel protestors when clashes occurred after officers tried to haul down people who attacked and climbed onto a police armoured van.

Chaos ensued with tourists running for cover after protestors poured off a main street into the area of the famous Trevi Fountain to escape the tear gas.

Some shops in one nearby street rolled down their shutters and security guards at one of Rome’s oldest and most elegant malls, the Galleria Colonna, near the premier’s office, locked the doors for 10 minutes to stop protestors entering and scaring customers.

“Everyone has a right to a house,” one of the protestors told ANSA. A Syrian man set himself on fire near the Colosseum, suffering non-life-threatening burns, but it was not known if his act was connected to the demo.

Earlier one policeman was seen on the ground after injuring his leg amid the trouble and protestors trying to break through a police barricade sprayed pepper spray at officers.

The protestors, including people campaigning for more social housing and migrants, also threw fruit and other objects at police cordons. Police also set up cordons in the area of President Giorgio Napolitano’s residence, although there was calm in this part of town.

There was trouble at a big demonstration by activists demanding better social housing earlier this month, but the full-blown riot that had been feared beforehand did not materialise.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Maurizio Lupi, whose brief includes housing, responded by unveiling a 140-million-eurto package to help ease Italy’s housing emergency.

Some 100 million will be spent, starting in January, on rent support for struggling tenants while a further 40 million will go towards people who fall behind with their payments and risk eviction through no fault of their own as determined by courts.

In addition, 17.8 million euros will be earmarked for the problem, part of the proceeds from assets seized from Italy’s various mafias, Lupi said.

“We are determined to take decisive action to tackle this emergency,” he said.

The leftist opposition SEL party called for “an immediate halt to evictions”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Malta Proposes to Cut EU Aid to African Countries That Do Not Accept Migrants’

The Times of Malta, 30 October 2013

The EU should should put pressure on African nations that do not accept migrants returning to the continent after failing to win asylum in Europe, according to a new Maltese proposal.

Under the scheme, African nations, which are not at war and refuse to accept the temporary travel documents issued to unsuccessful asylum seekers, should have their development aid payments cut.

The Mediterranean island is struggling to cope with an influx of African migrants seeking to enter the EU and such a measure would allow the “EU exert its diplomatic strength,” writes the Times of Malta.

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

More Than 360 Migrants Land on Italian Shores, More Expected

Authorities in Siracusa brace for arrival of 317 migrants

(ANSA) — Rome, October 31 — A boat with 170 migrants arrived in Lampedusa Thursday morning, one of several vessels arriving on Italian shores during the day.

Authorities said the boat had managed to evade officials at sea before landing.

Another 198 migrants, mostly Somalis, were rescued from two boats in two separate operations by Italian Navy ships in the Sicilian Channel and brought to shore in Catania.

Authorities stopped a vessel with 121 Eritreans, including six minors and 23 women. Meanwhile, an Italian Navy ship carrying 317 migrants, most from sub-Saharan Africa, was expected to arrive in Syracuse mid-afternoon, police said.

They said that in the first 10 months of this year, about 11,000 migrants have landed in 96 different incidents along the coast near Siracusa, including about 4,000 unaccompanied minors.

Libyan officials said 84 people were rescued from a boat north of Tripoli as it headed towards Italy.

Authorities said all were in good condition.

The plight of migrants arriving in Italy by sea gained international attention after 400 deaths in two separate disasters earlier in October.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Third Republican Flips on Immigration Bill

Rep. David Valadao (Calif.) on Wednesday became the third House Republican to back a Democratic-led immigration reform bill.

“By supporting H.R. 15 I am strengthening my message: Addressing immigration reform in the House cannot wait. I am serious about making real progress and will remain committed to doing whatever it takes to repair our broken immigration system,” he said in a statement that afternoon.

He was referring to Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia’s (Fla.) immigration reform bill, H.R. 15. On Tuesday, Valadao suggested he would endorse it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Taqiyah is Onion Shaped

by Ali Sina

Who has not heard of taqiyah? But did you know that it is onion shaped? It is an Arabic word and it means dissimulation. Another word used synonymously is kitman, which means concealment. This concealment has many layers. The most common form of taqiyah is when Muslims deny that certain Islamic behaviors have anything to do with Islam.

There is no such thing as moderate Islam. This is the ultimate taqiyah. Falling into this trap is deadly. It may cost your liberty and your life. Moderate Islam is an oxymoron. It is as attainable as perfumed dung; although I may be wrong about the latter.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]