Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/18/2014

A Texas plumber has been deluged with phone calls and threats since one of his pickup trucks ended up being used by mujahideen in Syria, and appeared in a jihad video. Three years ago he sold the truck to a dealer, who failed to take his decal off the door, so that it was easily readable in the jihad video. The plumber says he has no idea how the truck ended up in Syria.

In other news, an overnight explosion shook Rinkeby, a suburb of Stockholm, and did substantial damage to a local shopping center.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, DS, Fjordman, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, Phyllis Chesler, 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
» Almost 8% of Dutch Population Live Below Poverty Line: New Report
» Fitch Downgrades France’s Credit Rating to ‘AA’
» Poll: Almost 80 Percent of Russians Try to Spend Less
» Switzerland: Central Bank Imposes Negative Interest Rates
 
USA
» Muslim Women Sue in US Courts for Right to Wear Islamic Garb on the Job
» Obama’s ‘Operation Choke Point’
» Texas City Plumber’s Truck Ends Up in Syrian War
» The Alcatraz Escapees Could Have Survived — and This Interactive Model Proves it
 
Europe and the EU
» Activists Turn to Social Media to Fight Germany’s Spurt of Right-Wing Protests
» Austria: Romanian in Court for Brutal Robberies
» Austrian Prosecutors Fear Jihadist Reprisals
» Dutch Far Right Politician Wilders to be Tried for Anti-Moroccan Comments
» Dutch Populist Wilders to be Tried for ‘Fewer Moroccans’ Vow
» Energy: Cyprus and Greece Agree to Go on With Joint Deals
» Five French Terror Plots ‘Foiled Since Last Summer’
» France to Pump Millions Into Hard-Up ‘Hoods’
» Germany: 10,000 Evacuated After WWII Bomb Find
» Germany: What Does Dresden Have Against Muslims?
» Italy: Democratic Party Was ‘Reference Point’ Rome Mafia: Grillo
» Italy Arrests 18 Over Illicit China Bank Transfers
» Netherlands: PVV Leader Geert Wilders Will be Prosecuted for Inciting Hatred and Discrimination
» New Novel on France’s First Muslim Government Stirs Outcry
» Police Raids Dismantle French Jihadist Network
» Spain: ‘If My Husband Died for ISIS I Would Accept it’
» Spain: Baby Jesus Stolen From Christmas Crib Again
» Sweden: SAS to Slash Costs as Profits Nose Dive
» Sweden: Explosion Rocks Outer Stockholm Suburb
» Sweden: ‘Unprecedented’ Russian Activity: Armed Forces
» UK: Scientists Locate Homing Signal in Brain, Explaining Why Some People Are Better Navigators
» UK: Winston Churchill Painting Sets New Record
 
North Africa
» Egypt Acquits Dozens of Muslim Brothers in Several Trials
» Egypt Jails 40 Morsi Backers for Church Fires
» Libya: Military Sources, 30 Militants Dead and 270 Wounded
» Tunisia: Jihadists Claim 2013 Murder of MPs
» Tunisia: State Regains Control of Mosques
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Arab League Urges US Not to Veto UN Resolution on Palestine
» The Fourth Geneva Convention Calumny Against Israel
 
Middle East
» Crucifixion and Lashes in ISIS Penal Code Online
» Erdogan is Crushing Turkey’s Media in His Bid for Untrammelled Power
» Iraq Jihadists Behead Man on Sorcery Charges
» ISIS Fighters Now in Golan Heights Near Israeli Border
» OPEC Signals Wait and See Approach That Could Last a Year
» Syria: Over 230 Bodies in a Mass Grave: Massacred by Islamic State
» Syria: Austrian Jihad Teen Girl ‘Likely Killed’
» Turkey: Ottoman Language Keyboard Attracts Great Interest
 
Russia
» Gender Project Financed by Sweden Launches in Ukraine
» Merkel Says Russia Sanctions ‘Unavoidable’
» Putin Promises Economic Recovery, Remains Defiant Over Western Sanctions
 
South Asia
» Indonesia: Central Java: Islamist Threat: Scrap Christmas Symbols and No Celebrations
» Pakistan Lifts Moratorium on Death Penalty
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Boko Haram Kidnaps at Least 185 People in Nigeria
» Cameroon Army ‘Kills 116 Boko Haram Fighters’
 
Latin America
» Luis Fleischman: Sanctions on Venezuelan Human Rights Violators: A New Momentum to be Seized
 
Immigration
» France: Hollande Hails Benefits of Immigration in Swipe at Sarkozy
» Italy Probes ISIS Arrivals Among Boat Migrants
 

Almost 8% of Dutch Population Live Below Poverty Line: New Report

The number of people living below the official poverty line in the Netherlands rose to almost 8% of the population last year, according to a new report by socio-economic think-tank SCP and national statistics office CBS.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Fitch Downgrades France’s Credit Rating to ‘AA’

Fitch Ratings has lowered France’s credit rating by one notch to “AA” — two steps below the top triple-A rating — over concerns about the country’s budget.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Poll: Almost 80 Percent of Russians Try to Spend Less

About three-quarters of Russians (77 percent) say they are being economical; 56 percent are constantly cutting their expenditures now and 21 percent started to do so a couple of months ago, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Switzerland: Central Bank Imposes Negative Interest Rates

With fresh turmoil in foreign exchange markets putting upward pressure on the franc, the Swiss National Bank announced on Thursday the introduction of negative interest rates.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Muslim Women Sue in US Courts for Right to Wear Islamic Garb on the Job

by Phyllis Chesler

The Supreme Court has just agreed to hear a case concerning the rights of a woman to wear hijab, a headscarf, while working at Abercrombie and Fitch. This case began in 2008, in Tulsa, Oklahoma on behalf of then seventeen-year-old Samantha Elauf and is known asEqual Employment Opportunity Commission vs Abercrombie and Fitch Stores, Inc.

