TBR News June 29, 2016

Jun 28 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. June 29, 2016:” When an empire slips into decline, it does so in clearly idenfiable stages.

This is the case with the American empire at the present time. Franklin Roosevelt pushed the US into what became the Second World War for personal reasons. (The Roosevelt family were Jewish on both sides and Hitler’s anti-Jewish policies enraged the president) and the result of this was that at its conclusion there were two dominent nations left in the rubble.

These were the United States and Russia and the struggle then began to see which would dominate. Initially, the United States was successful, and through duplicity and threats, reduced Russia to a squabbling and disintegrating state. But those in power in the United States also saw that Russia had enormous natural resosurces and so a frantic effort was made to not only subjugate Russia but also get physical control of her oil, gas and other assets.

America was initally a democracy, then a republic and finally, an oligarchy. The men who controlled the policies of this country are a handful of very rich and powerful people; bankers and the oil industry predominent.

And to secure America’s world leadership designs, small wars were fought to gain control of natural resources and establish American business interests and the American dollar as the world standards.

The British Empire had achieved this goal at one point but lost everything through arrogance and carelessness and now the American empire finds itself in the same position as Britain did in 1914.

Like the British, America has fought a series of wars against small and relatively defenseless countries to gain control of their resources. As an example of this, America attacked Iraq, not because we disliked Saddam Hussein (whom we captured and subsequently executed) but to gain control of the enormous but untapped Iraqi oil reserves.

Iraq slipped through American control because of religious infighting and with that defeat, the next goal was Russia and her Arctic and Black Sea oil reserves.

And this project was adeptly foiled by Putin.”


The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.

His name was Heinrich Müller.

Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.

This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.

When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.

Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.

The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.

Friday, 16. March, 1951.

Truman has issued a statement to the press that his aides are honest men but he did not comment on recent investigations into some of them. T. is off on a vacation for nearly a month, which is not wise, considering the military situation in Korea and the political problems here. He is a stubborn man and fortunately, I am not an advisor in such matters. The Supreme Court has refused to hear the Hiss appeal so he will have to serve out his sentence. Maybe he can go to Moscow and get a medal from Josef when he gets out. Hiss is still screeching that he is innocent and he must have gigantic testicles made of bronze to do this. I have reviewed much of the information against him and there is no question whatsoever that he is as guilty as could be.

MacArthur is starting to issue statements to the press which is most unwise and certainly in violation of the relationship between a general officer and his Commander in Chief. I have heard that Truman now is interested in coming to some kind of accommodation with the Chinese and ending a very unpopular war. His approval percentage in the opinion polls has dropped to an incredible low of 25% and he has to do something to bring it up. Peace in Korea would be the way to do it, certainly.

The U.S. is moving ahead and is pushing the Chinese and Koreans back so this might be a good time to make such a move. One wonders what M will do about this kind of a move. It would deprive him of power and Truman certainly does not like or appreciate his attempts to undermine his position. These things evolve. Perhaps M. will practice some commonsense for once.

Harvey told me that he has been investigating Philby whom he now hates because of the incident with his wife. I was very pleasant with him and he has asked me to have a drink with his wife and himself. From what I know, H. and his wife are a pair of drunks so I will have to be careful not to have them down to the house. They don’t like women in the club so we can meet somewhere in DC instead. I hope to learn just what, if anything, Harvey has found.

Friday, 23. March, 1951.

I had my dinner with the Harveys at a small restaurant that specializes in Spanish food. I met Frau Harvey for the first time. Her name is Libby (for Elizabeth no doubt) and she is rather thin and dark-haired. She also drinks like her fat husband. Both of them loathe Burgess and, because of him, Philby. Harvey said Burgess insulted his wife and that he suspected both of them of being spies. I tried to dismiss the Philby suspicion by saying that Philby was no doubt reporting on Washington affairs to Whitehall but Harvey thinks to Moscow as well. He has no proof but is certainly persistent and this, coupled with his vindictiveness and position in the CIA does not look that good for P.

The wife is obviously encouraging his attacks. Women love to stir up disharmony and the Chinese ideogram for trouble is two women under one roof. One can assume from his actions that Burgess would fall into the female category although what Philby sees in him is something I would prefer not to contemplate. Himself, probably.

Both the Harveys poured down the martinis ( a filthy concoction that tastes like cleaning fluid) until finally, dear Libby slipped off her shoe and stuffed her wriggling foot into my crotch. Under the table of course, but in the condition her husband was, she could have ripped off her dress and scrambled up onto the table and he would have gone on talking to his plate. After her contortions, accompanied by her entertaining act of sticking her tongue out and wiggling it like a pink flannel necktie, she put her shoe back on (God be praised!) and wrote her telephone number on a piece of paper and stuck it into my jacket pocket.

All this time, Harvey himself was muttering about Hoover and what an asshole he is. Apparently, H. worked for the FBI and Hoover sacked him with some nasty comments about being a drunk.

The food was interesting for a change but the evening was a total waste except for the foot action and the wagging tongue. The Harvey woman certainly gets heated up with a few drinks. One or two more, and I have no doubt she would have crawled under the table and fellated me before the dessert!

On the way out of the restaurant, she fell down and when her drunken husband tried to lift her up, he fell down. I had the manager call a taxicab as they were obviously too drunk to drive, either one of them, and I didn’t want to give them a ride in my new Cadillac because one or both of them would have spewed all over the seats.

William King Harvey was thirty-five when he encountered Müller. A native of Indiana, Harvey had been an FBI agent stationed in New York until he was fired by Hoover for being a chronic alcoholic. Harvey, who had considerable knowledge of Soviet espionage, then took his knowledge, and his drinking habits, to the CIA where he soon became chief of counterintelligence. His wife, Libby, a native of Kentucky, was a woman of little sophistication and was not able to function in Washington society without resort to an extensive ration of dry martinis. Harvey, known as the Pear because of his short, fat body, disliked Hoover and engaged in open warfare with his former superior. He was a loud, aggressive man who developed a strong personal dislike for Harold Philby and attacked him constantly, eventually eroding Philby’s standing with British intelligence and leading to his defection to Russia in 1963. Ten years earlier, his nemesis, Harvey, was transferred to Berlin to head the CIA office there.

In 1952, Harvey had divorced his wife, Libby, and obtained custody of their young son. He never discovered that Müller had a brief but steamy affair with his wife, who eventually committed suicide, but blamed her fall from grace to a connection with “some German bastard.” Other problems were the official cause of their breakup but the Teuton who so encrusted him with horns remained his friend and the two of them ended up in BOB or Berlin Operations Base, the CIA nerve center in Berlin.

Harvey indeed was a man with a considerable knowledge of Soviet intelligence operations but Müller had an infinitely greater knowledge and Harvey depended heavily on his ‘Swiss’ friend for information and assistance with German. Harvey, like so many other CIA specialists in Germany, was unable to read, write or speak a word of German.

There is a very strong reason to believe that Harvey, far from being an enemy of Hoover, was in fact still in contact with his former chief and passed along inside information to him about the working of the CIA, an organization that was feared and disliked by the FBI chief.

After Harvey returned from his duty in Berlin, he became involved in other serious matters for the CIA and in 1963, under James Angleton, was connected with the assassination of John Kennedy. Harvey was in charge of the assassination squad and later dealt with Mary Pinchot Meyer, Kennedy’s mistress and former wife of Cord Meyer, a senior CIA official.



