Posted: July 15, 2017 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, Democratic Party (United States), Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump presidential campaign, EUROPE, First Amendment, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of speech, Hillary Clinton, Israel, Peter Beinart, Radical Left, Steve Scalise, To the End of the Land, United States, Warsaw
Turn Left and Go Over the Top
Stefan Kanfer writes: Pity the poor members of the Resistance. They decried violence on the right—only to have GOP congressman Steve Scalise shot by rifle-wielding left-winger James T. Hodgkinson. Then, a group of theater professinals decried any attempt to quash a staging of Julius Caesar with the title character, caparisoned as Donald Trump, assassinated with shouts of revenge and gouts of blood. But soon afterward, yet another assemblage of theater professionals decided that censorship was a good thing after all.
The Lincoln Center Festival is staging a four-night production this month of To the End of the Land, a dramatization of the acclaimed novel by Israeli author David Grossman. The play is underwritten by a cultural-outreach arm of the Israeli government. The Jewish State is anathema to the radical Left, and angry members of an organization identifying itself as “Adalah-NY, the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel,” are demanding that the production be taken off the boards before the Center dares to raise its curtain. Signatories to the demand include playwrights Tracy Letts, Lynn Nottage, and Annie Baker, as well as director Sam Gold, rock star Roger Waters, indie-film darling Greta Gerwig, and reliably anti-Israel playwright/actor Wallace Shawn.
[Read the full story here, at City Journal]
Adalah-NY says that production of To the End of the Land will aid the Isralie government in its “Brand Israel” campaign, which aims to use arts and culture to beguile audiences into thinking that Israel is a modern, civilized nation—while the wicked Hebrews continue their “violent colonization, brutal military occupation and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people.”
Never mind that the play is actually an antiwar document, that its Israeli writer lost a son to battle and is understandably reluctant to fan any fires, and that, in fact, it has a sympathetic Palestinian character. Never mind that Israel is surrounded by would-be assassins who have sworn to destroy the Jewish state and all who live there. Never mind that a quick glance at the state of human rights or rule of law among any of Israel’s neighbors provides the sharpest possible foil, and that not a peep has been heard from Adalah-NY about the lives of the citizen-victims of Egypt, Gaza, Syria, or Lebanon. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 5, 2017 Filed under: Global, Politics, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: Angela Merkel, Brexit, EUROPE, European Union, Facebook, Theresa May, Twitter, UK Independence Party, United Kingdom
Our political leaders are basically telling us that this kind of terrorism, random and deadly, is the price we have to pay for their policies of multiculturalism and political correctness.
Megan G. Oprea writes: As if on cue, in the wake of Saturday’s terrorist attack in London political leaders are trotting out the usual treacly lines that have become so rote. But the words they pretend will provide comfort to anyone but the most naïve are borderline worthless. Worse, they’re an insult to the families who have had to experience the shocking pain of the sudden loss of a family member or friend at the hands of a terrorist.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, called Saturday’s attack “deliberate and cowardly,” and asked “all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant today and in the days ahead.” Most notably, he said: “You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world.”
What a thing to say at a time like this. Shouldn’t Britons be alarmed? Isn’t Saturday’s attack in London, coming as it did on the heels of the Manchester bombing, deeply disturbing? Why isn’t Khan more concerned about the threats that are so obviously at the doorstep, or better put, in Britain’s streets? Does anyone really take comfort from being told about swift police response times after yet another terrorist attack?
Our Politicians Can’t Handle the Truth
The sad truth, and getting sadder with every attack, is that the political class has little interest in doing what would really be necessary to combat Islamist terrorism, let alone talk about it. They don’t want to talk about how Britain’s lax immigration policies over decades led to hundreds of thousands of immigrants entering the country with varying degrees of willingness to assimilate and adopt Western values. They don’t want to openly criticize the blatant problems with the multiculturalism the UK has pursued for years and the obvious impact it has had on the immigrant population.
Oh no. This would cost them too much. It would shatter the façade of political correctness that’s been constructed over our “civilized” western world, and destroy the illusion, so vital to the political class, that Western values are universal. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 18, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, France, Global, Terrorism | Tags: Airport, Charles De Gaulle, Charles de Gaulle Airport, Donald Trump, EUROPE, France, Orly Airport, Paris, President of France, United States
ORLY, FRANCE: French soldiers shot and killed a man who wrestled another soldier to the ground and tried to take her rifle Saturday at Paris’ Orly Airport. The melee forced the airport’s busy terminals to close and trapped hundreds of passengers aboard flights that had just landed.
The 39-year-old Frenchman, who authorities said had a long criminal record and was previously flagged for possible radicalism, had earlier fired birdshot at police officers during an early morning traffic stop before speeding away and heading for the airport south of Paris.
There, in the public area of its South Terminal, the man wrestled the soldier who was on foot patrol and tried to snatch away her rifle, authorities said. The French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said the patrol’s other two members opened fire. Le Drian said the soldier managed to keep hold of her weapon.
“Her two comrades thought it was necessary — and they were right — to open fire to protect her and especially to protect all the people who were around,” Le Drian said.
The shooting further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks over the past two years that have killed 235 people.
Witnesses described panicked bystanders fleeing, flights halting, traffic chaos and planes under lockdowns. French authorities, however, emphasized that security planning — reinforced across the country in the wake of repeated attacks — worked well.
The soldier was “psychologically shocked” but unhurt by the “rapid and violent” assault, said Col. Benoit Brulon, a spokesman for the military force that patrols public sites in France. No other injuries were reported.
“We’d already registered our bags when we saw a soldier pointing his gun at the attacker who was holding another soldier hostage,” said traveler Pascal Menniti, who was flying to the Dominican Republic.
