Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/18/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/18/2009Anjem Choudary has announced that his March for Sharia will not occur only in London. In addition to the march scheduled there on October 31st, there will be a reprise in Birmingham at some unspecified date. In related news, the Welsh Defence League march yesterday was hijacked by young men who gave prominent Nazi salutes for the news cameras.

On a lighter note, a bear wandered into a Wisconsin grocery store through the front door, causing the premises to be evacuated. The unexpected visitor stayed mainly in the liquor department, and was eventually tranquilized and removed, leaving no evidence of his presence except for a nose print on the glass door.

Thanks to A Greek Friend, Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, ESW, Gaia, Insubria, JD, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Financial Crisis
Unemployment: Now, That’s Sustainable!
Bear Strolls Through Wisconsin Grocery Store
Watch “Not Evil, Just Wrong”, Sunday, 8 PM EST
Europe and the EU
BNP Leader Nick Griffin: Lots of Hindus, Sikhs and Ethnic Minority Britons Support My Anti-Immigrant Views
EU: Croatia One Step Away From Membership, Turkey in Limbo
EU: Spain to Court for Taxing Emigrating Firms
Germany: How Blunt Can One be About Integration?
UK: Extremist Muslims to March for Sharia Law in Birmingham
UK: Private Medical Records for Sale: Harley Street Clinic Patients’ Files Outsourced for Computer Input — and End Up on Black Market
Wales: Anti-Islamic March Sparks Violent Clashes as Nazi-Saluting ‘Welsh Defence League’ Takes to the Streets
Serbia: 10000 Punto With Diesel Multijet Engine Produced
War Crimes: Balkan; Extradition of Suspects Difficult, EU
North Africa
Aviation: Libya; Development Projects at Lavex Fair
Finmeccanica: Selex Signs 300 Mln-Euro Commission in Libya
Transport: ATR Signs Contract to Sell Two 42-500s to Libya
Israel and the Palestinians
Hamas Patrols Beaches in Gaza to Enforce Conservative Dress Code
Palestinian Prime Minister Rejects “Mickey Mouse” State. Perhaps Prefers Donald Duck State Instead?
The Window of Opportunity is Now Closed and Locked Down: Passing Goldstone Resolution Marks End of Peace Process Era
Middle East
Gul: Turkey Will Continue Slamming “Injustices” By Israel
Iran: Ahmadinejad Vows to Strike Back at Those Behind Suicide Bombing
Extreme Danger of USCIS Rubber-Stamping Illegals’ Applications
Culture Wars
Abortion: Spain, Commission’s Yes For16yr-Olds Without Consent
Sex Ed Should Not Promote Only Marriage or Heterosexual Relationships, Advocates Say

Financial Crisis

Unemployment: Now, That’s Sustainable!

A perfect example of the mindset of out-of-touch elitism that has permeated globalist circles can be seen in the Foreign Affairs article titled, The Outsourcing Bogeyman by Daniel Drezner, assistant political science professor at the University of Chicago. Drezner pontificated in his May 2004 article,

“Should Americans be concerned about the economic effects of outsourcing? Not particularly. … The creation of new jobs overseas will eventually lead to more jobs and higher incomes in the United States. Because the economy — and especially job growth — is sluggish at the moment, commentators are attempting to draw a connection between offshore outsourcing and high unemployment. But believing that offshore outsourcing causes unemployment is the economic equivalent of believing the sun revolves around the earth: intuitively compelling but clearly wrong.” [5]

What elitist arrogance! And what an insult to the intelligence of the average, every day American workers — who, by the hundreds of thousands, have watched their factories close and their jobs disappear to foreign countries in the post-NAFTA economy! I would like to say to Mr. Drezner that denial is not a river in Egypt. Why don’t you spend some of your millions and take a trip to Motown and tell your philosophy to the unemployed auto workers there? Why don’t you come down from your ivory tower to Main Street America where the armed guards are posted at the grocery stores and where tent cities permeate the landscape?


Let’s talk for a moment about that “giant sucking sound” that Ross Perot predicted and that globalist/elitist Drezner likes to discount. Several months ago, your writer personally pulled the official NAFTA trade deficit numbers directly off the U.S. Census Bureau web site. These are the official numbers, according to the governments own statisticians.

In the years preceding the signing of the NAFTA agreement, the U.S. trade deficit hovered around even with Mexico give or take a billion or two. In 1991, the U.S. enjoyed a $2.1 billion trade surplus, meaning we exported more dollars worth of goods to Mexico than we imported. In 1992, that number was over $5.3 billion. In 1993, the year NAFTA was signed, American workers enjoyed a $1.6 billion trade surplus. The following year, the effects of NAFTA hadn’t yet hit the American economy. The U.S. still experienced a $1.3 billion surplus. However, that was the last year for any surplus.

By 1995, just two years after the passage of NAFTA, the U.S. economy began feeling the effects in a major way. We went from having a $1.3 billion trade surplus in 1994, to having a $15.8 billion trade deficit the following year, and the figure has climbed almost without exception every year. By 2007, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico was a staggering $74.6 billion. It’s important to note that NAFTA is only one trade agreement. There are several such agreements that our government has made with impoverished countries, including the Central American Free Trade Agreement, passed by the U.S. Senate on June 30, 2005 and signed by George W. Bush on August 2nd of the same year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


Bear Strolls Through Wisconsin Grocery Store

Hayward, WI (AHN) — Shoppers and clerks of a grocery store in Wisconsin got a bit of a scare this week when a 125-pound bear casually strolled up and down the isles.

The bear walked through the front door of the Marketplace Foods store on Thursday night in the town of Hayward.

Customers and staff were safely evacuated while the bear roamed the liquor store portion of the store for about an hour.

The animal eventually ended up in the beer cooler.

Authorities were able to tranquilize the bear. They monitored him overnight before releasing him back to the wild.

The store manager told WQOW, a local ABC News affiliate, that the bear caused no damage and the only sign he was there is a nose print on a glass door.

[Return to headlines]

Watch “Not Evil, Just Wrong”, Sunday, 8 PM EST

On Sunday, October 18th, at 8 PM Eastern, the producers of a documentary, “Not Evil, Just Wrong” are aiming for the world’s largest premiere and I would urge you to participate by going to Not Evil, Just Wrong to watch it.

