Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/17/2013

Last week a female Indian consular official was arrested in New York City for visa fraud. When she was handed over to U.S. Marshals, she was strip-searched and then put in a cell with other prisoners. The Indian government protested the incident strongly, and removed the concrete barriers in front of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi in retaliation. Indian officials say that there will be further consequences for American actions.

In other news, opponents of the use of the Serbian language and the Cyrillic alphabet in the Croatian city of Vukovar have gathered 680,000 signatures on a petition to force a referendum on the issue.

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

Thanks to Andy Bostom, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, Kitman, Nilk, 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
» Austerity Protests ‘Justified’ Says Italian Industrial Lobby
» Senate Ends Budget Debate, Clearing Way for Passage
» Small Increase in Italy’s Exports in October, Imports Fall
» Spain: Electricity Costs to Rise
» An NSA Coworker Remembers the Real Edward Snowden: ‘A Genius Among Geniuses’
» Cause of Alabama Apartment Blast Under Investigation
» Climate Change Expert Posed as CIA Agent for 10 Years
» Gunman Kills One, Then Himself at Nevada Medical Building
Europe and the EU
» Fiat Vehicle Sales in November Soar 45.8% in UK
» Greece: Ex Minister Arrested for Driving With Fake Plates
» Grinding Poverty in Rural Moldova
» Italy’s Political Apparatus Costs Taxpayers 23 Bn Euros
» Merkel Compared NSA to Stasi in Heated Encounter With Obama
» MP Finds France ‘Without Hope’ After Walking Tour of Country
» Ongoing Protests, Strikes Bring Chaos to Italy
» Spain Gets Vehicle With Water Cannon for Tighter Security
» Croatia: 680,000 Signatures for Referendum Against Serbians
North Africa
» Libya Rejects UN Plan to Boost Staff Protection
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: Kerry Forces Israel’s Moment of Decision
Middle East
» Lebanon: EU Ponders Military Training Mission
» Russia Offers Ukraine $15 Billion Loan and Lower Gas Prices
» US Senator Murphy: Russian Aid to Ukraine ‘Has Conditions’
South Asia
» Afghanistan: Pentagon Probes Whether U.S. Troops Killed by Enemy Fire
» India Demolishes US Embassy Barriers After Diplomat’s Arrest in America
» Indian Fury: Retaliation After US Arrests Diplomat
Australia — Pacific
» What Hides Beneath Dark Veils
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Locks Changed on Nelson Mandela Grandson’s Home
» South Sudan: Gov’t Says Military Clashes Contained, Despite Continous Gunfire
» Migrant Abuse at Lampedusa ‘Degrading and Inhumane’
Culture Wars
» ‘Diversity’ Is About Disinheriting Whites
» Leaders in Denial Over Source of Antisemitism, Author Charges
» New Findings Hint at Diamond Deposits in Antarctica
» Violence Lies Behind the Burqa

Austerity Protests ‘Justified’ Says Italian Industrial Lobby

‘Little has been done for economic growth’

(ANSA) — Milan, December 17 — The head of Italy’s powerful industrialists’ confederation said Tuesday that nationwide austerity protests were “amply justified”. “In recent years we haven’t been very focused on doing what’s necessary to stoke economic growth,” said Confindustria President Giorgio Squinzi, noting “widespread malaise” throughout the country. “The situation of Italy’s real economy is dramatic in many cases. These protests are starting to become a visible manifestation of a situation that remains extremely difficult”. Protests have snarled traffic and interrupted commerce in various cities throughout Italy for the past week under the banner of the Pitchfork Movement, a loose-knit network originally composed of truckers and farmers opposed to austerity-driven tax hikes that has since grown into an umbrella group for the country’s disgruntled, anti-government masses. A large-scale demonstration in Rome is scheduled Wednesday.

Authorities fear violence is likely. Numerous probes have been open across Italy into incidents of looting, destruction of private property, and other acts of aggression.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Senate Ends Budget Debate, Clearing Way for Passage

A bipartisan tax-and-spending plan designed to bring some normalcy to Congress’s budgeting after three years of chaos cleared its final hurdle on Tuesday when 67 senators voted to end debate on the measure and bring it to a final vote before it goes to President Obama for his signature.

The 67-33 vote easily surpassed the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster and made way for final passage with a simple, 51-vote majority, likely on Wednesday. Republican support was surprisingly strong after days of uncertainty fueled by political posturing and Tea Party opposition.

[Return to headlines]

Small Increase in Italy’s Exports in October, Imports Fall

Trade surplus 23.7 bn in first 10 months of 2013, says Istat

(ANSA) — Rome, December 16 — Italy showed a small increase in exports in October compared with the same month one year earlier, while imports fell by 4.3%, the national statistical agency reported on Monday.

According to Istat, in October Italian exports increased by 0.8% on an annual basis, due to sales outside of Europe, but fell by 0.5% compared with the previous month.

