Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/10/2013

The unemployment rate for Greek young people aged 15-24 has risen to 64%. This is the highest rate since records of youth unemployment were first kept.

In other news, due to instability in Libya, the British government has withdrawn all non-essential staff from its embassy in Tripoli. Meanwhile, the Italian foreign ministry has advised its citizens that it is unsafe to travel to Benghazi.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, TV, Van Grungy, 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
» Cuomo’s Appalling Waste of Taxpayer Money
» Greece: Youth Unemployment Reaches a Grim Record of 64.2%
» Greece: Stournaras: 72% of Restricted Professions Liberalized
» Italy: Contentious Tax Still Giving Letta Headaches
» “Mounting Evidence” That Tsarnaev Brothers May Have Been Involved in the Murder of Three Boston Area Jews
» 3D-Printed Gun Plans Downloaded 100,000 Times; State Department Contacts Defense Distributed
» America’s Roads Have Been Turned Into a Revenue Generating Surveillance Grid
» Boston’s Top Cop Warns Against “Police State”
» Government, Unions Oppose Newspaper Sale to Koch Brothers on Political Grounds
» Group Leaves Racist Fliers on Windshields, Neighbors Outraged
» IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups
» Pastor Speaks Out Against Proposed Edmond Mosque
» SS Eastland Disaster, Monsanto and Self Serving Politicians
» The Rogue Helping Obama Steal America
» Tiny Flying Insect Drones Now a Reality: See the Video of Controlled Flight
Europe and the EU
» Bob Dylan ‘Unworthy’ Of French Légion D’honneur
» French Ministers Boycott Talks With Muslim Scholar
» Italy Backs European Political Union, Napolitano Says
» Italy: Berlusconi’s Legal Woes Mount With Indictment Request
» Italy: Kyenge Applauds Balotelli for Backing Citizenship Reform
» Italy: Parmalat Asks Lactalis for $144-Mln Discount in Lag Unit Buy
» Italy: Grillo Calls Premier ‘Kept Man of Politics’
» More Insults for Italy’s First Black Minister
» Plague Helped Bring Down Roman Empire, Graveyard Suggests
» Scotland: Mosque Objectors Shock at SDL March
» UK: Boris Johnson: Leaving Europe a Shot in the Arm for Democracy
» UK: Bullfinch: An 11th Man Has Been Charged
» UK: Edmund Burke — The Great Conservative Who Foresaw the Discontents of Our Era
» UK: Farage: I’m Not a Bottler, But I’m Not Running for Parliament Soon
» UK: Hop it! You Could be a Criminal: What Police Told Girl, 10, Who Chalked Hopscotch Grid on the Pavement Outside Her Home
» UK: Jon Venables Set to Seek Parole This Month as James Bulger’s Father Says He Should Never be Released
» UK: Mosque Given Go Ahead to Open at Langley Village Club After Feisty Council Meeting
» UK: Operation Bullfinch: Bullfinch Jury Retires
» UK: Schoolboy Gang Leaders, 16, Named and Shamed for Leading Intimidation Campaign Which Left Pensioners Too Scared to Leave Their Homes
» UK: Smirk of Teenage Thug Moments Before Killing an OAP for Her Handbag: Pair of 15-Year-Olds Including Father-of-Two Jailed
» UK: Truth in Politics
» UK: We Need Answers to the Doubts and Distrust Raised by Call for Sharia Law
North Africa
» Algeria: ‘Black Decade’ Terrorists Given Death Sentences
» Benghazi is Not Watergate for Obama But the Bombing of Hiroshima
» Benghazi Debate Focuses on Interpretation of Early E-Mail on Attackers
» Congresswoman: Obama Gave Benghazi Stand Down Order
» Italians Advised Not to Travel to Benghazi, Libya
» Libya: UK Withdraws Non-Essential Embassy Staff
» Tunisia: Al-Qaeda Tied to Jebel Chaambi Militants
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: NGOs vs. Those Who Serve Israel
» Hypocrisy and Double Standard: An Open Letter to Stephen Hawking
» NGOs vs. Those Who Serve Israel
» PA Warns Against Qaradawi’s ‘Fake Palestinian Passport’
Middle East
» Al-Qaeda Now in Control of CIA’s Covert War in Syria
» Hezbollah: Syria to Provide ‘Game-Changing’ Weapons
South Asia
» 3 Security Personnel, 9 Militants Killed in Clashes in NW Pakistan
» Demanding the Truth About Extortion 17 (Video)
» Indonesia: Java: Seven Dead in Anti-Terrorism Raids. Extremists Planning Horrific Attacks
» Terrorists Kidnap Son of Former Pakistan Prime Minister in Middle of Campaign Rally, Killing One and Wounding Five
» Woman Found Alive 2 Weeks After Building Collapse in Bangladesh, Officials Say
Far East
» Telecom Italia Considers Integration With H3G
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Gambia: New Mosque Inaugurated in Wellingara Village
» Nigeria: Jonathan Aborts State Visit to Namibia Over Bama, Other Attacks
» Nigeria: 14 Massob Members Arrested in Ebonyi
Latin America
» Vatican Declares Mexico’s Death Saint Blasphemous
» 180 Immigrants Rescued Off Lampedusa During Night
» Abu Qatada Will Leave Britain
» Enormous $6.3 Trillion Cost of Immigration Amnesty
» Italy: Radicals Request Referendum on Immigrant Status
Culture Wars
» Gay Adoption Results in Chaos & Suffering
» In Defence of Niall Ferguson
» Is God a Plague? How the Idea in My Thriller Turned Into Startling, And Scary, Scientific Theory
» Topless Jihad
» Global Warming Thy Name is a Manufactured Crisis

Cuomo’s Appalling Waste of Taxpayer Money

It is an outrage that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is spending up to $140 million of taxpayer money and funds received for disaster relief, to publicize the advantages of conducting business in New York. New York is indisputably one of the most unfriendly business states, with a Legislature that piles huge administrative burdens onto businesses and a Department of Taxation that is among the most aggressive in the country.

Thanks to our Legislature, the state demands a payment of an LLC fee every Jan. 30, causing large administrative burdens disproportionate to a small amount of additional tax revenue. It also requires a high minimum-wage, creating an unnecessary and expensive burden on small businesses…

The Legislature continues to add the latest nanny state employment regulations each year, making New York a gold mine for lawyers to sue employers over technicalities. Its insistence on giving enormous amounts to its public-service unions guarantees that the tax burden will keep growing in the years ahead. And New York has the “only one in the world” statute (called the Triborough Amendment) — that requires the state to continue paying its public service employees on the items contained within an expired contract — making it impossible to negotiate any austerity.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece: Youth Unemployment Reaches a Grim Record of 64.2%

Overall February unemployment at 27%, against 21.9% in 2012

(by Patrizio Nissirio) (ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 9 — While Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras assures that “Greece is on the right path” and that recovery and new jobs are just around the corner in 2014, data released today paints a grim picture of a crisis-ridden and unemployment-battered country teetering on the verge of social catastrophe. This is especially true for the 15-24 age bracket, where February unemployment reached a whopping 64.2%, up from 54.1% in the same period in 2012 — the highest rate since national statistics institute Elstat started compiling youth unemployment data in 2006.

Overall unemployment reached 27% in February 2013, up from 21.9% in the same period last year, with 245,021 jobs lost (+22.8%) over February 2012 and 11,663 jobs lost since January 2013, according to Elstat.

“Greece is on the right path, but we still have a lot of work to do”, Stournaras told Net public TV. “We wanted better results on the tax evasion front, but let’s not forget that since we took office, over 250 people have gone to jail and two billion euros of real estate have been seized, bringing 400 million euros in cash into state coffers. But the hard part is still to come”.

Going on to forecast economic recovery and a drop in unemployment in 2014, the minister also ruled out new austerity measures, as long as Greece respects its commitments to its international partners.

“If we enact promised reforms, we won’t need new measures.

They would be needed if we didn’t respect the agreements we made”, Stournaras said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Stournaras: 72% of Restricted Professions Liberalized

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, MAY 10 — Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Friday said 72% of Greece’s 343 ‘closed professions’ — occupations including a wide range of professions from notaries to taxi drivers — have been fully liberalized. He said others, including lawyers, engineers and economists, would also be opened up soon. All these professions were included in the first Memorandum signed with Europe three years ago, in May 2010 and never implemented until today.

Opening up restricted-access occupations, Stournaras told a press conference after a meeting with Greek Premier Antonis Samaras, is necessary not because the troika has requested it but to strengthen the country’s economy.

According to a report by the Programming centre and economic researche (Kepe), cited by the minister, the revenues that will come from the liberalization of restricted professions are around 0,4% and 2,1% of GDP.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Contentious Tax Still Giving Letta Headaches

Berlusconi threatening to pull govt support over IMU

(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) — Rome, May 10 — A decree suspending summer payments on the unpopular IMU homeowners’ tax should be put forth in the middle of next week, government sources said following a summit with the whips of the parties supporting Enrico Letta’s government. The government was expected to approve the decree in a cabinet meeting Thursday, but issued a statement instead saying it would happen “in the coming days”. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi called Thursday’s decision ‘a nice victory but not enough’.

