News Feed 20101023

Financial Crisis
» US is ‘Practically Owned’ By China: Analyst
» CRS: Public Broadcasting Gets 15 Percent of Its Funds From the Taxpayer
» Democrats Behind Tea Party Cyber Attacks?
» GOP Challenges Pelosi in Deep-Blue San Francisco
» Obama Tells Pentagon to Attack “Cyberthreats” On American Soil
» Portland, Maine, Weighs Letting Noncitizens Vote
» Sarah Palin: We Must Have an Honest Discussion About the Jihadist Threat
» The Pledge of Allegiance Means “Disrespect”?
» Time to End State-Sponsored Broadcasting
» Video: General Boykin: Muslim Brotherhood Plots Undoing of America
Europe and the EU
» France: the President Versus the People
» Germany: Angela Merkel’s Attack on ‘Multikulti’ Was Misjudged: Many Believe it Wasn’t Even Tried
» Is This How the EU Got a Yes to Lisbon From the Irish?
» New Crop of Elderly Outsmart Their Predecessors
» UK: A Dummy’s Guide to Lambertism
» UK: Barmaid Fired by Text Awarded £14,000 in Compensation
» UK: Baroness Warsi Told by David Cameron Not to Appear at Islamic Conference
» UK: Dentist Offered to Give Me a Discount if I Slept With Him
» UK: Drivers Beware, Traffic Wardens Have Now Gone Undercover
» UK: Elderly Woman Causes Airline Security Alert After ‘Joking’ She Was Carrying a Detonator
» UK: Facing the Axe: Diocese That Has Twice as Many Muslim Worshippers as Anglicans
» UK: Galloway-Backed ‘Extremist’ New Tower Hamlets Mayor
» UK: Gangland Feud Linked to Fatal Shooting of Teenager
» UK: Mother With 4 Bedroom Home on the State Says Work Doesn’t Pay
» UK: Queen’s £38m a Year Offshore Windfarm Windfall — Because She Owns the Seabed
» UK: Why 7/7 Victims Were Left to Bleed to Death: Before a Policeman Tries to Save You He Must Consider 238 Dangers to Stop Him Suing Bosses
Israel and the Palestinians
» UK: Cherie’s Half-Sister Lauren Booth: I’ve Converted to Islam After a Trip to Iran
Middle East
» British Soldier ‘Killed Iraqi Girl, 8, As She Played’: Explosive New Claim as Wikileaks Publish US War Files
» Iran Steps Up Training of Terrorists
» Use of Contractors Added to Chaos of Iraq War, Trove of Documents Shows
» Wikileaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq — With Surprising Results
» Will Barack Obama Admit Extent of Iran’s Role in Iraq, Laid Bare by Wikileaks?
South Asia
» Bombers Hit U.N. Base in Afghanistan
» Shocking Video Captures Brutal Islamic Stoning
» US Offers Pakistan $2bn Arms Deal to Fight Taliban and Al-Qaida
Sub-Saharan Africa
» South Africa: ‘We Don’t Want Your Blood Money’
» Suspected Islamists Kill Local Chief in Northern Nigeria
» Obama Authorizes Additional 80,000 “Refugees” To Entry Country
Culture Wars
» ‘Body Worlds’ Anatomist Sells Body Parts Online
» Kinsey’s Sex Genie Blamed for Costing Terrible Price
» UK is Worst in the West at Giving Lessons in 3Rs
» UK: What Kind of Revolution, FOSIS?
» Al-Qaeda ‘American Spokesman’ Urges Attacks in the West

Financial Crisis

US is ‘Practically Owned’ By China: Analyst

The US supremacy as the top world economy will end sooner than many people believe, so gold is a better investment than the dollar despite it hitting a new record, Tom Winnifrith, CEO at financial services firm Rivington Street Holdings, told Monday.

Gold [ XAU=X 1327.2 +3.25 (+0.25%) ] hit a new record high Monday and silver [ XAG=X 23.24 +0.0 (+0.00%) ] rose to another 30-year peak as investors were worried about the dollar weakening further after the Federal Reserve hinted at more quantitative easing last week.

The US trade deficit and debt continue to grow and the authorities are reluctant to address the problem, preferring to print money, Winnifrith said.

“America is practically owned by China,” he said.

He reminded of the fact that in 1900, sterling was the world’s reserve currency but by 1948, that was no longer the case as the British Empire collapsed.

“America is doing what Britain did,” Winnifrith said. “America spends much more than it can afford and it’s not addressing the issue.”

In 1832, China and India were the world’s two largest economies and by 2032, they will regain that status, he predicted.

[Return to headlines]


CRS: Public Broadcasting Gets 15 Percent of Its Funds From the Taxpayer

by David Freddoso

At the request of Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., the non-partisan Congressional Research Service has produced a short report on how much NPR and PBS together receive from the taxpayer via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The answer for the current fiscal year (2011) is $430 million.

Federal funds make up about 13.7 percent of the revenue from public broadcasting. By comparison, about 24.4 percent comes from “viewers/listeners like you,” with the remainder coming from business and foundation grants.

In the news release announcing this report, DeMint hardly hides his contempt for NPR’s recent decision to fire Juan Williams. But it is much more difficult to argue with the notion that government-funded journalism is an expensive anachronism:


[link to Congressional Research Service’s Report is at the URL above]

[Return to headlines]

Democrats Behind Tea Party Cyber Attacks?

Speculation is rife that Democrat activists or even the Obama administration itself may have been responsible for an attack which brought down a prominent Tea Party website right as the organization targeted was running a major fund-raising drive and on the day after Obama directed the Pentagon to attack “cyberthreats” within the United States.

The FreedomWorks website was attacked at 6:55am yesterday morning as the organization’s server was penetrated and completely wiped out by a “sophisticated hacker” on the very day of the group’s donation drive to support Tea Party candidates running in the imminent mid-term elections.

The attack also coincided with an endorsement by radio host Glenn Beck and the subsequent down time cost the group an estimated $80,000 dollars in lost donations.

“We think the idea was to take our site down until after the election,” Kara Pally, web developer for FreedomWorks, told the Wall Street Journal. “This was politically motivated.”

“It’s like the tea party movement’s been hacked,” said the group’s spokesman, Adam Brandon. “To us, it’s no coincidence this happened the day our Beck money bomb was announced.”

[Return to headlines]

GOP Challenges Pelosi in Deep-Blue San Francisco

by Byron York

It’s not your everyday congressional race when the Republican candidate welcomes the support of Cindy Sheehan, the antiwar gadfly, and Matt Gonzalez, who was Ralph Nader’s running mate in 2008. Yet that is exactly what is happening in San Francisco, where Republican John Dennis is challenging House Speaker Pelosi in what may be Pelosi’s first-ever truly competitive race.


[Return to headlines]

Obama Tells Pentagon to Attack “Cyberthreats” On American Soil

Obama has directed the Pentagon to attack “cyberthreats” within the United States. The teleprompter reading front man for the globalists “has adopted new procedures for using the Defense Department’s vast array of cyberwarfare capabilities in case of an attack on vital computer networks inside the United States, delicately navigating historic rules that restrict military action on American soil,” reports the New York Times.

Delicately? Obama has trounced the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and particularly Posse Comitatus. Crimes committed within the United States are the business of federal, state, and local police, not the Pentagon.

“In a break with previous policy, the military now is prepared to provide cyber expertise to other government agencies and to certain private companies to counter attacks on their computer networks, the Pentagon’s cyber policy chief, Robert Butler, said Oct. 20,” reports Defense News. “An agreement signed this month with the Department of Homeland Security and an earlier initiative to protect companies in the defense industrial base make it likely that the military will be a key part of any response to a cyber attack.”

Katrina is the model here. “The system would mirror that used when the military is called on in natural disasters like hurricanes or wildfires. A presidential order dispatches the military forces, working under the control of the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” reports the Times.

“FEMA is the Patriot Act on crack,” writes Sheila Samples, a former civilian U.S. Army Public Information Officer. “Once its powers are unleashed, Oliver North’s REX 84 ‘exercise’ will become a reality. The Constitution will be suspended and FEMA will have the right to detain or seize the property of anyone even suspected of engaging in, or who might be thinking of conspiring with others to engage in acts of espionage or sabotage.”

[Return to headlines]

Portland, Maine, Weighs Letting Noncitizens Vote

On a recent day in a small lunchroom at the Al-Amin Halal Market, a group of Somali men ate lunch and talked in their native language. A sign advertised the day’s offerings, including hilib ari (goat), bariis (rice) and baasto (spaghetti).

Abdirizak Daud, 40, moved to Minneapolis 18 years ago before coming to Portland in 2006. He hasn’t been able to find a job. Some of his nine children have attended Portland schools, and he’d like to have a say in who’s looking over the school system and the city, he said.

But between his limited English and the financial demands, Daud hasn’t been able to become a citizen.

“I like the Democrats. I want to vote for Democrats, but I don’t have citizenship,” he said.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

Sarah Palin: We Must Have an Honest Discussion About the Jihadist Threat

At a time when our country is dangerously in debt and looking for areas of federal spending to cut, I think we’ve found a good candidate for defunding. National Public Radio is a public institution that directly or indirectly exists because the taxpayers fund it. And what do we, the taxpayers, get for this? We get to witness Juan Williams being fired from NPR for merely speaking frankly about the very real threat this country faces from radical Islam.

We have to have an honest discussion about the jihadist threat. Are we not allowed to say that Muslim terrorists have killed thousands of Americans and continue to plot the deaths of thousands more? Are we not allowed to say that there are Muslim states that aid and abet these fanatics? Are we not allowed to even debate the role that radical Islam plays in inciting this violence?

I don’t expect Juan Williams to support me (he’s said some tough things about me in the past) — but I will always support his right and the right of all Americans to speak honestly about the threats this country faces. And for Juan, speaking honestly about these issues isn’t just his right, it’s his job. Up until yesterday, he was doing that job at NPR. Firing him is their loss.

If NPR is unable to tolerate an honest debate about an issue as important as Islamic terrorism, then it’s time for “National Public Radio” to become “National Private Radio.” It’s time for Congress to defund this organization.

NPR says its mission is “to create a more informed public,” but by stifling debate on these issues, NPR is doing exactly the opposite.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Pledge of Allegiance Means “Disrespect”?


Tonight we went to the League of Women Voters Candidate’s Forum at Grayslake Central High School (Illinois). The auditorium was packed and people had to have tickets to get in. Tickets were limited to 400. We arrived about 20 minutes before tickets were due to be handed out and when we got there the line went around the side of the building.

