Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Julia Gorin: Follow-up to Premature “Opening Day” of Mladic Trial, and: Del Ponte Spokeswoman Outs Western Collusion in Srebrenica Killings

I’ve been meaning to get back to the Ratko Mladic media frenzy over a supposed throat-cutting gesture that he may or may not have made at the largely Muslim pubic gallery in May — the same gesture that a year earlier was mis-attributed to him by the AP. Within a day of this year’s “gesture” news, it came out that the Prosecution failed to hand over tens of thousands of documents to the Defense. What didn’t come out was that presiding judge Alphons Orie knew about it. But he was in such a rush to start the media orgy that the Mladic trial would bring, that he betrayed the legal profession in favor of media attention (which is par for the course at The Hague anyway). Meanwhile, thanks to the media’s zeal to have another Mladic lynching, by the end of the trial’s opening, the story ended up being something else, bringing unwanted attention to the Prosecution and the tribunal, rather than the Defendant.
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Committee Defends 'Nazi Salute' of German Official

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) defended a German official who has been accused of performing the 'Nazi salute' during the opening ceremony of the London Games. Honorary IOC member Walther Troger was filmed extending his left arm back and forth repeatedly as the German team marched around London's Olympic stadium on July 27, The Telegraph reported. IOC spokesman Mark Adams vehemently denied allegations that Troger’s hand motion was a Nazi salute. "I can't think of anyone who is less anti-Semitic than him," he said adding that he is “devastated that it was interpreted in this way." According to The Telegraph, in 1972, Troger, who was at that time serving as mayor of the Olympic Village during the Munich Games, offered to exchange himself for Israeli hostages during the Black September terrorist attack. In 2004 he reportedly complained to the IOC about Germans wearing t-shirts reading: "Blitzkrieg - it's only a game." "It's infamous, disgusting and unacceptable to create any kind of relation to Nazis. He's been standing all his life for tolerance, understanding and fair play," said Christian Kalue, a spokesman for the German Olympic Sports Federation. German commentators on Twitter have also urged the public not to misinterpret Troger’s actions, noting that the Nazis saluted with their right hand while Troger used his left hand.
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Germany Tackles Islamic Radicalization

by Soeren Kern
"The long-term strategic objective of these Islamist organizations is to destabilize and democratically and liberally elected states and to influence political decision-making." — Report, German State of Lower Saxony
The German state of Lower Saxony has published a practical guide to extremist Islam to help citizens identify tell-tale signs of Muslims who are becoming radicalized.
Security officials say the objective of the document is to mitigate the threat of home-grown terrorist attacks by educating Germans about radical Islam and encouraging them to refer suspected Islamic extremists to the authorities.
The move reflects mounting concern in Germany over the growing assertiveness of Salafist Muslims, who openly state that they want to establish Islamic Sharia law in the country and across Europe.
The 54-page document, "Radicalization Processes in the Context of Islamic Extremism and Terrorism," which provides countless details about the Islamist scene in Germany, paints a worrisome picture of the threat of radical Islam there.
The document states: "The threat posed by Islamic terrorist organizations continues apace, and the risk of radicalization and recruitment by Islamists continues unabated. Young Muslims are being courted by Islamist propaganda. The threat level in Western countries has escalated to a higher level. A particular risk increasingly stems from self-radicalized individuals or small groups without formal networks of connections. This poses special problems for law enforcement. The long-term strategic objective of these Islamist organizations is to destabilize democratically and liberally oriented states and to influence political decision-making."
The document continues: "Islamist terrorism poses a significant threat to the internal security of Germany. National security authorities have identified at least 235 Islamists with German citizenship who have sought or received paramilitary training in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. It is assumed that more than half of these individuals have returned to Germany. Of these, approximately ten are currently in prison. There is a very real danger that these individuals have returned to Germany with the aim of committing acts of terrorism."
According to the report, German security agencies estimate that approximately 1,140 individuals living in Germany pose a high risk of becoming Islamic terrorists. The document also states that up to 100,000 native Germans have converted to Islam in recent years, and that "intelligence analysis has found that converts are especially susceptible to radicalization…Security officials believe that converts comprise between five to ten percent of the Salafists."
The document provides a frank assessment of political Islam. It describes Islamism as "a political ideology that disputes the constitutional order of the Federal Republic of Germany. Unlike secular extremist ideologies like Communism or National Socialism, which are not based on religious ideas, Islamism is based on the religion of Islam. At the core, Islamists advocate a politicized form of Islam. Religion for them is not only an individual matter of faith, but Islam is seen as a comprehensive political-religious societal concept. Islamist organizations and movements, despite their differences, all seek to create societies based on the legal system of Sharia. This law divides people according to their beliefs, their gender and their relationship to the Islamic state in different legal categories. It rejects the idea of democratically legitimized governance, particularly by non-Muslims over Muslims, because only Allah is recognized as a sovereign. Thus Islamism, with its strict commitment to Sharia, is directed against the Constitution and the rights and freedoms guaranteed therein, equality and respect for human rights. The Islamic idea of a theocratic state and social system is also opposed to the principle of popular sovereignty and the separation of powers."
The document also includes a list of 26 "possible characteristics of radicalization processes" to help German citizens identify potential radicalization.
Some of the items on the list include: "critical questions about Islam are viewed as an attack on the addressed person or group; questioning certain views on the interpretation of Islam is interpreted as a betrayal of the group; increasingly stringent interpretation of religion; rejection or aggression against anything "Western;" Islam is the solution, the so-called Western world is seen as the cause for all the problems; dualistic worldview, applying a strict friend-foe schema; repeating Islamist slogans; religious strictness is required of the entire society; Muslims with different orientation (that is, Shiites) are called infidels."
Other items on the list include: "visiting radical mosques or Islamic or preachers; participating in religious seminaries with radical preachers; solidifying contacts with other radical extremists and individuals; visiting Islamist websites; watching films that promote violent jihad; increasing willingness to aggressively and violently enforce religious or religiously colored political claims on others (possibly by also increasing interest in weapons); potentially criminal activity against property and persons with reference to the inferiority of the so-called infidels and/or committed to harm the alleged enemies of Islam; implementation of survival training, combat training or similar paramilitary activities; frequent and/or lengthy trips to countries with majority Muslim populations, particularly language classes, visits to paramilitary training camps; preoccupation with life after death or martyrdom; changes in financial position (no verifiable income or sudden debt)."
Not surprisingly, the document has been greeted with outrage by Muslims, who have accused the government of Lower Saxony of "scare-mongering." The opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) has described it as "absurd" and "outrageous."
Interior Minister Uwe Schünemann has rejected the criticism; he says he has no intention of withdrawing the document, which is part of a concerted strategy by German officials to step up their monitoring of Salafist groups after a series of violent clashes with police.
In May, for instance, more than 500 Salafists attacked German police with bottles, clubs, stones and other weapons in the city of Bonn, to protest cartoons they said were "offensive."
The clashes erupted when around 30 supporters of a conservative political party, PRO NRW, which is opposed to the further spread of Islam in Germany, participated in a campaign rally ahead of regional elections in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).
Following the fights -- in which 29 police officers were injured, two of them seriously -- a video surfaced on the Internet by a known terrorist, the German-born Yassin Chouka, a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
In the German-language video, Chouka calls for members of PRO NRW and German media to be killed. He also urges the Salafists to move away from street confrontations, where the risk of being arrested is great, and instead to target PRO NRW members in their homes and workplaces.
In nation-wide raids on June 14, over 1,000 German police searched about 70 Salafist homes, apartments, mosques and meeting places in seven of Germany's 16 states in search of evidence that would enable the German government to outlaw some of the dozens of Islamist groups operating in the country.
Announcing the crackdown, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said he had banned a Salafist group called Millatu Ibrahim, based in the western city of Solingen. "The Millatu Ibrahim group works against our constitutional order," he said, "and against understanding between peoples." Among other things, Millatu Ibrahim teaches its followers to reject German law and to follow Islamic Sharia law, and that "the unbelievers are the enemy."
Friedrich also said that the raids in Bavaria, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia, among other locations, may unearth evidence that would allow outlawing two other Salafist groups, the DawaFFM and "Die Wahre Religion" [DRW, "The True Religion"].
In a June 8 interview with the newspaper Die Welt, Interior Minister Friedrich said: "Radical Salafism is like a hard drug. All of those who succumb to her become violent."
Friedrich also said the recent Salafist attacks on German police show "that the threshold for violence has decreased in an alarming way. There can be only one answer: The government must make it clear with all the force of the law that our democracy is fortified. Salafists fight the liberal-democratic legal system and in its place want to introduce their radical ideology in Germany. But we will not let that happen. We will defend our freedom and our security with all our might."
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The Circumcision Debate in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