The center-right leader, whose People of Freedom (PdL) party occupies prominent seats in the fledgling left-right coalition government, made abolishing IMU and refunding taxpayers a central platform of his campaign ahead of February general elections.

He has threatened to pull his party’s support and sink the government if it does not meet his demands.

Letta has agreed to “revising IMU” and suspending June payments in the meantime.

The decree scheduled to be launched next week will suspend IMU taxes from June to September, as well as slash them by half compared to 2012 payments, government sources said. The delay and discount applies only to the IMU on first homes, however, while tax on commercial real estate and holiday homes remain in place. Italian industrial employers’ confederation Confindustria and the OECD have said reducing labour taxes to help fight record levels of unemployment should be a higher priority for Letta’s government than scrapping IMU.

IMU was instituted among a series of austerity measures under former premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat government to restore health to Italy’s public finances drained by the euro crisis, which helped bring down Berlusconi’s government at the end of 2011. Abolishing IMU and reimbursing the 2012 revenues from it would create a hole of around eight billion euros in this year’s budget.

Nevertheless, the House whip from Berlusconi’s PdL on Friday vowed that the tax will be scrapped. “It will be abolished,” said Renato Brunetta exiting a summit with the whips from the parties that support Letta’s government.

Brunetta, the former civil service minister under Berlusconi, said the PdL “had absolutely not ceased its call to refund IMU payments”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

“Mounting Evidence” That Tsarnaev Brothers May Have Been Involved in the Murder of Three Boston Area Jews

Early this afternoon, I placed a call to the press office of the Middlesex County Massachusetts District Attorney. I inquired about whether they had made a match between the forensic DNA samples found at the murder of three Jewish me that occurred on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and the Tsarnaev brothers. I was told that the matter under a yet to be concluded investigation. Then later this afternoon, an intrepid ABC free lancer, Michele McPhee, posted the stunning news that indeed possible matches of DNA samples had been indicated between the forensic evidence from the crime scenes and those of both Boston Jihadi Bombers. The deceased older brother Tamerlan was interred in a Virginia Muslim cemetery today. His younger brother Dzhokhar is incarcerated in a federal prison infirmary located at Fort Devens in Central Massachusetts. Tamerlan was quoted as saying he had no American Friends. Perhaps we are seeing the emerging truth. He killed them because they were Jews vilified in the Qur’an and he was simply following the way of Allah, Jihad. It also raises a question of why the Boston Jewish community and defense groups didn’t demand a thorough going investigation of this unsolved hideous crime perpetrated against their coreligionists. In retrospect, perhaps they didn’t want to become involved in a messy affair.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

3D-Printed Gun Plans Downloaded 100,000 Times; State Department Contacts Defense Distributed

The State Department, Greenberg also reports, has sent the company a letter, calling for them to take down the computer-aided design, or CAD, files, citing a potential violation of export control laws. A State Department spokesperson confirmed that the department has been in communication with the company, but would not provide any details as to the nature of the communication or the message conveyed. Defense Distributed’s download site,, features the following message:

“DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”

And Defense Distributed posted the following tweet announcing that the site had “gone dark:”

#DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State.

— Defense Distributed (@DefDist) May 9, 2013

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

America’s Roads Have Been Turned Into a Revenue Generating Surveillance Grid

What do speed traps, parking tickets, toll roads, speed cameras and red light cameras all have in common? They are all major revenue sources for state and local governments. All over America today there are state and local governments that are drowning in debt. Many have chosen to use “traffic enforcement” as a way to raise desperately needed revenue. According to the National Motorist Association, issuing speeding tickets raises somewhere between 4.5 billion and 6 billion dollars in the United States each year. And the average price of a speeding ticket just keeps going up.

Today, the national average is about $150, but in many jurisdictions it is far higher. For example, more than 16 million traffic tickets are issued in the state of California each year, and the average fine is approximately $250. If you are wealthy that may not be much of a problem, but if you are a family that is barely scraping by every month that can be a major financial setback. Meanwhile, America’s roads are also being systematically transformed into a surveillance grid.

The number of cameras watching our roads is absolutely exploding, and automated license plate readers are capturing hundreds of millions of data points on all of us. As you drive down the highway, a police vehicle coming up behind you can instantly read your license plate and pull up a whole host of information about you. This happened to me a few years ago. I had pulled on to a very crowded highway in Virginia and within less than a minute a cop car had scanned me and was pulling me over because one of my stickers had expired. But these automated license plate readers are being used for far more than just traffic enforcement now. For example, officials in Washington D.C. are now using automated license plate readers to track the movements of every single vehicle that enters the city. They know when you enter Washington, and they know when you leave. So where is all of this headed? Do we really want to live in a “Big Brother” society where the government constantly tracks all of our movements?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Boston’s Top Cop Warns Against “Police State”

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis warned against creating a “police state” in the aftermath of the marathon bombings during testimony in front of a congressional hearing today.

“We do not, and cannot, live in a protective enclosure because of the actions of extremists who seek to disrupt our way of life,” Davis told lawmakers, adding “I do not endorse actions that move Boston and our nation into a police state mentality, with surveillance cameras attached to every light pole in the city.”

The hearing is designed to examine circumstances leading up to the bombings and find ways of decreasing the likelihood of similar attacks in future.

Despite Davis’ call for the public’s privacy to be protected, he did call for more surveillance cameras as well as more undercover officers to increase security around big events.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Government, Unions Oppose Newspaper Sale to Koch Brothers on Political Grounds

California legislative leaders and 10 public employee unions announced opposition Wednesday to any sale of the Los Angeles Times and other Tribune Co. newspapers to a pair of wealthy brothers who fund conservative causes.

In a letter dated Tuesday to Bruce Karsh, president of Oaktree Capital Management, the largest shareholder in Tribune Co., and chairman of its board of directors, the unions said David and Charles Koch are “anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-public education and anti-immigrant.”

[Comment: Be sure to read the comments to the article.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Group Leaves Racist Fliers on Windshields, Neighbors Outraged

MILWAUKIE, Ore. — A neighborhood was blanketed with racist fliers on Thursday and people there say they won’t tolerate the hateful propaganda.

The group handing out the fliers has a very specific target since they’re only partially in English and are mostly in Spanish. The only two words in English: “white genocide.”

Many people who park along Southeast International Way got one on their windshield.

Dinah Davis, who works on the street, took action after reading the flier.

Davis drives on the street every day to get to work and on Thursday she noticed something out of the ordinary.

“I know enough Spanish to recognize that it is white supremacist literature. I was horrified,” she said.

Someone left them on nearly every parked car.

“Perhaps they think this is a suitable neighborhood. I’m here to tell them, no, it’s not,” Davis said.

She spent the rest of her morning walk going up and down the road picking up the fliers off windshields. She collected a stack of them.

Racism expert Randy Blazak, a professor at Portland State University, translated the words. The letters in red: “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.”

“This is a form of low-grade terrorism, and this is meant to terrorize people who have been victims of violence,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Van Grungy [Return to headlines]

IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.

Organizations were singled out because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.

In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pastor Speaks Out Against Proposed Edmond Mosque

EDMOND, Oklahoma — A local pastor stirred up controversy during a hearing about a proposed mosque in Edmond.

Pastor Paul Blair spoke out against the mosque, making some serious allegations against the group trying to get it built.

The fellowship hall will go up in a residential neighborhood in Edmond. The plan is to expand, demolishing a house and occupy an empty lot.

A proposal to build a Islamic Fellowship Hall in Edmond moves forward, but not without controversy as Pastor Paul Blair with Fairview Baptist Church fires off serious allegations about the group trying to expand their mosque. “The Islamic Society of North America, which is one of the applicants and North American Islamic Trust, which is also an owner of the property were both listed and proven by the United States Federal District Court in the holy land trials to be a proven affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood and in particular with Hammas,” said Blair…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

SS Eastland Disaster, Monsanto and Self Serving Politicians

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.” -Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 22, December 14, 1787 [1]


The capsizing of the S.S. Eastland caused a nationwide demand for justice over the massive loss of life.[12] A grand jury was called which indicted the president and three other officers of the steamship company for manslaughter, and the ship’s captain and engineer for criminal carelessness. This case became an American Jarndyce v Jarndyce as the results did not come in for over 20 years. When the findings were released in 1935, it was determined that the disaster was the result of “conditions of instability” caused by any or all of overloading of passengers, mishandling of water ballast, or the construction of the ship. So none of the crew served any prison time or paid any fine. This finding also absolved the owners of any liability and again demonstrated that protecting the public from predatory companies is not on the government’s “to do list.”…

The Monsanto Protection Act prohibits federal courts from banning the planting and sale of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). This applies even if those experimental crops are found today or in the future to be extremely dangerous or to cause a runaway crop plague.

