||Euro Rescue of €2 Trillion ‘An Illusion’
||Greece: Athens Refuses to Buy File on Tax-Evaders
||Monti: “Growth in 2013”. Italy is No Longer a EU Problem
||Spain: Catalonia: A New Headache for the EU
||Spain: Parliament Under ‘Siege’ In Protest Against Cuts
||Spain’s Bailout Hesitation ‘Highly Risky’, Says Commissioner
||Govt. Officials Allowed Billions in Medicaid Overpayments for New York
||Meet Monsanto’s Number One Lobbyist: Barack Obama
||No Business Like Gov Business
||Obama, “The Prophet of Islam”, and Slander
||U.S. Government Celebrates Terrorist Who Craved to Nuke the U.S.
||U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High
||Hillel Neuer From U.N. Watch Speaks at University of Toronto
Europe and the EU
||Authorities Investigating Call for Terror Attacks in Germany
||France: Death Threats and New Editions Stoke Mag Row
||France: Child Pickpocket Group Arrested in Paris Raid
||French Man Falsely Convicted of Child Rape Gets €800,000
||‘Goebbels Was a Sensitive Man,’ Poems Up for Auction
||Italy: Berlusconi Would Have Been Less Bound to Merkel Than Monti
||Italy: Lazio Governor’s Resignation Amid Graft Scandal Sparks Political Crisis
||Italy: Berlusconi Denies His Party in Disarray Over Lazio Graft Scandal
||Italy: Berlusconi Denies PDL Implosion Over Lazio Scandal
||Italy: Catholic Weekly Slams ‘Squandering’ In Lazio Council
||Scotland Surfs Ahead on Marine Energy
||Study: 150,000 Bribes a Month in Bulgaria
||Switzerland Ponders a Future of Clean Money
||Two Jihadist Suspects ‘Preparing Attack’ Deported From Italy
||UK: A Study of the English Defence League: The Faith Hate Report
||UK: BBC Apology After Reporter on Radio 4 Divulges Queen’s Private Views About Hamza
||UK: Call for Inquiry Into Grooming of Girls for Sex
||UK: Cambridge’s Eco Mosque Finally Granted Permission
||UK: Hate Preacher Abu Hamza Set for Extradition as it is Revealed Queen ‘Asked if He Could be Arrested in Britain’
||UK: Muslims Appeal to Government to Help Stop ‘Blasphemy’ In Wake of Film Row
||UK: Mother’s Fury as Son’s Seventh Birthday Party at Public Pool Had Full View of Mens’ Naked Swim Session
||UK: Obsessed With Andrew Mitchell, The British Media is Neglecting the Police Story That Really Matters
||UK: Police Turned a Blind Eye to Sex Grooming Gangs for More Than a Decade, Confidential Files Reveal
||UK: Queen ‘Asked Why Britain Couldn’t Arrest Abu Hamza’
||UK: The Queen Lobbied the Government to Kick Out Abu Hamza
||UK: The EDL and Interfaith Dialogue
||UK: Terrifying Moment Masked Robbers Stormed Family’s Garden Threatening Them With Knives Before Forcing Them to Empty Safe
||UK: Why Do the Asians Hate Me? Heartbreaking Letter Victim, 13, Of Grooming Sex Gang Wrote to Herself
||Egypt: Moderate Against Islamist Constituent Assembly’s Denial of Women’s Rights
||Obama to Release One Third of Gitmo Inmates
||US ‘Ramps Up Anti-Terror Surveillance, Eyes Possible Strike’
Israel and the Palestinians
||Academia’s Judith Butler of BDS Flunks on the Facts
||Forget the Party Conferences. Think Instead About What Will Happen Here if Israel Bombs Iran
||Suicide Bombers ‘Martyrs’ According to Taxpayer-Supported Charity
||Barack Obama: US Will Not Backtrack on Middle East
||Car Bomb Explodes Near School in Hit, Iraq; 4 Killed
||Energy: Solar Power Set to Give Saudi Arabia a Green Edge
||Iran: Israel is a ‘Fake Regime’, Says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
||Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Sir Salman Rushdie ‘Still Under the Threat of Death’
||Romney Attacks Obama on ‘Bumps in the Road’
||Saudi Millions and Special Forces Expertise Turn Syria’s Rebels Into a Fighting Force
||Saudi King Launches Huge Medina Mosque Project
||Soldiers Kill Child in Syria’s Aleppo
||Turkey Blocks Access to Mohammed Video
||U.S. State Department is Going to Remove the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (Pmoi/Mek) From it List of Foreign Terrorist Organisations
||Afghanistan: US Marines Face Courts Martial Over Taliban Urination Video
||Afghanistan: The Simple School-Style Plan Sketched on a Whiteboard Taliban Used to Plot Attack on Camp Bastion
||Bomb Squad in Afghanistan Finds Baby in Roadside Package
||India: More Violence Against Christians. Governments Complicit With Hindu Nationalists
||Pakistan Minister Refuses to Step Down Over Bounty
||Two Marines Stand Trial for Urinating on Taliban’s Bodies
||China’s First Aircraft Carrier Enters Service
||China: The Foxconn Riot Shows US the Misery of Communism and the Hypocrisy of Western Liberals
||Taiwanese Vessels Add New Twist to Japan-China Row
Australia — Pacific
||Islamist Compares Perth Drunks to Sydney Rioters
||French FM Says Mali Asked for ECOWAS Troops Intervention
||Migration Fuels 4m Rise in Population of England and Wales Over the Last 10 Years
||Two Afghan Men Sentenced to Life in Prison for Greece Stabbings That Sparked Anti-Immigration Riots
||Ahmadinejad: Support to Gays? Stuff for Capitalists
||President Obama Declares the Future Must Not Belong to Practicing Christians
||Extreme Islamic Doctrine Affects All Non-Muslims
||Giant Gas Cloud Surrounds Our Milky Way Galaxy
||Global Bacon Shortage ‘Unavoidable’ Next Year, Says U.K.’s National Pig Association
||We Mustn’t Fall for the Great Illusion Again
||Where’s the ‘Freedom’ In the Freedom to Abuse?
Euro Rescue of €2 Trillion ‘An Illusion’
Germany on Monday dismissed as “completely illusory” a press report suggesting that the eurozone’s bailout fund could be leveraged up by a factor of four to around €2 trillion euros ($2.6 trillion).
A spokesman for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told a regular news briefing that the figure, reported by Der Spiegel magazine over the weekend, was unrealistic and “completely illusory.”
While there were discussions in Brussels over boosting the firepower of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), due to come into force next month with a volume of €500 billion, it would be “abstract” to discuss figures, said the spokesman, Martin Kotthaus.
“It’s not feasible” to put a precise number on the potential final amount of the fund, he said.
However, he said that the German government backed in principle the idea of leveraging the fund, which is reported to have run into opposition from Finland.
The possibility exists already for the ESM’s predecessor, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), Kotthaus recalled.
Greece: Athens Refuses to Buy File on Tax-Evaders
The Greek government has rejected an offer by an unidentified whistle-blower to buy CD discs with names of tax evaders stolen by dishonest Swiss bankers, arguing it would constitute an act of “industrial espionage”. Thus, Greece is refusing to follow the example of Germany and other countries that bought several CD discs from Swiss whistleblowers in order to recover due taxes from their citizens. Warsaw daily Rzeczpospolita notes that “it is not a secret that for many years Greeks have deposited billions of euro in Swiss accounts”. According to Swiss broker company Helvea, the amount in question could be as high as 20 billion euros. Rzeczpospolita adds that —
The Greek revenue hasn’t the slightest idea about 99% of this money. So if that sum could be taxed once Greece and Switzerland signs a tax agreement, it could provide the Greek budget with at least 4 billion euro.
An agreement currently being negotiated by Athens would provide that deposits of Greek citizens in Swiss banks be taxed between 19% and 34% (depending on their duration) with the collected taxes then being transferred to the Greek revenue office. Recently, Germany, Austria and Britain have signed similar tax treaties with Switzerland.
Monti: “Growth in 2013”. Italy is No Longer a EU Problem
(AGI) Rome — “The dramatic end” that faced Italy months ago “now appears to be more remote”.”Italy has succeeded to be taken off the list” of Countries “with problems in the EU”.
These were the words uttered by Italian Premier Mario Monti on opening the International Conference on Structural Reforms in Italy together with OECD Secretary General Jose’ Angel Gurria.
“Without the ‘Salva-Italia’ bill, we would have lost sovereignty” underscored the Premier-Professor while assuring that in the upcoming 10 years, thanks to the reforms brough about by the Government, Italy’s GDP will record an additional 4% growth. As for 2013, Monti clarified: “The year will record a growth” even if “the engine driving the economy will start off slowly, held back by the weight of the past”. The Premier also mentioned his talks with Fiat’s top-management. “They did not request the application of the exceptional wages guarantee fund or financial concessions, which wouldn’t have been accepted” he specified, calling on all the parties concerned to interpret the “result of the meeting” held 2 days ago “like a bet”.
Spain: Catalonia: A New Headache for the EU
El País Madrid
Catalonia, Spain’s wealthiest and yet most indebted region is claiming the right not to pay for a central government brought low by debt, all the while brandishing the spectre of independence under Madrid’s nose. For Brussels this microcosm version of trouble the eurozone faces is the cause of much scepticism, as well as concern.
The crises work as plotting devices: the German take on the European crisis is a morality tale, grounded in the belief that the economic fainting fit is due to the fiscal irresponsibility of sinners in the south of Europe, who must do penance. Using that erroneous script as a guide, the solutions are getting harder and harder, the mechanisms of solidarity scarcer, and the citizenry of some northern countries more suspicious.
In the south, meanwhile, an anti-German (or anti-European) mood is growing and extremists have been posting gains in many of the most recent elections. In the euro crisis, Spain is a kind of microcosm: the misunderstanding dramatised by Catalonia has odd parallels with that story of the euro.
As Brussels sees it, the direct causes of the economic problems of Catalonia lie in the deep recession following a vastly inflated housing bubble and the works of various governments over the years, and not in the more than dubious fiscal exploitation (although the funding system is imperfect and the scale of Catalonia’s taxation deficit debatable) that Catalan separatism is brandishing to justify its claims. For this reason, the EU saw this controversy coming with some perplexity, which has now metamorphosised into worries that it’s coming at the worst time of the Spanish crisis.
“More Catalonia and more Europe”
Catalonia, obviously, is not Germany. To start with, it is suffering the ravages of the recession and unemployment firsthand. In many other ways, though, the analogy is accurate. Once again, in the midst of the crisis, it is the rich North that wants to cut back on its transfers of solidarity.
Brussels is noting that debate with some unease: “Catalonia is an additional source of concern. Spain had already abundant problems, and now it turns out that one of the wealthiest communities must apply for a bailout from the State. Almost on the same day it threatens independence and proposes a mis-named fiscal pact, which ultimately proposes paying in fewer resources to the coffers of the Spanish state at a time when that the health of the public accounts is raising some doubts,” said one diplomat…
Spain: Parliament Under ‘Siege’ In Protest Against Cuts
Thousands on the street, riot police seal off building
(ANSAmed) — MADRID — Riot police have sealed off Spain’s Parliament Tuesday ahead of a demonstration against the Rajoy government’s handling of the economic crisis. The protest, which began gathering steam this morning and has been supported by over 50,000 people across Spain in a Facebook campaign, is expected to end in a symbolic ‘siege’ of congress at 18.00 in which protestors will call for Rajoy’s resignation. Activists from left wing parties, disillusioned trade-unionists, ‘indignants’ from the 15-M movement, public sector workers, academics, intellectuals and ordinary people who have been hit by the crisis plan to cordon off the Lower House during session in order to save it from ‘kidnapping by the Troika and financial markets, in collaboration with Spain’s main political parties.’ A high wire mesh erected around Parliament and the surrounding streets is being guarded by 1350 riot police who were last night deployed to the scene ahead of the protest.
La Carrera de San Jeronimo has been the scene of numerous protests at austerity cuts over the summer, including the abolition of civil servants’ ‘13th month’ pay and a VAT increase to reduce the deficit and achieve the goal of stability fixed at 6.3% this year and 4.5% in 2013.
Budget cuts totaling 40 billion euro are likely to be approved by the executive of the Partito Popolar at a Council of Ministers meeting on Thursday.
Government delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, has warned that it would be a ‘crime’ to surround Parliament. President of the Parliament, Jesus Posada reminded protestors that “Parliament is inviable’ and cannot be interrupted or suffer external pressures”.
Spain’s Bailout Hesitation ‘Highly Risky’, Says Commissioner
EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia, himself a Spaniard, has acknowledged Madrid faces a “difficult decision” in asking for another bailout. “But what’s highly risky is to maintain the uncertainty — because you can come to a time when the cost of that uncertainty is bigger than any decision,” he said.
