Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120210

Financial Crisis
»10 Things That Every American Should Know About the Federal Reserve
»A Guide to the Horrible Youth Unemployment Mess in Europe
»China’s Trade Activity Slows Down Markedly in January
»ECB Keeps Interest Rate at One Percent
»European Union Keeps Pressure on Athens
»European Central Bank Battles Credit Crunch
»Eurozone Gives Greece Ultimatum for New Bailout
»Germany Promises Portugal Programme Adjustment After Greece
»German Finance Minister Suggests Lisbon Bailout Flexibility
»Greeks Strike in Defiance of EU Ultimatum on Debt
»Greek Coalition Buckles Amid Strikes, EU Diktat on Debt
»Greeks Seize on Tourism to Boost the Economy
»Slovak Finance Minister Lashes Out at Greece
»Spain: Property Crisis Continues, Trading Down 17.7% in 2011
»Big NASA Budget Cuts to Slash Mars Missions, Experts Say
»Islamophobia is America’s Real Enemy
»Republicans Starting to Reap the Kosher Vote, Says Poll
Europe and the EU
»Belgium: Muslim Anger Over Photo of Nude Woman Under Veil
»Brits in Sweden to Forge Northern Alliance: Paper
»Denmark: Psychologist Fined 45,000 Kr for Keeping Client’s Secrets
»First Neanderthal Cave Paintings Discovered in Spain
»From Dietrich to Tarantino: Germany’s Studio Babelsberg Recalls a Century of Film History
»Germany: Artist Compensated for Two Lost French Fries
»Germany: Shooter of US Airmen in Frankfurt Gets Life
»Germany: Attacker Gets Life for Murder of US Servicemen in Frankfurt
»Kroes Threatens Nuclear Option Against Hungary
»Malta: Road Works Unearth Turkish Slaves’ Cemetery
»Minus 31.5c Degrees in Austria
»Norway: Women Plotted Grisly Axe Murder: Prosecutor
»Norway: Breivik Planned to Steal Plane and Fly to Serbia
»Norway: Happy Hunting on Massacre Island: Teacher
»Outrage Over ‘Prime-Time Racism’ Against Turks
»Plot Kill Pope: Italian Media
»Poland, Lithuania Eye Eur 471m Gas Link
»Poland Hopes Shale Gas Will Free it From Gazprom
»Sweden: Disgruntled ‘Black Cobra’ Threatens Hairdresser
»Sweden: Four Arrested for Malmö Gang Slaying
»The Netherlands Takes to Its Skates
»UK: A Note to Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand: Just Shut Up and Play
»UK: Anti Muslim Grafitti Insulting Allah Scrawled on Kensington Insurance Shop
»UK: Aina Khan to Speak at ‘The Way Forward for Islam and English Law’ Seminar
»UK: Cardiff Councillor Mohammed Sarul Islam Receives ‘Threatening Letter’
»UK: Education and Race: An Alternative View [Ray Honeyford, The Salisbury Review, 1984]
»UK: Ignore the Judges and Kick Out Qatada Now! Tories Urge Cameron to Deport Hate Preacher
»UK: Mr Honeyford’s Lesson
»UK: Maths ‘Too Hard for Students and Dons’: Universities Drop Subject From Science Courses
»UK: Nazi Stag Party MP Accused of Texting and Dozing at Auschwitz
»UK: Ray Honeyford: Racist or Right?
»UK: Race Attack on Grieving Family…
»UK: School Cancels ‘Terror Charity’ Event
»UK: Terrorism Gang Jailed for Plotting to Blow Up London Stock Exchange
»UK: White Man Bottled and Teenager Punched in Second Unprovoked Asian Gang Race Hate Attack in Just Days
North Africa
»Egypt: ‘The Uprising Was Not About Liberal Democracy’
»Egypt Protesters Head to Tahrir Square for ‘Friday of Departure’
»Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Muhammad Badi’: Our Ultimate Goal, Establishing a Global Islamic Caliphate, Can Only be Achieved Gradually and Without Coercion
»Tunisia: Salafists Protest Outside American Embassy
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: The Fatah-Hamas Peace Process
»US Election Hands Netanyahu Giant Dilemma on Iran
Middle East
»Iran’s Final Solution for Israel
»Muslim Clerics: Cyber Warfare Against Israel is a Form of Jihad
»Qaradawi Meets With Hamas, Says “Victory is Near and at the Door”
»US Disarmament Expert: ‘The Risk That Nuclear Weapons Will be Used is Growing’
South Asia
»India: Witchcraft: Man Axed to Death in Gumla
»India: Witch Hunting: Villagers Set Woman Ablaze
»Stakes High for the Gandhis in Uttar Pradesh Polls
Far East
»China Unveils Best Moon Map Yet From Lunar Orbiter
»Director Zhang Presents Hollywood, Made in China
»Urdu Daily: Chinese Military Taking Over Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan Considering Proposal to Lease the Disputed Region to China for 50 Years
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Dutch Cabinet Must Protect Afrikaners
»Julius Malema: The Man Who Scarred South Africa
»Nigeria: Gunmen Kill Man for Publicly Criticising Boko Haram
»Somalia Militants Officially Join With Al Qaeda
»South Africa: Paraplegic Afrikaner Raped
»Deaf Girl: 10, ‘Trafficked to UK and Kept as Sex Slave in Cellar by Elderly Couple for Almost 10 Years’by Jaya Narain
»Migrants Wake Up to a Nightmare in Europe
»Spain’s Immigrants
Culture Wars
»Ken Livingstone Has Form When it Comes to Homophobia
»Norway: Feminist Fightback Cash Lands Minister in Trouble
»‘Sweden is the Most PC Country in the World’
»UK: Ken Livingstone’s Problem is His Judgment, Not His Supposed ‘Homophobia’
»UK: Ken Livingstone: Gay Bankers Who Go to Dubai ‘Could Have Penis Lopped Off’
»Ancient Poop Science: Inside the Archaeology of Paleofeces
»Blind Quantum Computing Points to the Future
»How Earth’s Next Supercontinent Will Form

Financial Crisis

10 Things That Every American Should Know About the Federal Reserve

What would happen if the Federal Reserve was shut down permanently? That is a question that CNBC asked recently, but unfortunately most Americans don’t really think about the Fed much. Most Americans are content with believing that the Federal Reserve is just another stuffy government agency that sets our interest rates and that is watching out for the best interests of the American people.

But that is not the case at all. The truth is that the Federal Reserve is a private banking cartel that has been designed to systematically destroy the value of our currency, drain the wealth of the American public and enslave the federal government to perpetually expanding debt. During this election year, the economy is the number one issue that voters are concerned about. But instead of endlessly blaming both political parties, the truth is that most of the blame should be placed at the feet of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has more power over the performance of the U.S. economy than anyone else does. The Federal Reserve controls the money supply, the Federal Reserve sets the interest rates and the Federal Reserve hands out bailouts to the big banks that absolutely dwarf anything that Congress ever did. If the American people are ever going to learn what is really going on with our economy, then it is absolutely imperative that they get educated about the Federal Reserve.

The following are 10 things that every American should know about the Federal Reserve….

#1 The Federal Reserve System Is A Privately Owned Banking Cartel

The Federal Reserve is not a government agency.

The truth is that it is a privately owned central bank. It is owned by the banks that are members of the Federal Reserve system. We do not know how much of the system each bank owns, because that has never been disclosed to the American people.

The Federal Reserve openly admits that it is privately owned. When it was defending itself against a Bloomberg request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Reserve stated unequivocally in court that it was”not an agency” of the federal government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

In fact, if you want to find out that the Federal Reserve system is owned by the member banks, all you have to do is go to the Federal Reserve website….

[Return to headlines]

A Guide to the Horrible Youth Unemployment Mess in Europe

Earlier today, we learned that Greece’s unemployment surged to 20.9 percent. However, the youth unemployment rate spiked to 48 percent.

In fact, a colossal 5.493 million youth were unemployed in December, according to latest data from Eurostat. And the EU saw its overall youth unemployment rate at 22.1 percent.

The European crisis has obviously hit the under-25 age group hard, since 3.29 million of these youth are in the euro area.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

China’s Trade Activity Slows Down Markedly in January

China has reported a drop in exports and imports for January. Analysts say the slowdown is also the result of the eurozone debt crisis, but warn that figures may be distorted for seasonal reasons. Trade in China fell in January, Beijing customs officials said in a statement on Friday. Exports dropped by only 0.5 percent year-on-year to $149.94 billion (113 billion euros). But imports plunged a frightening 15.3 percent to $122.66 billion.

The figures mark the country’s worst trade data since 2009 after the onset of the global financial crisis. Because of the much sharper drop in imports, China’s precarious trade surplus widened to $27.28 billion from $16.52 billion in December of last year.

Analysts said the latest trade figures added to mounting evidence that the world’s second-largest economy was slowing as the eurozone crisis and current US economic woes impacted demand for Chinese products.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

ECB Keeps Interest Rate at One Percent

The European Central Bank decided to leave its interest rate unchanged at 1% for a second-straight month, amid signs that the eurozone economy is stabilising and Greece’s government may be nearing a deal with creditors that would avoid a messy default. ECB chief Mario Draghi warned of “continued instability” ahead.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

European Union Keeps Pressure on Athens

Greek political leaders announced on Thursday that they were bowing to all European Union austerity demands. But euro-zone finance ministers are skeptical, saying several details need to be clarified. Even if Athens ultimately receives a new bailout package, however, its debt problems will not be solved.

Relief was certainly not the predominant emotion in Brussels on Thursday evening. In faraway Athens, Greek party leaders had announced that, following weeks of talks and delays, they had finally agreed to accept the stark austerity conditions imposed on them by their European Union partners. But euro-zone finance ministers were skeptical as they arrived for their pre-planned consultations in the European Council building on Thursday.

“There are still a lot of uncertainties,” noted Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs meetings of euro-zone finance ministers, a body known as the Euro Group. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told reporters that the news from Athens was still not enough to trigger the release of the second bailout package for Greece, worth €130 billion ($172 billion).

The uncertainties remained even after the five-and-a-half hour Euro Group gathering. No decisions were made. On the contrary, Juncker announced afterwards that the Euro Group would have to meet once again next Wednesday. Greece has until then to fulfil several remaining conditions.

Europe, it is clear, is turning the thumb screws. Juncker made clear what Brussels expects: “No disbursement without implementation,” he said. “We can’t live with this system while promises are repeated and repeated and repeated and implementation measures are sometimes too weak.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

European Central Bank Battles Credit Crunch

Although the ECB is legally prohibited from becoming a lender of last resort, analysts and experts are concerned that the central bank is circumventing its own rules and buying bonds through the backdoor.

For many financial market experts, the European Central Bank (ECB) is the last hope for containing the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. The highly indebted states within the 17-member euro currency zone as well as Great Britain and the US continue to demand that the ECB fire up the presses and flood the market with cheap money.

In Washington, the Federal Reserve — the US central bank — has printed money for years to ease its economic woes, a policy it calls “quantitative easing.” The Bank of England also adheres to this prescription. But ECB chief Mario Draghi and the German Central Bank are strict advocates of monetary stability.

Draghi rejects “quantitative easing” out of concern that it could trigger inflationary pressures. He also does not want to bring out the proverbial “bazooka,” which would allow the ECB to directly purchase bonds of indebted eurozone states. Europe’s chief central banker points out that this would violate the EU’s treaties and statutes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Eurozone Gives Greece Ultimatum for New Bailout

(BRUSSELS) — Eurozone finance ministers put off a decision Thursday on a new bailout to save Greece from bankruptcy, giving Athens less than a week to meet three conditions in return for 130 billion euros in aid. The deadline was set after talks in Brussels between Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and his 16 eurozone counterparts, who were unmoved by a deal rival Greek politicians struck hours earlier on austerity measures demanded by lenders.

“Despite the important progress achieved over the last days, we did not have yet all necessary elements on the table to take decisions today,” Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker told a news conference. The eurozone will hold a new meeting next Wednesday if all conditions are met, said Juncker, Luxembourg’s prime minister.

Venizelos had urged his counterparts to endorse the debt relief deal, but the ministers first demanded that the Greek parliament approve the austerity measures agreed by the political parties when it convenes on Sunday. The two other conditions are additional structural spending cuts of 325 million euros for 2012 and a written pledge from coalition leaders that they will implement austerity measures, Juncker said. “These three elements that I mentioned need to be in place before we can take decisions,” he added.

In a backdrop of elections looming in April, Venizelos, a socialist, charged that eurozone ministers had taken into account the refusal of Conservative leader Antonio Samaras to sign a written commitment to the cuts. With bond payments of 14.5 billion euros due March 20, Venizelos warned that Greece’s place in the eurozone was now in the hands of the conservative party.

“It must decide — if they want (Greece) to stay in the eurozone, they have to say so clearly. If they don’t, then they have to say that clearly as well,” he said. “The choice is between two decisions — very difficult, and very, very difficult.”

In Athens, some 8,000 angry Greeks took to the streets while unions called a 48-hour strike from Friday over what they called “barbaric” wage and pension cuts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Promises Portugal Programme Adjustment After Greece

BRUSSELS — German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble on Thursday was caught on tape promising Portugal an adjustment to its programme after a deal with Greece is sealed, the first time an EU minister has publicly spoken of such plans. The footage was caught by Portugal’s TVi24 cameraman during the ‘roundtable’ shots at the beginning of a eurozone ministers’ meeting on Thursday (9 February).

