Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110531

Financial Crisis
»Finnish Parliament Formally Approves Portuguese Bailout
»Geithner Says U.S. Can’t Rely on ‘Magical Thinking’ To Fix Budget Deficit
»Greek Protesters Turn Out in Thousands
»Hard Times: Fewer Crimes
»Hundreds in Paris Demo Modelled on Spain Protest
»Onwards to Europe 2.0
»Portugal’s Over-Indebted Families Struggle, Much Like State
»Charlotte: Uptown Chaos Leaves 1 Dead
»Fights Break Out at Carson Beach
»Frank Gaffney: Gates Turns Off the Lights
»Hope and Change, The Communist Way
»Judge Says He’s ‘Saddened’ By Bin Laden’s Death
»Lottery Winner in Court on Aussie’s Murder
»More Than a Dozen People Arrested in Fight at Charlotte Beach
»Myrtle Beach Police Inundated With Crime During 8-Hour Window
»Police Shut Down Wave Country Due to Unruly Crowd
»Russian TV and Code Pink Disrupt Memorial Day Activities
»Supreme Court: Ashcroft Not Liable in Detention of American Muslim Post-9/11
»Teen Fights, Especially Among Girls, Force Early Closure of North Alabama Water Park
»White House Hires ‘Goebbels-Like’ Attack Dog
»Witnesses Recall Frightening SoBe Police Involved Shooting
Europe and the EU
»Belgium to Ban the Burqa Soon
»Belgium Catholic Church Vows to Compensate Abuse Victims
»British Holidaymaker Dies After ‘Being Attacked by Gang of Four in Brutal Robbery’ In Portugal
»Bulgaria: Nationalist Party to Face Maximum Fine Over Mosque Incident
»Cucumber Deaths Provoke Outbreak of EU Bickering
»Denmark:12 Years to Doukaev for Terrorism Attempt
»EU Aid Policy to Target Fewer States and Good Governance
»European Police Seize “Almost a Tonne of Cocaine” In Albania
»French Lawyers Plan Libya Lawsuit Against Sarkozy
»Green Light for Swedish ‘Hooligan-Register’
»Italy: Centre-Left Trounces Berlusconi Allies in Milan and Naples
»Italy: Police Arrest Genoa Youth Gang After Attack on Man Aged 40
»No Cheese for Neolithic Humans in France
»Norway Systematically Hid EU Demands for Oil-Law Reform
»Sociologist Sued for Exposing Islamic Jew-Hatred in Belgium
»Spain’s Ruling Socialists Begin Leadership Primaries
»Spain Wants Compensation, Slams Germany in Cucumber Crisis
»What the Mladic Arrest Means for Serbia’s Future
North Africa
»Are These Men SAS Helping Libyan Rebels? News Crew Films Western Troops Liaising With Gunmenby Sam Greenhill
»Egyptian General Admits ‘Virginity Checks’ Conducted on Protesters
»French Celebrity Writer Levy in Libyan Rebel City Misrata
»French Minister’s Tunisia Holiday Paid by Regime
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: Where Obama is Leading Israel
Middle East
»Arab Spring: What the Revolutions Mean for Us
»Car Bomb Blows Up Yemeni Military Convoy
»Iran Temporarily Denies Merkel Overflight Rights
»Missing French Aid Workers’ Car Found in Yemen: Government
»Saudi Arabia: Saudi Women Protest for Right to Vote
»Spengler: Humpty Obumpty and the Arab Spring
South Asia
»Bangladesh: Woman Chopped Off Man’s Penis as He ‘Attempted to Rape Her’ Before Taking it to Police as Evidence
»Deadly Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan, Five Italians Injured
Australia — Pacific
»Australian Authorities Say ‘No’ To Mosque in Perth
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Ugandan Legislation Pits Muslims vs. Christians Over Power of Courts
»963 Migrants Arrive in Sicily — Claim Their Boat Was Accompanied by Maltese Patrol Boat for Part of the Way
»Booted Out at Last: The Child-Molesting Migrant Who Claimed it Was His Human Right to Stay in the UK
»Greece: Arrest of Foreign Kidnappers Preying on Illegal Migrants
»Over 900 Immigrants Land at Pozzallo, 150 Women & Children
»UK: Third of Rapists and Killers ‘Are Foreign’
Culture Wars
»Parents Defenseless Against Gender ‘Diversity Training’
»Sesame Street’s Pinko Puppets Brainwash Our Kids
»Former Muslim Blows Lid Off Quran
»WHO: Cell Phone Use Can Increase Possible Cancer Risk

Financial Crisis

Finnish Parliament Formally Approves Portuguese Bailout

Finland’s parliament formally approved the European Union’s rescue package for Portugal on Wednesday, in a widely-expected move in which less than a quarter of the house vote against the bailout. Out of 200 parliamentarians, 137 voted in favour and 49 against the motion to participate in the bailout, including guaranteeing up to a billion euros (1.4 billion dollars) in loans. Finland was the only EU country that needed parliamentary approval of the rescue package. Even though the bailout was hotly discussed in parliament on Tuesday, the vote was more a matter of course than a matter of debate, after the bailout was approved on May 13 by parliament’s EU policy committee. As expected, only the anti-EU True Finns Party and the Left Alliance voted against the rescue package to Portugal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Geithner Says U.S. Can’t Rely on ‘Magical Thinking’ To Fix Budget Deficit

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said budget deficits threaten to erode the nation’s economy and security and can’t be reduced with “magical thinking.” “Neither Congress nor the administration should be able to use unrealistic assumptions about future economic growth or future political courage, or other forms of magical thinking, to minimize the magnitude of the reforms that will be necessary,” Geithner said today in a speech at the Harvard Club in New York. Geithner said U.S. “fiscal problems are so pressing that they threaten to undermine the foundations of our future economic strength” and the country’s ability “to protect our national security interests.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Protesters Turn Out in Thousands

Thousands of people flooded central Athens Sunday evening on the fifth day of protests against government austerity policies after an online campaign inspired by Spanish demonstrators. About 20,000 people assembled in the Greek capital’s central Syntagma Square, police estimated, responding to calls on social networking sites for gatherings across Europe to demand “real democracy”. Below the parliament building, protesters held a placard claiming “poverty is the greatest abuse” while others beat empty pots, chanting “thieves”. “I’m here to say that I’ve had enough. It’s not right to have to pay for politicians’ mistakes,” said teacher Vivi Villa, 34.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Hard Times: Fewer Crimes

When the FBI announced last week that violent crime in the U.S. had reached a 40-year low in 2010, many criminologists were perplexed. It had been a dismal year economically, and the standard view in the field, echoed for decades by the media, is that unemployment and poverty are strongly linked to crime. The argument is straightforward: When less legal work is available, more illegal “work” takes place.

The economist Gary Becker of the University of Chicago, a Nobel laureate, gave the standard view its classic formulation in the 1960s. He argued that crime is a rational act, committed when the criminal’s “expected utility” exceeds that of using his time and other resources in pursuit of alternative activities, such as leisure or legitimate work. Observation may appear to bear this theory out. After all, neighborhoods with elevated crime rates tend to be those where poverty and unemployment are high as well.


Yet when the recent recession struck, that didn’t happen. As the national unemployment rate doubled from around 5% to nearly 10%, the property-crime rate, far from spiking, fell significantly. For 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported an 8% drop in the nationwide robbery rate and a 17% reduction in the auto-theft rate from the previous year. Big-city reports show the same thing. Between 2008 and 2010, New York City experienced a 4% decline in the robbery rate and a 10% fall in the burglary rate. Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles witnessed similar declines.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Hundreds in Paris Demo Modelled on Spain Protest

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday in Paris for a protest modelled on Spain’s movement that has seen demonstrations across the country decrying mainstream politics, unemployment and corruption. The mostly young protestors on Bastille square unfurled a giant banner on the steps of the opera house that read: “Real democracy now”, and opened another nearby that said: “Paris, wake up!” The Spanish protests are known variously as “the indignant”, “M-15” after the birth date of their movement, and “Spanish Revolution”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Onwards to Europe 2.0

30 May 2011 Die Welt Berlin

Forget the nation-state: Europe would be much better off if it were fundamentally reorganised — into powerful regions in the north and the Alps and picturesque bankrupts in the south.

Gunnar Heinsohn

Only 40 percent of Germans in 2011 see their future in Europe, and only 25 percent have confidence in its institutions. This survey is the answer to 25 billion euros from Berlin for the well-padded owners of Greek banks. It’s not national narrow-mindedness that is at work here since the southern Germans shell out for their fellow countrymen in Essen or Bremen with as little gusto as they do for Athens, Dublin and Lisbon. Only the scare tactics deployed against nationalism keep the EU alive. Exploitation via transfers is always better than war, stresses the nomenklatura. For the first time in half a millennium, Europeans can act in a post-national way. Following the crash in the birth-rate across Europe, they simply lack the numbers to continue to fall upon each other with bloody consequences. The unification process is not an instrument to prevent war, but a sympathetic expression of the inability to wage war.

A new layout of the European map is hope for a future beyond nation, religion and tradition. So spoke the Swedish historian Gunnar Wetterberg in 2009, proposing a rebirth of the Kalmar Union for the Nordic region. If Iceland, Denmark together with Greenland, Norway plus Spitsbergen and Sweden, Finland and possibly Estonia pooled their 3.5 million square kilometres and 26 million people, they would create the eighth-largest economy in the world. Later candidates would be the Netherlands and Flanders. An alliance with nuclear-armed Britain would make the North Sea a Mare Nostrum and furnish a partner for USA/Canada, together with whom the North Atlantic as well would be impregnable.

Switzerland is also peered at as an example, since it works as a nation united by consensus in which the citizens of Geneva are not French, those in Ticino are not Italians, and those in Zurich are not Germans. Neighbours who no longer want to be neighbours can, with their confederates of choice, go about fencing off an optimal economic and monetary area, which will then draw in the bolder adventurers of the world to balance out the birth deficit.