The only religion for which liberals make excuses is the most illiberal one — Islam. While they interpret Christianity in the worst possible light — the Obama administration places Catholic and Evangelical opponents of gay marriage in the same moral category as racists — they cast Islam in the rosiest one. It is a “great religion,” pronounced Hillary Clinton last week, even as its adherents set fire to embassies and cheered the killing of U.S. diplomats and Navy Seals.
The more violence Islam produces, the more liberals insist it is “peaceful.” The cravenness would be comic were its implications not so serious. Last week self-styled Voltairean liberals, who normally gush about the glories of free speech, popped up on mindless morning shows to endorse the imprisonment of Islam’s critics. MSNBC pundit Mike Barnicle encouraged the Justice Department to round up Florida pastor Terry Jones as an “accessory” to crimes. Barnicle’s colleagues appeared untroubled by his fascistic suggestion. One even chimed in that “I was thinking the same thing.”
Due to his reflexive Islamophilia, Obama will never acknowledge Islam’s role in terrorism. Muslim terrorists have shot up a military base at Fort Hood, tried to blow up a plane over Detroit, attempted to bomb tourists in Times Square, and now killed our diplomats abroad. Meanwhile, Eric Holder refuses to let Justice Department officials identify “radical Islam” as a motive for terrorism and Obama security adviser John Brennan holds that jihad is a harmless concept of self-improvement “meaning to purify oneself or one’s community.”
Govt. Officials Allowed Billions in Medicaid Overpayments for New York
On Friday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released a new report entitled, “The Federal Government’s Failure to Prevent and End Medicaid Overpayments,” which examines outrageous abuses of federal tax dollars within the Medicaid program, specifically regarding payments made to New York State developmental centers.
The report reveals that over the past 20-years, New York State received billions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements through mismanaged overpayments, and that the overpayments are continuing. Further, the report documents that as Medicaid payment rates increased, Federal officials failed to question the rising cost or implement measures that would bring the rates in line with actual costs, according to Rep. Issa.
The Committee estimates that the state-operated facilities in New York that house and treat individuals with developmental disabilities received federal Medicaid overpayments of at least $15 billion over the past two decades.
Meet Monsanto’s Number One Lobbyist: Barack Obama
After the election, and during Obama’s term as president, people who had been working to label GMO food and warn the public of its huge dangers were shocked to the core. They saw Obama had been pulling a bait and switch.
The new president filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA:
At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center.
As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.
As commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto.
As the new Agriculture Trade Representative, who would push GMOs for export, Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist.
No Business Like Gov Business
Once upon a time, Americans were shareholders of government. Today Americans are consumers of government.
A choice between big corporations and big government is a choice of choices and no choice at all. There isn’t much good that can be said about corporations, just as there isn’t much good that can be said about any branch of the government. The difference is that you have a choice whether to deal with a corporation or not. Unless the government mandates that you buy health insurance from one of them; because most cases where people are forced to do business with a corporation is due to government regulations.
Imagine a big corporation. A really big corporation that monopolizes as much as it can and compels you to buy its low quality overpriced services and imprisons you if you refuse to pay for them whether you use them or not.
Now imagine a CEO who has no accountability, who cannot be put on trial for his actions while serving in that position, who picks and chooses which laws to follow, who breaks the law, causes thousands of deaths, lies repeatedly and wants to spend another four years doing it all over again.
Obama, “The Prophet of Islam”, and Slander
By Andrew Bostom
During his speech to the UN General Assembly yesterday (Tuesday, 9/25/12) Mr. Obama proclaimed ,
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
He rapidly cloaked this bold statement regarding Islam, alone, with a pretense of ecumenism, by adding
But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.
This latter statement rings hollow. Mr. Obama and his State Department have never condemned, let alone actively sought to preclude—in real time and with specificity—the ongoing Muslim jihadist ravages against Christians and other non-Muslims across the length and breadth of Islamdom, often perpetrated by so-called US “Muslim allies,” and/or purveyors of “moderate Islam.” Even on the domestic front, one still awaits any Obama administration commentary on the “Piss Christ” revival, an exhibit originally funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts—particularly in light of their endless condemnation of the previously marginal, amateurish video, “Innocence of Muslims .”…
U.S. Government Celebrates Terrorist Who Craved to Nuke the U.S.
Last week the Environmental Protection Agency kicked-off its celebration of “Hispanic Heritage Month” with an e-mail message featuring Che Guevara along with his famous slogan, “Hasta la Victoria Siempre.”
Let’s hope these U.S. civil servants were innocently unaware of some of Che Guevara’s other slogans:
“The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!”
“Against those hyenas [Americans] there is no option but extermination!”
“ We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies’ very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! (the U.S.)
“We must keep our hatred [against the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysm! “
“If the nuclear missiles had remained (in Cuba) we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. including New York City. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”
(Full documentation for all of the above here.)
U.S. taxpayers pay U.S. government employees to celebrate the author of the charming sentiments above. Fine. As usual only a few Americans of Cuban heritage have complained about the EPA’s “gaffe.” As usual, most of the people Che Guevara craved to incinerate view this EPA “gaffe” as silly obsession by hyper-sensitive and loudmouthed Cuban-Americans.
Since the U.S. government insists on these ethnic celebrations here’s an idea: Instead of celebrating a foreign “Hispanic” who dreamed of incinerating and entombing millions of U.S. citizens and obliterating the U.S. as a political entity, why not celebrate a U.S. citizen of Hispanic heritage who voluntarily put his life repeatedly on the line to defend the U.S.! Better still, this American of Hispanic heritage played a key role in capturing the foreign Hispanic who craved to murder millions of Americans!
EPA, meet Felix Rodriguez. Some background:
[Comments: Life story of Felix Rodriguez well worth reading.]
U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.
The record distrust in the media, based on a survey conducted Sept. 6-9, 2012, also means that negativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year. This reflects the continuation of a pattern in which negativity increases every election year compared with the year prior.
The current gap between negative and positive views — 20 percentage points — is by far the highest Gallup has recorded since it began regularly asking the question in the 1990s. Trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004 — as high as 72% when Gallup asked this question three times in the 1970s.
Hillel Neuer From U.N. Watch Speaks at University of Toronto
The U.N. Watch’s mandate as a Geneva-based non-governmental organization was to “monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter,” which seemed a reasonable premise. So I decided to hear them out.
Today I laud U.N. Watch as one of the few human rights advocacy groups that has real balls. Standing up at U.N. conferences to question mass butchers on brutality and deception is far more courageous than holding up ‘He’s Not My President’ placards about Bush in a free country. More, U.N. Watch is sometimes the only outlet that bothers reporting or drawing attention to some of the most heinous failures of leadership around the globe. It’s a mystery to me why most of the issues they highlight do not end up in “TruthDig” or Now Magazine or other leftist outlets that purport to care about human rights.
U.N. Watch believes “that even with its shortcomings, the UN remains an indispensable tool in bringing together diverse nations and cultures.” Personally, I’m not so hopeful; I will come right out and call the U.N. evil.
The level of the corruption, and the fact that its own Declaration of Human Rights is something that it treats like a joke gives me pause to say the least. The fact that it sucks up its money from the west and uses that money against the west is highway robbery.
Authorities Investigating Call for Terror Attacks in Germany
A group of Islamist extremists has called for terrorist attacks to be carried out in Germany. The letter also claims that a German plays the leading role in a video that has caused outrage in the Islamic world.
The news of the call for attacks in Germany was first reported in the Tuesday edition of the daily newspaper Die Welt.
The Hamburg-based paper reported that it had obtained the text of the document in which a German Islamist who goes by the name of Abu Assad calls on his fellow Muslims to carry out attacks in revenge for the video about the Prophet Muhammed that recently turned up on the Internet
The statement calls on Muslims to behead their enemies and film such acts “so that Germany, yes even all of Europe, knows that their criminal games will be stamped out by the sisters of Islam.”
The document, which was published on an Islamist Internet forum, which has been used by terror groups such as al Qaeda, also contains an unsubstantiated claim that the lead actor in the video is of German origin.
“Let your target be this German actor in this film, who played the role of our noble messenger,” the statement reads. “(The far-right party) Pro-NRW, who make fun of our beloved prophet in caricatures. And those politicians who supported and allowed the display of these caricatures. And those citizens who support them in this, no matter who they are.”
France: Death Threats and New Editions Stoke Mag Row
An inquiry has been launched after graffitied death threats to satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were found in the town of Albi, in the south of France, as editors reveal they will publish two versions of the paper this week: a “responsible” and an “irresponsible” one.
Graffiti daubed in blue paint on a community centre spotted by police reportedly read “death to Charlie Hebdo”, “for the prophet”, “we are going to kill you” and “death to the USA”.
Violence erupted over the cartoons of Muhammad in a sensitive area of the town on Saturday night. Police were called out at 11pm to burning vehicles and wheelie bins.
Meanwhile, editors at the magazine have revealed this week’s edition will have two copies — a “responsible” one, for those who criticised the publication of cartoons last week, and an “irresponsible” one, which will be a “normal Charlie Hebdo”.
Editor in Chief, known just as Charb, said the two copies will be written by the same staff but have completely different content. Some 100,000 copies will be published — 25,000 more than usual.
The magazine came under heavy criticism for publishing cartoons of the Muslim prophet last week. European MP Daniel Cohn-Bendit called the editors “idiots” and “masochists”, while France’s Christian Democratic party said the “put the lives of others at risk”.
Charb said: “(you will see) in the responsible edition what people like Cohn-Bendit want to read.”
France: Child Pickpocket Group Arrested in Paris Raid
French police on Tuesday raided three Roma camps in the gritty northern Paris suburbs and detained 10 people for forcing children into pickpocketing in the capital’s metro network.
The operation involved some 200 police officers who swooped into camps in the working-class districts of Aubervilliers, Stains and Saint-Denis, officials said.
Three others linked to the network were arrested in Romania, officials said.
The raids came after a probe by the children’s protection wing of the police service, launched last year, said minors were being “ill-treated and forced to beg” under the threat of violence.
Officials said dozens of cellphones stolen from passengers on underground trains were recovered in the camps. A police official said the network accounted for “75% of pickpocketings on the Paris metro.”
It was also connected to a money-laundering racket in Romania.
The French government is trying to get an estimated 15,000 Roma living in makeshift, often illegal camps to return to their countries of origin, mainly Romania and Bulgaria.
The policy of closing migrant camps and repatriating the Roma with a €300 incentive has been widely criticised. Critics have said the Roma will use the money Paris will give them to buy bus tickets back to France.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay recently expressed concern over France’s forced closures of Roma camps.
French Man Falsely Convicted of Child Rape Gets €800,000
A French court Tuesday ordered nearly €800,000 to be paid in compensation to a former farm worker who spent more than seven years in prison after being falsely convicted of child rape.
Loic Secher, 51, is only the seventh person to have a wrongful conviction overturned in France since 1945. He had been demanding €2.4 million ($3 million) in damages.
Secher had spent seven years and three months in prison after a 14-year-old girl accused him of raping her. He was sentenced in 2003 to 16 years in jail.
The alleged victim retracted her accusation in 2008 and Secher was acquitted two years later, emerging from prison in April 2010.
His lawyers said he suffered violence at the hands of his fellow prisoners and had attempted suicide.
The court in the northwestern city of Rennes also ordered Secher’s mother to be paid €50,000 in damages and awarded a sum of €30,000 to each of his three siblings.
Secher, who had consistently proclaimed his innocence, has said he felt “destroyed” and “ruined” by his time in prison.
“There can be no price put on compensation for what he went through,” said Jean-Pierre Chesne, who headed a group seeking Secher’s acquittal.
‘Goebbels Was a Sensitive Man,’ Poems Up for Auction
(AGI) Rome, September 24 — It may be difficult to believe but Joseph Goebbels wrote poems, love letters, short stories and novels. The material, which shows a previously unseen side to the character of Adolf Hitler’s head of Nazi propaganda, will be auctioned this week in Stanford, Connecticut. The value of what the auction house Alexander has called “the most significant collection of writing of the Second World War” is estimated to be between 200 and 300 thousand dollars. The short stories and other documents, says the auction house, show “the transformation of a romantic student who reads Marx and Engels” into an “anti-Semitic Nazi, the propagandist of the man who destroyed large swathes of Europe”.
Italy: Berlusconi Would Have Been Less Bound to Merkel Than Monti
(AGI) Rome, 25 Sept — Silvio Berlsuconi said that we needed both austerity and growth, but the influence of the left prevented it. “At a time when austerity had to be accompanied by growth, the left influenced the Monti government.The PD vetoes on the reform of the labour market interrupted the reforms.” The former prime minister was speaking in an interview with the Italian version of the Huffington Post.