A German regional court held at the end of June that circumcision of males, practiced by Jews and Muslims, is a "bodily injury" of the child and punishable as a crime. German political leaders reacted against the opinion, and the probability that it would portray today's Germany in a negative light. The court order will likely be nullified definitively by the German parliament and constitutional court, but anti-circumcision policies have spread to Switzerland and Austria as well. A month later, on July 20, the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, passed a resolution calling for the protection of the rights of Jewish and Muslim parents to circumcise of their male offspring with medically-qualified personnel. A draft law guaranteeing these religious liberties has been proposed for introduction this autumn. The action by German politicians was followed, however, by news that two medical institutions in Switzerland, the Children's Hospital in Zurich and the St. Gallen teaching hospital, decided temporarly to suspend circumcision of infants unless medically necessary. Then, on July 24, came an order by Markus Wallberg, governor of the western Austrian province of Vorarlberg, also prohibiting the circumcision of males for non-medical reasons in all public hospitals, pending clarification of the German situation. The Cologne case originated in November 2010, when a four-year old Muslim boy was circumcised at a clinic in the city, on the request of his parents. After two days, because the child was bleeding, the parents took him to the emergency room at the University Hospital of Cologne. The public prosecutor in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia filed a complaint against the doctor who performed the procedure. The lower, district court determined in June 2012 that the doctor was blameless, and the doctor was acquitted. The district court held that circumcision was a form of "bodily injury," but was justified by the approval of the parents, the cultural prevalence of circumcision among Muslims, and evidence of medical advantages among circumcised males.
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More Germans leave their estates to Israel

In recent years it happens more often: a courier enters the Israeli embassy in Berlin carrying a letter from an old German citizen who recently died. In the letter he declares his wish that his estate be donated to the State of Israel. Embassy officials estimate that sometimes these are people who suffer from a guilty conscience over Germany's dark past. This phenomenon has been going on for years with increasing frequency and this year sees a peak in donations, Yedioth Ahronot has learned. About once a month a courier arrives at the embassy. He hands the employees a letter sent via registered mail from a recently deceased old German citizen. The letter, also signed by the deceased's attorney, states that the deceased has decided to leave his money, home or jewels (in some cases even gold bars) to Israel. The letters do not reveal the donors' motives but the embassy estimates that these are most likely Germans who witnessed the Holocaust and harbored feelings of guilt for decades. On their deathbed they probably wanted to clear their conscience by bequeathing their estate to Israel, even though some of them have families. It's possible that some of the donors had ties to the Nazi regime but this hypothesis is unfounded. Thus far, a total of 200 donors aged 80-100 have been recorded. The largest single donation is NIS 6 million. "We think these people's conscience was burdened with the mass extermination of the Jews and at the end of their days they decided to make amends by giving their estate to Israel," said an embassy official. In some cases the donor declares his decision in his lifetime, in others it is revealed only at the reading of the will. An inquiry shows that some of the donors are devout Christians who decided to transfer their funds to the Holy Land on religious grounds. The list includes Jewish donors, probably childless, who decided to transfer their estate to Israel. The Israeli embassy hands the donations over to the General State Custodian at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem. Government sources say that lately there has been a rise in donations but this can easily be explained by the higher mortality rates of the donors due to old age.
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Belgrade Jew in 1997: “The American Media Auschwitz Against the Serbs”

In looking for something else, I stumbled upon the following excerpt from a 1997 interview between Belgrade-based journalist Jasa Almuli, a Jewish WWII survivor, and Professor Enriko Josif, one of then Yugoslavia’s top Jewish intellectuals. Among other, bigger things, the interview corroborates what I try to explain to people when they perceive or attempt to paint Serbs as anti-Semitic. In countering that charge, I’ve often explained to people that there may have been an increase in that phenomenon in the past 15 years, after Bosnia and Kosovo, during which prominent American Jews were at the forefront of calls to bomb the Serbs (though they were by no means alone). But, continues my explanation, this new grudge was not something that had ever been endemic to the Serb people historically.
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Julia Gorin: Journalistic Nightmare at Algemeiner Journal

After trying for more than a month to get the new Algemeiner Journal to print a shorter version of my appeal on behalf of Alex Cvetkovic, an Israeli citizen of Serb ethnicity being extradited to Bosnia for a biased trial over Srebrenica-related war crimes, on Thursday the site published something about Cvetkovic under my name.
Unfortunately, the article published barely resembled what I’d sent them; instead it was a re-write done by an editor who I’m told by the chief editor used to be a bureau chief for Financial Times. Which makes his fictionalized account of my article all the more astounding. Quite simply, this individual made up his own facts as he went along.
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Over 20,000 hold moment of silence in London for Munich 11

More than 20,000 people in various venues in London attended the British Zionist Federation’s “Minute for Munich” program that was promoted via social media. A short memorial service at the Israeli Embassy that was organized by the Zionist Federation was streamed live online today, according to the London Jewish Chronicle. About 200 people marked the Minute for Munich in Trafalgar Square, reciting memorial prayers and lighting memorial candles. Afterwards, they waved British and Israeli flags in front of media who attended the event. “The British Jewish community is showing its solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel,” the British Israel Coalition’s Ari Soffer told the crowd, according to the Chronicle. “We should not allow this tragedy to go uncommemorated. This is a time to show our respect and remember the dead.” The families of the victims of the 1972 Munich massacre, in which 11 Israeli Olympics athletes and coaches were murdered by Palestinian terrorists, have mounted a global campaign to get the International Olympic Committee to hold an official moment of silence at the Games. The IOC continues to reject the call, despite its being endorsed by President Obama, GOP presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the U.S. Senate, the German Bundestag, the Canadian and Australian parliaments, about 50 members of the British Parliament, the Israeli government, Jewish organizations worldwide and about 100 members of Australia’s Parliament. IOC president Jacques Rogge on Friday said the IOC had not been pressed by any government to hold a moment of silence. “There has been no pressure from any nation whatsoever,” Rogge said. “The IOC has always honored the memory of the victims of Munich ’72.” Rogge led a minute of silence for the victims inside the athletes village on Monday, will attend a private ceremony in London during the games and will take part in a commemoration on the 40th anniversary on Sept. 5 at the Munich airport where most of the Israelis died. “We have always commemorated and will continue to commemorate the memory of the killed athletes,” he said.
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Albanians Smuggling Guns into Sweden

By Julia Gorin
A couple of my recent blogs again touched on the Albanian mafia ties to Sweden and Switzerland. In looking through some old blog notes, I see that I overlooked this Gates of Vienna post from 2008, which carried a news item about Albanians smuggling guns into Sweden:
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

PA thanks IOC for refusing Munich victims memorial

11 Israeli athletes killed in 1972 Munich attackThe Palestinian Authority has thanked the International Olympic Committee [IOC] for refusing to allow a minute's silence at the opening ceremony in London to mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Games. Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Union, sent a letter to IOC Chairman Jaques Rogge thanking him for his position, the PA's official news agency, Wafa, reported Wednesday. In his letter, Rajoub, a former PA security commander, wrote: "Sports is a bridge for love, connection and relaying peace between peoples. It should not be a factor for separation and spreading racism between peoples." Wafa said that Rajoub sent the letter to the IOC chairman on Tuesday. A senior PA official in Ramallah confirmed that Rajoub had sent the letter and said that the Palestinians were opposed to "Israel's attempts to exploit the Olympic games for propaganda purposes." A senior Israeli official responded to the Palestinian letter by saying that "if the leadership of the PA is not willing to disassociate itself from its terrorist past, and is unwilling to see the Munich massacre as a brutal act of terrorism, then in Israeli eyes there will be big questions regarding their true commitment to peace and reconciliation."
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Is Islamic Finance Collapsing in Germany?