Compared to September 2013, imports in October were down by 2.6%. Italy reported an overall trade surplus of 4.1 billion euros in October which may be due to the deep recession that has driven down demand for imported goods. In the first 10 months of the year, Italy reported a trade surplus of 23.7 billion euros, with 9.5 billion euros of that surplus from trade within Europe.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Electricity Costs to Rise

To cover deficit, new rates go into effect in January

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, DECEMBER 17 — Electricity costs will go up in Spain starting next January to pay interest charges on tariff debt, totaling 3.6 billion for 2013. Minister of Industry and Energy Josè Manuel Soria announced the increase without specifying the exact amount of the rate hike. The yield on 15 years of debt has an annual interest of 300 million euros.

According to experts, the rate increase necessary to absorb this amount would be around 1.3%, but considering that the rate affects 60% of the final tax, an increase of 0.78% is expected.

Soria, in an interview on radio network Onda Cero, explained that despite “the widely-held view that the government decides electricity rate increases, cost review actually depends on market evolution and by payment of the regulated businesses.” In addition, he added that over the last year the regulated tariff underwent a total cost increase of 0.9%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

An NSA Coworker Remembers the Real Edward Snowden: ‘A Genius Among Geniuses’

An NSA staffer who contacted me last month and asked not to be identified—and whose claims we checked with Snowden himself via his ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner—offered me a very different, firsthand portrait of how Snowden was seen by his colleagues in the agency’s Hawaii office: A principled and ultra-competent, if somewhat eccentric employee, and one who earned the access used to pull off his leak by impressing superiors with sheer talent.

“That kid was a genius among geniuses,” says the NSA staffer. “NSA is full of smart people, but anybody who sat in a meeting with Ed will tell you he was in a class of his own…I’ve never seen anything like it.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cause of Alabama Apartment Blast Under Investigation

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A pre-dawn explosion shattered a two-story Birmingham apartment building Tuesday as residents slept, trapping an engaged couple in bed as bricks and concrete rained down on them.

After more than four hours of delicate work, firefighters freed the man, using large jacks to lift a concrete slab that had collapsed. But his 40-year-old fiancee, Tyrennis Mabry, was burned badly and died before rescuers could reach her, coroner’s officials said.

The man was hospitalized in critical but stable condition with numerous injuries. His name wasn’t released.

Five children and two adults also were hurt, officials said, but none of the injuries was life-threatening. Survivors crawled through fire and debris to get to the street to safety.

Fire officials said they suspected natural gas was behind the blast, but the cause was still under investigation.

Firefighters were called about 3:45 a.m. Tuesday after a fireball erupted at Gate City Apartments, a few miles from downtown Birmingham. Photos taken by residents showed flames that turned the night sky bright orange.

The blast leveled about half the building, which burned before crews could get close enough to begin rescue work…

[Return to headlines]

Climate Change Expert Posed as CIA Agent for 10 Years

A leading American expert on climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency’s highest-paid employee, deserves to spend 30 months behind bars for lying to his bosses about being a CIA spy to avoid doing his real job, US federal prosecutors say.

Prosecutors described John Beale’s actions as “crimes of massive proportion” that were “offensive” to those who actually work for the CIA, NBC reported.

Beale pled guilty in September, and has been accused of major fraud of almost $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Gunman Kills One, Then Himself at Nevada Medical Building

Dec 17 (Reuters) — A gunman opened fire on Tuesday in a Reno, Nevada, medical building, killing one person and injuring two others before he died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

The shooting, the latest in a rash of deadly gun violence at public venues in the United States this year, occurred shortly after 2 p.m. at the building adjacent to the Renown Regional Medical Center, Reno Deputy Police Chief Tom Robinson said.

Video footage taken by a bystander showed police swarming into the building, though Robinson told a news conference that no shots were fired by law enforcement officers, and that the building had been declared “secure and safe.”

A lockdown of the overall medical center was lifted after police gained control of the crime scene, Robinson said.

He said two people died in the shooting, including the gunman, who apparently took his own life with his weapon, and two others were hurt and were “seeking treatment now at a local hospital.”

The bodies of the gunman and victim were found on the third floor of the medical building during a room-to-room sweep of the interior, Robinson said. Neither was immediately identified.

“We are still in the middle of processing the crime scene, and we don’t want to compromise it by just rushing up to try to identify who the deceased people are,” he told reporters, adding that investigators were interviewing some two dozen witnesses to the crime.

He gave no further details on the circumstances of the shooting, the type of weapon used, how many shots were fired, the conditions of the surviving victims or the nature of their injuries.

Asked if there were any apparent motive, Robinson said: “Not right now, no.”…

[Return to headlines]

Fiat Vehicle Sales in November Soar 45.8% in UK

Fiat Group reports significant growth in some European markets

(ANSA) — Milan, December 17 — The Fiat Group on Tuesday announced vehicle sales in November grew 45.8% in the United Kingdom, 19.8% in Spain, and 0.6% in France compared to the same month last year.

