Russia says it’s compiled 100-page report blaming Syrian rebels for a chemical weapons attack. Many of the rebels are savages.

Russia says it’s compiled 100-page report blaming Syrian rebels for a chemical weapons attack.

syriaThis image provided by Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, purports to show dead bodies after an attack on Ghouta, Syria on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. | Uncredited/AP
By Matthew Schofield | McClatchy Foreign Staff

BERLIN — Russia says it has compiled a 100-page report detailing what it says is evidence that Syrian rebels, not forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, were behind a deadly sarin gas attack in an Aleppo suburb earlier this year.

In a statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website late Wednesday. Russia said the report had been delivered to the United Nations in July and includes detailed scientific analysis of samples that Russian technicians collected at the site of the alleged attack, Khan al Asal.

Russia said its investigation of the March 19 incident was conducted under strict protocols established by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the international agency that governs adherence to treaties prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. It said samples that Russian technicians had collected had been sent to OPCW-certified laboratories in Russia.

The report itself was not released. But the statement drew a pointed comparison between what it said was the scientific detail of the report and the far shorter intelligence summaries that the United States, Britain and France have released to justify their assertion that the Syrian government launched chemical weapons against Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21. The longest of those summaries, by the French, ran nine pages. Each relies primarily on circumstantial evidence to make its case, and they disagree with one another on some details, including the number of people who died in the attack.

The Russian statement warned the United States and its allies not to conduct a military strike against Syria until the United Nations had completed a similarly detailed scientific study into the Aug. 21 attack. It warned that what it called the current “hysteria” about a possible military strike in the West was similar to the false claims and poor intelligence that preceded the United States invasion of Iraq.

“The Russian report is specific,” the ministry statement said. “It is a scientific and technical document.”

The statement also noted that the attention paid to the Aug. 21 attack had diverted attention from the investigation into the March 19 incident, which was the reason U.N. investigators were in Syria when the more recent attack took place.

“Unfortunately, that investigation still essentially has not begun,” the statement said.

There was no immediate comment from the United States. Independent chemical weapons experts contacted by McClatchy said they had not had time to read the Russian document, which was released as Secretary of State John Kerry was appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to make the Obama administration’s case for a retaliatory strike on Syria as punishment for the attack.

A U.N. team spent four days late last month investigating the Aug. 21 incident. The samples it collected from the site and alleged victims of the attack are currently being examined at OPCW labs in Europe. U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon has urged the United States to delay any strike until after the results of that investigation are known.

Richard Guthrie, formerly project leader of the Chemical and Biological Warfare Project of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, who said he had not seen the original report, said the Russian statement on the makeup of the sarin found outside Aleppo, which the Russians said indicated it was not military grade, might reflect only that “there are a lot of different ways to make sarin.”

He added: “The messy mix described by the Russians might also be the result of an old sarin stock being used. Sarin degrades (the molecules break up) over time and this would explain a dirty mix.”

But he also said that there could be doubts about the Russian conclusion that the rockets that delivered the sarin in the March 19 incident were not likely to have come from Syrian military stocks because of the use of RDX, an explosive that is also known as hexogen and T4.

“Militaries don’t tend to use it because it’s too expensive,” Guthrie said. He added in a later email, however, that it’s not inconceivable that the Syrian military would use RDX “iff the government side was developing a semi-improvised short-range rocket” and “if there happened to be a stock available.”

“While I would agree that it would be unlikely for a traditional, well-planned short-range rocket development programme to use RDX in that role, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that, as the Syrian government did not seem to have an earlier short-range rocket programme, it may have been developing rockets with some haste and so using materials that are at hand,” he said.

Another expert, Jean Pascal Zanders, raised a note of caution, questioning a Russian assertion that the sarin mix appeared to be a western World War II vintage.

“The Western Allies were not aware of the nerve agents until after the occupation of Germany,” he wrote in an email. “The USA, for example, struggled with the sarin (despite having some of the German scientists) until the 1950s, when the CW program expanded considerably.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry posted the statement shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin had asked a Russian interviewer what the American reaction would be if evidence showed that Syrian rebels, not the Assad regime, had been behind a chemical weapons attack.

The report dealt with an incident that occurred March 19 in Khan al Asal, a town outside the city of Aleppo, in which 26 people died and 86 were injured. It was that incident that the U.N. team was originally in Syria to investigate when the Aug. 21 attack took place.

The statement’s summary of the report said that neither the munitions nor the poison gas in the Khan al Asal attack appeared to fit what is possessed by the Syrian government. The statement said Russian investigators studied the site, sent the materials they found to study to OPCW sanctioned laboratories in Europe, and followed agreed upon United Nations investigation standards.

According to the statement, the report said the shell “was not regular Syrian army ammunition but was an artisan-type similar to unguided rocket projectiles produced in the north of Syria by the so-called gang ‘Bashair An-Nasr.’ ”

In addition, Russian investigators determined that the burst charge was RDX, which is “not used in military chemical munitions.”

The Russian analysis found soil and shell samples contained a sarin gas “not synthesized in an industrial environment,” the statement said. The report said the chemical mix did not appear to be a modern version of the deadly agent but was closer to those “used by Western states for producing chemical weapons during World War II.”

Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West

Published: September 5, 2013 952 Comments

The prisoners, seven in all, were captured Syrian soldiers. Five were trussed, their backs marked with red welts. They kept their faces pressed to the dirt as the rebels’ commander recited a bitter revolutionary verse.

“For fifty years, they are companions to corruption,” he said. “We swear to the Lord of the Throne, that this is our oath: We will take revenge.”

The moment the poem ended, the commander, known as “the Uncle,” fired a bullet into the back of the first prisoner’s head. His gunmen followed suit, promptly killing all the men at their feet.

This scene, documented in a video smuggled out of Syria a few days ago by a former rebel who grew disgusted by the killings, offers a dark insight into how many rebels have adopted some of the same brutal and ruthless tactics as the regime they are trying to overthrow.

