Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/11/2013

North Korea has now announced that it is unilaterally abrogating the cease-fire that it signed with South Korea and the United Nations in Panmunjom sixty years ago. The Norks are threatening nuclear war, and have cut the cable for the “hotline” that has been used to maintain communication between the North and the South.

In other news, a state Supreme Court judge in New York has overturned Nanny Mayor Bloomberg’s law against large sugary drinks, labeling it “arbitrary and capricious”.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, CSP, DW, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Steen, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» Athens Mosque Will Cost Greece 846,000 Euros
» Greece: Athens Statues Fall Victim to Metal Thiefs
» Italian Spending Power Fell 5% Between 2007 and 2011
» Obamacare’s Impact on Medicare, Medicaid, And Debt
» Staring Armageddon in the Face But Hiding it With Official Lies
» Tax Revenues Up 2.8% in 2012 in Italy
» The Chart That Proves That the Mainstream Media is Lying to You About Unemployment
» Colorado Sheriffs: Senate Dems Threatening Pay Freezes Over Gun Control Opposition
» Establishment Media Ramps Up Fear of Patriots
» Judge Invalidates New York City’s Ban on Big Sugary Drinks
» Sen. Dianne Feinstein Lies in Senate Gun-Ban Hearing (Video)
» The Department of Justice Did Not Disclaim Murder of Americans by Drone
» The U.S. Medical System is the Nation’s Number One Killer
» Your Doctor to Become 1-Person Death Panel?
Europe and the EU
» Art as Cluster Bomb: The Geert Wilders Project
» Athens Mosque Will Cost Greece $1.1m
» Cardinal Called to Skip Conclave for Abuse Record
» Cardinals Discuss Vatican Bank at Final Pre-Conclave Meeting
» Geert Wilders’s Confidante and Former Dutch Islamophobe ‘Arnoud Van Doorn’ Converts to Islam
» Ireland: Both Parents Jailed for Truant Teen?
» Italy: ‘Ndrangheta-Linked Lombardy Councillor Trial Asked
» Italy: Anti-Establishment Group Says There’ll be No Deal With Bersani
» Italy: Berlusconi Indictment Requested Over Senator Switch
» Italy: Court Orders Check on Hospitalised Berlusconi
» Italy: Grillo Threatens to Quit His Grassroots Movement if it Backs the Centre-Left
» Italy: Centre-Right Calls on President to Protect Democracy
» Italy: PDL MPs Enter Milan Court to Protest Berlusconi Inquests
» Italy: Grillo Challenges Bersani, Refuse Electoral Reimbursement
» Italy: Marines Won’t Return to India to Face Murder Trial Says Govt
» Papabili: The Italians
» Two Front-Runners Emerge as Pope Candidates
» UK: Man Stabbed in Neck After Mass Brawl Breaks Out at Sandown Park Racecourse
» Vatican: Final Pre-Conclave Talks Centre on Bank
» Vatican: Bookies Favour Italy’s Angelo Scola as Next Pope
North Africa
» 38 Dead and 378 Poisoned by Home-Made Alcohol in Libya
» Egyptian Christian Dies in Benghazi Whilst in Custody of Muslim Extremists
» Egypt: Copt’s Death in Libyan Custody Sparks Demo Call
» Frank Gaffney: Investigate Benghazigate
Israel and the Palestinians
» IDF Chief of Staff: High Probability of Regional Deterioration
Middle East
» Al Qaeda Claims to Have Killed 48 Syrian Troops in Iraq
» Could Stuxnet Have Triggered the Alleged Explosion at Fordow?
» Iran: Tehran Issues Further Curbs on Internet Freedom
» Iran: Christians on Trial for ‘Action Against National Security’
» Islamist Media Digitally Cover Prominent Western Women
» Report: Mid-East War on Bilderberg 2013 Agenda
» Syria: EU: 30 Extra Mln to Lebanon for Refugees Emergency
South Asia
» Myanmar: Naypyidaw: Oil and Gas Auction to Attract Foreign Investment
» Nepal: In Honor of Shiva Women Gurus Can Also Go Naked
» Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Vandalised in Pakistan
Far East
» China: Boiled Corn: Not Shark Fin on Today’s NPC Menu
» North Korea Declares War Truce ‘Invalid’
» Taiwan at Crossroads on Nuclear Power: Fourth Power Plant Ignites Controversy
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Nigeria Hostages: Including Italian, Killed in ‘Cold Blood’
» The Gruesome Reality of Racist South Africa
» 11 Things That the Obama Administration is Doing to Promote More Illegal Immigration
» Coastguard Rescue 77 Migrants Aboard Boat Off Lampedusa
» Immigration Reform: Who is Going to Play the Race Card Now?
Culture Wars
» Dr. Kermit Gosnell ‘House of Horrors’: Philadephia Physician Accused of Severing Babies’ Spines
» Excuse Me, Gay is Not Good
» Facebook ‘Likes’ Could Reveal Your Race, Gender, Political Leanings, Creed and Even Sexuality
» How America Went Gay
» The Queen a Gay Rights Champion? I Don’t Buy it

Athens Mosque Will Cost Greece 846,000 Euros

The government goes ahead with the plans despite economic crisis

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — It will cost the cash-strapped Greek government, which is cutting pay, raising taxes and slashed pensions for workers, pensioners and the poor, some 846,000 euros to build an official mosque in Athens for the city’s Muslim population. The design, however, is slated to have a modern look and not that of Ottoman mosques with minarets, as GreekReporter writes citing the newspaper Ta Nea. All that’s needed for the project to begin for the Transportation Ministry to start the bidding procedures for construction. The government agreed in September of 2012 to go ahead with the plans after an offer from the Turkish government to pay for it was rejected by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and opposed by the Muslim community which wanted the Greek state to undertake it.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Athens Statues Fall Victim to Metal Thiefs

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, MARCH 11 — The number of statues stolen from central Athens in the past six months, most likely by scrap metal scavengers, rose to eight on Friday with the disappearance of the bronze busts of writer Nikos Kazantzakis and artist El Greco, which had graced the courtyard outside the Athens Municipal Cultural Center on Panepistimiou Street as Kathimerini reports. Deputy Athens Mayor Nelly Papachela told the Athens News Agency on Friday that four of the missing sculptures have been located by police at a scrapyard southwest of Athens. “It is impossible to guard them because the bronze busts are scattered all over Athens,” she said. “The perpetrators appear to be very audacious, because they don’t even keep away from very central locations that are also well lit.” Speaking to Parliament on the same day, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said he is exploring ways to protect public property such as rail tracks, electricity cables, bridges, transformers and metal ornamental features from being stolen for scrap, a source of illegal income that has gained momentum since the onset of the crisis and which costs the state millions of euros a year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Spending Power Fell 5% Between 2007 and 2011

Some 6.7 million people in economic difficulty in Italy

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Italian households’ spending power dropped 5% between 2007 and 2011, a joint report by national statistics agency Istat and the National Council of Economy and Labour (CNEL) said Monday.

The report said that the indicator of people in serious economic difficulty increased from 6.9% in 2010 to 11.1% in 2011, which suggests the number of those in dire straits went up by 2.5 million to reach 6.7 million.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obamacare’s Impact on Medicare, Medicaid, And Debt

As with all major entitlement reform programs of late, Obamacare came with rosy predictions that it would be affordable and would expand, not reduce, coverage. Indeed, its very purpose was to cause some 30 million Americans said to be uninsured to receive health insurance for the first time. Based on recent Congressional Budget Office predictions, however, Obamacare will not be affordable for the government or for seniors nor and will not offset health insurance losses. Indeed, the program will cost at least double its projected $940 billion price tag, will leave 30 million people uninsured by 2022, and will increase the cost of and reduce the availability of services for seniors on Medicare. Obamacare is, in short, another federal boondoggle and, indeed, worse than a waste of money, it promises to destroy the quality and diversity of medical care in America, undoubtedly contributing to a rise in preventable illness and deaths. Were it not for its imposition of $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade, Obamacare would appear presently as an addition to the federal deficit. Likely, as the true costs of the program come to be known and as the costs of implementation are calculated into the equation, Obamacare will add to the deficit despite its tax increases.

CBO has revised its estimate of the cost of Obamacare. One year ago, the figure of $940 billion was often quoted by the President, leaving serious economists disgusted because the figure arose from double counting and manipulation of the start date from its actual kick-off in 2014 to a false start date of 2010 (thus diminishing the 10 year estimate of costs). Now, as the program comes closer into view, the CBO estimates are beginning to rise, and rise again they likely will in the years to come. Rather than $940 billion, CBO now predicts the cost will be double that, at $1.76 trillion, by 2022.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Staring Armageddon in the Face But Hiding it With Official Lies

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy created 236,000 new jobs in February. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’ll let you have at a good price.

Where are these alleged jobs? The BLS says 48,000 were created in construction. That is possible, considering that revenue-starved real estate developers are misreading the housing situation.

Then there are 23,700 new jobs in retail trade, which is hard to believe considering the absence of consumer income growth and the empty parking lots at shopping malls.

The real puzzle is 20,800 jobs in motion picture and sound recording industries. This is the first time in the years that I have been following the jobs reports that there has been enough employment for me to even notice this category.

The BLS lists 10,900 jobs in accounting and bookkeeping, which, as it is approaching income tax time, is probably correct; 21,000 jobs in temporary help and business support services; 39,000 jobs in health care and social assistance; and 18,800 jobs in the old standby — waitresses and bartenders.

That leaves about 50,000 jobs sprinkled around the various categories, but not in numbers large enough to notice.

The presstitute media attributed the drop in the headline unemployment rate (U3) to 7.7% from 7.9% to the happy jobs report. But Rex Nutting at Market Watch says that the unemployment rate fell because 130,000 unemployed people who have been unable to find a job and became discouraged were dropped out of the U3 measure of unemployment. The official U6 measure which counts some discouraged workers shows an unemployment rate of 14.3%. Statistician John Williams’ measure, which counts all discourage workers (people who have ceased looking for a job), is 23%.

