Archive | August 15, 2016

Middle-aged White Men Like Me Have no Right to Tell Women not to Wear the Burkini*

Middle-aged White Men Like Me Have no Right to Tell Women not to Wear the Burkini*

Whether the ban on this modest swimwear is truly a contemporary expression of the French tradition of secularism, I cannot know. What I do know is that it is both wrong and counterproductive

By Sean O’Grady

Middle-aged white blokes making arbitrary decisions about what young Muslim women should wear at the seaside? Banning the so-called burkini? I’m not sure about that.

I know all about the French devotion to laicite and all that, but still I really cannot understand why the mayors of two French municipalities, Cannes and Villeneuve-Loubet, have gone militant about the correct attire for frolicking in the Med.

The man in Cannes, David Lisnard, says his concern is over ostentatious religious affiliation at a time of terrorism (quite a non seqitur). The other official, Lionnel Luca, cites “sanitary” reasons – which is possibly more offensive and ludicrous.

As a fellow middle-aged white bloke, I find it somewhat troubling that two of my kind reacted in this way. Whether it is truly a contemporary expression of the French tradition of secularism I cannot know. What I do know is that it is both wrong and counterproductive.

I have no problem with middle-aged white blokes making all kinds of decisions, providing two things: first, they are there on merit and they are duly elected to make them, and second, that they keep their snouts out of other people’s private lives.

How much leg or midriff to display when a la plage is definitely up to the individual and nobody else. Is the wearing of a burkini really going to kick off some kind of public disturbance? No. Is it offensive? No. Is it some sort of in-your-face symbol of religious supremacy? Absolutely not.

Have we not all seen those grainy archive newsreels of Edwardian ladies taking the sea air in very burkini-like costumes? ‘Bathing beauties’, as they were once patronisingly labelled, stayed mostly covered up until the invention of the two-piece bikini in 1946.

So while the bikini – and nowadays often only the lower half of it – is well-established beachwear around the world, it is not in itself intrinsic to Western civilisation. Indeed, the emphasis on having to have a “beach-ready body”, so a skimpy bikini can be worn without supposed embarrassment, is something we ought to reflect on before celebrating the bikini as some sort of feminist triumph.

The fuss about the burkini is part of a wider debate about religious and cultural attire that has been going on for some time, with an unfair focus on Islam.

The niqab famously made the former Labour MP Jack Straw uncomfortable when he was conducting constituency surgeries. There are issues involving airport security. And when that stunning image from Rio 2016, of a German and an Egyptian woman playing beach volleyball, went round the world there was plenty of comment about some sort of cultural as well as sporting clash. Lately, we’ve also seen the joyous burning of the burka in liberated Syria.

I don’t know what’s worse, a burkini or a bikini

I am happy to admit that when I first encountered a woman wearing a full-on burka a few years ago, I was startled. I thought about it, in the context of the debate we’d been having, and decided that, assuming it was a free choice, it was nothing to do with me, a middle-aged white bloke. In France, however, she’d have run the risk of getting arrested.

None of us should be that worried about what other people wear. Fashion is a fascinating subject, and I could laugh all day at people in Crocs, but I wouldn’t pass a law about them. Regulating people’s clothes, aside from official uniforms, is not a good idea. The British way is tolerance.

One of the underestimated breakthrough moments for this, decades ago, was a decision by Parliament to exempt the Sikh turban from legislation on compulsory helmets for motorcyclists. That was back in 1977. In France, you still can’t get a driving licence if your photograph has you wearing a turban, and nor can a child wear a turban in school.

On the whole, the British approach is based on multiculturalism with the hope (well, my hope) that integration or assimilation can follow by choice and consent. If not, people are allowed their own ways and their own habits. In practice there’s a spectrum, with lots of people in the middle of the road, partially religiously observant, following some traditions not others, more or less comfortable with a British identity; it’s up to them.

That is a messy, pragmatic path and it throws up lots of anomalies that the courts, families, businesses and politicians have to deal with, such as the British Airways stewardess, a Christian who wanted to display her crucifix at work. That sometimes provokes a big public debate – often heated – and then we muddle though. We do not, as they do in France, pass laws prohibiting Jewish children from wearing skullcaps in state schools nor, indeed, fine women £30 for wearing a swimsuit of their choice.