A bit later someone came by with tickets and handed them out to people in line. Shortly after that the line started moving and we were able to go inside. It took a while for all the people to get into the auditorium and be seated. Once that happened candidates for Illinois’ 8th Congressional District Melissa Bean (incumbent D) and Bill Scheurer (Green) came onstage. There was a smattering of applause. Then Joe Walsh (R) walked out and the crowd went wild.

Students from Grayslake Central High School’s AP Government class planned and sponsored the debate. They served as timers and questioners, ushers and ticket takers. I commend the students and their teachers for a well run program.

The woman from the League of Women Voters moderated and before the debate got underway she told us the rules. No cameras, no talking, questions will be written down on index cards and a student will take the card to the teachers who will vet the cards for relevance, tone, and appropriateness. Then the question might be read out by one of the questioner’s on stage. Just before the start, someone in the audience asked if the Pledge of Allegiance would be said (there was a flag on stage). The woman from the LWV said no. It wasn’t something that was done. Some members of the audience then stood and started saying the Pledge. Pretty much the rest of the audience then rose and said the Pledge as well.

Update video: You can actually hear my voice saying the Pledge near the end of the video. I was right next to the camera this was filmed from.

The woman from the LWV was upset. She said that the audience had disrespected her. She said she was “forced” to say the Pledge and that it had “obviously been planned”. As if we all decided in line to say the Pledge of Allegiance anyway if refused. I hadn’t even thought that the Pledge might not be said. This was a political candidate’s forum and the three candidates on stage were hoping to be elected to represent us in the Federal Government.

Saying the Pledge of Allegiance at a political event in America should be a no-brainer.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Time to End State-Sponsored Broadcasting

by Michelle Malkin

In the wake of commentator Juan Williams’ feckless firing by National Public Radio, supporters on the Internet sounded a cheeky rallying cry: “Free Juan!” But Williams has now been liberated from the government-funded media’s politically correct shackles. It’s taxpayers who need to be untethered from NPR and other state-sponsored public broadcasting. Public radio and public television are funded with your money to the tune of some $400 million in direct federal handouts and tax deductions for contributions made by individual viewers, not to mention untold state grants and subsidies. Supporters argue that this amounts to a tiny portion of state-sponsored media’s overall budget…


[Return to headlines]

Video: General Boykin: Muslim Brotherhood Plots Undoing of America

Boykin gives impassioned plea for exposé of stealth jihad

WASHINGTON — Retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, former U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, made an impassioned plea for Americans — especially Christians — to learn about the inner workings of stealth jihadists by reading “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” a book based on the covert penetration of the Council on American-Islamic Relations .

Boykin, who has played a role in almost every recent major American military operation — serving in Grenada, Somalia and Iraq — spoke at a prophecy conference in California sponsored by evangelical leader Greg Laurie.

“There’s a recent book that came out called ‘Muslim Mafia,’“ said Boykin, currently a professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and author of “Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom.” “Have any of you read this? Have any of you ever seen it? I encourage you to get this book — ‘Muslim Mafia.’ … This book will scare you. This book will open your eyes. This book will shake you. What this book says is frightening,”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

France: the President Versus the People

President Nicolas Sarkozy is taking an unrelenting attitude toward French protests against his pension reforms. But the pensions are just a flashpoint for deeper issues. The French on the streets have been dissatisfied with Sarkozy’s leadership for some time.

Even in a mostly secular land like France, All Saints Day is an important date. The date — Nov.1 — is also the beginning of the autumn holidays, which last around 10 days. Many French will travel to the Mediterranean or to the Atlantic coast, where they will get ready their holiday homes for winter. Those citizens who are also believers will celebrate the holiday in church and then tend to family graves the following day.

It seems that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is also counting on the bit of peace and quiet that the coming vacation period will bring. The French head of state is hoping that, after the riots and blockades of refineries, the weeks-long protests against proposed pension reforms will dissolve amid the pleasure of the autumn vacation.

It was on Thursday that demonstrators first temporarily blocked access to Marseille airport and a highway near the busy port town of Le Havre. Schools and universities were also hit by new protests. On Friday morning, the French police broke through a refinery blockade near Paris. According to radio reports, the workers had been issued with a legal notice known as a “requisition” by local authorities. In France a requisition can be issued when authorities believe a strike poses a threat to public order. It compels strikers to return to work, under threat of prosecution.


12 PhotosPhoto Gallery: French on the Barricades Against Pension Reform

Meanwhile Nicolas Sarkozy remains unflinching and is sticking to his strategy. On Friday afternoon the French Senate will decide whether the pension age should rise from 60 to 62. Because the ruling coalition has a majority in the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament, the bill seems certain to pass. The draft law will then need to be approved by both houses of parliament next week.

The optimistic belief in the Elysee Palace is that once the reform has been passed, the recalcitrant populace will come to its senses. Then, Sarkozy will be able to face the nation, present his unyielding stance as politics based on firm principles and sell the pension reform as a courageous and historic achievement. After this, he only needs to carry out his long-promised cabinet reshuffle. With a new prime minister and a fresh batch of ministers, there would be nothing standing in the way of his victory in the 2012 presidential election.

But the equation simply does not add up.

‘France Does Not Belong to Hooligans’

The French government has been predicting the end of the demonstrations since early summer. Yet the columns of marching protestors have not disappeared from the streets. Indeed, the opposite has occurred: Protests have spread like a national wildfire. They look set to continue next week, with the unions declaring that they will carry on protesting. The strike won’t be taking an autumn vacation, it seems.

The participation of students and school pupils in the campaign against Sarkozy’s prestige project has strengthened the movement opposing the reforms. Now it is not just the usual suspects from the left wing protesting, but also the youth of France, who are motivated by fears about the future and a vague sense of injustice.

Nevertheless, Sarkozy is adopting the tactic of steadfastness in response to the gasoline shortages, opposition to the pension reforms and the protests. His interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, has assured the world that “France does not belong to hooligans, to pillagers and hoodlums.” Cabinet ministers have been deployed to campaign for the “necessary reforms” on radio and television.

‘Psychodrama of Distrust’

Their successes have been limited, to say the least. Commentators complain about a “psychodrama of distrust”, a “French depression” and, in the words of the weekly newsmagazine Le Point, a real “anti-Sarko uprising.”

“Do the French prefer revolution to reform?” asked the conservative French daily Le Figaro. It wondered why the populace was behaving so strangely and why it was “out of touch with reality” in relation to demographic forces and financial bottlenecks.

But the conflict is no longer about the pension system, population pyramids or hardship cases, and hasn’t been for a long time. The controversy over the pension reforms has become the flashpoint for a political showdown between the French government and people in the street, between Sarkozy and the French population. The dispute is a culmination of popular frustration with the work of the French president, who has even managed to alienate his own conservative voters with his aggressive manner and his verbal faux pas.

Sarkozy’s unbending attitude over controversial tax cuts for the wealthy, a wave of scandals concerning spendthrift ministers and allegations of sleaze in relation to political appointments and party financing have all discredited a man who presented himself as head of state as an heir to France’s legacy, someone who could unite the country across political boundaries and even rescue the nation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany: Angela Merkel’s Attack on ‘Multikulti’ Was Misjudged: Many Believe it Wasn’t Even Tried

Kreuzberg never sleeps. When the Turkish market traders along the canal pack up their stalls for the day, another part of Berlin’s notoriously colourful district comes to life instead.

Down the road in Bergmannstrasse, a group of punks gather in the vegan café, the Arab restaurant is filled with sheesha-smoking punters and in one of the many Turkish coffee bars old men role the dice and chat with a bunch of Australian tourists who got lost on their way to a famous gay bar in the neighbourhood.

The world is at home in Kreuzberg. Nowhere does Berlin feel more like a modern metropolis. The Germans call it “Multikulti”; the multicultural society where Germans and immigrants from any ethnic or religious background live happily side-by-side.

“Multikulti” has made Berlin one of the largest Turkish cities in the world and yet Chancellor Angela Merkel is convinced that the vision of a multicultural Germany has “utterly failed.” These comments came in a recent speech to a conference of junior Christian Democrats and the next generation of German Conservatives couldn’t agree more. They leapt to their feet to deliver standing ovations.

Mrs Merkel is not the kind of politician who uses sweeping statements to grab the headlines but in this instance she waded into a debate over immigration and the integration of foreigners which has occupied the Germans for months. About time too, it is fair to say, because this is a debate the country has avoided for the best part of 50 years. Now it causes an identity crisis and plenty of German Angst.

The trouble started in September when Central Banker Thilo Sarrazin published a book in which he accused Muslim immigrants of being reluctant to integrate. He cited statistics to prove that young Muslims were most likely to fail in school and end up on benefit or in a world of crime.

“I do not have to acknowledge anyone who lives on social benefit, doesn’t care for the education of his children and constantly produces new little headscarf-girls,” he wrote, predicting that within a few generations Muslim population growth “may well overwhelm the Germans.”

It is controversial stuff to say the least, especially from a left-leaning Social Democrat like Sarrazin. But while large parts of the media erupted in fury and accused the author of xenophobia, the tome has sold over 650 000 copies since. Sarrazin clearly struck a nerve.

Out of a total population of 82 million, almost seven million people living in Germany are migrants. The majority, around three million, are Turks. They began arriving in the early 1960s when West-German industry was in desperate need of cheap labour to meet the demands of the post-war economic miracle.

The first of the “guest workers”, as they were known, came from Italy and Greece — but soon it was Turks from rural parts of Anatolia who represented the bulk of Germany’s foreign unskilled labour force and went down the mines of the Ruhr or manned the production lines of VW, Mercedes and Bosch.

Before long southern Europe experienced its own economic boom and many of the first generation of “guest workers” returned home. Most of the Turks, however, stayed and Turkish quarters like Kreuzberg and neighbouring Neukölln have become a part of most West German cities — and they are synonymous with Germany’s dilemma over integration.

Neukölln resident Aztürk Kiran, 36, reacts angrily to the Chancellor’s statement. “How can integration fail when it was never really tried in the first place?” he asks. Mr Kiran’s parents arrived from Turkey in the 1970s. His mother worked in a textile factory and his father as a building labourer. Mr Kiran himself has been to university and now works as a placement officer in a job centre. He is married with two young children, who he hopes will continue his family’s upward trajectory in Germany. The difference between Germany and many other countries such as Britain and the United States is that Germany has never considered itself an “immigration country”, Mr Kiran says. Guest workers such as his parents were always expected to go home when their work was done. There never really was an immigration policy let alone a multiculturalism policy, he adds.


