Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121214

Financial Crisis
»U.S. Debt Made in China
»We Are Witnessing the Death of Small Business in America
»27 Killed at CT School; 1 Other Dead
»Breaking the Union Stranglehold
»Celebrities Demand Outrageous Gun Laws Following Connecticut Shooting
»Four Texas Police Officers Charged With Escorting Loads of Narcotics for Pay
»Gun Grabbers Call for Murder of Nra President, Supporters in Wake of Mass Shooting
»Gunmen Kills 20 Children, 6 Adults at Connecticut Elementary School
»Michael Moore Calls for “Strict Gun Control” After School Massacre
»Obama Admin Allots $1.8 Million to Place Women in Carpentry, Welding Jobs
»Regionalism — The Blueprint for Your Serfdom
»Samsung TVs Can be Hacked to Spy on Viewers
»School Gunman ID’d as Teacher’s Son
»U.S. Banks Warned of Cyberattack on Accounts
»Want to be More Creative? Get Back to Nature
Europe and the EU
»Is Germany in the Grip of Its Nazi Past Once More? News Magazine Der Spiegel’s Astonishing Condemnation of Its Own Country
»Italy: New Corruption Case in Lombardy, 40 Councillors Probed
»Porsche Breaks Car Sales Record in 2012
»Spain Accused of ‘Act of War’ Off Gibraltar After Two Naval Vessels Enter Waters Around the Rock
»UK: ‘White Witches’ Who Conducted ‘Horrifying’ Ritualistic Sex Abuse on Children as Young as Three in Cornish Coven Jailed for 32 Years
»UK: Major Health Alert After 7,000 Children’s Face Painting Sets Containing Poisonous Lead Sold to British Shops
North Africa
»Chaffetz: State Dept Hiding Benghazi Survivors
»Video: Benghazi Cover-Up About Moving Arms to Syrian Rebels
Middle East
»Egypt May Lose $20 Bln Qatari Investments if People Vote ‘No’ For the Constitution: Qaradawi
»Syria: US OKs Patriot Missiles in Turkey, Rebels Advancing
»Syria: Rebels Seize Aleppo Military Academy
»U.S. To Send Troops, Patriot Missiles to Turkey
»Day Two, Round Two as Ukrainian Debate in Parliament Erupts Into Another Brawl With One MP Eye-Gouging a Rival
»Vodka ‘Saved’ Elephants in Siberian Freeze
Far East
»Chinese Man Attacks 22 Children, 1 Adult With Knife Outside Primary School
»Speculation Abounds: Did North Korea Launch a New EMP Capable Star Wars Weapon System?
Australia — Pacific
»Islamist Group a Threat, Think Tank Says
»UK: Labour Still Can’t Face Facts on Immigration
Culture Wars
»BBC Told to Put More Gay Presenters on Children’s TV to ‘Familiarise’ Youngsters With Different Sexualities
»Black Racism Alive and Flourishing in America
»Pope Suggests Promoting Gay Unions Harms Justice, Peace

Financial Crisis

U.S. Debt Made in China

China’s holdings of U.S. property and U.S. securities have increased due to our low savings rate, out of control deficit spending, and progressive laws that allow foreigners to purchase massive assets in our country.

Our economy now depends heavily on capital inflows from other countries, particularly China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and oil producing nations, in order to meet domestic investment and to fund the exponential federal budget deficit growth.

The willingness of foreigners to buy U.S. debt, in spite of the downgrade of our sovereign credit rating from AAA to AA+ by Standard and Poor’s in August 2011, helped keep interest rates low in conjunction with the Fed’s monetary policy decisions. (China’s Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy, Wayne M. Morrison and Marc Labonte, CRS Report for Congress, December 6, 2012)

The Chinese government controls the appreciation of its currency against the dollar and other currencies traded daily, enabling China to become the largest and fastest growing holder of foreign exchange reserves. Since the world reserve currency is the U.S. dollar, China is the largest holder of U.S. dollars, the largest holder of long term Treasury debt, U.S. government agencies debt, corporate debt, equities debt, and short-term debt. China held $1.73 trillion in U.S. securities in 2011; of this total, $1.16 trillion were Treasury securities. (

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

We Are Witnessing the Death of Small Business in America

Overall, the number of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” has fallen by more than 50 percent as a percentage of the population since 1977. The United States was once known as “the land of opportunity”, but now that is fundamentally changing. At this point we truly do have a “crisis of entrepreneurship” in this country, and that is a huge reason why America is in decline. We are witnessing the slow death of the small business in America, and that is incredibly bad news for all of us.