Fiat lead the “A” category for small cars in Europe, with its Panda and 500 models taking a 27.8% market share. Fiat defined Europe as the 27 countries of the European Union plus those of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Fiat’s 500L, a roomier version of the 500, led its segment for the fifth month in a row. Fiat’s Jeep Grand Cherokee saw unit sales leap 43.3% in November compared to 2012. Unit sales for the compact Lancia Ypsilon rose 21.7% in November.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Ex Minister Arrested for Driving With Fake Plates

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, DECEMBER 17 — The former New Democracy Minister of Transport and Culture Michalis Liapis, 60, has been arrested by the Athens Traffic Police, as during a routine inspection it was discovered that his jeep had fake license plates, daily To Vima online reported. The Traffic Police explained that Liapis’ Volkswagen Tuareg was ordered to stop after the driver ignored a stop sign on Artemidos Avenue in Loutsa. He faces charges of forgery and false certification. Liapis had handed over the original plates to his local tax office, meaning the jeep was he not allowed to drive the jeep on public roads. The traffic police also reported that the former Minister was also found to not have a license or car insurance.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Grinding Poverty in Rural Moldova

Moldova is Europe’s poorest country according to the UN’s Human Development Index. Life in rural areas is marred by poverty and hardship, but it’s just signed a new EU trade agreement, so could life be looking up?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Political Apparatus Costs Taxpayers 23 Bn Euros

A third could be cut, says UIL trade union

(ANSA) — Rome, December 16 — The cost of Italy’s political machinery has risen to 23 billion euros annually, according to a study released Monday by the Italian trade union UIL. The trade union said that at least 7.1 billion euros could be cut through reforms to render the national and local political apparatus more efficient. Some of the measures to be implemented would include eliminating some of the provincial governments, which would save 3.2 billion euros, and using provincial funds solely for their legislative functions, which would lead to 1.2 billion euros in savings. The study shows that some two billion are spent every year on cars and taxis for government officials and 2.2 billion on consultancy services. On the upside was a 293-million-euro reduction, 4.6% on the year, of operational costs for institutions, mostly due to the halving of funding for parties supported by the government of former premier Mario Monti. On Friday Premier Enrico Letta’s coalition government approved a decree to phase out public funding of Italy’s political parties. It is a response to a long series of high-profile corruption scandals that have hit various parts of the country’s political spectrum and contributed to widespread disenchantment with its political class.

Under the terms of the bill that was presented to parliament, party funding will be reduced to 60% in the first year, 50% in the second and 40% the third year before it is subsequently abolished altogether.

Public funding will be replaced by private donations, with limits set on how much an individual or firm can give to any party to avoid excessive power going to lobbies.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Merkel Compared NSA to Stasi in Heated Encounter With Obama

German chancellor furious after revelations US intelligence agency listened in on her personal mobile phone

In an angry exchange with Barack Obama, Angela Merkel has compared the snooping practices of the US with those of the Stasi, the ubiquitous and all-powerful secret police of the communist dictatorship in East Germany, where she grew up.

The German chancellor also told the US president that America’s National Security Agency cannot be trusted because of the volume of material it had allowed to leak to the whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to the New York Times.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

MP Finds France ‘Without Hope’ After Walking Tour of Country

A French lawmaker who spent eight months walking a 6,000km “Tour de France” takes his last symbolic steps in Paris on Sunday. He returns to the capital to report on a country that has “little hope for the future”.

“Everywhere I went I witnessed a crisis in the standard of living, a loss of identity and the loss of a sense of a common destiny,” Jean Lassalle, National Assembly member for the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region in southwest France, told Europe 1 radio.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ongoing Protests, Strikes Bring Chaos to Italy

Neo-Fascist leader jailed for tearing down EU flag

(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) — Rome, December 16 — Ongoing austerity protests and a national transportation strike brought chaos to Italy on Monday as leaders in the anti-government Pitchfork Movement vowed to bring their demonstrations to Rome later in the week. Major cities such as Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin experienced serious traffic jams during a morning-long strike called by transit-workers’ unions. Meanwhile anti-austerity protests launched last week carried on throughout the country despite some setbacks within the various groups involved. A leader in the neo-Fascist group CasaPound was sentenced Monday to three months in jail and fined 100 euros for tearing down a European Union flag from the EU’s Rome offices over the weekend. Simone Di Stefano, the national vice-president of the club and fledgling political party, was arrested Saturday during a snap demonstration after he erected a ladder, scaled the EU building and removed the EU flag in an attempt to replace it with an Italian tricolor. CasaPound and extreme-right-wing movement Forza Nuova were demonstrating outside the courthouse as it made its ruling in the case Monday. Both groups have participated in the Pitchfork demonstrations, which originally consisted primarily of disgruntled truckers and farmers and has since grown to represent anti-government and anti-European sentiment of all stripes. Some leaders in the Movement have blamed “subversive fringes” from the extreme right for hijacking protests and spreading violence, looting and destroying public property. On Friday a spokesman from the loose-knit Movement raised suspicions of an extreme-right agenda when he blamed Jewish bankers for “enslaving” recession-weary Italy. On Monday the Movement was showing signs of losing momentum. Local Pitchfork groups in the Sicily and Veneto regions announced they would not be attending a large-scale demonstration scheduled Wednesday in Rome for fear of violence. Still, Movement leader Lucio Chiavegato was undeterred. He acknowledged evidence of a “violent fringe” marching alongside his Movement, but said the group’s “eight million demonstrators” made it impossible to account for everyone. Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said the city was prepared for any outcome during protests and would not tolerate protesters blocking traffic in the way that has typified demonstrations elsewhere in the country. “The city has no intention of its soil being occupied by tents in places like Piazza del Popolo, especially not right before Christmas,” said Marino. “We will not tolerate unauthorized sit-ins of public property nor violence”.