The Age of Disintegration

Neoliberalism, Interventionism, the Resource Curse, and a Fragmenting World

by Patrick Cockburn


We live in an age of disintegration. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Greater Middle East and Africa. Across the vast swath of territory between Pakistan and Nigeria, there are at least seven ongoing wars — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and South Sudan. These conflicts are extraordinarily destructive. They are tearing apart the countries in which they are taking place in ways that make it doubtful they will ever recover. Cities like Aleppo in Syria, Ramadi in Iraq, Taiz in Yemen, and Benghazi in Libya have been partly or entirely reduced to ruins. There are also at least three other serious insurgencies: in southeast Turkey, where Kurdish guerrillas are fighting the Turkish army, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula where a little-reported but ferocious guerrilla conflict is underway, and in northeast Nigeria and neighboring countries where Boko Haram continues to launch murderous attacks.

All of these have a number of things in common: they are endless and seem never to produce definitive winners or losers. (Afghanistan has effectively been at war since 1979, Somalia since 1991.) They involve the destruction or dismemberment of unified nations, their de facto partition amid mass population movements and upheavals — well publicized in the case of Syria and Iraq, less so in places like South Sudan where more than 2.4 million people have been displaced in recent years.

Add in one more similarity, no less crucial for being obvious: in most of these countries, where Islam is the dominant religion, extreme Salafi-Jihadi movements, including the Islamic State (IS), al-Qaeda, and the Taliban are essentially the only available vehicles for protest and rebellion. By now, they have completely replaced the socialist and nationalist movements that predominated in the twentieth century; these years have, that is, seen a remarkable reversion to religious, ethnic, and tribal identity, to movements that seek to establish their own exclusive territory by the persecution and expulsion of minorities.

In the process and under the pressure of outside military intervention, a vast region of the planet seems to be cracking open. Yet there is very little understanding of these processes in Washington. This was recently well illustrated by the protest of 51 State Department diplomats against President Obama’s Syrian policy and their suggestion that air strikes be launched targeting Syrian regime forces in the belief that President Bashar al-Assad would then abide by a ceasefire. The diplomats’ approach remains typically simpleminded in this most complex of conflicts, assuming as it does that the Syrian government’s barrel-bombing of civilians and other grim acts are the “root cause of the instability that continues to grip Syria and the broader region.”

It is as if the minds of these diplomats were still in the Cold War era, as if they were still fighting the Soviet Union and its allies. Against all the evidence of the last five years, there is an assumption that a barely extant moderate Syrian opposition would benefit from the fall of Assad, and a lack of understanding that the armed opposition in Syria is entirely dominated by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda clones.

Though the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is now widely admitted to have been a mistake (even by those who supported it at the time), no real lessons have been learned about why direct or indirect military interventions by the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East over the last quarter century have all only exacerbated violence and accelerated state failure.

A Mass Extinction of Independent States

The Islamic State, just celebrating its second anniversary, is the grotesque outcome of this era of chaos and conflict. That such a monstrous cult exists at all is a symptom of the deep dislocation societies throughout that region, ruled by corrupt and discredited elites, have suffered. Its rise — and that of various Taliban and al-Qaeda-style clones — is a measure of the weakness of its opponents.The Iraqi army and security forces, for example, had 350,000 soldiers and 660,000 police on the books in June 2014 when a few thousand Islamic State fighters captured Mosul, the country’s second largest city, which they still hold. Today the Iraqi army, security services, and about 20,000 Shia paramilitaries backed by the massive firepower of the United States and allied air forces have fought their way into the city of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, against the resistance of IS fighters who may have numbered as few as 900. In Afghanistan, the resurgence of the Taliban, supposedly decisively defeated in 2001, came about less because of the popularity of that movement than the contempt with which Afghans came to regard their corrupt government in Kabul.

Everywhere nation states are enfeebled or collapsing, as authoritarian leaders battle for survival in the face of mounting external and internal pressures. This is hardly the way the region was expected to develop. Countries that had escaped from colonial rule in the second half of the twentieth century were supposed to become more, not less, unified as time passed.

Between 1950 and 1975, nationalist leaders came to power in much of the previously colonized world. They promised to achieve national self-determination by creating powerful independent states through the concentration of whatever political, military, and economic resources were at hand. Instead, over the decades, many of these regimes transmuted into police states controlled by small numbers of staggeringly wealthy families and a coterie of businessmen dependent on their connections to such leaders as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt or Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

In recent years, such countries were also opened up to the economic whirlwind of neoliberalism, which destroyed any crude social contract that existed between rulers and ruled. Take Syria. There, rural towns and villages that had once supported the Baathist regime of the al-Assad family because it provided jobs and kept the prices of necessities low were, after 2000, abandoned to market forces skewed in favor of those in power. These places would become the backbone of the post-2011 uprising. At the same time, institutions like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that had done so much to enhance the wealth and power of regional oil producers in the 1970s have lost their capacity for united action.

The question for our moment: Why is a “mass extinction” of independent states taking place in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond? Western politicians and media often refer to such countries as “failed states.” The implication embedded in that term is that the process is a self-destructive one. But several of the states now labeled “failed” like Libya only became so after Western-backed opposition movements seized power with the support and military intervention of Washington and NATO, and proved too weak to impose their own central governments and so a monopoly of violence within the national territory.

In many ways, this process began with the intervention of a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq in 2003 leading to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the shutting down of his Baathist Party, and the disbanding of his military. Whatever their faults, Saddam and Libya’s autocratic ruler Muammar Gaddafi were clearly demonized and blamed for all ethnic, sectarian, and regional differences in the countries they ruled, forces that were, in fact, set loose in grim ways upon their deaths.

A question remains, however: Why did the opposition to autocracy and to Western intervention take on an Islamic form and why were the Islamic movements that came to dominate the armed resistance in Iraq and Syria in particular so violent, regressive, and sectarian? Put another way, how could such groups find so many people willing to die for their causes, while their opponents found so few? When IS battle groups were sweeping through northern Iraq in the summer of 2014, soldiers who had thrown aside their uniforms and weapons and deserted that country’s northern cities would justify their flight by saying derisively: “Die for [then-Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki? Never!”

A common explanation for the rise of Islamic resistance movements is that the socialist, secularist, and nationalist opposition had been crushed by the old regimes’ security forces, while the Islamists were not. In countries like Libya and Syria, however, Islamists were savagely persecuted, too, and they still came to dominate the opposition. And yet, while these religious movements were strong enough to oppose governments, they generally have not proven strong enough to replace them.

Too Weak to Win, But Too Strong to Lose

Though there are clearly many reasons for the present disintegration of states and they differ somewhat from place to place, one thing is beyond question: the phenomenon itself is becoming the norm across vast reaches of the planet.

If you’re looking for the causes of state failure in our time, the place to start is undoubtedly with the end of the Cold War a quarter-century ago. Once it was over, neither the U.S. nor the new Russia that emerged from the Soviet Union’s implosion had a significant interest in continuing to prop up “failed states,” as each had for so long, fearing that the rival superpower and its local proxies would otherwise take over. Previously, national leaders in places like the Greater Middle East had been able to maintain a degree of independence for their countries by balancing between Moscow and Washington. With the break-up of the Soviet Union, this was no longer feasible.