Authorities said at least 3,000 people were evacuated from the airport. Hundreds of passengers also were confined for several hours aboard 13 flights that were held in landing areas, and 15 other flights were diverted to Paris’ other main airport, Charles de Gaulle, the Paris airport authority said.
A French official connected to the investigation confirmed French media reports that identified the attacker as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, born in France in 1978. The official spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the man’s details.
The attacker’s motives were unknown. After the airport attack, his father and brother were detained by police for questioning Saturday — standard operating procedure in such probes.
The antiterrorism section of the Paris prosecutor’s office immediately took over the investigation. The prosecutor’s office said the attacker had a record of robbery and drug offenses.
He did not appear in a French government database of people considered potential threats to national security. But prosecutors said he had already crossed authorities’ radar for suspected Islamic extremism. His house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Those searches targeted people with suspected radical leanings. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 26, 2017 Filed under: France, Global, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Brexit, Donald Trump, EUROPE, European Commission, European Parliament, European Union, France, Frauke Petry, History of far-right movements in France, Marine Le Pen
PARIS – With the polls narrowing and one of her main rivals embroiled in an expenses scandal, far-right leader Marine Le Pen could feasibly become French president in May, senior politicians and commentators say.
“I think Madame Le Pen could be elected.”
— Jean-Pierre Raffarin
At the headquarters of her National Front (FN) party in Nanterre, outside Paris, officials believe the same forces that led to last year’s Brexit vote in Britain and Donald Trump’s victory in November’s U.S. election could carry Le Pen to power.
Even some of her rivals concede a victory for the far-right firebrand is possible.
“I think Madame Le Pen could be elected,” former conservative Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said this month.
Another former premier, the Socialist Manuel Valls, has also warned of the “danger” of assuming that Le Pen cannot win.
Polls show that support for the anti-immigrant and anti-EU candidate has been consistent for four years now.
Since 2013, surveys have shown the blond 48-year-old will progress through the first round to reach the runoff stage in France’s two-stage presidential election.
Pollsters now note that although Le Pen is not currently forecast to win the all-important showdown on May 7, she has whittled down the projected gap between herself and her main challengers.
The legal woes of her conservative challenger Francois Fillon have especially played into Le Pen’s hands.
When Fillon saw off pre-contest favorite Alain Juppe to clinch the right-wing nomination in late November, polls showed he would win 67 percent of the vote in the runoff to 33 percent for Le Pen.
Then in January allegations surfaced that Fillon had paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros for parliamentary work she might not have done. Surveys now show Le Pen would score 44 percent to 56 percent for Fillon if the second round were held today.
[Read the full story here, at The Japan Times]
The pressure on 62-year-old Fillon moved up a notch Friday when prosecutors announced he will face a full judicial investigation into the claims.
A similar picture emerges when Le Pen’s projected second-round score is compared to that of Emmanuel Macron, the pro-business centrist who has moved from outsider to genuine contender in the space of a few months.
Although Macron’s performance against Le Pen has only been tested since January, the winning margin has dropped from 30 points to around 20 in a month.
The latest Ifop poll gives Macron 61.5 percent to 38.5 for the far-right standard bearer. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 23, 2017 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Global, Terrorism | Tags: Alexander Van der Bellen, Angela Merkel, Austria, Cologne, EUROPE, Federal Police (Austria), Germany, Islamic state, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Vienna
A court in Austria has heard that nine Iraqi immigrants gang raped a teacher during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Vienna.
The defendants in the case are aged 22 to 45 and are all related to each other. At the time of the alleged attack, which is said to have taken place on January 1, 2016, five of the men had refugee status while the asylum applications of the other four were pending.
After the alleged incident, one of the men led the woman – who is German – to a bathroom in the apartment and with his phone took a photo featuring both of them. She was later taken to a tram stop in central Vienna and subsequently hospitalized.
One defendant has pleaded guilty to rape. The others deny assaulting the woman. The court was told they feel “no guilt” despite the existence of DNA evidence. One claimed the woman had been “offered” to them by relatives while another said she was willing.
At about 3am the woman and her friend were drinking in a bar called Cactus when the victim disappeared. A witness in the bar reportedly said some men she had been talking with had “taken her away”. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 3, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, France, Global, Mediasphere, Terrorism | Tags: Académie française, al Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al-Raqqah, Algeria, Anthony Bourdain, Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona, Charlie Hebdo, Charlie Hebdo shooting, Daily Mirror, Eiffel Tower, EUROPE, Islamic extremism, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Louvre, Paris, The Pentagon, Tourism, United States, Yemen
French media reported on Friday that a soldier has opened fire on a man armed with a knife at a shopping centre next to the famous Louvre museum in Paris.
Reports say the soldier opened fire on the knifeman after he attacked him at the Louvre Carrousel shopping centre on Friday morning.
According to reports the attacker was shot in the leg. A security cordon has been set up and the underground Louvre Carrousel shopping centre has been evacuated.
Reports on Twitter said tourists at the museum were being moved into rooms to keep them safe. The Louvre itself has declined to comment on the situation.
Images on Twitter also appeared to show worried visitors outside the world famous museum.
“Something is going down at The #Louvre 30 National Police vehicles with guns drawn,” said one tweeter.
An alarm can be heard in the background. A worried passerby can be heard saying: “I wonder if it’s a training exercise”.
France’s interior ministry confirmed on Twitter that a serious security operation was underway in the area around the Louvre.
Paris and the rest of France is on high alert for terrorism after a series of attacks in recent years. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 27, 2017 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, History, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Alternative for Germany, Angela Merkel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, Donald Trump, EUROPE, European Union, François Fillon, Geert Wilders, Islam, Islamism, Jihadism, Marine Le Pen, The Wall Street Journal
By suppressing debate about Islam, nationalism and terror, the left set the stage for today’s backlash, says Sohrab Ahmari in The Wall Street Journal.