Unfortunately, the problems that small businesses are experiencing right now have been building up for decades. The economic environment for small businesses in America has become incredibly toxic. Sadly, we can see this in the numbers. According to Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

Obviously, we are headed very much in the wrong direction. Kane speculates about why this may be happening in his paper…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


27 Killed at CT School; 1 Other Dead

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A gunman opened fire inside a Connecticut elementary school, killing 26 people, including 20 children, by blasting his way through the building as young students cowered helplessly in classrooms while their teachers and classmates were shot.

The attack, coming less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.

The gunman killed himself and another person was found dead at a second scene, leading to a total toll of 28, authorities said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Breaking the Union Stranglehold

Michigan has joined the ranks of the Free States — states where workers are no longer forced to join unions and pay dues to fat cat union bosses or else lose their jobs. This past week, over and against the frenzied efforts by union representatives to intimidate and terrorize state legislators, both houses of the Michigan legislature passed right-to-work legislation, which was shortly signed by Governor Rick Snyder, thereby officially becoming the 24th state in this nation to emancipate workers to choose what associations — if any — with which they would like to associate their labor.

This move is all the more surprising and delicious because Michigan is traditionally a heavily-union state; indeed, it has been one of the hotbeds of union activity and control. The passage of right-to-work legislation — which is like salt on a slug for labor unions — represents the continuation of a process which has been taking place across the country whereby the decrepit, 19th century labor model reliant upon an outdated picture of labor-management relations that unions have tried to perpetuate is being broken, and worker freedom is coming to the fore.

As one might imagine, the unions in Michigan are extremely unhappy about this legislation. With typical union aplomb, union-led protestors have been resorting to violence and death threats to express their displeasure with the workings of the constitutional legislative process that occurred because the voters (i.e. the people) elected legislators and a governor who would put right-to-work in place. Union thugs have physically assaulted those they disagree with and vandalized the property of individuals and groups on the other side of the aisle. Jimmy Hoffa petulantly intimated that there would be “civil war” as a result of the unions not getting their way on this issue. Aiding and abetting this attack on the constitutional legislative process have been prominent Democrats, who have threatened that “there will be blood.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Celebrities Demand Outrageous Gun Laws Following Connecticut Shooting

In addition to Brit Piers Morgan and liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, a number of liberal celebrities have responded to the shooting in Connecticut with demands that Americans be stripped of their constitutional right to own firearms.

The hand-wringing liberal celebrities quoted above are apparently allergic to fact — for instance, the fact that since the so-called assault weapons ban expired in September 2004, murder and overall violent-crime rates have declined. In 2003, the last full year before the law expired, the murder rate in the United States was 5.7 per 100,000 people. In 2011, the murder rate fell to 4.7 per 100,000 people. Gun-related homicide is falling as a record number of people buy firearms, not rising.

“Crime rates alone of cities such as Chicago and Washington D.C. prove that gun bans only increase crime,” Ron Meyer wrote following the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. “The D.C. police response rate is eight minutes; most crimes are done in less than one. Gun bans create a trouble-free world for criminals considering no one can defend themselves. If I were ever to face a situation like this, I would want to be prepared.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Four Texas Police Officers Charged With Escorting Loads of Narcotics for Pay

Two deputies and two police officers in the Hidalgo County, Texas area have been charged with protecting drug smugglers’ shipments of narcotics through the area.

According to a Dec. 13 statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Texas, two of the officers are with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and two are with Mission Police Department (MPD) officers. Reportedly the men allegedly used their positions to get thousands of dollars for facilitating and protecting drug shipments.

Two of the men are also reportedly the sons of high-ranking local police officials in the area in south Texas, west of Brownsville.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Gun Grabbers Call for Murder of Nra President, Supporters in Wake of Mass Shooting

Following the horrific Connecticut school massacre that left 28 people dead this morning, Twitter began trending with people blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the 2nd Amendment — and not the person with free will who committed the atrocity — for the tragedy.

