Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/1/2008

The GoV newsboy

Thanks to ACT for America, C. Cantoni, CK, CSP, Insubria, latté island, Nilk, Steen, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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Hit and Run Driver Found Insane

An Afghan immigrant who deliberately ran down 16 pedestrians in San Francisco not guilty by reason of insanity, to be institutionalized and re-evaluated for release every two years. A travesty.

           — Hat tip: latté island

Obama-Backed Ally Forged Pact With Radical Muslims

New book details intervention in Kenyan presidential election

Barack Obama directly intervened in last December’s presidential election in Kenya, supporting fellow Luo tribesman Raila Odinga’s candidacy, despite an agreement Odinga signed to back radical Muslims, according to an explosive new book written by WND senior staff reporter Jerome R. Corsi.

In “The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality,” Corsi footnotes and discusses two television news videos that fully document his charges.

The first video shows Obama’s direct involvement in Kenyan politics to support Odinga, and the second video shows a press conference held by the Muslims who signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Odinga.

“There is nothing on the record to indicate Obama ever withdrew his support from Odinga,” Corsi told WND, “even after Odinga signed the agreement with the Muslims in Kenya.”

           — Hat tip: CK

“Islam Does Not Distinguish Between the American People and the American Government”

On July 21, 2008, Pakistan’s independent television network Geo News aired an exclusive interview with Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, Al-Qaeda’s No. 3 man and top commander in Afghanistan. The interview, conducted in Arabic, was broadcast on Geo News with a voiceover in Urdu. It was later posted on Islamist websites, and its content was published in Pakistani newspapers.

Abu Al-Yazid, also known as Sheikh Sa’id, is a 52-year-old Egyptian with two wives and 14 children. In 1981 he was arrested in Egypt for involvement in the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Al-Sadat, but was released a year later. In 1988, after heading various militant groups, he joined Al-Qaeda and shifted his base of operations to Afghanistan. In 1991 he worked for Osama bin Laden in Sudan as an accountant, and later became director of Al-Qaeda’s financial affairs. He has also been a member of Al-Qaeda’s Shura Council, in charge of financial planning, organizational affairs, and public relations.

The following are excerpts from the Geo News interview:

Pakistan Caused Great Damage to Al-Qaeda by Supporting U.S.

In the interview, Abu Al-Yazid stated that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad last June. He said that the bomber was a Saudi, and added: “We are proud to have carried out [this operation], and we congratulated our brothers for completing this task. We timed the attack in such a way that no Muslims were in the vicinity.” Abu Al-Yazid also stated that Al-Qaeda had been responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. On a previous occasion, he claimed that the organization had carried out the December 27, 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime-minister Benazir Bhutto.

Referring to the permissibility of suicide bombings, Abu Al-Yazid said that eminent Islamic scholars around the world had issued fatwas sanctioning them. He added: “Suicide attacks are justified by Islamic shari’a. [However, Islamic] scholars [who are affiliated with] governments issue whatever fatwas they are told to issue… However, suicide attacks inside mosques are forbidden.”

           — Hat tip: ACT for America

Emerson Exposes Radical Ties of State Department Outreach Partners

The State Department has collaborated with many radical Islamist organizations and individuals in its attempts to engage in outreach to the American Muslim community at large, Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) Executive Director Steven Emerson told a congressional panel Thursday. Many of the individuals in charge of these organizations, and the organizations themselves, have been convicted, indicted, or designated as unindicted co-conspirators in terrorism cases throughout the United States.

           — Hat tip: CSP

Europe and the EU

One in Five UK MPs Suffers From Stress-Related Mental Illness

A confidential survey of MPs and peers suggests that one in five parliamentarians suffers from mental illness caused by the stress of their public lives. Those questioned said they feared disclosing their struggles because of stigma and discrimination.

One of those serving MPs surveyed, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “I would love as an established MP to talk openly of the serious depressive illness I endured long before I became or even thought of being a MP.

“It might serve as some small encouragement to those few young people currently shrouded in despair, feeling their life is hopeless. I have no confidence though that national or, importantly, local media will not succumb to the temptation in their coverage to make life more difficult for my party.”

           — Hat tip: VH

No Verdict in London July 7 Bombing Case

A jury failed to reach a verdict on Friday in the trial of three Britons [Mohammed Shakil, Sadeer Saleem and Waheed Ali] accused of helping to plot suicide bombings in London in July 2005, the capital’s worst peacetime attack which left 52 dead.

