TBR News October 15, 2016

Oct 14 2016

The Voice of the White House  


Washington, D.C.  October 15, 2016:” One of the basic problems with the great flood of refugees flooding, or attempting to flood, into Europe is that a great number of these refugees, Muslims, are entirely respectable people, many professionals and many with their wives and children, who are entirely law abiding and more than willing to work. The problem is that with them are a large number of younger men, without families and either members of Muslim terrorist organizations or very probable recruits. Mrs. Merkel made the error of taking in the bad with the good and Germany is paying for this now with the anti-social behavior of the few. Just recently, a Muslim terrorist, being sought in Germany for his attempts at a terrorist act, was apprehended, detained and turned over to German authorities by Syrian refugees. One of them stated that Germany had proven to be very supportive of their desires to become lawful citizens and they had no use for terrorists who wished to act against a country that proved to be so supportive to them.  This action shows most clearly that not all Muslim immigrants or refugees are criminals who need to be deported. Unfortunately, the public is not as discerning and very often, the good are punished along with the bad.”

A Terrorist, Three Heroes and a Bumbling Judiciary

Jaber al-Bakr was allegedly planning a terrorist attack in Berlin. But then he was captured, tied up and turned into the police by three Syrian refugees. SPIEGEL spoke with the trio and with al-Bakr’s brother to learn more about the case — one which ended with al-Bakr’s suicide and questions about the German judiciary.

October 14, 2016


At the end of each week, Hans-Georg Maassen, the president of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), receives several rolls of paper from his staff. They look not unlike rolls of wallpaper — and are full of tables with information about the domestic intelligence agency’s current investigations.

Changes from the previous week are color-coded to make it easier to see how operations are progressing. The multitude of colorful blotches indicates how seriously the agency takes signs of possible terror attacks in Germany.

Last week, a case depicted on Maassen’s tables suddenly triggered extreme concern. A tip received from American intelligence agencies led German officials to Jaber al-Bakr, a Syrian citizen born on Jan. 10, 1994 in Saasaa, a town near Damascus. He was thought to be living at Usti nad Labem Street 97 in Chemnitz, though that wasn’t his officially registered place of residence. And there were indications that he was planning a bomb attack on an airport in Berlin, perhaps in just a few days.

The drama surrounding his failed arrest, his ultimate capture by Syrian refugees — who bound up al-Bakr and handed him over to police — and his suicide while in the hands of the Saxony judiciary: All of that has transfixed Germany during the last several days.

A team of SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL TV reporters met with the three Syrians who captured al-Bakr — widely celebrated as heroes in Germany — at a secret location and spent several hours talking to them. Their fates, and that of Jaber al-Bakr, touch on some of the most important issues facing the country: the tragedy of the Syrian war, the fear of Islamic State terror in Germany and the worries and hopes both of refugees and of their German hosts.

Their story also shines a spotlight on the work of Germany’s security agencies. It appears that a major attack was prevented, one perhaps modeled on previous terrorist assaults on Paris and Brussels, but the performance of justice officials in Saxony was an embarrassment. Their failure to prevent al-Bakr’s suicide will make it more difficult to completely clear up one of the most significant terror cases to have emerged in Germany in recent years.

Were al-Bakr still alive, investigators could perhaps learn in detail how he came to Germany, how he became radicalized, whose orders he may have been following, who was financing his activities, how he was able to obtain highly explosive material and how, exactly, he was able to communicate with IS via chat.

His testimony could very well have helped Germany’s leading security officials glean vital information that could help track down other possible terrorists. But with Jaber al-Bakr’s suicide, the most important source of such information has gone silent.

‘Really Tired’

It’s day three after the spectacular arrest in Leipzig and Mohamed, Sami and Ahmed are sitting in the apartment of a friend in a large German city. Worried that Islamists could take revenge on them in Leipzig, the three are in hiding and have declined to provide their full names. One of them doesn’t even want his first name printed, so we have used the pseudonym “Ahmed.” Nevertheless, they are eager to share their version of the story.

Are they proud or relieved? Mohamed, who worked as a hairdresser in Syria, shrugs his shoulders. “No,” he says. “I’m just tired. Really tired.” He has hardly slept since Sunday night, he says.

Too much has happened since then. He and his two friends have been celebrated in the German press as “the heroes from Leipzig.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel has thanked them for their actions and politicians from a variety of parties have suggested they be given the Order of Merit, Germany’s only federal decoration.

The heroes themselves are less effusive. “We only did our duty,” says Sami.

More than anything, they want to counter the accusation made by al-Bakr before he committed suicide. The terror suspect told Leipzig police that, far from being heroes, the three were accomplices who had supported his plot. Security officials, though, say that the three have not been connected to any of the preparations al-Bakr made prior to his arrest. By the time SPIEGEL went to print on Thursday night, officials continued to view the three as witnesses and not as suspects.

“Al-Bakr is crazy,” Ahmed says angrily. “He wanted to kill us too. We had absolutely nothing to do with him.”

After the two attacks this summer — one in Würzburg, which saw a 17-year-old Islamist from Afghanistan attack train passengers with an axe, injuring five, and another in Ansbach, where a Syrian refugee blew himself up, injuring 15 people — many in Germany have begun seeing refugees as potential terrorists. The case of al-Bakr in Chemnitz has further confirmed such suspicions. But the three men from Leipzig would like to change these impressions and show that the vast majority of Syrians in Germany are, like them, interested only in the safety and peace their host country has provided them.

A Mysterious Phone Call

Thirty-six years old Mohamed A. is a sturdily built man with shoulder-length, black hair with a fear of dogs. He has a wife and five children who remained behind in Syria. Ahmed E. is 28 years old and his family — wife and three children — is likewise still in Syria. He wears a goatee and has black curly hair. In Syria, he studied mechanical engineering and now dreams of being able to continue his studies here in Germany. Sami M. is 26 years old and used to work as a truck driver. He is a big fan of FC Bayern München.

All three are from the same city in Syria and came to Germany last summer and fall by way of Turkey, Greece and the Balkans. Some of their statements are contradictory and others are difficult to confirm, but on the whole, the story they have to tell seems credible.

Mohamed says he was invited to dinner on the evening of Saturday, October 8 by a Syrian acquaintance in Leipzig and brought along Sami, who was visiting from Stuttgart. At around 6 p.m., his phone rang. According to the story told by the three refugees, the Syrian caller introduced himself as Khaled and claimed that he had received Mohamed’s number from a man at the train station. He said he was new in the city and needed a place to stay for one or two nights, even offering to pay. That telephone conversation is one aspect of the story in which investigators are particularly interested.