France has banned the burqa (a head, face, and full body covering), as well as the hijab(headscarf); to do so in a religion-neutral way, they chose to ban all other religious insignia in public. In 2014, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the French ban. Other governments (Denmark, Germany, Turkey, Russia, China) have also banned the headscarf in school or in general. Yes, even Turkey— although, paradoxically, it has begun to force more children into religious schools where hijab is mandatory.

In this case, it is our own federal government which has brought the suit against Abercrombie and Fitch, Inc.

At least ten “friends of the court” briefs have been submitted by religious and civil rights organizations, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Commission, the American Jewish Committee, the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations aka the Muslim Brotherhood in America and the un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation lawsuit.

           — Hat tip: Phyllis Chesler [Return to headlines]
 

Obama’s ‘Operation Choke Point’

By Arnold Ahlert

Almost unbelievably, the Obama administration is involved in another scandalous abuse of power, one that has largely escaped the public’s attention. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report December 8 detailing the abuses by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), operating under the auspices of a program known as Operation Choke Point. Run by the Departments of Justice and Treasury, Operation Choke Point was supposed to target illegal businesses and prevent them from obtaining access to the U.S. financial system. Yet damning emails unearthed by investigators reveal regulatory officials were motivated by personal animus toward certain businesses. “It’s appalling that our government is working around the law to vindictively attack businesses they find objectionable,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a press release.

“Internal FDIC documents confirm that Operation Choke Point is an extraordinary abuse of government power,” Issa. “In the most egregious cases, federal bureaucrats injected personal moral judgments into the regulatory process. Such practices are totally inconsistent with basic principles of good government, transparency and the rule of law.”

Operation Choke Point was publicly introduced in March of 2013, when Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force Executive Director Michael J. Bresnickat bought it up in a speech at Washington D.C.’s Exchequer Club. Bresnickat assured his audience the reason the program was “focused on financial institutions and payment processors is because they are the so-called bottlenecks, or choke-points, in the fraud committed by so many merchants that victimize consumers and launder their illegal proceeds.”

Five months later, the Wall Street Journal revealed the troubling reality that one of the first targets of the program were payday lending operations…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]
 

Texas City Plumber’s Truck Ends Up in Syrian War

TEXAS CITY — A local plumber is being flooded with phone calls — and some threats — after a picture of one of his old company vehicles being used by Islamist militants in Syria was posted on Twitter.

The picture was posted online by the Islamic extremist brigade Ansar al-Deen Front, according to a CBS News report. It shows a black pick-up truck with a Mark-1 Plumbing decal on the door and an anti-aircraft gun in the bed.

Mark Oberholtzer, who has owned and operated Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City for the past 32 years, confirmed it was his pickup truck in the picture. He said he no longer owned the vehicle and had no idea how it ended up in Syria.

Oberholtzer said he traded in the truck to an AutoNation dealership three years ago. He usually takes the decals off his vehicles when he sells them but he left it on this truck with the expectation that AutoNation would remove it.

“They were supposed to have done it and it looks like they didn’t do it,” Oberholtzer said. “How it ended up in Syria, I’ll never know.”

[Return to headlines]
 

The Alcatraz Escapees Could Have Survived — and This Interactive Model Proves it

One of longest-enduring American mysteries began on a frigid, wind-lashed night in June of 1962. Assembled along the banks of the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was a trio of hardscrabble robbers. They were about to do something that would either make them famous or dead — or both.

The plan involved 50 raincoats jerry-rigged into a rubber raft, a few wooden paddles built from musical instruments and a harrowing two-mile voyage to the mainland. The obstacles: just about everything. The San Francisco Bay is ravaged by some of the strongest, most unpredictable currents around. A wrong move or ill-advised launch time would mean their small vessel would be swept out into sea — killing everyone aboard. So, either desperate, brave or unaware of the dangers, the three men got aboard and started for the mainland.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Activists Turn to Social Media to Fight Germany’s Spurt of Right-Wing Protests

The rise of anti-Islamic sentiment and right wing protests in Germany has made international headlines in recent months. DW takes a look at how the counter movement is using social media to fight right wing extremism.

There are online sites that help people check whether their Facebook friends like the PEDIGA group on Facebook. The links were shared by bloggers and groups fighting right-wing extremism in Germany, asking readers to unfriend anyone who likes PEGIDA on Facebook to show that such opinions aren’t tolerated in Germany.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Austria: Romanian in Court for Brutal Robberies

A young Romanian man accused of a string of brutal robberies and attacks on women in Vienna last Spring is appearing in court on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Austrian Prosecutors Fear Jihadist Reprisals

After the arrests in November of more than a dozen suspected jihadists in Austria, prosecutors are worried about their safety from reprisal attacks.