The French tradition is difficult for us to comprehend. Their pejorative word for what they fear, communautarisme, doesn’t translate well into English, but it equates to promotion of separate cultures. The British call it multiculturalism, and usually celebrate it, and there lies a difference.

Sorry to be so chauvinist, but it is worth comparing the French and British cultures in this area because our countries share so many values and remain friends and partners, and yet the difference between us on this matter is so very stark. Maybe we have something to learn from each other – but I would not like to see a ban on the burkini at Brighton, Skegness or Southport.

Source*

Related Topics:

Hijab Ban Overturned on French Beaches*

Why the ‘women of ISIS’ Narrative is Dangerous*

Sexuality Beyond the Veil 

Turkey Ends Hijab Ban*

Major UK Department Store to Sell School Hijabs*

Why a Christian Woman is Wearing Hijab For Lent*

Tunisia and Syria are Both the Same to Hollande*

Over One Third of Nice Attack Victims Were Muslim*

Terror Attack in Nice: One Frenchman Speaks Out*

French Authorities Order CCTV of Nice Attack to Be Destroyed*

Nice and Munich Terror Attacks Linked To CIA and MOSSAD*

U.S and French Warplanes Massacre Civilians in Syria on Phony Pretext of Combating ISIS*

FBI Now Investigating Clinton Foundation Despite DoJ Objections*

FBI Now Investigating Clinton Foundation Despite DoJ Objections*

Having detailed Clinton-appointee Loretta Lynch’s DoJ push-back against the FBI’s Clinton Foundation probe, it seems Director Comey has decided to flex his own muscles and save face as DailyCaller reportsmultiple FBI investigations are underway involving potential corruption charges against the Clinton Foundation, according to a former senior law enforcement official.

As we previously noted, a US official has told CNN…

“At the time, three field offices were in agreement an investigation should be launched after the FBI received notification from a bank of suspicious activity from a foreigner who had donated to the Clinton Foundation, according to the official.”

FBI officials wanted to investigate whether there was a criminal conflict of interest with the State Department and the Clinton Foundation during Clinton’s tenure. “

But…

The Department of Justice had looked into allegations surrounding the foundation a year earlier after the release of the controversial book “Clinton Cash,” but found them to be unsubstantiated and there was insufficient evidence to open a case.”

As so as a result…

DOJ officials pushed back against opening a case during the meeting earlier this year.

Some also expressed concern the request seemed more political than substantive, especially given the timing of it coinciding with the investigation into the private email server and Clinton’s presidential campaign.

However, as DailyCaller reports, The FBI is undertaking multiple investigations involving potential corruption changes against The Clinton Foundation…

The investigation centres on New York City where the Clinton Foundation has its main offices, according to the former official who has direct knowledge of the activities.

Prosecutorial support will come from various U.S. Attorneys Offices — a major departure from other centralized FBI investigations.

The New York-based probe is being led by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.   

The official said involvement of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York “would be seen by agents as a positive development as prosecutors there are generally thought to be more aggressive than the career lawyers within the DOJ.”

The former official said the investigation is being coordinated between bureau field offices and FBI managers at headquarters in Washington, D.C. The unusual process would ensure senior FBI supervisors, including Director James Comey, would be kept abreast of case progress and of significant developments.

The reliance on U.S. attorneys would be a significant departure from the centralized manner in which the FBI managed the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server and email addresses.

That investigation was conducted with agents at FBI headquarters, who coordinated with the Department of Justice’s National Security Division (NSD).

While Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for Bharara, said he would “decline comment,” and FBI spokeswoman Samantha Shero said, “we do not have a comment on investigative activity,” we wonder if the unusual procedures and the tone of that comment suggests a mutinous FBI standing up to the politicized DoJ?