Mohamed asked Sami to pick up the visitor at the Torgauer Platz tram stop, not far from Leipzig central station. As would later become clear, the visitor was not actually named Khaled, but Jaber al-Bakr. Sami recalls that the man seemed confused — his clothes were dirty and his hair mussed. “I pitied him,” he says. The men offered their guest lamb with rice and al-Bakr ate ravenously, they say, telling them that he hadn’t eaten the whole day.

After eating, Mohamed took Sami and al-Bakr back to his apartment in a complex in the Paunsdorf neighborhood of eastern Leipzig. Later that evening, Ahmed joined them. The four of them sat together in the kitchen drinking tea and talking about Syria and life in Germany. Al-Bakr said that he wanted to find a job in Leipzig. Because he didn’t have any clean clothes, Mohamed loaned him clothes to sleep in.

Didn’t they have reservations about taking in a man that none of them knew? Mohamed raises his eyebrows and sticks out his lower lip. “I didn’t think about it too much,” he says.

Mohamed spent three months in a refugee hostel in Munich before moving to Leipzig. In the hostel, he slept in a hall and shared a shower with dozens of people. Ahmed, for his part, stood in line every night for several weeks in Berlin to register as a refugee. “It’s completely normal for us to help a compatriot in need,” they say. What the three didn’t know, however, was that their guest, who they still considered to be harmless, was wanted by the Saxony authorities, who had lost track of his whereabouts.

The initial attempt to arrest al-Bakr had actually been well prepared. Domestic intelligence officials had received indications of a Syrian terror suspect in mid-September and intelligence agents secured assistance from officials in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt to monitor the residential building at Usti nad Labem Street 97. The communist-style concrete block building was one of many such structures in the quarter, an area which housed 90,000 people during East German times.

Al-Bakr was monitored there until intelligence officials notified the Saxony police last Friday. The police quickly assembled a specialized team and turned up at the site at 9:45 p.m.

They staked out the building throughout the night until a man emerged at 7:04 a.m. An “unidentified person,” according to an internal report, “hastily left the target object” heading for the Chemnitz city center. Officers fired a warning shot, but the man disappeared.

The state criminal police office says the officers weren’t totally sure it was al-Bakr and that it was impossible to shoot at him because there were innocent bystanders in the field of fire. A pursuit on foot likewise failed: The officers were wearing protection weighing 30 kilograms (65 pounds).

The account raises questions. How could a man wearing a backpack, a person suspected of preparing an imminent bomb attack, be allowed to simply run away? Because the officers were wearing heavy equipment?

Experienced officers who have been part of such operations in the past are astonished by this version of events. “Such operations are always prepared with the assumption that something won’t go as planned,” says a former member of a state police special operations unit. “Something can always go wrong. That’s part of it. But it’s unacceptable that a suspect can simply run away and isn’t even followed.”

‘As Short as Possible’

The failures seemingly didn’t stop there. According to internal Saxony state documents, a person “identical” to the man who fled later returned to the building, leading police to believe that the suspect was back. Officers raided the building, breaking down more than 30 doors as they searched the entire complex. A spokesman for the Saxony criminal police force would later say the raid was “nevertheless a successful part of the operation.”

Still, there was no sign of al-Bakr.

Even as a Europe-wide search for the Chemnitz suspect was underway, Mohamed, Ahmed and Sami were chatting cluelessly with their guest on Sunday morning in Leipzig.

Al-Bakr asked them where he could get his hair cut. “How do you want it?” asked Mohamed. “As short as possible,” al-Bakr replied, whereupon Mohamed retrieved a shaver from the bathroom. A short time later, at around 11 a.m., Mohamed, Ahmed and Sami left to go swimming and, afterwards, to visit a friend. Saying he was tired, al-Bakr stayed behind in the apartment.

Until just a few years ago, there were just 200 Syrians living in Leipzig. But since the outbreak of the civil war, that number has risen to 5,000. Most Syrian refugees tend to associate largely with other Syrians and Ahmed says it isn’t easy to establish contacts with German residents of the city. He knew nothing of Islamophobic demonstrations and had never heard the word Pegida, the Dresden-based anti-immigration organization that has been staging anti-Islam marches in German cities since the fall of 2014. Nevertheless, Ahmed sensed the hostility of people in Saxony, saying that neighbors would slam their doors shut when they see them. Ahmed and Mohamed avoid public places and spend most of their time at home or at the homes of other refugees.

Throughout Sunday, news of the planned terror attack flooded television and radio broadcasters in Germany, but Mohamed, Ahmed and Sami initially took no note, instead playing cards in their friend’s apartment. It was only later that evening that Ahmed looked at his Facebook page on his mobile phone. He noticed a story about the planned terror attack in Germany and clicked on a photo of the suspect.

Tied Up with a Power Cord

What he saw made him dizzy. The man in the photo looked exactly like the guest staying in Mohamed’s apartment. “That can’t be,” Mohamed said. The Syrians looked at more photos until they no longer had any doubts that the man who introduced himself as Khaled was actually Jaber al-Bakr.

The Leipzig-Südwest police station was only sparsely manned shortly before midnight on Sunday night and initially Ahmed and Sami found only a single officer on duty. Ahmed had only been studying German for a few months and he struggled mightily as he tried to explain to the female officer what had taken place in his friend Mohamed’s apartment. He was unable to string the words “terrorist,” “house” and “help” together in a comprehensible sentence.

Just a few kilometers away, Mohamed, together with the friend with whom they had just been playing cards, slipped into his apartment. Al-Bakr had already gone to bed. Mohamed opened the backpack belonging to the terror suspect and found a combat knife and cash. He took a deep breath and then he and his friend rushed their guest. Al-Bakr tried to fight them off and yelled, but the two Syrians were able to tie him up with a power cord.

In our interview, Mohamed acts out the scene with his hands. “It was actually quite easy,” he says.

Al-Bakr offered his captors money if they let him go, telling them that he had received 10,000 euros to carry out the attack. “You can have as much as you want,” al-Bakr told them. Mohamed rejected the offer. “The guy was a terrorist,” he says. “We fled Syria because of people like him. For us, turning him into the police was the obvious thing to do.”

The two Syrians in the apartment in Paunsdorf then sent a picture via WhatsApp of the tied-up al-Bakr to Ahmed, who showed it to the police. Suddenly, they were able to understand the urgency of the situation and called for backup. Half an hour later, the police sped into the eastern Leipzig neighborhood and stormed the apartment. The Syrians were interrogated for several hours that night and were allowed to go only on Monday morning. They were interrogated again — in a different state — on Thursday.