Some people went so far as to openly call for the murder of NRA President David Keene and any NRA supporters

Calls also came to do away with the 2nd Amendment and for stricter gun control laws, regardless of the fact that gun control has actually been shown to increase crime and the shooter was obviously not following any laws at all when he entered a school and opened fire.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Gunmen Kills 20 Children, 6 Adults at Connecticut Elementary School

DEVELOPING: Twenty-seven people, including 20 children, were killed Friday when a gunman clad in black military gear opened fire inside his mother’s kindergarten class at a Connecticut elementary school.

The shooter, who sources identified as Adam Lanza, 20, gunned down his mother and her entire class at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to sources. Lanza was found dead inside the school, according to officials. Eighteen of the children and six more adults were dead at the school and two more children died later, according to Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance.

Vance would not confirm the shooter’s name, and earlier in the day there were conflicting reports over the gunman’s identity. Law enforcement sources told the shooter was Lanza. His brother, Ryan Lanza, 24, was in custody, but it was not sure if he faced charges.

“It is not a simplistic scene,” Vance told reporters.

An official with knowledge of the situation said the shooter was armed with a .223-caliber rifle. Four weapons in total were recovered from the scene. The motive is not yet known.

Vance said during an afternoon news conference that police arrived at the scene “within minutes” of a 911 call placed shortly after 9:30 a.m.

“Every door, every crack, every crevice of that school” was checked, Vance said. “The entire school was searched.” He said the shooting occurred inside two rooms in “one section of the school.”

Vance did not give details about the number of victims other than to say they included students and staff, pending notification of the families. He said more information would be released, possibly later Friday.

Vance also said that a “deceased adult” was found at a “secondary crime scene,” though he declined to elaborate.

A dispatcher at the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps said earlier a teacher was shot in the foot and taken to Danbury Hospital. Local news outlets also reported that the principal was among those shot.

[Return to headlines]

Michael Moore Calls for “Strict Gun Control” After School Massacre

“The way to honor these dead children is to demand strict gun control, free mental health care, and an end to violence as public policy,” tweeted Michael Moore, whose 2002 film Bowling For Columbine was a poster child for firearms regulation.

CNN host Piers Morgan implied that even handguns should be banned in America when he tweeted, “This is America’s Dunblane. We banned handguns in Britain after that appalling tragedy. What will the U.S. do? Inaction not an option.”

However, Morgan is seemingly ignorant of the fact that the decision to ban handguns in Britain did nothing to lower gun crime. In the six years following the ban, gun crime more than doubled.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama Admin Allots $1.8 Million to Place Women in Carpentry, Welding Jobs

The U.S. Labor Department announced last week that the Obama administration will be providing nearly $2 million in grants to place women in “nontraditional occupations,” such as carpentry, welding, and masonry.

“Apprenticeship programs are effective pipelines into growing industries. But too often, these programs are not as accessible to women,” said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in a June 26 press release.

“The federal grants announced today will better connect women with apprenticeships, helping them to gain skills in fields that offer long-term career opportunities.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Regionalism — The Blueprint for Your Serfdom

Gone are the days when government was limited, where individuals were politically acknowledged to possess unalienable rights, and where money was honest. The American political structure has been transformed. This has occurred quietly for more than 50 years without public awareness of the mechanisms underlying the change.

At the core of this transformation is the political process of “regionalizing” the country. Political regionalism is the antithesis of representative government. Regionalism restructures or reinvents the operation of American government by destroying traditional political boundaries, such as county lines, and ushers in a transformed system of governance that ultimately abolishes private property and the rights of the individual. Regionalism has infiltrated cities and counties everywhere, affecting transportation, water, farming and land use systems… literally every aspect of your life.

Let’s start with an example showing how Agenda 21 programs are brought into your town via “Regionalism.”

Here is an excerpt from the United Nations’ Agenda 21 document concerning transportation planning:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Samsung TVs Can be Hacked to Spy on Viewers

Security firm exposes dangers of so-called “smart” products

A security firm has discovered a vulnerability in Samsung’s ‘Smart’ TVs that allows the devices to be hacked which, if left unpatched, would permit the system’s microphone and camera to used to spy on the viewer.

Similar to an XBox Kinect, the Samsung ‘Smart Hub’ line of televisions allows users to control the television via physical gestures and voice control. A high definition camera is also used by the device to allow Skype calls. The device also includes facial recognition technology. However, these features can also be hijacked to turn the television into a modern day equivalent of George Orwell’s telescreen.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

School Gunman ID’d as Teacher’s Son

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

(FOX NEWS) URGENT: Twenty-seven people, including 20 children, were killed Friday when a gunman clad in black military gear opened fire inside his mother’s kindergarten class at a Connecticut elementary school.

