Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/13/2013

This news feed (for December 13) was really posted on December 14, after the new website came online.

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

Thanks to BES, C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Kitman, Steen, TI, 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
» Boehner Wins Budget Vote, Attacks Conservatives
» Icelanders Overthrow Government and Rewrite Constitution After Banking Fraud-No Word From US Media
» IMF Wants a 71 Percent Tax Rate
» Italy’s Inflation Rate Drops to 0.7%
» Italy: S&P Confirms Italy’s Credit Rating
» Italy: Household Wealth on Steady Decline Since 2007
» The Post-Work Economy: A Permanent Dependency Class Means a Citizenry Deprived of Dignity.
» Beneath Yellowstone, A Volcano That Could Wipe Out the U.S.
» Colorado Man Awarded $23k for Wrongful Arrest After Open Carrying in a City Park (Video)
» Dem Senator: Teachers Should Defend Against Shootings With Pepper Spray, Not Guns
» Disturbing Levels of Heart Drugs Found in Drinking Water as Concern for Long Term Health Effects Grows
» Guess Who Earned Politifact’s Top Lie of 2013?
» It’s Not Just Patients; Thousands of Doctors Now Being Dropped From ObamaCare Coverage Networks
» Judge Says Waiting Period ‘Burdens’ 2nd Amendment
» Man Claims Harassment From Telemarketers After Signing Up for ObamaCare
» NAFTA at 20: State of the North American Worker
» Parents and Teachers Object to Common Core by Phyllis Schlafly
» Plot to Bomb Wichita Airport Thwarted
» White House Front Group Vows to Target Alternative Media
» Why Taser is Paying Millions in Secret ‘Suspect Injury or Death’ Settlements
» FINTRAC the NSA of the Banking World
Europe and the EU
» Al-Baraka Banking Calls for Islamic Finance in Italy
» Denmark: Plants Won’t Grow Near Wi-Fi Routers, Experiment Finds
» Geert Wilders on Bringing Down EU
» Geert Wilders Sees European Elections Chance
» Italy: ‘Pitchfork’ Protests Continue for Fourth Day
» Italy: Man Lights Bank on Fire After Loan Rejection
» UK: Benefits Cheat Who Stole £82,000 While Her Husband Ran £400,000-a-Year Tandoori Restaurant is Dragged Screaming to Cells as She is Jailed
» UK: Stab Victim Gave Dying Testimony of How Knife Attacker “Went Nuts”
North Africa
» Cairo Snow: Egyptian Capital Sees Snowfall for the First Time in 112 Years
» Human Trafficking: Infernal Cycle in the Sinai
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: Pollard and an American Jewish Renaissance
» Israel Sends Humanitarian Aid to Palestinians Hit by Storm
» More Leftist Intolerance: Haifa U Refuses to Give Honorary Doctorate to Right Wing Nobel Laureate
» Photo Essay: Snow in Jerusalem
Middle East
» Iranians Pull Out of Nuke Talks
» Syria’s War: The Next Phase
» Turkey: Veiled MP Addresses Parliament for First Time
» Unanswered Questions Follow the Levinson CIA Rogue Mission Expose
South Asia
» Bangladesh: “Mirpur Butcher” Executed. Violence Against the Hindu Community
Far East
» Chinese Naval Vessel Tries to Force U.S. Warship to Stop in International Waters
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Mandela Funeral a Celebration of Evil by a Cast of Characters Who Represent the Worst Our World Offers Today
» Obama’s New Interpreter
» Poor Organization of the Historic Memorial Service for Mandela
» Sign Language Interpreter Charged With Murder in 2003
» Foreign-Born Swedes Join Anti-Immigration Party
» Nearly 250 Migrants Rescued South of Lampedusa
» Pelosi: Boehner Told Me to Wait Until Next Year for Immigration Reform
» Romanians Arrested at Seven Times Rate of Britons: 800 Held in London Last Month
» UK: Four Plymouth Students Accused of Sex Attacks on Young Girls in City Centre
Culture Wars
» A Moral Revolution at Warp Speed — Now, It’s Wedding Cakes
» Australia’s Top Court Strikes Down Same-Sex-Marriage Law in Capital Territory
» Belgium: Senate Approves Measure Allowing Doctors to Euthanize Children
» Belgium Senate’s Gift of Death Comes Wrapped in Children’s’ Euthanasia
» Croatia Votes Overwhelmingly to Ban ‘Gay Marriage’ Despite Intimidation Tactics
» Teacher Refuses Paper on Abortion, “You Can Do Abortion if You Write FOR It”
» UK: Given Life for Seven Sex Attacks, So Why Was ‘High-Risk’ Rapist Let Out of Jail to Claim 8th Victim?
» UK: Murdered by Porn
» MSNBC’s Alternative Universe: What Passes for Journalism on the Network is Downright Silly.

Boehner Wins Budget Vote, Attacks Conservatives

After years of bitter friction within Republican circles, House Speaker John Boehner is lashing out against hard-line conservative and tea party groups — the latest GOP establishment figure to join the increasingly public battle roiling the party.

For the second day in a row — but at greater length and with more passion — the Ohio Republican on Thursday lit into groups such as Heritage Action and Club for Growth. Though naming no names, he accused such groups and others of stirring up opposition on the right to a budget bill worked out with Democrats that would replace some across-the-board spending cuts now in place with longer-term savings.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Icelanders Overthrow Government and Rewrite Constitution After Banking Fraud-No Word From US Media

Can you imagine participating in a protest outside the White House and forcing the entire U.S. government to resign? Can you imagine a group of randomly chosen private citizens rewriting the U.S. constitution to include measures banning corporate fraud? It seems incomprehensible in the U.S., but Icelanders did just that. Icelanders forced their entire government to resign after a banking fraud scandal, overthrowing the ruling party and creating a citizen’s group tasked with writing a new constitution that offered a solution to prevent corporate greed from destroying the country. The constitution of Iceland was scrapped and is being rewritten by private citizens; using a crowd-sourcing technique via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. These events have been going on since 2008, yet there’s been no word from the U.S. mainstream media about any of them. In fact, all of the events that unfolded were recorded by international journalists, overseas news bureaus, citizen journalists and bloggers. This has created current accusations of an intentional cover up of the story by mainstream U.S. news sources.

An “iReport” on CNN, written by a private citizen in May 2012, has questioned the reasons why this revolution has not been widely covered in the U.S., suggesting that perhaps the mainstream media is controlled by large corporate interests and thus has been unwilling to report on Iceland’s activities. That report is currently making its way around social media. CNN today placed a statement on its website saying: “We’ve noticed this iReport is being shared widely on Facebook and Twitter. Please note that this article was posted in May 2012. CNN has not yet verified the claims and we’re working to track down the original writer.” It is interesting to note that CNN’s European version, CNN Europe, already covered the story of the protests and the government’s resignation, leading many to question why CNN would now need to “look into” the claims.

Besides CNN Europe’s own coverage of the scandal, the events in Iceland were widely covered by international media and are easily verified by a simple search on Google which leads to a variety of reputable international news sources that ran numerous stories on the Icelandic revolution. A whole documentary has been made on the governmental overthrow called Pots, Pans and Other Solutions, and now, the conversation is focused on whether or not the citizens’ actions actually worked to make Iceland a more equitable nation…

           — Hat tip: TI [Return to headlines]

IMF Wants a 71 Percent Tax Rate

Romain Hatcheul’s largely passed over article on the Wall Street Journal’s website was revisited yesterday by Simon Black over at the Sovereign Man blog. Black spells out the latest IMF scheme to steal wealth from the producers and enslave billions of people: a taxation rate over 70 percent.

“The IMF’s team of monkeys has been working around the clock on this one, figuring that developed nations can increase their overall tax revenue by increasing tax rates,” Black writes. “They’ve singled out the US, suggesting that the US government could maximize its tax revenue by increasing tax brackets to as high as 71%.”

