Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Euro Gypsies: ‘The Right to Roam’

January 16, 2013

Unwanted, marginalised, defiant – the Roma people have become the target of governments across Europe.

In France and Italy they have been thrown out in their thousands – accused of illegally overstaying their welcome and blamed for increases in crime.

They say that in their countries of origin they are victims of discrimination – a minority with few opportunities.

They are now taking advantage of European Union laws that allow freedom of travel to all European citizens – looking West to find a better life, yet reluctant to adapt to Western ways.

The Roma issue has now been forced on EU policy makers – they have to find a balance between the growing hostility and the rights of the Roma.

La Folie Solami: Black Hawk Down… Part Deux

January 14, 2013

Peter SterryPeter Sterry
21st Century Wire
Jan 15, 2013

When it comes to post-modern military embarrassments and gallant non-events, Somalia often comes to mind. Then again, so do the French.

So it’s a wonder why the newly hand-picked head of state in Paris thought it pertinent to tread down that dirty African road which almost always ends in tears.

Ridley Scott’s box-office hit, Blackhawk Down, did rather well despite it’s obvious post-Desert Storm propagandising, custom-designed to get Americans angry about being losers on the world military stage – a true turning point (and traumatic viewing I’m told by my American friends) in US attitudes which no doubt helped to stoke the imperial madness of King George II of Texas, as he led America’s shameless effort into his father’s New American Century. But even with Scott being fed the brief from the Pentagon’s official film producer-in-residence, Jerry Bruckenheimer, most people with intimate knowledge of the actual event will tell you that the film was still a romantic portrayal of a totally shambolic and horrific misadventure.

MIA: Fench spook has gone missing (notice the ‘intel center’ logo on the video – could be staged).

Indeed, the first Somali Follie marked the last time that Washington would ever bother all that much with collateral damage, or putting soldiers in the line of fire – let alone considering an actual Hollywood-style rescue. No, those are left exclusively to the likes of Bruckenheimer. It’s not that there are any brave soldiers left, it’s just become way too risky and even more messy. Any future ops would be stage-managed, and deploy scorched earth policies etc, so as to leave no witnesses in case the op went bad…

Forget about Seal Team 6 and the infamous Bin Laden Raid – that wasn’t  (Obama still can’t find the photos and video of the terror kingpin who according to multiple official admissions, died between 2001 and 2002), Washington will just send in the Drones to either level, or vaporise any moving animal within the blast zone. This technique has proved to work particularly well for weddings and funerals in Pakistan over the last half decade. The worst thing that can happen in this new unmanned military paradigm is that the US Army’s 22 year old play station expert in holed-up Nevada CENTCOM gets a head ache and accidentally crashes his drone into the side of a hill in Baluchistan. But I digress…

Hollande: Does he look like a hardcore military planner?

Busy attacking his country’s upper tier with a 70% tax bracket, the somewhat receding French President Francois Hollande hasn’t been in power more than a few months… and he’s already challenging Sarkozy for the most hated man in France award. In short, he’s gone and done what any unpopular French President would do, and that’s going into some godforsaken destabilised former colonial African hell-hole to steel a bit of globalist glory.

So the French played the African Double Dip Lottery – going for a shady Somalian rescue, and also attempting to throw their weight around in  Mali’s latest civil war, losing at least one commando, a helicopter and its pilot on the same day – and lost both times – for now, at least.

A Bad Day for Hollande

Hollande lost men in both operations – which in itself is tragic – particularly for the families of the men lost, but he also managed to lose the French secret agent hostage – or so the French papers say. 

Both operations ended as heroic failures. All in all, not a good day in military terms, and hard to believe the French public would back two epic failures like this. So what really happened on the day? Let’s break it down…

The French commando  operation in Somalia went horribly south following a fire fight with the latest Islamist Lenfant terrible, al-Shabab.

The secret agent-cum-hostage was identified by his cover name, ‘Denis Allex’, and is presumed to be dead – although the al-Shabab insist he is still alive and happily eating toasties and drinking his long-life milk from a box carton.