Schauble, unaware of the rolling camera, is seen telling his Portuguese counterpart Vitor Gaspar that after the Greek deal is done, Berlin will approve a loosening of the conditions attached to Portugal’s €78bn bail-out programme.

“If at the end we need to make an adjustment to the programme, having taken large decisions about Greece … This is essential. But then, if necessary, an adjustment of the Portuguese programme, will be prepared,” he says.

The Portuguese minister is grateful saying: “Thank you very much.” “No problem,” Schauble replies. “It is that members of the German parliament and public opinion in Germany does not believe that our decisions are serious, because they don’t believe in our decisions about Greece.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

German Finance Minister Suggests Lisbon Bailout Flexibility

Many economic experts agree that Portugal may be the next Greece. On Thursday evening, a senior European official seemed to confirm such fears. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was caught on camera offering Portugal “adjustments” to its bailout program.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greeks Strike in Defiance of EU Ultimatum on Debt

(ATHENS) — A new three-day campaign of protests against draconian budget cuts hit Greece Friday in defiance of a eurozone ultimatum for even tougher conditions for a debt rescue. The hard line in a new five-day deadline from the eurozone was clear: “The Greeks have to help themselves. There is no other way,” French central bank governor Christian Noyer told Europe 1 radio.

But Greek unions went ahead with a 48-hour general strike and a third day of protests against what they describe as “barbaric” wage and pension cuts. This backs up a 24-hour general strike held three days ago.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Coalition Buckles Amid Strikes, EU Diktat on Debt

(ATHENS) — Greece’s ruling coalition reeled on Friday amid protest violence, with the far-right party that supports the government rejecting tough conditions demanded by the eurozone for a debt rescue. As the prospect of a chaotic default reappeared over the country, far-right leader George Karatzaferis said his deputies would not approve a new round of wage and pension cuts heading to a parliament vote on Sunday.

“We are not going to vote,” Karatzaferis, leader of the small LAOS party, told a news conference, adding: “Humiliation was imposed on us. I do not tolerate this. And I do not allow it, no matter how hungry I might be.” Blasting Berlin’s line on debt, Karatzaferis said, “Greece must not and cannot be outside the EU. But it can do without the German boot.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greeks Seize on Tourism to Boost the Economy

The Greek economy depends on revenue from tourism; experts believe the sector has plenty of potential for growth. But only if the state creates the right conditions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Slovak Finance Minister Lashes Out at Greece

Greece must accept wage cuts to avoid a messy default and deliver on reforms, Slovak finance minister Ivan Miklos said on Thursday ahead of a Eurogroup meeting. “Promises are no longer enough,” he said, while adding that he would prefer private bondholders to take higher losses rather than the ECB.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Property Crisis Continues, Trading Down 17.7% in 2011

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, FEBRUARY 10 — The property market in Spain recorded a marked fall in 2011, with a total of 361,831 operations completed, some 17.7% fewer than in 2010, according to the country’s statistics institute (INE). The figure contrasts the recovery recorded in 2010, when property transactions increased by 6.8%. The sector, which has been hit hard by the crisis and by the bursting of the property bubble in 2007, is showing no signs of recovery, having already registered a 24.9% fall in transactions of 24.9% in 2009 and 28.6% in 2008. The INE puts last year’s drop in buying and selling down to an end in tax deductions on first house purchases. In 2011, new and existing accommodation purchases collapsed by 19.7% and 15.7% respectively, while social housing operations were down 19.4%.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Big NASA Budget Cuts to Slash Mars Missions, Experts Say

NASA’s budget for the next fiscal year is likely to include deep cuts to planetary science programs, forcing the space agency to withdraw altogether from an international effort to send two new missions to Mars, experts say. President Barack Obama is slated to submit his administration’s federal budget request for fiscal year 2013 on Monday (Feb. 13), and NASA will hold a series of briefings to discuss its share on the same day. While exactly how much money is allocated to NASA is unknown, insiders expect a significant reduction in the portion slotted for robotic exploration of Mars and other solar system bodies.

The cuts probably will compel NASA to bow out of the European Space Agency-led ExoMars missions, which aim to launch an orbiter and a drill-toting rover to the Red Planet in 2016 and 2018, respectively, says one space policy expert.

“NASA has, I think, already told ESA it’s not going to be able to provide a launch vehicle in 2016,” said John Logsdon, professor emeritus at George Washington University. “So that is going to cause a big international uproar on one dimension. And the planetary community in the U.S. is going to be very unhappy about the fact that there’s no money for major new planetary missions.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Islamophobia is America’s Real Enemy

by Daisy Khan

The hysterical campaign to stigmatise US Muslims poses a far greater threat than radicalisation to America’s civic union

A report released this week has at last confirmed what we Muslim Americans have long known to be true: the threat posed to US national security by the radicalisation of its Muslim community is minuscule. The study, by the Triangle Centre on Terrorism and Homeland Security, found that only 20 Muslim Americans were charged with violent crimes related to terrorism in 2011, and of the 14,000 homicides recorded in the United States in that year, not one was committed by a Muslim extremist. We are thrilled that an objective, comprehensive investigation has revealed that only a tiny percentage of American Muslims support violent acts. However, we remain concerned that the greater danger to America’s civic union comes from an increasingly organised campaign that portrays all Muslims as potential terrorists and traitors. Yes, there may be some Muslims who resort to violence; but it’s clear that these individuals signify nothing more than a statistical aberration, and are no more representative of the Muslim community as a whole than Timothy McVeigh, Jared Lee Loughner, or Anders Behring Breivik represent Christianity.

In recent years a network of politically motivated special interests has emerged that is determined to stigmatise and marginalise Muslims in all areas of American public life. After the Cordoba Initiative’s proposal to build an Islamic community centre near Ground Zero were distorted into a manufactured controversy by one such group, we were called “stealth jihadists” and “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. One person even claimed: “They seem like nice people now, but they will probably turn into extremists in 10, 15, or 20 years.” What began as the work of fringe groups with racist ideologies has moved into the mainstream. The Islamophobic film The Third Jihad was played continuously between training sessions for new recruits to New York’s police. The film-makers were linked to an organised movement with a budget of more than $40m and sophisticated lobbying efforts in all 50 states. Republican congressman Peter King — even as opponents questioned his own ties to IRA and Catholic terrorism in Ireland — convened a series of congressional hearings on the radicalisation of American Muslims that can only be described as a witch hunt. And on the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidates from Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have used their platform to demonise American Muslims and question our loyalty to our country.

It was not always this way. Following the 9/11 attacks President Bush, at the Islamic Centre of Washington, said: “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam … When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world … America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country.” Our allies in the interfaith and civil rights communities are working to counteract the fabricated opposition to Islam that is gaining strength in America today. In response to King’s hearings, a coalition of 150 interfaith organisations sponsored a rally proclaiming “Today I am a Muslim too”. It is the Brennan Centre for Justice at New York University that took a lead in exposing the New York City Police Department’s missteps with regards to the Muslim community. We know that the bulk of the American public recognises the truth of Islamic moderation and tolerance. The hysterical invective may be well-funded, but it does not capture the heart of the nation. By standing tall together we will overcome those who spread hate and suspicion and return respect and trust to their rightful place at the centre of American political and civic life.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Republicans Starting to Reap the Kosher Vote, Says Poll

The stereotype of the Jewish voter as a confirmed Democratfrom cradle to grave is starting to crack. A study this month by the respected Pew Research Centre, comparing polls from 2008 and 2011, shows a significant increase in Jewish support for Republicans over that period. Pew found that while Jews favoured Democrats by a 52-point margin in 2008, the Democrats now have a much smaller 36-point margin among Jewish voters. In fact, more Jews than ever are identifying as Republicans, not just “leaning Republican”, according to the Pew report.

This news comes as no great surprise to Jewish Republicans, since it confirms a trend we have been watching for some time. It reinforces two data points from last year that indicated a strengthening of Jewish support for Republicans. In September, there was a special election to fill the congressional seat in New York’s ninth district, after a scandal forced the resignation of Rep Anthony Weiner. New York’s ninth is overwhelmingly Democratic in voter registration and at least one-third Jewish. Despite this, Republican Bob Turner won, becoming the first Republican to represent NY-9 since 1920. That race was considered a bellwether for 2012, offering Republicans a glimpse of the effects a sour economy and tensions between the Obama administration and Israel were having on Jewish voters.

Jewish Republicans were further encouraged by a national poll, conducted by the American Jewish Committee last September, which showed that President Obama’s approval rating among Jewish voters had dipped significantly. In that poll, President Obama’s overall job rating was 48 per cent disapproval to 45 per cent approval. (In 2010 those numbers were 44 per cent disapproval and 51 per cent approval.) On the economy, Jews disapproved of Obama’s performance by a wide margin, 60 per cent to 37 per cent. On the US-Israel relationship, the majority of Jews disapproved, 53 per cent to 40 per cent. For the first time in an AJC poll of Jewish voters, either a plurality or a majority of the respondents disapproved of the President’s handling of these key issues. That puts President Obama’s approval rating at near-Jimmy Carter depths among Jewish voters.

Matthew Brooks is Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgium: Muslim Anger Over Photo of Nude Woman Under Veil

(ANSAmed) — ROME, FEBRUARY 10 — The publication of a photo of a naked girl wearing a niqab has angered Muslims in Belgium, who see the picture as an insult of the image of Muslim women and a profanation of the inviolable nature of their bodies. But it was particularly the slogan that infuriated the Belgian Muslim community: the photo shows a (19-year-old) girl wearing a bikini under an open veil with the text “freedom or Islam” written at breast height and another written over the area of her lower middle saying “pick one of the two.” According to the Daily Mail, the photo is part of a campaign waged by the girl’s father, politician of Vlaams Belang, which wants more freedom for women and urges women to side against the Islam. The politician has declared: “Women are a problem in the Muslim religion and we only want to let them know that they are free to choose.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Brits in Sweden to Forge Northern Alliance: Paper

Nordic, Baltic and British leaders have been gathering in Stockholm, ostensibly to discuss shared future challenges. But commentators think the meeting has a bigger purpose — as part of a British-led strategy to forge a new ‘northern alliance’ in Europe. In an editorial on Thursday, Dagens Nyheter (DN) writes that behind the headline discussions on pension ages and women in boardrooms, the meeting might have a longer-term strategic purpose, at least for British Prime Minister David Cameron: to forge a long-term alliance between the Northern European countries:

“There’s a risk that David Cameron wants the northern partnership to challenge Brussels,” the pro-EU liberal paper writes. Britain’s Financial Times offered a similar view, saying that Cameron, who has a long-standing friendship with Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt, was looking to find allies to counterbalance French views on economic management:

“Behind the scenes, this “Northern Alliance” will also debate ways to frustrate a “French model” for the European economy; most of the nine leaders are opposed to stricter regulation and new taxes, notably a Tobin tax on financial transactions,” the FT wrote.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Psychologist Fined 45,000 Kr for Keeping Client’s Secrets

Former military psychologist says she’ll pay, but won’t break pledge to client

A retired military psychologist has been fined up to 45,000 kroner for refusing to divulge what her former client, a military interpreter, may have told her about the abuse of Afghan prisoners by Danish and American troops.

In October Merete Lindholm was held in contempt of court for holding her tongue. On Thursday this week, Copenhagen City Court fined her 500 kroner per day, every day for three months, or until she agrees to tell the court what her client told her. Lindholm maintained that her pledge of confidentiality to all her clients was “inviolable” and above the law.

The prosecution asked the court to hold Lindholm in custody until she speaks, but the judge refused.

Lindholm’s former client was sent to Afghanistan in 2002 as a military interpreter. When he returned from duty, he told military investigators that he had witnessed prisoners being abused by both Danish and American soldiers, and that there was photographic evidence to prove it. The interpreter allegedly also told Lindholm about the abuse and the photographs.

A decade later, allegations of abuse have been lodged against the Danish military by former Afghan prisoners, and the military’s investigators want to see the pictures that the interpreter said he saw.

But the interpreter now denies his former claim, and Lindholm refuses to say what, if anything, he told her in treatment. Lindholm has maintained that she is ready to pay the price to defend her client’s trust. “What it comes down to is whether I will still be able to look myself in the eye in terms of the pledge of confidentiality I have with all my clients. I can’t break that now. So, I guess I’ll have to pay the price. And what price is too high to be able to look yourself in the eye?” she said, following Thursday’s ruling.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

First Neanderthal Cave Paintings Discovered in Spain

Cave paintings in Malaga, Spain, could be the oldest yet found — and the first to have been created by Neanderthals.

Looking oddly akin to the DNA double helix, the images in fact depict the seals that the locals would have eaten, says José Luis Sanchidrián at the University of Cordoba, Spain. They have “no parallel in Palaeolithic art”, he adds. His team say that charcoal remains found beside six of the paintings — preserved in Spain’s Nerja caves — have been radiocarbon dated to between 43,500 and 42,300 years old.

That suggests the paintings may be substantially older than the 30,000-year-old Chauvet cave paintings in south-east France, thought to be the earliest example of Palaeolithic cave art.