In other words, the real rate of unemployment is 2 to 3 times the reported rate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tax Revenues Up 2.8% in 2012 in Italy

‘Property tax, VAT increases to thank’ says Treasury

(ANSA) — Rome, March 11 — Tax revenues in Italy were worth 423.903 million euros in 2012, up 2,8% — or 11.697 million euros — compared to the same period last year, the Treasury said on Monday. The growth was due to the effect of measures adopted starting in the second half of 2011 which contributed to the result for over 21 billion euros, the Treasury said.

The measures include a new property tax known as IMU, the increase of the standard VAT rate and gasoline taxes, as well as taxation changes on financial capitals.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Chart That Proves That the Mainstream Media is Lying to You About Unemployment

The mainstream media is absolutely giddy that the U.S. unemployment rate has hit a “four-year low” of 7.7 percent. But is unemployment in the United States actually going down? After all, you would think that it should be. The Obama administration has “borrowed” more than 6 trillion dollars from future generations of Americans, interest rates have been pushed to all-time lows, and the Federal Reserve has been wildly printing more money in a desperate attempt to “stimulate” the economy. So have those efforts been successful? Well, according to the mainstream media, the U.S. unemployment rate is falling steadily. Headlines all over the nation boldly declared that “236,000 jobs” were added to the economy in February, but what they didn’t tell you was that the number of Americans “not in the labor force” rose by 296,000. And that is how they are getting the unemployment rate to go down — by pretending that huge numbers of unemployed Americans don’t want jobs. Sadly, as you will see below, the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that have a job is just 0.1% higher than it was exactly three years ago. And we have not even come close to getting back to where we were before the last economic crisis. For example, more than 146 million Americans were employed back in 2007. But today, only 142.2 million Americans have a job even though our population has grown steadily since then. So where in the world is this “economic recovery” that they keep talking about?

At this point, the “unemployment rate” has become so meaningless that it really isn’t even worth paying much attention to. If you really want to know what the employment picture looks like in the United States, you need to look at the employment-population ratio.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Colorado Sheriffs: Senate Dems Threatening Pay Freezes Over Gun Control Opposition

Claims law enforcement are being blackmailed into backing down

Sheriffs in Colorado have accused Senate Democrats of threatening to withhold pay raises as payback for the law enforcers’ opposition to multiple draconian gun control bills currently making their way through the legislature.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa told a local radio talk show host this weekend that he had been notified by lobbying group The County Sheriffs of Colorado (CSOC), that “the Senate Dem leadership is very upset with the sheriffs and their opposition to the gun control bills.”

The group also allegedly told Maketa that unnamed members of the Democratic leadership in the Senate had threatened to delay a vote on a legislation that would see sheriffs’ salaries improved in Colorado.

Saying that he would take up the matter with Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Sheriff Maketa said “What they’re saying is ‘you have really upset us… and it’s almost a coercion, extortion, blackmail or influence of a public official through pay.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Establishment Media Ramps Up Fear of Patriots

No word yet if the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department will act on a letter sent on March 5 by the Southern Poverty Law Center to Attorney General Holder and DHS boss Napolitano. The letter calls for the government to get serious about cracking down on “extremist groups” before another Oklahoma City bombing takes the nation by surprise.

However, despite silence from the government, the establishment media has eagerly focused on the story. MSNBC, in particular, and its script-reading anchors welcoming the usual liberal “experts” have jumped up and down and all over the media-generated story.

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, who calls himself a “practical European socialist,” has reacted in predictable fashion to the SPLC letter…

Opposition to secretive globalist trade deals dismantling America’s industrial base and exporting millions of jobs to Chinese slave factories or allowing Agenda 21 control grid authoritarianism to destroy the middle class and strangle the entrepreneurial spirt of America, for O’Donnell, is “utter dangerous madness.”

Larry is correct when he says the “phenomenon of believing that a one world government is going to take over depends on sealing yourself off from information” dispensed by the establishment media. For the establishment, this is a vexing and nearly insurmountable problem due to the fact increasing numbers of people are turning to alternative media freely available on the internet. Millions no longer plug into the propaganda matrix.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Judge Invalidates New York City’s Ban on Big Sugary Drinks

A judge invalidated New York City’s ban on large sugary drinks on Monday, one day before it was to go into effect, dealing Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg a major blow.

The decision by Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan blocks the city from putting the rules into effect or enforcing them.

Justice Tingling said the rule banning the drinks was “arbitrary and capricious.”

[Return to headlines]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein Lies in Senate Gun-Ban Hearing (Video)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) lied outright in a recent hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee as she advocated for her anti-Constitutional gun-ban bill when she said that it is “legal to hunt humans” with large capacity ammunition magazines.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Department of Justice Did Not Disclaim Murder of Americans by Drone

What is particularly striking is that we have a president who is asserting the right to kill any citizen but the Administration has classified memos on that authority and the Attorney General will only give a Senator a terse two line conclusory statement on scope. The Administration appears to believe that there is little need to explain the details on killing citizens, such as how it defines “combat.” Obviously, if there is a war occurring in the United States, a president has the right to put down insurrection or attacks on the federal government. These strikes concern targeting terrorists. One can easily foresee this or a future president insisting that an alleged terrorism conspiracy is a form of combat.

It would seem an obvious thing to explain how they define combat and whether an alleged terrorist would fall into it. Does this mean that there will be a category of non-combatant terrorists for domestic strikes? How is that defined? It seems like a hole big enough to fly a drone through.Since police can already use lethal force to stop an attack in progress, the answer leaves more questions than it answers in my view. For a citizen it would mean that he or she can be killed abroad on the basis of the Administration’s wildly broad definition of “imminent” but domestically would fall under a different “combat” definition. Where is the line between an “imminent” threat and “combat” drawn? Does Holder mean there is a different meaning to imminence when someone steps over the border? We already have the definition of “imminent” and the Administration’s new definition of “imminent.” Is this yet a third option?

[Comment: Also recall the memo that classified patriots, consitutionalists, returning veterans and even Christians as potential domestic threats.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The U.S. Medical System is the Nation’s Number One Killer

Ideas for reducing unnecessary, preventable deaths in this country have been in the news a lot lately. Where shall we begin? Annual gun related homicides total about 11,000 and automobile fatalities are about 35,000 per year.

Would you be surprised to learn that the leading cause of death in the US appears to be the medical system itself. This is the startling conclusion reached in a report published by medical researchers: Gary Null, PhD; Carolyn Dean MD, ND; Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; and Dorothy Smith, PhD.

Deaths resulting from inadvertent, adverse effects or complications from medical treatment or diagnostic proceedures are known as Iatrogenisis, meaning: Brought forth by a healer (from the Greek iatros, healer).Their report places the number of annnual iatrgenic (brought forth by a healer) deaths in the US at 783,936.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Your Doctor to Become 1-Person Death Panel?

Government-funded ‘mortality index’ raises worries over Obamacare rationing

A government-funded “mortality index” study — which helps doctors determine whether a patient has a “good chance” of dying within the next 10 years — raises renewed concerns about health-care rationing under Obamacare.

Federal grants from the National Institute on Aging and the American Federation for Aging Research helped pay for researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, to create a “mortality index” designed to aid doctors in decision-making about “preventive intervention” for older patients…

Creating such a “mortality” score may take on further meaning after a WND report in January found the foundations for health-care rationing and so-called death panels may have already been laid in largely unreported sections of President Obama’s health-care legislation.

[Comment: What’s next? A crystal on the back of the hand that changes color when you reach a certain age? (reference to the movie Logan’s Run, where those above a certain age are “euthanized”.)]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Art as Cluster Bomb: The Geert Wilders Project

The best revenge? It isn’t always living well. Sometimes, it’s making art.

At least, it was for Dutch artist Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries,who has transformed the massive art cutbacks in the Netherlands to his largest and possibly most successful work to date: the Wilders Web Winkel, or Wilders Webshop, named for controversial Dutch right wing politician Geert Wilders, who was the strongest proponent of the cuts. (“Art,” Wilders notoriously observed, “is but a hobby for the Left elite.”)

“Most people responded to the situation by taking a victim role,” says Himmelsbach de Vries. “And I was also affected: if I wanted to live from my art, I needed to enter the market.” Elitist art had become a “no-go” zone; but Wilders was a populist. Hence the art, Himmelsbach de Vries determined, “should be low-threshold, affordable art that would speak to a large Dutch population.” It needed, in other words, to address something everyone could relate to, in one way or another; and that, thought the artist, could only be one thing: Geert Wilders himself. “Wilders,” he says he realized, “could become the new cash cow that would give artists an income again.”

The project began simply, with the kinds of personalized items you can easily have made at your local copy shop or Staples: coffee mugs, buttons, T-shirts, and — because this is Holland — tulips (yellow of course, to match Wilders’ signature bleached-blond hair).

At Himmelsbach de Vries’s invitation, soon other artists also contributed their Wilders-based items to the site: cartoons by a well-known political cartoonist in the Netherlands, Hajo, for instance, and garden gnomes — typically the subject of many a Dutch joke — by Jitse Schuurmans. All works are produced in limited editions (unsigned), and sold at novelty-store prices.

But the essence of the project, says Himmelsbach de Vries, goes beyond Wilders himself, despite the fact that his portrait forms its focus. “Wilders is the face of anti-art,” he says. The rest is inspired “by social realism, by nationalism, and the self-aggrandizing merchandise of dictators. It’s like ‘Tito and Mao meet Holland souvenirs.’“…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Athens Mosque Will Cost Greece $1.1m

It will cost the cash-strapped Greek government, which is cutting pay, raising taxes and slashed pensions for workers, pensioners and the poor, some 846,000 euros, about $1.1 million, to build an official mosque in Athens for the city’s Muslim population.

The design, however, is slated to have a modern look and not that of Ottoman mosques with minarets, the newspaper Ta Nea reported, adding that all that’s needed for the project to begin for the Transportation Ministry to begin the bidding procedures for construction.

The government agreed in September of 2012 to go ahead with the plans after an offer from the Turkish government to pay for it was rejected by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and opposed by the Muslim community which wanted the Greek state to undertake it.