Sadly for Hollande and France, at least one French commando is reported to have gone missing during the operation.

Something smells very staged about this French agent – and I for one wouldn’t be surprised if the CIA were somehow involved at some stage in the hostage screen play – this, judging by the Intel Center logo embossed in the upper righthand corner in the hostage video. The CIA/Pentagon’s ‘media agency’, Intel Center is on record as manufacturing fake Osama bin Laden videos.

Meanwhile, deep in Mali, a French pilot was killed when rebels shot down his helicopter during a sortie.

Obama enjoying a fresh croissant after this past week’s joint failure with France in Somalia.

And what’s worse… we now find out that Hollande called Obama at the eleventh hour to ‘help out’.

According to today’s Washington Post, Obama was forced to admit his involvement with Hollande’s Blackhawk Down… Part Deux:

“In a letter to Congress, President Obama said U.S. combat aircraft “provided limited technical support” to French forces late Friday as they attempted to rescue a French spy who had been held captive for more than three years…

… Obama said the U.S. warplanes “briefly” entered Somali airspace but did not open fire and departed Somalia by 8 p.m. Friday, Washington time. He said he approved the mission but gave no other details.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the operation, said the combat aircraft were based at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, a small country on Somalia’s northwestern border.”

Mind you, with America’s dodgy track record in Somalia, why would the French ask them to help out rescuing their now not-so-secret agent (who is arguably still missing, so not officially dead yet)?

Vive Le AFRICOM!

Here’s a question which no one has asked yet: what on earth are French Secret Service agents doing running around in Somalia in the first place?

The US has AFRICOM so one would expect Washington to have ample spooks on the ground in all over Africa – in their manic drive to evict the Chinese from the Dark Continent. Pourquoi France? Non! French military excursions are normally confined to the Magreb. Somalia is traditionally a US and British patch.

At first glance this may look like a gallic cock-up, but look a bit closer to see how the Somali raid fits into a much bigger puzzle.

In Mali also, both the British and US militaries ran modules of this Operation in support of the French. Britain provided the use of its planes to transport troops, while the US supplied logistical support, including communications and transport.

It’s well known that the US have designs on countries like Mali, Uganda and others. So it appears that the US are now using the French (and the British) to fight their new proxy wars in Africa. What were Hollande or the French multi-nation corporations promised by Washington? Land? Mali’s utilities? A nuclear power plant contract?

This latest French hand-holding exercise in Africa simply reinforces the rolling trend currently among the allied NATO member states – a plethora of joint military pacts and exercises, where various countries are tasked perform certain compartmentalised tasks within a much larger strategic operation. This new method of neo-colonial intervention is effectively the initial steps towards the formation of a One World Combat Force, or Army, performing what is essentially a World Police function. In reality, what NATO allies are really doing is farming out the job of securing western transnational corporate interests in Africa.

Our advice to Hollande is simple: play to your strengths next time. French elites would be none the wiser to airlift two tons of halal fromage (Chevre and a few large wheels of Camembert should do) and a twelve cases of your most excellent Beaujolais nouveau – a gift to those Al Shababs to soften them up before you hit them with the Ricarde.

Sadly, however, Hollande was left to do the only thing he could – a ‘full American’, which is code for killing many Muslims overseas – including civilians and children. This, he will quickly discover, can score some cheap political points back at home, and just like a weak Roman Emperor, it will make him look ‘strong’… temporarily. Hence, today we hear that very thing has actually happened – French Rafale fighter jets are said to have “pounded insurgent training camps, arms and oil depots” yesterday in Mali, but with some collateral damage – at least 11 civilians including three children.

“Mali is now at the mercy of the French army,” said one official in Bamako.

The French are learning fast – kill, and kill often. It’s worked for the US for the last decade, and still no one seems to mind back at home.

That’s what you can expect – from your new One World Army.

….