Sohrab Ahmari writes: Donald Trump’s double-layer fence along America’s southern border, and his plan to suspend all immigration from terror-producing countries, are dramatic and consequential pieces of public policy. But they’re also palliative symbols. The message they send to the president’s supporters is: “Your days of anxiety are behind you. We will be a coherent nation once more.”
Politicians across the West are beginning to tell their voters the same thing in what is shaping up to be the widest rollback of the freedom of movement in decades.
It’s not just right-wing nationalists like Marine Le Pen in France or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. Centrists get it, too. Some, like Angela Merkel, are still-reluctant restrictionists. Others, like Theresa May, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French presidential aspirant François Fillon, are more forthright. All have wised up to the popular demand for drastically lower immigration rates.
The paradox here is that freedom of movement is unraveling now because liberals won central debates—about Islamism, social cohesion and nationalism. Rather than give ground on any of these fronts, they accused opponents of being phobic and reactionary. Now liberals are reaping the rewards of those underhanded victories.
Liberals “won” the debate about the link between Islamist ideology and terrorism.
For eight years under President Obama, the U.S. government eschewed even the term “Islamism.” The preferred nomenclature created the ludicrous effect that U.S. service members were sent to war against people passionate about “violent extremism.” But voters could read and hear about jihadists offering up their actions to Allah before opening automatic fire on shoppers and blasphemous cartoonists. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 22, 2017 Filed under: France, Global, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Brexit, Donald Trump, EUROPE, European Union, President of the United States, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, The Guardian, United Kingdom, United States
Do they got it? Perhaps they do. The European parties hope for similar success in tapping anti-establishment and protectionist sentiment in elections this year.
KOBLENZ, Germany (AP) — European nationalist leaders came together Saturday in a show of strength at the start of a year of big election tests, celebrating Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president and declaring themselves a realistic alternative to the continent’s governments.
Right-wing populist leaders from France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and elsewhere strode confidently into the Koblenz congress hall on the banks of the Rhine River ahead of a flag-waving escort, setting the tone for a gathering whose mood was buoyed by Trump’s swearing-in. The European parties hope for similar success in tapping anti-establishment and protectionist sentiment in elections this year.
“I believe we are witnessing historic times,” Dutch anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders told reporters. “The world is changing. America is changing. Europe is changing. And the people start getting in charge again.”
Wilders, speaking in English, declared that “the genie will not go back into the bottle again, whether you like it or not.”
The Netherlands will provide the next major test for populist parties’ support. Wilders’ Party of Freedom could win the largest percentage of votes in the March 15 Dutch parliamentary election, even though it is shunned by other parties and unlikely to get a share of power.
Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front, is among the top contenders in France’s April-May presidential vote. In September, Frauke Petry’s four-year-old Alternative for Germany party hopes to enter the German parliament in a national election, riding sentiment against German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming policy toward refugees. Other German parties say they won’t work with the anti-immigrant group.
Those at the Koblenz conference Saturday are part of the Europe of Nations and Freedom group in the European Parliament, which was launched in 2015. The gathering also featured Matteo Salvini of Italy’s anti-migrant Northern League and Harald Vilimsky, the general secretary of Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party, which last year narrowly failed to win the country’s presidency. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 18, 2016 Filed under: Entertainment, Global, History, Humor, Politics, White House | Tags: 1964 Civil Rights Act, 2016 Presidential Election, Al Queda, Alternative for Germany, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Elite, EUROPE, Germany, Immigration, ISIS, Islamism, Left Wing, Leftism, Marxism, Progressive, The United States
Posted: November 10, 2016 Filed under: Entertainment, Global, History, Humor, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: A Time for Choosing, Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, Brexit, David Cameron, Donald Trump, EUROPE, European Union, Hillary Clinton, United Kingdom, United States
The moment when Europe begins to suspect the progressive, welfare-state, open-borders, post-national cultural marxist technocratic fantasy was a fantasy. Was unreal. Was juvenile. Was irresponsible. Was a world-historical blunder. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 26, 2016 Filed under: Global, History, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Alain Juppé, Angela Merkel, Arabic, Donald Trump, EUROPE, Hillary Clinton, Marine Le Pen, Republican Party (United States), United States
Calling Le Pen, Clinton, Trump, and other right-wing populists ‘fascists’ obscures more than it clarifies.
Sheri Berman writes: As right-wing movements have mounted increasingly strong challenges to political establishments across Europe and North America, many commentators have drawn parallels to the rise of fascism during the 1920s and 1930s. Last year, a French court ruled that opponents of Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front, had the right to call her a “fascist”—a right they have frequently exercised. This May, after Norbert Hofer, the leader of Austria’s Freedom Party, nearly won that country’s presidential election, The Guardian asked, “How can so many Austrians flirt with this barely disguised fascism?” And in an article that same month about the rise of Donald Trump, the Republican U.S. presidential candidate, the conservative columnist Robert Kagan warned, “This is how fascism comes to America.” “Fascist” has served as a generic term of political abuse for many decades, but for the first time in ages, mainstream observers are using it seriously to describe major politicians and parties.