The shooter, who sources identified as Adam Lanza, 20, gunned down his mother and her entire class at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to sources.

Lanza was found dead inside the school, according to officials. Eighteen of the children and six more adults were dead at the school and two more children died later, according to Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

U.S. Banks Warned of Cyberattack on Accounts

The U.S. financial services industry has issued a warning that a Russian cyber-gangster is preparing to rob American banks and their customers of millions of dollars.

In addition, the computer security firm McAfee has reported that the cyber-criminal, who calls himself “Thief-in-Law,” already has infected the hundreds of computers of unwitting American customers in preparation to steal their bank account data.

The warning was issued Thursday by the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), which shares information throughout the financial sector about terrorist and online threats, said Douglas Johnson, vice president for risk management at the American Bankers Association.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Want to be More Creative? Get Back to Nature

(NaturalNews) Feel as if your creativity is gone? Lack new ideas for your work — or your life? Don’t chalk it up to getting older or not being a “creative” or artistic type. Instead, what you may need is to simply get back to nature.

According to a study by psychologists from the University of Utah and University of Kansas, backpackers scored 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature without any electronic devices like cell phones and laptops. “This is a way of showing that interacting with nature has real, measurable benefits to creative problem-solving that really hadn’t been formally demonstrated before,” David Strayer, a co-author of the study and professor of psychology at the University of Utah, said in a press statement. “It provides a rationale for trying to understand what is a healthy way to interact in the world, and that burying yourself in front of a computer 24/7 may have costs that can be remediated by taking a hike in nature.”…

The results? “We show that four days of immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multimedia and technology, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50 percent,” the study concluded. Specifically, those who had been backpacking four days scored an average of 6.08 of the 10 questions correctly compared with an average score of 4.14 for people who had not started the backpacking trip.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Is Germany in the Grip of Its Nazi Past Once More? News Magazine Der Spiegel’s Astonishing Condemnation of Its Own Country

After decades of trying to shake off the shadow of Hitler, fears are growing that Germany is once more embracing the Fuehrer’s evil beliefs.

The far Right continues to attract young recruits with its message of racism and arrogance.

And now an alarm bell has been sounded by the country’s biggest news magazine.

[Der Speigel is a propaganda arm of the EU elites. This Der Speigel article is a straw man aguments designed to elicit a “fear” response so peoples ears will be closed to a conservative message. Any growth in Nazis is a direct result of elitists mass migration policies.]

[Return to headlines]

Italy: New Corruption Case in Lombardy, 40 Councillors Probed

Suspects investigated for alleged misuse of party funds

(ANSA) — Milan, December 14 — Milan prosecutors have placed 40 Lombardy regional councillors belonging to the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and the right-wing Northern League of his former ally Umberto Bossi under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds.

The investigation follows a series of corruption probes that led Governor Roberto Formigoni to dissolved his executive in October. Formigoni is suspected of wrongdoing related to health-sector contracts in one of those cases. He denies any wrongdoing. The PdL and Northern League regional caucus chiefs, respectively Paolo Valentini and Stefano Galli, are among those being probed as part of the investigation that emerged on Friday.

The suspects could face charges of embezzlement over the alleged misappropriation of party funds, including for personal use. One Northern League councillor is reported to have spent 750 euros on ammunition for hunting.

On Friday police also searched regional government offices to obtain documents regarding the use of public funding by the main centre-left Democratic Party and two smaller parties, the IdV and SEL.

On October 10 finance police conducted searches in the offices of the Lombardy Regional Council as part of a probe into regional finances from 2008 to March 2011.

It subsequently emerged that three Lombardy councillors, the Northern League’s Davide Boni, the former speaker of the regional assembly, and Franco Nicoli Cristiani and Massimo Buscemi of the PdL, were among those under investigation.

In a separate case, PdL councillor Domenico Zambetti was arrested for allegedly buying votes from the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia.

The centre-right administration in Lazio also collapsed earlier this year due to a corruption scandal, contributing to a drop in support for the PdL.

