Guardian – Its members have been dubbed the “pinstriped Nazis” and they refer to their demonstrations as “evening strolls” through German cities. But on Monday night, an estimated 15,000 people joined Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans Against Islamisation of the West, in a march through Dresden carrying banners bearing slogans such as “Zero tolerance towards criminal asylum seekers”, “Protect our homeland” and “Stop the Islamisation”.
Lutz Bachmann, the head of Pegida, a nascent anti-foreigner campaign group, led the crowds, either waving or draped in German flags, in barking chants of “Wir sind das Volk”, or “We are the people”, the slogan adopted by protesters in the historic “Monday demonstrations” against the East German government in the runup to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Associating themselves with the freedom demonstrations has given Pegida protests an air of moral respectability even though there are hundreds of rightwing extremists in their midst, as well as established groups of hooligans who are known to the police, according to Germany’s federal office for the protection of the constitution.
“The instigators are unmistakably rightwing extremists,” a federal spokesman said.
It was the ninth week in a row that Pegida had taken its protest on to the city’s streets in the eastern German state of Saxony.
Its first march, advertised on Facebook and other social media, attracted just 200 supporters. By last week the figure had risen to 10,000. By Monday night it had grown to an estimated 15,000.
“Muslims are plotting to infect our food chain with their excrement,” said a man in his 60s, who refused to give his name.
Another, a middle-aged woman in a red leather jacket, said she was shocked that “asylum seekers in Germany have expensive mobile phones, while I cannot afford such luxury and others still cannot afford to eat properly”.
While avoiding blatantly racist slogans, some told the Guardian of their angst over the “demise of the West” due to the rise of Islam or voiced their distaste of salafists and homosexuals in the same breath, or decried the recent decision by local politicians to increase the number of homes for asylum seekers. One group, knocking back bottles of the local beer, talked openly of their fears of what they call “fecal jihad”.
Mario Lupo, a 40-year-old tourist from Milan, was among the onlookers sipping glühwein at Germany’s oldest Christmas market, the Striezelmarkt.
“We came here for the romance and joviality of the Christmas markets,” he said. “We expected some light-hearted carousing appropriate to this time of year, but didn’t expect to stumble upon these rabble-rousers and police in riot gear.”
Among the groups taking part, according to the police, were two soccer hooligan organisations already known to the police called “Faust des Ostens” (Fist of the East) and Hooligans Elbflorenz (Florence of the Elbe Hooligans), as well as members of the National Democratic Party (NPD). Alongside them were old and young men and women, including families with children in pushchairs, many of whom said they had no political affiliation.
At one of two counter-demonstrations taking place elsewhere in the city centre, participants were keen to counteract the negative publicity the city of Dresden – usually better known for its splendid baroque architecture than its politics – has been receiving of late.
Its participants held banners reading “Act against the right” and “Nazis, no thanks”. The leader of the Green party, Cem Özdemir, who took part in the counter-protest, told the Guardian: “Being in a party whose members took part in the 1989 Monday demos, I take great umbrage at the abuse of the slogan used back then, ‘Wir sind das Volk’.
“We need to be permanently vigilant to ensure that Germany stays as open-minded as it had become in recent years and the government needs to ensure that it doesn’t take for granted that the far right will not make ground.”
Pegida’s growing presence has presented politicians with a dilemma over how to uncouple the strong neo-Nazi element believed to form the core of the protests from ordinary Germans with grievances against the government, who make up the bulk of the protesters.
Almost two-thirds of Germans, according to a poll for news magazine Spiegel by the TNS institute, believe that Angela Merkel’s government is not doing enough to address concerns about immigration and asylum seekers, and 34% think Germany is enduring a process of “Islamisation”.
The chancellor had earlier warned that a right to demonstrate did not extend to “rabble-rousing and defamation” against foreigners.
Military.com – The Navy’s 30-kilowatt solid-state laser aboard the USS Ponce is now being fired in operational scenarios by sailors in the Persian Gulf, marking the first-ever deployment of a sea-based directed energy weapon.
“We’ve tested it in the lab we’ve tested it operationally at sea. Now, we are not testing it anymore. This is operational,” said Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research at the Office of Naval Research. “They are using it every day.”