The men were friends of the bombers Mohammed Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Jermaine Lindsay and Hasib Hussain. They knew them from the tightly knit area of Beeston in Leeds, northern England, attending the same Mosque and gym.

About seven months before the bombings, Shakil, Saleem and Ali spent two days in London with Hussain and Lindsay, visiting tourist attractions. They also visited locations similar to the ones attacked and detectives said the trip — the key element of the prosecution case — was to prepare for attacks on the capital.

The men said the trip was to allow Ali to visit his sister and take in some tourist attractions

           — Hat tip: VH

British Islamic Bank Plans Swedish Expansion

Sweden’s Muslim population could soon have their very own bank. A British bank is looking to expand its business and has been in contact with the Financial Supervisory Authority (FI), Sveriges Radio reports.

The Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), which pioneered Islamic banking in the UK when it first opened its doors in 2004, could soon open a branch with the aim of serving the Muslim population in Sweden.

“We got in contact with the Swedish authorities a while ago. At the moment it is a question of preparing our next step,” said Shaher Abbas for IBB.

The Islamic Bank of Britain was formed in 2002 with the aim of meeting the financial needs of the British Muslim population and is backed by investors in the Middle East.

IBB now offers internet banking and savings products and has 60,000 customers at its eight branches across the UK.

The company is now planning a European expansion with branches in Germany and Sweden, according to Sveriges Radio.

           — Hat tip: Steen


Karadzic Accuses His Accusers

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) made public a letter (pdf) from Radovan Karadzic. In the letter —published in a translation—, he complains about a “media witch-hunt”, orchestrated or at least instigated according to him, by Holbrooke or the US, and which “seriously jeopardizes the trial itself and excludes any possibility of regularity”.

About the alleged agreement between Holbrooke and Karadzic he said: “The offer was as follows: I must withdraw not only from public but also from party offices and completely disappear from the public arena, not give interviews and not even publish literary works, in a word, become invisible long enough for the Dayton agreement to be implemented in full.”

In the first few months, he was careful how he moved about “not because of the international force, whom I used to pass quietly and without demonstration, but because of possible adventurers and glory hunters”.

According to him, these actions were “clearly organised to liquidate someone, not at all to arrest him, but when they failed they were declared to be exercises”.

“The intention to liquidate me was more than obvious, as was confirmed by the current statement of Mr Holbrooke, who regrets that there is no death sentence here and it therefore cannot be pronounced on me, although that is what he would like.”

In regards to the trial and the indictment, Karadzic’s letter said he was “concerned by the announcement of a new indictment, which I will not have time to study, but I am still more concerned by his statement that it will all go very quickly, and I myself wonder how the Chief Prosecutor knows this”. […] “

           — Hat tip: VH

North Africa

Morocco: War to Win Remittance

(by Cristiana Missori) (ANSAmed) — CASABLANCA, AUGUST 1 — If in some European states the immigration is often considered a social and public problem, for a country like Morocco the three million immigrants represent a fundamental resource for the state’s economy. An indisputable economic power, it emerged from data elaborated by the Exchange Office, according to which the remittance of citizens living abroad rose by 15.2% on the year in 2007, standing at 5 billion euro. A total 2 billion of it (42% of the total remittance sent from abroad) come from the largest Moroccan community abroad, that in France. Following are Spain and Italy which represent respectively 15.3% and 12.2% of the total transfers. The inclination to saving grows, as well as the competition, which is ever stronger, between credit institutions which target to attract the migrant clients. Moroccan group Banques Populaires is a leader among them, which with a portfolio of 700,000 clients intercepts one third of the monetary flow coming from abroad, followed by the European banks with French and Spanish ones ahead. As Moroccan daily L’Economiste reminds, these transfers, alongside with the incomes generated from the tourism sector, represent the first source of foreign currencies in the North African country. And if the balance of payments of Morocco marks a surplus for the seventh year in a row, it is also due to immigrants, the daily writes. These savings go mainly to the families who have stayed in the homeland: 75% of these resource actually is spent at home. The official statistics show that the transfer of these funds to Morocco represents 25% of the banking deposits (some 7.890 billion euro). The first edition of exhibition “Jalia 2008”, which will take place in Nador, where many immigrants pass from on their way back to Europe, situated in the region of Oriental, from August 9 to 14, will be dedicated to the funds flowing from abroad and invested in the country. More than 100 exhibitors, including banks, administrations, transport, tourism, real estates representatives and international and national investors are expected, as well as the participation of some 100,000 visitors. An occasion to “intercept” the money and wealth flow running every year from immigrants sending it back to Morocco. Finally, the immigrants represent a significant economic tank also in the tourism sector: immigrants who returned home to see their dear ones and the country of origin again represented 45% of the 7.4 million tourists who visited Morocco in 2007. This year they are fewer, mainly in Marrakesh, according to the operators. Which is why they are forced to review the offers to attract new clients, the operators say. And many tour operators await September when they hope that numerous immigrants will return for the holy month of Ramadan. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Israel and the Palestinians