Bossi’s Northern League has come under the lens for alleged corruption too, leading to a change of leadership earlier this year. Other parties on the other side of the political spectrum have been hit by scandals of their own.

Residents of Lombardy and Lazio are due to elect new regional administrations early next year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Porsche Breaks Car Sales Record in 2012

German luxury carmaker Porsche has said it has already beaten its annual record for most cars sold.

It sold 128,978 cars worldwide in the 11 months to November — already beating the 118,868 sports cars sold in the whole of last year.

Porsche marketing and sales chief Bernhard Maier said that last month alone was up 39% on November 2011.

Demand came from China and the US, where there was 70% more demand for Porsches last month than in 2011.

The demand from other countries has picked up for slack demand in recession-hit Europe.

The result has been a 7.1% fall in car sales in Europe so far this year, with some southern European markets seeing sales slump by about a fifth.

‘Squeezed middle’

Premium carmakers, such as Porsche and BMW, and budget manufacturers, such as Hyundai, are doing relatively well. But mid-market players — such as Ford and General Motors’ Opel and Vauxhall units — are having a torrid time, suffering falling sales, profits and market shares.

David Bailey, a professor of international business strategy and economics at Coventry University Business School, told the BBC that Porsche’s success was driven by “huge growth in emerging markets”.

“The premium producers are doing very well and the lower end is doing well too. What you have is a bit of a squeezed middle.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain Accused of ‘Act of War’ Off Gibraltar After Two Naval Vessels Enter Waters Around the Rock

Spain was accused of an ‘act of war’ today after its naval ships repeatedly entered the territorial waters of Gibraltar.

Bob Stewart, Tory MP for Beckenham, said the British Government needed to ‘respond robustly to this aggravation’ after Commons Leader Andrew Lansley said two Spanish naval vessels entered the waters of Gibraltar on Monday.

He said they were given radio warnings before leaving but Mr Stewart, a former colonel, said the incursion was illegal and the Government needed to ‘do something about it’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘White Witches’ Who Conducted ‘Horrifying’ Ritualistic Sex Abuse on Children as Young as Three in Cornish Coven Jailed for 32 Years

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

Two pagans were sentenced to more than a decade in prison today after being found guilty of abusing children in bizarre sex rituals as part of a witches’ coven.

Peter Petrauske and Jack Kemp were said to have worn ceremonial robes and pagan paraphernalia while they abused young girls in Cornwall during the 1970s.

Police believe one of their victims may have been as young as three when the abuse started.

The judge described the victims’ experiences as ‘nothing less than harrowing’ as he condemned their ‘utterly horrifying’ crimes, sentencing Petrauske to 18 years in prison and Kemp to 14.

The pair, aged 72 and 69, showed little emotion as they were led from the dock at Truro Crown Court and into custody.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Major Health Alert After 7,000 Children’s Face Painting Sets Containing Poisonous Lead Sold to British Shops

Parents are being warned not to buy face painting sets for their children without checking them after thousands were found to contain lead.

More than 7,000 Tartan Collection paint pot sets have been imported from a factory in China by Chelford Ltd in Salford, Greater Manchester, and sold on to outlets throughout the UK.

The sets could cause brain damage in very young children — and only 324 out of the 7,200 sets have been recovered.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Chaffetz: State Dept Hiding Benghazi Survivors

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R- UT) told Breitbart News on Wednesday that he has been “thwarted” by the State Department from seeing any Americans who survived the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Many people forget that there were Americans who survived the Benghazi attack, some of whom were badly injured and are still recovering.

“My understanding is that we still have some people in the hospital. I’d like to visit with them and wish them nothing but the best but the State Department has seen it unfit for me to know who those people are — or even how many there are,” Rep. Chaffetz said. “I don’t know who they are. I don’t know where they live. I don’t know what state they’re from. I don’t even know how many there are. It doesn’t seem right to me.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Video: Benghazi Cover-Up About Moving Arms to Syrian Rebels

Why did Barack Obama give the order to “stand down” and not send help to the Libyan consulate and CIA safe house? It had nothing to do with an “protest turned violent” or an obscure anti-Muslim video but everything to do with hiding the fact that Barack Obama was sending Libyan weapons to the al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Egypt May Lose $20 Bln Qatari Investments if People Vote ‘No’ For the Constitution: Qaradawi

A renowned preacher comes out in support of the constitution

The Qatar-based Egyptian Islamic preacher Youssef Qaradawi has called on Egyptians to participate and vote ‘yes’ in the constitutional referendum set on Saturday, Turkish news agency Anadolu reported on Friday.