Black notes that the latest criminal plot by the “grand wizards of the global financial system” is telling. It “might be the clearest sign yet that the whole house of cards is dangerously close to being swept away.”

Can a person still be considered “free” when 71% of what s/he earns is taken away at the point of a gun by a bankrupt, bullying government? Or are you merely a serf then, existing only to feed the system?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Inflation Rate Drops to 0.7%

Lowest level since 2009

(ANSA) — Rome, December 12 — Italy’s annual inflation rate dropped to 0.7% in November, down from 0.8% in October, national statistics agency Istat said Thursday.

The agency revised up its initial inflation forecast of 0.6% but, even so, November’s level was the lowest since 2009.

Price’s actually fell 0.3% last month with respect to October, Istat said, adding that this was the third consecutive month-on-month fall.

Italy’s long recession has dampened price rises.

A two-year run of negative growth ended in the third quarter of this year, when GDP was flat with respect to the April-June period.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: S&P Confirms Italy’s Credit Rating

Says Italy has 1 in 3 chance of downgrade in next 12 months

(ANSA) — Milan, December 13 — Standard & Poor’s (S&P) confirmed Italy’s credit rating at BBB/A-2 with a negative outlook, the rating agency on Friday said in a statement.

S&P said its assessment reflected Italy’s “rich and diversified economy” as well as the “risk of a fragile recovery” due to the country’s massive sovereign debt.

The agency added that there was a “one in three” chance it would downgrade Italy’s credit rating “by one or more steps” in the next 12 months.

The move depended on whether or not the Italian government manages to carry out necessary reforms to avoid “deterioration of debt indicators”.

On the other hand, Italy could see its outlook pumped up to “stable” if the executive introduces market reforms for labour, services and products that boost growth, it said.

On Thursday S&P issued a 2014 economic forecast for Italy of 0.4%-0.5% growth in gross domestic product (GDP).

The estimate was much lower than the Italian government’s prediction of 1.0% growth, as well as S&P’s 0.8% GDP growth estimate for Spain in 2014.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Household Wealth on Steady Decline Since 2007

Italian families suffer 9% loss over five years, says Bankitalia

(ANSA) — Rome, December 13 — The wealth of Italian households fell in real terms by 9% between 2007 and last year, the Bank of Italy reported on Friday.

It found that between 2011 and 2012 alone, household wealth fell by 2.9%.

The largest factor in the drop in families’ wealth last year was a fall in house prices, said the central bank.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Post-Work Economy: A Permanent Dependency Class Means a Citizenry Deprived of Dignity.

In my book (which I shall forbear to plug, but is available at Amazon, and with which Jeff Bezos will be happy to drone your aunt this holiday season), I write:

Once upon a time, millions of Americans worked on farms. Then, as agriculture declined, they moved into the factories. When manufacturing was outsourced, they settled into low-paying service jobs or better-paying cubicle jobs — so-called “professional services” often deriving from the ever swelling accounting and legal administration that now attends almost any activity in America. What comes next?

Or, more to the point, what if there is no “next”?

What do millions of people do in a world in which, in Marxian terms, “capital” no longer needs “labor”? America’s liberal elite seem to enjoy having a domestic-servant class on hand, but, unlike the Downton Abbey crowd, are vaguely uncomfortable with having them drawn from the sturdy yokel stock of the village, and thus favor, to a degree only the Saudis can match, importing their maids and pool-boys from a permanent subordinate class of cheap foreign labor. Hence the fetishization of the “undocumented,” soon to be reflected in the multi-million bipartisan amnesty for those willing to do “the jobs Americans won’t do.”

So what jobs will Americans get to do? We dignify the new age as “the knowledge economy,” although, to the casual observer, it doesn’t seem to require a lot of knowledge.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Beneath Yellowstone, A Volcano That Could Wipe Out the U.S.

It’s the awe-inspiring pride of the United States — and it harbors a deadly power that could kill us all.

Yellowstone National Park is pristine wilderness, full of scenic landscape and iconic hot-pools and geysers that attract tens of thousands of visitors every year.

But it’s what lies beneath that has scientists scurrying.

[Comment: Check out the graphic of the plume ash of Mount St.Helens as compared to geological evidence of the plume ash of Yellowstone volcano.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Colorado Man Awarded $23k for Wrongful Arrest After Open Carrying in a City Park (Video)

The city of Colorado Springs has had to fork over $23,500 to a man who was wrongfully arrested last summer for openly carrying a firearm in a city park. Arresting officers claimed that the man was in violation of the law, but it turned out that the law they were referring to had been repealed nearly a full decade ago.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dem Senator: Teachers Should Defend Against Shootings With Pepper Spray, Not Guns

A Kansas City legislator opposed to arming teachers says pepper spray is the best choice for protecting children during a school shooting.

Following efforts by Missouri Republicans to allow certain school employees to be armed across the state, Senator Jason Holsman (D) announced plans to introduce counter-legislation that would arm teachers with cans of pepper spray instead.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Disturbing Levels of Heart Drugs Found in Drinking Water as Concern for Long Term Health Effects Grows

A report on drinking water carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency has found samples of at least 25 different drugs in supplies coming out of wastewater treatment plants.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Guess Who Earned Politifact’s Top Lie of 2013?

Each year, Politifact chooses the most egregious and misleading lie made by a U.S. political figure. While the top four all involved Obamacare, it may surprise you who made the top spot.

“If you like your health care, you can keep your health care,” President Obama repeated numerous times over the past several years. While that was bad enough, it was worse when he modified the lie, inserting a disclaimer, according to CNN.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

It’s Not Just Patients; Thousands of Doctors Now Being Dropped From ObamaCare Coverage Networks

(NaturalNews) Don’t look now, America, but another very predictable consequence of Obamacare is beginning to play out.

Not only are customers losing their insurance plans — the plans Obama said they could keep — but now, insurance companies are dropping physicians from coverage plans as well.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal:

UnitedHealth Group, Inc., the nation’s largest provider of privately managed Medicare Advantage plans, has dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks — spurring protest from lawmakers and physician groups and leaving many elderly patients unsure about whether they need to switch plans to keep seeing their doctors.

Obamacare regulations ‘driving our actions’

The paper said physicians in at least 10 states have received termination letters. Some of those letters have cited “significant changes and pressures in the health-care environment.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Judge Says Waiting Period ‘Burdens’ 2nd Amendment

A federal judge in California has ruled in a Second Amendment case that a state-imposed waiting period to take possession of a firearm is a burden on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

The ruling came in a challenge brought by the Second Amendment Foundation to the state’s mandatory 10-day waiting period to obtain firearms. The case, Silvester v. Harris, continues.

It was Senior Judge Anthony Ishii of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California who said in an 11-page decision that California Attorney General Kamala Harris “argues that the WPL (Waiting Period Law) is a minor burden on the Second Amendment, [but] plaintiffs are correct that this is a tacit acknowledgement that a protected Second Amendment right is burdened.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Man Claims Harassment From Telemarketers After Signing Up for ObamaCare

Is selling your information?

A man claims he was bombarded with telemarketing calls immediately after signing up at, prompting accusations that Obamacare enrollees are having their private information sold to companies or that the website has been compromised by hackers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NAFTA at 20: State of the North American Worker

The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, was the door through which American workers were shoved into the neoliberal global labor market.

By establishing the principle that U.S. corporations could relocate production elsewhere and sell their products back into the United States, NAFTA undercut the bargaining power of American workers, which had driven the expansion of the middle class since the end of World War II. The result has been 20 years of stagnant wages and the upward redistribution of income, wealth, and political power.

A Template for Neoliberal Globalization

NAFTA impacted U.S. workers in four principal ways.