A “Food Democracy Now” petition sums up this outrageous act like this: “With the Senate passage of the Monsanto Protection Act, biotech lobbyists are one step closer to making sure that their new GMO crops can evade any serious scientific or regulatory review.”[22]

“This dangerous provision, the Monsanto Protection Act, strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer and farmer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, citizens and the environment.”…

One topic not being presented by Monsanto is the damage being done to the farmers tires who have switched over to GMO corn. In a recent article on Autoblog, GMO corn is “wreaking havoc” on tractor tires.[31] Mark Newhall of Farm Show Magazine tells American Public Media’s Marketplace that after the stalks are cut during harvest, the leftover stubs are like “having a field of little spears.” So instead of tractor tires lasting the usual five to six years, they’re getting chewed up after just one or two years. With tractor tires sometimes costing thousands of dollars, tire manufacturers are turning to Kevlar, the armor plating the US military uses to resist being shredded. Eating something that requires armor plating to harvest is what Monsanto calls safe?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Rogue Helping Obama Steal America

The deadly, almost under-cover assassin of conservatism in America is not the Fundamental Transformation of America-pushing Barack Obama and the Democrats but Karl Rove and his big-money financiers.

Conservatism is the dead man walking in the politics of America today, and there’s no way to revive the corpse as long as Karl Rove is still at the GOP helm.

– From the Truth-is-stranger-than-Fiction department: A brilliant May 8 piece in the New York Times by Thomas B. Edsall draws back the curtain on the forces battling for GOP control between the well-heeled establishment and passionately conservative forces, and it’s less than a pretty picture.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tiny Flying Insect Drones Now a Reality: See the Video of Controlled Flight

(NaturalNews) It’s been more than a decade in the making, but now Harvard University researchers have developed a tiny flying drone that is barely larger than a quarter.

Robotics researchers at the Ivy League school have achieved a first, reports Forbes: the creation of robotic insects that are capable of flight. A paper detailing their work was recently published in the journal Science. Here’s an abstract of the research:


Robert J. Wood, the lead researcher on the project, has been working on it for a dozen years. The robot is smaller than a paperclip and weighs just one-third of an ounce. It’s “wings” are capable of beating 120 times per second, “enabling to fly on its own according to a pre-set flight path,” Forbes columnist Alex Knapp, a technology writer, said.

There are more breakthroughs to the project than simply the robotics. Merely building them required the research team, which involved scores of people over the years, to develop new techniques of fabrication at each stage of the tiny robot’s construction.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bob Dylan ‘Unworthy’ Of French Légion D’honneur

Legendary musician Bob Dylan may no longer be in the running for France’s highest award, the Légion d’honneur, after a French general deemed him unworthy given his drug-taking and anti-war protesting past.

Bob Dylan’s wild pot-smoking and anti-war protesting days may have finally caught up with him after it emerged this week he could be out of the running for the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest award.

According to a report in Tuesday’s French satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé, the Grammy-winning folk musician was deemed unworthy of the title by General Jean-Louis Georgelin, the Great Chancellor of the Légion d’honneur, who helps lead a 17-person committee in deciding the final shortlist of candidates.

The French general was alerted to the American musician’s controversial past by a routine police check on potential prize winners to ensure a candidate’s suitability.

Dylan had been officially nominated to become a Knight of the Order on the 50th anniversary of the release of his classic album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan by French Culture Secretary Aurélie Filippetti.

“I think it will work out. Anyway it would be a good sign for France, and for all those who love rock and roll music in general, we pay tribute to Bob Dylan,” Ms. Filippetti told BFM.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Ministers Boycott Talks With Muslim Scholar

Two French ministers boycotted a conference on the future of the European Union on Wednesday, saying they had not known controversial Muslim scholar and Oxford University professor Tariq Ramadan (pictured) would be present.

French Socialist ministers Manuel Valls and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem refused to attend a conference on the future of the European Union in Florence on Wednesday after they discovered that controversial Swiss philosopher Tariq Ramadan would be attending the talks.

Swiss-educated Ramadan, whose grandfather is the founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al Banna, has been both praised as a reformist and denounced as a radical. His theories on Western society — which he says is in decline — and how modern Islam will take shape in Europe, have proved controversial.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy Backs European Political Union, Napolitano Says

Rome will not fail to give ‘convinced, strong contribution’

(ANSA) — Florence, May 9 — Italy will work towards the creation of a European political union, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said on Thursday in a message to the ‘State of the Union’ international conference organized by the European University Institute in San Domenico, Florence. Italy will “not fail to give its convinced and strong contribution regarding a European political union according to the original federalist inspiration that characterizes (the EU)”, said the president.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi’s Legal Woes Mount With Indictment Request

Coalition parties say balance of Letta’s executive won’t be hit

(By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) — Rome, May 9 — Silvio Berlusconi’s legal headaches grew on Thursday when Naples prosecutors said they had requested the ex-premier be sent to trial over allegations he bribed former Senator Sergio De Gregorio to change political sides.

On Wednesday, a Milan court upheld a four-year conviction and a five-year ban on serving in public office for Berlusconi for tax fraud on American film rights bought by his Mediaset TV empire. The three-time Italian premier is also on trial in Milan over accusations he paid for sex with an underage Moroccan dancer.

He denies any wrongdoing and says this week’s developments are part of a campaign by left-wing magistrates who are persecuting him for political reasons. The Neapolitan investigators suspect Berlusconi paid De Gregorio three million euros to switch sides from the centre left to the centre right.

Romani Prodi’s 2006-2008 government fell after losing the support of the Senate, leading to new elections that Berlusconi won.

De Gregorio has admitted to receiving two million euros from Berlusconi, which he did not declare for tax purposes, but denied that it was bribe money.

The Naples prosecutors also requested that De Gregorio and Walter Lavitola, an associate of the ex-premier’s and ex-director of the newspaper L’Avanti!, be indicted.

Valter Lavitola received a two-year, eight-month sentence in March for attempting to blackmail Berlusconi in exchange for hushing up payments to escorts at alleged sex parties at the ex-premier’s home.

There has been speculation the new legal problems could disrupt the delicate balance of Premier Enrico Letta’s unprecedented left-right coalition government, which was formed last month to end a long deadlock after February’s general election failed to produce a clear winner. Some thought Berlusconi might pull the support of his centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party in anger at the magistrates’ actions.

Meanwhile, some political pundits have said parts of Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party may rebel against the PdL’s attacks on the judiciary. The PdL has said Berlusconi will attend a big protest in Brescia on Saturday against the treatment he is being dealt by magistrates. But both sides on Thursday sought to play down fears Letta’s government will not be dragged into the wrangle.

“Yesterday’s ruling in Milan and the request by Naples prosecutors for Silvio Berlusconi to be indicted are clearly attacks not just from judicial forces, but political ones too,” said Fabrizio Cicchitto, a senior PdL lawmaker.

“The double aim is to hit Berlusconi and to put the balance of the current government in crisis.

“We aren’t going to fall for provocations as regards the government. The life and future of the government will depend on its contents concerning economic policies and reforms of the institutions. Junior Economy Minister Stefano Fassina of the PD said the centre left did not want Berlusconi’s problems having an impact on the government either.

“We all intend to keep Silvio Berlusconi’s judicial affairs separate from the activities of the government and of parliament, with which they must not interfere,” Fassina said. Comedian Beppe Grillo said his anti-establishment 5-Star Movement would present a vote in parliament for Berlusconi to be declared ineligible to take part in public life.

“In any democratic country, Berlusconi would be in prison or would have been removed from any public role while here he tips the scale,” said Grillo, whose movement won around a quarter of the votes in a near three-way tie in February’s elections.

Berlusconi has faced more than 30 cases since becoming a politician.

He has never received a definitive conviction at the end of the appeals process, several times because cases had been timed out by the statute of limitations, which one of his governments shortened.

Berlusconi will only have to serve the prison sentence and the ban on public office in relation to the Mediaset case if the ruling is upheld by the supreme Court of Cassation. He is unlikely to actually have to go to prison. The statute of limitations on the case ends next year and three of the four years of the sentence do not have to be served anyway because of an 2006 amnesty law.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Kyenge Applauds Balotelli for Backing Citizenship Reform

‘Soccer star has a good idea’ says integration minister

(ANSA) — Florence, May 9 — Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge on Thursday applauded soccer star Mario Balotelli’s willingness to back her fight to grant automatic citizenship to children born in the nation. “Balotelli’s idea is a good one,” Kyenge said.

Balotelli, a striker for AC Milan and a member of the Italian national team, was born in Sicily to parents from Ghana and only obtained his Italian citizenship when he turned 18, the legal age in Italy for people born elsewhere.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Parmalat Asks Lactalis for $144-Mln Discount in Lag Unit Buy

Discount request follows pressure from Consob, prosecutors

(ANSA) — Milan, May 10 — Parmalat has asked France’s Lactalis, with whom it shares a parent company, for a $144-million discount in the agreed intra-group purchase of Lag, the American unit of the French company, for which the price tag had been set at 957 million euros.