According to the daily Austrian newspaper Kurier, the government officials fear revenge attacks as a result of the arrests they ordered of several suspects, including the Bosnian self-style imam known as Abu Tejma.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Dutch Far Right Politician Wilders to be Tried for Anti-Moroccan Comments

Lawmaker Geert Wilders is to face prosecution for inciting racial hatred after a speech calling for “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands. Wilders has said he stands by his comments.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Dutch Populist Wilders to be Tried for ‘Fewer Moroccans’ Vow

Dutch far-right populist lawmaker Geert Wilders is be tried for inciting racial hatred after pledging in March to ensure there were “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands, prosecutors said Thursday.

“The public prosecutor in The Hague is to prosecute Geert Wilders on charges of insulting a group of people based on race and incitement to discrimination and hatred,” prosecutors said in a statement.

“Politicians may go far in their statements, that’s part of freedom of expression, but this freedom is limited by the prohibition of discrimination,” it said, adding that no date had yet been set for the trial…

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

Energy: Cyprus and Greece Agree to Go on With Joint Deals

Nicosia and Athens call on Turkey to withdraw Barbaros ship

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, DECEMBER 18 — The drilling in Bloc 9 of the Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) will proceed as planned Foreign minister Ioannis Kassoulides said in Athens yesterday after the first joint meeting with his Greek counterpart Eleftherios Venizelos and the Energy ministers of both countries as Cyprus Mail online reports. Kasoulides said that this meeting is proof of the two countries’ willingness to further cooperate in these areas. “All the countries of the Mediterranean can cooperate, taking advantage of their sea wealth, for the interest and the prosperity of our people,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Five French Terror Plots ‘Foiled Since Last Summer’

In the last 18 months, French intelligence services have prevented as many as five terrorism plots from taking place on French soil, according the country’s interior minister, who warned that jihadists returning from Syria continue to pose the biggest threat.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

France to Pump Millions Into Hard-Up ‘Hoods’

French President Francois Hollande has set his sights on tackling inequality in France by confirming his government will stump up €5 billion to revamp the country’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. It’s alongside a new bill to prioritize funds for struggling schools.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Germany: 10,000 Evacuated After WWII Bomb Find

Local authorities evacuated some 10,000 people from central Potsdam after an unexploded Second World War bomb was found on a building site.

Builders working on the new headquarters of state investment bank ILB uncovered the 250-kilo American bomb, city authorities said in a statement. This historic city of Potsdam lies just outside the capital, Berlin.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Germany: What Does Dresden Have Against Muslims?

The Pegida movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) was unknown three months ago. Now it’s making Dresden famous — for all the wrong reasons.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Democratic Party Was ‘Reference Point’ Rome Mafia: Grillo

M5S claims PD links to mob proven by phone tap

(ANSA) — Rome, December 18 — The centre-left Democratic Party was the “point of reference” for mobsters looting Rome, Five Star Movement (M5S) leader Beppe Grillo claimed Thursday.

“I want to read you a phrase, an interception,” Grillo told a news conference at the Foreign Press Association.

He said that people accused in the mafia investigation were too close to the PD but feared the M5S.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy Arrests 18 Over Illicit China Bank Transfers

Italy’s financial police on Wednesday arrested 18 people suspected of making illicit cash transfers totalling more than a billion euros, most of them to China through a British company.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Netherlands: PVV Leader Geert Wilders Will be Prosecuted for Inciting Hatred and Discrimination

The public prosecution department is to take anti-Islam party leader Geert Wilders to court for discrimination and encouraging hatred after he led supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant at a post-election meeting.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

New Novel on France’s First Muslim Government Stirs Outcry

His new book has not even been released but Michel Houellebecq — one of France’s most provocative and widely translated writers — is already attracting comment with his latest novel “Submission” in which he imagines a France in 2022 under Muslim rule.

To be published on January 7, “Soumission” is the sixth novel by the author of “The Map and the Territory”, which won France’s top literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, in 2010.

Set amid political turmoil in 2022, the story begins with the far-right National Front (FN) about to take power from current president Francois Hollande.

But when a fictional Muslim Brotherhood party, supported by an alliance of three parties from the both the left and the right, beats FN leader Marine le Pen in a second round of voting, the way is cleared for the country’s first Muslim government led by President Mohammed Ben Abbes…

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

Police Raids Dismantle French Jihadist Network

French police launched nationwide raids early on Monday to dismantle a network that was sending jihadists to Syria, a police source said. The raids were focused mainly near Toulouse but also around Paris and Normandy.

In recent months in France — which has Europe’s largest Muslim population — there has been growing concern over the hundreds of nationals joining jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria, who have even called for attacks on their homeland.

The new reality was driven home in a video from the Islamic State (IS) group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, released in mid-November, showing three Kalashnikov-wielding Frenchmen burning their passports and calling on Muslims to join them or stage attacks in France.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Spain: ‘If My Husband Died for ISIS I Would Accept it’

Fears are growing over increased radicalization of women in Spain’s north African enclave of Ceuta with local leaders saying a lack of opportunities is exacerbating the problem.

Aisha has lived all her life in one neighbourhood in Spain’s African territory of Ceuta, but now she is willing to move — even to the war zone of Syria.

“I would go and live with my family in the Islamic State in Syria, and if my husband died there in combat, I would accept it,” said the mother-of-four, dressed in a black hijab, who asked for her real name to be concealed.