First, it caused the loss of some 700,000 jobs as companies moved their production to Mexico, where labor was cheaper. Most of these losses came in California, Texas, Michigan, and other states where manufacturing is concentrated (and where many immigrants from Mexico go). To be sure, there were some job gains along the border in the service and retail sectors resulting from increased trucking activity. But these gains are small in relation to the losses, and have generally come in lower paying occupations. The vast majority of workers who lost jobs from NAFTA, therefore, suffered a permanent loss of income.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Parents and Teachers Object to Common Core by Phyllis Schlafly

Common Core advocates loudly proclaim there isn’t any CC curriculum, saying there are only standards, which local schools can use to write their own curriculums. But the CC tests (usually called assessments) are the mechanism of federal control over curriculum because teachers must teach to the test.

As states are beginning to implement Common Core, parents and teachers are discovering many things they don’t like. An Oak Forest, Ill., high school government class required students and their parents to fill out questionnaires that identified their positions on controversial political issues so they could place themselves on a “political spectrum.”

The best way to describe the left-wing bias of this curriculum is to quote some of the questions students are asked, all of which are ideologically slanted. Students are instructed to “put a check in front of each statement with which you agree.”…

The Common Core-approved history textbook, “The American Experience,” published by Prentice Hall, gives an account of World War II the “greatest generation” would not recognize. World War II is presented primarily with photos of the devastation experienced by Hiroshima and text from John Hersey’s article “Hiroshima.”

The Washington Post published a letter from a Delaware teacher who is highly critical of Common Core because she was instructed “to teach the curriculum word-for-word.” Also, she must “stop teaching for six weeks in the spring to make sure our students pass that test.”

[Comment: Commie Core is a better name.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Plot to Bomb Wichita Airport Thwarted

Worker at Mid-Continent airport planned suicide bombing

An employee at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport was arrested early Friday morning attempting to access the airport tarmac and explode a car bomb, officials said.

U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom said Wichita resident Terry Lee Loewen, 58, had been under investigation since this past summer after making threats to engage in a terrorist act of jihad against the United States. Loewen intended to kill himself in the process.

“Today’s arrest emphasizes that homegrown terrorism is a continuous threat within the United States,” said Michael Kaste, special agent in charge with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Kansas City office. “While we feel protected here in the heartland, in the middle of America, we have a certain sense of security. But today, again, it reminds us that terrorism remains a very real threat.”

Grissom said the explosives in Loewen’s car, assembled in the presence of an undercover FBI agent, were inert and were not capable of exploding.

“At no time was the airport perimeter breached and at no time was any citizen or any member of the public in any type of danger,” Grissom said.

Loewen was an avionics technician who had a security card giving him access to restricted areas of Mid-Continent Airport, Grissom said. He was arrested at 5:40 a.m. as he attempted to use the card and drive the car he believed to be loaded with explosives onto the tarmac.

Grissom said the man faced three federal charges: attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against people and property within the United States, attempting to damage or destroy by means of an explosive, and providing material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. The criminal complaint identified the organization as a Yemen-based group known as Al Qaeda on the Arabian Penisula. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

At his 3 p.m. arraignment, Loewen was ushered into the third-floor federal courtroom in chains, but still in his civilian clothes — a black, hooded, unzipped sweatshirt, blue T-shirt and jeans. He wore frameless glasses, a goatee and beard and had mussed hair.

Throughout the proceeding, overseen by Judge Karen Humphreys, Loewen was subdued and polite, frequently referring to the judge as “ma’am” and responding articulately.

His wife was present in the courtroom, though she declined to provide comment, noting he had an attorney. She provided information about Loewen’s medications, including blood thinners, which he has to take daily.

Loewen requested the state appoint his counsel, and he was represented Friday by assistant federal public defender John Henderson. His preliminary hearing was set for 11 a.m. Friday.

The prosecution, represented by assistant U.S. attorneys Dave Smith and Anthony Mattivi, the latter of whom works in the Topeka office, requested Loewen remain in custody pending a trial. Mattivi noted Loewen posed a flight risk and was a danger to the community.

Humphreys granted Loewen’s detention through the preliminary hearing, after learning the defense likely would request his release during the proceedings.

“The United States enjoys a certain prejudice in these cases that you should be detained,” she said, noting that she would be interested to learn the defense’s argument for release.

The detention hearing also will be on Friday.

At the news conference, Grissom said Loewen was not associated with any religious group in Wichita and is believed to have acted alone. Although the investigation was ongoing and evidence response teams were processing multiple locations, no further arrests were anticipated.

“We have no indication that the defendant was involved or working with any member of any religious communities in Wichita,” Grissom said. “His actions in no way reflect anyone else in our community.”

Loewen had been under investigation for about six months, after he made online statements about wanting to commit “violent jihad” against the U.S. The statements were made in a conversation with an FBI employee unbeknownst to Loewen, Grissom said.

According to court documents, Loewen talked to an undercover agent about downloading online documents about jihad, martyrdom and the “Al Qaeda Manual.” He frequently expressed his admiration of Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American-born al-Qaida leader who was killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen. Al-Awlaki emerged as an influential preacher among militants living in the West, with his English language Internet sermons calling for jihad, or holy war, against the U.S…

[Return to headlines]

White House Front Group Vows to Target Alternative Media

Media Matters set to intensify attacks against Drudge, Infowars in concert with Obama advisors

White House front group Media Matters has vowed to target “alternative online outlets” as part of its new “strategic plan” to exert media influence in coordination with the Obama administration.

Claiming that its war with Fox News is over and that “to a large extent, we won” (despite polls showing Americans trust Fox News over any other mainstream network), Media Matters has finalized a blueprint which outlines a shift to focus on “new, increasingly influential targets, including Spanish-language media, social media streams, alternative online outlets and morning and entertainment sources.”

In other words, Media Matters, whose employees brag about writing MSNBC’s prime time content and attending strategy calls with Obama advisors on a weekly basis, will now turn its big guns on the likes of Infowars, Alex Jones and the Drudge Report.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why Taser is Paying Millions in Secret ‘Suspect Injury or Death’ Settlements

On the day before Thanksgiving this year, international stun gun and cop-cam company Taser International, Inc. announced it had given up its fight in two major legal battles over “suspect injury or death.” In a 275-word statement submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company’s chief financial officer said it would pay a total of $2.3 million in settlements to plaintiffs who had sued the company in product liability cases.

This was rare. Taser prides itself in fighting to the bitter end in any case alleging that its products do anything but save lives. Yet there it was in a financial disclosure — Taser backing down.

Taser brushed it off as a remnant of simpler times. According to the vaguely worded statement, enhanced “risk management procedures” and “revisions to product warnings” in 2009 corrected a legal vulnerability. The $2.3 million payouts would address the last lawsuits tied to that vulnerability; they would amount to housekeeping — cleaning up lingering messes that had remained on the company’s books since before 2009.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

FINTRAC the NSA of the Banking World

Throughout Canada people are unaware that our banking information is being sent to an entity called FINTRAC (“FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS AND REPORTS ANALYSIS CENTRE OF CANADA”). This entity was created in 2001, and FINTRAC’s mandate is to receive, collect, analyze, assess and disclose information on financial transactions, and to disseminate intelligence in order to assist in the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

Other concerns are that our banks are being used as a private police force to collect information on any Canadians who might do any financial transactions, including investments, R.R.S.P.s, and the “know your client” exercise. When bank representatives tell you that their information gathering on you is for better service and also under the Proceeds of Crime Act, you feel that because you haven’t done anything wrong and are innocent, nothing will be sent to any authorities, right? This is where every Canadian is being misled. Your information is not staying internally with your financial institution, your financial advisor, your real estate agent, your “Canadian Home Builder”, it is being sent to FINTRAC.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Al-Baraka Banking Calls for Islamic Finance in Italy

Rep wants change in laws, says it would help SMEs access credit

(ANSAmed) — MILAN, DECEMBER 11 — Hatem Abou Said, representative of ABG Al-Baraka Banking, asked Wednesday that Islamic banking be authorized in Italy.