Qaradawi, who heads the International Union of Muslim Scholars, said during the Friday prayer’s speech that voting ‘no’ in the awaited polling in Egypt will cost the country a ‘big loss’ as the attraction of investments will be hampered especially, $20 billion from Qatar.

“I will vote yes, I don’t care about neither [President Mohamed] Morsi nor Freedom and Justice Party, but I do care about Egypt, the greatest Arab country’’ Anadolu quoted Qaradawi as saying.

Qaradawi has condemned the wave of violence which Egypt’s streets saw last week rejecting the attack on Muslim Brotherhood, affirming that they want a civil state not a religious as some people claim.

Earlier on Friday, Thousands of protesters for and against the drafted constitution have held events across the country today. Qaradawi has come under scrutiny of the opposition who deem him as a staunch supporter of Morsi.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Syria: US OKs Patriot Missiles in Turkey, Rebels Advancing

Jihadists gain support, Moscow denies statements on regime end

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT — With six Patriot missile batteries and just over a thousand soldiers, NATO is preparing to deploy in southern Turkey near the Syrian border. Meanwhile, Russia has today denied changing policy on the Syrian issue, thereby reiterating its support for Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has today paid a surprise visit to NATO’s Turkish air base Incirlik, where it announced that it had signed the order to deploy two Patriot batteries and send about 400 men. Also today, the lower house of the German parliament has approved the deployment of the same number of batteries and the same number of soldiers as part of the NATO contingent. Last week the Dutch parliament also authorised sending 360 soldiers to run two Patriot batteries. The governments of the three countries — the only ones able to provide Patriot missiles within a NATO context — said that a few weeks would be needed before rendering the batteries and soldiers operative, and reiterated that the deployment would be purely defensive and would aim to protect the sovereignty of Turkey (a NATO country) from potential attacks from Syrian territory. In Syria, on the traditional Friday of Islamic prayer and anti-regime protests, demonstrations in the “liberated” zones or in those hit by repression were held under the slogan “The Only Terrorism in Syria is Assad’s Terrorism. We are all Jabhat Al Nusra”, in reference to the jihadist group of rebels operating in the northern part of the country and in the region around Damascus. On December 20, the US State Department listed Jabhat Al Nusra as an international terrorist organisation.

However, activists and rebels have once again today stood by the fundamentalists, accusing the US of not intervening to support the population suffering under the brutal repression and of having banned the most combative and effective wing of the “resistance”. Bearing witness to the growing radicalisation of the conflict along confessional lines, an amateur video (the authenticity of which cannot be verified) shows some alleged rebels in the north-western Idlib region setting fire to a husayiniyya, a place for Shias to gather for religious and social purposes.

Shias have long been considered by fundamentalist rebels “accomplices” of the regime in Damascus, allied with Iran.

Like the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia also supports President Assad and has today rectified statements made by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who had referred to a possible victory by the rebels in Syria.

“In Syria there is no alternative to a political solution,” a spokesman for the Russian ministry said, noting that Bogdanov “has not yet issued any statements or given special interviews”, and that the statements he had reportedly made had come “during a debate in which he was quoting opposition statements”. From Moscow, statements have also come from the so-called “domestic opposition” tolerated by the regime, by way of Qadri Jamil (at times called the Deputy Prime Minister by the Damascus regime, at times the head of the opposition). Jamil reiterated the need to start “national dialogue” as soon as possible between the two sides. Meanwhile, according to the Local Coordinating Committees of anti-regime activists, 62 more people have been killed today in Syria, including five women and three children. The region hit the worst was Damascus, with 32 dead. However, the number of those killed among government forces is not yet known. State-run media have not been reporting the figures for months.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syria: Rebels Seize Aleppo Military Academy

Gov’t forces kill numerous ‘terrorists’ in Idlib, state TV

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, DECEMBER 14 — Syrian anti-regime rebels on Friday stated they seized the city of Aleppo’s military academy, located on the outskirts of the northern metropolis. Activists loaded a video on the Internet (

Also on Friday, Syrian state TV reported government forces killed numerous “terrorists” in clashes in Maarrat Blid, in southern Idlib province, which is in the north-east. That report could not be independently verified.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

U.S. To Send Troops, Patriot Missiles to Turkey

The United States gave the go-ahead Friday to deploy Patriot anti-ballistic missiles to Turkey along with enough troops to operate them as the heavily embattled government in neighboring Syria again vehemently denied firing ballistic missiles at rebels.