The next step is to date the paint pigments. If they are confirmed as being of similar age, this raises the real possibility that the paintings were the handiwork of Neanderthals — an “academic bombshell”, says Sanchidrián, because all other cave paintings are thought to have been produced by modern humans.

Neanderthals are in the frame for the paintings since they are thought to have remained in the south and west of the Iberian peninsula until approximately 37,000 years ago — 5000 years after they had been replaced or assimilated by modern humans elsewhere in their European heartland.

Until recently, Neanderthals were thought to have been incapable of creating artistic works. That picture is changing thanks to the discovery of a number of decorated stone and shell objects — although no permanent cave art has previously been attributed to our extinct cousins.

Neanderthals’ creativity

Now some researchers think that Neanderthals had the same capabilities for symbolism, imagination and creativity as modern humans.

The finding “is potentially fascinating”, says Paul Pettitt at the University of Sheffield, UK. He cautions that the dating of cave art is fraught with potential problems, though, and says that clarification of the paintings’ age is vital.

“Even some sites we think we understand very well such as the Grotte Chauvet in France are very problematic in terms of how old they are,” says Pettitt.

If the age is confirmed, Pettitt suggests that the cave paintings could still have been the work of modern humans. “We can’t be absolutely sure that Homo sapiens were not down there in the south of Spain at this time,” he says.

Sanchidrián does not rule out the possibility that the paintings were made by early Homo sapiens but says that this theory is “much more hypothetical” than the idea that Neanderthals were behind them.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

From Dietrich to Tarantino: Germany’s Studio Babelsberg Recalls a Century of Film History

It’s where Marlene Dietrich made her name, Fritz Lang created “Metropolis” and Quentin Tarantino and Roman Polanski sat in director’s chairs. Studio Babelsberg, the world’s first major film studio, turns 100 on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Artist Compensated for Two Lost French Fries

A Munich court on Thursday awarded an artist €2,000 in damages because a gallery lost two 22-year-old chips that were the basis of an artwork in which the fries lay across each other in a cross. The artwork comprised a cross made of two golden chips, alongside two normal fries, deep-fried and not gold-leafed. The catalogue for the original 1990 exhibition “Pommes d’Or,” described the work of artist Stefan Bohnenberger as “the metamorphosis of a profane everyday object into a sacred artwork.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Shooter of US Airmen in Frankfurt Gets Life

A German court handed down a life sentence Friday to a man who has confessed to killing two US soldiers at Frankfurt airport in what has been called Germany’s first deadly jihadist attack. Arid Uka, 22, from Kosovo, was convicted of killing two soldiers and wounding two others when he opened fire outside the airport on March 2 last year on a group of US soldiers on their way to serve in Afghanistan, said the higher regional court in Frankfurt.

Presiding judge Thomas Sagebiel told the court: “The accused has been convicted to a life sentence for two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.” Uka, wearing green trousers, a black jumper and a brown hooded top, appeared relaxed as the verdict was handed down, even smiling occasionally. US soldiers Nicholas Alden, 25, and Zachary Ryan Cuddeback, 21, were killed in the shooting. Two other soldiers were wounded.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Attacker Gets Life for Murder of US Servicemen in Frankfurt

It was the first successful Islamist attack in Germany. Almost a year ago, Arid U. shot and killed two US servicemen at the Frankfurt airport. On Friday, he was sentenced to life in prison.

During the attack, say witnesses, he cried out “Allahu akbar!” Periodically during the trial, Judge Thomas Sagebiel expressed frustration at U.’s apparent unwillingness to cooperate and the accused refused to reveal how he had obtained the 9 mm pistol used in the attack. In August, U. told the court: “Looking back, I don’t understand myself.”

As Sagebiel read out the sentence on Friday, U. sat motionless, his arms crossed in front of him. “Yes, this is indeed the first Islamic-motivated terror attack to have happened in Germany,” the judge intoned.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Kroes Threatens Nuclear Option Against Hungary

BRUSSELS — The European Commission has indicated it is ready to use its nuclear option — Article 7 on political sanctions — against Hungary if it continues to flout EU law. In a testy exchange of views between EU digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes and Hungary’s deputy prime minister Tibor Navracsics at a European Parliament committee hearing in Brussels on Thursday (9 February), Kroes said she would ask the commission to take “appropriate action” if needed.

Her spokesperson later confirmed to this website that she means Article 7. The EU Treaty clause says the commission can trigger a procedure to determine if an EU country is in “serious and persistent breach” of treaty “principles.” If found guilty, the other EU member states cans suspend its voting rights in the EU Council.

The Kroes-Navracsics dispute concerns a set of new media laws in Hungary which appear to threaten media diversity. The commission in January already started a separate legal procedure against Budapest in January over its new constitution, said to undermine the independence of judges and the central bank.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Malta: Road Works Unearth Turkish Slaves’ Cemetery

Experts from the Superintendence of National Heritage are examining old human remains unearthed during road works near Marsa Creek.The remains are believed to be those of Turkish slaves buried in a cemetery which, according to documents, existed in the area close to Spencer Hill at the time of the Knights. The remains were found during works on the new €7m road which will lead from Marsa to the Valletta Waterfront. The works in that part of the project have been suspended while the site is investigated. Some of the remains are being left in place while others are being removed for examination. The site is also believed to have included a Mosque. The cemetery was destroyed by the British some 200 years ago when the area was redeveloped.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Minus 31.5c Degrees in Austria

Austria’s coldest temperatures this winter were recorded last night. Temperatures fell as low as minus 31.5C degrees last at the weather station in the Ötztaler Alps. The warmest temperature recorded last night in Austria was minus 9.1C degrees in Carinthia. Austria’s highest weather station, which sits at a height of 3,440 metres on the Brunnenkogel mountain, recorded however the freezing temperature of minus 31.5C.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Women Plotted Grisly Axe Murder: Prosecutor

Two young women charged in connection with the brutal axe murder of 23-year-old Hans Rickard Strømner deliberated for around a week before deciding how to kill him, a prosecutor has said.

Strømmer’s body was found by two girls behind a shed in Oslo’s Klemetsrud district in October, having lain there since the summer.

His 21-year-old ex-girlfriend is charged with having attacked Strømner’s upper body with an axe as he lay in bed at her home in nearby Rustadsaga.

Her 22-year-old friend is accused of having helped her to dispose of the body by rolling it in a plastic covering and hiding it near an animal shelter in Klemetsrud.

“The two girlfriends charged with premeditated murder have now admitted they were present when it was carried out and that they planned it for around a week,” prosecutor Kristin Rusdal told newspaper VG.

A text message to a friend on July 9th was the last sign of life from Strømmer.

A ward of the state from the age of five until he turned 23, friends described him as a meek individual who shunned large crowds and occasionally suffered from substance dependency, VG reported in October.

He had told close friends he felt under threat from people he knew and was concerned for his safety.

Police have not released any details about a possible motive for the killing.

The two friends at the centre of the case had considered poisoning Strømner before choosing to use an axe, according to the prosecutor.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Planned to Steal Plane and Fly to Serbia

Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik planned to hijack a small plane and fly solo to Serbia in the immediate aftermath of the twin terror attacks that left 77 dead last July. Breivik told police interviewers he had learned how to fly a Cessna plane by watching videos on YouTube and downloading user manuals from the internet, newspaper Bergens Tidende reports. “Landing is the hard part. Taking off and flying at altitude isn’t so difficult,” he said.

Breivik’s plan was to make his way to Fornebu airfield near Oslo and steal a small Cessna aircraft. The 32-year-old Norwegian said he was inspired by Carlos the Jackal, one the most highly feared international terrorists of the 1970s and 1980s. He told police he intended using a specially designed bag to refuel the plane in mid-air. This, he hoped, would enable him to reach potential destinations such as Moldova, Belarus or Serbia.

Alongside Armenia and Israel, Serbia is listed as a country Breivik considered amenable to his aims in his lengthy terrorist manifesto. “Breivik has said he intended to flee and talked about reaching friendly countries in a plane,” Oslo police spokesman Roar Hansen told the newspaper. “He considered it but deviated from the plan, concluding that Utøya would be his final stop,”

Breivik told police he rethought the idea after deciding it would have been tricky to get away alive. Furthermore, any potential host destination would likely have extradited him under enormous pressure from Western countries, he said. “He concluded that it wasn’t feasible,” said Hansen.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Happy Hunting on Massacre Island: Teacher

A primary school teacher in a town in eastern Norway has outraged parents after posting Facebook messages in support of confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik. Many residents in the town of Ringsaker were also shocked to learn that 28-year-old Kjetil Wangen spends much of his leisure time making films that depict scenes of extreme violence and rape.

School leaders suspended the teacher this week when they became aware of his involvement in the amateur films. Wangen’s after-school activities came under the spotlight after a number of his acquaintances reacted furiously to recent status updates on Facebook, local newspaper Hamar Arbeiderblad reports.

In one message he referred to the cold-blooded fatal shootings of 69 mostly Labour Party youth wing (AUF) members on the island of Utøya last July: “Hope the Labour Party sends more AUF members to Utøya in the coming year, and that this year yields another great hunting season out there.” On Monday, shortly after Breivik appeared in court for a custody hearing ahead of his trial in April, the teacher wrote: “The good man cuts a fine figure on television.”

Town councillor Jørn Strand said the municipality was seeking to resolve issues surrounding the teacher’s employment contract as quickly as possible. Wangen has been employed as a substitute teacher since the autumn.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Outrage Over ‘Prime-Time Racism’ Against Turks

A Turkish newspaper and the Foreigners’ Advisory Council in the German state of Hesse have expressed outrage at a televised Karneval monologue that made several jokes at the expense of Turkish Germans. “Humour is when you laugh despite yourself — but in this case the laughs stuck in our throats,” said Corrado Di Benedetto, head of the Foreigners’ Advisory Council in Hesse. “The freedom of the Karneval is valuable. And satire is allowed to do anything — except degrade others. This violated all the rules of decency.”

The council called the show “prime-time racism.” The monologue, aired nationally on state TV on February 2, but reported Thursday by the European edition of Turkish paper Hürriyet, was part of the “Frankfurt: Helau” sitting at the Karneval season in the Rhineland.

According to a report in Bild newspaper, 39-year-old Mainz dentist Patricia Lowin took to the stage in a headscarf and announced in an exaggerated Turkish accent and broken German, “Here on Döner TV, I will show you what is integration,” and then revealed she was wearing a Bavarian dirndl dress in her “favourite colour: Turk-oise.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Plot Kill Pope: Italian Media

Claims of a bizarre plot to assassinate Pope Benedict XVI are reverberating through Italy in what observers say signals the latest twist in an increasingly cutthroat internal Vatican power dispute.

The Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano published the sensational “mordkomplott” letter detailing an alleged plot against the pope on its front page on Friday. Despite a Vatican spokesman’s claiming it was “nonsense not to be taken seriously”, the content of the anonymous warning letter, dated 30 December 2011, was reported widely in Italian and German media.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Poland, Lithuania Eye Eur 471m Gas Link

(VILNIUS) — Poland and Lithuania’s gas supply companies said on Friday they intended to build a 471-million-euro ($625 million) pipeline to hook the Baltic states to the rest of the EU’s energy market. “We found this to be the most efficient measure to solve the problem of security of supply in the entire Baltic region,” said Rafal Wittman, development and investment director of Poland’s Gaz-System.

“This will let us end the isolation, or so called energy island, here,” he told journalists in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius as he set out the plan. He said the construction of the 562-kilometre (349-mile) pipeline was expected to begin in 2016, and that it would have an annual capacity of 2.3 billion cubic metres.

Gaz-System and its Lithuanian counterpart Lietuvos Dujos have asked the European Union for financial backing, while Lithuania’s fellow Baltic republics Latvia and Estonia are also expected to step in. Currently, Russian energy giant Gazprom is Lithuania’s only natural gas supplier, via a pipeline across Belarus.

Lithuania, a nation of three million people, is working to end Gazprom’s politically-tinged monopoly and already plans to build a liquefied natural gas terminal by the end 2014.

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius hailed the planned land-link with neighbouring Poland, saying it would boost the energy independence drive. “It is very important for the Baltic states to integrate their gas pipeline systems with the rest of Europe’s systems. That’s why I welcome steps towards the realisation of such a project, though it is not an alternative to the LNG terminal,” he told journalists on Friday.

Lithuania, which declared independence in 1990 after five decades of Kremlin rule, has repeatedly locked horns with Gazprom, accusing it of abusing its market clout to impose unfair pricing. Gazprom has denied the claims.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Poland Hopes Shale Gas Will Free it From Gazprom

A gold rush is underway in Poland, where international energy companies are scrambling for the right to drill for shale gas. Poland’s government sees the extraction as a ticket to independence from Russia’s Gazprom, but some residents near the drilling sites are wary of the risks.

BNK Polska is a subsidiary of the California-based energy company BNK Petroleum, Inc. The company holds six of the 110 permits granted thus far for test drilling in Poland, the country with the largest shale gas deposits in Europe.