The request was made at an Istud conference and was addressed both to legislators and to the Italian Banking Association (ABI). “In early 2013,” he said, “we asked the ABI to set up of monitoring committee alongside the economic and foreign affairs ministries and a representative of the Arab banking world that would look at Italian laws needing to be changed in order to authorize Islamic finance.” In Italy, the banker and economist noted, “there aren’t any Islamic banks”, underscoring that “the presence of Islamic finance operating on the Italian market would help SMEs a great deal, as well as large enterprises.” Islamic finance has “ethical rules and is based on a ban on speculation,” Said said, explaining that it is for this reason that “it did not suffer negative effects from the enduring international economic crisis”. Islamic finance is already present in “over 75 countries, with activities growing by an annual 20-30 percent. It has been estimated that by 2020 total assets will be 6,500 billion dollars.” In Europe, he said, “some of the major markets have surpassed Italy by a great deal” as concerns the presence of Islamic finance, especially northern European countries — either through the so-called ‘Islamic banking window’, bringing transactions into line with Sharia law, or through Islamic banking subsidiaries, especially in Gulf states.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Plants Won’t Grow Near Wi-Fi Routers, Experiment Finds

The latest research into the dangers of Wi-Fi, though, comes from a surprisingly humble source: Five ninth grade female students from Denmark, whose science experiment revealed that wireless radiation is equally as devastating to plants.

Undeniable results The experiment began when the five students realized that they had difficulty concentrating in school if they slept near their mobile phones the previous night. Intrigued by this phenomenon, the students endeavored to study the effects of cellphone radiation on humans. Unfortunately, their school prevented them from pursuing this experiment due to a lack of resources, so the students decided to test the effects of Wi-Fi radiation (comparable in strength to cellphone radiation) on a plant instead.

The girls placed six trays of Lepidium sativum seeds (a garden cress grown commercially throughout Europe) in a room without radiation, and an equal amount in a room next to two Wi-Fi routers. Over a 12-day period, they observed, measured, weighed and photographed the results. Even before the 12th day arrived, however, the end results were obvious: The cress seeds placed near the routers either hadn’t grown or were completely dead, while the seeds placed in the radiation-free room had blossomed into healthy plants.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Geert Wilders on Bringing Down EU

Geert Wilders, the controversial Netherlands politician, has told the BBC that he wants to bring down the European Union.

Mr Wilders’ Anti-immigration Freedom Party is currently ahead in most the Dutch polls.

Speaking to our Europe Editor, Gavin Hewitt, he dubbed Islam an “inferior culture” and said that future Eastern European migrants should stay home.

Please click on the following link to watch the interview:

[Return to headlines]

Geert Wilders Sees European Elections Chance

It is easy to forget sitting in an elegant meeting room in the Dutch parliament that, to many people, Geert Wilders is an outcast, a politician beyond the mainstream. And then there are the reminders.

For reasons of security, the curtains have to be closed during the interview and Mr Wilders recounts how a magazine has placed him in fourth position on an al-Qaeda hit list. It is to underline that he has been more outspoken about Islam that almost any other European politician.

But Geert Wilders senses this is his moment, that the next six months may deliver his best chance to become a European player and not just an agitator. All his energies are focused on the European elections in May. For the forthcoming campaign he has already announced an anti-establishment alliance with Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France. Both leaders are currently ahead in many polls. Their dream is that European voters, seething with discontent, will deliver a massive protest vote against Brussels and the political establishment.

I asked Geert Wilders whether he wanted to bring down the European Union. “Yes, as a matter of fact I do,” he replied, “in a way that I would like the Netherlands to leave the European Union.”

He believes that democracy can only exist in a nation state and Europe is not a nation state so he wants to bring down Europe and restore the nation state and democracy. So he finds himself campaigning for a parliament that he wishes to undermine. He takes issue with my word “undermine” as being too negative but concedes he wants nothing to do with institutions like the European Commission. He does not want to reform the EU but to replace it with nation states set free from the shackles of Brussels.

So why should people vote for him? I ask. “To fight against the European monster,” he says, which, in his view, “only wants more power”. His hope is that his alliance will become one of the biggest parties in Europe next May and that this will signal a new reality in European politics. It would be very surprising, however, if these anti-establishment parties got more than 30% of the votes in the European elections and there are many divisions between them.

I point out to Mr Wilders that Nigel Farage, the leading eurosceptic in the UK, has shunned his new alliance. He expresses his respect for Mr Farage and hopes that after the elections things will change. I point out it is because the UKIP leader thinks his party might be extreme. He answers that he has been ahead in the Dutch polls for over half a year and that the Netherlands is a tolerant country, so it follows that he cannot be extreme.

‘Stay home’

At the centre of his campaign will be immigration. His message to those Bulgarians and Romanians planning to take advantage of the freedom to travel and work anywhere in the EU after 1 January is to “stay home”. He thinks it crazy that when his country has more than 700,000 unemployed, outsiders are being invited in to work.

The day before I visited Mr Wilders he had proposed a resolution that the government should not allow workers from Romania and Bulgaria to enter the Netherlands from 1 January. Some 80% of the MPs in the Lower House had voted against the resolution but he maintained that polls showed that 80% of the Dutch electorate wanted the restrictions to continue. He dismissed UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s moves as “too little too late”. “People will come anyway,” he said. He wants them to be prevented from working whilst there is an economic crisis. If, in the months ahead, many people do migrate from Bulgaria and Romania, this may prove his strongest card at the polls.

Geert Wilders is a conviction politician. He says he will continue to say what he believes to be right and he will never break. He repeats his criticism of Islam. Yes, he says, the majority of Muslims in the UK and the Netherlands are “law-abiding people whose concern is to have a good life, a good education for their children and a good job and I have nothing against them” but “yes, I believe Islam is a fascist ideology… and yes I believe there is no place for Islam in our continent”.

I say that many people would say his comments could stoke up tensions between communities. “I’m staying away from anything,” he says “that has to do with stirring up anything.”

His critics denounce him as a xenophobe and a nationalist. He replies that he is a patriot. In the past he has proved a magnet for the discontented. At the last election in the Netherlands, however, he fared poorly. This time round he is calculating that a sluggish economy, resentment at bailing out other eurozone countries and disillusionment with the European project will turn voters his way. In the months ahead, European officials will denounce him as a wrecker, a politician who is bent on tearing up more than 50 years of European achievements. Political leaders in Europe are gearing up to raise the stakes in these elections. They will cast them as about the future of the continent.

[Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Pitchfork’ Protests Continue for Fourth Day

Clashes continue amid fears of ‘infiltrators’

(see related) (ANSA) — Ventimiglia, December 12 — Italian police on Thursday fired teargas and clashed with demonstrators at the French border of Ventimiglia as the so-called ‘Forconi’ (Pitchfork) anti-government protests in Italy entered their fourth day.

Protesters blame government mismanagement for Italy’s continuing economic crisis and oppose austerity-driven tax hikes, but have also taken to other anti-government causes, occupying roads, squares and railways, snarling traffic, blocking trains and disrupting pre-Christmas commerce.

Demonstrations have spanned south to north since they began on Monday, with cities such as Milan, Turin and the Genoa area showing the greatest turnout. On Thursday, about a thousand demonstrators — mostly cross-border commuters, students and store-keepers — paralyzed traffic in the centre of Ventimiglia, west of Genoa.

Students protested public education cuts. Cross-border commuters objected to the government’s failure to renew tax breaks, forcing them to pay taxes in both France and Italy. Shopkeepers also protested taxes.

In Milan, an unauthorized demonstration of about a hundred protestors for the third day occupied Milan’s Piazza Loreto — where Benito Mussolini’s corpse was hung by partisans in World War II.

Processions on Thursday continued in Turin.