Islamic finance in Germany has, to the greatest possible extent, remained unsuccessful. A working paper from the Stresemann Foundation now shows that internal barriers especially are determinative. In the first place, Muslim immigrants are low-income and demonstrate little investment potential, because of having less formal education and because Muslim women often have no gainful employment. For another thing, the system of sharia scholars leads to problems due to nebulous legal practices.“The present failure of Islamic financial products in this country cannot be attributed to lack of support by policy and the authorities,” declares Rebecca Schönenbach, author of the working paper and certified Islamic specialist. “In Great Britain and France as well, which have generously adapted their financial regulations to sharia-compliant banking, there is no demand from depositors.” As is explained in the working paper — referring to scientific studies — it is not just the limited income of the Muslim community that is important. A third of the Turks living here invest in real estate in Turkey, and barely a fourth in real estate here. Not even a fifth admit to having a savings account in Germany. There is practically no investment in other methods of saving, including Turkish, Islamic financial products. On the part of the vendors, according to Schönenbach, there is the problem that the role of the sharia scholars has not been satisfactorily clarified. She says, “There are hardly any clear guidelines for fatwas; Islamic legal opinions and the various authorities are contradictory. Additionally, there is often a lack of economic knowledge and lack of independence in financial institutions. The scholars as a whole must produce transparency about the values of Islamic finance and sharia, and for the non-Muslim public as well.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Burgas suicide bombing case against Israeli tourists

By Ioannis Michaletos | Initially the bomber was named as “Mehdi Ghezali”, who was detained at Goundanamo in Cuba from 2002 to 2004. His father had met with Abdolrahman Barzanjee, an Al Qaeda associate and Ansar Al-Islam’s coordinator for Europe. Ghazali was friends with a Swedish operative who was a close associate of Abu Zubadayah, a high-ranking official with Al Qaeda.
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He was released to Sweden on July 8, 2004. Ghazali joined a July 4, 2006 demonstration held outside the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay facility. He was arrested in September of 2009 in Punjab, Pakistan, on suspicions of having ties to al-Qaeda; Pakistani police chief Mohammad Rizwan described Ghezali as “a very dangerous man”. But the Swedish newspaper The Local described his actions as “a harmless meeting with a Muslim revivalist movement, Tablighi Jamaat.” In any case the Swedish authorities were keen not to keep a close eye on him despite the series of warnings that he posed a serious threat to international security.
As of 23/07/2012 his involvement has not been confirmed and the Sweidh authorities have denied his involvement, although himself has not appeared in public. Moreover, it is interesting to note that on July 22, it was reported that Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the official who is in charge of the investigation, “denied rumors in the international media about the bomber’s identity and said there was no proof that Hezbollah was behind the attack.” Furthermore, Burgas prosecutor Kalina Tchapkanova quoted witnesses who said that the perpetrator “spoke English with a slight accent” and appeared to be Arab, while the wife of the owner of a car rental service said she was sure that the perpetrator was of Arab origin, and that he had a shaved head.
The Balkan region has a colorful recent history regarding the existence of Jihadist and terrorist networks that are directly related to the ones in the Middle East. The biggest influx was noted in the 90′s Yugoslavic war, and since then the threat was evolved.
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Austria – fear for the future?

Hardly a week passes in Austria without politicians making headlines. The chancellor is under suspicion of media manipulation, the ex-finance minister is being accused of bribery, and the same goes for the former federal minister of the interior, former member of the European parliament and many more politicians with close ties to the corporate sector. An investigative committee has interrogated several of these people, but the proceedings are a farce, appearing to be more of a tea party for the higher-ups than a serious investigation. Ironically, two years ago innocent animal rights activists got arrested for 105 days, hammered by Austrian law and were even accused of being a criminal organization. The Austrian justice system has become intolerable. The little people are getting punished while the rich and powerful get away with millions of tax and bribery money.
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Switzerland: Men's rights campaigner quits amid child porn row

The head of a Swiss local government department promoting men's rights has resigned in the wake of a newspaper interview in which he appeared to call for children to be shown pornography. Markus Theunert, dubbed Zurich's "Mr Equality" after taking up his post -- a first for Switzerland -- on July 1st, created a storm last week when his comments were published by Swiss newspaper NZZ. Zurich authorities said Theunert had resigned as head of the government department after refusing to step down as president of manner.ch, a men's and father's association, the ATS news agency reported. The 39-year-old psychologist and sociologist said his comments had been taken out of context and that he had been referring to a federal review of European legislation which protects children from sexual abuse and exploitation, media reports said. Theunert said manner.ch was in favour of parents and specialist teachers not being prosecuted if they made graphic sexual material available to children under 16 who had requested it, but that it did not encourage teachers to show pornographic films during lessons. He said current legislation was contradictory in the sense that the majority of children had seen pornography, mainly on the internet, but that it was illegal for parents to view it with them in a responsible way.
thelocal

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Minute for Munich – Please Join Us…


There have been a number of campaigns urging the International Olympic Committee to hold a minutes’ silence during the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics.
Unfortunately the International Olympic Committee has decided against this commemoration. However, the UK Zionist Federation is inviting you to join us in remembering the 11 murdered Israeli Athletes.
On the morning of the Opening Ceremony, 27th July, we are asking people all over the world to stop for one minute and stand in silence as a personal tribute to those who lost their lives in the 1972 Munich Massacre.
Wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing, please join us and stand in silence for one minute in silence as we remember.
Click HERE to join the public event on Facebook: Minute for Munich

Monday, July 23, 2012

Germany's return to racism

In a poll published this past May, almost two out of three Germans claimed that, in their view, Israelis are -- on a whole -- "aggressive." It's an interesting claim coming from Germany, and not just because it was German aggression which nearly wiped out the Jewish people in Europe a mere three generations ago.
As is often the case when understanding the world's relationship to the Jewish people, a clear understanding of the significance of the poll requires that it be translated into more general and, frankly, less Jewish terms. Think for a moment if the two out of three Germans were found to consider Chinese people "aggressive." That is, in our thought experiment a supermajority of Germans would find a Chinese man or woman, whether living in Beijing or in Boston, to be aggressive.
Applied to any other example, the recent German poll is a clear-cut, glaring and definitive case of racism. It's racism unblurred. Why? Because it's logically impossible that any significant sample size of the German population has met a significant sample of Israelis. Their opinion about the racial characteristics of Israelis -- Jews, in other words -- is based on not experience, but on some kind of genetic prejudice.
As if to underline the point, the German people's expression of racial distaste for citizens of the Jewish state was followed up, almost immediately, by a court-directed ban on the one practice that for thousands of years has made a Jew a Jew -- that of circumcision.
True, the German parliament and its major parties have criticized the ban, and are trying to have it overturned. Nonetheless, the court in Cologne -- a bastion of German liberalism and "tolerance" -- criminalized Judaism's core religio-national ritual as a violation of Germany's constitution.
If it were only Germany's legal institutions making absurd rulings motivated by a liberalism run amok, then maybe we could rest easier. But it's not the case, as the May poll revealed. But beyond the poll (which should by now be notorious but somehow isn't), in 2009 we learned from a German study that more young German men are involved in neo-Nazi parties than mainstream political parties. That's right: German youth are more apt to actively take up the banner of Hitler than Angela Merkel.
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Germany Debates Male Circumcision: Bad Medicine in the Name of Religion