The estimated 5.3 trillion cubic-meter deposit of recoverable natural gas is stored between layers of argillaceous rock that is often also called shale. Of that, at best one-fifth is considered to be accessible, but even that fact has led to a gold-rush-like situation in Poland over the past two years. International companies including Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, as well as the national energy giant Polish Petroleum and Gas Mining (PGNiG) and some smaller local companies, are currently conducting test drilling in Poland in a “gas strip” stretching from the Gdansk region in the north, past Warsaw, to the southeastern part of the country.

The Polish government is excited about shale gas because it represents a shot at energy independence. The country is currently one of the largest customers of Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, buying 10.25 billion cubic meters of natural gas from it last year alone. Gazprom’s opaque pricing policies related to Poland are a constant source of tension between the countries. The fact that the Kremlin-cozy company has delivered 7 percent less gas to the Poland since last Thursday, while Europe suffers from a record cold snap, hasn’t helped, either.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Disgruntled ‘Black Cobra’ Threatens Hairdresser

A man in southern Sweden has been charged with assault after threatening to ‘bring in his gang’ to a local hairdressing salon after being refused a haircut. “I’ll come back here with my Black Cobra friends and sort this salon out!” said the man, according to Skånskan newspaper.

Black Cobra is the name of a Danish gang, that has crossed the border into the troubled Malmö district of Rosengård, specializing in drug trafficking, extortion and murder. The hairdresser had initially refused the man service as he seemed drunk, but soon realized that the man wasn’t as harmless as he seemed.

Angry to be turned down, the man informed the woman that he was a feared criminal, and threatened to ‘sort out’ (göra fint) the salon if she didn’t comply with his request. He then proceeded to throw Christmas baubles at the hairdresser. The woman told him she would check her office to see what she could do about finding a free time in her schedule for a cut, and meanwhile called the police.

The police arrested the man shortly after. While the woman was initially frightened by the man’s threats, she later learnt that he wasn’t a feared criminal at all. In fact, in police questionings the man denied any affiliation with the Black Cobra gang, and claimed he couldn’t remember mentioning them, nor the alleged threats.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Four Arrested for Malmö Gang Slaying

Four men have been arrested for the “execution style” killing of a 19-year-old man in Malmö in August 2011 in what police believe was a settling of scores among criminal gangs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Netherlands Takes to Its Skates

The Dutch will take to their skates en masse this weekend as the big freeze enters its last days. Dozens of official routes have been opened up across the country’s lakes and waterways. The 200 km 11-city skating race around Friesland’s may not be going ahead but hundreds of people on Friday followed the Elfstedentocht route unofficially.

However, the Friesland ice association warned that parts of the route are extremely dangerous because the ice is not thick enough in places. Instead, there are some 30 other official routes in the northern province for skaters to follow, the association says. The province’s water authorities have also agreed to keep pumps turned off for the duration of the weekend, to allow skaters to make the most of the ice, and good weather.

In Amsterdam, skaters have been able to take to the city’s 17th century canals for the first time in 15 years. On Saturday, short track races will be held in the city centre. Elsewhere, there are dozens of official ice trails set out for keen skaters to follow. For a full listing, see The thaw is forecast to set in on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: A Note to Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand: Just Shut Up and Play

England’s great World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks tells this nice story. He’d finished playing in a routine friendly at Wembley, a match England had won comfortably, and was getting ready to leave. Taking his coat off his peg, he turned to his manager, Alf Ramsey, and said casually, “See you, Alf.” “Will you?”, Ramsey responded caustically. At that time Banks was at the top of his game, which meant he was playing to a standard unsurpassed by anyone else on the planet. And yet with that one statement Ramsay had given his star a valuable reminder. No one can afford to take their place in my team for granted.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Anti Muslim Grafitti Insulting Allah Scrawled on Kensington Insurance Shop

Bangladeshis in Kensington said they are living in fear after Muslim hate graffiti was found on a storefront in the neighborhood’s bustling shopping strip. The manager of TDS Insurance on Beverly Road near McDonald Avenue, came to work Monday and spotted a nauseating sight: “It was written on the outside — ‘Allah is s — t,’“ said Abu Chowdhur, 51, who immediately called the cops. “I have no enemies,” he said. “We are not a religious business.” Although the hateful message was erased hours later, Bangladeshis said the sight left them emotionally scarred. “It is just shocking,” said Mamnunul Haq, a Bangladeshi community leader. “No one wants to see anything like that.”

“We are a very peaceful people,” Haq added.

Kensington is one of the most diverse areas in the city — home to a Muslim stronghold mainly comprised of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, living among Mexican families and Orthodox Jews. Bangladeshis joined their Hasidic neighbors in July during the search for Leiby Kletzky, the 8-year-old boy who went missing in Borough Park and was later found dead. They also blasted the vandal or vandals who painted a half dozen swastikas around Midwood last month. “It happened in the Jewish community. And now it is happening in ours,” Haq said.

Hoping to quell the growing anxiety, Councilman Brad Lander (D-Kensington) held a meeting Wednesday night with Bangladeshi, Jewish, and Latino residents discussing ideas about how to prevent future hate crimes in their hood. Lander wants to put a set of trees and benches in front of TDS Insurance, calling it “Kensington Plaza,” serving as a mixed race meeting spot. “In the face of hatred, this community is coming together,” Lander said. “When these things happen, you have to stand up.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Aina Khan to Speak at ‘The Way Forward for Islam and English Law’ Seminar

Ain Khan, Solicitor and Head of Islamic Legal Services will be speaking at a thought-provoking seminar presented by SOAS University and the Centre of Ethnic Minority Studies (CEMS). Aina will converse about her daily experience of practising Islamic law in England & Wales. She will highlight three case studies which illustrate:

1. Should Islamic marriage be recognised by English law?
2. Should a woman’s right to Islamic divorce be made more easily accessible, without recourse to Sharia Councils?
3. Should there be more education about the importance of the Mehr (Islamic financial settlement) and could this be protected with a pre-nuptial agreement?

The seminar will be held on Friday 24th February 2012, between 6pm-7.30pm at SOAS — University of London:

Room G51

SOAS main building,

Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square,

London WC1H OXG

All are most welcome — no booking required

For further information please email

[JP note: The only way forward is backwards.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Cardiff Councillor Mohammed Sarul Islam Receives ‘Threatening Letter’

A Cardiff councillor says he has received an anonymous threatening and intimidating letter from Islamic extremists.

Mohammed Sarul Islam, who represents the Riverside area, told BBC Wales he was being blamed for a recent police operation at Canton Community Hall, in Canton. South Wales Police are investigating. The letter claimed Mr Islam was an “enemy of Allah”. In January, anti-terrorist police halted a meeting at the community hall over fears of a link to banned Islamist group Muslims Against Crusades. Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit officers were called to the centre following concerns raised by members of the local Muslim community.

One man was arrested for assault and a public order offence. “I feel the letter is very intimidating and personal to myself and to my families,” said Mr Islam. Mr Islam said he was not at the community centre during the incident. “I wasn’t anywhere near that place,” he said. “We, the local community, will always condemn any kind of extremism that is going to affect our diverse and peaceful community and I will stand against it in any time, regardless whoever it is, and therefore I will speak for truth and I will stand by my principles and by my ward.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Education and Race: An Alternative View [Ray Honeyford, The Salisbury Review, 1984]

This article, which we published in 1984, cost Ray Honeyford his job as a head teacher. For speaking the truth he was subjected to a long and bitter campaign, including death threats and other forms of persecution orchestrated by an assortment of vehement agitators. His prophetic observations will be illuminating now — particularly for our younger readers. We salute his courage and intellectual integrity, which has been so clearly vindicated by recent events and U-turns in the multicultural establishment.

The issues and problems of our multi-racial inner cities are frequently thrown into sharp relief for me. As the head teacher of a school in the middle of a predominantly Asian area, I am often witness to scenes which have the raw feel of reality — and the recipient of vehement criticism, whenever I question some of the current educational orthodoxies connected with race. It is very difficult to write honestly and openly of my experiences and the reflections they evoke, since the race relations lobby is extremely powerful in the state education service. The propaganda generated by multi-racial zealots is now augmented by a growing bureaucracy of race in local authorities. And this makes freedom of speech difficult to maintain. By exploiting the enormous tolerance, traditional in this country, the race lobby has so managed to induce and maintain feelings of guilt in the well-disposed majority, that decent people are not only afraid of voicing certain thoughts, they are uncertain even of their right to think those thoughts. They are intimidated not only by their fear of giving offence by voicing their own reasonable concerns about the inner cities, but by the necessity of conducting the debate in a language which is dishonest.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Ignore the Judges and Kick Out Qatada Now! Tories Urge Cameron to Deport Hate Preacher

Tory MPs last night called for Abu Qatada to be deported without delay amid fears that the hate preacher could stay in Britain for years.

Senior backbenchers demanded that the UK ignore rulings from the European Court of Human Rights and send him to Jordan to face terror charges.

David Cameron won backing from King Abdullah of Jordan last night to thrash out a deal over Qatada’s future.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Mr Honeyford’s Lesson

The former headmaster’s views on multicultural orthodoxies, for which he was vilified, are now accepted by many.

As his obituary in this newspaper yesterday reminded us, Ray Honeyford was nothing if not outspoken. In 1984, he was forced from his job as a school headmaster in Bradford for challenging the multiculturalist orthodoxies that had taken a grip on the education system, and on much of public life. He accused the race relations lobby of fostering “a whole set of questionable beliefs and attitudes about education and race which have much more to do with professional opportunism than the educational progress of ethnic minority children”. Mr Honeyford believed that multiculturalism was doing a disservice to children from immigrant backgrounds, who were denied the benefits of full integration with the society into which they would grow up. His bitterness over the treatment he endured was not mitigated by the fact that multiculturalism was later disavowed by many of those who once championed it most assiduously. The bombings on the London transport system in July 2005 led to a recantation by the last government, many of whose members had been among Mr Honeyford’s most vociferous detractors. Today, it is a commonplace for politicians on the Left to acknowledge that separation of ethnic groups was a mistake, leading to communities in our cities living parallel lives and hardly ever meeting, let alone integrating. The lesson here is that shutting down debate about cultural assimilation is short-sighted and dangerous. The vilification of Mr Honeyford played into the hands of extremists seeking to foment discord, such as Abu Qatada. Public debate in this country became fixated on ethnic and religious identity rather than the civic values of personal freedom, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law that make a nation. Mr Honeyford saw the truth of that nearly 30 years ago.

[Reader comment by ethelred on 10 February 2012 at 08:51 am.]

Mr Honeyford was a sacrificial victim, effectively martyred to appease the baying Asian mob and its far-left white appeasers. Reading his obituary, I was struck by how absolutely correct his views were, and so how abhorrent they would be to those whose dearest wish it would be to destroy our world. And, to give them their due, they have certainly succeeded. I think a statue should be erected of Mr Honeyford, to remind us of what happens in a previously democratic and fairly decent country when primitive and violent invaders who are allowed power and influence far beyond their worth howl for the blood of someone who — unlike them — believes in freedom of thought and expression. The mob is still here, of course, in ever-increasing numbers, ready to erupt in violence, but they rest easy in the knowledge that those whose business it is to protect us, and our way of life, have long since sold the pass.

[Reader comment by henrietta on 10 February 2012 at 09:58 am.]

Mr Honeyford’s tragedy was that he really believed in education. He believed that we lived in a democracy with freedom of speech, in which all opinions could be expressed. That is the world I remember. He didn’t know a dogmatic and intolerant clique who couldn’t bear to hear views contrary to their own had taken over academia and government. It now seems that we had a brief moment of freedom of thought and expression in the middle of the 20th century, which has now been extinguished. What I took to be the norm in the post WWII era was in fact a blip. We are now in many ways back to a kind of 16th century shutdown on free discussion. Few could have foreseen it. Malcolm Bradbury in The History Man had it spot on: Sociology is the new orthodoxy and will tolerate no dissent from its dogmas and righteousness. It is neither a science nor an art, and it does not search for truth, it is merely a set of precepts.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Maths ‘Too Hard for Students and Dons’: Universities Drop Subject From Science Courses

Universities are dropping maths from degree courses because students — and their lecturers — cannot cope with it, a report warns today.

Decades of substandard maths education in schools has led to a ‘crisis’ in England’s number skills, threatening the future of the economy, it says.

Universities are being forced to dumb down degree courses requiring the use of maths, including sciences, economics, psychology and social sciences.

Students are unable to tackle complex problems and their lecturers struggle to teach them anyway, it is claimed.

The reputation of the country’s universities and graduates is now under threat, according to the report, ‘Solving the Maths Problem’, published by the education lobby group RSA.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Nazi Stag Party MP Accused of Texting and Dozing at Auschwitz

Aidan Burley was said to have been “texting and dozing” during a talk by a Holocaust survivor at the concentration camp earlier this week.

Friends of the MP for Cannock Chase denied any disrespectful behaviour but admitted he had sent at least one text message during Wednesday’s talk at the camp in Poland.

Mr Burley was sacked in December as a parliamentary private secretary after it was revealed he attended a stag party in France where a guest wore a replica SS uniform and others toasted the Third Reich.

After his dismissal, Mr Burley apologised and said he would visit Auschwitz to learn about the Holocaust and other Nazi-era atrocities. He made a two-day visit to Holocaust memorial sites, including Auschwitz, this week. Allegations about his behaviour during that trip were raised in the House of Commons yesterday by Ian Austin, a Labour MP.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Ray Honeyford: Racist or Right?