Pitchfork leaders were still discussing the form that protests should take in Rome. One faction said it would not “march” in the city, but would “take a peaceful and quiet walk”, adding it was studying other forms of unconventional protest, possibly to take place over the course of two days.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain Gets Vehicle With Water Cannon for Tighter Security

400,000 euro fine for protesting in front of institutions

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, DECEMBER 17 — After bringing in fines of up to 400,000 euros for those protesting in front of government buildings as part of the ‘citizens’ security’ draft law, Spain is now allocating funds for more anti-riot vehicles.

The interior ministry has purchased a anti-riot vehicle with water cannons for about 500,000 euros to use against protestors, according to the latest official state bulletin. The bulletin says that the vehicle was purchased “to protect the free exercise of rights and freedoms and to guarantee citizens’ security” and to “have available material means that, due to current social trends and in case of needing to restore public order” can be used “in the least harmful way possible, being the ideal vehicles for control of mass gatherings”. After two years of government marked by continuing citizen protests against cuts and austerity measures, Mariano Rajoy’s conservative PP government is focusing all its efforts on public order. The news of the purchase of anti-riot vehicles with water cannons has come three days after a protest in front of Congress against the citizens’ security draft law that the interior ministry is preparing to put before Parliament and that has been called a “gag law”. The protest led to clashes between the police and protestors in which about 30 people were injured and seven were arrested. The measures, criticized by the human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe, hands down fines of between 20,000 and 400,000 euros for the filming and posting online of footage of policemen, punishes insults or threats to police as “serious infractions”, punishes the hanging of banners on buildings and enables private vigilantes to keep watch over, search and arrest perpetrators of crimes in public places.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Croatia: 680,000 Signatures for Referendum Against Serbians

Nationalists against bilingualism in Vukovar

(ANSAmed) ZAGREB, DECEMBER 16 — Representatives of a number of Croatian nationalist associations, mostly grouping Croatia’s independence war veterans (1991-1995), on Monday handed to Zagreb’s Parliament over 600,000 signatures backing a referendum aimed at stopping the introduction of bilingualism, or the public use of Serbian Cyrillic, in Vukovar, a martyr-city of the Serbian-Croatian war.

The leader of the initiative called ‘The headquarters for the defence of Croatian Vukovar’, Tomislav Josic, said that in the 15 days provided for by the law, 680,000 signatures were gathered, approximately representing 15% of Croatia’s electorate. At least 450,000 signatures are required for a referendum.

The referendum concerns the public use of the language and alphabet of national minorities in Croatia and aims to raise to 50% (against the 33% under current legislation)the minimum threshold a minority population in a city or town needs to have a right to bilingualism.

A 2011 census showed 34% of Vukovar’s population is Serbian, which made the public use of Cyrillic a right for locals but sparked protests from nationalist organizations asking for the city, which most suffered from the war against Serbians, to be exonerated from this law.

The centre-left government repeatedly stressed it did not support this initiative and started a procedure to change the Constitution with the objective of preventing minority rights from being subjected to national referenda. The Constitutional Court will now have to rule on the matter.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya Rejects UN Plan to Boost Staff Protection

Held to be ‘interference in internal affairs’

(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI, DECEMBER 17 — Libya has blocked a UN security plan calling for the deployment of 235 specialized units for the protection of UN personnel and facilities in the country, report diplomatic sources. The Libya government had initially agreed to the proposal made last month by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon but rejected it Tuesday as it was considered interference in the country’s internal affairs. The UN Security Council expressed concerns Tuesday about lingering instability in the country, releasing a statement noting the worsening of security conditions and political divisions in Libya.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: Kerry Forces Israel’s Moment of Decision

There was a ghoulish creepiness to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Israel last week. Here we were, beset by the greatest winter storm in a hundred years. All roads to Jerusalem were sealed off. Tens of thousands of Jerusalemites and residents of surrounding areas were locked down in their houses, without power, heat, telephone service or water.

And all of the sudden, out of nowhere, Kerry appeared. As Hamas-ruled Gazans begged the supposedly hated IDF to come and save them from the floods, and as Israel took over rescue operations for stranded Palestinians living under the rule of the PLO ‘s gangster kleptocracy in Judea and Samaria, here was Kerry, telling us that we’d better accept the deal he plans to present us next month, or face the wrath of the US and Europe, and suffer another Palestinian terror war.

What is going on? Why can’t Kerry leave Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the rest of the country alone, even for a week, in the middle of a blizzard of biblical proportions?…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

Lebanon: EU Ponders Military Training Mission

Foreign affairs council intends to ‘mitigate refugee impact’

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, DECEMBER 16 — EU foreign ministers on Monday said the Union won’t turn its back on Lebanon as it struggles with the fallout from Syrian civil war.

“The EU is evaluating possibly increasing its support” of the Lebanese armed forces. This could mean an EU army training mission is in the works, analysts said.