[Order Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning” from Amazon]
Fascism is associated most closely with Europe between the world wars, when movements bearing this name took power in Italy and Germany and wreaked havoc in many other European countries. Although fascists differed from country to country, they shared a virulent opposition to democracy and liberalism, as well as a deep suspicion of capitalism. They also believed that the nation—often defined in religious or racial terms—represented the most important source of identity for all true citizens. And so they promised a revolution that would replace liberal democracy with a new type of political order devoted to nurturing a unified and purified nation under the guidance of a powerful leader. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 11, 2016 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Russia, War Room | Tags: Bratislava, Brexit, Brussels, Bulgaria, Donald Tusk, EUROPE, European Union, François Hollande, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Jean-Claude Juncker, Military of the European Union, President of the European Commission, Turkey, United Kingdom
In Europe, when it gets serious, you have to lie… at least if you are an unelected bureaucrat like Jean-Claude Juncker. In Russia, however, when it gets serious, attention immediately turns to the children.
“On the one hand, this is all part of a package of measures to prepare the elites for some ‘big war’ even if it is rather conditional, on the other hand – this is another blow to the unity of President Putin with his own elite”
— Political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky
Which is why we read a report in Russian website Znak published Tuesday, according to which Russian state officials and government workers were told to bring back their children studying abroad immediately, even if means cutting their education short and not waiting until the end of the school year, and re-enroll them in Russian schools, with some concern.
[Read the full story here, at Zero Hedge]
The article adds that if the parents of these same officials also live abroad “for some reason”, and have not lost their Russian citizenship, should also be returned to the motherland. Znak cited five administration officials as the source of the report.
“People note the hypocrisy of having a centralized state and cultivating patriotism and anti-Western sentiment, while children of government workers study abroad. You can not serve two gods, one must choose.”
The “recommendation” applies to all: from the administration staff, to regional administratiors, to lawmakers of all levels. Employees of public corporations are also subject to the ordinance. One of the sources said that anyone who fails to act, will find such non-compliance to be a “complicating factor in the furtherance of their public sector career.” He added that he was aware of several such cases in recent months. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 9, 2016 Filed under: France, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: Central and Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, EUROPE, European migrant crisis, George Soros, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Middle East, November 2015 Paris attacks, Open Society Foundations, Paris, The Daily Caller, United States, Western Europe
The attackers were part of a group of 14 who plotted their way into Western Europe by riding the wave of the migrant crisis last year, according to Hungarian security officials.
By using fake Syrian passports, many of the attackers, already on European terror watch-lists, were able to slip back into Europe undetected, along with thousands of other refugees.
PETER DEJONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
One hundred and thirty people were killed in November when a group of gunmen and suicide bombers launched a wave of attacks across Paris, targeting the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade De France and several restaurants and bars. Three hundred sixty-eight people were also injured in the attacks, almost 100 of them seriously.
Some of the remaining terrorists in the group participated in the Brussels attacks earlier this year in three coordinated suicide bombings at Brussels Airport and at Maalbeek metro station killed 32 people. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 12, 2016 Filed under: Asia, Breaking News, Economics, Global | Tags: Associated Press, Bank of Japan, Central bank, Chair of the Federal Reserve, Dow Jones Industrial Average, EUROPE, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve System, Hong Kong, Janet Yellen, Japan, Monetary policy, Nikkei 225, South Korea, SSE Composite Index, Wall Street
Loose Money Party Peaks, Hangover Anticipation Looms.
reports: Global stocks started the week sharply lower amid concerns about tighter monetary policy, resuming declines that have halted two months of calm summer trading.
“Central banks get most of the credit for the calm and upward-moving market over the summer, but I don’t think we can depend on that going forward.”
— Jeff Layman, chief investment officer at BKD Wealth Advisors
Markets in Europe and Asia retreated Monday amid signs the world’s central banks will be less accommodative than previously expected.
“Bourses in Asia closed with steep declines, with shares in Hong Kong off around 3.3%, Shanghai down 1.9%, Japan down 1.7% and Australia down 2.2%.”
“Central banks get most of the credit for the calm and upward-moving market over the summer, but I don’t think we can depend on that going forward,” said Jeff Layman, chief investment officer at BKD Wealth Advisors.
The Stoxx Europe 600 shed 1.9% early in the session, while futures pointed to a 0.6% opening loss for the S&P 500 after its biggest daily drop since the U.K.’s EU referendum.
Bourses in Asia closed with steep declines, with shares in Hong Kong off around 3.3%, Shanghai down 1.9%, Japan down 1.7% and Australia down 2.2%.
The Federal Reserve Building in Washington, U.S. There are heightened expectations for an interest rate rise by the Fed later this year. Photo: Reuters
Stocks and long-dated government bonds sold off on Friday after comments from Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren heightened expectations for an interest rate rise later this year. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 10, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Global, History, Mediasphere, Russia | Tags: Alexander Dubček, Arizona Republican Party, Berlin, Berlin Wall, Border barrier, Cold War, Donald Trump, East Germany, EUROPE, Germany, John McCain, Soviet Union
In January 1988, Erich Honecker paid a state visit to France. By all indications, the long stretch of international isolation appeared to have been successfully overcome. The GDR finally seemed to be taking its long-sought place among the international community of nations. In the minds of the GDR’s old-guard communists, the long-awaited international political recognition was seen as a favorable omen that seemed to coincide symbolically with the fortieth anniversary of the East German state.
In spite of Honecker’s declaration as late as January 1989 that “The Wall will still stand in fifty and also in a hundred years,” the effects of glasnost and perestroika had begun to be evident in the Soviet Union
and throughout Eastern Europe
. Although the GDR leadership tried to deny the reality of these developments, for most East Germans the reforms of Soviet leader Gorbachev were symbols of a new era that would inevitably also reach the GDR. The GDR leadership’s frantic attempts to block the news coming out of the Soviet Union by preventing the distribution of Russian newsmagazines only strengthened growing protest within the population.