Her home district of El Principe in this European enclave of 87,000 people on the tip of Morocco has a reputation for hardship — and a new, growing one for Islamic radicalism.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Spain: Baby Jesus Stolen From Christmas Crib Again

The nativity scene in the heart of Santiago de Compostela is missing one of its most important components after a statue of the baby Jesus was stolen for the second time in three years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: SAS to Slash Costs as Profits Nose Dive

Troubled Scandinavian airline SAS reported a sharp fall in net profits for the fourth quarter on Thursday and announced further cost-cutting measures to meet increasing competition from budget airlines.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: Explosion Rocks Outer Stockholm Suburb

A blast shook the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby during the night, causing significant damage to a local shopping centre. Police are still without any official suspects.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: ‘Unprecedented’ Russian Activity: Armed Forces

The Armed Forces have described the recent Russian military activity close to Sweden as “unprecedented”, adding that the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Cold War.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Scientists Locate Homing Signal in Brain, Explaining Why Some People Are Better Navigators

The part of the brain that tells us the direction to travel when we navigate has been identified by UCL scientists, and the strength of its signal predicts how well people can navigate.

It has long been known that some people are better at navigating than others, but until now it has been unclear why. The latest study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in Current Biology, shows that the strength and reliability of ‘homing signals’ in the human brain vary among people and can predict navigational ability.

In order to successfully navigate to a destination, you need to know which direction you are currently facing and which direction to travel in. For example, ‘I am facing north and want to head east’. It is already known that mammals have brain cells that signal the direction that they are currently facing, a discovery that formed part of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to UCL Professor John O’Keefe.

The latest research reveals that the part of the brain that signals which direction you are facing, called the entorhinal region, is also used to signal the direction in which you need to travel to reach your destination. This part of the brain tells you not only which direction you are currently facing, but also which direction you should be facing in the future. In other words, the researchers have found where our ‘sense of direction’ comes from in the brain and worked out a way to measure it using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)…

[Return to headlines]
 

UK: Winston Churchill Painting Sets New Record

A painting by British statesman Winston Churchill has fetched $2.8 million at auction — a record for his work. The painting was sold amongst other personal artifacts from the celebrated wartime leader.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Egypt Acquits Dozens of Muslim Brothers in Several Trials

Charged with violence after pro-Morsi sit-ins dispersed

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — Dozens of supporters of the ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, charged with taking part in the violence following a deadly clearing of pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo in August 2013, were acquitted on Thursday in several different trials. The appeals court of Assyut, Middle Egypt, acquitted 66 members of the Muslim Brotherhood and sentenced 36 others to between 3 and 15 years in prison, said sources within the judiciary. Arrested immediately after the clearing of the pro-Morsi sit-ins at the Rabaa and Nahda squares in the Egyptian capital, the defendants were accused of setting fire to police stations, churches, shops and the Judges Club in Assyut. Another 30 Morsi supporters were acquitted by the Cairo court of appeals, as were about 100 (including 80 in absentia) by a court in Kafr Al-Sheikh, in the Nile Delta. The former were charged with violence in the Muqattam area — also after the pro-Morsi sit-ins were cleared in 2013 — while the latter had been accused of taking part in unauthorized protests over the past few months, report sources within the judiciary. The acquittals in the trials against members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which was officially declared a “terrorist organization” a year ago, are a very rare occurrence in today’s Egypt. Since Morsi was ousted by the military under current president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, thousands of MB supporters and leaders have been arrested. Hundreds have received sentences ranging from a few years in prison to the death penalty. While anti-government protests increased in Egypt in November (714 across the entire country, according to a report by the International Development Center), participation in unauthorized protests dropped sharply, in part due to often lethal repression by the police. The country is amidst preparations for the fourth anniversary of the January 25 anti-Mubarak uprising, and tension may rise in the coming weeks, especially after the recent acquittal of the former dictator in a trial in which he was charged with causing the death of hundreds of protestors during the ‘Egyptian Spring’. Thursday’s acquittals may be an attempt to mitigate tension.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Egypt Jails 40 Morsi Backers for Church Fires

An Egyptian court sentenced 40 backers of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to up to 15 years in jail Thursday for violence including torching churches, a judicial source said.

Followers of Morsi have been the target of a relentless crackdown by the authorities since he was deposed in July 2013 by ex-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The criminal court in Assiut in southern Egypt sentenced two defendants to 15 years each, while the others were given jail terms ranging from one year to 10, the source said.

They were accused of taking part in acts of violence in Assiut last year during which five churches, several police stations and a number of shops were set on fire. There were no reported casualties.

The court acquitted 61 others standing trial in the same case, the source said…

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

Libya: Military Sources, 30 Militants Dead and 270 Wounded

Fajr Libya commander, strategic withdrawal from Sidra

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, DECEMBER 18 — Libyan military sources have announced that 30 pro-Islamist militiamen with Fajr Libya (Libyan Dawn) have been killed and 270 wounded in clashes around the oil area between Sirte and Benghazi.

Meanwhile the chief of the militia’s military operations, Mohamed Al Ajtal, explained that fighters have pulled back “two or three kilometers” from the port of Sidra, in a “strategic withdrawal” to prevent the country’s largest exports terminal from being bombarded by pro-government forces, according to Libyan media.

Al Ajtal added that Fajr militias from the Shorouk (dawn) operation have the objective of “freeing” oil ports: “They want to complete the operation peacefully, otherwise they are ready to fight”.

