Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/19/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/19/2009There are several follow-up reports about the Swedish article reporting a Palestinian claim that Israelis deliberately kill Palestinian children to harvest their organs. The Swede who wrote the article maintains that he isn’t an anti-Semite. Gosh, I didn’t think he was one — did you?

In other news, the mayor of a northern Italian town has decided to fine any woman who wears a burkini at local swimming pools.

Thanks to Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, CB, A Greek Friend, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, JD, KGS, Sean O’Brian, Steen, TB, Tuan Jim, VH, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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USA
AARP Loses Members Over Health Care Stance
Ancient Jet Keeps the U.S. Air War Flying
Attorney: FBI Trained NJ Blogger to Incite Others
Inside Obama Administration, A Tug of War Over Nuclear Warheads
Media Corruption and the Two Party System
Obama, Congress to Decide When You Die?
The Fannie Mae Health System
The Straight Poop on Islam
U.K. On Obamacare: Been There, Done That
 
Europe and the EU
Barry Rubin: Swedish Blood Libel as Slander of Israel Passes All Limits
Brussels Suggests EU-Wide Tax Databases
EU to Probe ‘Exploding’ iPhones and iPods
Freedom is Now Flowing From West to East
‘I’m No Anti-Semite, ‘ Says Swedish Writer of IDF Organ Harvest Story
Italian Northern Town to Fine Women Wearing Burkini
Italian City to Fine Muslim Women in Burkinis
Italy Gets a Look at Burkini
Italy: Town to Fine Minors Caught Smoking
Italy: Wine as Collateral for Bank Loans
Italy: ‘Death in Venice’ Beach Threatened
Italy: Military Plane to Repatriate Young Afghan’s Corpse
Italy: Muslim Girls Get Grilling Over ‘Burkini’
Light Falls on Light, In Symbolic Mosque of Rome
Poll: Danes Support Burka Ban
Sweden Slams Paper Over Israel Allegations
Top Sweden Newspaper Says IDF Kills Palestinians for Their Organs
UK: ‘A Man is Trying to Kill My Mummy’: Heartbreaking 999 Call Made by Girl, 7, As She Sees Mother Stabbed to Death
UK: Censors Reject ‘Sadistic’ Horror
UK: Father Turned Away From Hospital With Pregnant Wife Delivers Baby on Bathroom Floor — and Saves His Daughter’s Life
UK: Mass Graves Could be Dug to Cope With Autumn Bout of Swine Flu
UK: Nurse Sacked and Accused of Abuse… For Smacking Her Son at Home
UK: Public Schoolgirl: I’m in Love With Lesbian Teacher Facing Jail Over Our Affair
UK: So What Did You Expect When You Wolf-Whistled at Them?
UK: Tory MP Claims DNA Record Victory
UK: Woman Gives Birth on Pavement ‘After Being Refused Ambulance’
UK: Warning Over Driving Fines Plan
Universities: Italy, 10,057 Albanian Students in 2008-2009
Violence Erupts for Second Night in UK Town
Wilders Not Prosecuted for Showing Danish Cartoons
 
Balkans
Italy-Albania: In September Exhibit on Arbereshe Culture
 
North Africa
Israel-Egypt, Egyptian Soldier Injured on Border
Open Letter to President Mubarak From the Historical Society of Jews From Egypt:
Tunisia Reporter Move ‘Bodes Ill’
 
Israel and the Palestinians
Gaza: Abbas: Salaphites Sons of Hamas. Hamas Accuse Al-Qaeda
Israel Removes Outpost in Lebanon-Disputed Terrain
Mahmoud Abbas: Attack by Hamas Inhuman
Muslim Group Republishes Punishable Cartoon
Obama Hopes to See Willing From Palestinians
Obama to Mubarak, Israel in Right Direction
Obama: Palestinian State Now, Israel’s Security Later
Peres: Yes to Conference in Moscow Without Hamas
 
Middle East
IAEA Accused of Withholding Iran Nuclear Evidence
Iran Still Won’t Agree to Talks With Obama
Kirkuk: A Businessman Killed, A Doctor Kidnapped. Fear Returns to Haunt Christians
Lebanon: Polemics Over Cow ‘Cross-Over’ From Israel
Lebanon: HRW, “Racism” Claims at Beach Clubs
Tourism: Brits, Iranians Prefer Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast
Turkey: Protests in Ankara Over Anti-Smoking Law
Turkey: Villagers Beat Up British Cyclists
Turkey: Trabzon Official Takes Wind Out of Tourists’ Rites
Turkey: Friends, Foes, Friendly Foes and Hostile Partners
Turks Rally Against Smoking Ban
 
Russia
Fighting Alcoholism in Russia Absolutely Impossible, Medvedev Says
 
South Asia
India: Hindu Students Against Muslim Girl Kept Out of Class for Wearing a Headscarf
Indonesia Probes Saudi Cash Link to Hotels Attack
Muslim Model Becomes First Woman in Malaysia to be Caned After Being Caught Drinking a Beer
Obama Reaches Out to Islamist Parties in Pakistan
Taleban Paid to Call Off Election Attacks
 
Far East
China Bans Petitioners in Beijing
 
Australia — Pacific
Petrochina in Huge Australia Deal
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
Kenyan Women Set Up “To Hell With Men” Village
Somali Town Cleared of Radicals
 
Latin America
What Happened in Guadalajara
 
Immigration
It’s Official: White British People Have Been Ethnically Cleansed From Inner London
Migrants Create More Italian Jobs
UK: Who Are the Minorities?
 
General
Communists Cry to Media: ‘We Are People, Too’

USA

AARP Loses Members Over Health Care Stance

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 60,000 senior citizens have quit AARP since July 1 due to the group’s support for a health care overhaul, a spokesman for the organization said Monday.

The membership loss suggests dissatisfaction on the part of AARP members at a time when many senior citizens are concerned about proposed cuts to Medicare providers to help pay for making health care available for all. But spokesman Drew Nannis said it wasn’t unusual for the powerful, 40 million-strong senior citizens’ lobby to shed members in droves when it’s advocating on a controversial issue.

[Comments from JD: Check AARP’s track record of position they advocate — you may be surprised.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Ancient Jet Keeps the U.S. Air War Flying

SOUTHWEST ASIA (unspecified location) — At the heart of the high-tech, wired-to-the-hilt American air war in Afghanistan is a rusting plane so old-school, it predates John F. Kennedy’s term in the White House.

I’m in front of a matte-gray jet, designed to deliver gas to the rest of the American air armada as it buzzes over Central Asia and the Middle East. Every day, the KC-135 tankers here haul a million pounds of fuel. Without them, the fighter jets, bombers and airborne haulers circling above Afghanistan and Iraq would drop out of the sky. That’s a pretty heavy burden for a bunch of old-timers — this plane was built in 1960.

“And this is one of the newer ones,” says Captain Nick LaPlant, as we walk past rusting flaps and visibly loose panels. “It’s absolutely amazing it stays in the air still.”

The cockpit is even more startling. “Time capsule: doesn’t begin to describe it. The navigator’s desk is held together by duct tape. The seats are covered with Mad Men-era light shag. There’s even a sextant still embedded in the ceiling of the cockpit — in case anyone needs to navigate by starlight.

Yet somehow, 91 percent of these tankers are ready to fly on a given day. (For the rest of the Air Force, that number is often in the 70s.) It’s a testament to the 400-man maintenance team here, which not only tightens bolts and replaces blown tires. They are constantly making new ailerons and gears from scratch for the plane. The 135s are so old, some of the parts aren’t even made any more. So sometimes the “fabrication flight” here runs a laser-tipped claw over an old tube — scanning the specs into a computer-aided design program, from which they can burn a new piece. Or the flight uses a giant 32-bit robotic turret, to pound precision holes. Or they just do it the old-fashioned way and bend metal.

Now, not everything in the 135 is ancient. The avionics are new. Sensors turn the crew’s cabin into a “glass cockpit,” so they can see underneath the plane. This particular plane has extra communications gear installed, for special operations missions. Its CFM-109 engines are relative whippersnappers, installed in the 1980s.

Still, taking a tour of these planes only reinforces the utter and complete negligence of the folks in the Pentagon and in Congress who have managed for the better part of a decade to screw up the project to replace these creaking gas-haulers. The nearly $100-billion contract for the next generation of tankers has not been awarded yet, despite countless attempts. And the current crop will be around for a whole lot longer.

“They tell us the mother of the last 135 pilot hasn’t been born yet. We expect to be flying these planes quite a few years longer,” LaPlant says.

I tell LaPlant he must’ve misspoken — the mother of the last pilot? That’s …

“Unfathomable, yeah.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim[Return to headlines]


Attorney: FBI Trained NJ Blogger to Incite Others

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A New Jersey blogger facing charges in two states for allegedly making threats against lawmakers and judges was trained by the FBI on how to be deliberately provocative, his attorney said Tuesday.

Hal Turner worked for the FBI from 2002 to 2007 as an “agent provocateur” and was taught by the agency “what he could say that wouldn’t be crossing the line,” defense attorney Michael Orozco said.

“His job was basically to publish information which would cause other parties to act in a manner which would lead to their arrest,” Orozco said.

Prosecutors have acknowledged that Turner was an informant who spied on radical right-wing organizations, but the defense has said Turner was not working for the FBI when he allegedly made threats against Connecticut legislators and wrote that three federal judges in Illinois deserved to die.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Inside Obama Administration, A Tug of War Over Nuclear Warheads

WASHINGTON — U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden in early June blocked a Defense Department bid to revive a defunct program aimed at fielding modern nuclear warheads across the strategic arsenal, according to those familiar with the episode (see GSN, June 24).

Defense Secretary Robert Gates raised the idea of reinstating the controversial Reliable Replacement Warhead effort during a secret “Principals’ Committee” meeting convened by the National Security Council, Global Security Newswire has learned.