“Compared to Monti I would have been less bound to Germany, a hegemonic country that dictates the rules of rigour and austerity to the other European countries, claiming that austerity is the way to reduce debt. But this is an illusion: public debt decreases with an increase in GDP, which means development and growth,” said the former prime minister.
Berlusconi’s idea is to abolish the IMU and cover the lost revenue with a series of tax treaties with Switzerland. “The IMU regards first and second homes with revenue split between the government and local councils, and in effect it is a property tax if we also consider the revaluation of cadastral estimates. We propose to abolish IMU on first homes. It is an intolerable tax for the Italian people, 80% of whom unlike the rest of Europe own their own home,” said Berlusconi.
Italy: Lazio Governor’s Resignation Amid Graft Scandal Sparks Political Crisis
Rome, 25 Sept. (AKI) Italy’s conservative People of Freedom party chiefs convened crisis talks on Tuesday after the Lazio regional governor Renata Polverini quit amid a major graft scandal.
Polverini, a PdL politician, was forced to resign on Monday over the alleged embezzlement and misuse of millions of euros of public funds by members of her regional government.
The allegations of the theft of funds allocated to the PdL from the public purse largely involve members of the PdL. They risk futher damaging the party and its founder and president, three-times prime minister Silvio Berlusconi,who has hinted he may seek re-election in the spring.
The PdL — Italy’s former ruling party — was hit by numerous corruption scandals while in power, and members of the Campania and Lombardy regional governments are currently being probed for the alleged misuse of public funds.
Polverini told Sky News Italia on Tuesday she had no intention of running for office again and claimed past regional administrations were also guilty of “unethical behaviour”.
In Italy, most party funds are provided by the state, supposedly to ensure a level-playing field during election campaigns.
No evidence has so far emerged to incriminate Polverini personally. She denies any wrongdoing and in her defiant resignation speech said she left office “with her head held high,” the victim of PdL in-fighting.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Berlusconi praised Polverini’s departure, saying it allowed “change”.
“We appreciate Renata Polverini’s decision. While she has done nothing immoral or illegitimate, she stepped down in order to allow a change of guard at the regional administration,” he said in the interview.
PdL secretary Angelino Alfano said Polverini’s resignation “was a highly dignified and responsible choice” and praised her record at the region’s helm.
The Lazio scandal erupted earlier this month when the PdL’s former regional chief Franco Fiorito, was placed under investigation on suspicion of transferring party funds to personal accounts abroad.
Documents seized by prosecutors indicated 750,000 euros were sent to Fiorito’s accounts in Italy and overseas and that more than a million euros were charged as “non specified” expenses.
Fiorito has offered to give back 400,000 euros after documents leaked to Italian media showed that party funds paid for a holiday in Sardinia, a BMW car and Gucci fashion items.
He has implicated other PdL members in the scandal and reportedly told prosecutors there was no way Polverini could not have known of the way the funds were being used.
Before coming under massive pressure to resign, Polverini last week announced 26 million spending cuts in the wake of the scandal, saying she wanted to usher in a new era in the government of Lazio, which includes Rome.
But at a time of recession, austerity measures and tax hikes imposed by the central government to cut Italy’s massive debt load, Italy’s regions, which control significant areas of spending including health, are under scrutiny.
Aside from expenses, members of the Lazio regional assembly earn around 13,000 euros a month, more than ten times the average salary in Italy, and twice that paid to their counterparts in the northern Lombardy region around Milan.
Almost six million euros of party funds have disappeared from the region’s coffers over the past two years since Polverini’s election, according to La Repubblica daily.
Italy: Berlusconi Denies His Party in Disarray Over Lazio Graft Scandal
Rome, 25 Sept. (AKI) Former premier Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday denied a multi-million euro embezzlement scandal that led to the Lazio governor’s resignation has routed his conservative People of Freedom (PdL) party.
“No, we have not been defeated, “ Berlusconi told journalists as he arrived at Rome’s central Termini station by train from Milan.
Renata Polverini, a PdL politician, was forced to resign on Monday over the alleged embezzlement and misuse of millions of euros of public funds by members of her regional government.
The allegations of the theft of party funds allocated to the PdL from the public purse largely involve members of the PdL.
In Italy, most party funds are provided by the state, supposedly to ensure a level-playing field during election campaigns.
The current system system of funding for Italy’s political parties needs to be scrapped, Berlusconi said in a statement later on Tuesday which blamed all the political groups in the Lazio regional council for the embezzlement scandal.
“It is necessary to repeal the system of party and caucus financing as we have known it,” the statement said, calling for the implementation of “independent controls”.
“All the groups in the Lazio regional council were jointly responsible: majority and opposition,” the statement claimed.
Perhaps ironically for a billionaire who is currently on trial in Milan for tax evasion and fraud, Berlusconi called for “strong renewal”.
“Strong renewal is needed to return to a form of politics that is a service rather than a source of individual gain,” he said.
Berlusconi, had hinted he might seek re-election in the spring. But in an interview with the Italian version of The Huffington Post said on Tuesday he would “wholeheartedly” be prepared to support another candidate to build a new centre right ahead of parliamentary elections next year.
PdL leaders were meeting in Rome on Tuesday after Polverini’s resignation. She denies wrongdoing and claims she was a victim of in-fighting in the PdL, which has long been riven by internal splits.
Italy: Berlusconi Denies PDL Implosion Over Lazio Scandal
Calls for repeal of party-funding law
(ANSA) — Rome, September 25 — Former premier Silvio Berlusconi of the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party on Tuesday denied that his party was at risk of imploding as a result of the corruption scandal that has engulfed the PdL caucus in the Lazio regional council. “No, we are not in disarray,” Berlusconi told journalists on arriving in Rome by train from Milan.
The party, long in the grips of internal splits, was shaken earlier this month by the news that Franco Fiorito, the former regional PdL party whip, had been placed under investigation for suspected embezzlement of party funds.
However in a note released later in the day Berlusconi said that responsibility for the scandal lies with the leaders of all political parties. “All the groups in the Lazio regional council were jointly responsible: majority and opposition,” he said. The former premier added that now “it is necessary to repeal the system of party and caucus financing as we have known it” and called for the implementation of “independent controls”.
He concluded by committing himself to a process of recovery “without uncertainties”: “Strong renewal is needed to return to a form of politics that is a service rather than a source of individual gain,” he said.
In an interview with the Italian version of The Huffington Post, in its first edition on Tuesday, Berlusconi said that he would be prepared to support a candidate other than himself to build a new centre right ahead of parliamentary elections next year.
Italy: Catholic Weekly Slams ‘Squandering’ In Lazio Council
Scandal ‘offends poor,’ says Famiglia Cristiana
(ANSA) — Rome, September 25 — A corruption scandal that has engulfed the Lazio regional council is an “indecent squandering of resources that offends the poor, the unemployed and young people without work”, Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana said in an editorial on Tuesday. On Monday Lazio governor Renata Polverini of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party resigned and said she would “expose” misuse of party financing. “From today on I can say everything I have seen,” said Polverini at a press conference.
The scandal exploded after Franco Fiorito, the PdL’s former regional chief, was placed under investigation this month for suspected embezzlement of party funds.
Investigators are looking at around 800,000 euros of financial transactions linked to Fiorito.
“It cries for revenge in the eyes of God,” said the Famiglia Cristiana editorial, which likened the council to a “pigsty”.
“Those going into politics must take a loss, not make gains.
“It is already a huge honour to serve the country. And after one or two mandates they (the politicians) must all return to their former occupations”. photo: Franco Fiorito.
Scotland Surfs Ahead on Marine Energy
The idea of harnessing the power of the waves to produce electricity is not new, but now this renewable energy source is finally making a breakthrough. Pioneers are feeding wave power into the grid off Scotland’s coast.
Beneath the cliffs at Billia Croo on the Scottish island of Orkney, a number of unusual devices are being tested as energy producers. A yellow object, for example, bobs on the sea and serves as the tip of a hydroelectric wave energy converter. At a depth of fifteen meters (49 feet), a large platform is attached to the seabed, bearing a flap that moves up and down with the waves.
This device pumps water at high pressure to shore, where it produces electricity for the grid with the help of a turbine. It’s called the “Oyster” and was developed by Aquamarine Power, a Scottish company headquartered in Edinburgh.
Study: 150,000 Bribes a Month in Bulgaria
Corruption in Bulgaria is two to three times higher than the EU average, with some 150,000 bribes paid out every month, a report of the Sofia-based Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) said Monday. Meanwhile, due to “impunity” of politicians, the country has no proven political corruption to date.
Switzerland Ponders a Future of Clean Money
The end of Switzerland’s famous banking secrecy seems inevitable as US and German authorities crack down on tax evaders. Many Swiss are asking themselves whether their prosperity will survive if the country abandons its status as a tax haven. But some academics argue that the importance of the banking sector has been wildly exaggerated.
Jean Ziegler steps onto the veranda behind his house. It’s a warm day in late summer. He points to the hilly landscape on the other side of the Rhône River, to France, where Mont Blanc is visible in the distance. “That’s where Switzerland finally comes to an end,” says Ziegler. It’s the kind of joke you would expect of Ziegler, a man notorious for never sparing his own country.
No one else is as well known for his moral criticism of Switzerland. Ziegler is 78, and until a few years ago he traveled the world as a United Nations special rapporteur. The fight against hunger and against Swiss banks has shaped his life. Has nothing changed in the last 20 years? “No, the banditry of the banks is in full swing!” he says energetically. His wife is about to serve a meal of Wiener schnitzel accompanied by white wine.
A search for answers about Switzerland begins in Ziegler’s garden in Russin, a wine-growing municipality near Geneva. Where does the country’s wealth come from? How much of it is due to Switzerland’s tradition of banking secrecy, and for how much longer will it exist? And what happens to Switzerland when that secrecy is gone?
This Wednesday, the finance committee of the German parliament, the Bundestag, will continue a public hearing on Berlin’s tax treaty with Switzerland. Under the agreement, the money held by German citizens in Swiss banks would be taxed retroactively, while allowing the account holders to remain anonymous. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble estimates that the change will bring in about €10 billion ($12.9 billion) in tax revenues.
Two Jihadist Suspects ‘Preparing Attack’ Deported From Italy
Libyans wanted revenge for blasphemous film
(ANSA) — Rome, September 25 — Two suspected Libyan jihad militants who were thought to have been trying to prepare attacks on Western targets have been deported from Italy, authorities in Rome said Tuesday.
The unnamed men, aged 26 and 28, are believed to have wanted to stage a revenge attack for an American-produced film that allegedly ridicules Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.
The film sparked a wave of violence in the Muslim world and the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other State Department employees were killed in an attack by Islamist extremists in Benghazi earlier this month. The deported men are thought to have links to Salafi militia operating in Libya.
They had been in Rome for a number of months for treatment on injuries sustained in the civil war that led to the end of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime last year and they were staying at hotels in the capital.
Investigators said that “they had started activities of proselytism and propaganda for the jihad in the Libyan community to obtain material to carry out attacks against Western interests”.
The investigators said the pair came under suspicion because of the “radical nature of their behaviour”, above all with fellow Libyans.
UK: A Study of the English Defence League: The Faith Hate Report
What Draws People of Faith to Right Wing Organisations & What Effects Does the EDL Have on Interfaith Relations?
Key findings of the report include:
- EDL attempts to recruit among faith communities
- Christian leaders should publicly stand up to EDL
- UK government should examine group’s international funding
- Jewish Defence League should be banned
Christian organisations should be doing far more to combat the appeal of far-right groups such as the English Defence League (EDL), according to counter-extremism organisation, Faith Matters. The comments from Faith Matters coincides with the launch of research into the appeal of the EDL among faith communities, particularly among a small element of Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu figures. “Christian institutions on a national level have not been robust in condemning the EDL,” said Faith Matters’ director, Fiyaz Mughal OBE. “There is no national voice from the Church of England for example, universally condemning the actions of the EDL despite the fact the EDL disrupts and attempts to divide Christian and Muslim communities. Why?”
UK: BBC Apology After Reporter on Radio 4 Divulges Queen’s Private Views About Hamza
BBC bosses yesterday made an extraordinary public apology to the Queen after revealing her distress at the authorities’ lack of action against Abu Hamza for ‘denigrating’ her country.
The Corporation said it had been guilty of a ‘breach of confidence’ by reporting the remarkable details of a conversation she had with its security correspondent Frank Gardner at a military dinner.
Gardner, who has an OBE, disclosed live on air that the Queen had told him of her frustration that the hate preacher had been left free to ‘use this country as a platform for his very violent, hateful views’.
He claimed she had even intervened to raise the issue with a government minister.