But what about the man who had been plotting the attack? In an effort to find out more about him, SPIEGEL contacted his brother Alaa, who is 10 years older, by telephone. He lives in Saasaa, a town not far from Damascus, with his parents, three sisters and four brothers. Their father is a prosperous building contractor who is loyal to the regime and has contacts to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Baath party.

Jaber, he said, had been a normal youth. He had loved karate and he prayed and fasted, but he hadn’t been a radical. He didn’t have a girlfriend and had been in his third year at the University of Damascus, where he studied the new discipline of mechatronics, a combination of mechanical engineering and electronics. He had been temporarily detained by the police because he criticized Assad at the university.

Prior to fleeing Syria in November 2014, his brother says Jaber stole 5 million Syrian pounds, worth around 24,000 euros at the time, from his father. He used the money for his journey to North Africa, where he boarded a boat for Italy and then headed onward to Germany. At that time, his brother said, Jaber al-Bakr was not politically engaged, adding that he was recognized as a refugee in Germany after just a few months and began learning German.

Alaa regularly spoke to Jaber on the phone. He says: “My brother radicalized in Germany.” Jaber, he says, watched horrific videos from Syria in the internet and an imam in Berlin brainwashed him, telling Jaber to return to Syria and fight. In September 2015, he says, al-Bakr traveled via Istanbul to the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa to join the extremist group.

He informed his family that he was now fighting for IS. Alaa tried to talk him out of it, saying it was better to fight for the other side, but Jaber answered that the only independent power in Syria was Islamic State. Shortly thereafter, the family broke off contact. Jaber al-Bakr returned to Germany, but his brother says he doesn’t know when, exactly. “At some point in the last two months.”

Blanket Denial

The two haven’t spoken to each other since August. At home in Saasaa, Alaa al-Bakr doesn’t believe the horrific end of his brother’s story. “I raised my brother. He would never have carried out an attack! That’s a lie!” Alaa believes that the German police murdered Jaber and refuses to believe that his brother killed himself — that he hanged himself in Saxony, far away from his hometown of Saasaa.

At 12:42 a.m. on Monday, police arrested Jaber al-Bakr, who had been tied up by Ahmed and Sami. According to investigators, he was interrogated by officers of the Saxony state criminal police office — without a lawyer present — four “around two hours” the next morning with the help of an Arabic-language interpreter.

He denied all of the accusations against him, accusing others instead: the man who had given him the apartment in Chemnitz and the three Syrians who had turned him into the police the night before. After the interrogation, at around 1:30 p.m., the arrest warrant was presented, again in the presence of a translator. During the official presentation of the arrest warrant, the accused “said nothing further,” investigators say. It took just 15 minutes.

That afternoon, police brought al-Bakr to the Leipzig prison, where there was no interpreter. His lawyer Alexander Hübner says al-Bakr didn’t understand any German and that it was impossible to communicate with him without a translator present. The prison warden spoke of “communication difficulties,” but added that the prisoner seemed calm and focused. The judge who authorized his imprisonment warned of the potential for a suicide attempt but also identified al-Bakr as a potential danger to other prisoners or prison staff.

Al-Bakr was issued a T-shirt and jogging pants, the kind of prison clothing given to all prisoners in pre-trial custody in Leipzig. Because of the suicide risk, it was agreed that he would be checked on every 15 minutes. Because of the dangers he potentially presented to others, the Syrian was placed in isolation. Normally, prisoners at risk of committing suicide aren’t left alone, but judiciary officials did not identify an acute danger — at least not on the basis of his gestures and behavior. With no interpreter present, nobody could understand him.

One day later al-Bakr had an appointment with his lawyer, Hübner, who brought an interpreter along with him from Dresden. They didn’t have a detailed discussion but Hübner said his client seemed stable, but he noticed that al-Bakr refused to consume any food and didn’t want to drink anything either. “That made it clear that my client was putting his life on the line,” says Hübner.

Peculiar Behavior

After meeting with the lawyer, the high-profile new arrival spoke with the institution psychologist using an interpreter. The psychologist found al-Bakr to be calm and withdrawn. She said that he asked questions about his imprisonment and wanted to know if he was at greater risk of deportation because of his hunger strike. This was seen as a sign that al-Bakr was thinking of his future, which didn’t suggest that he was planning to commit suicide. The psychologist concluded that there was no acute danger of suicide and that his cell didn’t need to be inspected every 15 minutes any more. Every 30 minutes was sufficient. According to the warden, it was a group decision. The supervisory authority in the state justice ministry also accepted this conclusion.

At 5:50 p.m. that same day, though, al-Bakr began exhibiting peculiar behavior: He climbed onto his bed and tore down the ceiling lamp. It was later discovered that an electrical plug had also been torn out in the cell. The officers believed it to be vandalism, which, they say, isn’t uncommon among agitated new arrivals. And yet, they had found al-Bakr to be rather calm. Was this, perhaps, an initial attempt to kill himself?

That night, there was no electricity in al-Bakr’s cell, repairs having to wait until the next day. The idea of bringing the inmate to a secure suicide-proof cell wasn’t discussed. “There was nothing to suggest an acute danger,” the warden says.

Hübner called the prison on Wednesday afternoon to speak with them about the problem of the hunger strike and al-Bakr’s refusal to drink. Hübner was told that there was a water faucet in the cell and that nobody dies of thirst when water is available. They also discussed the lamp and the electrical socket. Finally it was agreed that close attention would be paid to the inmate “because of the overall circumstances.” The lawyer was assured that al-Bakr was being regularly supervised.

By Wednesday night, it was too late. The last regular inspection of the cell took place at 7:30 p.m., at which point al-Bakr was seen alive. At 7:45 p.m., 15 minutes earlier than scheduled, a trainee went to the cell and found the inmate dead at the grate, asphyxiated by his prison-issue T-shirt. Help came too late and at 8:15 p.m., the terror suspect was declared dead.

Saxony’s Justice Minister Sebastian Gemkow, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), says that the Saxony judiciary did everything it could to prevent the suicide. The prognoses of the psychologist, he said, had unfortunately not turned out to be correct. He said that the decisions made at the prison were “reasonable.”

But al-Bakr’s lawyer, Alexander Hübner, believes that his client’s suicide is indicative of a “clear failure” in Leipzig, triggered by the psychologist’s misdiagnosis. The brief conversation she had with his client, he says, was insufficient for an adequate analysis. “Everything there simply went according to the pre-set formula.”

But Jaber al-Bakr’s suicide is much more than merely a failure of the Saxony judiciary. Al-Bakr’s death is also a serious setback for the German intelligence agencies, which are trying to identify possible connections underlying the terror that has seemed to edge ever closer over the last several months. Al-Bakr may have had insights into terrorist networks, principals or modes of communication — insights that are badly needed because, despite the authorities’ best efforts, they still know precious little about the threat level facing Germany this fall.