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus said he was vehemently opposed to having Greece build a mosque who said it should be declared unconstitutional and anti-Greek. The idea of a mosque is still touchy in Greece, which suffered under 400 years of Ottoman occupation when churches were prohibited and as the Turkish government has refused to re-open the closed Halki Seminary.

Nevertheless, the head of the Greek Church, Archbishop Ieronymos , supports the building of the facility for what he said were grounds of religious tolerance. The mosque will have a capacity of 350 people but the design will not feature a minaret after architects said it would blend with the neighborhood.

Without an official, state-sanctioned mosque, Muslims in Greece have to find makeshift places, such as basements, garages and other facilities, to pray and gather for worship.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Cardinal Called to Skip Conclave for Abuse Record

Former Savona bishop accused of ‘systematic coverup’

(ANSA) — Rome, March 11 — Activists are persisting in their call for the removal of an Italian cardinal from the conclave to elect a pope this week over allegations of covering up priest sex abuse. Francesco Zanardi, the head of victims group L’Abuso, appeared alongside the leaders of the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) at a hotel in Rome this weekend, accusing Cardinal Domenico Calcagno of systematically covering up cases of pedophilia at the diocese of Savona in northern Italy where he previously served as bishop. “Don’t attend the conclave,” said Zanardi.

On Friday, police detained Zanardi for two hours when he tried to enter the Vatican to present a petition to Church officials calling for a ban on the accused cardinal at the conclave, which begins Tuesday. SNAP has issued a list of ‘dirty dozen’ cardinals they think should not be considered as papal contenders, including ‘papabile’ frontrunners such as Sean O’Malley from Boston, Peter Turkson from Ghana and Italy’s Angelo Scola. The Vatican has dismissed any efforts to influence voting from outside groups. (Photo: Cardinal Domenico Calcagno)

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cardinals Discuss Vatican Bank at Final Pre-Conclave Meeting

Bertone report touches on Moneyval ‘white list’

(ANSA) — Vatican City, March 11 — Cardinals in the final day of meetings before voting for a pope in the conclave discussed issues at the troubled Vatican Bank. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said “a brief report” on the Bank, also known as the Institute of Religious Works (IOR), was presented by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of state during the papacy of Benedict XVI.

Lombardi said the report addressed the “process of integrating with Moneyval,” which is the Council of Europe’s committee on financial transparency. The Vatican has been making efforts to comply with Moneyval in order to join the ‘white list’ of states that respect international standards on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

One high-profile controversy during Benedict’s papacy involved the Vatican Bank, whose head was sacked amid a push to get it on the UN’s list of countries with flawless anti-money-laundering credentials.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Geert Wilders’s Confidante and Former Dutch Islamophobe ‘Arnoud Van Doorn’ Converts to Islam

A leading member in far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ party has reverted to Islam after an extensive study about the Islamic religion and Muslims.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — In Holland, a major Islamophobic political and social activist, former member of parliament from a right-wing party, Arnoud van Doorn accepted Islam.

The former Islamophobe announced his decision to accept Islam on his Twitter profile. He says it is a new beginning of his life and published the declaration of Shahada (the words on monotheism to become a Muslim) in Arabic.

At first, other users took the news as a joke. After all, an active supporter of a notorious Dutch hater of Islam, Wilders, has repeatedly approved Islamophobic statements and public actions, and personally participated in them.

But van Doorn, who now serves as a regional adviser at the City Hall in The Hague, personally confirmed his decision to practice Islam in an official letter to the city Mayor.

Most recently, the politician filed a formal application to the mayor of the city to allow him to perform prayers obligatory for Muslims during his working hours.

The information on conversion of van Doorn to Islam was confirmed on the official website of the mosque Al-Yaqeen in The Hague.

“We wish brother Arnoud a good new life as a Muslim and a lot of strength with the acquisition of knowledge”, the website says.

After accepting Islam, van Doorn gave an exclusive interview to Qatari English-language TV channel Al Jazeera, the text of which he published on his Twitter page:…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Ireland: Both Parents Jailed for Truant Teen?

(IRISH INDEPENDENT) — A JUDGE who warned a teenage boy that he would make him choose which parent to jail over his truancy from school has insisted he will jail one or both of them if the boy’s behaviour continues.

At Galway District Court, Judge Alan Mitchell adjourned sentencing against the parents until next month in order to monitor the boy’s school attendance.

He told the 15-year-old that he continued to take a serious view of the matter and would not hesitate to jail one or both of the teen’s parents if his school attendance did not improve.

“Don’t doubt in any way whether I would send either or both parents to jail — I will do it,” he said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Ndrangheta-Linked Lombardy Councillor Trial Asked

Zambetti denies charges of buying votes from Calabrian Mob

(ANSA) — Milan, March 11 — Milan prosecutors have asked for an “immediate” trial for former Lombardy regional councillor Domenico Zambetti on charges of buying votes from the Calabrian-based ‘Ndrangheta mafia, judicial sources said Monday.

Prosecutors requested indictments for 17 others in a case probing the ‘Ndrangheta’s suspected penetration of Lombardy politics. Indictments were sought for three alleged ‘Ndrangheta bosses, Eugenio Costantino, Alessandro Gugliotta and Vincenzo Evolo. Prosecutors claim Zambetti got 4,000 votes from ‘Ndrangheta in exchange for 200,000 euros and several jobs as well as contract promises.

Zambetti denies the charges and claims the mafia forced him to make payments and promise favours.

The Lombardy government was hit by a wave of scandals last year which forced Roberto Formigoni of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of FReedom (PdL) party to step down as governor.

The PdL’s ally, the populist Northern League, was also struck by a scandal involving associates and relatives of former charismatic leader Umberto Bossi, who was also forced to quit.

Despite this, Bossi’s successor Roberto Maroni was elected Lombardy governor last month and the Pdl-League alliance won the region comfortably in the general election, contributing to the current deadlock in the Senate where no one has a majority.

The PdL governor in Lazio, Renata Polverini, also resigned after a wave of scandals and was succeeded by Nicola Zingaretti of the centre-left Democratic Party in last month’s vote.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Anti-Establishment Group Says There’ll be No Deal With Bersani

(ANSA) — Rome, March 11 — The future House whip for comedian Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement said any of its lawmakers who vote confidence in a government led by Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left alliance will be expelled. “There won’t be a deal (for a confidence vote),” said Roberta Lombardi. “If anyone decides to do it, they’ll be out of the movement”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Indictment Requested Over Senator Switch

De Gregorio allegedly received three million euros to defect

(ANSA) — Naples, March 11 — Naples prosecutors have requested that ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi be immediately sent to trial on charges of corruption over Senator Sergio De Gregorio’s change of political colours. De Gregorio has reportedly admitted to receiving three million euros to defect from the centre left during Roman Prodi’s 2006-2008 government.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Court Orders Check on Hospitalised Berlusconi

Defence team present three certificates at sex trial

(ANSA) — Milan, March 11 — A Milan court on Monday ordered medical inspectors to check on Silvio Berlusconi’s condition after the hospitalised ex-premier failed to attend a hearing of a trail into allegations he paid to have sex with an underage prostitute.

The court ordered a similar check following a request from prosecutors on Friday, when the trial was adjourned after the 76-year-old media magnate was taken into Milan’s San Raffaele hospital with uveitis, an irritation and swelling of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye. Berlusconi’s defence team on Monday presented three different medical certificates as they made a petition for “legitimate impediment” for him to skip Monday’s hearing, including one that said he risked heart complications.

The court rejected “legitimate impediment” petitions from Berlusconi’s lawyers, Niccolo Ghedini and Piero Longo.

Ghedini and Longo are lawmakers for Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party and they said they could not take part in Monday’s hearing on the grounds that they have to attend a meeting with party Secretary Angelino Alfano.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Threatens to Quit His Grassroots Movement if it Backs the Centre-Left

Rome, 11 March (AKI/Bloomberg) — Beppe Grillo, the comedian-turned politician whose Five-Star Movement won 25 percent of the vote in last month’s Italian elections, said he would quit politics if his party members support a government led by Pier Luigi Bersani’s Democratic Party.

“If there were a confidence vote by the parliamentary group of the Five-Star Movement in favor of the ones that have destroyed Italy, I would retire from politics,” Grillo said late yesterday in a post on Twitter.

The Democratic Party won a majority in the parliament’s Chamber of Deputies, while Grillo and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi each won blocking minorities in the Senate. Bersani would need to win a confidence vote in the Senate to govern, so gaining support of Grillo’s forces would be critical.

Bersani last week presented an eight-point program for a possible administration, focusing on fighting corruption and shrinking the size and cost of government, issues that have been central to Grillo’s platform and electoral success. While some Five-Star members have signaled they’d be open to tacitly supporting Bersani taking power, Grillo’s Twitter post seems to shut the door on any type of alliance.

Grillo said he won’t consult his party members on whether to support the PD’s efforts to support a government.

“There won’t be any internal referendum to ask for support for a government of the PD minus the ‘L’ or any kind of pseudo- technical government,” he wrote on Twitter, signaling that he sees little difference between the Democratic Party, or PD, and Berlusconi’s People of Liberty Party, the PDL.

The new parliament will meet for the first time on March 15 and will begin choosing leaders before President Giorgio Napolitano starts consultations with parties to see if anyone can muster the support to put together a government. As Bersani won a majority in the lower house, he will probably get the first chance to test support.

Grillo has said the only option his party would support would be for Napolitano to ask Five Star to form a government.

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

Italy: Centre-Right Calls on President to Protect Democracy

(AGI) — Milan, Mar 11 — We trust President Napolitano to protect democracy, said secretary of the centre-right PDL, Angelino Alfano. “We have a partner we trust, and that is the President of the Republic and the Superior Council of the Judiciary,” Alfano said during an impromptu press conference outside the courthouse. “We are confident that Napolitano will respond to our concern about this emergency for democracy,” he added.