Posted: August 6, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Global, Religion, Terrorism | Tags: Allah, Christianity in the Middle East, EUROPE, France, Islam, Islamic terrorism, Islamist, Jihadism, Jihadist, McDonalds, murder, Muslim, Syria, Takbir, Violence
A man slashed a policewoman’s face with a machete and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ before her fellow officer gunned him down in a chilling ‘terror’ attack.
The attacker reportedly walked up to two policewomen at the entrance of the police station in the Belgian city of Charleroi just before 4pm, pulled a machete from his bag and hacked at the officer.
After slamming the machete into the face of one officer, he then turned to another and began swinging the massive blade at her.
A third female officer raced to the front desk and then blasted the attacker in the chest and leg – knocking him to the ground.
Emergency crews then raced to the scene and began treating the policewomen – one of who was left with massive, deep cuts to her face.
Her colleague was only slightly injured but the attacker, who has not been named, died later in hospital. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 27, 2016 Filed under: Politics, Religion, Terrorism | Tags: Angela Merkel, Brussels, David Cameron, EUROPE, European Parliament, European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, United Kingdom, United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union
Douglas Murray writes: How is your Merkelsommer going? For now, Britain seems to be missing the worst. True, a couple of men of Middle Eastern appearance tried to abduct a soldier near his base in Norfolk for what was unlikely to have been an interfaith dialogue session. But Britain’s geographical good fortune, relative success in limiting weapons and our justified scepticism of the undiscriminating ‘open borders’ brigade mean that we have so far been spared the delights of what Angela Merkel’s growing army of critics refer to as her summer of terror.
It is now a fortnight since Mohammed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ploughed a truck along the Nice seafront, killing 84 people. The following Monday Mohammed Riyad, who said he was from Afghanistan but almost certainly came from Pakistan, screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ while hacking with an axe at his fellow passengers on a Bavarian train. The next day another Mohammed, this time Mohamed Boufarkouch, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and stabbed a Frenchwoman and her three daughters (aged eight, 12 and 14) near Montpelier. Mixing things up a little, that Friday’s shooter in Munich was a child of Iranians called Ali David Sonboly. Skip forward a couple of days and a ‘-Syrian asylum seeker’ with a machete was hacking a pregnant woman to death in Stuttgart. The next day another ‘Syrian asylum seeker’, Mohammad Daleel, carried out a suicide bombing outside a bar in Ansbach, Bavaria. And a little over 24 hours later two men shouting the name of Isis entered a church in Rouen during Mass, took the nuns and congregation hostage and slaughtered the priest with a knife.
Although the public know what is going on, the media seems loath to find any connection between these events. Indeed, the same papers that blame an exaggerated spike in ‘hate crime’ on everyone who voted for Brexit seem unwilling to put the blame for these real and violent attacks on the individuals carrying them out. ‘Syrian man denied asylum killed in German blast’ was the Reuters headline on the Ansbach story, neatly turning the suicide bomber into the victim and the German asylum system into the perpetrator. As Reuters went on: ‘A 27-year-old Syrian man who had been denied asylum in Germany a year ago died on Sunday when a bomb he was carrying exploded outside a music festival.’ How terrible for him to lose his bomb in such a way.
The more complex story of the Munich shooter allowed everyone to double-down on their favourite explanations for violence. Inadequate welfare provisions, unsuitable town-planning and bullying were all wheeled out to explain why Ali David Sonboly started shooting in a McDonalds. Others were a little too keen to claim him as an Isis warrior, when it seems he wasn’t. The BBC got around the problem by excising the ‘Ali’ and all reports of his religion. Instead, speculation about the shooting happening on the fifth anniversary of Anders Breivik’s terrorist assault in Norway meant that every-one could ignore the Muslim eyewitness who heard Sonboly shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ and headline on Breivik instead. Meaning that in Europe in 2016 a child of Iranian parents can be portrayed as a white supremacist, while no amount of Mohameds shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ can be said to have any connection to Islam.
Sections of the media and political class seem determined to stop the public coming to any conclusions. But most of us probably did that a long time ago, and these conclusions are being reinforced on a daily basis.
For the time being, the acceptable thing is to blame Isis. There is sense in that. The German train attacker had an Isis flag at his home, the Ansbach bomber left a video pledging allegiance to the group, and at least one of the Rouen church attackers had tried to travel to Syria to join them. The extent to which the group is involved varies, and they undoubtedly talk up their capabilities, but their ability to inspire as well as direct will be a problem as long as they exist. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 23, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, Terrorism | Tags: EUROPE, Germany, media, Munich, Munich Massacre, news, Newspaper, Sunday People, Tabloid, The Mirror, UK
Posted: July 23, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Entertainment, Mediasphere, Terrorism | Tags: EUROPE, Germany, Jihadism, journalism, New York, New York Post, news, Newspaper, Tabloid
Posted: June 29, 2016 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Religion, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Afghan detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Ahrar al-Sham, al Qaeda, EUROPE, Iraq War, Islamism, Salafi, United States
The stockpile of weapons was found near a mosque.
The weapons arsenal was discovered during a top secret raid by a SWAT team in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Local politician Ismail Tipi revealed details of the raid and warned of “the danger of fundamentalists”.
“The danger of fundamentalist Salafists who are ready to use violence arming themselves in Germany is very large. This secret raid finding this weapons cache makes this more than clear.”
The weapons were found in a cold room of a greengrocer near a mosque.
The state is the most populous state in Germany with nearly 18million people in the area, which includes Dusseldorf.
Mr Tipi, who is a member of the Hessian parliament, warned of the dangers of Salafi fundamentalists.
“Through the weapons arsenal, the sleeper cells and militant jihadis can be armed with weapons and prepare for their likely attack. This is exactly what I have always feared.”