It examines the role that former Vice President Al Gore has played in foisting the greatest hoax of the modern era on Americans and others around the world. It looks at the ways national and international environmental organizations have sought to have carbon dioxide, a vital gas necessary to the growth of all vegetation on Earth, declared a “pollutant” so it can be regulated and turned into a vehicle to enrich a handful of people and industries.

You will learn how environmentalists have perverted science to advance their goals and you will learn about their anti-humanity agenda. It is about the true cost of global warming hysteria.

The scare tactics that have been used will be revealed to you.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

BNP Leader Nick Griffin: Lots of Hindus, Sikhs and Ethnic Minority Britons Support My Anti-Immigrant Views

Large numbers of Sikh, Hindu and other ethnic minority voters support the British National Party’s hard-line anti-immigration stance, its leader Nick Griffin claimed today.

But he said the BNP’s purpose remained to stand up for ‘indigenous Brits’ which did not include ethnic minorities, even those born here who had fought for their country in the armed forces.

He also declared that ‘Islam and our society don’t mix’ and said he wanted to swap ‘the very large number’ of al Qaeda-supporting British Muslims for former Gurkhas and their families.

Mr Griffin was speaking after pledging to lift a bar on non-whites joining the party in response to court action by an equalities watchdog.

Interviewed on Sky News’ Sunday Live with Adam Boulton, he denied that the party was racist and insisted that the new membership rules would not undermine its fundamental aims.

‘There are three different groups of people in this multicultural Britain now,’ he said.

‘There’s the indigenous Brits, people like you and me; there’s settled ethnic minorities populations who are here legally and legitimately and they are civically British and we have no problem with them at all; and then we have the third block, the colonists, people wanting to change our country into something completely different,’ Mr Griffin said.

‘A large number of the settled ethnic minority population, Sikhs, Hindus and so on, are actually very much in favour of the British National Party’s stance about stopping any further immigration.’

Asked if the sorts of British ethnic minorities he believed supported the party were included in the ‘indigenous’ group the party would stand up for, he said: ‘Oh no, no, no, no, no.

‘Of course they are not indigenous. We are saying they are civically British, which is a matter of common sense, also that they are patently not of the ancestral stock of this country.

‘It doesn’t make them bad, it just makes them a little bit different.’

He went on: ‘It’s not a matter of racism; it’s a matter of standing up for the indigenous. No-one in this country is here for the English, the Scots, the Irish, the Welsh.

‘Caucasian is one phrase for it. Everyone knows who an indigenous Brit is. Everyone knows that someone for instance whose parents came from the West Indies and so on and has perhaps been in the Army and fought for this country, they are entitled to be here, they are entitled to be here, they are civically British, they are not ethnically British. It is not a racist position.’

Asked about comments that Islam was ‘vicious and wicked’, he said: ‘I believe that a faith which puts half the population, the women, down as inferior to men, a faith which bans freedom of speech, a faith which stones rape victims to death, I believe that is vicious and wicked.

‘It’s not all of what Islam is about. Islam is also for instance about opposing usury and that is a very good position. But Islam and our society don’t mix.’

He suggested a ‘direct swap’ with Muslims could solve the problem of the UK not having sufficient space to offer all former Gurkhas and their families the right to settle in the UK.

‘We would actually be happy to have the Gurkhas if we can swap them, for instance, for the very significant number from the Muslim population in this country who identify with al Qaida and who are not loyal to this country. We would do a straight swap,’ he said.

Mr Griffin said he would ‘have a problem’ with any BNP member marrying a non-white.

‘We would have a problem with that just as many West Indians, many Sikhs, people of all different races and creeds and nationalities very often have a common natural human instinct which is to want their children and their grandchildren to look like them, to identify with their culture,’ he said.

‘The whole world faces a big problem with so many different peoples, different ethnic groups mixing that we are losing all our separate cultures and identities.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

EU: Croatia One Step Away From Membership, Turkey in Limbo

(by Chiara De Felice) (ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 14 — In times of crisis Europe has not given up enlargement, but is ready to welcome its 28th member state: according to the EU Commission Croatia is a whisper away from the finishing-line, and could complete its membership negotiations in 2010. The same goes for Iceland, who could receive proposal from the EU for a lightning negotiation by Christmas. Turkey’s difficult journey has slowed down however, over their continued blocking of the reunification of Cyprus, their screening of sites like YouTube, and failure to guarantee the defence of basic freedoms. “It is anachronistic to still have a wall in Cyprus”, said Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, openly disappointed over Turkey’s resistance towards changing its relations with the island. Ankara continues to block the entry of Cypriot ships and planes into its territory, while allowing flights and ships from North Cyprus to pass. Turkey only recognises North Cyprus officially. But it is not only the Cyprus question that worries Brussels and is slowing down Turkey’s membership, a process which began in 2005 and which has been the subject of explicit concerns expressed by France and Germany. In its annual report on countries aspiring to become part of the EU, the Commission points the finger at the lack of fundamental freedoms, after the closing of You Tube in May 2008, and trials against Facebook and Google, and “many other websites”. Brussels also criticises the mega-fine given to information giant Dogan Yayin Holding, which “limits the group’s possibilities, and therefore the freedom of the press, which seems more like a political sanction than a fiscal one”. The next few months however, could be the final negotiating months for Croatia: “Zagreb is close to the finishing-line” said Rehn today. Reforms to reorganise the judicial system and public administration need to be completed, as do reforms to combat organised crime and corruption, and the protection of minorities. “If they satisfy the remaining parameters in time, negotiations could be concluded by next year”, says the report. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU: Spain to Court for Taxing Emigrating Firms

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 8 — The European Commission has decided to take legal steps against Spain, because the country lets companies which give up Spanish tax domicile pay an exit charge. So reported sources in the EC, quoted by Europa Press. Portugal has been referred to the European Court of Justice for the same reason. According to Spanish law, companies based in Spain must pay extra if they move their tax domicile and assets to another member state. This is not the case if firms move to another location in the country. These regulations, according to the Commissions, are incompatible with the right to freedom of settlement. The Commission has decided to take legal steps against Spain and Portugal for failing to modify their laws, even after a previous warning. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Germany: How Blunt Can One be About Integration?

Bluntness and bitterness have long been elements of integration debates in Germany. But emotion often obscures an important question: Why do many ethnic groups integrate well into German society while others do not?

It took a while, but by last Thursday the controversy had finally reached a cafe on Hobrechtstrasse in Berlin’s Neukölln neighborhood, a place frequented by fans of the Turkish football club FC Phönix 56 Ayyildiz. A group of men with little else to do — because they are either retired or unemployed — usually meets there in the afternoon. The men sit in the sparsely furnished room under a ceiling fan, drinking tea from elegantly curved glasses and discussing politics over the electronic blubber of video games coming from the back room.

