Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/11/2015

A lot of British media coverage has been devoted to a petition on Parliament’s website calling for Donald Trump to be banned from the UK, which has received more than 450,000 signatures so far. However, there is almost no mention of another petition — which has received almost as many signatures — calling for the closing of the country’s borders.

In migration news, the number of asylum applications in Italy rose by 91% during the third quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the first planeload of Syrian “refugees” landed in Canada, and was greeted by Prime Minister Justin “Baby Doc” Trudeau.

In other news, the Dutch politician Geert Wilders endorsed the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, and echoed Mr. Trump’s call for no more Muslims.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Dora, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, Nick, Vederso, 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
» Italy: New Mgmt at ‘Saved’ Banks to Make 2.4mn a Year
» Italy: Govt Didn’t Underestimate Bank Risks — Zanetti
» DHS Whistleblower: We Had Information That Might Have Prevented San Bernardino Massacre
» Obama Prisoner Swap With Gitmo Detainees is Illegal — Congressional Report
Europe and the EU
» Europe Needs Italy to Remind it of Its Values Says Renzi
» Free-Range Turkey? Europeans Horrified at Idea of Open Border With Ankara
» Geert Wilders Endorses Donald Trump, Also Demands No More Muslims
» ISIS Tanks Threaten Colosseum in New Video
» Italy: Salvini Says Will Visit Putin Next Week
» Italy Ranks Third in EU for Money Sent Abroad, Says Eurostat
» Italy: Take-Away Food Shops Up 37% Since 2009, Report Says
» Italy: Police Seize Documents in Bondholder Suicide
» Italy: Islamic Leaders and Focolare to Join for Pope’s Angelus
» Over 400 German Islamists Are Ready to Attack ‘At Any Moment’
» UK: Claim: Left Wing ‘Counter Jihad’ Report Chief Met With Ex-EDL Leader, ‘Apologised’ For Not Taking Islamism Seriously
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: Answering John Kerry
» ‘If PA Fails: Darkness and ISIS Will Come’, Says Erekat
Middle East
» Iraq: Patriarch of Baghdad: Defeat of Islamic State Requires Ground Troops, Religious Freedom and Secularism
» ISIS: ‘Mastermind’ of Attacks in Ankara, Suruc Identified
» Jailed for “Insulting Islam,” Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Goes on a Hunger Strike
» Sick ‘Aura of Romance’ Behind Daesh’s Successes Recruiting New Fighters
» US Aware of Turkish Purchases of IS Oil, Wants to Keep Ties With Turkey
» Europe Kicks the Can on Russian Sanctions Decision
South Asia
» Two Killed in Kyrgyzstan ‘Anti-Terror Operation’
» US Sergeant Jailed for Taking Bribes From Afghan Aid Contractors
Latin America
» Luis Fleischman & Nancy Menges: The Challenge After the Venezuelan Elections to the Region and the United States
» Asylum Requests in Italy Rise by 91% in Third Quarter
» EC Opens Migrants Infraction Procedure Against Italy
» Europe Feels Fallout From Merkel Migrant Magnanimity
» First Planeload of Syrian Refugees Arrives in Canada
» Italy: Unlike Others, Doesn’t Forget Migrants — Renzi
» UK: Poll the BBC Told You About… And the One They Didn’t

Italy: New Mgmt at ‘Saved’ Banks to Make 2.4mn a Year

Four lenders ‘saved’ by govt decree

(ANSA) — Milan, December 9 — New management at four struggling lenders saved by a November government decree will make a total of 2.4 million euros a year, sources said Wednesday. The executives and new board members of Banca delle Marche, Banca Popolare dell’Etruria e del Lazio, Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia di Chieti and Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara will make an average of 600,000 euros a year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Govt Didn’t Underestimate Bank Risks — Zanetti

‘Rescued many other savers, staff’ says undersecretary

(ANSA) — Rome, December 11 — The government did not underestimate the risks attached to four small banks it recently rescued leaving thousands of shareholders and bondholders — one of whom committed suicide — with their savings up in smoke, Economy Undersecretary Enrico Zanetti said Friday. “The government did not underestimate the risks, they were banks that had been put into administration some time before, and without our intervention many other savers and staff would not have been saved,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

DHS Whistleblower: We Had Information That Might Have Prevented San Bernardino Massacre

Phillip Haney, former DHS counterterrorism intelligence expert was interviewed on Fox News, The Kelly File, Thursday night, December 10, 2015. He claimed his Intelligence Review Unit (IRU) had compiled information that identified a group of 300 potential jihadis involved with the Pakistani Deobandi Salafist movement including the Al Huda women’s Islamic Institute with schools in Pakistan, Canada and the US. We have written about Tashfeen Malik’s attendance at the Al- Huda madrassa in Multan, Pakistan. She had also allegedly been a supporter of the Imam of the extremist Red Mosque in Islamabad. According to reports from CBC News, three girls and a woman who were students at the Al-Huda Islamic Institute in Mississauga, Ontario had left Canada endeavoring to join Isis in Syria.

Haney also tracked Deobandi Mosques here in the US including the Dar al Uloom Al Islamlyah-Amer in San Bernardino, California where Sayed Razwin Farook, Malik’s late husband and co-perpetrator of the massacre on December 2nd, had been a member. Haney alleges that his DHS IRU after receiving a commendation for its findings was asked by the State Department to cease its profiling of Islamic organizations. Haney claims that based on the information his IRU had compiled Farook would have been put on a no fly list and Ms. Malik would have been denied a K 1 fiancée Visa. We note that Haney says that because of State and civil rights group complaints the data was destroyed after funding of the surveillance program ended in 2012. Doubtless more will be forthcoming about Haney’s accusations.