In pursuing the initiative, Gates appears to have won the backing of some pivotal Cabinet secretaries, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One administration-watcher — a critic of the replacement-warhead idea — alleges that several key appointees at the Defense and State departments are now “scheming and maneuvering” to bring the program back to life.

However, Biden has strongly opposed the move, based on the view that pursuing a new U.S. warhead program could undermine Washington’s efforts to discourage nuclear weapons proliferation around the globe.

The issue remains unresolved, according to a wide array of policy officials and experts.

Under the RRW project, government officials said they intended to design new warheads that could make the aging nuclear arsenal more safe, secure and reliable — without adding new military capabilities or resuming explosive testing. However, Congress eliminated funding for the Bush administration initiative for the past two fiscal years and, this year, President Barack Obama omitted the program from his fiscal 2010 budget request (see GSN, May 11).

Lawmakers have charged that warhead replacement could damage U.S. counterproliferation objectives by making it appear that Washington was backtracking on its commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to reduce and ultimately eliminate its own large arsenal.

The proposed alternative is to continue the ongoing program to refurbish and reuse existing warheads through the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Stockpile Stewardship effort. That approach involves extending the service lives of aging warheads rather than building new weapons to replace them.

Nuclear weapons experts are engaged in an increasingly heated debate over whether stewardship will be enough to maintain confidence in the vintage warheads, particularly as a voluntary U.S. moratorium on explosive testing enters its third decade. The average warhead in the current arsenal is roughly 20 years old.

Two years ago, a U.S. government advocate of nuclear warhead modernization said age-related failures in the arsenal are a serious concern, but one that would not likely manifest for 20 or more years.

U.S. nuclear-design personnel have warned that successive refurbishments of existing weapons “may pose an unacceptable risk to maintaining the long-term reliability of the stockpile, absent nuclear testing,” John Harvey, then head of NNSA policy planning, said in June 2007. However, he hastened to add, “[By saying] ‘long term,’ I’m not talking about two, three, four or five years. I’m talking about two [or] three decades.”

In denying funding for the RRW program last year, Congress said it might reconsider warhead replacement, but only after the administration shows how such an effort would fit into an overarching nuclear weapons strategy.

The Pentagon is undertaking a broad assessment of strategy, forces and readiness called the Nuclear Posture Review, due for completion by the end of the year. Among the issues to be assessed is the “nuclear weapons stockpile that will be required for implementing the United States’ national and military strategy, including any plans for replacing or modifying warheads,” according to a Defense Department fact sheet.

Obama Team Weighs In

The conflict between Gates and Biden came to a head at the June meeting of the Principals’ Committee, a White House forum in which top national security officials consider major policy issues. Sources would describe the meeting only on condition of not being named because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive subject publicly.

Spokesmen for Biden and Gates would not confirm any details of the meeting, which sources said took place during the second week of June. A National Security Council spokesman declined to reveal the date on which the Principals’ Committee met.

Nuclear stockpile modernization was not on the official agenda for the high-level gathering, which centered instead on preparing a U.S. negotiating position for arms control talks with Moscow, according to sources.

Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in July announced they had agreed to nuclear-warhead and delivery-vehicle reductions for a new accord, which they hope will replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty before it expires in December.

During the interagency meeting, Gates reportedly volunteered that a warhead-replacement effort would be vital to maintaining the nuclear arsenal’s viability, particularly after additional arms control reductions are taken.

Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, provided Gates backup at the meeting, according to these sources. Formerly the top combatant commander for strategic nuclear weapons, the Marine Corps general expressed concern that today’s arsenal incorporates vacuum tubes and other outdated technologies that should be replaced, sources told GSN.

Through a spokesman, Cartwright declined comment for this article.

His successor at U.S. Strategic Command, Gen. Kevin Chilton, stirred some controversy this spring after voicing similar worries about vacuum tubes. Nuclear-weapon experts have cast doubt on the notion that the vintage technology constitutes a valid basis for a warhead-replacement program, because it is used sparingly in the arsenal and could easily be tested and replaced, if needed (see GSN, May 14).

Clinton, also at the June meeting, joined in supporting Gates by noting that a U.S. nuclear modernization program that includes warhead replacement might be necessary for domestic political reasons, according to sources. Specifically, she argued it might be necessary for the Obama administration to embark on an ambitious warhead modernization effort if it is to win enough Republican support for Senate ratification of the START replacement pact, according to sources.

A similar quid pro quo, according to conservative thinkers, might also be necessary next year for Senate approval of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, another objective Obama laid out in his Prague speech. “Then you can have your cake and eat it, too,” one senior Senate aide said last week.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose agency maintains the atomic stockpile via its semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration and took the lead in planning the RRW program, reportedly weighed in on the June discussion with a modest show of support, saying that replacement warheads might be needed.

Though James Steinberg, Clinton’s deputy, volunteered that Obama should be consulted before his administration changes course on warhead replacement, it was left to the vice president to express full-throated opposition, sources said.

Biden raised the notion that an ambitious nuclear modernization effort that includes building replacement warheads could undercut the Obama administration’s nonproliferation goals, according to these sources. Most importantly, Washington is attempting to build international consensus against Iran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons and North Korea’s maintenance of its nascent arsenal.

Biden reportedly argued that the international community would almost certainly cry foul on a replacement-warhead effort, particularly given Obama’s pledge to work toward the long-term elimination of nuclear weapons around the world. This spring, Obama tapped Biden to lead the administration’s nonproliferation initiatives (see GSN, April 8).

As a presidential candidate during the Democratic primary campaign, Biden raised other pointed questions about the RRW effort. The former Delaware senator in 2007 alleged the warhead-replacement project had been “hijacked” by those seeking to maintain a bloated nuclear arms establishment, and should be jettisoned in favor of maintaining the existing stockpile.

A First Test

Few expect the Principals’ Committee exchange to represent the final word on the warhead-replacement matter.

Gates’ behind-the-scenes attempt in June to resuscitate the idea, experts said, was a first real test of whether Obama as president would maintain his opposition to “rushing to produce a new generation of warheads,” as he said during last year’s campaign.

Even with Biden serving as a backstop against an RRW revival, Obama’s national security team remains split over the matter and it is not certain which side will prevail.

“It’s not clear where we’re going to go [on the warhead issue],” one senior Defense Department official told GSN. “We need an effective stockpile [but] we haven’t got a consensus within the administration on what that means. And so I can’t say that, forever, this ‘replacement’ idea is verboten.”

Insiders said the high-level discussion illustrated just the tip of the iceberg, reflecting a broader power struggle coalescing within the Obama administration’s nuclear arms policy circles. The question: How to balance the president’s ambitious vision for diminishing the global allure of nuclear weapons with domestic political pressure to maintain a robust U.S. arsenal?

To some extent, the evolving tug of war can be seen in Obama’s own public words. On April 5, the president delivered a major address in Prague in which he laid out two facets of his nuclear weapons policy (see GSN, April 6).

“The United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons,” Obama said. “To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same.”

He added, though: “Make no mistake: As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies.”

If Obama’s drive to bring fresh thinking to complex policy issues prevails in this instance, these twin nuclear objectives might successfully be pursued hand-in-hand, according to some nuclear strategy experts. Nearly all agree it would take a great deal of focus and finesse.

As the world’s premier nuclear power, “you need to act like you care just enough to maintain just enough [U.S. weapons] for long enough for people to think that you’re serious,” the senior Senate aide said last week. “This is hard to do.”

However, behind closed doors in Obama’s administration, senior appointees and others have begun lining up behind one or the other policy goal, and the two sides are beginning to clash.

The Prague speech “opened up two trenches,” said Hans Kristensen, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project.

One faction promotes “taking strong, practical and unambivalent steps toward zero” nuclear weapons, he said in an interview last week. The other is “more interested in maintaining a credible deterrent, as long as nuclear weapons exist.”

Link to Arms Control

In Gates’ view, as the stockpile ages, the risk grows that a defect might be discovered that could render a whole class of warheads unusable. Once arms control reductions are taken and the arsenal shrinks, the relative effect of such a discovery could magnify.

If a sizable portion of a smaller arsenal becomes unusable, the U.S. deterrent posture could be significantly weakened, according to this perspective.

The antidote, from Gates’ standpoint, would be to ensure that — after taking arms control reductions — newer and more reliable warheads populate the remaining stockpile. The Reliable Replacement Warhead’s new design was envisioned as replacing outdated materials with modern technologies, and lowering the risk of theft or accidental detonation.

The Pentagon leader — a Bush administration holdover who has largely embraced the new president’s policies on Iraq, Afghanistan and defense acquisition reform — last year publicly laid down the gauntlet on nuclear modernization. He said an ambitious effort must be undertaken to assure that the arsenal remains safe, secure and reliable.

The RRW program, Gates told a Washington audience in October, “could potentially allow us to reduce aging stockpiles by balancing the risk between a smaller number of warheads and an industrial complex that could produce new weapons if the need arose.”

Warhead replacement, the defense secretary said, “is about the future credibility of our strategic deterrent. And it deserves urgent attention” (see GSN, Oct. 29, 2008).

“His view of the necessity of a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear arsenal has not changed since that speech,” Geoff Morrell, Gates’ spokesman, told GSN on Friday.

With the change in administration, the urgency Gates saw last fall was overtaken by more pressing issues, including the global economic meltdown and increasing violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

However, the June meeting offered Gates an opportunity to revisit the issue, this time specifically linking a domestic warhead-modernization imperative to the ongoing START follow-on negotiations, according to sources.

“Scheming and Maneuvering”

At the Pentagon, military officials are quietly looking to “fund RRW sometime late in the [fiscal 2011 budget-planning] process, either right after Thanksgiving or right after Christmas,” said one former officer following the issue. “They don’t understand that nuclear weapons are essentially political weapons and not to be used.”