Italy, which is part of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) and is organizing an international conference on the conflict-torn country in 2014, will likely be in favor, sources said. The EU Foreign Affairs Council also said it will work “to mitigate the impact” of the influx of Syrian war refugees in Lebanon by “mobilizing the appropriate funds”.

The foreign ministers “condemned the repeated violence” and the November 19 double suicide bombing targeting the Iranian embassy, which analysts said is likely linked to the Syrian conflict.

Affirming their “full support” of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and of the political dialogue in Lebanon, the foreign ministers called “on all parties, including Hezbollah, to act responsibly and to fully respect the policy of dissociation from the Syrian conflict”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Russia Offers Ukraine $15 Billion Loan and Lower Gas Prices

Playing a trump card in his diplomatic contest with the West over Ukraine, President Vladimir V. Putin on Tuesday said that Russia would come to the rescue of its financially troubled neighbor, providing $15 billion in loans and a sharp discount on natural gas prices.

It was a bold and risky move by Russia, given the political chaos in Ukraine, where thousands of anti-government protesters remain encamped in Independence Square. For the moment, however, Mr. Putin seemed to gain the upper hand with Europe and the United States in their contest for influence.

There was no discussion of what Russia might receive in return for its assistance. Protesters in Kiev have been deeply worried that Mr. Yanukovich would cut a secret deal to join a customs union that Russia has established with Belarus and Kazakhstan. That would largely preclude any possibility of reviving the accords with Europe, but Mr. Putin said the subject had not come up.

[Return to headlines]

US Senator Murphy: Russian Aid to Ukraine ‘Has Conditions’

Russia has given Ukraine a discount of almost a third on Russian gas and said it would buy billions of dollars’ worth of Ukrainian government bonds.

The moves come amid Russian attempts to stop Ukraine moving towards the EU and ongoing protests against Russian influence in Kiev.

Democratic US Senator Chris Murphy, who joined Republican Senator John McCain in a visit to Kiev on Sunday, told the BBC’s Katty Kay the senators had made the trip because both US economic interests and human rights issues were at stake.

While the senators left Ukraine with assurances from the government that authorities would not undertake another violent crackdown on protesters, “clearly we didn’t hear what we wanted to when it comes to their orientation towards the European Union”.

“There are conditions that come with Russian money,” Mr Murphy said. “We don’t know what that is yet but ultimately the long-term financial health of the Ukraine lies in access to the huge markets of Europe and the US.”

[Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: Pentagon Probes Whether U.S. Troops Killed by Enemy Fire

(CNN) — The Pentagon urgently investigated whether six American troops killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday may have died from enemy fire after their helicopter crashed, rather than from the crash itself, two senior U.S. officials said.

“We do not know how those killed were killed,” one of the officials told CNN. “It’s unclear if it was the crash or contact with the enemy after the helo came down.”

One person survived.

It was the single-deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since a helicopter wreck killed seven Americans and four Afghans in August 2012.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon said initial reporting indicated that six members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed.

Military officials cited potential mechanical failure and said at the time there was no indication of enemy activity in the area where NATO forces move around frequently.

Later in the day, questions surfaced about whether the troops may have actually survived the crash and then came under mortar fire.

“We believe there was some sort of enemy engagement once the helicopter crashed,” one of the officials said…

[Return to headlines]

India Demolishes US Embassy Barriers After Diplomat’s Arrest in America

India’s government — incensed over the arrest of a female diplomat in Manhattan last week — has retaliated by removing the security barriers in front of the US embassy in New Delhi, the country’s main news agency reported.

Tow trucks and a backhoe were used to haul off the long concrete barriers — designed to prevent cars from speeding up to the embassy’s gates — that had been in front of the compound. The Press Trust of India reported that the government was behind the move.

“We got orders to remove the concrete barriers,” said a cop near the embassy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Indian Fury: Retaliation After US Arrests Diplomat

Delhi: India has launched a series of reprisals against US officials as outrage grows over a diplomat’s arrest in New York, which Delhi has branded “humiliating”.

In an escalating row over the arrest, the Indian government ordered a range of measures including the return of identity cards for US consular officials that speed up travel into and through India, foreign ministry sources said.

“We have ordered the withdrawal of all ID cards that are issued by the Ministry of External Affairs to the officials at the US consulates across India,” a senior ministry source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The government will also stop all import clearances for the US embassy, including liquor, the sources said, while Indian security forces removed barricades from outside the US embassy in Delhi.

Ms Khobragade was arrested for allegedly underpaying her domestic helper, who is also an Indian national, and for lying on the helper’s visa application form.

Anger over the incident has been mounting in the Indian press, with front-page reports on Tuesday claiming Ms Khobragade had been handcuffed and “strip-searched and confined with drug addicts” after her arrest.

Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said on Tuesday the government had “put in motion” measures to address the arrest, calling Ms Khobragade’s seizure “completely unacceptable”.

“We have put in motion what we believe would be effective ways of addressing the issue but also [put] in motion such steps that need to be taken to protect her dignity,” Mr Khurshid said, without confirming new reprisals.

US State Department deputy spokesman Marie Harf said on Monday that diplomatic security staff “followed standard procedures” during the arrest before Ms Khobragade was handed over to US Marshals.