A mix of students and other demonstrators tried to break a police line that prevented them from accessing the central Porta Susa train station, where protesters had occupied tracks and blocked trains earlier this week.

Eight people were arrested there. The Turin prosecutor’s office on Thursday asked for five of six protesters arrested earlier this week be kept in jail. The sixth — a truck driver who blocked traffic — has been placed under house arrest. In Veneto, four vehicles bearing the Italian flag slowed traffic on a major freeway by occupying the lanes in tandem and driving at reduced speed. Roman Mayor Ignazio Marino said he was “worried” that a large Forconi demonstration slated to take place in the Italian capital next week could turn violent.

“It is very easy for violent people to infiltrate who transform a legitimate protest into a dangerous situation for the public and the city,” Marino told journalists in New York.

Pitchfork leaders had vowed a large-scale demonstration in Rome if MPs did not abstain from a confidence vote in parliament on Wednesday.

The government led by Premier Enrico Letta passed the vote in both houses.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Thursday warned the Lower House that the protest movement could become dangerously rebellious against national and European institutions, particularly if it attracts violent groups which too often infiltrate non-violent activism.

During a briefing on the state of public order in Italy, Alfano warned that although protest is acceptable in a democracy, violence won’t be tolerated but instead, met with force.

“There is a violent face (to the movement) that has violated the laws: we understand the social unease, but at the time we do not have any hesitation in saying that we intend to defend the liberty and security of citizens,” he said. Pitchfork (Forconi) protest leader Mariano Ferro on Wednesday said his movement is being exploited by assorted rabble rousers and extreme right-wingers.

“The real Pitchfork members are in Sicily, where the protest is peaceful. Unfortunately our movement is being associated with hooligans and subversives. We have nothing to do with them and we vehemently dissociate ourselves from the violence occurring in other parts of our country,” Ferro told ANSA.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Man Lights Bank on Fire After Loan Rejection

69-year-old douses bank furniture in gasoline, tellers flee

(ANSA) — Brescia, December 11 — A 69-year-old man on Wednesday doused the interior of a bank with gasoline and lit it ablaze after having a loan denied in the northern Italian city of Brescia.

Two tellers and the branch director were inside Veneto Banca, a lender located near the Brescia courthouse, at the time of the incident.

According to a preliminary reconstruction, the bank had denied approval for collateral on the man’s mortgage in recent days.

The man reportedly entered the bank early Wednesday. After confirming his rejection with bank employees, he poured gasoline across bank furniture from a can he managed to take inside. The man then lit the bank on fire.

The branch director managed to flee to the street and flag down passing police. The fire was put out and there were no injuries. The man was arrested and hospitalized after complaining of sudden illness.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Benefits Cheat Who Stole £82,000 While Her Husband Ran £400,000-a-Year Tandoori Restaurant is Dragged Screaming to Cells as She is Jailed

A benefits cheat, who claims she did not know her husband owned a £400,000-a-year restaurant, or that her parents owned the property she was claiming housing benefits for, was dragged screaming to jail.

Johura Begum, 32, spent £130 a time at the hairdressers despite wearing a burka and splashed out on designer clothes and handbags, while claiming a car accident had made her unfit to work.

She said her husband Mohammed Chowdhury was earning as little as £30 a week as a waiter, when in fact he owned the successful Spices Tandoori restaurant in Colchester…

The court heard Begum, who has previous convictions for shoplifting, was born in Bangladesh but came to the UK when she was a child.

Her father Abdul Mannan has lived here for 40 years but does not speak a word of English.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Stab Victim Gave Dying Testimony of How Knife Attacker “Went Nuts”

Darren Harwood told how he was trying to protect Keyleigh Wright, 24, when Mehmet Ozen, 41, lunged at her with a kitchen knife.

Keyleigh escaped with cuts but her friend Charlotte Piccaver, 26, and Darren were knifed in the neck, a jury heard.

Charlotte died at the scene but, before an emergency operation, Darren told how Ozen had “gone off”.

The court heard he said: “It was at my girlfriend and her flatmate. I went to her. Then he went nuts. He started stabbing me.”

Darren, 26, died in surgery from a severed artery.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Cairo Snow: Egyptian Capital Sees Snowfall for the First Time in 112 Years

It is a city known for being hot and stuffy.

But as these incredible pictures show, Cairo has an altogether different look today.

The Egyptian capital has seen snowfall for the first time in 112 years.

As reported by Buzzfeed, Egyptians who had witnessed snow for the first time in their lives were left amazed — with the Arabic word for snow trending on Twitter…


           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Human Trafficking: Infernal Cycle in the Sinai

Thousands in ‘torture houses’ in the desert, $600m business

(by Luciana Borsatti) (ANSAmed) — ROMA — The boy on the cover is named Berhan: he was only 15 years old when he left Eritrea, and at 16 he found himself in a “torture house” in the Sinai Peninsula, like thousands of other Eritreans who are tortured and raped on a daily basis to extort ransom from their families. For Berhan, the price was $38,000. He then ended up in an Egyptian prison, where he himself had to pay for his forced repatriation. That’s when he escaped to Libya, where in the detention camps he encountered more rapes and more torture. At that point he boarded the ship that sank on October 3 off the coast of Lampedusa, where 366 Eritreans died.

Berhan’s story is an example of the vicious cycle of human trafficking recounted in the report “The Human Trafficking Cycle: Sinai and Beyond,” presented in Rome on Wednesday at the Chamber of Deputies by its authors —university professor Mirian van Reisen, journalist Meron Estefanos and president of NGO Gandhi, Alganesh Fissehaye — together with Father Mussie Zerai of the Italian Habeshia Agency and Deputy Emilio Ciarlo of the Democratic Party (PD).

Refugees, the majority of whom are Eritrean (according to the CIA, 5,000 escape each month) remain trapped in this cycle for years. Often kidnapped from refugee camps in Ethiopia and Sudan, they are then sold and resold by the traffickers (frequently with the complicity of local authorities) and then held in the Sinai as merchandise for ransom. In order to push families and friends to pay ever-higher amounts, victims are systematically tortured and raped live over the phone, so that those at home can hear their screams; if they die, families aren’t told so that they still pay.

The report, previously presented in Brussels, revealed that between 2009 and 2013, there were between 25,000 and 30,000 victims of human trafficking in the Sinai, from deaths and disappearances to survivors and kidnap victims. According to the report, the trafficking operation has grown into an organized business totaling $600 million in five years, and is managed by the Bedouins of the Sinai. Alganesh Fisshaye, who is based in Milan, said many indicators point to collaboration in Gaza, connected to the border town of Rafah by a series of underground tunnels, and with jihadists creating havoc in the Sinai. These jihadists are now at war with the new Egyptian authorities, whose attacks on militants end up disrupting trafficking operations that have been mainly ignored by both ex-Egyptian President Morsi and his predecessor Mubarak. Fisshaye, a doctor of Eritrean origin, said that her NGO, Gandhi, has freed 1,800 prisoners from Egyptian prisons and assisted 400-500 refugees to escape from “torture houses” with the help of a local Salafi, Sheikh Awwad Mohamed Ali Hassan.

Fisshaye said, “The traffickers know they can’t attack Hassan, while I’ve been threatened more than once.”

Egypt has a law against trafficking, but traffickers often go unpunished and survivors don’t have access to asylum procedures.

Israel has put up a barrier along the border and has taken the line of “violent send backs” to Egyptian territory or of detaining the refugees in the so-called “open facilities” in the desert.

In Libya, in addition to the violence in the detention camps, there is no access to legal assistance. Deputy Ciarlo underscored the need to review previous agreements with Tripoli, to update Italian regulations regarding asylum and above all so that Italy “can rebuild its strategy with the Horn of Africa,” where it can still play a role.