Ray Honeyford, the head teacher who caused a national controversy over his outspoken criticisms of multiculturalism in schools, has died. But have his views, which once polarised opinion, become mainstream? He was, taken at face value, an unlikely critic of multiculturalism.

Ray Honeyford was the head teacher of a school in inner-city Bradford where more than 90% of pupils were non-white. But he had had enough of the prevailing educational beliefs. In 1984 he wrote an article for the right-leaning Salisbury Review which turned him into a figure of both hatred and hero-worship.

Mr Honeyford dismissed what he saw as many of the ills of the educational legislation and attitudes of the time, arguing there were a “growing number of Asians whose aim is to preserve as intact as possible the values and attitudes of the Indian sub-continent within a framework of British social and political privilege, ie to produce Asian ghettoes”. He also criticised “an influential group of black intellectuals of aggressive disposition, who know little of the British traditions of understatement, civilised discourse and respect for reason”. In other words, multiculturalism — by Mr Honeyford’s definition, allowing different cultures to remain separate within the same country — was wrong.

‘Mindless zeal’

He went on to attack political correctness as a force for holding back ethnic minority pupils. He was particularly keen that all children should be taught English as their main language from a young age, writing: “Those of us working in Asian areas are encouraged, officially, to ‘celebrate linguistic diversity’, ie applaud the rapidly mounting linguistic confusion in those growing number of inner-city schools in which British-born Asian children begin their mastery of English by being taught in Urdu.” Mr Honeyford berated the “determined efforts of misguided radical teachers to place such as the following alongside the works of Shakespeare and Wordsworth — ‘Wi mek a lickle date / fi nineteen seventy eight / An wi fite and wi fite / An defeat di state.’ (From Inglan is a Bitch, Linton Kwesi Johnson)”. Anticipating that he might be accused of “racism”, he added: “It is the icon word of those committed to the race game. And they apply it with the same sort of mindless zeal as the inquisitors voiced ‘heretic’ or Senator McCarthy spat out ‘Commie’.” The article went largely unnoticed for a couple of months before it was picked up by the mainstream press. Its language and sentiments caused a sensation. Bradford’s then Labour Mayor, Mohammed Ajeeb, called for Mr Honeyford’s dismissal.

Hate Mail

In April 1985 he was suspended from duty, but he appealed to the High Court and was allowed to go back to work in September.

However, disgruntled parents and others formed an action group, with large-scale protests taking place outside the school. About half the pupils ceased to attend lessons. Mr Honeyford was given police protection. In December 1985 he agreed to retire early, with a pay-off of more than £160,000 from the council, admitting that “anxiety” was getting the better of him. He never worked as a teacher again.

The case still divides those involved, some saying he had to go and others arguing that he was hounded out by a “hate mob” led by left-wing agitators. Mohammed Ajeeb stands by his actions more than a quarter of a century later. He told the BBC: “The article was very critical of the Muslim culture and the race relations situation in the city was not very good at that time. If he wanted the Asian children to get better equipped with linguistic skills, he could have advocated the policy of dispersal of pupils among different schools into other areas, which is what I wanted. He could have done that if he was interested in the harmony and mixing of different races and living and working together. But he chose simply to criticise the culture and religion. He was not critical of the education system, which I think in those days was responsible for the perpetuation of schools developing in such a way that they were more apart. It smacked of cultural chauvinism.”

‘Breath of fresh air’

He added: “Britain has irreversibly become a multiracial country, a multicultural country. The aim should be how we move forward as a nation, irrespective of religion or national background, to learn to live together with mutual respect and tolerance. I thought that Ray Honeyford was trying to promote himself as a cultural defender of certain values, rather than saying there was something that needed to change in the state education system. He was a highly intelligent, educated person. His job was not to wander into race politics. His comments were taken up by racist people who made him a hero. I received hate mail saying I should go. I still have a sack full of racist letters I’ve kept. “It made my life difficult. My family was threatened. It showed how deep British racism was at the time. It’s not the substance of what he said that was so offensive. It’s how he said it and the right-wing journal in which he chose to say it.”

Mr Ajeeb refutes the idea that “the left” in Bradford and elsewhere tried to “drive out” Mr Honeyford. But, in a parliamentary debate held in April 1985, when the head teacher was under suspension, the Conservative MP Marcus Fox argued exactly the opposite. He called Mr Honeyford’s views “a breath of fresh air in the polluted area of race relations”, although speaking out had “brought down a holocaust on his head”. Mr Fox added: “One would think that somehow in this day and age it was racist to teach English.”

‘Thought police’

Mr Fox died in 2002, but another MP who took part in the debate was the Liberal Michael Meadowcroft. Now a director of the Democracy International consultancy group, he told the BBC: “I found Ray Honeyford extremely right-wing. I didn’t like his views at all. They were expressed badly, but that’s not the point. You can’t have thought police.” Mr Meadowcroft, who protested against Mr Honeyford’s suspension and dismissal, added: “There wasn’t a problem with the way he ran the school. He followed the local authority’s guidelines. People are able to have their own policy views but still do their job to the best of their ability. Ray Honeyford was very popular with the parents at the school, but the campaign against him was very nasty. Feeling was whipped up in the community. The Labour left was really powerful at the time. It did the whipping up. The Labour left was upset that he made the case that young kids should learn English from the age of four or five. But that idea’s become much more acceptable since then.”


In 2004, Trevor Philips, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality and a former Labour parliamentary candidate, asserted that children needed to be given a “core of Britishness”. Multiculturalism, he argued, suggested “separateness”. In words reminiscent of Mr Honeyford’s, yet more delicately put, he said: “For instance, I hate the way this country has lost Shakespeare. That sort of thing is bad for immigrants.” The irony was not lost on Mr Honeyford, who wrote in the Daily Mail the next year: “He is lauded for his wisdom. I was sacked for my alleged racism and was never allowed to work as a teacher again.” In his tribute to the former head teacher, who has died at the age of 77, the editor of the Salisbury Review, Roger Scruton, wrote: “Readers will be grateful for the life of this exemplary, heroic and profoundly gentle man, who was prepared to pay the price of truth at a time of lies.” Mr Ajeeb said: “I wish his family well and I respect him, but I still disagree with him.” Political opinion may have moved in Mr Honeyford’s direction, but not completely.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Race Attack on Grieving Family…

A MUM and daughter paying their respects in Dewsbury Cemetery were subjected to a torrent of racist abuse by a gang of up to 20 Asians.

The 39-year-old white woman, who was with her 11-year-old daughter, was going to lay flowers at her mother’s grave.

The mum and daughter had just been dropped off at the Pilgrim Crescent entrance while the woman’s husband went to park up.

It was at this point that a gang of Asian youths gathered and began taunting them.

They were called “white slags” and “white trash” as they laid flowers on a grave only yards away.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said her daughter was reduced to tears and added: “She was shaking. I had to hold her hand to keep her calm.

“I was frightened and thought we were about to be attacked. Thankfully they stayed by a wall near the cemetery gates.”

The woman, originally from Westtown, had travelled from Hull with her daughter and husband to visit her mother’s grave.

They had just been dropped off by her husband at around 3pm on Sunday when the incident happened.

The husband realised what was happening and drove back to pick them up.

“My husband could see that things were not all right,” said the woman. “Our daughter had drawn a picture for her gran and was putting it on the grave.

“She couldn’t understand why these youths would be so abusive and I don’t either. My mum died only recently and things are still a bit raw.

“Westtown used to be a lovely area when I lived here 20 years ago. I don’t know what’s happened to it. There’s just no respect any more.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said the victim made a complaint after returning to Hull and would be interviewed by Humberside Police.

He urged people to report incidents as soon as possible and added: “We take any form of hate crime extremely seriously.

“Such incidents should be reported to us as soon as possible so that we can get to the area and deal with the offenders.”

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

UK: School Cancels ‘Terror Charity’ Event

A school-based charity event organised by a group with links to Hamas has been cancelled following consultation with anti-extremism experts from the Department for Education. Human Appeal International was expected to run a women-only social evening at Parrs Wood High School, a specialist technology college in Didsbury, south Manchester, on February 18. HAI claims to work with the victims of “poverty, social injustice and natural disasters” in 27 countries, including the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan and Iraq. But it is also on the US State Department’s list of charities linked to terrorism. Parrs Wood had received complaints from representatives of Manchester’s Jewish community and pro-Israel activists about its renting of a room to the group. Concerns had also been raised with the DfE and a department spokesman confirmed earlier this week that experts from its preventing extremism unit had spoken to headmaster Andrew Shakos to remind him of impartiality guidelines.

It is understood that following the discussions the school took the decision to cancel the event. Mr Shakos and governors are also thought to have ruled that no charities with political links will in future be able to rent rooms at Parrs Wood. A message posted on Human Action International’s Facebook page this morning confirmed the event had been “postponed”. HAI previously hosted a “Day for Gaza” fundraising event at Parrs Wood, close to its UK office in nearby Fallowfield, in 2009. In 2003, the FBI said HAI had a “close relationship” with Hamas. Two years later, it was named by Israeli authorities as one of a number of organisations that had diverted donations to fund terror and support the families of suicide bombers.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Terrorism Gang Jailed for Plotting to Blow Up London Stock Exchange

A gang of Muslim extremists inspired to launch a deadly UK terror campaign by hate preacher Anjem Choudary were jailed for a total of nearly 95 years today.

Lynchpin Mohammed Chowdhury, 21, and righthand man Shah Rahman, 29, planned to plant a bomb in the Stock Exchange and were seen scouting other potential targets including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye. A handwritten hit list containing the names and addresses of Boris Johnson, the dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, two rabbis and details about the American Embassy was also found at Chowdhury’s east London home. Members of the gang hoped to launch a co-ordinated shooting and bombing attack on the capital in a ‘Mumbai-style’ atrocity in the run-up to Christmas 2010. Six of the nine men had been personally taught by former Islam4UK spokesman Choudary, while four were also in contact with notorious convicted terrorists Abu Izzadeen and Sheikh Faisal. Choudary has since claimed his former pupils’ plans were ‘taken out of context’ by police.

The terrorists collected hate-filled texts by al-Qaeda ‘ink bomber’ Anwar Al-Awlaki, the mastermind behind a plot to send bombs disguised as printer cartridges to the US synagogues on cargo planes. That plan failed when the packages were intercepted en route, while Al-Awlaki was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen last September. Gang members Abdul Miah, 25, and his brother Gurukanth Desai, 30, were secretly recorded denying the Holocaust and chatting about Muslims fighting alongside Hitler in the Second World War. The group, whose members hailed from Cardiff, Stoke-on-Trent and east London, also considered attacks on synagogues and pubs in the West Midlands. They were all British citizens from Bangladeshi and Pakistani families, aside from Chowdhury and Rahman who moved to the UK from Bangladesh. Stoke-based gangsters Mohammed Shahjahan, 27, Usman Khan, 20, and Nazam Hussain, 26, were raising money to set up a terror training camp on land owned by Khan’s family in Kashmir, Pakistan. Khan and Hussain planned to fly out to the site, next to an existing mosque, in January 2011. They hoped to send 100 UK nationals for firearms training and discussed using bank fraud and even signing up for the dole to get the cash. The group had already raised more than £2,000 when all nine defendants were arrested on December 20, 2010, after months of covert surveillance by the security services.

They were due to stand trial at Woolwich Crown Court but last week admitted a string of terrorist offences in an eleventh-hour plea bargain. They had initially claimed their meetings were part of an innocent plan to raise money for an Islamic project in Kashmir. Chowdhury, described as the ‘lynchpin’ of the terrorist plot, could now serve just six years in prison after pleading guilty to preparing to commit an act of terrorism. Nicknamed JMB by his co-defendants — short for banned terrorist group Jammat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh — was jailed for at least 13 years and eight months. But he is likely to spend less than half of his sentence behind bars due to time served on remand. The maximum sentence for the offences he admitted is life imprisonment. Shah Rahman, from east London, along with Cardiff-based Miah and Desai, also admitted the offence. Rahman was jailed for at least 12 years, Miah for at least 16 years and 10 months and Desai was jailed for at least 12 years. They planned to make a bomb and detonate it at the Stock Exchange by posing as traders and planting explosives in the toilets in the hope the building would catch fire.

The gang also discussed sending explosives to the other targets in the Square Mile by Royal Mail and via courier firm DHL, in a plot inspired by Al-Awlaki. They hoped to send five mailbombs to UK targets in the Christmas post and launch an even bigger attack the following Easter. Stoke-based Mohammed Shahjahan, 27, Usman Khan, 20, and Nazam Hussain, 26, admitted travelling to attend operational meetings, fundraising for terrorist training and preparing to travel abroad with intent to commit acts of terrorism. Shahjahan was given an indeterminate sentence with a minimum term of eight years and ten months. Khan and Hussain were both given indeterminate sentences with a minimum term of eight years. Mohibur Rahman, 27, also from Stoke, was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to possession of al-Qaeda magazines featuring bomb-making instructions ‘for a terrorist purpose.’

And Omar Latif, 28, from Cardiff, admitted assisting the others to engage in acts of terrorism by attending two planning meetings and was jailed for 10 years and four months.