“RRW is dead but RRW supporters are looking to revive this corpse,” said Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund. “They are scheming and maneuvering to use the Nuclear Posture Review as justification for a new warhead, to convince the White House that the only way to get the test-ban treaty ratified is to get a new warhead.”

Morrell, Gates’ spokesman, confirmed that the issue remains in play.

“The Nuclear Posture Review is still very much a work in progress,” he said last week. “Nuclear modernization is certainly part of that review.”

An influential, bipartisan group of senators last month wrote to Obama to suggest that their support for the upcoming START follow-on treaty might hinge on his nuclear warhead modernization plans.

When the president submits the new pact for Senate ratification, he “should also submit a plan,” including multiyear budget figures, “to enhance the safety, security and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile,” according to the July 23 letter, signed by six senators, including Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.); and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and ranking member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (see GSN, Aug. 4).

“In whatever form it is, [RRW] is still alive,” said one former official who asked not to be named. “I think the stalemate has disappeared and what emerges remains to be seen.”

Obama administration officials “haven’t reconciled Prague’s rhetoric with the stockpile’s reality,” said the senior Senate aide. “I think right now they’re muddling, and very badly.”

A Possible Outcome?

In May, a bipartisan congressionally mandated commission recommended that the nation take a case-by-case approach to maintaining the U.S. arsenal. As each warhead type comes due for maintenance and life-extension measures, officials would determine what specific steps would be needed, in this view. Many experts believe the Pentagon-led Nuclear Posture Review will adopt a similar tack.

“The two basic approaches to refurbishment and modernization are, in fact, not stark alternatives,” according to the report from the panel, headed by former defense secretaries William Perry and James Schlesinger.

“Rather, they are options along a spectrum. That spectrum is defined at its two ends by the pure remanufacturing of existing warheads with existing components at one end and complete redesign and new production of all system components at the other,” the document states. “In between are various options to utilize existing components and design solutions while mixing in new components and solutions as needed. … The decision on which approach is best should be made on a case-by-case basis as the existing stockpile of warheads ages.”

Yet, some advocates of including the full array of modernization options have made clear they do not share Obama’s vision of a nuclear weapons-free world. Those include Schlesinger, the commission’s vice chairman, who said last month that “we will need a strong deterrent” into “perpetuity.”

In June, a senior administration official endorsed the commission’s approach to nuclear modernization.

“We can best manage risk if given the opportunity to apply a spectrum of options: warhead refurbishment, warhead component reuse and warhead replacement to our life extension strategy,” Harvey, the former NNSA policy official, said at a Capitol Hill gathering.

Now a Pentagon senior civilian working on nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, Harvey said a modernization effort that includes warhead-replacement would be consistent with the test-ban treaty, because upgraded weapons would increase confidence in the stockpile in the absence of test explosions.

He also said such an effort would bolster the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty because a “credible” U.S. deterrent would reduce incentives for allies to acquire their own atomic arms.

“If you’re living in a world with other nuclear powers, are you going to play in the ballgame?” said a former senior Bush administration official, who asked not to be identified. “There’s nothing in history to suggest that leading by example works in the nuclear world.”

One replacement-warhead critic said this approach would almost certainly dash Obama’s hopes of seeing the test-ban treaty ratified by other nations and come into force, and could also encourage further proliferation of nuclear weapons.

“One of the principle arguments in favor of the test ban has long been that it would prevent new types of weapons from coming on line,” said Stephen Young, a senior analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “An American decision to deploy new, untested warheads undermines that argument and could destroy any chance of the treaty becoming reality.”

Cirincione, who spent years as a congressional committee staff aide, finds particularly galling his sense that many in Obama’s own appointed national security team are selling the president short by pushing for a replacement warhead. These include a half-dozen or more political appointees at lower levels at the Pentagon, State Department and elsewhere known more for their sense of caution than an affinity for bold strokes.

“Ironically, in their effort to look strong, they’re displaying weakness,” he said. “They’re offering concessions up that should only come down to the last resort.”

Several experts said Obama himself would likely have to issue a clear directive if his administration is to take a fresh approach to warhead modernization, one that reflects his vision of de-emphasizing the role of nuclear weapons on a path toward eliminating them.

“The president has to have the guts to say no,” said one RRW opponent who asked not to be named. “Almost everyone else is inclined to Clinton-vintage political triangulation.”

As a Democratic contender for the presidency, the former president’s wife in 2007 staked out a position in opposition to a replacement warhead.

“The Bush administration has dangerously put the cart before the horse, planning to rush ahead with new nuclear weapons without any considered assessment of what we need these weapons for or what the impact of building them would be on our effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons around the world,” said Hillary Clinton, then representing New York in the Senate.

For his part, candidate Obama left himself some room to reverse course, saying he would not support “a premature decision to produce the RRW.”

Without clear direction from Obama, now president, “we essentially signal [to the world] that the president’s nuclear elimination pledge is just another ultimate goal and not different from what any other president has uttered,” Kristensen said.

“The vision comes only from the president,” he added. “Somebody has to make a decision and tell [the bureaucracy], ‘Do it.’“

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim[Return to headlines]


Media Corruption and the Two Party System

What drives President Barack Obama to want to seize control of the health care and energy sectors of the U.S. economy? Obama was trained as a Marxist from his days as a young boy in Hawaii when his grandfather picked Communist Party USA member Frank Marshall Davis as his mentor. In college, as Obama tells the story, he picked his “friends” carefully, in order to avoid being perceived as a sell-out, and those friends included the “Marxist professors.” Later, in Chicago, he would become a political associate of another Marxist Professor, Bill Ayers of the University of Illinois. Does anybody see a pattern here?

Based on what we have seen at some of the town hall meetings, there are some Americans who don’t want to see the U.S. go down the Marxist road. This is the time for the media to tell the truth about Obama and his agenda.

Unfortunately, we have now been treated to a new dishonest Obama book, Renegade, by Richard Wolffe, supposedly about “The Making of a President.” Far from being a “renegade,” the evidence shows that this President is probably the most far-left ideologically of any major political party nominee in history. Even as new questions emerge, however, it is still a challenge to get the media to report on the truthful but damaging information that is already a matter of public record.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Obama, Congress to Decide When You Die?

I was not intimidated during J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI hunt for reporters like me who criticized him. I railed against the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights without blinking. But now I am finally scared of a White House administration. President Obama’s desired health care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) — as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill — decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive. Watch for that life-decider in the final bill. It’s already in the stimulus bill signed into law.

The members of that ultimate federal board will themselves not have examined or seen the patient in question. For another example of the growing, tumultuous resistance to “Dr. Obama,” particularly among seniors, there is a July 29 Washington Times editorial citing a line from a report written by a key adviser to Obama on cost-efficient health care, prominent bioethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel).

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Fannie Mae Health System

President Obama’s “public option” health care plan has been temporarily shelved — or, at least, that’s what his spokespeople would have us believe. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, said on Aug. 16 that a public option wasn’t an “essential option” in revamping the health care system. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is now pushing a new idea: the insurance co-op. “A co-op has some appeal because it is a nonprofit alternative,” Conrad says. “At the same time, not government run or government controlled.”

What exactly are co-ops? There are several different definitions. Some co-ops involve private ownership of an insurer; the insurer is operated on a nonprofit basis. Individuals can then buy insurance from the co-op. Another co-op option would be the Ace Hardware model, in which insurers pool their resources and sell to individuals on a for-profit basis.

That isn’t what Conrad is talking about, however. According to the Associated Press, “Conrad said $6 billion would be needed — in loans and grants to help doctors, hospitals, businesses and other groups form nonprofit cooperative networks.” This isn’t a privately held nonprofit, and it’s not a privately held for-profit. It’s a government-subsidized business that will be indirectly responsible for administering government policy.

The health care co-ops are Fannie Mae.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Straight Poop on Islam

I suspect that because George Bush and Condoleezza Rice were so respectful of Muslims, constantly telling us that theirs is a religion of peace, some otherwise sensible Americans actually began to believe it. Now we have a president who not only kowtows to a Saudi prince, but carries on as if Israeli homes are more threatening than Iranian nukes.

What is wrong with our leaders? Are they worried that they won’t be invited to those cool Ramadan parties? The Islamics have been actively at war with us for 30 years and generally at war with Western Civilization for well over a thousand years, and still we pay lip service to these people in a way we never did with Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan or the Soviet Union. Is it because the Muslims commit sadism and murder in the name of religion and not country? If anything, I would think that would make their evil acts all the more contemptible.

Still, I would contend that Hezbollah and al-Qaida are not as dangerous as America’s liberals. The Islamic terrorists can only kill so many people, but those on the left are doing everything in their power to eviscerate America. Cap-and-trade can destroy our industrial might; Obama’s trillion-dollar stimulus programs combined with his delusional health care plan will not only bankrupt our nation, but lead inevitably to a rate of inflation that will impress even Jimmy Carter; and the budget cuts directed at our military and our missile defense system will make us increasingly vulnerable to our various enemies.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


U.K. On Obamacare: Been There, Done That

But Daniel Hannan — a popular British member of the European Parliament — recently warned us of what to expect should Obama’s vision come to fruition:

“If you want to see what a government-run health care system looks like, you need not look any further than the countries like Canada or Great Britain. They already have in place so-called universal health care, and the results, well, they’re not pretty.”

And, as you’re about to see, with the words “not pretty” Mr. Hannan has secured his spot in the “morose understatement hall of fame.”

[…]

The following headlines from Britain’s three leading newspapers, the Times, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, bear out Mr. Hannan’s ominous warning. Most of these stories are from 2009 and address the U.K.’s version of Obamacare (Britain’s “National Health Service,” or “NHS”.)