There won’t be any subsidies to offset the wealth gap. While advocates of transfers in Bremen and Berlin are continually cooking up new ways to reach into the purses of the neighbours, Swiss cantons have to earn their own daily bread by attracting innovative companies and a more efficient workforce. Nevertheless, they also care for their destitute and are usually more to the fore there than Germany’s better neighbourhoods are.

The nation-state would have to queue at the back

The OECD in 2009 judged Switzerland to be the world’s best location for innovation, and in the Global Competitiveness Index for 2010/11 the country also landed top spot. Out of Italy, the wealthy industrial north as a whole would be in the running for the Alps region, with a hand outstretched to Florence and Urbino. In the east, the polyglot Slovenians would round out the federation. With 70 million inhabitants across 450,000 square kilometres, the whole area would be the fourth largest economy in the world, after the United States, China and Japan.

Even the regions considered to be beyond saving would get a second chance with the Northern Union and the Alps Federation. Instead of billions in transfers, there now would be only blueprints for a fishing rod, with which everyone could land his own fish. After the inevitable state bankruptcies, Portugal, Spain, southern Italy, the Slavic Adriatic and Greece could create a Mediterranean federation with over 100 million people, which could always draw customers from all over the world to sample its solar energy, organic food and cultural charms. If Israel were brought in, even the weapons would be there that, given its proximity to the Islamic crescent, it already needs…

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

Portugal’s Over-Indebted Families Struggle, Much Like State

Unemployed, Ana can no longer pay her mortgage and fears losing her home. With no chance of getting a bailout like the state, many Portuguese are turning to consumer advocacy groups like Deco to try to keep from losing everything. “Banks have more respect for Deco than for clients in difficulty,” explained Ana, who stopped paying her 289-euro ($404) monthly mortgage payments in September, after losing her job due to depression. Living in a Lisbon suburb, this 36-year-old has had to stretch her metalworker husband’s salary of 600 euros a month to make ends meet. “For food, I only spend 80 euros as we receive charity donations,” she said, her eyes hiding behind small round spectacles.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Charlotte: Uptown Chaos Leaves 1 Dead

Second person wounded in gunfire. Police arrest 70 people two hours after Speed Street ends.

One person was fatally shot and another wounded early Sunday after several hours of trouble in uptown Charlotte that ended with police trying to break up crowds and making 70 arrests.

The shootings took place shortly after 1 a.m. across 3rd Street from the Hilton hotel, two hours after Food Lion Speed Street had closed. Antwan Terrell Smith, 22, was shot in the head and died at the scene. Durante Kavon James, also 22, was shot in the leg and taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was in stable condition late Sunday.

The gunfire followed reports of unrest — which police say could be gang-related — centered largely around the Charlotte Transit Center between 4th and Trade streets. The charges were one of the city’s largest mass arrests in memory.

The trouble comes 15 months before Charlotte hosts the 2012 Democratic National Convention — which likely will ensure close scrutiny of what happened.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

Fights Break Out at Carson Beach

Up to 1,000 youths reported involved; police say brawls moved elsewhere

Fights broke out among rival gang members on Carson Beach in South Boston yesterday and spilled out across the city, triggering a massive law enforcement response from at least five agencies to stem the violence.

Police said the gang members are part of a group of more than 1,000 youths who have used social media sites like Facebook to plan unruly gatherings on the beach on three of the past four nights. The beach falls under the jurisdiction of the State Police, who have been unable to prevent the violence.

The response yesterday resembled crowd-control tactics reserved for major sporting victories.

State Police were already on edge, after a trooper was accosted Sunday night by members of the group. The trooper chased one of the youths, who ran, clutching the waistband of his shorts “consistent with the manner in which a person with a gun would hold it,’’ said David Procopio, a spokesman for the State Police…

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Gates Turns Off the Lights

I have been in Washington now for nearly forty years and, in all that time, I can’t recall seeing anything quite like Robert Gates’ ongoing farewell to arms.

In a series of speeches over the past few days — at Notre Dame, at the American Enterprise Institute and at the Naval Academy — the outgoing Secretary of Defense has sounded a series of warnings that the ship of state, or at least the carrier battle group that protects it, is headed for the rocks.

That is surely so. But, welcome as his alarm is, the course is one Mr. Gates has largely charted himself. Of late, President Obama has simply ordered “full steam ahead,” with encouragement from some in both parties on Capitol Hill.

Secretary Gates has particularly warned against a “hollowing out” of the military, a not-so-implicit criticism of the $400 billion Mr. Obama has announced that he intends to cut from Pentagon accounts. This reduction would come on top of the roughly $178 billion already being excised by the Gates team.

Much more important is the fact that Mr. Obama is in the process of losing the two wars he inherited, and making a hash-up of the one he initiated in Libya…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Hope and Change, The Communist Way

Communism was tried in many countries before and failed miserably

I am in Washington, D.C. surrounded by expensive SUVs, Hummers, Mercedes, and “environmentally friendly” Priuses sporting stickers with Hope and Change, Socialism 2012, advertising socialism and communism, to the detriment of the “evil” capitalist system that afforded them those cars and a luxurious lifestyle.

A few beat up cars are liberally covered in communist slogan stickers, phony empty words that promise “redistribution of wealth” and a nanny state. I ponder for a moment if progressives are still waiting for their free gas, housing, day care, jobs, education, medical care, endless vacations, and a chunk of paradise from the “filthy, rotten rich” who deserve to be stripped of everything they own. I still do not understand why they call themselves “progressives” when they are really longing for regression to a life of slavery to the government.

Ardent Democrats and some Republicans believe the rhetoric that a socialist/communist state will bring Shangri La because it will be delivered by a community organizer who has a sonorous voice and reads speeches well. Is it futile to remind them that many countries who have tried the communist model have failed miserably? Millions have lost their lives in re-education camps due to famine, persecution, or refusal to comply with the daily communist indoctrination.

I wished I could take my fellow American citizens back in time to 1977 to show them our life under communism in Romania. Would they wake up every morning at 4 a.m. to stand in line for hours in frigid temperatures until stores opened to fight over an insufficient number of bottles of milk, loaves of bread, or bags of rice, leaving often empty-handed because the supply delivered ran out?

How fun would it be to stand in mile-long lines, winding around blocks? People never knew what was on sale but whatever it was, they needed it so they joined the long lines. We used to carry extra cash and shopping bags just in case we ran into a store that was selling something we needed to survive.

Most basic goods that Americans take for granted, and expect to find on every trip to the store, were in short supply. People fought in lines for the last roll of toilet paper, or the last bag of flour, sugar, or bottle of cooking oil.

Karl Marx made famous the phrase, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” The country under-produced everything; the central Communist Party planning did not take into account supply and demand; these were elements of capitalism and the evil bourgeoisie. Communist operatives, organizers, and agitators, with no formal education or job experience, were telling the population what it needed. They were crass ideologues who carried the party line.

Before the communists took over the country, first by gentle persuasion, later by force, the country was a monarchy with an abundance of goods, private property, and the opportunity to achieve whatever dreams people had. Some went to school, some became entrepreneurs, and others worked the farmland passed from generation to generation.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Judge Says He’s ‘Saddened’ By Bin Laden’s Death

When news began trickling out that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had been killed, many Americans rushed to their TV sets for details, broke into chants at baseball parks or hit the streets to cheer the end of a 10-year manhunt.

But Milwaukee County Reserve Judge Russell Stamper had a different reaction…

Russell Stamper

He considers the death of bin Laden a case of coldblooded murder.

“I was saddened,” said Stamper, who fills in for county judges when needed. “You murdered a man.”

In a Facebook rant Monday, the 66-year-old jurist went even further, promoting the fringe position that it’s not clear that bin Laden was the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. On top of that, he ripped a number of federal agencies.

“For me, if the choice is condemnation of the CIA, DEA, FBI and IRS or Osama bin Laden, it’s an easy call,” Stamper wrote.

“I remain unconvinced that bin Laden committed the 911 attack, whereas we know the lettered government organizations are thieves, assassins, dope peddlers, government destabilizers, did I say assassins?, arms purveyors and various and sundry other planetary criminals.”

The comment got one thumbs up.

The judge stated later in the same discussion thread, “Death is a natural process, murder is not.”

In an interview, Stamper didn’t back away from his remarks.

He said there is “no firm evidence” that bin Laden was involved in the plot, which killed nearly 3,000 Americans when hijacked airplanes flew into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and, when passengers fought back, crashed in Pennsylvania. He did stop short of endorsing the conspiracy theory that the U.S. government orchestrated the attack.

But Stamper said if it was so obvious that the al-Qaida leader was behind what happened, federal officials should have brought criminal charges against him. He said he believes the Saudi-born jihadist had “a right to a jury trial.”

“You can’t go around helter-skelter killing people,” said Stamper, who sat on the bench as a Milwaukee County Circuit judge for 13 years before being bounced from office in a tough race for re-election in 1996. “That’s contrary to any sense of fairness.”

Over the past decade, Stamper has served as a reserve county judge, earning as much as $63,000 a year filling in for elected judges when they are ill, on vacation or their dockets are overloaded. So far this year, Stamper has put in only 5 1/2 days as a reserve judge, getting paid $445.15 per day. That brings his total pay to about $2,448.

He also serves as chairman of the Community Brainstorming Conference, a monthly public affairs forum for the city’s African-Americans.

Stamper came under some criticism in 2000 for likening now-Gov. Scott Walker to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and calling Walker and his friends white supremacists.

Told Monday that his views represented a minority perspective on bin Laden, Stamper brushed the point aside. At first he said the crowds cheering bin Laden’s death might be the minority, but then he said many people may not be aware of the facts regarding bin Laden and 9-11.

“Maybe it’s because of ignorance,” he said.

He then went on his own Facebook page to elaborate on his interview with No Quarter.

He posed a question there that he raised repeatedly during the interview.