Mideast: Hamas, Fatah Commit Human Rights Violations, HRW

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, JULY 31 — In the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas and in the West Bank, ruled by Fatah’s government, the security services of the two rival authorities committed in 2007 serious violations of human rights against the local Palestinian population, the human rights’ protection association Human Rights Watch (HRW) affirmed in a report. According to HRW, in June 2007 Hamas, after conquering by force the Gaza Strip, carried out “arbitrary arrests of political adversaries, tortured prisoners, suppressed the freedom of speech and gathering and violated the due process rights established by the Palestinian laws. The victims were often leaders, activists and supporters of Fatah”. The situation, HRW stated, is similar also in the West Bank, where people and institutions which are in favour of Hamas are the victims of repression, abuses and violence committed by the security forces of the Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah’s leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). “Victims, lawyers and human rights activists in the West Bank reported to Human Rights Watch about an alleged cooperation between Fatah’s forces and Israeli security services, which have the common target to exclude or eliminate Hamas”. HRW remarked that the Palestinian security services and the police are trained and armed by the United States and the European Union, while the forces of Hamas are helped by Syria and Iran. HRW stated that the governments which support the Palestinian Authority “usually and correctly condemn the abusive behaviour of Hamas, but remain silent before the equally serious abuses committed by the forces of their ally in the West Bank”. In Gaza the Interior Ministry led by Hamas did not want to comment on HRW’s report. The Interior Ministry of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank said that the arrests were carried out in the respect of the Palestinian laws and that abuses committed by single investigators during the interrogations are not tolerated. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Mideast: To Free Shalit, Hamas Asks Release of 1,000 Men

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JULY 31 — In order to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured in Gaza in June 2005, Palestinian fundamentalist movement Hamas is allegedly asking for the release of 1,000 of its militants arrested by Israel, 450 of whom have been sentenced to heavy punishments. The news was reported by a source of the delegation of Hamas which arrived yesterday in Cairo. Israel’s counterproposal is reportedly to release 77 of them. The delegation’s spokesman Ayman Taha allegedly said that the Egyptians in charge of the mediation with Israel will be given a list with the names of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Among these names, the Egyptian authorities made the hypothesis that Israel might select 450. Israeli sources informed that in the next few days the envoy in charge of the prisoners’ file, Ofer Diekel, will arrive in Cairo to be informed on the status of the negotiations. Hamas’ delegation in the Egyptian capital is led by Mussa Abu Marzuk, chief of the political office of the movement, Mohamed Nasr, coming from Damascus, and Gamal Abu Hashem, from Hamas’ political office in Gaza. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Middle East

Qatar: Rich Arab Sends Lamborghini to London for Oil Change

(ANSAmed) — LONDON, JULY 31 — A rich Arab from Qatar, probably short of ideas on how to spend his money, has decided to send his Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 from the emirate to London for a simple oil check. On Friday the vehicle arrived at Heathrow, cleared customs and was trucked to mechanics specialised in Italian luxury cars in London for the service, The Sun wrote. On Monday, after the oil change, the car was flown back to Qatar. According to the daily, the cost of the operation stood at 20,000 pounds (25,380 euro) for the transport, as well as 3,552 pounds (4,500 euro) for the check made by the specialist.

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Gulf Oil Wealth to Exceed US$600 Billion in 2008

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, JULY 31 — Oil revenue of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members is likely to cross $600 billion in 2008, prolonging the economic and investment boom in the region for the medium term, according to a report by Gulf Finance House as reported by Gulf news. Total government spending in the GCC is expected to reach $300 billion for this year while private sector projects currently underway bear a $2 trillion price tag. The study — GCC Economic Outlook 3Q 2008 — said gross domestic product in the GCC was expected to exceed $1 trillion for the year, representing a 36 per cent increase on a 2007 estimate of $810 billion. The positive outlook, however, does not come without a price, according to Dr Alàa Al Yousuf, chief economist at Gulf Finance House (GFH). “GCC states will have to live with the paradox of low single-digit interest rates and high double-digit inflation rates. With little recourse to monetary policy tools, all eyes are on the authorities’ fiscal responses to these challenging times,” he said. The governments’ response to inflation in the region thus far has been higher wages, increased subsidies and other cash incentives. “In our opinion, the GCC is entering a phase of loose monetary-fiscal policy spiral, which, together with a wage-inflation spiral, have trapped the region between two impossible trinities,” said Hany Genena, senior economist at GFH. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Saudi Arabia Cracks Down on Pets

Saudi Arabia’s religious police are cracking down on pet dogs and cats, claiming some men are using dogs to hit on women.

           — Hat tip: latté island

Army Should Embrace Hezbollah Weapons: Suleiman

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, AUGUST 1 — The Lebanese President and former commander in chief of the Army, Michel Suleiman, said today to the officers of the Armed Forces that their weapons should “embrace” the ones which hit Israel, referring to the arsenal of the Shiite movement Hezbollah. Suleiman expressed his opinion during a ceremony at the Military Academy east of Beirut, on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the establishment of the Lebanese Army. “Your weapons must embrace the ones which hit the enemy, which you and the resistance have defeated”, Suleiman said to the officers, referring to the 2006 war between Israel and the Hezbollah. “You have faced the vile Israeli aggression to Lebanon and have offered over 50 martyrs, whose blood was mixed to the one of the resistance”, the President added. His speech steps into a tense political dispute about the advisability, for the Hezbollah guerrilla fighters, to keep their weapons to fight against Israel outside the control of the state. The Shiite movement, which is supported by Syria and Iran, affirms that it needs its arsenal to “free” the region of the Shebaa Farms controlled by Israel. Suleiman stated today that “the countdown for the liberation of Shebaa has started”. Press sources have been affirming for some time that the 25 sq km of Shebaa might be placed under the control of the United Nations. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Kuwait: Move to Stop Immigration From Bangladesh

Kuwait City, 1 August (AKI) — After deporting several hundred Bangladeshi workers after a strike this week, Kuwait moved to stop any further immigration from the Asian country on Friday.

According to a report by the Kuwaiti daily al-Jarida, the government will decline to renew work permits for Bangladeshis or favour immigrants from other countries to avoid the type of disruption seen in the country this week.

There are estimated to be more than 100,000 Bangladeshi residents in Kuwait. Many believe the strikes that took place earlier this week were caused by the growing number of workers concentrated in the same community.

There appear to be too many Bangladeshis for the Ministry for Social Affairs which is seeking to reduce the number through expulsions and by employing people from other countries.

Thousands of Bangladeshis employed as cleaners and rubbish collectors went on strike over pay and conditions of service in the past week.

On Monday night they protested in large numbers at two sites where they are housed outside Kuwait City.

Over the past few days more than 1,000 Bangladeshis have reportedly been deported from Kuwait.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni

Kuwait: Minister Concedes Abuse of Foreign Workers

Kuwait City, 1 August (AKI) — As almost 200 Bangladeshi workers were deported on Friday, a Kuwaiti minister acknowledged that foreign workers may have been abused by their employers.

Thousands of Bangladeshis employed as cleaners and rubbish collectors went on strike over pay and conditions of service in the past week.

On Monday night they protested in large numbers at two sites where they are housed outside Kuwait City.

Over the past few days more than 1,000 Bangladeshis have reportedly been deported from Kuwait.

For the first time the government noted that their complaints may have been justified.

“The strikes conducted by Asian workers in recent days were the caused by the bad way in which they were treated by their employers,” said the Kuwaiti Minister for Justice, Hussein al-Hurriaty.

The minister said several employers “do not pay salaries to their workers until the end of the month and do not provide adequate housing”.