Sentencing the gang to a total of 94 years and eight months, Mr Justice Wilkie said: “About a year or more before the offences the offenders became actively engaged in the Muslim faith. They were attracted to and espoused a radical version of Islam that is rejected by most Muslims in the UK as illegitimate and a perversion of the faith. They became attracted to the influence of radical clerics who preached the obligation to become involved in a struggle not only to fight occupiers in Muslim lands but to attack non-Muslims in the UK. These views were associated with the radical cleric known as Anwar Al Awlaki, whose message included attacking Western countries by any means necessary. Great praise is due to the security services both for the thoroughness and sophistication of their monitoring of these defendants and their ultimate intervention before any harm could be done.”

Chowdhury, Shahjahan, Khan and Rahman all had the numbers of hate-preachers Choudary, Izzadeen and Faisal in their phones at the time of their arrest. Chowdhury made two phone calls to Izzadeen, born Trevor Brooks but often called Omar Brooks, in the days following his release from prison in October 2010. A spokesman for banned Jihadi group Al Ghurabaa, he described the 7/7 London bombers as ‘completely praiseworthy’ and was jailed in April 2008 for terrorist fundraising and inciting terrorism overseas. Sheikh Faisal, born Trevor Forest, was jailed for nine years for urging his followers to murder Jews, Hindus, Christians and Americans in 2003 and later deported to Jamaica. Andrew Edis, prosecuting, said Chowdhury had been involved with radical Muslim activism including banned groups like Islam4UK since around 2008 and ran his own radical chatroom on the Paltalk website. He added: “Mohammed Chowdhury attended protests and demonstrations and made contact with the other defendants via Paltalk. He distributed deliberately provocative posters and leaflets and he has attended poppy-burning protests, among other things.”

The nine terrorists first met face-to-face in Cardiff’s Roath Park — an inner city beauty spot popular with young families and students — on November 7, 2010, to discuss their ideas and potential targets. Already suspicious they were being watched, they chose the meeting place to make surveillance difficult. MI5 agents watched them praying and discussing their ideas near Roath Park Lake between 1.30pm and 5pm, before leaving in two cars. The gang soon moved on to testing out bomb recipes, which they referred to as ‘cooking’, with Miah and Desai apparently causing an explosion in the street at one of their meetings in Wales. Chowdhury and Shah Rahman are also understood to have started building pipe bombs at Chowdhury’s home in Poplar, east London.

Seven of them met a second time in the Cwm Carn Country Park in Newport, south Wales, to discuss their planned attacks on December 12, 2010. They were seen talking for two hours, from 12.30pm to 2.30pm, and engaging in prayers led by Shahjahan. Chowdhury admitted planning to bomb the London Stock Exchange, but denied his intention was to cause death or injury. His defence team argued he had been aiming to cause panic and economic damage. The gang are believed to have followed instructions in an Al-Qaeda magazine — published just five days before their first meeting — to copy Al-Awlaki’s mailbomb attacks on the US. The publication, called Inspire 3, described the attempt by the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to post bombs disguised as printer cartridges to synagogues in October 2010. All three were intercepted before they reached their targets, but the plan was still hailed as a success because of the fear and disruption it caused. Chowdhury, Desai, Miah, Shah Rahman and Mohibur Rahman were found with copies of the magazine as well as an earlier edition, Inspire 2. The publications included bomb-making instructions and articles praising Osama Bin Laden and ‘underpants bomber’ Umar al-Faruq Al Nigiri, who unsuccessfully tried to blow up a plane on Christmas Day 2009. One passage reads: ‘Have a convincing cover story for anything suspicious. The story needs to be good enough to convince a jury if you ever get that far.’ Another tells would-be terrorists: ‘The best operation leads to maximum casualties or, equally important, maximum economic losses.’

The defendants also planned to use a notorious explosives recipe in one of the magazines called ‘Make A Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom.’ Chowdhury and Rahman visited London landmarks including the London Eye and Westminster Abbey after a meeting with Miah and Desai on November 28, 2010. They were also seen looking at Westminster Abbey, The Palace of Westminster, Blackfriars Bridge and the Church of Scientology on Queen Victoria Street. The pair caught a bus to Trafalgar Square, central London, at about 3.30pm and walked around the city centre before stopping for dinner at McDonald’s on Cannon Street and leaving at 9.30pm.

Chowdhury, of Poplar, east London; Shah Rahman, of East Ham, east London; Khan, of Stoke-on-Trent; Hussain, of Stoke-on-Trent; Shahjahan, of Birmingham; Miah, of Cardiff and Desai, of Cardiff all admitted engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2006. Mohibur Rahman, of Stoke-on-Trent admitted possession of an article for a terrorist purpose, contrary to Section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000, namely copies of Inspire Magazine Summer 2010 and Inspire Magazine Fall 2010. Latif, of Cardiff, admitted assisting others to engage in preparation for acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2006, by travelling to and attending meetings on November 7 and December 12, 2010. All nine defendants denied conspiring to cause an explosion or explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property. Those charges will now lie on the file. Chowdhury, Shah Rahman, Latif, Desai and Miah further denied possessing a document or record containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing for an act of terrorism. Those charges, which will also lie on the file, variously relate to copies of Inspire Magazine Summer 2010, Inspire Magazine Fall 2010, and 39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: White Man Bottled and Teenager Punched in Second Unprovoked Asian Gang Race Hate Attack in Just Days

A white man was hit with a bottle and his teenage friend punched in a race hate attack by a gang of Asians, it emerged today.

The pair were set upon on a footpath near a retail park in Rochdale, Greater Manchester — the second such brutal attack within days.

A 21-year-old man was hit with a bottle before being repeatedly kicked and punched to the head and body as he lay on the ground. His 16-year-old friend was also punched in the face.

It follows reports of a similar incident in Hyde, Greater Manchester, in which trainee chef Dan Stringer was repeatedly kicked and punched by a mob of up to eight people after he was chased down a street.

Mr Stringer has undergone surgery and is now in a stable condition following the attack on Saturday. A 21-year-old man has been charged with assault in connection with the incident.

The second unconnected assault in Rochdale happened at about 8.15pm on Saturday, January 28.

Both victims were walking with friends towards a canal towpath off Sandbrook Retail Park in Edinburgh Way when they were approached from behind by three men.

The three assailants ran at them, causing a number of the group to run off while the two victims continued to walk.

Their attackers later ran off in the direction of Deeplish.

One man is described as being Asian, in his mid-20s, around 5ft 10in, with black hair. He wore a long white coat with two pockets over the knees.

The second man is described as being Asian and of stocky build. He wore a black jacket with bright orange stitching on the shoulders and arms.

The third man is described as being Asian.

Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, as perceived by the victims, though no racist or other comments were directed at either victim.

Detective Constable Ben Harris from Rochdale CID said: ‘This was a completely unprovoked and relentless attack that has left both victims shocked by their ordeal. The 21-year-old man needed hospital treatment for his injuries and the 16-year-old boy was left with visible facial injuries.

‘I can understand why this has caused concern within the community. However, we cannot speculate why they were attacked and I do not want anyone to presume this has happened for a specific reason.

‘I would urge anyone who was in the area at the time of the attack or may have seen the offenders running in the direction of Deeplish, near to the towpath, to contact police.’

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: ‘The Uprising Was Not About Liberal Democracy’

A year ago Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power. A spirit of hope hung heavy in the air, however one year on people in Egypt are still coming to terms with his legacy. DW talked to Andrea Teti about the country’s future. Andrea Teti is a lecturer in International Relations and expert on contemporary Middle East affairs at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

DW: Does Egypt have better chances today to become a liberal democracy compared to one year ago?

Andrea Teti: That is a million-dollar question. What I would say is that the uprising was not about liberal democracy. In the west, we’ve become accustomed to thinking about democracy as something which has more or less to do with voting, free speech and freedom of information. For Egyptians across the political spectrum — and this is true across the Arab world — the issue is much broader than that. They wanted political rights but they also wanted social justice. The people want the downfall of the regime — the way of life as it were, not just Hosni Mubarak, (former Tunisian President Zine El-Abidine) Ben Ali etc. That challenge is much greater than simply switching to free and fair parliamentary elections.

In Egypt today, the situation remains very fluid. It’s still possible that there is a movement toward democracy but it requires a very fine balance of conditions and, frankly, the precedents that have been set over the past year are not particularly encouraging.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Egypt Protesters Head to Tahrir Square for ‘Friday of Departure’

Cairo’s flashpoint square remains calm ahead of planned demonstrations calling for immediate surrender of power by Egypt’s ruling military

Protesters have begun trickling into Cairo’s iconic protest grounds, Tahrir Square, to kick off the “Friday of Departure” — a million man march to the Ministry of Defence planned by forty Egyptian parties and movements calling for a speedy handover of power. Participants in Friday’s march demand that the ruling junta, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), release a timetable for the transfer of power to a civil authority. They also reject a recent announcement by the SCAF opening the door for candidates to register themselves for presidential elections on 10 March. Protesters, rather, demand that the window for registration open no later than 11 February — the first anniversary of the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak. Activists have also communicated their refusal of drafting a new constitution or holding presidential elections under military rule and ask that the ruling junta step down from power immediately.

The participating groups call on the ruling military council to cease its use of violence against protesters and to comprehensively restructure the reviled Ministry of Interior. Furthermore, those responsible for the killing of protesters during Egypt’s recurrent street battles between police and protesters must be put on trial and held to account.

Following Friday prayers — at around 1pm, ten different marches are expected to set off for the Ministry of Defence from the following locations: Youssef Al-Sahabi Mosque in Hegaz Square; Rabaa Al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City; Matariya Square, Alf Maskan Square and Sheikh Mosque in Hadayek Al-Kobba; Cleopatra Church in Heliopolis; Al-Fath Mosque in Ramses Square; Al-Khazindar Mosque in Shubra; Orabi Bridge in Shubra Al-Kheima; and Al-Nedir Mosque in Al-Zawiya Al-Hamra. A planned anti-SCAF march on the defence ministry in July of last year was thwarted when military police sealed all entrances to Cairo’s Abbasiya district, eventually leading to limited clashes between protesters and security forces.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Muhammad Badi’: Our Ultimate Goal, Establishing a Global Islamic Caliphate, Can Only be Achieved Gradually and Without Coercion

In a recent sermon, the General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Badi’, set out his vision for his movement and for Egypt in the post-revolutionary era. Citing Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Bana, he stated that the movement has two goals. The immediate goal is to prepare the hearts and minds of its members, which involves “purifying the soul, amending behavior, and preparing the spirit, the mind and the body for a long struggle.” The second, long-term, goal is to affect “a total reform of all domains of life,” which will eventually result in establishment of an Islamic state governed according to Koranic law — first in Egypt and eventually in the entire world.

Badi’ stressed that this long-term goal can only be achieved by gradual stages: by “reforming the individual, then restructuring the family, then building society and the government, then (establishing) the rightly guided Caliphate, and (finally achieving) mastership of the world.” He also emphasized that this must be achieved through cooperation among all the forces and sectors in Egypt, and without any coercion: “All these purposes and goals… must be realized… through unity of ranks (not division), by persuasion, not coercion, and by love, not by force.” Badi’ warned against the “attempts to split up the united ranks (of the nation) and drive a wedge between young and old, men and women, Muslims and Christians, and (different religious) schools and groups,” saying that the Egyptian nation will need all of its human resources in order to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Finally, he advised his followers not to follow their emotions but to manipulate the circumstances rationally and realistically: “Do not fight the ways of the world because they are overpowering. (Instead), try to overcome them, use them, change their course, and pit some of them against others.”

The following are excerpts from the sermon, which was posted December 29, 2011 on the Muslim Brotherhood website

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Salafists Protest Outside American Embassy

Demanding liberation of Pakistani woman held in US

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, FEBRUARY 10 — Dozens of Salafists (bearded men known locally as “barbus” and women wearing the niqab) have protested outside the US embassy compound in Tunis to demand the release of a Pakistani woman being held in an American jail. Protesters say that the woman, Afya Seddiki, a Muslim doctor, has been sentenced to 86 years behind bars and is reported to have been abused inside the prison. The protest passed off peacefully, with the Salafists chanting slogans and hoisting black palls. Two of the protesters also met the US embassy’s press officer, to whom they explained the reasons for the demonstration.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: The Fatah-Hamas Peace Process

On Monday afternoon, the Palestinians destroyed officially whatever was left of the concept of a peace process with Israel.

When PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas signed a deal with Hamas terror-master Khaled Mashaal in Doha, Qatar, the notion that there is a significant segment of Palestinian society that is not committed to the destruction of Israel was finally and truly sunk…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

US Election Hands Netanyahu Giant Dilemma on Iran

The strategic timetable for the next nine months is becoming increasingly clear. Israel’s apparent plans to strike Iran this year are limited by one crucial date: November 6 — the day of the US presidential elections. Although he wishes with all his heart for a Republican victory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is predicting the re-election of Barack Obama. A second-term president, not constrained by electoral necessities, will be able to apply a lot more pressure on the Israeli government not to attack. Israel’s window for action will probably close even earlier than November. The first reason for that is also electoral. Mr Netanyahu fears that a re-elected President Obama may find ways of supporting Israel’s opposition parties, so he is expected to call early elections, probably by October.