Würzburg, Ansbach, Düsseldorf, Schleswig-Holstein, Chemnitz: In the public perception, Islamic State has long been spinning its web across the country. Spectacular raids in the last few months have strengthened the impression that Germany has, on several occasions, only barely escaped cataclysmic attacks. But as it turns out, the distinctions between terror-plots, empty boasting and false alarms are fluid.

And since with every real or suspected threat the number of tips expands, it is becoming more difficult for the authorities to keep up. By early October, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) alone had received 445 reports in which refugees were described as terrorists or sympathizers. In 80 of these cases, the BKA launched investigations, while the majority of the remaining cases were mistakes or denunciations. German citizens have called the BfV’s hotline 800 times since the start of the year. On top of this, the German Federal Intelligence Service receives an average of two warnings a week, though they sometimes come daily, from foreign intelligence agencies. Sometimes these are vague indications that a terror group intends to travel to Germany through Bulgaria in order to carry out an attack. But how should one act on such information?

The authorities are playing a losing game. If they ignore a semi-concrete tip and a bomb explodes afterwards, they seem unreliable. If they strike hastily and the suspects turn out to be innocent, they are accused of creating a climate of fear. “The pressure is enormous,” says an experienced investigator, especially since the Paris attack. Since then, the margin of discretion has become smaller and smaller. The authorities now take every threat even more seriously.

The example of the four men who were targeted by investigators after a large raid in February — and have since been described as a “Berlin IS cell” in the media and parts of the security apparatus — shows where that can lead. They had supposedly planned an attack on Checkpoint Charlie and newspaper headlines proclaimed: “Capital in Crosshairs.” The suspects had aroused the suspicions of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution after a tip from a foreign intelligence agency in late 2015. Now the Berlin public prosecutor’s office no longer believes it was an Islamic State cell. Three of the four suspects have since been deported to Algeria for a variety of infractions and it’s possible that they belonged to a migrant smuggling operation. The fourth will soon be prosecuted for financing terrorism because he supposedly transferred money to Islamic State, allegedly for night-vision devices. But investigators didn’t find any evidence that an attack was being planned.

Reasons for Doubt

But when the authorities don’t find anything, does it mean that there was nothing there to find?

Even today, authorities are still shocked about the man who handed them the so-called Düsseldorf IS cell on a silver platter, a Syrian man named Saleh A. On the morning of February 1, he strolled into a police station in Paris’ 18th Arrondissement and gave a thorough confession to the perplexed officers. According to Saleh A., he was the leader of an IS sleeper cell that was planning an attack on Düsseldorf’s old town. He also passed along the names of his three supposed co-conspirators, all of whom have been in pre-trial detention since June 2. Saleh A. was recently extradited to Germany.

The news of a terror attack in the heart of the Rhineland generated a lot of attention, but there are reasons to be skeptical. One of the four, for instance, had a lifestyle that doesn’t exactly fit with that of a fanatical Islamist: He had a German girlfriend, took drugs, drank alcohol and spent many of his nights in the club. Saleh A.’s claims that he “made a U-turn” overnight and went over to the good side are also suspect.

Another potentially serious reason to doubt the story is that another accomplice, whom Saleh A. claims to have met in 2014 with Islamic State in Syria, apparently was registered as a driver for a unit of the Algerian military that took part in anti-terrorism missions. That, at least, is what documents found by his defense lawyer, Marvin Schroth, show. As a member of the military, Schroth claims, his client could not have left his country.

Does that clear the suspects of wrongdoing? Maybe. But there is also incriminating evidence, like the fact that three of the refugees accused by Saleh A. came to Europe via the same route as the Paris attackers. The same is true of the three refugees who were recently arrested in Schleswig-Holstein. They and Saleh A. supposedly had contact to the same Islamic State group. The fact that they behaved unremarkably during months of observation could mean anything: that they don’t have any nefarious intentions — or that they had learned how to communicate in secret.

The authorities are carrying out tough, frustrating work. The same is true of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, which is currently working on over 140 proceedings against alleged Islamist terrorists or violators of international law in connection with Syria or Iraq. The federal prosecutors are keeping tabs on 700 further incidents of a similar nature. And with every new unresolved case, the pressure grows. Did the 16-year-old male refugee who was arrested in Cologne have similar plans to the axe attacker in Würzburg? One of his chat partners advised him to buy lots of matches to obtain sulfur for the building of a bomb, but no matches were found in his room. Did the woman who set off the terror alarm at the Frankfurt airport do so by mistake or intentionally? And is it a coincidence that she came “from the Arab region”?

Just One Wish

Almost nothing is as it seems in the shadow fight against terrorism. Many, though, have gained the impression that Islamic State is everywhere. And since the opposite is hard to prove, an experienced investigator of the state security apparatus says: “Nobody can square it with their conscience not to have prevented an impending attack.” An ultimately unjustified intervention may be extremely frustrating — “but as a trade-off, more tolerable.”

Measuring the risk becomes more difficult as the political debate heats up. After al-Bakr’s arrest, politicians from the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s CDU, requested that the intelligence services receive immediate access to the personal data of all asylum applicants. CSU General Secretary Andreas Scheuer has demanded the “total revision” of the refugee registration process.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere found the CSU demands perplexing, because since a change to the law made in February, intelligence agencies have been able to access a newly created databank to clear up their security concerns. The system, to be sure, doesn’t yet work perfectly from a technical standpoint, but it is expected that data-sharing will work seamlessly by the end of the year.

That, however, isn’t enough to fix a further shortcoming: For over a year, Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees did not hold hearings for most applicants from Syria. To ease the workload of migration officials, asylum applicants from the country were merely required to fill out a 10-page questionnaire. Experts warned that the accelerated process raised potential security issues. The questionnaire asked applicants whether they were part of the military or of an armed group in Syria, but what Islamist would answer “yes”?

Al-Bakr also had to fill out a questionnaire when he applied for asylum in Germany in February 2015. There was nothing in his answers that would have aroused security concerns. On June 9, he was recognized as a refugee. At the time, his fingerprints were compared with the databases of the intelligence agencies, but there were no matches.

The three Syrians from Leipzig, meanwhile, are wondering what will happen next. During our interview, Mohamed buries his face in his hands. He says he can’t get the images of al-Bakr out of his mind and the Syrians don’t want to return to Leipzig under any circumstances. “We just don’t feel safe there,” says Ahmed. He laughs sheepishly when told that many people in Germany consider him to be a hero. He doesn’t want a decoration, as German politicians have proposed.