A Fox News Insider Report on the Haney interview reported:…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Obama Prisoner Swap With Gitmo Detainees is Illegal — Congressional Report

Republican lawmakers accused President Barack Obama of misleading Congress and violating federal law during the exchange of five Guantanamo Bay inmates for a US Army soldier accused of desertion.

In a report released on Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee found that the Obama administration “clearly broke the law” by failing to notify Congress of the transfer of the prisoners from the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The report also suggested that the administration put politics ahead of procedure and facilitated the exchange as part of Obama’s longstanding plan to close the controversial prison. Many Republicans strongly oppose the plan.

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl disappeared on June 30, 2009, from a US outpost in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban. He was freed in 2014 in a prisoner swap that sent five Taliban prisoners who were being held at Guantanamo to Qatar.

Earlier this year Bergdahl was charged with desertion.

Dissenting Democrats on the Armed Services Committee criticized the Republican-authored report, calling it “a weighted and politically motivated document that makes no serious effort to fairly assess the Administration’s perspective.”

The Obama administration has argued that it bypassed a mandated 30-day congressional notification period out of fear for Bergdahl’s life, and that it had constitutional authority to do so.

The freed detainees were among 48 prisoners that a panel commissioned by the Obama administration determined should not leave US custody. The House report maintains that releasing them in order to free a US prisoner of war was one of the best chances the Obama administration could have to release those detainees.

“The effort to transfer the Taliban Five was not merely a mechanism to recover a captive US servicemen,” the report reads. “Doing so allowed the Administration to rid itself of five of the most dangerous and problematic detainees.”

Obama campaigned on a pledge to close the prison, but has yet to send Congress a long-promised plan to close the facility. It appears unlikely he will be able to close the prison before he leaves office in 2017.

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

Europe Needs Italy to Remind it of Its Values Says Renzi

EU ‘not just a collection of algorithms and parameters’

(supersedes previous)(ANSA) — Rome, December 11 — Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday Europe needs Italy to remind it what it stands for. “Europe needs Italy to…make itself heard not in terms of making claims but of recalling what Europe is and must be,” he said in a speech at the Lincean Academy, a science academy founded in 1603. “Europe is not an ensemble of algorithms and parameters but a response imagined by its founding fathers — a model that was to guarantee peace…and act as a guiding light for civilization,” the premier said. As far as Italy is concerned, his administration is looking to the future and not just overhauling the country to fix the mistakes of the past.

“The government is doing its part,” the center-left premier said. “Some may like it and others may not, but we are determined to carry on with our reforms…we’re not here to put a patch on things — we want to have a vision for the years to come”.

GDP growth is secondary to the fact that the country has just emerged from recession, Renzi added.

“Italy is coming out of a three-year recession,” he said.

“The fact that growth may be 0.8% this year and one something next year is secondary…finally this country has taken back its own future”. Renzi also mentioned the fate of the Milan site of the six-month Expo world’s fair that ended in October. “It is key that the post-Expo area not be simply a condominium of public and private interests but a place with soul that can study how to reconcile quality of life with longer life expectancy, considering that we’re second in the world for longevity,” the premier said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Free-Range Turkey? Europeans Horrified at Idea of Open Border With Ankara

While claiming that they want Turkey in the ranks of the EU, European leaders are in fact horrified at the prospect of the citizens of a country with a mostly-Muslim population having free movement throughout the Union; however, the fear of a huge influx of refugees has forced them to make deals with Ankara, according to Politico magazine.

“What we are witnessing is hypocrisy on multiple levels,” reporter Hugo Dixon writes in his opinion piece for the magazine.

The author refers to a two-part deal between the EU and Turkey reached at a summit on November 29. According to it, the EU promised Ankara cash and visa-free travel for its citizens in return for stemming the flow of migrants from Turkey into the EU. The second involved re-energizing talks for Turkey to join the club.

In the past, the author explains, EU accession talks have been a tool for countries with “illiberal backgrounds to make a transition to democracy, rule of law and human rights.” The EU sets a series of conditions countries need to meet in order to join the club and their leaders then beaver away for years to satisfy them.

The above process worked well with a number of countries, including Greece, Portugal and a number of the Eastern European countries.

“With Turkey, though, the process isn’t working,” he says.

The reason is, the author elaborates, that the EU isn’t sincere about wanting Turkey in the club, while Erdogan has no intention of making the reforms needed to join.

“The EU pretends to want Turkey as a member but many of its citizens would be horrified at the prospect of a country of 78 million people, most of them Muslims, having free movement throughout the Union. Liberal values, of course, include non-discrimination on the basis of religion, but the EU may lack the courage of its convictions when it comes to Islam.”

The EU also pretends to care about democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Turkey, the author states. But it barely mentions these, fearing that doing so would “infuriate Sultan Erdogan and make him less amenable to slowing the flow of refugees.”

However, the journalist says, “Turkey is becoming more illiberal and authoritarian under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

Instead of hypocrisy, the European leaders should genuinely work on Turkey joining the EU but, in that case, they will call Erdogan out whenever he fails to meet the required standards.

“What they shouldn’t do is continue with the current course that involves a transactional relationship dressed up as part of an accession process that nobody really believes in.”

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

Geert Wilders Endorses Donald Trump, Also Demands No More Muslims

Mr. Wilders made similar comments this November, demanding Europe close its borders to Muslims, which increased his popularity in the Netherlands.

“I hope [Donald Trump] will be the next US President. Good for America, good for Europe. We need brave leaders”, he tweeted on the 7th of December, the day Trump announced the policy.

He also re-Tweeted Trump’s announcement; “Just put out a very important policy statement on the extraordinary influx of hatred & danger coming into our country. We must be vigilant!”