Miriam van Reisen said that while Italy’s Operation Mare Nostrum works at saving lives, Europe isn’t yet on the right track following the October 3 tragedy. She highlighted the latest indicators showing increased “militarization” including a consolidation of Frontex and the use of drones, and “outsourcing” to North African countries, which don’t target the roots of the trafficking problem. The victims aren’t escaping to find work in Europe but refuge in other African countries, she also underscored.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: Pollard and an American Jewish Renaissance

The expressions of shock and indignation that accompanied Edward Snowden’s revelations that the United States uses signal intelligence assets to spy on its allies were more than a little disingenuous. Everybody knows that everybody spies on everybody. If Germany’s spy agencies can, they are most certainly listening to the cellphones of friendly leaders from Washington to Paris. Allies routinely use signals intelligence, and human intelligence and everything in between to uncover information that their allies seek to keep from them.

In the case of the US and Israel, US government agencies have been involved not merely in spying against Israel, but in bids to undermine American public support for Israel almost since the establishment of the Jewish state.

According to a new history of the CIA’s involvement in the Middle East, America’s Great Game, reviewed this week in The Wall Street Journal, in 1951 Kermit Roosevelt, the CIA’s operations chief in the Middle East set up a fake anti-Israel lobby in Washington called American Friends of the Middle East. Its job was to weaken popular support for the Jewish state. The CIA’s anti-Israel front group operated for 16 years, until the fact that it was a CIA front group was exposed in 1967 by the far-left Ramparts magazine.

And this brings us to Jonathan Pollard, the American Jewish naval intelligence analyst who is now serving the 28th year of his life sentence for transferring classified materials to Israel…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

Israel Sends Humanitarian Aid to Palestinians Hit by Storm

To work with PA on emergency situations

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, DECEMBER 13 — In response to a request submitted by the United Nations, Israel will be sending humanitarian aid to Gaza and providing assistance to rescue operations for West Bank inhabitants suffering from bad weather conditions. A military spokesman said that the Israeli coordinator of the activities in the Palestinian Territories, General Eitan Dangot, had opened the Kerem Shalom border crossing to the southern part of the Gaza Strip to enable humanitarian aid to reach the population. The aid includes gas for heating homes and pumps to remove excess water. Dangot also pledged to look into possibly sending additional electricity from Israel to Gaza. A joint operations center has been set up with the Palestinian Authority to deal with emergency situations in the West Bank, especially those connected with transport and electricity distribution.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

More Leftist Intolerance: Haifa U Refuses to Give Honorary Doctorate to Right Wing Nobel Laureate

Haaretz (Hebrew) reports that the University of Haifa considered, and rejected, giving an honorary doctorate to Professor Robert Aumann, who won the Nobel prize in economics in 2005.

The reason? Because his political views are too right-wing!

Aumann is a supporter of the basic human rights of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, and he is against dividing Jerusalem.

The committee discussing who to give honorary degrees to considered Aumann but rejected him because his political opinions “do not reflect the values €‹€‹of the university.”

This apparently puts him beyond the pale from the progressive Haifa University leadership who have no problem inviting anti-Israel activists to speak on campus. It has also granted honorary degrees to far left activists like Shulamit Aloni, who defended Jimmy Carter calling Israel an “apartheid” state. At the time the university praised her for having “values entrenched in the University of Haifa ethos.”

The University has also banned playing Israel’s national anthem at its law school graduation ceremony, presumably because it mentions that Israel is a Jewish state.

The “big tent” we hear so much about apparently only has a door open to the Left.

           — Hat tip: BES [Return to headlines]

Photo Essay: Snow in Jerusalem

While children are out on the streets playing in the snow, others are surveying the damage caused by downed tree branches, downed power lines and other issues caused by the rare snow storm which has affected most of the country. Snow has hit Jerusalem, shutting down streets and cancelling buses. Snow has also hit northern Tzfat, Ariel, Gush Etzion, and other areas.

The weather has brought both a sense of wonder, smiles and damage. The following is both staff and reader submissions for Snowstorm 5774…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iranians Pull Out of Nuke Talks

Iranian negotiators abruptly ended nuclear talks with Western powers in Vienna on Friday just a day after the Obama administration announced tighter sanctions on Tehran.

Iran had threatened that new or tighter sanctions would nullify the recently reached Geneva interim deal, which is not yet in effect.

The Iranians abruptly “halted” the talks and left Vienna so that they could consult with higher-level officials about how to proceed with talks following the tighter sanctions, which were announced Thursday morning by the U.S. Treasury Department.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Syria’s War: The Next Phase

The alleged fleeing of General Selim Idriss of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), was more symbolic than anything else.

Whether or not he really fled, and whether he is in Turkey or Qatar is of little consequence. The so-called “moderates” he commanded were nothing more than a smokescreen, a cheap veneer applied to the hardcore Wahabist extremists of Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra franchise and similar fronts that have formed the core of foreign-backed militancy turned against the Syrian people from the very beginning of the conflict.


As the Syrian government began early this year to decisively turn the tide against the West’s proxy invasion, and after several abortive attempts to directly intervene militarily, the West appears to have resigned the myth of “moderates” and as of this week, symbolically ended its so-called “non-lethal aid” to terrorists operating in Syria. In fact, the myth of “moderates” was perpetuated solely to justify intervening directly on their behalf. With direct intervention taken off the table, it appears a new phase in the war has begun.

Indeed, the West has claimed it has stopped the flow of aid to its “moderate” proxies, however, in practice, billions of dollars of equipment, weapons, and other forms of support will continue to flow so long as there are forces of any kind fighting inside of Syria against the government and its people.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Veiled MP Addresses Parliament for First Time

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — For the first time since 1923, a lawmaker wearing the Islamic veil addressed Turkish Parliament, according to press reports in Ankara Friday.

Canan Candemir Cankilik, an MP with the Islamic Akp party of Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, spoke from a gallery wearing the Islamic veil during a debate on the 2014 draft budget. Cankilik is one of five Turkish MPs with Akp who on October 31 decided to work at the Great Assembly for the first time in 90 years wearing the ‘turban’, the Islamic veil in Turkish.

The Erdogan government in October scrapped a ban on women wearing the Islamic veil in public offices introduced in the name of the secular state established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic in 1923 over the ruins of the Islamic Ottoman empire.

According to Turkish press reports, a minister wearing the Islamic veil should become a member of the Turkish government for the first time since the Republic was founded in a cabinet reshuffle expected by the end of the month.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Unanswered Questions Follow the Levinson CIA Rogue Mission Expose

Washington is abuzz about a Washington Post/AP ‘expose’ of an alleged ‘rogue’ group of CIA analysts who employed retired South Florida FBI agent Robert Levinson. He was in effect a CIA contractor to skulk out information and documentation on Russian Mafia drug dealings, Iranian terrorist and nuclear programs. See WaPo national security alert, “Ex-FBI agent who disappeared in Iran was on rogue mission for CIA”.

Also see our recent Iconoclast post about Iranian imprisonment of former FBI Agent Robert Levinson, U.S. Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, and Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini and release of Iranian diplomats and nuclear program scientists by our government.

The expose on the Levinson disappearance on Kish Island on March 9, 2007 has all the elements of a byzantine plot in a Brad Thor thriller.

The Levinson CIA expose appears to follow the apt turn of phrase the more things change the more they remain the same. Doubtless there will be new requests for investigation of the 2007 Levinson disappearance by both House and Senate Intelligence committees following the publication of the WaPo/AP expose. We predict that if those Hearings should occur, the record will not reveal much about the alleged ‘rogue’ CIA mission and actors…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Bangladesh: “Mirpur Butcher” Executed. Violence Against the Hindu Community

With Supreme Court confirmation, Abdul Quader Mollah, leader of the Islamic party (Jamaat-e- Islami) was hanged in the prison of Dhaka for the crimes committed during the 1971 war . His remains were handed over to the family for funeral rites. Meanwhile , his supporters attack the Hindu community .