The two men who are most in favour of a strike on Iran, the Prime Minister and his Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, will not wait for someone else to give the order — if an attack has to be launched, it is their destiny to make that call. Aside from the American and Israeli election seasons, weather also affects the timing of a potential operation. While Israeli planners are certain that the air force has sufficient planes with the necessary range and payloads to cause enough damage to set the Iranian nuclear programme back, at least by three years, optimal conditions are needed to maximise that damage. That means a strike some time between May and September, when the Persian skies are clear of clouds.

The third factor is the Iranian effort to move its uranium enrichment process underground, to the subterranean installation near the city of Qom. Mr Barak and other senior Israeli defence officials claimed last week at the Herzliya Conference that the Iranians are close to entering this “zone of immunity”. The inference is clear: an attack will have to take place before that. If it does not, Israel will not be able to prevent a decision by Tehran to make a quick dash for nuclear-military capability. Now that the timetable is clear, the terms of reference for the debate within Israel, and between Jerusalem and Washington, are also clarifying. Messrs Netanyahu and Barak are convinced that action is needed before the centrifuges are moved underground and, if no one else acts, it rests on Israel to do the deed.

Some very senior figures in Israel’s defence and intelligence community believe that this is not “the last chance” and that an attack at this junction will be counter-productive. They are supported by the fact that the White House and Pentagon also believe that there is still enough time to let the new sanctions on Iran take effect before resorting to the military option.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran’s Final Solution for Israel

Persian Shiite anti-Semitism is deep-seated and points to genocide.

By Andrew Bostom

The writings and career of Mohammad Baqer al-Majlisi elucidate the imposition of Islamic law (Sharia) on non-Muslims in Shiite Iran. Al-Majlisi (d. 1699) was perhaps the most influential cleric of the Safavid Shiite theocracy in Persia. For six years at the end of the 17th century, he functioned as the de facto ruler of Iran, making him the Ayatollah Khomeini of his era. By design, he wrote many works in Persian to disseminate key aspects of the Shia ethos among ordinary persons. In his Persian treatise “Lightning Bolts Against the Jews,” Al-Majlisi describes the standard humiliating requisites for non-Muslims living under sharia, first and foremost the blood-ransom jizya, or poll-tax, based on Koran 9:29.

He then enumerates six other restrictions relating to worship, housing, dress, transportation, and weapons, before outlining the unique Shiite impurity or najis regulations. It is these latter najis prohibitions which lead anthropology professor Laurence Loeb — who studied and lived within the Jewish community of Southern Iran in the early 1970s — to observe, “Fear of pollution by Jews led to great excesses and peculiar behavior by Muslims.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Muslim Clerics: Cyber Warfare Against Israel is a Form of Jihad

A cyber war is currently raging on the Internet between Arab hackers (most of them Saudi) and Israeli hackers. In the first half of January, a team of Saudi hackers led by an individual calling himself OxOmar published personal details of over 400,000 Israelis, including tens of thousands of credit card numbers. A few days later, Arab hackers attacked Israeli websites, including those of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the national carrier El Al, several banks and hospitals, Israel’s fire and rescue services, and the Haaretz daily. In response, Israeli and pro-Israel hackers attacked the websites of the Saudi and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges, and published the details of Saudi credit cards and of thousands of Facebook accounts belonging to Arabs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Qaradawi Meets With Hamas, Says “Victory is Near and at the Door”

A Hamas delegation headed by the self-proclaimed Prime Minister of Gaza met Yusuf al Qaradawi, the highly influential Muslim Brotherhood theologian, in Qatar Saturday. In the love fest which followed, as reported on Qaradawi’s website, “His Eminence also gave the people of Gaza and Palestine the good news that victory is near and at the door.”

Along with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the delegation included Yehya Al-Sinwar, a top security strategist, and his deputy Rawhi Mushtaha, recently released from long terms in Israeli prison as part of the prisoner swap. They invited Qaradawi to visit Gaza, where he could broadcast over Hamas’s media outlet, al Aqsa TV. They also prayed that God would extend the Sheikh’s life to allow him to pray alongside them in Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque….

In a 2009 speech before the Arab Spring Qaradawi was less optimistic and merely hoped to die fighting the Jews: I’d like to say that the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

US Disarmament Expert: ‘The Risk That Nuclear Weapons Will be Used is Growing’

Anxieties are mounting as nuclear weapons make their way into unstable regions. In a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview, US disarmament expert Richard Burt discusses the growing risk of their use, why allowing Iran to get the bomb could trigger a Sunni-Shiite arms race and how an attack could make citizens demand a police state.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: Witchcraft: Man Axed to Death in Gumla

GUMLA: An elderly man was axed to death after being branded as a practitioner of witchcraft at Bagsera-Morcha in Gumla district, the police said on Tuesday.

Sixty-year-old Bandhan Oraon was sleeping at his home last night when he was killed allegedly by two village men, the sources said.

The body was recovered this morning. The victim’s son Sukra filed an FIR with the Palkot police station charging Vikram Oraon and Chanda Oraon with murder, the sources said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

India: Witch Hunting: Villagers Set Woman Ablaze

Guwahati : In a case of witch hunting, a 45-year-old tribal woman was burnt alive by villagers in upper Assam’s Sivsagar district on Friday. At least 24 people have been arrested for the crime, police said.

The victim was identified as Phuleswari Halowa.

“The incident started on Thursday evening when she was on her way to another village to give medicines to some person. The villagers caught her and tied her to a tree with rope,” he said. Then they mercilessly beat her before setting her ablaze Friday morning, he added.

Sonari, located about 30 km off Sivsagar town, is a tea belt area and there is a sizable population belonging to tea tribes and other communities in Sonari. The practice of witch hunting is common among Adivasi, tea tribes community, the Bodos and Rava communities.

Various steps has been taken both by government agencies and non-government organisations to stop the social menace but with very little success.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Stakes High for the Gandhis in Uttar Pradesh Polls

The high-decibel battle for the ballot in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous and politically crucial state, has begun with the credibility of the Gandhi dynasty at stake.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Unveils Best Moon Map Yet From Lunar Orbiter

China’s space agency released an amazingly detailed map of the moon this week, marking the best view yet of the lunar surface as seen by a Chinese spacecraft, according to state officials.

The new moon map is made up of many high-resolution photos snapped by China’s second lunar probe — the Chang’e 2 orbiter — and stitched together into complete view. China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense revealed the moon map during a ceremony on Monday (Feb. 6), and the country’s Ministry of National Defense posted the photos on the Web.

Liu Dongkui, deputy chief commander of China’s lunar probe project, reportedly said the Chang’e 2 lunar map is the highest-resolution view of the moon ever recorded, according to a Xinhua news agency report.

While other spacecraft, such as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, have taken better photos of certain portions of the moon, the Chang’e 2 map is the most detailed view of the entire lunar surface, he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Director Zhang Presents Hollywood, Made in China

Chinese director Zhang Yimou was long considered a critic of his country’s regime. Lately, though, he has focused on sumptuous period pieces — and Beijing hopes his new film, “Flowers of War,” will establish the country as a cultural world power.

In China, meanwhile, Zhang’s film was the year’s most successful local offering, trumped only by American imports such as “Transformers 3.” “People in China have been talking for years about stepping out into the world, into the economy, sports and culture,” Zhang says. “That’s something the entire nation wants. Films are no exception.”

Chinese President Hu Jintao recently published an essay in a party magazine in which he lamented: “We must clearly see that international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of Westernizing and dividing China.” Hu suggested that China needs to intensify efforts to develop its own cultural products, and “should deeply understand the seriousness and complexity of the ideological struggle,” adding that “the international culture of the West is strong while we are weak.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Urdu Daily: Chinese Military Taking Over Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan Considering Proposal to Lease the Disputed Region to China for 50 Years

According to a report published by an Urdu-language newspaper, Pakistan is considering a proposal to lease the strategic region of Gilgit Baltistan to China. The Pakistani move is aimed at fortifying its strategic relations with China amid the irreparable rupture in U.S.-Pakistan relations over the past year. Gilgit Baltistan, previously known as the Northern Areas, shares the international border with China.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Dutch Cabinet Must Protect Afrikaners

Dutch columnist John Jansen Van Galen wrote in the highly-regarded left-wing daily that it was high time that the Dutch cabinet started protecting and fighting for the rights of besieged Afrikaners in SA — just as much as they had fought for the ANC during the 1970s…

In his personal opinion column headlined Broken Souls —Stukkende Siele — Parool, Feb 8 2012 — Van Galen wrote the following: (English translation below)

…A tsunami of horrific ‘plaasmoorde’ — farm murders’ is taking place in which entire Boer families at distant homesteads are being wiped out — repeatedly upsetting this farming community and also chasing away a considerable number of them from the country altogether — which seems to be the intention (*of the ANC-regime).

“In Nov 2012 in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ budgetary debate, the SGP MP Kees van der Staaij and the ChristianUnion MP Joël Voordewind submitted a motion asking The Dutch Cabinet to look into what can be done by the Netherlands to stop this violence and discrimination against Afrikaners, and to help protect the Afrikaners’ rights to press-freedom and other constitutional rights in present-day South Africa.

“The motion received wide support from the left to the right of the Dutc h political spectrum — but not from the traditional middle: the Christian Democrats, the Labour Party and the liberal VVD parties — so this motion was not adopted. Later on, (Geert Wilders’) PVV Freedom Party tried it again, but without success.

“Afrikaner word in the motion was apparently the bugbear’…

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Julius Malema: The Man Who Scarred South Africa

For as long as anyone can remember, white South Africans have feared that a wild and dangerous black man would get his hands on too much power. He would be charismatic and he would be angry. He would be coarse, garish and corrupt. The ranks of his followers would swell. He would convince them that everything white people have always had — the swimming pools, the cars, the holidays by the sea — should be shared, not at some deferred time, but now, right now.

This fearful vision is wired into white South African DNA. From the extreme left to the far right, there isn’t a white leader in the last century who has not warned of a racial timebomb.

So used were white people to these genteel black leaders that when the character of their nightmares stepped into the real world in 2007, they mistook him for a clown. Julius Malema was lean and young and casually dressed, his taste for champagne and Breitling watches as yet unacquired, and from the moment he opened his mouth, it was clear he was offering a dare. I will bring the roughest streets of this country on to the national stage, he was saying. I will promise violence and anger. Do you have what it takes to take me on?

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Gunmen Kill Man for Publicly Criticising Boko Haram

KANO (AFP) — Gunmen in Nigeria’s flashpoint city of Kano on Thursday shot dead a man known for publicly criticising Boko Haram Islamists, blamed for a series of recent attacks in the area, residents said. Alhaji Muhammadu, 60, was shot by two men riding on motorcycles as he left a mosque in the Hoton Fulani area Kano city. He died in hospital. “We had just finished our evening prayers and he was heading home when two men on motorcycles stopped close to him and shot him twice before they drove off,” resident Maikudi Danlami said.

“They were from all indication members of Boko Haram because after shooting him they said, ‘let’s see how you are going to be critical of us. Let’s see what your boasting can achieve,” said Danlami, who witnessed the shooting. A nurse at a local hospital said Muhammadu “was shot twice at close range.” Residents said that Muhammadu was known for openly criticising Boko Haram, who have claimed a series of attacks in Kano, including a January 20 assault that killed at least 185. “He never hid his aversion to Boko Haram and would voice his disapproval of the sect publicly,” said Hasan Kawu, another resident. The Boko Haram insurgency has already claimed more than 200 lives this year. The Islamists have largely struck at the police and other symbols of authority, but Christians have also been targeted. In a leaflet distributed around Kano last month, Boko Haram said it would target anyone who “collaborates” against the group, “even if he is a Muslim.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Somalia Militants Officially Join With Al Qaeda

CBS/AP) NAIROBI, Kenya — Al Qaeda’s leader says that the Somali militant group al-Shabab has formally joined al Qaeda. A video translation by the Site Intelligence group released on Thursday said that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri gave “glad tidings” that al-Shabab had joined al Qaeda. Al-Zawahri said al-Shabab would support the jihad movement against what he called the “Zio-Crusader campaign.” Al-Shabab leaders have pledged allegiance to al Qaeda in the past, but the video — which was posted on an Islamic Internet forum on Thursday — is the first formal welcoming of al-Shabab by al Qaeda. The al-Shabab-al Qaeda alliance in Somalia counts hundreds of foreign fighters among its ranks. The group is already on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, and al-Shabab has publicly aligned itself with international jihad as espoused by al Qaeda since at least 2010. In a video posted on jihadist websites the groups declared at the time, “We are your soldiers, O Osama.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Africa: Paraplegic Afrikaner Raped

Volksblad journalist Tom de Wet interviewed the heart-broken Thys Henzen, 43, a paraplegic man who lives in a wheelchair and who told the journalist about his night of hell in a Welkom police cell when he was helpless — and raped. “I feel dirty, abused, humiliated. What does a man do with the rest of his life after such an ordeal?” he asked with eyes brimming with tears.

His ordeal started on 29 January 2012: he was roughly arrested that evening inside his own home, brutally assaulted, thrown into the police vehicle despite his physical frailty — and a few hours later the totally helpless Afrikaner man was dragged from his wheelchair inside the SAPS-cells — and raped with considerable violence by a black detainee: one man had held a blanket over his mouth while another sodomised him. He has been examined and given a first round of antiretroviral medicine to prevent AIDS-transfer. However — he cannot afford the entire course of medicines he would need to make sure he won’t end up with AIDS after his ordeal.