           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]

Is This How the EU Got a Yes to Lisbon From the Irish?

The European Commission has just flown 15 Irish journalists to Brussels for a two-day ‘information visit’. Or as those of us who know Brussels and talk straight would put it, for a two-day, two-night taxpayer-funded propaganda junket at a four-star hotel.

Ireland and the other eurozone countries might be suffering savage spending cuts, but the EU self-publicity budget thrives: in 2008 the Open Europe think-tank calculated that the EU was spending at least €2 billion a year on ‘information’.

Much of it bent, which is to say, propaganda. The commission actually admits that its information is bent. One of its publications declares: ‘Genuine communication by the European Union cannot be reduced to the mere provision of information.’

The EU propaganda machine pumps money into lobby groups that support ‘ever closer union’. They push propaganda into schools. And almost more than anything else, they target the Press. Journalists are offered ‘free’ trips and training (yes, just like Scientology offers training). The EU gives out cash prizes to on-message journalists.

A parliamentary Press official told me this week that a large number of Irish news organisations are given free flights to Strasbourg to cover the parliament, plus €360 in cash for expenses. (The Irish Daily Mail takes none of these taxpayer-funded handouts.)

But those are just the handouts that go to the Brussels-Strasbourg regulars. This week it was the turn of some of the Irish Press corps who are unfamiliar with the EU institutions. This week it’s been their turn to get some sugar out of the EU’s multi-billions propaganda budget. And I got myself into the middle of it.

Half the eurozone is bleeding to death, but the MEPs will take a jump next year of 85 per cent for their ‘entertainment’.

I was worried, too, for the innocents from Dublin when they were put in a conference room with an apparently impressive Belgian Green Party MEP, Philippe Lamberts. He was there to give the anti-capitalist version of the economic and financial situation in the EU.

So I asked him this instead: as a politician from a country which has such a shocking history of failure by politicians to protect children from sexual abuse and murder, how could he sit in the Green group at the parliament which is co-chaired by the French politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit?

Cohn-Bendit, as those of us in Brussels know, but these journalists clearly did not know and had not been told by the parliamentary propaganda machine, is a self-confessed, indeed, self-publicised child molester. In the 1970s, as Cohn-Bendit boasts in his autobiography, he engaged in what in most jurisdictions would be criminal sexual interference with kindergarten-aged children.

I’ve seen him shrug off questions about this with a laugh and give (though he does not call it this) the Irish bishops’ excuse: times were different then. And, he says, the children enjoyed it.

Yet the Belgian politician Lamberts was not in the least bothered by his colleague Cohn-Bendit’s history: ‘I have no problem in working with him,’ he told us.

This is one MEP on the propaganda circuit who needs to get his gag-reflex working properly.

[Return to headlines]

New Crop of Elderly Outsmart Their Predecessors

A Swedish study finds that 70-year-olds in 2000 did better on intelligence tests than 70-year-olds had done in 1971. Steve Mirsky reports.

If 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50, what’s the new 70? Well, it seems safe to at least say that 70 isn’t what it used to be. And that’s good. Because a new study finds that 70-year-olds did better on intelligence tests than 70 year olds used to do. In Sweden, anyway. The research was published in the journal Neurology. [Simona Sacuiu et al, Secular changes in cognitive predictors of dementia and mortality in 70-year-olds]

The study compared a group of people born in 1901 and 1902 and tested in 1971 with another group born in 1930 and tested in 2000. And the newer crop of 70 years old performed far better than the previous generation did.

The researchers say the newer seniors had numerous advantages. They had better pre and postnatal care than their predecessors. They also had better nutrition, a higher quality education, and better treatment of high blood pressure and cholesterol. And, the researchers say, today’s high-tech life also helps keep you sharp. Because all of those factors come into play in many other parts of the world, there’s reason to be optimistic that it’s not just old Swedes who are smarter.

—Steve Mirsky

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: A Dummy’s Guide to Lambertism

Over the last few years, entry level Islamist organisations, certain sections of the far-left, and a handful of academics and policy wonks have been advocating a theory, now commonly referred to as ‘Lambertism’, named after it’s most vocal proponent, Robert Lambert. This theory essentially advocates governments building closer ties with non-violent Islamist groups and hard-core Wahabis in an effort to defeat violent Islamist extremists. In essence, let’s work with non-violent extremists to defeat violent extremists. Advocates of this approach would argue that non-violent extremists are best placed to deal with violent extremists. In this article I hope to explore some of the implications of this approach and the motivations behind some of those advocating it.

Firstly, this approach is based on a high degree of moral relativism and those advocating it obviously have very low expectations for Muslims. There are many Muslims who are not Islamists nor Wahabis who can be used to tackle violent extremists and are highly capable of doing so. Why are they being ignored and side-lined? Lambertism assumes that all Muslims are extreme in one form or another so they just pick the best of a bad bunch. It’s as if they think ‘we can’t expect those backward Muslims to live up to universal human rights standards’. Again this completely undermines and alienates genuinely moderate Muslims who don’t view their faith as their primary identity marker and don’t wish to use their religion as a political tool.

Secondly, this approach is very colonial. Fighting extremism is about uniting people under common decent values and challenging those who seek to divide and cause tensions in communities. It is not about playing a chess game, where human rights and common decency are trampled on in the pursuit of short-term gain. This is exactly the game that was playing in Afghanistan in the 1980s and in British India in the 19th century and on both occasions it proved a spectacular failure.

Thirdly, it just doesn’t work. Non-violent extremists in many cases galvanise their violent fringe by confirming their worldview. Let’s not forgot that it is non-violent extremists who spawned violent extremists in the first place. Jihadism is merely a symptom of the failure of Islamists to achieve power. So do we really want to be mainstreaming Islamist thought when we know that there will always be a minority who will seek to achieve the vision through more violent methods? Promoting Islamism increases the pool from which violent extremists recruit.

In short this theory is akin to saying let’s fund and support the BNP because they are best placed to deal with more violent far-right extremism. What Lambertists fail to understand is that the threat we are facing from the likes of al-Qaeda, is not only problematic because it is often violent. Yes that is a key factor and makes most people take notice. We are involved in a battle of ideas. On one hand you have those that seek to suppress and subjugate all others through a theocratic state that doesn’t tolerate diversity of belief or lifestyle. And on the other hand you have those who are seeking to foster pluralistic, liberal and democratic societies. Also this is a struggle that has been taking place in the Muslim world for almost a century now and we in the West can’t afford to lend support to the regressive strand and alienate those moderate Muslims around the world who are struggling for freer, open and pluralistic societies.

So who on earth is advocating this insane approach? Essentially we are dealing with three types of people.

Firstly, non-violent extremists themselves, who are seeking government support and acceptance in the hope of mainstreaming their ideology. Secondly, loonies, sometimes with a background in far-left politics, who in some cases are funded directly by Islamist groups to spout this nonsense. Those on the far-left also believe that Islamists are their bosom-buddies in their struggle against the evil capitalist world order. They obviously don’t realise that they will perhaps be the first to be persecuted under an Islamist state, as happened in Iran in the 1980s. And thirdly, lazy colonially minded civil servants who can’t be bothered to reach out to mainstream Muslims beyond London. Such civil servants generally hold lower expectations for Muslims in general and adopt what has been referred to as the ‘zoo complex’, i.e. they view Muslims as ‘good monkeys’ and ‘bad monkeys’ rather than full citizens. Hence, they feel they should empower the ‘good monkeys’ since we can’t expect Muslims to be normal just like us. They are also generally clueless about this whole area and don’t really care since they will be given a different portfolio in a few months time.

All in all, this approach is racist, lazy, colonial and ineffective. Instead of preventing violent extremism it actually makes it more likely and galvanises support for the far-right and all those who promote the thesis that Europe is being over-run by marauding Muslims. All advocates should hang their heads in shame.

Expect to hear much more about this over the coming months.

[From the comments section]

mettaculture 23 October 2010, 2:06 pm

Halal Capone

I will not patronise you in the way that you patronise people who hold the Islamic faith, in the way you do when you when you use the term ‘Muslim’ in a pseudo ethnic way.

You don’t, by the way, seem to have a particularly subtle grasp of Islam its core texts, rules of exegesis and Islamic Jurisprudence. In fact you make exactly the same identification between Muslims and their supposedly ‘immutable’ faith their duty to abide by Islamic jurisprudence and to act out these strictures as if they were commandments that both the BNP/EDL and Islamists themselves make.

This is the racist, colonialist era, lie. We do not need to find leaders among the natives that we can enoble and empower so that they may better rule their own lower orders while better serving our ruling interests. You say: ‘Within the Koran, there are statements and injunctions which run counter to modern secular liberal thinking. You have to accept that people believe these things, and you have to accept that they have the right to hold these beliefs.’

Well maybe but such a statement holds true (with minor confessional changes) of the Amish or my born again creation believing sister, What no single citizen has to accept is that anyone act on these scriptural views in violation of the Laws of this country. Is this really that hard to understand?

The Islamist who argues for Shariah law, who is arguing in fact that a Muslim must be bound by God given, rather than man made law, is the extremist who is beyond the democratic pale who must not be negotiated with because whatever his particular view of the use of violence he is actually powerless to prevent Jihadism and in fact actively encourages it.

There is a simple reason for this.

All four Sunni schools of classical Islamic jurisprudence (and the Shia tradition) share a very important consensus on the need for Muslims in non-Muslim lands to obey the laws of that land and its legitimate rulers. You are ignorant of this of course but it is as conventionally orthodox as the rules on apostasy for instance. It is only the post Maudood and post Qutb Islamists with their novel political doctrines of jahiliyah and Takfir that hold that Muslims must abide by their radical take on jurisprudence that sees fit to declare the rule of ‘non -Muslims’ (this includes all Muslim state rulers in Islamist ideology by the way) as the enemy of every single Muslim to be fought at all opportunities.

I don’t care what people believe, they have no autonomous right to act on their beliefs contrary to the law in a state ruled by law. It really is this simple. If you think that your strategy of creating legally and socially autonomous Muslim Bantustans in a country where they are less than 2% of the population is in any way stable then you are quite deluded or mad.

Not only is this policy undeniably racist (differential treatment before the law is the strongest legal definition of racism) it is also uncaring of the actual future of actual Muslim citizens, who must be ruled by their puppet Exarchs within their Bantustan or as a vulnerable minority outside of their fortified ghetto, they must be subject to the increasingly fractured and hostile whim of the majority who has been told to see them as eternally other. Your view of future Britain is a science fiction dystopia born of fear and cowardice but above all a sense of inalienable and unalterable human ethno-religious difference.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Barmaid Fired by Text Awarded £14,000 in Compensation

A barmaid who was sacked by text message has been awarded more than £14,000 in compensation because it was an ‘unfair’ way to dismiss her.