I hope @realDonaldTrump will be the next US President. Good for America, good for Europe. We need brave leaders.

— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) December 7, 2015…

           — Hat tip: Vederso [Return to headlines]

ISIS Tanks Threaten Colosseum in New Video

St Peter’s, Piazza Navona, Altare della Patria also shown

(ANSA) — Rome, December 11 — ISIS on Friday posted a new video showing three tanks advancing towards the Colosseum as well as shots of St Peter’s, Piazza Navona and the Altare della Patria in Piazza Venezia. A voiceover mentions “the armies of Rome”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Salvini Says Will Visit Putin Next Week

Rightwinger ‘admires Putin’s firmness’

(ANSA) — Rome, December 9 — Rightwing leader Matteo Salvini said Wednesday he will visit Russian President Vladimir Putin next week because he is against “blocs”. “I am not anti-Western but I don’t believe in blocs, and I believe the role of NATO should be up for debate,” Salvini said at the launch of his book, The Salvini Method. The chief of the anti-immigrant Northern League party said he admires Putin’s “clear ideas, firmness, courage, interventionism, and a vision of society based on cardinal concepts, which I share”.

Salvini also said he met with the Russian chief in Milan, and the fact that Putin chose the League as its sole interlocutor at the time “says it all”.

“Putin has no defects!” Salvini said, adding that the League is against sanctioning Russia for annexing the Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula last year and its actions in eastern Ukraine and supports its motion to have the sanctions lifted.

“I know Russia loves made-in-Italy products and we’re missing out on billions in turnover (because of the sanctions),” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Ranks Third in EU for Money Sent Abroad, Says Eurostat

6.3 bn euros sent to non-EU countries in 2014

(ANSA) — Brussels, December 9 — Italy ranks third among EU countries for remittances sent to non-EU countries, said Eurostat on Wednesday.

The statistics bureau said in 2014, 6.5 billion euros in personal transfers left Italy for non-EU countries, following France with 9.4 billion and the UK with 6.8 billion.

“The majority of personal transfers consist of flows of money sent by migrants to their country of origin,” the report said.

Italy ranked fourth for incoming transfers, which totaled 2.1 billion euros in 2014, following Portugal, Poland, and the UK.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Take-Away Food Shops Up 37% Since 2009, Report Says

Hardware shops, boutiques, bookshops down 10%

(ANSA) — Rome, December 4 — The mix of street-level shops in Italy’s urban centres has trended towards prepared food since 2009, with a 37% increase in take-away food shops and a more than 10% decrease in hardware shops, boutiques, bookshops and butcher shops, Censis said Friday.

Also on the rise over the past six years are restaurants (up 15.5%), coffee bars (+10%), and gelato-pastry shops (+8%).

The research institute said the increases are due to low start-up costs, foreigners’ initiative, and the pervasiveness of food in daily life.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Seize Documents in Bondholder Suicide

Luigi D’Angelo killed self Nov 28

(ANSA) — Rome, December 11 — Police on Friday seized documents from recently rescued Banca Etruria in connection with the suicide of one of its bondholders, Luigi D’Angelo.

Prosecutors said they would be questioning bank officials.

D’Angelo hanged himself November 28 after losing his life savings. Banca Etruria is one of four crisis-hit small lenders rescued on November 22, hitting shareholders and bondholders.

The government is putting together a ‘humanitarian’ package for the worst-hit of them.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Islamic Leaders and Focolare to Join for Pope’s Angelus

About 400 people to show solidarity at Sunday event

(ANSA) — Rome, December 11 — Islamic community leaders from across Italy and members of the country’s ecumenical Focolare Movement, in a show of solidarity between Muslims and Christians, plan to attend the Pope’s Angelus prayer and blessing in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.

In all, about 400 people are expected to gather and later attend an afternoon meeting at Rome’s Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum to discuss terrorism and current issues facing Italy, Syria, and France, “highlighting possible avenues towards an inclusive society enriched by diversity,” event organisers said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Over 400 German Islamists Are Ready to Attack ‘At Any Moment’

Around 430 violent jihadists are ready to launch attacks in Germany at any moment, according to the head of the country’s internal security agency.

Germany has over 1,100 violent Islamists, of whom 430 are considered so dangerous that they could attack at any moment, the head of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, said in an interview with MDR television.

The number appears to be an estimate of people tracked by the BfV and considered violently dangerous. The BfV head noted that the number of Salafists, a term for Islamic fundamentalists with jihadi aims, has risen rapidly in Germany amid the refugee crisis.

“There are currently around 8,350 Salafists in Germany. The number has risen rapidly in recent months. At the end of September, the number was 7,900,” Maassen said.

Maassen added that he wants refugees arriving in the country to act as informants on potential terrorists, saying that tip-offs do not mean “denunciation.” The BfV has relied on informants to go after far-right extremists and potential jihadists, according to the official.

According to Maassen, Germany has long been a focus of Daesh (also known as ISIL/ISIS) and al-Qaeda terrorist groups.

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

UK: Claim: Left Wing ‘Counter Jihad’ Report Chief Met With Ex-EDL Leader, ‘Apologised’ For Not Taking Islamism Seriously

According to a report in Mr. Robinson’s new book, “Enemy of the State”, Nick Lowles of the Hope Not Hate group visited the former EDL leader. Mr. Robinson writes in his book:

I also got a visit from Nick Lowles, who runs the far left “Hope not Hate’ anti-racism and anti-fascism group. They’ve never missed a single opportunity to give it to me and the EDL. However Lowles was full of surprises. He came and apologised, said that they had underestimated the threat to us of radical Islam.