Servet Kulaksiz starts the conversation on Thursday. A 50-year-old early retiree, he taps his finger against a photo of Thilo Sarrazin on the cover of the Turkish daily newspaper Sabah and launches into a tirade. “The man is right. Many foreigners don’t even want to become integrated here. They collect their unemployment payments, but aside from that, they do nothing.”

Could it really be that Sarrazin, Berlin’s former finance senator, is right, after all? The man who accuses Turks and Arabs in Berlin of being, for the most part, “neither willing to be integrated nor capable of doing so,” and claims that they have “no productive function, other than in the fruit and vegetable trade?”

Nevzat Çitlak grabs the newspaper from the table as he walks by. “You yourself don’t believe what you’re saying,” he says to Kulaksiz. Çitlak has been unemployed for six years. “There aren’t even any jobs for Germans in Berlin. How am I supposed to get one?” he asks. A carpenter by trade, Çitlak has been living in Berlin since the 1980s. He barely speaks German, and he is currently attending a language course. “But it won’t do me any good now,” he says. “It’s too late.” A man sitting in the back corner shouts: “What Sarrazin says is pure racism.”

‘Little Girls in Headscarves’

A rift runs through the home of FC Phönix 56 Ayyildiz fans, where patrons have been arguing about the same issues that have captured the attention of the rest of Germany since Lettre International, a Berlin publication targeted at intellectuals, published the controversial interview with Sarrazin, now a member of the board of the German central bank, the Bundesbank, two weeks ago.

Should Sarrazin be allowed to say what he said about the Turks — that they are taking control of Germany in precisely the same way the Kosovars took control of Kosovo, that is, with a higher birth rate? “I don’t have to acknowledge anyone who lives off the state, rejects this state, doesn’t properly attend to the education of his children and constantly produces little girls in headscarves.”

Are Sarrazin’s remarks truly that “unspeakable” (as the Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote) and “revolting” (Frankfurter Rundschau) that the Berlin district attorney’s office has to become involved? Should Sarrazin be thrown out of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), as SPD parliamentarian Eva Högl demands? Or should he at least resign from the board of the Bundesbank, as the Ver.di trade union has demanded?

Social Democrats in Berlin have become used to Sarrazin’s over-the-top utterances, rolling their eyes in exasperation whenever their prominent party ally lets loose yet another of his controversial remarks. He has berated civil servants (“pale and foul-smelling”), Berliners (“Nowhere does one see so many people shuffling around in public wearing track suits”), students (“assholes”) and the plans to rescue German automaker Opel (“No one needs an Opel”). His remarks, which have always sparked considerable outrage, were sometimes followed by a sheepish apology. Usually the matter was quickly forgotten.

Rude and Unfair

This time, though, Sarrazin has left behind the boundaries of good taste once and for all. His comments were more than provocative, they were offensive, excessive, rude and unfair. As a Bundesbank board member, he should have been more restrained — indeed, on Tuesday he was disciplined by the bank for his comments. Furthermore, the veracity of his cliché-ridden claims is doubtful.

But should he have held his tongue? “The social reality cannot be wiped away with outrage and silenced with the ‘please don’t take that tone’ approach,” writes sociologist and Islam critic Necla Kelek. “The whitewash peels off more quickly than it can be reapplied.”

No one is offended when TV comedian Oliver Pocher spends the better part of a Saturday evening program cracking jokes about antisocial Turks. But a politician who addresses one of the country’s must pressing problems with brutal openness is still violating a taboo.

But as offensive as they may sometimes be, controversial and sharply worded statements are part of democratic debate. Why not discuss integration policy? Why not ask why second-generation immigrants from Russia, Ukraine, Korea or Vietnam have managed to integrate whereas Turks continue to have difficulties.

Germany does not have a widespread problem with foreigners, but it does have recognizable difficulties with parts of its largest immigrant group, the Turks, some of whom refuse to become integrated. Stuck in their Anatolian roots, archaically organized family groups insist on the preservation of customs and traditions that are anachronistic, and not just in ambitious, up-and-coming, cosmopolitan Berlin.

Open Participation

The insistence on speaking their native language and on male-dominated family structures, the self-righteousness with which parents dominate and often destroy the lives of their daughters, and even the relatively harmless religious custom of covering a woman’s hair with the headscarf — these are all challenges to the liberal constitutional order of German society, an order based on open participation in communication and education, religious tolerance, including within the family, and, last but not least, the right of young people to pursue their own paths and freely select their life partners.

Financial expert Sarrazin isn’t the only one whose reaction is one of helplessness in response to those who would refuse to change. Other experts, who have been arguing for years over the integration of German Arabs and Turks, are divided. What should Germany do about this expanding subculture? Ignore it?

Can integration only succeed if it is mutual, as Dutch sociologist Paul Scheffer believes? Is it legitimate to force foreigners to integrate into German society? Or is such forced integration an intolerant intrusion into the freedom of others, as some politicians who support multiculturalism believe? Does it signify a lack of respect for foreign cultures?

The furious response of cosmopolitan Germans to Friedrich Merz’s year 2000 insistence that others should be subordinate to the German Leitkultur — or “dominant culture” — continues to set the tone of the debate. And a controversial speech given by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Cologne Arena in February 2008 has hardened the fronts even further. Assimilation, Erdogan told his fellow Turks in Germany, is “a crime against humanity.”

‘You Should Stop Whitewashing the World’

No one disputes that most of the problems are to be found among Turks and Germans of Turkish origin. According to a study by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, only 14 percent of ethnic Turkish 20 to 39-year-olds have completed enough education to make them eligible to go to university — the lowest figure among all immigrant groups.

Of course, there are also examples that refute the trend, including the many Turkish business owners, the celebrated Hamburg director Fatih Akin, with his films about the world of immigrants, or about musicians like Bushido who have since become part of the mainstream. There are many who have become successful and are well-integrated, including politicians like Cem Özdemir and football player Mesut Özil. Nevertheless, there are still many for whom this is not the case.

The problems are becoming particularly widespread in the German capital. About half of employable Berlin residents with a Turkish background are dependent on government assistance — a “dismal statistic,” according to the Berlin Institute.