Germany has seen sharp increases in the number of ultra-conservative Islamists known as Salafists in recent years, with the total number of sympathisers now seen at 8,900, up from 7,000 at the end of 2014, German officials said.
“If these fears are substantiated, we can assume that secret weapons arsenals are being set up for a big terrorist attack not only in Germany, but throughout Europe. It would be a dereliction of duty if we didn’t recognise this danger and find these weapons arsenals.”
He said: “According to my information, a weapons arsenal with war grade weapons was found in this search.”
“The danger of fundamentalist Salafists who are ready to use violence arming themselves in Germany is very large. This secret raid finding this weapons cache makes this more than clear.”
Three Syrian men were earlier this month suspected of planning large-scale attacks in Dusseldorf.
Mr Tipi, who is said to have received death threats for his comments against jihadis, raised concerns sleeper cells are gearing up for a terror attack on Germany.
He said: “The information about this is increasing. The fear is large that Salafist sleeper cells, jihadis, and ISIS terrorists in Germany get support from foreign intelligence services that are not friendly to us.”
[Read the full text here, at Daily Express]
“Through the weapons arsenal, the sleeper cells and militant jihadis can be armed with weapons and prepare for their likely attack. This is exactly what I have always feared.”
He added: “Politicians must speak clearly about this. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 26, 2016 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Brexit, Charles Krauthammer, England, EUROPE, Fox News, Great Britain, media, news, The Corner, video
“This is a problem that began long before the immigration wave. This is a result of what you talked about — the origins of the EU and how the idea, a very utopian idea and successful for a while, as corrupted.”
“The idea was, after the two world wars, the worst in human history, they wanted to create something … that would ultimately reconcile Germany and France. That was what began the European Coal Commission, which had to do with simply commerce. And it grew to encompass 28 countries. And it succeeded in the sense that, for the first time in a thousand years, the idea of intra-European war was inconceivable. Nobody could even imagine Germany, France, Italy at war against each other.”
“The problem is that the institution that was created to achieve that — and it was a great achievement — became a bureaucratic monstrosity, which tried to add on to the economic union a political union that the people were never asked for. And when they had the referenda, it was rejected and the EU would go around it.”
“So it created a super-nationalist institution that suppressed nationalism, which you can only do for so long, and this is the first exit.”
“But the one thing I think is that those who revel in this — and I understand why the British wanted to do it; it suppressed and supplanted their own democracy, the most venerable in the world — is that I think it will lead to the breakup f the United Kingdom. Apart from the EU, which I think will inevitably not survive as a result of this.”
“But Scotland wants out because it wants to be in the European Union. And think of Northern Ireland — it took decades to figure that out, to reconcile them, and as of today, for Northern Ireland, you can walk into the Republic of Ireland without a passport. It’s essentially your country. The minute that Britain leaves the EU, that frontier becomes one where you need a passport. The Northern Irish are going to want to secede and join Ireland.”
“We have — I think, in ten years, you could have a Britain that is only Wales and England. I think those who revel in the recovery of the sovereignty of Great Britain could find that it doesn’t exist in ten years.”
Read more at The Corner
Posted: June 25, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Brexit, Britain, England, EU, EUROPE, journalism, media, New York, New York Post, news, Newspaper, Tabloid
Posted: June 25, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Economics, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Brexit, Britain, England, EU, EUROPE, journalism, media, news, Newspapers, U.K., Wall Street Journal
front page of The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition
Posted: June 23, 2016 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, History, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Brexit, EU, EUROPE, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Thatcherism, UK, United Kingdom
As Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher defended Britain’s national interests within the EU and accepted modest steps towards Europe’s economic integration, but she became increasingly hostile to its political unification and the transfer of powers from London to Brussels that it entailed. Her downfall was in part precipitated by her resistance to “ever closer union.” After losing power she spoke and wrote extensively in opposition to European federalism and the concept of a European super-state that she felt would divide and weaken the West.
Margaret Thatcher arrives in Washington, November 1988 (courtesy Ronald Reagan Library)
Almost the first controversy of the Brexit campaign was over how she would vote if she had lived to see it. How would she vote? How will the Tory Party, traditionally the patriotic party, recover from a campaign that has bitterly divided it along unfamiliar lines? How will Mrs. Thatcher’s legacy of ideas – a.k.a. Thatcherism – influence the result? And how will her historical reputation be affected by whatever the British people decide?
Posted: May 23, 2016 Filed under: History, Think Tank | Tags: 2011 military intervention in Libya, Adam Smith, Bernie Sanders, Deirdre McCloskey, EUROPE, France, Hillary Clinton, NATO, The Wall Street Journal, United States
James Pethokoukis writes: To back two centuries and the average world income per human was about $3 a day, notes economist Deirdre McCloskey in the Wall Street Journal. Now it’s $33 a day, and four times higher than that in advanced economies like the United States, Germany, and Japan. And those numbers — even with the usual inflation adjustment — may well understate things.
[Read the full story here, at Pethokoukis Blog » AEIdeas]
So why are we so much, much richer today? After dismissing some alternative explanations, McCloskey arrives at this one:
The answer, in a word, is “liberty.” Liberated people, it turns out, are ingenious. Slaves, serfs, subordinated women, people frozen in a hierarchy of lords or bureaucrats are not. By certain accidents of European politics, having nothing to do with deep European virtue, more and more Europeans were liberated.
[Order McCloskey’s book “Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World” from Amazon.com]
From Luther’s reformation through the Dutch revolt against Spain after 1568 and England’s turmoil in the Civil War of the 1640s, down to the American and French revolutions, Europeans came to believe that common people should be liberated to have a go…(read more)
For more, check out McCloskey’s recent talk at AEI. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 19, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, France, Global, Space & Aviation | Tags: Airbus, Airbus A320 family, Aircraft, British Airways, EUROPE, Geneva, JetBlue Airways, Mobile, United States
An EgyptAir flight traveling to Cairo from Paris crashed early Thursday with 66 passengers and crew members on board, Egyptian aviation officials confirmed.