Ms Harf also said Ms Khobragade only has immunity from prosecution with respect to duties performed as a consular official, under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations…

[Return to headlines]

What Hides Beneath Dark Veils

By Debbie Robinson

Friday 22nd February 2013 at a function centre in Liverpool, New South Wales, a person wearing full body cover and a mesh over the face was refused entry to a Q Society event, organised by SkipnGirl Productions. The Honourable Geert Wilders MP was to deliver the keynote address on the day.

The identity, body shape and gender of the person were completely hidden under the black full body covering. An elected member of the Dutch Parliament, Mr Wilders has lived in safe houses under 24/7 police protection since 2004.

This is a direct result of death threats by Islamic fundamentalists. It is on public record Wilders is critical of Islamic ideology and in favour of banning full-face coverings like the burqa in public areas.

Another Islam-critical Dutch politician, Pim Fortuyn, had been shot dead in 2002; and the Islam-critical Dutch artist Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamic fundamentalist in 2004. The Danish author and journalist Lars Hedegaard had just survived an armed assassination attempt on 5 February 2013. The assassin was of Middle Eastern appearance and Lars Hedegaard is an author and critic of Islam.

The burqa-clad person telephoned some time after the event and requested a full refund of the ticket cost for being denied admission. The organiser refused a refund on the grounds that it had in fact acted reasonably by refusing entry.

As a result the ticket holder submitted a formal complaint, which led to two separate legal enquiries, the more recent involving the NSW Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.

Eight months later, on the 15th November 2013 the Tribunal made the following order. “The application is dismissed because having considered the material placed before it, the Tribunal is not satisfied (at the civil standard of proof) that the grounds required to make the orders sought have been established.” In other words the applicant or ticket holder lost the case and the request for a refund was dismissed.

Security at the aforementioned event included the Australian Federal Police, New South Wales Police, NSW VIP protection unit, the NSW anti-terror squad, bomb squad, dog and horse squads, Dutch police and our own private close personal protection operatives.

Over five hundred people attended the meeting and were screened by security at various checkpoints both outside and inside the venue. Ticket, photo identification, bag checks, metal detector screening together with hand-held wand screening were mandatory for all patrons before being given a wristband and allowed entry to the seated area in the auditorium.

The person in question agreed to show their face privately for the purpose of identification, however they were not willing to remove the full body cover. Understandably this presented problems for both the organiser and security. Given the situation and background of the speaker, public safety was paramount. The organiser had a duty of care to both patrons and staff. The police were first in the line of defence and it’s clear from the photograph the wearer of the full body cover presented a security threat. One might ask why did the organiser refused to refund the ticket money? It would have been easier to refund the small amount and not waste time discussing unfulfilled demands, addressing complaints and attending hearings. Apart from the fact the applicant breached the terms and conditions set out by the organiser, the answer to this question is more complex…

           — Hat tip: Nilk [Return to headlines]

Locks Changed on Nelson Mandela Grandson’s Home

Mandla Mandela reportedly has locks changed on him at family home in Eastern Cape, as family feud re-erupts after Nelson Mandela dies

Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandson has been pushed out of the family homestead in Qunu, according to reports, suggesting the family infighting will get worse now the patriarch has died.

The locks at Mr Mandela’s Tuscan-style home, which the former South African president built in his ancestral village after his release from prison, were reportedly changed after the arrival of eldest daughter Makaziwe on Thursday.

Mandla’s friends and close family members, including his mother, were sidelined during Sunday’s state funeral for Mr Mandela, according to the Times, and refused access to the burial site.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

South Sudan: Gov’t Says Military Clashes Contained, Despite Continous Gunfire

Juba — The South Sudanese government said it has managed to contain military clashes in the capital, Juba from spreading to its outskirts, despite congun battles that continued Tuesday morning.

Fierce clashes, on Monday evening, occurred in Magiri, a military headquarters for the army’s second division, which currently covers the entire Eastern and parts of Central Equatoria states.

Till now, however, the usually busy Juba streets remain largely deserted as residents fear a serious deterioration in security, despite government assurance that it was in full control of the situation.

A Sudan Tribune reporter said soldiers on foot and in armored vehicles can be seen patrolling the city while armed men dressed in civilians clothes believed to be security agents were guarding key institutions, including the ministry complex and presidential palace.

Security forces are reportedly stopping motorists and search those deem suspicious, while most shops remain closed since Monday.

A joint security operation started last evening after President Salva Kiir announced a dust-to-dawn curfew from 6:00PM to 7:00AM.

It remains unclear as to how many people have been killed during the two days armed engagement, and government had not released comprehensive report on casualties involved.

The ministry of health, however, said it deployed 70 medical doctors to attend to over 113 people with gunshot wounds at Juba teaching hospital…

[Return to headlines]

Migrant Abuse at Lampedusa ‘Degrading and Inhumane’

House Speaker Boldrini speaks out after TV news report

(ANSA) — Rome, December 17 — Italian House Speaker Laura Boldrini on Tuesday condemned what she called “degrading treatment” of asylum seekers at a migrant detention center on Lampedusa island.

