Going back we have seen attacks where vehicles were driven through crowds of pedestrians or people at festivals in London, Brussels, Paris, Munich and Nice. In each of these attacks ISIS took credit hours later or even a full day or two as if they heard the news reports and decided that they could use claiming these attacks to sell their relevance. What was disgusting was the way the media played up their claims and stated that this was a new form of terror assault which was being used against the West. The media knows what they are selling is a completely false face for reality. They are fully aware because they have previously mentioned, we cannot quite claim they actually reported as they would give it play for a few hours before the story would quickly fade from the front end loaded news. These attacks where a terrorist uses…
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March 7, 2017, the 17th Chamber of the Tribunal Correctionel of Paris acquitted Georges Bensoussan, a Jewish Moroccan-born historian, of any “incitement of racial hatred” (“provocation à la haine raciale“).
On January 25, 2017, all of France’s “anti-racist” organizations — even the Jewish International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA) — joined the Islamist Collective Against Islamophobia (CCIF) in court against Bensoussan. He was prosecuted for remarks he made in October 2015, during a debate on radio station France Culture about anti-Semitism among French Arabs. Benoussan said:
“An Algerian sociologist, Smaïn Laacher, with great courage, just said in a documentary aired on Channel 3: It is a shame to deny this taboo, namely that in the Arab families in France, and everyone knows it but nobody wants to say it, anti-Semitism is sucked with mother’s milk.”
The Islamist CCIF send the quote to the public prosecutor, who opened a case against Bensoussan. The charge was simple: “mother’s milk” was not a metaphor for cultural anti-Semitism transmitted through education, but a genetic and “essentialist” accusation. “Mother’s milk”, they claimed, means: “all Arabs are anti-Semitic” — in other words, that Bensoussan supposedly a racist.
The decision of the court to acquit of Bensoussan is a key moment for freedom of speech in France in general, and for the freedom to speak about Muslim anti-Semitism in France.
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In the opening pages of Austerlitz, W. G. Sebald describes the Antwerp nocturama, a zoo enclosure of simulated darkness designed to allow visitors to watch nocturnal animals in their natural environment. Sebald finds himself fixated on a raccoon compulsively washing a piece of apple, an animal whose work goes “far beyond any reasonable thoroughness,” he writes, as though this “would help it escape the unreal world in which it had arrived.” In the same way, perhaps, I’ve been reading Sebald compulsively for the past few months, as though through this act I might find the means to escape the unreal, topsy-turvy world of this grim winter.
Sebald is often called a Holocaust writer—all his major works deal with the Nazi genocide, some more explicitly than others. But his writing is often more concerned with a crisis in European modernity, one that can be traced back as far back as the Napoleonic Wars—a crisis in which the Holocaust was a horrifying, but nearly inevitable by-product. No historical tragedy arrives, ex nihilo, like Athena from her father’s forehead. Rather, Sebald traces and patterns that are laid out decades, perhaps centuries in advance, often in plain sight. They ostentatiously draw attention to themselves, though we have no desire to recognize them. Rather than focus on cartoonish depictions of Nazism as some anomalous evil, Sebald looked for the ways that fascism grew from the innocuous and banal aspects of European culture—from textile manufacturing, to psychotherapy, to architecture.
It was in architecture that Sebald saw the most telling indicators of the inevitability of the camps, often in the most unlikely of places. In Austerlitz, Sebald’s narrator meets up with the novel’s eponymous protagonist in Brussels’ Palace of Justice, reputed to be the largest courthouse in the world. Built in the 1880s, the Palace is a massive accumulation of stone organized haphazardly, such that many of its corridors and stairways lead nowhere. Sebald sees a paranoid logic in such a building, meant as an awe-inspiring monument to justice, yet containing a lawless rabbit warren of hallways—a belief that marble and brick can forestall death itself. There was an anxious psychosis in the late-nineteenth century that led to greater and greater structures, each trying to outdo the last, further exacerbating a death drive. “At the most,” Jacques Austerlitz tells the narrator about this palace, “we gaze at it in wonder, a kind of wonder which in itself is a form of dawning horror, for somehow we know by instinct that outsize buildings cast the shadow of their own destruction before them, and are designed from the first with an eye to their later existence as ruins.”
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Four years ago, the British liberal newspaper, The Guardian, ran a story about the “survivors of Guantanamo“, the “victims of America’s ‘icon of lawlessness'”, “Britain’s survivors of the detention centre that has been called the ‘gulag of our times'”. The article featured a photograph of Jamal al Harith.
Al Harith, born Ronald Fiddler, a Christian convert to Islam, returned to Manchester from detention at Guantanamo Bay thanks to activism of David Blunkett, Home Secretary of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. Al Harith was immediately welcomed in England as a hero, the innocent victim of the unjust “war on terror” after September 11. The Mirror and ITV gave him £60,000 ($73,000) for an exclusive interview about his experience at Guantanamo. Al Harith was also compensated with one million pounds by the British authorities. The victim of the “gulag of our times” bought a very nice house with the taxpayers’ cash.
A few weeks ago, al Harith made his last “journey”: he was blown up in Mosul, Iraq, on behalf of the Islamic State. Al Harith had also been recruited by the non-governmental organization “CAGE” (formerly known as “Cageprisoners”) as part of its testimony advocating the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
Celebrities such as Vanessa Redgrave, Victoria Brittain, Peter Oborne and Sadiq Khan appeared at CAGE’s fundraising events. The NGO has been funded by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, a fund created by the chocolate magnate, and by the Roddick Foundation, the charity of Anita Roddick. Al Harith was also invited to the Council of Europe, to give testimony against retaining Guantanamo.
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A tiny British territory off the coast of Spain known primarily for its wild monkeys and for being the place where John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married has become a major focus of the U.K.’s Brexit talks. But what exactly is the situation with Gibraltar, is it threatened by Britain’s impending exit from the European Union, and could the UK go to war with Spain over it? Here is everything you need to know:
Where is Gibraltar?
Gibraltar is a 2.6 square mile territory at the southernmost point of Spain’s Iberian Peninsula, separated from Morocco by a narrow passage of water called the Strait of Gibraltar, which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea. It has a population of roughly 30,000 people, who are known as Gibraltarians.
Why is it British?
In 1704, Gibraltar was taken by an Anglo-Dutch fleet during the war of the Spanish Succession and ceded to Britain “in perpetuity” under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Spain attempted to retake the territory numerous times during the eighteenth century, mainly by laying sieges on the Rock – the region’s iconic landmark – but was unsuccessful. The war between Britain and Spain ended after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1784, and the two countries united to fight Napoleon in 1810. Although Britain and Spain have been long-term allies for centuries now, ownership of Gibraltar has remained an awkward, often-disputed topic in U.K.-Spanish relations.
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