Karen Ogilvie slept in and missed the start of an evening shift at the Gaiety Bar in Dundee on January 3 after working 11 hours the day before.

Later that evening she received a text from her boss Louise Connarty saying she had been sacked.

Miss Ogilvie, of Dundee, was awarded £14,355 by an employment tribunal which ruled her dismissal was ‘procedurally and substantively unfair’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Baroness Warsi Told by David Cameron Not to Appear at Islamic Conference

The Conservative party chair, Baroness Warsi, has been banned by David Cameron from attending a major Islamic conference today, igniting a bitter internal row over how the government tackles Islamist extremism.

Warsi, Britain’s first female Muslim cabinet minister, was told by the prime minister to cancel her appearance at the Global Peace and Unity Event, which is being billed as the largest multicultural gathering in Europe.

The London-based conference is aimed at improving community relations, yet critics have pointed out that a number of speakers who are due to appear have justified suicide attacks and promoted al-Qaida, homophobia and terrorism.

An influential voice among the international Muslim community, Warsi believes that confronting extremists at public events is a more effective way to tackle fundamentalism than a refusal to engage with them. A Whitehall source said: “She had hoped to attend, but there is a conflict of opinion on how extremists should be dealt with and the prime minister, supported by Theresa May [the home secretary], were adamant no Tories should attend.”

Paul Goodman, the former Tory communities minister, said: “The aim of the organisers is to exploit politicians by using their presence to gain muscle, influence and credibility among British Muslims. Politicians shouldn’t play their game.”

Argument over the most effective strategy to challenge extremism has also led to a schism between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in the coalition government. While Cameron has prohibited Tories from attending the event at the Excel Centre in Docklands, the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has firmly opposed a boycott by politicians, agreeing with Warsi that extremists should be publicly confronted.

A compromise agreement means that Andrew Stunell, the Liberal Democrat communities minister, will today deliver an aggressive speech against those who espouse fundamentalism. “He will make clear that the coalition government will not tolerate extremism, hatred and intolerance in any form,” said a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government.

It is also understood that Clegg will send a message to the conference reiterating the need to tackle extremism head-on. Other political speakers include the shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, a campaign adviser to the Labour leader, Ed Miliband.

The conference, which is expected to draw up to 60,000 visitors, is likely to witness clashes between moderate Muslims and extremists. One influential Muslim scholar, Tahir ul-Qadri from Pakistan, will denounce those in the audience who subscribe to terrorism as “disbelievers”. Qadri, whose spokesman confirmed that he had hired a large security team after receiving death threats, expects a hostile reception from elements of the crowd. The spokesman added: “We want to bring a moderate view of Islam to a new audience, not just preach to the converted.”

The conference has been organised by Britain’s most popular Muslim television station, the Islam Channel, which earlier this year was accused by a Muslim thinktank, the Quilliam Foundation, of promoting extremist groups. The Quilliam report added that the channel’s chief executive and principal conference organiser, Mohammed Ali Harrath, has a conviction in Tunisia for terrorism-related offences. Harrath insists that his Tunisian organisation is a non-violent political party.


           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]

UK: Dentist Offered to Give Me a Discount if I Slept With Him

A mother-of-five yesterday spoke of her trauma after her dentist pestered her for sexual favours in return for discounted treatment.

Chammelle Courtney’s world had been turned upside down after her husband Mark suffered an asthma attack which stopped his heart and left him badly brain damaged.

But shortly after the 36-year-old lorry driver was admitted to a nursing home for round-the-clock care, dentist Milan Shah propositioned her.

Bombarding her with calls he told her: ‘You are not getting any loving from your husband and I am not from my wife. Maybe we can help each other out.’

After falsely telling Mrs Courtney, an NHS patient, that she had to pay for two root-canal operations privately, he offered to reduce the price if she would ‘spend some time with him’.

The 37-year-old, who has decided to waive her anonymity to help others who may be suffering in silence, told how police refused to deal with the case because they said there was a lack of evidence.

Two telephone conversations in which Shah, 43, tried to persuade Mrs Courtney to drop an official complaint were said to be inadmissible in a criminal court as he did not know she was recording them.

But they were accepted by the General Dental Council — and after a hearing last month, the dentist was struck off.

Shah, who is married, had taken Mrs Courtney’s phone number from records at Alexander House Dental Practice, in St Albans, and began calling her at weekends.

She decided to confront him at the surgery, but said: ‘When I arrived he kept coming closer and closer and told me he had an arranged marriage, that he and his wife led separate lives, and because of his religion he couldn’t leave her. That got him on to the subject of “helping each other out”.

‘I told him I wasn’t interested and that he and his wife should see a counsellor.’

The phone harassment stopped. But it began again a month later.

Mrs Courtney, who cannot work because four of her children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, continued to have dental care at the surgery, as Shah was professional on visits and had a female assistant.

But when he told her she needed root-canal surgery, with each procedure costing £390, he made the ‘conditional’ offer to cut the price.

Her primary care trust told her the treatment was available for a nominal fee on the NHS, and she said: ‘I realised he was trying to blackmail me.’

Police said there was nothing they could do, but suggested she took the tapes to the GDC.

A fitness to practise panel ruled that he was guilty of charges including making the phone calls and inappropriate comments, and telling his patient root canal treatment was not available on the NHS.

Shah, of Pinner, North-West London, has 28 days to appeal.

Mrs Courtney, of St Albans, Hertfordshire, explained why she had decided to reveal her case.

‘I want people to know you can take on a medical professional. They are not untouchable. And if Shah has treated anyone else the same way, or worse, they need to come forward.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

UK: Drivers Beware, Traffic Wardens Have Now Gone Undercover

It took Derek Anderson only 60 seconds to walk to a parking ticket machine — but in that time undercover officials had already given him a fine.

As the electrician, 54, headed to pay his fee, two council staff leapt out Sweeney-style from their unmarked patrol car.

Mr Anderson fought the £60 charge imposed by the South London borough of Merton and it has now been ruled unfair by a traffic adjudicator.

But the council admitted using civil enforcement officers in unmarked cars to catch drivers is spreading to other local authorities.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Elderly Woman Causes Airline Security Alert After ‘Joking’ She Was Carrying a Detonator

A plane was delayed and an elderly woman removed from an aircraft at Denver International Airport after she joked she was carrying a detonator.

The woman was questioned by police on Wednesday after she apparently jested that she had an explosive device in her bag.

The flight crew on Southwest Airlines Flight 3687 notified Transportation Security Administration officials that a passenger had made an appropriate comment while the plane was at the gate.

Concerned for passenger safety, the pilot also called police and asked the woman to get off the plane.

Laurie Hansen who was on board the aircraft said: ‘When we looked up we saw some police officers in the front and we saw an older woman really rattled, trying to get her stuff’.

A flight attendant relayed to Hansen that when the old lady handed her bag to the crew member she jokingly said, ‘Oh, be careful with my bag, it has a detonator in it’.

A nearby passenger heard the statement and said, ‘If that was me they would have thrown me off the plane’. The woman’s comment was not ignored because of her age and was taken seriously.

Hansen said she believed the woman had misused the word detonator and meant defibrillator or another kind of medical device.

She said the woman seemed to be very weak and the flight attendant told several passengers that she may have been on some kiond of medication that clouded her thinking.

Another passenger told Hansen he had seen the woman earlier and he thought she had Alzheimer’s or some other medical condition.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Facing the Axe: Diocese That Has Twice as Many Muslim Worshippers as Anglicans

A historic Church of England diocese where Muslim worshippers outnumber Anglican churchgoers by two to one is set to be scrapped.

According to sources, the Dioceses Commission is drawing up proposals to axe the cash-strapped Diocese of Bradford in Yorkshire and merge it with neighbouring Ripon and Leeds.

Some are pressing for both dioceses to be subsumed into the adjoining Diocese of York, to create a ‘superdiocese’ under Archbishop of York John Sentamu, the Church’s second-most powerful leader.

The first major shake-up of dioceses for almost 100 years could also see senior bishops replaced by lower-paid juniors, and millions of pounds shaved off central administration costs.

The move comes at a time when the Church is facing a severe financial squeeze, with £1billion wiped off its national assets last year.

Insiders said the crisis was particularly acute in parts of the country where population shifts had accelerated a general decline in churchgoing, hitting church collections which feed diocesan coffers.

One said: ‘Some areas with a high concentration of Muslim migrants have experienced “white flight” and the Church is struggling to maintain a foothold.’

Statisticians have predicted that there will be more Muslims in Britain’s mosques on Fridays than Anglicans in church on Sundays within a decade — though Church spokesmen point out that Anglicans increasingly worship at other times of the week.

The latest figures suggest this milestone has already been passed in the Diocese of Bradford, which was founded in 1919 and covers the city, the western quarter of North Yorkshire and parts of East Lancashire, South-East Cumbria and Leeds.

According to official attendance figures, ‘usual’ Sunday churchgoing across the diocese’s 147 parishes fell from 13,500 in 2000 to 8,700 in 2008.


           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]

UK: Galloway-Backed ‘Extremist’ New Tower Hamlets Mayor

A candidate with alleged extremist links and the backing of Respect politician George Galloway has become the first directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets. Lutfur Rahman, who was originally Labour’s candidate but was suspended from the party in September because of “serious allegations” about his conduct, won 51.7 per cent of the first-preference votes.

He was nominated as the Labour’s candidate for Tower Hamlets despite local party opposition, but after he was removed as the party’s choice he opted to stand as an independent.

Mr Rahman, a Spitalfields and Banglatown councillor, beat the Labour hopeful Helal Abbas by more than 12,000 votes.

Mr Rahman was the subject of a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation earlier this year, and it has been claimed that he has connections with the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), which operates out of the East London mosque. Reporters for the programme suggested that the IFE had helped him become the Labour leader of Tower Hamlets council, a position from which he was ousted in May.

Former Respect MP and pro-Palestinian campaigner George Galloway hinted that he would contest the election himself but decided against it. However Respect offered: “wholehearted support to [him] and his campaign”.

Mr Rahman will now have control of a budget of more than £1 billion for the next four years. He will be mayor of the east London borough during the 2012 London Olympics.