European Cashless Society: EU Hopes to Ban Cash Transactions Over 500 Euros

January 11, 2013

Cash transactions ceiling is set to drop to 500 euros, as the EU Finance Ministry is mulling incentives for the use of credit and debit cards

By Prokopis Hatzinikolaou
Jan 13, 2013

Any transaction in excess of 500 euros will soon only be allowed via credit or debit card or by check, according to a plan by the Finance Ministry aimed at combating tax evasion.

The ceiling for cash transactions is to be lowered from 1,500 euros today to 500 euros and could be reduced further over in the course of 2013. Ministry sources say that in the first quarter of the new year all companies and certain self-employed individuals will have to obtain the POS (point-of-sale) terminals that provide for card transactions.

This forms part of the government’s plan to contain tax evasion and increase state revenues. Ministry officials stress that public revenues can only grow through beating tax evasion, as there can be no more cuts to expenditure except for procurements.

The ministry is also making plans to create incentives for taxpayers to use payment cards and checks, either through the return of some money or via bonuses. “The changes we are planning for 2013 include incentives to encourage citizens to use means of electronic payment in order to attain greater transparency in transactions and to combat tax evasion that is facilitated by the use of cash,” Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis told Kathimerini.

“As you know, transactions in excess of 1,500 euros are currently not allowed to be conducted in cash. We will have to review this limit and generally we must see how we can make it easier for Greeks to change their years-long habit of paying for goods and services in cash and instead use other means of payment. This is a problematic situation in our country that has to change, albeit without upsetting social cohesion,” the deputy minister added.

Although the government is determined to move ahead swiftly with legislation that will make it obligatory to use payment cards for transactions, it has not yet decided on the incentives to encourage taxpayers to do so. “Rewards to citizens who use electronic means of payment as a rule are in other countries provided through gifts or money. We still have to examine certain issues pertaining to European Union legislation and we will have to think very hard about how forms of bonuses in transactions have worked in other countries,” Mavraganis noted.

Source: Ekathimerini

RELATED: The Cashless Society is Almost Here – And With Some Very Sinister Implications

Robbing Recessioners ?

January 6, 2013

As standards of living across the eurozone continue to fall, a number of age-old problems are on the rise. In France, the faltering economy has led to a startling surge in armed robbery – with gold and high-value jewellery the main target.

Ms Hillary Clinton Hospitalized With Blood Clot

December 31, 2012


By Karen DeYoung
Washingt0n Post
Dec 31, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was hospitalized in New York on Sunday after doctors monitoring her recovery from a concussion discovered a blood clot, according to a statement from her office.

The statement said that “in the course of a follow-up exam, Secretary Clinton’s doctors discovered a blood clot had formed, stemming from the concussion she sustained several weeks ago. She is being treated with anti-coagulants and is at New York-Presbyterian Hospital so that they can monitor the medication over the next 48 hours.

“Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion. They will determine if any further action is required.”

Clinton aide Philippe Reines, who issued the statement, declined to provide further details.

Reines said on Thursday that Clinton’s recuperation was continuing and that she was expected to resume her office schedule this week.

Clinton, 65, has not been seen in public since the first week in December, when she reportedly contracted a stomach virus during a trip to Europe. On Dec. 15, the State Department said that she had fainted at her home two days earlier, as a result of dehydration from the virus, and had sustained a concussion. The State Department said that her doctors had advised further rest.

During her absence, Clinton canceled an overseas trip and her scheduled testimony before Congress about the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. She also did not appear at the White House on Dec. 21, when President Obamaintroduced Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as his nominee to succeed Clinton.

Republicans have said that they are likely to hold up Kerry’s nomination hearing until Clinton testifies about the Benghazi attack, but the impact of this new disclosure was unclear.

Clinton said two summers ago that she would not stay in her job in a second Obama term.