As the United States debates whether to support the Obama administration’s proposal that Syrian forces should be attacked for using chemical weapons against civilians, this video, shot in April, joins a growing body of evidence of an increasingly criminal environment populated by gangs of highwaymen, kidnappers and killers.

The video also offers a reminder of the foreign policy puzzle the United States faces in finding rebel allies as some members of Congress, including Senator John McCain, press for more robust military support for the opposition.

In the more than two years this civil war has carried on, a large part of the Syrian opposition has formed a loose command structure that has found support from several Arab nations, and, to a more limited degree, the West. Other elements of the opposition have assumed an extremist cast, and openly allied with Al Qaeda.

Across much of Syria, where rebels with Western support live and fight, areas outside of government influence have evolved into a complex guerrilla and criminal landscape.

That has raised the prospect that American military action could inadvertently strengthen Islamic extremists and criminals.

Abdul Samad Issa, 37, the rebel commander leading his fighters through the executions of the captured soldiers, illustrates that very risk.

Known in northern Syria as “the Uncle” because two of his deputies are his nephews, Mr. Issa leads a relatively unknown group of fewer than 300 fighters, one of his former aides said. The former aide, who smuggled the video out of Syria, is not being identified for security reasons.

A trader and livestock herder before the war, Mr. Issa formed a fighting group early in the uprising by using his own money to buy weapons and underwrite the fighters’ expenses.

His motivation, his former aide said, was just as the poem he recited said: revenge.

In Washington on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the issue of radicalized rebels in an exchange with Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican. Mr. Kerry insisted, “There is a real moderate opposition that exists.”

Mr. Kerry said that there were 70,000 to 100,000 “oppositionists.” Of these, he said, some 15 percent to 20 percent were “bad guys” or extremists.

Mr. McCaul responded by saying he had been told in briefings that half of the opposition fighters were extremists.

Much of the concern among American officials has focused on two groups that acknowledge ties to Al Qaeda. These groups — the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — have attracted foreign jihadis, used terrorist tactics and vowed to create a society in Syria ruled by their severe interpretation of Islamic law.

KERRY COMPARES SYRIAN INTERVENTION TO NORMANDY INVASION

KERRY COMPARES SYRIAN INTERVENTION TO NORMANDY INVASION

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by TONY LEE 4 Sep 2013 142POST A COMMENT

On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry compared possible military intervention in Syria to the invasion of Normandy during World War II.

Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry said that “there are a lot of folks out there who are committed to violent acts against lots of different people. We have to defend ourselves.”

After emphasizing that intervening in Syria is a “direct interest in our credibility,” Kerry said, “You ask the question, ‘Why does the United States have to be out there?'”

“You ever been to the cemetery in France? Ya know, above those beaches? Why’d those guys have to go do that?” Kerry said.

In response to Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), Kerry said those who died in Normandy did so while “standing up with people for a set of values and fighting for freedom.” He said “no country has liberated as much land or fought as many battles as the United States of America and turned around and given it back to the people who live there and can own it, run it.”

Kerry said America was, in that sense, the “indispensable” nation and that a lot of moderate people in the Middle East “count on us.”

Throughout the testimony, though, Kerry emphasized that he did not believe intervention in Syria would be considered “war” in his definition and continued to emphasize that he did not believe American ground troops would be needed in Syria.

Obama’s plan for Syria: Bungling, Reckless, Lunacy all Around.

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Obama’s plan: Bungling, reckless, lunacy all around.

By Mario Murillo

First read just a smattering of quotes from around the nation about Obama’s resolution on Syria that is before the Congress:

Arizona congressman Matt Salmon’s constituents have called his office 500 times about Syria, he tells National Review Online in an interview, but only two callers have expressed support for intervening there. “This is not hyperbole!” he says emphatically.

And Salmon himself is firmly against authorizing a strike. “I don’t see any national-security imperative for our country at all. Both sides in this equation are bad actors.” He also notes that Obama has been unable to form an international coalition and hasn’t laid out an overall objective for a missile strike. “Other than saving face for the president, I don’t understand what we would be doing,” he says.

Ann coulter: “Why is Congress even having a vote? This is nothing but a fig leaf to cover Obama’s own idiotic “red line” ultimatum to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on chemical weapons. The Nobel Peace Prize winner needs to get Congress on the record so that whatever happens, the media can blame Republicans.

Washington Post: “Senate-crafted Syria resolution riddled with loopholes for Obama.  Allows boots on the ground.  The resolution drafted by Sens. Robert Menendez and Bob Corker, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, grants Mr. Obama power “to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in a limited and tailored manner against legitimate military targets in Syria” — but only in relation to that nation’s weapons of mass destruction.”

Daily Mail:  “That it will take 75,000 troops Revealed: “Pentagon knew in 2012 that it would take 75,000 GROUND TROOPS to secure Syria’s chemical weapons facilities.”

Rand Paul: “Why I am voting no.  War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened. I don’t think the situation in Syria passes that test. Even the State Department argues that “there’s no military solution here that’s good for the Syrian people, and that the best path forward is a political solution.”

By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Foreign Staff : “Even if Obama – with or without congressional approval – orders U.S. warships in the Mediterranean to loose retaliatory strikes against the Syrian regime, the limited operation, which U.S. officials say wouldn’t be aimed at toppling Assad, may do little to restore Washington’s credibility. Moreover, they could carry significant costs for the security of the United States and its allies, experts said.”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I just have to speak out on this resolution to go to war with Syria.  That is correct, it is a resolution to go to war that could very likely involve 75,000 of our troops in a war with no clear goal, battle plan or clear picture of how it can escalate.  By waiting, waffling, and deflecting Obama has created a situation that has no good outcome for the United States.

No one can look in their hearts and see how this resolution that is riddled with loopholes can be given to a leader so lacking any skill whatsoever to conduct war on behalf of the United States.  Call your Congressman today.  Pray fervently that this disastrous resolution is rejected.

Assad must be deposed but we must go in united and strong and clear in our purpose.  Something that cannot be done with this president leading this nation this way.