According to the military chief of the militias supporting the “parallel” government of Tripoli, the leader of oil installation guards Ibrahim Jadran “wants to steal oil and sell it out of the authority of the National Oil Corporation (NOC)” together with ex-general Khalifa Haftar, an ally of the government of Torbuk, which is recognized by the international community. Jadran and Haftar “are both criminals”, concluded Al Ajtal.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Tunisia: Jihadists Claim 2013 Murder of MPs

In video they refer to Al-Baghdadi as their chief

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, DECEMBER 18 — In a video posted to social networks yesterday, a group of Tunisian jihadists claimed the assassination of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, the two opposition lawmakers killed in 2013, and threatened Tunisians.

The video message shows four men with long beards, wearing a uniform and holding weapons, including a militant on the run who has been identified as Abou Bakr Al Hakim. Authorities believe he is involved in the murders of Chokri Belad and Mohamed Brahmi. The other men presents identified themselves as Abou Mossab, Abou Mohamed Ettounissi and Abou Moukatel. Without citing directly their allegiance to ISIS, the Islamic State controlling part of Syria and Iraq, one of the jihadists talks about caliph Abou Bakr Al Baghdadi as his chief.

The message, currently being examined by investigators to determine its authenticity, is allegedly aimed at dissuading Tunisians from heading to the polls, as elections are considered to go against the teachings of Islam, and to call them to jihad, take up armed fight and reach the mountains where they are hiding. They conclude by saying: “You will not live in peace until Tunisia won’t be governed in the respect of Islam”.

Four days from the second round of voting in presidential elections, the threat posed by terrorism returns to Tunisia.

Yesterday, anti-terror police in Tunis arrested five alleged terrorists who are believed to have plotted terror attacks for the first round of voting.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Tunisia: State Regains Control of Mosques

Campaign ends, 149 “out of control” beginning of year

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, DECEMBER 18 — Tunisia has wrapped up a campaign for the State’s control of mosques held by religious extremist groups, said the ministry for religious affairs in a statement calling on imams to respect the neutrality of mosques regarding the electoral campaign for presidential elections.

Religion, the statement also said, needs to help create a peaceful social climate and avoid local tensions and aggressiveness. The ministry for religious affairs in the Maghreb country recalled that as many as 149 mosques — out of a total of 5,000 across the country — were controlled by Islamists at the beginning of the year. In Tunisia, as is the case in other Arab and Muslim countries, the State controls mosques, through the ministry for religious affairs, to ensure that they maintain only a religious role.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Arab League Urges US Not to Veto UN Resolution on Palestine

‘EU Parliament decision on statehood a positive step’

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, DECEMBER 18 — The Arab League on Thursday expressed the hope that the US would not veto a UN Security Council resolution on Palestine “to put an end to the Israeli occupation within a set timeline”, said Assistant Undersecretary for Palestinian Affairs Muhammad Sabieh.

Sabieh praised the European Parliament decision to recognize the State of Palestine, calling it a “positive step”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

The Fourth Geneva Convention Calumny Against Israel

If the EU court rulings on Hamas and the European Parliament vote on “in principal” recognition of a Palestinian state weren’t enough ‘gifts’ on Hanukkah for Israel, there was the third calumny. That was the approval of a declaration by the Geneva Convention Conference stigmatizing Israeli ‘Occupation” and “illegal settlements” in the West Bank. See our Iconoclast post yesterday, “Sound an Alarm this Hanukkah”.

The Geneva Convention, an outgrowth of a Swiss initiative in the 19th Century, had been negotiated with 196 nations following WWII. The Conventions endeavored to codify “the standards of international humanitarian law in time of war and occupation.” The objective of the Geneva Conventions was to “limit the barbarity of war and protect those who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).”

Why Israel was singled out for this latest Geneva Convention conference rather the Sunni Muslim extremist Islamic State, which has clearly violated the Convention in its barbaric treatment of civilians and prisoners, is mind numbing, yet clearly political. To the Palestinians, their supporters in the Arab League and the member states of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the barbarity of their Sunni brothers of the Islamic State is of no moment. It’s about Jewish Israel willfully defending itself against such violators of the Conventions like Hamas and the PA PLO-Fatah Al Aqsa Brigade in both Gaza and the West Bank. Very Orwellian. Clearly, Europe has forgotten its post-Shoah obligation in support of the Jewish nation. Given the rise of Antisemitism, largely driven by accommodation of burgeoning European Muslim émigré communities’, yesterday’s outcome in Geneva was predictable. The ‘presumptive ‘state of Palestine’ hypocritically acceded to the Conventions in early April 2014, after 25 years seeking membership.

Israel severely criticized and boycotted yesterday’s proceedings on the grounds that Palestine is not a universally recognized state, “complicating possible peace talks”. The Jewish nation had the support of both Canada and the US.

The clear-eyed and usually astute Khaled Abu Tomah offers these comments in a Gatestone Institute article that clearly illustrate the European hypocrisy in honoring the Palestinian requests to throw Israel under the bus, EU Backs Palestinian Dictatorship:

These European parliaments are also turning a blind eye to the fact that, under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, there is no respect for the rule of law, free speech, transparency or accountability.

Sic transit ignominia Europa.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]
 

Crucifixion and Lashes in ISIS Penal Code Online

Death for blasphemy, adultery and homosexuality

(ANSAmed) — ROME, DECEMBER 18 — The Islamic State (ISIS) continue in their efforts to constitute a ‘true state’.