Both Parmalat and Lactalis are controlled by BSA International. The request follows price-revision guidelines that are included in the sale contract agreement, and took place in the wake of pressure from Italy’s stock-market regulator Consob as well as prosecutors, amid concern the sale may be a way of transferring wealth from the Italian unit to Lactalis to the French one.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Calls Premier ‘Kept Man of Politics’

M5S leader spars with Enrico Letta

(ANSA) — Rome, May 10 — The leader of Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) struck back at Premier Enrico Letta Friday, calling him “a kept man of politics” for being the nephew Silvio Berlusconi’s long-time right-hand man, Gianni Letta. “How should I perceive someone who’s a professional nephew? We won’t accept his moral lessons, not from a man who holds on to 46 million euros in public campaign finances,” said Beppe Grillo. The M5S party refuses to accept any public funds for its campaigns unlike Letta’s center-left Democratic Party (PD).

Earlier in the day, Letta lashed out at Grillo after the opposition leader accused the fledgling government of committing a “coup d’etat” when it formed a broad, left-right coalition that includes members of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party. Letta called Grillo’s comments “totally unacceptable” in a press conference held with European Parliament Speaker Martin Schulz.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

More Insults for Italy’s First Black Minister

Kyenge told to ‘go back to Congo’ by far-right group

(ANSA) — Macerata, May 9 — Italy’s first black cabinet member, Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, received the latest volley in a barrage of racist abuse on Thursday when she was told to go back to Congo.

Italian prosecutors have opened a probe into online abuse directed at Kyenge, a doctor who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, since her appointment in Premier Enrico Letta’s left-right government less than two weeks ago.

But this did not stop the far-right Forza Nuova party hanging a banner outside the offices of her centre-left Democratic Party (PD) in the central city of Macerata that read: “Kyenge go back to Congo”.

Forza Nuova is against a proposal by PD Senator Mario Morgoni for Kyenge to be made an honorary citizen of the Marche city. As well as anonymous attacks on the Internet, the 48-year-old Kyenge was also targeted by a senior member of the the anti-migrant Northern League. League MEP Mario Borghezio called Letta’s new executive a “bonga bonga government” and claimed Kyenge would seek to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo”.

An online petition has been launched calling for Borghezio to be ousted from the European Parliament.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Plague Helped Bring Down Roman Empire, Graveyard Suggests

Plague may have helped finish off the Roman Empire, researchers now reveal.

Plague is a fatal disease so infamous that it has become synonymous with any dangerous, widespread contagion. It was linked to one of the first known examples of biological warfare, when Mongols catapulted plague victims into cities.

The bacterium that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, has been linked with at least two of the most devastating pandemics in recorded history. One, the Great Plague, which lasted from the 14th to 17th centuries, included the infamous epidemic known as the Black Death, which may have killed nearly two-thirds of Europe in the mid-1300s. Another, the Modern Plague, struck around the world in the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning in China in the mid-1800s and spreading to Africa, the Americas, Australia, Europe and other parts of Asia.

Although past studies confirmed this germ was linked with both of these catastrophes, much controversy existed as to whether it also caused the Justinianic Plague of the sixth to eighth centuries. This pandemic, named after the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, killed more than 100 million people. Some historians have suggested it contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire.

To help solve this mystery, scientists investigated ancient DNA from the teeth of 19 different sixth-century skeletons from a medieval graveyard in Bavaria, Germany, of people who apparently succumbed to the Justinianic Plague.

They unambiguously found the plague bacterium Y. pestis there.

“It is always very exciting when we can find out the actual cause of the pestilences of the past,” said researcher Barbara Bramanti, an archaeogeneticist at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Scotland: Mosque Objectors Shock at SDL March

A horrified Dumfries couple yesterday slammed an anti-Islamic group which is using a story about them to promote a protest march. Raymond and Eleanor Ingram opposed a neighbouring mosque’s planning application to transform a store into overnight accommodation. The Annan Road residents launched a petition against the move because they are fed up

with people attending the mosque parking in their drive. But they were “stunned” to find that their objections to the Dumfries Islamic Society plan were being used by the Scottish Defence League to rally support for a march in Dumfries on Saturday, May 18…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Boris Johnson: Leaving Europe a Shot in the Arm for Democracy

British democracy would receive “a shot in the arm” if the UK left the European Union, Boris Johnson has said.

Voters would feel they had regained control over their own destiny if Britain became fully independent from Brussels, the Mayor of London said. Mr Johnson warned that the country must be ready to “walk away” from Europe if David Cameron failed to negotiate better terms of membership. Mr Johnson’s comments will fuel the increasingly fevered debate inside the Conservative Party about European policy, which has flared after the success of Ukip in last week’s local elections.

[JP note: See also Boris Johnson visits Old Kent Road mosque ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Bullfinch: An 11th Man Has Been Charged

AN 11th man has been charged with sexually abusing teenage girls by police working on the Operation Bullfinch child exploitation investigation. Shah-Nawaz Khan, of Botley Road in Oxford, has been charged with sexual activity with a girl aged between 13 and 15 and two counts of sexual assault. The charges relate to two girls, said police. The 22-year-old is next due to appear at Oxford Crown Court on July 19 for a plea and case management hearing…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Edmund Burke — The Great Conservative Who Foresaw the Discontents of Our Era

by Jesse Norman

The philosopher Edmund Burke reminds us of the threat to society from rampant individualism

Lord Randolph Churchill, father of Winston, once summarised Disraeli’s life as “Failure, failure, failure, partial success, renewed failure, ultimate and complete triumph”. The same might be said of the great 18th-century philosopher-statesman Edmund Burke. Despite a chequered career, 250 years later it is Burke who offers the deepest critique of politics today, and the greatest hope for its future.

Burke came to prominence in the age of Dr Johnson, David Hume, Adam Smith and Edward Gibbon. Over his long career he fought five great political battles: for more equal treatment of Catholics in Ireland; against British oppression of the 13 American colonies; for constitutional restraints on royal patronage; against the power of the East India Company in India; and most famously, against the dogma of the French Revolution. Their common theme is his detestation of injustice and the abuse of power…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Farage: I’m Not a Bottler, But I’m Not Running for Parliament Soon

Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, has said he does not plan to run for Parliament in a by-election in the near future but will instead remain an MEP.

Mr Farage denied he is “bottling” an electoral contest that he may lose, insisting he would be able to lead the party’s European and local election campaigns more effectively from outside Westminster. In comments that may fuel discontent amongst Conservative backbenchers who fear David Cameron’s inability to stem the rise of Ukip could cost them their seats in 2015, Mr Farage said the public support for the party would fall were Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to become Conservative leader…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Hop it! You Could be a Criminal: What Police Told Girl, 10, Who Chalked Hopscotch Grid on the Pavement Outside Her Home

A girl aged ten was told by police that she could be arrested for causing criminal damage — over a game of hopscotch.

Lilly-May Allen was playing with a friend on a grid she had chalked on the pavement in front of her home when a marked police van pulled up.

An officer warned the girls that using chalk on the pavement was criminal damage and they could be arrested for it, before driving off.

But the girls did not understand what they had done wrong and Lilly-May is now reluctant to play outside, according to her father.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Jon Venables Set to Seek Parole This Month as James Bulger’s Father Says He Should Never be Released

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

James Bulger’s killer will seek to be released from prison later this month, it has emerged.

But the victim’s father Ralph says that Jon Venables must not be given parole, insisting he still poses a danger to children.

Mr Bulger has apparently even suggested that the killer should never be let out of jail in the light of his horrifying crimes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Given Go Ahead to Open at Langley Village Club After Feisty Council Meeting

PLANS to build a mosque and Islamic community centre were passed last night. Charity Dawat-e-Islami will move into Langley Village Club, in Cheviot Road — subject to the developers agreeing to planning conditions. They included a 300 person limit at the centre — which would hold prayers and community classes. Councillor Christine Small, who lives in the estate, said: “My concern is somebody is going to die. This is not about race or religion, it’s about our safety.” Applicant Waqas Choudhery said residents’ concerns were ‘exaggerated’, adding: “This is a much-required facility for local residents.”

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Operation Bullfinch: Bullfinch Jury Retires

JURORS have this afternoon retired to consider their verdicts in the trial of nine men accused grooming and sexually abusing vulnerable young girls in Oxford. The seven men and five women of the jury were sent out by the judge after hearing nearly 17 weeks of evidence and speeches at the Old Bailey. The jury, which has sat in court for 55 days, is now considering 66 charges against the defendants which include child rape, sex trafficking, and arranging child prostitution…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Schoolboy Gang Leaders, 16, Named and Shamed for Leading Intimidation Campaign Which Left Pensioners Too Scared to Leave Their Homes

A pair of ‘lawless’ schoolboy gang leaders who terrorised elderly people in their neighbourhood have been ordered by a court to ‘grow up’ or face jail.