For a sobering exercise in reality, simply replace “NHS” with “Obamacare” everywhere it appears:

  • “Cancer doctors do not tell patients about drugs which could prolong lives”
  • “Patients forced to live in agony after NHS refuses to pay for painkilling injections”
  • “A million failed asylum seekers (illegal immigrants) will get free NHS care in human rights U-turn”
  • “Ruling ‘denies treatment to 100,000 Alzheimer’s patients’“
  • “Transsexuals win right to sex swap on NHS”
  • “Patients risk going blind as NHS refuses treatment”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Barry Rubin: Swedish Blood Libel as Slander of Israel Passes All Limits

We are not talking about a Saudi newspaper or Hamas radio station but a Swedish newspaper. We are not talking about a neo-Nazi rag but a daily closely tied to the Swedish Social Democratic Party. And we are not just talking about an obscure item but an article that received top billing.

On August 18, Aftonbladet published an article by a man named Donald Boström. The editor responsible is named Åsa Linderborg. She is the newspaper’s cultural affairs’ editor.

This was no random decision for her. When asked once: “What do you wish for most in life right now?” She answered: “What a simple question. What I want is a free Palestine.”

And what did this article say? That Israel’s army deliberately murders Palestinian civilians so that it can cut out and sell their organs to sick people needing transplants.

The story is based on the arrest of a Jewish man in Brooklyn for selling organs but the news coverage has no hint of any Israeli connection.

The Swedish story is based on Palestinian sources (though the author also claims he has UN sources for it)—like so many slanders of Israel which are widely purveyed. It is easy to forget that the false claim of a Jenin massacre—which received massive coverage in the Western media—was based on an interview with a single Palestinian who nobody even knew.

[Ironically, the Beirut Daily Star has a very responsible article, also with no claim of Israeli involvement, on the issue of organ sales.]

At this point you are no doubt thinking: This is some kind of sick joke.

Yes, it is. But the newspaper published it anyway…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]


Brussels Suggests EU-Wide Tax Databases

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS — In a bid to use the momentum of the economic crisis which has strained EU public budgets, the European Commission has proposed a potentially controversial system to boost fight against tax fraud by allowing national authorities to directly access taxpayer data in other countries.

“In the current economic situation it is more important than ever to fight tax fraud efficiently and a fully functioning administrative cooperation between tax administrations is key in that respect,” the EU’s taxation commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said in a statement on Tuesday (18 August).

Introducing the proposed structure, the Hungarian commissioner said he wanted to provide national tax officers with “all technical and legal means to take action” and protect other states’ tax revenue “as effectively as their own.”

The key element of the blueprint is the creation of “Eurofisc” — a scheme for rapid exchange of targeted information to which the authorities from all 27 EU member states would have direct access, in order to “stop fraud and catch fraudsters,” Mr Kovacs said.

The idea is to prevent “carousel” fraud over value added tax (VAT), which occurs when someone gets VAT-free goods in one country and sells them on VAT-included terms in another state, but disappears before paying the tax.

To boost the practical effect of the system, the EU executive also suggested concrete rules on which kind of information should be gathered in national tax databases and how it should be registered — to make it easy to compare and use by officers in other states.

According to some estimates, Europe’s governments lose up to 10 percent in VAT receipts each year, amounting to some €200 billion to €250 billion. In 2006, Germany reported its overall losses in VAT receipts as €17 billion per year, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

But the commission’s blueprint could still face tough opposition from national capitals. The move requires unanimous support and EU governments tend to carefully guard their tax competences, including access to their national data in this area.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


EU to Probe ‘Exploding’ iPhones and iPods

The EU is investigating reports of exploding iPhones and iPods, it was reported last night.

There are reports of iPods allegedly exploding or catching fire in Britain, France, Holland and Sweden.

Earlier this month an iPod Touch belonging to Ellie Stanborough, an 11-year-old girl from Liverpool, apparently blew up.

Her father complained at the time that he dropped the music player after it over-heated.

‘It made a hissing noise,’ he said. ‘I could feel it getting hotter in my hand and I thought I could see vapour.’

He threw the music player out of his back door and ‘within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Freedom is Now Flowing From West to East

In August 1989 as communism collapsed, Britain was a beacon to the new regimes. Today we are squandering our liberty

[…]

After 1989 Big Brother was no longer welcome in Budapest, Prague or Warsaw — he moved to London to be ever more warmly embraced by successive Labour administrations. The birthplace of political liberties, the home of the Magna Carta, is now one of the most intrusive democracies in the world. Labour governments have introduced surveillance and monitoring systems of which the communists could only dream. Of course, Britain is not a real police state. But it is certainly sliding further into authoritarianism.

Perhaps because I live abroad, each time I return home I can clearly see quite how subtle and dangerous a process is unfolding. A series of Home Secretaries have presided over a steady, stealthy shredding of our civil liberties. I am amazed at how supine citizens allow local and national government to intrude ever further into their daily lives, logging, tracking and recording everything from household waste disposal to mobile telephone use.

These small changes seem to herald a more dramatic constitutional shift: the rewriting of the social contract under which citizens are apparently regarded not as active participants in society, but, at best as irritants to be monitored, and at worst as potential criminals to be pre-emptively arrested, just as George Orwell predicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four…

[Return to headlines]


‘I’m No Anti-Semite, ‘ Says Swedish Writer of IDF Organ Harvest Story

Donald Boström, the Swedish journalist whose article accusing Israel Defense Forces soldiers of killing Palestinians to obtain their organs evoked outrage, denied on Tuesday that he was motivated by anti-Semitism.

“I’m very sad to hear people accuse me of anti-Semitism,” Boström told Haaretz on Tuesday.

Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, Aftonbladet, ran Bostrom’s piece under the headline, “They plunder the organs of our sons”. In the wake of the report and the furious public reaction, the Israeli embassy in Stockholm on Wednesday sent a sternly-worded diplomatic protest to the Swedish government.

Boström’s article, which appeared first in English on Haaretz.com, makes a link to the recent exposure of an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey. The syndicate includes several American rabbis, and one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant.

“Now that [the story] has once again risen to the surface, I wanted to point out the link [to the New Jersey affair] and the fact that there needs to be an investigation of the claims,” Boström said.

Boström said he had offered the story to another Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, which turned it down “with no explanation.”

The reporter said Aftonbladet, the most popular evening tabloid in Sweden, published the article without making any editorial changes.

Asa Linderborg, an editor of the newspaper’s culture section which printed the story, told Haaretz that the publication “stands behind the demand for an international inquiry.”

“We had many discussions on whether to publish the article or not, and to the best of my knowledge, there are no facts there that are incorrect,” Linderborg said.

Foreign Ministry blasts Swedish tabloid’s ‘anti-Semitic hate porn’

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday blasted the article. calling it anti-Semitic “hate porn”.

“This article has clear elements of medieval blood libels against Jews,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said of Monday’s story in Aftonbladet. Accusing the tabloid of encouraging hate crimes, he said: “This is intolerable.”

Swedish embassy in Tel Aviv condemns article

Sweden’s ambassador to Israel issued a press release on Wednesday condemning the article which appeared in Aftonbladet.

“The article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is as shocking and appalling to us Swedes, as it is to Israeli citizens,” the ambassador, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier, said on Wednesday.

“Just as in Israel, freedom of the press prevails in Sweden,” Bonnier said.. “However, freedom of the press and freedom of expression are freedoms which carry a certain responsibility.”

           — Hat tip: CB[Return to headlines]


Italian Northern Town to Fine Women Wearing Burkini

(ANSAmed) — TURIN, AUGUST 19 — A mayor of a northern Italian town decided on Wednesday to slap a hefty fine on women seen wearing the Islamic head-to-toe swimsuit or ‘burkini’ in local pools. Gianluca Buonanno, the mayor of Varallo Sesia in the northwestern region of Piedmont, said the sight of “a masked woman could cause dismay, especially among children” enjoying a day at the pool. Buonanno, who is also an MP with the devolutionist Northern League party, said he was similarly concerned that the costume might pose “hygienic problems”. “Wére always very respectful of the customs and habits of those who are not of our culture but we mustn’t always be tolerant,” said the mayor, whose party has been accused of being anti-immigrant. “Let’s try to imagine what would happen if a western went swimming in a Muslim country wearing a bikini: she might be decapitated, sent to jail or expelled from the country.” “We are simply banning it and if this decision upsets anyone they can simply take a dip in a burkini in their own bathtub,” said the mayor, who said women seen wearing it would be fined 500 euros. In France, a woman wearing a burkini was recently evicted from a pool outside Paris because officials said the outfit was unhygienic. Italy had its first look at the outfit — consisting of head scarf, tunic and trousers — a few days ago when a Muslim woman showed up at a Verona swimming pool wearing the swimsuit. Christian Panzarini, the manager of the Verona pool, said he had not asked the woman to leave despite several complaints from mothers who said she had frightened their tots. He asked the woman to mail him the details of the material used for the outfit, to see if it was in line with hygienic regulations. But she has not been seen since. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italian City to Fine Muslim Women in Burkinis

Women wearing the garment made up of a veil, a tunic and loose leggings face a fine of €500 ($700) if spotted at swimming pools or riversides in the northern Piedmont town of Varallo Sesia, the ANSA news agency reported.”The sight of a ‘masked woman’ could disturb small children, not to mention problems of hygiene,” Mayor Gianluca Buonanno was quoted as saying.

“We don’t have to be tolerant all the time,” he said.

Justifying the move, Buonanno added: “Imagine a Western woman bathing in a bikini in a Muslim country. The consequences could be decapitation, prison or deportation. We are merely prohibiting the use of the burkini.”

Last week a swimming pool in Paris refused entry to a burkini-clad woman on similar grounds, adding to tensions over Muslim dress in France.