Dhaka (AsiaNews) — Abdul Quader Mollah , deputy secretary general of Jamaat-e- Islami (Islamic fundamentalist party) , was hanged last night in Dhaka Central Jail . The execution took place after the Supreme Court of Bangladesh had confirmed the death sentence imposed last September for crimes against humanity committed during the war of liberation from Pakistan in 1971. Protests — even violent — by the party and supporters immediately followed.

Mollah had been a key ally of the forces of opposition in Pakistan during the 1971 war. Specifically, he was accused of planning a series of executions, including the massacre of Mirpur , for which he was nicknamed koshai, the butcher. After execution, his body was handed over to the family, who this morning celebrated the funeral rites in the village of Amirabad .

Jamaat has already launched a hartal ( strike ) on a national level for next December 15. However, the violence of its supporters has already been unleashed : this morning, groups of Islamic fundamentalists set fire to houses and shops belonging to Hindus minority, considered “ ally “ of the government . Christians report “being afraid “ Yesterday the leaders of the Bangladesh Christian Association met with the Minister of the Interior , asking for protection .

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

Chinese Naval Vessel Tries to Force U.S. Warship to Stop in International Waters

A Chinese naval vessel tried to force a U.S. guided missile warship to stop in international waters recently, causing a tense military standoff in the latest case of Chinese maritime harassment, according to defense officials.

The guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens, which recently took part in disaster relief operations in the Philippines, was confronted by Chinese warships in the South China Sea near Beijing’s new aircraft carrier Liaoning, according to officials familiar with the incident.

“On December 5th, while lawfully operating in international waters in the South China Sea, USS Cowpens and a PLA Navy vessel had an encounter that required maneuvering to avoid a collision,” a Navy official said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mandela Funeral a Celebration of Evil by a Cast of Characters Who Represent the Worst Our World Offers Today

President Obama seemed happy to greet Raul Castro at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The video shows him talking in a friendly manner and, it even looked like he was bowing.

To the media, it was just a proper act of diplomacy, but to those of us, Americans of Cuban descent, who can clearly remember the atrocities, the persecutions, the splitting of families, the lack of freedom and the eventual exodus that forced us to leave behind country, home, family, friends, all we knew behind to begin an unknown destiny, it was an act of betrayal. That handshake was saying that there were no hard feelings about the missile crisis; that there is forgiveness for Cuba’s desire to annihilate us; that murdering and incarcerating innocent Cuban patriots is not our problem; that practicing apartheid wasn’t the same as in S. Africa, and that progressives today welcome Marxist tyrants.

Obama offered the handshake not because he had to, but because Raul Castro is a fellow traveler in his warped leftist world.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s New Interpreter

Animated gif of Obama’s New Interpreter.

[Comment: Professional sign interpreters have said that this man was not “signing”, so what was he doing?]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Poor Organization of the Historic Memorial Service for Mandela

The ANC has come under fire for poor organization of the historic memorial service for the 95-year-old anti-apartheid hero, held at a gigantic soccer stadium in the Soweto township of Johannesburg.

Public transportation breakdowns tied up many mourners from getting to the event, while audio system failures kept many of the tens of thousands in attendance from hearing the leaders’ speeches. Police also reportedly failed to search the first wave of attendees arriving at the 95,000 capacity stadium, where nearly 100 sitting and former heads of state or government were present.

Meanwhile, the South African Police released a statement Wednesday saying retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s home was burgled while he attending the memorial service for Mandela.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Sign Language Interpreter Charged With Murder in 2003

eNCA can reveal the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial on Tuesday faced a murder charge in 2003.

eNCA’s investigations have found that Thamsanqa Jantjie, who is being treated for schizophrenia, has also faced rape (1994), theft (1995), housebreaking (1997), malicious damage to property (1998), murder, attempted murder and kidnapping (2003) charges.

It’s unknown if the case was ever concluded as the court file is mysteriously empty.

Many of the charges brought against him were dropped, allegedly because he was mentally unfit to stand trial.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Foreign-Born Swedes Join Anti-Immigration Party

Men with roots outside of Sweden are increasingly attracted to the tough migration stance of the minority Sweden Democrat party, with one new Persian-Swedish member telling The Local why he decided to join.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nearly 250 Migrants Rescued South of Lampedusa

Lampedusa, 12 Dec. (AKI) — Some 244 migrants have been rescued from three vessels in international waters south of the island of Lampedusa over the past 24 hours, the Italian Navy said Thursday.

A total of 45 African migrants including six women were transferred to two coastguard vessels early on Friday and escorted to Lampedusa’s port after sending an SOS by satellite phone from their boat.

The rest of the migrants were rescued on Wednesday, while a day earlier, the Italian navy said almost 1,500 people had been rescued from the Mediterranean in several operation .

Lampedusa is now the main arrival point for boat migrants seeking to enter Europe. Over 360 mainly Eritrean and Somali migrants including women and young children drowned in a shipwreck one kilometre off the tiny island on 3 October, while another one off Malta a week later killed at least 38 mainly Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

These and other tragedies in European waters in recent months prompted calls for action over the vast tide of illegal migration from conflict-wracked areas of the Middle East and Africa.

Last week, the European Union executive proposed the EU implement a new European Patrols’ Network at an annual cost of some 14 million euros.

The proposals include improved patrols to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean, more spending to fight human trafficking and a commitment to accept more asylum seekers.

EU leaders are due to consider the European Commission proposals at their next Brussels summit on 19-20 December

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

Pelosi: Boehner Told Me to Wait Until Next Year for Immigration Reform

On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told her to wait until next year for comprehensive immigration reform.

“He told me, yes we have to wait until next year,” Pelosi said.

Boehner has previously said that comprehensive immigration reform is “absolutely not” dead and a Republican aide said that amnesty advocates who were confronting lawmakers should target someone other than Boehner because he supports comprehensive immigration reform.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Romanians Arrested at Seven Times Rate of Britons: 800 Held in London Last Month

Stephen Greenhalgh, the capital’s deputy mayor for policing, was told the Met has undertaken an in-depth study of overseas offenders.

It found that Romanians account for more than 11% of all foreign national offenders, despite making up just a tiny proportion of residents.

This placed the Eastern European nation at the top of a ‘league table’ of foreign suspects, followed by people from Poland, Lithuania, India and Nigeria.

The other five countries in the top 10 were Ireland, Portugal, Pakistan, Jamaica and Somalia.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Four Plymouth Students Accused of Sex Attacks on Young Girls in City Centre

FOUR Nigerian students and a Kurdish national are to appear at court today following an investigation into alleged sexual assaults on three girls under 14 and a 22-year-old woman.

Detectives launched an investigation last year, assisted by Plymouth University and the Nigerian government, following disclosures made by three girls, all aged under 14, to social workers and police officers.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

A Moral Revolution at Warp Speed — Now, It’s Wedding Cakes

Six months. That’s how long it took to get from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act to the decision of a Colorado judge ordering a Christian baker to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony. Just six months.

Back in June, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Windsor case, ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act, passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, was unconstitutional. Six months later, judge Robert N. Spencer, an administrative law judge in Colorado, ruled that Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver must serve same-sex couples by making wedding cakes, or face fines.

Judge Spencer ruled that Phillips must make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, regardless of his moral or biblical convictions. Make the cakes or face legal penalties, he was told.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Australia’s Top Court Strikes Down Same-Sex-Marriage Law in Capital Territory

Australia’s High Court struck down Thursday the Australian Capital Territory’s same-sex marriage legislation, contending that only federal parliament could amend the nation’s marriage laws.

The unanimous ruling found that the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 passed in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in October could not go into effect concurrently with the Marriage Act 1961 — a federal law outlawing same-sex marriages. ACT is a small, self-governing territory in southeast Australia which includes the country’s capital city, Canberra.

About 30 couples have married under ACT’s law, enacted in November. Their unions will be considered invalid, as the entire legislation was struck down.