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Obama: I didn’t draw the red line on Syria.

Obama: I didn’t draw the red line on Syria, world did

Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama gestures during his joint news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in Stockholm, Sweden. The president said international community and Congress credibility on the line on response to Syria | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
 By Lesley Clark | McClatchy Washington Bureau

St. Petersburg, Russia — President Barack Obama on Wednesday declared the world’s credibility “is on the line” when it comes to punishing Syrian President Bashar Assad for his regime’s purported use of chemical weapons.

Speaking at a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, ahead of a global economic summit in Russia where he will seek to rally support for a U.S. military strike against Syria, Obama said the “red line” he set against a year ago against Syria’s use of chemical weapons isn’t his, but an international standard.

“I didn’t set a red line, the world set a red line,” Obama said. “My credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’s credibility’s on the line.”

Yet the difficulty Obama faces in achieving a global consensus was illustrated at the press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt , who decried the use of chemical weapons and said he understood Obama’s predicament, but said Sweden wants United Nations involvement and a political resolution to the carnage in Syria.

“I understand the problem of not having a reaction to abuse of chemical weapons and what kind of signal that sends to the world,” Reinfeldt said, adding, “But this small country will always say ‘Let’s put our hope into the United Nations, let us push on some more to get a better situation.’ ”

Obama staunchly defended his push for a strike, evoking the death of children from exposure to chemical weapons.

“The moral thing to do is not to stand by and do nothing,” Obama said. “I do have to ask people if in fact you’re outraged by the slaughter of innocent people, what are you doing about it?”

Though Obama has chosen to act before a UN investigation is completed, he said U.S. intelligence shows there’s no doubt that chemical weapons were used by the regime.

“Keep in mind I’m somebody who opposed the war in Iraq, and I’m not interested in repeating mistakes about basing decisions on faulty intelligence,” Obama said.

The press conference came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with the Associated Press warned the U.S. against military strikes in Syria, saying without the sanction of the United Nations any assault would be “inadmissible and can only be interpreted as an aggression.”

Putin said the Russian government has provided some components of the S-300 air defense missile system to Syria but has suspended shipments “for now.” He suggested that Russia may sell the potent missile systems elsewhere if Western nations attack Syria without U.N. Security Council backing.

Russia has routinely vetoed sanctions against Syria in the United Nations, but Putin didn’t rule out supporting a UN resolution to support military strikes if it’s proven that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons.

He made clear his threshold for such support is high, calling it “absolutely absurd” that the government would use chemical weapons at a time when it was closing in on the rebels.

In the interview, Putin insisted he and Obama could have constructive talks — even though he said he was disappointed Obama cancelled a meeting with him in Moscow.

A White House official said that although there was no plan for a formal meeting with Putin at the summit in St. Petersburg, the White House “would expect the two presidents to have an opportunity to speak on the margins of the various meetings of the G-20.”

Obama will hold formal bilateral meetings with President Xi of China, Prime Minister Abe of Japan and President Francois Hollande of France.

Putin downplayed his frosty relationship Obama, which Russia analysts have said is among the worst in US-Russian and US-Soviet leader relationships.

“President Obama hasn’t been elected by the American people in order to be pleasant to Russia,” Putin told the AP. “And your humble servant hasn’t been elected by the people of Russia to be pleasant to someone either.”

“We work, we argue about some issues. We are human. Sometimes one of us gets vexed. But I would like to repeat once again that global mutual interests form a good basis for finding a joint solution to our problems,” Putin said.

In a sign the U.S. surveillance program continues to be a source of concern even among U.S. allies, the first question Obama got from a Swedish reporter at the press conference was about the NSA program.

He insisted the U.S. is not “snooping at people’s emails and or listening to their phone calls.”

The program’s focus, he said, is on counterterrorism and cyber security.

NO SYRIAN WAR JUST TO SAVE OBAMA’S FACE.

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NO SYRIAN WAR TO SAVE OBAMA’S FACE!

Pat Buchanan: Why don’t Turkey and Israel man up and strike Assad?

“Catastrophic!” said Sen. John McCain.

If Congress votes no on a resolution calling for U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war, says McCain, it would be “catastrophic” for U.S. credibility in the world.

Consider what the senator is saying here.

Because Barack Obama, two years ago, said “Assad must go,” and, one year ago, said any use of chemical weapons crosses his “red line,” Congress has no choice but to plunge America into yet another Mideast war.

Can this be? Are we really, as a nation, required to go to war to make good the simple-minded statements of an untutored president who had no constitutional authority to issue his impulsive ultimata?

Are we really required to go to war to get the egg off Obama’s face?

Not since the War of Jenkins’ Ear has there been a dumber cause for a great country to go to war. Is there no way out?

There is, and it’s right in front of us.

The House, Senate or both can vote no on the war resolution, and Obama can then say, as did David Cameron, that, while he disagrees, he respects the decision of a Congress in which the Constitution placed sole authority to authorize America’s going to war.

Are Brits now crying “catastrophe!”? Do the Spanish no longer think the Brits will defend Gibraltar? Is Britain now wholly non-credible to the world?

For Obama, and for us, it is the other options that invite catastrophe.

If, for example, the House or Senate votes down the war resolution and Obama, without authorization from Congress, the Security Council, NATO or the Arab League plunges us into a new war this nation does not want to fight, he will be courting a geostrategic and political disaster.

Even if Congress approves a war resolution, the president should think long and hard about diving into a war he sought to avoid and stayed out of for over two years. Make no mistake; if Obama attacks Syria, be it for hours or days, we are in that blood-soaked abattoir for the duration.

In his dramatic statement Saturday, as politically astute as it was constitutionally correct, Obama called Syria “someone else’s war.”

Whose war? It is Shia Alawite vs. Sunni, Muslim vs. Christian, Kurd vs. Arab, Islamist vs. secularist. Backing Bashar Assad are Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. Backing the rebels are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, al-Qaida, foreign jihadists and the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Assad is accused of killing 100,000 people. But that is the total of the dead in a civil war Assad has as much right to fight as the rebels. While his army is accused of using gas on civilians, the Islamist rebels have murdered Christians, massacred captives and engaged in public acts of cannibalism on dead Syrian soldiers.