The United States has accused Damascus of launching Scud-type artillery from the capital at rebels in the country’s north. One Washington official said missiles came close to the border of Turkey, a NATO member and staunch U.S. ally.

Syria’s government called the accusations “untrue rumors” Friday, according to state news agency SANA. Damascus accused Turkey and its partners of instigating rumors to make the government look bad internationally.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Day Two, Round Two as Ukrainian Debate in Parliament Erupts Into Another Brawl With One MP Eye-Gouging a Rival

Fists flew in the Ukraine parliament for a second day running, as MPs wrestled with each other following controversial elections in October.

The brawl erupted as a vote on the ruling Party of Regions’ nomination for speaker was about to be announced.

Opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers grappled with each other in a mass of bodies around the main rostrum in parliament.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Vodka ‘Saved’ Elephants in Siberian Freeze

Two elephants have been saved from the deadly Siberian cold by drinking vodka, Russian officials say.

They say the animals had to be taken out into the bitter cold after the wooden trailer they were travelling in caught fire in the Novosibirsk region.

The elephants, aged 45 and 48, suffered frostbite to the tips of their ears amid temperatures of -40C (-40F)

But they were warmed up by two cases of vodka mixed with warm water, one official was quoted as saying.

“They started roaring like if they were in the jungle! Perhaps, they were happy,” the official told Russia’s Ria Novosti news agency.

The animals continued their recovery in a heated garage of a local college where they were brought by a truck under police escort.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Chinese Man Attacks 22 Children, 1 Adult With Knife Outside Primary School

Case is the latest in a spate of school attacks in China in recent years. Min Yingjun, 36, slashed an elderly woman before zoning in on the schoolchildren, police said. No deaths have been reported.

A knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for classes Friday, police said, the latest in a series of periodic rampage attacks at Chinese schools and kindergartens.

The attack in the Henan province village of Chengping happened shortly before 8 a.m., said a police officer from Guangshan county, where the village is located.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Speculation Abounds: Did North Korea Launch a New EMP Capable Star Wars Weapon System?

In May of 2009 North Korea’s controversial nuclear weapons tests were dismissed by global intelligence agencies as failures due to their low explosive yield. But EMPact America President Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, a former CIA nuclear weapons analyst, had his own assessment. It appears, according to Pry, that while the yield from the nuclear tests was weak with respect to destructive power in terms of the nuclear blast itself, the tests indicated the weapon was “capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states.”

It’s been referred to as a “Super-EMP,” or electro-magnetic pulse weapon, something that foreign powers and rogue states have been working on developing for years as a low-cost, low-inventory counter strategy to America’s massive nuclear weapons stockpiles.

Some analysts now believe that North Korea may have not only built such a weapon, but this week they may have very well tested a delivery device that would make it possible for them to launch a pre-emptive strike against the United States. Such an attack could destroy electronic components in everything from cell phones and cars to water utility plants and gas stations from coast-to-coast within seconds, throwing the country’s infrastructure back to the 1800s.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Islamist Group a Threat, Think Tank Says

CONTROVERSIAL radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir poses a threat to Australia’s social fabric in the short term and may indirectly instigate terrorist attacks in the long term, researchers have warned.

Perth-based think tank Future Directions International (FDI) says while the group does not advocate violence, its anti-Western rhetoric could pose a “socio-cultural” security threat by increasing disharmony between Muslims and non-Muslims.

While the radical brand of Islam promoted by the group is at odds with the views of most Australian Muslims, a disillusioned minority are vulnerable to its indoctrination, FDI’s Mirza Sadaqat Huda says in a paper released on Thursday.

As more people join the group and its ideology gains traction it could lead to communal violence in the form of small-scale sectarian clashes, the paper warns.

“In the long term, if Hizb ut-Tahrir is given free space to operate — as is the case at present — it may pose a significant national security threat to Australia,” it says.

“As its membership expands, its leadership could become more and more decentralised.

“Not all members may follow Hizb ut-Tahrir’s overt doctrine of pursuing political objectives through non-violent means. Splinter groups may form that are prepared to undertake violence to pursue what they perceive to be justified causes.