The incident came as French lawmakers conducted hearings on whether to ban the burqa, which is not obligatory in Islam, after President Nicolas Sarkozy said the head-to-toe body covering and veil was “not welcome” in France, home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority.

Buonanno belongs to Italy’s Northern League, a party allied with the centre-right People of Freedom led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Italy Gets a Look at Burkini

(ANSAmed) — VERONA, AUGUST 18 — Italy on Tuesday got its first close-up look at a burkini — an outfit consisting of head scarf, tunic and trousers — when a woman showed up at a Verona swimming pool wearing the outfit. In France, a woman was recently evicted from a pool outside Paris for wearing the head-to-toe swimwear because officials said the outfit was unhygienic. Christian Panzarini, the manager of the Verona pool, said he had not asked the woman to leave despite several complaints from mothers who said she had frightened their tots. However, Panzarini asked the woman to send him an e-mail detailing the kind of textile used for the outfit to see if it was in line with hygienic regulations. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy: Town to Fine Minors Caught Smoking

Elba village first in Italy to impose crackdown

(ANSA) — Capoliveri, August 18 — This town on the island of Elba is set to become the first in Italy to slap fines of between 250 to 300 euros on minors under the age of 16 caught smoking cigarettes on municipal grounds.

The fines will be levied not only for smoking but also for possession of tobacco products, for which Italian law states someone must be 16 or older to purchase.

The ordinance imposing the fines has already been signed by Mayor Ruggero Barbetti and will go into effect on August 25.

“Our aim is not to repress but to protect the health of our young people. The ordinance has an educational value. As far as we know we are the first in Italy to take such an initiative,” the mayor told the local Il Tirreno daily on Tuesday. Capoliveri was also one of the first towns to declare war on under-age drinking, imposing fines for minors under 16 caught drinking alcohol in public.

The town has a resident population of less than 4,000 but this triples during the summer, when the local police force is beefed up from six to 15.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy: Wine as Collateral for Bank Loans

Parmigiano cheese already used to guarantee credit

(ANSA) — Venice, August 18 — Producers of fine quality wines should be allowed to combat the current credit crunch by offering them as collateral to secure bank loans, according to the chairman of Banca Popolare di Vicenza, Gianni Zonin of the famous winemaking family of the same name.

Parmigiano Reggiano is already used as collateral in Italy and Zonin said it was time for the Italian Banking Association (ABI) and farmer associations to sit down and hammer out a way for this practice to be extended not only to exclusive wines but also to quality products like prosciutto ham and other unique Italian food delights.

“If the quality of select Italian foods is unmatchable worldwide, there is no reason why this value should not be banked on as a means to guarantee credit,” Zonin observed in an interview published in Tuesday’s edition of the daily Corriere del Veneto.

The proposal got an immediate thumbs up from Italy’s minister for agriculture, Luca Zaia, who said “it’s an excellent idea and has my full blessing”.

“Finance is not one of my responsibilities but I will most certainly discuss this proposal with (Economy) Minister Giulio Tremonti”.

According to Zaia, Zonin’s proposal “not only responds to producers’ need for cash but also recognises that the excellence of Italian agricultural products represents a kind of gold reserve”. Banks like Credito Emiliano have been accepting Parmigiano Reggiano as collateral for loans for over 50 years and earlier this month there was even an attempt to steal the cheese from its vaults.

Should a producer default on a loan, the bank sells the wheels to recover the lost capital There are claims that Parmigiano has been used as tender since the Middle Ages.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy: ‘Death in Venice’ Beach Threatened

Locals say council plans will destroy landmark site

(ANSA) — Venice, August 18th — Locals and movie buffs have launched a campaign to rescue a beach that formed the backdrop for the memorable closing scene of the 1971 film classic, Death In Venice, starring Dirk Bogarde. Fans have taken out a full-page advertisement in Wednesday’s Corriere del Veneto daily to warn of plans by the local council and call for support. According to the Alberoni Committee running the campaign, a project by Venice authorities will destroy the beach where Bogarde’s character dies in a dramatic finale. Council plans to develop a sand dune 80 metres long and 50 metres deep would result in the destruction of decades-old beach huts, clearly visible in the film finale, as well as the characteristic Bagni Alberoni bathing establishment, which has stood on the site since the early 1900s. It would also put an end to the free beach area next to the establishment, which has been a fixed feature for locals for decades. The plan would not only do away with the beach’s classic landmarks, it would also threaten businesses in the area, according to the committee. The council says the area has been classified as a nature reserve and consequently needs protecting.

But the Alberoni Committee says authorities have allowed the beach to fall into such a state of disrepair that the definition cannot seriously be justified. Death in Venice, based on a novella by Thomas Mann, tells the story of a seriously ill composer, Gustav von Aschenbach, who is holidaying in Venice where he becomes obsessed with a beautiful young Polish boy, Tadzio, who is staying at the same hotel with his family. Aschenbach, who merely watches Tadzio from afar, has a heart attack in the final scene of the film when he sees the boy being roughed up on the beach. Although Tadzio is not harmed, Bogarde’s character dies, sitting in his deckchair in front of the beach huts watching the adolescent walk back out to sea. Aschenbach’s body is carried off the beach as the credits roll.

The Alberoni Committee hopes the full-page advertisement will rouse public interest in the beach and has launched a website to provide information about the plans. The website, at www.savevenetianbeach.com, has been funded by local residents and businesses and carries photographs and council documents relating to the beach.

A petition to save the beach has already garnered over 2,000 signatures.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy: Military Plane to Repatriate Young Afghan’s Corpse

Rome, 18 August (AKI) — An Italian military plane will repatriate the corpse of a 27-year-old Afghan immigrant, Ahmad Khan, who died in a Rome hospital last week. The Afghan embassy in Rome is arranging for his body to be returned home, while members of Italy’s Afghan community and Italian news agency Adnkronos International (AKI) are contributing funds to help Khan’s impoverished family in Afghanistan.

Khan arrived in Italy two years ago to pursue his dream of a better life. He spent the first months here sleeping rough, and his quest to find a job took him to the northern Italian city of Bolzano, where fellow Afghans had told him there was plenty of work.

But Khan failed to find employment in Bolzano, and spent several months living in a hostel before going back to sleeping rough. The snowy, cold climate of mountainous Bolzano drove Khan back to the Italian capital Rome, where he fell ill.

Despite receiving treatment at Rome’s St Andrea hospital, Khan continued to experience respiratory and heart problems, and died at the hospital on the eve of Italy’s mid-August bank holiday weekend.

“He was desperately poor, and we had just received the news that he had been granted political asylum,” was the bitter comment of Afghan writer Alidad Shiri.

Shiri is a representative of the Afghan community in Bolzano, who campaigned for Khan’s body to be returned to Afghanistan and raised funds for his family there.

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


Italy: Muslim Girls Get Grilling Over ‘Burkini’

Verona, 19 August (AKI) — A young Muslim girl has stopped going to a public swimming pool in the northern Italian city of Verona after its director questioned whether her traditional Islamic head-to-toe swimsuit or ‘burkini’ was hygenic. The grilling reportedly followed complaints from mothers at the pool who claimed the costume had frightened their children.

The Muslim girl, who was not named in press reports, had swum twice at the pool in her burkini. But on her third visit, the pool’s director Christian Panzarini asked what material the costume was made of and said it could pose a risk to public health.

Although the girl was not asked to leave the pool, she was requested to mail the details about the material of her burkini and has not been swimming there since.

Italian Triathlete Monica Ferrari, who trains at the Verona pool, defended the Muslim girl. “It certainly had an effect on me seeing her swimming like that, but I didn’t notice she frightened any children,” she said.

“And there’s guy with skin problems who swims in a wetsuit and gloves, who nobody pays any particular attention to,” Ferrari added.

“Sure, even Federica Pellegrini jumps into a pool in a cap and full body suit and even our swimming instructors wear full body suits,” Panzarini, admitted.

“But in this case, some of the mothers have complained because it scared their children,” he said.

The burkini has sparked controversy in Europe recently. In France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, a 35-year-old women was told she could not wear a burka swim suit at a public pool in Paris last month.

In Britain, on the other hand, some public pools have reportedly ordered male and female swimmers to dress in “modest attire” to avoid offending Muslims.

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


Light Falls on Light, In Symbolic Mosque of Rome

“Building a mosque in an Islamic country is easy,” says architect Avio Mattiozzi. “But building one in a Western, predominantly Christian country like Italy, is not.”

The name Rome generally conjures up images of the Vatican, the hundreds of churches and cathedrals, the Pope. One does not think of mosques. With the dominating presences of The Basilica of Saint Paul above Roman soil, and the ancient catacombs of Rome below, it may seem surprising to some that this city is now also home to Europe’s biggest mosque. Spreading over 30,000 square meters, the mosque is capable of holding 40 000 people, numbers that allow the place of worship to be considered what Mattiozzi refers to as those “larger mosques that cater to nations”.

When the Mosque of Rome, photographs of which are now being showcased in an exhibition at the Italian Cultural Centre, was built in 1995, there were not many Muslims in Italy. Before its completion, when King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, the custodian of the two most significant mosques in the world, namely those in Mecca and Medina, visited Rome and asked for a place to pray, his adviser even had to inform him that Rome had no mosques, upon which King Faisal reportedly uttered “This is impossible!”…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Poll: Danes Support Burka Ban

The Conservatives have proposed a ban on the Muslim burka and niqab dress codes in the public space. A poll shows a majority in favour.

The Conservative Party proposal to ban the burka and niqab dress codes in public may have caused controversy across the parliamentary spectrum, but it does seem to have the support of a majority of the electorate.

A representative Megafon poll for Politiken and TV2 shows 56 percent of the electorate in favour of introducing ‘a general ban on wearing the burka in the public space in Denmark’. Only 30 percent oppose such a ban, according to the poll.