Source*

Related Topics:

Justice Department declined FBI Request to Investigate Clinton Foundation*

Man Who Leaked Clinton’s Medical Records Found Dead*

Soros gave Clinton step-by-step Instructions on how to Tackle Albania Unrest*

Fed and State Raid on Union IBEW and Hillary Campaign Office*

Rothschilds, Trump, Killary and the Rigged U.S. Presidential Election*

What Hillary Clinton Did To Haiti Should Scare any Voter*

Developed in Iraq, Deployed at the DNC?: Cell-Jamming Technology is Being Turned on Journalists*

Obama Puts Congress on Notice about TPP*

Obama Puts Congress on Notice about TPP*

By Adam Behsudi

NOTE: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a very high priority for President Obama. He has been saying for a long time that he wants it completed this year. If the TPP is ratified, it will set our work for economic, racial and environmental justice and peace back decades. It is critical that we prevent Congress from ratifying the TPP. Please sign up for the No Lame Duck Uprising and join the resistance. There is something that each person can do. CLICK HERE FOR THE NO LAME DUCK UPRISING.

 

The White House put Congress on notice Friday morning that it will be sending lawmakers a bill to implement President Barack Obama’s landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — a move intended to infuse new energy into efforts to ratify the flat-lining trade pact.

The move establishes a 30-day minimum before the administration can present the legislation, but the White House is unlikely to do so amid the heated rhetoric of a presidential campaign in which both major party nominees have depicted free trade deals as massive job killers.

Friday’s notification is the clearest signal yet that the White House is serious about getting Obama’s legacy trade deal — the biggest in U.S. history — passed by the end of the year, as he has vowed to do despite the misgivings of Republican leaders and the outright opposition of a majority of Democrats in Congress.

Striking a defiant tone, Obama predicted at a press conference last week that the economic centrepiece of his strategic pivot to Asia would pass in the lame-duck session, saying he’d like to sit down with lawmakers after the election to discuss the “actual facts” behind the deal, rather than toss it around like a “political football.”

“We are part of a global economy. We’re not reversing that,” Obama said, describing the necessity of international supply chains and the importance of the export sector to U.S. jobs and the economy.

“The notion that we’re going to pull that up root and branch is unrealistic.”

The notification, a new requirement of the trade promotion authority legislation Congress passed last year to expedite passage of the Asia-Pacific pact, is “meant to ensure early consultations between the administration and Congress,” Matt McAlvanah, a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, said in a statement. “As such, the draft SAA [Statement of Administrative Action] was sent today in order to continue to promote transparency and collaboration in the TPP process.”

The White House’s draft document describes the major steps the administration will take to implement any changes to U.S. law required by the deal. Those actions range from the mundane — designating an administration point of contact for communications about the pact — to the complex — setting up procedures to stop harmful surges of agricultural or textile imports.

But the deal is going nowhere until the White House addresses a number of concerns lawmakers have raised about the trade agreement, which Canada, Mexico, Japan and eight other countries joined the United States in signing last February.

First and foremost: satisfying the concerns of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and other lawmakers about protections for a new class of drugs known as biologics. They say the pact provides too short a monopoly period for rights to research and development data. Other lawmakers have complained the deal would bar tobacco companies from seeking redress through investor-state dispute arbitrage for damages resulting from country regulations. Still others are seeking assurances that member countries will abide to their commitments to provide access for U.S. pork and dairy exports.

Until these issues are resolved, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have made clear that the pact will not get the votes it needs to pass.

Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, reiterated the point on Friday.

“As Speaker Ryan has stated for months, there are problems that remain with the administration’s TPP deal, and there can be no movement before these concerns are addressed,” she said.

Democrats, meanwhile, have largely called the deal a nonstarter over concerns about the enforceability of labour and environmental standards in countries like Vietnam and the lack of strong protections against currency manipulation.

The administration claims it is making progress on these issues and has resolved others, including banking industry concerns over the exclusion of financial data from rules prohibiting countries from requiring local storage.

But that doesn’t change the reality of the down-ballot drag that candidates are facing as they campaign back home in their districts. In a reversal from years past, many Republicans are on the defensive about their support for free trade because of Donald Trump’s daily tirades about what he characterizes as the serious economic damage wrought by trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the TPP as well as his complaints that China is flouting international trade rules.

The Republican platform picked up on this theme, saying significant trade deals “should not be rushed or undertaken in a Lame Duck Congress.”

The small band of Democrats who the administration hopes will support the TPP are facing increased pressure within their own party to abandon the president on the agreement. Sens. Bernie Sanders’ and Elizabeth Warren’s strong condemnations of the trade deal have forced Hillary Clinton, who supported the TPP as Obama’s secretary of state, to reject the pact to appease the liberal wing.