If a small or large attack boat, missile or aircraft launched an attack upon the USS Ponce, sailors are equipped to destroy an approaching threat in seconds with the new laser weapon.
“If we had to defend that ship today, it will destroy any threat that comes in-bound. We have the ROE (rules of engagement) to support that,” he said.
The Navy’s Laser Weapon System, or LaWS, uses heat energy from lasers to disable or destroy targets fast, slow, stationary and moving targets. The system has successfully incinerated drones and other targets in tests shots, and is now operational aboard an amphibious transport dock, the USS Ponce.
The scalable weapon is designed to destroy threats for about 59-cents per shot, an amount that is exponentially lower that the hundreds of thousands or millions needed to fire an interceptor missile such as the Standard Missile-2, Klunder explained.
While at sea, sailors have been using the LaWS for targeting and training exercises every day.
“They’ve used it to disable and destroy some targets,” Klunder said. “The sailors on the ships are using the time with this weapons system to hit fast moving targets, slower targets, ones that are larger and ones that are smaller. They have gone through the paces regarding what they might see in terms of not only speed of the target, but also size of the target.”
Navy sailors and engineers have discovered some unanticipated intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance value from the laser weapons system by using its long-range telescope to scan for targets, Klunder added.
“LaWS is ISR capable. Not only are we using the directed energy to quickly and effectively disable and destroy threats, we’ve also using it on an everyday basis for targeting and identification of potential threats,” He said. “We’re picking up things at long ranges with a high degree of resolution. The large aperture telescope provides power and magnification.”
After 10 years the little Redneck blog is due to receive its millionth hit tomorrow.
Its been a great journey. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you all.
But I’m pretty sure the blog is going to go dark on the 24th.
I’m going to try to back it up in case I decide to roll it back out at some point in the future.
….. As you might have noticed new posts have slowed down recently. Its not that I’m not constantly looking for something new to post, its just that I cant seem to find anything I really want to comment on anymore.
Current events, as depressing as they are, just do not resonate with me like they used to. The world has gotten FUBAR …. and I just really dont care any more.
I started commenting online about current events in my late 30s and now I’m north of 50. I dont know if its chemical changes in my brain or what, but my thoughts have shifted away from trying to understand my world and culture to resignation that its a futile waste of neurons and keystrokes.
Mortality, I guess, has become my enemy of choice. It certainly seems to dominate my contemplation these days.
I just feel like I need to move on, as many former participants here have, to focus on the reality of my existence, without the burden of trying to be an energetic host.
Fox News – The FBI is warning law enforcement agencies nationwide that a grand jury’s decision on whether a Missouri police officer will face charges for killing Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, “will likely” lead to attacks on police officers and key infrastructure.
Violence could erupt following the decision whether or not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Brown, a black man, and so-called “hacktivists” could also use the opportunity to launch cyber-attacks against authorities and institutions.
“The announcement of the grand jury’s decision … will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure,” the FBI said in a bulletin issued Friday. “This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities.”
There’s no indication an announcement by the grand jury is imminent. The St. Louis County prosecutor has said that he expects the grand jury to reach a decision in mid-to-late November.
The FBI bulletin also stressed the “importance of remaining aware of the protections afforded to the all U.S. persons exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.”
FBI officials also cited specific tactics that could be utilized by extreme protesters, including violence against state or federal authorities.
“The FBI assesses those infiltrating and exploiting otherwise legitimate public demonstrations with the intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed with bladed weapons or firearms, equipped with tactical gear/gas masks, or bulletproof vests to mitigate law enforcement measures,” the bulletin continued.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard Monday in advance of the grand jury decision. Nixon said the National Guard would assist state and local police as needed in the event of civil unrest.
Fox News – A plan by police in Buffalo, N.Y., to begin confiscating the firearms of legal gun owners within days of their deaths is drawing fire from Second Amendment advocates.
The plan is legal under a longstanding, but rarely enforced state law, but gun rights advocates say, with apologies to onetime NRA spokesman Charlton Heston, it is tantamount to prying firearms – some of which may have substantial monetary or sentimental value – from the cold, dead hands of law-abiding citizens.