UK: Call for Inquiry Into Grooming of Girls for Sex
An MP has demanded an inquiry into claims of widespread sexual exploitation of vulnerable girls in Yorkshire. The call by Rotherham’s Denis MacShane comes after shocking details emerged of grooming and trafficking of girls by groups of men in South Yorkshire. Confidential police and social services reports focusing on Rotherham, obtained by The Times, reveal a highly-disturbing series of abuse cases committed mainly by Asian men against vulnerable white girls dating back more than a decade. One report in 2010 warned that thousands of such crimes were committed by organised networks of abusers in South Yorkshire each year. The spotlight fell on Rotherham in 2010 when five men, described by a judge as “sexual predators”, were given lengthy jail terms after they were found guilty of grooming teenage girls for sex. The murder of 17-year-old Laura Wilson in 2010 by her boyfriend also raised questions about the sexual exploitation of teenagers in the town.
Yesterday Mr MacShane demanded an inquiry into the extent of the problem which he claimed had been “kept secret” from MPs by police. “The sexual violation and commercial exploitation of young girls by older men is a growing problem and needs far more public policy attention,” he said. Ash Chand, minority ethnic lead for the NSPCC, said it was deeply concerned by the allegations. “If correct, these show a systemic failure to act in the interests of young and vulnerable victims of sex crimes,” he said. “These failures left hundreds of vulnerable young girls at risk and allowed many of their abusers to continue to act with impunity for years. It seems that cultural sensitivities, and a view that some of these girls were simply rebellious teenagers, created a total failure to act. The NSPCC backs calls by the children’s commissioner to make one body responsible for all the local intelligence on the victims and perpetrators of grooming to ensure that these cases are viewed as part of a bigger picture and not as isolated incidents.”
In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said it was “leading the way” on the issue and branded claims it was deliberately withholding information as a “gross distortion”. It was working on several investigations, two of which were large and likely to lead to more prosecutions but saving children from exploitation remained the top priority. It added: “These cases are massively complex and need long and painstaking investigative work and obtaining the evidence necessary from young and vulnerable girls can be extremely difficult.”
Coun Paul Lakin, cabinet member for services for children, young people and families in Rotherham, said: “There is no question that we will do whatever we can to protect our young people from harm in whatever form that threat takes. The council has already acknowledged publicly that there have been lessons learnt from previous work, cases and investigations and that the support offered to a small number of vulnerable young people has not always reached the high standards we always look to provide. Sexual predators do come from different sections of the community and are criminals who need to be brought to justice regardless of their background.”
[JP note: There should be an inquiry followed by prosecutions of people such as Paul Lakin and his ilk. They should expect lengthy prison sentences for their crimes of multiculturalism.]
UK: Cambridge’s Eco Mosque Finally Granted Permission
Back in 2010, we reported that the Cambridge Muslim community was planning to build Europe’s first eco mosque which would minimise carbon emissions and maximise the role faith has to play in environmental protection. Years on and the plans which were drawn up by Marks Barfield Architects have finally been approved. The mosque committee is now in fundraising mode and has already raised 19% of the money needed to build the mosque — or as they put it, 67,832 of the 350,000 bricks needed to construct the mosque have been paid for.
The Muslim Academic Trust, the UK charity promoting the new mosque development said they were delighted that their plans had been approved. “This is wonderful news for Cambridge,” said Tim Winter, Chair of the Trust, who has been leading the project since the site was bought in April 2008. “Cambridge is one of Britain’s great international cities, welcoming thousands of overseas students and academics every year, many of them of Muslim heritage. It’s tragic that there is still no significant purpose-built mosque to accommodate this community… Now a solution is in sight.”
[JP note: Mosque go green.]
UK: Hate Preacher Abu Hamza Set for Extradition as it is Revealed Queen ‘Asked if He Could be Arrested in Britain’
Radical clerical Abu Hamza was today preparing to be extradited to the United States after an eight-year legal battle which has cost an estimated £4 million. The hook-handed preacher and four other terror suspects are due to leave the UK for a high-security prison in the US within weeks after Europe’s most senior human rights judges last night rejected a last-chance appeal bid. The decision was today welcomed by the Home Office but the eight-year struggle has left taxpayers with a bill running into millions of pounds. Welfare benefits, housing, NHS treatment, trials, legal appeals and incarceration, have cost at least £3.5 million for Hamza alone. A Home Office spokesman said the four would be handed over to the US authorities “as quickly as possible”.
Labour MP Keith Vaz, who chairs the Home Affairs Select Committee, added: “I think we’ve been waiting a very long time for Abu Hamza to be extradited. He went to the European Court and he tried to delay matters but now the decision has been taken so this clears the way for the Home Office to take action as quickly as possible against him.” Hamza was arrested in 2004 and jailed for seven years for soliciting to murder and inciting racial hatred. He has been fighting extradition ever since, accused of planning to set up a terror training camp in Oregon…
UK: Muslims Appeal to Government to Help Stop ‘Blasphemy’ In Wake of Film Row
by Katie Griffiths, T&A
Muslim faith leaders in Bradford angered by a film insulting their Prophet Muhammed are to lobby the Government for a new law to protect all religions from blasphemy. About 80 senior Muslim leaders and representatives from the city’s mosques turned out to an emergency meeting called last night by the Council For Mosques. Council for Mosques chief executive Mohammed Saleem Khan said the meeting at the Khidmat Centre in Lidget Green was the result of “all the hurt” and strength of feeling shown by the Muslim community since the 14-minute video made by the Coptic Church in America was made public. After it was screened on YouTube thousands of people protested against it across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. The video is still on-line despite the White House asking YouTube to consider whether the film breaches its own guidelines. Those against the video say it ridicules and abuses Islam depicting it as a religion of violence and hate and that it attacks the Prophet of Islam.
Mr Saleem Khan: “The response was so emotional, so big that we had to call the meeting. We need to show the strength of feeling and how hurt we are by this. One of the outcomes of the meeting was that there needs to be a protest of some kind and also that we must set up a steering group, a kind of working party, to write to the Government, to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and to the Minister of Communities and call for some kind of law that will protect the basic human right all religions have to be respected. For many people their faith is their life. We will also be writing to Bishops to the Sikh and Hindu faiths and to others asking them to join us in a joint call for this protection from blasphemey. We must work together on this.” Before the meeting, the Council for Mosque’s President Hafiz Mohammed Mushtaq said: “There is a growth of anger among the rank and file of the British community that these types of unprovoked attacks on the Islamic faith have become only too regular. There seems to be a concerted effort in the West to ridicule and abuse Islam and its followers. This is a worrying trend.”
[JP note: Hopefully, this appeal will fall on deaf ears. And the journalist, Kathie Griffiths, should be barred from her profession for a long time — “made by the Coptic Church in America” indeed.]
UK: Mother’s Fury as Son’s Seventh Birthday Party at Public Pool Had Full View of Mens’ Naked Swim Session
[WARNING: Disturbing content.]
A mother has spoken of her horror after a group of naturists turned up at her son’s seventh birthday party at a public swimming pool.
A group of around 20 nude men began a swimming session at Radcliffe Pool and Fitness Centre in Greater Manchester in plain view of children who were eating in the canteen.
Staff had taped bin bags and paper to the windows in attempt to keep the naturist party from view.
But the boy’s shocked mother said she and other parents had to stand in front of cracks and at the balcony to make sure children didn’t see them.
The mix-up came after bosses at the pool accepted their first-ever booking by the men’s naturist group.
Council chiefs admitted they had ‘overlooked’ the clash between the bookings.
UK: Obsessed With Andrew Mitchell, The British Media is Neglecting the Police Story That Really Matters
The Hon Shane Stone AC QC is a former (Australian) Attorney General, Police Minister and barrister who specialised in the criminal jurisdiction — defence and prosecutions…
[JP note: Not to worry, The Learned Shane is not referring to the South Yorkshire Police child sex scandal.]
UK: Police Turned a Blind Eye to Sex Grooming Gangs for More Than a Decade, Confidential Files Reveal
[WARNING: Disturbing content.]
Police turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse of white girls by gangs of largely Pakistani men for more than a decade, it was claimed yesterday.
Research, reports and case files also revealed that council officials were desperate to cover up any racial link to the abuse of young girls.
The research shows that a string of warnings dating back as far as 2000 were ignored by the authorities. In many cases, police action was taken only against the victims.
Among the alleged crimes for which no one was prosecuted were:
- A 14-year-old girl being forced to perform sex acts on five men — four Pakistanis and an Iraqi Kurd asylum seeker;
- A British Pakistani man was found in a car with a bottle of vodka and a 12-year-old. Both were arrested on suspicion of stealing the car. Police also found pornographic images of the girl on the 22-year-old’s phone;
- A 14-year-old girl missing for a week was found under the influence of drugs in a car with a man 20 years older. They had had sex but he was arrested only for drug possession;
- A 13-year-old girl was found drunk at 3am in a derelict house with a ‘large group of adult males’ who had plied her with vodka. She was arrested for a public order offence while the men walked away.
According to previously confidential documents seen by The Times, police in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, found evidence of thousands of similar crimes and described ‘networks of Asian males exploiting young white females’.
The groups were reported to have trafficked victims to cities including Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham.
Despite this, just two prosecutions of groups of men for sexual abuse have taken place in South Yorkshire since 1996.
The revelations come only three months after it emerged that social services in Rotherham had known for six years that a teenage mother, murdered for bringing shame on the families of two men who had used her for sex, was at clear risk from predatory gangs.
Laura Wilson, 17, had been groomed by a string of men before she was stabbed and thrown into a canal to die for informing her abusers’ families of the sexual relationships.
UK: Queen ‘Asked Why Britain Couldn’t Arrest Abu Hamza’
The Queen personally intervened to ask why the British authorities had not arrested Abu Hamza, the radical cleric, it was claimed today.
She was so “upset” about the Islamist extremist being allowed to preach his message of hate in the UK that she asked a former Home Secretary to explain why he was still at large, the BBC’s respected security correspondent Frank Gardner said. Hamza and four other terrorism suspects are facing extradition to America within days after they had their case against removal from Britain thrown out by the European Court of Human Rights yesterday. Mr Gardner revealed today that the Queen told him of her frustration at Hamza remaining at liberty in Britain before he was charged with offences under the Terrorism Act in October 2004. “The Queen was pretty upset that there was no way to arrest him. She couldn’t understand — surely there must be some law that he broke,” the BBC correspondent told Radio 4’s Today programme. “Well, sure enough there was. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to seven years for soliciting murder and racial hatred.”
UK: The Queen Lobbied the Government to Kick Out Abu Hamza
THE Queen asked the UK government why radical cleric Abu Hamza could not be arrested, it was reported today.
The decision was finally made to kick ranting Hamza out yesterday after European judges rejected his appeal against deportation. And BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner revealed this morning that the Queen had lobbied for Hamza to be deported before he was charged with offences under the Terrorism Act in October 2004. Mr Gardner told BBC Radio 4 this morning: “The Queen was pretty upset that there was no way to arrest Abu Hamza.” He said she told the then Home Secretary that “surely this man must have broken some laws. Why is he still at large?” The Queen’s request came at the same time as The Sun’s campaign to put Hamza behind bars.
UK: The EDL and Interfaith Dialogue
by Sarah AB
Faith Matters has prepared a report analysing the reasons why members of different faith groups might be drawn to the EDL and exploring the effects the EDL is having on different communities and on interfaith dialogue.
One issue which emerges right at the beginning of the report is the slipperiness of the terms used in these debates, the difficulty of pinning down parameters. Trevor Kelway from Casuals United is quoted explaining what his own beef is:
‘ … we would march alongside Muslims and Jews who are against militant Islam…they can join the EDL as long as they accept an English way of life. It is the people who threaten with bombs and violence and threaten and bomb our troops — they don’t belong here’.
Now — although I probably wouldn’t say ‘they don’t belong here’, I’d actually go much further than Kelway, in a sense, because I think there are people and groups who are problematic even though they don’t threaten violence. The way Kelway refers to Jews in that sentence is — interesting. Why the need to make a big deal of being prepared to march alongside Jews as though, bizarrely, Jews were likely to be fans of militant Islam? I think someone’s mask just slipped a bit. The EDL is of course made up of many different individuals whose motivations and views may vary substantially. This report cautions against simply demonising the EDL
[Reader comment by david on 24 September 2012 at 10:45 am.]
Didn’t Muslim terrorists try to blow up the EDL? So they must have struck a cord. And why are you on the side of Muslim terrorists.
[Reader comment by Adrian Morgan on 24 September 2012 at 11:24 am.]
I am just wondering, Sarah. As you seem to be writing quite a lot about the EDL, but are filtering what you think they might or might not be thinking through the lens of the openly biased articles of Nick Lowles (and, it appears other non-EDL sources) — may I make a suggestion? You do as I did in September 2009, with a set of questions, and then email those to leading figures in the EDL and related groups, and then publish the answers ATL [Above the Line] on Harry’s Place? The results of my survey, and responses, can be read and here, here, here and here.
Because I am sorry to say that your “soppy end of the political spectrum” (your words) perspectives on such emotive and highly charged issues as the EDL are not objective at all.