“I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Clinton said during an economic policy speech at an automotive manufacturing plant in Warren, Mich., on Thursday.

“I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president.”

Clinton’s clear rejection of the trade deal has emboldened liberal groups like the Warren-aligned Progressive Change Campaign Committee to launch a campaign to press Democrats to publicly oppose a TPP vote in the lame duck.

Sanders also called on Democratic congressional leaders to go on record against the White House’s effort to get the deal done by the end of the year, saying the agreement is opposed by every trade union and the grassroots base of the Democratic Party.

“I am disappointed by the president’s decision to continue pushing forward on the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that will cost American jobs, harm the environment, increase the cost of prescription drugs and threaten our ability to protect public health,” the Vermont senator said in a statement after learning of the White House’s action on Friday.

Meanwhile, the administration continues to press the deal in key congressional districts — especially those of Democrats who supported the trade promotion authority bill last year.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell returned to her hometown of Seattle last month to tout the TPP’s potential effects on the environment at a Washington Council on International Trade event with more than 150 business leaders.

Then, last week, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker hit the San Diego and Boulder districts of Reps. Susan Davis and Jared Polis — two of the 28 House Democrats that voted for the bill — and visited a steel plant in Cleveland to promote the TPP. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew did the same when he met with local and state officials and Fortune 500 business executives in Minneapolis.

On Thursday, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Kathryn Sullivan spoke at a Seattle clean energy business roundtable focused on the TPP and the environment. And this Monday, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Robert Holleyman will participate in a World Affairs Council of Atlanta discussion on the trade deal featuring former Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss and UPS CEO David Abney.

As the political fight plays out, the nuts-and-bolts process of moving the deal forward will continue. Once Congress reviews the draft notification that the White House submitted on Friday, the administration can move forward with sending lawmakers a final statement and the draft of the implementing bill itself. The legislation will describe the actual changes to U.S. law to comply with the rules of the trade agreement.

After that, the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees could hold “mock markups” of the bill (because under trade promotion authority, Congress is not actually allowed to tinker with the agreement or its implementing legislation itself, but it can ask the administration to do so).

But given the tenor of the elections, the entire process could be pushed into a crowded lame-duck legislation session, which would mean no time for the mock markups. Instead, there could be a lot of deal-making between the White House and congressional leadership to move the bill before Clinton or Trump takes over on Jan. 20.

Obama said last week that he’s ready to press his case. “Right now, I’m president, and I’m for it. And I think I’ve got the better argument,” he said.

Source*

Related Topics:

Protest Rally Ends with a Call for Fatwa against TPPA in Malaysia*

New Zealand Police Intimidate Anti-TPP Activists in Their Homes*

The NWOs TPP Will Be Signed Today, but Congress has to Approve It*

Criminalizing Healthy Food Paves Way for TPP*

TPP Preparedness: EU Drops Pesticide Laws*

TPP Preparedness: New Bolivian Law Forces Investor Disputes to Be Settled Locally*

12 Nations Sold their Sovereignty to a Controversial TPP Deal in Atlanta*

Japan to Lift Duties Vegetables, Most Fishery Products under TPP*

Monsanto Backs Out Of Seed Plant in Argentina after Protests*

Monsanto Backs Out Of Seed Plant in Argentina after Protests*

By Brandon Turbeville

In yet another victory against the multinational corporation Monsanto in Argentina, the company has now announced that it will dismantle its multi-million dollar GMO seed plant in Malvinas.

Monsanto made the decision to give up on its seed plant after three years worth of protests from local citizens and GMO-free campaigners from all over Argentina. In 2014, activists forced to Monsanto to stop the construction of the plant by using coordinated protest techniques at the construction site.

A spokesman for Monsanto told Argentinian media organizations that Monsanto was dismantling the plant and that “the plant was designed to treat 3.5 million hectares of maize; however, last year, only 2.5 million hectares were sown.”

“An investment of almost 1500 million makes no sense.”