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

Italy: PDL MPs Enter Milan Court to Protest Berlusconi Inquests

(AGI) — Milan, Mar 11 — PDL MPs, gathered outside of the Milan Court to protest against the latest judiciary inquests involving Silvio Berlusconi have entered the building. Deputies and Senators have gone to the first floor, symbolically stopping before the chamber where the Ruby trial is taking place.

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

Italy: Grillo Challenges Bersani, Refuse Electoral Reimbursement

(AGI) — Rome, Mar 11 — Beppe Grillo has not given up and has upped the ante with regards to the PD, challenging Bersani to say “no” to electoral reimbursements. “To facilitate the job, I have prepared the document which Bersani can sign to make his refusal official. Bersani, sign here! Fewer words and more facts,” Grillo wrote on his blog, launching a campaign aimed at the PD Secretary on Twitter.

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

Italy: Marines Won’t Return to India to Face Murder Trial Says Govt

Rome, 11 March (AKI) — Two Italian marines being tried for murder in India will not return there when their current leave expires, as New Delhi does not have jurisdiction over the case, Italy’s foreign ministry announced Monday in a statement.

‘Italy has always argued that Indian authorities have violated their obligations under international law…especially the principle of immunity from trial by the organs of a foreign state and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the statement said.

The decision not to send Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone back to India was taken by Italy’s defence and justice ministries in consultation with the prime minister’s office, the foreign ministry said.

The two marines have been at the centre of a year-long international row for allegedly shooting dead two Indian fishermen from an oil tanker during an anti-piracy mission in waters off the southern Indian state in February 2012.

Italy claims the incident occurred in international waters and has been trying to get Latorre and Girone tried in Italian courts. India alleges the shooting occurred in its own territory.

Indian authorities last month granted Latorre and Girone leave permits to return to Italy to vote in the 24-25 February national election and earlier allowed them home for Christmas.

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

Papabili: The Italians

Scola leads running but Bagnasco and Ravasi also named

(ANSA) — Rome, March 11 — Here are penpix of the three Italians touted as successors to Benedict.

ANGELO SCOLA Archbishop of Milan and former bishop of Venice, 72, this son of a Milanese truck driver with doctorates in Christian philosophy and theology is seen as an intellectual heavyweight like Benedict but someone with a common touch, who can reach out more effectively than the naturally diffident German — though he recently suspended his Twitter account.

Popular also outside the Church, and the current bookies’ favourite, he has boosted inter-religious dialogue with his much-lauded Muslim-Christian organization, Oasis. But he is known to have opponents in the Curia and after being in the forefront of Church politics some say he could herald more continuity than change. Has said that spiritually inclined people “are suffering from “a kind of amnesia about God, and we have to reawaken God in their hearts and minds”. He says the Church’s job now is “to help people to remember God”.

ANGELO BAGNASCO Archbishop of Genoa and head of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI), 70, this former altar boy from a town near Genoa has intellectual clout as a philosophy graduate who once taught metaphysics at a Milan theological institute. He is a doctrinal conservative who has not hesitated to urge Catholic politicians to remember Church teachings when making social and bioethical laws. His condemnation of same-sex unions brought him death threats, and a police guard. Has an austere image, and does not tweet.

His close association with Benedict and standing as the leader of Italy’s bishops bolster his chances among those wanting continuity and a return of the Petrine throne to the ‘safe’ hands of an Italian for the first time since the 33-day reign of John Paul I in 1978…

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Two Front-Runners Emerge as Pope Candidates

Cardinals of Milan and San Paolo both far from reaching quorum

(ANSA) — Vatican City, March 11 — With 48 hours before the cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel, the start of the conclave looks increasingly like a run-off between two candidates. Cardinal of Milan, Angelo Scola, and the Cardinal of San Paolo, Odilo Pedro Scherer are the two vying contenders reportedly starting off with a substantial “packet of votes”. However, nearly half of the 115 voting cardinals are still undecided and have not expressed a preference, say reports. For this reason, the game for the election of Benedict XVI’s successor has yet to take shape. Many say this, especially cardinals who in private conversations have spoken of a situation of “great uncertainty” in recent hours, and have expressed more than one worry about division in the heart of the College of Cardinals, and about a stalemate that could elude any name that coalesces the necessary consensus.

Scola, age 71, having guided Venice and Milan — two dioceses from which five popes have emerged in the last century — is the strongest among Italian contenders, although his support comes mostly from a heterogeneous international group (Nothern Europeans, North and South Americans, and a few Italians) with a goal of electing a pope who can reform the Roman Curia, which is currently undergoing a number of actions on the part of the pre-conclave general congregations.

Scherer, age 63, head of the most populous diocese in the world, is the candidate for those who are more closely tied to current Roman Curia and hopes for greater continuity. His strong card is supporter Giovanni Battista Re, the bishops’ ex-prefect with whom Scherer worked for years in Rome. Scherer is also tied to the Roman Curia by his seat on the supervisory board of the Vatican Bank (IOR). Uncertainty as how things will play out, and how open the possible outcome is, is underlined by the fact that votes backing Scola number less than 40, and votes backing Scherer barely reach 30, far from the quorum of 77 necessary for election, or two-thirds of the 115-member electorate. One will see at the first ballot on Tuesday afternoon, if one of the two has catalyzed the 45 or so votes necessary for moving forward.

If such a prospect does not materialize, more than one candidate could pick up the baton in the name of his consolidated pastoral experience — like the French Canadian Marc Ouellet, the Hungarian Peter Erdo, or even the Americans Timothy Dolan or Sean O’Malley.

In the background, there are true outsider figures, like the young Philippine Luis Antonio Tagle or the Mexican Francisco Robles Ortega. An altogether different matter is the possible “ticket” matching ‘papabile’, or a papal contenders, like Scola and Scherer, with names that would flank them as foreign secretary — the post that wields the levers of Vatican power. For this post, names circulating for days include the Argentinian Leonardo Sandri and the Italian Mauro Piacenza.

Negotiations, in any case, are completely open. The cardinals have dedicated Sunday — apart from masses in the Roman churches they lead — to confidential talks and meetings that will continue Monday, the eve of the conclave. For many, the need expressed in the general congregation is to find a figure able to turn the Roman Curia around, to carry out much desired reform with collegiality, an inheritance never implemented by the Council.

Widespread among the cardinals are fatigue, unease, and suffering from scandals that have marked that recent years — like Vatileaks, the dossier of which was drawn up by three detective-cardinals, Julian Herranz, Jozef Tomko and Salvatore De Giorgi, and which hangs, a true sword of Damocles, over this conclave. Can a name capable of truly cleaning house emerge from these conditions — a task before which Ratzinger himself surrendered? At this point, one will only know after the white smoke rises above the Vatican.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Man Stabbed in Neck After Mass Brawl Breaks Out at Sandown Park Racecourse

Ten men were quizzed by detectives today after a horse racing punter was stabbed in the neck during a horrific mass brawl at a popular racecourse.

Forensic officers were combing a large area of the car park and concourse for clues as a major investigation was launched into the brutal fight which erupted at the end of a day’s racing at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey.

The row broke out between two groups of suited men at 6.15pm on Saturday and emergency vehicles raced to the scene after security staff called 999.

Brawling punters were seen throwing punches and shouting at each other during a frantic scuffle, before a man aged in his forties received the deep gash to his neck…

Eight further men, all aged in their 30s apart from one man in his 20s, remained in custody and continued to be questioned on suspicion of affray.

All of the men arrested were from south and west London except for one man who was from Essex, a police spokesman said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vatican: Final Pre-Conclave Talks Centre on Bank

Rome, 11 March (AKI) — At their final meeting on the eve of the conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, cardinals discussed the Vatican bank, spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

But he played down the importance of the Vatican bank’s governance to the election of a new pope.

“Cardinals want information but this is not the most urgent or the most crucial issue for the conclave,” he told journalists.

The bank and the curia (the Vatican government) were debated over the past week by cardinals gathered in Rome to debate the Catholic Church future ahead of the conclave.

Last year European regulators said the Vatican bank was not doing enough to combat money laundering. Corruption and power struggles in the Vatican curia were revealed by documents leaked by Benedict’s butler in ‘Vatileaks’ — one of many scandals that shook Benedict’s papacy.

The ten pre-conclave meetings have been held under an oath of secrecy, but Italian newspapers have published what they say are leaked details of the debates, including on the Vatileaks scandal, a confidential report on which is said to allege a powerful ‘gay lobby’ inside the curia, claims attacked by the Vatican.

Lombardi said he expected a “short conclave” but said it was “unlikely” a new pope would be chosen in the first round of voting by the 115 cardinal electors in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel on Tuesday.

The Jesuit priest has been the sole authoritative official source of information on the pre-conclave discussions this month

The Holy See is currently vacant after 85-year-old Benedict stepped down on 28 February, saying he lacked the physical and mental strength to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

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

Vatican: Bookies Favour Italy’s Angelo Scola as Next Pope

Rome, 11 March (AKI) — Italian cardinal Angelo Scola is now leading the race to be the next pope, according to Irish bookmaker Paddypower. At 2-1, Scola has overtaken the previous front-runner, Ghana’s Peter Turkson at 4-1, Italy’s Tarcisio Bertone at 5-1 and Brazil’s Pedro Odilo Scherer at 7-1.

Most Vatican experts predict the conclave to elect Benedict XVI’s successor will be a contest between reformists, headed by the likes of Scola, who is archbishop of Milan, and Marc Ouellet of Canada, and conservatives such as Cardinal Pedro Odilo Scherer of Brazil.

The successful candidate will need to secure at least 77 votes from the 115 cardinal electors, with the first round of secret voting due to begin in the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said on Monday he expected a “short conclave” but said it was “unlikely” a new pope would be chosen in the first round of voting.

From Wednesday onwards, two votes will be held each morning and afternoon with ballots burned after each session until one candidate attains the required 77 votes — a two-thirds majority.

Red curtains have been hung from St Peter’s central balcony overlooking the square, from where the new pope will be introduced to the crowds below once he is elected.

Later on Monday, some 90 support staff connected to the the functioning of the conclave — from lift operators to doctors and priests, cooks and cleaners — were due to take an oath of secrecy in the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel.