The expelled workers were sent home by a chartered flight after commercial airlines refused to carry them because they did not have appropriate travel documents.

Meanwhile, about 8,000 workers, mainly Bangladeshis, reportedly called off their strike after the government reached an agreement with them and set a minimum wage of KD40 or 150 dollars.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni

Jordan: Sister Shot in ‘Honour’ Killing

A 26-YEAR-old Jordanian man was charged with murder today after his 23-year-old sister was shot dead in an apparent “honour” killing. The suspect allegedly shot his [virgin] sister six times last night, a security official said.

“He turned himself in and confessed to murdering his sister to cleanse his family’s honour because she disappeared from home for four months with a man,” the official said. “He killed her the moment she returned home last night. But forensic tests showed that the girl was a virgin.”

It was the eighth reported so-called honour killing this year, according to Jordanian authorities which in 2007 recorded 17 such murders — a slight rise on previous years. Those convicted in such cases often receive light sentences because parliament has twice refused to reform the penal code.

           — Hat tip: VH

South Asia

Indonesia: Christian Students Driven Out by Muslims Find Refuge in Parliament

by Benteng Reges

The group intends to report to the national human rights commission. Suspicions: the attack by radical Muslims was manoeuvred by a company that wants to take possession of the area where the evangelical institute of theology lies.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — No peace for the 471 students and their professors from Arastamar’s evangelical institute for theology, attacked by a group of fundamentalist Muslims June 26th last. Hunted by a group linked to the Muslim brothers of Pulo Kampung, they are seeking refuge: some are being hosted by a sector of the Senayan parliament, others in the police Headquarters and others still in the Christian Bethel Church east of Jakarta.

The 1500 students from the evangelical school of theology (which belongs to the Setia foundation) were set upon by a Muslim crowd an accused of theft and of having illegally built the Christian buildings. The clashes too place on June 26th and left over 265 people seriously wounded.

The students together with their professors today denounced the incident, presenting a report documenting the attack of which they are the victims to the National commission for human rights (Komnas Ham), in the hopes of receiving some form of reassurance.

           — Hat tip: Insubria


Jack Thomas Loses High Court Bid to Have Re-Trial Halted

Melbourne taxi driver Jack Thomas has lost his final legal bid to halt a re-trial on terror-related charges.

The High Court today refused to grant Thomas, 36, special leave to appeal a decision he should face a fresh trial in the Supreme Court.

High Court Chief Justice Murray Gleeson and Justice Ken Hayne said the decision of the Court of Appeal to order a re-trial was “not attended by sufficient doubt’’ to warrant the grant of special leave.

The decision means Thomas will now face charges of intentionally receiving funds from a terrorist organisation and possessing a falsified Australian passport.

Thomas was found guilty of the same charges in 2006 but the conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal which ruled his interrogation in Pakistan was inadmissible.

But the same court ruled there should be another trial based on interviews Thomas gave to the ABC’s 4 Corners program about his actions while in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The DPP successfully argued the interview conducted before his original trial was new evidence.

Thomas’s lawyer Jim Kennan SC told the High Court today that the contents of the interview were “knowable’’ to the Australian Federal Police and therefore should not be regarded as fresh evidence.

Mr Kennan said that ASIO had been monitoring conversations between Thomas and ABC journalist Sally Neighbour and could have passed the information on to the AFP.

He said legal precedent dictated that a person should not face a new trial on evidence that could have been known by prosecutors and used in their first trial.

Mr Kennan said Thomas would be denied natural justice and a fair hearing if his re-trial went ahead.

But Nicholas Robinson QC for the DPP argued that Thomas had already been arraigned on the charges and any new appeal would fragment the case.

Thomas was not in court to hear the decision today but his parents were and they left without speaking to reporters.

Interview that brought on his troubles

           — Hat tip: Nilk


Immigrants — Maroni: Bills to be Submitted to EU Approval

(AGI) — Rome, 1st August — Italy’s Cabinet has given its green light to the bill on refugee status and immigration of family members. The measures will not come under immediate scrutiny, however, because “the Italian Government has decided to submit the texts informally to the European Commission”, said Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, at the close of the Cabinet meeting Maroni called the procedure “unconventional”, but added that he had agreed this way of going about things with the opposition Shadow Minister. The Government will have until October to study the bill.

           — Hat tip: Insubria

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