After minting their own currency and brutal warnings to ‘their’ people, they have now published a sort of ‘penal code’ detailing punishments for specific crimes. Blasphemy carries a death sentence in the code, even in the case of repentance, as does adultery, which leads to stoning to death if the perpetrator was married and 100 lashes and exile if he or she were unmarried. Those guilty of sodomy — including homosexuality — will also be killed, even for those suffering it as victims, as will those “spying for the unbelievers”. Those who kill and steal will be crucified, and those who only kill will be executed but not crucified. Those found guilty of ‘banditry’ will have a hand and a leg amputated, while petty thieves will only lose a hand. Dozens of lashes are prescribed for those who drink alcohol, steal and slander. The code, reports the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which found it online in recent days, is “a warning and a reminder to the people living under its rule” and makes reference to Sharia law, as they interpret it.

ISIS has instead been called “godless” by the main Muslim religious authorities. The jihadist group that has vast swaths of Iraq and Syria under its control also “reaffirmed its commitment to enforce it vigilantly”, and began the code with several Quranic verses in which it stresses Muslims’ obligation to obey the Sharia. ISIS has also in the past issued a code for journalists wanting to work in its territory and one for the treatment of “slaves”, especially women and children.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Erdogan is Crushing Turkey’s Media in His Bid for Untrammelled Power

The widespread arrest of journalists in Turkey has been condemned, but Erdogan doesn’t care — a critical press is his main obstacle to re-election

Sunday’s round of arrests in Turkey, which included the editor-in-chief of Turkey’s largest daily newspaper, Zaman, the head of a TV channel and other journalists, comes as no surprise, as President Erdogan spoke on Friday of a showdown with government critics.

As I am a regular commentator on Turkish affairs in the Danish and international press — and a frequent contributor to Today’s Zaman, the English-language edition of Zaman — the government’s latest move comes uncomfortably close.

Zaman is considered to be the flagship of the Gülen movement, which has now been declared public enemy number one.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Iraq Jihadists Behead Man on Sorcery Charges

The Islamic State group on Thursday beheaded a man publicly on charges that he was a “sorcerer”, north of their bastion of Tikrit, the jihadist organisation and residents said.

The group released pictures of the execution on a square in Nahyat al-Alam, a town a few kilometres north of Tikrit.

One picture showed what the IS statement called “talismans” found in the victim’s possession but appear to be nothing more than prayer beads and a green Shiite banner.

Some residents who spoke to AFP said the executed man was a Sunni who had recently joined the police in Samarra, a town further south which is under government control…

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

ISIS Fighters Now in Golan Heights Near Israeli Border

3 rebel groups near Deraa pledge allegiance to Baghdadi

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, DECEMBER 18 — Islamic State (ISIS) forces are now in the Golan Heights area near Syria’s border with Israel, reported Haaretz in quoting Arab media outlets on Thursday. The daily noted that three local jihadist groups fighting the Assad regime in the southern Golan had pledged allegiance this week to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The three groups, reported the sources, are Shuhada Al-Yarmouk, the Abu Mohammed Al-Tilawi Brigade and Bayt Al-Maqdis. All three are said to be concentrated around Deraa, the city in southern Syria where the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime began. The city is several dozen kilometers from the Israel border but — reports Haaretz — some of the fighters have taken up positions only a few kilometers from the border.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

OPEC Signals Wait and See Approach That Could Last a Year

(AGI) Doha, Dec 17 — Core Gulf OPEC oil producers signalled that they are prepared to wait as long as six months to a year to see the market stabilise, adopting a wait and see strategy.

“The market takes time, it’s like a big gigantic ship,” Suhail Bin Mohammed al-Mazroui, oil minister of the United Arab Emirates, said on Monday. “If the market takes three months, six months, a year to balance and then that would help all of us because we will all have a more mature stabilised market.

Then (so) be it,” he added. Qatar also echoed this sentiment.

“We need to watch the market closely, but it will settle eventually,” said Qatar’s oil minister, Mohammed al-Sada. Oil prices meanwhile continued to fall on Wednesday, with Brent dropping back to below 60 dollars a barrel. Light crude futures fell 42 cents to 55.51 dollars, while Brent lost 23 cents to 59.78 dollars on Asian markets. Prices were depressed by excess supplies.

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

Syria: Over 230 Bodies in a Mass Grave: Massacred by Islamic State

The carnage took place in August in the village of Kashkiya, in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour. The bodies belong to members of the Sheitat tribe and are the vast majority are not fighters. The tribe leaders did not want to ally with jihadi militias; the revenge of the terrorists caused the death of at least 900 people.

Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The militias of the Islamic State (IS) have killed over 230 people and thrown their bodies into a mass grave in the village of Kashkiya, in eastern Syria. “Most of them were civilians”. According to reports by activists of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights the victims are members of a tribe who fought last summer against the jihadist movement in the province of Deir al-Zour. The mass grave was discovered after IS leaders allowed remaining members of the Sheitat tribe to return to their homes. A concession announced by their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on condition they surrender and under the threat of killing any “traitors”.

Last month, the United Nations had published reports from sources within the country, that spoke of massacres that took place last August in the area. According to experts the carnage is the result of a retaliation perpetrated by the jihadists against those whose who offered resistance; the area is of strategic importance for the terrorists who want control of the oil resources around the town of Mohassan.

A survivor spoke of the horrors perpetrated by the Islamist militias, who “hung many corpses on the walls, while I and my family were trying desperately to escape.” As evidence of jihadist violence, several videos have been posted on the web showing mass beheadings carried out against members of the Sheitat tribe.