The spokesman was also forced to admit that the protests, local pressure, and resistance by environmentalists, anti-GMO activists and local residents was indeed part of the reason the company decided to dismantle the plant. In addition, a number of lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto over the legality of the construction permit as well as environmental impacts

Sofia Gatica, one of the main activists and leaders of the protest blockade in Malvinas told InfOGM,

It’s been almost three years that Monsanto has not been able to put a brick or a wire at
the construction site… The company is leaving the field but does not yet recognize its defeat in this battle. We talked with those who have to dismantle what remains. We remain on alert and continue blocking, waiting to see what will happen. We want the site to now be devoted to organic and sustainable agriculture

This latest defeat for Monsanto comes on the heels of a decision by the Argentine government preventing Monsanto from forcing exporters to inspect cargo to determine whether or not farmers had paid the requisite royalties to use its GMO soybeans. Argentina has been showing growing signs as of late that it is becoming more willing to stand up to the multinational food corporation.

Source*

Related Topics:

GMO Technology Brought Soaring Cancer, Birth Defects and Failing Farms to Argentina*

Argentina: Activists Brings Monsanto Plant to a Halt*

Monsanto Cutting 1,000 Jobs Facing First Annual Loss in 6 Years*

Monsanto Supplied Chemical Weapons to Israel*

Brazilian Government Ends the Use of Monsanto Pesticide Linked To Microcephaly Cases*

5 Million Nigerians Urge Government to Reject Monsanto Crops*

Burkina Faso Association Seeks $ 83mn from Monsanto over GMO Cotton Failure*

India Bows to Pressure from Monsanto over GM Cotton*

Monsanto Forced to Pay $46mn to Victims*

Monsanto Profits Drop Twenty-Five Percent Again as Farmers, Individuals Go Organic*

Seattle Joins Major US Cities to Sue Monsanto for Toxic PCB Contamination*

Gaza Man’s DIY Solar Desalination Machine can Produce 2.6 gallons of Fresh Water Daily*

Gaza Man’s DIY Solar Desalination Machine can Produce 2.6 gallons of Fresh Water Daily*

By Cat DiStasio

In the Gaza region, decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict have resulted in a severe drinking water shortage, as some 90% of the water supply is unfit for human consumption. One local man has created a solar-powered desalination device that turns undrinkable water into healthy, fresh H2O. Fayez al-Hindi’s homemade distillation setup could help save Gaza, as residents are at risk for running out of water in a matter of months, according to some news reports.

“Sunshine is readily available in our country,” the inventor says of his homemade desalination tank.

In an attempt to address the water shortage with a sustainable solution, al-Hindi built a simple distillation tank that separates clean water from pollutants and salt. The inventor’s system produces about 2.6 gallons of water daily, which is just enough for him and his family’s basic drinking and cooking needs.

Of course, many folks were concerned about how safe al-Hindi’s distilled water could be, so the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility tested the water and found that his process is working. Lab technician Mohamed Abu Shamaleh called the results “fascinating” and applauded al-Hindi for finding a way to take an old water treatment method and make it new by using solar power. Now, al-Hindi is working to help other local residents build their own distillation systems, so that more people can have easy access to safe drinking water. It will be years or perhaps decades before the region’s infrastructure is repaired, so homemade water purification systems like this one may become essential to survival for thousands of people in Gaza.

Source*

Related Topics:

Israel Cuts West Bank Water Supplies Ramadhan Heat Wave*

No Water for 45,000 Palestinians*

Another Bedouin Community Razed to the Ground, Leave Children without Water in High Temperatures*

Operation Protective Edge: Life without Water and Electricity*

Man Harvests Water for 10,000 People in Driest Part of India*

This Grandma Drives 3,500-Gallon Tank 75 Miles a Day to Bring Clean Water to Parched Navajo Nation*

Children Sexually Assaulted at E.U.’s Official Refugee Camps*

Children Sexually Assaulted at E.U.’s Official Refugee Camps*

A boy is seen in abandoned school used by volunteers for hosting families of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan in Athens.

 

Refugee children as young as seven have been sexually assaulted in official E.U. migrant camps in Greece, where children and women are said to be too afraid to go outside their tents when it’s dark, a report states, citing charities working at the venues.

The revelations were published in the Observer on Saturday.