Gas is a sickening weapon. Yet, there is no evidence thus far that Assad ordered its use. Rebel elements are said to have been found with sarin. As for Americans who tend to prefer white phosphorus, napalm and cluster bombs, upon what lofty moral ground do we stand?

Have we forgotten that Churchill wanted to drop anthrax on Germany and settled for two days of firebombing the defenseless city of Dresden? Or that our great friend Anwar Sadat was the confidante of Gamal Abdel Nasser when Egypt was using poison gas on Yemeni tribesmen?

The United States does not have any national security interest in Syria’s war. Why would we then launch missile attacks to “degrade” Assad’s military, when that army and air force are all that stands between us and a privileged sanctuary for al-Qaida in northern Syria, not unlike what al-Qaida had in Tora Bora and Waziristan.

We are told that if we do not strike Syria – making good on Obama’s threats – Israel, Turkey and even Japan and South Korea will not be able to trust us ever again.

What nonsense. We have treaties with Japan and South Korea. As for Turkey and Israel, if what is happening in Syria is outrageous and dangerous, why do they not act? Why do they keep tugging at our sleeve?

The Israeli Air force is five minutes from Damascus, its army a two-day march. The Turks have three times Syria’s population and a 400,000-man army equipped with NATO weapons. Together, they could invade and turn the tide in a week. Why do they not man up?

McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham came out of the Oval Office saying Obama was open to wider strikes on Syria and more lethal support for the rebels. As Iran, Hezbollah and Russia would then upgrade their own weapons shipments to Damascus, this will mean more dead, more wounded, more tens of thousands fleeing into exile and a longer war.

But what it will likely end with, after America is dragooned in, is a U.S. war with Iran; our allies, sitting in their box seats, cheering us on.

And that is the dog you will not hear bark in the war-on-Syria debate.

Rand Paul’s message to Evangelicals: There’s a war on Christianity

Rand PaulRand Paul’s Message To Evangelicals: “There is a war on Christianity.”

Senator Rand Paul, who is seriously considering running for President of the United States, told a conservative Christian audience today that, “There is a war on Christianity” being waged by “liberal elites’ and “worldwide as well.

Read his remarks below, delivered at today’s Faith and Freedom Coalition luncheon in DC. The organization’s big “Road to Majority” event starts today and runs through Saturday. Jeb Bush, sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and many others are speaking in the next couple days.

Rand Paul has been actively courting the conservative Christian community for months. He took a trip to Israel which was organized by influential evangelical organizer David Lane and has been speaking to Christian audiences in key GOP Primary states. He will speak to hundreds of Iowa pastors next month in Des Moines. The Brody File also knows of plenty of private events he has done within the Christian community.

Rand Paul has quite a bit going for him if he makes a run. His libertarian views give him distinct crossover appeal but, in addition as a committed pro-life believer in Jesus Christ he can court evangelicals in a a way that doesn’t look like pandering. Plus, he’s super smart which not only gives the Tea Party more credibility as a movement but allows Paul to get a serious look from the shark-infested waters filled with mainstream media members. He should NOT be underestimated.

Senator Rand Paul’s Remarks below:

“Last year in Pakistan, 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for being a girl and for wanting to go to school.

If you haven’t seen the YouTube videow of Malala being interviewed on national television, speaking out for the education of girls, watch and you will be amazed at her poise and grace.

Malala never met the great Urdu poet Parveen Shakir, who grew up in Pakistan when women could become highly educated and even Prime Minister.
This line from one of Shakir’s poems reminds me of Malala:

“They insist upon evaluating the firefly in daylight. The children of our age, have grown clever.”

Why would anyone want to kill this innocent young girl? Because Malala, in her young life, insisted on exposing the firefly to daylight.

Her “crime,” as seen by the Taliban, is to believe in enlightenment, to believe that out of the darkness a flicker of tolerance can glow and grow to overcome ignorance.

Americans are seen by Pakistanis as infidels and invaders. We will not in a thousand years bring enlightenment to Pakistan, only Pakistan can do that.

When Pakistan begins to police Pakistan better, when girls who long for nothing but freedom and education are embraced — rather than gunned down by murderous thugs — then will progress finally be made.

My heart breaks for Malala and her family. It breaks for all those who suffer under violent oppression in the name of religion. It breaks for those who cannot grow up to be poets and teachers, but mostly it breaks for those who cannot speak without being gunned down by extremists.

I can only hope that the violence done to her will motivate those who believe in both Islam and peace and tolerance to stand unanimously and proclaim this violence does not represent them. That the Taliban does not represent them. That gunning down children in cold blood does not please their God.

The violence and intolerance against girls is also directed toward Christians. It saddens me to see countries that are supposedly our allies persecute Christians.

It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death for blasphemy against Islam, countries that put to death Muslims who convert to Christianity, and countries who imprison anyone who marries outside their religion.

There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide.

And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.

You are being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant of Christians but openly hostile. Christians are imprisoned and threatened with death for their beliefs.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, sits on death row. Her crime, according to her, is that she dared to drink from a glass that belonged to a Muslim co-worker.

According to her co-workers, she insulted the Prophet. In our country, we refer to such quibbling as gossip. In Pakistan, if you are a Christian, it can land you on death row.

Recently, in Pakistan, a 12-year-old with Downs syndrome was imprisoned and charged with a death penalty crime for burning the Koran.

After weeks she was released after a local Imam was accused of actually sprinkling pages from an Arabic book into a fire near the little girl.

Dr. Shakil Afridi is not a Christian but his imprisonment by Pakistan is nonetheless an injustice. He was tortured and held without charge for nearly a year.

He was shackled with his hands behind his back for months and he was finally imprisoned, likely for the rest of his life for the crime of helping America get Bin Laden.

How do your leaders respond? 90 % of them voted against my bill that would have put restrictions on this aid.