Other immigrant groups have demonstrated that integration does work. For example, 48 percent of 20 to 39-year-old immigrants from the Far East have completed the educational requirements to enter university. In Berlin’s Lichtenberg and Marzahn districts, Vietnamese already account for up to 17 percent of students in the university-track high schools known as gymnasiums, even though they comprise only 2 percent of the population in those neighborhoods. The Vietnamese community, largely made up of former “contract workers” in East Germany, has managed to quickly ascend the social ladder. “Vietnamese parents,” says Christina Morgenstern, a teacher at the Johann Gottfried Herder Gymnasium in Lichtenberg, “are very conscious of education and put their children under great pressure to succeed.”


Those hoping to understand the sharp differences among immigrant groups would be well advised to pay a visit to the Berlin district of Neukölln, Germany’s most vibrant immigrant community, with 117,000 inhabitants from around the world, and talk to Heinz Buschkowsky, the Social Democratic mayor of the district, who is blunt in his analysis of the situation there.

The stories of tension between immigrants and non-immigrants abound. Recently, an experienced social worker rang the doorbell at the house of an Arab family on Hermannstrasse in Neukölln. He had come to question the father about the constant beatings his daughter had been subjected to and explain the girl’s rights to the father. An argument quickly erupted, the father threatened the social worker, and because the social worker had a Biblical name, the father called him a “Jewish pig!” Then he said to his son: “Get him!”

The man ran for his life, running along Hermannstrasse with the son carrying a knife in hot pursuit. It wasn’t until he had reached a busier section of the street that the social worker felt safe again. He was so shocked by the incident that he promptly requested a reassignment to different duties.

“All I can say is that you should stop whitewashing the world,” says district Mayor Buschkowsky. His own experiences range from shootouts in broad daylight to a drama that unfolded at the local Rütli School, which made headlines nationwide in 2006 when frustrated teachers there asked the city government for help. They could no longer control their violent students.

Descent into Crime

Thirty-nine percent of Neukölln residents are first-generation or second-generation immigrants from one of 160 nations, and in the northern part of the district 80 percent of young people come from immigrant families. “Unfortunately, it isn’t rare to see illiteracy in both parents, so that the linguistic development of children is sometimes astonishingly weak when they enter school,” says Buschkowsky, noting that often things hardly improve after that. The conclusions he draws are bleak: “Unfortunately, the result is often a failed school career, followed by the inability to find a vocational training position, going on the dole, and all-too-often the descent into crime.”

Kirsten Heisig, 48, has a cheerful voice and an easy laugh. From her office, she has a nice view of an attractive park. As a judge on a juvenile court for 17 years, she respects the city’s Turkish middle class, which she considers largely well-integrated and an enrichment for society.

However, her courtroom in Berlin’s Tiergarten municipal court is a place where dreams of a successful integration policy disintegrate every time she pronounces a sentence against Arabs. Her verdicts bring to bear the severity of Germany law, particularly as it is so often absent on the streets of her district.

“There are large clans that don’t have the slightest interest in knowing how our constitutional state works. We cannot accept this,” says Heisig. At the beginning of a trial, for example, the injured party will often tell the judge that the parties have agreed to resolve their differences out of court. “Assault and battery, for example, is a crime that, by law, must be prosecuted,” says Heisig. “Our code of criminal procedure does not account for internal agreements — usually in the form of monetary payment.

‘Isn’t Pretty Either’

The judge sentences more than 400 criminals a year, 80 percent of them immigrants. Their crimes run the gamut, from assault to beatings to rapes. For Heisig, this points to a larger picture: “The obsession with masculinity is particularly strong in some Turks and Arabs, and honor and respect have developed so irrationally that violence quickly ensues. Unfortunately, beatings are commonplace in child-rearing.” When fathers suffer from a lack of respect, perhaps because they are unemployed, they establish respect with blows. Violence becomes the norm, and closed societies with their own rules develop. However, says Judge Heisig, “when the unemployed German living in a housing project smashes a vodka bottle over someone’s head, it isn’t pretty either.”

Nobel laureate and Harvard Professor Amartya Sen recently published a book about the “identity trap,” into which not only the unpopular Turks and Arabs, but also many well-meaning politicians who support integration have fallen. The upshot of Sen’s book is that all of these people shouldn’t take themselves so seriously.

Neither religion nor ethnic origin can claim exclusivity when it comes to suitably integrating a person into society. Every person, writes Sen, is made up of a bundle of changing identities, and the issue of origin and faith is only one many aspects. The identity cluster, according to Sen, also includes the question of sexual preferences, membership in clubs and even, in the case of moderate Muslims, whether one eats pork or not.

Overwrought Reactions

The conclusion, for German integration policy experts, is that interference in the isolated world of foreigners must not necessarily be viewed as an intrusion on individual freedom. The attempt to integrate is always legitimate when it is necessary to penetrate the self-chosen or imposed identity isolation of immigrant groups. Compulsion is necessary, provided it is compatible with the concept of freedom in German society shaped by Germany’s constitution.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, for example, enacted a law aimed primarily at forced marriages among young Turks. Since the law came into effect, spouses “imported” from ones home country must be at least 18 and speak some German. But even this cautious attempt to help Turkish youth escape from marriages arranged by their parents triggered overwrought reactions and accusations of “racism” among some groups.

Why, asks Indian economic philosopher Sen, should “a person’s relationship with his country be imparted by the culture of the family into which he was born?” German elements are increasingly becoming part of the identity of young Turks. In addition to inhibiting personality development, holding a person back by his roots, as in the case of Turks in Germany, is a key obstacle to integration.

But doesn’t the unlimited religious freedom guaranteed in Germany’s constitution force society to respect the Muslim precepts of Turkish communities, even when they are opposed to integration? Is tolerance more important than integration?

In the opinion of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, a respected Christian constitutional scholar and a former constitutional judge, the limits of tolerance surround the “cultural pedestal” on which the constitutional state “rests.”

A Bathing Suit Acceptable to Allah

How much freedom can the state grant people who are suspected of seeking to destroy the underpinnings of the local culture with their maxims? People who hold as dim a view of the equal rights of women as they do of sending their children to school?

None, according to Christian scholar Böckenförde. Otherwise, the very basis of our country’s existence would be at risk.

But this seemingly radical response also shifts the boundaries of the reasonable in favor of immigrants. How much assimilation can we expect of them to ensure that society can continue to function? Only the minimum necessary.

Of course, says Böckenförde, Turkish girls must be required to attend physical education class and German class. But is it really necessary to insist that they remove their headscarves? And isn’t there a bathing suit that’s acceptable to Allah?

It would be a violation of religious freedom and constitutionally guaranteed tolerance to require immigrants to become, to believe and to look like Germans. It would be yet another restriction imposed on their identity.

           — Hat tip: ESW [Return to headlines]

UK: Extremist Muslims to March for Sharia Law in Birmingham

EXTREMIST Muslims are planning to march through Birmingham to call for the introduction of sharia law in Britain.

The demonstration is to be led by hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who has previously called for all British women to wear burkhas.

It will follow an earlier protest scheduled for London at the end of the month.

Birmingham Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said he is appalled by the plans and has called for West Midlands police to ban Choudary and his followers from entering the city.

“Having the hooligans from the English Defence League fighting the extremists whipped up by the UAF in the city centre was bad enough. Everyone witnessed the violence that happened when they came to Birmingham,” he said.

“But I feel that this would have the potential to be much, much worse because the people of Birmingham will find the idea of sharia law very offensive.

“People have to realise that Muslims like Anjem Choudary do not represent the views of ordinary Muslims in Birmingham.

“They just want to live peacefully in their communities and cause no trouble for anyone.

“Anjem Choudary has no business coming to Birmingham. We want nothing to do with him and his version of Islam.

Plans for the London march were revealed on a website fronted by Choudary.

He has said that under sharia law in Britain people who commit adultery would be stoned to death.

And he says that “anyone who becomes intoxicated by alcohol would be given 40 lashes in public”.

He has also mocked the deaths of British soldiers, and branded an Army homecoming parade a “vile parade of brutal murderers”.

The group’s website derides British institutions, and shows a mock-up picture of Nelson’s Column surmounted by a minaret.

His group claim the march, dubbed March 4 Shari’ah, is the first stage in a massive campaign to try to impose sharia law in Britain.

They first plan to demonstrate in London on October 31, starting at the House of Commons and ending at Downing Street, where they will call for Gordon Brown to stand down.

Members have urged Muslims from all over Britain to join them.

And Choudary has revealed to the Sunday Mercury that his group plans to target Birmingham next.

He said: “We are hoping for more than 1,000 Muslims to attend the march in London on October 31.

“But if it proves a success then we may be coming to Birmingham next.

“I cannot say exactly when at this stage, but we would hope that it could take place within the next couple of months.

“We believe there would be a lot of support for a March in Birmingham, where we would hope to raise the same issues as in London.

“We want to start an intelligent debate about Islam and sharia and engage people in that debate.”

A spokesman for the Islamic Society of Britain said: “99.999 per cent of Muslims despise these people. This only serves to fuel racial tensions.”

West Midlands Police declined to comment.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

UK: Private Medical Records for Sale: Harley Street Clinic Patients’ Files Outsourced for Computer Input — and End Up on Black Market

The confidential medical records of patients treated at one of Britain’s top private hospitals have been illegally sold to undercover investigators.

Hundreds of files containing intimate details of patients’ conditions, home addresses and dates of birth are being offered for as little as £4 each.

The files were sold by two men who claimed to have gained access to the information from IT companies in India, where thousands of British medical records are sent every year to be computerised.

They supplied more than 100 records belonging to UK patients but claimed they would be able to pass on hundreds of thousands more on demand.

The revelation raises serious questions about the security of health records sent abroad. One patient affected by the security breach described it as ‘one step up from grave-robbing’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Wales: Anti-Islamic March Sparks Violent Clashes as Nazi-Saluting ‘Welsh Defence League’ Takes to the Streets

Hundreds of people gathered yesterday to oppose the planned march against Islamic extremism by the Welsh Defence League.

A heavy police cordon in Swansea city centre kept the two groups apart this afternoon without major incident.

The Welsh Defence League had proposed to congregate in nearby Castle Square but their vociferous critics had flooded the area by early afternoon, leaving them with no choice but to assemble across the road.

It was the first time the newly-formed group have been out on the streets in Wales. At a similar event in Birmingham a few weeks ago trouble flared when the English Defence League and anti-fascism groups fought on the street.

So far there has been no repeat of those scenes in Swansea.

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Leanne Woods was among those who had turned out to oppose the Welsh Defence League.

She said: ‘This is the first time they have come to Wales and a lot of people from different organisations have come out to say far-right extremism isn’t acceptable on the streets of Swansea.

‘We are happy to live together with the Muslim community and we are not prepared to accept divisive and hate-based politics on our streets.’

Later in the stand-off, a man from the Welsh Defence League gathering scaled a building to confiscate an anti-Nazi flag that had been draped from a first floor window. The flag was then burned on the street.

Shortly after 5pm, police officers moved in and surrounded the Welsh Defence League before escorting them through the streets to the train station.

South Wales Police said a 25-year-old man was arrested for a racially aggravated public order offence and is currently being detained.

Chief Superintendent Mark Mathias said: ‘I am pleased with the success the police operation today, which allowed the protests to pass off peacefully, whilst taking into the account the rights of the people of Swansea to go about their normal business.

‘I would to thank them for patience and understanding for any disruption that was caused. People have the right to protest but overall the safety of the public and maintaining order is a priority.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]


Serbia: 10000 Punto With Diesel Multijet Engine Produced

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, OCTOBER 8 — In the Fiat Automobiles Serbia factory in Kragujevac, the ten thousand Punto with diesel multijet engine was produced, factory’s spokesperson Giuseppe Zaccaria said, reports Tanjug news agency. The Punto is produced in gas and diesel version with actual, dynamic and emotion gear and 60 and 70 HP engines, and all produced vehicles have been sold. In a few weeks, production and selling of Punto gas vehicles will be launched. The production of Punto in Kragujevac began on April 15, 2009 and reached 120 vehicles per day.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

War Crimes: Balkan; Extradition of Suspects Difficult, EU

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 14 — Despite the improved cooperation in the exchange of evidence and the transfer of some war crime cases between the attorneys of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, “there still are obstacles to the extradition of war crime suspects and suspects of crimes against humanity between the countries in the region”. This was written in the most recent report of the European Commission presented today in Brussels. According to the report, “this makes the problem of impunity worse, like for example the case of a war crime convict who manages to escape from Croatia to Bosnia thanks to a citizenship acquired in Bosnia, which makes it impossible to extradite him”. Croatia and its neighbours should close this regional gap of impunity, closing agreements that cover war crimes. And the number of war crime cases Bosnia still has to judge is high, between 10 and 16 thousand cases. Regarding the collaboration of the three Balkan countries with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), according to the report Serbia is now collaborating better, but Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic are still free and their capture remains a priority of the Tribunal and for Europe. Croatia still doesn’t give the ICTY full access to some documents, and Bosnia must “step up its efforts to take the necessary measures against people who help fugitives or people who obstruct the effective enforcement of the ICTY warrant”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Aviation: Libya; Development Projects at Lavex Fair

(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI, OCTOBER 7 — The roar of the Eurofighter Typhoon motor of the Italian AirForce provided great emotions at Lavex, the biennial aerospace exposition currently being held in Tripoli. In its third edition, the Libyan event is becoming a point of reference in the industry, which is looking at Northern Africa and the entire continent, and counts 100 participants this year, specialised in manufacturing combat and transport aircrafts, helicopters, radar systems, and electronics for the sector. The first results were attained yesterday with an agreement that saw ATR (an equally-owned joint venture of Alenia Aeronautica and EADS) enter into the Libyan market, supplying two ATR 42-500 aircrafts to Libyan Airlines for 35 million dollars. The aircrafts, which satisfy the needs of a country characterised by vast, sandy deserts, are the first ones to be supplied to Libya and will be delivered by the end of the year. EADS, the European Group for Defence and Aerospace, has been involved in Libya since 2006, with the realisation of a large Airbus maintenance centre and providing training and technology transfer to the rest of Africa. Libyan airline, Afriqiyah Airways, received the first of the Airbus A330-200s in August, which they ordered in 2006. The aircraft, with 230 seats and two classes, will be used on routes from Tripoli throughout Africa and Europe. ADPI, the company that controls the airports in Paris, is also present at Lavex. The Libyan government has signed a contract to study and develop the three main Libyan airports (Tripoli, Bengasi, and Sebha) with the French company. The total investment amounts to 12 million euros and involves the modernisation of passenger terminals and cargo areas for these airports. Italy’s most important company at the exposition, Finmeccanica, is present along with many of its subsidiaries: MBDA missile systems, Selex Communications, Selex sistemi integrati, Selex Galileo, Alenia Aermacchi, which has sold 12 SF260EA military aircrafts to Libya, Alenia Aeronautica, and Agusta Westland. The Libyan Public Safety Ministry ordered 10 AW109 Power helicopters to patrol and monitor their coasts and borders and 5 AW119Kes for helicopter rescue and emergency first aid missions. The multifunctional, helicopters, which can be tailored to meet the client’s specific needs, are on display on the runway of the Maitiga airport. Liatec, an Italian-Libyan joint venture for advanced technology consisting of the Libyan company for the aerospace industry (50% stakeholder) and Finmeccanica and Agusta Westland (25% share each), is present at the exposition, where it is presenting the ambitious Abou Aisha project to build a helicopter assembly, parts and systems line. Work started in 2008 and the centre will have a covered area of 10,000 square metres, 100 employees, 90% of whom will be Libyan nationals, and a total investment of 30 million dinars. In the meantime, Liatec began work on an operations centre in July of this year in Tajoura, east of Tripoli, where technical and maintenance personnel will be trained with the support of engineers from Agusta Westland, which has become the service centre of Finmeccanica. Lavex will be open to the public until Friday. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Finmeccanica: Selex Signs 300 Mln-Euro Commission in Libya

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 7 — Selex Sistemi Integrati (Finmeccanica) has signed an agreement worth 300 million euros with Libyan company General People’s Committee for General Security to create a major system for protection and security along the country’s borders. The first tranche of 150 million euros is already operational. This is one of the most important agreements ever reached by a Finmeccanica company in Major Systems for Homeland Security. Selex will supply the planning, installation and integration of all the sub-systems necessary for the programme. The company will supply the system for providing functionality which is typical of the three Cs (Command, Control, Communication), such as support for decisions by command, information processing, the integration of data from the various detectors — also supplied by Selex — and the management of emergencies. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Transport: ATR Signs Contract to Sell Two 42-500s to Libya

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, OCTOBER 7 — At the Lavex aviation salon currently being held in Tripoli, ATR, an equally-owned joint venture between Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia and European group, EADS, signed a contract with Libyan Airlines for the sale of two 48-seat ATR 42-500s. The value of the contract, the group’s first in Libya specified a statement, is 35 million euros. Delivery should take place soon, by the end of the year, according to the commercial manager of the group, Jacques Desbarats, who expressed satisfaction that they have penetrated a market that has great potential for the development of its domestic airline traffic. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Hamas Patrols Beaches in Gaza to Enforce Conservative Dress Code

Lawyers resist campaign to make Palestinian society more Islamist

A mounted Hamas officer rides along the beach at Gaza City, on the lookout for infringements of Islamic dress codes. Photograph: Hatem Moussa/AP

It began with a rash of unusually assertive police patrols. Armed Hamas officers stopped men from sitting shirtless on the beach, broke up groups of unmarried men and women, and ordered shopkeepers not to display lingerie on mannequins in their windows.

Then came an effort to force female lawyers to abide by a more conservative dress code, and intense pressure on parents to dress their daughters more conservatively for the new school term. Last week police began enforcing a new decree banning women from riding on motorbikes.

For the first time since Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections nearly four years ago, the group is trying to Islamise Gazan society. In public, Hamas leaders say they are merely encouraging a social moral code, and insist they are not trying to imitate the religious police who operate in some other rigid Islamic countries. But to many it feels like a new wave of enforcement in what is already a devoutly Muslim society.

Asmaa al-Ghoul, a writer and former journalist, was one of the first to run up against the new campaign. She spent an evening with a mixed group of friends in a beachside cafe in late June. After dark, she and another female friend went swimming wearing long trousers and T-shirts. Moments after leaving the water they found themselves confronted by a group of increasingly aggressive Hamas police officers. “Where is your father? Your husband?” one officer asked her. Ghoul, 27, was told her behaviour had not been respectable. Five of her male friends were beaten and detained for several hours.

“I believe our society is secular, but some Islamic parties want to change the idea of this society to make it religious,” she said. She does not wear a headscarf, a choice that is increasingly rare for women in Gaza and generally confined only to those living in the wealthier areas of Gaza City. She routinely suffers taunts from other Palestinians as she walks from her home to her favourite coffee shops. “We’re just afraid to be ourselves in the street,” she said. “Hamas uses Islam in the mosque to try and control people’s hearts.”

Gazan society has become markedly more conservative over the last decade. In part that is down to the growing influence of Islamist movements such as Hamas and others that hold even more extremist views. Palestinians here also blame Israel’s tough economic blockade, which they say has prevented a free flow of ideas and debate and largely stopped Gazans travelling abroad. Violence in the conflict, they say, tends to allow conservatism to flourish.

Hamas leaders insist there is no compulsion in their new campaign. “The main tool of the campaign is awareness and education without interfering with the behaviour of individuals or forcing them,” said Talib Abu Shaar, the Saudi-educated Hamas minister of endowments and religious affairs. “It doesn’t mean we are going to impose Islamic sharia [law] on the community. We don’t want to be like the Taliban in Gaza.”

This education campaign is called fadeela or virtue, and in part consists of posters distributed across the city. Some advise young people against smoking or taking drugs. Others warn against internet pornography or satellite television: “Be careful. Watching dirty channels corrupts the family and the coming generation.” That particular poster lists recommended channels: all are religious and Islamic.

Mostly the campaign focuses on what women wear. One startling poster decries the trend for young women to wear their headscarf along with tight jeans as a “satanic industry 100%”. It shows a red devil holding an image of a fashionable young woman and recommends a fuller, less glamorous head covering, counselling: “The right hijab is your way to heaven.”

Asked about his attitude to those few Gazan women who do not cover their hair, Abu Shaar said: “We tell them it is an essential element to being a Muslim. Wearing the headscarf is as essential as prayer.”

Perhaps the greatest surprise of the campaign is the resistance it has generated. Although Gaza is socially conservative, many Palestinians object to being commanded to follow a particular social code. When the Hamas-appointed chief justice, Abdel-Raouf al-Halabi, ordered a new uniform for all lawyers, which for women meant a headscarf and a jilbab — a full-length robe — he had not counted on the temerity of the response. Nearly all of Gaza’s 150 female lawyers already wear headscarves, but they challenged the ruling on the grounds that it had no basis in law. The chief justice was forced to back down.

“It was absolutely illegal,” said Dina Abu Dagga, a lawyer who has covered her hair since she was at university in Cairo.

It was not the chief justice’s right to change the dress code, she said. Under Palestinian law, that power rested with the lawyers’ union.

“We’re not against the hijab. I wear it myself,” she said. “We’re against imposing it and restricting our freedoms. Today you impose the hijab, but tomorrow it will be something else.”

Zeinab el-Ghunaimi, one of the few female lawyers who wears no headscarf, said some women were adopting the hijab to avoid unwelcome attention in the streets or at work. “The authorities are trying to own and control women,” she said. “The problem is when these restrictions are imposed on us.”

The Hamas campaign was not inevitable. Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a broader Islamist movement present in most Arab and Islamic countries, which generally believes in winning over supporters by encouragement and debate one mind at a time, rather than by imposing decrees from above.

But the movement has been rattled by the appearance of more extremist groups in the Gaza Strip, including one, Jund Ansar Allah, which in August seized control of a mosque in Rafah resulting in a gun battle that left more than a dozen dead. The extremists counted among their members several disgruntled former Hamas men.

Abu Shaar, the Hamas minister, said the extremists were misguided and “in a hurry to impose sharia”. Hamas, he insisted, believed in “moderate Islam”.

It leaves Hamas caught between conflicting pressures — those in the west who want the movement to renounce violence and become part of the political process; Hamas militants who want to return to an outright armed struggle against Israel; and extremists in Gaza who want a rapid move to a rigidly Islamic society.

Essam Younis, head of the al-Mezan human rights organisation, said what Hamas wanted most of all was to be accepted internationally as the first, successful political Islamic government in the Arab world. “They want to be part of the international game, with international legitimacy,” he said. “They had a chance to provide a model, to prove political Islam can rule and provide good governance and protect human rights. But so far they have failed to set this example.”

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Palestinian Prime Minister Rejects “Mickey Mouse” State. Perhaps Prefers Donald Duck State Instead?

by Barry Rubin

[Warning! Satire. Since the Middle East can be so grim, we have to laugh at it sometimes. But all of the below also happens to be true.]

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad complains about Israel’s offer to the Palestinians. “By all indications they have a Mickey Mouse state in mind,” Fayyad said, using the Disney character’s name as slang for unimportant or trivial. “It looks like it would not come close to what we have in mind.”

Unfortunately, Fayyad didn’t explain what he meant. Possibly he meant that Israel sought an unmilitarized Palestinian state, as if it weren’t serious unless it had a big army? If what Fayyad has in mind is a country with a big gun perhaps he would prefer an Elmer Fudd state.

Or is the problem that Israel wants a Palestinian state which ends the conflict forever? In that case, Fayyad seems to prefer a Wiley Coyote state, which is always trying to trap Israel in order to destroy it.

After all, the Palestinian leadership is always in search of some magic weapon (from Acme Corporation?) and can never accept that it won’t wipe out Israel.

But Israel, like the Roadrunner, always avoids the trap. Like Wiley, the Palestinian leadership always ends up by catching itself in its own trap. Pretty often, it runs off a cliff only to be left standing in mid-air until it looks down and remembers gravity, then plummeting to the valley far far below. Meanwhile, the Roadrunner dashes off merrily unharmed. Beep! Beep!

In a sense, though, Fayyad is right that Israel wants a Palestinian state to be like Mickey. After all, Mickey is a nice guy, never aggressive or violent, always trying to get along with neighbors.

No wonder that role model is so upsetting for Fayyad!

Nevertheless, the mouse metaphor seems to have a powerful hold on the Palestinians and Islamists, too. The Saudi Shaykh, Muhammad Al-Munajid, stated on Al-Majd TV on August 27, 2008, that mice were Satan’s soldiers and that “according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed.”

Is Fayyad’s mouse reference a subtle hint from him that he thinks Israel wants Hamas and its friends to finish him off by demanding he make risky compromises? (Note, in the Arabic-speaking world, any compromise is considered risky, no matter how much you get for making it.)

Or maybe Fayyad has in mind Farfour, the Hamas children’s show character based on Mickey Mouse, who calls for genocide against the Jews but is later killed by the Israelis and thus, as a martyr have to be revenged. Hamas wants a Farfour state.

Farfour once made a mistake of praising the English language, only to be criticized by Sara, the show’s cute little suicide-bomber-in-training human co-host: “No, Farfour, you are wrong,” she explained, “because you don’t know that the Muslims are the basis of civilization. If not for the Muslims, the world wouldn’t have gotten to where it is today.”

Is that a double-entendre?…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]

The Window of Opportunity is Now Closed and Locked Down: Passing Goldstone Resolution Marks End of Peace Process Era

by Barry Rubin

The UN Human Rights Council has now endorsed the Goldstone Report. There are important implications to this decision that make it a turning point.

It means the first make or break test for Obama’s foreign policy. There is no easy way out. The president must either block a disastrous UN resolution through effective diplomacy in the UN corridors, accept a bad resolution in order to avoid a confrontation, or veto such a resolution an accept the price in unpopularity. Oh, and it also marks the end of the peace process era that began in 1993, showing both sides why they don’t want a compromise deal.

Of course, it says a great deal about the nature of international affairs nowadays. What does it say about the UN that it condemns Israel but says not a word and does not a deed against Hamas, which is guilty of aggression, terrorism, seizure of power by force, calls for genocide, antisemitism, indoctrination of children to become suicide bombers, oppression of women, systematic use of civilians as human shields, and a range of war crimes.

Trying to present the Goldstone report in a more favorable light, Western media overstated its “evenhandedness,” playing up a few mentions of Hamas to pretend that both sides in the conflict were condemned. The UNRC drops this pretense and only speaks of Israel, totally removing the factors that forced a reluctant Israel to launch an operation on the Gaza Strip.

This is not merely another of the many ritual condemnations of Israel but a demonization. Israel is now accused of massive war crimes on a remarkably flimsy basis. Of course it is all political but this is a step toward delegitimization. The Arabic-speaking, Muslim-majority, and left-wing governments that supported the resolution see this as a step not toward a compromise peace but an elimination of Israel altogether.

I am not saying that this is going to happen, or that the resolution will have any actual negative impact on Israel itself. Yet what is most important is that having tasted blood, these forces will not be interested in getting less. Why should they—including the Palestinian Authority—settle for a stable two-state solution when they believe they can get far more without giving up anything?

It is an accident but not a coincidence that the Palestinian Authority signed a unity agreement with Hamas in the same week that the resolution was passed…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Gul: Turkey Will Continue Slamming “Injustices” By Israel

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Sunday evening that his country would not remain silent in face of the “injustices” carried out by Israel, Army Radio reported.

“Turkey is one of the rare states that has strong ties with both Arab countries and with Israel. We will continue to criticize and act when necessary, without undermining the foundations of these ties,” Gul was quoted as saying in an interview with Turkey’s popular state-run TRT1 television station.

           — Hat tip: A Greek Friend [Return to headlines]

Iran: Ahmadinejad Vows to Strike Back at Those Behind Suicide Bombing

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Sunday to strike back at those behind a suicide bombing that killed five senior commanders of the elite Revolutionary Guard and at least 26 others, the official IRNA news agency reported.

“The criminals will soon get the response for their anti-human crimes,” IRNA quoted him as saying. Ahmadinejad also accused unspecified foreigners of involvement.

The official IRNA news agency said the dead included the deputy commander of the Guard’s ground force, Gen. Noor Ali Shooshtari, as well as a chief provincial Guard commander for the area, Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh. The other dead were Guard members or local tribal leaders. More than two dozen others were wounded, state radio reported.

Earlier, Iran accused the US and Britain of being behind Sunday morning’s attack.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the United States condemned what he called an “act of terrorism.” Reports of alleged US involvement are “completely false,” he said.

Official television channels in Teheran quoted a security official as saying that the British government was directly involved in the attack, having organized the bombing, provided equipment and recruited terrorists.

Press TV had earlier said that the US was involved, as part of its efforts to topple the Iranian regime.

“It was a terror attack planned long ago by people linked to the US and other countries that want to destroy Iran’s central government,” said Iran’s state television network.

The Revolutionary Guard itself blamed Sunday morning’s attack on what it called the “global arrogance,” a reference to the United States.

“The global arrogance, with the provocation of its local mercenaries, targeted the meeting of the Guard with local tribal leaders,” said a Guard statement read out on state TV.

Iranian officials have often raised concerns that Washington might try to incite members of Iran’s many ethnic and religious minorities against the Shi’ite-led government, which is dominated by ethnic Persians

[Return to headlines]


Extreme Danger of USCIS Rubber-Stamping Illegals’ Applications

In fact, a string of reports issued by the investigative arm of Congress, the General Accountability Office (GAO) and by the OIG, the Office of the Inspector General, the government agency that is charged with investigating allegations of nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance have made it absolutely clear that USCIS demonstrates incompetence, ineptitude and, on occasion out-right corruption in its day to day work today. How in blazes could this agency run a program in which they would have to most likely process a minimum of an additional 100,000 applications each and every day, filed by illegal aliens who are euphemistically referred to “undocumented,” providing these illegal aliens with lawful status in our country, and hence with official identity documents, even though there is no way of readily determining the true identities of these millions of illegal aliens?

While much is made of the background checks that each application would engender, by those who favor “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” as I have noted on ever so many previous occasions, there is a world of difference between a background check and a background investigation.

As an INS Senior Special Agent I am quite familiar with the way a background investigation is conducted.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Abortion: Spain, Commission’s Yes For16yr-Olds Without Consent

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 8 — The Bioethics Commission, an advisory body of the Spanish Government, has backed the most controversial points of the abortion reform law being examined by Parliament. In particular, the times limits within which an abortion can be carried out and the rights of 16- and 17-year-olds to abort without their parents’ consent. In its opinion, quoted by the press today, the Bioethics Commission highlights that “adolescence is an age when there is little communication within the family” and points out that “the acknowledgement of the independence of a minor to choose to have an abortion is difficult to make compatible with the parallel right of parents to be informed.” “In this area of self-determination,” the Bioethics Commission said, “the right to privacy and to the protection of personal data is to be respected.” The Bioethics Commission’s view suggests that information given to a minor “should be specific, adapted and strengthened” and that it should include the recommendation to speak to parents or with a trusted adult. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sex Ed Should Not Promote Only Marriage or Heterosexual Relationships, Advocates Say

( — A coalition of liberal sex education advocates says the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress will end support for abstinence-only programs that emphasize marriage and heterosexual relationships.

“The appropriations bills this year represent the most profound change in national sex education policy that we have ever had in the history of this country,” said William Smith, vice president for education and training with the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), at an event held Thursday on Capitol Hill.

[Return to headlines]