“Given the US emphasis on exporting democracy and justice to foreign gov’ts, is the killing of bin Laden without any due process protections fair or just?” Stamper wrote.

Had the U.S. taken the case to court, the veteran judge said he wouldn’t have minded presiding over the trial. He explained that he believes the best judges are the ones who are nearly invisible during the case, like a good boxing referee.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

Lottery Winner in Court on Aussie’s Murder

The millionaire US lottery winner accused of shooting dead Australian property developer Greg McNicol warned “watch your mouth” before firing the fatal bullet, a Detroit court has heard. The evidence was part of chilling testimony presented at a hearing for 62-year-old Freddie Young on Thursday. Young was part of a syndicate in Michigan that shared $US46.5 million in a Mega Millions jackpot lottery in February, but the court was told he was upset at the way Mr McNicol, formerly from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, had treated his daughter, Ayana Young.

Witness, 14-year-old Mayakala Bell-Brown, testified Ayana first arrived at the apartment complex, punched Mr McNicol in the face and said: “I’m tired of you white people”. Young then pulled up in a black vehicle, had a gun in his hand and confronted the Australian, the court heard. “The man said, ‘Watch your mouth.’ Greg said he wanted them out of my house,” another tenant, Leola Brown, said, according to the Detroit News. “Then he shot him.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

More Than a Dozen People Arrested in Fight at Charlotte Beach

Charlotte, New York. — Police arrested more than a dozen people after fights involving about 50 youths broke out around 7 o’clock Monday night at Ontario Beach Park. Police had to clear the area, sending people home.

Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies arrested four people, including Erica Blake, 34, for allegedly assaulting a deputy who responded to the scene. She’s been charged with second-degree assault.

Police say that deputy was scratched on the face as he was pulled into the fracas.

Rochester Police also made several arrests.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

Myrtle Beach Police Inundated With Crime During 8-Hour Window

Myrtle Beach police received reports of five armed robberies, a stabbing, a shooting and an incident involving a shotgun being pointed at a security guard during a nearly eight-hour period in the city early Sunday and Monday.

Because so many people were in the area for Memorial Day celebrations and the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, officers responded to numerous criminal complaints and traffic violations, said Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes.

“Policing this event has always come with huge challenges. Unfortunately, criminal activity is often associated with large events, which is why we have deployed additional officers to allow us to respond to this increase in activity,” Knipes said Monday afternoon. “All of the officers working this event have done an outstanding job in very stressful conditions.”

The incidents and their details:…

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

Police Shut Down Wave Country Due to Unruly Crowd

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nearly two dozen police officers were called out to Wave Country on Monday afternoon after large crowds of people became unruly. The disturbance forced park managers to close the facility two hours early on Memorial Day.

Metro Parks director Tommy Lynch said Wave Country was nowhere near capacity, but there were plenty of problems that caused the park to close early.

“Once we got to the point that the turmoil at the front of the facility also got inside the facility, we felt for everyone’s safety the best thing to do was to close it,” Lynch explained.

Metro Police were called out to Wave Country around 1 p.m. because the crowd outside the gates and inside the park was acting up.

“That crowd refused to follow any kind of instructions. They became disorderly,” according to Cpt. Marlene Pardue from Metro Police.

There were several fights inside. Police said one of the biggest problems was people jumping the fence to get into the park, creating chaos inside the park.

“Not just kids jumping the fence, but adults, with children and strollers, putting them over the fence, then jumping the fence,” Cpt. Pardue said.

Visitors inside the park said the chaos made them feel unsafe.

“Hundreds of people were just jumping over the fence. Almost trampled my kids. I just didn’t feel safe,” Heather Nowack explained.

Park managers said this is the first time in 30 years they have had to close Wave Country because the crowd became uncontrollable.

“The heat, the crowd, the behavior. Everything just coming together at the wrong time and you just ended up with a mess here,” said Cpt. Pardue.

Visitors who paid to go to Wave Country and want to be compensated for the early closing can contact Metro Parks to see if it will be possible to get passes for another trip to the park.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

Russian TV and Code Pink Disrupt Memorial Day Activities

Adam Kokesh, an American who stars on KGB-TV, otherwise known as RT or Russia Today television, staged a publicity stunt at the Jefferson Memorial on May 28 and is now complaining about his arrest for “dancing.” His video is getting attention from the media, while his followers are insisting that he was the victim of harsh police tactics. But an examination of the video of his arrest shows that the event was a planned provocation by professional agitators arranged in coordination with Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, who was also arrested.

Kokesh anchors the “Adam Vs. The Man” TV show on Russia Today, an English-language channel carried in the U.S. and other Western countries which is funded by the Moscow regime of Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer. The channel is considered a propaganda outlet for Russian intelligence services and hired an alleged Russian spy who is in the process of being deported from Britain.

One of the regular stars of the Kokesh show is Luke Rudkowski, the founder of We Are Change an advocate of the theory that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were staged by the U.S. Government and blamed on Muslims.

The Kokesh stunt, which included advance notice to the press and demonstrators armed with cameras to record the inevitable confrontation, appears to have been designed to generate interest in Kokesh’s show on the Russian government-funded propaganda channel and to depict the U.S. as a police state.

An “anti-war” veteran, former Republican candidate for Congress, and Ron Paul supporter who called for the impeachment of President Bush, Kokesh wants the public to believe that he was arrested for “dancing” at the site when the video actually shows that he and his associates were engaged in disorderly conduct. Their activities succeeded in closing down access to the memorial while the arrests were in progress.

A local report on the Fox TV affiliate in Washington by reporter Roz Plater treated the protesters at the Jefferson Memorial as innocent victims of the police and even showed Benjamin inviting more demonstrators to the memorial for another protest.

What the reporter failed to point out is that Code Pink is a pro-Marxist organization that disrupted several appearances by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington and staged a demonstration calling for an end to military aid to Israel. Benjamin has met with leaders of the terrorist group Hamas but claims she doesn’t support terrorist organizations.


The demonstration fits right into the anti-American propaganda line of Russia Today, which has been described by Konstantin Preobrazhensky, a former Soviet KGB officer who defected to the West, as “a part of the Russian industry of misinformation and manipulation” of foreign audiences. The obvious purpose in this case is to suggest that the U.S. is an oppressive state with no right to criticize the Kremlin’s increasingly authoritarian nature.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Supreme Court: Ashcroft Not Liable in Detention of American Muslim Post-9/11

Former attorney general John D. Ashcroft cannot be sued personally for allegedly misusing his power to detain an American Muslim in the post Sept. 11, 2001, crackdown on suspected terrorism, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday.

But the decision exposed sharp differences among the justices about whether the government had gone too far when it used a statute meant to ensure that witnesses show up for trial. Civil libertarians alleged that the government used the statute to imprison those it suspected, but could not prove, had committed a crime.

The court has long protected government officials from personal liability for their official actions unless it can be shown that they have violated a person’s constitutional rights and that the right was “clearly established” at the time of the conduct.

Justice Antonin Scalia said that was not the case when Ashcroft and the Justice Department used the federal “material witness” statute to detain Abdullah al-Kidd, a U.S. citizen, in a terrorism investigation. Kidd neither testified in a trial nor was charged with a crime, but he was treated as a criminal suspect during his more than two weeks of detention.

“Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions,” Scalia wrote. “When properly applied it protects all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.

“Ashcroft deserves neither label.”

All eight justices hearing the case agreed that Kidd’s suit against Ashcroft could not go forward; it was the second time in recent years that the court has shielded Ashcroft from lawsuits arising from his role as attorney general from 2001 to 2005 in the fight against terrorism. (Justice Elena Kagan sat out the case because she had worked on Ashcroft’s behalf as President Obama’s solicitor general.)

But four of the eight raised questions about the government’s use of the material-witness statute and complained about the treatment of Kidd, who was, in the words of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “kept in high-security cells lit 24 hours a day, strip-searched and subjected to body-cavity inspections on more than one occasion, and handcuffed and shackled about his wrists, legs and waist.”

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who joined Scalia’s opinion in full, nonetheless wrote separately to say that the decision “leaves unresolved whether the government’s use of the Material Witness Statute in this case was lawful.”

Kidd, a onetime University of Idaho football star, was born Lavoni T. Kidd. He converted to Islam in college. He was arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003 as he was boarding a plane for Saudi Arabia, where he planned to study and where he currently teaches.

The government persuaded a federal judge to issue a warrant for Kidd’s arrest by saying he was necessary to the investigation of Sami Omar al-Hussayen, who was eventually indicted on charges of supporting terrorism. Kidd was never called to testify against Hussayen, who was acquitted of the most serious charges.

Kidd contends that his detention was part of a plan approved by Ashcroft to sweep up Muslim men the government suspected, but could not prove, had ties to terrorism.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said Kidd’s lawsuit against Ashcroft could proceed. It said the material-witness statute could not be used as a “pretext” for detaining someone suspected of wrongdoing but whom the government was not willing to charge.

But Scalia, writing for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., said the appeals court ruling had no grounding in precedent.

He noted that a neutral federal magistrate had authorized detaining Kidd, and that courts need not ascertain the motives behind a “validly obtained warrant.”

At the time of the arrest, Scalia said, “not a single judicial opinion had held that pretext could render an objectively reasonable arrest pursuant to a material-witness warrant unconstitutional.”

That settled the matter as far as whether Ashcroft could be held personally liable, the rest of the court agreed.

But Kidd’s attorney, Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union, was encouraged by the additional comments of Kennedy, Ginsburg and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

Ginsburg questioned whether the warrant for Kidd had been validly obtained. She said the information federal agents provided to the magistrate did not point out that Kidd had been cooperating with the government, or that he was less of a flight risk because his parents, wife and children were all U.S. citizens and residents.

Agents said Kidd had booked a $5,000 one-way first-class ticket to Saudi Arabia. Actually, he had bought a round-trip coach-class ticket for $1,700.

Gelernt said the concurring opinions “sent a clear signal” to lower courts to be more demanding when the government seeks to detain someone as a flight risk.