The punishment for breaching this oath is excommunication.

Anyone caught leaking any information will face immediate excommunication.

Special technology has been installed to jam any mobile phones or other devices which could breach the strict secrecy of the process and with the exception of the cardinals, everyone else will be searched and made to pass through metal detectors.

The windows to the Sistine Chapel, famous throughout the word for its frescoes painted by Michelangelo, have reportedly been curtained to shield the cardinal electors from photographers’ long lenses, as the chapel is visible from St Peter’s Square and the Vatican gardens.

Anti-bugging devices are believed to have been concealed beneath a false floor installed in the chapel last week, along with stoves for the burning of ballots and to send up the smoke that announces whether there is a new pope.

A cold rainy front hitting in Rome this week could pose problems for the traditional white smoke signal from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney that indicates a new pontiff has been elected.

Vatican watchers are expecting a new pope to be announced on Thursday, which is likely to be the wettest day, Antonio Sano, from Italian weather website told Adnkronos.

A total of 5,600 members of the world’s press have been accredited to cover the conclave, according to Lombardi.

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

38 Dead and 378 Poisoned by Home-Made Alcohol in Libya

(AGI) — Tripoli, Mar 11 — Thirty-eight Libyans have died and 378 have been poisoned by drinking home-made alcohol, the Health Ministry announced. Over 250 of the cases of poisoning were reported in Tripoli and the rest in two near-by towns of Zawia and Al Zahra. Producing home-made alcohol is a widespread practice in Libya and in other Muslim countries which ban the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks.

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

Egyptian Christian Dies in Benghazi Whilst in Custody of Muslim Extremists

The cause of death of Evangelical Christian Ezzat Hakim Attalah remains unclear. The 45-year-old man was arrested on 28 February along with five other Egyptians on charges of distributing religious material. More than 50 Egyptian Copts arrive home after weeks in Salafist hands. They complain about harassment and torture.

Benghazi (AsiaNews) — An Egyptian Evangelical Christian died after spending ten days in a Benghazi jail. Ezzat Hakim Attalah (pictured), a 45-year-old father of two, was arrested on 28 February along with five fellow Evangelicals on charges of proselytising, Middle East Christian News Agency (MCN-Direct) reported.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry sources said that Attalah, who suffered from diabetes and heart ailments, died of natural causes. Speaking to MCN-Direct, Attalah’s wife Ragaa Abdullah Guirguis said that he died because of the pressures and torture by Libyan prison guards. She said that she would seek the help of international lawyers to establish the real cause of his death.

The case of the Egyptian Evangelical Christian in Libya is symptomatic of the tragic fate of Christians in Libya, victims of Salafist groups that control the country’s Cyrenaica region.

Last week, extremists imprisoned more than 50 Coptic pedlars for allegedly showing icons and other religious material on their stalls.

Reports about the event went viral worldwide when Libyan activists posted a video about the incident, which Libyan police eventually seized.

Once they arrived home, the Coptic pedlars complained of beatings and torture at the hands of Muslim extremists who used acid to remove traditional Coptic tattoos representing crosses and other Christian symbols from their hands, chest and forehead.

Since Gaddafi’s fall, the number of attacks against foreign residents has increased, mostly against Egyptians, especially Catholic and Orthodox Copts.

Last month, four foreigners from Egypt, South Africa, South Korea and a Swede with a US passport were arrested for allegedly circulating Bibles and other religious material. They are currently in a Tripoli jail waiting for trial.

Catholic religious orders have also been targeted by Muslim groups despite operating in the country for decades in hospitals and nursing homes.

In January, Islamists forced the Franciscan Sisters of the Infant Jesus to leave the city of Barca. The same thing happened to the Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the city of Bayda.

In October, the Sisters of the Convent of the Sacred Family of Spoleto were forced out of Derna even though local residents wanted them to stay. (S.C.)

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

Egypt: Copt’s Death in Libyan Custody Sparks Demo Call

Cairo, 11 March (AKI) — The Coptic Youth Front has called for protests on outside the Libyan embassy in Cairo starting Monday to protest the death in custody of an Egyptian copt, Al-Ahram daily reports.

Authorities said Ezzat Hakim died over the weekend from diabetes but the Coptic Youth Front alleges he was tortured by security forces in a prison in in the eastern Libyan port city of Benghazi.

Hakim was one of a hundred Egyptian Copts arrested in February after a group of Salafite Muslims raided a church in Benghazi accusing them of allegedly spreading Christianity in Libya.

The front says it will continue to hold protests until all those kidnapped are freed and paid compensation. It is also demanding that Libya make an official apology to Egypt’s Copts.

Hakim’s brother told Al-Ahram in an interview that he had been detained and tortured for almost a month without anyone intervening, including the Coptic Orthdox Church.

The front claimed the other Copts detained were severely tortured and blamed the ministry of foreign affairs for Hakim’s torture and death.

The arrests of the Copts in February were the latest in a series of recent incidents targeting minority Christians in Libya.

In December, two Egyptian Christians were killed and two injured when suspected Islamists threw a homemade bomb at a Coptic Orthodox church in western Libya.

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

Frank Gaffney: Investigate Benghazigate

After Iraq was liberated from Saddam Hussein’s despotic misrule, critics denounced the then-incumbent president with the charge that “Bush lied, people died.” It never ceases to amaze that among the most prominent of those making this slanderous accusation were past and present Democratic legislators who had publicly pronounced exactly what George W. Bush did: Saddam possessed — and used — weapons of mass destruction (WMD). And they, like Mr. Bush, had every reason to believe and did believe that such weapons, or worse, might be used again unless his regime were overthrown.

Put simply, there never had been any conscious or deliberate effort to deceive the American people. Neither did the President seek to deflect responsibility for his actions. To the contrary, his top political advisor, Karl Rove, subsequently acknowledged that his greatest mistake — at least until he made a centi-million-dollar hash-up of Campaign 2012 — was preventing any official effort from being mounted to counter the calumny about Mr. Bush lying about Iraqi WMD, with the predictable effect of allowing the credibility of the Bush 43 presidency to be destroyed…

           — Hat tip: CSP [Return to headlines]

IDF Chief of Staff: High Probability of Regional Deterioration

Addressing Herzliya Conference, IDF chief says if calm in north is violated, ‘I’d rather be an Israeli civilian, and not a Lebanese civilian.’ On Gaza: We must distinguish between Hamas’ inflammatory declarations and what it’s actually doing

           — Hat tip: DW [Return to headlines]

Al Qaeda Claims to Have Killed 48 Syrian Troops in Iraq

(AGI) — Baghdad, Mar 11 — An Iraq-based Al-Qaeda group claims to have attacked a Syrian military convoy in Iraq, killing 48 Damascus troops and nine Iraqi security guards, reads a note posted in a Jihadist forum. The soldiers had entered into Iraq to receive medical treatment and they were traveling in the western province of Anbar, heading back to Syria, when they were attacked last March 4, informed Iraq’s Defense Minister.

Al-Qaeda reported that the the militias of the ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ destroyed a convoy of the “Safavid army…transporting the Nusairi troops the Syrian regime shabiha”. Safavid is a derogatory term with which Shia are accused of being under the control of Iran while ‘Nusairi’ is another offensive term for the Alawites, a religious group to which the Assad family belongs. Up to now Baghdad has tried to keep neutral in the Syrian crisis but the attack on its territory and the continuous demonstrations against the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is accused of sectarian discrimination, risk involving the Country in the conflict.

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

Could Stuxnet Have Triggered the Alleged Explosion at Fordow?

A new report by Reza Kahlili at WorldNetDaily (WND) raises the speculative possibility of whether Stuxnet might have triggered the alleged explosion at the Iranian underground enrichment facility at Fordow that allegedly occurred on January 21st, “Iran nuke-site blasts confirmed, sabotage suspected”. If that was possible was it the older version, Stuxnet 0.5 rather than a later version. Moreover, was it an act of possible sabotage and what stage in the enrichment process could have produced such a massive explosion? If Stuxnet was involved in the explosions at Fordow might it have been Version 0.5 recently discovered by the anti-virus firm Symantec. A Security Affairs report, citing the Symantec analysis, noted the important differences between the earlier Version of Stuxnet and later ones. The most important change between the two versions was the strategy of attack of the different versions, earlier Stuxnet had the ability to shut critical gas valves potentially causing an explosion later version replaced this capability with the one to alter the speed of centrifuges, anyway Stuxnet significantly increased in time its spreading capabilities introducing exploits for various vulnerabilities. As to what might have caused explosions at the Fordow enrichment facility we asked Dr. Frederick Leder, an energy industry expert familiar with the uranium enrichment proceess. He noted: Hydrogen is used in the process of converting uranium ore (yellow cake) to uranium hexafluoride. On the assumption that this conversion is done at Fordow, he speculates that the explosion might have been hydrogen released into the work space, either by accident or sabotage, reacting with the air in the facility. The mystery about Fordow persists. We await independent information as to whether the Stuxnet malworm sabotage or an industrial accident may have triggered a release of hydrogen causing the explosion at the underground enrichment facility.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Iran: Tehran Issues Further Curbs on Internet Freedom

Block on virtual private networks (VPNs) that allow access to the network bypassing the state filter. The move comes ahead of presidential elections in June and recalling the role played by tools such as Facebook in the 2009 ‘“Green Wave” movement.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The Iranian authorities decision to block “virtual private networks”, VPNs, that allow access to bypassing government internet filters is being seen as a “preventive” move ahead of presidential elections this June.

The Iranian Constitution Article .34 in fact permits the State to restrict freedom of expression, declaring, “Publications and the press have freedom of expression except when there is infringement of the basic tenets of Islam or public rights.” But neither “the general principles of Islam,” nor “public rights” are constitutionally defined, which allows authorities to interpret them according to their wishes. It is a widespread filter system that prevents access to sites deemed “offensive or criminal”.

Confirming yesterday blocking of VPN, Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard, the head of parliament’s information and communications technology committee, said that “only legal and registered VPN scan from now on be used.”