Ali Iqbal and Haider Farooq — who dubbed themselves ‘the Invincibles’ — were the leaders of a gang of youths that ran rampage around Brierfield in Lancashire; smashing windows, vandalising cars, and deliberately intimidating vulnerable people and pensioners.

Local residents described how the 16-year-olds turned the area into ‘hell on earth’, leaving some elderly people too terrified to step outside their front doors.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Smirk of Teenage Thug Moments Before Killing an OAP for Her Handbag: Pair of 15-Year-Olds Including Father-of-Two Jailed

Strolling down the street with a smirk on his face, this is the callous teenager who killed a frail 85-year-old for her purse.

Nayed Hoque and his friend Jiervon Bartlett pounced on Paula Castle in an alleyway near her home.

Partially sighted and recovering from a stroke, the grandmother was an easy target and suffered a serious head wound when she was knocked to the ground. She died a few hours later.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Truth in Politics

by Roger Scruton

Human beings make rational choices, and choices are rational only if they seek out the truth. But the truth may be uncomfortable, so that we have a motive to avoid it. Or it may be unacceptable to those on whom we wish to impose our decisions, in which case we have a motive to conceal it. Perhaps the deep truth about our condition is so uncomfortable that we stand in need of some collective delusion that will make us governable — so Plato thought, and advocated the ‘Noble Lie’ as a means of crowd-control. The totalitarian systems of the 20th century took this seriously, and rewrote the human condition in terms of mythical ‘struggles’ between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, or the master race and the human vermin. In due course the totalitarian project advanced in the way foretold by George Orwell, inventing a language and a doctrine that would make the truth inexpressible, so that people would have to ‘live within the lie’, as Havel put it.

However, while human beings can be for a long time browbeaten into accepting lies and myths, the instinct for the truth lies deeper in their psyche than the willingness to be deceived, and will eventually erupt in protest. Two great lies have dominated British politics since the 1960s, and it has now become impossible to repeat them. The first lie — propagated by the Labour Party — is that mass immigration is a positive benefit, and that anyone who resists it is a racist, a fascist, a Little Englander or worse. The second lie — propagated by the old guard of the Tory Party — is that the European Union is a free-trade agreement whose economic benefits far outweigh any minor social costs. These lies have been maintained in being by intimidation of a kind that has rarely been seen in British politics. To speak out publicly against mass immigration, even to advocate, like Ray Honeyford, an active policy of assimilation and integration, was to be condemned as a racist, not only by the activists but by the hierarchy of the Labour Party. Your career was immediately at risk, and if you were a politician or a teacher you could no longer hope for promotion…

The absurd insults hurled at UKIP and its supporters have at last done their work, and the Conservative Party has been forced to wake up to the fact that you can no longer conceal the truth from the people…

[Reader comment by David MacDonald on 9 May 2013 at 12:23 pm.]

Yes, Yes, Yes! It’s not even that UKIP is a very wonderful organisation run by super humans. Far from it, Its leadership, activists and voters are but ordinary mortals and its very ordinariness is its strength.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: We Need Answers to the Doubts and Distrust Raised by Call for Sharia Law

by Kris Hopkins

WE have the privilege of living in a free society, in which the rights of the individual are not determined by their gender.

We live in an open, tolerant country, which rightly welcomes people’s different faiths and religious beliefs and is diverse — and benefits socially, economically and culturally from that diversity…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Algeria: ‘Black Decade’ Terrorists Given Death Sentences

Algiers — An Algiers court on Sunday (May 5th) sentenced two terrorists to death for killing some 500 people between 1996 and 2004. The charges include the rape and murder of 60 women. Djilali Kouri, 32, and Antar Ali, 35, admitted to killing members of the security forces but denied any violence against civilians…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Benghazi is Not Watergate for Obama But the Bombing of Hiroshima

Obama also put out in is official statement that no one was told to stand down. Help was not denied, yet according to the SEALS Doherty and Woods who were working with the CIA in Benghazi, they heard the shooting and promptly called for help. They were told to ‘stand down.’ When the shooting continued they called for help again and were told to stand down again. They kept shooting and killing as many terrorists as they could while trying to get help.

It was confirmed that there was a drone flying overhead and a C-130 aircraft heavily armed that was in the area that could have responded. It was told to stand down as well. Heroes Doherty and Woods were eventually killed while Obama betrayed his troops and nation. Blood was on his hands when he got on the plane the next day to campaign in Las Vegas. Then we saw the sea of spin and lies grow.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Benghazi Debate Focuses on Interpretation of Early E-Mail on Attackers

House Republicans on Thursday intensified their criticism of the Obama administration for its handling of the assault on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, with Speaker John A. Boehner calling for the release of an e-mail that he said showed that State Department officials believed from the start that “Islamic terrorists” were linked to the attack but have declined to say so publicly.

Mr. Boehner’s demand, delivered the day after a dramatic hearing by a House committee, signaled that Republican leaders intend to continue portraying the attack as a major failure by the administration as well as a potentially effective issue against former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president in 2016.

“The State Department would not allow our committees to keep copies of this e-mail when it was reviewed,” Mr. Boehner said. “I would call on the president to order the State Department to release this e-mail so that the American people can see it.”

[Comment: Brilliant strategy — ask the fox to show you what he is hiding behind his back.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Congresswoman: Obama Gave Benghazi Stand Down Order

US Special forces blocked from protecting consulate

In comments that went largely unnoticed, Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R) directly blamed President Obama for ordering the stand down which facilitated the assault on the US consulate in Benghazi.

Wagner was asked by talk show host Dana Loesch, “Because you have been an ambassador, you have been overseas with similar responsibilities and similar missions — who gives such an order to stand down? Where does that come from?”

“The President of the United States,” responded Wagner.

The White House has been scrambling to avoid the question of who gave the stand down order ever since whistleblower Greg Hicks, who was number two to Ambassador Chris Stevens, testified that US special forces were ready to board a plane in Tripoli but were prevented from coming to the aid of those under assault inside the consulate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italians Advised Not to Travel to Benghazi, Libya

(AGI) Rome — The Italian foreign ministry advises Italians against travelling to Benghazi, Libya .

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

Libya: UK Withdraws Non-Essential Embassy Staff

Due to political uncertainty, Foreign Office says

(ANSAmed) — LONDON, MAY 10 — The UK is withdrawing non-essential staff from the British embassy in Libya due to political uncertainty in the North African country, the UK Foreign Office made known in a communique on Friday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Al-Qaeda Tied to Jebel Chaambi Militants

Najjar in Tunis — Tunisian security forces arrested 37 suspects connected to jihadist violence in Jebel Chaambi, the interior ministry revealed on Tuesday (May 7th). Interior ministry spokesperson Mohamed Ali Aroui also said the remaining militants belonged to the Okba Ibn Nafaa brigade, which is linked to al-Qaeda. He made the announcement at a joint press conference with defence ministry spokesperson Mokhtar Ben Nasr…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: NGOs vs. Those Who Serve Israel

In 2010, Cpl. Eleanor Joseph became the first female Arab combat soldier in the IDF. Joseph, a Christian Arab told Ma’ariv that her good luck charm is a drawing of the Star of David with the caption: “I have no other land, even when my ground is burning.” Her commander drew it for her.

Joseph explained, “It is a phrase that strengthens me. Every time I experience hardship, I read it. Because I was born here. The people I love live here: My parents, my friends. This is a Jewish state? Yes, it is. But it’s also my country. I can’t imagine living in any other place. I think every person should serve in the army. You live here? You make your home here? Then go defend your country. What does it matter that I’m an Arab?”

Joseph’s story represents an incipient trend of integration among Israel’s Arab community.

Among other things, this is manifest in the consistently rising number of Israeli Arab students who elect to study in Hebrew-language schools and in the rising number of Israeli Arabs who elect to serve in national service, the civilian equivalent of military service.

A poll of Arab youth carried out in late 2007 made clear how widespread this integrationist impulse has become. Seventy-five percent of Arab youth aged 16 to 22 supported voluntary national service.

And yet, despite these sentiments and developments, Arab Israelis who seek to integrate into Israeli society and reject the separatist messages of their political leaders are forced to contend with extraordinary social pressures and even coercion to prevent them from acting in accordance with their wishes.

A study completed this week by Im Tirtzu exposes the vast array of NGOs generously funded by the supposedly pro-Israel New Israel Fund as well as by foreign governments which are running a campaign to oppose Cpl. Joseph and her comrades — Arabs and Jews alike. Since 1999, these groups have been conducting a campaign to undermine Arab integration into Israeli society specifically and to demoralize and reduce the social standing of those who serve in the IDF, national service and IDF reserves generally. The campaign is being carried out on a dual track of discouraging Israeli Arabs from serving in the IDF or national service, and of opposing government benefits to IDF veterans, reservists and those who undertook national service by claiming that these benefits unjustly discriminate against Israeli Arabs…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

Hypocrisy and Double Standard: An Open Letter to Stephen Hawking

By deciding not to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference, one of the world’s leading scientists is singling out Israel and denying it has been under existential threat for most of its existence.