Kidd has reached a settlement with the government for his treatment in detention. Ginsburg noted that the use of falsehoods and misrepresentations could negate any claim of immunity on the part of the federal agents, whom Kidd has sued in a separate case that is pending in Idaho

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Teen Fights, Especially Among Girls, Force Early Closure of North Alabama Water Park

DECATUR, Alabama — Officials at a water park in Decatur say they shut down early after a series of fights broke out between teenagers.

Police say the fights, mostly involving girls, broke out at Point Mallard’s water park on Monday.

They say the fights continued across the city, with reports of brawls at a gas station and at a McDonald’s

Police say no arrests were made Monday evening and no one was seriously hurt.

Julianne Lowman, Point Mallard’s marketing director, says park officials decided it was in the best interests of patrons and employees to close early. She says anyone with a receipt showing they entered the park at 3:30 p.m. or later can use it for admission on another day.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

White House Hires ‘Goebbels-Like’ Attack Dog

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen! What you’re about to read will shock you. The Obama administration doesn’t like negative things being written about it on the Internet. So “O” and his thugocrats are doing something about it. They’ve created yet another czar position, this one intended to “rapidly respond” to any unfavorable stories. First Amendment, meet Pravda.

How will the new “director of progressive media & online response” accomplish this? In Geobbels-like fashion, by reaching out to the progressive media with one hand and with the other, grabbing anti-administration “violators” by their throats, figuratively speaking. The White House is “going aggressive” in the online world, gearing up for the months leading up to the 2012 election.

According to a published report in The Blaze, your tax dollars are now paying for this new position within the White House, dubbed “a dedicated enforcer and story squasher that loves the liberal media.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Witnesses Recall Frightening SoBe Police Involved Shooting

MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) — Three police officers and four innocent bystanders remain hospitalized just one day after two separate police-involved shootings in Miami Beach. One person was also killed in the shooting which was caught on camera.

A YouTube video posted early Monday and obtained by CBS4 News shows the first shooting scene from several stories above.

Watch the video here.

The incident took place around 4:00 a.m. on Collins Avenue between 13th and 16th Streets. Police say there was a tense situation between some officers and a man driving a car when the man tried to hit officers with that moving car.

The home video opens with the sound of four loud gunshots and a dark-colored vehicle zooming down the street before stopping at an intersection.

The man shooting the video tells a companion, “Stay right there, don’t come to the window,” as sirens and screams are heard from below. The man tries to explain to his female friend what was going on and he said “He was shooting people from inside the car.” About one minute into the video, at least a half dozen people, apparently police officers, approach the stopped car and a barrage of bullets rings out. One officer can be seen approaching the car shining a flashlight into the driver’s side window as the man on the video continues to say “Oh my Gosh.”

The man inside that car was killed. He has not been identified.

“If you’re driving a vehicle and you aim that at someone and drive towards that person with the intent of causing injury, that’s deadly force,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega. When asked whether a weapon was found on the suspect, he replied, “I have not been informed of a weapon recovered yet,” said Chief Noriega.

Two Miami Beach officers and one Hialeah officer were taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center with unknown injuries. Those officers have not been identified.

Four innocent bystanders were injured by gun fire. Miami Beach police say it’s unclear whether the gunfire that injured the innocent bystanders came from police or the suspect in the vehicle.

CBS4 News has confirmed that at least two of the injured were transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital. One person is a young woman whose boyfriend said was shot at least twice, once in the arm and also in the leg. He did not want to identify himself or the woman but he said one bullet passed through her and the other lodged in her elbow.

CBS4’s Peter D’Oench also caught up with the cousin of another man who was wounded by the stray bullets. As she walked into the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, she told D’Oench, “He is going to be ok. He was shot in the left side. I was very worried about him. I heard about this early this morning. I was very worried.”

She did not want to identify herself or her cousin, but she also told D’Oench, “I have a lot of questions about this. Who shot him? Was he shot by the police or the bad guy. And if police shot him, why did this have to happen? For what reason, I don’t know. I also want to know how many of those innocent bystanders got shot? He was just running. That’s all I heard. He was just running and they shot him.”

Angie Vasquez told also told D’Oench that her sister, Sarah Garcia, 24, was one of the innocent bystanders who was wounded. It happened right in front of her.

“Yes, it was very scary; I was scared for my life. My sister was shot in the arm, it came through her bones and fractured them. She was also shot in the leg, but her legs are going to be OK,” said Vasquez. “It was just crazy. We are here visiting from Naples all these shots rang out. It didn’t make any sense to me.”

Vasquez said that while she was not able to look inside the suspect’s car, she did not think he had a gun.

“He was never shooting back. It’s crazy, police are supposed to protect us, but instead we get shot,” said Vasquez.

Other witnesses also talked about their frightening experience.

One witness from New York said, “The Miami Beach Police Department shot her. That was not right. There was a drive by going on. And the Miami Police shot her. It was by accident but they shot her.”

Another New York tourist described what happened. “We were just walking going to our hotel. We seen a drive by going by. We ducked down. The police came out with their guns. They were like this and they started shooting.”

Witness Jose Vazquez said it was chaos. “We were about to turn the corner when all the sudden we heard gun shots. Maybe about 5 to 12 gunshots. In the chaos we heard a girl got hit,” explained Vazquez. “Everyone was running. I was kind of scared. It was sporadic. Then you had more gunshots. It was kind of frightening. All the sudden the police started running with their guns drawn.”

About an hour and 15 minutes after the first shooting incident, there was another police-involved shooting at 14th Street and Washington Avenue.

“The driver of the car came directly at several officers, a couple of corrections officers, and the officer that fired a weapon. It looks like she may have been directly in front of the vehicle when he was coming at her,” said Chief Noriega.

The bullets missed the driver and that’s when he crashed into the police cruiser and was arrested.

There were no injuries involved in this intense situation.

Police were working two additional crime scenes related to the shootings: one at 15th and Drexel Avenue, and another at 14th and Collins Avenue.

Police shut down several blocks in the heart of South Beach to motorists and pedestrians. South Beach has been packed with thousands of tourists in town for the 12th annual Urban Beach weekend.

Chief Noriega stated it was relatively uneventful until Monday morning. “It was quiet last night until 3:56 a.m. It’s just a darn shame this had to happen,” said Noriega.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgium to Ban the Burqa Soon

Belgium will soon become the second country in Europe to ban the burqa in public places, after the parliament approved legislation forbidding full veils, the bill’s author said Wednesday. The legislation quietly cleared the Senate last week after it was overwhelmingly approved by the lower chamber of deputies last month, when only one Green lawmaker voted against it and two abstained. The new law will take effect 10 days after it is published in Belgium’s official journal, in around one month. France became the first European country to ban the burqa on April 11. The Belgian legislation, drafted by liberal lawmaker Daniel Bacquelaine, bans all clothing that hides the face.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Belgium Catholic Church Vows to Compensate Abuse Victims

Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church vowed Monday to compensate the victims of paedophile priests in the wake of a child abuse scandal that has rocked the Church for the past year. Accused for months of showing little compassion for the victims, the bishops and heads of religious orders deplored the abuses that were documented last year by a Church-backed commission, which revealed nearly 500 cases that took place over several decades, resulting in 13 suicides.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

British Holidaymaker Dies After ‘Being Attacked by Gang of Four in Brutal Robbery’ In Portugal

A Briton beaten to death in Portugal is feared to have been killed by a gang of robbers targeting tourists in a popular resort. Ian Haggath died from severe head injuries after four youths set upon him as he walked back to his hotel in Albufeira, on the Algarve. The attack occurred half a mile from where Black Watch soldier Darren Lackie died after being found unconscious last month, in what his family say was a mugging.

Witnesses said the gang suspected of attacking Mr Haggath were not from Portugal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Bulgaria: Nationalist Party to Face Maximum Fine Over Mosque Incident

Bulgaria’s nationalist party Ataka will be fined with BGN 2500- the maximum amount allowable- over the assault on praying Muslims at the Banya Bashi mosque, announced Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.

On May 20, the far-right party led by Volen Siderov shocked Bulgaria as its rally protesting against the use of loudspeakers by the mosque in downtown Sofia got out of hand, and activists of Ataka assaulted praying Muslims in front of the mosque.

The incident has had wider repercussions, all the way from Bulgarians flocking to lay flowers at the mosque as a sign of apology, to the start of investigation of Ataka for stirring ethnic and religious hatred and the consolidation of the voters of the Bulgarian ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms).

“A breach of the public order is punishable by a fine of BGN 100 to BGN 2500. In this case, the violation is of crucial importance to society, which is why we are will impose the maximum penalty”, Veska Georgieva, Director of the Sofia Municipality Inspectorate explained.

In the meantime, the Sofia Regional Prosecutor’s Office has requested an expert analysis of the recordings of the clash at the mosque provided by the Interior Ministry and the media. Out of over 35 hearings so far, not a single witness has identified any of the hooligans.

“I have seen the tapes. The cameras show that other people than the detainees have also taken part in the fight”, Sofia District Prosecutor Alexander Nalbantov stated.