If anybody can help please email

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Deaf Girl: 10, ‘Trafficked to UK and Kept as Sex Slave in Cellar by Elderly Couple for Almost 10 Years’by Jaya Narain

A deaf orphan girl was trafficked into Britain and forced to act as a virtual slave for a couple, a court was told.

Locked in a cellar each night, the ten-year-old was repeatedly raped and forced to carry out chores including cooking, cleaning, sewing and washing.

Ilyas Ashar, 83, and wife Tallat, 66, regularly beat the girl — dragging her by the hair if she was too slow and slapping her if the food was too hot or spicy.

The court was told the girl was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by Ashar and stabbed in the stomach.

Peter Cadwallader, prosecuting, said the girl had been brought from her home in Pakistan in 2000 after being told her parents had died.

Profoundly deaf and unable to speak, she went to live with the Ashars at their Victorian house in Eccles, near Manchester.

‘She was brought to this country and exploited,’ said Mr Cadwallader. ‘She was a victim of threats and violence throughout her life from being a little girl.

‘She was the subject of forced labour in that she was made to work for Ilyas and Tallat Ashar as a domestic servant and do other work for them.

‘She was made to cook, clean and do the washing and ironing. She was also made to clean houses and business premises for friends and relations of Mr and Mrs Ashar.

‘She also washed cars in the drive of the house — in essence she lived in a state of servitude.’

He told Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester: ‘She was physically abused, she was sexually abused, which included being raped by Ilyas Ashar. She was exploited economically, in that benefits were obtained in her name, the money being kept by the Ashars.

‘At night the door at the top of the stairs down to the cellar was locked and bolted so she could not get out during the night.

‘During the day, presumably when she displeased Tallat Ashar, she was pushed into the cellar, pushed down the stairs and the door locked. She would sit there for hours crying and locked in.’

Police called at the house in 2009 and found the girl — now aged around 19 — sleeping in the cellar.

Mr Cadwallader said the girl had remained a captive for almost ten years because she knew no one and had absolutely nowhere to go.

‘For her that’s all she had really known and she was forced to accept it as her way of life,’ he added. ‘She knew nothing else.’

The Ashars, who ran a market stall and sold cars, both deny two counts of human trafficking for exploitation and a single count of false imprisonment.

Ilyas also denies 12 counts of rape. Tallat denies one count of sexual assault and wounding and the pair, along with their daughter Faaiza, 24, deny charges of benefit fraud.

The case continues.

           — Hat tip: Seneca III[Return to headlines]

Migrants Wake Up to a Nightmare in Europe

Many Africans often go through an odyssey on their way to Europe. For many it is an odyssey of horror: Months or even years of fear, violence and torture pass until they finally set foot on European soil.

Once illegal immigrants reach European soil it would seem to be a moment of their dreams coming true. But in many cases they turn into nightmares. On the Canary Islands, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Italian island Lampedusa, the Greek islands as well as on the international airports throughout Europe, wherever migrants get caught without a valid visa, the next stop is generally a detention center, which is often followed by a plane sending them back where they came from.

In many of the detention centers, the living and sanitary conditions are poor. The UN refugee organization UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders and other international organizations regularly visit these camps and have documented the poor sanitary facilities Germany and other European governments provide the people they are interring as well as violence among those being held and even human rights violations.

The UNHCR and the Council of Europe have worried that the unbearable situation in detention centers in Greece will not improve and have called on the other EU member states not to send any more migrants back to this country.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain’s Immigrants

Amid Spain’s economic crisis, many illegal immigrants want to return to Africa, but lack the means to get home.

Most Africans living in the Níjar area came to Spain on a “patera,” a crowded boat that ferries refugees across the Mediterranean. Isaak started his 1,120 euro ($1,500) trip in Mauretania. After several days the vessel reached the Canary Islands, where Isaak was detained by police and issued a deportation order. But instead of being sent back to Africa, he was flown to the Spanish mainland.

The story is similar for many other migrants; very few of whom were actually flown back to their home countries. Isaak was not unhappy with his life in Ghana, where he worked as a cobbler. But one of his friends wooed him with stories of getting rich in Europe. And despite his mother’s objections, Isaak was determined to give it a try.

Ultimately, he didn’t find the material wealth he was looking for — and since then, life has been a vicious circle. “The problem is that I don’t have any papers,” Isaak said. “Without papers, there’s no decent apartment, and without papers there’s no work.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Ken Livingstone Has Form When it Comes to Homophobia

Defenders of Ken Livingstone claim that his offensive comment about the Conservative Party being “riddled” with gays was a chance remark. They claim that there is nothing to suggest homophobia in Livingstone’s record. Certainly Livingstone has tried to divide society up into interest groups and part of that electoral strategy has been to win gay votes.

But as this film demonstrates and Peter Tatchell has detailed there is worrying form from Livingstone in defending bigotry on this issue — something far more serious than his recent crass remark for the New Statesman. Livingstone hosted Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi as an “honoured guest” at City Hall and claimed that Qaradawi is a “moderate.” Yet Qaradawi , in his book, The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, denounces homosexuality as “perverted” and “abominable.” He says it is an “aberration” and an “unnatural, foul and illicit practice.” He believes it should be punishable by death. However in a Guardian interview he says punishment for homosexuality should be “a matter for the state.”

[Reader comment by Axstane on 9 Feb 2012.]

Ken is not responsible for what he says. Like all elderly Socialists he has gone mad. That is a natural result of the conflict between their ideology and what they actually see around them. It is inevitable and strikes them all somewhere beyond the age of 50. Some change from youthful socialist idealism to conservatism when they have gained some knowledge of the real world but that must happen by 30 otherwise insanity is guaranteed without hope of cure.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Norway: Feminist Fightback Cash Lands Minister in Trouble

Norway’s equality minister, Audun Lysbakken, admitted on Monday that his department broke the rules when it granted funding to a feminist self-defence organization attached to his own Socialist Left Party.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Sweden is the Most PC Country in the World’

Two days before the premiere of ‘Kontoret’, the Swedish version of The Office, The Local’s Oliver Gee chats with the cast about the show, their goals, and whether Sweden needs its own version of a show that’s already proved to be a winning concept worldwide.

Henrik Dorsin, in a direct reprisal of the hugely popular Ove Sundberg character from Swedish sitcom Solsidan, will be playing the dreaded boss. According to Dorsin, Sweden’s quite specific social values bring a lot to the table that other countries haven’t offered. “Sweden is the most politically correct country in the world,” he tells The Local. “You can’t say anything in Sweden without offending people, and that creates a very tense environment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Ken Livingstone’s Problem is His Judgment, Not His Supposed ‘Homophobia’

Occasionally Ken’s chief media groupie, the Guardian’s Dave Hill, writes something which makes up for having to read his blog. Today was one of those days. In urgent need of an excuse to spin why his hero had described the Tory party as “riddled with” people “indulging in” homosexuality, called Margaret Thatcher “clinically insane” and warned gay bankers that they would “get their penises chopped off” if they moved to Dubai, Dave pleaded that Ken was merely indulging in “absurdist satire.” Pure PR gold! If anyone’s being satirical here, Dave, I hope it’s you…

When I read Ken’s interview, I ignored his remarks about gay people and wrote about something else he said because I hate Lee Jasper-style professional offence-takers. It was also depressing to see Labour try to counter Ken’s gaffe with an outraged sectional interest of its own, Boris’s unconscionable slurs against those paragons, Sinn Fein. We must resist this New York-like attempt to carve us all up into little interest-group ghettoes. Ken is not a homophobe — though it also feels rather out of date to describe him as an active supporter of gay rights. The slightly more nuanced truth is that gay rights was one of several causes he has adopted, then relegated from favour as progressive fashion changed. Other interests, with rather more votes at their disposal and strong views on “sexual deviance” claim priority these days.

Ken, like the rest of us, has the right to be offensive. The real question — as with all his previous outbursts — is whether it is sensible for someone in his position to exercise that right. Was it sensible to call Boris Johnson’s chief of staff a mass murderer, to advocate hanging the Chancellor, wish that Tory councillors would “burn in hell,” compare Boris himself to Hitler? These remarks may not tell us much about what he really believes, but the fact that he chooses to keep making them every few weeks tells us a great deal about his judgment.

For a long time, Ken has presented himself as the serious, competent alternative to Boris, who he described on his eve-of-poll leaflet in 2008 as a “joke.” Yet it is in fact Boris who has shown far greater discipline — not just in what he says, but also in policy. Ken’s rhetorical incontinence has been matched by his apparent willingness to promise anyone that they can have whatever goodies they want, without much of an idea of how it will be paid for. It can’t be long before this starts to fall apart. Is it, perhaps, he who is the real joke?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Ken Livingstone: Gay Bankers Who Go to Dubai ‘Could Have Penis Lopped Off’

Ken Livingstone says gay bankers risk having their penis ‘cut off’ if they abandon London to go to Dubai.

The mayoral hopeful was criticised for his remarks after saying he was confident bankers would not leave the capital for the Arab financial powerhouse because of intolerance towards gay men. Asked about his views on bankers leaving, Mr Livingstone told Metro: ‘Our only real competitor is New York.’ When it was suggested they might move to Dubai — which is trying to attract financial firms with low tax rates — he said: ‘Would you want to get your penis chopped off? A gay banker would get his penis cut off in Dubai.’ Geneva? ‘Too boring.’ Shanghai? ‘And risk being overthrown by revolution?’ He added: ‘It’s about getting the infrastructure in place in London and the rest will follow.’ His comments come after he told the New Statesman that the Conservatives are ‘riddled’ with gay politicians who hypocritically voted against gay rights before coming out. Chris Doyle, of the Council for Arab British Understanding, which seeks to increase understanding of the Arab world in Britain, called Mr Livingstone’s comments ‘ridiculous’. He said: ‘This is a desperate attempt to grab headlines using damaging stereotypes about chopping off body parts. It is true that many areas of the Arab world are not as tolerant towards homosexuals as we are in Britain, but many gay men travel to the region and work there and conduct their private lives in private.’ Meanwhile gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell defended Mr Livingstone’s record.

He said: ‘Ken Livingstone is not homophobic.’

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Ancient Poop Science: Inside the Archaeology of Paleofeces

As one of the great works of Western literature once so cogently observed, everybody does it — and in the 99% or so of human history without sanitation services, humans pretty much just pooped wherever there was space. These “nonhardened fossils”, as archaeologists have euphemistically referred to them, account for a shockingly high percentage of the material found in ancient cave sites. There’s such a ridiculously high quantity of preserved human poop — paleofeces, if we’re being technical — that being able to extract any amount of DNA would make them a massively useful resource.

Luckily, the dry, cool conditions of these caves provide workable conditions to preserve DNA for posterity, and the paleofeces provide the carrier that protects the DNA on its journey into history. The ancient dung can hold onto recoverable DNA through a process known as the Maillard reaction. As the feces dried out all those thousands of years ago, the sugars from the digested plant material began to react with surrounding amino acids, forming larger sugar compounds that formed around and encased the DNA, preserving it for future extraction. This same chemical reaction is crucial today in the coloring and flavoring of a bunch of foods, including French fries, biscuits, maple syrup, and brioche.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Blind Quantum Computing Points to the Future

A Vienna team has shown how to send encrypted data to a quantum computer. But a stable and powerful quantum computer remains a long way off.

Imagine, for a moment, that the promise of powerful, super-fast quantum computers has materialized. In the beginning at least, there will only be a few of them, housed in special facilities.

Users who want to harness their quantum capabilities will need to send data to a remote location, allow the computer to do its magic and send back the results. Quantum physicists have now shown that there’s a way to do this that’s absolutely securely — meaning the remote quantum computer will never understand the true data even while it is manipulating it.

Though other researchers have described the theory behind such a “blind quantum computing” protocol a few years ago, a group of scientists in Vienna have now become the first to demonstrate that this works. Their results were published last month in the journal, Science.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

How Earth’s Next Supercontinent Will Form

The Earth has been covered by giant combinations of continents, called supercontinents, many times in its past, and it will be again one day in the distant future. The next predicted supercontinent, dubbed Amasia, may form when the Americas and Asia both drift northward to merge, closing off the Arctic Ocean, researchers suggest.

Supercontinents are giant landmasses made up of more than one continental core. The best-known supercontinent, Pangaea, was once the world’s only continent — it was on it that the dinosaurs arose — and was the progenitor of today’s continents.

Conventional models of how supercontinents evolve suggest they form on top of the previous supercontinent, known as introversion, or on the opposite side of the world from that supercontinent, known as extroversion. Under these models Amasia would therefore either form where Pangaea once was, with the Americas meeting with Asia to close off the Atlantic Ocean, or form on the other side of the planet from where Pangaea was, with the Americas merging with Asia to close off the Pacific Ocean.

Now, geologists suggest that Amasia might emerge sideways from where Pangaea once existed, in what is now the Arctic, a process known as orthoversion. Moreover, this new model seems consistent with models of how past supercontinents formed, said researcher Ross Mitchell, a geologist at Yale University.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]