In addition, the triumph of neoliberal free-market economics in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse added a critical element to the mix. It would prove far more destabilizing than it looked at the time.

Again, consider Syria. The expansion of the free market in a country where there was neither democratic accountability nor the rule of law meant one thing above all: plutocrats linked to the nation’s ruling family took anything that seemed potentially profitable. In the process, they grew staggeringly wealthy, while the denizens of Syria’s impoverished villages, country towns, and city slums, who had once looked to the state for jobs and cheap food, suffered. It should have surprised no one that those places became the strongholds of the Syrian uprising after 2011. In the capital, Damascus, as the reign of neoliberalism spread, even the lesser members of the mukhabarat, or secret police, found themselves living on only $200 to $300 a month, while the state became a machine for thievery.

This sort of thievery and the auctioning off of the nation’s patrimony spread across the region in these years. The new Egyptian ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, merciless toward any sign of domestic dissent, was typical. In a country that once had been a standard bearer for nationalist regimes the world over, he didn’t hesitate this April to try to hand over two islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia on whose funding and aid his regime is dependent. (To the surprise of everyone, an Egyptian court recently overruled Sisi’s decision.)

That gesture, deeply unpopular among increasingly impoverished Egyptians, was symbolic of a larger change in the balance of power in the Middle East: once the most powerful states in the region — Egypt, Syria, and Iraq — had been secular nationalists and a genuine counterbalance to Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf monarchies. As those secular autocracies weakened, however, the power and influence of the Sunni fundamentalist monarchies only increased. If 2011 saw rebellion and revolution spread across the Greater Middle East as the Arab Spring briefly blossomed, it also saw counterrevolution spread, funded by those oil-rich absolute Gulf monarchies, which were never going to tolerate democratic secular regime change in Syria or Libya.

Add in one more process at work making such states ever more fragile: the production and sale of natural resources — oil, gas, and minerals — and the kleptomania that goes with it. Such countries often suffer from what has become known as “the resources curse”: states increasingly dependent for revenues on the sale of their natural resources — enough to theoretically provide the whole population with a reasonably decent standard of living — turn instead into grotesquely corrupt dictatorships. In them, the yachts of local billionaires with crucial connections to the regime of the moment bob in harbors surrounded by slums running with raw sewage. In such nations, politics tends to focus on elites battling and maneuvering to steal state revenues and transfer them as rapidly as possible out of the country.

This has been the pattern of economic and political life in much of sub-Saharan Africa from Angola to Nigeria. In the Middle East and North Africa, however, a somewhat different system exists, one usually misunderstood by the outside world. There is similarly great inequality in Iraq or Saudi Arabia with similarly kleptocratic elites. They have, however, ruled over patronage states in which a significant part of the population is offered jobs in the public sector in return for political passivity or support for the kleptocrats.

In Iraq with a population of 33 million people, for instance, no less than seven million of them are on the government payroll, thanks to salaries or pensions that cost the government $4 billion a month. This crude way of distributing oil revenues to the people has often been denounced by Western commentators and economists as corruption. They, in turn, generally recommend cutting the number of these jobs, but this would mean that all, rather than just part, of the state’s resource revenues would be stolen by the elite. This, in fact, is increasingly the case in such lands as oil prices bottom out and even the Saudi royals begin to cut back on state support for the populace.

Neoliberalism was once believed to be the path to secular democracy and free-market economies. In practice, it has been anything but. Instead, in conjunction with the resource curse, as well as repeated military interventions by Washington and its allies, free-market economics has profoundly destabilized the Greater Middle East. Encouraged by Washington and Brussels, twenty-first-century neoliberalism has made unequal societies ever more unequal and helped transform already corrupt regimes into looting machines. This is also, of course, a formula for the success of the Islamic State or any other radical alternative to the status quo. Such movements are bound to find support in impoverished or neglected regions like eastern Syria or eastern Libya.

Note, however, that this process of destabilization is by no means confined to the Greater Middle East and North Africa. We are indeed in the age of destabilization, a phenomenon that is on the rise globally and at present spreading into the Balkans and Eastern Europe (with the European Union ever less able to influence events there). People no longer speak of European integration, but of how to prevent the complete break-up of the European Union in the wake of the British vote to leave.

The reasons why a narrow majority of Britons voted for Brexit have parallels with the Middle East: the free-market economic policies pursued by governments since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister have widened the gap between rich and poor and between wealthy cities and much of the rest of the country. Britain might be doing well, but millions of Britons did not share in the prosperity. The referendum about continued membership in the European Union, the option almost universally advocated by the British establishment, became the catalyst for protest against the status quo. The anger of the “Leave” voters has much in common with that of Donald Trump supporters in the United States.

The U.S. remains a superpower, but is no longer as powerful as it once was. It, too, is feeling the strains of this global moment, in which it and its local allies are powerful enough to imagine they can get rid of regimes they do not like, but either they do not quite succeed, as in Syria, or succeed but cannot replace what they have destroyed, as in Libya. An Iraqi politician once said that the problem in his country was that parties and movements were “too weak to win, but too strong to lose.” This is increasingly the pattern for the whole region and is spreading elsewhere. It carries with it the possibility of an endless cycle of indecisive wars and an era of instability that has already begun.

Cameron condemns xenophobic and racist abuse after Brexit vote

PM says government ‘will not tolerate intolerance’ after reported spike in hate crimes and abuse after EU referendum

June 27, 2016

by Harriet Sherwood, Vikram Dodd, Nadia Khomami and Steven Morris

The Guardian

David Cameron has condemned “despicable” xenophobic abuse after the EU referendum as figures suggested a 57% increase in reported incidents.

The country would not stand for hate crime, the prime minister told MPs.

“In the past few days we have seen despicable graffiti daubed on a Polish community centre, we’ve seen verbal abuse hurled against individuals because they are members of ethnic minorities,” Cameron said.

“Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country. We will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks, they must be stamped out.”

Police believe there has been an increase in hate crimes and community tensions since last week’s referendum. Initial figures show an increase of 57% in reported incidents between Thursday and Sunday compared with the same days four weeks earlier, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said – 85 incidents were reported compared with 54 during the earlier period.

“It’s no coincidence this has come off the back of the EU vote,” said a police source.

Senior police chiefs have discussed how to respond amid concerns the continuing heated debate may contribute to heightened tensions.

Cameron’s condemnation came amid a growing chorus of concern over intolerance and hostility. The mayor of London and the UK’s biggest Muslim organisation spoke out against a spike in racist abuse in the aftermath of the referendum.

The Polish embassy in the UK said it was shocked at incidents of xenophobic abuse directed at members of its community in the past few days, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was alarmed by reports of harassment and abuse.

Sadiq Khan, who was elected mayor of London last month, said he had put the capital’s police on alert for racially motivated incidents. “It’s really important we stand guard against any rise in hate crimes or abuse by those who might use last week’s referendum as cover to seek to divide us,” he said.

“I’ve asked our police to be extra vigilant for any rise in cases of hate crime, and I’m calling on all Londoners to pull together and rally behind this great city.”

The Metropolitan police promised to investigate any reports of hate crime and abuse.

The Muslim Council of Britain urged political and civic leaders to heal divisions exposed by last week’s vote.

Shuja Shafi, the MCB’s secretary general, said: “As the results of the referendum became known, I called for our politicians to come together and heal the divisions that have emerged as a result of the campaign. Now we are witnessing the shocking extent of this with reports around the country of hate speech and minorities being targeted.