The authorities move is related to the June presidential elections, given what happened in 2009, when the previous vote that saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected. A result widely disputed — also dogged by allegations of fraud — which saw mass demonstrations of the “Green Wave” movement (pictured). Tools such as Facebook were used by the protesters to pass information on public protests.

The harsh repression seems to have virtually suppressed the Green Wave movement, but apparently the authorities still believe it is simmering beneath the surface and will do anything to prevent it from reigniting.

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

Iran: Christians on Trial for ‘Action Against National Security’

‘Government is looking to stop the spread of Christianity’

Iran is now putting five Christians arrested in October on trial for “action against national security” in what some say is the Islamic republic’s all-out effort to stop the spread of Christianity.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that Church of Iran members Mohammad Roghangir, Surush Saraie, Eskandar Rezaie, Shahin Lahooti and Massoud Rezaie will stand trial before the Revolutionary Court for disturbing public order, evangelizing, action against national security and Internet activity against the system.

The Iranian Christian news site Mohabat News reported that in addition to the five arrested in October, four other Christian believers arrested more than a year ago are still being held in the Revolutionary Guard prison in Shiraz.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide spokesman Kiri Kankhwende said his organization stands by the Iranian Christians.

“We continue to advocate in the international arena for these and many other prisoners in Iran. The prisoners may well be imprisoned for longer, though they have already been detained for some time,” Kankhwende said.

He said the Iranian government has one simple goal.

“By sentencing Christians such as these, the Iranian government is looking to stop the spread of Christianity,” Kankhwende said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Islamist Media Digitally Cover Prominent Western Women

Many Western political woman have acquiesced to Islamist customs and donned hijabs, a subject I have been following in some detail. But what happens when a woman covers insufficiently for the Islamists? Well, they do the job for her. This blog reports on Photoshopped efforts by prudes in Iran, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Report: Mid-East War on Bilderberg 2013 Agenda

John Kerry labels Bilderberg protesters “hoodlums”

US Secretary of State John Kerry also weighed in, responding to concerns that there had been no boots on the ground and no direct US or NATO military intervention in Syria by remarking, “we can fix that.”

On the same day, Kerry gave a news conference in London asserting that Syrian rebels would not be left, “dangling in the wind wondering where the support is or if it’s coming.”

The issue of regime change in Syria was also on the agenda during last year’s conference, which was attended by Syrian National Transitional Council head Bassma Kodmani.

Kerry also hinted that the 2013 Bilderberg meeting will take place in the United States for an unprecedented second year running because no matter where the secretive group hosts its annual confab, “hoodlums” will always show up to demonstrate.

“In another indication Bilderberg will again meet in Chantilly, Virginia (though definitely not a certainty), Kerry said it is “most convenient” because “there are so many reasons for people around the world to fly to Washington. It’s easy to drop in on Bilderberg on a weekend when you have scheduled meetings at the State Department, White House or wherever. We know the hoodlums will be there wherever we meet. So make it convenient for everybody,” reports Tucker.

Kerry’s arrogant vitriol directed towards vocal opponents of Bilderberg’s undemocratic agenda has become a general theme in recent years.

During last year’s confab in Chantilly, a source working inside the Westfields Marriott hotel told London Guardian journalist Charlie Skelton that Bilderberg attendees referred to protesters outside the hotel as “cockroaches”.

During the 2010 Bilderberg meeting in Spain, members were overheard complaining about the fact that demonstrators could even afford to travel to different countries in order to make their voices heard and that the fact they still had an income that allowed them to do so was a “permanent threat” to and “very scary” to Bilderberg’s agenda.

Bilderberg’s possible decision to avoid Europe for a second year running, which would represent a first in the group’s history, could have been prompted by events during the 2011 conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland, during which Bilderberg members were directly confronted by protesters. Dominique Baettig, a prominent member of Switzerland’s largest political party, also attempted to confront other Swiss politicians attending the secretive confab and called for a parliamentary investigation into the activities of the group.

Italian lawyer Alfonso Luigi Marra also recently requested that the Public Prosecutor of Rome investigate Bilderberg for criminal activity, another good reason for its members to avoid gathering in Europe.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Syria: EU: 30 Extra Mln to Lebanon for Refugees Emergency

Fule in Beirut, we remain committed to assisting the government

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MARCH 05 — The European Commission will provide an additional 30 million euros to Lebanon to alleviate the impact of the high influx of refugees from Syria.

“Lebanon receives the highest number of people fleeing the horrible bloodshed in Syria and we know that it puts this country under enormous strain” said Stefan Fule, the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy, during his visit to Beirut. “The EU — Fule added — remains committed to assisting the Lebanese Government in its response to the refugee crisis”. Today’s announcement of the additional 30 million euros brings the total amount of financial assistance offered by the European Commission to Lebanon in relation to the Syrian crisis to almost 75 million euros in humanitarian and non-humanitarian aid. The objective of this special measure is to reinforce the national capacity to deal with the unprecedented number of refugees and provide financial support for the Government’s plan to mitigate the consequences this has for the country. While being the smallest of Syria’s neighbouring countries, Lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees. By the end of February it received more than 325,000 Syrian nationals in addition to a similar number already present in country previously (e.g. seasonal workers in agriculture and construction). There are also estimated 31,500 arrivals of Palestinian refugees from Syria. Out of the 30 million euros announced today to help Lebanon to cope with the refugee crisis, 5 million euros would be designated for Palestinian refugees from Syria.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Myanmar: Naypyidaw: Oil and Gas Auction to Attract Foreign Investment

In April, more than 20 production blocks off the coast will be sold to the highest bidder. The Burmese government intends to attract capital from abroad, but also must deal with their own needs. With the old military contracts, about 80% of the production ended up abroad. Aung San Suu Kyi: economic reforms in tandem with the confidence of investors.

Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) — This April, the Burmese government will auction off exploration rites for more than 20 regional blocks containing oil and natural gas, which are embedded in the sea off the coast. The government hopes to accelerate foreign investment in Myanmar and rely on the help of experts, to overcome the “chronic energy deficit” caused by the policies of the military junta in power until March 2011. Meanwhile, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi notes that “confidence” of investors is essential to promote “all economic reform.” “No potential investor — added the Nobel Laureate — is willing to do business, if he lacks confidence in the [political life of] country.”

According to the Burmese Investment Commission, in the first nine months of the fiscal year 2012/2013, Myanmar received nearly 800 million dollars in foreign investment, but its energy sources are its biggest attraction. In addition, foreign companies seem more interested in offshore fields, because they retain “greater potential” than those on the mainland.

Myanmar produces more natural gas than necessary to meet domestic demand. However, based on contracts signed in the past by the military, the nation exports about 80% of the product, approximately 1.2000000000 to 1.4000000000 cubic meters, to neighboring Thailand. For June, the start of operations of the pipeline headed for China, which is expected to pump another 400 million cubic meters daily is also planned — even if the date is likely to slip given the ethnic conflict in Burma’s Kachin State.

The current agreements that are still in force have lead to heavy deficit in domestic needs with Myanmar only accessing half of the gas needed to meet the overall energy consumption. It reflects the “drama” of a nation that seeks to open up to the future and the international community, but confined to patterns, dynamics, and agreements entered into by a bloody and corrupt military junta. The government wants to renegotiate these contracts, for internal purposes, without frustrating foreign investors.

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

Nepal: In Honor of Shiva Women Gurus Can Also Go Naked

Until now, only male gurus could beg without clothes. To avoid speculation and cases of prostitution, the government creates the “ID for devotees.” Among the most important festivals of the Hindu calendar, the Mahashivaratri gathers hundreds of thousands of people from Nepal and India.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — For the first time in the history of Nepal, women can go naked in the celebration of Mahashivaratri, a festival in honor of the god Shiva. Until now, the nudity was the exclusive prerogative of men. The news has been criticized by the population residing near the temple of Pashupatinath (Kathma du). This has prompted the government to distribute among the “sadu” (sages of both sexes) an “identity card for devotees” to prevent possible cases of prostitution, exhibitionism, or other offensive acts not linked to religion.

Shusil Nahata, the government delegate for the celebrations, said: “We have decided to release these ID’s to certify these people as ‘Nangababa’ (naked sages). To beg in the temple they must show these ID cards.” As for the presence of naked women, the official said that is a trend that has already occurred in Kumbhafair in India about a month ago. “It’s likely — he adds — that those present at Pashupatinath belong to the same group.”

The Mahashivaratri is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar. Every year the festival draws thousands of Hindu holy men from all over the country and from India and around 500 thousand faithful. In the weeks prior to the festival, which this year falls on March 10, the authorities of the temple of Pashupatinath reserve the different areas where gurus can beg and live. None of them wear any clothes in order to reach a level of pure asceticism and get in touch with God. Many Hindu devotees leave offerings to these gurus, considering them a reincarnation of Lord Shiva.

The worship includes a day and a night of fasting and vigil. In addition to the offerings of food and incense, the ritual allows the consumption of hashish and marijuana in honor of the God. For 2013, the government has taken serious measures to control the Hindu gurus, caught on several occasions selling drugs and demanding sexual services from young devotees.

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

Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Vandalised in Pakistan

The picture of the slain minister was paint sprayed and a poster ripped off. The attack occurred on the same day that scores of Christian homes were set on fire in Lahore. The Minority Affairs minister was killed on 2011 for his opposition to the blasphemy law.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — The memorial dedicated to Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Catholic minister of Minority Affairs murdered in 2011, was vandalised in broad daylight last Saturday.

The pictured was paint sprayed and a poster honouring him was ripped off. Flowers and candles that framed the monument have disappeared.

The incident occurred at the same time as a mob set fire to 178 homes in a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore. The two are connected.

The Bhatti Memorial is located in Lahore’s Sector I/8, one of the areas with the most traffic. And yet, no one tried to stop the perpetrators, who remain at large.

Shahbaz Bhatti was killed on 2 March 2011 in an ambush by masked men. According to the investigation, the Catholic minister was killed for his opposition to the blasphemy law.