Flight 804, an Airbus A320, was lost from radar at 2:30 a.m. Cairo time (8:30 p.m. EDT) when it was flying at 37,000 feet 175 miles north of the Egyptian coast., the airline said. EgyptAir later confirmed that one of the plane’s emergency devices sent a distress signal approximately two hours after it vanished.
Officials from Civil Aviation ministry said the “possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed,” as the plane failed to land in any nearby airports.
Egyptian armed forces were searching for debris from the plane, which was carrying 56 passengers, including one child and two babies, and 10 crew. EgyptAir later confirmed the nationalities of those on board as including 15 French passengers, 30 Egyptians, one Briton, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Algerian and one Canadian.
Greece sent two aircraft to join the search and rescue operation: one C-130 and one early warning aircraft, officials at the Hellenic National Defense General Staff said. They said one frigate was also heading to the area, and helicopters are on standby on the southern island of Karpathos for potential rescue or recovery operations.
“We are not ruling out any hypothesis,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters Thursday. “We are trying to gather all the information available.” Valls later told RTL radio France was “ready” to join the search operation if Egyptian authorities requested his country’s assistance. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 1, 2016 Filed under: Global, Politics, Russia, Terrorism, Think Tank | Tags: Agence France-Presse, Algemeiner Journal, Arab people, Barack Obama, Communism, Cuba, EUROPE, European Union, George Washington, Marxism, Syria, United States
Agustin Blazquez: America Is Turning Into Communist State
Filmmaker and American citizen Agustin Blazquez never thought his native Cuba would
become a communist country, but now he sees the same radical shift happening in America.
In this exclusive video interview for The Daily Caller News Foundation, he says the left has been clever by using “very non-threatening words,” like liberal, progressive and concerned citizens, for advancing government control of American lives
“Watching President Barack Obama travel to Cuba, he says, made him ‘want to throw up.’ This was a ‘betrayal to victims of communism.'”
The truth about Cuban politics is hard to find because of media spin and propaganda dominating American discourse.
For Blazquez, watching American youth embrace avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, strikes him as “absurd.” It is the end result, he says, of the cultural marxist education and media propaganda that has anesthetized too many Americans who do not defend the values that made America exceptional.
Watching President Barack Obama travel to Cuba, he says, made him “want to throw up.” This was a “betrayal to victims of communism,” the filmmaker of “Covering Cuba” says. Blazquez adds there are “so many [Nelson] Mandelas” in Cuban prisons, who are tortured, denied medical attention and abused.
Yet, prominent black elites from America, including most incredibly to him, the Congressional Black Caucus, are wined and dined by the political elites but are blind to their “betrayal of blacks in Cuba.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 25, 2016 Filed under: Comics, Global, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Agence France-Presse, Ankara, Belgium, Brussels, Brussels Airport, EUROPE, Kurdistan Workers Party, Netherlands, President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, The Washington Post, Turkey
The cartoon appeared on the front page after a Dutch journalist was detained in Turkey.
After a Dutch journalist was arrested in Turkey this weekend for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the most-read newspaper in the Netherlands on Monday published a front-page editorial cartoon that shows Erdogan as an ape, apparently crushing Europe’s free speech.
The cartoon, published by the populist daily De Telegraaf, has an ape with Erdogan’s face squashing a woman who appears to be Ebru Umar, the Dutch writer with a Turkish background who was arrested in Turkey on Sunday. In the cartoon, the Turkish president is standing on a rock labeled “Apenrots” — a Dutch term meaning “monkey rocks” that is used to refer to the Dutch Foreign Ministry but can also refer to a place where one dominant individual holds power.
The cartoon is titled “the long arm of Erdogan.”
Ebru Umar, the Dutch writer with a Turkish background who was arrested in Turkey on Sunday.
Umar, a columnist for the newspaper Metro, had been detained by Turkish authorities who were investigating tweets she had sent about Erdogan. Umar was released Sunday, but she says she has been ordered to remain in the country as the investigation proceeds.
[read the full story here, at The Washington Post]
The detention of Umar has added another layer to what many in the Netherlands think is a growing crackdown on free speech within Turkey — and outside its borders, too. Last week, the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam came under fire after appearing to send an email that called for Turkish organizations in the Netherlands to report insults against Erdogan to it. The Turkish Embassy later said that the email had been poorly phrased and misunderstood, but it sparked controversy within the Netherlands, which is one of many European countries that still has “lèse-majesté” laws that prohibit insults against friendly heads of state. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 21, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere | Tags: Barack Obama, Brexit, Britain, Douglas Murray, England, EU, EUROPE, media, news, Sarah Churchwell
Posted: April 21, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Bernie Sanders, Brussels, Donald Trump, EUROPE, Middle East, Muslim, NATO, Ted Cruz, The Washington Post, United States
The socialist utopias of Sanders’ dreams bear little resemblance to reality across the Atlantic.
In conventional political thought, Democrats are always trying to make America more European — Higher taxes! Free college! A smaller military! — while Republicans are a passel of cowboys who view Europe as a bunch of socialist libertines.
But, as with much of conventional political thought, this isn’t quite right. And if the Republicans really want to mess with Democrats’ minds, perhaps they should launch a new campaign to make America more like Europe.
[Read the full story here, at USAToday]
A good place to start would be with the Scandinavian countries that Bernie Sandersoften uses as a model. Sanders’ problem is that the Scandinavia he has in mind is the Scandinavia of the 1970s. Scandinavians today have learned a few things since then, which Bernie seems to have missed.