Basically, he said that we had a point, that grooming, ISIS, everything we are seeing, is a huge problem. Wonders never cease. I asked him out of interest about the area he lives in, its ethnic make-up and how he’d feel sending his kids to a school that was 80% Muslim.

I think he got it. He still hates the far right — but so do I!

Mr. Lowles denies apologising to Mr. Robinson, telling Breitbart London: “I did not apologise to Stephen [Yaxley-Lennon — Mr. Robinson’s real name]…

           — Hat tip: Dora [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: Answering John Kerry

On Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech before the Brookings Institute’s Saban Forum. Kerry focused on the Palestinian conflict with Israel and sought to draw a distinction between the two-state policy model, which he supports, and the one-state policy model, which he rejects.

To justify his rejection of a policy based on Israeli sovereignty over areas beyond the 1949 armistice lines, Kerry raised a series of questions about what a one-state policy would look like.

I answered all of his questions, as well as many others, in great detail in my book The Israeli Solution: A One- State Plan for Peace in the Middle East. I will do so again here, albeit with the requisite brevity.

But before discussing the specific questions Kerry raised with regard to the one-state model, it is important to discuss the nature of the policies Kerry described in his speech…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

‘If PA Fails: Darkness and ISIS Will Come’, Says Erekat

‘Israel wants safe peace, not another Gaza’, Minister Shalom

(by Elisa Pinna) — ROME — Chief Palestinian negotiator Saed Erekat said Friday at the Med Forum in the Italian capital that Israel has pushed the current moderate leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the verge of collapse and total delegitimization. Erekat, who is also the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary, added that he saw a “dark future” if the international community does not force Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu into an agreement foreseeing a two-state solution along the 1967 borders. “We have recognized Israel and promised our population that this would have led to a Palestinian state. However, Israel continues to not want to recognize us and we are living in a regime of occupation and apartheid.” “If the PA is weakened further by Israel’s attitude, the Islamic State (ISIS) will arrive in the Palestinian Territories and the conflict — which up until now has been kept at the political level — will become religious: between a Jewish state and an Islamic one,” Erekat warned. “It will be the abyss.” Head Israeli negotiator Silvan Shalom — current deputy prime minister and interior minister — was in the same hall of the conference on the future of the Mediterranean organized by the Italian government. The Palestinian and the Israeli negotiators — given the problematic relations between the two following a failed mediation attempt by US Secretary of State John Kerry — took turns on the stage and will neither debate nor sit facing one another. In his speech, Shalom said that Erekat and PA president Mahmoud Abbas are “excellent people”, but asked who would ensure Israel that their successors would abide by any peace agreements. The concern, he said, is that a similar situation as to what happened in Gaza will transpire, when Israeli settlers were pulled out and the Gaza Strip “was supposed to become a sort of Principality of Monaco” and instead “was taken over by a coup d’etat by Hamas”, becoming a base for launching missiles at Israel. Shalom said that Hamas, “a component of Palestinian politics, is no different from ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah”, all of which are “terrorist groups that surround Israel and that aim to destroy it.” “If we reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians,” Shalom said, “we want it to last forever. But how can it last if the PA itself continues to pay salaries to terrorists from the First and Second Intifadas in Israeli jails, and if Palestinian children”, citing a recent Palestinian television program’s investigation, “dream of becoming engineers to invent something that destroys Jews?”. The minister then reiterated Israel’s willingness to collaborate with Palestinians and suggested setting up a committee tasked with rebuilding confidence between the two populations ahead of a possible resumption of peace talks. Palestinian negotiator Erekat noted his concerns about the timeline, however, saying that “one can no longer speak about what is ‘possible’. One must speak about what is ‘necessary’.

And a two-state agreement on the basis of the 1967 borders is necessary”. Otherwise, he warned, “bloodshed will be on the way” and “we may all end up in darkness”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Iraq: Patriarch of Baghdad: Defeat of Islamic State Requires Ground Troops, Religious Freedom and Secularism

Mar Sako recently participated in a conference dedicated to the situation of Christians in Iraq and Syria, which “is deteriorating.” The Patriarch calls for a freeze on jihadist finances and clear separation between state and religion. Christians are rooted in their homeland and respect Muslims.

Rome (AsiaNews) — The only way that the Islamic State can be defeated is through ground troops, a freeze on their financial sources and those of other terrorist groups; a united front against “all forms of extremism, of hatred, of violence” and common commitment to the principle of religious freedom and full citizenship of all the souls of the country, including the Christian minority.

These are some of the concrete proposals put forward by Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, to counter violence in the Middle East and especially Iraq, the theater of the advance of jihadist movements. To build a “better future”, he says, there is a need to “separate religion from the state” and separate institutions “from a religion or a cult.”

Mar Sako participated this week in a meeting in Rome dedicated to the current situation in Iraq and Syria and the Christian response to persecution. The initiative is promoted by GeorgeTown University (USA), the University of Notre Dame in Indiana (USA), the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Knights of Columbus. Here, below, the full text of Patriarch Sako’s intervention, sent to AsiaNews:


The conference is organized by GeorgeTown university (USA), the university of Notre Dame in Indiana(USA), St Igidio community and Nights Columbus ,

The them is the situation of Christians in Iraq and Syria.Participants are many countries, Pagtriarch Sako and Yonan attended the conference and gave a speech.

Rome 10-12 December 2015

Patriarch Louis Raphel Sako


The situation of Christians in several countries of the Middle East is “degrading”. Persecuting Christians has become a phenomenon today for several reasons:

1. The culture that Christianity is a religion of love, forgiveness and peace, which is against the current: culture of taking revenge.