Ahmed, Mohamed and Sami actually only have one wish: They would like to get their families out of Syria — and bring them to Germany.

By Jörg Diehl, Hubert Gude, Frank Hornig, Martin Knobbe, Ludwig Krause, Maximilian Popp,   Christoph Reuter, Sven Röbel, Jörg Schindler, Fidelius Schmid, Andreas Ulrich, Andreas Wassermann, Wolf Wiedmann-Schmidt and Steffen Winter


 WikiLeaks Release Of Clinton Campaign Emails Smeared As Russian Masterminded Plot (Again)

October 8, 2016

by Kevin Gosztola


With no specific evidence, President Barack Obama’s administration explicitly claimed the Russian government was responsible for stealing emails from the Democratic National Committee and other individuals and organizations closely linked to the Democratic Party. The accusation came just as WikiLeaks published emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

The New York Times unquestionably advanced this accusation in a story written by David Sanger and Charlie Savage. In facilitating the spread of this unsubstantiated accusation, they quoted director of national intelligence, James Clapper, and the Homeland Security Department, which stated the emails published were “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement added.

Remarkably, the New York Times published a story on the emails published by WikiLeaks, including a document containing excerpts from transcripts to Goldman Sachs and other banks which Clinton refused to make public during the primary.

The story described Clinton’s “easy comfort with titans of business” and how she “embraced unfettered international trade” and a budget plan that would have cut Social Security. But there was no indication from the Times that they viewed this journalism as aiding and abetting the Russian government’s plans to interfere with the U.S. election.

A report from the Washington Post on WikiLeaks’ publication of emails contained the line, “The FBI did not immediately say if the Russians were behind the alleged hack.”

The Associated Press also unquestionably repeated this allegation, publishing a story under the headline, “Private Clinton speeches leaked in hacking blamed on Russia.” It noted a part of the joint statement from Clapper and Homeland Security that suggested the hacking was “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.”

Then the AP obliviously described the contents of these excerpts from leaked speeches without any details related to the frame of their story—why Russia believes leaking emails of Democratic Party officials will help them successfully frustrate the election. In fact, both Clinton and Donald Trump are already considered to be the most dishonest and untrustworthy presidential candidates in recent American history.

Aside from emails, which the U.S. government insists without specific evidence are the product of Russian interference, the Clinton campaign has done quite a bit to undermine her campaign on their own. The contents of non-hacked emails have plagued the campaign, and just this past week, former President Bill Clinton criticized Obama’s chief achievement, the Affordable Care Act, calling it a “crazy system,” even though Hillary Clinton has pledged to maintain and expand the ACA.

Podesta condemned the release of his emails. “I’m not happy about being hacked by the Russians in their quest to throw the election to Donald Trump,” He also added, “Don’t have time to figure out which docs are real and which are faked.”

The Clinton campaign told the press, “Earlier today the U.S. government removed any reasonable doubt that the Kremlin has weaponized WikiLeaks to meddle in our election and benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy.”

“We are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by Julian Assange, who has made no secret of his desire to damage Hillary Clinton. Guccifer 2.0 has already proven the warnings of top national security officials that documents can be faked as part of a sophisticated Russian misinformation campaign.”

But as the Washington Post acknowledged the Clinton campaign “did not say that the emails released Friday concerning Clinton’s speeches had been faked.”

Jonathan Chait, a columnist for New York Magazine who has served the role as unofficial Obama administration stenographer and proud liberal defender of Clinton, published a pathetic and amateurish blog post glibly poking at the left for doubting U.S. government claims about Russian involvement. But Chait himself noted the government “hasn’t released proof for its conclusions.”

Clinton campaign spokesperson Brian Fallon expressed his disgust with reporters, who dug through the Podesta emails. “Just like Russia wanted,” he declared on Twitter.

When emails were published in July, right before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and they showed the DNC had conspired against the Bernie Sanders campaign, the Clinton campaign immediately cast the emails as a part of a plot masterminded by Russia to wreak havoc on American politics.

The Obama administration has resorted to this propaganda, and multiple media organizations have largely accepted this frame without any healthy skepticism. However, the evidence for such Russian interference remains incredibly thin, if not entirely nonexistent.

Regardless of Assange’s views of Clinton, unmistakably Assange and others working for and with WikiLeaks are interested in journalism. Reporters at media outlets, who share the contents of these emails—just like WikiLeaks—are engaged in journalism. This scrutiny greatly upsets the Clinton campaign to the extent that they feel they must slander reporting as the product of Kremlin-supported meddling in the election.

Claims against Russia are clearly intended to distract from the contents of what WikiLeaks published. If the Clinton campaign can convince the public to talk about how the emails were hacked and make it part of a kind of frightening Russian conspiracy, then the revelations are overshadowed to their benefit.

At any point, the Clinton campaign could have released transcripts of her paid speeches on their own terms. They could have argued, as Vox’s Matt Yglesias flatteringly did, that her speeches represent the same Hillary Clinton that the public has come to know and support. The campaign rejected calls for transparency, and the result is this WikiLeaks disclosure, as well as future disclosures, which will occur far beyond their control and make it hard for them to control perceptions of Clinton.

As one email revealed, remarks from her paid speeches were flagged by campaign staff as potentially damaging because Clinton touted her relationship with Wall Street as a senator, she claimed she needed Wall Street funding in order to run a successful political campaign, and she suggested Wall Street was only being held accountable because of political reasons.

Here are some nuggets from a document containing flagged excerpts of remarks from Clinton’s paid speeches:

—At a Goldman Sachs summit on October 29, 2013, appearing to respond to the climate against the top one percent fueled by organizing by Occupy Wall Street activists and other groups, Clinton argued in Washington, D.C, “There is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives. You know, the divestment of assets, the stripping of all kinds of positions, the sale of stocks. It just becomes very onerous and unnecessary.”

—During a Goldman Sachs-sponsored symposium on October 24, 2013, Clinton declared, “The people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.” She suggested politicians defer to those in the banking industry to determine what regulations would work and not work. This sentiment was expressed again in remarks to Deutsche Bank on October 7, 2014, when she said financial reform “really has to come from the industry itself.”

—On Syria, Clinton told the Jewish United Fund at a dinner in October 2013 that she favored “more robust, covert action” from the U.S. government, but Saudi Arabia was “complicating” the war by shipping large amounts of weapons “pretty discriminately.”