As Swedish pundit Johan Norberg writes: “Sanders is right: America would benefit hugely from modeling her economic and social policies after her Scandinavian sisters. But Sanders should be careful what he wishes for. When he asks for ‘trade policies that work for the working families of our nation and not just the CEOs of large, multi-national corporations,’ Social Democrats in Sweden would take this to mean trade liberalization — which would have the benefit of exposing monopolist fat cats to competition — not the protectionism that Sanders favors. … Being more like modern Sweden actually means deregulation, free trade, a national school voucher system, partially privatized pensions, no property tax, no inheritance tax, and much lower corporate taxes. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bernie.”
Likewise, as Charles Lane writes in The Washington Post, Donald Trump’s programs would actually make America more like Denmark. “Actually, the package Trump offers — ‘save Social Security without cuts,’ a vaguely pro-single-payer position on health care, plus temporarily banning Muslims and walling off Mexico — bears an eerie resemblance to the Danish government’s current policy mix.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 21, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Religion, Terrorism | Tags: Anadolu Agency, Ankara, Brussels, EUROPE, European Union, Istanbul, President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Syria, Turkey
“The government didn’t take over these pieces of property in order to protect them. They did so to acquire them.”
— Ahmet Guvener, pastor of Diyarbakir Protestant Church
The state-sanctioned seizure is just the latest in a number of worrying developments to come out of increasingly hardline Turkey, which is in advanced talks with the EU over visa-free travel for its 80 million citizens.
Included in the seizures are Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches, one of which is over 1,700 years old.
They have now effectively become state property – meaning they are run by the government – in a country with a dire human rights record where about 98 percent of the population is Muslim.
The order to seize the churches was made on March 25 by Erdogan’s council of ministers, according to the website World Watch Monitor.
[Read the full story here, at express.co.uk]
They claim it was made on the grounds that authorities intend to rebuild and restore the historical centre of the city, which has been partially destroyed by 10 months of urban conflict between government forces and militants from the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).
But the seizures have outraged worshippers at the churches, who fear a government coup against their religion are now threatening to take legal action against the decision. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 16, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War Room, White House | Tags: American Law Institute, Antonin Scalia, Arizona, Barack Obama, Benghazi, Brussels, Dana Rohrabacher, Director of National Intelligence, Ed Royce, EUROPE, Federal government of the United States, George W. Bush, Republican Party (United States), September 11 attacks, United States, United States Department of State, United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill
Mark Mazzetti reports: Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot. Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly.”
The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.
“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens.”
— Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
[Read the full story here at The New York Times]
The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.
“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation.
President Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials. It is unclear whether the dispute over the Sept. 11 legislation will be on the agenda for the talks.
A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy did not respond to a message seeking comment.Saudi officials have long denied that the kingdom had any role in the Sept. 11 plot, and the 9/11 Commission found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.” But critics have noted that the commission’s narrow wording left open the possibility that less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government could have played a role. Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot. Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 15, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Diplomacy, Mediasphere | Tags: Academia, Angela Merkel, Belgium, Brussels, Car bomb, EUROPE, Istanbul, Kurdish people, President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, The Guardian, Turkey
Under section 103 of the criminal code, insults against organs or representatives of foreign states are punishable with up to three years in prison, or three months to five years if a court judges the insult to be slanderous.
Philip Oltermann reports: Angela Merkel, has been criticised by members of her cabinet after acceding to a request from Ankara to prosecute a comedian who read out an offensive poem about the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The German chancellor insisted her government’s decision did not amount to a verdict on whether Jan Böhmermann was guilty or not, but should be understood as a reaffirmation of the judiciary’s independence.
“I consider this to be the wrong decision. Prosecuting satire on the basis of a lèse-majesté law is not appropriate to the modern age.”
— Thomas Oppermann, leader of the Social Democratic party’s parliamentary faction
“In a constitutional democracy, weighing up personal rights against freedom of the press and freedom of expression is not a matter for governments, but for public prosecutors and courts,” Merkel said in a press conference on Friday.
The chancellor expressed “grave concerns” about the prosecution of individual journalists in Turkey, as well as growing limitations to the right to protest, but emphasised Germany’s close diplomatic ties with the country.
Merkel was left with the final decision on whether Germany’s state prosecutor should start proceedings against Böhmermann after Erdoğan requested the comedian be prosecuted.
“Throughout his reading, the comedian is advised by another comedian impersonating a media lawyer, who tells him this poem is precisely the sort of thing that does not qualify as satire and is therefore illegal.”
Under an obscure section of Germany’s criminal code, prosecution for insults against organs or representatives of foreign states requires both a notification from the offended party and an authorisation from the government.
Merkel and other ministers confirmed reports that there had been disagreements on how to handle the Böhmermann affair between ministers within her coalition government.
[Read the full story here, at The Guardian]
The foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said Social Democrat ministers, including himself and the justice minister Heiko Maas, had been overruled by Merkel in allowing the prosecution to proceed. “It is our view that the prosecution should not have been authorised,” Steinmeier said. “Freedom of the press, freedom of expression and artistic freedom are the highest goods requiring protection in our constitution.”
“I consider this to be the wrong decision,” said Thomas Oppermann, leader of the Social Democratic party’s parliamentary faction. “Prosecuting satire on the basis of a lèse-majesté law is not appropriate to the modern age.”
The little-used paragraph of the German legal code that had allowed the Turkish president to request the prosecution is likely to be scrapped in the aftermath of the affair. Merkel said on Friday that she considered the law unnecessary, and that legal steps would be taken towards deleting it from the penal code within the next two years. Read the rest of this entry »