During the expert analysis of the video material, snapshots will be taken of the faces of the participants in the brawl in order to help identify and track them down.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Cucumber Deaths Provoke Outbreak of EU Bickering

Accusations and counter-accusations continue to be exchanged across Europe as the region struggles to tackle a lethal outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic E.coli linked to contaminated cucumbers, which has so far left 14 people dead in Germany.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark:12 Years to Doukaev for Terrorism Attempt

Defence had hoped for nine-year sentence for planning to send letter bomb to newspaper

Lors Doukaev will spend 12 years in a Danish prison for last September’s failed plan to send a letter bomb to the newspaper that published the Mohammed drawings, a court in Copenhagen announced today.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Aid Policy to Target Fewer States and Good Governance

European aid to poorer countries should focus on fewer recipient states and be increasingly linked to democratic advancements, according to a forthcoming review of the EU’s development policy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

European Police Seize “Almost a Tonne of Cocaine” In Albania

European police have seized almost a tonne of Colombian cocaine in Albania and busted a international drugs network following an operation involving seven countries, Europol said Tuesday. “The huge consignment of cocaine was diluted in 13 tonnes of palm oil that had been shipped from Colombia, via Antwerp in Belgium before being finally seized in Albania,” it said in a statement issued in The Hague, where it is based.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

French Lawyers Plan Libya Lawsuit Against Sarkozy

Two French lawyers said they planned to initiate legal proceedings against French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday for crimes against humanity over the NATO-led military campaign in Libya. A Libyan justice ministry official Ibrahim Boukhzam told reporters in Tripoli that Jacques Verges and Roland Dumas had offered to represent families he said were victims of the NATO bombing campaign.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Green Light for Swedish ‘Hooligan-Register’

Stockholm club Djurgården Football has received the approval needed from the Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen) to start up a register of blacklisted supporters to keep them out of sports events.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Centre-Left Trounces Berlusconi Allies in Milan and Naples

Rome, 30 May (AKI) — Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative coalition Monday suffered a heavy defeat by the centre-left in local election run-offs in the key cities of Milan and Naples, amid slumping support for the government.

With all votes counted in the northern city of Milan, centre-left challenger Giuliano Pisapia was elected mayor after he won 55.10 percent of ballots, soundly beating conservative incumbent Letizia Moratti, who took 44.89 percent.

It was the first time in almost two decades that the centre-right lost Milan — a conservative stronghold and Berlusconi’s hometown — and the centre-left victory followed a bitter electoral contest in which Moratti accused Pisapia of past links to far-left terrorist groups.

“We seem to have liberated the city,” Pisapia, a lawyer, told supporters who greeted him with a standing ovation upon his victory.

In Arcore, outside Milan, where Berlusconi has his main residence and where most of his alleged ‘bunga bunga’ orgies took place, the centre-left candidate Rosalba Colombo was elected mayor by a margin of more than 13 percent, taking 56. 65 percent of votes defeating her conservative rival Enrico Perego.

Lettieri’s crushing defeat came after he had emerged in front in the first round of voting.

Prosecutor Luigi De Magistris became mayor of the southern city of Naples trouncing his conservative opponent Gianni Lettieri with 65.37 percent of votes against 34.62 percent.

“I feel a great sense of responsibility that involves and the forces of goodwill in this city and not just the parties that elected me,” said De Magistris upon his win.

“I can’t wait to get the city moving,” he said, adding: “I will be the mayor of all Neapolitans.” One of his first challenges will be to end the city’s chronic garbage crisis, a problem compounded by the Naples mafia’s grip on waste disposal in the region.

Turnout in the Milan run-off was 67.38 percent, virtually unchanged from the first round of voting two weeks ago. In Naples, 50.57 percent of electors cast their ballots in the run-off compared with 60.32 percent in the first round of voting.

Overall turnout in towns and cities across Italy was 60.11 percent in the run-offs, in which the centre-left prevailed.

The centre-left’s victory in the mayoral races — seen as a key test of Berlusconi’s popularity — may show he has fallen out of favour with Italians, who are tired of the scandals and lacklustre economy that many associate with his three-year-old government.

Berlusconi on Sunday told Il Giornale, a daily owned by his family, that defeat would “not affect the government.”

Berlusconi, 74, is on trial for three cases linked to allegations of bribery, tax evasion and fraud. In a further case he faces charges of paying an underage nightclub dancer for sex and abuse of office. He denies any wrongdoing.

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

Italy: Police Arrest Genoa Youth Gang After Attack on Man Aged 40

(AGI) Genoa — Four Latin American minors aged 16-17 have been arrested on charges of attempted murder. The gang of four attacked a 40-year-old striking at the head. The four were arrested as they tried to flee the site of the attack close to Via Fiume. The man, according to police reports, was struck to the head using belt buckles and traffic signpost. The man is currently hospitalised and under observation at neurosurgery; his condition is non-critical .

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

No Cheese for Neolithic Humans in France

An excavation of a southern French burial site from about 3,000 B.C. shows that the modern humans who expanded into the area from the Mediterranean lived in patrilocal communities and did not have the genetic mutation that allowed later Europeans to digest fresh milk.

Scientists analyzed DNA extracted from the bones of 53 people buried in Cave I of the Treilles, located in the Grands Causses region at Saint-Jean-et-Saint-Paul, Aveyron in France. They were able to get useful information from 29 of those samples, 22 men, two women ad five for whom it was impossible to determine sex. Most of them appeared to be closely related, with two of them having a 99.9979% probability of being father and son and two others having a 99.9985% probability of being siblings.

The researchers were able to deduce from their findings that the peoples in this region of France were of a genetic type more closely related to Basque and Spanish populations than current western European populations. They were also more closely related to peoples in Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Italy and Lebanon.

None of them carried the gene for lactase persistence that is believed to have first evolved around 5,500 BC in Central Europe and which allowed humans to drink fresh milk after they are weaned.

The absence of the genetic variation probably shows that the Treilles people most likely came from agricultural-pastoral Mediterranean cultures that drank fermented milk and had an economy based on sheep and goat farming.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway Systematically Hid EU Demands for Oil-Law Reform

The Norwegian government has provoked the ire of the country’s northern regions for deliberately concealing from parliament demands from Brussels that it radically alter its petroleum law to allow oil operations to be managed from outside Norway.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sociologist Sued for Exposing Islamic Jew-Hatred in Belgium

Prof. Mark Elchardus has displayed rarely seen European intellectual honesty and moral courage regarding Islamic Jew-hatred in his native Belgium

According to Ahlul Bayt New Agency [2], The Vigilance Musulmane (Muslim Vigilance) advocacy group filed a complaint with the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight Against Racism (CGKR) against VUB professor of sociology Mark Elchardus for statements about Islamic Jew hatred quoted in the De Morgen newspaper (English translation courtesy of Vlad Tepes blog [3]).

Professor Elchardus’ conclusions are based upon data from a 426 pp. report [4] he co-authored entitled, “Young in Brussels: findings from the JOP monitor Brussels.” Chapter 8 of this study, “Anti-Semitism in Brussels,” devotes some thirty pages to highlighting the problem of rising Jew-hatred in Brussels, particularly amongst young Muslim students. Elchardus provided this overview of the alarming problem to De Morgen [3]:…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]

Spain’s Ruling Socialists Begin Leadership Primaries

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero launched the primaries on Saturday to pick his successor as Socialist party leader, reiterating his support for his deputy Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba. “Today we are starting the process to choose our candidate for the elections in 2012,” the outgoing prime minister told his party’s federal committee at a meeting in Madrid. Zapatero, who announced in April that he would not seek a third mandate, threw his support on Friday night behind the 59-year-old Rubalcaba, his interior minister and official number two in government.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain Wants Compensation, Slams Germany in Cucumber Crisis

Spain and The Netherlands demanded compensation for European vegetable producers hit by a deadly bacteria outbreak as Madrid Tuesday slammed Germany’s handling of the crisis. The situation is “extremely serious” for the agriculture sector, Spanish Agricultural Minister Rosa Aguilar said on her arrival at an informal meeting of EU agricultural ministers in Debrecen, eastern Hungary. She estimated the loss to vegetable sales in Spain to reach “more than 200 million euros a week.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


What the Mladic Arrest Means for Serbia’s Future

The arrest of Bosnian-Serb military leader Ratko Mladic last week marked the end of a 16-year manhunt and he is now to stand trial on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide. But questions remain as to how he was able to remain at large for so long — and the Balkans remain volatile.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Are These Men SAS Helping Libyan Rebels? News Crew Films Western Troops Liaising With Gunmenby Sam Greenhill

An Arab television channel has broadcast pictures which it says show Western special forces on the ground in Libya.

Footage by the Al Jazeera television channel shows a group of six Western-looking men — described as ‘possibly British’ — talking to rebel fighters near the besieged port city of Misrata.

With their peaked caps, wraparound sunglasses and assault rifles, the group certainly appear different to the rag-tag rebel army battling Colonel Gaddafi’s forces.

They are clearly visible in the Al Jazeera report by experienced British war correspondent Tony Birtley, and they hurry away as soon as they realise they have been spotted by the camera crew.

Birtley’s front-line report from Dafniya, seven miles outside Misrata, shows five of the men are armed and wearing informal sand-coloured clothes and cotton Arab scarves.

The sixth, apparently the most senior of the group, carries no visible weapon and wears a pink, short-sleeved shirt. There was speculation last night that he is an intelligence officer.

In his report, Birtley, an award-winning veteran of 20 wars who has previously worked for the BBC, ITN and Sky News, says: ‘Here, a group of armed foreigners, possibly British, are seen liaising with the fighters. It could be to facilitate forthcoming helicopter attacks.’

One possibility is that the men could be former British special forces, working privately. It has long been thought that Britain has boots on the ground in Libya. In March it was announced that Britain was sending advisers to the country to provide ‘logistical advice’ to rebels fighting in the east of the country.

The Mail has been told that ex-SAS mercenaries, funded by Arab states, could be used as forward air controllers for the rebels, calling in pinpoint air strikes on Gaddafi’s forces.

One source said: ‘We could indirectly employ former military people. A lot of the oil companies over there already have ex-special forces personnel working there.’

The Ministry of Defence spokesman said last night: ‘We do not have boots on the ground — any military activity undertaken by the UK in Libya is in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973.’

Mr Zuma, who met Gaddafi at the weekend, said he was ready to accept an African Union initiative for a ceasefire. He did not say Gaddafi was ready to step down, the central demand of the rebels.

Rebels’ spokesman Fathi Baja said Mr Zuma was in Tripoli to negotiate an exit strategy for Gaddafi, although Zuma’s office denies that.

Mr Baja said: ‘Gaddafi is in big trouble, the circle around him is deserting him.’