Her comments came after the TG2 evening newscast on State broadcaster Rai on Monday night aired footage shot with a cell phone by a Syrian detainee, showing dozens of men and women being forced to strip publicly outdoors in the winter weather before guards hosed them down with disinfectants.

“We are being treated like animals,” the author of the footage told TG2. “Men and women undergo the same humiliation every three days to cure scabies, which we caught since we came to the detention center”.

Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by mites.

Critics of Italy’s migrant detention centers say they are being run like sub-standard prisons.

An October investigative report on the Lampedusa holding center by L’Espresso news magazine documented people being made to eat and sleep on the ground, covered only with paper blankets in the freezing weather, children catching head lice, and stray dogs being allowed to wander about, urinating on the refugees’ clothes and luggage.

The Lampedusa center is run by a consortium called Lampedusa Accoglienza, (Lampedusa Welcome) which belongs to the Gruppo Sisifo Group, which in turn holds various Lega Coop companies. The state reportedly pays Lampedusa Accoglienza 21,000 euros a day to care for the more than 700 detainees in the center.

“The way immigrants are being treated at the Lampedusa holding center as documented by TG2 last night is unworthy of a civilized country”, Boldrini said. “Even more so, because these people survived the tragic October shipwrecks (in which more than 300 refugees perished at sea). I thank TG2: information helps us not to resign ourselves to living with the ignominies of our time”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Diversity’ Is About Disinheriting Whites

We are all affected by “Diversity” but few understand its true nature.

Warning: It isn’t pretty.

“Diversity” is a massive long-term behavior modification program that uses minorities to disinherit the majority.

In English, “Diversity” means acknowledging different races, religions and “sexual orientations.”

In New World Order Doublespeak, “Diversity” is a devious way to dilute and discriminate against the white, heterosexual Christian majority in Europe, Canada, Australia and the US.

While it pretends to advocate equality, its real goal is to guilt mainly heterosexual White males into yielding position and power. The object is to prepare North America and Europe for inclusion in a “world government” run by the central banking cartel based in London.

This private cartel’s power is measured by the fact that virtually every major corporation, educational institution and government agency provides “diversity training” (i.e. political indoctrination) to its employees. Even though studies show it has zero economic benefit, they spend eight billion dollars a year on it. Toyota alone plans to spend that much in the next ten years.

Here is an example of the shaming of Whites that takes place in these sessions. It is from the text, “Seeing Ourselves: Exploring Race Ethnicity and Culture” (1999) by Carl James.

[Return to headlines]

Leaders in Denial Over Source of Antisemitism, Author Charges

by Joanne Hill

Dr. Andrew Bostom, author of The Legacy of Jihad, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism and Sharia Versus Freedom, has a new monograph, The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred: What the Nazis Learned from the ‘Muslim Pope.’

Jewish and non-Jewish political and religious leaders are in denial about the real source of Islamic antisemitism, according to Dr. Andrew Bostom.

Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism and Sharia Versus Freedom. His new monograph, The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred: What the Nazis Learned from the ‘Muslim Pope,’ consists of the first authoritative English translation of a 1937 religious proclamation by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, followed by Bostom’s analysis and footnotes.

The Jewish Tribune interviewed Bostom by phone from Rhode Island after his appearance at an event in Toronto held by the Jewish Defence League. The following has been edited for length and clarity…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom [Return to headlines]

New Findings Hint at Diamond Deposits in Antarctica

Scientists say they have discovered compelling evidence that diamonds exist in the icy mountains of Antarctica. The researchers have identified a type of rock in the permanently frozen region that is known to contain the precious stones. However recovering any Antarctic mineral resources for commercial purposes is currently forbidden.

The presence of kimberlite has been a clue to significant deposits of diamonds in several parts of the world, including Africa, Siberia and Australia. Now researchers have, for the first time, found evidence of kimberlite in Antarctica.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Violence Lies Behind the Burqa

It is not just Canada and the US in the West, honor shame violence has even occurred down under. That was revealed in a recent incident involving the savage beating of a Muslim teenager reported in The New Zealand Herald, “Burqa hid injuries of teen repeatedly bashed — police”.

A teenage girl police believe was beaten at home was forced to hide her facial injuries behind a burqa, while members of the Muslim community are alleged to have hushed up the abuse.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler, prominent American feminist and fellow of The Middle East Forum, is an advocate for banning the Burqa. Prompted by this New Zealand incident, she responded in a FoxNews op ed, “Beneath the burqa — a bruised and badly beaten teenager”. She cites the burqa [as]:

A sensory deprivation isolation chamber, (sensory deprivation is used as a form of torture); a burqa is also an ambulatory body bag and I oppose this with all my mind and heart as a violation of human and women’s rights…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

14 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/17/2013

  1. Sky news have presented a report on their website about meeting UK fighters in Syria.
    If you want to see how a major media outlet now represents the jihadi struggle against Assad then this it it.
    Sending a Muslim convert to interview normal British lads who want to help their fellow Muslims as it is a ‘humane’ duty and being reassured that they do not want to return to Britain to wage war ,the report is crazily deluded and to me legitimises jihad as a defensive and honourable undertaking.