Turnout for the vote was just 25.6 per cent. According to the Telegraph, after the results were announced a senior member of the local Labour party said: “It really is Britain’s Islamic republic now.” Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said the result was “greatly disappointing.” “Nobody likes losing elections and certainly not to former members.”

But he told the JC that the result was not a victory for Respect. “They are a spent force, they are dead and as an organisation they are in complete disarray.

“This was a demonstration of some elements in the Islamic community. It was not orchestrated by Respect — they just traded on it.”

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Gangland Feud Linked to Fatal Shooting of Teenager

A murder inquiry was launched yesterday after a teenager was killed and another injured when two balaclava-wearing gunmen opened fire on a group of four young friends.

Officers were called to parkland in Plaistow, east London, at about 3.20am after reports that two teenagers had suffered gunshot wounds. The victim, believed to be 16 and named locally as Sammy Adelagun, was pronounced dead at the scene. A second teenager, believed to be 15, was taken to hospital where his condition was said to be stable.

Detectives from the Metropolitan police’s Trident unit, which tackles gun-related crime within the black community, are investigating the death.

Next of kin had been informed, police said, and no arrests had yet been made. There were suggestions that at least one of the youths may also have been stabbed.

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said that she heard a loud banging on the door of a house in Chesterton Road and the sound of people running up and down stairs. “It was a huge commotion,” she said.

Annie Smith, 77, of Howards Road, which backs on to the parkland, said: “I heard two males shouting, then I went back to sleep. Then I heard three or four bangs. I thought it could be fireworks, but it may have been shots. I then heard somebody shouting and someone answer faintly. They are just kids, why were they out so late?”

The police said that 16 teenagers had been killed in London this year, five of them shot. In June the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, launched an initiative to tackle gang-related violence by recruiting male role models to mentor young boys from troubled backgrounds.

Two youths, who gave their names as “Nasty” and “Deano”, said gang violence was common in the area. “It’s just a way of life around here,” one said.


           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]

UK: Mother With 4 Bedroom Home on the State Says Work Doesn’t Pay

She lives in a four-bedroom townhouse on a new estate, with an £18,000 Mazda in the drive and a 42in high definition plasma television in the living room.

Kellie Cottam’s lifestyle may hint at hard work and success. But the Sky+ satellite, games consoles and toys scattered on the floor were all amassed not from long hours in the office, but through the £37,000 a year — tax free — she rakes in through benefits.

The single mother-of-four yesterday described the welfare system as her ‘breadwinner’ and said she would need to earn an annual salary of £60,000 to make it worth her while to work and maintain her lifestyle.

Her case emerged days after Chancellor George Osborne promised that single families would no longer be able to claim more than £500 a week.

Miss Cottam yesterday admitted some people may consider her ‘public enemy number one’. But she described the benefits system as a ‘mindset trap’ which she was desperate to escape.

The 32-year-old, who collects £3,077.20 a month in income support, child benefit, housing benefit and incapacity benefits, said: ‘I’ve got four children with three different dads. I was expelled from school. I couldn’t survive without benefits.’

Miss Cottam, from Chorley, Lancashire, said she started claiming benefits when she got divorced a decade ago. By then she had two children, Liam, now 14, and Daniel, 12, by her ex-husband and then another partner. She went on to have Aaron, 19 months, and Faith, six months, with a third partner.

Miss Cottam suffers from a condition called Ehlers Danlos syndrome, which results in repeated dislocations of her joints and ligament problems. It leaves her in and out of a wheelchair and she needs help from a social worker and a care worker to look after her children.

Miss Cottam, a psychology graduate, agreed the benefit system needs to be overhauled because it ‘stops people from hitting that point where they have to go out and do it for themselves’.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Queen’s £38m a Year Offshore Windfarm Windfall — Because She Owns the Seabed

The Royal Family have secured a lucrative deal that will earn them tens of millions of pounds from the massive expansion of offshore windfarms.

They will net up to £37.5 million extra income every year from the drive for green energy because the seabed within Britain’s ter­ritorial waters is owned by the Crown Estate.

Under new measures announced by Chancellor George Osborne last week, the Royals will soon get 15 per cent of the profits from the Estate’s £6 billion property portfolio, rather than the existing Civil List arrangement.

Experts predict the growth in offshore windfarms could be worth up to £250 million a year to the Crown Estate. There are already 436 turbines in operation around the UK’s 7,700-mile coastline — but within a decade that number is set to reach nearly 7,000.

Prince Charles is a vociferous campaigner for renew­able energy sources such as these, but is opposed to turbines being erected on land — particularly near his own homes.

He has described windfarms as a ‘horrendous blot on the landscape’ and has refused to have any built at his Highgrove home or on the Duchy of Cornwall estate.

But he has expressed enthusiasm for siting them offshore.

The Crown Estate said profits from windfarms in Britain’s territorial waters — which extend almost 14 miles from the coast — could rise to £100 million a year, giving the ­Royals £15 million.

But industry experts said this was an under-­estimate and that the true figure was likely to be nearer £250 million by 2020, with £37.5 million for the Royals.

They currently receive about £30 million a year from the Civil List and other grants — a figure that will be frozen until 2012 when it will be replaced by the new mechanism, called the Sovereign Support Grant.

The level was ­calculated based on the Crown Estate’s current annual profit of £211 million — 15 per cent of which would be in line with ­current income.

But if the experts are correct about windfarm returns, the Monarchy’s budget would more than double, to around £68 million.

The canny boost to Royal finances was quietly slipped through as part of last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

In what one source described last night as a ‘masterstroke’ by the Prince’s closest adviser Sir Michael Peat, 250 years of history was overturned by scrapping the arrangement under which taxpayers’ money has been used to fund the Royals and pay for the upkeep of their palaces.

The Civil List — which has financed the Monarchy since King George III surrendered all revenues from the Crown Estate after running up massive debts — meant the Royal finances were accountable to Parliament, but the Sovereign Support Grant will avoid such scrutiny.

Old Etonian accountant Sir Michael, 60, Charles’s Principal Private Secretary, is the former Keeper of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace. He is the great-grandson of the founder of accountancy firm Peat Marwick.

‘There is nothing Michael does not know about Royal finances,’ said a source. ‘His depth of knowledge will have been invaluable. Charles has always believed the money from the Crown Estate was taken away from the family.

‘Now they have got it back. One could say they have pulled a fast one.’

‘Charles seemed enthused about the potential for marine energy in Pembrokeshire. He asked about how the devices worked, where they would be deployed and whether there was ­public and governmental support.’

By 2020, 6,400 turbines — each one rising 500ft above the sea — are expec­ted to be in operation around the UK coastline. Household energy bills will have to rise to pay for the £75 bil­lion expansion, which has been described as one of the biggest engineering projects in recent history.

The EU has told Britain it must generate more of its energy needs from renewable sources. But critics say the plan to increase Britain’s dependence on green energy is flawed and could leave homes and business suffering routine power cuts within five years.

Sir Martin Holdgate, former chief ­scientist at the Department for the Envir­onment, said: ‘There is pressure to act on climate change. But when you look at the cost per unit, it is a rather expensive way of providing electricity.’

In its latest accounts, the Crown Estate says that its offshore windfarm business is ‘experiencing exponential growth and we expect it to provide a significant source of total income in the next ten years’.

Revenue to the Estate from the windfarms rose by 44 per cent last year to a ‘low base’ of £2.6 million. But with the third round of contracts handed out in January, companies bidding for the work say a bonanza is on the horizon.

The UK’s first offshore windfarm was commissioned in December 2000 off Blyth Harbour in Northumberland. In the following year, leases were awarded for the development of 18 sites.

North Hoyle off Merseyside was switched on in December 2003, Scroby Sands off Norfolk followed in 2004 and Kentish Flats in the Thames Estuary became oper­ational a year later.

Since then, the pace of expansion has quickened substantially. There are now a total of 436 working turbines at 13 locations from Walney Island in the Irish Sea to Foreness Point off Margate, Kent. A further 309 are being built at four sites.

Planning permission has been granted for 817 more windmills at seven farms. Yet another 519 turbines at five sites are being considered by planning authorities.

Eon, Centrica, EDF, Scottish Power and npower are among the suppliers that have been awarded contracts to develop windfarms.

When new windfarm developments are proposed, experts from the Crown Estate identify possible locations before carrying out esurveys to examine the effects on bird and marine life. They then pass the data to developers, who are invited to bid for contracts.

A spokesman for Republic, which campaigns for a more accountable Royal Family, said: ‘It is wholly inappropriate that the Palace should have such a direct interest in a subject like windfarms, given Prince Charles’s obsession with renewable energy.

‘It raises the question as to whether he is seeking to increase his own investment portfolio each time he makes a favourable reference to wind power.’

A Crown Estate spokesman said last night: ‘Offshore wind is a significant programme for the UK. It will create 50,000 to 70,000 jobs by 2020 and provide energy security and inward investment.

‘We only expect to see a return on this investment from 2015 onwards when the revenue stream from offshore wind should increase significantly. This will enable the UK to achieve the EU target of 20 per cent energy from renewable sources.’

A Treasury spokesman said: ‘The 15 per cent of Crown Estate profit is an indicative figure of how the Sovereign Support Grant may work. There will of course be safeguards in place to ensure that this is not adversely high. The details will be for Parliament to decide and will be outlined in due course.’

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘Nobody yet knows how the Sov­ereign Support Grant is going to work. The details have not yet been finalised with the Treasury. It is wild speculation to discuss what might or might not happen in 2020.’

Clarence House declined to comment on behalf of Prince Charles.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, sounded tetchy. As part of his Comprehensive Spending Review, he outlined a new method of funding the Monarchy. He told the Commons it would mean ‘that my successors do not have to return to this issue as often as I have had to’.

Reading between the lines, it appears that Mr Osborne has already been on the receiving end of considerable Palace pressure during the five months he has been in the job. He sounded relieved to be freeing himself from it.

Instead of Parliament granting an annual fixed income for the Civil List, in three years’ time the Queen will receive ‘a new Sovereign Support Grant, linked to a portion of the revenue of the Crown Estate’.

But in agreeing to this, Mr Osborne has ceded an important principle. Having to justify State expenditure on the Monarchy to the Commons might have been irritating to Chancellors and Royalty, but it is an essential part of our constitution.

The Palace has been pushing for income from the Crown Properties since the end of the 19th Century. The Palace can immediately claim that by being paid from the Crown Estate, the Royal Family really costs the taxpayer nothing.

But Mr Osborne’s proposals seem to be an automatic means of guaranteeing annual increases in funding at least in line with inflation and maybe much more.