He was also well known for defending Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five sentenced to death on the basis of the ‘black law’.

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

China: Boiled Corn: Not Shark Fin on Today’s NPC Menu

Some 90 billionaires sit in China’s parliament, including the country’s wealthiest man. However, rhetorically at least, Xi Jinping’ fight against corruption and excess is in full swing: no expensive food, no 5-star hotels and no fancy airport welcome for this year’s delegates.

Beijing (AsiaNews) — As everybody waits for Xi Jinping’s inaugural speech as China’s new president, the anti-corruption and anti-luxury rhetoric campaign of the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, head of its ‘fifth generation’ of leaders, has infused the preparations underway for the upcoming session of the National People’s Congress. This year, the members of China’s parliament, which meets once a year to approve the decisions made during the rest of the year by the party’s politburo, will not be served lobster or shark fin in a 5-star hotel even though some of them are among the richest men in the world.

“There’s basically no more meat for breakfast now. We’re eating at buffets as if we’re travelling with an ordinary travel agency that has put us up in a hotel with no-star grading,” said Han Deyun, a lawyer from Chongqing who has been a congress delegate for 11 years. “Lunch and dinners are also simpler, four or five hot dishes, but no seafood.” In fact, Wednesday’s lunch featured egg drop soup, boiled corn, stir-fried bok choy and sticky rice with pork.

Xi Jinping is behind the more mundane style. In November, when he replaced Hu Jintao as party leader, he warned the comrades that corruption and excesses would not be tolerated. His were not mere words.

Increasingly, ordinary Chinese are sick and tired of corrupt officials and politicians. More and more are openly criticising the disparities of the one-party state. Its leaders are now increasingly fearful that it might collapse as a result of popular resentment.

For various analysts, the incoming president will use this year NPC’s session to test the ground to see if a major overhaul can be done to the system in order to redistribute better the country’s wealth. Opening the domestic market as recently promised with the potential for higher average wages is one step in such a direction.

However, Xi’s proposals to reduce social inequality might fail because some 90 NPC delegates have assets measured in billions of yuan and might have some objections to redistributive policies.

Indeed, these 90 members are on the list of the country’s 1,000 richest people published by the Shanghai-based Hurun Report, up 20 per cent from 75 last year. Everyone on the Hurun list had a fortune of at least 1.8 billion yuan (US$ 289.4 million).

“The National People’s Congress has a lot of rich businesspeople who have the knowledge and the means to make laws, and that’s a privilege the rest of society doesn’t have,” said Yang Fengchun, an associate professor of government and management at Peking University. “The common people believe that they can’t protect the rights of the weak.”

The richest member of the NPC-and China’s wealthiest person-is Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. Chairman Zong Qinghou, 67, who has an estimated personal fortune of US$ 17.1 billion.

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

North Korea Declares War Truce ‘Invalid’

Pyongyang Claims End to 1953 Armistice, as U.S. and Seoul Conduct Joint Military Exercises; Washington Adds Sanctions.

North Korea cut off a telephone hot line to the South and “declared invalid” the Korean War armistice, as the South Korean and U.S. began Monday a second phase of their annual joint winter military exercises.

Later Monday, Washington slapped a series of new sanctions on North Korea, reflecting its deepening concern over Pyongyang’s weapons activities.


Meanwhile, South Korea said the North appeared to have cut the inter-Korean phone link at the border village of Panmunjom, through which the two sides communicate on issues along the border. A call from the Southern side around 9 a.m. failed, the South Korea’s Unification Ministry said. North Korea has cut the line temporarily in the past.

[Return to headlines]

Taiwan at Crossroads on Nuclear Power: Fourth Power Plant Ignites Controversy

The country aims to rid itself of polluting energy sources, but wind and solar power are not enough to meet needs. And nuclear energy, two years from Fukushima, terrifies the population that wants a referendum to decide on the issue.

Taipei (AsiaNews) — In addition to the world baseball championships in Japan, one of the most popular sports in Taiwan, the other issue occupying space in Taiwanese media is the debate on nuclear energy. Controversy has been raised over the completion of the fourth nuclear power plant (simply called “Nuke 4”, ??) under construction in the territory of New Taipei (? ??), in the north of the island, between the cities of Taipei and Keelung (??).

Especially after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, two years ago this March 11, opposition to the completion of the nuclear power plant has grown exponentially. In this last week many artists and TV presenters appeared on the screen or the web expressing their opposition to the completion of the plant “for our own good, that of our children and all future generations.”

Six short films were also shot by young directors to show how a nuclear accident would be catastrophic for the island’s future. A famous artist, along with other colleagues, organized a press conference in which he stressed that “it is foolish to continue on the path of nuclear power because no one knows when a natural disaster could strike and security measures are always too weak in spite of a continuous improvement” .

Taiwan has three nuclear power plants already in operation, with a strong increase at the same time in green and renewable energy sources, especially wind and solar power. The long-term program is to make the island totally free from nuclear energy for total security and sustainability as well as a completely environmentally friendly production.

The opposition party (the Progressive Democrats, ?? ?? ?) has set 2025 as the deadline to make the island free from nuclear energy. The government for its part believes this proposal impractical because, in the words of the Minister of Finance Chang Chiah-juch (?? ?), “at present the renewable sources, while considering all the incentives already available, are still too expensive. Wages will not grow in proportion to the increase in the cost of the electricity bill, if we remove all nuclear now. “

The first three nuclear power plants will be progressively dismantled by 2025, but only in view of increased efficiency from renewable energy plants and affordable electricity from these sources, the fourth power plant would be an essential support in this gradual shift from a nuclear-free Taiwan; “Even though we do not know when we can do without the fourth power plant, we certainly will not be building a fifth plant,” said the minister yesterday.

For his part, Prime Minister Jiang Yi-hua (???) said he was confident that the government will present all of the safety data in a transparent manner and the population will change its perception of the construction of the plant, seeing it as a totally safe. For this reason, yesterday the finance minister announced a special independent commission to study the safety of the plant.

In the meantime, the possibility of a popular referendum on the issue is spreading. If the proposal is approved, Lai Shyhbao (? ? ?) on behalf of Kuomintang (the Nationalist Party, ???) proposes the formula: “Do you agree with halting the construction of the fourth nuclear power plant and the preventing it from becoming operational? ‘ (“? ?? ?? ?? ? ?? ?? ?? ???”).

Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (???) said that the referendum should be taken “at the end of this year,” when more accurate data on its safety will be available and the population will be given a more accurate and less emotive account of a possible nuclear accident.

In view of this debate and the proximity of the second anniversary of the disaster at Fukushima, Saturday, March 9 several demonstrations in opposition to the construction of the plant will be held in Taiwan.

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

Nigeria Hostages: Including Italian, Killed in ‘Cold Blood’

Britain’s Hague denies raid was being launched

(ANSA) — Brussels, March 11 — An Islamist group that killed seven foreign hostages in Nigeria, including Italian engineer Silvano Trevisan, did so in “cold blood” and not because a raid was being launched to release them, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday. Trevisan was killed along with a British, a Greek and four Lebanese construction workers.

They were all abducted by al-Qaeda-linked group Ansaru in northern Nigeria’s Bauchi state last month.

“No mission to rescue the hostages was taking place,” Hague said. “This a just an excuse by the terrorists to justify something that cannot be justified…

“It was cold-blooded murder”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Gruesome Reality of Racist South Africa

[WARNING: *Extremely Disturbing content*]

Coordinated campaign of genocide being conducted against white farmers, known as Boers.

For decades, the country of South Africa was the focus of an international rallying cry against the injustices of apartheid. On June 17, 1991, South Africa’s Parliament abolished the legal framework for the practice of racial persecution. In 1994, Nelson Mandela and his Marxist African National Congress (ANC) assumed the reins of power. The international community looked away, satisfied that justice had prevailed. They continue to look away, even as South Africa has degenerated into another racist pit, best described by an Afrikaner farm owner: “It’s politically correct to kill whites these days.”

In July of 2012, Dr. Gregory Stanton, head of the nonprofit group Genocide Watch, conducted a fact-finding mission in South Africa. He concluded that there is a coordinated campaign of genocide being conducted against white farmers, known as Boers. “The farm murders, we have become convinced, are not accidental,” Stanton contended. “It was very clear that the massacres were not common crimes,” he added — especially because of the absolute barbarity used against the victims. “We don’t know exactly who is planning them yet, but what we are calling for is an international investigation,” he added.

The number of farm murders, or “plaasmoorde” as it is called in Afrikaans, is staggering. Over the last decade, it is estimated that at least 3000 Boers have been killed. Estimating the number of murders is necessary because the ANC has banned crime statistics from being compiled, claiming they scare off foreign investment. Moreover, the world knows little about the savagery that accompanies those killings.


Like so many societies where demonstrating who’s in control becomes a necessity, disarming the population becomes a priority. In 2010, the ANC-led regime changed the Firearms Registration Act, demanding that all legal guns be re-registered by July 31, 2011. In the process of re-registration, more than half the applicants were turned down, and 90 percent were turned down again on appeal. Thus, white farm families were forced to relinquish their last line of defense against the tens of thousands of criminal gangs roaming the countryside — armed with AK47s. and as Genocide Watch noted on its website last July one more step was taken as well. “The government has disbanded the commando units of white farmers that once protected their farms, and has passed laws to confiscate the farmers’ weapons,” it reported. “Disarmament of a targeted group is one of the surest early warning signs of future genocidal killings.”

[Comment: Highly recommended reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

11 Things That the Obama Administration is Doing to Promote More Illegal Immigration

Why does it seem like Barack Obama has been doing everything that he can to sabotage our border security and promote more illegal immigration? The number one responsibility of the president of the United States is to defend our nation, and yet Obama stubbornly refuses to secure our borders. In fact, he has been doing quite a bit to make it even easier for millions more drug runners, gang members and welfare parasites to enter our country illegally. This is utter insanity. Today, the U.S. government makes it exceedingly difficult for law-abiding people to enter this country legally through the “front door”, but meanwhile we leave the “back door” completely wide open. What sense does that make?