“They’re quick to say they’re going to take the guns,” said Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. “But they don’t tell you the law doesn’t apply to long guns, or that these families can sell [their loved one’s] pistol or apply to keep it.”
King said enforcing the state law is the latest example of authorities targeting law-abiding gun owners, while doing little to secure the streets.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derrenda said at a press conference last week that the department will be sending people to collect guns that belong to pistol permit holders who had died so “they don’t end up in the wrong hands.” The department will cross reference pistol permit holders with death records and the guns will be collected when possible, he said.
NRO – Late last week, U.K. counterterrorism police arrested four British men. Unusually, however, these arrests took place over a number of hours and involved armed police. Normally in the U.K., suspects are arrested simultaneously, and by unarmed officers.
This break from standard procedure means that authorities believed that a time-sensitive attack — perhaps involving this weekend’s Remembrance Day ceremonies — was planned, a concern fueled by the recent war-memorial attack in Ottawa.
Then, on Saturday, the Sun newspaper reported that the suspects had intended to use knives to assassinate the Queen of England. According to the Sun, the Queen was to be attacked at a remembrance service on Saturday evening.
Fortunately, Saturday’s ceremony and Sunday’s wreath-laying service in Westminster both concluded without incident. That being said, the apparent plot raises several major concerns.
First, it again proves the narrow precipice between successful intelligence operations and potentially catastrophic attacks. As I’ve explained over the past year, British authorities are gravely concerned by the diverse terrorist threat they face. This is no small issue. Consider the latest plot. While dignitary protection is inherently complicated, U.K. VIP security details are far smaller than those in the United States. This was illustrated a couple of weeks ago when a jogger accidentally ran into British prime minister David Cameron.
With only a few bodyguards available, Cameron was left defenseless as his detail moved to secure the jogger. What might have happened if four attackers had swarmed him simultaneously? With the Queen’s security detail of a similar size, had she been attacked, this Monday afternoon the U.K.’s monarch of nearly 63 years, Queen Elizabeth II, might now be dead. That would be the British equivalent of the Kennedy assassination.
You may have gathered I’m not a big fan of politics or politicians in general.
I’m not crazy about partisan hacks of either stripe. I find repugnancy in both platforms.
To tell you the truth I really don’t care much for the electorate as a whole, nor do I subscribe to the widely held notion that solutions to our problems can be found in a ballot box. Its the process that is flawed. A large percentage of our problems are caused by politicians having to make and sometimes keep their promises. Not to suggest I know of a better process I could recommend, its just that I dont think electing either politician on the ballot will acutely change the path our aging Republic is headed down. The real issues we face are too toxic for the political process to address. They can only address the issues the media is willing to bring to national attention.
… Not much mystery on the local front this go-round. My Congressman (Ralph Hall) lost in the primary after being in office for longer than I’ve been old enough to vote. It was time for him to go based mainly on that fact alone. Cruz and Cornyn will continue to fly first class together on the taxpayer’s dime. And my new Governor will be wheelchair bound.
The only other races I give the slightest shit about are in Mississippi and Kansas where 2 incumbent Republicans have pissed off so many of their constituents by not losing their primaries that enough of them might stay home on Tuesday that Harry Reid remains Majority leader. The drama of self-infliction.
Fox13 – The Utah National Guard confirmed to FOX 13 it has launched an investigation into a risqué swimsuit calendar that may have been shot using its facilities, equipment and personnel without authorization.
Video of buxom models riding around in tanks and firing guns was put out to promote the “Hot Shots 2015″ calendar
“This year we’re shooting the calendar in Utah, in the U.S. of A!” proclaims British model Rosie Jones on the video. “We’ve got loads of tanks, boats, helicopters and, of course, loads of guns!”
Also on the video are people who appear to be members of the Utah National Guard. “Hot Shots” gives a special thanks at the end to “Soldiers of the 19th Special Forces Group.”
Utah National Guard Lt. Col. Steven Fairbourn told FOX 13 that an internal investigation had been initiated to determine if the guard’s “equipment, facilities and personnel” was used in the calendar shoot. In a statement, Fairbourn said there was no approval for the project by the Guard.
Read the statement by the Utah National Guard here: