Shootings at Sephardic Synagogue in LA

A shooting in the very early morning at a parking garage attached to a Sephardic Jewish synagogue has police working a number of angles.

Here are the bare facts From the LA Deputy Chief:

The unidentified gunman walked into the underground parking garage of Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic synagogue at 12405 Sylvan St. shortly before 6:20 a.m…He approached a man who was parking his car to attend prayer service.

“Without any words,” Moore said, the suspect shot the man in the leg. He then shot a second man who had also arrived for prayers. The second victim also was wounded in the leg. The gunman then fled from the garage, and witnesses called 911.

The victims, Maor Ben-Nissan, 37, and Allen Lasry, whose age was unavailable but thought to be in his 40s, were in good condition at hospitals.

Unless someone hands the police information, this one is going to be hard to track down. What is obvious is that the gunman didn’t shoot to kill. If there was any doubt of that, aiming at the legs of the second man, much as he had the first victim, would seem to make it clear that his intention was to wound.

You can’t help but notice the form of attack in this instance:
– – – – – – – –
There was a gunshot fired into each leg. Isn’t this standard operating procedure for organized crime? But attacking the person at his synagogue? That part doesn’t make sense. And how would the shooter have known his victim would be late and likely to be alone? Why shoot the bystander unless it was to intimidate him?

The out-of-nowhere attack has everyone nervous:

Adat Yeshurun [the synagogue] is in the heart of the San Fernando Valley’s Orthodox Jewish community and within walking distance of kosher markets and other synagogues. Many people move to the area so they can walk to temple.

Yehuda Oz, 53, a man of Tunisian descent, has attended the Sephardic Jewish temple for 15 years and arrived early this morning to begin his regular morning prayers.

About an hour later, as he prayed with some 15 others in the temple’s quiet sanctuary, four gunshots broke the silence, he said. He heard screams from the parking lot then saw two men stumble into the temple.

Their blood spread over the floor as people rushed to stop the bleeding, Oz said, but no one inside saw the shooter.

“Maybe it was crazy person. Maybe he was drugged up. Maybe it was a Jew. We don’t know,” Oz said, nervously adjusting his yarmulke as he stood outside the taped-off scene with two friends.

Maybe…maybe…the list of ‘reasons’ that go through one’s head lead to circles of confusion and fear.

The temple, which has a congregation of mostly Moroccan and other North African Jews, installed security cameras years ago to discourage attacks, Yehuda said.

A girls’ school at the synagogue with 112 students canceled classes today. At least two rabbis from neighboring synagogues who were at the scene this morning said they were counseling their own congregants to stay calm.

“The feeling is that we’ve got to keep our eyes open for each other,” said Rabbi Nachman Nabend of Chabad of North Hollywood. “It makes me angry when anyone gets targeted.”

At Adat Ari El, a synagogue about two miles away, executive director Joan Klein was increasing security by closing multiple entrances and adding more guards.

My granddaughter attended an excellent preschool at the Jewish Community Center near her home. It never occurred to me that she was in any danger. However, when you look at the long list Phyllis Chesler supplies of synagogue attacks, it makes you realize that all of them are vulnerable at some level. They are certainly far more vulnerable than your average Methodist church.

I liked that synagogue; they obviously loved the children and the affection was returned. Besides, my granddaughter learned to say the Hebrew version of her grace before meals. Hebrew, like Latin, seems conducive to prayer.

Home Again

I returned late last night from the two-day International Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion, which was held in the Congressional Auditorium at the Capitol in Washington D.C. This was a well-organized and substantive event, with some of the best minds in the Counterjihad represented on the stage and in the audience.

In the next day or so, when I have more time, I will post details about some of the panel discussions and speeches. In the meantime, these are some of the people I met and talked to:

I renewed my acquaintance with Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, and spent some time with Lars Hedegaard, the president of the International Free Press Society. Sam Solomon, whom I have met on a number of pervious occasions, was on hand to lend his expertise on Islam, the Koran, and sharia law.

Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Andy Bostom attended the first day of the conference and gave an excellent special presentation on the Rifqa Bary case.

Diana West was on several of the panels and gave a speech outlining the infamous behavior of Yale University concerning the publication of the Motoon book and the subsequent treatment of Kurt Westergaard when he visited the campus a few weeks ago.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a number of people for the first time, notably Ann Fishman and her husband, who worked their fingers to the bone organizing the conference.

A large group of Canadians made the long trip down to the D.C. tropics. One of them was Kathy Shaidle, who is also known as Five Feet of Fury, but to me seemed more like five feet of Torontonian charm and intelligence.
– – – – – – – –
I also had some interesting conversations with David Harris, a Canadian lawyer and Director of the International and Terrorist Intelligence Program for INSIGNIS Strategic Research, Inc. In addition, I met for the first time James Cohen of the Canadian chapter of IFPS, and Fred of Gay and Right.

The European contingent was not as large, but significantly included the eloquent Lord Pearson of Rannoch. He is the leader of UKIP (the United Kingdom Independence Party), as well the man who recently brought Geert Wilders to Britain. Besides Lars Hedegaard, Denmark was represented by Morten Messerschmidt, a member of the European Parliament for the Danish People’s Party. His speech about the dire condition of free speech in Europe was as cogent and comprehensive a summary as any I’ve ever heard.

Most of the speakers and attendees were Americans, and I had a change to talk with a number of them. I particularly appreciated my conversations with Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center, and David Yerushalmi, the incisive D.C. lawyer who specializes in securities law, national security, and international law. I also spoke briefly with radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman, who is leading the charge in South Florida against President Obama and the RINOs in Congress.

The content of the conference itself will come later, when I have time to do it justice. In the meantime, I have to spend some time catching up with the usual gazillion emails that arrived while I was gone.

The No News Newsfeed, October 28th 2009

The last day of the no news newsfeed. The Baron and his contraption will resume tomorrow. To all our tipsters, I apologize, but without that programmer automation, I can’t keep up with y’all.

I know you’ll be glad to have the real McCoy back again. But not nearly as glad as I’ll be!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

D.C. Sniper Execution Planned for November 10th

The mastermind of the 2002 Washington, DC-area sniper attacks will die by lethal injection next month, Virginia officials said Tuesday.

John Allen Muhammad declined to choose between lethal injection and electrocution, so under state law the method defaults to lethal injection, Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said.

Muhammad is scheduled to be executed Nov. 10 for the October 2002 slaying of Dean Harold Meyers at a Manassas gas station during a string of shootings.

The three-week killing spree in October 2002 left 10 dead in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Muhammad and his teenage accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, were also suspected of shootings in several other states, including a killing in Louisiana and another in Alabama. Malvo is serving a life sentence in prison.

Muhammad’s lawyers have asked the Virginia governor for clemency and plan to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court early next month.

Yeah, I know we Americans are barbarians. But I, for one, will be glad to see this cold-blooded murderer shuffle off this mortal coil. The death penalty has its place and this is one of them. So was the Lockerbie bomber.

Muslim Mob Attacks Copts Repeatedly

On Tuesday evening, October 27, a Muslim mob attacked the Church of St. George in the village of Nazlet Albadraman, located in the Deir Mawas District, Minya Province. The Priest and the congregation were held inside until they were freed by the village mayor after security forces dispersed the mob. The attack was prompted by the restoration of the Church’s tower, for which the Church holds the necessary permit.

Protestant Pastor Habib Ghattas said that the Coptic Orthodox priest Father Serabamon, phoned him from inside the Church and asked him to contact the security forces. “We need them to come and rescue us from the mob,” he told Pastor Ghattas.

The mob threw stones and destroyed the church’s windows, before going on to destroy cars, shops and Coptic homes. One Coptic woman, Ayman Nada Landy, suffered head injuries. Security forces are presently deployed in the village to diffuse the situation and prevent further escalation. The village was also placed under curfew.

St. George’s Church in Nazlet Albadraman serves nearly 5000 Copts. It was renovated eight years ago except for the tower, which is located on the top of the gate entrance to the church. It was made of soft bricks and posed a threat to the lives of the Church visitors. After four years of conflict with the authorities , the church obtained a permit for the renovation work two days ago. Once a was license obtained, the church demolished the dilapidated tower and began digging the foundations for the new one.


Pastor Ghattas said that what made the situation deteriorate was “while the mob was congregating near the Church, a preacher at the ‘Islamic Charity Society’ in the village was calling on Muslims, through his loudspeaker, to take action against the ‘Christian Infidels,’ so more and more people joined the mob.”

Although security forces are presently stationed in the village, some Copts are still taking shelter at the Church, to avoid engagement with the Muslims and for fear of being arrested randomly by the police.

Minya Copts are staging a three-day protest fast, October 26-28, against church-building restrictions and the escalating Muslim attacks on them.

Attorney Mamdouh Nakhla, Director of “Al-Kalema” Human Rights Center called today on President Mubarak to dismissed the Governor of Minya, in view of the increasing sectarian incidents and abduction and forced Islamization of Coptic girls during his tenure in office.

Time Is on California’s Side

. . . but time isn’t.

Contrarianism is a well-established investment strategy. “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful” is one of Warren Buffett’s favorite maxims. During the scariest hours of last year’s financial plunge, Buffett put lots of money where his mouth was, buying a significant equity position in Goldman Sachs that has already proven extremely lucrative. Of course, if it were easy to make such investment decisions, we would all be as rich as Buffett. Contrarians who made a big bet on Lehman Brothers in the summer of 2008 are now sleeping on friends’ couches. Sometimes the darkest hour is just before dawn, and other times it’s just before death.

Contrarianism is not confined to high finance: newspapers and magazines are desperate to offer perspectives that set them apart from their competitors. Time, for example, has decided to make a contrarian play on California. In recent months, other publications have featured articles with titles like “Who Killed California?,” “Sundown for California,” “End State,” “Death of the California Dream,” and “California: Worst Place in the History of the Universe for Multicelled Organisms.” (Okay, not the last one, but the others are real.) Convinced that every scrap of negative information has already been “priced in” to California’s public profile, Time offers a cover story this week titled “Despite Its Woes, California’s Dream Still Lives.”

The question is whether California is Goldman Sachs or Lehman Brothers. Does the state, despite its current problems, remain a fundamentally sound enterprise whose residual strengths will secure a bright future? Or has this once proud and prosperous endeavor passed a tipping point after too many bad decisions and practices, with no options left except to prolong and mitigate its own decline?…

[continue reading Voegli’s essay at City Journal]


Will individuals that don’t get health insurance be penalized under any new health care reform, asks the Associated Press (AP)?
– – – – – – – –
President Barack Obama did not propose penalties for people who don’t get health insurance as a candidate, but he now supports an individual mandate as long as waivers are available for those for whom it would be a hardship. Republicans say the penalties, which are referred to as taxes in congressional documents, would violate Obama’s campaign pledge not to increase taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year.

[It violates basic integrity, too. What a prevaricator this President has turned out to be]

All the health care reform plans under consideration would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to people because of pre-existing medical conditions. Many Democrats say penalties are needed to prevent people from going without insurance until they get sick:

  • The Senate Finance Committee bill would start phasing in fines for individuals who don’t get insurance in 2014, with the fines reaching $750 in 2017.
  • The House plan would fine individuals 2.5 percent of their modified adjusted gross income, up to the cost of the average national premium for basic coverage.

How would fines be administered?

  • The IRS would collect the fines through tax returns; failure to pay federal taxes can result in criminal charges, though it rarely does unless fraud is involved.
  • However, the Senate Finance Committee bill specifically prohibits criminal penalties.

Suuure they’ll prohibit criminalization. The KGB IRS sends people to jail now. Just wait till they get their bureaucratic paws on this one.


White House Modifies Plan to Give Away Part of U.S. H1N1 Vaccine Supply to Foreign Countries; Says Sebelius Committed ‘Slight Miscommunication’

A White House official told on Tuesday that the Obama administration’s commitment to donate 10 percent of the U.S. supply of H1N1 vaccine to other countries will not necessarily begin after 40 million doses are procured, as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told and the Senate Homeland Security Committee last week.

On Saturday, three days after Sebelius made her remarks about the U.S. donating some of its vaccine to foreign countries, President Obama declared the H1N1 epidemic a national emergency.

Calling Sebelius’ remarks “a slight miscommunication,” the White House official told that the 40-million dose figure that Sebelius cited as the trigger-point at which U.S. donations of vaccine to foreign countries would begin refers to the estimate of needed vaccines for the most at-risk population in the United States.

“It’s the minimal requirement for considering when the timing will be right,” to begin international donations, the official said, adding that the most important consideration is the vaccine supply in the United States.

“The first priority is to ensure domestic requirements are met,” the official said.

The official also told that the Obama administration is in “constant dialogue” with the World Health Organization (WHO), which will distribute the vaccine that the United States and 10 other nations donate.

WHO also has to ensure that countries that receive vaccines are in the position to use them is another factor in determining when international donations are made, the official said.

“Nobody wants to see vaccines being available and not being utilized,” she said.

At a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee last Wednesday, Sebelius said, “The president clearly has made it clear that his priority is safety and security of the American people, and immediately he also adds that we’re a global partner. So we have joined now with 11 nations in terms of 10 percent of the vaccine will be made available to developing countries.”


According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of Oct. 21 less than 12 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine had been shipped to the 150,000 locations offering the injection and nasal spray immunization around the United States.

Hospitals and health clinics around the country are reporting long lines and running out of the vaccine before demand can be met.

Rahm Emmanuel must be smiling broadly. Another crisis to take advantage of…

From The Patriot Post:

Obama Jokes

Q: What’s the main problem with Barack Obama jokes?
A: His followers don’t think they’re funny and everyone else doesn’t think they’re jokes.

Q: What’s the difference between Rahm Emanuel and a carp?
A: One is a scum sucking bottom feeder and the other is a fish.

Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser.

Q: What’s the difference between Obama’s cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One’s full of tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society. The other is for prisoners.

Q: What’s the difference between a zoo and the White House?
A: A zoo has an African lion and the White House has a lyin’ African.

Q: If Pelosi and Obama were in a boat and it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America!

Q: What’s the difference between Obama and Hitler?
A: Hitler wrote his own book.

Q: What’s another difference between Obama and Hitler?
A: Hitler got the Olympics to come to his country.

Q: Why doesn’t Obama pray?
A: It’s impossible to read the teleprompter with your eyes closed.

Okay, okay, so you’ve already heard them. I lead a sheltered life, all right??

Snapped Rod Closes Major Bridge, Creating Traffic Nightmare for San Francisco Area

This is from AP:

The closure of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is expected to cause a traffic nightmare Wednesday as engineers evaluate the damage caused when a rod and metal brace fell into westbound lanes.

At least two vehicles — a car and a small truck — either were struck by or ran into the fallen rod, said California Highway Patrol Officer Peter Van Eckhardt, but no injuries were reported.

The landmark bridge is crossed each day by about 26,000 vehicles. The California Department of Transportation said Tuesday that it will remain closed indefinitely.


The rod that fell Tuesday was erected last month during an emergency repair job. It was holding in place a saddle-like cap that had been installed over a cracked link discovered over the Labor Day weekend.


The bridge was closed last month over the holida weekend while long-planned earthquake safety upgrades were being made to the bridge. When the crack was discovered, state transportation officials initially feared it would prevent them from reopening the 73-year-old span in time for the start of the work week.

But the unexpected work only ended up taking a few extra hours.

California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, officials had nothing to say Tuesday about what might have caused the repair job to fail.


Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, a civil engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley who has spent 20 years studying the Bay Bridge, called the initial crack a “warning sign” of potentially bigger safety issues with the bridge.

“The repair they were doing was really a Band-Aid,” said Astaneh-Asl, who criticized Caltrans at the time for rushing to reopen the bridge. “The Band-Aid broke, in essence.”

Astaneh-Asl said the failure of the repair job demonstrates the need for a longer-term solution. The bridge’s age and design make it susceptible to collapse…

That repair must’ve been one of them stimulus jobs.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

A very tired Baron just came in the door. He had a grand time at the conference in Washington and no doubt will be telling you all about it tomorrow.

He brought home some great freebies: books from Sam Solomon, Brad O’Leary, and others. Mmmm…free books! Almost makes up for those darn mice finishing off the cheese.

Your regularly scheduled sane programming will resume tomorrow.

FBI vs. The Ummah & H. Rap Brown is Still Extant

There was a shootout in Detroit today. The bad guys lost:

From the Wall Street Journal a brief report by Alex Kellog:

The African-American leader of a Detroit mosque was fatally shot Wednesday during a Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on what authorities called a criminal gang run by U.S. converts to Islam.

An FBI spokeswoman said six men were arrested in the raid on a suburban warehouse and two Detroit homes. The men were arrested on suspicion of a variety of offenses, including illegal possession of firearms, trafficking in stolen goods and altering vehicle identification numbers. Three suspects remain at large.

Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53 years old, who had previously been known as Christopher Thomas, refused to surrender. He shot a police dog before he was fatally shot by authorities, the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit said in a statement.

Mr. Abdullah was imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque.

I did a little hunting on the “criminal gang” in question and came up with a few surprises. For example, The FBI report on the raid in Detroit reveals:

Abdullah was the leader of part of a group which calls themselves Ummah (“the brotherhood”), a group of mostly African-American converts to Islam, which seeks to establish a separate Sharia-law governed state within the United States. The Ummah is ruled by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rapp Brown, who is serving a state sentence in USP Florence, CO, ADMAX, for the murder of two police officers in Georgia. As detailed in the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint that was unsealed today, Abdullah has espoused the use of violence against law enforcement, and has trained members of his group in use of firearms and martial arts in anticipation of some type of action against the government. Abdullah and other members of this group were known to carry firearms and other weapons.

Well! Who’d have guessed H. Rap Brown was still extant?? His residential quarters in a federal pen must leave a bit to be desired, but obviously he’s still working for the cause – i.e., the destruction of America.

The late Mr. Abdullah got around. In addition to his membership in Ummah, he also belonged to another Muslim entity, MANA. It, too, appears to be African American in origin:
– – – – – – – –

MANA is a national network of masjids, Muslim organizations and individuals committed to work together to address certain urgent needs within the Muslim community. These needs include the great social and economic problems that are challenging Muslim communities especially in the inner city; the need for the involvement of masjids and Muslims in community service projects which are aimed at improving society as a whole; the need for systematic and effective dawah programs to help bring more non-Muslims into Islam; the need for new Muslim programs that will help them to grow in Islam. MANA is therefore an open organization that is agenda driven.

The primary goals of MANA are (1) to establish the strong presence of viable, healthy and dynamic Muslim communities, neighborhoods and institutions that meet the religious, social, economic and political needs of the Muslims in this land; (2) to call humanity actively and systematically to the life-giving message of Islam with wisdom and beautiful teaching; (3) advocate and work for just and righteous remedies to ills impacting North American society in general and Muslims in particular.

That’s some real boiler plate coverage there. MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over).

The late Abdullah is mentioned further down, but the Executive Committee and its various affiliations make for interesting reading:

MANA’S DIWAN (Executive Committee)

  • Siraj Wahhaj, Amir – Imam, Masjid Al-Taqwa
  • Talib Abdur-Rashid, Deputy Amir – Imam, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood
  • Ihsan Bagby, General Secretary – Professor, U of Kentucky
  • Imam Qasim Ahmed, Founder and President of Islamic Learning Institute
  • Umar Al-Khattab, Imam, Masjid al-Fajr (Indianapolis)
  • Johari Abdul Malik – Outreach Coor, Dar al-Hijrah
  • Aneesah Nadir, Professor, Arizona State University
  • Asim Abdur Rashid – Imam, Masjid Mujahidin,
  • Amir Al-Islam – Professor, Medgar Evers College
  • Altaf Husain – Former Pres. of MSA-National; Ph.D. in Social Work
  • Halima Toure, PhD – Professor; Board Member of Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood (NY)

Notice the infiltration into the rotting corpse of academe.

Then we have the imams and pooh bahs:


  • Hodari Abdul-Ali, Businessman and Activist (DC)
  • Luqman Abdul Haqq, President, Universal Companies (Phila)
  • [the lately deceased] Luqman Amin Abdullah, Imam, Masjid Al-Haqq (Detroit)
  • Tahir Abdullah, Amir, Jama’at of Shuhu Uthman dan Fodio
  • Johari Abdur Malik, Director Outreach, Dar al-Hijrah (VA)
  • Jihad Abdul-Mumit, Activist (VA)
  • Khalil Abdul-Rahman, Imam (Greensboro, NC)
  • Asim Abdur-Rashid, Imam, Masjid Mujahidin (Phila)
  • Talib Abdur-Rashid Imam, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood (NY)
  • Mutawwaf Abdush-Shaheed, Imam, Masjid Al-Mu’min (Cleveland)
  • Abbas Ahmad, Imam, First Cleveland Mosque (Cleveland)
  • Luqman Ahmad, Imam and Writer (Phila)
  • Nadim Sulaiman Ali, Imam (Atlanta)
  • Amir Al-Islam, Professor, Medger Evers College
  • Ihsan Bagby, Professor, U. of Kentucky
  • Aneesah Nadir, Professor, Arizona State University
  • R. M. Mukhtar Curtis, Chaplain in Federal Prison Bureau (MI)
  • Umar al-Khattab, Imam, Masjid al-Fajr (Indianapolis)
  • Khalid Abdul-Fatah Griggs, Imam, Community Mosque (Winston-Salem)
  • Altaf Husain, Former Pres. of MSA-National; Ph.D. in Social Work
  • Anwar Muhaimin, Imam, International Muslim Brotherhood (Phila)
  • Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director, Inner-City Muslim Network
  • Siraj Wahhaj, Imam, Masjid al-Taqwa (NY)

This is a large organization, with representatives in many cities. I’d like to know what a member of this group is doing in among the Chaplain’s ranks of the Federal Prison Bureau, wouldn’t you? I did them a favor and updated the membership list.

The FBI report has interesting details on the raid and the particulars of the charges against those captured.

There’s another Luqman Abdullah, only he’s in his late 20’s and operates out of New Jersey.

Two bad apples with the same name. Their poor mammas.

Hat tip: Heroyalwhyness

Democrats’ Plan is Devoid of “Health” or “Care”

The farce being played out on Capitol Hill is our Republic’s worst nightmare. The overstuffed piece of sausage they’ve jammed into those thousand pages spell disaster for the American public and for the health sector of our economy.

Not only that, but it is a huge broken promise by Campaigner Obama. The man is not just “politics as usual, he is politics squared. We complained when Hillary wanted to change health care behind closed doors, but that is exactly what Obama is doing:

This poisonous mess Obama & Co have massaged into its present creepy form is missing any vital elements it would need to change the delivery of health care for the better. This massive piece of bureaucracy can’t even be understood by the ordinary reader. What’s more it is written that way on purpose. You’re supposed to give up and let the Govermentus Leviathanus roll over you. Hey, one more corpse is one less dollar they have to pay out to keep you well.

Not only is it undecipherable, it is deliberately devoid of innovation.

Just to name a few purposely eliminated ingredients:
– – – – – – – –

  • a system that would unhook health insurance from employment. Your car insurance doesn’t depend on your job, why should your health insurance be linked to it? This plan won’t change that.
  • a true overhaul of the current insurance system is not part of the deal. Right now the health insurance industry is over-regulated, can’t be carried from state to state, and is hampered from real innovation by the Big Guys. If this mess is passed, small insurance companies will disappear and only the giants will be left. Guess how much flexibility and choice they’ll offer you? Remember the old saying about Bell Telephone: “we’re The Phone Company. We don’t care because we don’t have to”? Change that to The Big Insurance Company, or maybe Medicaid, and you can recycle some American Soviet humor.
  • Big Pharma, with its huge prices on drugs, is being left intact by the Congress and administration. They cut a deal with the administration so the highway robbery prices that are forced on American consumers will continue to underwrite the lower prices they charge European and Canadian health care systems.
  • tort reform is dead in the water. These politicians are all lawyers and some of them made their fortunes on malpractice suits. John Edwards is the most infamous of these opportunists.
  • doctors are screwed by this system, except for those who are willing to sell their souls for a piece of the pie. The top people who were attracted to medicine in the past because they could use best practices and maintain their independence won’t be in the field in coming generations. The time-servers will show up instead. Those who might have been healers will be doing other things with their lives, the kinds of endeavors which permit them to use their talents for diagnosis and innovative thinking.

This Congress and this administration is a disgrace.

Stay well.

First U.S. Newspaper to Print a MoToon


My bad: Dianna West reminded me that this was not the first instance of an American newspaper printing a MoToon. Back in 2006, the (fearless) Philadelphia Inquirer printed them all:

The Philadelphia Inquirer today [that was February 7 2006] became the first major US newspaper to publish one of the 12 controversial Mohammed cartoons originally published by Danish paper Jyllands Posten…

Amanda Bennett, editor of The Inquirer explained: “We’re running this in order to give people a perspective of what the controversy’s about, not to titillate, and we have done that with a whole wide range of images throughout our history.”

The Inquirer is not the only US paper to have re-printed a cartoon, New York daily The New York Sun published two of the cartoons last Thursday.

It was previously believed that Jordanian tabloid Al Shihan was the only Arab paper to have published any of the cartoons. The Guardian reports that another Jordanian paper Al-Mihwar published some of the cartoons in November.

The editors of both papers pleaded not guilty to charges of ‘harming religious feelings’ over the weekend.

Ms. West says she thinks The Weekly Standard put them all out about the same time in 2006.

Anyway, it turns out that there were two previous instances of maybe three cartoons in all being published, plus the Standard’s examplary spread showing all of them. I’ll dig through their archives to see if they’re still available.

FURTHER NOTE: The Weekly Standard archives are only available for the last two years.

Following up on the foiled plans to assassinate Kurt Westergaard and Fleming Rose, the Chicago Sun Times has the story whihc includes Mr. Westergaard’s famous drawing:

The most controversial of the 12 cartoons depicted Mohammed wearing a bomb with a lit fuse as a turban. That cartoon was drawn by Kurt Westergaard, 78 — who was targeted for assassination, authorities said.

But Headley’s phone calls were wiretapped and his e-mails were under FBI review. When he tried to board his Pakistan-bound O’Hare flight Oct. 3, the FBI arrested him.

Headley, 49, then confessed to agents about the plot, authorities said.

…Rana, 48, a native of Pakistan and a Canadian citizen, was arrested Oct. 18 at his West Rogers Park home.

In October 2008, Headley used his birth name, Daood Gilani –which he changed in 2006 to avoid suspicion while traveling — when posting a message to a Yahoo group called “abdalians,” authorities said. [see previous reports which stated that the planning started in January 2008]

“Everything is not a joke . . . We are not rehearsing a skit on Saturday Night Live,” Headley said in the posting. “Call me old-fashioned, but I feel disposed towards violence for the offending parties.”

You have to wonder how swift this guy was when his idea of super-spy terrorism is to advertise on an internet forum. Besides, these two already knew one another as former classmates at a military school in Pakistan.

Headley began his surveillance of targets in Denmark in 2008 and visited two of the newspaper’s offices in January under the pretense of taking out an ad for a new business, authorities said.

Headley told agents the plot recently focused on Westergaard and the paper’s cultural editor, Flemming Rose, “whom Headley felt were directly responsible for the cartoons,” the criminal complaint states.

Diana West notes with great surprise and pleasure that the Sun Times is the first U.S. newspaper to actually show a picture of the infamous “Turban Bomb” MoToon.

The cartoon one of several drawings which caused thousands of Muslims to go berserk after they were expertly prodded and poked by imams – including one from Denmark – to express their “outrage”.

The picture they show is actually a picture of a picture: it features a photo of Mr. Westergaard holding his lap top and on the screen is an image of his Turban Bomb MoToon. See for yourself.

Nonetheless, it is a step forward for the MSM since until now they’ve refused to show anything at all. The Sun Times will no doubt hear from the Loony Left for encouraging Islamophobes.

Meanwhile, back at the plot:
– – – – – – – –

When [Headley- Gilani] was arrested, FBI agents found a memory stick on him that contained 10 surveillance videos, including footage of the newspaper office and Danish military barracks, the complaint said.

What remains a mystery is how they actually planned to get their explosives and weapons to Denmark to carry out their various plans for killing people and blowing things up. Do you think they had Danish immigrant helpers? The reports have mentioned that three other men are involved.

Westergaard was told Tuesday of the alleged plot to kill him.

“I feel confident and safe in my private life,” Westergaard said. “I’m angry because I have to live with threats, just because I have done my job. PET [police intelligence] has advised me to keep a low profile and don’t give statements. I will follow that, but I’m allowed to say that I’m angry.”

It turns out that the “Canadian” Pakistani native was prosperous:

Rana owns several businesses, including First World Immigration Services, which has offices on Devon Avenue in Chicago, New York and Toronto, as well as a meat-processing plant in Downstate Kinsman. That plant is used to slaughter goats and sheep per Muslim religious requirements.

Isn’t that special? He was obviously concerned to follow the halal requirements of The Religion of Peace.

And now a word to “the community”:

Rana’s attorney asked the community to reserve judgment.

“Mr. Rana is a well-respected businessman in the Chicagoland community. He adamantly denies the charges and eagerly awaits his opportunity to contest them in court and to clear his and his family’s name,” said attorney Patrick Blegen. “We would ask that the community respect the fact that these are merely allegations and not proof.”

Now what particular “community” is supposed to reserve judgment here? Is it Mr. Westergaard’s and Mr. Rose’s community perhaps? Or perhaps the community of workers employed by Jyllands Posten who were going to be blown up?

Plots Against Kurt Westergaard and Flemming Rose Foiled

One Canadian national and a U.S. national were arrested in October on charges of preparing an attack on the MoToon newspaper, Jyllands Posten, and the planned assassinations of Kurt Westergaard and Flemming Rose.

Both men are of Pakistani origin. Daood Gilani, the forty nine year-old American, changed his name to David Coleman Headley. Tahawwur Hussain Rana, aged forty eight, owned a meat processing plant in Canada. Headley was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on October 3rd. Rana was taken at his home on October 18th.

Headley (Gilani) is facing two charges: one count of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts involving murder and maiming outside the United States, and another of conspiracy to provide material support to the conspiracy.

The Canadian, Rana, is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign conspiracy, one involving Headley and three other individuals.

Both men are being held in Chicago.

The reports do not list the whereabouts of the three other people. The FBI affidavits can be found here.

The conspirators named their plot “The Mouse Project” …
– – – – – – – –
…and began an “intense correspondence” about their intentions in early 2008. The Department of Justice says that they were planning at least one attack on the Jyllands-Posten buildings and employees.

The Danish Intelligence and Security Service were informed and cooperated with the Americans:

“The Service sees this case as being very serious. One of those arrested has an extensive network among leading militant extremists in Pakistan who not only want to attack Denmark but have also shown previously that they are capable of ruthless terrorist attacks,” PET Chief Jakob Scharf says in a news release.

According to PET, one of those arrested has been to Denmark twice this year to reconnoitre and select targets. In July this year, he was in Copenhagen taking video footage in the capital.

The FBI affidavit names some very heavy duty terrorist organizations who were overseeing Mickey Mouse. Headley reported to Ilyas Kashmiri, who was an operational chief of Harakat-ul-Jihad Islami, based in Pakistan (Kashmiri was later killed in a drone attack). HuJL is known to have links to al-Qeda.

PET says the conspirators were in close contact with Lashkar-e-Taiba. Headley (Gilani) purportedly has admitted to receiving training from this last group.

Nothing further has been mentioned about the three other suspects so one presumes they are still at large, or were in Pakistan all along.

The following websites were used for this post:

Times Online
Chicago Tribune
BBC News

The Times had the most interesting details, to wit:.

Mr Headley…allegedly conducted surveillance at a synagogue because of a mistaken belief that Mr Rose was Jewish.

When he was arrested, Mr Headley allegedly had a ticket to fly from the US to Denmark on October 29.


While in Denmark he allegedly posed as a potential advertiser on behalf of a Chicago business, First World Immigration Services, run by Tahawwur Hussain Rana. Court papers indicate that Mr Headley and Mr Rana… who is reported to be a former Pakistani army captain, went to the same military school in Hasan Abdal, Pakistan.

How nice; the allegedly former school chums got together again for old times’ sake.

The Non-Newsfeed, October 27th 2009

The Baron is away and the mice are lying around eating bon bons and drinking his last bottle of wine.

Since all the news is bad why not look at some interesting websites instead?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

For instance,

Natalie is posting on the Karadzic Trial.

Jerry Gordon has filed a report at the New English Reviewon the latest developments in the Rifqa Bary case. Abused children in foster care often end up being treated as the perpetrators. I had hoped this case would be different.

Heroyalwhyness sends a report from Islam in Europe: Netherlands: “In five years our women.. will all walk around with headscarves.”

Fausta sends along a report (humor ahead, watch for bumps):

– – – – – – – –
1. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to liquor.
2. You own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can’t afford shoes.
3. You have more wives than teeth.
4. You wipe your butt with your bare hand, but consider bacon “unclean.”
5. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.
6. You can’t think of anyone you haven’t declared Jihad against.
7. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives in your clothing.
8. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.
9. You have nothing against women and think every man should own at least four.
10. You’ve always had a crush on your neighbour’s goat.

She also has a post up today that I would’ve done had the rain not disrupted our connection — though not so well:

Thomas Sowell writes on the dismantling of America

Fjordman sends some news of U.K. Labour’s ideas on social engineering. You know how well that works. Evidently they said, “let’s get us a whole bunch of immigrants, flood the country. We’ll rub the Right’s nose in diversity”. Another stupid idea from the Left.

Melanie Phillips is not pleased: “There could not have been a more grave abuse of the entire democratic process”.

I guess it’s too late to shoot these social engineers.

JD says that Chicago, the new Soviet Union, is paying a bounty to those who are willing to tell on their neighbors for cheating on their taxes. The tattle-tales get a percentage of the bounty. And probably a gift of cement overshoes thrown in for free.

From Diana West, some advice: “Stop Nation Building, Start Nation Saving”. She delineates the differences between Obama and his General.

A new blogger enters the infinity of the ‘sphere.

An old dog still hangs out in the cyberspace he so aptly named.

The Curmudgeon Emeritus ponders things temporal on Eternity Road.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Hey, last one out of the kitchen turn off the lights. You know the Baron is saving on electricity. Besides, the mice hate to drink in the dark.

No Phone or Computer: No Access to the Outside World

The latest update from the Columbus Dispatch

An Ohio court today ordered that authorities monitor telephone and Internet use of Fatima Rifqa Bary, the 17-year-old religious runaway who left Columbus for Orlando over the summer.

The girl has yet to return from Florida.

At a dependency hearing today, both sides in the case agreed to continue the case until next month.

Her phone and Internet use will be monitored by Franklin County Children Services.

So the dependency hearing was held without Rifqa being present. Just shows what the law can get away with when you’re still a minor. Obviously the Constitution doesn’t apply under the age of 18.

The real story is that no one wants to touch this case, and the closer you get to home base the less they want to deal with it.

At least one point has been cleared up:

On Friday, a Florida judge issued the order to transfer Rifqa into the care of Franklin County Children Services. She will live with a foster family on her return.

The Florida Department of Children and Families, which has had custody of Rifqa since August, would not release details about her trip back to Ohio for safety reasons. The state of Florida will pay for the trip.

So she is not returning to her home immediately.

And we know when the next hearing is:

The dependency hearing in Franklin County Juvenile Court was continued until Nov. 16.

Franklin County Juvenile Court Magistrate Mary Goodrich ordered Children Services to monitor Rifqa’s phone and Internet use.

Though the paper doesn’t report who asked for this restriction, it is a safe bet that the director of Child Services made that request regarding Ms. Bary’s access to the outside world. They will cut her ties with anyone in Florida.

Rifqa’s uncertain immigration status threatened to delay her return; Judge Daniel P. Dawson of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida said he wanted documentation of her status before sending her back.

Note that in Florida her case was kicked up from Juvenile Court to the Circuit Court. That may happen again in Ohio.

Here is a possible sticking point:
– – – – – – – –

Her immigration status still remains unknown to the public. She is a native of Sri Lanka, and an attorney in the Florida case raised questions about whether she’s in the country legally.

It’s conceivable that Ms. Bary could request asylum but how likely that is to be honored is questionable. For one thing, the inept police investigations, including interviews with Rifqa without her legal counsel present, are going to be used against her.

For another, the community response to her return appears to be mostly negative and quite heated.

From what I’ve read of the Noor Mosque, which is the one the father chose for the family, Rifqa’s return to Ohio will put her in proximate danger. Not immediate harm; they are no doubt patient. However, if her case follows the pattern, she may eventually pay the price for her public apostasy.

As I have said repeatedly, good case work practice would suggest that this “child” apply for emancipation as a minor and to begin, via her foster care worker, a Life Skills Training Program.

However, I don’t know family law in Ohio. It may be that at 17 years old she can acquire legal “emancipated minor” status just by requesting it and abiding by the supervisory rules: school attendance (she was an honors student), no drugs, strict curfew, etc.

“No Reason to Believe Rifqa Wouldn’t Be Safe with Her Parents”

Phyllis Chesler’s most recent post lays bare the MSM’s refusal to accept the reality of honor killings in North America. She gives a partial list of incidents by city and date:

  • Toronto (07)
  • Dallas (08)
  • Atlanta (08)
  • Oak Forest, Illinois (08)
  • Alexandria (08)
  • Buffalo (09)
  • Kingston, Canada (09)

and then moves on the most recent outrage in Phoenix.

Iraqi-born Faleh Hassan Almaleki is a foul killer on the lam. Just last week, he ran over his 20-year-old daughter, Noor, with a car because she was “too western.”

There is also the double killing in Dallas (in 2008, above) by Yaser Said. He’s still missing, too, and it may be that both murderers are being protected by Islamists in the U.S.

Ms. Chesler’s complaint is not only that the news coverage is spotty, it is also wrong. These are not domestic disputes:

When it comes to Islam and honor killings, political, anthropological, historical, and psychological information is rarely brought to bear on the single story. Suddenly, completely out of context, one lone individual or one lone family just up and murders their daughter or their sister. No rhyme or reason to it. Case closed.

A good case in point is the most recent one:

The local Arizona media have certainly covered this attempted honor killing and they’ve quoted experts who’ve said things as strange as the local Dallas media experts did in the Said case (It was not an honor killing, honor killings have nothing to do with Islam or with Muslims); as strange as the Florida media experts did in the case of Rifqa Bary, the teenage apostate runaway whom a Florida judge has just sent back to Ohio (She is an unbalanced, rebellious teenager who only imagines that she has been abused; she is in no danger at all).

Yes, that brings us to Rifqa Bary. She is indeed being sent back to Ohio. Ms Chesler notes:

Although the Bary case was decided narrowly, as a strictly jurisdictional decision, the local Florida media downplayed the danger that former Muslims face when they leave Islam-and the specific danger that young immigrant, often Muslim daughters face when they refuse to obey cultural and religious expectations. Hopefully, the Ohio judge will keep all this in mind.

And by the way: In custody cases (and Bary’s case is just that), judges have the discretion to listen to the wishes of minor children as young as 12. Bary is 17 years old-certainly old enough to know where danger lies.

Her mention of the case reminded me to go looking for the latest news. What I found did not reassure me.
– – – – – – – –
From the Columbia Dispatch:

Authorities aren’t saying exactly how or when Fathima Rifqa Bary is returning to Ohio.

But as of yesterday, it’s official: The 17-year-old religious runaway is to be transferred into the care of Franklin County Children Services. She will live with a foster family on her return.

It’s unclear whether the girl, who goes by Rifqa, will be at a hearing Tuesday in Franklin County Juvenile Court. The court is handling a case that will determine where she will live in Columbus.

Rifqa’s immigration status also remains unknown to the public. She is a native of Sri Lanka, and an attorney in the Florida case raised questions about whether she’s in the country legally.

Rifqa said her father threatened to kill her for her conversion from Islam to Christianity, prompting her to run away to Orlando in July.

Mohamed Bary has denied the allegations, and a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation found no credible threat to her safety.

Which only goes to prove that the media is not the only one with blinders on. The FDLE investigation was a farce.

The Center for Security Policy consulted with John D. Guandol, asking him to examine the investigator’s report. Guandol has more than twelve years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and in his estimation, the FDLE rated an F.

The New English Review’s Jerry Gordon, who has been following the Bary case, has a good summary of Guandol’s findings:

This is a statement of facts regarding this matter:

  • There are requirements in Islamic Law regarding someone who deserts Islam.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood’s objective is the implementation of Islamic Law in the United States.
  • Rifqa Bary has left Islam and become a Christian.
  • Rifqa Bary has made statements to FDLE officials and others that her parents have threatened to kill her because she has left Islam.
  • The Barys appear to be adherent to Islamic Law.
  • The Barys appear at an interview with two Muslim Brotherhood representatives doing business as CAIR, a group known to be hostile towards the United States which is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood supports the killing of Muslims who publicly leave Islam.

It is my professional opinion that sufficient Probable Cause exists to believe that Ms Bary’s concerns for her personal safety are based in a realistic and factual understanding of her situation, and, therefore, a further criminal investigation is warranted.

The MSM continued to wear blinders about this case. I was surprised at the time, when I read Newsweek’s naive statement in their coverage of the case:

Muslim scholars say that “in Islam, there’s no such thing as an honor killing for apostasy.”

Anyone familiar with the methods of taqiyya could see right through the careful wording. Honor killings are carried out by families against members who shame them. But the killing of an apostate by others has nothing to do with restoring “honor”. It is simply what devout Islamists do to those who leave. Thus those “Muslim scholars” could lie with a straight face.

Newsweek, blind and deaf, carried on its own anti-Rifqa Bary campaign in that story. Extremist Christians bad, poor Muslims picked on by evil fundamentalists.

Ms. Chesler made this point previously in an interview in September, when she pointed out the equation of honor killings with domestic violence:

“When a husband murders a wife or daughter in the United States and Canada, too often law enforcement chalks the matter up to domestic violence,” Chesler says.

But domestic violence cases bear little resemblance to Muslim honor killings, which tend to be premeditated and involve several family members of the victim, usually a young girl or woman.

Young Muslim women are murdered by family members for a variety of reasons, Chesler explains in a recent essay in the Middle East Quarterly – anything from having a non-Muslim boyfriend to leaving Islam.

“The frequent argument made by Muslim advocacy organizations that honor killings have nothing to do with Islam and that it is discriminatory to differentiate between honor killings and domestic violence is wrong,” Chesler says.

It’s bad enough when they don’t differentiate, but what is to be done when those in charge endanger the lives they are supposed to protect? Judge Dawson has sent Rifqa back to Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch says she will be in foster care. But the head of the Ohio county’s Children’s Services seems to say the opposite:

The Florida Department of Children and Families, which has had custody of Rifqa since August, would not release details about her trip back to Ohio for safety reasons. The state of Florida will pay for the trip.

Eric Fenner, executive director of Franklin County Children Services, would not comment because of a gag order. He has said he has no reason to believe Rifqa wouldn’t be safe with her parents.

As a former foster care supervisor, I don’t understand why Mr. Fenner hasn’t been slapped with a contempt of court citation for breaking the gag order to begin with. Just in giving his opinion that he has “no reason to believe Rifqa wouldn’t be safe with her parents” he violated the judge’s order.

What is even more alarming is that he believes this. No young woman of her age, having alleged the abuse she claims, should ever be returned to her home. She is too old not to have her word carry equal weight with that of her family. Any competent social worker would place her in a group home to start catching up on her school work and beginning an intensive program of Life Skills Training to prepare her for being on her own when she turns eighteen.

In Rifqa’s case, that’s about ten months away. It is the worst kind of case work practice to return a young woman at her stage of life to her home in these questionable circumstances.

My guess is that Ohio doesn’t want the expense of her care, either. I sure do hope the Judge and guardian ad litem are looking out for her. It’s obvious that Social Services isn’t.

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/26/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/26/2009It has just been revealed that London Mayor Boris Johnson invited a terror suspect wanted by Interpol to speak at a Muslim celebration in London. In an unrelated incident, demonstrators marched on the Israeli embassy in Istanbul and burned an Israeli flag in protest over the arrest of Palestinian youths at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

In other news, fourteen Americans were killed in two separate helicopter crashes in Afghanistan.

Thanks to Barry Rubin, Brutally Honest, C. Cantoni, Insubria, JD, JP, TV, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
– – – – – – – –

Financial Crisis
Get Ready, America: Great Depression 2.0
‘The Return of the Great Depression’
Army Working With Obama Administration for US Deployment
Chuck Norris: Obama’s 1-World Government
Coo Coo Cachoo Mr. Robinson
Enslavement by a New Copenhagen Protocol to the Climate Change Treaty
Is Obama Turning US Into the Next Evil Empire?
Madoff Colleague Picower Found Dead at Palm Beach Home
Sunstein: Marriage Discriminates Against Singles
The Cradle of Liberty — Or Massachusettstan?
The Swine Flu (aka H1N1) That’s Not a Flu at All
Europe and the EU
Italy: Holocaust-Denying Academic Sparks Row
Italy: ‘Let’s Kill Berlusconi’ Facebook Page Changes Name
Italy: Bersani: Market-Friendly Socialist
Objections to Muslim and Homosexual Practices to be Unlawful in Europe
UK: Boris’s Terror Link
UK: Ending the Silence on ‘Honour Killing’
UK: Government Plotted to Transform Make-Up of Britain
UK: Terror Plot Members Who Threatened to Behead British Muslim Soldier Released Early From Jail
North Africa
Algeria: Banks Plan Foreign Branches for Emigrants
Tunisia: Elections, Ben Ali President With 89.62% of Votes
Israel and the Palestinians
Waging Diplomatic War
Middle East
Anti-Israel Demonstration in Istanbul Over Al Aqsa
Cyprus: Bar Construction in Mosque Infuriates Muslims
Jordanian Activists Call for Ending Peace Treaty With Israel
Turkey-Turkish PM Rules Out Rupture in Relations
Turkey Asks Israel to Free Palestinians Arrested at Al Aqsa
Turkish Premier Says Iran Cannot be Ignored
South Asia
NATO Backs McChrystal in Snub to Biden Plan
Pakistan: A Movement to Raise Awareness Against the Blasphemy Law
Two Afghan Helicopter Crashes Kill 14 Americans 26 Oct 2009 09:41:00 GMT
Far East
Illegal Trade in Precious Wood Between Myanmar and China Continues
Sub-Saharan Africa
Barry Rubin: How and Why Engagement With Sudan Shows Precisely What’s Wrong With Obama Administration Foreign Policy
Boat Reached by Italian Units
Border Courage, Arpaio Style
Carbon Dioxide Irrelevant in Climate Debate Says MIT Scientist

Financial Crisis

Get Ready, America: Great Depression 2.0

Author who predicted current crisis shows why it’s ‘only the beginning’

Drawing striking comparisons between the Japanese economy in 1988 and the American economy today, a new book by an author who predicted the current crisis warns it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.

Vox Day, a WND columnist, asserts in “The Return of the Great Depression,” by WND Books, the U.S. is only now entering the early stages of the Second Great Depression.

Day presents a fact-rich case, rooted in economic history and time-tested theory, in which he concludes that an economic contraction of very large proportions is presently developing.

But he contends that “due to a reactive wave of positive social mood, statistical obfuscation, and understandable denial, it will take about a year for the consensus opinion to cycle through the various scenarios in descending order of optimism before the grim reality finally becomes apparent to even the casual observer.”


In his detailed analysis, Day explains the U.S. economy has relied on a constant increase of the level of debt to fund its economic growth.

He points out the average annual expansion of commercial bank credit since 1973 is 8.4 percent, which has sustained an average of 3 percent yearly GDP growth.

But total loans and leases at commercial banks have fallen 6.8 percent this year and 8.3 percent since their peak in October 2008.

“This is an unprecedented decline,” he warns, “as the largest previous annual contraction was -1.0 percent in 1975. This strongly indicates the onset of the debt deleveraging process predicted by those who foresee a depression-sized event.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘The Return of the Great Depression’

I believe that just as the political and financial authorities were incorrect about the imminent end of the depression in 1930, their successors are incorrect about the imminent end of the depression today. Last Friday, British economists were shocked when the GDP numbers from the Office of National Statistics indicated further economic contraction instead of the growth that had been uniformly forecast, and I expect this to be the first of many such surprises to the downside. Mainstream economists did not see the economic crisis coming, they still fail to understand why it happened, and they do not realize that because the politicians and central banks have stubbornly refused to make any serious changes to the global financial system, the crisis is far from over.

It is not over. It has only begun.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


Army Working With Obama Administration for US Deployment

“While the rationale for using the US military domestically had been debated for years, President Barack Obama appears intent on using our military at least until he can create his promised ‘Civilian Security Force’ which he said would be as big and powerful as the military,” said political strategist Mike Baker.

“The fact that the military — in this instance NORTHCOM — is being trained to operate within our borders should be setting off alarms throughout this nation. But it’s being ignored even by those who profess to be conservatives,” he said.

Nineteen federal agencies and organizations and 17 states and the District of Columbia have participated in one or more of the seven large-scale exercises that NORTHCOM has conducted since September 2005. However, NORTHCOM faces challenges in involving states in the planning, conduct, and assessment of its exercises, such as adapting its exercise system and practices to involve other federal, state, local, and tribal agencies that do not have the same practices or level of planning resources.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Chuck Norris: Obama’s 1-World Government

Halloween just got scarier — much scarier.

I’m not talking about a new Hollywood slasher film or a new line of grotesque costumes, but a possible political nightmare scenario in which the White House could be positioned to sell out U.S. sovereignty, shred the Constitution and leave you and yours to the whims of foreign powers.

Flying deep under Washington’s radar is an upcoming (December) global climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, under the guise of the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” Virtually nothing has been said about it from the White House. But then again, I’m sure they think, who could be against working together for climate change? It all sounds pretty politically benign, doesn’t it?

“Global Warming or Global Governance? What the media refuse to tell you about so-called climate change”

Not according to Lord Christopher Monckton, once science policy adviser to Lady Margaret Thatcher, who read the treaty and said the Copenhagen conference is a cover for the beginnings of a one-world government.

[…] (as well as many Left-leaning blogs) quickly criticized Monckton’s conclusions as conspiratorial and climate-skepticism rhetoric, based upon the notion that the treaty is a draft and not a finalized document. But the apologetic of leaves the impression that the current draft is the roughest of cuts, when in reality it is the result of seven sessions of deliberations and revisions from several subgroups, including representatives from developed and developing countries (“parties”), “with a view to modifying it in the direction of consolidation and convergence.”

Like with Congress’ drafts of Obamacare, should we not be concerned because the current draft of the treaty may not be the final version, especially when the present language smacks of an abandonment of the principles upon which our republic was founded? As I myself read through the latest draft of the 181-page treaty, I noticed many lines that could warrant Monckton’s and others’ concerns (I’ve added italics for emphasis):…


29. A special fund shall be established: (a) For the economic and social consequences of response measures … (b) To assist countries whose economies are highly dependent on income generated from the production, processing and export, and/or on consumption of fossil fuels … (Page 138)

That last point (No. 29) is one of the most shocking. Not only are developed countries (like the U.S.) mandated in this treaty to provide for developing countries despite global or financial crises (p. 11). After becoming the wealthiest nations on the planet from the production and sale of oil, like those in the Middle East, this global governing body will establish a “special fund” to give them financial aid when the world is no longer dependent upon their commodities! Are they kidding?!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Coo Coo Cachoo Mr. Robinson

Is anyone frightened by the prospect of millions of little Barry Obamas running around the country “organizing” their “communities” around petty causes instead of holding real jobs that do something other than increase government control over every aspect of our lives? I am. And so is Kimberly Legendre, a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).

This semester, Kimberly is taking an absurd course called “Foundations of Civic Engagement.” Remarkably, it is a required course at FGCU. After reading the course syllabus and learning more about Kimberly’s experience from my friends at Campus Reform (see I know two things for certain: 1) I would never send my child to this joke of a university. 2) Florida taxpayers need to “organize” their “communities” in order to create “Civic Engagement-free campuses.”

This silly college course mandates that students participate in a “community engagement project” to “elevate” FGCU to become a smoke-free campus. This project includes at least ten hours of work on five “mini-projects” on campus and in the community. As a cigar smoker, I find this course to be exclusionary and discriminatory. In fact, I feel harassed. But, as a professor, I have even more serious concerns.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Enslavement by a New Copenhagen Protocol to the Climate Change Treaty

Copenhagen is about to become the successor to Kyoto as the synonym for the U.N.’s plan to control climate change. The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet in Copenhagen December 7-18. Until this meeting ends, expect to hear a growing number of climate-related horror stories, presented by a wide array of so-called environmentalists, at a rising decibel level that’s sure to drive the sane quite mad.


Problem for Obama: he has as much as promised the world that the United States would rejoin the international climate change treaty — regardless of the cost. Apparently, he thought his promise, and his teleprompter would be sufficient to persuade developing nations to join the party. So far, they haven’t. His ace-in-the-hole is his “Cap & Trade” bill that he wants signed before the Copenhagen meeting. If he gets his bill, he can tell the developing nations that the U.S. has already done its part, and that he will not sign the Copenhagen agreement unless the developing nations do. Of course, if he doesn’t get the Cap & Trade bill before Copenhagen, he may have to develop a new strategy.

Notice the absence of any discussion about the validity of climate change science, or the need to control it? Climate change has nothing to do with the negotiations or the meetings, or the treaties. It never has. Climate change is simply an excuse to construct a monstrous international bureaucracy that meets many times each year in exotic venues around the world. Billions of dollars flow into and out of the climate change industry. No one involved in the climate change business wants to hear anything other than a new horror story to put the fear of catastrophe into appropriators.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Is Obama Turning US Into the Next Evil Empire?

Barack Obama’s support for the Honduran ex-president who would be king, Manuel Zelaya, is without American precedent. Zelaya is Hugo Chavez’ mini-me, as he, like the vitriolic Venezuelan, sought to subvert his nation’s constitution and extend and expand his power. And of this there is no doubt. The Honduran constitution prohibits a president from serving more than one term, and Zelaya, aided and abetted by Chavez and a mob of thugs, was using illegal methods to circumvent the prohibition. This is why Honduras’ supreme court ruled against him; it’s why he was opposed by the nation’s congress, the majority of its people and the Catholic Church. It’s why Zelaya was removed from office.

In taking the wrong side, Obama has turned what could have been a temporary crisis into a protracted one, a situation that could devolve into bloody civil war. And what’s so tragic is that supporting the interim government of Roberto Micheletti likely would have diffused the situation and yielded long-term stability. After all, there was no reason to think that Honduran authorities who enforced the law in removing Zelaya would depart from this and not hold the planned November elections. As for Micheletti, he is from Zelaya’s own Liberal Party and shows no strongman tendencies. So what is the bottom line? It’s plain that Honduras was bucking the banana-republic stereotype in upholding the rule of law. And now Obama is giving us banana-republic foreign policy in promoting the rule of the lawless.

Yet Obama’s actions cannot truly be appreciated without a bit more perspective. It’s not just that he has adopted a policy that was unthinkable for most of America’s history. There is something far more striking, far more telling and far more alarming: in the current Honduran situation, Zelaya is precisely the man the Soviet Union — that evil empire — would have sided with.

Now I want you to let that sink in for a moment . . . .

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Madoff Colleague Picower Found Dead at Palm Beach Home

WEST PALM BEACH — One of the leading players in the Bernard Madoff scandal was found dead Sunday in the swimming pool of his sprawling mansion on Palm Beach.

Billionaire Jeffry Picower, 67, whose reputation as a generous philanthropist was sullied when investigators claimed he was a beneficiary of Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme, was found by his wife and housekeeper shortly after noon at the bottom of the pool at his $28 million South Ocean Boulevard estate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sunstein: Marriage Discriminates Against Singles

Matrimony ‘does not do justice to what people might choose’

Marriage discriminates against single people, bringing the latter “serious” disadvantages, argued Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s regulatory czar.

“Official marriage licenses also have the unfortunate consequence of dividing the world into the status of those who are ‘married’ and those who are ‘single,’ in a way that produces serious economic and material disadvantages, “ wrote Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler in their 2008 book, “Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Cradle of Liberty — Or Massachusettstan?

On Sept. 11, 2001, more than 170 families in the Massachusetts lost loved ones as Osama bin Laden attacked America in the latest phase of his Global War on Infidels.

The nation’s heart was ripped nearly in two, and sons and daughters were shipped off to foreign battlefields to confront the brutal killer: Islamism. To this date, nearly 800 American heroes have made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields of Afghanistan in the name of liberty.

But while those heroes toil and die as their president fiddles, our enemies here at home in states like Massachusetts plot to kill. The latest incarnation is Tarik Mehanna, an Islamist who planned to attack “soft target” shopping malls with machine guns.


Tarik Mehanna had been brought in for questioning by the FBI about Maldonado. In November 2008 he was charged with lying to the FBI. He still faces that charge.

Muslim Matters, a defender of the oppressed members of the religion of peace, immediately sprang into action, defending this righteous Muslim being attacked by the Kafir. Muslim Matters no doubt learned these tactics from the Council of American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, who, according to the book “Muslim Mafia” has made an art form of lying to protect terrorists.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Swine Flu (aka H1N1) That’s Not a Flu at All

Doctor suggests that the cause is actually Tuberculosis

On June 3rd, 2009 in Global Research, a curious article by F. William Engdahl appeared, entitled “Sarkozy’s Secret Plan for Mandatory Swine Flu Vaccination”. In it Engdahl plainly stated that “The only problem with the Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccine, is that to date, neither WHO nor the US Government’s Center for Diseases Control (CDC) have succeeded to isolate, photograph with an electron microscope, or chemically classify the H1N1 Influenza A virus”. Furthermore there was no scientifically published evidence that French virologists have done so either. Therefore, mentioned Engdahl, “To mandate a vaccination for a putative (supposed or assumed to exist) disease that has never been characterized, is dubious to say the least.”

Engdahl had done his homework. When questioned regarding the electron pictograph of H1N1 that the CDC recently came up with on their website, he revealed his source, German virologist Dr Stefan Lanka, an expert on the documentation of viruses, attesting to the fact that the H1N1 picture was bogus. The virologist wrote that he had “written the CDC many times as to who made the H1N1 photo’s and whether they where scientifically documented as to chemical characteristics and other properties.” There was never any reply. He concluded “If CDC refuses to cite the source of the photos, they are fake.” Worse yet he said “The photos are merely liposomes, microscopic artificial sacs whose walls are a double layer of phospholipids, used to carry substances such as drugs, vaccines, and enzymes to specific cells or organs of the body. These have been artificially presented by a process where chick embryos or cell cultures are killed, reduced and then centrifuged with some solvent, to then, in a vacuum, be nanofiltered.” As if this wasn’t enough, the virologist testified that “Such a structure has never been characterized in either an organism or its fluids. Furthermore, if there wasn’t for the centrifuge/solvent/nanofiltration manipulation, not to mention the precipitation procedure, such particles could never be presented under the electron microscope. In conclusion, without the isolation of the H1N1, there is no H1N1 infecting virus”

Engdahl wasn’t finished. “Even more bizarre is the admission by the US Government’s Food and Drug Administration, an agency responsible for the health and safety of its citizens, that the ‘test’ approved for premature release to test for H1N1 is not even a proven test. More to the point”, continues F. William Engdahl, “there is no forensic evidence in any of the deaths reported to date that has been presented that proves scientifically that any single death being attributed to H1N1 Swine Flu virus was indeed caused by such a virus.”

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are fully aware of a far more serious and ongoing tuberculosis Pandemic in the world today. Yet they choose to downplay the link, disregarding the similar flu-like symptoms tuberculosis often begins with.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Italy: Holocaust-Denying Academic Sparks Row

Rome, 23 October (AKI) — The Holocaust denying views of an Italian academic at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’, Antonio Caracciolo, has sparked calls for him to resign. The 59-year-old philosophy of law researcher’s blogs have described the World War II Nazi Holocaust — or extermination of six million Jews — as “a legend” and claim the gas chambers “are one of many ‘truths’ which need to be verified.”

The head of Rome’s Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, said it will take legal action against the academic.

In 2007, Italy’s previous centre-left government, headed by Romano Prodi, passed a law making Holocaust denial a crime.

“We are waiting for the university to take measures to protect students and will certainly be taking action against Caracciolo,” Pacifici said.

“We are confident the university won’t be the only institution to act and that the whole of civil society will react.”

The rector of ‘La Sapienza’, Luigi Frati has announced the university “will consider taking disciplinary action” against Caracciolo, without giving any further details.

“He would do well to visit Dachau, which I visited when I was 16, or if he can’t manage that, the Ardeatine Caves,” said Frati.

He was referring to the former Nazi concentration camp in southern Germany and to the notorious World War II massacre of 333 Italian civilians in Rome by Nazi troops.

Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno has stated his opposition to university lecturers with such views. “I don’t think a professor who holds Holocaust-denying views can teach at ‘La Sapienza,” he stated.

The president of the Lazio region surrounding Rome, Piero Marazzo, and of the Province of Rome, Nicola Zingaretti condemned Caracciolo’s views.

‘La Sapienza’ professors and students also expressed shock and dismay at the content of Caracciolo’s blogs.

The head of the Political Science Faculty, where Caracciolo teaches, Gianluigi Rossi, said it was “a very bad day”. Social sciences undergraduate Massimo, from Florence, described Caracciolo’s Holocaust-denying views as “extremely serious.”

Caracciolo has denied he is a “historical revisionist” and says he believes in freedom of thought and expression which are guaranteed under the Italian constitution.

It is not the first time that an Italian academic has expressed such views. In November last year, Roberto Valvo, a high-school history teacher was suspended after he claimed there was “no proof” of the Holocaust.

In May 2007, authorities barred a visit to Italy by the French Holocaust denying historian Robert Faurisson, on the invitation of Claudio Moffa, a lecturer at the Univerity of Teramo in Italy’s central Abruzzo region.

The move came after heated protests from Italy’s Jewish community. Caracciolo had defended the planned debate.

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

Italy: ‘Let’s Kill Berlusconi’ Facebook Page Changes Name

Rome, 22 October (AKI) — A page in one of the Internet’s most popular social networking site, Facebook, calling for the death of Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, changed its name after the Italian government threatened to shut it down.

The Italian government on Thursday urged the California-based company, Facebook Inc. to take down the page, after news reports boosted membership of the ‘Let’s kill Berlusconi’ page to almost 20,000.

Instead, the moderators of the page changed the name to “Berlusconi, now that we have your attention, answer our questions”.

The page’s membership as of Friday reached almost 24,000.

On Thursday, Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni warned Internet users that anybody involved with the ‘Let’s kill Berlusconi’ page would be reported to Italy’s magistrature.

“We have already given the order so that this page is shut down and all those who are involved in it will be reported to the magistrature,” threatened Maroni.

He said the danger of such initiatives are that they “run the risk of inciting someone to carry them out.”

The office of the public prosecutor in the capital Rome opened an inquiry on Thursday into the death threats and asked Italian police to request Facebook Inc. to block the page and hand over documents to investigate those behind the apparent death threats.

It is unclear whether the government will now take action members of the group after the page changed its name after new groups were created on the popular social networking site, such as ‘Let’s kill Berlusconi’s government’.

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

Italy: Bersani: Market-Friendly Socialist

Former minister a product of ‘Emilian School’

(ANSA) — Rome, October 26 — New Democratic Party (PD) leader Pierluigi Bersani ran a campaign insisting that socialism must still play a part in the PD.

“I would find it hard to stay in a party where socialism was a taboo,” said the 58-year-old son of a petrol station operator and mechanic, who worked his way up through the old Italian Communist Party (PCI) in its central Italian heartland.

One of many in the PCI who moved easily to more pro-market policies, Bersani is remembered as a minister who tried to get investors rather than taxpayers to take most of the burden of the sale of bankrupt airline Alitalia.

He is also recalled for a slew of liberalisation campaigns in sectors including power and retail.

Bersani, partly because of his closeness to former premier and ex-PCI heavyweight Massimo D’Alema, was initially seen as a divisive candidate who might lead former Christian Democrats to split from the party.

But Catholic heavyweights moved quickly to endorse him.

Interestingly, Bersani is a philosophy graduate who wrote his thesis on the history of Christianity, focusing on powerful reformist pope St Gregory the Great.

Before rising to national prominence as a hard-headed industry and transport minister, Bersani learned his trade in the PCI heartland of Emilia Romagna, a region considered a model of how leftists could run cities like Bologna efficiently and help businesses.

After the PCI was disbanded in 1991 and became a smaller and more moderate party, Bersani moved to establish himself among its leading advocates of social democracy, buoyed by the credibility of the so-called Emilian School embodied by two-time premier Romano Prodi, the only politician to have defeated centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi.

In 1993 he became president of the region, which has long combined the bustling entrepreneurial energy of firms like Ferrari and Ducati with fairminded social policies.

Shortly afterwards, he married pharmacist Daniela Ferrari (no relation to the motor racing dynasty), a woman from his small home town of Bettola.

The couple have two daughters.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Objections to Muslim and Homosexual Practices to be Unlawful in Europe

If all goes as planned, the 27 member states of the European Union will soon have a common hate crime legislation, which will turn disapproval for Islamic practices or homosexual lifestyles into crimes. Europe’s Christian churches are trying to stop the plan of the European political establishment, but it is not clear if they will be successful.

Last April, the European Parliament approved the European Union’s Equal Treatment Directive. A directive is the name given to an EU law. As directives overrule national legislation, they need the approval of the European Council of Ministers before coming into effect. Next month, the Council will decide on the directive, which places the 27 EU member states under a common anti-discrimination legislation. The directive’s definition of discriminatory harassment is so broad that every objection to Muslim or homosexual practices will be considered unlawful.

On April 2, the European Parliament passed the “directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation,” 363 votes to 226. The directive applies to social protection and health care, social benefits, education and access to goods and services, including housing. American citizens and companies doing business in Europe are also required to adhere to it.

Originally intended to serve as an equal treatment directive for the disabled by prohibiting discrimination when accessing “goods and services, including housing,” activist European politicians and governments had the directive’s scope expanded to include discrimination on the basis of religion, age and sexual orientation.

Under the directive, harassment — defined as conduct “with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment” — is deemed a form of discrimination.

Harassment, as vaguely defined in the directive, allows an individual to accuse someone of discrimination merely for expressing something the individual allegedly perceives as creating an “offensive environment.” The definition is so broad that anyone who feels intimidated or offended can easily bring legal action against those whom he feels are responsible. Moreover, the directive shifts the burden of proof onto the accused, who has to prove the negative, i.e. demonstrate that he or she did not create an environment which intimidated or offended the complainant. If the accused fails to do so, he or she can be sentenced to paying an unlimited amount of compensation for “harassment.”

The European press has mostly remained silent on the topic so far, but Christian congregations are extremely worried. Last August, Mgr. Andrew Summersgill issued a statement on behalf of the Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, rejecting the directive because it would require people and organizations to act against their beliefs. “Homosexual groups campaigning for same-sex marriage may declare themselves to be offended by the presentation of the Catholic Church’s moral teaching on marriage, an atheist may be offended by religious pictures in an art gallery, or a Muslim may be offended by any picture representing the human form,” said Mgr. Summersgill.

“When providing a service (such as a hotel room) or selling goods (such as books) in the EU, businesses and their employees will have to provide them or risk being sued, irrespective of whether they find themselves facilitating sexual ethics contrary to their religious beliefs or helping promote another religion,” say the legal experts of the British organizations Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCFON) and Christian Legal Centre. Organizers of a Christian conference, for instance, will be legally obliged to make double rooms available to homosexual and unmarried couples as well as to normally married couples.

The directive is currently being amended by Sweden, the president of the European Council in the second half of 2009, with a view to the final vote which will be taken by the Council next month. Activist politicians are attempting to extend discrimination and harassment in the directive to cover assumptions as well. Countries where the Catholic Church still has a large influence, such as Malta and Poland, however, are raising objections to these attempts. As the directive needs a unanimous approval by all 27 EU member states, it is not yet certain how far-reaching the final version of the directive is going to be.

Nevertheless, the almost complete silence of the European media and of public opinion on the important issues which are at stake, is worrying. Europe risks losing important fundamental freedoms, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of opinion, but does not seem prepared to fight and preserve these freedoms. Perhaps the lack of interest of the inhabitants of Europe for legislation concocted at a supranational level explains the lack of interest in this matter.

The same phenomenon, a lack of interest on the part of European and also American public opinion, is apparent with regard to the semi-legal initiatives taken at the level of the United Nations. On October 2nd, the UN Human Rights Council approved a free speech resolution, co-sponsored by the US and Egypt, which criticizes “negative racial and religious stereotyping.” American diplomats said the decision to co-sponsor the resolution was part of America’s effort to “reach out to Muslim countries.” The resolution passed unanimously, with the support of all Western nations. Though the resolution has no immediate effect in law, it provides Muslim extremists with moral ammunition the next time they feel that central tenets of Islam are being treated disrespectfully through the creation of what they perceive to be an ‘offensive environment.’

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]

UK: Boris’s Terror Link

BORIS JOHNSON’S City Hall invited a man wanted by Interpol for suspected terrorism to speak at a major Muslim celebration in London, the Sunday Express can reveal.

The mayor’s office rubber-stamped the invitation to Mohamed Ali Harrath, who roused crowds at the Eid in the Square festival in Trafalgar Square last month.

The 46-year-old Tunisian exile is the chief executive of Muslim TV company the Islam Channel and has been an adviser to the Metropolitan Police.

He is also, however, on Interpol’s “red notice” list, which states he is wanted by Tunisia for terrorism, counterfeiting and “crimes involving the use of weapons/explosives”.

Mr Harrath, who claimed political asylum days after arriving in Britain in 1995 and who was granted refugee status five years later, strongly denies those claims.

Government sources have also confirmed he is not considered a threat by the UK. But leading think-tank the Centre for Social Cohesion said yesterday the invitation had exposed dangerously muddled and inconsistent thinking about Islamic extremism at the top of the Tory party.

Their research fellow Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens pointed out that the Islam Channel regularly engages as presenters members of the radical Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, an outfit Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has vowed to ban.

He also highlighted remarks made last year by shadow security minister Pauline Neville-Jones, who said British authorities should have no truck with Mr Harrath while he remained on the Interpol list.

Mr Meleagrou-Hitchens said: “The invitation shows a worrying inconsistency in what the Tories have said about Islamic extremism recently.”

Mr Johnson’s office yesterday moved to distance the mayor from the decision to invite Mr Harrath’s Islam Channel to be its media partner for the Eid event. A spokesman said the mayor had neither met him nor been directly involved in the decision.

           — Hat tip: jp [Return to headlines]

UK: Ending the Silence on ‘Honour Killing’

The number of young women — and men — being killed or assaulted after supposedly bringing shame on their families keeps on rising. But more than ever before, those who have escaped violence are speaking out to break the code of silence. Old attitudes of accepting the crimes in the name of cultural sensitivity have also disappeared and the police are targeting the abusers.

Zena had been following a murder trial in London with an interest verging on obsession.”I really wanted to go to court myself but I can never risk going to the city and being seen by someone,” she said.

“But I feel such a bond with other women who may have been through what I went through, even though you never meet these girls; you just hear about them when these ‘honour killing’ trials come up. I wish I could get involved with the support groups and help but you know, I’m just a coward.”

Having first walked out of an abusive marriage at the age of 17 and then from a hostile family who had had a meeting to discuss whether or not she should die, Zena does not lack courage but she is still very scared.

She has every reason to be. Her Bangladeshi-born mother had suggested that Zena might be allowed to poison herself rather than be murdered for bringing shame on the family. Zena, born in England, is second-generation British Asian and her accent betrays where she was brought up although it is far from where she lives now.

“I’m sorry to be so cloak-and-dagger but you never know what they might be capable of, I know there are plenty of young men who would love to play bounty hunter just for a bit of kudos in the community.”

Another court case six years ago had shocked Zena into climbing out of the window of her locked bedroom and leaving home with £46 and a change of clothes, an impulsive act she believes saved her life.

It was the story of Heshu Yones, 16, from Acton, west London, who was stabbed 11 times and then had her throat cut by her father who said he had to kill her because other men in his circle of Kurdish friends thought she had a boyfriend and his honour was shamed. Abdalla Yones was convicted of murder and jailed for life in 2003.

“A family member told me that there had been a meeting about killing me but it was seeing that case in the paper that made it real,” said Zena. The threat to women in this country from such violence is very real and the list of names of girls and women killed in the name of “honour” is growing.

Police estimate at least 12 are dying each year in the UK but others will be hidden — forced suicides and murders made to look like suicide are widely believed to take place undetected. Women aged 16-24 from Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi backgrounds are three times more likely to kill themselves than the national average for that age and it is impossible to tell what pressures some must have been under. And for every woman who dies, it seems certain that there are many, many more living with honour-based abuse and hidden away in shuttered communities.

Support groups are springing up. The Henna Foundation is based in Cardiff and Jasvinder Sanghera, who fled a forced marriage and made a new life for herself, set up a charity called Karma Nirvana in Derby after her sister Robina killed herself to escape the misery of her loveless marriage.

When it opened its helpline in April 2008, Karma Nirvana received 4,000 calls in the first year and is now taking 300 calls a month from people under threat of honour-based violence, often linked to forced marriage.

After the government’s forced marriage unit was set up in April last year, it received 5,000 calls and rescued 400 victims in the first six months.

Sanghera believes about 3% of women manage to escape forced marriage in the UK and when they leave they have to live with fear and rejection of not only their families but also their communities and sometimes their friends.

They also face being hunted down, said Detective Chief Inspector Gerry Campbell of the Metropolitan police. “It’s not uncommon to have bounty hunters out hunting down young people who have left forced marriages or fled from a family where they are at risk. It’s rare for [one person] to take unilateral action, it’s all done in consultation and there is logistical support and collusion in the extended community,” he said.

Campbell, head of the Met’s violent crime directorate, has lead a number of investigations into honour-based violence and hate crimes. He believes the Met has learned some tough lessons from tragedies such as that of Banaz Mahmod, who made contact with police five times to say she thought her life was in danger but always drew back from pressing charges. Banaz, 19, a Kurd, was murdered by family members at her home in Mitcham, Surrey, in 2006.

She had been raped and beaten by the older man she had been forced to marry, and had left him. Her elder sister, Bekhal, had also left home to escape their father’s violence and the extended family was beginning to regard Mahmod Mahmod as a man who had lost control of his daughters. The shame became so unbearable that he held a meeting to discuss killing his daughter and her new boyfriend.

“We have had previous investigations where mistakes have been made but we at the Met have improved the frontline training for our officers and been quite clear around the issues with community groups that we’re working with too,” said Campbell. “I’m confident that no victim will ever be turned away in London and that officers know that to do nothing is not an option.

“Honour is about a collection of practices used by the family to control behaviour, to prevent perceived shame, but there’s no honour in murder, rape, or kidnapping and with 25% of the [cases] we are seeing involving a person under 18: this is a child abuse issue too. The simple message is: If you do this you will be caught and brought to justice.

“Young woman are predominately the victims of honour-based violence but we are seeing an increase in young men and boys — it’s now about 15% of the total numbers,” he said.

“Honour-based violence is complicated and a sensitive crime to investigate. It’s fathers, brothers, uncles, mums and cousins and the victim, or potential victim, has a fear of criminalising or demonising their family so they can be reluctant to come forward.”

He said that in many cases it was not new immigrants but third or fourth generation families where the worst problems lay. “People who actually are hanging on to traditions that in the country of origin have gone, things have moved on back home but they don’t know that.

“We don’t know how many victims are out there suffering in silence but as an example in the financial year of 2008-9 we had 132 forced marriage and honour-based violence offences reported to us. From April to the end of September this year we have had 129 cases so it’s rising all the time. We’ve been learning about this for 10 years and have been really galvanised over the past four years so while we are not complacent we have come on leaps and bounds.

“This crime genre transcends every nationality, religious faith or group, nor is it unique to the UK, every country in the world has honour-based violence. But we want to make it clear that people can come forward to us; they will be believed.”

Things have undoubtedly improved since the cases that campaigners see as the low points in the fight against honour killings, such as the sentence of six-and-a-half years handed down to Shabir Hussain who in 1995 deliberately drove over and crushed to death his cousin and sister-in-law, Tasleem Begum, 20. The acceptance of a plea of manslaughter through “provocation” by the court was widely attacked by women’s groups. Tasleem was killed because she had fallen in love with a married man she worked with.

Roger Keene, QC, prosecuting, told the court: “The family as a whole, including the defendant, had been distressed for some time about the behaviour of the deceased.”

The behaviour of women seen to have dishonoured their families can be as harmless as wearing make-up or talking to boys. One suspected murder is believed to have been caused by a girl having a love song dedicated to her on a community radio show.

Diana Nammi, who runs the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation in London, has been working to encourage more women to seek help when they are in danger. “The number of women that we know of and hear about and the cases dealt with in court is really just a handful of the full picture,” she said. “But even one case is too many. For someone to be killed for their make-up or clothes or having a boyfriend or for refusing to accept a forced marriage is so brutal and unacceptable.

“A few years ago when Heshu Yones was killed it was silent, but her sister gave evidence against her father and that was a turning point. Those same communities who were silent seven years ago when Banaz was killed, when people were aware she was in danger and did nothing, they are not happy to stay quiet any more, this silence is being broken.

“It is not a problem of culture or religion or education — it is happening in educated families. It’s not one person but several who are dangerous for that woman; sometimes even the woman might underestimate the danger she is in.

“Here in the UK younger people are at risk because they have grown up in this country and they want to adapt and live in the modern world, they don’t want barriers to who they can be in love with or not be in love with, whether they wear traditional clothes or not, basic freedoms that many traditional families don’t like.

“Honour is a very old tradition but it cannot operate in this country. The children do not even understand it. It’s two lives for these children and the differences put huge emotional pressures and guilt on them and leave them very vulnerable,” she said.

“Before Heshu, honour killing was not a serious crime and perpetrators were treated leniently under the name of cultural sensitivity. Now there are no reductions in sentence. In the case of Banaz, the judge said that if this is the culture then the culture needs to be changed, not the women sacrificed for the culture.” Nammi believes that patriarchal religious leaders are failing women.

“Those who are lagging behind now are the religious leaders. They may pay lip service to change but they have networks and contacts and they are not trying to change anything. Sharia courts are letting Muslim women down and I am sorry to say that the British government is turning a blind eye to these courts. We have civil laws that cover every individual; none of these religious courts provide the same rights and protections for women.”

Irfan Chishti, a leading imam in Manchester, said the phenomenon was so secretive that it could be hard to identify who was at risk: “It is not an Islamic issue, it’s more of a tribal tradition that cuts across several faiths, but I can say categorically that it is not acceptable.

“It’s difficult to ascertain the extent of this problem but I like to think that faith leaders are speaking out against it. Honour is a way of measuring dignity and respect and it is a very individualistic thing. Dishonour to one person is not the same as to another but we have to be very clear that there is never any justification for such horrific crimes.”

Honour-based violence can be a socioeconomic issue. Experts say there is a strong correlation between violence against women and issues such as inequality between men. In deprived communities where men are struggling to earn a living they can feel subordinated and lacking in respect, and so try to get their authority back by dominating anyone below them, usually women.

In Pakistan the practice of honour killing — called karo-kari — sees more than 10,000 women die each year. In Syria, men can kill female relatives in a crime of passion as long as it is not premeditated. It is legal for a husband to kill his wife in Jordan if he catches her committing adultery. Crime of passion can be a full or partial defence in a number of countries including Argentina, Iran, Guatemala, Egypt, Israel and Peru.

Confusion in immigrant communities where people feel adrift in a new culture and try to anchor themselves to the past is a key factor, says Haras Rafiq, a former government adviser on faith issues and the co-founder of the Sufi Muslim Council. “Religion becomes infused with cultural practices and honour takes on an overinflated importance,” he said.

He agreed with anti-forced marriage campaigners that women were being let down by their religious and community leaders.

“The Sharia courts are not doing anything about the forced marriage or honour killing issue as a whole,” he said. “Other countries, the places many immigrants have come from, have moved on, but the immigrant doesn’t know that and he needs to be told.”

He wants his children to do whatever he tells them to do and this he sees as right but from a religious perspective it is not. “The reality is that honour killing is a crime and a crime of deep shame,” he said.

For Zena, she has her life but does not have her freedom. “When I first ran away I would go to the library and read loads of spy books to pick up tips. You have to teach yourself how to best keep hidden,” she said. “My life is about keeping a very low profile now and about looking over my shoulder, but at least I know I am alive and I grieve for those poor girls who are not.”

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

UK: Government Plotted to Transform Make-Up of Britain

The outrageous truth slips out: Labour cynically plotted to transform the entire make-up of Britain without telling us

So now the cat is well and truly out of the bag. For years, as the number of immigrants to Britain shot up apparently uncontrollably, the question was how exactly this had happened.

Was it through a fit of absent-mindedness or gross incompetence? Or was it not inadvertent at all, but deliberate?

The latter explanation seemed just too outrageous. After all, a deliberate policy of mass immigration would have amounted to nothing less than an attempt to change the very make-up of this country without telling the electorate.

There could not have been a more grave abuse of the entire democratic process. Now, however, we learn that this is exactly what did happen. The Labour government has been engaged upon a deliberate and secret policy of national cultural sabotage.

This astonishing revelation surfaced quite casually last weekend in a newspaper article by one Andrew Neather. He turns out to have been a speech writer for Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

And it was he who wrote a landmark speech in September 2000 by the then immigration minister, Barbara Roche, that called for a loosening of immigration controls. But the true scope and purpose of this new policy was actively concealed.

In its 1997 election manifesto, Labour promised ‘firm control over immigration’ and in 2005 it promised a ‘crackdown on abuse’. In 2001, its manifesto merely said that the immigration rules needed to reflect changes to the economy to meet skills shortages.

But all this concealed a monumental shift of policy. For Neather wrote that until ‘at least February last year’, when a new points-based system was introduced to limit foreign workers in response to increasing uproar, the purpose of the policy Roche ushered in was to open up the UK to mass immigration.

This has been achieved. Some 2.3million migrants have been added to the population since 2001. Since 1997, the number of work permits has quadrupled to 120,000 a year.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Terror Plot Members Who Threatened to Behead British Muslim Soldier Released Early From Jail

Four members of a terror cell which plotted to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier have been released early from jail.

Zahoor Iqbal, Hamid Elasmar, Mohammed Irfan and Basiru Gassama were all accomplices of Islamist fanatic Parviz Khan.

Khan, 39, was jailed for life in February 2008 with a recommendation that he serve a minimum term of 14 years after pleading guilty to engaging in conduct with the intention to commit acts of terrorism, supplying terrorist equipment and two counts of possessing documents useful to a terrorist.

His plan had been to burn the kidnapped soldier’s body and parade his head on a stick as a warning to other Muslims against joining the British Army, but he failed to identify a soldier to target.

The court heard the Birmingham-based terror cell was primarily committed to supplying equipment to Mujahideen insurgents fighting UK forces on the Afghan border with Pakistan.

British-born school attendance monitor Iqbal, 32, was sentenced to seven years after being convicted at Leicester Crown Court of supplying terrorist equipment.

Irfan, 31, and Elasmar, 44, admitted engaging in conduct with the intention of assisting in acts of terrorism before the trial. Khan also pleaded guilty ahead of the trial.

Irfan received a four-year jail sentence and Elasmar was jailed for three years and four months. Elasmar was freed after serving just five months.

Despite his terror conviction, Morocco-born Elasmar has not been deported as he has British National status gained when he married his English ex-wife.

Gassama, a Gambian national, 30, admitted failing to alert the authorities to the soldier plot and was sentenced to two years.

The release date for prisoners is usually halfway through the judge’s sentence, with deductions for time served on remand. The four were arrested in January 2007 and held in custody before the trial.

It is understood they remain on a Bank of England watchlist restricting their bank accounts, freezing their assets and imposing caps on any financial transactions. This is in order to prevent them using funds to supply overseas terror organisations in the future.

The Ministry of Justice would not confirm if any of the four were still in jail.

A spokesman said: ‘Those convicted of terrorist offences and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment will be subject to probation supervision on release from prison.

‘They have to adhere to a set of strict conditions and are subject to recall to custody if they breach their conditions or their behaviour indicates that it is no longer safe to allow them to remain in the community.

‘Terrorist offenders may also be subject to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), a statutory set of arrangements established by the police, probation and prison service in each area to assess and manage the risk posed by sexual and violent offenders.

‘As part of this all areas have been asked to put in place plans of action to prevent violent extremism and reduce reoffending.

‘Certain high risk offenders are required to reside in an approved premises on release from custody as a condition of licence.

‘Where convicted terrorists are foreign nationals, we will seek to deport them.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria: Banks Plan Foreign Branches for Emigrants

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, OCTOBER 26 — In coming months, Algerian public banks could open several branches in countries where there are large communities of Algerian emigrants. The news, writes the Algerian press, was announced by the minister for National Solidarity, Family and Foreign Communities, Djamel Ould Abbes, explaining that “the project will be presented to the President of the Republic shortly.” “We want to adjust banking capacity,” explained the president of ABEF, the Association of Banks and Financial Establishments, Abderhmane Benkhalfa, “to the needs of the Algerian diaspora both in terms of increasing the value of their savings, as well as setting up their activities in Algeria.” “We don’t just want to make earnings from the emigrants’ savings,” he added, “but we see Algerians living abroad as potential direct investors in their country of origin.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Elections, Ben Ali President With 89.62% of Votes

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS — With just a few percentage points less than expected, the predictions made on the eve of the elections have been confirmed. President Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali, 73, has won the elections with 89.62% of votes. Thus he will govern Tunisia for another 5 years, after 22 years in power. According to data provided by the ministry, his three adversaries obtained the remaining 10.38%: Ahmed Inoubli of the Unionist Democratic Union (UDU) achieved 3.8%, Mohamed Bouchiha of the Popular Union Party (PUP) gained 5.01%, whilst Ahmed Brahim of the Ettajdid (Renewal) Movement, considered to be the sole adversary, obtained 1.57%. Some 89.4% of the 5.3 million voters of the 10 million strong population turned out to vote. It is set to be Ben Ali’s last mandate in line with the constitutional modification in 2002 which made 75 the maximum age for candidates for the office of president and which allowed him to run for a fifth mandate.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Waging Diplomatic War

Last Friday, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning Israel in every possible way for asserting its sovereignty over its capital city and for defending its citizens against wanton, massive, unprovoked and illegal terror from the skies emanating from Hamas-controlled Gaza. The resolution represented a massive achievement for the Palestinians. It referred Israel to the Security Council with the recommendation that Israel’s leaders be tried as war criminals before international tribunals. That is, the UNHRC’s resolution effectively delegitimized Israel’s right to exist by denying that it has a right to defend its territory and its people from illegal aggression carried out by an illegal terrorist organization.

Then on Wednesday, Mohamed ElBaradei, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s virulently anti-Israel chairman, announced a deal has been reached between Iran and the US, Russia and France regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The deal — which the parties initialized in Geneva after just three days of talks — legitimizes Iran’s nuclear weapons program and effectively transforms the US, the EU and Russia into facilitators rather than opponents of that program.

According to news reports of the accord, the US agreed to send American personnel to Iran to upgrade a research reactor in Teheran that was provided to the Shah in the 1960s. Russia agreed to increase enrichment levels of Iranian uranium from their current level of 3.5 percent, to 19.75%. And France agreed to transform the higher-enriched uranium into metallic nuclear fuel.

Until Wednesday, in accordance with three binding UN Security Council resolutions, the US, Russia and the EU refused to accept the legitimacy of Iran’s uranium enrichment activities. Their refusal stemmed from the fact that by enriching uranium, Iran stands in breach of its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Wednesday’s accord ignores this inconvenient fact and so whitewashes Iran’s illicit behavior, effectively accepting Iran’s right to enrich uranium.

And that isn’t all. According to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, by agreeing to enrich Iran’s uranium from 3.5%, to 19.75%, the US, Russia and France have provided Iran with a solution to its technical deficiencies. Citing a report in the Nucleonics Week trade journal, Ignatius wrote last week that Iran has apparently been unable to enrich uranium beyond 3.5% and its current “supply of low-enriched uranium… appears to have certain ‘impurities’ that ‘could cause centrifuges to fail’ if the Iranians try to boost it to weapons grade.”

Jack Wakeland, an engineer employed in the nuclear power industry, expanded on Ignatius’s revelation at The Intellectual Activist Web site. Wakeland explained that the metallic fuel Iran will receive in this deal “can be converted back to highly purified uranium hexafluoride very, very easily.”

That is, the deal allows Iran to surmount the scientific hurdles it reportedly now faces, clearing the mullahs’ path to acquiring the weapons-grade uranium.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Anti-Israel Demonstration in Istanbul Over Al Aqsa

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 26 — Fewer than a hundred people, including several women wearing veils, took part in a demonstration in Istanbul today to protest against yesterday’s intervention by Israeli police at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the clashes with groups of Palestinian youths which followed. The group, which belongs to the self-named ‘Platform of friends of Palestine” met in a square in the Levent district of the capital and marched in the direction of the Israeli consulate. Waving Palestinian flags and holding up posters of members of the Palestinian separatist movement Hamas, the demonstrators shouted slogans like “Allah U-Akbar” (God is great); ‘We will protect the honour of the Al Aqsa mosque”; ‘We are soldiers of Jerusalem”; ‘Zionist Israel, out of Palestine”; ‘Honour from Istanbul to the Palestinian resistance”. On their arrival at the Israeli embassy, several demonstrators set fire to an Israeli flag. The demonstration then ended without incident after speeches by the two organisers of the protest. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cyprus: Bar Construction in Mosque Infuriates Muslims

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’s (KKTC) Directorate of Religious Affairs has applied to state offices in Greek Cyprus to stop the construction of a bar in the garden of the Hala Mosque in South Cyprus, which has resulted in criticism from Muslims living on the island, Today’s Zaman reports. “Religious values should be respected in order the relations between the two sides to remain positive”, the director of Religious Affairs in the KKTC, Yusuf Suicmez, said, underlining that it is very important for Muslims because the mosque, that lies on the shores of the Larnaca Salt Lake, reportedly houses the tomb of Umm Haram, the aunt of the Prophet Muhammad, making it the fourth holiest Muslim shrine after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Jordanian Activists Call for Ending Peace Treaty With Israel

(ANSAmed) — AMMAN, OCTOBER 26 — Dozens of activists today demonstrated at the professional association headquarters calling on the government to end the peace treaty with Israel, 15 years after the accord was signed. Protestors were unable to walk the streets of the capital after they were refused permission by authorities under the controversial public gathering law. They held banners that condemn Israel war on Gaza and recent clashes with Palestinian worshipers near al Aqsa mosque. “Israel is the only beneficiary of the peace agreement. It was given the time needed to execute its agenda in the Palestinian territories,” said Abdullah Obeidat, president of the professional Association council, an umbrella of 14 labour syndicates including doctors, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists and others. The associations are known as a hot bed for anti-peace activists who are influenced by ideologies of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and leftist parties. Jordan signed peace with Israel in 1994, making it the second Arab country to end the state of war after decades of hostilities. Demonstrators called on authorities to scrap the peace accord and kick out the Israeli ambassador from Amman. “We must take a clear stance regarding the crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, while the government is watching,” Hamam Saaid, over all leader of the Muslim Brotherhood told ANSA during the protest. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey-Turkish PM Rules Out Rupture in Relations

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 26 — Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that remaining silent about use of weapons of mass destruction by Israel in Gaza would be unfair, however, he said a rupture in relations with Israel was out of question. In a televised interview with Al Jazeera news channel monitored in Ankara, Erdogan talked about Turkey’s relations with Israel and Turkey’s stance in the Middle East. Erdogan said Turkey’s stance was not based on religion or ethnicity, but it only had humanitarian purposes. Speaking about what happened in Gaza early this year during the Israeli offensive, Erdogan said Israel used weapons of mass destruction, phosphorus bombs particularly, in operations. “Phosphorus bombs are weapons of mass destruction. Remaining silent over them would be unfair. So, we could not say ‘yes’ to it as the people of this region,” Erdogan said. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey Asks Israel to Free Palestinians Arrested at Al Aqsa

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 26 — The Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement in which it expressed deep concern over the tension going on around al-Haram al-Sharif for about a month and that escalated on Sunday, Anatolia news agency reports. The ministry said that measures had to be taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents that could harm efforts aiming to ensure peace and stability in the region. “Turkey expects people who were arrested during Sunday’s incidents, including executives of the Palestinian National Administration, and the Islam Foundation, to be released as soon as possible,” the ministry said. About 20 Palestinians were nabbed by the Israeli forces during the confrontations that turned the courtyard of the Al Aqsa mosque into a battle ground of blasting ordnance and billowing smoke. Among the detainees was Hatem Abdel Qader, in charge of the Jerusalem file in the mainstream Palestinian organization, Fatah. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkish Premier Says Iran Cannot be Ignored

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 26 — Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said, “Iran cannot be ignored and any attempt to encourage negative approaches to Iran will damage efforts to ensure peace in the region.” In an interview with the Al-Jazeera TV, monitored in Ankara by Anatolia news agency, Erdogan said, “we are not in favor of presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iran and in our region. But it is not fair and unjust to put pressure on Iran while someone else in the region has such weapons.” Asked about Turkey’s likely attitude in case of a sanction or embargo against Iran, Erdogan said, “an embargo is out of question for the time being. What if those who make a decision to impose embargo on Iran have their own nuclear weapons? This is not fair.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

South Asia

NATO Backs McChrystal in Snub to Biden Plan

Nato defence ministers signalled their backing for the Afghan strategy put forward by the American commander General Stanley McChrystal yesterday in an implicit rejection of the alternative plan proposed by US Vice-President Joe Biden.

The general had made an unscheduled appearance at the meeting of ministers in Bratislava, Slovakia, to give a presentation behind closed doors. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary general, said: “What we did today was to discuss General McChrystal’s overall assessment, his overall approach, and I have noted a broad support from all ministers of this overall counter-insurgency approach.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: A Movement to Raise Awareness Against the Blasphemy Law

The legislation provides for life imprisonment or death for those who profane the Koran or insult the prophet Muhammad. Approved in 1986, it has become an instrument of oppression against religious minorities. Christian activists and human rights groups promote meetings and conferences for its repeal, despite the threats of the fundamentalists.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — Pakistani civil society representatives are holding two days of meetings to discuss the controversial blasphemy law, which under the Criminal Code provides for life imprisonment or the death penalty for those who profane the Koran or insult the prophet Muhammad. The first conference is scheduled today in Karachi, the southern province of Sindh, tomorrow will be the turn of Rawalpindi, the northern province of Punjab.

The activist group People’s Resistance (Pr) proposed for today, in Karachi, a panel discussion entitled “The blasphemy law: an objective assessment from a religious, legal and social point of view.” The members explain that they are “deeply troubled” about the recent incidents “at Gojra and other places, where many innocent people have suffered shameful violence and destruction”. They want to promote “an open and frank dialogue” aimed at “understanding of the blasphemy law and its implications for our society.”

Tomorrow, October 25 in Rawalpindi, another Christian organization — the Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) — has scheduled a “conference” bringing together “Christians of all sides” to discuss the procedures to be followed for the repeal of Section 295 B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Nazir Bhatti, president of CCP, said that “the meeting will represent a milestone to launch a peaceful movement of protest, leading to the cancellation of the controversial blasphemy law in Pakistan.” Originally the event was to tap three of the most important cities of the country, but following threats by extremists and a situation of extreme political instability, the organizers have decided to limit it to Rawalpindi. “The CCP has suspended the summit in Karachi and Lahore — Nazir Bhatti clarified — in response to intimidation from Islamic fundamentalists.”

In mid-October, the Minister of Religious Affairs organized two days of talks in Islamabad on the steps to follow to promote amendments to the law on blasphemy. The summit, however, ended without any concrete results and was postponed to January of 2010.

According to data from the Catholic Churches National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), from 1986 to August of 2009 at least 964 people were indicted for having desecrated the Koran or defaming the Prophet Muhammad. Of these 479 were Muslims, 119 Christians, 340 Ahmadis, 14 Hindu and 10 from other religions. It also provides a pretext for attacks, personal vendettas or extra-judicial killings: 33 in all, made by individuals or angry crowds.

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

Two Afghan Helicopter Crashes Kill 14 Americans 26 Oct 2009 09:41:00 GMT

KABUL, Oct 26 (Reuters) — Two helicopter crashes in Afghanistan killed 11 U.S. soldiers and three U.S. civilians on Monday, NATO-led forces said in a statement.

Neither crash was caused by hostile fire, NATO said.

This year has seen a surge of violence in Afghanistan as an increasingly fierce Taliban step up operations against U.S. and NATO forces operating in the country.

Seven U.S. service members and three U.S. civilians were killed when a NATO helicopter crashed in western Afghanistan following an operation against insurgents in which a dozen Taliban fighters were killed.

Eleven U.S. troops, 14 Afghan soldiers and a U.S. civilian were injured in the crash.

Four U.S. service members were killed and two were injured when two helicopters operated by NATO-led troops collided in mid-air in southern Afghanistan, NATO said in an earlier statement.

On Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, one U.S. soldier was killed in a roadside bomb attack and another died of wounds from an insurgent attack, NATO said in a statement on Monday.

A spokeswoman for ISAF, the International Security Assistance Force, could not give any further information on the casualties or the exact location of the crashes

           — Hat tip: Brutally Honest [Return to headlines]

Far East

Illegal Trade in Precious Wood Between Myanmar and China Continues

Chinese companies are still getting precious woods from Myanmar despite a ban on logging and exports agreed by the two governments. The Asian giant’s hunger for raw materials drives this trade. One of the most important forested areas in the world in terms of biodiversity is now at risk.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Illegally exported timber continues to leave Myanmar for Chinese companies that export the wood to Western markets, British-based group Global Witness said in a report titled ‘A Disharmonious Trade’. Whilst there has been a sharp decline in timber illegally imported into China as a result of action taken by the authorities in China and Myanmar, illegal loggers and smugglers are still using “bribery, false papers, transportation at night and avoiding checkpoints” to get around the restrictions. For this reason, Global Witness called on Chinese and Myanmar authorities to double their efforts to stop the practice that could wipe out Myanmar’s virgin forest.

Smuggling between China and Myanmar is centred on their common border in Kachin State. The trade is conducted in violation of Myanmar laws protecting forests. On the Chinese side of the border, in Yunnan province, most of the area is part of a national park where logging is banned.

According to UNESCO, Myanmar forests have the greatest biodiversity in the world, and heavy deforestation would inevitably endanger it.

Following repeated protests by environmentalists around the world, Chinese authorities put soldiers to patrol the border in 2006 and ordered Chinese merchants in Myanmar to pull out.

Myanmar’s military regime suspended logging and lumber exports via sea and land to mainland China.

But demand for raw materials by the Asian giant’s hunger is constantly growing. China depends for its lumber on Malaysia, Russia, Indonesia, Gabon, but especially Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, which is also a political ally.

Despite directives from the central government, local authorities tend to turn a blind eye to the problem, leaving some sections along the border unguarded where smuggling is king.

This is why, despite good intentions, this trade goes on, says the Global Witness report.

Speaking anonymously, members of the group said that a number of companies on China’s east coast said that they were still getting timber from Myanmar, especially teak.

Since 2001, Beijing has sealed agreements with its neighbours to protect forests from illegal logging.

However, as the second largest timber importer in the world (after Japan), China relies on imported wood to meet its domestic needs but also to export finished products.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Barry Rubin: How and Why Engagement With Sudan Shows Precisely What’s Wrong With Obama Administration Foreign Policy

The Obama Administration apparently thinks that its policy of engaging repressive radical anti-American dictators has been working so well as to extend it now to Sudan. This is the meaning of the new policy to be on this issue October 19.

That country’s government, once accused of genocide in the south, is now said to have been doing the same thing in the west. Mass murder and ferocious repression—300,000 people have been killed; 2.7 million made refugees—has been so prevalent that the country’s president Omar al-Bashir is under an international indictment for war crimes and Sudan is on the State Department list as a country sponsoring terrorism.

Far from being inconvenienced by this fact, however, Sudan has been playing a leading role in the effort to do the same to Israel: that is, wipe it out while simultaneously accusing it of war crimes. Sudan is the current leader of the “non-aligned” group at the UN, the largest bloc of members, and one of the main countries pushing to indict Israel for war crimes.

So to anyone who understands how international affairs works it would appear:

A. That the United States is rewarding Sudan for its behavior.

B. That the United States has already reached an agreement with Sudan that it will act differently at home and in the UN before giving it a big concession.

C. The United States is afraid of Sudan.

None of the above points are true. Therefore, this raises a case study regarding the most important issue of all whose absence from the Obama Administration list of priorities is most noticeable on every issue:

What will the Sudanese government do for the United States? Imagine, in the same week that Khartoum has flouted U.S. interests by pushing the Goldstone report through the UN Human Rights Council, Washington is going to reward it with a renewed relationship.

This sounds familiar:

The U.S. government announced the withdrawal of a plan to put anti-missile missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland at a time when Russia’s leader rejects sanctions on Iran and reaffirms the rationale for annexing much of Poland in 1939.

The U.S. government agreed to engage Iran immediately following the stealing of an election there and the repression of peaceful dissidents.

So we see the same pattern…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]


Boat Reached by Italian Units

(ANSAmed) — POZZALLO (RAGUSA), OCTOBER 26 — The boat carrying over 200 migrants which has been travelling through stormy seas for several days, has been reached by Italian units, a fast patrol boat belonging to the Coast Guard and an open-sea tug. The boat has been under escort from oil tanker Antignano. The boat is about ten miles south of Portopalo in Capo Passero, at the southern-most edge of Sicily, and therefore in Italian SAR (Search and Rescue) waters. Due to the Force 6 conditions at sea, it has not yet been decided whether to proceed with the transfer of the immigrants or to tow the “sea wreck” to Portopalo or Pozzallo. The boat “has been under escort” since Friday evening by the Italian oil tanker ‘Antignano’, but the ship is unable to get close for fear of ramming into the boat. Maltese patrol boat P61 has also been sent to help, although so far it has only monitored the situation without intervening, as it waits for the boat to get into Italian waters. Both the Maltese and Libyan authorities have refused to intervene until now, despite a request by the General Command of the Port harbour office. Yesterday evening two patrols from the harbour office left with several doctors on board, but were forced to return due to the bad conditions at sea. This morning one of the two units set sail again to reach the boat containing the immigrants. “We hope that this voyage with 200 people on board, including women and children, comes to an end as soon as possible, after four days at sea in a storm”, said spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy, Laura Boldrini, adding that “in recent days there has been a lot of confusion over the responsibilities and jurisdiction, but now the most important thing is that the rescue operation goes well and that these people can reach dry ground and be looked after”.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Border Courage, Arpaio Style

It must be bizarre for a lawman to be told by the federal government not to do his job, which is to enforce the law.

It’s especially bizarre when he’s the only law enforcement official in the country under such orders.

Bizarre, yes — but true.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., finds himself in just that situation, but he’s fighting back, saying he says he’s won’t comply.


What he’s doing is perfectly legal. The Immigration and Nationality Act has a section, 287-G, that allows the detainment and arrest of illegals by state and local law officials on civil and criminal grounds. It allows ICE-trained state and local police to perform immigration law enforcement. Twenty-six states have those memos of agreement with the feds. Arizona is one of them.

In October, it was announced that 67 agreements were renewed. Only one lost the authority: the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department, Joe Arpaio’s department.


Arpaio says that his department has arrested and detained more than 33,000 illegal aliens; that’s 25 percent of the total for the whole country. He says the feds don’t like his success, that his department is “too successful.”


The confrontation between the feds and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department is one of states’ rights and promises to be a massive legal battle before it’s settled to say nothing of the upcoming administration push for immigration amnesty.

Joe Arpaio put it succinctly: “It doesn’t bother me, because we are going to do the same thing. I am the elected sheriff. I don’t take orders from the federal government.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


Carbon Dioxide Irrelevant in Climate Debate Says MIT Scientist

In a study sure to ruffle the feathers of the Global Warming cabal, Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT has published a paper which proves that IPCC models are overstating by 6 times, the relevance of CO2 in Earth’s Atmosphere. Dr. Lindzen has found that heat is radiated out in to space at a far higher rate than any modeling system to date can account for.

Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT’s peer reviewed work states “we now know that the effect of CO2 on temperature is small, we know why it is small, and we know that it is having very little effect on the climate.”


As significant as the above results are, it is not the Pièce de résistance. What is — the curious minded what to know? It is the ERBE results. The Earth Radiation Budget Experiment with 15 years worth of data. The ERBE result is absolutely devastating to the entire Global Warming Theory.


The ERBE results, which are factual data from real measurements made by satellite, show the exact opposite result from the UN/IPCC Projections (computer models which are not real data). As seas warm on earth, the earth releases more heat into space and the satellite results prove it.


All of this data leads to the conclusion that the UN/IPCC models are not only wrong, they are so far off the mark as to be laughable. The satellite and bathythermograph data clearly do not match the IPCC theory, which means that the theory is incorrect.

What this data does tell us is if CO2 concentration should double, global temperatures will not rise by the devastating 6 degrees F the UN predicts, but by a completely harmless 1 degree F. The ERBE data shows an Earth system that is radiating more heat into space as sea surfaces warm, in other words a system at equilibrium, and is clearly demonstrated by observed data. The UN theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming is dead wrong.

The UN/IPCC have been using models that give a result that allow them to tell Nation States they must reduce and cap Carbon Emissions or the earth’s climate will warm by a devastating 6 degrees F. When in reality, more heat is simply radiated out into space as the ERBE OBSERVED DATA (Not a computer model) PROVES.

The United States House of Representatives has passed a Carbon tax (Cap and Trade) as have other governments in Europe, based on these completely erroneous models.

There are only a couple of conclusions to be made of this. Either the world has been misled by scientists working for the UN and IPCC due to faulty science, or faulty science has been deliberately used in a global scheme to generate tax revenues for the Governments instituting Cap and Trade Taxation policies.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New York’s 23rd District a Bellwether Campaign

The Club for Growth says that the 3rd party (Conservative) candidate is leading in the special election to replace former Congressman John McHugh who is now Obama’s Secretary of the Army:

The poll of 300 likely voters, conducted October 24-25, 2009, shows Conservative Doug Hoffman at 31.3%, Democrat Bill Owens at 27.0%, Republican Dede Scozzafava at 19.7%, and 22% undecided. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 5.66%. No information was provided about any of the candidates prior to the ballot question.

This is the third poll done for the Club for Growth in the NY-23 special election, and Doug Hoffman is the only candidate to show an increase in his support levels in each successive poll. The momentum in the race is clearly with Hoffman.

“Hoffman now has a wide lead among both Republicans and Independents, while Owens has a wide lead among Democrats. Dede Scozzafava’s support continues to collapse, making this essentially a two-candidate race between Hoffman and Owens in the final week,” concluded Basswood Research’s pollster Jon Lerner, who conducted the poll for the Club.

I’ve wondered if Obama appointed McHugh in order to get rid of a pesky Republican and replace him with a safer candidate? Did he know that the GOP would put up Dede Scozzafava or someone of her ilk to run in his place? Did he think that the electorate in the 23rd distinct, having been safely Republican for many generations, would obediently vote for this RINO, thereby (in reality) giving the Dems a safe vote for their side?

Scozzafava is anything but a conservative. She’s so pro-abortion she won the Margaret Sanger award. She’s definitely pro-Card Check: her husband is a union leader. And she’s reliably crooked, having already skimmed campaign funds off into a bank account for her sister-in-law.

As I’ve said before, politicians like her,who are nothing but cogs in GOP machine, are part of the Republican disease. As if they were on a suicide mission, the district GOP chairs got together to choose a candidate and the best they could do was Dede Scozzafava. That’s disgraceful.

Newt Gingrich, out of touch and out of tune, actually wrote a letter of endorsement for Scozzafava, as did the Republican National Committee. It is decisions like these which are causing the GOP to hemorrhage members. Few people want to be associated with individuals and groups who are so tone deaf.
– – – – – – – –
The RNC and Gingrich got little support from regular Republican congressman, though. I think she received a total of 17 checks from them, though the RNC bankrolled her generously.

Newt majorly doesn’t get it. After this horrible gaffe, which he still insists was a good idea, he is chiding those who aren’t on Scozzafava’s bandwagon with him. On top of that, he has announced he’s considering a run for the Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012. I take it back; he’s not just tone deaf, the man can’t hear at all.

Meanwhile, Governor Pawlenty has endorsed the Conservative candidate, Hoffman. This news comes just as Gallup announces that conservatives are maintaining their edge in the polls:

Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009, confirming a finding that Gallup first noted in June. Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group.

Pawlenty’s endorsement of Hoffman over Scozzafava is part of a growing chorus of politicians who want to position themselves on the distinctly conservative side of the GOP:

Pawlenty, who has raised his profile in recent weeks as he lays the foundations for a possible presidential bid, becomes the latest candidate to support Hoffman over Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R), the candidate selected by local party leaders to carry the Republican standard.

“We cannot send more politicians to Washington who wear the Republican jersey on the campaign trail but then vote like Democrats in Congress on issues like card-check and taxes,” Pawlenty said. “After reviewing the candidates’ positions, I’m endorsing Doug Hoffman in New York’s special election. Doug understands the federal government needs to quit spending so much, will vote against tax increases and protect[s] key values like the right to vote in private in union elections.”

As they seek favor with conservative organizations and activists key to winning their party’s nomination, several potential candidates have announced they support Hoffman.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) called Hoffman a candidate who would stand against politics as usual. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said on Friday that a vote for Hoffman is a vote for a conservative Republican. And former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) campaigned with Hoffman last week.

And in an effort to distinguish himself as a more conservative candidate, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) – running against Rep. Jerry Moran (R) in a Senate primary – announced last week that he would support Hoffman.

So it’s a conservative bandwagon and Hoffman finds himself the fortunate recipient of their favor by virtue of running in the earliest Congressional election. The others won’t take place until 2010.

Whichever one wins, Democrat Owens or Conservative Hoffman, at least there will be truth in advertising on this race:

“The Republicans basically nominated a not-mainstream Republican candidate,” said Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who ran to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee. “It’s not like she’s off on one issue; she’s off on almost every issue.

“As the party is trying to define itself and literally find itself, these are the kinds of internal conflicts we’ll find,” Anuzis added. “The question becomes, Are you better off having a Democrat who understands he’s a Democrat, or a Republican who votes like a Democrat?”

I’d rather see Owens in than Scozzafava. She’s already established herself as a bully and a crook.

For all the news on this race, visit Erick at RedState. He’s done a great job covering the roller coaster ride this campaign has become.

Concerning Our RSS Feed

DespairI recently had to change our Atom Feed from “short post” back to “full post” in order to comply with the requirements of the syndication service that carries Gates of Vienna.

I apologize to anyone whose RSS reader is slowed down and clogged up by our full posts. The news feed in particular (which can be quite massive) tends to give feed readers indigestion.

Besides reader donations, syndication is our only income, so we need to comply with its requirements. As soon as I find a technical fix for this problem, I’ll implement it.

[Post ends here]

Sharia Courts in the UK

For further background on the “Parallel Justice” post from earlier today, here is an overview of Britain’s sharia courts, as reported last year in the Times Online:

Revealed: UK’s First Official Sharia Courts

ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

Previously, the rulings of sharia courts in Britain could not be enforced, and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

It has now emerged that sharia courts with these powers have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with the network’s headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Two more courts are being planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, said he had taken advantage of a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996.

Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.

– – – – – – – –

Siddiqi said: “We realised that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals. This method is called alternative dispute resolution, which for Muslims is what the sharia courts are.”

The disclosure that Muslim courts have legal powers in Britain comes seven months after Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was pilloried for suggesting that the establishment of sharia in the future “seems unavoidable” in Britain.

In July, the head of the judiciary, the lord chief justice, Lord Phillips, further stoked controversy when he said that sharia could be used to settle marital and financial disputes.

In fact, Muslim tribunal courts started passing sharia judgments in August 2007. They have dealt with more than 100 cases that range from Muslim divorce and inheritance to nuisance neighbours.

It has also emerged that tribunal courts have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples, working in tandem with the police investigations.

Siddiqi said he expected the courts to handle a greater number of “smaller” criminal cases in coming years as more Muslim clients approach them. “All we are doing is regulating community affairs in these cases,” said Siddiqi, chairman of the governing council of the tribunal.

Jewish Beth Din courts operate under the same provision in the Arbitration Act and resolve civil cases, ranging from divorce to business disputes. They have existed in Britain for more than 100 years, and previously operated under a precursor to the act.

Politicians and church leaders expressed concerns that this could mark the beginnings of a “parallel legal system” based on sharia for some British Muslims.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: “If it is true that these tribunals are passing binding decisions in the areas of family and criminal law, I would like to know which courts are enforcing them because I would consider such action unlawful. British law is absolute and must remain so.”

Douglas Murray, the director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: “I think it’s appalling. I don’t think arbitration that is done by sharia should ever be endorsed or enforced by the British state.”

There are concerns that women who agree to go to tribunal courts are getting worse deals because Islamic law favours men.

Siddiqi said that in a recent inheritance dispute handled by the court in Nuneaton, the estate of a Midlands man was divided between three daughters and two sons.

The judges on the panel gave the sons twice as much as the daughters, in accordance with sharia. Had the family gone to a normal British court, the daughters would have got equal amounts.

In the six cases of domestic violence, Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.

In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.

Siddiqi said that in the domestic violence cases, the advantage was that marriages were saved and couples given a second chance.

Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “The MCB supports these tribunals. If the Jewish courts are allowed to flourish, so must the sharia ones.”