He said Gaddafi was a coward who will not fight to the death.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Egyptian General Admits ‘Virginity Checks’ Conducted on Protesters

Cairo (CNN) — A senior Egyptian general admits that “virginity checks” were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring, the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities.

The allegations arose in an Amnesty International report, published weeks after the March 9 protest. It claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.

At that time, Maj. Amr Imam said 17 women had been arrested but denied allegations of torture or “virginity tests.”

But now a senior general who asked not to be identified said the virginity tests were conducted and defended the practice.

“The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine,” the general said. “These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs).”

The general said the virginity checks were done so that the women wouldn’t later claim they had been raped by Egyptian authorities.

“We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place,” the general said. “None of them were (virgins).”

This demonstration occurred nearly a month after Egypt’s longtime President Hosni Mubarak stepped down amid a wave of popular and mostly peaceful unrest aimed at his ouster and the institution of democratic reforms.

Afterward, Egypt’s military — which had largely stayed on the sidelines of the revolution — officially took control of the nation’s political apparatus as well, until an agreed-upon constitution and elections.

The March 9 protest occurred in Tahrir Square, which became famous over 18 historic and sometimes bloody days and nights of protests that led to Mubarak’s resignation.

But unlike in those previous demonstrations, the Egyptian military targeted the protesters. Soldiers dragged dozens of demonstrators from the square and through the gates of the landmark Egyptian Museum.

Salwa Hosseini, a 20-year-old hairdresser and one of the women named in the Amnesty report, described to CNN how uniformed soldiers tied her up on the museum’s grounds, forced her to the ground and slapped her, then shocked her with a stun gun while calling her a prostitute.

“They wanted to teach us a lesson,” Hosseini said soon after the Amnesty report came out. “They wanted to make us feel that we do not have dignity.”

The treatment got worse, Hosseini said, when she and the 16 other female prisoners were taken to a military detention center in Heikstep.

There, she said, she and several of other female detainees were subjected to a “virginity test.”

“We did not agree for a male doctor to perform the test,” she said. But Hosseini said her captors forced her to comply by threatening her with more stun-gun shocks.

“I was going through a nervous breakdown at that moment,” she recalled. “There was no one standing during the test, except for a woman and the male doctor. But several soldiers were standing behind us watching the backside of the bed. I think they had them standing there as witnesses.”

The senior Egyptian general said the 149 people detained after the March 9 protest were subsequently tried in military courts, and most have been sentenced to a year in prison.

Authorities later revoked those sentences “when we discovered that some of the detainees had university degrees, so we decided to give them a second chance,” he said.

The senior general reaffirmed that the military council was determined to make Egypt’s democratic transition a success.

“The date for handover to a civil government can’t come soon enough for the ruling military council,” he said. “The army can’t wait to return to its barracks and do what it does best — protect the nation’s borders.”

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

French Celebrity Writer Levy in Libyan Rebel City Misrata

Bernard-Henri Levy, a writer who helped engineer France’s path-breaking recognition of Libya’s fledgling rebel authority, was Sunday in the rebel-held city of Misrata, his website said.

“He has brought a series of letters of solidarity and support from the mayors of some of France’s biggest cities,” his online magazine La Regle du Jeu said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

French Minister’s Tunisia Holiday Paid by Regime

French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet stayed in a luxury hotel in Tunisia at the expense of the authoritarian regime of then-president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, an official of the national tourism office said Tuesday. “We paid his lodging and food bill, he paid the extras,” said Amine Hajri, head of the French service of the National Tunisian Tourism Office (ONTT), confirming revelations to appear Wednesday in French lifestyle weekly, Les Inrockuptibles. At the time of the 2006 visit, the defence minister was a senator and advisor to the then leader of France’s centre-right UMP party, Nicolas Sarkozy, now the French president.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: Where Obama is Leading Israel

In the aftermath of US President Barack Obama’s May 19 speech on the Middle East, his supporters argued that the policy toward Israel and the Palestinians that Obama outlined in that speech was not anti-Israel. As they presented it, Obama’s assertion that peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must be based on the 1967 lines with agreed swaps does not mark a substantive departure from the positions adopted by his predecessors in the Oval Office…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Arab Spring: What the Revolutions Mean for Us

Mladá Fronta DNES Prague

A few months into the Arab revolutions, what lessons for Europe? For Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, professor at the London University, it should not succumb to the myth of a conflict between Islam and the West and engage in a more ambitious, independent diplomacy.

Jan Fingerland

Imagine that I am a Martian who has just landed on Earth, and I know nothing about the Middle East. How would you explain to me what is happening now in the Arab world?

It’s a great uprising for democracy and freedom, independence and human rights. And it’s happening for the first time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. All the Arab countries essentially grew out of the disintegration of this empire. Some do have a separate history as a nation state, like Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia to some degree, but the colonial era had an immense impact on domestic politics. There thus arose authoritarian state structures, because the new states tried to create an idea of what it means to be a Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian, and so on. The uprisings do have roots within the societies themselves and are calling for a new kind of politics. New television stations broadcast very independently, and that is also something new in this region. Thanks to them, a new kind of political awareness, a new understanding of politics and thus new demands were all able to emerge. These are demands for accountability for those in power, and for social justice.

Does this mean that Arab societies are now overcoming this legacy of authoritarianism? What has actually happened?

To understand the phenomenon of authoritarianism in this region, we must realise that the countries are heirs to a violent period of colonialism and then the post-colonial resistance. The military leaders installed themselves at the top, and not any organically developed structures of state. In Europe, these structures evolved over the centuries. There was the French Revolution, two world wars, Hitler, Mussolini’s wars and Franco’s wars. Civil society in Europe developed very slowly, and so there grew out of it a tried and tested and viable democracy. The Arab world, though, never had that “luxury of having a history.” But now the structures that grew from the bottom up have rebelled against the authority of the state and its sovereignty. There’s no road back.

What do the Arab revolutions mean for Europe?

There are many security and strategic challenges, because the political terrain is changing. There are governments emerging that will listen more to their societies, and societies emerging that will demand a foreign policy independent of the West. It is no coincidence that Egypt and Tunisia did not support intervention in Libya. Egypt is also preparing to renew relations with Iran, which until recently was a complete taboo. The EU and the U.S. will have to prepare for situations that will arise in the region, which they will be able to control far less than they were able to just last year. Here we see similarities with Latin America, where the regimes had previously been much more docile with regards to the West. Just as imperialist interventions into their affairs is no longer possible there, no longer will they be possible in western Asia, either.

It is something like a second wave of decolonisation? Less direct political influence of the West, but for all that, greater influence of Western ideas?

Definitely. After all, there was no open anti-Americanism on display in the Arab revolutions. Turkey also cooperates with Europe, yet pursues its own goals as well. Personally, I think it’s a good thing. That is, it does help the cause of peace throughout the region. In the Middle East we need a security strategy that does not serve the interests of outside players.

How do you evaluate the policies of the West towards the Arab revolutions?

The European Union should have a policy much more independent of the U.S. than it has had till now. This has been manifested in many respects, like Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and most recently Iran. Europe should pursue its own interests. Iran will have to be drawn to the negotiating table. The policy of marginalising and sanctioning that country has failed. Iran’s nuclear project is unstoppable, and there is no military solution. Everybody knows it. And the European Union is a better partner for this dialogue than the U.S., because it’s not weighed down by any historical baggage. Strategic considerations also play a role here. For example, how will we transport oil and gas from Afghanistan in the future? Would it not be better to bring the pipeline through India, Pakistan and Iran than through Russia? Likewise, the Libyan operation was a mistake. Europe is closely intertwined with the Islamic and Arab world and has to admit it.

If the Libyan operation was a mistake, would you rather have seen Europe not intervene in Libya? Even if it meant having to look on as Gaddafi massacred the opposition?

If it had been possible at the outset to organise a conference that brought together the regional players, where Gaddafi and the opposition sat down together, that would have been the right way. If there had been a diplomatic initiative at the very beginning, then I think that Gaddafi would not have reacted the way he did in the end. When you see there is some other solution, you hesitate to massacre your own population. Military intervention, on the contrary, made the violence in Libya worse. You cannot subjugate people by bombing them, or intervene militarily to create a new situation. Who do you think is defending Gaddafi’s regime? He still has some support. It’s not just down to hiring mercenaries. What will happen with the remnants of that regime? Strategic diplomacy could resolve the deadlock.

Is Libya therefore another Iraq for the West, just closer to the borders of Europe?

Nobody knows exactly what the movement in eastern Libya is. It’s far from being just liberals and democrats. There are lots of different tribal forces with their own agendas, and jihadis too. Al-Qaeda is rejoicing over this situation, because these events can be integrated into its world-view of the conflict between Islam and the West. A military solution would not be a happy one.

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

Car Bomb Blows Up Yemeni Military Convoy

(AGI) Aden — A car bomb with two suicide bombers on board exploded as a military convoy drove by, close to the Yemeni army checkpoint in Dofas, less than one kilometer from the town of Zinjibat in southern Yemen. The news was reported by a security officer who did not provide details about the number of those killed. A number of witnesses reported that many were wounded and killed, including high-ranking officers. The convoy was attacked as it carried additional personnel to fight al Qaeda militants who have gained control in Zinjibar, taking advantage of the absence of security forces deployed to deal with anti-regime uprisings in Sanaa and in Taez .

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

Iran Temporarily Denies Merkel Overflight Rights

Iran temporarily denied Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plane overflight rights during her flight to India. The plane had to circle over Turkey for two hours before being given permission to enter Iranian airspace. The Germany Foreign Ministry has summoned the Iranian ambassador as a result.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Missing French Aid Workers’ Car Found in Yemen: Government

The car of three French aid workers missing in Yemen has been found undamaged, the French foreign ministry confirmed Monday, adding this supported fears that they have been kidnapped.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Women Protest for Right to Vote

Every day dozens of Saudi women descend on election offices to apply to be registered to participate in elections in September. Administrative consultations are convened for the second time in 40 years. Women may not be candidates, nor vote, because, the officials say it would be too difficult to arrange polling stations divided by gender.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Municipal elections will be held at a national level in Saudi Arabia in September, the second time in 40 years. But to date nine million women will be excluded. The elections for municipal councils highlight the contradictions in the kingdom run by the Wahhabi monarchy, where a particularly austere religious system makes democracy very uncertain in its expressions. The kingdom does not allow for political parties, or have an elected parliament. And the religious police patrol the streets to ensure the protection of morals, and segregation between the sexes.