I am not saying you should agree or disagree with them. But journalistically you are actually presenting a pile of nothinglessness masquerading as fact [my emphasis]. If you have access to the original sources, and I am sure that can be done quite easily, then please go to the original sources, not through a person (Nick Lowles) who has previously deliberately dissembled in his accounts of the EDL, for his own political reasons. You can add your own spin/bias to the facts, but I think that as a writer on facts you are being preposterous by continually relying on biased sources (Loonwatch, Nick Lowles and HnH) for your information. Go to the source, please, or just write about Judge Dredd or what you saw on TV. At least that sort of writing would be based upon direct experience, and not reassambled second-hand scraps.
I would offer to write such a post for you ATL, freshly sourced, of course, but as is so obviously clear, I am not “of the right sort’ (i.e. you do not agree with everything I say, and others ATL are biased against me) to be able to write ATL here….
[JP note: Sarab AB, it would appear, carries water for Islam.]
UK: Terrifying Moment Masked Robbers Stormed Family’s Garden Threatening Them With Knives Before Forcing Them to Empty Safe
These shocking images show the terrifying moment when a family were confronted by knife wielding thugs who stole cash and valuables.
Two thieves, wearing scarves and masks to cover their faces, entered the back garden of the property in Doncaster, South Yorkshire while a 44-year-old man, his wife and three children were innocently enjoying the last few days of summer.
The father immediately confronted the men who threatened his children before forcing the family into the house and making them empty the safe.
UK: Why Do the Asians Hate Me? Heartbreaking Letter Victim, 13, Of Grooming Sex Gang Wrote to Herself
[WARNING: Disturbing content.]
A 13-year-old girl who told police how she had been groomed and raped by an Asian sex gang wrote a harrowing letter to herself at the age of 14.
In the letter addressed to her alter-ego Michelle, she wrote, ‘I feel like the asians really hate me even when they say they love me’.
The girl, who told police about the rape that took her virginity and the time five men queued outside a bedroom to demand sex from her, added, ‘They took all my dreams and my life away from me.’
In a three hour interview with South Yorkshire Police in 2003, the girl, at the time 13, told of the hellish ordeal of how she was ensnared to two police officers.
Six months later, at the age of 14, Amy, a name used to protect her identity, from a village near Rotherham, was interviewed again for two hours, which was filmed and captured.
Egypt: Moderate Against Islamist Constituent Assembly’s Denial of Women’s Rights
They point the finger at Article 36 of the draft constitution, which the constituent assembly adopted a few days ago. The article recognises the equality between men and women as long as they conform to Islamic precepts. Freedom of the press, expression and scientific research would also be restricted under the new constitution. Pro-democracy parties want an alternative proposal for people to vote on.
Cairo (AsiaNews) — Egypt’s Islamist-dominated constituent assembly is drafting a constitution that undermines women’s rights, limits press freedom and freedom to demonstrate as well as subordinates fundamental rights to Islamic precepts. In recent weeks, Egyptian intellectuals and representatives of moderate parties have presented petitions and appeals to reform the assembly, saying it was unrepresentative of Egyptian society.
Article 36 of the draft constitution (on rights and duties) has especially raised concerns since it states that the state will “ensure equality of women with men in all walks of political, cultural, economic and social life, without contradicting the precepts of Islamic Law.”
Wording that refers to Islamic precepts worries moderate forces because it could be the first step to making Sharia a point of reference for the constitution.
Last Sunday, four moderate parties, including the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Popular Socialist Coalition, and Free Egyptians party as well as various women’s groups issued a statement. In it, they noted that such unclear wording “endangers the democracy that everyone aspired for and sacrificed for.” Likewise, they stress that the decades-old struggle by Egyptian women for equal rights with men cannot be erased by a group that does not represent the entire people.
The statement went on to say that a constitutional referendum should not be put up to a single yes-or-no vote, but should rather be voted upon section-by-section. It added that the approval rate for amendments to pass should also be raised to 75 per cent, and that public debate on the constitution should be increased beyond the 15 days currently planned after the draft constitution is completed.
The new proposal concerning freedom of the press has also raised eyebrows. Under the draft constitution, national media would be under the authority of the Supreme Council of the Press in the Shura Council, which will remain under the control of the majority party. Thus, it will not be an independent body.
Overall, not much would change from the Mubarak regime, the one main difference being the possibility of launching newspapers by private citizens.
Under the proposed draft, the right to demonstrate and hold sit-ins would also be subject to parliamentary approval.
Islamists are accused of limited artistic freedom as well. They have removed “Literary, artistic and cultural creativity is the right of every citizen” from the ‘Freedoms and Rights’ section in favour of ‘Freedom of creativity,’ without adequately outlining its meaning.
The Islamist majority also removed the article on the freedom of scientific research, by placing it in the section on ‘basic components’ of state and society, thereby restricting science to universities and other public research facilities.
“This is a critical phase,” said Mohamed Salmawy, head of the Egyptian Writers Union, at a conference.
For him, “Now that a new regime is stabilising, there is a risk that the new constitution will be formulated by only one section of society. [. .. .] Winning a parliamentary majority gave the [Islamists] some authority, but not the right to exclude others from writing the national charter,” Salmawy noted.
In order to create a broad coalition of moderate parties and intellectuals against the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, Bahieddin Hassan, head of the Cairo Centre for Human Rights, urges a rethink of how the current assembly was drawn up.
“The [current] draft constitution jeopardises Egypt’s unity,” Hassan explained. “It also compromises equality and goes so far as to exclude faiths other than Sunni Islam.”
In August, the constituent assembly announced that a first draft proposal for the constitution would be ready by the end of September.
Sources tell AsiaNews that the legality of the assembly might be challenged in the Supreme Court following the dissolution by the same court of the Islamist-dominated parliament because it was elected according to an electoral law that violated the provisional constitution. (S.C.)
Obama to Release One Third of Gitmo Inmates
President Barack Obama is about to release or transfer 55 Gitmo prisoners, despite reports that the Libyan believed to be behind the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens was a former Guantanamo inmate transferred to Libyan custody.
The large percentage of those scheduled to be released are Yemeni, according to a list made public by the Obama administration.
For nine days, the Obama administration made a case that virtually everyone understood was untrue: that the killing of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, was a random, spontaneous act of individuals upset about an online video — an unpredictable attack on a well-protected compound that had nothing do to with the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.
These claims were wrong. Every one of them. But the White House pushed them hard…
Intelligence officials understood immediately that the attacks took place on 9/11 for a reason. The ambassador, in a country that faces a growing al Qaeda threat, had virtually no security. The two contractors killed in the attacks were not part of the ambassador’s security detail, and there were not, in fact, “many other colleagues” working security with them.
The nature of the attack itself, a four-hour battle that took place in two waves, indicated some level of planning. “The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous,” Libyan president Mohammad el-Megarif told National Public Radio.
US ‘Ramps Up Anti-Terror Surveillance, Eyes Possible Strike’
Rome, 25 Sept. (AKI) — The United States has been intensifying its surveillance operations in North Africa ahead of a possible ‘surgical strike against hardline Islamic militants in the region, well-placed US military sources told Adnkronos International (AKI).
The surveillance operations include Libya and Mali and are aimed at pinpointing Salafite groups and Al-Qaeda cells, the sources in the US special forces told AKI.
Italy is not playing an active role in the operations but medical teams giving assistance to US forces carrying out any possible strike may be allowed to use an airbase in Sicily, according to the sources. Nato is not involved.
The administration of US president Barack Obama view areas of the North Africa region as a ‘no-man’s land’ that poses a threat to security.
Academia’s Judith Butler of BDS Flunks on the Facts
American academic Judith Butler, who took part in a panel debate in Berlin’s Jewish Museum last weekend on whether Zionism “belongs to Judaism”, is the doyenne of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement. In a new set of essays, Parting Ways, Butler, who is Jewish, argues for a one state solution for Israel-Palestine. With many on the Israeli and Palestinian sides pessimistic about the chances of a viable two state solution, there is a growing debate about one state. Reality in Israel and the West Bank indicates that a one state solution would be the end of Israel. But for Butler and other BDS activists, a rejection of Zionism is the strategy, regardless of facts on the ground. Just as a starter, since Butler consistently defines Israel as a “settler” or “coloniser state” and the Palestinians as the “indigenous” population, how does she expect to build a cohesive, rational bi-national state that respects the two claims to one land?
Forget the Party Conferences. Think Instead About What Will Happen Here if Israel Bombs Iran
by Paul Goodman
Cameron is worried that Israel may attack Iran…
I returned from Israel and Palestine recently, but in one sense didn’t need to go. For although much of the conversation there was about Iran’s nuclear programme and Israeli military action, the most vivid news about it broke back in Britain. The Daily Mail reported that John Sawers, the head of MI6, had made his own recent trip to Israel — to plead with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, not to order a strike on Iran. “David Cameron,” the paper reported, “is understood to have become increasingly concerned at the rhetoric from the authorities in Israel, who have been threatening unilateral military action to halt Iran’s nuclear drive”.
Unlike, say, the Times, the Mail isn’t especially interested in security stories, and this fact plus the detail above suggests that the tale came from a political source. The Mail also said that the prospect of an attack “has been discussed by the Government’s national security council”, before turning to the Netanyahu Government perhaps launching an attack “before the US presidential elections in November, while the leadership in Washington is in a state of limbo”. (The paper might have added, as a domestic detail, “possibly during the party conference season”)…
What would happen in Britain if the middle east flared up further?
How would Britain’s (largely Sunni) Muslims react, and what would be consequences for Britain’s Jewish communities? What would Ed Miliband do — especially if fault lines appeared in the Coalition that Labour could exploit? Could the Straits of Hormuz run through the Prime Minister’s office, as Clarissa Eden said of the Suez canal during the Suez crisis? Above all, how should the Government respond to any Israeli strike? My thinking on all these questions has been challenged by reading David Patrikarakos’s recently-published “Nuclear Iran”.
Mr Patrikarakos provides an account of Iran’s nuclear quest that is both detailed and gripping — a challenge given the technical nature of the subject. He has interviewed several of the country’s key players, and is not unsympathetic to its position. He points out that the non-proliferation treaty (which Iran has signed) is tough on non-members of the nuclear club, that the country has nuclear neighbours — India and Israel both have the bomb — and that America treats nuclear-armed countries with respect, not hostility, however unstable they may be (consider Pakistan).
We cannot put boots on the ground, but nor should we sit on our hands
However, he draws a distinction between Iran and its government: “if the spectre of a possible attack on Iran is deeply troubling,” he writes, “the spectre of a nuclear-armed Iran would be even worse”. It would “more than likely” trigger a regional arms race, which Israel’s possesson of nuclear weapons has not. The logic of mutual assured destruction just about held during the Cold War. But would it prevail if more middle eastern states, vulnerable to religious fanaticism and having obscure chains of command, built or gained nuclear weapons?
The threat of maniacs exploding a dirty bomb in London is remote but real. Britain cannot afford to fight another major war abroad. But that we cannot put “boots on the ground” is no reason to sit on our hands. If war flares in the middle east, the best course the Government could take is to try to keep our troops out of it and maintain the international diplomatic pressure on Iran. This would be difficult, since Russia and China’s support for sanctions would probably collapse. But we must play our part in trying to stop the middle east going nuclear.
Suicide Bombers ‘Martyrs’ According to Taxpayer-Supported Charity
by Sam Westrop
The Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA) was founded in 2004. CADFA claims to “promote awareness about the human rights situation in Abu Dis” (a village in the West Bank) through “friendship links and twinning”. In reality, CADFA is a highly-politicised organisation that uses human rights as a facade to shield its apologism for terror and vicious anti-Israel sentiment. For many years now, far-Left groups have adopted humanitarian fronts in order to legitimise their hard-line anti-Israel sentiment. Those who follow the machinations of the anti-Israel networks have watched as groups hijack interfaith dialogue, anti-war, anti-fascism, among others. The ‘twinning’ of education establishments is yet another victim of such exploitation — in particular, schools and universities.
In lobbying for twinning initiatives, anti-Israel groups claim an interest in the mutual exchange of ideas, and express solidarity with those trying to claim an education in areas of conflict. But twinning schools and universities with their counterparts in the Palestinian territories has allowed extremist groups to legitimise their anti-Israel rhetoric, and gives them the chance to indoctrinate the students of twinned establishments with visceral anti-Israel propaganda. CADFA is a charity, and runs a number of exchange programmes between schools in London and Abu Dis. It also runs ‘urgent action’ campaigns, and releases regular ‘updates’ about the ‘human rights situation’ in Abu Dis.