“We need leadership now more than ever before. Our country is experiencing a political crisis which, I fear, threatens the social peace.”

The umbrella organisation has compiled a dossier of reported racist and Islamophobic incidents since the result of the referendum was announced on Friday morning.

It said it had logged many reports of Muslims and others being taunted with “go back home” and similar sentiments.

Thomas Johnstone, 30, of Luton, was charged with two racially aggravated public order offences after the far-right English Defence League protested outside a mosque in Birmingham at the weekend.

After a spate of alleged xenophobic incidents over the weekend, the Polish embassy issued a statement expressing its shock and deep concern.

Reported incidents included graffiti being sprayed on to the walls of a Polish community centre in west London, and cards reading “no more Polish vermin” posted through letterboxes.

The embassy said: “We are shocked and deeply concerned by the recent incidents of xenophobic abuse directed at the Polish community and other UK residents of migrant heritage. The Polish embassy is in contact with relevant institutions, and local police are investigating the two most widely reported cases, in Hammersmith, London, and Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

“At the same time we would like to [say thank you] for all the messages of support and solidarity for the Polish community expressed by the British public.”

Racist graffiti was found scrawled across the doors of the Polish Social and Cultural Centre (POSK) in Hammersmith, west London, on Sunday.

By Monday afternoon, the reception desk had been inundated with flowers and cards from locals expressing solidarity and good wishes.

One of the cards read: “Dear Poles, I am so sorry to hear about what happened yesterday. We, the Brits are grateful to you for fighting alongside us in the war and now for the enormous contribution you make to our society. We love you.”

Another started: “Dear Polish friends, we wanted to let you know how very sorry we are to hear about the abusive messages graffitied on to your building. It’s depressing enough that the UK (or part of it) will be leaving the EU. That the result of the referendum seems to have been interpreted by some as a licence to express their racism and xenophobia is truly horrifying.”

Joanna Ciechanowska, the director of POSK’s gallery, who has lived in the UK for 35 years, said she had never encountered racism before.

“All of a sudden a small group of extremists feel empowered. The margins of society feel that they can do it because they think they have the support of half of the nation. It’s sad because living here for so many years and being married to an Englishman I have never actually encountered any racism in this country, and this is the first time it happened straight in my face.

“It’s out of character for this area because I frequently engage with Hammersmith council, our recent exhibition of Polish and Russian art was embraced by them, we attend various things they organise. Whoever did this was an ugly person who saw a window of opportunity.”

Elzbieta Pagór, the centre’s librarian, said: “This centre has been here since the 60s, so why now? The referendum made people just explode.

“Me and my family came here in 1983. My eldest son was born in Poland and my younger one was born here and is married to English girl. He says he knew something like this would happen if we voted to leave the EU. That the reaction would be toxic.”

Sipping a coffee at a nearby cafe, the actor Michael Gambon said: “I just heard about it. It’s horrific and shocking. Totally terrible.”

Police said examination of CCTV had shown a suspect arriving at the centre on a bicycle at 5.22am, before spraying yellow graffiti on the doors. The Met said it was being treated as a hate crime.

In Wales, the first minister, Carwyn Jones, said the effects of an “ugly atmosphere” created by the leave campaign were being felt on the streets.

“Members cited examples of hateful incidents directed against non-British people in their constituencies over the weekend, and equally distressingly, against people from ethnic minorities born here in Wales,” he said.“It is incumbent on all of us, no matter how we voted last week, to stand up to anybody who thinks they now have licence to abuse people of different races or nationalities. They have no such licence and should anyone suffer from this sort of abuse, they should report it to the police immediately.”

Speaking for the Board of Deputies, Gillian Merron said: “It is important during these times of political uncertainty in our country to ensure that nobody feels vulnerable and threatened. Everyone, including European Union citizens and other minorities resident in the UK, has the right to security and protection from hate speech.

“The Jewish community knows all too well these feelings of vulnerability and will not remain silent in the face of a reported rise in racially motivated harassment.”

Boris Johnson, who spearheaded the leave campaign and is the frontrunner to succeed Cameron, sought on Monday to reassure Europeans living in Britain.

“I’ve seen a lot of confusion over the weekend about the status of people living in this country. It’s absolutely clear that people from other European Union countries who are living here have their rights protected. All that people want to see is a system that’s fair, impartial and humane to all people coming from around the world,” he said.

“And also, obviously people from the UK living abroad, living in the rest of the EU, will also have their rights completely protected. I just worry there’s been a certain amount of confusion in the media over the last 24 hours.”

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, said: “London is a diverse, global city where people from many different backgrounds live and work side by side in safety. That hasn’t changed in the past few days, but if people do have any concerns they should let the police know. We will investigate vigorously any reports of crime motivated by hatred.”

Germany sees rise in far-right violence, warns of ‘terrorist structures’

June 28, 2016

by Andrea Shalal


Germany saw a sharp rise in far-right violence in 2015, a year in which it took in more than one million migrants, according to a report on Tuesday that called for concrete steps to avert the emergence of what it called “right-wing terrorist structures”.

The annual report prepared by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said the number of far-right violent acts jumped to 1,408 in 2015, an increase of more than 42 percent from 990 in the previous year. The incidents included attacks against journalists and politicians and attempted murder.

The report also chronicled 75 arson attacks against refugee centers in 2015, up from just five a year earlier.

Germany was home to an estimated 11,800 violent far-right extremists, the report said, roughly half of the total number of far-right individuals in the country.

“Current investigations against the suspected development of terrorist groups points to the possible emergence of right-wing terrorist structures in Germany and the need for the government to take rigorous action,” the interior ministry said in a statement accompanying the report.

Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere said Germany was seeing a rise in both far-right and far-left extremism and a growing willingness among activists from both sides to use violence.

“It is worrying that anti-immigration incitement is creeping into the heart of our society,” he said in the statement.

The report said the violent acts against immigrants did not generally appear to be systematically orchestrated, though many of the arson attacks did bear signs of careful planning and preparation.

However, German authorities recently broke up a suspected far-right militant group known as “Oldschool Society” and there are concerns that similar groups could emerge elsewhere.

Last year Germany took in more than one million migrants, the majority of them Muslims fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. The influx has put pressure on public services and raised fears of increased ethnic and religious tensions.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Muslims in Europe: Country guide

Islam is widely considered Europe’s fastest growing religion, with massive immigration and above average birth rates leading to a rapid increase in the Muslim population.

The exact number of Muslims is difficult to establish however, as census figures are often questioned and many countries choose not to compile such information.


Total population: 3.1 million

Muslim population: 2.2 million (70%)

Background: Religious worship was banned in Albania until the transition from Stalinist state to democracy in the 1990s. Islam is now openly recognised as the country’s major religion and most Albanians are Sunni Muslim by virtue of the nation’s history: The Balkans has had centuries of association with the faith as many parts of it were part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. While the empire is long gone, the culture remained in place. Significant populations of Albanian Muslims exist in a number of other European countries.

Sources: Total population – Albanian Institute of Statistics,; Muslim population – UK Foreign Office.