Before the announcement about Clinton’s hospitalization, Obama appeared Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and reaffirmed an earlier decision by Clinton to carry out all 29 recommendations made by a State Department review panel that examined the circumstances surrounding the attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11. “My message to the State Department has been very simple, and that is we’re going to solve this,” he said. “We’re not going to be defensive about it; we’re not going to pretend that this was not a problem — this was a huge problem.”

Obama said one major finding — that the State Department relied too heavily on untested local Libyan militias to safeguard the compound in Benghazi — reflected “internal reviews” by the government. “It confirms what we had already seen based on some of our internal reviews; there was just some sloppiness, not intentional, in terms of how we secure embassies in areas where you essentially don’t have governments that have a lot of capacity to protect those embassies,” he said.

 

SANTA DELIVERS A GIFT: ‘End of the Road’ for ACTA in Europe

December 22, 2012

Capture21st Century Wire says… The Orwellian ACTA regulations have been knocked back… for now. 2013 will see the continuation of wack-a-mole with regards to internet freedom, as the monopolists and corporate culture cartels will continue to push forward a never-ending series of restrictive statutory and administrative corporate legislation designed to curtail and narrow content and information available online. It is imperative that the public keep an eye on these and learn about them as they appear. Each bill brought forward will become more opaque and more complex, with the hope of creating ‘legislation fatigue’ on the public’s part. Don’t be lulled to sleep on this issue of internet freedom. The establishment’s aim in total control – nothing less will satisfy those who seek power and influence of the emerging global awakening.

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times

The controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, which was broadly rejected by the European Parliament earlier this year, had a final nail driven into its coffin: the European Commission has reportedly dropped its plans to get it confirmed by the European Court of Justice.

The European Commission, which is Europe’s executive body, said that there is “no realistic chance” that the trade agreement would be adopted in Europe, reported The Register.

In July, European parliamentarians rejected the treaty following Europe-wide demonstrations. There were concerns that the bill would impose harsher new restrictions that target all Internet users, not just people who engage in counterfeiting and piracy.

According to the website ZDNet, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said that he would consider reintroducing ACTA to the European Court of Justice, which is Europe’s highest court. But with the European Commission’s decision, that will likely not take place.

“I welcome this news from the Commission today,” European Parliament Member David Martin said in a statement.

“The EU cannot be party to an agreement without European Parliament ratification. MEPs overwhelmingly rejected ACTA in July and I am pleased that the Commission has acknowledged this is the end of the road for ACTA in the EU thanks to the Parliament,” he said.

President of the Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament said in a statement, “It is about time that the Commission realized that ACTA was wrong.”

“It was the best decision, because the European Parliament’s vote last July had already made it a dead end for ACTA.”

Other than the EU, the United States—which was one of the driving forces behind the treaty—has not signed it yet. Japan is currently the only country that has given its final approval on ACTA.

Deutsche Bank Convicted in Italy Amid a Widening International Banking Scandal

December 22, 2012

By Valentina Pop
Dec 22, 2012

BERLIN – An Italian judge has convicted Deutsche Bank of fraud, as the bank struggles to save its reputation amid widening probes over tax evasion and rate-fixing after the departure of its former CEO Josef Ackermann.

Dr Josef Ackermann: Bilderberg head, and now subject of massive banking fraud through Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank was convicted together with US giant JP Morgan Chase, Switzerland’s UBS and a German-Irish bank, Depfa, for their role in overseeing fraud by their bankers in the sale of interest rate bets to the city of Milan. About €90 million are to be seized from the four banks, who will also have to pay €1 million each in fines.

The case is only the first in a series of similar complaints: around 600 Italian municipalities had bought such derivatives and lost about €4 billion during the financial crisis, according to the Italian central bank.

In parallel, Deutsche Bank is part of a worldwide investigation for altering the British benchmark interest rate (Libor) and its euro-counterpart (Euribor). Once the European Central Bank takes over the supervision of eurozone’s largest banks, Deutsche Bank will fall under the new scrutiny.

The Milan sentence, which can still be appealed, also comes after Deutsche Bank had its Frankfurt headquarters raided last week in a probe for alleged tax evasion on profits cashed in from trading with carbon permits.