2. The secularization became a religion in the west and the vacuum of religious values in the western society.

3. The corruption of several regimes in the Middle East and the lack of real reforms.

4. The mistakes of western policy in the Middle East in changing regimes for worst. Dictatorship is a culture in M.E. What it needs is a fair dictator!

5. The lack of formation in democracy and freedom and human rights.

6. The instability and the lack of security.

7. The raise of Islam with the goal to establish an Islamic state according to Islamic law.

Many Muslims think that Christianity has failed and they have the mission to Islamize the world because Islam is the true religion.

Today’s situation of Christians in M.E.

Unfortunately, Religious liberty is under attack in several countries of the M.E… Daesh Isis and extremists attack Christians, Yazidis and Sabeans because of their belief. They destroy anything that does not fit into their vision of Islam. Leaders of Islamic state have established three rules of trade with no Muslims: forcing people to convert to Islam, to pay a tribute (Jizyah), or to leave their house, or to be beheaded.

In one night 120.000 Christians left their homes with their clothes and now they are living in camps since one and half year, Is not a crime against humanity?

Constitutions based on religious or sectarian motivations are also incompatible with the values of human rights. Political Islam tries to impose an Islamic systematic law (al shari’a) which does not allow legally the non-Muslims to have a real participation in the political life and to have equal constitutional rights as Muslims in the administration. Today everything in Iraq has been sectarian!

The recent low approved by the Iraqi parliament in October 27, 2015 is a coercion against Christian, Yazidi and Sabean children below the age of 18, forced to convert to Islam, when one of the parents proclaims to be Muslim (Art. 26 / II). This is contrary to the values of the citizens and damages the national unity and its religious pluralism and the principle of coexistence.

The law contradicts the Koran, which declares in many verses “there can be no compulsion on the subject of religion.” In addition, many provisions of the Iraqi Constitution including Article 3, which states that “Iraq is a multi-ethnic country” with different religions and cults. Yet, art. 37 / II that “the State shall guarantee the protection of the individual from political and religious coercion.” Moreover, art. 42 that “everyone has freedom of thought, conscience and religion. And alsos it contradicts the international records on human rights “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of

Militias are also threatening Christians in Baghdad , kidnapping them for getting money and forcing them to leave their houses in order to occupy them.

It is regrettable that in such a context, Non-Muslims have little hope of a better situation in the region. The violations push Christians and other minorities to emigrate and consequently to uproot themselves from their motherland, where there were identified to! Before the collapse of Sadam’s regime, the number of Christians was about 1,400,000 persons and today they are around 500,000!


I would like to present some concrete proposals. They may serve as a roadmap to a better future in the region.

Daesh and fundamentalism are a cancer in Islamic body but also pose a real threat to all; therefore, we all together must destroy it military with troupes on the ground and defeat it ideologically in drying up the sources of funding, weaponry and feeding jihadists. Sectarianism and all other forms of extremism of hatred and violence must be condemned and eliminated.

The government has the duty to guarantee a real understanding of the relationship between citizens of the same nation and individual freedom without fears. Reforms in the political sphere should establish a civilian system based on the principle of citizenship and equality.

The government should criminalize and punish all of the activities related to contempt of religion and its holy symbols, and forms of discrimination, spreading hatred and division.

Islamic religious authorities should take their full responsibility in dismantling the takfiri ideology, by providing moderate programs of religious teaching, purifying them from hellish ideas, and respecting differences and strengthening the bonds of goodwill among citizens, and spreading a culture of harmonic social coexistence. May be we need a universal ethics against Xenophobia and fundamentalism.

The international community through United Nations should issue decrees against those who are committing such injustice against religious minorities, those who are financing and supporting this terrorist ideology. They must be brought to the international tribunal.

Freedom of religion does not mean that the state should be secular but a state with an official religion that would assure the basic rights, including the individual right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief without discrimination. Christians and other minorities should leavethe protected minority status to become full citizens.

Personally, I think the only chance to build a better future for all is to separate religion from the state and to establish a civil state away from the logic of a state governed by one religion or sect. Our society is composed of multiple religions. How one can live out his doctrine of faith when his religion is a second category. The importance is that one has to be a good citizen. Religion is a personal matter between man and God, and the belief in any religion should come out of his conviction and not of coercion.


To achieve this goal: Governments, religions and people of good will all over the world should be involved seriously to preserve and strengthen religious indivisible freedom that allows people to think, express and act upon what they freely and deeply believe. Freedom is a basic and fundamental human right for all. It is not a favor or a monopoly of a religion, or sect, or an ethnic group or of the majority. Religious freedom benefits every single person on earth, and creates good conditions for a peaceful co-existence between citizens of the same nation.

We Christians assert our attachment to our country- homeland, and we respect and love our Muslim brothers and similarly we want them to do the same thing for us.

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

ISIS: ‘Mastermind’ of Attacks in Ankara, Suruc Identified

33-year-old Turkish national, ex-member al Qaida

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, DECEMBER 11 — Turkish anti-terrorism forces have identified the alleged mastermind of ISIS attacks carried out in the country over the past few months, including attacks in Ankara and Suruc, local media report.

Media outlets identified the man as Ilhami Bali, a 33-year-old Turkish national known as the ‘ISIS customs officer’.

Arrested in 2002 on charges of being an al Qaida member, he was released three years later. In 2012, he allegedly travelled to Syria to join the al Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al Qaida, and became an effective member of ISIS one year later.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Jailed for “Insulting Islam,” Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Goes on a Hunger Strike

His wife Ensaf Haidar tweeted the news. Canada granted her and their three children political asylum. Arrested in 2012, he is serving a ten-year sentence and has to receive 1,000 lashes. On Tuesday, he stopped eating. In 2015, he received two major awards for his action in favour of freedom of thought: the Pen Pinter Prize and the Sakharov Prize, the European equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was jailed for “insulting Islam” online, began a hunger strike on Tuesday after being transferred to a new, isolated prison, this according to his wife, Ensaf Haidar.