Total population: 8.2 million

Muslim population: 339,000 (4.1%)

Background: Large numbers of Muslims lived under Austrian rule when Bosnia-Hercegovina was annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908. Many of Austria’s Muslims have roots in Turkey and others arrived from the Balkans during the 1990s wars – partly because of historical ties. Islam has been recognised as an official religion in Austria for many years, meaning that it has a role in the religious teaching in schools. Vienna has historically been regarded as the point where the Islamic world reached its most western point, a critical battle in Austria in the 16th century marking the beginning of the decline of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Austria has been developing strong anti-Muslim immigration tendencies and right wing political groups are rapidly growing in strength.

Sources: Total population – Statistics Austria,; Muslim population – Statistics Austria, figures.


Total population: 10.3 million

Muslim population: 0.4 million (4%)

Background: Islam is one of seven recognized religions in Belgium, a status that brings it a number of subsidies and official roles, such as providing teachers. Despite this there have been complaints of discrimination. Unemployment and poor housing have been one such cause of tension. There have also been claims of discrimination against women in traditional dress. A majority of Belgium’s Muslims are of Moroccan or Turkish origin; many others are from Albania. (Citizenship is available after seven years). Belgium is a country with a militant Muslim population and the terrorists who struck in Paris were all based in Begium and unmolested by Belgian law enforcement.

Sources: Total population – Statistics Belgium; Muslim population – US State Department.


Total population: 3.8 million

Muslim population: 1.5 million (40%)

Background: Bosnia-Hercegovina is still recovering from the bloody inter-ethnic war of 1992-95. Around 250,000 people died in the conflict between Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Serbs. Almost 8,000 Muslims were killed by Bosnian Serbs at Srebrenica in 1995 – Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II. Many Muslims were displaced, as were members of other communities. The countries’  frontiers have long been considered the western borders of the Islamic faith in Europe.

Sources: Total population – Agency for Statistics Bosnia and Herzegovina,; Muslim population – US State Department.


Total population: 5.4 million

Muslim population: 270,000 (5%)

Background: In the 1970s Muslims arrived from Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco and the former Yugoslavia to work. In the 1980s and 90s the majority of Muslim arrivals were refugees and asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, Somalia and Bosnia. Access to housing and employment have been sources of concern for Muslims in Denmark. (A minority have citizenship).

Sources: Total population – Statistics Denmark,; Muslim population – US State Department.


Total population: 62.3 million

Muslim population: Five to six million (8-9.6%)

Background: The French Muslim population is the largest in western Europe. About 70% have their heritage in former north African colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. France favors integration and many Muslims are citizens. Nevertheless, the growth of the community has challenged the French ideal of strict separation of religion and public life. There has been criticism that Muslims face high unemployment and often live in poor suburbs. A ban on religious symbols in public schools provoked a major national row as it was widely regarded as being a ban on the Islamic headscarf. Late 2005 saw widespread and prolonged rioting among mainly immigrant communities across France. The French people are growing increasingly hostile to the Muslim population, especially after major terrorist attacks.

Sources: Total population – National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies, 2004 figures; Muslim population – French government estimate.


Total population: 82.5 million

Muslim population: 3 million (3.6%)

Background: The majority of the Muslim population is Turkish, with many retaining strong links to Turkey. Others arrived from Bosnia and Kosovo during the Balkan wars. Until recently Muslims were considered “guest workers”, who would one day leave the country – a view that is changing. Racist violence is a sensitive issue, with the authorities trying a range of strategies to beat it. Steps are being taken to improve integration.

Sources: Total population – Federal Statistical Office, 2004 figures; Muslim population – Federal Ministry of the Interior estimate.

Background: The majority of the Muslim population is Turkish, with many retaining strong links to Turkey. Others arrived from Bosnia and Kosovo during the Balkan wars. Until recently Muslims were considered “guest workers”, who would one day leave the country – a view that is rapidly changing. Racist violence is a sensitive issue, with the authorities trying a range of unsuccessful strategies to beat it. A recent huge and unrestricted wave of immigrants has created growing problems in Germany and a sharp rise in the popularity of far right groups.

Sources: Total population – Federal Statistical Office,; Muslim population – Federal Ministry of the Interior estimate.


Total population: 58.4 million

Muslim population: 825,000 (1.4%)

Background: The Muslim population is diverse, the largest group coming from Morocco. Others are from elsewhere in North Africa, south Asia, Albania, and the Middle East. Most arrived from the 1980s onwards, many of them as students. Italy has been working to formalize relations between the state and the Muslim community. Up to 160,000 Muslims are Italian born. Most Muslims have the right to reside and work in Italy, but are not citizens.

Sources: Total population – Italian National Statistical Institute; Muslim population – UK Foreign Office.


Total population: 2.1 million

Muslim population: 630,000 (30%)

Background: Macedonia’s largest religion is Macedonian Orthodox, but almost one third of the population describe themselves as Muslim. Macedonia was spared the inter-ethnic violence that affected much of the Balkans following the break-up of Yugoslavia. But in early 2001 rebels staged an uprising demanding greater rights for the ethnic Albanian minority – a group which includes most Muslims. With EU and Nato support a deal was reached offering them greater rights, although some have been unhappy with the pace of change. The US State Department suggests that religious freedom is generally respected and that “societal discrimination is more likely to be based upon ethnic bias” than religion.

Sources: Total population – UK Foreign Office; Muslim population – UK Foreign Office.


Total population: 16.3 million

Muslim population: 945,000 or 5.8%

Background: The integration of Muslims remains a concern for the Dutch government, particularly after a film-maker critical of Islam was murdered in 2004 by a radical Islamist. Further tensions surround the view held by some that there is a high level of crime among Muslim youths and a problem with unemployment. In the 1950s Muslims arrived from the former colonies of Suriname and Indonesia. One of the most important groups is the substantial Somali minority. Others are from Turkey and Morocco. The Netherlands favors multiculturalism, essentially the accommodation of different groups on equal terms.

Sources: Total population – Statistics Netherlands,; Muslim population – Statistics Netherlands,.


Total population: 10.8 million (including Kosovo); 8.1 million (excluding Kosovo)

Muslim population: Serbia and Montenegro – 405,000 (5%); Kosovo – about 1.8 million (90%)

Background (excluding Kosovo): Within Serbia and Montenegro the predominant religion is Serbian Orthodoxy. Islam is the second largest faith, with Muslims accounting for about 5% of the population, rising to about 20% in Montenegro. The Muslim community is considered one of seven “traditional” religious communities. Religion and ethnicity remain closely linked across the country and discrimination and tensions continue to be reported.

Kosovo background: The late 1990s saw devastating conflict after the Kosovo Liberation Army, supported by the majority ethnic Albanians – most of whom are Muslim – came out in open rebellion against Serbian rule. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic began “ethnic cleansing” against the Kosovo Albanian population. Thousands died and hundreds of thousands fled. Nato intervened between March and June 1999 with a 78 day bombing campaign to push back Serb forces and Kosovo remains under UN control. The ethnic Albanian community has expressed frustration at the length of time being taken to decide Kosovo’s future status. Attacks against Kosovo’s remaining minority Serb population have caused concern.

Sources: Total population – UK Foreign Office; Muslim population – US State Department.


Total population: 43.1 million

Muslim population: 1 million (2.3%)

Background: Almost eight centuries of Moorish rule over Spain came to an end in 1492, providing the country with a strong Islamic legacy, particularly in its architecture. The modern Muslim population started to arrive in significant numbers in the 1970s. Many were Moroccans coming to work in tourism and subsequent growth came when their families joined them. The state recognizes Islam, affording it a number of privileges including the teaching of Islam in schools and religious holidays. There have been some reports of tension towards Muslim immigrants. Spain was shaken in 2004 when terror attacks by suspected radical Islamists killed 191 people on Madrid commuter trains.