The Conservative proposal receives extensive support from Liberal, Conservative, Danish People’s Party and Social Democratic voters while Social Liberal, Socialist People’s Party and Unity List voters are generally against a ban.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Sweden Slams Paper Over Israel Allegations

Sweden’s embassy in Tel Aviv has sharply condemned Sweden’s largest circulation newspaper Aftonbladet for publishing an article accusing the Israeli Defence Forces of harvesting the organs of Palestinians.

“The article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is as shocking and appalling to us Swedes, as it is to Israeli citizens. We share the dismay expressed by Israeli government representatives, media and the Israeli public. This Embassy cannot but clearly distance itself from it,” writes Ambassador Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier on the Swedish Embassy website.

Aftonbladet’s article, ‘Våra söner plundras på sina organ’ (‘They plunder the organs of our sons’), has sparked outrage in Israel.

Published on Monday, the article by photographer and writer Donald Boström accuses the Israeli army of involvement in the illegal human organ trade. In a new twist to claims he has laid out several times previously, Boström links allegations of organ harvesting made by individual Palestinians to a New York-based crime suspect, Rabbi Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, recently accused of attempting to facilitate the sale of a kidney from a donor in Israel.

Israel’s deputy foreign minster Danny Ayalon expressed fury at an article he described as anti-Semitic.

“I demand the Swedish government condemn this groundless article,” he said.

A spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, Yigal Palmor, categorised the article and the decision to publish as “a mark of disgrace” for the Swedish press.

“In a democratic country, there should be no place for dark blood libels out of the Middle Ages of this type. This is an article that shames Swedish democracy and the entire Swedish press,” Palmor said in a statement.

“We are dealing with the lowest type of propaganda that doesn’t have even one shred of truth in it. It is a blot on the press, and all of Sweden’s citizens should vehemently reject this racist outburst that has no place in a democratic society,” Palmor told news agency AFP.

Ambassador Bonnier stressed that Sweden, like Israel, enjoyed a free press.

“However, freedom of the press and freedom of expression are freedoms which carry a certain responsibility. It falls on the editor-in-chief of any given newspaper.”

Speaking to The Local, Aftonbladet’s culture editor Åsa Linderborg defended the publication and expressed surprise at the strong reactions in Israel.

“It surprises me really. The questions that it raises are nothing new. The Knesset has on several occasions discussed the issue of widespread organ trading in Israel.”

She added that she did not in any way regret publishing the article.

“No. Why should I?”

“Furthermore I am indignant that they (Israel) would get involved in what is published in the Swedish media. I think it is embarrassing for them that they would question our right to publish.”

“And for Sweden’s ambassador in Israel to get involved, is just plain scandalous.”

“I think one can also question whether Israel has the right to shoot so many Palestinian men,” said Linderborg.

The foreign ministry in Sweden said Ambassador Bonnier’s decision to comment on the publication was a “local initiative” which had not been sanctioned by Stockholm.

“The foreign ministry does not review articles in the Swedish press about foreign circumstances,” spokesman Anders Jörle told the TT news agency.

Lena Posner Körösi, head of the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities, called on Aftonbladet’s editor-in-chief Jan Helin to distance himself from anti-Semitic assertions. In a statement she writes that Boström’s article “recycles one of the true classics of anti-Semitism: the Jew who abducts children, slaughters them and steals their blood.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Top Sweden Newspaper Says IDF Kills Palestinians for Their Organs

A leading Swedish newspaper reported this week that Israeli soldiers are abducting Palestinians in order to steal their organs, a claim that prompted furious condemnation and accusations of anti-Semitic blood libel from a rival publication.

“They plunder the organs of our sons,” read the headline in Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, the left-leaning Aftonbladet, which devoted a double spread in its cultural section to the article.

The report quotes Palestinian claims that young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israel Defense Forces, and their bodies returned to the families with missing organs.

“‘Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,’ relatives of Khaled from Nablus said to me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin as well as the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who all had disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied,” writes author Donald Boström in his report.

Boström’s article makes a link to the recent exposure of an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey. The syndicate includes several American rabbis, and one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant.

Boström also cites an incident of alleged organ snatching from 1992, during the time of the first Palestinian intifada. He says that the IDF seized a young man known for throwing stones at Israeli troops in the Nablus area, who was shot in the chest, both legs, and the stomach before being taken to a military helicopter which transported him to “a place unknown to his loved ones”.

Five nights later, Boström says, the young man’s body was returned, wrapped in green hospital sheets.

“The sharp sounds from the shovels were mixed with the occasional laughter from the soldiers who were joking with each other, waiting to go home. When Bilal was put into his grave, his chest was revealed and suddenly it became clear to the present what abuse he had been put through. Bilal was far from the only one who was buried cut-up from his stomach to his chin and the speculations about the reason why had already started,” he writes.

But the liberal Sydsvenskan — southern Sweden’s major daily — had harsh criticism for the rival paper, running an opinion piece under the headline “Antisemitbladet” (a play on the name Aftonbladet).

“We have heard the story before, in one form or the other. It follows the traditional pattern of conspiracy theory: a great number of loose threads that the theorist tempts the reader to tie into a neat knot without having been provided with any proven connection whatsoever,” writes leading columnist Mats Skogkär of Sydsvenskan.

“Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors. That is all it takes. After all we all know what they [the Jews] are like, don’t we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything,” the opinion piece says. “Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: ‘Anti-Semitism’ No, no, just criticism of Israel.”

The Foreign Ministry reacted angrily on Tuesday to the report. Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said the newspaper’s decision to publish the story is “a mark of disgrace” for the Swedish press.

“In a democratic country, there should be no place for dark blood libels out of the Middle Ages of this type,” Palmor said. “This is an article that shames Swedish democracy and the entire Swedish press.”

A Foreign Ministry official said that Israel’s embassy in Stockholm have communicated a harsh condemnation to the Swedish government and the newspaper itself.

           — Hat tip: CB[Return to headlines]


UK: ‘A Man is Trying to Kill My Mummy’: Heartbreaking 999 Call Made by Girl, 7, As She Sees Mother Stabbed to Death

A seven-year-old girl dialled 999 while her mother was being stabbed to death by an asylum seeker and told the operator: ‘A man is trying to kill my mummy’, a court heard.

Traumatised Aisha Bibi watched helplessly as her mother Rabina, 34, was stabbed 14 times in the neck, chest and back by Iranian immigrant Zakarya Rezaie, it was said.

A one-minute recording of the 999 call was played at Warwick Crown Court which heard Aisha desperately telling an operator: ‘A man is trying to kill my mummy. He’s my mummy’s friend and he is trying to kill her with a knife.’

The recording heard the operator trying to calm the little girl down before asking her what her mother’s injuries were.

Aisha replied: ‘She’s bleeding everywhere.’

Rezaie, 29, who entered the UK illegally in the late 1990s, denies murder, claiming he was provoked into killing her after she told him their relationship was over.

The court heard he forced his way into her home in Foleshill near Coventry, on September 3 last year and stabbed her repeatedly with a kitchen knife.

Prosecutor Rachel Brand QC said: ‘This is a case of a man who couldn’t accept the word ‘no’. He continued to pester her even when she made it clear she was not answering the door. He couldn’t accept it because he was clearly infatuated.’

Today, Rabina’s neighbour recalled the moment she heard Aisha screaming for help.

Leigh Nesbeth, 34, told the court she was on Facebook when she heard screaming coming from Ms Bibi’s house.

She said: ‘I heard Aisha screaming ‘mum don’t, mum don’t’ and then more screaming. It was unusual for me to hear Aisha scream like that.

‘I thought Sharon (Rabina’s nickname) was telling Aisha off.’

The court also heard evidence from Ms Bibi’s brother, Leaka Khan, 37, who got a desperate phone call just minutes before she was killed.

He told the court: ‘My mobile phone went and I saw her name come up. I said ‘hello’ but there was just a shuffling noise like something was being moved around and then I heard Rabina say ‘get off me, get off me’.

‘I thought she had rang me by mistake so I hung up and rang back to have a go at her for wasting the credit on her phone but it went straight to answerphone.’

Minutes after the killing, Rezaie handed himself into police and claimed he had been overcome by ‘some sort of severe madness’ after Ms Bibi had attacked him with a pen knife, the jury was told.

Ms Bibi had split up from her husband, Muza Hussein, six years ago after an arranged Muslim marriage in Pakistan. She moved to Coventry with Aisha after the marriage broke down.

The court heard Ms Bibi met Rezaie when he worked in a shop in the city and they had a brief on-off relationship.

But when she began seeing another man he became jealous and began pestering her with flowers and chocolates.

Ms Bibi was so worried about her safety she bought a security camera which she installed at her home.

On the night of the killing, Rezaie — who was granted temporary permission to stay in the country last year — travelled to Coventry from Cardiff by train and knocked on Ms Bibi’s door but she refused to let him in

When he began banging on her front door at 7.36pm she called the police for help but five minutes later she rang back saying he had left.

Miss Brand told the court that in fact Rezaie had forced his way into Ms Bibi’s home and had ordered her to tell the police he had gone away.

But 26 minutes later, at 8.07pm, the police received a third call from the house.

Miss Brand said: ‘The caller was Rabina’s seven-year-old daughter.

‘She asked for the police to come because she said a man named Jackie was trying to kill her mummy with a knife.

‘It was an emotional call, made by a small child.

‘She then told the police operator the man was leaving, and indeed he can be seen leaving [on the security camera footage] while the child was still on the phone.

‘The police were there as soon as they could. In the house they found the little girl in the front room crying. In the middle room they found Rabina Bibi on the floor.’

Ms Bibi suffered stab wounds to her neck which penetrated the carotid artery and jugular vein, as well as knife wounds which had penetrated her lungs and liver.

The court heard Rezaie admitted what he had done to officers, and told them: ‘Some sort of severe madness came towards me. I don’t know why. I was a mad person.’