My bill said that Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan would get no more foreign aid from the US taxpayer unless they turned over the assassins that killed our ambassador, pledged and verified that they CAN and WILL protect our embassies, and in the case of Pakistan they must release Dr. Afridi.

Overwhelmingly, I was voted down. Is it any wonder that Congress has a 10% approval rating? In Egypt, in Pakistan, they burn our flag—I say not one penny more to countries that burn the American flag!

Even when we’ve tried through good intentions to make the world a better place our actions have often backfired.

During the Iraq War, over a quarter-million Iraqi Christians fled Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator but his government was secular and therefore relatively safe for Christians. Christians, however, feared the Shiite government that we helped put in place after Saddam, and they fled in droves.

Where did these Christians go? They headed mostly for Syria, joining the over one million Syrians who have lived as Christians since the time of Christ.

Now, the senate is attempting to arm the rebel forces in syria, many of whom are al quaeda or affiliates.   they do so out of a miguided attempt to stop the violence in syria.

Instead their actions will bring more violence and more persecution of Christians, who have long been protected in Syria.

Before the Arab Spring, Christianity flourished in small outposts, like the Coptic Christians in Egypt. I had hoped that the Arab Spring would bring freedom to long-oppressed people throughout the Middle East, but I fear the Arab Spring is becoming an Arab winter.

Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run—persecuted or under fire—and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them.

While they burn the American flag and the mobs chant Death to America, more of your money is sent to these haters of Christianity.

Even if all the atrocities to Christians were not occurring in these countries, we simply don’t have the money to engage in this foolishness. We must borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan.

While American soldiers spent a decade fighting to liberate Iraq and while American taxpayers have sent roughly $470 million each year in aid, Christians in Iraq are the subjects of what Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors, describes as “religicide.”

Before the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Mosul, a city in Iraq, was home to some 75,000 Christians, but now the number has dropped to around 25,000.

Christian homes are set on fire, bombs are being placed in their cars and Christian families are receiving letters threatening them to leave Iraq or be kidnapped or killed.

American soldiers have also risked their lives for the sake of these countries liberation. Our young men and women have fought for a noble cause but the law of unintended consequences is an unforgiving one.

These countries are not our true allies and no amount of money will make them so. They are not allies of Israel and I fear one day our money and military arms that we have paid for will be used against Israel.

This fight has made me unpopular in Washington but I am willing to risk unpopularity with politicians to do what I am convinced is right.

The new leader of Egypt is Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Recently, he stood by when a radical cleric said a prayer for the destruction of Israel and her supporters in his presence.

Actually, it is worse, he did not just stand by, he was seen to mouth the word “Amen” as the cleric said these words of hatred.

How does your government respond?

The bipartisan consensus in Washington vows to increase Egypt’s funding. The President is currently requesting a billion dollar increase in aid to Egypt.

This is an outrage! It is amazing that so many in Washington fail to see who the real enemies are. We should immediately stop sending F-16’s and tanks to Egypt!

It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East and I believe that must end.

When Pope John Paul II spoke about a “culture of death,” he talked about “a war of the powerful against the weak.”

As Christians, we know we must always stand with the most defenseless. I believe that no civilization can long endure that does not respect life from those not yet born to life’s last breath.

I am the sponsor of a life are conception act in the senate, and I will stand up for unborn children as long as I am privileged to be in office.

These days Christians are often unified in our defense of the not yet born but I exhort you to remember the 19-year-olds who are sent into battle.

War is not a game or a sport and any politician who speaks of pre-emptive war with gleeful bravado should not be leading any nation.

As we sit here, our brave troops risk their lives, serving our country with faithfulness and honor. They endure harsh conditions, loneliness and great danger. I pray for their safe return each day and I pray for an end to the war.

I can recall no utterance of Jesus in favor of war or any acts of aggression. In fact, his message to his disciples was one of non-resistance. I do not believe that means that we don’t defend ourselves.

I believe individuals and countries can and should defend themselves. But I simply can’t imagine Jesus at the head of any army of soldiers and I think as Christians we need to be wary of the doctrine of pre-emptive war.

We must and should stand with our fellow Christians in the Middle East and around the world—but that does not necessarily mean war and it certainly does not mean arming sides in every conflict.

Jesus, himself, reminds us of this in the Sermon on the Mount, when he proclaims, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Today, we have a culture that accepts the wanton disposal of millions of innocent children, and sends aid to countries that persecute Christians. . . . . I, for one, will not rest until this injustice ends.

As Christians, we understand that the right to life, and freedom of religion, pre-exist all government. These rights are not granted to man by other men, these rights are granted to us by our Creator.

God, help us in these troubling times to make wise decisions, to make moral decisions, and to listen to the voice of God that lives and breathes and resides in us all. Amen.”

“There is a war on Christianity.”- Rand Paul

Rand PaulRand Paul’s Message To Evangelicals: “There is a war on Christianity.”

Senator Rand Paul, who is seriously considering running for President of the United States, told a conservative Christian audience today that, “There is a war on Christianity” being waged by “liberal elites’ and “worldwide as well.

Read his remarks below, delivered at today’s Faith and Freedom Coalition luncheon in DC. The organization’s big “Road to Majority” event starts today and runs through Saturday. Jeb Bush, sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and many others are speaking in the next couple days.

Rand Paul has been actively courting the conservative Christian community for months. He took a trip to Israel which was organized by influential evangelical organizer David Lane and has been speaking to Christian audiences in key GOP Primary states. He will speak to hundreds of Iowa pastors next month in Des Moines. The Brody File also knows of plenty of private events he has done within the Christian community.

Rand Paul has quite a bit going for him if he makes a run. His libertarian views give him distinct crossover appeal but, in addition as a committed pro-life believer in Jesus Christ he can court evangelicals in a a way that doesn’t look like pandering. Plus, he’s super smart which not only gives the Tea Party more credibility as a movement but allows Paul to get a serious look from the shark-infested waters filled with mainstream media members. He should NOT be underestimated.