Sources: Total population – Spanish National Institute of Statistics,; Muslim population – US State Department.


Total population: 9 million

Muslim population: 300,000 (3%)

Background: The Muslim population is broad – with significant groups from Turkey, Bosnia, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Syria. The size of the Muslim population is such that representative bodies receive state funding. Sweden favors multiculturalism and immigrants can become citizens after five years. Sweden prides itself on its tolerance, but there has been criticism that Muslims are too often blamed for society’s problems. There are growing social problems caused by radical members of the Muslim population, especially rapes and thefts.

Sources: Total population – Statistics Sweden,; Muslim population – US State Department.


Total population: 7.4 million

Muslim population: 310,800 (4.2%)

Background: Official figures suggest the Muslim population has doubled in recent years, but some sources say there are also about 150,000 Muslims in the country illegally. The first Muslims arrived as workers in the 1960s, mostly from Turkey, the former Yugoslavia and Albania. They were joined by their families in the 1970s and, in recent years, by asylum seekers. (Comparatively few have citizenship.)

Sources: Total population – Swiss Federal Statistical Office,; Muslim population – Swiss Federal Statistical Office,


Total population: 68.7 million

Muslim population: 68 million (99%)

Background: Although Turkey is a secular state, Sunni Islam is an important part of Turkish life. Its application to join the EU divided existing members, some of which questioned whether a poor, Muslim country could fit in. Turkey accused its EU opponents of favoring a “Christian club”. Membership talks were formally launched in October 2005, with negotiations expected to take 10 years. Most Turks are Sunni Muslim, but a significant number are of the Alevi branch of Shias.

Sources: Total population – Turkish State Institute of Statistics,; Muslim population – US State Department.


Total population: 58.8 million

Muslim population: 1.6 million (2.8%)

Background: The UK has a long history of contact with Muslims, with links forged from the Middle Ages onwards. In the 19th Century Yemeni men came to work on ships, forming one of the country’s first Muslim communities. In the 1960s, significant numbers of Muslims arrived as people in the former colonies took up offers of work. Some of the first were East African Asians, while many came from south Asia. Permanent communities formed and at least 50% of the current population was born in the UK. Significant communities with links to Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and the Balkans also exist. The 2001 Census showed one third of the Muslim population was under 16 – the highest proportion for any group. It also highlighted high levels of unemployment, low levels of qualifications and low home ownership. The UK favors multiculturalism, an idea shared by other countries which, in general terms, accepts all cultures as having equal value and has influence over how government engages with minorities.

Sources: Total population – Office for National Statistics,; Muslim population – Office for National Statistics.

 Cracks show inside Islamic State’s shrinking caliphate

June 28, 2016

by Maher Chmaytelli and Isabel Coles


ERBIL, Iraq-It was barely more than a squiggle, but the mark of a single letter sprayed overnight on a wall in the heart of Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate was a daring act of dissent.

The next day, ultra-hardline Islamic State fighters came and scrubbed out the “M” — the first letter of the word for “resistance” in Arabic — which appeared in an alley near the Grand Mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul about three weeks ago.

A video of the single letter, scrawled about a meter long on the wall, was shared with Reuters by an activist from a group called “Resistance”, whose members risk certain execution to conduct small acts of defiance in areas under Islamic State rule.

Nearly two years since Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivered a sermon from that same mosque summoning Muslims worldwide to the “caliphate”, it is fraying at the edges.

As an array of forces make inroads into their territory spanning Iraq and Syria, the jihadis are becoming even harsher to maintain control of a population that is increasingly hostile to them, according to Iraqi officials and people who managed to escape.

“They are harsh, but they are not strong,” said Major General Najm al-Jubbouri, who is in command of the operation to recapture Mosul and the surrounding areas. “Their hosts reject them.”

Many local Sunnis initially welcomed the Sunni Muslim militants as saviors from a Shi’ite-led government they perceived as oppressive, while thousands of foreigners answered Baghdadi’s call to come and wage holy war.

For a time, the militants claimed one victory after another, thanks as much to the weakness and division of the forces arrayed against them as their own strength. They funded themselves through sales of oil from fields they overran, and plundered weapons and ammunition from those they vanquished.

But two years since the declaration of the caliphate, the tide has begun to turn in favor of its many enemies: Iraqi and Syrian government troops, Kurdish forces in both countries, rival Syrian Sunni rebels, Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias, and a U.S.-led coalition which has bombed the militants while conducting special operations to take out their commanders.

Of the 43 founders of Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, 39 have been killed, said Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based expert who advises the Iraqi government.

The self-proclaimed caliph, Baghdadi, is moving in a semi-desert plain that covers several thousand square kilometers west of the Tigris River and south of Mosul, avoiding Syria after two of his close aides were killed there this year: “war minister” Abu Omar al-Shishani and top civilian administrator and second-in-command Abd al-Rahman al-Qaduli, Hashimi said.

The most senior commanders after Baghdadi are now Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the group’s spokesman who took over military supervision after Shishani’s death, and Abu Muhammad al-Shimali, who oversees foreign fighters and succeeded Qaduli as civilian administrator, he said.

Kurdish and Iraqi military commanders say the group is deploying fighters who are less experienced and less ideologically committed to defend what remains of its quasi-state, which is under attack on multiple fronts.

Iraqi forces recently entered the Islamic State bastion of Falluja just west of Baghdad, and are pushing north towards Mosul, by far the biggest city Islamic State controls with a pre-war population of 2 million.

In neighboring Syria, U.S.-backed forces are closing in on the militant stronghold of Manbij, and President Bashar al-Assad’s Russian-backed army has advanced into the province surrounding the de facto Islamic State capital Raqqa.

On a front south of Mosul, a group of women displaced by the offensive said Islamic State fighters’ grip had begun to loosen as Iraqi forces advanced, to the point that they no longer punished people for not wearing the full face veil.

The number of foreign fighters has fallen significantly, and renewed efforts by the group to recruit locals have proven largely unsuccessful, except amongst the young and destitute, according to people who recently fled, including three repentant Islamic State members.

“When you are a young man and you don’t own 250 dinars and someone comes and offers you 20,000, 15,000 or 30,000, you will do anything,” said a former Islamic State militant from Iraq’s northern Hawija district who recently gave himself up to Kurdish forces.

Members of Islamic State’s vice squad, the Hisba, are increasingly being sent to the frontlines as designated fighters are killed off, according to people who escaped as well as Iraqi and Kurdish military and intelligence officials.

That means there are fewer militants to enforce the group’s draconian rules and dress code. But a 28 year-old teacher who recently fled Mosul said people were so afraid of the militants they did not disobey them even when they were not around.

“If they say black is white, you agree,” said the teacher, who asked not to be identified because he still has family inside the city and feared they could be targeted.

School courses were redesigned by the militants to reflect their war-like ideology. He gave an example of a math problem given to his pupils: “The Mudjahid is carrying seven magazines for his rifle, each with 30 bullets; how many rounds can he fire at the unbelievers?”