In the images you can see some of the fighters mocking the victims before killing them during scenes of mass executions; in some cases, the terrorists removed injured people from their hospital beds before beheading them. The mass killings are reportedly in response to the interruption of negotiations between the two sides, after the refusal expressed by leaders and elders of the tribe to provide their support to the militants.

Yesterday’s discovery brings the number of Sheitat tribe members killed over the summer to 900.

Since the beginning of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al Assad, in 2011, over 3.2 million people have fled Syria and other 7.6 million are internally displaced. There are at least 200 thousand victims of the conflict, many of them civilians. All the brutality and violence of the Islamic State emerged for the first time in the Spring of 2013 within the context of the Syrian conflict. Since then IS began its rapid advance in the territories of the region, taking large chunks of territory from Damascus and Baghdad, and imposing a full scale reign of terror.

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

Syria: Austrian Jihad Teen Girl ‘Likely Killed’

According to David Scharia, a senior Israeli expert of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTED), one of the two teenage girls who fled to Syria in Spring to join the jihad has been killed in fighting.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Turkey: Ottoman Language Keyboard Attracts Great Interest

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, DECEMBER 18 — A Quran printing company in Turkey has produced an Ottoman Turkish keyboard which is attracting great interest, the company’s chief executive was quoted as saying. The language has seen a marked increase of interest in the recent years, and it will soon become a required course for high school students. The chief executive of the Ar-Ge Quran printing company, Ali Yildiz, told the Anadolu Agency (AA) that the company decided last year to produce at least 4,000 keyboards with Ottoman Turkish characters. According to Yildiz, thousands of people are now taking Ottoman Turkish language courses. “The only difference between the languages is that the Ottoman Turkish language uses the Quran alphabet instead of the Latin,” Yildiz told the AA.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Gender Project Financed by Sweden Launches in Ukraine

On December 9, the Sida funded project “Gender Budgeting in Ukraine”(GRB project) organized its first meeting with all the project coordinators, who had been designated by the different oblast administrations. The meeting was held in cooperation with the main partner of the project, the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance. The aim of the GRB project is to build capacity of Ministry of Finance, line ministries and oblast and city administrations to introduce gender equality aspects in the budget process at all levels of the government.

The project goal is to increase economic efficiency and transparency of budget expenditures by ensuring that real needs and priorities of men and women are addressed through the budget. The project will deal with all the oblasts of Ukraine, as well as Kyiv city, and will guide through a step-by-step process towards gender responsive budgeting, starting from gender analysis of selected budget programs, to approbation of results and recommendations, and, finally, introduction of a gender equality aspect in budget documents and processes.

The cooperation already started with the first pilot oblasts; Ivano-Frankivsk, Zhytomyr, Kherson, Kharkiv and Kyiv city, while other oblasts will be included in the process in the years to come. The implementation of the GRB project is planned to be in place until the end of 2018.

[Return to headlines]
 

Merkel Says Russia Sanctions ‘Unavoidable’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Thursday that sanctions against Russia remain “unavoidable” until Ukraine regains its sovereignty and independence.

She was speaking after the rouble hit an all-time low this week, due to both Western sanctions and the plummeting oil price.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Putin Promises Economic Recovery, Remains Defiant Over Western Sanctions

In his year-end news conference on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said measures had been adopted to turn the country’s slowing economy around, while insisting his position on Ukraine had not shifted in the wake of Western sanctions.

Putin, facing the worst financial crisis of his rule, tried to dispel fears of an eventual economic collapse or political crisis as he addressed the massive annual news conference in Moscow.

The Russian leader said that the economic downturn would last two years at most and promised to support the poorest sectors of the population.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Indonesia: Central Java: Islamist Threat: Scrap Christmas Symbols and No Celebrations

Dozens of Islamic extremists of the Sukaharjo District attacked three shops in Solo. The group has forced retailers not to allow employees to wear Christmas symbols or to promote celebrations. The Mayor of Banda Aceh issued a public announcement prohibiting Muslims to attend Christian events.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Dozens of Islamic extremists in the Sukaharjo District have attacked three shopping centers in Solo, better known as Surakarta in Central Java, because they were selling and promoting items, clothing and events related to Christmas. The group has told the owners and managers of commercial activities, not to “force” Muslim employees to wear or use clothing or other items related to the Christian festivity in this high-season shopping period. After the province of Aceh, the only one in which Sharia law is implemented, a radical vision of faith is on the increase in other parts of Indonesia as well, as is the intention to introduce legislation or regulations relating to customs derived from Islamic law.

There are five local hard-line groups behind the raids which took place on the evening of 15 December against the Solo shops that exhibited items relating to Christmas. They are Surakarta’s Sharia Council (DSKS), The Islamic Warrior Group of Surakarta (LUIS), Al Ishlah Brigade, the Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid and the Jemaah Ansarus Sharia. The Solo Paragon Lifestlye Mall, the Solo Grand Mall and the Luwes Shop in Kartasura were the targets of the “attention” of the promoters of the Islamic morals.

After bursting into the shops, they imposed a ban on the retailers prohibiting them to wear or display any Christmas item, even if for mere commercial reasons.

In recent years it has become common practice in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, to put up Christmas and New Year symbols, also amongst the shopkeepers. The group’s spokesman, Endro Sudarsono, said that the three retail business groups have pledged to revue and evaluate their sales policy.