Haidar, who lives in Canada where she and their three children were granted political asylum, confirmed the news by phone after tweeting it.

For four years, Badawi ran a blog called the Liberal Saudi Network, which encouraged online discussions on the most important current events, including politics and religion.

He was arrested in 2012, convicted and initially given a seven-year sentence and 600 lashes. Later the Court of Appeal considered the punishment too light, and so imposed a ten-year sentence, a US$ 210,000 fine, and one thousand lashes.

In June 2015, the Saudi Supreme Court upheld Badawi’s conviction of “insulting Islam by using the electronic media” via his “liberal” blog, later closed.

Badawi received the first 50 lashes in January. According to Canadian sources, he was later transferred to a different prison for “administrative reasons”.

His wife twitted the news but the information could not be independently confirmed. She also addressed an appeal to the Saudi monarch. “I call on his majesty King Salman to pardon my husband,” Haidar tweeted. “Please unite my children with their father.”

This year Raif Badawi’s action in favour of freedom of thought was recognised with two awards: the Pen Pinter Prize for “the simplicity of” his “liberal goals” and the Sakharov Prize, the European equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize.

His wife Ensaf Haidar plans to travel to France to accept the Sakharov prize on behalf of her husband during a ceremony in Strasbourg on 16 December.

Saudi Arabia applies a strict version of Islamic law (Sharia) and does not tolerate any form of political dissent.

Internet and social media such as Facebook and twitter are highly popular in the Kingdom. However, the authorities forcibly suppress all criticism, dissent or calls for change.

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

Sick ‘Aura of Romance’ Behind Daesh’s Successes Recruiting New Fighters

Earlier this week, a top US-based intelligence agency reported that the number of foreign fighters fighting alongside Daesh (the Islamic State or ISIL) has more than doubled over the past year-and-a-half. Speaking with Sputnik, a Turkish terrorism expert explained some of the reasons behind Daesh’s recruiting bonanza.

Earlier this week, New York-based security intelligence firm The Soufan Group estimated that since June of 2014, Daesh (ISIL) has more than doubled their recruitment of foreign fighters, bringing in between 27,000 and 31,000 new fighters from abroad in an 18 month period. The number of fighters from EU countries grew to 5,000. 4,700 fighters were also believed to have been recruited from the countries of the former Soviet Union (2,400 of them from Russia).

Asked by Sputnik to explain the reasons behind the terrorist group’s apparent recruitment successes, Necati Sasmaz, Director of the Turkish Center for Security Studies and the Fight Against International Terrorism, explained that “the main reason is the aura of romance around Daesh for disaffected young people.”

According to the expert, it is Daesh’s “romantic aura,” combined with a “lack of satisfaction with their own lives,” which drives many young people to join the terrorist organization.

Among Western European countries, Sasmaz suggests, these factors are reinforced “by rampant Islamophobia, and the growing power of radical and right-wing organizations. Youth dissatisfied with their own lives, feeling that they cannot influence in the political and social realities in their country in any way, observe on social networks what is happening in Syria and Iraq, and begin to create a romanticized image of a ‘fighter for faith’ against the world.”

“This image,” the expert notes, “encourages young people in the West to travel to Syria and to join the Daesh.”

Status as a Geopolitical Reality is Key to Daesh’s Success

“Daesh,” according to Sasmaz, “is a geopolitical player, nourished by Islamist rhetoric.” In other words, its status as a quasi-state is what separates it from other terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda. “In contrast to al-Qaeda, which also has a cellular structure, but which led a global fight, relying only on ideology and offering no plans to create a ‘universal Islamic state’, Daesh has managed, in one way or another, to take control [of pieces of] Syria and Iraq, territories inhabited by millions of people.”

“Therefore,” the analyst suggests, “it’s only logical that such a strong organization has a structure aimed at recruiting new members into its ranks from other countries and regions, especially from Western countries. Daesh attracts adventure-seeking, ‘hot blooded’ young people ready to rush headlong into the abyss of a world struggle, which in Daesh’s case is a struggle for the ‘purity of Islam’ and the creation of a ‘true caliphate’.”

As far as Daesh fighters from Western nations are concerned, Sasmaz emphasized that “the West must take appropriate measures on its own territory.” Pointing out Western intelligence agencies’ habit of announcing that persons suspected of terrorist sympathies have left for the Middle East, the security analyst noted that Western law enforcement must step up efforts to detain these people before they make it to Turkey, or to Syria and Iraq.

“The most important thing which needs to be done right now to more effectively combat terrorism is to prevent the departure of radicalized individuals from their own countries. If France or Britain are spying on suspicious individuals in their own country, they must also stop their attempts to leave the country.”

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

US Aware of Turkish Purchases of IS Oil, Wants to Keep Ties With Turkey

Philip Giraldi, former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the CIA said that he US officials used to be very careful about not blaming Ankara, because Washington was very concerned about having the Turks involved in the US activities in the region, allowing the United States to use the airbases in Turkey.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Washington has been aware that Ankara buys oil from the Islamic State (ISIL, or Daesh in Arabic) militant group for a long time, but wants to keep friendly relations with Turkey, Philip Giraldi, former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the CIA said Thursday.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that Ankara is the main consumer of illegal oil from Syria and Iraq, accusing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family of direct involvement in the oil business of the ISIL group, which is outlawed in Russia.

