Pressure on police over anti-Semitic protests
Demands are growing in Germany for the prosecution of protesters in Berlin, Frankfurt and other cities who led anti-Semitic chants and incited violence against Jews over Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
“We cannot and should not let this go,” Frankfurt city councillor and head of the local CDU faction Uwe Becker said in comments reported on Wednesday by the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.

The CDU has now filed formal complaints of anti-Semitism and incitement of the people against participants in a rally on Friday who led anti-Israeli chants, Becker said.

The head of the FDP Liberal Party faction in the Hesse parliament also demanded that the state’s interior minister, Peter Beuth, take action against protesters in Frankfurt who overstepped legal bounds of freedom of expression.

“Regardless of all strategies to de-escalate the situation, do not allow slogans of incitement that hark back to the darkest hours of our history to echo in Hesse,” the deputy head of Frankfurt’s FDP branch, Wolfgang Greilich, wrote to the minister.

Merkel speaks out

Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday pledged the country’s 200,000-strong Jewish community her unwavering support, a government spokesman said.

“The chancellor and the entire German government condemn the anti-Semitic remarks made at pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli demonstrations in Germany in the strongest terms,” Georg Streiter told reporters.

“These outbursts are an attack on freedom and tolerance and an attempt to shake the foundations of our free and democratic system. We cannot and will not tolerate this,” said Streiter, adding that any violence against Jewish people or institutions would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

In Berlin, there were also calls for legal action after Danish citizen Abu Bilal Ismail, an imam from a mosque in Copenhagen, used an appearance at a mosque in the Neukölln district on Friday to pray for the death of Jews.

CDU parliamentarian Burkard Dregger has filed a complaint of incitement against Ismail with the city police. “Such people who call for violence are not welcome in our country,” the politician told the Berliner Zeitung.

The mayor of Neukölln, Heinz Buschkowsky, said there was only one adequate response to the actions of the imam: “[Send him] back across the border with a ban on re-entering the country,” he said.

In a video posted online, Ismail is seen imploring, “Oh Allah, destroy the Zionist Jews … Count them and kill them to the very last one. Don’t spare a single one of them.”

Despite the taped comments, he later insisted he was referring only to “Jews who have killed people in Gaza.”

In street demonstrations in Berlin, crowds of pro-Palestinian protesters also shouted “Death to Israel” and “Zionists are fascists, killing children and civilians”.

Anti-Semitic slogans are illegal in Germany, where atonement for the Nazi killing of some six million European Jews in the Holocaust is a cornerstone of the post-war order.

The calls for action were echoed by a senior police officer and professor of law who oversees the police in three of the city’s districts.

‘Police must respond’

“The police must take action,” Michael Knape told the Tagesspiegel newspaper, adding that the slogans shouted were “right on the border of incitement”.

Public safety was a “central guarantor of the right to assembly”, and since the conduct of the protesters had caused fear among people, legal action was justified. But Knape denied that police in the capital had been lax in enforcing the law during the protests.

In a telephone conversation with German President Joachim Gauck, the leader of the country’s Jewish community, Dieter Graumann, said he had discussed events of recent days and the fear they had created.
“Many members of our community are very shaken, worried and absolutely shocked by the worst anti-Jewish slogans that some out-of-control crowds have shouted, calling for Jews to be ‘gassed’, ‘burned’ and ‘slaughtered’,” Graumann said in a statement after the call. Gauck told him he took Jewish fears “very seriously”.

In Mainz, ex-parliamentarian and former head of the German-Israeli Society, Johannes Gerster, filed charges against the leader of a demonstration on Friday at which participants chanted inflammatory slogans.

The actions of the 1,500 mainly Palestinian demonstrators exceeded legally permissible bounds, said Gerster, who is a lawyer.

The leader of the protest, Fatih Bayram, had “whipped up hatred and called for violence and arbitrary actions against Israel and Jews in Germany, and thereby disturbed the peace in our country,” he told the Allgemeine Zeitung.

Flight MH17 and the RUSSIAN sa-11 Buk

The tragic destruction of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was a sadly predictable result of Russia supplying the powerful and long-ranged SA-11 “Buk” surface to air missile systems to separatists in eastern Ukraine who had no access to state air traffic control information.
The SA-11 system which was used to shoot down MH17 is a Russian-built, heavy anti-aircraft missile launcher coupled to a phased-array radar on a tracked chassis.

It is designed to engage military aircraft and missiles at altitudes of up to 72,000ft. It is in service with the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces, as well as other forces around the world.