New legislation would have to be brought in for the Sovereignty Support Grant but that would be the last time Parliament would debate how much the Monarch is to receive in guaranteed income, a right which it has maintained (albeit under pressure) since 1760.

That was when George III surrendered the Crown Estate — lands acquired by William the Conquerer and Henry VIII — to the Government in exchange for a fixed income from the Civil List. In truth, by the 18th Century, the Crown Estate was controlled by Ministers who rented the land to MPs for tiny sums to bribe them to vote with the Government.

So the Crown Estate was never the Monarch’s ‘private possession’ as such.

Yet there are still those who talk of the good deal the taxpayer gets from the Monarch having given up the now sizeable Crown Estate income. And that’s where the Palace thinks it has lost out.

The Crown Estate today is valued at £6.6 billion and includes prime streets such as Pall Mall and Regent Street in London. It has 265,000 acres of farm land, it owns quarries, forests and parkland.

Last year, the Estate handed over £211 million to the Treasury and 15 per cent of that would be handed over to the Palace. On current figures, this would yield much the same as the £33.3 million Civil List. The Treasury say that in future years, this sum could be adjusted if it became too large or too small.

The Crown Estate also owns all the seabed out to 12 nautical miles. And from 2015, wind farms are likely to generate up to £250 million a year for the Estate.

The proposed new arrangements are a surprise turnabout for the Treasury. Previous senior civil servants there had always resisted any claims by the Royals to the revenues of the Crown Estate.

Burke Trend, a Treasury official who went on to be Cabinet Secretary, wrote a memo to the 1952 Chancellor, Rab Butler stating it was ‘a historical fallacy to suppose there is anything in the nature of a bargain between the Crown and Parliament whereby the Crown surrenders hereditary revenues, in return for a fixed Civil List’.

But it seems George Osborne has accepted many false arguments about the historic relationship between the Monarch and the Crown Estate and ignored the long-held opinion of his own department.

The National Audit Office will be able to audit royal expenditure, but Parliament will no longer be able to debate and determine financial support to the Monarchy.

The purpose of a Civil List was to bring the Monarchy under Parliamentary control. As long as the Monarch depends financially on Parliament, they can be brought to heel if they try to interfere, unconstitutionally, in political debate.

A large and inflation-proofed stream of revenue from the Crown Estate removes that constraint. The Queen has resolutely resisted the temptation to meddle.

Her son, with his fondness for memos to Ministers, shows no such restraint. Future politicians may bitterly regret the concession made by George Osborne last week.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

UK: Why 7/7 Victims Were Left to Bleed to Death: Before a Policeman Tries to Save You He Must Consider 238 Dangers to Stop Him Suing Bosses

Amid the disturbing evidence at last week’s inquest into the deaths of the 52 victims of the 7/7 London bombings, there was a moment of great clarity.

Survivor Michael Henning described how he stumbled to safety from the wreckage of a bombed Tube train at Aldgate station and pleaded with a group of emergency workers to go underground and help injured and dying passengers.

The firemen on the station platform seemed embarrassed and explained that they had been ordered to stay out of the tunnel because of fears of a second explosion.

Victims died in agony during the delay — and there proved to be no second bomb.

In lamenting the loss of the ‘Blitz Spirit’ — when wartime rescue workers risked their lives to pull people from bombed and blazing buildings — Mr Henning laid bare the uncomfort­able truth: that today’s fire and ambulance crews and particularly today’s police officers are trained to see hypothetical risks to themselves as far more important than the actual safety of the public they are meant to serve.

The bombings of July 7, 2005, are not the only crisis in which this ‘risk assessment’ culture has been revealed.

Last June, ambulancemen in Cumbria were widely criticised for standing by for vital hours while the gunshot victims of taxi driver Derrick Bird bled to death.

The explanation given later was that they had been refused permission to advance by the police because of fears that Bird might open fire on them. He was already dead and nobody will ever know how many lives could have been saved had the emergency services acted sooner.

I spent 35 years as a police officer before retiring as Deputy Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard and I’m dismayed but not surprised by the rise of this self-serving risk assessment culture.

Who can now imagine an officer having the bravery and initiative of the Metropolitan, Police Commander who at the height of the 1981 Brixton riots commandeered a fire engine, drove it into the centre of an angry mob and dispersed the crowd by firing water from the hoses?

Anyone doing the same today would immediately be sidelined as a maverick taking unnecessary risks.

The root of the problem lies in a little-known and ill-advised piece of legislation passed in the dying days of John Major’s Government, when the eyes of Parl­iament and the country at large were on the forth­coming General Election.

The Police (Health and Safety) Act 1997 was introduced as a result of vigorous lobbying on behalf of the Police Federation, the ‘trade union’ of officers up to the rank of chief inspector, which had been demanding action after a number of policemen in London had been shot on duty.

Under pressure, the Yard allowed the introduction of body armour and the the replacement of truncheons with a range of new weaponry. The aim of the new law was to make policemen safer by applying the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act to the force.

However, the original legislation was designed not for the complexities of police work, but for heavy industry, and the result was a nationwide organ­isational panic, hastily designed training courses and a frenzy of unnecessary paperwork which continues to this day.

The fire and ambulance services, which were already covered by the 1974 legislation, became infected by the same ‘safety-first’ malaise. Of course, both services are operationally linked with the police — who often, as in Cumbria, take overall control of major incidents.

The current Metropolitan Police generic risk-assessment checklist, form RA1, is mind-blowing. It requires officers to choose from a menu of 238 possible hazards before conducting any sort of operational activity.

The assessment must be submitted, with covering forms RA2 and RA3, to a senior officer, who then has to consider what ‘control measures’ need to be applied, before submitting his recommendation — with form RA4 — to his ‘portfolio holder’ (jargon for the responsible officer) in order for the risk assessment to be confirmed and signed off.

[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

UK: Cherie’s Half-Sister Lauren Booth: I’ve Converted to Islam After a Trip to Iran

Tony Blair’s sister-in-law has converted to Islam after having a ‘holy experience’ in Iran.

Broadcaster and journalist Lauren Booth, 43 — Cherie Blair’s half-sister — said she now wears a hijab head covering whenever she leaves her home, prays five times a day and visits her local mosque ‘when I can’.

She decided to become a Muslim six weeks ago after visiting the shrine of Fatima al-Masumeh in the city of Qom.

‘It was a Tuesday evening and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy,’ she told The Mail on Sunday.

When she returned to Britain, she decided to convert immediately.

‘Now I don’t eat pork and I read the Koran every day. I’m on page 60.

‘I also haven’t had a drink in 45 days, the longest period in 25 years. The strange thing is that since I decided to convert I haven’t wanted to touch alcohol, and I was someone who craved a glass of wine or two at the end of a day.’

Refusing to discount the possibility that she might wear a burka, she said: ‘Who knows where my spiritual journey will take me?’

Before her awakening in Iran, she had been ‘sympathetic’ to Islam and has spent considerable time working in Palestine. ‘I was always impressed with the strength and comfort it gave,’ she said of the religion.

Miss Booth, who works for Press TV, the English-language Iranian news channel, has been a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq.

In August 2008 she travelled to Gaza by ship from Cyprus, along with 46 other activists, to highlight Israel’s blockade of the territory. She was subsequently refused entry into both Israel and Egypt.

In 2006 she was a contestant on the ITV reality show I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, donating her fee to the Palestinian relief charity Interpal.

She said she hoped her conversion would help Mr Blair change his presumptions about Islam.

           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]

Middle East

British Soldier ‘Killed Iraqi Girl, 8, As She Played’: Explosive New Claim as Wikileaks Publish US War Files

A British rifleman shot dead an eight-year-old Iraqi girl as she played in the streets, it was claimed today.

Soldiers were handing out sweets to children in their bid to win ‘hearts and minds’ when she was allegedly killed.

Solicitor Phil Shiner said: ‘The tank stopped at the end of the street, she’s there in her yellow dress, a rifleman pops up and blows her away.’

Mr Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, made the claim after 400,000 U.S. military reports were posted on whistleblowing website Wikileaks.

He gave no further details about the incident when he appeared alongside the website’s founder Julian Assange in London this morning.


The solicitor, who is acting for various Iraqis, claims civilians were killed by ‘indiscriminate attacks’ or ‘unjustified use of lethal force’.

‘Others have been killed in custody by UK forces and no-one knows how many Iraqis lost their lives while held in British detention facilities,’ he said.


Wikileaks is now planning to release another 15,000 documents about the war in Afghanistan.

The files were held back in July because of their sensitive content but have now been fully vetted for release. The website insists their contents cannot harm individuals.

Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Colonel Dave Lapan said: ‘We deplore WikiLeaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies.

‘We know terrorist organisations have been mining the leaked Afghan documents for information to use against us, and this Iraq leak is more than four times as large.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Iran Steps Up Training of Terrorists

Mullah regime solidifying grip on Israel’s borders

JERUSALEM — Iranian Revolutionary Guard units have stepped up their training of Hamas commanders inside the Gaza Strip, according to a senior Egyptian security official.

The official conceded a growing level of cooperation with the Guard in efforts to smuggle weapons into Gaza, while Egypt has reported an increase in Guard training of Hamas division commanders inside the Gaza Strip.

The information comes as Iran publicly solidifies its hold over its other allies along the Israeli border, most notably Syria and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Use of Contractors Added to Chaos of Iraq War, Trove of Documents Shows

A huge archive of documents from the Iraq war, released by WikiLeaks, shows a multitude of shortcomings with the military’s reliance on private contractors. The contractors lacked coordination with coalition forces and often shot with little discrimination — and few if any consequences — at unarmed Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces, American troops and even other contractors, stirring public outrage.

The documents also portray the long history of tensions between Kurds and Arabs in the north of Iraq and reveal the fears of some American units about what might happen after American troops leave the country by the end of 2011.

Facing denunciations from governments for the release of the classified documents, the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is now finding some of his own comrades abandoning him for what they see as erratic and imperious behavior.

[Return to headlines]

Wikileaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq — With Surprising Results

By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But for years afterward, WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins, and uncover weapons of mass destruction.

An initial glance at the WikiLeaks war logs doesn’t reveal evidence of some massive WMD program by the Saddam Hussein regime — the Bush administration’s most (in)famous rationale for invading Iraq. But chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam’s toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict — and may have brewed up their own deadly agents.

In August 2004, for instance, American forces surreptitiously purchased what they believed to be containers of liquid sulfur mustard, a toxic “blister agent” used as a chemical weapon since World War I. The troops tested the liquid, and “reported two positive results for blister.” The chemical was then “triple-sealed and transported to a secure site” outside their base.