In 2009, Jon Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Jewish Board of Deputies, wrote to Hampstead School to express his concern at a CADFA-organised event. One anti-Israel activist, brought over by CADFA, had repeatedly warned children of the “Jewish soldiers” who he claimed were persecuting him. Benjamin described CADFA’s activism as a “one-sided, partisan political campaign”. London Mayor Boris Johnson also condemned the incident, noting: “I don’t think it is right that London schoolchildren should face any kind of prejudice or any kind of upset in their life as a result of the attempt to import into London schools the politics and the political disputes of the Middle East.”
Barack Obama: US Will Not Backtrack on Middle East
Barack Obama will use the United Nations general assembly to declare before the world that anti-American rage and riots among Muslims abroad will never force the US to backtrack on diplomacy.
In his final international address before the US election in November, Mr Obama will use the stage to try to boost his political standing without mentioning his opponent. His comments to the General Assembly will be scrutinised around the globe and by the gathering of presidents and prime ministers in the famed United Nations hall, given the tumult, terrorism, nuclear threats and poverty that bind so many nations. He will respond to unrest in the Muslim world and seek to underscore US resolve in keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
Yet, were there any doubt that the US presidential campaign hung heavy over Mr Obama’s speech to the General Assembly, Republican rival Mitt Romney shredded it by assailing Mr Obama’s foreign affairs leadership on the eve of the president’s speech. “This is time for a president who will shape events in the Middle East, not just be merciful or be at the mercy of the events,” Romney said Monday. Focusing on the killing of the US ambassador in Libya and mass bloodshed in Syria, Romney repeatedly ridiculed Obama’s comment that nations moving toward democracy after the Arab Spring face “bumps in the road.” That prompted White House spokesman Jay Carney to fire back at Romney: “There is a certain rather desperate attempt to grasp at words and phrases here to find political advantage, and in this case that’s profoundly offensive.”
Car Bomb Explodes Near School in Hit, Iraq; 4 Killed
(AGI) Fallujah — A car bomb exploded near a primary school in Iraq, killing four children and injuring two. It happened in the city of Hit, in the province of Anbar, 160 km west of Baghdad. The car was parked near the school, waiting for an anti-terrorist patrol to pass and exploded right when the children were arriving at school to go to class. The security forces personnel was unharmed. UN envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, firmly condemned the attack, calling it “a shocking act of violence on innocents”.
Energy: Solar Power Set to Give Saudi Arabia a Green Edge
Mecca set to become largely fueled by solar energy
(ANSAmed) — DubaI — Saudia Arabia is set to turn Mecca into the first green city of the oil kingdom, satisfying a large part of its energy needs with a powerful, local, renewable source — solar energy. The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s plan for energy diversification, laid out in its National Energy Plan 2032. The heavily oil-dependent monarchy has a population of fewer than 30 million, yet covers an area about half the size of Europe and enjoys twice its sun exposure. The combination makes the solar power project both feasible and useful, despite its ambition.
The country with the world’s largest petrol reserves is also the country with the highest rate of energy consumption. It governs a rapidly growing population, which is increasing at more than 3% per year. In addition, Saudia Arabia is carrying out a significant industrial plan and, according to the most recent assessment by the United Nations Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, ranks 10th in the world for its carbon dioxide emissions. Demography and development are causing an environmentally devastating rise in energy demand of 7% annually. Mecca, Islam’s most sacred city and destination for millions of pilgrims each year, will select contractors in January to build and manage a new power plant that will produce 385 gigawatts of electricity, including 100 megawatts of solar energy.
The project is not the first of its kind, but of its scale.
Saudia Arabia launched another power plant in October 2011 on the Farsan island, which currently produces 500 kilowatts of clean energy, with the potential for expansion to six to eight megawatts. The takeoff of the Saudi solar industry could satisfy at least a third of the country’s energy needs by 2032 — a goal of the national plan. It means investing about 84 billion euros, according to Saudi Arabia’s central bank. Investment worldwide in solar energy reached 114 billion euros in 2011, according to the 2011 report, “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012”. The oil kingdom, the strongest economy in the region, is not its pioneer in renewable energy, however. That title goes to the United Arab Emirates, both for the volume of its investment in research and development as well as its creation of Masdar, the first zero-emissions, environmentally sustainable city, now rising at the gates of the capital.
Iran: Israel is a ‘Fake Regime’, Says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a nuclear-armed “fake regime” shielded by the United States, prompting a walkout of a high-level UN meeting.
The Iranian president also accused the US and others of misusing freedom of speech and failing to speak out against the defamation of people’s beliefs and “divine prophets,” an apparent reference to the recently circulated amateur video made in the US which attacks Islam and denigrates the Prophet Muhammad. The Iranian leader, who has called for Israel’s destruction, used his speech to denounce Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and US vetoes in the UN Security Council to back its ally. He urged all nations to “hold occupiers accountable and make efforts to return the occupied territories to their rightful owners.” he blamed the “discriminatory” veto power of the US, China, Russia, Britain and France for the Security Council’s failure to ensure peace in the world, and he called for a change in the rules “in favor of nations with due regard to justice.” As Mr Ahmadinejad addressed leaders and ministers from more than 100 countries, Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor walked out of the General Assembly hall. “Ahmadinejad showed again that he not only threatens the future of the Jewish people, he seeks to erase our past,” Mr Prosor said in a statement…
[JP note: Islam is a fake religion, Obama is a fake president … the list is endless.]
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Sir Salman Rushdie ‘Still Under the Threat of Death’
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday Sir Salman Rushdie was still under the threat of death from the Islamic Republic for writing the Satanic Verses in 1989.
The hardline Iranian leader was asked about the British author in the wake of the broadcast of an anti-Islam film, The Innocence of the Prophet that has set off protests around the Muslim world. Mr Ahmadinejad appeared to reiterate the Iranian threat to Rushdie by advising that the writer’s location be kept secret. “Where is he now?” Ahmadinejad asked of Rushdie. “Is he in the United States? If he is, you shouldn’t broadcast that for his own safety.” The founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, issued a fatwa that Mr Rushdie should be killed for blasphemy for his writings about the prophet Mohammad in Satanic Verses. An Iranian religious foundation headed by Ayatollah Hassan Saneii raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million (£1.7 million) to $3.3 million (£2 million) following the protests over the film…
[JP note: I’m a dinner jacket and I don’t care.]
Romney Attacks Obama on ‘Bumps in the Road’
President Barack Obama was assessing his support for the governments that have sprung up in the wake of the Arab Spring when he argued in a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday that “I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road.”
“Bumps in the road?” Mr. Romney said Monday as he sized up Mr. Obama’s interview performance and rattled off examples of tumult abroad. “We had an ambassador assassinated…twenty thousand people have been killed in Syria. We have tumult in Pakistan and of course Iran is that much closer to having the capacity to build a nuclear weapon. These are not bumps in the road, these are human lives.”
Saudi Millions and Special Forces Expertise Turn Syria’s Rebels Into a Fighting Force
Syria’s ragtag rebel army is being turned into a disciplined military force, with the help of tens of millions of dollars of funding from the Middle East and under the watchful gaze of foreign former special forces.
Hidden under olive groves in the rolling countryside of Syria’s northern Idlib province, of which a vast swathe is now in opposition hands, more than a dozen training camps have been set up in which young men prepare for the fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s military.
In one camp seen by The Daily Telegraph this week, recruits were put through their paces on an arduous obstacle course. Timed to the shouts of Commander Abdel Kadr, a military officer who has defected, the men vaulted walls, scrambled under razor wire mesh and swung along ropes in the tree tops.
Two men looked on from the tented sleeping quarters nearby. Tall with shaven heads, fair skin, bulging pectoral muscles, and biceps covered in tattoos, they were incongruous among the scrawny young fighters. They could not speak Arabic and were extremely unhappy in the presence of The Daily Telegraph.
The men, who use the code names Radwan and Mohammed, come from Scandinavia, but have requested that the country not be disclosed.
Though they refused to speak, saying only that they were “here to help”, recruits in the Free Syrian Army told this newspaper that the men were ex-special forces working as military advisers.
“The Free Syrian Army at first didn’t exist, it was just an idea. Now we are trying to turn this into a reality,” said Louay al-Mokdad, a coordinator for the FSA in charge of channelling much of the foreign funding into Syria. Unlike most of Syria’s rebel “brigades”, who, with informal behaviour and mismatched uniforms bear little relation to a conventional army, the men in this training camp wore identical uniforms and conducted themselves with military discipline.
As Commander Kadr arrived, the men sprung to attention with a salute. Answers were given in the shouted delivery of soldiers responding to a command.
“We have 20 men training, 12 on vacation and some on missions,” said one recruit. To some questions he replied that the information was “classified” and the “strength of an army is in its secrets”.
For three weeks the men are subjected to extensive physical training, gun practice on a firing range, lessons in military discipline, and instruction in military tactics, such as how to attack a sniper or move under fire. Trainees cannot leave the camp without permission.
Failure to follow the rules leads to “hard physical punishment” or expulsion. Many of the men undergoing the extensive training are civilians.
“I was studying in Damascus and I went to the first protests,” said a 21-year-old, who would not give his name. “And then the massacres started. You see it on TV and you hate it, and then you feel it and you hate it more. Then either you die with your hate or you go to fight.”
There are 18 such training camps spread across Idlib province, as well as some in the suburbs of Damascus, FSA commanders said. Rebels denied that other camps also had foreign advisers, but one source said it was something that was under consideration…
Saudi King Launches Huge Medina Mosque Project
Saudi King Abdullah, who has just returned to the kingdom after a month-long absence, has launched a huge expansion project for the Prophet’s mosque in the holy city of Medina, the state news agency reported.
The expansion project, expected to be the largest of its kind, is set to begin after the annual Muslim pilgrimage, the hajj, at the end of October, the SPA news agency reported late on Monday. According to Saudi officials, the project will require the expropriation of lands that could cost the government some $6.6 billion in compensation. Once completed, the three-phase project will mean the mosque can accommodate an added 1.6 million worshippers. Its current capacity is 200,000…
[JP note: Might as well just turn the whole planet into a mosque.]
Soldiers Kill Child in Syria’s Aleppo
Soldiers shot dead a child on Tuesday in Syria’s Aleppo province when troops targeted the car she was in, after a bloody day in which 116 people, including 12 children, were killed, a rights watchdog said.
The young girl was in a car on the motorway that links the northern commercial hub of Aleppo to Damascus after midnight when the attack happened, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “Save the Children,” the global children’s aid agency, warned on Tuesday that children are being “badly traumatised” after witnessing killings, torture and other atrocities in the brutal conflict that has gripped Syria for 18 months…
Turkey Blocks Access to Mohammed Video
(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 25 — Turkey’s nationalist Islamic Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered that access on the internet to the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, which has sparked violent protests across the Muslim world, be blocked in the country, Egemen Bagis, the minister for European affairs, announced today.
In statements to Turkish state broadcaster Trt, the minister said that ‘under the directive of Prime Minister Erdogan’ some ‘technical interventions are ongoing in order to block access to the anti-Islam film insulting the sacred prophet Mohammed’.
Bagis stressed that, as announced last week by Erdogan, ‘Turkey is working so that insults to sacred values will be considered a crime against humanity’. The Turkish premier should have addressed the issue at a UN assembly but cancelled his trip to New York Friday to focus on preparations for the fourth congress of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) scheduled Sunday in Ankara.
Turkey is represented at the UN by the head of diplomacy, Ahmet Davutoglu. ‘God willing, many world leaders will listen to Turkey’s appeal and ask the UN to act so that the world is endutrable for all’, said Bagis.
U.S. State Department is Going to Remove the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (Pmoi/Mek) From it List of Foreign Terrorist Organisations
It’s been a long time in coming, but the decision that the Iranian Resistance has been waiting many years for has finally been made: The U.S. State Department is going to remove the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from its list of foreign terrorist organisations.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deserves much praise for her action because she had to overcome strong resistance within her own department. It has never been clear why that resistance existed — perhaps officials didn’t want to admit they were wrong in the first place when they listed the MEK…
But this victory is not the end of the battle. Rather, it is the beginning of the bigger battle to free Iran from the boot of the oppressive mullahs who have ruled since 1979 and who have blotted out Iran’s beacon of democracy and replaced it with the scourge of terror.
Of course, it never had been the MEK that belonged on the terrorism list — it always has been the government in Tehran, which has executed tens of thousands of its own citizens in its struggle to keep power and now seeks nuclear capability to threaten its neighbors and the world even more, and supports Syria’s Assad as he also murders his own people.
Afghanistan: US Marines Face Courts Martial Over Taliban Urination Video
Two US Marines will face trial by courts martial for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and posing for photographs with them.