Senator Rand Paul’s Remarks below:

“Last year in Pakistan, 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for being a girl and for wanting to go to school.

If you haven’t seen the YouTube videow of Malala being interviewed on national television, speaking out for the education of girls, watch and you will be amazed at her poise and grace.

Malala never met the great Urdu poet Parveen Shakir, who grew up in Pakistan when women could become highly educated and even Prime Minister.
This line from one of Shakir’s poems reminds me of Malala:

“They insist upon evaluating the firefly in daylight. The children of our age, have grown clever.”

Why would anyone want to kill this innocent young girl? Because Malala, in her young life, insisted on exposing the firefly to daylight.

Her “crime,” as seen by the Taliban, is to believe in enlightenment, to believe that out of the darkness a flicker of tolerance can glow and grow to overcome ignorance.

Americans are seen by Pakistanis as infidels and invaders. We will not in a thousand years bring enlightenment to Pakistan, only Pakistan can do that.

When Pakistan begins to police Pakistan better, when girls who long for nothing but freedom and education are embraced — rather than gunned down by murderous thugs — then will progress finally be made.

My heart breaks for Malala and her family. It breaks for all those who suffer under violent oppression in the name of religion. It breaks for those who cannot grow up to be poets and teachers, but mostly it breaks for those who cannot speak without being gunned down by extremists.

I can only hope that the violence done to her will motivate those who believe in both Islam and peace and tolerance to stand unanimously and proclaim this violence does not represent them. That the Taliban does not represent them. That gunning down children in cold blood does not please their God.

The violence and intolerance against girls is also directed toward Christians. It saddens me to see countries that are supposedly our allies persecute Christians.

It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death for blasphemy against Islam, countries that put to death Muslims who convert to Christianity, and countries who imprison anyone who marries outside their religion.

There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide.

And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.

You are being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant of Christians but openly hostile. Christians are imprisoned and threatened with death for their beliefs.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, sits on death row. Her crime, according to her, is that she dared to drink from a glass that belonged to a Muslim co-worker.

According to her co-workers, she insulted the Prophet. In our country, we refer to such quibbling as gossip. In Pakistan, if you are a Christian, it can land you on death row.

Recently, in Pakistan, a 12-year-old with Downs syndrome was imprisoned and charged with a death penalty crime for burning the Koran.

After weeks she was released after a local Imam was accused of actually sprinkling pages from an Arabic book into a fire near the little girl.

Dr. Shakil Afridi is not a Christian but his imprisonment by Pakistan is nonetheless an injustice. He was tortured and held without charge for nearly a year.

He was shackled with his hands behind his back for months and he was finally imprisoned, likely for the rest of his life for the crime of helping America get Bin Laden.

How do your leaders respond? 90 % of them voted against my bill that would have put restrictions on this aid.

My bill said that Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan would get no more foreign aid from the US taxpayer unless they turned over the assassins that killed our ambassador, pledged and verified that they CAN and WILL protect our embassies, and in the case of Pakistan they must release Dr. Afridi.

Overwhelmingly, I was voted down. Is it any wonder that Congress has a 10% approval rating? In Egypt, in Pakistan, they burn our flag—I say not one penny more to countries that burn the American flag!

Even when we’ve tried through good intentions to make the world a better place our actions have often backfired.

During the Iraq War, over a quarter-million Iraqi Christians fled Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator but his government was secular and therefore relatively safe for Christians. Christians, however, feared the Shiite government that we helped put in place after Saddam, and they fled in droves.

Where did these Christians go? They headed mostly for Syria, joining the over one million Syrians who have lived as Christians since the time of Christ.

Now, the senate is attempting to arm the rebel forces in syria, many of whom are al quaeda or affiliates.   they do so out of a miguided attempt to stop the violence in syria.

Instead their actions will bring more violence and more persecution of Christians, who have long been protected in Syria.

Before the Arab Spring, Christianity flourished in small outposts, like the Coptic Christians in Egypt. I had hoped that the Arab Spring would bring freedom to long-oppressed people throughout the Middle East, but I fear the Arab Spring is becoming an Arab winter.

Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run—persecuted or under fire—and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them.

While they burn the American flag and the mobs chant Death to America, more of your money is sent to these haters of Christianity.

Even if all the atrocities to Christians were not occurring in these countries, we simply don’t have the money to engage in this foolishness. We must borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan.

While American soldiers spent a decade fighting to liberate Iraq and while American taxpayers have sent roughly $470 million each year in aid, Christians in Iraq are the subjects of what Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors, describes as “religicide.”

Before the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Mosul, a city in Iraq, was home to some 75,000 Christians, but now the number has dropped to around 25,000.

Christian homes are set on fire, bombs are being placed in their cars and Christian families are receiving letters threatening them to leave Iraq or be kidnapped or killed.

American soldiers have also risked their lives for the sake of these countries liberation. Our young men and women have fought for a noble cause but the law of unintended consequences is an unforgiving one.

These countries are not our true allies and no amount of money will make them so. They are not allies of Israel and I fear one day our money and military arms that we have paid for will be used against Israel.

This fight has made me unpopular in Washington but I am willing to risk unpopularity with politicians to do what I am convinced is right.

The new leader of Egypt is Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Recently, he stood by when a radical cleric said a prayer for the destruction of Israel and her supporters in his presence.

Actually, it is worse, he did not just stand by, he was seen to mouth the word “Amen” as the cleric said these words of hatred.

How does your government respond?

The bipartisan consensus in Washington vows to increase Egypt’s funding. The President is currently requesting a billion dollar increase in aid to Egypt.

This is an outrage! It is amazing that so many in Washington fail to see who the real enemies are. We should immediately stop sending F-16’s and tanks to Egypt!

It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East and I believe that must end.

When Pope John Paul II spoke about a “culture of death,” he talked about “a war of the powerful against the weak.”

As Christians, we know we must always stand with the most defenseless. I believe that no civilization can long endure that does not respect life from those not yet born to life’s last breath.