by Peter Martino
In violation of their Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, doctors are interpreting a medical practice in purely religious terms -- choosing religion over science.
During the past decade, life has become more difficult for Jews in Europe. They are not only the victims of a rise in anti-Semitic violence and intimidation, mostly as a result of the growing numbers of radical Muslim immigrants in Europe. They are also finding their right to practice their religion restricted as Europe becomes an environment where Jewish dietary rules and ancient traditions are being criticized and even outlawed. This time, ironically, they are being joined by Muslims.
Male circumcision -- a medical procedure in both Judaism and Islam that has nothing to do with female genital mutilation or "female circumcision," which is not required by the Koran, and which has no medical benefits, only medical liabilities -- could well be the latest victim of misguided political correctness, despite massive medical evidence that male circumcision is "cleaner," meaning that the area involved becomes less prone to harboring infections and transmitting diseases.
Last month, Dieter Graumann, the president of the German Zentralrats der Juden (Central Council of Jews), warned that "Jewish life will become practically impossible" if circumcision of male infants is banned in Germany. On May 7, an appeals court in Cologne ruled that circumcision is an infringement of a child's physical integrity and that it violates the child's right to self-determination. Subsequently, the German Medical Association advised doctors no longer to perform circumcisions for non-medical reasons. The decision to prohibit male circumcision on the grounds of "religion" embodies a breathtaking lack of regard for both personal and public health, and the regressive preference for religion and political correctness over science. In the United States, for example, it has long been considered a fundamental of public health to circumcise all male infants shortly after birth -- unless specifically asked not to -- regardless of religious affiliation.
Last Thursday, fortunately, the German Bundestag approved a cross-party motion to protect the religious circumcision of boys. The resolution urges the government to draw up a bill explicitly allowing the practice. Nevertheless, it is indicative of Europe's growing intolerance towards religious practices that courts have begun to issue verdicts such as the one in Cologne that prohibits circumcision.
The Cologne Landgericht ruled that religious circumcision of boys is a violation of the child's physical integrity and hence unlawful. The verdict states that circumcision has a "permanent and irreparable effect" on the child's body, which violates the child's physical integrity and infringes on its right later to change its religion. The court added that the child's right to self-determination has precedence over its parents' freedom of religion.
The case began after a Muslim doctor circumcised a 4-year old boy. Two days later, the wound began to bleed and the child was rushed to a hospital. The hospital informed the authorities, whereupon the public prosecutor brought the doctor to court. When the court acquitted the doctor, the public prosecutor appealed the verdict. Although the Cologne Landgericht again acquitted the doctor on the basis that "the legal status (of circumcision) is very unclear," the ruling unequivocally condemned male circumcision. Fearing that the ruling would set a precedent to be followed by other German courts, the Medical Association advised doctors to stop circumcisions for religious reasons.
The verdict was applauded by many organizations. Deutsche Kinderhilfe, a non-profit organization to aid children, said that the wellbeing of children had been served by the court. The German Institute for Pediatric Surgery stated that the verdict conformed to medical ethics. The Professional Union of Pediatricians warned "for the trivialisation of this form of physical damage by the circumcision defenders" and said that the right of children to physical integrity should be society's primary concern.
The International League of Non-Religious and Atheists also welcomed the verdict, stating that religiously motivated circumcision is a form of physical damage and mutilation. Terre des Femmes, an international women's rights organization, also applauded the Cologne verdict. It said the physical integrity of children should not be restricted for religious reasons.
In the German media, psychotherapists stated that circumcision on six- or seven-year old boys can have a traumatic effect. Jewish organizations pointed out that Jews have been circumcising boys on the eighth day after birth for thousands of years, without any Jewish men later complaining about harmful side-effects. They also emphasized that male circumcision cannot be equated to female genital mutilation.
A joint statement of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, the European Jewish Association, the German Turkish-Islamic Union of Religious Affairs and the Islamic Center Brussels, said that the Cologne verdict was "an affront to our basic religious and human rights."
The critics of the Cologne verdict were supported by Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. "We have to speak out against the tendency to restrict religious freedom and the right of parents to raise their children in a religious way," he said. He was supported by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, the Vatican's Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Protestant Church also criticized the verdict. Hans Michael Heinig, the president of the Institute for Ecclesiastical Law of the Evangelical Church, called the verdict "a triumph of antireligious zealots."
The verdict also drew criticism from Germany's three major political parties, the Christian-Democrats, Social-Democrats and Liberals. Last Thursday, the governing Christian-Democrats and Liberals teamed up with the oppositional Social-Democrats to call on the government to "present a draft law in the autumn … that guarantees that the circumcision of boys, carried out with medical expertise and without unnecessary pain, is permitted." The cross-party motion explicitly acknowledges that "circumcision has a central religious significance for Jews and Muslims" and adds that "Jewish and Muslim religious life must continue to be possible in Germany."
The new law would overrule the decision of the Cologne court. For the time being, however, the verdict still stands, as does the advice of the German Medical Association for doctors not to perform religious circumcisions.
An opinion poll indicates that, despite the political initiative to have the Cologne verdict overruled by a law later this year, a majority of Germans favors a ban of male circumcision. In a Europe that is becoming ever more secular, there is a real danger that religious practices will gradually be pushed aside in order to assure that the impression is not given that little children and (in ritual slaughter) animals are made to suffer.
It is indicative of this trend that the doctors' associations in Germany are mostly in favor of the ban on religious circumcision of boys. Outside Germany similar attitudes are gaining ground. In the Netherlands, for instance, the Royal Dutch Association of Physicians published a paper two years ago advocating a ban on non-medical circumcision of boys, analoguous to the ban on female genital mutilation. In violation of their Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, doctors are interpreting a medical practice in purely religious terms -- choosing religion over science.
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Der Spiegel: Germany had warning of Munich attack

The German government had advance warning of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, Der Spiegel reported online on Sunday. A few weeks before the massacre, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed by the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September, the report indicates that German intelligence and the German foreign ministry received information indicating that a terror operation was being planned at the Olympics. A few days before the Olympics, an Italian paper reported the same threat. Despite these advance warnings, the report says that the German government took no advance precautions and when the attackers came to the Israeli athletes quarters, they simply walked right in without meeting any extra security whatsoever. Another layer of the surprising report is what Der Spiegel implies was a systematic cover-up by the local and federal German authorities of their pre-knowledge of the attack and their failures to prevent the athletes' deaths. According to Der Spiegel, shortly after the attack, a memorandum was distributed within the government directing officials to refrain from any criticism of other officials, self-criticism and to refrain from providing information regarding the attack to the public. After the attack, the German government also learned that Black September had been poorly organized, despite in public saying that the group had acted "with precision," Der Spiegel said. One example of the group's operational problems were that its members had even had trouble finding a vacant hotel room.
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Vandals Desecrate German Jewish Cemetery

Vandals desecrated the Jewish cemetery in the German town of Anklam over the weekend. According to local police, the vandals smashed gravestones and, in some cases, completely uprooted them. Local media reported that the prosecution in Anklam is conducting an investigation into an incident of “disturbing the dead” and destruction of property. It was also reported that police are looking for eyewitnesses to the vandalism. This is not the first time that Jewish cemeteries in Germany have been desecrated by anti-Semitic vandals. In 2008, a Jewish cemetery in the city of Gotha was desecrated, with the vandals hanging a pig's head on a metal Star of David. Next to the pig's head was a cloth sign stating, “Six Million Lies.” Anti-Semites also vandalized a Jewish cemetery in nearby Erfurt with broken glass and a red liquid at the entrance. Three weeks ago, 43 graves in two Jewish sections of Vienna’s main cemetery were desecrated. Tomb stones and slabs were found toppled or damaged at the Austrian capital’s Central Cemetery, but the vandals did not deface the graves with graffiti. Several weeks before that, a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in the city of Rivne in western Ukraine. The vandals broke street lights and desecrated a plaque in the memory of 17,500 Ukrainian Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The broken street lights were laid on the ground and arranged to spell out insulting phrases. In April, members of the Jewish community in Geneva, Switzerland, woke up to discover that anti-Semitic symbols had been sprayed overnight on a monument to Holocaust victims who had lived in the city. A recent report has shown that there has been an increase in the number of recorded anti-Semitic incidents in Switzerland. The report by the CICAD, a Geneva-based organization that coordinates the fight against anti-Semitism and defamation, shows that the number of anti-Semitic acts increased by 28 percent in 2011, totaling 130 cases, as opposed to 104 the previous year.
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NGOs slam German politician for boycotting Israel