Dear Professor Hawking,

There are many reasons why you are considered one of the world’s leading scientists. As you know very well, one reason for your achievement is the ability to keep a mind of your own and to refuse caving in to pressure by the mainstream. Innovation is only possible if you are immune to such pressure.

Given my respect for your achievement I am surprised and saddened by your decision, reported today by The Guardian that you have cancelled your participation at this year’s President’s Conference in Jerusalem, and that you have joined those who call for an academic boycott of Israel. I would have expected a man of your standing and achievement not to be influenced by the pressure that was reportedly exerted on you to cancel your visit in Israel.

Let it first be said that I have been opposed to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories for many years, and that I have voiced this opposition with all means at my disposal. I think that Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank is indefensible morally, stupid politically and unwise strategically, and I will continue opposing it as long as I can.

This being said, I have always found it morally reprehensible and intellectually indefensible that many British academics have been calling for an academic boycott of Israel. This call is based on a moral double standard that I would not expect from a community whose mission it is to maintain intellectual integrity.

Yes, I think that Israel is guilty of human right violations in the West Bank. But these violations are negligible compared to those perpetrated by any number of states ranging from Iran through Russia to China, to mention only a small number of examples. Iran hangs hundreds of homosexuals every year; China has been occupying Tibet for decades, and you know of the terrible destruction Russia has inflicted in Chechnya. I have not heard from you or your colleagues who support an academic boycott against Israel that they boycott any of these countries.

But let me go one step further: Israel is accused of detaining Palestinians without trial for years. So is the USA, which, as you very well know, to this day has not closed Guantanamo Bay. Israel is accused of targeted killings of Palestinians suspected or known to be involved in terrorist acts. As is reported worldwide, the United States has been practicing targeted assassinations of terror suspects in many countries for years.

The question whether these detentions and targeted assassinations can be justified is weighty, and there are no simple answers. Personally I think that even in a war against terror democracies must make every conceivable effort to maintain the rule of law and avoid human rights violations.

Yet let us not forget that both Israel and the United States are in difficult situations. Israel was on the verge of a peace agreement with the Palestinian people when the second Intifada broke out. Daily Israelis were shredded into pieces by suicide bombings, and it is very difficult for Israeli politicians to convince Israelis to take risks for peace. The U.S. is still reeling from the trauma of 9/11. It has occupied two countries, Afghanistan and Iraq for a decade since. I happen to think that it was wrong to attack Iraq, in the same way that I think that Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank is wrong.

Professor Hawking: how can you and your colleagues who argue for an academic boycott of Israel justify your double standard by singling out Israel? You are simply denying that Israel has been under existential threat for most of its existence. To this day Hamas, one of the two major parties in Palestine, calls for Israel’s destruction, and its charter employs the vilest anti-Semitic language. To this day hardly a week goes by in which Iran and its proxy Hezbollah do not threaten to obliterate Israel, even though they have no direct conflict with Israel about anything.

Singling Israel out for academic boycott is, I believe, a case of profound hypocrisy. It is a way to ventilate outrage about the world’s injustices where the cost is low. I’m still waiting for the British academic who says he won’t cooperate with American institutions as long as Guantanamo is open, or as long as the U.S. continues targeted assassinations.

In addition to the hypocrisy, singling out Israel’s academia is pragmatically unwise, to put it mildly. Israel’s academia is largely liberal in its outlook, and many academics here have opposed Israel’s settlement policies for decades. But once again, British academics choose the easiest target to vent their rage in a way that does not contribute anything constructive to the Palestinian cause they support.

Israel, like any other country, can be criticized. But such criticism should not be based on shrill moralism and simplistic binary thinking — something I do not expect from academics. The real world is, unfortunately a messy, difficult place. Novelist Ian McEwan is quoted in the Guardian as saying that “If I only went to countries that I approve of, I probably would never get out of bed … It’s not great if everyone stops talking” when he was criticized for coming to Israel to receive the Jerusalem Prize for Literature in 2011.

He certainly has a point. Living up to the standards of human rights and the ideals of democracy in an imperfect world is difficult. Major thinkers like Philip Bobbitt and Michael Ignatieff have invested deep and comprehensive thought into the difficult topic of how to maintain the human rights standard in a world threatened by terrorism.

Professor Hawking, I would expect from a man of your intellectual stature to get involved in the difficult task of grappling with these questions. Taking the simple way out of singling out Israel by boycotting it academically does not behoove you intellectually or morally.

If your cancelation was indeed a function of pressures and not from health reasons, as stated by your university following The Guardian’s report, I would respect it if you were to reconsider your decision and come to the President’s Conference.


Carlo Strenger

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]

NGOs vs. Those Who Serve Israel

Vast array of NGOs generously funded by the supposedly pro-Israel New Israel Fund

A study completed this week by Im Tirtzu exposes the vast array of NGOs generously funded by the supposedly pro-Israel New Israel Fund as well as by foreign governments which are running a campaign to oppose Cpl. Joseph and her comrades — Arabs and Jews alike. Since 1999, these groups have been conducting a campaign to undermine Arab integration into Israeli society specifically and to demoralize and reduce the social standing of those who serve in the IDF, national service and IDF reserves generally. The campaign is being carried out on a dual track of discouraging Israeli Arabs from serving in the IDF or national service, and of opposing government benefits to IDF veterans, reservists and those who undertook national service by claiming that these benefits unjustly discriminate against Israeli Arabs.

Im Tirtzu’s report argues that the dual nature of the campaign, underwritten by the same funders, shows that the goal “is to prolong irredentism or non-integration of the Arab sector in order to encourage it to act as a sector demanding national recognition and advance the aim of transforming the State of Israel from a Jewish, democratic state into a bi-national state.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

PA Warns Against Qaradawi’s ‘Fake Palestinian Passport’

The PA urges world countries to take legal action to seize the passport given by Hamas to radical cleric Yousef al-Qaradawi

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Interior put out a notice on Friday, informing countries that recognize “Palestine” that radical Muslim cleric Yousef al-Qaradawi holds a “fake” Palestinian passport, according to the Ma’an news agency.

In a letter, the ministry called on all countries to take legal action to seize the passport if it is used contrary to international law.

The passport was given to Qaradawi by Hamas’s Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, during the cleric’s visit to Gaza.

Qaradawi, who arrived in Gaza on Wednesday, is leading a delegation of 50 clerics from 14 countries.

Speaking on Thursday, Qaradawi said that Israel has no right to exist, adding that nobody was allowed to cede “any part of Palestine.”

Haniyeh reaffirmed that his would “never give up or recognize Israel.”

“We will not give up our rights, we will never give up an inch of Palestine and won’t allow anyone to cede a grain of Palestinian land,” he told Qaradawi.

Qaradawi, who is a citizen of Qatar and close to the Muslim Brotherhood, in the past provided the religious sanction for the suicide bombing campaign against Israel. In January 2009 he claimed that Hitler had put the Jews in their place and that the Holocaust was “divine punishment.”

The Palestinian Authority said Tuesday that his visit was “harmful” to the Palestinian people.

“The Palestinian Authority’s position has been clear; each visit of political significance which gives legitimacy to Hamas’ rule in Gaza is harmful to the Palestinian people and their interests,” PA minister of endowment Mahmoud al-Habbash said, according to PA-based Ma’an news agency.

“Al-Qaradawi should have taken back the Fatwa he issued considering visits to Jerusalem by Muslims illegal according to the Islamic law because the holy city is under occupation,” al-Habbash told Ma’an.

The visit and the controversy around it highlight the ongoing row between Hamas and its rival Fatah.

The two sides have been at odds since Hamas violently took over control of Gaza in 2007. A reconciliation agreement signed in 2011 has yet to be implemented.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Al-Qaeda Now in Control of CIA’s Covert War in Syria

The Guardian reported Wednesday that the CIA’s Free Syrian Army is losing mercenaries to a better equipped, more disciplined and religiously motivated al-Nusra.

“Fighters feel proud to join al-Nusra because that means power and influence,” Abu Ahmed, a former teacher from Deir Hafer who now commands an FSA brigade, told the newspaper. “Al-Nusra fighters rarely withdraw for shortage of ammunition or fighters and they leave their target only after liberating it.”

“Fighters are heading to al-Nusra because of its Islamic doctrine, sincerity, good funding and advanced weapons,” added Abu Islam, a member of the FSA’s al-Tawhid brigade.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hezbollah: Syria to Provide ‘Game-Changing’ Weapons

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, warned on Thursday that Syria would respond to Israel’s attacks last week by giving his group sophisticated weapons, raising fears the conflict in Syria may threaten the entire region.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

3 Security Personnel, 9 Militants Killed in Clashes in NW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, May 10 (Xinhua) — At least three security personnel and nine militants were killed on Friday during armed clashes in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region of Kurram Agency, local media reported. The clashes started after a group of militants armed with heavy weapons stormed a check post of security forces in Para Chamkani area of Kurram Agency, one of the country’s restive tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, local media reported quoting official sources…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Demanding the Truth About Extortion 17 (Video)

Destroying our country, our military and our very existence

How many Americans have heard of Extortion 17? Extortion 17 was the call sign for the Chinook helicopter shot down in Afghanistan on the night of August 6, 2011. Killed in that crash were 25 special ops forces, including 15 members of Seal Team 6, 5 national Guard troops and 8 Afghans.