I am the sponsor of a life are conception act in the senate, and I will stand up for unborn children as long as I am privileged to be in office.

These days Christians are often unified in our defense of the not yet born but I exhort you to remember the 19-year-olds who are sent into battle.

War is not a game or a sport and any politician who speaks of pre-emptive war with gleeful bravado should not be leading any nation.

As we sit here, our brave troops risk their lives, serving our country with faithfulness and honor. They endure harsh conditions, loneliness and great danger. I pray for their safe return each day and I pray for an end to the war.

I can recall no utterance of Jesus in favor of war or any acts of aggression. In fact, his message to his disciples was one of non-resistance. I do not believe that means that we don’t defend ourselves.

I believe individuals and countries can and should defend themselves. But I simply can’t imagine Jesus at the head of any army of soldiers and I think as Christians we need to be wary of the doctrine of pre-emptive war.

We must and should stand with our fellow Christians in the Middle East and around the world—but that does not necessarily mean war and it certainly does not mean arming sides in every conflict.

Jesus, himself, reminds us of this in the Sermon on the Mount, when he proclaims, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Today, we have a culture that accepts the wanton disposal of millions of innocent children, and sends aid to countries that persecute Christians. . . . . I, for one, will not rest until this injustice ends.

As Christians, we understand that the right to life, and freedom of religion, pre-exist all government. These rights are not granted to man by other men, these rights are granted to us by our Creator.

God, help us in these troubling times to make wise decisions, to make moral decisions, and to listen to the voice of God that lives and breathes and resides in us all. Amen.”

Obama compares personal liberty to dirty dishes

DIRTY DISHES

Obama: Americans Not Trusting NSA Is Like Michelle Not Trusting I Did The Dishes

August 9, 2013 by 

President Barack Obama held an hour-long press conference Friday, addressing reporters’ questions about a range of issues. But the main focus of the event was the ongoing controversy over the National Security Agency’s spying on American citizens.

The President announced a handful of modest steps he claims his Administration is taking to alleviate public concerns about the surveillance agency’s activities, including working with lawmakers to ensure better Congressional oversight and possible changes to the process the government uses to justify data collection.

“I’m also mindful of how these issues are viewed overseas because American leadership around the world depends upon the example of American democracy and American openness,” Obama said from the White House. “In other words, it’s not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs. The American people need to have confidence in them, as well.”

Obama vowed that he intends to work on ways to tighten a provision of the Patriot Act – known as Section 215 – that allows the government to obtain business phone data records.  The President also suggested that his Administration would organize a panel of outsiders comprised of former intelligence officials, civil liberty and privacy advocates to review surveillance programs and suggest changes.

Rejecting the idea that NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a patriot, the President said that his Administration had already called for a review of the Nation’s surveillance practices in May. But, the President said that “there’s no doubt that Mr. Snowden’s leaks triggered a much more rapid, and passionate, response than if I had simply appointed this review board.”

Obama went on to insist that the NSA programs “are operating in a way that prevents abuse,” even without the reforms he announced.

“The question is,” Obama said, “how do I make the American people more comfortable?”

The President continued with an analogy, “If I tell Michelle that I did the dishes–now, granted, in the White House I don’t do the dishes that much, but back in the day–and she’s a little skeptical. Well, I’d like her to trust me, but maybe I need to bring her back and show her the dishes and not just have to take my word for it.”

Obama said that if the American people “examined exactly what has taken place, how it has been used, what the safeguards were,” that there would be no concern.

Why Christians Should Be Speaking Up about the Surveillance State

NSA Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah

Why Christians Should Be Speaking Up about the Surveillance State

Government Overreach, Compliant Christians, and the Founding Fathers |

Ed Stetzer

Many Early American Christians Had a More Healthy Suspicion Regarding Government and Liberty

It is important to note that we have, for example, a First Amendment in the Bill of Rights because free-church Christians (Baptists, to be specific) said that the government should not be trusted to guard the rights of the individual– those rights had to be enumerated, so that freedom and liberty could be protected.

Actually (and ironically), some of the Founding Fathers were concerned that by listing the “rights” in these “bills,” some might assume that these were the only rights, when there were many more. Regardless, they added these rights, which were generally a non-issue for many years– until they were tested many years later and the Bill or Rights became more prominent.

While Big Brother’s eyes grow stronger, some Christians just shut their eyes tighter.

The Founding Fathers chose to enumerate such rights and protections because they knew that governments, left unrestricted, would abuse power– so they assumed such abuses of power not because they were paranoid, but because they were wise. Good people said this would never happen– but they rejected assurances from good people because they knew people weren’t inherently good– and power must always have limits.

Our Founding Fathers saw the Bill of Rights as providing barriers against government overreach and abuse.

People (particularly people in governments with power) could not be trusted to have no checks on their power. Why? Well, some of it had to do with history. For example, a bill of rights was an English concept preceeding the American experiment. But, some of those colonists held the view because of biblical convictions about fallen nature and the need to protect rights that some might want to take away.

By Sean Sullivan, Published: June 18, 2013 at 11:32 amE-mail the writer

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander, second from right, testifies on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander, second from right, testifies on Capitol Hill Tuesday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Intelligence officials said Tuesday that the government’s sweeping surveillance efforts have helped thwart “potential terrorist events” more than 50 times since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and the officials detailed two new examples to illustrate the utility of the programs.

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, officials cited a nascent plot to blow up the New York Stock Exchange and a case involving an individual providing financial support to an overseas terrorist group.

“In recent years, these programs, together with other intelligence, have protected the U.S. and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe to include helping prevent the terrorist — the potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11,” National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander told the committee.

He said at least 10 of the plots targeted the United States.

FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce said Tuesday that a provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act helped officials monitor a “known extremist in Yemen” who was in contact with an individual in the United States. The information led to disruption of the New York Stock Exchange plot, Joyce said.

Joyce also said that the use of a FISA business record provision helped officials with an investigation involving an individual who was communicating with an overseas terrorist.