Already in March the government announced elections for half of the municipal seats, but women can not be nominated, or vote. The reason given by local officials is the difficulty of organizing separate polling stations on the basis of sex.

This decision has given rise to a campaign, started on Facebook and Twitter, by many Saudi women, and entitled “Baladi”, “My Country”. It calls for women to present themselves at polling stations, across Saudi Arabia, to ask to exercise their right to vote. Campaign posters usually only encourage men to sign up to vote. “Be a part in decision-making”, reads one such poster.

But in many parts of the kingdom women have answered the call. From the western provinces, Jeddah, Mecca and Medina, to the eastern provinces and even to the capital Riyadh, dozens of women have travelled to election offices, to be registered. “Through this pressure we are trying to change the government’s decision to exclude women from voting, arguing that the reason they gave is not convincing — says Nailah Attar, one of the campaign organizers -. We will keep on trying until they stop us. “ The organizations intend to push the issue of participation until 28 July, the closing date for registration.

For many, the attempt to participate in the voting is a beginning in eroding the “protection” system imposed on women which requires them to provide written permission from their father, brother or husband to travel, work, or undergo some surgical operations. The paradox is that while many women struggle to participate, an increasing number of males seem to want to boycott the elections, because the municipal councils will have no real authority or influence in decision-making. Their role is limited to present suggestions to the central authority.

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

Spengler: Humpty Obumpty and the Arab Spring

I’ve been warning for months that Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and other Arab oil-importing countries face a total economic meltdown (see Food and failed Arab states, Feb 2, and The hunger to come in Egypt, May 10). Now the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has confirmed my warnings.

The leaders of the industrial nations waited until last weekend’s Group of Eight (G-8) summit to respond, and at the initiative of United States President Barack Obama proposed what sounds like a massive aid program but probably consists mainly of refurbishing old programs.

The egg has splattered, and all of Obumpty’s horses and men can’t mend it. Even the G-8’s announcement was fumbled; Canada’s Prime Minister John Harper refused to commit new money, a dissonant note that routine diplomatic preparation would have pre-empted.

The numbers thrown out by the IMF are stupefying. “In the current baseline scenario,” wrote the IMF on May 27, “the external financing needs of the region’s oil importers is projected to exceed $160 billion during 2011-13.” That’s almost three years’ worth of Egypt’s total annual imports as of 2010. As of 2010, the combined current account deficit (that is, external financing needs) of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Morocco and Tunisia was about $15 billion a year.

What the IMF says, in effect, is that the oil-poor Arab economies — especially Egypt — are not only broke, but dysfunctional, incapable of earning more than a small fraction of their import bill. The disappearance of tourism is an important part of the problem, but shortages of fuel and other essentials have had cascading effects throughout these economies.

“In the next 18 months,” the IMF added, “a greater part of these financing needs will need to be met from the international community because of more cautious market sentiments during the uncertain transition.”

Translation: private investors aren’t stupid enough to throw money down a Middle Eastern rat-hole, and now that the revolutionary government has decided to make a horrible example of deposed president Hosni Mubarak, anyone who made any money under his regime is cutting and running. At its May 29 auction of treasury bills, Egypt paid about 12% for short-term money, to its own captive banking system. Its budget deficit in the next fiscal year, the government says, will exceed $30 billion.

And the IMF’s $160 billion number is only “external financing”; that is, maintaining imports into a busted economy. It doesn’t do a thing to repair busted economies that import half their caloric intake, as do the oil-poor Arab nations…

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

South Asia

Bangladesh: Woman Chopped Off Man’s Penis as He ‘Attempted to Rape Her’ Before Taking it to Police as Evidence

A woman cut off a man’s penis as he allegedly attempted to rape her and took it to a police station as evidence against him.

Monju Begum, 40, attacked the man in Bangladesh after he burst into her shack and reportedly launched his sex attack.

The victim then wrapped up the penis in polythene before handing it over to officers, police said.

Mozammel Haq Mazi was taken to hospital where he is being treated — but is denying attempted rape.

He claims he was having an affair with the mother-of-three and she attacked him because he refused to settle down with her.

Monju Begum, from Mirzapur, which is around 100 miles from Dhaka, had apparently been sleeping when the man burst into her home.

Police chief Abul Khaer told reporters: ‘As he tried to rape her, the lady cut his manhood off with a knife.

‘She then wrapped up the penis in a piece of polythene and brought it to the Jhalakathi police station as evidence of the crime.’

The married father-of-five is expected to be arrested once he has recovered.

Officer Khaer added: ‘We shall arrest him once his condition gets better.’

Speaking from hospital, Mr Mazi told the BBC he had been having an affair with the woman, who was his neighbour.

‘We were having an affair and recently she suggested that both of us can go and settle down in Dhaka,’ he said.

‘I refused and told her that I cannot leave my wife and children, so she took revenge on me.’

Surgeons later tried to reattach the penis but they were unable to do so because several hours had passed before it was taken to the hospital.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Deadly Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan, Five Italians Injured

At least four Afghan police dead

(ANSA) — Rome, May 30 — Suicide bomb attacks in the western Afghan city of Herat killed four Afghan police officers on Monday and left five Italian soldiers injured, one seriously, as well as a large number of civilians. A suicide bomber rammed through the wall of an Italian base in a truck loaded with explosives before other Taliban insurgents opened fire. There were also attacks on two other sites in the city. “Five Italians were injured in the attack at Herat,” Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa told a press conference at the Senate here.

The minister said the most seriously wounded was “a captain who was hit in the abdomen… At the moment I wouldn’t want to consider them all out of danger, even though there is encouraging news”. La Russa said there had been victims among the insurgents as well as at least four slain Afghan police officers.

He said “many” civilians had been injured.

The attack would not affect plans to start the gradual handover of responsibility for security to the Afghan authorities in view of a withdrawal of NATO troops in 2014, he said, even though Herat is one of the first areas set to return to local control this year.

“It won’t compromise the transition process,” La Russa said.

“On the contrary, these actions show how effective our efforts are. “The attack does not negate our commitment to give Afghanistan back to the Afghans, a process that should be concluded by 2014”. Italy has around 4,000 troops posted in Afghanistan, nearly all in the western part of the country, where they are increasingly coming under attack as militants are driven out of southern areas.

Monday’s attack comes just three days after six Italian soldiers were injured in a bomb attack that targeted United Nations peacekeepers near Sidon in southern Lebanon.

“I’ve learned of the attack on the Italian base at Herat,” Premier Silvio Berlusconi said in a statement.

“We offer our support to our soldiers and their families. “Once again we express our appreciation and encouragement for all the Italian soldiers who with great professionalism and commitment carry out their difficult peace mission in Afghanistan and other crisis areas”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Australian Authorities Say ‘No’ To Mosque in Perth

Perth, May 31 : Australian State Administrative Tribunal has rejected an appeal to run a mosque on grounds of detrimental effects of noise in southern suburbs of Perth.

Ruling out the proposal for running a mosque, it said a solid boundary wall surrounding a mosque would be needed to mitigate noise impacts. However, such a wall would take away the serenity of the area.

The tribunal said the mosque’s activities would be “unusual”, resulting in an “undesirable impact … incompatible with retaining the local character and amenity” of the area, The West Australian News reports.

The Islamic community wanted to run the mosque at a property which was previously used to train horses on Valcan Road, Orange Grove in Perth.

The property, located in a rural area, is surrounded by paddocks and pastures.

The City of Gosnells’ council had earlier also rejected the application saying the mosque was not appropriate for the area and that the traffic and noise generated “would have the potential to detrimentally affect the existing rural amenity of the locality”.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Ugandan Legislation Pits Muslims vs. Christians Over Power of Courts

Christians call a proposed religious law a sly attempt to favor Muslims in this predominantly Christian country and warn that it could promote Islamic fundamentalism. Muslims say the reaction to the bill just shows Islamophobia.

The Muslim Personal Law bill — which would give more power to Islamic Kadhi courts for Muslims on matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance — is straining relations between Uganda’s two largest religious groups.

Each side is vowing to resist the other to protect what both say are the fundamental rights of their respective communities.

The dispute also highlights an apparent contradiction between two sections of the Ugandan Constitution.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


963 Migrants Arrive in Sicily — Claim Their Boat Was Accompanied by Maltese Patrol Boat for Part of the Way

A fishing boat packed with more than 963 immigrants has arrived in southern Italy, with the Italian media reporting that according to the migrants, the boat was accompanied for part of the way North by a Maltese patrol boat.

The Maltese government confirmed the presence of the patrol boat but said the migrants’ boat was not in distress and could proceed northward normally.

The 25-metre fishing boat carried entire families of migrants from sub-sahara, with many of them, including children, needing hospital treatment after a difficult journey from Libya. The boat was escorted by Italian vessels to Pozzallo.

The migrants said they were at sea for four days. At one time, their boat was intercepted by a Maltese patrol boat. Maltese soldiers handed them life vests and directed the boat northward, Italian media reported, saying this episode risked sparking another incident between Italy and Malta.


The government in a statement said that Malta was first alerted to the presence of the migrants’ boat by an Egyptian fishing boat early on Sunday morning.

A patrol boat and a a patrol aircraft were sent to the scene. One of the migrants on the boat subsequrntly contacted a migrant in Italy, who in turn alterted the Rome rescue authorities.

By the time Rome had informed Malta, Malta had already dispatched the patrol boat to investigate.