A Left Party lawmaker’s support for boycotts targeting the Jewish state thrust the German-Israel Friendship Society (DIG) into crisis last week. There were calls for the politician’s expulsion from DIG and accusations that DIG’s new national leader was failing to tackle rising anti-Israel sentiments within Germany’s political establishment. Bodo Ramelow, 56, a Left Party deputy in the state government of Thuringia and a member of the local DIG in the state’s capital Erfurt, wrote on his Facebook page that a Swiss company’s targeting of Israeli products was a “legitimate measure.” Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain, Migros, decided to single out Israeli products originating in the West Bank and east Jerusalem for labeling in its stores. The company spokeswoman said Migros did not support boycotts but rather wanted to let customers make informed decisions. Dr. Shimon Shimon Samuels, director for international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post by in a telephone interview on Friday that the Migros action was “harming the Jewish state and was a continuation of Nazism.” “They [DIG] have to expel” Ramelow, Samuels said. “This is a test case” for DIG’s leader Reinhold Robbe, and “one should look carefully at what is happening at DIG,” Samuels said. Sacha Stawski, who is currently in Israel and heads the Frankfurt-based pro-Israel media watchdog NGO Honestly Concerned, said Robbe had showed no appetite for combating inflammatory anti- Israel rhetoric within the Social Democratic Party. Robbe is a former Social Democratic deputy in the Bundestag and took over the reins of DIG in 2010. Stawski said the Social Democratic Party was “looking to get into the next government, and the last thing he [Robbe] wanted to do was criticize the head of the Social Democrats.” In March, party chairman Sigmar Gabriel commented during a visit to Israel, “This is an apartheid regime, for which there is no justification.” According to Stawski, Robbe, in email exchanges with him, danced around the topic of criticizing Gabriel, and declined to issue a DIG press statement criticizing Gabriel’s remarks. Robbe told the mass-circulation Bild at the time that Gabriel was merely “misunderstood.” DIG has roughly 5,500 members and 52 chapters. Stawski, who also heads the group “I like Israel,” is a long-term observer of pro-Israel activity in the Federal Republic. He said that in sharp contrast to Robbe’s leadership style, his predecessor at DIG, Johaness Gerster (2006-2010), “had no trouble clearly positioning himself in support of Israel and criticizing fellow party members.” Gerster was a Christian Democratic Union deputy in the Bundestag, and led the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Jerusalem from 1997 to 2006. Stawksi called on Robbe and the DIG-Erfurt chapter to expel Ramelow from DIG. In an email to the Post, five members from the DIG executive board in Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg state, wrote, “Every DIG member who calls for a boycott of Israeli products should be excluded from DIG.” Asked about the growing number of calls to expel Ramelow, Robbe declined to comment. He also declined to provide the Post with the by-laws regarding DIG members who advocate boycotts against the Jewish state. He did, however, write the Post that “I have made clear on many different occasions that the DIG executive committee rejects Pax Christi’s call to boycott Israeli products.” The Social Democratic mayor of Jena, Albrecht Schröter, and the German branch of Catholic peace group Pax Christi in late May called for a boycott of Israeli merchandise. Kevin Zdiara, the former deputy chairman of DIG in Erfurt, resigned his position in protest on June 17 because Ramelow mounted a campaign to shield Schröter from criticism for his anti-Israel actions. The Post obtained email exchanges between Ramelow and members of the local DIG chapter showing Ramelow’s attempts to coordinate a campaign to slam Zdiara and to undermine efforts to stop criticism of Schröter. The Wiesenthal Center has praised Zdiara efforts to stop Schröter and Pax Christi’s campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state. Zdiara, widely viewed by pro-Israel activists across Germany as one of Israel’s most robust supporters, wrote the Post by email that “the German-Israel Friendship Society had in the past spoke against every form of anti- Israeli boycotts. The society must, however, consider how it deals with members who show understanding for the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement or publicly spread untruths about Israel. In my view, members should be expelled because they violate the by-laws of DIG.” Dr. Martin Borowsky, the head of DIG-Erfurt, did not immediately respond to a Post query. Zdiara posted an essay on the website “The Axis of Good” titled, Ramelow: Christian, Socialist and Friend of Jew-hater. On Ramelow’s micro-blog he maintained a friendly Twitter correspondence with a well-known poster named Glamypunk, who previously wrote, “Jews stink,” “We also hate on Facebook these Jewish pig spies,” and, “Jews cut the penis off from small children. That is OK?” Ramelow did not answer Post queries about the criticism leveled against him, including for his cordial Twitter exchanges with a raging anti- Semite. Samuels told the Post that the “infiltration” into DIG of anti-Israel politicians was undermining its work. Ramelow’s party, the Left, contains the most anti-Zionist politicians in Western Europe. Left Party deputies recently argued in the parliament for the Pax Christi boycott of Israeli products, and participated in the Mavi Marmara’s attempt to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010. The Left recently passed a pro-Iranian resolution at its party congress and blasted Israel. Samuels said Ramelow and his fellow Left politicians should join the German-Iran Friendship Society. Stawski noted that Christian Democratic Bundestag deputy Ruprecht Polenz invoked his membership in a DIG chapter to shield himself from criticism because he promoted Irena Wachendorff, a German poet and peace activist who bashed Israel while pretending she was Jewish.
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Germany: Russian opera singer quits festival over Nazi tattoos

A Russian baritone who was due to sing the lead role in Richard Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman" when the Bayreuth opera festival opens next week withdrew from the event Saturday after it emerged that he once had Nazi-related symbols tattooed on his body. A German television program showed old footage of a bare-chested Evgeny Nikitin playing drums in a rock band, in which a swastika tattoo partly covered by another symbol could be seen. The festival said Nikitin made his decision amid questions from a German newspaper about the significance of some of his tattoos. Organizers made Nikitin, 38, aware of "the connotations of these symbols in connection with German history," said a statement from the festival in Bayreuth, in the southeastern state of Bavaria. It added that his decision to pull out is "in line with the festival leadership's consistent rejection of any form of Nazi ideas." The festival is currently led by the composer's great-granddaughters, Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner. The Nazi past is a sensitive issue for the Bayreuth festival, which was founded by Richard Wagner in 1872. Winifred Wagner, who headed the Bayreuth festival under Nazi rule, was a strong admirer of Adolf Hitler. During her reign, Hitler not only helped fund the festival but was allowed to meddle in artistic decisions. In a brief statement released through the festival, Nikitin said that he got the tattoos in his youth. "It was a major mistake in my life, and I wish I had never done it," he said. "I was not aware of the extent of the confusion and hurt that these symbols would cause, particularly in Bayreuth and in the context of the festival's history." Displaying Nazi symbols is a criminal offense in Germany. This year's festival is due to open on Wednesday with "The Flying Dutchman," and it wasn't immediately clear who might replace Nikitin. The festival said the director, Jan Philipp Gloger, believes that the "artistic damage to the production is immense" and it may not be possible to repair it entirely before next week's premiere.
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Increasing Attacks on Christianity in Europe

In Milbertshofen, Munich, Germany, a Catholic church has been the object of a continuous aggressive campaign for more than a year, with services disrupted, walls smeared, holy water receptacles filled with urine. Things have been set on fire, and tiles torn down from the roof; consequently it rained inside, with risk of damage to the almost 500-year-old tableau. The culprits are the neighborhood's youths and even children, almost entirely from a migrant background. A local social worker says that the youths are becoming more radical and the attacks are increasingly religiously motivated.
In Duisburg, Germany, churches were attacked over the New Year with stones, firecrackers, rockets, causing tens of thousands of euros' worth of damage. The congregants said that this was not the first time.
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Germany Security Report: Rising Threat From Militant Islamists, Far-Right Groups

Germany faces a growing threat from militant Islamists and far-right fringe groups, including small extremist cells and lone wolf operators, top security officials said Wednesday. A report by Germany's domestic intelligence agency puts the number of Salafi Muslims in the country at 3,800 last year, with a small number of those prepared to use violence to achieve their aims. It is the first time the agency has counted the number of German-based Salafists, a religious movement that adheres to a strict interpretation of Islam and which has attracted young Muslims as well as recent converts. The wider number of Muslims with extremist views is estimated at more than 38,000, according to the report. "Our focus remains on Islamist terrorism," Heinz Fromm, the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told reporters in Berlin. "This is where the main threat currently comes from." Fromm cited the killing of two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt airport last year as an example of the acute but unpredictable nature of Islamist-inspired extremism. Arid Uka, 22, was convicted in February of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors said Uka, an ethnic Albanian born in Kosovo who grew up in Germany, became radicalized on his own by reading and watching jihadist propaganda on the Internet. "In the coming years the intelligence work of the security agencies will continue to be dominated to a large degree by the problem of individual jihadists," Fromm said.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bulgarian Massacre - Islamists do Better than Nazis

On July 18, 1994, Buenos Aires witnessed the most lethal anti-Semitic attack outside Israel since the Holocaust.
In Bulgaria, it's already becoming certain that Islamism is proving to be more efficient than the Nazis.
On March 9, 1942, an order arrived from Berlin to deport the 50,000 Bulgarian Jews. Adolf Eichmann's office was ready to "operate".
In the morning, Czar Boris II flew to Berchtesgaden to ask Adolf Hitler why he needed the Jews. Reluctant to admit the fact of the gas chambers, Hitler answered that the Jews must build roads. "Roads are also needed in Bulgaria," answered the king.
According to rumor, the Germans poisoned Boris II: the royal plane returned to Sofia with a dead king. His brother, Prince Cyril, a Germanophile, became regent, but Bulgaria arose, and the Parliament, the intellectuals, the ordinary people, everybody protested against the Jews' deportation.
In some Bulgarian towns, the Jews were assembled to be put on trains. But the trains couldn't be loaded until Czar Boris signed a proclamation authorizing the deportation.
In Plovdiv, the capital of South Bulgaria, the military governor was a sadistic anti-Semite. He assembled all the Jews and locked them up in the Jewish school. But not a single Jew could be deported.
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Police put out warrant for Zurich stabbing suspect

Police put out warrant for Zurich stabbing suspectSwiss police have issued an international arrest warrant for Shivan Mohamed, a 21-year-old Iraqi thought to have stabbed two brothers in Zurich on Sunday morning. The suspect, who works selling kebabs at Zurich's main train station, has been missing since one of the brothers was killed and the other sustained serious injuries in a fight outside a nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning. Mohamed's mother says she has not seen him since he got ready to go out on Saturday night, and he failed to appear for work on Sunday evening. “I cannot tell you how sorry I am for the family who has lost a son,” Shivan’s mother, 43-year-old Sameerah S, told news site 20 Minuten Online. The murder suspect and the victim knew each other, friends have told the police. They had never had any trouble with one another before and were not enemies. Mohamed’s friends say that the brothers, Vigan M and Visar M, tried to beat him up outside the Kaufleuten club. None of them knew that he was carrying a knife. “He must have acted in self-defence,” one of Shivan’s friends told the website. Police have reported that the 23-year-old Vigan M, who was out celebrating his birthday, was stabbed seven times, while his younger brother, 20-year-old Visar M, received three stab wounds to his stomach, online news site Blick reported. “I am convinced that he wanted to kill my two sons," the brothers’ father, 51-year-old Ismet M told Blick. Shivan’s mother still hopes that her son is not the murderer, and insists he never causes any trouble. But the police have confirmed that they have had to deal with him previously on several occasions for fighting. Two of Mohamed’s friends were arrested on Monday and taken in for questioning. Both were released a short time later. The search warrant has been issued across the Schengen area in Europe. Vigan M is due to be buried in Kosovo alongside his mother, who died from cancer at the age of 25.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jihadists in Germany Pose Terrorist Threat to America and its Allies, says New TRAC Analysis