Germany’s largest commercial bank, once renowned for its solid and risk-averse business, has been transformed over the last decade into an aggressive investor and speculator with risky bets known as derivatives, largely due to the leadership of Swiss top banker Josef Ackermann, who stepped down earlier this year.

The US Senate named the German bank alongside Goldman Sachs as the two institutions that played a “key role” in the financial crisis.

But unlike Denmark’s Danske Bank whose management apologised for its role in the financial crisis, Ackermann still got praise for it…

Read more at EU Observer

RELATED:

  1. Deutsche Bank among seven banks investigated for UK rate fixing
  2. A banker’s farewell party

LEGAL UPDATE: British Prosecutors Clarify Offensive Online Posts Law

December 19, 2012

BBC
Dec 19, 2012

New guidelines could see fewer people being charged in England and Wales for offensive messages on social networks.

The Director of Public Prosecutions said people should face a trial only if their comments on Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere go beyond being offensive.

He said the guidance combats threats and internet trolls without having a “chilling effect” on free speech.

The guidance means some people could avoid trial if they are sorry for criminal comments posted while drunk.

The guidance comes after a string of controversial cases, including the prosecution of a man who tweeted a joke threatening to blow up an airport.

Case law

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had now dealt with more than 50 cases relating to potentially criminal comments posted online – but there was so far very little case law set by senior judges to guide which trials should go ahead.

“These interim guidelines are intended to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and the need to uphold the criminal law”

Keir StarmerDirector of Public Prosecutions

He said the interim guidelines, which come into force immediately, clarified which kinds of cases should be prosecuted and which would go ahead only after a rigorous assessment whether it was in the public interest to prosecute.

“The scale of the problem that we are trying to confront should not be underestimated. There are millions of messages sent by social media every day and if only a small percentage of those millions are deemed to be offensive then there is the potential for very many cases coming before our courts,” Mr Starmer told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The guidance says that if someone posts a message online that clearly amounts to a credible threat of violence, specifically targets an individual or individuals, or breaches a court order designed to protect someone, then the person behind the message should face prosecution.

People who receive malicious messages and pass them on, such as by retweeting, could also fall foul of the law.

However, online posts that are merely “grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false” would face a much tougher test before the individual could be charged under laws designed to prevent malicious communications.

Mr Starmer said that many suspects in this last category would be unlikely to be prosecuted because it would not be in the public interest to take them to court.

This could include posts made by drunk people who, on sobering up, take swift action to delete the communication because they are genuinely sorry for the offence or harm they caused.

Individuals who post messages as part of a separate crime, such as a plan to import drugs, would face prosecution for that offence, as is currently the case…

Read more 

Facebook and Instagram’s New Ad Policy Change ‘Could Compromise Privacy for Teens’

December 19, 2012

21st Century Wire says… this story appeared only yesterday in the Washington Post, and it’s uncanny how neatly this ties into the Instagram riots in Sweden on the same day. It would be uncanny – unless you believe that’s it’s part of a larger step by step plan. Hegelian dialectic: Problem+Reaction=Solution… their solution, of course. This latest artificial crisis was created by the corporations behind closed doors, who have now created digital cartels between many of these platforms online.

The solution will be some form of global governance-administered restriction of privacy or anonymity online. There would be no crisis if the corporations were not so hell-bent on using people’s photographs and data as free content for generating ads no one needs…

Washington Post
Brian Womack

(Bloomberg) – Facebook Inc.’s Instagram policy changes, announced yesterday, may let advertisers use teenagers’ photos for marketing, raising privacy and security concerns, said Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy.

The new policies, which now apply to users as young as 13, enable Instagram, a photo-sharing service that Facebook bought in August, to use members’ names, text, photos and other content with marketing messages, the company said on its site. The new terms of use, set to take effect next month, could be exploitative, Chester said.