He said Arabic lessons were also redesigned, with pupils asked to fill in blanks in slogan-like sentences such as “The Islamic State is xxxx and xxxx”. The answer is “staying and expanding”.


The Sunni population in which the militants have embedded themselves is becoming more of a liability to them but also remains one of their greatest assets.

As living conditions deteriorate and the militants crack down, the local population is increasingly hostile to the group, which has repeatedly used civilians as human shields to slow the advance of Iraqi forces in frontline cities like Falluja.

Those caught trying to escape Islamic State territory are liable to be executed on the spot — even women and children.

Despite outnumbering the militants, the population remains weaker than them. Residents were disarmed and the security forces purged in the early days after the fighters captured Mosul. But residents are increasingly cooperating with the security forces outside the city by informing on the militants.

Nineveh provincial council member Abdul Rahman al-Wakaa said the group had begun moving local leaders around so people could not identify them as easily and pass their location on to coalition and Iraqi forces.

The jihadis have also cracked down on communications with the outside world, executing people for using mobile phones and confiscating satellite dishes to prevent people from seeing the progress made by Iraqi forces.

Iraqi military leaders are hoping there will be an uprising against the insurgents as the army draws nearer to Mosul. A top Iraqi general told Reuters troops were in contact with people inside Mosul to synchronize such action with an external military assault.

The plan is to engage the militants on several fronts around Mosul simultaneously, to draw them out of the city, giving the local population a chance to revolt.

Acute hardship and hunger since Baghdad cut salaries to state workers living in areas under Islamic State control around a year ago has forced more locals to work for the group.

Islamic State, for its part, plays on the population’s fears of retribution from Iraqi forces and pro-government Shi’ite militias. Despite a string of defeats, military officials say there have been few defections from the group.

Three young men who joined Islamic State and recently surrendered to Kurdish forces in northern Iraq said the militants hunted down those who tried to abandon them.

Ahmed Ibrahim Abdullah said he had been arrested and tortured by the militants when he left. He sold a cow to pay for his bail so he could escape.

Twenty-six year old Ahmed Khalaf said he had surrendered to the Kurds in the hope he would be treated with more leniency than if captured by government forces, but that others were too afraid to the same: “There are people who have a certain idea that their fate is tied to the fate of Daesh.”

(Editing by Peter Graff)

A lot of questions in Brussels after Brexit vote

Insecurity is growing in Brussels ahead of Tuesday’s Brexit talks. John Kerry is even in town. Many questions have arisen. Bernd Riegert reports from Brussels.

June27, 2016


An older gentleman dressed in a dark blue suit, his hair a shock of white, gives off a serious air. He tells the fighting parties not to lose their heads or act on impulse. US Secretary of State John Kerry visited both the European Commission in Brussels and the British government in London on Monday. He was trying to preserve both a strong European Union and the special relationship between the US and Britain.

Kerry, who managed to squeeze both appointments into an already full appointment calendar, appealed to both sides to search for common ground. “The EU and Great Britain continue to share the same values and interests,” said Kerry. Brexit has not changed that. Kerry did not repeat the threat that US President Barack Obama had made during the election when he, while visiting London in April, said that his priority was to come to a trade agreement with the EU first and Great Britain would fall to the back of the line.

In Brussels, both the European Commission and the European Council are working on the assumption that the British government will not move forward on Brexit negotiations before the autumn. A spokesperson for the Commission and negotiators for the Council have rejected Britain’s request to begin informal negotiations about the modalities before the UK gives the official word that would trigger exit proceedings under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

“It is clear that those who voted for Brexit did not expect to win,” said Danuta Hübner, head of European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee. “They do not have a plan and are not prepared.” She rejected British officials’ desire to negotiate a special exception that would allow the country to gain access to the single market without paying dues. The Commission wants to begin the negotiation process as soon as possible, even if the process will be painful.

Interesting summit

Officials from some East European member states have criticized European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for his nudging Britain toward the door. The Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek even went so far as to call for Juncker’s resignation, saying he was “no longer the right man for the job.”

“We did not require the referendum,” Juncker’s spokesman said. “When someone should be held responsible for the consequences then it should be those who called for it.”

Still, there’s talk that someone could make a request to relieve Juncker of his duties at Tuesday’s summit. Poland will likely request more time to think things over, and Italian officials intend to ask for immediate negotiations in order to calm insecure markets. EU diplomats envision an interesting summit for sure.

End of English?

Hübner, the MEP, has created a list of all the hard questions that lie ahead during Brexit negotiations. But even the EU has to follow its own laws. One of the more comical anecdotes, according to Hübner, is the future of the English language.

“If Great Britain leaves, English is not longer an official bureaucratic language of the EU,” Hübner told journalists to the astonishment of many. “Ireland and Malta have registered their own unique languages, Irish and Maltese, as their official languages.” No other country had given English as their official language and every country in the European Union is only allowed one language. But Hübner calmed those present by saying that they would surely find a solution, as English had become the main working language in the halls of Brussels.

More important than that is protecting the interests of the more than 2 million EU citizens who live in the UK and the British who live and work in Brussels and across the European Union. The EU elected officials, along with Hübner, a former commissioner for Poland, made it clear that both sides do not yet quite have an idea about what must be negotiated and what actually needs to be pushed through. Hübner said that if need be the EU could force Great Britain to begin the exit process via Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Article 4, Paragraph 3 says that every member state is required to fulfill his duties laid out in the treaty in a spirit of cooperation so that other member states will not incur damages or be negatively influenced by their actions. “The British not only have a moral duty but also a legal responsibility to begin the proceedings now,” said Hübner.

The Commission, Council and the Parliament are assuming that the procedure for the separation will have two steps. First, the exit agreement will be agreed to and must be ratified by all the national Parliaments of the EU. Only after that can the negotiations about what the relationship to the third party state of Great Britain concerning trade and free movement begin. Chris Grayling, one of the Pro-Brexit ministers in the British Cabinet sees things a bit differently. He would like to begin informal negotiations regarding free trade before the actual Brexit. He would also like to come to agreements about migration even before Britain steps out of the EU.

In the worst case, the EU and Great Britain will head to court as in a divorce. Perhaps they can even sue at the European Court of Justice for the implementation of Article 50. A war of the roses in Luxembourg? EU diplomats are not excluding that possibility that it will go that far.

How About an Amerexit from NATO and Other One-Sided Military Alliances?

June 28, 2016

by Ivan Eland


With populism running wild in Europe and in the United States – the Brexit and American presidential candidate Donald Trump questioning U.S. alliances being just two obvious examples – suddenly people are asking the big questions about the future of Western institutions that should have been asked after the Cold War ended. Both the Brexit and Donald Trump seem to be driven by a nativist element, but that doesn’t diminish the value of the implicit questions that they are posing. Americans should listen to Donald Trump, while examining the Brexit, and ask themselves if the United States shouldn’t withdraw from NATO and other military alliances.

Of course, such a US withdrawal would be much more consequential for NATO and other US alliances than is the Brexit for the European Union. Britain is not even the largest economy in the EU. The United States accounts for three-quarters of the defense spending of NATO countries, and it is very unlikely that those allies – all much closer to zones of conflict than is the United States – will be defending the superpower rather than vice versa. Since World War II, the United States has provided security, formally or informally, for an ever-widening number of ever more prosperous nations in Europe and East Asia, but has gotten few commercial or other considerations in return. Many of these nations or blocs have not ever fully opened their markets to US trade, finance, and investment.