Although the current hotbed of militant Islam is generally thought to be concentrated in Yemen and Somalia, some of the most dangerous leaders and terrorist cells directed at the “far enemy” (U.S. and its European allies) are in Germany. That’s the assertion of a new analysis of the extreme branch of Islam known as Salafism that has been added to the Publishing Center in Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC), an online resource center for the study of terrorism and political violence. The analysis reveals how Germany’s Salafist groups are deeply connected to the most prominent jihadist leaders and are the perpetrators of homegrown, sophisticated plots and attacks against U.S. and European targets. “Germany has seen a growing number of radicalized German Muslims and recent converts willing to take up arms,” said Maha Hamdan, author of the analysis and a noted researcher on Salafism and jihad. “Those Jihadists are overwhelmingly not foreign born immigrants. Many are natural born Germans who have converted from a Western religion to Islam. What is unique about these German-born converts to Islam is their attraction to militancy.” Little attention was paid to militant Islamism in Germany and specifically to Salafism prior to 2000, but escalating activity has raised the Salafist profile, according to TRAC. Since the turn of the century, at least nine plans for Salafist attacks on German soil have been averted and 350 legal proceedings related to Islamist-terrorist offenses are being litigated. Hamdan examines the background and influence of German clerics who have established ties with the Taliban, al Qaeda and its highest-ranking leaders, including Bin Laden and al Zaquiri, and prominent terrorist cells. Among them are the Sauerland cell that had planned to bomb U.S. targets within Germany, including the (U.S. Air Force) Rammstein Air Base, Frankfurt Airport, American barracks and a Frankfurt nightclub. “This is the most prominent Islamist terror plot concocted entirely in Germany and its genesis reveals the importance of the growing Salafist network as breeding ground for domestic attacks as well as attacks abroad,” says Hamden. Other plots planned by German Jihadists included the Bali nightclub bombings in 2002, which claimed 200 lives and injured more than 300. Hamdan’s analysis also points out the specific regions in Germany that appear to be more susceptible to radicalization than others, including Ulm and Neu-Ulm, home of the “Multi Culture House,” known for its hostile attitude towards democracy, the Jewish people, and the Western hemisphere, and its service as a major source of financing and recruiting.
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Olympic Committee On Munich Moment of Silence Refusal: ‘Muslims Tied Our Hands’

Ankie Spitzer whose husband was murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympics has been fighting to have a minute of silence at the London Games to remember the eleven murdered victims. Her efforts have been supported by the governments of much of the western world, but they have been rejected by the International Olympic Committee. The organisation and its president Jacques Rogge have been subject to intense criticism from across the international community for its continued refusal to honour the 11 Israel Olympians murdered at the 1972 Munich Games with a minute’s silence to mark the 40th anniversary of the killings, in what has been presented as a “humanitarian” gesture. Munich widow Ankie Spitzer spearheaded the campaign by launching an online protest, which has since garnered support from across political spectrums in several countries including Israel, Canada, the UK, Australia, the US, Belgium and Germany. In the latest development, some 140 Italian parliamentarians signed a letter to Rogge this week, calling for minute’s silence to be instituted. Ankie wrote a letter to Olympic officials requesting and an official silence to mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacres, which said in part: “Silence is a fitting tribute for athletes who lost their lives on the Olympic stage. Silence contains no statements, assumptions or beliefs and requires no understanding of language to interpret.” Rogge’s succinct response declared that “within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.” According to Spitzer, earlier this year when the two met in person Rogge protested his inability to act saying his hands were tied by admission of 46 Arab and Muslim members to the IOC. “No,” Spitzer she responded, “my husband’s hands were tied, not yours.” In 1972 when the massacre took place, the IOC refused to delay or cancel the games to recognize the murder of the eleven Israeli athletes. Forty years later, the International Olympic Committee has reconfirmed its message to the world. Jewish blood doesn’t matter –we will not do what’s right because we are afraid of upsetting anti-Semites in the Muslim world.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Germany arrests Salafist leader: reports

FRANKFURT: German public prosecutors arrested a leading figure of the German Salafist scene at Frankfurt airport after he was deported from Turkey, according to media reports on Sunday. Turkish security authorities had arrested Peter B., 31, in Istanbul last week and subsequently deported him to Germany, where he was then arrested on his arrival at Frankfurt airport, the weekly magazines Der Spiegel and Focus reported. Prosecutors accuse the German national, who is a convert to Islam, of belonging to a terrorist organisation and of recruiting young Islamists in Afghanistan for jihad or holy war. According to Der Spiegel, Peter B. denies the charges.
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'Circumcision ban makes Germany a laughing stock'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Germany could become a laughing stock if it fails to overturn a district court ban on circumcision that has enraged Jews and Muslims. Merkel's government has already criticised the Cologne court ruling and promised a new law to protect the right to circumcise male infants, but the conservative leader's strong comments underline how sensitive Germany is to charges of intolerance because of its Nazi past. "I do not want Germany to be the only country in the world where Jews cannot practise their rituals. Otherwise we will become a laughing stock," the Bild daily quoted Merkel as telling a closed meeting of her Christian Democrats.
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Switzerland: Forced marriage “needs to be depoliticised”

Switzerland will soon have legislation specifically banning forced marriages, a social issue involving violence and isolation which raises tough questions about the integration of minorities from abroad. Marriage “is not, has never been and cannot be a private matter”, wrote the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. For centuries, endogamy – the practice of marrying within a specific ethnic group, class or social group – was the dominant practice in almost all communities. In Europe until a few decades ago, young people could be forced to marry for economic, cultural or political reasons. Today in Western countries, such compulsory unions are forbidden by law, but this does not mean the phenomenon has disappeared. In 2005, the Council of Europe approved a resolution against forced marriages, and since then a number of states – Britain being the first – have adopted specific measures to combat the practice. Under pressure from parliament and humanitarian organisations, the Swiss government published draft legislation on the issue early last year. Now being studied by the two houses of parliament, the bill would make marriages contracted under compulsion a criminal matter. Victims would therefore no longer have to take legal action themselves and anyone responsible for such a criminal act could be imprisoned for up to five years. Forced marriages are currently lumped together with acts of coercion, which are subject to a penalty of three years.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Germans arrested, wind farm seized in mafia raid

Two Germans were among 31 people arrested in a raid on the mafia in the southern Italian region of Calabria. Assets seized included a giant wind farm, the Italian police said. The main suspect in the investigation is 55-year-old Pasquale Arena, the nephew of a notorious local mob clan leader and head of urban planning for the town council in Isola Capo Rizzuto, Colonel Fabio Canziani said. The wind farm, with 48 generators is one of the biggest in Europe, the investigators said in a statement. They also suggested much of the financing to build it had been moved through shell companies in Germany as well as San Marino and Switzerland. The assets seized were worth around €350 million, the police said. Main suspect Arena was not present during the raid and has not been arrested.
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Balkan gate of the transnational cocaine trade

The worldwide turnover of the cocaine contraband is difficult to be estimated accurately, with figures up to 500 billion USD. The majority of these ill gains are “laundered” eventually through the legal international banking and finance system, whilst the influence of the cocaine cartels is all-encompassing internationally and in the Balkans in particular due to the sheer amount of capital they generate.
Montenegro is a major transit hub for cocaine trade where Latin American criminal networks cooperate with Southern Italian “Mafia” groups and Albanian and “Yugoslavian” drug kingpins.
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