—Clinton lauded natural gas fracking, saying government research helped the idea become available to the marketplace. She said during a speech to Deutsche Bank on April 24, 2013, “I’ve promoted fracking in other places around the world. Because when you look at the stranglehold that energy has on so many countries and the decisions that they make, it would be in America’s interest to make even more countries more energy self-sufficient. So I think we have to go at this in a smart, environmentally conscious way, pursuing a clean-energy alternative agenda while we also promote the advantages that are going to come to us, especially in manufacturing, because we’re now going to produce more oil and gas.”

—In a speech at tinePublic on June 18, 2014, Clinton accused “phony environmental groups” that she believes are funded by the Russians of being responsible for the opposition to oil pipelines and natural gas fracking. “I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you, and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.”

—While speaking at an event for JP Morgan on April 22, 2014, Clinton said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “did a great service to China, Russia, Iran and others.”

—Clinton told a summit hosted by Goldman Sachs on October 29, 2013 that “WikiLeaks was a big bump in the road, but I think the Snowden material could be potentially much more threatening to us.” She argued Snowden gave adversaries a blueprint on how the U.S. operates. “Why is that in any way positive?”

Also, during this same event, she told a story about Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi crying over the WikiLeaks disclosures.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. I was Secretary of State when WikiLeaks happened. You remember that whole debacle. So out come hundreds of thousands of documents. And I have to go on an apology tour. And I had a jacket made like a rock star tour. The Clinton Apology Tour. I had to go and apologize to anybody who was in any way characterized in any of the cables in any way that might be considered less than flattering. And it was painful. Leaders who shall remain nameless, who were characterized as vain, egotistical, power hungry —

  1. BLANKFEIN: Proved it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — corrupt. And we knew they were. This was not fiction. And I had to go and say, you know, our ambassadors, they get carried away, they want to all be literary people. They go off on tangents. What can I say. I had grown men cry. I mean, literally. I am a friend of America, and you say these things about me.

  1. BLANKFEIN: That’s an Italian accent.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Have a sense of humor.


Hillary Clinton’s Encryption Proposal Was “Impossible,” Said Top Adviser

October 14 2016,

by Alex Emmons

The Intercept

Hillary Clinton’s advisers recognized that her policy position on encryption was problematic, with one writing that it was tantamount to insisting that there was “‘some way’ to do the impossible.”

Instead, according to campaign emails released by Wikileaks, they suggested that the campaign signal its willingness to use “malware” or “super code breaking by the NSA” to get around encryption.

In the wake of the Paris attacks in November, Clinton called for “Silicon Valley not to view government as its adversary,” and called for “our best minds in the private sector to work with our best minds in the public sector to develop solutions that will both keep us safe and protect our privacy.”

When asked during a debate in December whether she would legally compel companies to build a backdoor into their products to give law enforcement access to unencrypted communications, Clinton responded “I would not want to go to that point.”

But she then called for a “Manhattan-like project” to develop secure communication while allowing the government to read messages.

Cryptography experts overwhelmingly agree that backdoors inevitably undermine the security of strong encryption, making the two essentially incompatible.

The day after the debate, Sara Solow, domestic policy adviser for the Clinton campaign, called Clinton’s position “impossible” in an email with Teddy Goff, the campaign’s chief digital strategist. “[S]he’s certainly NOT calling for the backdoor now,” Solow said, “although she does then appear to believe there is ‘some way’ to do the impossible.”

Goff had written that he thought Clinton’s reply was a “solid B/B+,” and suggested that she “thread the needle” and “quickly pivot from encryption to the broader issue of working with tech companies to detect and stop these people.” Goff also said that the Manhattan project analogy was something which Clinton should “truly, truly should not make ever again — can we work on pressing that point somehow?”

Solow’s suggestion was that the campaign quietly signal to Silicon Valley — a major source of donations for the campaign — that Clinton would support government hacking to circumvent encryption.

“Couldn’t we tell tech [companies] off the record that she had in mind the malware/key strokes idea (insert malware into a device that you know is a target, to capture keystrokes before they are encrypted). Or that she had in mind really super code breaking by the NSA. But not the backdoor per se?”

The FBI has in fact used targeted hacking to get around encryption tools, quietly and effectively. In 2007, for example, FBI agents caught a teenager who was sending online bomb threats to a high school in Lacey, Washington, by sending him a link that installed malware on his computer.

The Clinton campaign had previously struggled to answer inquiries about the candidate’s position on encryption. “This is going to be a challenge,” Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan said in a November exchange about how to respond to a press inquiry. “I think we should give a comment on the anonymizing tools and punt on backdoors.”

During Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the State Department aggressively funded the development of encryption and anonymous web browsing tools.

In Solow’s email, she asked whether there was any actual evidence of terrorists using the technologies the State Department funded. “Is there evidence,” asked Solow, “that bad guys — not just dissidents but terrorists or whatever — have also benefitted from the technologies supported by the [State Department’s] Internet freedom agenda?”

In response to terror attacks, Clinton has repeatedly called for an “intelligence surge,” but has provided little clarification about what she means.

Russia completes delivery of S-300 missiles to Tehran

October 14, 2016

Daily Star/Lebanon

MOSCOW: Russia has completed the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran, RIA news agency quoted Russia’s state arms export agency as saying Thursday.

Russia’s agreement to provide Iran with S-300 has sparked concern in Israel. Moscow canceled the contract to deliver S-300s to Iran in 2010 under pressure from the West.

Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted that self-imposed ban in April 2016, following an interim agreement that paved the way for last year’s full nuclear deal.

Russia delivered the first parts of S-300, the missile tubes and radar equipment, to Iran in April 2016. It recently delivered a batch of the missiles to its naval base in Tartous, Syria, where it is fighting alongside the regime of President Bashar Assad.

The S-300 system in Syria will improve Russia’s ability to control air space and could be aimed at deterring tougher U.S. action, military analysts have said. “The S-300 basically gives Russia the ability to declare a no-fly zone over Syria,” said Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

“It also makes any U.S. attempt to do so impossible. Russia can just say: ‘We’re going to continue to fly and anything that tries to threaten our aircraft will be seen as hostile and destroyed.’”

India, Russia to sign delivery deal for S-400 missiles Saturday

October 13, 2016


MOSCOW: Russia and India will sign an agreement on Saturday for Moscow to deliver S-400 surface-to-air missiles to New Delhi, a Kremlin aide said on Thursday.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said the agreement would be signed at an India-Russia summit due to take place in Goa.

Netanyahu mocks UNESCO motion on Temple Mount: Like denying bond between Batman and Robin

October 14, 2016


Tel Aviv lashed out at UNESCO after they failed to recognize Israel’s historic connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the holiest of holy sites for Jewish people. PM Netanyahu also joined the chorus of ridicule. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a draft resolution on Thursday that maintains that the Western Wall and Temple Mount will be referred to by their Arabic names. The Hebrew terms for the holy sites will only appear in quotation marks in UN references.