“The NSA, using the business record FISA, tipped us off that this individual had indirect contacts with a known terrorist overseas,” said Joyce. “We were able to reopen this investigation, identify additional individuals through a legal process and were able to disrupt this terrorist activity.”

“So that’s four cases total that we have put out publicly,” Alexander said Tuesday.

The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper recently revealed the sweeping Internet and telephone surveillance techniques the NSA has utilized in recent years.

Mario’s Note:

Here is what they told you today:

1. “Take our word for it we are not going to listen to your conversations.  We are not going to use it against you.  We now know that they did listen to our conversations and read our emails.

Fact: House Intelligence Committee officials have confirmed that they’re totally free to rifle through your data without a court order. As long as they think they might have a reason to be suspicious—any reason will do!—they’re free to go nuts.

2.  We foiled terrorist plots because of this program.

Fact: They didn’t stop the Boston Bombings, even though those people had expired visas and were using cell phones to communicate. And the police state enforced with warrantless house searches after the shootout in Watertown didn’t catch the suspect either. It was only when the curfew was lifted that the guy was found hiding in the boat.  All this was done in the name of security and safety.

3. We must obtain search warrants from the judges of the FISA court.

Confirmed: Court “Oversight” of NSA Surveillance Is a Total Joke:  The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court has been defanged.  When asked, “Is the FISA court a rubber stamp?” NSA chief says no, but in the last two years, they’ve approved 4,000 orders, with zero rejections.

Here is what they are not saying:

Like him or hate Edward Snowden uncovered a dangerous threat to our privacy and freedom

Who is going to protect us from Obama?  The Patriot Act might work if our President was a patriot.  This is what you need to consider:  The Obama Factor.   He is partisan, vindictive and aloof when it comes to information.  Eric Holder is beholden to Obama.  We already have proof through the scandals of the IRS, Benghazi and Fast and Furious, Spying on news Reporters , that the Obama administration will violate the Constitution if they feel threatened.

 Terrorism must not become the latest excuse to expand the spying power of a runaway president.  We must speak up before we lose all of our freedom.  Christians must speak out.

 

European firms ‘could quit US internet providers over NSA scandal’

wrecking ball insert copy

European firms ‘could quit US internet providers over NSA scandal’

European commission vice-president says American cloud services providers could suffer loss of business.

Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes, European commissioner for digital matters, who said: ‘If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now.’ Photograph: Yves Logghe/AP

European businesses are likely to abandon the services of Americaninternet providers because of the National Security Agency surveillance scandal, the European commission has warned.

Neelie Kroes, the commission vice-president who speaks on digital affairs, predicted that providers of cloud services, which allow users to store and access data on remote servers, could suffer significant loss of business if clients fear the security of their material is under threat.

The warning came as it appeared that the Americans and the Europeans were to start investigating alleged breaches of data privacy in the EU as well as US intelligence and espionage practices.

Despite threats from France to delay long-awaited EU-US negotiations on a new transatlantic free trade pact, scheduled to open in Washington on Monday, EU ambassadors in Brussels reached a consensus on Thursday to go ahead with the talks.

They could not yet agree, however, on how to respond to a US offer of parallel talks on the NSA scandal, the Prism and Tempora programmes and issues of more traditional espionage arising from reports of how US agencies bugged and tapped the offices and embassies of the EU and several member states.

Dalia Grybauskaitė, the president of Lithuania, said on Thursday that she was not seeking an apology from the Americans. Lithuania takes over the rotating six-month EU presidency this week.

While no decision had yet been taken, she said she hoped the EU-US talks on electronic surveillance would also be launched on Monday and run concurrently. Since much of the alleged US hoovering up of telephone and internet traffic in Europe is assumed to amount to commercial and industrial espionage, the two parallel sets of talks will affect one another.

Senior EU officials complain that there is no point engaging in sensitive trade talks when the other side has already eavesdropped on you and knows your negotiating position.

Grybauskaitė emphasised that the American side was keen to come clean on the dispute.

“They are open to co-operation. They are open to explain,” she said. “I never seek an apology from anyone. I seek information … We don’t want to jeopardise the strategic importance of free trade.”

Pointing to the potential fallout from the disclosures about the scale ofNSA operations in Europe, Kroes, the European commissioner for digital matters, predicted that US internet providers of cloud services could suffer major business losses.

“If businesses or governments think they might be spied on, they will have less reason to trust cloud, and it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out. Why would you pay someone else to hold your commercial or other secrets if you suspect or know they are being shared against your wishes?” she said.

“It is often American providers that will miss out, because they are often the leaders in cloud services. If European cloud customers cannot trust the United States government, then maybe they won’t trust US cloud providers either. If I am right, there are multibillion-euro consequences for American companies. If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now.”

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the European commission and Grybauskaitė made clear they wanted the trade talks to go ahead as planned on Monday. France appeared to drop its objections despite previously insisting on guarantees that the espionage had been halted before the trade talks could start.

Grybauskaitė also voiced suspicions of a possible Russian role in the furore, pointing to Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, being stuck in Moscow at the same time as weekend revelations about US spying on Europe emerged in the runup to the trade talks.

She insisted that the espionage dispute should not be allowed to derail the trade talks but conceded that “some countries are very sensitive on this question.” The Lithuanian finance minister, Rimantas Šadžius, said: “The French have some problems.”

EU diplomats said ambassadors from the 28 member states engaged in “urgent and tricky” discussions on Thursday on how to proceed. While the European commission would lead the EU side on issues of data privacy, the talks on intelligence and espionage practices would need to be done by national governments.

It was not clear where Britain fitted into the picture since it is one of the biggest EU countries but has not been targeted by the NSA, unlike Germany or France, according to the reports, and the UK’s GCHQ has itself been collecting vast quantities of European internet and telephone data.

Kroes warned that US firms could be the biggest losers from the US government’s voracious appetite for information.

“Concerns about cloud security can easily push European policy-makers into putting security guarantees ahead of open markets, with consequences for American companies. Cloud has a lot of potential. But potential doesn’t count for much in an atmosphere of distrust.”