The suspect later collapsed in the court and needed medical assistance.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has launched an investigation into the case because Ms Bibi made a 999 call just minutes before the killing.

The trial continues.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]


UK: Censors Reject ‘Sadistic’ Horror

A Japanese horror film has been refused an 18 certificate by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) because of its graphic torture scenes.

According to BBFC director David Cooke, Grotesque presented “little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism”.

Its “unacceptable content”, he added, meant cuts were “not a viable option”.

The BBFC rarely refuses to pass films, having denied only three titles seeking an 18 rating over the last four years.

These include violent sex thriller Murder Set Pieces and Terrorists, Killers And Other Wackos, a film comprising real clips of execution and torture.

‘Minimal narrative’

Two pornographic works seeking the restricted R18 rating have also been rejected in the same period.

The distributors of Grotesque had hoped to receive an 18 certificate for the film, which includes scenes involving amputation and eye-gouging.

“The chief pleasure on offer seems to be in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake,” said Mr Cooke.

Its “minimal narrative or character development,” he continued, set it apart from such other “torture-themed” works as the Saw and Hostel movie series.

The BBFC drew criticism earlier this year for passing Danish horror Antichrist uncut, despite its graphic scenes of sex, violence and mutilation.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


UK: Father Turned Away From Hospital With Pregnant Wife Delivers Baby on Bathroom Floor — and Saves His Daughter’s Life

An ice-cool dad who delivered his baby daughter on the bathroom floor just hours after his wife was sent home from hospital stayed calm when he realised the child wasn’t breathing.

Tony Molloy, 44, used knowledge from watching birthing videos to remove the umbilical cord from baby Rosalyn’s neck, then he slapped her on the back to get her lungs working.

‘She was grey and not breathing,’ said Tony. ‘I was talking to her, saying “come on little one, breathe for Daddy”.

‘It was only five or six seconds, but it seemed like an eternity. I turned her over to smack her on the back and it must have kick-started her lungs — she sprang into life’.

Tony and wife Rebecca, 33, were staying in Wilmslow, Cheshire, when she started having contractions.

They rushed to St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, but Rebecca was told she wasn’t ready, despite being 38 weeks into the pregnancy.

The couple, of Newbury, Berkshire, went back to the house — but three hours later, Rebecca was doubled up in pain on the bathroom floor.

Tony said he called the hospital to ask what to do and could not get any response.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Mass Graves Could be Dug to Cope With Autumn Bout of Swine Flu

The government is planning to create a series of mass graves to cope with a second outbreak of swine flu in the autumn.

A Home Office document warns that a mass burial site may be needed to cope with the potential crisis.

The proposals were discussed between government officials and council bosses last month, and will affect those areas where there may not be enough graves for victims of the illness.

Within weeks of a full-blown pandemic, the number of burials could more than double and inner city areas “may experience a shortage of grave space”, according to the report.

[Comments from JD: The propaganda and fear mongering moves into overdrive.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Nurse Sacked and Accused of Abuse… For Smacking Her Son at Home

A nurse sacked from a leading public school after smacking her son in her home has lost her appeal for unfair dismissal.

Susan Pope, 46, furiously condemned the political correctness which she blamed for the decision.

The mother of three said it was ‘nobody else’s business’ how decent parents choose to chastise their children at home.

Her ordeal began when her 15-year-old son reported her to the police for smacking his 11-year-old brother after he swore at her.

Mrs Pope was arrested, questioned and spent a night in the cells but no charges were brought.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Public Schoolgirl: I’m in Love With Lesbian Teacher Facing Jail Over Our Affair

A teenage girl at a top public school says she is ‘in love’ with a music teacher who had a lesbian affair with her.

The child has vowed to continue their relationship when she is 16, despite Helen Goddard, 26, facing a possible jail sentence.

Goddard, a trumpeter known as ‘the jazz lady’ by her pupils at the £13,000-a-year City of London School for Girls, yesterday admitted in court that she started a relationship with the girl earlier this year.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: So What Did You Expect When You Wolf-Whistled at Them?

Man Beaten Up by Three Offended Women

Three drunk women chased and viciously assaulted a man they wrongly believed had wolf-whistled at them.

Richard Tailby, 22, was walking past a flat in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, with friends when one of the group whistled at a woman dancing by the window.

But Vanessa Delaney, 38, Claire Edwards, 25, and Sally Pawson, 24, sprinted out of the property and chased Mr Tailby into a car park where they launched a ferocious attack on him.

Edwards grabbed the innocent victim in a headlock as the trio knocked him to the ground in a hail of punches and kicks, Grimsby Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

During the attack the three women screamed: ‘All men are stupid!’

Prosecutor Teresa Rae said: ‘He managed to get up and run a short distance before they caught up with him and continued by punching him to his head and face.’

Mr Tailby suffered a bruised ear and eye, a cut lip and grazing and swelling on his head during the assault on May 16.

Fish factory worker Edwards — the only one of the women with a job — told police that Mr Tailby and his friends had been verbally abusing them and calling them lesbians.

But she admitted being drunk and said vodka ‘made her horrible’ and that she ‘became violent’.

Delaney, who arrived at court swigging a can of beer, said she was an alcoholic and Pawson admitted she had been ‘ten out of ten’ for drunkenness.

Grimsby magistrate Mike Corry said: ‘This was a totally unnecessary attack. You were like a pack of animals chasing its prey.

‘There was some abuse in the first place but the action you took was completely over the top.’

The trio admitted assault and received three-month suspended jail terms.

Pawson and Edwards must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work each while Delaney was given a three-month night-time curfew and a one-year supervision order.

They must each pay £95 in compensation and costs.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


UK: Tory MP Claims DNA Record Victory

A Tory MP has claimed a “small but significant victory for freedom” after police agreed to delete his DNA record.

But Damian Green says he wants the same right extended to all innocent people on the police database — rather than “special treatment” for public figures.

The shadow immigration minister was arrested last year as part of a Home Office leak inquiry but never charged.

The Home Office said it was consulting on proposals that “will ensure that the right people are on the database”.

The government has yet to respond to a European Court ruling banning the retention of innocent people’s DNA.

Mr Green, whose arrest in November last year sparked a political storm, told BBC News: “The police have now agreed that they will delete my DNA fingerprint and my police national computer record as I have been requesting ever since I was cleared.

He described the decision as a “small but significant victory for freedom and privacy in this country — but what is really important now is that I don’t get special treatment just because I am a public figure”.

‘Disgraceful behaviour’

He added: “There are hundreds of thousands of other people who were in the same position as me — who are in the same position, where they are completely innocent and yet the police are going to hang on forever to all their details.

“I just think that’s intolerable in a democratic society. People have a democratic right to privacy and the law needs to be changed.”

Police claim the DNA database is a vital tool in the detection of violent crime — but campaigners say it is an infringement of civil liberties.

Last year, the European Court said rules allowing police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to retain indefinitely the genetic profiles of everyone arrested for a recordable offence were indiscriminate and must be scrapped. There are different rules in Scotland.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


UK: Woman Gives Birth on Pavement ‘After Being Refused Ambulance’

A young mother gave birth on a pavement outside a hospital after she was told to make her own way there.

Mother-of-three Carmen Blake called her midwife to ask for an ambulance when she went into labour unexpectedly with her fourth child.

But the 27-year-old claims she was refused an ambulance and told to walk the 100m from her house in Leicester to the city’s nearby Royal Infirmary.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Warning Over Driving Fines Plan

Plans to allow police to issue on-the-spot fines for careless driving would undermine justice, say magistrates.

John Thornhill, chairman of the Magistrates’ Association, said ruling driving careless was subjective.

Police would be acting as jury and sentencer if they were allowed to impose the fines, he said.

He said concern over misuse of out-of-court disposals in England and Wales also involved cautions over serious accusations, including rape.

In 2003, 68% of all matters reached court, but this had fallen to 48% in 2007, Mr Thornhill said.

The proposals to make careless driving a fixed-penalty offence would see motorists given an on-the-spot fine and three points on their licence.

Mr Thornhill expressed concern that people would pay to resolve the matter, not realising they were getting a conviction that would show up in future criminal record checks.

Suspects are currently prosecuted in the courts, where they can be fined up to £5,000 and receive nine points.

Mr Thornhill told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the idea of on-the-spot fines is “effectively saying that every case of careless driving is the same”.

He added: “We have been investigating the use of out of court disposals, on-the-spot-fines for the last 12 months, and the evidence we have suggests that on many occasions, where the matter is serious police go for the easy option of the on-the-spot fine, because it’s done and dusted, dealt with there and then.

“What this is doing is turning the police into jury and sentencer.

“And many of the police actually don’t want to do this, because they believe it’s more important that an independent tribunal which is not fettered by financial considerations or targets makes that decision.”

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


Universities: Italy, 10,057 Albanian Students in 2008-2009

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 17 — Albanian students are in first place in the rankings of foreign students getting their degrees in Italian universities, as reported in a ‘Sole 24 Ore’ study which showed that, according to data from the Ministry for Education and Universities, 10,057 Albanians chose to study in the 2008-2009 academic year. Following the latter, among university students from Mediterranean countries are Greeks in fifth place with 1,639 students, and Moroccans with 1,277. Rounding off the top ten were Israeli students with 1,178 in their ranks. Out of approximately 48,000 foreign students in Italian universities, 20,090 are from the Mediterranean area (42%of total). Every year, reported Sole 24 Ore daily, 15 Moroccans are granted PhD research grants on the basis of a scientific- technological agreement between Italy and Morocco. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Violence Erupts for Second Night in UK Town

BRADFORD, England — Violence has been reported for a second night on the streets of Bradford, in northern England.