The resolution was supported by 24 states, with six countries opposed and 26 abstaining in the vote that received massive condemnation in Israel. The draft resolution, submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan, will be referred to UNESCO’s executive board for formal approval next week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unleashed a barrage of criticism over the UNESCO decision to not recognize Israel’s historic claims to the holy sites, known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif.

The theatre of the absurd continues with UNESCO and today the organization has made its most bizarre decision by saying the people of Israel have no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,” Netanyahu said in Hebrew

“To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall is like saying China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or Egypt has no connection to the pyramids,” the PM added.

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, where God’s divine presence is said to be manifest more than in any other place on earth. It is widely referenced in the Hebrew Bible as Mount Zion, where both of the Jewish Temples stood before their destruction

The First Temple was built by King Solomon in 957 BC and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The second was built in 516 BC and destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 AD. Now only the second Temple’s Western Wall, where many Jews go to pray, is left standing,“Obviously they have never read the Bible,” Netanyahu said.

“I would advise UNESCO members to visit the Arch of Titus in Rome, where they can see what the Romans brought to Rome after they destroyed and looted the Temple Mount two thousand years ago. One can see engraved on the arch the seven-branched menorah, which is the symbol of the Jewish people as well as the symbol of the Jewish State today.

“Surely UNESCO will say that Emperor Titus was a part of Zionist propaganda,” he noted wryly.

“I would advise UNESCO members to visit the Arch of Titus in Rome, where they can see what the Romans brought to Rome after they destroyed and looted the Temple Mount two thousand years ago. One can see engraved on the arch the seven-branched menorah, which is the symbol of the Jewish people as well as the symbol of the Jewish State today.

“Surely UNESCO will say that Emperor Titus was a part of Zionist propaganda,” he noted wryly.

“I would advise UNESCO members to visit the Arch of Titus in Rome, where they can see what the Romans brought to Rome after they destroyed and looted the Temple Mount two thousand years ago. One can see engraved on the arch the seven-branched menorah, which is the symbol of the Jewish people as well as the symbol of the Jewish State today.

“Surely UNESCO will say that Emperor Titus was a part of Zionist propaganda,” he noted wryly.

Calling the UN body’s decision “absurd,” the Israeli PM said that UNESCO has lost “what little legitimacy it once had.”

But criticism of UNESCO did not end there. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called the vote anti-Semitic, ignorant, and biased.

“The UN is breaking its own record of ignorance and anti-Semitism. An organization that purports to represent science and education, instead of presenting the rotten politics of dictatorial Islamic countries,” the minister said.

The same view was voiced by the Zionist Union, which called Thursday’s vote “not just an anti-Israel decision but also an anti-Semitic decision which demonstrates how much this organization is intent on fighting Israel and Judaism far more than on dedicating itself to education, culture, and science which it is supposed to be promoting.”

The UNESCO vote prompted former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also a member of the Zionist Union, to send a letter to the organization, warning that the vote could lead to an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We have a joint responsibility to prevent the national conflict from deteriorating into a religious conflict – and this decision could cause just that,” she stressed.

Known as the Haram esh-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) by Muslims, the site is the third holiest place in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. The Quran says that the Prophet Mohammed took a miraculous night journey to Jerusalem on a winged horse in 621.

After the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 637, their caliphs built the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock on the site. The dome sits on the site where Mohammed rose to heaven, while the mosque was built on site where the Prophet first arrived in Jerusalem.

Muslims have controlled access to the site since 1187, when Arabs took back Jerusalem from the Crusaders. After the Six-Day War in 1967, the Temple Mount area came under Israeli occupation, with control over access to the Temple Mount given to Jerusalem Islamic Waqf. Since then, the site has been a flashpoint between Israel and Muslims.

New Genetic Research Confirms Koestler’s “Khazar” Theory! Ashkenazi Jews Are Not The Jews of The Bible!

by Theodor Pike


Until the early 1980s, like millions of Christians, I believed the racial purity of the Jewish people confirmed Scripture. I saw it as vindicating Biblical prophecy that the Jewish people would not cease to exist. I was forced to reconsider by the compelling evidence of Arthur Koestler’s book The Thirteenth Tribe. Koestler’s thesis has been highly contested, but today new evidence is emerging to support it.

Koestler said that in about the 8th century AD the Khazars, a nation living in Central Urasia, converted to Judaism. They migrated to Poland and created the eastern European or “Ashkenazim” branch of Jewry. This would have been the largest influx of Gentile converts of all time. Koestler concluded that most Zionist Jews today, being Ashkenazim, have no genetic inheritance from Abraham; they are proselytes who seized land in Palestine that never belonged to their true ancestors.

For more than a decade most genetic researchers have rejected Koestler. They said the Ashkenazim (9 million in 1900) were not descendants of Gentile converts but came primarily from a small (50,000) 15th century population of Jews in Germany. Evangelicals and Jews also rejected Koestler’s thesis, because it diminishes the racial purity central to land claims of Zionists. In their support, genetic testing over the past decade revealed that modern Ashkenazim are highly genetically related to modern Sephardim (authentic Jews). It became clear that most Jews, both Sephardic and Ashkenazim, can claim blood from the Middle East. It was also found that nearly half of Ashkenazim claiming to be descendants of the “Kohanim” (Old Testament Levitical priests) possessed “Y” chromosomes that indeed originate in Israelite roots.

New Research Returns to Koestler

But in 2012, a major genetic study of Ashkenazim was led by Johns Hopkins geneticist Eran Israeli-Elhaik. It concentrates on the compelling genetic evidence that eastern European Jewry’s roots are not just in the Mid-East but, perhaps even more so, in the Caucasus, the mountainous heartland of ancient Khazaria. (See “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses“)

Elhaik says that because of dissatisfaction with current theory he and others are forced to look again at the possibility that the Mid-East and Semitic genes present in eastern European Jewry may primarily have come from the east. His team is compelled to research this possibility because genetic testing of Ashkenazim continues to reveal a high percentage of genes particular only to the relatively isolated, mountainous region of the Caucasus. Having completed a thorough genetic study of Ashkenazim worldwide, he is launching an even more extensive analysis in his “Khazar DNA Project,” specializing in testing Jews from the region of Khazaria itself.

Elhaik and others pose fresh ideas that could unravel the question of just how Ashkenazim could come to inherit such a high percentage of Jewish genes, as well as how eastern European Jewry attained such staggeringly high numbers from such a small Jewish population in Germany only 500 years earlier.