Three months later, in northern Iraq, U.S. scouts went to look in on a “chemical weapons” complex. “One of the bunkers has been tampered with,” they write. “The integrity of the seal [around the complex] appears intact, but it seems someone is interesting in trying to get into the bunkers.”

Meanwhile, the second battle of Fallujah was raging in Anbar province. In the southeastern corner of the city, American forces came across a “house with a chemical lab … substances found are similar to ones (in lesser quantities located a previous chemical lab.” The following day, there’s a call in another part of the city for explosive experts to dispose of a “chemical cache.”

Nearly three years later, American troops were still finding WMD in the region. An armored Buffalo vehicle unearthed a cache of artillery shells “that was covered by sacks and leaves under an Iraqi Community Watch checkpoint. “The 155mm rounds are filled with an unknown liquid, and several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance.” Initial tests were inconclusive. But later, “the rounds tested positive for mustard.”

In WikiLeaks’ massive trove of nearly 392,000 Iraq war logs, there are hundreds of references to chemical and biological weapons. Most of those are intelligence reports or initial suspicions of WMD that don’t pan out. In July 2004, for example, U.S. forces come across a Baghdad building with gas masks, gas filters, and containers with “unknown contents” inside. Later investigation revealed those contents to be vitamins.

But even late in the war, WMDs were still being unearthed. In the summer of 2008, according to one WikiLeaked report, American troops found at least 10 rounds that tested positive for chemical agents. “These rounds were most likely left over from the [Saddam]-era regime. Based on location, these rounds may be an AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] cache. However, the rounds were all total disrepair and did not appear to have been moved for a long time.”

A small group — mostly of the political right — has long maintained that there was more evidence of a major and modern WMD program than the American people were lead to believe. A few Congressmen and Senators gravitated to the idea, but it was largely dismissed as conspiratorial hooey.

The WMD diehards will likely find some comfort in these newly-WikiLeaked documents. Skeptics will note that these relatively small WMD stockpiles were hardly the kind of grave danger that the Bush administration presented in the run-up to the war.

But the more salient issue may be how insurgents and Islamic extremists (possibly with the help of Iran) attempted to use these lethal and exotic arms. As Spencer noted earlier, a January 2006 war log claims that “neuroparalytic” chemical weapons were smuggled in from Iran.

That same month, then “chemical weapons specialists” were apprehended in Balad. These “foreigners” were there specifically “to support the chemical weapons operations.” The following month, an intelligence report refers to a “chemical weapons expert” that “provided assistance with the gas weapons.” What happened to that specialist, the WikiLeaked document doesn’t say.

           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]

Will Barack Obama Admit Extent of Iran’s Role in Iraq, Laid Bare by Wikileaks?

Much of the attention surrounding the WikiLeaks document dump will, predictably enough, focus on a single incident of two insurgents being killed after they tried to surrender to an Apache helicopter and, more disturbingly, the widespread abuse of detainees by Iraq forces, apparently with a blind eye being turned by the US military.

Some of the reporting of the documents is distinctly tendentious. Take for instance this from the Guardian. The headline states as fact that “Apache helicopters kill 14 civilians”. The source for this? A single Iraq informant, speaking to an interpreter for the US military. In addition, an Iraqi colonel said the number was 12.

Any journalist who has worked in Iraq (and I spent much of 2004 and 2005 there) knows that casualty figures from Iraqis were extremely unreliable and often based on rumour, exaggeration or personal/political agendas and prejudices. In the US report, the figures are rightly described as “unconfirmed”.

I’m not saying it’s not true that 14 were killed. Civilians die in wars, often in very large numbers, and they certainly did so in Iraq. There might well have been that number or more killed by US forces that. But we just don’t know and things that we can’t be sure about should not be reported as fact just because we might like them to be true.


It seems to me that the most significant revelations from the massive WikiLeaks document dump is the apparent extent of Iran’s nefarious role in Iraq. Remember how we were always being told that the Bush administration was exaggerating the extent of Iranian influence with the Shia militia groups in order to push along a neocon plot to attack Iran? Well, an initial reading of the documents conducted by the New York Times indicates there wasn’t much exaggeration at all.

Come to think of it, None other than Vice President Joe Biden said as recently as August:

Iranian influence in Iraq is minimal. It’s been greatly


So exactly how does that statement square with this from the NYT?

The reports make it clear that the lethal contest between

Iranian-backed militias and American forces continued after

President Obama sought to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran’s

leaders and reaffirmed the agreement between the United States

and Iraq to withdraw American troops from Iraq by the end of


           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Bombers Hit U.N. Base in Afghanistan

HERAT, Afghanistan (Reuters) — Four Taliban suicide bombers dressed as police and women attacked the main United Nations compound in western Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said, but there were no casualties among U.N. staff.

The attack with rockets, machine guns and bombers hit the U.N. compound in Herat, a commercial hub and the largest city in the country’s west where Taliban and other Islamist insurgents are usually less active than in other areas.

Afghan forces and U.N. security guards at the compound repelled the insurgents. Two attackers, including a car bomber, blew themselves up at the entrance and another detonated his bomb just inside, while a fourth was shot and killed, police, government and U.N. officials said.

It was the highest profile attack on the United Nations since last year and will raise questions about security in a city that NATO officials believe could be among the first to see Afghan forces take responsibility for security from NATO troops.

“This was a complex attack with rockets, machine guns plus suicide bombers. The attack was repelled, they did not succeed,” U.N. envoy to Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura told Reuters.

“No U.N. staff were wounded,” he said.

Two Afghan police officers were reportedly wounded in the attack, he said.

At least one of the attackers was dressed in all-encompassing burqas worn by many Afghan women and others were in local Afghan police uniforms.

Despite the presence of 150,000 foreign troops, violence from Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban is at its most intense since the conflict began in 2001 when U.S.-backed Afghan troops ousted the Islamists from power.

The conflict is weighing on U.S. President Barack Obama and his NATO allies as casualties among foreign forces mount and Washington looks to start bringing back troops from July next year and steadily hand over security to Afghan forces.

One of Afghanistan’s largest cities, with a population of about 3 million, Herat is under the regional command of Italian troops and has enjoyed relative calm compared with more restive parts of the country.

Earlier this year, NATO’s regional commander said districts within Herat were ready to see their security responsibility transferred to Afghan forces.


No ground troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force were involved in the operation to clear the compound after the attack, spokesman Major Michael Johnson said.

A Taliban commander, Mullah Bilal, claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the group. One fighter had blown himself up and others had entered the compound, he told Reuters by telephone.

It was the worst assault against the United Nations since October 2009, when militants attacked a U.N. guesthouse in Kabul and five foreign U.N. staff were killed. That attack prompted the United Nations to evacuate hundreds of foreign workers.

In a report on Afghanistan in June, U. N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the organization was still a potential target for militant attacks, and it would be cutting the size of its international staff.

The U.N. mission already suffers chronic staff shortages and Ban has said candidates’ reluctance to move to Afghanistan because of security fears was hampering aid delivery.

“This is a delicate period where everyone is expecting asymmetric attacks. We were not taken by surprise,” de Mistura said. “The U.N. is here to stay and stay with the Afghans.”

Insurgents have stepped up attacks beyond their strongholds in the south and east of the country. More than 2,000 foreign troops have been killed since the war began, more than half of those in the past two years. Most were U.S. troops.

In southern Kandahar, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated explosives inside the city, killing one civilian and wounding two others, said Zelmay Ayoubi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

Shocking Video Captures Brutal Islamic Stoning

‘This footage is unique, because Taliban-Pakistan tries to conceal such images’

[Editor’s note, the following video contains graphic images of violence and bloodshed. Following the stoning, a second, separate incident of violence is also reported, of an execution conducted for unspecified causes. ]

A graphic new video, captured on cell phone and released through an Arabic TV station, has been translated and brought to English-speaking audiences, demonstrating for the first time the brutality of public stonings in the Taliban-controlled areas of Pakistan.

News footage of the video was first broadcast by the United Arab Emirates-owned Alaan TV then translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which claims to monitor more than 100 Arabic and Farsi TV channels.

“This footage is unique, because Taliban-Pakistan tries to conceal such images,” reports the Alaan TV anchor. “They know that images of the stoning of a woman should not be made public, because they might cause a rift between the movement and its supporters. As far as we know, this is the first time anyone has obtained footage of a woman being stoned by Taliban-Pakistan.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Offers Pakistan $2bn Arms Deal to Fight Taliban and Al-Qaida

The US announced a $2bn (£1.3bn) arms sales deal with Pakistan today to help boost the fight against Taliban and al-Qaida groups using the country as a safe haven for attacks inside Afghanistan.

The deal, to be spread out over the next five years, amounts to about a 30% increase in US funding for weapons sales to Pakistan.

US-Pakistan relations are turbulent, constantly switching between Washington criticising Pakistan for a lack of commitment to fighting extremism to insisting it is one of its most important allies.

The planned increase in spending was announced by the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, at the end of a three-day US-Pakistan summit in Washington attended by senior military, diplomatic and political representatives of both countries.

Clinton sought to appease the Pakistani government and public opinion bruised by recent criticism from the US. “I want to say publicly what many of us have said privately: the United States has no stronger partner when it comes to counter-terrorism efforts against the extremists who threaten us both than Pakistan,” she said.

The Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, standing beside Clinton, said: “There are still tongue-in-cheek comments, even in this capital, about Pakistan’s heart not really being in this fight,” he said. “We do not know what greater evidence to offer than the blood of our people. Madam secretary, we are determined to win this fight.”

US congressional approval is likely to be forthcoming, but sceptical members will raise awkward questions, especially after reports last year that earlier military aid to Pakistan had gone missing or was diverted from counter-terrorism to bolstering defences against India.

Congress has also expressed concerns about human rights abuses by the Pakistani military, in particular over its offensive in the Swat valley last year. Under US law, the Obama administration is planning to withhold military aid going to any units involved in alleged human rights abuses.

“If there is going to be progress against al-Qaida, we need the support of the Pakistani army,” the Democratic senator, Patrick Leahy, said earlier.

“But there is a lot of concern with extrajudicial killings by the army that remain unpunished, and this will be a factor when we consider a request for more aid. Respect for our law and the laws of war is fundamental.”

The military aid comes on top of $7.5bn in civilian assistance already promised for the next five years.


           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa: ‘We Don’t Want Your Blood Money’

‘Sorry, we cannot supply you any of our goods as we don’t want or need your blood money!”