Such one-sided alliances were justified by American elites and the foreign beneficiaries of such security welfare as being in the American interest too. Really?

George Washington, who preferred neutrality as a foreign policy, warned against the United States forming “permanent alliances,” and Thomas Jefferson cautioned against getting bogged down in “entangling alliances.” In fact, Jefferson wrote 1799, “I am for free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment. And I am not for linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe…”

But times have changed right? Rapid advances in communication and transportation have led to a more interdependent world, which compels the United States, as an exceptional nation in world history, to monitor disturbances in faraway and even insignificant places, so that they don’t snowball into larger threats – for example, the rise of another Adolf Hitler to threaten Europe. Thus, shouldn’t the views of America’s founders on foreign policy go the way of the powdered wig?

No, the basic geography of the United States hasn’t changed from the time of the nation’s founders; they perceptively realized that the United States might just have the most favorable geography of any great power in world history. The United States has two large ocean moats and is far away from the zones of conflict in the world. Today, the country actually might be even more secure than at the founding, because it no longer has foreign great powers prowling around its borders, instead has weak and friendly neighbors, and now has the most capable nuclear arsenal on the planet – which should deter attacks, nuclear or conventional, from any nation with a home address vulnerable to cataclysmic retaliation.

As for interdependence, in the security realm, the advent of the nuclear age may have actually made the world less so; cross-border aggression – conflicts that have a greater potential to adversely affect US security than do foreign internal civil wars – has dropped significantly in the post-World War II era.

Alliances are not ends in themselves; they are used by countries to increase their security by banding together against foreign threats. Yet, after World War II, the United States began to acquire the first permanent alliances in its history just when it began not to need them – it had just developed nuclear weapons and ever since has been the leader in such technology.

But what about guarding against what a future Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stain could do in Europe? Ever since World War II, America’s overly interventionist foreign policy has been based on avoiding another Munich 1938 disaster, when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain appeased Hitler, instead of confronting him, thus emboldening an attempted German takeover of Europe. However, such a limited reading of history self-servingly absolves the United States (and Britain and France) from having created the Hitlerian monster in the first place. The United States entered World War I, tipped the balance to British and French allies that simply wanted to greedily expand their empires, declared that the Germans were guilty of starting the war, imposed harsh financial reparations on Germany that helped cause the bad economic conditions that brought Hitler to power, and demanded the abdication of the German king, thus clearing the way for Hitler’s rise and World War II.

One other important lesson from World War I is that alliances – even informal ones, such as the one Britain had with France and the biased US”neutrality” of US arms sales and financing credits sent to Britain but not Germany – can impede flexibility and drag countries into wars they don’t want. No one country desired World War I, but such webs made it spread and engulf the entire continent and beyond. And World War II was just World War I, Part II.

So with the Brexit and the Trump candidacy leading to an examination of the big questions, maybe the United States should ask whether its expensive alliances are really needed for security or are just to maintain an entangling and costly world empire based on vanity. Perhaps an Amerexit from them is in order.

A New Study of Modern Bigotry

Different…but the same!

by Harry von Johnston PhD

There are strong parallels between the Evangelical Christians and the Holocaust Jewish religious/political movements.

And these parallels are most certainly there.

Both are oriented to gaining political and economic power.

Both have made extensive use of fictional writings. In the case of the Evangelical Christians, the Rapture and the Battle of Armageddon  which are recent inventions (ca 1910) by a Charles Parham Fox and are not in the Bible. Parham Fox was a convicted thief and child molester.

Also, note that none of the Gospels were contemporary with the purported career of Jesus and in the ensuing centuries, have been constantly rewritten to suit current political needs. Further, the mainstay of Evangelical Christians is the so-called ‘Book of Revelations’ purported to have been written by John the Devine, Jesus’ most intimate friend. This was certainly not written by someone living at the time of Jesus’ alleged ministry but over fifty years later. The actual author was one John of Patmos who was resident at the Roman lunatic colony located on the island of Patmos. This particular work is beloved of Evangelicals because it is so muddled, obscure and bizarre that any meaning can, and is, attributed to it.

I refer the reader to “Foundations of Christianity” by Karl Kautsky (a Jewish German early Communist and secretary to Engels)

The nationalistic Zionist movement does not have a great body of historical supportive material so, like the early Christians, they have simply invented it. These fictions include, but certainly are not limited to, “The Painted Bird” by Kosinski, (later admitted by its author to be an invented fraud before his suicide, ) and “Fragments” by “Binjimin Wilkomersky” ( A Swiss Protestant named Bruno Dossecker who was born in 1944) that is mostly copied from the Kosinski book and consists of ‘recovered memory,’ and of course the highly-propagandized favorite “Anne Frank Diary” which was proven, beyond a doubt, by the German BKA (Bundes Kriminal Amt, an official German forensic agency) as a forgery, made circa 1949 (ball point ink was used on paper made after 1948 and the handwriting completely different from the original Frank girl’s school papers still extant) All of these frauds have been, and still are,  considered as seminal truths by the Holocaust supporters and the discovery of fakery loudly denied by them, and questioners accused of being ‘Nazis.’  This closely parallels the same anger expressed by the Evangelicals when their stories about the Rapture or the Battle of Armageddon are questioned by anyone. Here, doubters are accused of being ‘Satanists’ and ‘Secular Humanists.’

I refer the reader to “The Holocaust Industry” by Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish academic and the son of genuine survivors of the German Concentration Camp system.

When confronted with period and very authentic evidence that the death toll among Jewish prisoners never approached even a million, or that there were no gas chambers in use at any prison camp, the standard, and badly flawed counter argument is that while the accuracy of the period German documents is not in question, as everyone knows that 6 millions of Jews perished, therefore the names are on so-called ‘secret lists.’

When asked where a researcher could view these documents (the actual German SS records, complete, are located in the Russian Central Archives in Moscow) the ludicrous response is that because these lists are secret, no one has ever seen them! This rationale does not even bear comment.

The Christians have their Passion of the Christ, which may or may not have happened, (it was in direct opposition to Roman law which governed Judea at the time,) and the Jews have their long agony of  the Holocaust, which is an elaborate and fictional construction based on fragmentary facts. A Jewish supporter, Deborah Lipstadt ( a well-known academic) has said repeatedly that the word holocaust must be capitalized and can only be used to discuss the enormous suffering of the Jewish people. The huge genocidal programs practiced by the Turks against Armenian Christians in 1916 and the even larger massacres by Pol Pot in Southeast Asia may never be likened to the absolutely unique Jewish suffering, according to current Zionist-Holocaust Jewish dogma.

Both stress the suffering and death of their icons, in the former case, the leader of their cult, which initially consisted entirely of very poor Jews, and in the second, an entire people. Both sides have enormous public relations machinery in place which is used constantly to promulgate both faiths and both are hysterically opposed to any questioning or debate on any aspects of their faith.

The issues of suffering, death and prosecution are both used to fortify their positions in society and render it difficult for anyone to attack them. These issues are also used to gain political power (for the Evangelicals) and money (for the Zionist-Holocausters)

Both of these groups seek a high moral ground from which to attack any questioning of their faith and because many of the adherents to both beliefs are aware that their houses are based on sand, fight fiercely lest a storm arise, beat upon both houses and thereby cause a great fall (to be Biblical in expression.)

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