“We’ve known for along time that the Turks are the ones exporting the oil for ISIS [ISIL] and making the money so we did not attack the convoys… I think it’s a bad decision, but I think what the White House decided it was that better to have Turkey friendly than to have Turkey unfriendly,” Giraldi said in an interview with the global news network RT on the sidelines the international media conference organized by the broadcaster.

He added that the US officials used to be very careful about not blaming Ankara, because Washington was very concerned about having the Turks involved in the US activities in the region, allowing the United States to use the airbases in Turkey.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, ISIL earns around $2 billion annually selling oil from the occupied territories, spending these funds on hiring militants from around the world and equipping them with weapons.

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

Europe Kicks the Can on Russian Sanctions Decision

European nations will acquiesce to US desires to prolong sanctions against Russia, but in the longer term a resolution to the Syrian crisis will be paramount in their planning, former MEP Giulietto Chiesa told Sputnik.

EU member states will postpone the decision to prolong sanctions against Russia for as long as possible, but they will eventually accede to US demands to extend them for another six months, journalist and former European Member of Parliament Giulietto Chiesa told Radio Sputnik.

Chiesa explained that the decision of the Italian government to delay a review of the sanctions at a meeting of EU envoys in Brussels on Wednesday was in part a result of pressure from industry and business leaders.

“It is clear that the sanctions are against our interests, not only Italian interests but in general, German, French and so on … Italy has opened the door to a discussion.”

However, European leaders will unlikely be able to convince the US to change its position on sanctions. Washington continues to take a hard line on the issue, said Chiesa.

“This has been taken under strong American pressure and that will continue. I am not sure that Mr. Renzi will be able to maintain his word, because he is under pressure, he is in a difficult situation from the point of view of Italy’s overall political position.”

The current round of sanctions is due to expire on January 31, 2016 and despite the complaints from affected Europeans, Washington is likely to get its wish for their continuation. However, Chiesa believes that public opinion in Europe about Russia has changed and in the long run will filter through to politicians.

Europeans have been faced with the influx of millions of refugees from Syria and other countries of the region this year, coupled with the Paris terror attacks which have left them feeling insecure said the journalist. Russia’s policy in Syria offers them belief in an end to the crisis there.

“After the Russian behavior in Syria, many in Italy and in Europe understand that Russia can be a faithful ally. In any case, many have understood that Russia is not harming European security and this is one of the reasons why they have begun to call on the US for a change.”

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

Two Killed in Kyrgyzstan ‘Anti-Terror Operation’

Security services in ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan said Friday they had killed two members of what they claim was the cell of an international terror group during a nightime raid in the capital Bishkek.

The Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (SCNS) refused to name “the international terror group” but said the two dead terror suspects were responsible for “particularly serious crimes” in the Central Asian state.

“The criminals put up fierce armed resistance and were eliminated,” the SCNS statement said, adding the raid had taken place Thursday night.

“The cell members that were killed were involved in a number of particularly serious crimes including the murder of a policeman in the 8th district of Bishkek.”…

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

US Sergeant Jailed for Taking Bribes From Afghan Aid Contractors

US Army Sergeant Ramiro Pena, who was sentenced to 24 months in prison for taking bribes, used the bribe money to purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle, which he now has to forfeit along with the Rolex and cash, according to the US Department of Justice.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States sentenced Army Sergeant Ramiro Pena to 24 months in prison for taking bribes from humanitarian aid vendors in Afghanistan in exchange for supply contracts, the US Department of Justice said in a press release on Thursday.

“Pena admitted that he and his supervisor… were responsible for contracting with local vendors to purchase supplies to support humanitarian relief in Afghanistan,” the release stated. “Pena admitted that he received from the vendors… a Rolex watch and $100,000 in total bribe payments.”

Pena and his supervisor, the release added, awarded 217 such contracts worth approximately $30,760,255 from January 2008 through September 2009.

The US Sergeant, according to the release, sent roughly $22,000 to his family in Kentucky, spread among numerous greeting cards “to avoid drawing attention to the thickness of any particular envelope.”

He also used the bribe money to purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle, which he now has to forfeit along with the Rolex and cash, the release added.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has previously reported that billions of US taxpayer dollars have been wasted in Afghanistan because of contractor bribery schemes, fraud and gross overbilling.

In the first half of 2015 alone, at least five US military personnel have been indicted on bribery and theft charges in Afghanistan, according to the SIGAR.

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

Luis Fleischman & Nancy Menges: The Challenge After the Venezuelan Elections to the Region and the United States

Joyous celebrations have taken place across Venezuela as the opposition resoundingly defeated the ruling Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) founded by Hugo Chavez and now led by Nicolas Maduro.

The victory was overwhelming as the opposition won 112 seats in the Venezuelan parliament while the ruling party retained 55 seats. It is the first time since the year 2000 that the PSUV is not in power.

While there are many reasons to celebrate this unprecedented victory, this is only the beginning of a liberation process that will face serious resistance by a ruthless government that still controls the executive power and is even trying to expand its power in the few remaining weeks before the National Assembly is handed over to the opposition.

The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), a regional organization that has supported the Chavista government in Venezuela, commended President Maduro for having quickly recognized his defeat. But the reality is different.

It was the Venezuelan Defense Minister, General Vladimir Padrino Lopez, who resisted attempts by Maduro and the president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, to resort to fraud and refuse to recognize the electoral results.

General Padrino Lopez, a supporter of the regime who has strongly believed in the role of the army in strengthening the Bolivarian Revolution, refused to cooperate with Maduro and Cabello. His argument was that this would have generated extreme violence…

[Return to headlines]

Asylum Requests in Italy Rise by 91% in Third Quarter

Nigerians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis account for almost half

(supersedes previous) (ANSA) — Brussels, December 10 — The number of applications for political asylum in Italy in the third quarter of 2015 rose by 91% over the previous quarter, European statistics agency Eurostat said Thursday.