The federal government challenged the law, saying it was inconsistent with Australian law.

Indeed, the High Court found that only the federal parliament can legislate same-sex marriage, according to the Australian Constitution.

The court said that Marriage Act 1961 was comprehensive and definitive on the issue of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Senate Approves Measure Allowing Doctors to Euthanize Children

The Belgian Senate voted today 50-17 to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities, in a move pro-life advocates worldwide had been fearing would come and expand an already much-abused euthanasia law even further.

The vote today in the full Senate comes after a Senate committee voted 13-4 to allow minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions and the measure also would extend the right to request euthanasia to adults with dementia. No age limit would be set, but the children who are euthanized would have “to possess the capacity of discernment.”

There is still a chance to stop the bill in the House of Representatives, though pro-life campaigners fear it will become law.

“Currently the Belgian euthanasia law limits euthanasia to people who are at least 18 years old. This unprecedented bill would extend euthanasia to children with disabilities,” says Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there is significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Belgium Senate’s Gift of Death Comes Wrapped in Children’s’ Euthanasia

Government-sanctioned childhood euthanasia brought to you courtesy of only so many faceless legislators

Belgium, soulless Home of the European Union, has taken its next step to becoming the first country in the world to allow euthanasia for terminally ill children — extending to toddlers a 2002 law legalizing euthanasia for adults in a 50-17 vote.

Life has no value for 50 Belgian Senate members spurred on by a 13-4 vote from a Senate Committee long pushing for euthanasia for children.

In typical Belgium Senate style, the vote-by-number, aping paint-by-number vote tally, divulges no names attached to the vote, making government-sanctioned childhood euthanasia brought to you courtesy of only so many faceless legislators.

Canada Free Press (CFP) was able to find both a screen shot of the paint-by-number style vote, and by applying the screen shot to the Senate seating chart, was at least able to find photos of 16 of the 17 senators (See Below) who voted ‘Against’ the euthanasia vote.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Croatia Votes Overwhelmingly to Ban ‘Gay Marriage’ Despite Intimidation Tactics

Voters ignore pressure from government, media, activists (and even US State Dept).

On Sunday, Dec. 1, the people of Croatia overwhelmingly voted to ban “gay marriage” in that country. A constitutional amendment was passed by 66%-34%. This was despite enormous pressure from the Croation government, the press, homosexual activists, and even the US State Department to reject it.

The force of the church and the people

This was accomplished entirely by the church and the citizens of Croatia. Earlier this year the government drafted a bill that would allow same-sex couples to register as “life partners.” People correctly saw this as the first step toward legalizing same-sex “marriage” — as happened recently in Hawaii and earlier in California and many other places.

Approximately 90% of the Croatians are Catholic. The Catholic Church stepped up and organized for a referendum to amend the Constitution to ban “gay marriage” entirely. Other religious groups also got involved. Over 15 days they gathered nearly three-quarters of a million signatures to put it on the ballot. It was an outstanding effort!


Government leaders, the press, with the homosexual movement went right to work to try to stop it. They began a campaign of intimidation, including vicious labeling of pro-marriage supporters as “haters, fascists, Nazis, bigots”, etc. They portrayed Christian believers in marriage as uneducated and primitive. Public supporters of the amendment were harassed by the government in various ways. It was reminiscent of the old days under Communism, many said.

The U.S. government even got involved. In On Oct. 24 a US State Department official came to Croatia and gave a chilling speech about how committed the US is to promoting the LGBT movement. He went on to describe how the State Department helps fund LGBT activism in other countries around the world where it’s needed, and is “engaging international organizations” to support LGBT rights. (To Americans, that is extemely offensive and insulting. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration gets away with that because the GOP and the conservative movement are afraid to complain about it.)…

But supporters feared retaliation.

A popular priest and student chaplain at Zagreb University was pressured to be silent on marriage. Rev. Damir Stoji?, who speaks on chastity and runs a pray-rather-than-pay café, was summoned by an official for organizing a panel on the referendum, a tactic reminiscent of communist oppression.

Gong, a homosexual group funded by the European Commission, pressured the pro-marriage group to release donors’ names. Markic — who endured a government investigation of her business and personal property — declined, explaining volunteers were already “exposed to public lynching.”

A commenter on a news website elaborated. In Croatia, 95% of pro-marriage voters didn’t speak openly because they were “tagged by mainstream media and TV as fascist, Nazis, uneducated, primitive, as Catholic talibans — this is a new term made up by this horrible campaign.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Teacher Refuses Paper on Abortion, “You Can Do Abortion if You Write FOR It”

Abigail Cornejo is a Sophomore at Palatine High School in a small town in Illinois who merely wanted to write a paper on the controversial topic of abortion. But her English teacher had something else in mind and told Conejo she couldn’t write on the topic — and if she did, she would have to write from the pro-abortion perspective.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Given Life for Seven Sex Attacks, So Why Was ‘High-Risk’ Rapist Let Out of Jail to Claim 8th Victim?

Masked inmate attacked woman with a knife on his lunch break

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

A notorious rapist used a knife to launch a savage sex attack on a woman walking her dog — after he was let out of prison for a day on ‘work experience’.

Nicky Suddons was jailed for life aged 17 for a rape and six other serious assaults on women and a girl aged 13.

But granted day release from his ‘open’ jail he assembled a ‘rape kit’ containing a knife, balaclava and rubber gloves.

He even included condoms to stop police tracing him through DNA.

Left unsupervised during his lunch break, he tried to rape a woman in her 50s as she walked her Labrador in woods near Grantham, Lincolnshire.

His victim was only saved because the dog turned on Suddons.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Murdered by Porn

We’ve all been horrified by high-profile cases of child killers hooked on extreme porn. But they’re just the tip of the iceberg

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

He wore a freshly laundered shirt and smart dark suit for his appearance in the dock. Jamie Reynolds was also sporting a short new haircut and trim goatee beard instead of his scruffy stubble.

In truth, he looked less like the man he is — a monster now locked up in the same psychiatric unit as Moors Murderer Ian Brady — than the boy he once was: a teacher’s son from a Shropshire market town, who had enjoyed a comfortable, middle-class upbringing.

But the evidence that unfolded last week told the true story. Few defendants who have appeared at Stafford Crown Court — or any other court for that matter — could have derived such sadistic pleasure from their crimes.

Not only did Reynolds strangle 17-year-old policeman’s daughter Georgia Williams with a ligature, he also took pictures of her ‘before, during and after’ the killing at his home in Wellington.

They were the photographic equivalent of a ‘snuff’ movie.

Reynolds, 23, was an enthusiastic consumer of ‘snuff’ movies — where women are killed during extreme sex to satisfy sick fantasies — and other kinds of hardcore pornography.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

MSNBC’s Alternative Universe: What Passes for Journalism on the Network is Downright Silly.

A recent Pew study revealed that the supposedly neutral CNN spent 54 percent of its time broadcasting “news” and 46 percent of its time hosting “opinion.” Fox, by contrast, transmits 55 percent opinion and 45 percent news. But MSNBC — well, MSNBC consists of a remarkable 85 percent opinion and only 15 percent news. This has consequences…

The channel is a lazy intern’s dream. Recently, a guest called Tim Wise nonchalantly announced that Republicans have “essentially gone in as a white-nationalist, Afrikaner, Boer party.” It’s all there, clear as day. Just rip from the Internet and upload. Bingo! One gets the uncomfortable feeling that the minds behind the programming are so strongly wedded to the cartoon impression of what they believe Fox News to be — sorry, what they believe the “FAUX NEWS ECHO CHAMBER!” to be — that they cannot imagine running a television station without emulating it. MSNBC, it seems, is a reaction against a Fox that never really existed — a progressive version of the How Utterly Ridiculous Can One Become Before the Commercial Break? game that has long been played more devotedly in the fever swamps of the Left than by the conservatives they like to denounce.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]