The report takes a closer look at the Softex refugee camp, a former toilet roll factory on the outskirts of Thessaloniki in Greece that hosts some 1,400 asylum seekers from besieged Syria, of whom 170 are thought to be children, according to the news outlet’s data.

The Observer quoted a local volunteer who stated that

 “some young girls had been effectively groomed by male gangs.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he described an attack on a seven-year-old Iraqi girl, whose parents “are still in disbelief over what happened.”

“A man from one of the ‘mafia’ groups asked their seven-year-old daughter into their tent to play games on his phone and then zipped up the tent. She came back with marks on her arms and neck. Later the girl described how she was sexually abused. It has scarred a seven-year-old child for life,” he said.

The Iraqi family was reportedly later moved out of the camp and into an emergency facility.

The Softex refugee camp was built after the closure of the illegal Idomeni camp on Greece’s Macedonian border, where numerous clashes were seen between police and asylum seekers. The refugees from Idomeni were later relocated to Thessaloniki and its surrounding area by Greek authorities.

Reports of children being sexually abused in Greek refugee camps have also been heard by Anna Chiara Nava of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) in Thessaloniki.

“It’s really hard for the unaccompanied minors – 16- and 17-years-olds – to survive. It’s the survival of the fittest in there. In the evening and night, it’s impossible to find them because they are hiding in the tents.”

She added that the women are also afraid.

“They complain that during the night and evening they cannot go to the toilet alone. They have all heard of reports of others being attacked,” said Nava.

The Observer also cited Anita Dullard of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who said the organization had informed the government of a spike in sexual abuse in Greece’s refugee camps and was also keeping in touch with the U.N. concerning the issue.

In May of this year, a shocking revelation emerged concerning sexual abuse at a migrant facility in southeast Turkey, where a cleaner at the Nazip refugee camp received a 108-year prison sentence for sexually abusing over two dozen Syrian refugee boys, aged 8 to 12.

The perpetrator, identified as “Erdal E.” in the court papers, said he had been deliberately luring young boys into places with no surveillance cameras, near bathrooms and other common facilities. He would pay them around 2-5 Turkish lira ($0.70-1.70) each before assaulting them.

In June, UNICEF warned that child refugees were being subject to physical and sexual abuse and exploitation en route to Europe.

Europe is currently facing its worst refugee crisis since World War II. In 2015 alone, some 1.8 million asylum-seekers entered the European Union fleeing war and poverty in Middle-Eastern countries, according to data from the European Union border agency, Frontex.

Source*

Related Topics:

Child Abuse in Australian Detention Camp*

Sex Abuse Victim Allowed Euthanasia as mental health problems Considered ‘INCURABLE’*

Some Refugees Are Being Sold For Organs*

Syrian Refugees Protect Woman from Sexual Harassment in Germany*

130,000 Refugees Vanished after Being Registered in Germany*

Refugee Children being Raped in Calais Camp*

Oklahoma Missionary Sentenced to 40 Years for Raping Nairobi Children*

British Paedophile Who Abused Over 200 Children in Malaysia Gets Life in Prison*

Child Survivors of Nepal Earthquake Sold to Rich British Families*

English Thugs Mock and Throw Coins at Refugee Children*

Child Abuse – The Scourge of the West*

Chaos over ‘shots fired’ at JFK from a non-Existent Gunman*

Chaos over ‘shots fired’ at JFK from a non-Existent Gunman*

By Khaleda Rahman

Flights in and out of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport are back on schedule after a false gunman scare last night led to evacuations and a four-hour sweep of two terminals.

Passengers at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport were told to take cover behind ‘anything’ they could find by police on Sunday night – as unfounded reports of gunfire in Terminal 8 caused mass panic.

Every passenger was evacuated from the terminal, some onto the runway, as an army of heavily armed police moved in to hunt for an apparently non-existent gunman.

One passenger said an officer screamed: ‘If you’re forgetting anything it’s not worth your life, everyone move now!’

Flights were grounded and authorities spent four hours searching the terminal – as well as Terminal 1 – where there was also a report of gunfire.

But the scare turned out to be a false alarm, with one theory speculating that ‘cheering’ for Usain Bolt’s victory in the 100m final may have been misinterpreted as gunfire.