Here are some of Dr. Elhaik’s conclusions as a result of his first genetic study of Ashkenazim:

Early German historians bridged the historical gap simply by linking modern Jews directly to the ancient Judeans a paradigm that was quickly embedded in medical science and crystallized as a narrative. Many have challenged this narrative (Koestler 1976; Straten 2007), mainly by showing that a sole Judean ancestry cannot account for the vast population of Eastern European Jews in the beginning of the 20th century without the major contribution of Judaized Khazars and by demonstrating that it is in conflict with anthropological, historical, and genetic evidence (Dinur 1961; Patai and Patai 1975; Baron 1993).

…the question of European Jewish ancestry remained debated mainly between the supporters of the Rhineland and Khazarian Hypotheses. The recent availability of genomic data of Caucasus populations (Behar et al. 2010) allowed testing the Khazarian Hypothesis for the first time and prompted us to contrast the Rhineland and Khazarian Hypotheses. To evaluate the two hypotheses, we carried out a series of comparative analyses between European Jews and surrogate Khazarian and Judean populations posing the same question each time: are Eastern and Central European Jews genetically closer to Caucasus or Middle Eastern populations?

Our PC, biogeographical estimation, admixture, IBD, ASD, and uniparental analyses were consistent in depicting a Caucasus ancestry for European Jews. Our first analyses revealed tight genetic relationship of European Jews and Caucasus populations and pinpointed the biogeographical origin of European Jews to the south of Khazaria Our later analyses yielded a complex multi-ethnical ancestry with a slightly dominant Near Eastern-Caucasus ancestry, large Southern European and Middle Eastern ancestries, and a minor Eastern European contribution…

We show that the Khazarian Hypothesis offers a comprehensive explanation to the results…By contrast, the Rhineland Hypothesis could not explain the large Caucasus component in European Jews, which is rare in Non-Caucasus populations and the large IBD regions shared between European Jews and Caucasus populations attesting to their common origins. A major difficulty with the Rhineland Hypothesis, in addition to the lack of historical and anthropological evidence to the multi-migration waves from Palestine to Europe (Straten 2003; Sand 2009), is to explain the vast population expansion of Eastern European Jews from 50 thousand (15th century) to 8 million (20th century). This growth could not possibly be the product of natural population expansion (Koestler 1976; Straten 2007), particularly one subjected to severe economic restrictions, slavery, assimilation, the Black Death and other plagues, forced and voluntary conversions, persecutions, kidnappings, rapes, exiles, wars, massacres, and pogroms (Koestler 1976; Sand 2009). Such an unnatural growth rate (1.7-2% annually) over half a millennia, affecting only Jews residing in Eastern Europe is commonly explained by a miracle (Atzmon et al. 2010). Unfortunately, this divine intervention explanation poses a new kind of problem – it is not science. Our findings reject the Rhineland Hypothesis and uphold the thesis that Eastern European Jews are Judeo-Khazars in origin. Further studies are necessary to confirm the magnitude of the Khazars demographic contribution to the demographic presence of Jews in Europe (Polak 1951; Dinur 1961; Koestler 1976; Baron 1993; Brook 2006).

Connecticut judge dismisses Sandy Hook families’ suit against gunmaker

October 14, 2016

by Scott Malone


A Connecticut judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the families of some of the 26 young children and adults killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2012, saying the maker of the rifle used in the attack had “broad immunity” under federal law.

The lawsuit, filed in December 2014 and seeking unspecified financial damages, said the AR-15 military-syle assault weapon used in the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, should never have been sold to the gunman’s mother, Nancy Lanza, because it had no reasonable civilian purpose.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis sided with Remington Arms, the North Carolina-based maker of the rifle known as the Bushmaster that 20-year-old Adam Lanza used in his rampage at Sandy Hook. The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act protected Remington from being sued for the use of its products in an illegal manner, Bellis ruled.

“The present case seeks damages for harms, including the deaths of the plaintiffs’ decedents that were caused solely by the criminal misuse of a weapon by Adam Lanza,” Bellis wrote in a 54-page decision. “This action falls squarely within the broad immunity provided by PLCAA.”

An attorney for the families vowed to appeal the decision.

“While the families are obviously disappointed with the judge’s decision, this is not the end of the fight,” attorney Josh Koskoff said in a statement. “We will appeal this decision immediately and continue our work to help prevent the next Sandy Hook from happening.”

Remington could not be reached for immediate comment.

Lanza began his Dec. 14, 2012, attack by shooting his mother dead in their home and ended it by turning his gun on himself as he heard police sirens approach.

So-called assault rifles like the Bushmaster, capable of inflicting rapid carnage, have been used in several recent mass shooting in the United States. Those include the June attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that took 49 lives and was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.

The AR-15 was developed from the U.S. military’s M-16 rifle, used in the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Unlike the military version, the AR-15 is not fully automatic, meaning users must pull the trigger each time they want to fire a shot.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Tom Brown)

Children in Calais Jungle to arrive in UK ‘in days’

October 14, 2016

BBC News

British and French officials have begun registering unaccompanied children in the Calais “Jungle” who are hoping to join relatives in Britain.

A significant number of child refugees will arrive in the UK from the migrant camp within days, the BBC understands.

Officials have been focusing first on unaccompanied minors who have the right to join relatives under EU legislation.

A separate registration process will take place for vulnerable children who do not have family in the UK.

Under EU-wide regulation, asylum claims must be made in the first safe country a person reaches, but children can have their claim transferred to another country if they have family members living there.

The Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Act, originally put forward by Lord Dubs, requires the government to arrange for the transfer to the UK and support of unaccompanied refugee children from Europe.

Operating out of a recycled shipping container within the Calais camp, Home Office officials have been working with their French counterparts to register the children.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said the government is moving quickly and that she wants as many children as possible brought to the UK before the camp is shut down by the French authorities.

However, the charity Safe Passage, which is working alongside the government, says it has not yet been shown any operational plans setting out how the children will be transferred.

Britain is expected to take more than 300 children in total.

The Local Government Association has said that councils will require “long-term funding arrangements from government so that the commitment to support those children starting a new life in the UK is properly funded”.

Meanwhile, French Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse has said the camp will be dismantled “when all the conditions for success are in place,” Agence France-Presse reported.

The news agency quoted the minister as saying that it was “out of the question to leave these people living any longer in that mud and that distress”, adding that another winter in the Jungle was “impossible”.

It comes after aid groups asked a French court to delay the closure of the camp, arguing that the authorities were not ready to relocate refugees.

French President Francois Hollande has already said the camp will be removed by the end of the year.

He has promised to set up “reception and orientation centres” to take in asylum seekers.

A “dignified welcome” would be given to people who filed for the right to asylum but anyone who was unsuccessful would be deported, he said.












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