This scathing comment, written on an invoice returned to the South African Zionist Federation, has angered some members of the local Jewish community, who are now seeking legal opinion against a Muslim-owned Johannesburg company.

The SAZF had placed an order with Saley’s Travel Goods in Ormonde, Johannesburg, for 249 conference bags, which it wanted to hand out at its 47th conference in March next year.

But after placing the order and confirming it telephonically, the SAZF had their invoice returned with the strongly worded comments, purportedly signed by “management” of Saley’s.

The unknown person who wrote on the invoice started off by writing “Dear”, but then scratched it out and launched into a series of harsh words.

It continued: “Please do not contact us anymore and remove all our contact details from your records and we will do likewise. We don’t want to aid and abet organisations that are responsible for crimes against humanity!”

Two lines were also crossed over the invoice, worth R8841.59, with the words: “Please don’t pay! Don’t contaminate our account with your blood money!”


           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]

Suspected Islamists Kill Local Chief in Northern Nigeria

Gunmen suspected of being members of Boko Haram Islamist sect believed to be behind a series of killings in recent months have shot dead a local chief in northern Nigeria, a legislator said Saturday. Tukur Ahmad, a neighbourhood chief in northern city of Bauchi was killed by two unidentified gunmen outside his house Friday night shortly after attending Muslim prayers in a nearby mosque, said MP Babayo Garba, representing the area in the Bauchi state House of Assembly. “The two assailants suspected to be members of Boko Haram used the cover of the night and shot him dead outside his house and fled. They came on foot and sneaked away through back streets after the attack,” Garba told AFP. This was the third attack suspected on Boko Haram to be carried out in the city in barely one week. Such shootings along with other attacks in recent months in northern Nigeria, including a prison raid and the torching of a police station, have raised alarm over the sect, which launched an uprising last year. The revolt was put down by a police and military assault, leaving hundreds dead. Last month suspected Boko Haram extremists attacked a prison in Bauchi and freed more than 700 inmates, including around 100 sect members standing trial for their involvement in the sect’s armed insurrection last year. Police authorities in Bauchi have declined to comment on the attacks. Attacks have also occurred in other areas in recent months. Authorities had to deploy troops in the northern city of Maiduguri this week after a series of attacks blamed on Boko Haram. Two weeks ago, suspected sect members attacked and torched a police station in Maiduguri, the centre of last year’s uprising. The government’s assault on the Islamists left the sect’s mosque and headquarters in ruins. Its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was captured alive and then killed by police, who said he was trying to escape. His deputy, Abubakar Shekau, is believed by some to have since taken over as leader. Boko Haram means “Western education is sin” in the Hausa language.

           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]


Obama Authorizes Additional 80,000 “Refugees” To Entry Country

President Barack Hussein Obama, in a determination letter to Congress, has announced that he will allow an additional 80,000 immigrants — — mostly from Islamic countries — — to resettle in the United States during fiscal year 2011.

Mr. Obama says that the increase in Muslim immigrants “is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.”

The following “goals” for new immigrants has been set as follows:

Africa ………………………………….15,000

East Asia …………………………….19,000

Europe and Central Asia …………2,000

Latin America/Caribbean………….5,500

Near East/South Asia…………….35,500

Unallocated Reserve……………….3,000

Refugee Resettlement Watch and other organizations have expressed grave concern that Mr. Obama is allowing some many immigrants into the country while so many Americans remain out of work and living in poverty.

According to the US Department of Labor, 14.8 million Americans remain unemployed. 6.1 million have been out of work for 27 weeks or over.

[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

‘Body Worlds’ Anatomist Sells Body Parts Online

The anatomist famous for his controversial Body Worlds exhibition, where plastinated bodies were on display, is now selling the human and animal body parts online, according to Reuters Life!

Gunther von Hagens’ new endeavor has, unsurprisingly, stoked harsh criticism from German chuches who say he is degrading human dignity, according to Reuters.

The bodies and parts have been preserved through plastination, a process in which all body fluids and soluble fat are replaced with reactive resins and elastomers (plastics), and then cured with light, heat, or certain gases to make the specimens rigid.

On the website, a whole body goes for some $97,400 (70,000 euros), with torsos starting at $77,738 (55,644 euros), and heads each around $30,735 (22,000 euros), not including shipping and handling.

Of course, only “qualified users” who can provide written proof they are going to use the parts for research, teaching, or medical purposes can place an order.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kinsey’s Sex Genie Blamed for Costing Terrible Price

Champions of traditional values assess the influence of ‘reseacher’

The sex genie that Alfred Kinsey let out of the bottle is costing America a terrible price, according to leaders on a wide range of cultural battlegrounds ranging from homosexuality to abortion.

Despite Kinsey’s questionable academic methodology, rejection of traditional moral standards and even testimony from a victim of his “studies” that Kinsey paid her father to rape her, his books on sexual behavior are enormously influential around the world

Published in 1948 and 1953, the Kinsey Reports have made Kinsey known as the father of the sexual revolution.

But Janice Crouse, head of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank for Concerned Women for America, has been researching and writing about sexuality and moral issues for 20 years, and said Kinsey is responsible for today’s “anything goes” atmosphere.

“Kinsey has had a remarkable impact on culture,” Crouse told WND. “So many of the things common nowadays were taboo before Kinsey. He believed any sex act between consenting adults and even children was acceptable, even healthy.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK is Worst in the West at Giving Lessons in 3Rs

Pupils in England spend less time learning the 3Rs than almost anywhere in the Western world, an international league table has revealed.

Children aged between 12 and 14 spend fewer hours on English lessons than any other industrialised nation — leading to a situation where one in five teenagers leaves school functionally illiterate.

Despite the billions poured in by Labour to improve literacy, they actually spend less time on it now than they did when Tony Blair entered Downing Street.

The report also shows that secondary schoolchildren in England spend much less time learning about mathematics than in most other European countries.

The revelation that England still treats basic educational attainment in core subjects as such a low priority were seized upon last night by critics of Labour’s 13-year stint in charge of schools.

They blame the party for making headteachers fill timetables with subjects such as citizenship and sex education, rather than getting the basics right.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: What Kind of Revolution, FOSIS?

Over the last year, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) has excused hate speakers across UK campuses. They claim these Islamists offer ‘legitimate criticism’ and have spoken of their appreciation for ‘free’ discourse. This week, we see FOSIS ramping up their efforts on campuses with more egregious speakers invited to preach to impressionable students — without balanced panels and without the ‘free’ debate they so often hide their guests behind.

On the FOSIS London calendar, we can see that their ‘Isoc Revolution’ event took place at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) last week. With very little information about the event besides ‘equipping Islamic societies to build a mini-Ummah on campuses‘ — we thought we’d try and find out just what kind of revolution FOSIS are planning.

SOAS Islamic Society hosted Muhammed Al-Shareef just yesterday at ‘The Leadership Attitude’. Due to these events being so close in time (just a week apart) and on the very same campus, we’ll use this as an example. The audience will of course be similar at both events.

Again, with very few details about what the speaker will be discussing, we’re left to do some digging ourselves about Muhammed Al-Shareef and draw conclusions from his previous speeches. This leads us to the AlMaghrib Institute, founded by Al-Shareef and providing speakers such as Abdullah Hakim Quick, described by AlMaghrib as, “one of our greatest additions to the AlMaghrib Instructor lineup, an addition that has grabbed the attention of people worldwide.”

We’re not surprised. Al-Shareef and Hakim Quick have some pretty attention grabbing views. Perhaps this is the revolution that FOSIS are so insistent upon — so much so that they bring in Al-Shareef for their leadership training courses. Here are some quick snippets of what you can expect from these ‘AlMaghribis’…

If people hear about a lecture like this at the masjid [mosque], they would say “homophobic”. Correct? They’re like “oh my God, they’re a bunch of homophobic people”. And I thought to myself, that’s an amazing word to be called. Alhamdulillah [praise to God] that you’re homophobic.

When I was in high school, studying in journalism class, our teacher had placed on the wall a statement that I spent many days contemplating. It simply said, “Freedom of the press (speech) belongs to those that own the press!” Who owns the press? Well, you can believe me when I say that it is not the god fearing beloved of Allâh.

It is this same press that molds and programs the aqeedah of a huge section of our Ummah. Many of our brothers and sisters are illiterate to the words of Allâh and the guidance of Rasul Allâh — sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so it is with little doubt that their ideas are subconsciously molded by what Seinfeld tells them at 8 pm every Wednesday evening.

Homophobia means a fear of homosexuality. Alhamdulillah we have a fear of homosexuality. And then they will say it as if it is a derogatory term, but in fact it is a praiseworthy term.

The Qur’ân tells us of snakes in the grass that bit the Jews. Allâh tells us this so that we may take warning of what led them to evoke Allâh’s anger and not be bitten by the same snake.”


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]


Al-Qaeda ‘American Spokesman’ Urges Attacks in the West

Al-Qaeda’s American spokesman, Adam Gadahn, has urged fellow Muslims in the West to carry out attacks in the “Zio-Crusader coalition” states, SITE Intelligence Group said on Saturday.

“To my Muslim brothers residing in the states of the Zio-Crusader coalition … know that Jihad (holy war) is your duty as well,” Gadahn said in a video, excerpts of which were provided by the US monitoring group.

He addressed Muslims in “emigrant communities like those which live on the margins of society in the miserable suburbs of Paris, London and Detroit, or are from those arriving in America or Europe to study in its universities or seek their daily bread in the streets of its cities,” SITE said.

“You have an opportunity to strike the leaders of unbelief and retaliate against them on their own soil, as long as there is no covenant between you and them,” he added in the 48 minute, 20 second video, produced by Al-Qaeda media arm As-Sahab.

He urged Arabs to launch “heroic operations similar to the invasion of the American consulate in Peshawar and the bombing of the Danish embassy in Islamabad,” in their cities and capitals.

However, “it is obligatory to avoid harming Muslims and destroying their properties” when carrying out such attacks, he said in Arabic, with the video providing English subtitles.

Six Pakistanis were killed in an April attack on the US consulate in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar.

In June 2008, a car bomb exploded outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad killing at least eight people, including a Dane, and wounding about 27 others.

Gadahn also called on Muslims to attack “American military bases spread across the (Arabian) Peninsula, the Gulf, the Levant countries and elsewhere… like the one carried out by Major Nidal Hasan,” the US Army psychiatrist accused of opening fire on colleagues at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13.


           — Hat tip: DF [Return to headlines]