Police evacuated Terminals 1 and 8 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport out of an ‘abundance of caution’ following reports of gunfire

 

Police evacuated Terminal 8 around 9.30pm on Sunday as a precaution after receiving reports of shots fired near the departures area.

Officers from the New York Police Department were called in to assist with the investigation.

A short time later, police closed Terminal 1 after they said they received additional reports of shots fired in that terminal. The Van Wyck Expressway approaching the airport also was shut down.

According to the flight tracking company, FlightAware, all inbound flights were held at their origin until 11.30pm ‘due to security.’

Police later said they had evacuated Terminal 8 out of an ‘abundance of caution’ following reports of gunfire, but say investigators found no evidence of shots fired.

Port Authority police said travellers should contact their carriers and warned of a ‘substantial PAPD and NYPD presence’ at JFK and LaGuardia due to the investigation.

No one was injured during the airport scare.

A terrifying video, uploaded to social media by Barcelona-native Albert Salas, also emerged of the moment armed police stormed through the airport.

Passengers can be seen hiding behind chairs and screaming as heavily-armed police cleared the terminal.

In a statement, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said: ‘Preliminary investigation does not indicate shots were fired at JFK.

‘At this time, no gun shells or other evidence of shots fired has been found. The terminal was evacuated out of an abundance of caution.’

The NYPD Special Ops account tweeted officers ‘are clearing Terminal 1 & 8 (Departures). There is nobody shot. It appears that no shots have been fired.’

They later added: ‘All terminals searched and cleared. Negative results. All affected terminals will resume operations shortly. No shots were fired.’

The panic began after a woman coming off a plane said she thought she heard gunfire, a law enforcement official told NBC News.   

But police believe ‘cheering, clapping and banging’ from people watching the Olympic Games may have been misinterpreted as a fight and gunshots – as Jamaican Olympian Usain Bolt sprinted to victory in the 100m final shortly before 9.00pm

Demetrius Pipkin, who was inside Terminal 8 at the time, told PIX11:’We were previously told to get on the floor and take cover behind any and everything we could find.’

He said the place was a ‘madhouse’ as travellers looked for an escape, but found none.

‘When we finally were able to find exits it led to the runway, which is not necessarily the safest place either,’ he said.

By around 11pm, he said security staff were trying to reunite lost children separated from their parents during the mayhem.

Pictures posted on Twitter appeared to back up Pipkin’s comments.

Josef Pfeiffer posted a picture, captioned: ‘On a plane at #JFK and a bunch of people just ran out on the tarmac.’

Joshi Herrmann posted on Twitter that he was in the terminal about to board a flight bound for London when ‘suddenly everyone in Terminal 1 sprinted in my direction, along the corridor of gates.’

He added that he and five others hid in the cupboard of the Alitalia lounge ‘for about half an hour, or it felt like that.’

‘Outside we saw hundreds of people sprinting away from the terminal building and lying for cover behind vans. Inside it was totally quiet,’ he wrote.

‘I didn’t hear any shots, beyond the noises of people sprinting in all directions. No one I’ve spoken to says they did either.

‘That was a high grade panic.’

Armed police just came and let us out of the cupboard and led us out of Terminal 1 where tons of people are waiting.’

Dan Archer, who was in the terminal at the time, reported ‘panic’ as gates were closed at security due to a ‘possible shooter.’

‘Still not confirmed shooter police armed and patrolling we’re still in security by screening with gates locked down,’ he said on Twitter.

He added later: ‘We’re all safe, collecting belongings, been told the situation has been cleared at #jfk’

‘Police won’t say anything except “it’s not safe to stay here” as we leave terminal 8.’

Robbie Rob added: ‘Everyone is being kicked out of the terminal. Police on alert!’

Some passengers on social media reported flights due to land at JFK were being diverted without crew informing them why.

‘About to land at JFK, but pilot suddenly announces flight diverted to Buffalo! JFK apparently ‘shut-down’. No idea why,’ wrote Umang Dua on Twitter.

Laura Reddy, 28, was on a flight from Hong Kong that was due to to land at Terminal 7 at around 10.40pm.

But she told Daily Mail Online that the pilot announced that the flight would be held at the runway for at least an hour ‘due to a shortage of staff inside the airport because they had to evacuate.’
 Source*

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