Today, the families of the military killed in that crash held a press conference to lay out the coverup by Obama and the military that has gone on since that crash. The video of the press conference can be found here.[url]

I watched the live stream of the press conference, admittedly crying throughout. Then the point came that the tears turned into white hot anger. Every American citizen must watch this video. The major Obama regime coverups did not occur only in Fast and Furious, the New Black Panther voter intimidation case and Benghazi. The man sitting in OUR White house is methodically destroying our country, our military and our very existence.

At the beginning of the video is footage of the Islamist Imam praying over our soldiers at Bagram Air Base. Of course he prays in Arabic, but in the English translation he sent our heroes into eternal hell as infidels while praising the Islamist relationship with our country. You read that right, and our Government and our military let that happen.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Java: Seven Dead in Anti-Terrorism Raids. Extremists Planning Horrific Attacks

The suspects planned to target the most important commercial center in Southeast Asia. The shout out lasted several hours, before a final raid. Guns and heavy weapons found inside the homes. To finance their struggle, the Islamists had carried out several robberies in the last year netting millions.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) Seven suspected terrorists were killed in three different raids carried out by special anti-terrorism squad in the last 24 hours, in the context of an Indonesian security forces maxi-operation against domestic Islamist and extremist fringes. According to initial reports the group was plotting a devastating attack on the most important commercial center of the country (and the whole of the South-East Asia), the-Harco Glodok in Jakarta Kota. If successful, it would have wreaked a huge toll not only in lives, but also and especially for the nation’s economy as the area is one of the most important destinations for business and circulation of cash, as well as ensuring many jobs.

The anti-terrorism blitz took place in the town of Bandung, capital of West Java province, and the Kebumen and Batang districts in the province of Central Java. The suspects died in a shout out that lasted at least five hours, the police decided to end the assault, because the guerrillas holed up in the houses — rented — were not willing to surrender. Inside guns and other heavy weapons were found, confirming that the groups were preparing massive attacks.

Among the extremist cells’ objectives was South-East Asia’s largest and most important shopping center for electronic equipment, in the area known by the nickname-Harco Glodok. The attack would have had devastating consequences for economic reasons: thousands of ethnic Chinese Indonesians also operate in the area, who have set up businesses and shops, not only in the electronics industry. The area is also famous for its nightlife and restaurants and so crowded at any time of day or night.

Boy Rafli Amar, deputy police spokesman, also reports that the bands in the past carried out several bank robberies, to raise the money needed to fund the extremist fight. And during their robberies had no qualms in killing anyone who was a hindrance to their plans, netting more than a trillion rupees in the past year (over one hundred million dollars).

Among the leaders there was also Abu Roban, alias Untung, alias Bambang Nangka, active in the province of Central Sulawesi and well-known face to the intelligence unit given his ties with Philippine terrorist Abu Omar.

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

Terrorists Kidnap Son of Former Pakistan Prime Minister in Middle of Campaign Rally, Killing One and Wounding Five

Gunmen attacked an election rally in Pakistan’s southern Punjab province on Thursday and abducted the son of a former prime minister, intensifying what has already been a violent run-up to Saturday’s nationwide elections.

Ali Haider Gilani, the son of ex-premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, is running for a provincial assembly seat in the district of Multan.

He was attending an election event in the town of Multan on Thursday — the last day of campaigning across Pakistan — when the gunmen pulled up, started shooting, grabbed and threw him into a vehicle and drove off, officials and witnesses said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Woman Found Alive 2 Weeks After Building Collapse in Bangladesh, Officials Say

In a stunning development, a woman trapped for 17 days beneath the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building was discovered alive on Friday and then rushed to a nearby military hospital after rescuers pulled her out.

The woman, whose name is Reshma, had been in the basement of the collapsed building, where some areas were apparently protected from serious damage. Rescuers, speaking on live national television from the wreckage site, said they were clearing debris on Friday afternoon when they saw a pipe moving. It turned out to be Reshma, shaking the pipe from below, trying to gain attention.

“Save me!” rescuers say they heard Reshma shouting.

[Return to headlines]

Telecom Italia Considers Integration With H3G

Q1 profit 364 million euros, 40% below 2012

(ANSA) — Milan, May 8 — Italy’s largest telecommunication provider Telecom Italia agreed in a board meeting Wednesday to continue to discuss potential “integration” with Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.

Telecom Italia (TI) ended the first quarter of 2013 with a net profit of 364 million euros, down about 40% from its 605 million euro profit reported in the same period last year, the Milan-based company announced. Revenue was down 8.1%, to 6.79 billion euros compared with the 7.39 billion euros reported during the same period one year earlier. The Italian market was hit especially hard, as revenues at home fell by 10.1% from the previous year.

Last month, Telecom Italia shares surged on Milan’s financial markets after it announced that Hutchison wanted a controlling stake in the Italian company.

At that time, TI’s board appointed a committee, led by Chief Executive Officer Franco Bernabe, to explore a possible linkup with the Hong Kong company.

That would include an examination of financial results, Bloomberg reported.

However, a deal hinges on Hutchison gaining control of TI’s assets, which seems unlikely at present since Telecom Italia controls the country’s fixed-line telephone network, which is considered a strategic national asset. Still, TI officials have said they are looking into ways to spin off the fixed-line network in order to meet Hutchison’s demands.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Gambia: New Mosque Inaugurated in Wellingara Village

Hundreds of Muslim leaders and followers of the Islamic faith from across the neighbouring villages and towns in the Kombos and Greater Banjul Area and beyond on Friday 3rd May 2013 witnessed the inauguration of a new Mosque in Wellingara village. The mosque, located just adjacent to Wellingara Police Station, was inaugurated at a ceremony led by Imam Sheriff Bajan. In his inaugural sermon, Imam Bajan reminded the gathering of the significance of constructing Mosques in Muslim settlements and the rewards of such investments…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Jonathan Aborts State Visit to Namibia Over Bama, Other Attacks

Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan has aborted his state visit to Namibia to personally oversee efforts by security agencies to contain the new security challenge in Borno, Nassarawa and Benue states. Renewed attacks in Borno, Nassarawa and Benue state recently led to the death of more than fifty security agents…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: 14 Massob Members Arrested in Ebonyi

Abakaliki — 14 members of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, were Wednesday arrested by men of the Nigeria Army and taken to the Headquarters of Ebonyi state police command for interrogation. The nonviolent members of the group were headed to Onuimo LGA in Imo state for a national meeting in a charter bus when they were intercepted at Nkwagu district in Abakaliki Local government area of Ebonyi state…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Vatican Declares Mexico’s Death Saint Blasphemous

The Vatican’s culture minister says Mexico’s folk Death Saint, the Santa Muerte, is a blasphemous symbol that should not be part of any religion.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi says worshipping such an icon is a degeneration of religion. “It’s not religion just because it’s dressed up like religion; it’s a blasphemy against religion”, Cardinal Ravasi said. The Santa Muerte is a skeletal figure of a cloaked woman with a scythe in her bony hand. It is worshipped both by drug dealers in Mexico and by the terrified people who live in drug-torn neighbourhoods…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

180 Immigrants Rescued Off Lampedusa During Night

Two motorized rubber dinghies packed with 98 and 82 people

(ANSA) — Lampedusa, May 10 — The Italian Coast Guard brought 180 immigrants to shore on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa Friday morning. The immigrants were rescued during the night from two motorized rubber dinghies located roughly 125 and 130 miles from shore, respectively.

One contained 98 people, including 18 women — one of whom was pregnant — and two newborn babies. The other, found adrift, contained 82 people, all men. The Lampedusa immigrant centre is currently holding 600 people, and no transfers are planned.

Lampedusa is located off the coast of Tunisia. Seasonally calm seas favor illegal immigrant traffick from North Africa during spring and summer months.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Abu Qatada Will Leave Britain

Abu Qatada, the Islamist cleric, will voluntarily return to Jordan if a new treaty on the use of evidence obtained by torture is ratified by the Jordanian parliament, a tribunal was told today.

His co-operation was announced by his barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, at the beginning of an immigration hearing to decide whether Qatada can be released from prison. The Government has been trying to deport him to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999, for nearly eight years. Immigration judges decided last year that Qatada, also known as Omar Othman, could not be deported over fears that evidence obtained through torture would be used against him in the Middle Eastern country…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Enormous $6.3 Trillion Cost of Immigration Amnesty

Not only will Senate Bill 744, called the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, add 33 million immigrants to the USA within the next 10 years, it will cost American taxpayers a mind-numbing $6.3 trillion. That amount of money piles on top of our already crippling $16.5 trillion national debt. When you consider 12 to 20 million illegal alien migrants taping into our social security, schools, medical systems, assisted housing and food stamp benefits — the costs skyrocket beyond imagination.

Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation stated, “Unlawful immigration and amnesty for current unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Radicals Request Referendum on Immigrant Status

(AGI) Rome — The Radical Party has presented a request for a referendum abolishing the status of illegality for immigrants.

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

Gay Adoption Results in Chaos & Suffering

Before the laws on gay discrimination, there were many adoption agencies operating across the United Kingdom. These charities, many of them Catholic, used to handle more than half of all the adoptions in the UK. They were more successful than the local authorities in finding adoptive families that “worked” because they took more time to vet the prospective parents and because, unlike state officials, really had the welfare of the children at heart.

None of these societies ever had a policy of “anyone can adopt”. They placed children only with legally married couples and took many other factors into account — whether the parents were physically healthy, whether they had any history of crime or mental illness in their family, whether they had a regular job and so on. References and recommendations had to be obtained, records scrutinized. In some cases, these charities had been operating for hundreds of years.

Then along came the LGBT fanatics and demanded to adopt. They claimed that this was somehow their “right”. When the adoption societies replied that they believed it was in the best interests of the children to be placed in a home where there is a mother AND and father, the aggressive homosexuals went to court and claimed “discrimination”.

All these religious adoption societies one by one have been forced to close down. It started in 2005, under the Labour government that brought in the law, and the last one is closing this year.

Now what is the result? A crisis in adoption. Across England alone there are now 4,600 children waiting to be adopted. Some of them are orphans and others have been taken into council “care” because their parents are incapable of looking after them. They are kept in hostels or placed with temporary foster-families at huge expense to the tax-payer.

These children grow up to be very vulnerable. They perform poorly in school and a very high number of them later live on state benefits, or drift into crime or drug abuse while still in their teens. Many of the girls are lured into prostitution, and even if not, their own children are likely to be born out of wedlock…. so the whole cycle of uncared-for children repeats itself.

Same-sex couples are urged to come forward and claim the surplus children living in “care”….which is now their “right”. Unfortunately, there are very few of them. Homosexuals are only 2% of the population and most of them are not interested in adopting children. Most of them do not live in couples.

Those who do would, for the most part, far rather follow their self-indulgent, promiscuous, drug-fueled lifestyle with luxury homes and few responsibilities. There are only 6,000 same-sex couples who have taken advantage of the civil partnership laws, and most of them do not want children. In the 2011 census, 1.1 per cent of the surveyed UK population, approximately 545,000 adults, identified themselves as Gay or Lesbian,

The LGBT activists cannot solve the problems they have caused. They are content to mess up the whole adoption system, then vanish and leave misery for thousands of children.

[Return to headlines]

In Defence of Niall Ferguson

by Douglas Murray

One of the most striking divides in the left/right political debate is this. Those on the right disagree with people on the left. They find left-wing opinions misguided, incorrect or otherwise wrong. But they tend not to assume that their opponents are evil. This favour is rarely reciprocated.

The Harvard professor and historian Niall Ferguson is the latest to suffer from this. In a discussion in California last week, he was invited to comment on John Maynard Keynes’ notorious observation, ‘In the long run we are all dead’. Ferguson mentioned somewhat flippantly that Keynes may have been more indifferent to the future because he had no children, because he was gay. For this he is now being denounced as an anti-gay bigot.

All the usual self-appointed, left-wing, gay-rights ‘spokespeople’ (incidentally, at which convention did we appoint them?) have condemned him. Ben Summerskill and Peter Tatchell have referred to the comments on Keynes as a ‘homophobic slur’. Others have claimed that his comments ‘take gay-bashing to new heights.’

As it happens I don’t think Niall Ferguson needed to apologise for making this comment. The attempt to shut down debate to such an extent that a glib off-the-cuff comment such as this can be subjected to such souped-up outrage is another reminder that the left-wing search for what it thinks of as ‘equality’ has become little more than an attempt to ignore any and all differences that exist in the world…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Is God a Plague? How the Idea in My Thriller Turned Into Startling, And Scary, Scientific Theory

by Sean Thomas

In case you hadn’t noticed, atheism is having a moment. These last weeks the Godless have been dominating debate, with the Savonarola of Scepticism, Richard Dawkins, leading the jihad against the cowering faithful. Dawkins’s accusation is that religion is absurd and therefore unacceptable in public life: he sees faith as a form of mental virus, a “meme”, that spreads like the flu, and is much nastier. Well, I’ve got news for the Dean of Disbelief: he may be more right than he ever imagined.

Let me explain: this week Harper Collins are publishing a thriller of mine: The Deceit. The book concerns the origins of Christianity in the dark swirls of Egyptian history. To research it I went to the remotest corners of revolutionary Egypt: from Coptic Cairo to deserted Abydos to crumbling Bubastis, the “city of cats”. As I went, I became convinced that Christianity is indeed, primarily, an evolution of pre-existent Egyptian beliefs; even the crucifix (first used, symbolically, in Egypt) is arguably derived from the Egyptian ankh — or key of life. (To find out more, just buy the book. Thanks.)

My final destination on my Egyptian travels was El Amarna, the capital of the insane pharaoh Akhenaten, now a whispering desert. Akhenaten, who lived around 1300BC, was the first monotheist in history. Therefore if Christianity — monotheism — comes from Egypt, it must come from Akhenaten, the crazy, allegedly hermaphroditic pharaoh, a man who is portrayed so weirdly in Egyptian art — with an elongated skull and misformed limbs — that some have fantasised that he was an alien.

As I wandered that ruined city, nearly getting myself arrested, and as I looked at the strange mummy-corpses of Akhenaten’s children, all of whom were strangely afflicted, died young, and had odd shaped skulls (Akhenaten’s son was Tutankhamun), a question occurred to me: what if the monotheism of Akhenaten, and the medical problems of his dynasty, were linked?

If that were the case, and if Sigmund Freud was right with his theory — that Moses was a priest of Akhenaten, who took the new worship of one God to the Jews, and from them to the world — that means all of monotheism might be a disease, or an affliction, some kind of real cerebral virus. Of course it’s a ridiculous idea. Totally gaga. But I like to have wild ideas in my books. So I put it in my thriller.

And then something very peculiar happened. Five weeks after I finished the book, Hutan Ashrafian, a scientist at Imperial College, proposed exactly my thesis, in September last year. “Tutankhamun’s mysterious death as a teenager may finally have been explained. And the condition that cut short his life may also have triggered the earliest monotheistic religion, suggests a new review of his family history.”

My outrageous idea for a thriller, that monotheism is a form of virus, or parasite, was being taken seriously. Nonetheless, it still seems absurd: God is a plague? Come on. Really? But consider this. The idea that mysterious viruses or parasites can influence human culture is perfectly scientific.

Not so long ago, biologists discovered that maybe 30 per cent of humans are infected with feline toxoplasma — a parasite known to make male carriers more aggressive. And women more attractive. And others suicidal. Toxoplasma can even increase male births over female. Tiny organisms can therefore alter human societies, obscurely but profoundly. Why shouldn’t there be one that… makes us believe?

[Reader comment by Global City on 9 May 2013 at 8:43 pm.]

Alahu Akbar!

[JP note: Aloha Akbar.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Topless Jihad

by Mark Tapson

Recently members of the Ukrainian-based, global feminist group Femen staged protests across Europe calling for “topless jihad.” While American feminists today are satisfied whipping up outrage about Mitt Romney’s binders and Sandra Fluke’s right to bill taxpayers for her birth control, Femen’s Amazonian warriors dive right in to do battle in a real War on Women being openly waged by Muslim misogynists. Topless jihad — it puts a whole new spin on #MyJihad…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Global Warming Thy Name is a Manufactured Crisis

How much veracity should you ascribe to global warming theories? Aside from the fact that thousands of scientists across the globe have debunked global warming, consider this — proponents of global warming manufacture or delete data to fit their agenda. University of East Anglia admitted, after being caught, to have deleted data that contradicted their “consensus” hoax…

As Jim Lakely, President of The Heartland Institute, said, the environmentalist “progressive” academics do not just ignore sound scientific evidence that contradicts global warming alarmism, they dismiss any rational proof, refuse to debate, manufacture data, ban any contradictory evidence, and even “committing crimes against The Heartland Institute.” It is a childish and unscholarly behavior to even pretend to burn evidence of opposing views. It is an unreasonable practice for scientists not to consider opposing views because their unilateral decisions can fundamentally affect the lives of billions and professors shape the minds of so many students.

Lord Monckton aptly described the scientists who lack a moral compass as a danger to society. Disinformation about an opponent’s reputation and about science “is now encouraged as long as the inventions further the party line.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/10/2013

  1. Is atheism an infection? Since Dawkins and other atheists are, in their own opinion, a type of ape, perhaps a flea or louse living on them carries their godless meme to other anthropoids?

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