However intimidation on the part of the Islamic hard-liners are not limited to retailers: last week a Muslim leader in Jakarta calling on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo not to take part in any Christmas celebration sponsored by Catholics or Christians. He asks that celebrations be low-key to not disturb the sensibility of Muslims. Meanwhile in Aceh, prohibitions to celebrate Christmas are law: last week the Mayor of Banda Aceh, Illiza Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal, issued a municipal regulation that forbids Muslims to join and participate in any event and Christmas service which may be organized in Aceh.

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

Pakistan Lifts Moratorium on Death Penalty

(AGI) Islamabad, Dec 17 — A day after the attack on a school in Peshawar, the Pakistani government has lifted the moratorium on the death penalty for crimes linked to terrorism, a statement from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office said. This is the first concrete reaction to the bloody Taliban attack that killed 141 people on Monday, almost all of them children. The headline on the front page of Pakistan’s daily English-language newspaper Express Tribune read “Our 9/11”. Meanwhile, two grenades exploded outside a girls’ school in Dera Ismail Khan on Wednesday. Local media reported that there were no casualties. Dera Ismail Khan is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the capital of which is Peshawar, the city in which Tuesday’s horrific attack took place.

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

Boko Haram Kidnaps at Least 185 People in Nigeria

Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 185 people from the northeast Nigeria village of Gumsuri, carting the hostages away on trucks towards the Sambisa Forest, a notorious rebel stronghold, two local officials and a vigilante leader said Thursday.

The mass abduction occurred Sunday. Both officials, who requested anonymity, said the local government established the number of people abducted by contacting families, ward heads and emirs.

A vigilante leader based in the Borno state capital Maiduguri, Usman Kakani, told AFP that civilian fighters who were in Gumsuri during the attack provided a figure of 191 abducted, including women, girls and boys.

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

Cameroon Army ‘Kills 116 Boko Haram Fighters’

Cameroon’s army said Thursday its troops had killed 116 Nigerian fighters from the Islamist Boko Haram group in the far north.

Insurgents attacked an army base in Amchide on the border with Nigeria on Wednesday, but soldiers repelled them, inflicting heavy losses, the defence ministry said.

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

Luis Fleischman: Sanctions on Venezuelan Human Rights Violators: A New Momentum to be Seized

On December 11th the U.S House of Representatives signed a bill, which will impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials found to have in violation of human rights in Venezuela.

On December 8th, The Senate passed a similar bill after a long delay.

According to signals given by the White House, President Barack Obama is likely to sign the bill.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ross Lethinen (R- FL) and by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fl), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) imposes visa restrictions, freezing of assets, and other types of targeted sanctions on persons responsible for violations of human rights of anti-government protesters in Venezuela. The bill also calls for coordination between the other member states within the Organization of American States, as well as the countries of the European Union, to ensure the peaceful resolution of the current situation in Venezuela”. Likewise, it calls “to hold accountable government and security officials in Venezuela responsible for or complicit in the use of force in relation to the anti-government protests that began on February 12, 2014, and similar future acts of violence”; and “to continue to support the development of democratic political processes and independent civil society in Venezuela”.

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France: Hollande Hails Benefits of Immigration in Swipe at Sarkozy

French President François Hollande delivered a rare and passionate defence of the benefits of immigration as he formally inaugurated France’s first immigration museum, seven years after its hushed opening under his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Striking a defiant tone, Hollande urged the French not to give in to scaremongers and prophets of doom, “who dream of a smaller, spiteful, retreating France — a France that is no longer France.” In a thinly veiled reference to his predecessor, who bore little love for the museum, Hollande remarked that “seven years is a long wait for an inauguration”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Italy Probes ISIS Arrivals Among Boat Migrants

Prosecutors in Palermo have opened an investigation into the possible infiltration of members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) jihadist group among boat migrants arriving in Sicily.

Over 150,000 boat migrants have arrived in Italy this year, according to the most recent figures in October.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

10 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/18/2014

  1. Europe will be a bloodbath very soon believe me. Even rhough the foolish deniers will continue to ignore it! Yet once again bloody “Socialists” wreck Europe. Hitler and Satlin take your choice and the EU is still “Socialist”. Perhaps as a Bishop I should not say this but I loathe and hate them. Socialism and Islam should be proscribed ideologies and their adherents be put into a blue funk even for thinking Socialist thoghts. They need a rast of their own medicine the B*******s!

      • Bishop, there are different forms of socialism. One is democratically chosen by the people; it worked well in Sweden until recently.

        • So socialism can definitely work then? The Godlessness and dead masses are just the “cost of doing business” (pun) between world wars until we hit the right note?

          • “Godlessness”? How is it, Free Spirit (an odd name, as you seem to deny people the right to exercise the free will your God presumably gave them), that you cannot see that the freedom and tolerance we enjoy stem from the secular Enlightenment, even if our Judeo-Christian heritage prepared the fertile ground in which it grew?

        • And in Norway, and Denmark.
          With regime change there is now hope in Norway; the Nordic country which has suffered most, but the Danes are dragging their feet, and Sweden………………OMG!

  2. “The plumber says he has no idea how the truck ended up in Syria.”

    I know how the truck ended up in Syria: “Uncle Sam”

  3. My guess is that right now the big divisions of our future armed forces are getting psyched up on soccer, football and technology. I shudder to think how bothersome those millions of boots on the ground and God given creative Spirits will be for the deniers. Having cash stashed here and there won’t be much use.

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