“Lone wolf terror attacks by persons not directly related to Hizb ut-Tahrir but who are influenced by their plethora of online and print material may also be a possibility.”

The paper describes the group’s denunciation of violence as “ambiguous, if not fictitious”.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has chapters in over 40 countries and has been banned in several.

The group aims to overthrow all Western and secular governments and unite Muslim-majority countries under a global caliphate to be governed by Islamic law.

But Australia has not banned it, with successive governments arguing that would only drive it underground.

FDI backs that approach, warning a ban might only add to its appeal among radicalised young Muslims.

Policy makers should also move to create a “counter-narrative” to the group’s radical ideology, it says.

Such an approach should be devised through consultation with partner countries, the paper says.

Comment is being sought from the group, which was last in the headlines in September when controversial British leader Taji Mustafa visited Australia for the group’s annual conference in Sydney.

The conference coincided with riots sparked by Muslim outrage over an inflammatory YouTube film, but Hizb ut-Tahrir denied any involvement with the violence.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]


UK: Labour Still Can’t Face Facts on Immigration

It was the week when the BBC and the Labour Party — after a decade seeking to crush all public debate on immigration — were finally forced to confront the truth.

The Corporation led its bulletins on Tuesday with the extraordinary news from the 2011 census that 7.5million foreign-born residents now live in England and Wales — almost four million of whom have arrived since 2001.

Yesterday, Ed Miliband delivered a speech in London (where, according to the census, white Britons are a minority) in which he acknowledged that voters feel ‘profound anxiety about immigration’.

Risibly, however, the rest of the Labour leader’s often weasel-worded speech was most telling for what it did not say.

The media had been briefed in advance that Mr Miliband would admit that Labour ‘did too little to tackle the realities of segregation in communities that were struggling to cope’.

But, when he spoke, this sentence was missing — presumably because he was still unwilling publicly to confront his party’s role in promoting the multiculturalism that did such damage to Britain’s social fabric by encouraging ethnic minorities not to integrate.

[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

BBC Told to Put More Gay Presenters on Children’s TV to ‘Familiarise’ Youngsters With Different Sexualities

BBC children’s programmes should include more lesbian, gay and bisexual people, a report of the corporation recommends.

A panel of nine experts said youngsters should be introduced to sexual diversity in their early years.

While there has been a gradual increased in the representation of these people, they remain ‘still relatively invisible’ in the media, they said.

The experts added that the BBC should be ‘more creative and bolder in its depiction of such groups of people, taking care to steer clear of stereotypes.’

The report concluded: ‘The LGB [lesbian, gay and bisexual] experts feel that the BBC should seek to incorporate the portrayal of LGB people within programming targeted at children, to familiarise audiences through incidental portrayal from an early age.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Black Racism Alive and Flourishing in America

Today, if you sport white skin in America, you cannot make one single comment concerning race. You cannot make a joke, tell a story or say anything that would ruffle the feathers of any other race in America.

But if you are black, you can use the N-word with impunity in speech and songs. You can call whites “crackers, honkeys, whitey” and worse names with no consequences.

While white America elected the first black president, it also brought out the worst in some black Americans that should know better, act better and think with a brain instead of emotions.

Black actor Jamie Foxx on Saturday Night Live this past weekend started a wild fire of anger and responses with his racist diatribe on national TV. If a white person had said anything like Foxx said, “I get free, I save my wife, and I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that? And how black is that?” That white person would be arrested for hate crimes. He would have started black riots all over the country. He would have been on trial for his life. If he had been a white movie star or a politician, he would have been buried by the media.

Yet, during the SNL performance, viewers in the audience cheered Foxx for every racist comment he made.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Pope Suggests Promoting Gay Unions Harms Justice, Peace

Pontiff says threat may ‘destabilize marriage’

(ANSA) — Vatican City, December 14 — Pope Benedict XVI has suggested that attempts to give gay unions the same status as marriages between men and women pose a threat to justice and peace.

“There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union,” the pope said in his message for World Day of Peace 2013, which was presented by the Holy See on Friday.

“Such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.

“These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom.

“They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity.

“The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation.

“Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace”.

The pope’s message for World Day of Peace 2013, which takes place January 1, is entitled Blessed are the Peacemakers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]