The de-legitimization war

By Manfred Gerstenfeld
Can the ongoing de-legitimization of Israel be fought? A high-placed Israeli official with an intelligence community career said to me that nothing can be done about it. This is an easy position: If nothing can be done, why try to do anything? The de-legitimization issue is a major problem for Israel. Slandering is simple, while deconstructing falsehoods is difficult, lengthy and often costly. For instance: German poet, anti-Israel activist and Hamas supporter Irena Wachendorf claimed that she is Jewish, a member of a liberal Jewish community and served in the IDF. She furthermore stated that her father is Jewish and fled to the UK before the Second World War, while her mother survived Auschwitz. After two years of research by German investigative journalist Jennifer Pyka, Wachendorf has now admitted that her story was made up. She did not serve in the IDF, during the Second World War her father was in the German army and as for the remainder of her assertions, there is no proof. The model frequently followed by foreign journalists is somewhat different. They write an anti-Israel article that often omits essential data or a reliable Israeli counter-opinion. This requires little time to write. However, it takes a long time for pro-Israel media watch groups such as Camera and Honest Reporting to expose the lies and fallacies. For decades, successive Israeli governments have neglected to deal with de-legitimization in an orderly fashion. The Palestinians have systematically succeeded in injecting their narrative into the mainstream Western world. It now sees Palestinian society - which has largely failed in its efforts of mass murder and terrorism against Israel – as a victim of the “brutal Israelis.” Palestinians have succeeded in this with the help of extreme leftists and humanitarian racists, some of whom are Israelis.
  Mossad to the rescue?
What can be done? The first step is for the Israeli government to finally recognize that de-legitimization is a form of war, which has to be fought methodically. The second is to assign a government agency as the focal point to fight this war as military and cyber wars are fought. The logical candidate seems to be Mossad, which would have to create a special department for this. Government ministries with their cumbersome bureaucracies are unable to fight wars efficiently. The conceptual approach is fairly simple. A first step is to take stock of who is already in this fight on the Israeli side and what part of the front they cover. The second step is to study how one’s enemies operate and who funds them. This is a more complex task because perpetrators of de-legitimization and anti-Semitism come from disparate origins such as Muslim countries, Muslims in the Western world, leftists, neo-Nazis, social democrats, liberal Christians, academics, NGOs, media and so on. Many enemies belong to more than one category. The next step is to investigate the main categories of lies and fallacies repeatedly used against Israel. The lies are relatively easy to categorize. Fallacies is a far more complex subject that requires detailed analysis of issues such as: Double standards, the use of moral equivalence between murderers and victims, sentimental appeals to whitewash criminals, the inversion of cause and result and quite a few others. Next, one can systematically analyze the modes by which lies and fallacies are transmitted. These include the media, the United Nations, the Internet and so on. One should also assess how much damage has already been caused to Israel and Jewish communities abroad by the de-legitimizers. Thereafter, one should develop a detailed and consistent strategy on how to fight this war. How can one turn Palestinians and other enemies of Israel into defenders rather than attackers? How can one spend little time to expose them and cause them to spend much more time and money to defend themselves? This is structurally a project like any other. It will take much time and money, most of which will have to come from the Israeli government. Yet money is just the beginning.
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Nikola Tesla in Golden Age Comics: Discoverer of Alternating Current

By Carl Savich Nikola Tesla was one of the greatest inventors and scientists of all time. He is referred to as “the man who invented the modern world”. In The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century, Robert Lomas argued that Nikola Tesla was the most important of the inventors who made modern life possible. His discovery of alternating current revolutionized American industry and society. The Tesla AC polyphase system is still how the U.S. and the world are powered. Tesla also discovered the fluorescent bulb, neon lights, patented the automobile speedometer, the automobile ignition system, and developed the groundwork that made radar, radio, robotics, the electron microscope, and the microwave oven possible.
In 1949, Nikola Tesla appeared in a Golden Age comic book, Top Secrets, in the May-June issue, #9, published by Street and Smith. In this issue appeared a comic story on Nikola Tesla’s discovery of alternating current, one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. The cover art was by Bob Powell who did both the pencils and the inks.
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Friday, July 13, 2012

European Armies Recruiting Muslim Soldiers

Germany is seeking to recruit more Muslims into its army: it cannot find enough native Germans to fill its ranks after it abolished the draft.
German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière announced his intention to "multiculturalize" the German Bundeswehr (Federal Defense Force) during a June 20 headhunting mission to the Turkish capital Ankara, where he declared: "I want the [German] army to be representative of a cross-section of the German population."
Germany formally discontinued compulsory military service on July 1, 2011 as part of a comprehensive reform aimed at creating a smaller and more agile army of about 185,000 professional soldiers.
But during its first twelve months of existence, Germany's new all-volunteer army has been unable to meet its recruiting goals, and military manpower prospects look dim for the foreseeable future.
In a desperate search for soldiers, German military officials have now identified Germany's Muslim Turkish population (3.5 million and counting) as a new source for potential recruits.
Maizière has been trying to jump-start the recruitment of German Turks by offering them some unique incentives to sign up for military service. Maizière's trip to Ankara, for example, was aimed at persuading the Turkish government to waive the compulsory military service requirement in Turkey for those individuals who possess Turkish-German dual nationality and who serve at least 15 months in the German army.
Maizière believes that Turks would rather serve in Germany than in Turkey, but Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz dismissed the idea out of hand, arguing that Turkish law does not permit Turkish citizens to substitute compulsory military service in Turkey for voluntary service in Germany, or any other country for that matter.
Maizière continues to insist that Turks serving in the German armed forces must have German citizenship, and that he has no intention of recruiting non-German citizens. "The model of a German foreign legion is out of the question," Maizière told reporters in Ankara.
But pressure is building for demographically challenged Germany to lower the military qualification standards and begin recruiting foreigners to staff its armed forces.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces in the German Bundestag, Hellmut Königshaus, recently argued that non-citizens should be allowed to join the German military. As an incentive, he proposed that Germany offer those immigrants who agree to become soldiers a fast-track procedure to become naturalized German citizens.
Königshaus has also dismissed the possibility of loyalty problems with individuals who do not have a German passport. "The requirement naturally must be that foreign candidates profess loyalty to our country and our Constitution, and also speak German," Königshaus said. "But why should the integration of foreigners in the military be any different than the integration of foreigners in the national football team?"
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tenacious Munich massacre widow fights on

The widow of an Israeli fencing coach murdered at the 1972 Olympics said on Tuesday she still hoped a moment of silence would be observed at the opening of the London Olympics in memory of the terrorists’ victims. Ankie Spitzer, whose husband, Andre Spitzer, was taken hostage and killed in a shootout between German police and Palestinian gunmen in Munich, said she hoped the International Olympic Committee would reverse its decision not to mention him and the other 10 slain Israeli sportsmen at the opening ceremony set to take place in London on July 27. “For 40 years we have asked the international committee to honor the memory of our fathers and sons, and they have had all sorts of lame excuses, but Ilana Romano [widow of murdered weightlifter Yossef Romano] and I have worked hard together [for a memorial to be held].” She added: “It’s not the 27th of July yet!” International pressure has been mounting on the International Olympic Committee to mark the anniversary of the attack carried out by members of Black September. Israel, Germany, Australia and other countries have officially asked the committee to hold a moment of silence, but it has rejected such pleas, saying the venue was inappropriate. Behind the scenes there is worry a memorial might be construed as being political and lead to protests by Israel’s foes.
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Bosnia Connection: Bill Clinton & Islamist ratlines in Bosnia assisted 9/11

By Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker, Modern Tokyo Times
Osama bin Laden wasn’t articulate and media savvy like Bill Clinton who was the leader of the United States between January 1993 and January 2001. After all, whatever Osama bin Laden was he did at least speak honestly with regards to his intentions. However, Bill Clinton had a host of special advisors, an unquestioning media to ply his propaganda, and he could keep a straight face when manipulating language in order to fulfill his policy agenda.
Today all over the world people have to pay enormous airport taxes because of tightened security after September 11. This is also ironic. After all, the same security agencies in countless nations somehow missed around 8,000 International Islamists who travelled to Bosnia and Kosovo, in order to kill Orthodox Christians during the Bosnian and Kosovo wars. Of course, for the mass media which ignored this vital reality during the Bosnian war, it sums up the “propaganda machine” whereby senior politicians, special advisers, trained media corporate specialists, covert operatives, and other unsavory realities, work hand in hand.
The same grim reality is now happening in Syria whereby Islamists, the US and the United Kingdom policy objectives work in tandem. The usual players like Saudi Arabia and Turkey are also on board. At the same time the media war is in full swing once more in order to “serve the agenda” of Washington, London, Paris, Riyadh, and other powerful nations involved in destabilizing Syria.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bosnian Blogger: “Rabbi will attend the 17th CELEBRATION ANNIVERSARY of the genocide in Srebrenica”

By Julia Gorin
Well I just had to cross-post THIS:
“Arthur Schneier, chief Rabbi of Synagogue in New York: Srebrenica reminds me of the Holocaust.”
And the rabbi reminds me that Jews can be stupid enough to get themselves into a Holocaust. Something that will be greatly simplified by equalizing a few thousand dead Muslim soldiers with the liquidation of six million men, women and children. (And by reelecting Barack Obama so he can finally just bomb Israel already.)
Good job, Rabbi! Maybe it’s time to retire now that dementia has set in.
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Swiss snub of EU Iran sanctions prompts criticism

Just over a week after the EU’s embargo on Iranian crude oil imports went into effect, and Swiss refusal to bar energy and financial transaction trade with Tehran has unleashed trans- Atlantic criticism.