In recent days, there have been multiple sightings of SA-11 systems in separatist hands near Donetsk reported on social media. This is close to where the airliner was shot down. On Monday 14 July, separatists shot down a Ukrainian Air Force An-26 military transport aircraft which was flying at above 22,000ft.

This incident signalled a significant rise in the anti-aircraft capabilities of the separatists since, up until this week, the only anti-aircraft missile systems seen in their possession were man-portable air defence systems (Manpads) such as SA-18 and SA-24 which are not capable of hitting aircraft flying above 19,500ft. As well as being incapable of engaging high-altitude targets, they are of limited use against the armoured Su-25 attack jets deployed by the Ukrainian Air Force.

After recent separatist defeats around Slavyansk, Russia evidently decided to supply their allies in eastern Ukraine with the much more powerful SA-11 system to check the advance of the Ukrainian anti-terror operation, which has been making heavy and increasing use of air power.

Almost certainly what occurred on Thursday was that separatists targeted what they assumed to be another An-26 transport flying at high altitude and shot it down using the same SA-11 systems employed earlier in the week. As the story broke, separatist social media accounts boasted of shooting down another An-26, only for these posts to be swiftly removes as it became clear an airliner was missing, and separatist leaders realised what they had actually hit.
system usually includes several launch vehicles and a command vehicle with a larger radar array, to coordinate the targeting of the launch vehicles. However, only the launch vehicles have been seen in eastern Ukraine. This means that the system used to bring down MH-17 was most likely being operated using the smaller integrated radar on the launch vehicle itself, and possibly by separatists unfamiliar with its specific functionalities.

Given that there seems to be little doubt that an SA-11 system was used to shoot down MH17, the question must now be who is responsible. Russian and separatist claims that the Ukrainian military is responsible are absurd. The Ukrainian military has absolutely no reason to have deployed their SA-11’s anywhere near Donetsk as the separatists do not use aircraft and shooting down a Russian aircraft violating its airspace is that last thing that Kiev wants.

Given the strength of reaction from Moscow over a single artillery shell which landed on the Russian side of the border last week, and the fears over direct Russian military intervention in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian forces are being extremely careful to avoid actions which could give a pretext for Russian retaliation. However, the separatists have been shooting down aircraft over eastern Ukraine for weeks using surface to air missiles.

This is simply a tragic case of incorrect target selection by separatists using a weapons system which was much more powerful than previously seen in the conflict, and capable of reaching MH-17 and 33,000ft.

Unlike state operators of the system who are linked to national air traffic control networks, the separatists in Donetsk had no information about international flights and probably did not consider the possibility.

This is exactly why the international community has up to now been very careful to avoid non-state actors acquiring advanced anti-aircraft missile systems such as the SA-11 which Russia supplied to its proxies in Donetsk this week.

Delay in Justin Bieber’s DUI case

Justin Bieber’s lawyers and Florida prosecutors said Wednesday they need more time to work out a possible plea deal on charges that the pop star drove under the influence and resisted arrest.

Assistant State Attorney David Gilbert and Bieber attorney Mark Shapiro asked for an additional three weeks. Miami-Dade County Judge William Altfield reset the matter for Aug. 5.

Gilbert said at a brief hearing the two sides would inform Altfield on that date how the plea negotiations are progressing “and set a trial date, if necessary.” He gave no other details, and Shapiro also would not get into specifics. Bieber did not attend the hearing.

“It’s pretty much status quo,” Shapiro said.

Bieber was arrested early January 23 in Miami Beach after what police described as an illegal street race between Bieber’s rented Lamborghini and a Ferrari driven by a friend, R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff. Neither was charged with drag racing.

Alcohol breath tests found Bieber’s level below Florida’s 0.02 limit for underage drivers but urine tests showed the presence of marijuana and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system. Bieber was also charged with resisting arrest and driving on an expired license. Sharieff is also charged with DUI.

Earlier this month, Bieber resolved another criminal case by pleading no contest to a misdemeanor vandalism charge for throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house in Los Angeles. In that case, Bieber agreed to pay more than $80,000 in damages and meet a number of other conditions.

Bieber is also charged in Toronto with assaulting a limo driver in late December. His lawyers have said he is not guilty in that case.

Back in Miami, Bieber is being sued by a photographer who says he was roughed up while snapping pictures of the singer outside a recording studio.

The Canadian-born Bieber shot to stardom at age 15, after initially gaining notice through YouTube videos. He was nominated for two Grammy Awards for his 2010 full-length album debut “My World 2.0,” but his popularity has begun to wane.