Italy received 28,400 applications for political asylum in the third quarter, or 7% of the total, Eurostat added.

Germany and Hungary registered the largest number of applications at 108,000 (26%) each, followed by Sweden with 42,500 (10%). Overall in the European Union the number of applications doubled in the period July-September with respect to the previous quarter. In the third quarter Nigerians accounted for 27% of asylum applications to Italy, followed by Pakistanis (11%) and Bangladeshis (10%). On the European level Syrians accounted for 33% of applications followed by Afghanis (14%) and then Iraqis (11%). At the end of September there were over 808,000 asylum applications awaiting examination across the European Union, Eurostat said. This compared to 435,000 at the end of September 2014. Of the applications pending, 366,000 (45%) were in Germany, 107,500 (13%) in Hungary, 85,700 (11%) in Sweden and 50,500 (6%) in Italy, the statistics agency added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EC Opens Migrants Infraction Procedure Against Italy

Move concerns failure to respect fingerprinting rules

(ANSA) — Brussels, December 10 — The European Commission on Thursday said that it has opened infringement procedures against Italy, Greece and Croatia over their handling of asylum seekers. The move regards the alleged failure to correctly implement the Eurodac Regulation, which demands the fingerprinting of asylum seekers and transmission of data to the Eurodac central system within 72 hours. “The European Commission sent administrative letters to Greece, Croatia and Italy in October,” an EU statement said. “Two months later, concerns have not been effectively addressed”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Europe Feels Fallout From Merkel Migrant Magnanimity

Angela Merkel may have won praise from the world for Germany’s open-door policy on refugees, but a confused and divided Europe is feeling the fallout from the decision, analysts said.

The German chancellor’s sudden move in early September to welcome asylum seekers from Syria opened bitter rifts in the EU and raised fears for the future of the passport-free Schengen zone.

And while TIME magazine named Merkel as 2015’s person of the year and US President Barack Obama hailed her courage, in Europe she is increasingly being accused of exacerbating the biggest migration crisis since World War II.

With no clear challengers to her role in Germany or in Europe, analysts said Merkel must once again take the lead in guiding Europe towards a lasting solution…

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

First Planeload of Syrian Refugees Arrives in Canada

After months of promises and weeks of preparation, the first Canadian government planeload of Syrian refugees landed in Toronto on Thursday, aboard a military aircraft met by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau was elected to a surprise majority in October promising to accept more refugees more quickly than the previous Conservative government.

“This is a wonderful night, where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations,” Trudeau told airport workers and volunteers standing by to meet the refugees…

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

Italy: Unlike Others, Doesn’t Forget Migrants — Renzi

Premier says EU collegues scream at tragedies then lose interest

(ANSA) — London, December 10 — Premier Matteo Renzi on Thursday said that some of Italy’s European Union partners are only concerned about the Mediterranean refugee crisis at the time of disasters at sea. “In Italy we don’t let ourselves get emotional for a moment and then forget what’s happening, as some European colleagues do,” he said. “We are different to other countries, who scream after a tragedy and then forget”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Poll the BBC Told You About… And the One They Didn’t

Petition calling on immigration to the UK to be stopped until ISIS is defeated has almost as many signatures as one calling for Trump to be barred

A petition to ban Donald Trump from entering the UK last night became the most popular ever on Parliament’s website.

As of last night, more than 450,000 people had signed up to the call to ban the US presidential hopeful for hate speech in the wake of calls to ban Muslims from the US.

Started two weeks ago, before Trump’s comments that the US should bar all Muslims and that parts of the UK were no-go zones for police, it has comfortably passed the 100,000 threshold required to force the Commons to consider debating the issue.

However, until yesterday another petition demanding the UK close its borders had attracted almost as many signatures — but received less coverage in the media.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

4 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/11/2015

  1. The ‘Trumpster’ to be banned from Britainistan? I’ll bet that has him sobbing in his beer!
    My better half and I cancelled a U.K. trip this year–and for the foreseeable future. Just too dangerous, knowing one could not rely on Brit. police in the event of a scrape with muslims.
    Brit. police and courts (like police and courts in most of the western world) seem to favour muslims, so like a growing number of people, at least in this large gated community, we are cutting back drastically on travelling.
    How long before the tourist industry notices, I wonder….

  2. On Thursday moved the first 12 asylum seekers into the tent camp that MSB has built in Revinge outside Lund, writes the Swedish Migration Board on its website.
    Those who have moved into the tent accommodation are single men. Families and people with special needs are prioritized for other accommodations. The Migration Board is responsible for food, cleaning and surveillance of the tents. Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB, responsible for building tent plant and take care of other technical management, including fire protection. Permanent Peoples Migration Board accommodation around the clock with its own staff and hired security guards. The authorities are planning to build four more tent camps for asylum seekers at various locations around Sweden.

  3. Off topic, but I’ve just discovered that this site is now blocked by Sky (major British ISP) in the United Kingdom as being a hate site. This has only happened in the last few days as I have been accessing it fine for several years. I can change the settings so that it is an allowed site, but I wonder if this may end up with me being put on some kind of watch list. Looks like I may have to start using this Tor dark web browser thingey after all.

  4. What has happened to Britain?
    If King Arthur won’t wake up soon enough to save you, maybe Maggie Thatcher will.
    In some way, it’s almost merciful that most of the WW II vets are already dead, because if they had to see Europe as it is today they’d be asking themselves , “I risked my life for THIS??!!??”

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