And now Obama is using the sequester cuts as an excuse to totally gut our border security. 60,000 border agents are going to be forced to take mandatory furloughs and thousands of illegal immigrants are being released from federal detention facilities due to “budget constraints”. Yet Michelle Obama still has enough taxpayer money to have Adele and Beyoncecome out and sing for her 50th birthday celebration, and the Obamas continue to take extravagant vacations that cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars. And most Americans don’t even realize that the U.S. government will still spend more money in 2013 than it did in 2012 even after the sequester cuts are factored in. So the government still has plenty of money to do everything that it needs to do. Obama is just using the sequester cuts as an excuse to gut the programs that he does not like, and that includes border security and immigration enforcement.

The sad truth is that Barack Obama never cared about protecting our borders or enforcing our immigration laws. In fact, he has done basically everything that he can within the constraints of the law to make things even easier for illegal immigrants.

The following are 11 things that the Obama administration is doing to promote more illegal immigration…

#1 The Obama administration is using the sequester cuts as an excuse to cut border security to the bone. CNN is reporting that 60,000 border agents will soon be facing mandatory furloughs…


And Barack Obama has shown time and time again that he will use the legal immigration process to benefit certain groups that he wants to favor while using it to hurt groups that he does not like.

For example, Obama wants to deport a German homeschooling family that is seeking political asylum in the United States, but he authorized an 80,000 increase in immigration from Islamic nations in 2011. Obama said that the increase from Islamic countries was “justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Coastguard Rescue 77 Migrants Aboard Boat Off Lampedusa

Palermo, 11 March (AKI) — Coastguard overnight intercepted a boat some 175 nautical miles from the tiny southernmost Italian island of Lampedusa with 77 migrants on board.

Coastguard in the Sicilian capital Palermo responded to an SOS the migrants sent by satellite phone from the boat, which was adrift. They included three woman and claimed to be Somali.

All the migrants were transferred to Lampedusa and were said to be in good health.

Thousands of migrants head for southern Italy each year, setting sail from North Africa aboard rickety people-smugglers’ boats.

According Human Rights Watch, up to as many 13,500 migrants have died since 1998 while attempting to make the dangerous crossing to Europe, including at least 1,500 in 2011, the deadliest on record.

Lampedusa was inundated with around 30,000 people during the first three months of 2011 amid popular in revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya that overthrew longtime autocratic leaders in those countries.

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

Immigration Reform: Who is Going to Play the Race Card Now?

Washington’s ruling elite is still determined to make the already broken immigration system worse by dumping millions of more people in it

A racist can be defined as “a person who believes in racism, the doctrine that a certain human race is superior to any or all others.”

Lodging the accusation of racism against people who are not racists is vile and despicable, yet in recent years the race card has been thrown around like confetti by certain media types and politicians, especially against conservatives and those Americans who want a small, efficient government. In the debate on immigration reform, people who disagree with a path to citizenship for illegal aliens can find themselves branded a racist or even a potential domestic terrorist.

The goal of playing the race card is to silence freedom of speech and intimidate Americans who dare to disagree or who speak truth to power. Playing the race card also buries the facts about the immigration crisis — created by Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike. Therefore, a person cannot simply disagree with President Obama and the bi-partisan senators of the Gang of Eight: Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) path to citizenship policy for illegal aliens based on the actual policy — no, any opposition has to be based on Obama’s skin color or an alleged hatred of Latinos otherwise America will see how the emperors have no clothes.

Do not be deceived. Playing the race card is a tactic straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. “As Alinsky wrote: “The pressure that gave us our positive power was the negative of racism in a white society. We exploited it for our own purposes.” Notably, Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dr. Kermit Gosnell ‘House of Horrors’: Philadephia Physician Accused of Severing Babies’ Spines


The Hippocratic Oath, when properly translated, doesn’t actually say, “First, do no harm.” But since the time of the ancient Greeks, that’s become the mantra for every medical professional.

Not so with Dr. Kermit Gosnell, prosecutors contend.

The 72-year-old Philadephia physician is accused of running a “house of horrors” where he performed illegal abortions past the 24-week limit prescribed by law. He used scissors, authorities say, to sever the spinal cords of newborns who emerged from their mothers still alive.

On Monday, jury selection begins in Gosnell’s trial. If he’s convicted, prosecutors want him put to death.

“A doctor who cuts into the necks severing the spinal cords of living, breathing babies, who would survive with proper medical attention, is committing murder under the law,” Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said.

The charges

Gosnell faces eight counts of murder: for the deaths of seven babies, and in the case of a 41-year-old woman who died of an anesthetic overdose during a second-trimester abortion.

The babies were born alive in the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy — but their spinal cords were severed with scissors, Williams said.

“It was a house of horrors beyond any type of definition or explanation I can humbly try to give,” Williams told CNN in January 2011, shortly after Gosnell was charged.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Excuse Me, Gay is Not Good

Now we are getting reports, even in such gay publications as The Journal of Homosexuality, that the gay-gene studies and the gay-brain studies do not stand up to critical analysis. (The author of one so-called “gay-gene theory” is under investigation by the National Institutes of Health for scientific fraud.)

Causes of Homosexual Disorder

I was not surprised to hear this. My long clinical experience and a sizable body of psychoanalysis research tell me that most [homosexuals]are reacting, at an unconscious level, to something amiss with their earliest upbringing- over-controlling mothers and abdicating fathers. Through long observation I have also learned that the supposedly liberated homosexual is never really free. In his multiple, same-sex adventures, even the most effeminate gay was looking to incorporate the manhood of others, because he was in a compulsive, never-ending search for the masculinity that was never allowed to build and grow in early childhood…

And, when homosexuality takes on all the aspects of a political movement, it, too, becomes a war, the kind of war in which the first casualty is truth, and the spoils turn out to be our own children. An exaggeration? Well, what are we to think when militant homosexuals seek to lower the age of consensual sexual intercourse between homosexual men and young boys to the age of 14 (as they did in Hawaii in 1993) or 16 (as they tried to do in England in 1994)? In the Washington March for Gay Pride in 1993, they chanted, “We’re here. We’re queer. And we’re coming after your children.”

What more do we need to know?

[Return to headlines]

Facebook ‘Likes’ Could Reveal Your Race, Gender, Political Leanings, Creed and Even Sexuality

(CNN) — Your Facebook “likes” might be revealing more than you know about your private life.

It is possible to predict potentially private traits such as a person’s sexual orientation, political leanings, religion, intelligence, emotional stability and even if they abuse drugs or alcohol, just by analyzing their Facebook likes, according to a new study out of the University of Cambridge.

Liking something on Facebook is a simple, almost mindless way to pass time on the social networking site, which says it has more than a billion users worldwide. With one click, people can “like” pages — for brands, public figures, memes, music and groups — as well as articles, photos or status updates from their friends. But that quick action can be a powerful statement.

“Facebook likes have a meaning that we can use to understand the psychology behind what people do,” says David Stillwell, a co-author of the study.

Researchers looked at the Facebook profiles and likes, along with surveys and personality tests, for 58,466 individuals. Using that data, they developed a model that predicts personal attributes from Facebook likes with impressive accuracy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How America Went Gay

For more than 20 years, I and a few psychiatrists have felt like an embattled minority, because we have continued to insist that gays aren’t born that way.

For most of this (20th) century, we have considered this behavior aberrant…a pathology. We had patients who would seek out one sex partner after another-total strangers-on a single night, then come limping into our offices the next day to tell us how they were hurting themselves. Since we were in the business of helping people learn how not to keep hurting themselves, many of us thought we were quietly doing God’s work.

Now, in the opinion of those who make up the so-called cultural elite, our view is “out of date.” The elite say we hurt people more than we help them, and that we belong in one of the century’s dustbins. They have managed to sell this idea to a great many Americans, thereby making homosexuality fashionable and raising formerly aberrant behavior to the status of an “alternate lifestyle.”…

Homosexual Revolution Orchestrated

How did this change come about? Well, the revolution did not just happen…

It was all part of a plan, as one gay publication put it, “to make the whole world gay.” I am not making this up. You can read an account of the campaign in Dennis Altman’s The Homosexualization of America. In 1982 Altman, himself gay, reported with an air of elation that more and more Americans were thinking like gays and acting like gays. There were engaged, that is, “in numbers of short-lived sexual adventures either in place of or alongside long-term relationships.” Altman cited the heterosexual equivalents of gay saunas and the emergence of the swinging singles scene as proofs that “promiscuity and ‘impersonal sex’ are determined more by social possibilities than by inherent differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals, or even between men and women.”

Heady stuff. Gays said they could “reinvent human nature, reinvent themselves.” To do this, these re-inventors had to clear away one major obstacle. No, they didn’t go after the nation’s clergy. They targeted the members of a worldly priesthood, the psychiatric community, and neutralized them with a radical redefinition of homosexuality itself. In 1972 and 1973 they co-opted the leadership of the American Psychiatric Association and, through a series of political maneuvers, lies and outright flim-flams, they “cured” homosexuality overnight-by fiat. They got the A.P.A. to say that same-sex sex was “not a disorder.” It was merely “a condition”-as neutral as lefthandedness.

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The Queen a Gay Rights Champion? I Don’t Buy it

Will the new Commonwealth Charter’s anti-discrimination provisions make much difference? Or, like the contents of the Queen’s Speech at the beginning of every parliament, are they merely a description of what the powers-that-be would like to achieve?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/11/2013

  1. Considering that my younger son lives in S. Korea this turn of events leaves me a bit nervous.
    He lives in Pohang which also houses a Marine base. I have told him to carry his passport at all times in the event that he has to flee to a safe haven. That wouod be the Marine base.

  2. I am going to visit my son on 4/10. I hope the NorKos calm down a bit before I get there…
    First and foremost, I will check out the Marine base!

  3. Quote:
    Ten men were quizzed by detectives today after a horse racing punter was stabbed in the neck during a horrific mass brawl at a popular racecourse.

    Earlier this year or last, a Swedish child was also stabbed in the neck.
    It’s the Muslim way to handle the infidel.

Comments are closed.