    • Exactly what I thought when I saw the report. It is a classic example of manipulative journalism and too many people will be taken in by hook, line and sinker. The people interviewed may have been British by birth but their loyalties belong to an alien culture. The insidious changes taking place in my country ( UK ) are soul destroying, more so because they are supported by a few thousand liberal minded people at the top who are working to an agenda far removed from the interests of the native people. This seismic shift is aided by the mainstream media and selected participants. The results seem to be more successful than they ever dreamed of because we are surrendering our country without a shot being fired and allowing so called “British” people to train overseas in preparation for future acts of treason against us and allowing the gradual introduction of Sharia law and other alien customs. God help our descendents, who will have to live with the consequences.

    • I have nothing against sending British citizens of Middle Eastern descent to voluntarily fight in Jihad wars abroad.
      I have everything against allowing them to enter the country again and honoring their citizenship once they have fought.
      If the man draws blood for Allah in Syria, he certainly will draw blood for Allah in the streets of England or in the British Isles.
      Open the door for their departure and then make sure you close it.

  2. India’s response to America’s incompetent/bureaucratic/fascistic bungling was interestingly aggressive. I won’t try to explain American officialdom, but India – they remove protective blocks from the front of Amnerican Embassy and thus remove its protection from terrorist attacks. What should America’s respons to that be were

        • @Old Man-

          Was the man at the pub saying that the Indian government’s reaction was “irresponsible” and “infantile”? I didn’t get that from his question, but perhaps I missed something you see.

          The Indian government’s response was clever: confrontation without violence. Concrete consequences…so to speak.

          Other governments know full well they’re dealing with a government that repeatedly violates the sovereign boundaries of other nations – just ask Germany’s Merkel what she thinks of our interference.

          For sure, removing the concrete barriers will get the attention of those foreign service workers inside the U.S. embassy. In turn, those worried Americans will certainly press for some kind of apology or recompense for the Indian woman who was so cavalierly treated by our rogue TSA workers.

          What would you suggest instead? A stern finger-wagging?

          • Dymphna,

            “Was the man at the pub saying that the Indian government’s reaction was “irresponsible” and “infantile”? ”

            No, not directly, but the implication is obvious, I was referring to his comment —

            “and thus remove its protection from terrorist attacks. What should America’s respons to that be were the unthinkable take to place?” Yes, indeed.

            By removing the barriers, the Indian government is both symbolically and in practical terms making the US embassy more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Protocol requires host governments to protect foreign embassies, not expose them to risk. It’s irresponsible “diplomacy”, whatever the merits of the Indian women’s case–there are reports that her diplomatic immunity is inapplicable to the offences for which she was arrested. The fact that the diplomat is probably a high caste Hindu is more the cause of the Indian outrage than Western notions of human rights.

            That said, after recently watching a documentary on US policing methods, I’d have to say that, surprisingly, American law enforcement officers are heavy-handed by the standards of some other liberal democracies. I’m not an American so apart from that comment I’ll keep out of the debate on internal politics.

            I also don’t agree with many US foreign policy decisions and I’m not necessarily defending the TSA, I was commenting on India’s irresponsible ‘diplomacy’ which is a separate issue entirely.

    • “India’s response to America’s incompetent/bureaucratic/fascistic bungling was interestingly aggressive.”

      Rather, this quite undiplomatic slight was an intentionally provocative act by a Muslophilic administration on a nascent Western democracy with a large Muslim minority population.

      Muslim princes and princesses actively fund terror operations and literally keep SLAVES in the West. Do you seriously think that our police would even dream of arresting and strip-searching a Muslim princess in the West?

      In any case, this is an interesting story which shows that India still has an active caste system which it intends to defend:

    • C’mon… you’re smarter than this. You think we can get along without India?? For years our not-so-benign neglect of a huge subcontinent cost us dearly as India aligned with Russia in for reasons of survival. If our current deeply ignorant government has any sense at all – and with John Kerry at the helm, who knows? – it will do a lot more for India than it has so far.

      Take a look at your map and see where China is. Then run your finger over to Pakistan, which the Chinese are panting to get into place (or more firmly in place) so they can quash India via the side door. If they succeed – and we know how patient China is – the West can kiss the whole area goodbye.

      Both China and India have huge cohorts of unmarried males, men who will never ever have the opportunity to marry because of their dysfunctional cultural arrangements. What it boils down to is individual family preferences for boys over girls when it comes to having babies. The rate of female infanticide is very high in both countries. As a result they have lots and lots of cannon fodder to spare for destructive wars between one another. Those wasteful wars will create immeasurable losses of human capital w/its concomitant wealth destruction. That is, if you can count as destruction things that never get made because those who could have generated ideas and technologies are all unfortunately dead.

      India is the buffer between China and everything else in the region. Your dismissal of its crucial importance is disappointing.

      The 20th century, from which such statements come, is not gonna return. Doesn’t mean you’ll be speaking Chinese yourself any time soon, but your much poorer descendants may have to do so in order to survive.

      • I don’t care what happens in a place 5000 KM away. As far as I’m concerned, we should all have a “Great Wall of China” around our countries.

        I’m aware it’d have a huge economic effect, I think it’s a good trade-off though.

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