“When the Maltese offshore patrol vessel P-61 reached the area of the boat in question, it found it proceeding northwards at 6 knots in no distress and in calm seas. P-61 remained in the vicinity of the vessel in order to provide assistance at any time should this be requested and in accordance with best practice as implemented by the Maltese authorities.

“Late on Monday afternoon, when the vessel was about one mile outside Italian territorial waters, the presence of the craft was signalled to the Italian authorities and the boat was intercepted and boarded by Italian Guardia di Finanza personnel who landed them in Sicily at around 11 p.m. yesterday,” the government said.

Meanwhile, an Italian NGO yesterday took Malta to the International Criminal Court, claiming that Malta should have rescued migrants located on a boat 50 miles off the Italian Island of Lampedusa over the weekend.

Malta denied the claims, saying responsibility rested on the Italian authorities since Lampedusa was far closer to the boat than Malta, and rescue by Italian assets was therefore easier. Malta, however, coordinated the rescue.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Booted Out at Last: The Child-Molesting Migrant Who Claimed it Was His Human Right to Stay in the UK

An illegal immigrant who abducted and molested two young girls and then claimed his human rights would be breached if he was deported from the UK has finally been sent home after a two-year legal battle.

Zulfar Hussain, 48, was due to be deported after being released from prison half-way through his sentence.

He had been convicted of child-sex offences after plying two vulnerable girls with drugs and alcohol before having sex with them.

But Pakistani-born Hussain, who lived with his British wife and three children in Blackburn, launched a legal bid to stay in the UK. Using Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights — which says ‘everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence’ — he argued he should be allowed to return to his wife and children on his release from prison.

But the Home Office fought Hussain’s legal application and kept him in a secure immigration removal centre.

After a two-year battle and a £100,000 bill for the British taxpayer he was finally sent back to Pakistan on Saturday.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘We will not accept foreign nationals like Zulfar Hussain breaking our laws. Those who commit serious offences should be removed at the earliest possible opportunity.

‘We will do all we can to protect the public from those who abuse their right to be here.’

Hussain came to the UK illegally in the late 1980s and married his wife in February 1990 before going on to have three children.

He was granted leave to remain in September 1994, before being given indefinite leave a year later.

In 2005 Hussain and an accomplice, Qaiser Naveed, 34, a fellow Pakistani national, groomed two 15-year-old girls, who were in local authority care, for sex over a period of months in his adopted home town of Blackburn.

The teenagers were plied with alcohol and ecstasy pills, before the men had sex with them.

Hussain and Naveed were arrested when social workers raised the alarm.

They were both jailed for five years and eight months in 2007 and were both ordered to be deported back to Pakistan following their release.

But while Naveed accepted his fate, Hussain appealed.

After his lawyers said Hussain had expressed remorse, been well-behaved in prison and had no previous convictions in Pakistan or Britain, an immigration judge backed his case.

But the UK Borders Agency won an appeal in January and detained Hussain. After several further failed appeals, during which he sacked his legal team, UKBA officers fast-tracked his deportation.

Emergency travel documents were issued and Hussain was sent back to Islamabad on Saturday night.

A UKBA spokesman said it was not known if his family — who stood by him during his sentence and visited him in prison — had joined him.

He added: ‘Our priority is to protect the public and we strongly believe foreign law breakers should be removed from the UK at the earliest possible opportunity.

‘The UK Border Agency will automatically seek to deport any foreign national criminal who has been jailed for a serious offence.’

Police who investigated him hailed the decision as ‘a victory for common sense’. Detective Sergeant Mark Whelan of Lancashire Police said: ‘The impact on the victims in this case will be reduced following this successful appeal by the UK Borders Agency.

‘Knowing he’s back in Pakistan will mean they are able to feel safe and draw a line under this whole episode.’

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Greece: Arrest of Foreign Kidnappers Preying on Illegal Migrants

(ANA-MPA) — Police on Monday reported several arrests of a group comprised of Third World foreign nationals that was allegedly engaged in the abduction and imprisonment of other foreign nationals, who were kept hostage and brutally tortured until their relatives paid ransom for their release.

A raid in a rundown downtown Athens apartment, which police said was used by the suspects to keep and torture their victims, led to the arrest of 10 Afghans and four Pakistanis, aged between 16 and 31.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Over 900 Immigrants Land at Pozzallo, 150 Women & Children

(AGI) Ragusa — The Customs & Excise officers that received them in Pozzallo during the night could not believe their eyes.

Packed on the 20-meter fishing boat were many more than the 400 migrants estimated at first: sources of the Guardia di Finanza report that according to a first head-count, which is not final yet, the boat was carrying 917 persons, including 150 women and children. About 50 of them were taken to a hospital. The refugees affirmed that they sailed from Libya four days ago and that they come from Sub-Saharan Africa.

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

UK: Third of Rapists and Killers ‘Are Foreign’

Shock toll for 5 forces… and £34m cop bill

IMMIGRANTS make up a THIRD of murder suspects and alleged rapists in a string of areas, shock new figures reveal.

And one in seven of all people accused of these crimes in the UK as a whole is a foreign national.

Data from police forces shows 93 foreign-born suspects were accused of murder last year and 418 faced rape allegations.

Four forces each had 33 per cent of non-UK murder suspects — Kent, Lincolnshire and Tayside and Fife in Scotland. The Met Police recorded the highest rate of non-UK rape suspects at 32 per cent.

Cambridgeshire had an astonishing 57 per cent of murder suspects of foreign origin…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Parents Defenseless Against Gender ‘Diversity Training’

As teachers spent May 23 and 24 using all-girl geckos and transgendered clownfish to teach gender diversity lessons, a California school has raised concerns with teaching that there are more than two genders.

Students in all grades at Oakland’s Redwood Heights Elementary School got an introduction to the topic on Monday, as teachers told them there are different ways to be boys and different ways to be girls. In the lesson called “Gender Spectrum Diversity Training,” documents released by the school say that students were taught that “gender is not inherently nor solely connected to one’s physical anatomy.”

Another document from the school advises parents that “when you discuss gender with your child, you may hear them…exploring where they…fit on the gender spectrum and why.”

Brad Dacus PJIBrad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), says it is difficult to imagine the liberal indoctrination endured by elementary students.

“No child in kindergarten should be introduced to the question of whether or not they really are a boy or really are a girl,” he contends. “That has no place in public schools, and these schools are engaging in an area that without question results in children having problems that they likely would not have had otherwise.”

He questions the legitimacy of the topic. Meanwhile, legal counsel is being offered to parents who oppose gender-diversity lessons.

“Legally, there is no right under California law for parents to opt out from this kind of outrageous pro-transgender indoctrination,” Dacus laments. “Nonetheless though, as legal counsel, we are giving them advice as to how to protect their children.”

Some of the reading list includes Boy, girl or both? and My Princess Boy for grades K-1, What is gender? and 10,000 Dresses for grades 2-3, and Three Dimensions of Gender for grades 4-5 — the age group that was also introduced to the song, “All I Want to Be is Me.”

[Return to headlines]

Sesame Street’s Pinko Puppets Brainwash Our Kids

That’s the claim by a right-wing author who says he’s exposed a left-wing plot behind some top TV shows

The TV series Friends undermined family values; Sesame Street taught ethnic minorities about civil disobedience; Happy Days had a subtle anti-Vietnam subtext; and the 1980s cop show MacGyver tried to persuade pistol-packing Americans that guns are bad. That, at least, is the considered opinion of Ben Shapiro, an investigative author and right-wing columnist who will publish a detailed exposé tomorrow telling how Hollywood producers, writers and actors have been secretly using TV to promote what he calls a “radical” left-leaning political agenda.

Shapiro’s book, Primetime Propaganda runs to 416 pages and revolves around comments by 70-odd industry heavyweights who he approached for interviews. The book promises to “profile the biggest names in showbusiness over the past 50 years” and includes a series of “gotcha” moments, in which the architects of the best-watched TV shows of modern times tell how they tried to use the medium of broadcasting to, as Shapiro puts it, “shape America in their own leftist image”.

“I was shocked by the openness of the Hollywood crowd when it came to admitting anti-conservative discrimination inside the industry,” Shapiro told The Independent on Sunday. “They weren’t ashamed of it. In fact, some were actually proud of it.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Former Muslim Blows Lid Off Quran

Writers define success in different ways, and one of the most fascinating things about interviewing writers is observing up close just how passionate people can be about seemingly endless topics.

Occasionally, a topic is really, really important. So it is with Al Fadi, general editor of “The Qur’an Dilemma,” a courageous commentary on Islam’s holy book.

After 9/11, even Westerners are interested in this mysterious religion that emerged from the sands of Arabia 13 centuries ago. A hot topic now and embroiled in misunderstanding, Islam stands today as an object of intense study.

I recently visited with Al Fadi, who opened up about his current life’s work.

Writer’s Bloc: We know that one of the things driving the more extreme Muslims today is the Wahhabi influence, is that correct? (Wahhabi is a branch of Islam developed in the 18th century).

Al Fadi: That’s the sect basically in existence when I grew up in Saudi Arabia, yes. The Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood were reformers (founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, and Hassan al-Banna, respectively), discovering that others had strayed from the early teachings. They identified the first 100 years of Islam, and decided that people should be able to follow the true, pure Islam. In the case of Wahhab, he said to people, “If you don’t repent, you are infidels.” He ended up killing [“infidels”] all the way to Iraq.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

WHO: Cell Phone Use Can Increase Possible Cancer Risk

Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same “carcinogenic hazard” category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.

Before its announcement Tuesday, WHO had assured consumers that no adverse health effects had been established.

A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, made the decision after reviewing peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety. The team found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

What that means is they found some evidence of increase in glioma and acoustic neuroma brain cancer for mobile phone users, but have not been able to draw conclusions for other types of cancers

“The biggest problem we have is that we know most environmental factors take several decades of exposure before we really see the consequences,” said Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The type of radiation coming out of a cell phone is called non-ionizing. It is not like an X-ray, but more like a very low-powered microwave oven.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]