Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Of xenophobia, plagiarism and permutation

by eternalcityblues Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 09:14:36 PM EST

Celebrating in their own inimitable way the 50th anniversary of European unity and Iran's simultaneous capture of UK seamen, far-right US bloggers and forum poster are swapping guffaws at this latest "masterpiece" of anonymous online Europhobia:

Heightened Terrorist Threat Levels In Europe

In view of Iranian actions of the past few days and the theatrical US Congress, EU members are now seriously concerned.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

Also, the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Surrender" and "Collaborate." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

It's not only the English and French that are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans also increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance", after a judge ruled that the Quran should be considered under German law, to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels or a reduction in the EU bureaucracy.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy when they navigate past Cape Trafalgar.

Something in the text - could call it a certain unevenness in quality and tone? - sparked my curiosity: the initial "Brit" part seemed so much better written than the crude remainder. So I started googling to see if I could trace its origin and internet history.

Read more... (8 comments, 1096 words in story)

Italian provincial blogging: exploring Viterbo

by eternalcityblues Sun Dec 3rd, 2006 at 05:33:15 AM EST

A cat....

... and its habitat...

Sunday morning cat in old city photo blogging...from the diaries - whataboutbob

Read more... (13 comments, 204 words in story)

Lebanon: the shooting of Gemayel

by eternalcityblues Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 12:11:44 PM EST

Bad news!! - in Lebanon's very tense present situation this  seems almost designed to precipitate another Lebanese civil war... or at least to severely hinder a peacefully-negotiated outcome to the current political tussle.  

Lebanese Christian leader killed

Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, a Maronite Christian leader, has been killed in the capital, Beirut.

Mr Gemayel, a leading anti-Syrian politician, was reportedly shot in the street in a Christian suburb and rushed to hospital, where he died.

His death comes amid a political crisis in Lebanon, following the resignation of six pro-Syrian cabinet members.

Mr Gemayel was a member of the Phalange Party [Kataeb]and the son of former President Gemayel Amin.

Read more... (45 comments, 1089 words in story)

Spystory Mania: Litvinenko's "Italian Connection"

by eternalcityblues Sun Nov 19th, 2006 at 08:43:09 PM EST

UPDATE: See our most recent coverage here and here, with many more links and sources.

The Litvinenko "Poisoned Spy" saga currently animating the UK press and media certainly sounds like vintage Le Carré, however you play it... and the more you explore the story, the stranger it sounds!

For a start, Litvinenko's actual relationship with his "Italian Connection" was nowhere near as tenuously anonymous as the Sunday Times' version of the story is making it sound...

Read more... (33 comments, 2048 words in story)

Italian coastal blogging - US Election Victory Special Edition

by eternalcityblues Thu Nov 9th, 2006 at 07:34:29 PM EST

So it was going to be all one big Prison Planet...


But last night the Dems cut a great big hole in the fence!!!

So now we can all sneak through the barbed wire...

...turn left, and keep walking...

...then turn left again, and keep walking...

... getting nearer, almost there...


Comments >> (10 comments)

Italian coastal blogging - The Sea-Cats of Anzio

by eternalcityblues Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 12:49:54 PM EST

The cats practically own the place!

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Read more... (15 comments, 99 words in story)

An Anglo-French "Special Relationship"?

by eternalcityblues Mon Oct 16th, 2006 at 04:52:48 PM EST

Maybe the FT-type anti-EU attitude is less dominant in the UK today than one might think?

Just came across this article by William Pfaff via DeDefensa, could hardly believe my eyes:

London, October 10, 2006 - Last weekend in London an organization called Intelligence Squared devoted three days of lectures and meetings to the unpromising cause of making the British like the French. Or if not like them, at least understand them better than usually is the case.

The most daring proposition voiced was that of a "special relationship" with France to replace Britain's existing relationship with the United States. Surprisingly, after an hour and half's argument, audience opinion gave victory to a French connection.(Those attending were polled before and after the debate.)

The outcome certainly surprised this participant, who
had argued that the transatlantic special relationship had been bad for both Britain and the United States -- a conjurer's illusion on both sides. But a special British relationship with France to replace it?

Read more... (10 comments, 539 words in story)

Afghanistan: NATO's last stand?

by eternalcityblues Mon Oct 2nd, 2006 at 07:19:37 PM EST

Re NATO military engagement in Afghanistan - can't win, OK-agreed? Essentially for the same reasons that ultimately induced both the Brit-Raj and Soviet Russia to abandon their control efforts (and no, IMHO Russia did not lose merely thanks to US funding of Taliban plus AQ, basic reason was/is the classic G4 warfare scenario fuelled by Afghanis' acute and to me only-naturally militant xenophobic reaction to any protracted domination-presence of pink-skinned, non-Muslim foreign invaders/occupiers "as such").

Anyway, both US and non-US NATO components, albeit with slightly different accents, are currently saying Afghanistan is NATO's ultimate testing-ground and "therefore" Europe must put up more and more forces and equipment for heavy combat duty, but most European NATO-troop suppliers, although ambiguously still hanging around, are looking more and more vague about it all, scratching and/or catching butterflies... muttering "hey we only signed up for reconstruction aid" and/or "sorry but we have far more urgent business elsewhere" (i.e. too busy peacekeeping MINUS NATO command-structure in Lebanon - which is in the Mediterranean i.e. in Southern Europe's direct peace-and-security zone of concern).

Meanwhile, the US now appears increasingly eager to cast NATO as its face-saving lighting-rod in Afghanistan as/although by now it's pretty much a sure thing the mission will mess up seriously within 1 year max.

Question is, will the resulting defeat/failure/mess finally bring NATO crashing down with it?  And if/when it does, good thing or bad thing? Opinions, anyone?  

P.S.: I originally posted this as my debut-post here - 3/4 of the way down the 1st October European Breakfast thread - and was invited to repost it for discussion as a separate diary. So here goes, hoping for lots of thought-stimulating input on both aspects i.e. necessity/futility of continuation of NATO in its present form and necessity/futility of pursuing the Afghanistan war ... and/or possible alternative means of preventing/containing the more negative potential consequences of its abandonment.

Comments >> (8 comments)

News and Views

 May 2024

by Oui - May 1, 182 comments

Your take on today's news media

 April 2024

by Oui - Apr 1, 153 comments

Your take on today's news media

Occasional Series
Click for full list