The charges against Staff Sergeants Joseph Chamblin and Edward Deptola come a month after three other Marines were sanctioned administratively for their role in the July 27, 2011 incident in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. A videotape that surfaced on the internet in January showed four US troops urinating on three bloodied corpses, and one of the men, apparently aware he was being filmed, saying: “Have a great day, buddy,” to one of the dead. The Pentagon said that charges against the sergeants concern “violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for their involvement in urinating on deceased Taliban fighters and for posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties.” They also were charged with dereliction of duty for a number of other command failures involving younger Marines. The actions depicted in the video took place during a counter-insurgency operation in the restive Musa Qala district of Helmand province, in southwestern Afghanistan in July 2011…
Afghanistan: The Simple School-Style Plan Sketched on a Whiteboard Taliban Used to Plot Attack on Camp Bastion
This is the ludicrously simple plan that the Taliban concocted to break into Camp Bastion, where Prince Harry is based as a helicopter pilot.
The unsophisticated strategy, which appears to be drawn with marker pens, ended in the death of two Marines at the heavily-fortified base in Afghanistan.
A video shows a group of insurgents cutting through a wire fence before a man dressed in camouflage points to a map, drawn on a whiteboard.
Bomb Squad in Afghanistan Finds Baby in Roadside Package
Anti-explosive unit arrived in full gear after alarming call
(ANSA) — Kabul, September 25 — A Polish anti-bomb squad in Afghanistan called to investigate a suspicious package left on the side of the road in the northeastern province of Kunar discovered a newborn baby, not an explosive, NATO authorities said on Tuesday.
The Polish unit in the country as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) arrived at the scene in full protective gear after receiving a call alerting them to a possible “Taleban-made bomb”.
“We took all necessary precautions when nearing the package. When we got close enough, we realized it was moving,” said a Polish forces spokesman from the Waghez base.
After lifting a cardboard covering, the soldiers found an infant no more than two-days old swathed in a towel.
Medical staff at the Polish military base performed a check-up while a soldier was assigned to purchase a bottle and formula at a local pharmacy.
The girl, named Pola by the soldiers, will be entrusted to Afghanistan State authorities, said a Polish military spokesman.
India: More Violence Against Christians. Governments Complicit With Hindu Nationalists
Two new attacks in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, by the United National Party led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), notes “a growing intolerance, discrimination and persecution” against the minority community.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) — “The Indian states where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power, close their eyes to the atrocities against Christians” is the comment of Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), two new attacks in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, administered by the ultra-nationalist Hindu party. In both cases, activists of radical groups supported by the BJP attacked and accused the pastors of the Christian communities of forced conversions and proselytism.
The first incident dates back to September 5th, in the village of Sagar (Shimoga, Karnataka). The Rev. Damodara, 42, of the Parishudda Prarthanalaya Pentecostal Church, led a prayer service. Suddenly, 15 Hindu radicals led by a certain Omkara entered, attacking the pastor and the faithful who are present there. The activists then called the police to report Taligoppa Christians of forced conversions. Arriving on the scene, before shutting it down the agents beat the Rev. Damodara and those present.
Informed of the attack, the GCIC contacted a Sitaram police inspector, explaining what had happened. The official then ordered the pastor transferred to Sagar police station, for an impartial interrogation. At dawn, the priest was released without charges. Police said the man signed a document, in which he claims not to be involved in forced conversions. Even the attackers had to sign a declaration stating that they would not interfere with the Christian prayer services.
The second incident took place on September 7 in Birmawal villages (Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh). The victim was Rev. John Pargy, 26, of the India Gospel Church. The pastor was distributing pamphlets on Christianity at the bus station, when 25 Hindu radicals of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bajrang Dal stopped him. Instead of beating him, the activists dragged him to the local police station: the told police that the pastor was publicly criticizing Hinduism and forced them to drink cow’s blood (an animal sacred to Hindus, and therefore untouchable , ed.) The police held him in prison for three days, then released him.
“India — said Sajan George — is a secular country. This means that it protects all religions equally, and does not raise any belief to the level of state religion. Yet, over 60 years since independence and the proclamation of our Constitution some minority communities, such as Christians, are experiencing growing intolerance, aggression and severe discrimination. “
Pakistan Minister Refuses to Step Down Over Bounty
The Pakistan minister who offered a $100,000 (£61,000) bounty for the killing of a director whose anti-Islam film provoked worldwide protests told The Daily Telegraph he would not resign nor withdraw his incitement to murder.
Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Pakistan’s Railways Minister and one of the most powerful figures in the key coalition partner, the Awami National Party, has been under intense pressure to step down since inviting the Taliban and al-Qaeda to murder Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the US-based Egyptian Coptic Christian behind the film “Innocence of Muslims”. Since then, his comments have been denounced and disowned by Raja Pervez Ashraf, Pakistan’s prime minister, and his own party leadership, with several senior members calling on him to withdraw his offer and express regret. But in telephone interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said he did not regret his comments, stands by the bounty and will not withdraw it.
“I cannot tolerate the insult of the holy prophet. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I am very honest and a true Muslim wouldn’t allow any blasphemy of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him),” he said. “These were my sentiments and feelings which I had announced.”
Two Marines Stand Trial for Urinating on Taliban’s Bodies
(AGI) Washington — The Pentagon has reported that the Marine Corps has charged the two marines photographed on January 12 urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban. The images which were posted on-line were seen all over the world, and in addition to other events have contributed to increasing the Afghans’ hatred for NATO troops and the multiplication of ‘green on blue’ incidents.
China’s First Aircraft Carrier Enters Service
China’s first aircraft carrier has entered into service, the Defence Ministry says.
The 300m (990ft) Liaoning — named after the province where it was refitted — is a refurbished Soviet ship purchased from Ukraine. For now the carrier has no operational aircraft and will be used for training. But China says the vessel, which has undergone extensive sea trials, will increase its capacity to defend state interests. The delivery of the aircraft carrier comes at a time when Japan and other countries in the region have expressed concern at China’s growing naval strength. China and Japan are embroiled in a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Several South East Asian nations are also at odds with China over overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea. It also comes weeks ahead of a party congress expected to see the transition of power to a new generation of Chinese leaders…
China: The Foxconn Riot Shows US the Misery of Communism and the Hypocrisy of Western Liberals
by Thomas Pascoe
The tragic incidents at Foxconn’s factory in China, where 10 people died after a 2,000-person brawl, throw the difficulties faced by China as it turns into a modern economy into sharp focus. It also shines a spotlight on hypocrisy in the West. The incident has been reported as being the result of a personal dispute between employees which escalated. Such a violent escalation was made possible by the atrocious working conditions which apparently exist in Foxconn’s factories. If you treat people like animals, eventually they will act that way.
Foxconn has form on this score. Earlier this year, around 150 Foxconn employees threatened to jump from the roof in a protest about pay and conditions. Explosions at another plant have laid bare lax attention to health and safety. In 2010, the company had to increase wages by 70 per cent after its reputation for employee care became so blackened in the West that there was talk of it losing its lucrative Apple contracts.
Not much appears to have changed. A report by the Shanghai Evening Post (translation here) earlier this month revealed dormitory conditions at the plant in Tai Yuan to be little short of disgusting:
The first night sleeping at Foxconn dormitory is a nightmare. The whole dormitory smells like garbage when I walked in. It’s a mixed of overnight garbage smell plus dirty sweat and foam smell. Outside every room was fully piled up with uncleared trash. When I opened my wardrobe, lots of cockroaches crawl out from inside and the bedsheets that are being distributed to every new workers are full of dirts and ashes.
Likewise, working conditions sound like some Dickensian nightmare:
By my own calculations, I have to mark five iPhone plates every minute, at least. For every 10 hours, I have to accomplish 3,000 iPhone 5 back plates. There are total 4 production lines in charge of this process, 12 workers in every line. Each line can produce 36,000 iPhone 5 back plates in half a day, this is scary … I finally stopped working at 7 a.m. We were asked to gather again after work. The supervisor shout out loud in front of us: “Who wants to rest early at 5 a.m !? We are all here to earn money ! Let’s work harder !” I was thinking who on earth wants to work two extra hours overtime for only mere 27 yuan (USD$4) !?
Maybe our removal from the realities of industrial labour have rendered us in the West particularly sensitive to this sort of thing. That said, who can honestly be surprised that working long hours for low wages, performing mind-numbingly repetitive tasks, and sleeping in dirt and squalor surrounded by others drives people mad? Their lives are more comparable to those of a battery hen than a human being. This is a horribly sad story, and it ought to remind us of two horrible contradictions we often overlook.
Firstly, that in the People’s Republic of China, “people” don’t matter very much as individuals. Communism is a degrading moral system because it dispenses with the Western notion of the value of the individual. The collective matters. The national economy matters. The perception of China as a manufacturing powerhouse matters. For all that the Left deride the “injustice” of the quasi-capitalist economic system in Britain, it offers the gifted and the industrious the opportunity to advance from humble beginnings. Despite this, we seem in the midst of a permanent campaign from all sides to mould our thoughts into a standardised way of thinking. Expressions of preference have become hate crimes, earning a higher wage than your peers is immoral and deserves to be punished with heavy taxation, the practice of education in Britain (at least before Gove’s reforms take root) devotes itself to reducing the talented to the level of the less talented. We are all in this together, and the state commits all manner of economic larceny and social engineering in order to eliminate the differences between people. However, as the Foxconn story shows, when all are equal in their supplication to the state, no one is of value (politicians excepted, of course).
Secondly, Apple’s reaction is yet to be released, but I am willing to bet that the reaction of Apple’s slavish fans will be one of cold indifference. Owning Apple products is like owning a Toyota Prius. They might be designed well, but they are essentially statements of outlook. When you buy a product, you either endorse the values of the manufacturer or you take the view that the manufacturer’s actions and attitudes are less important than your desire to consume. The fact that Apple’s products are manufactured in part by a firm with an atrocious human rights record is not new information. Even so, the most thoughtful and caring of the new Left seem to use one — even figures as compassionate and crusading as Laurie Penny.
But, hell, if you took a principled stand on an issue like this, what sort of kit would you use to blog Occupy Wall Street ? Or Slutwalks? Or the stuff that really matters instead of dead Chinese?
Foxconn is no minnow. The Taiwanese group is the largest electronics manufacturer in the world by shipments and revenue. It can afford to pay its workers better; it chooses not to. Apple has the clout to insist on improvements to working conditions. It may have done so, but the results are not obvious. As such, it falls to the liberal Western consumer to decide. Which is more important, your principles or your convenience? Only one answer has been forthcoming so far.
Taiwanese Vessels Add New Twist to Japan-China Row
Ships from the Japanese and Taiwanese coast guards used water cannons to spray each other on Tuesday in the latest incident in a growing row over a group of disputed islands.
The Japanese vessels reportedly opened fire with water cannons in an effort to turn away dozens of Taiwanese fishing boats that had entered waters near the islands in the East China Sea. Taiwanese coast guard vessels, which had accompanied the fishing boats, then returned fire with their own water cannons.
The Japanese coast guard announced that all of the Taiwanese boats have since left the disputed area.
“We have made contact with the Taiwan authorities and told them they cannot enter our territorial waters,” Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Osamu Fujimura told a press conference in Tokyo. “Our stance is that this is something that needs to be solved in the context of good bilateral ties between Japan and Taiwan,” he added.
Islamist Compares Perth Drunks to Sydney Rioters
by Piers Akerman
It hasn’t taken long for elements in the Muslim community to claim that the Sydney riot of a week ago was caused by the police and the anti-Islamic media.
The claims have been made by a Bankstown group, al Risalah, and the virulently anti-Western organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.
So much for those Muslim leaders who joined in a brief moment of unity last week to condemn the rioters.
In a lengthy piece written for the Fairfax website, Uthman Badar, spokesman of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia, which is dedicated to the Islamic domination of the world under an Islamic caliphate, attempts to compare the treatment of the Sydney riot with the manner in which the media, police and politicians handled a drunken brawl involving five hundred drunken teenage gatecrashers in the Perth suburb of Piara Waters.
The comparison doesn’t work for a number of reasons.
Just for starters, none of the drunken Sandgropers turned up at the party (which was advertised on what is laughingly called “social media”) carrying placards calling for beheadings.
Nope, no-one called for anyone’s head. Imagine that?
But Badar says the Perth incident is evidently “quite similar, if not worse, than the Sydney protest as far as objective facts go, and it occurred on the very same night. Yet it has been treated very differently”
About the only similarity is that it did take place on the same night.
The activist wants to know why the Perth shambles received nowhere near as much media coverage.
Why it was not dubbed the “Perth riots”.
Why politicians did not fall over one another to condemn the violence.
Why Federal Parliament did not see a need to raise the issue in question time and forward bipartisan condemnation.
Why parents and community leaders in Piara Waters were not asked to condemn the behaviour, nor did they themselves go out of their way offer to apologies or to condemn the violence.
“Why the difference?” he asked.
He said that “objectively, protesters angry about a given matter clashing with police is not an uncommon phenomenon in Australia”.
“We have seen it time and again. We saw it in the Occupy protests in Sydney and Melbourne. We saw it very recently at union protests in Melbourne,” he said.