Josh Block, a senior fellow at the Washington- based Progressive Policy Institute and a former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said Tuesday that “the Swiss decision to break with the international consensus on Iran and help Tehran evade oil sanctions is deeply disturbing.”

In an email to The Jerusalem Post, Block wrote that “given their record of continuing to trade with Nazi Germany during World War II as millions of Jews were slaughtered just across their borders, you would hope that the Swiss government had changed its ways and joined the side of Western nations in opposing threats to security and global peace. Now, as then, there is no excuse for their shameful behavior.”

Responding to Block’s criticism, George Farago, a spokesman for the Swiss Foreign Ministry, told the Post that “we will not comment on an imagined analogy with the situation in the Second World War.”

Farago said the Bundesrat (the Swiss Federal Council) had adopted a large section of the EU sanctions against Iran.

However, he added that “business with Iranian oil and petrochemical products is not banned within the EU.”

Not an EU member and traditionally neutral, Switzerland has no legal obligation to follow EU sanctions, although in recent years it has tended to harmonize its laws with those of its main trading partners. Critics say the Swiss government is the most pro-Iran regime country among European governments.

President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has defended the country’s independent stance, adding that this was helping US interests by allowing communication between Tehran and Washington.

Switzerland has represented US interests in Iran since the latter’s Islamic revolution in 1979.
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Monday, July 09, 2012

Islamic Jihadists Using Switzerland as Base

by Soeren Kern
Swiss analysts say the initiative of "Ummah Schweiz" is an effort to establish "parallel" legislative body in Switzerland that will be a mouthpiece for the Islamic fundamentalists, who are seeking to impose Sharia law on the country. With representatives in all 26 cantons, the group will be fully functional in 2013.
Radical Muslim groups are using Switzerland as a base from which to promote Islamic jihad in Europe and beyond.
Islamists in Switzerland are providing jihadists with logistical support, and also stepping up their use of Internet websites there to spread Islamic propaganda as well as to incite their supporters to commit acts of terrorism and violence.
Swiss authorities have identified at least 10 trips by Islamists from Switzerland to jihadi training camps overseas just during the past 12 months.
One finding of Swiss Federal Police Annual Report for 2011 (in German), published in Bern on June 21, is that although Switzerland was not a direct target of Islamic terrorism in 2011, the Swiss Federal Police Office, also known Fedpol, did investigate a Swiss convert to Islam who used the Internet to discuss a terrorist attack involving explosives against an American installation in Germany. Although the report does not provide further details about the investigation, it states that the suspect's being Swiss proved that "not only people with immigrant backgrounds could be supporters of jihad."
In response to the rising threat from radical Islam, Fedpol, recently launched a new specialist IT research department to intensify efforts to monitor jihadist websites and their operators. Fedpol also strengthened its cooperation with the Swiss Federal Intelligence Services.
In a related move, the Swiss Federal Justice Ministry on June 30 announced that Switzerland has refused to take back a Jordanian refugee who, after he was found to have links to Islamist rebels in Somalia, had been given asylum.
The refugee, 19-year-old Magd Najjar, had been caught in May and charged in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 6 for links to Islamist Al-Shabaab rebels affiliated with al-Qaeda, and who openly state that they want to impose Islamic Sharia law in Somalia.
"Clear evidence shows that he visited regions of Somalia where jihadist groups are involved in conflict (against the government). It also appears that he had contact with Islamist elements in Switzerland," the Justice Ministry said in a statement.
Swiss law states that refugees can lose their asylum status if they threaten or compromise national or international security.
Separately, leading Islamic groups in Switzerland say they want to establish a single national representative body that will enable all of the country's Muslims to "speak with one voice."
The organizers say their new "parliament" will be called "Umma Schweiz" [The Islamic Nation in Switzerland"] and be based on the principles of Islamic Sharia law. The headquarters of the organization will be located in Basel with "representatives" in all 26 cantons (or "states") of Switzerland. The first "test vote" of Umma Schweiz will be held in the fall of 2012; the group will be fully functional in 2013.
Ummah, an Arabic word that means "nation," refers to the entire Muslim community throughout the world. In recent years, Muslims have stepped up efforts to unify the globally fragmented ummah in an effort to revive an Islamic Caliphate or empire. Many Muslim scholars view the political unification of the ummah as a prerequisite to the consolidation of global Muslim power and the subsequent establishment of an Islamic world order.
Swiss analysts say the initiative is an effort to establish a "parallel" legislative body in Switzerland that will be a mouthpiece for Islamic fundamentalists, who are seeking to impose Sharia law on the country, according to an exposé published by the newspaper Basler Zeitung.
"Umma Schweiz" is being spearheaded by two of the leading Muslim groups in Switzerland: the Coordination of Islamic Organizations of Switzerland (KIOS), led by an Iranian; and the Federation of Islamic Umbrella Organizations in Switzerland (FIDS), led by a Palestinian.
The effort to unify Muslims in Switzerland comes amid calls by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to establish an umbrella organization for all Swiss Muslims to counter discrimination.
The OSCE, which sent three observers to Switzerland in November 2011, warned that Muslims in the country are being exploited by "the extreme right and populist parties." The OSCE also noted that Muslims in Switzerland are increasingly unifying around their religious identity, according to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. "Groups like Bosnians and Albanians, who were previously defined by their ethnicity, are now identified by their religion," the OSCE report says.
Currently, there are more than 300 Muslim associations in Switzerland, and several umbrella organizations, but none is regarded as representative of Muslims as a whole.
The Muslim population in Switzerland has more than quintupled since 1980; it now numbers about 400,000, or roughly 5% of the population. Most Muslims living in Switzerland are of Turkish or Balkan origin, with a smaller minority from the Arab world. Many of them are second- and third-generation immigrants firmly establishing themselves in Switzerland.
The new Muslim demographic reality is raising tensions across large parts of Swiss society, especially as Muslims become more assertive in their demands for greater recognition of their Islamic faith.
In January 2012, another Swiss Muslim group, the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (IZRS), announced that it was trying to raise money from countries in the Persian Gulf to build a 20-million franc ($21 million) mega-mosque in Bern.
With three floors, the planned mosque would be the biggest in Switzerland. In addition to a prayer room for more than 500 worshippers, the building would have conference and training rooms, shops, underground parking and a garden.
Swiss citizens have been pushing back against the rise of Islam in their country. In November 2009, for example, Switzerland held referendum in which citizens approved an initiative to insert a new sentence in the Swiss constitution stipulating that "the construction of minarets is forbidden."
The initiative to ban minarets was approved 57.5% to 42.5% by some 2.67 million voters. Only four of Switzerland's 26 cantons or states opposed the initiative, thereby granting the double approval that now makes the minaret ban part of the Swiss constitution. The minaret ban represented a turning point in the debate about Islam in Switzerland.
In a related victory for free speech in Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne on May 21 ruled that a citizens group called Movement against the Islamization of Switzerland (SBGI) has the legal right to set up information booths in Swiss cities and distribute literature that is critical of Islam.
The City of Freiburg had prevented the group from setting up an information booth because it said that by doing so it would provoke violence and unrest.
The Federal Court upheld SBGI's complaint that the authorities had impinged on its freedom of expression as well as on freedom of information. Although Swiss law does grant local authorities powers to ban demonstrations from public spaces, the court confirmed that they may not do so simply because they disapprove of the ideas being communicated.
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German firms still ship dual-use goods to Iran

Germany’s multi-billion euro bilateral trade relationship with Iran continues unabated, even as evidence mounts that the Islamic Republic is determined to build a nuclear weapons capability. The Jerusalem Post has obtained an uncensored list from late 2011, showing hundreds of German and Iranian enterprises in a flourishing trade relationship. This is despite Iran’s construction of Fordow, a medium-level uranium enrichment facility buried into the side of a mountain near Qom, and the fact that the German equipment could be used to build more underground nuclear facilities. Some businesses have asked that their names be removed from the list to avoid damage to their reputations. One company named is Baden-Württemberg-based engineering giant Herrenknecht AG, which appears to be delivering heavy tunneling equipment to Iran – some of which is promoted as having the capability of “drilling down to depths of 6,000 meters.” In response to Post inquiries, an unidentified representative of the company wrote via email on Friday that it has “comprehensively ensured that Herrenknecht excavation engineering and services solely reach projects which clearly pursue civil applications [metro tunnel construction, sewage pipes and water supply lines].”
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