Facebook, operator of the world’s largest social network with more than 1 billion users, is changing policies for its Instagram unit as it looks for ways to increase revenue across its services. Instagram, popular with teens and young adults, reached more than 100 million users, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in September.

Facebook “sees teens as a digital goldmine,” said Chester, whose group is focused on privacy issues. “We will be pressing the Federal Trade Commission to issue policies to protect teen privacy.”

If users are younger than 18, then they “represent” that at least one parent or guardian has also agreed to content being used in marketing, according to the updated usage terms. The changes are aimed at protecting members while preventing abuse, Instagram said in a blog.

In the updated policy document, Instagram also said it may not always identify paid services or sponsored content. The company said it doesn’t claim ownership of any content on the service, though some businesses may pay to display users’ names, likeness or photos in connection with sponsored content.

“Our updated privacy policy helps Instagram function more easily as part of Facebook by being able to share info between the two groups,” the company said. “This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used.”

Read more

Engineered Chaos: Swedish Teens Riot Over Paedophile Instagram Account

December 18, 2012

21st Century Wire says… As we can now see, Facebook and other social networking giants will be playing their specific roles in the coming internet chaos and clampdown – by merging online applications and thus enabling mass invasion of privacy, virtual problem-reaction-solution scenarios can spark new outrage and be used by regulators and professional trolls (see below) to engineer new Hegelian outcomes designed to target normal users – and hit out at other free speech further down the line. No one asked for Instagram to be part of Facebook (originally designed as a private social network) and it’s data munching capabilities – it just appeared out of nowhere, and is being used to foment yet another new crisis. Why can’t Facebook just protect its users’ personal data instead? 

Oh, and surprise, surprise – this story also appeared in the Mainstream News on the very same day – about how Facebook’s new policies allowing Instagram to use children’s photos and data, via its photo-sharing service that Facebook bought in August, “could be exploitative”… really?

And we also found this story about the corporate clampdown on privacy for social networks, also on the same day (yesterday) – so work it out where you think Facebook and the digital cartels are heading – and who they are coordinating their efforts with. We believe free speech online is the ultimate target of this progression.

Watch this space…

Foreign Policy
Elias Groll

Rioting broke out in the southern Swedish city of Gothenburg today over an Instagram account that posted photos of local underage boys and girls alongside sexualized captions.

Hundreds of students descended on a high school in Gothenburg, where it was thought the individual behind the account attended, resulting in a large (by Swedish standards anyway) police deployment to break up the crowd. When police arrived, students threw bottles and rocks. According to reports on Facebook, the students had gathered at the school to beat up a girl thought to be behind the account.

What began as an apparently isolated incident at the high school, Plusgymnasiet, quickly spread around the city as angry teens left the school and headed to the city’s center. In total, 27 teens have been taken into custody. The school will be closed tomorrow after a Facebook page was posted encouraging students to continue to attack it.

Swedish police attempt to calm social unrest following Facebook’s dodgy enabling of Instagram abuse.

The fracas began after a request for photos of “sluts” generated hundreds of photo submissions. The instagram user, whose account has been suspended, posted the photos alongside lewd comments, setting off a firestorm among local teens. The account posted about 200 photos since its launch Monday and described the subjects of the photos as “sluts” and “whores” and also included information about their alleged sexual activities. Some of those whose photos were included were as young as 13.

This isn’t the first time this year that a firestorm of criticism has erupted over non-consensual photos of teens posted on the internet. Reddit, the popular link aggregator, was forced to shut down a section of its website called “jailbait,” which was devoted to user-submitted photos of sexualized teens. The ensuing debate over privacy on the internet became crystallized in the controversial online persona of Violentacrez, who started the jailbait section. Gawker outed the man behind the account as Michael Brutsch, a 49-year-old software programmer.

The news out of Gothenburg comes on the heels of an announcement by Instagram that they are overhauling their user agreement to allow the service to use users’ photos for commercial purposes without their consent. My guess is they probably won’t be using these photos.