This is where the wheels start to fall off his argument. He’s using the lunatic Left and the trade union movement as his Aussie role models.
This is something our education-minded Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, should address.
She might start with a stern denunciation of the Melbourne riots, the Occupy idiots and, for good measure, throw in a retrospective apology for her wharfie mates and the union thugs who smashed their way into Parliament House.
But none of us have the time to wait for that to happen.
French FM Says Mali Asked for ECOWAS Troops Intervention
(AGI) New York — Mali has officially asked the UN to authorise the deployment of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) troops to restore order in the northern part of the country, under the control of militiamen linked to Al Qaeda.
French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius announced so.
Migration Fuels 4m Rise in Population of England and Wales Over the Last 10 Years
The number of people living in England and Wales has soared by around four million in only ten years, according to the latest count released yesterday.
The increase, driven by large-scale immigration, pushed up the population at its fastest rate during the past 100 years.
Rapid growth outpaced even the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s, the historic post-war period when record childbirth levels helped fuel long-term economic and social upheaval.
The scale of the population boom that has followed Labour’s decision to ease curbs on immigration after 1997 was revealed by the Office for National Statistics in new estimates for England and Wales in the middle of last year.
The figures showed the population rose by 3.8million, or 7.3 per cent, from 52.4million in 2001 to 56,170,900 last year. And in three months last year — between the day of the 2011 national census at the end of March and the end of June — the population went up by 95,000, the equivalent of a city the size of Worcester.
Home Secretary Theresa May has dismissed fears that a UK population of 70million — likely to be reached by 2027 — will put too great a strain on housing, transport, education and other state services.
Two Afghan Men Sentenced to Life in Prison for Greece Stabbings That Sparked Anti-Immigration Riots
A Greek court has sentenced two Afghan men to life in prison over the fatal stabbing and robbery of a Greek man that sparked extensive anti-immigrant riots in central Athens.
The court on Tuesday convicted Harodi Han Mamad and Shirzad Neinatullah of the murder of 44-year-old Manolis Kantaris on May 10, 2010, and of stealing his video camera as he was preparing to drive his pregnant wife to hospital to give birth.
At least 25 people were hurt in an anti-immigrant rampage by far-right youths two days later — starting a wave of xenophobic street attacks in Athens.
The ultra-right Golden Dawn party won nearly 7 percent of the vote in general elections last June — increasing its support more than 20-fold. The party officially condemns violent attacks.
Ahmadinejad: Support to Gays? Stuff for Capitalists
(AGI) Tehran — The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that gays “are defended only by hard-core capitalists who care only about capital growth and disregard human values.” In a New York interview with CNN, Ahmadinejad defined homosexuality as “a very bad behavior” “forbidden by all prophets, all religions, and all faiths.” Ahmadinejad rejected the idea that the active opposition to homosexuals practiced in his Islamic republic is a violation of human freedom and ridiculed the parties and the politicians who “defend gays and lesbians to gain four or five votes.” “Homosexuality interferes with procreation. Who said that if you do something wrong, something that no one accepts, this is a violation of freedom?” he insisted.
President Obama Declares the Future Must Not Belong to Practicing Christians
By: Erick Erickson
In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly today the President of the United States declared that the future does not belong to practicing Christians. Already, the media and the left are in full denial, probably based on their general lack of understanding of theology. This would have been a gaffe had Mitt Romney said it. But with Barack Obama, he’s just speaking bold truths. His bold truth declares that the future does not belong to practicing Christians.
Pay careful attention to what he says.
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims. It is time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, and that is the vision we will support.
Now, that’s the full paragraph so no one can claim I took him out of context.
But consider this.
It is an orthodox Christian belief that Mohammed is not a prophet. Actual Christians, as opposed to many of the supposed Christians put up by the mainstream media, believe that Christ is the only way to salvation. Believing that is slandering Mohammed. That’s just a fact. If you don’t believe me, you go into the MIddle East and proclaim Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and see what happens to your life.
Then Barack Obama went on to say “Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied.” Note he says we cannot “slander the prophet of Islam” but it’s only the image of Christ in the next sentence — not actually Christ himself desecrated. If this is so, why does Barack Obama’s government continue funding the National Endowment for the Arts, which funded Christ in piss, the Virgin Mary painted in dung, etc.?
Now, in point of fact, this is a major difference between Islam and Christianity. Christ came to this world as an enemy of the world and expected to be impugned. He also tells his followers that they should expect to be impugned. There is joy in being persecuted for following the Risen Lord. In Islam, if you impugn Mohammed, you get a fatwa on your butt.
And then there is the first amendment. The President of the United States tried to have it both ways in his speech.
I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views — even views that we disagree with.
We do so not because we support hateful speech, but because our Founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views, and practice their own faith, may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities. We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech — the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.
I know that not all countries in this body share this understanding of the protection of free speech. Yet in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.
Just words, Mr. President? You say “there is no speech that justifies mindless violence,” but all last week you condemned a ridiculous video trailer for a movie that does not exist. Your government ran advertisements in Pakistan denouncing the video. What of free speech, Mr. President? Last week you were saying the violence was understandable given the offensive film and this week you are trying to claim it was mindless.
Oh wait, you did it again in the same speech where you said “there is no speech that justifies mindless violence”:
At times, the conflicts arise along the fault lines of faith, race or tribe; and often they arise from the difficulties of reconciling tradition and faith with the diversity and interdependence of the modern world. In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.
That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.
Time and again the President of the United States tries to have it both ways.
But are they just words?
The fact is, many religions do not recognize Mohammed as a prophet. In the widest swath of Islam, that denial is, in and of itself, slander. So what exactly are you saying Mr. President?
As an exit point, with all of President Obama’s statements on tolerance in his speech, we should remember that tolerance is really not a Christian virtue. As Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia noted, “We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty — these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself.” The Archbishop also noted that evil preaches tolerance until it is dominate and then it seeks to silence good. That’s not a statement that the President is evil in any way, shape, or form, but we should be mindful when the secular world demands tolerance for all, tolerance for all means we cannot have standards of faith to live by, because those standards obviously require we be intolerant of sins this world has embraced.
Extreme Islamic Doctrine Affects All Non-Muslims
by Vijay Kumar
Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, is perhaps the most successful political leader the world has ever seen — particularly because his theological and political book, the Quran, is claimed to be the unalterable word of his deity, Allah, and Muhammad himself is declared to be the “last prophet” with no possible successor to eclipse him. Islam is relentlessly evangelical and has insatiable imperial designs. It authorizes and encourages the advancement of its goals by any means available, from deceit to outright murder — as just occurred at our embassy in Libya. Because the political doctrine of Islam has growing adverse impact on “non-believers” worldwide, non-Muslims have every right to comment accordingly.
Islam and Muslims demand religious criticism to be a one-way street. They can criticize others, but others should submit to them and keep silent. No other religion but Islam so vehemently criticizes other metaphysical and theological systems. Hence, Muslims forfeit the right to protest when others criticize Islam. The infantile movie produced in California is no more than a convenient excuse. The real issue is human freedom and right to critical thought. Thus, every thinking person — regardless of nationality, race, religion or philosophy — has a personal interest in the Islamic worldview.
All over the Internet are articles and movies against every religious or ethnic group, every country and every culture — anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, anti-Hindu, anti-Mormon, anti-Jewish, anti-Japanese, anti-Chinese, anti-black, anti-white — you name it, you find it. And you also find rebuttal articles and videos, pro and con commentary and even outright mockery. No viewpoint, nationality, race, religion or public person is immune. Religious criticism is as old as religion itself. Most religions, with the exception of Islam, have learned to settle their theological and religious disputes through dialogue. Islam as a religion is unique for its intolerance of all criticism. Its leaders try to silence free speech. Islam attacks all non-Muslims on the basis of both religion and culture — and even other Muslims who differ in language, race or color. Islam considers itself free to refer to those who do not share its metaphysical views as dhimmis, kaffirs and infidels. But no one is supposed to criticize Islam. Provide any excuse at all, and riots, arson and murders will ensue.
Pope Benedict XVI has ridiculed Buddhism as an “autoerotic spirituality” and the greatest threat to Christianity since the fall of communism. Did his remarks incite Buddhists to burn local Christian churches and kill their worshippers at prayer the way raging Muslim mobs have destroyed thousands of Hindu temples, Christian churches, Jewish synagogues and even some Islamic mosques? In 1987, artist and photographer Andres Serrano took a picture of a small plastic crucifix he described as submerged in a glass of urine. Prints of this photograph were vandalized when displayed in Australia in 1997 and destroyed beyond repair when shown in France in 2011, and Serrano has received hate mail and death threats; but no Christians ever stormed a U.S. embassy just because Serrano happened to be an American citizen living in the U.S.
Theological criticism, like all criticism, is a two-way street — and violence is not an acceptable way to express it. Though they didn’t kill anyone, the vandals who smashed car windows at mosques in Virginia were just as wrong as the embassy attackers across the world who provoked their wrath. There is no such thing as “radical” Islam. There is only literal Islam, which wants all humanity to return to seventh-century Arabian values. All other religions readjust their metaphysical views to our ever-changing world. Islam’s refusal to evolve is manifest in the actions of its more fundamentalist members. Because the resultant militancy threatens peaceful coexistence worldwide, both moderate Muslims and non-Muslims have common cause to defeat it.
Vijay Kumar, a native of India and longtime resident of Nashville, is in sales; [email protected]
Giant Gas Cloud Surrounds Our Milky Way Galaxy
Astronomers have discovered a cloud of gas engulfing our Milky Way galaxy that weighs as much as all the stars inside our galactic home. If the size and mass of this cloud is confirmed, it may solve a longstanding astronomical mystery, experts say.
The cloud, called a halo, appears to be enormous, extending hundreds of thousands of light-years across. Scientists suspect it is composed mainly of hydrogen, with some oxygen and other elements. The halo’s temperature, size and mass were estimated using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton space observatory and Japan’s Suzaku satellite.
Researchers think the mass inside this halo could be the answer to what’s called the “missing baryon problem.” Baryons are a class of subatomic particles that includes the protons and neutrons that make up the atoms inside stars and galaxies.
Global Bacon Shortage ‘Unavoidable’ Next Year, Says U.K.’s National Pig Association
With pork costs rising, Great Britain is facing a bacon and sausage shortage as pig farmers cut back on herd size. But the problem may soon become global. In a recent press release, the U.K.’s National Pig Association is warning that a “world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable”.
Financial Times reports that this past season’s droughts in North America and Russia are to blame for the spike in prices for grain crops, which are used to feed animals. As of August, nearly half of all counties in the U.S. were considered disaster areas due to extreme dryness and heat. Some U.S. farmers have taken to extreme measures to feed their livestock and save money at the same time, including one Kentucky farmer who fed his cattle candy “just to survive.”
We Mustn’t Fall for the Great Illusion Again
by Jeremy Warner
With China sabre-rattling over the disputed Senkaku islands, the lessons of history are going unheeded as free trade comes under threat around the world
In 1910 the British journalist Norman Angell published a book called “The Great Illusion”. It’s thesis was that the integration of the European economy, and by implication the global economy too, had become so all-embracing and irreversible that future wars were all but impossible. The book perfectly captured the zeitgeist of its time and fast became a best seller. In some respects, the early 20th century was a period much like our own — one of previously unparalleled global trade and exchange between nations. Human beings appeared largely to have outgrown their propensity to mass slaughter, and everyone could look forward to to a world of ever increasing prosperity. War, Angell compellingly argued, was economically harmful to all, victors and defeated alike. Self interest alone could be expected to prevent it happening again. Young men read the book in their thousands, mostly agreed with it, and then willingly marched to the fields of Flanders to take part in the most destructive conflict the world had ever known. When the First World War failed to resolve matters, they did it all over again in a second one…
Where’s the ‘Freedom’ In the Freedom to Abuse?
by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
In good societies there have to be curbs on what can be said. Sometimes freedom has to give way
Freedom of expression in the West is hokum, I say. It’s hypocrisy dressed up as high virtue. Worse still, it is now used as a missile aimed mainly at Muslims. Freedoms are sacred and easily snatched by the powerful and it is a blessing to live in a country where prime ministers and princes are berated with impunity. Authoritarian states like Saudi Arabia and China and many others remain unenlightened because they suppress the human voice. But I also believe that freedom without responsibility and sensitivity amounts to anarchy…
[Reader comment by Freedemocrat on 25 September 2012 at about 7:30 am.]
Yasmin is an adherent of a minority view within Islam and also, I believe, a Ugandan Asian. her views are not remotely representative of Muslims in general. Her article above is a good example of how deeply psychologically and politically untenable an enterprise it is for someone like her to try to square islamic bigotry with vaguely liberalish Western views.
[JP note: Called by some, with good reason, the Yazzmonster.]