Trouble flared at about 10.20 p.m. local time (2120 GMT) in the Greengates area of the city when a group of up to 30 white youths attacked an Asian restaurant and a petrol station with baseball bats.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman told CNN: “There has been one or two incidents in the Greengates area.

“It does not seem to be too serious and generally speaking the city is much quieter than it was yesterday.”

Tayub Amjad, 20, director of the Kebabeesh Restaurant, told the Press Association: “Suddenly a group of youths started throwing bricks through the window.

“The attack went on for about 10 minutes — it was terrifying.

“Fortunately there were no customers in at the time, but it’s caused thousands of pounds damage.

“I don’t think they were National Front supporters — I think they were local lads because they targeted the cars of some of my workers.

“I think it was some sort of stupid retaliation for the trouble we had yesterday.”

Carly Flerin, 20, said she was in the flat above the restaurant when a hail of bricks smashed through her windows.

“It was absolutely terrifying. I cowered on the floor. It didn’t last long, but it seemed to go on for ages.

“I think the people responsible were local youths aged about 18 from the nearby estate, but I couldn’t recognize them because they had bandannas over their heads.”

The isolated violence came hours after police chiefs have urged people to stay off the streets in a bid to prevent further rioting.

Saturday’s riot was the worst public violence Britain has seen for many years.

The Bradford unrest is the latest in recent weeks of violent clashes between whites and Asians in a number of northern England towns, including Leeds, Burnley and Oldham.

As a major clean-up got under way in the riot-torn city, police and civic leaders appealed for calm on Sunday after a night of violence that left 120 police officers injured, two people stabbed and led to 36 arrests.

Twenty three of those arrested were white and 13 were Asian, West Yorkshire Police disclosed.

Chief Superintendent Phil Read told a press conference: “I would make a major appeal for calm, restraint and would urge people to stay indoors.

“We will have additional resources on duty this evening to deal with potential outbreaks of disorder.”

West Yorkshire Police had to call in reinforcements from surrounding forces as the city was rocked by more than eight hours of violence.

Gangs of Asian and white youths fought running battles with officers who were pelted with bricks, bottles, petrol bombs and fireworks and attacked with baseball bats and hammers during disturbances in which two people were stabbed and cars set on fire.

Two police horses were also injured, with one suffering stab wounds.

One of the injured officers said it was the worst violence had witnessed.

PC Nicholas Berry, 30, of Pontefract, suffered a serious foot injury while trying to stop rampaging youths.

He told the Press Association: “I felt a severe pain in my foot while working with colleagues trying to quell the disorder.

“I kept going then noticed heavy bleeding even though I was wearing a protective suit.

“I think I was hit by a roof slate and it was the worst situation I have been in during my seven years as a police officer.”

At the height of the violence, up to 1,000 officers were out on the streets of Bradford and the suburb of Manningham.

Rioters torched Manningham Labor Club and a BMW garage, destroying thousands of pounds of cars on the forecourt.

Tensions had flared on Saturday afternoon following a rally by the Anti Nazi League in Centenary Square in protest at a planned demonstration by National Front activists.

Hours later the worst of the trouble erupted in Manningham and police on Sunday admitted that the rioters were predominantly Asian origin.

Mohammed Amran, of the Commission for Racial Equality, told the Press Association: “This has destroyed Bradford.

“I would urge everyone to calm down, stay away tonight and let police do their job.

“The feeling today is of sadness and I personally was shocked by the scale of it.

“Nobody expected this sort of trouble.”

Home Secretary David Blunkett strongly condemned the rioters and said they were damaging their own communities.

He said: “I am appalled at the wanton violence and destruction and damage this has done to the well-being of local people, their community and prosperity.

“I commend the police for their bravery and determination in the face of enormous provocation and regret the injuries caused.

“There is no excuse for mindless violence and reckless destruction.

The leader of Bradford Council, Margaret Eaton said there was no justification for the riots.

“There is going to be a lot of work needed to build bridges in the community.

“We must look at ways to analyze this because it would be foolish of anyone to say they know why it happened.

“It’s not the day to make knee-jerk reactions it’s the practical things that have got first call on the council’s time.”

Assistant Chief Constable Greg Wilkinson said: “There will be quite a heavy inquiry over the next few weeks and those people involved in specific offences will be brought to book.”

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]


Wilders Not Prosecuted for Showing Danish Cartoons

AMSTERDAM, 19/08/09 — The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) will not prosecute MP Geert Wilders for showing the ‘Danish cartoons’ of the Prophet Mohammed. The drawings are not illegal in the Netherlands, said a spokeswoman for the OM in Amsterdam yesterday.

After a Danish newspaper published 12 cartoons of the Islamic Prophet in 2006, riots broke out in several countries. The OM has now concluded that under Dutch law, the cartoons are not offensive to Muslims as a group; they are about the Prophet Mohammed, but say nothing about all Muslims. Nor do they incite discrimination or violence against Muslims, according to the OM.

Wilders put the cartoons on his website. TV programme Nova showed them on television. The OM received complaints against Wilders and Nova. Neither will be prosecuted.

Nor will the OM initiate prosecution of the Arabic European League (AEL). In reaction to the Danish cartoons, the AEL put two cartoons about Jews on its website. While the publication of one of them constitutes an offence, the OM is not prosecuting on condition that the AEL does not show the cartoon again.

The cartoon expressed the idea that Jews deliberately make up or exaggerate the Holocaust. This is illegal because it constitutes an insult to the Jews as a group. Another cartoon that the AEL showed, in which Adolf Hitler and Anne Frank were having sex, is however permissible, the OM ruled.

The OM is still investigating whether certain drawings of Gregorius Nekschot are punishable offences. This Dutch cartoonist was arrested by 10 police officers in his home in Amsterdam last year.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Balkans

Italy-Albania: In September Exhibit on Arbereshe Culture

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUG. 18 — “Arbereshe. Culture and civilisation of a people, or travel notes.” This is the title of an exhibit dedicated to Italo-Albanian culture in the reign of Naples that will be inaugurated Sept. 4 at Carosino, in Taranto province. “The exhibit is a panelled path that recounts in synthesis the history and tradition of arbereshe, or the Italo-Albanians in Italy,” said its scientific coordinator Pierfranco Bruni. The exhibit, which will be divided in four sections (history, tradition, art, literature and music) is part of a project on the promotion of the ethno-linguistic minorities in Italy, on which the General Directorate for library heritage and the cultural institutes of the ministry of Heritage and Cultural activities have been working. “The Italo-Albanians,” explained Bruni, “are present in seven Italian regions and extend over 12 provinces. The path we wanted to trace is a rather didactic itinerary that tries to bring attention to the geographical situation, the history of art and literature, anthropology, and the music of a civilisation that to this day makes up a link between the East and the West.” The regions involved in Italo-Albanian culture are seven — Apulia, Calabria, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania and Sicily, together making up 50 communitites of arbereshe origin. Carosino, although it has lost the language and arbereshe customs, still has traces, including at the architectural level, of Albanian, Balkan and Byzantine traditions. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Israel-Egypt, Egyptian Soldier Injured on Border

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, AUGUST 17 — A Egyptian soldier was injured in an incident today along the border with Israel, according to reports on Israeli military radio. According to the broadcaster, 20 kilometres north of Eilat (the Red Sea) Israeli soldiers noted a suspicious individual and ordered him to halt, firing a warning shot into the air. In reaction the man began shooting and the soldiers responded in kind. Only afterwards did they realise that they had hit an Egyptian soldier, who suffered an injury to his shoulder. Israeli and Egyptian officers have gone to the scene to try to reconstruct what happened. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Open Letter to President Mubarak From the Historical Society of Jews From Egypt:

Your Excellency,

We, Jews from Egypt residing in the United States, wish to welcome you to our country. We wish you well on your visit with President Obama.

If Nasser had not persecuted us, stolen all our property, and expelled us ignominiously with only the shirts on our backs, we would still be living in Egypt and contributing to its greatness as we always have. Indeed, we care about our heritage and cherish it openly. It will be a good day when Egypt finally recognizes our many positive contributions to its history. Sadly, it does not appear this day is near.

We wish to bring to your attention, again, as we have many times in the past, a number of grievances. So far, not only have they not been satisfied, but they have not even been addressed.

The Egyptian establishment believes that if they just ignore us, we will simply go away.

1. Why is Egypt refusing us access to our communal archives, our records, our religious court decisions, our libraries, or even allow us to scan them for computer storage? They are the massive evidence of a significant Jewish presence in Egypt, unbroken since the dawn of time. Is this what you don’t want the world to know about?

2. Why is Egypt denying our request to relocate our Torah scrolls and religious artifacts? They belong to us. We paid for them. Your government has confiscated them and stored them in poor conditions, which will hasten their deterioration. Your government decreed that they are part of the Egyptian heritage, by placing them under your Department of Antiquities, on a par with the Sphinx and the Pyramids. Antiquities! When only a generation ago they were used in daily services, as intended by the families who paid for them! What is the difference between this and highway robbery?

3. Why did Egypt refuse to allow a group of seventy elderly Jews to enter Egypt to visit their old synagogues and neighborhoods?

4. Why are many of our synagogues trashed and in ruins?

5. Why are you insisting that your culture minister, Farouk Hosni, be appointed head of UNESCO, an institution devoted to the spread of knowledge and education in the world, after he scandalously declared that he would burn any books by Israelis (read: Jews) found in Egypt?

Sir, we are not going away. We will continue to press our demands until they are addressed.

Sincerely,

Historical Society of Jews from Egypt

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Tunisia Reporter Move ‘Bodes Ill’

A group of pro-government reporters has seized control of Tunisia’s largest journalism union two months before a general election, activists say.

Reporters Without Borders says it is concerned for the independence of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists.

The group says the move bodes ill for the fairness of the forthcoming vote, where President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is going for a fifth term in office.

Tunisian officials have not yet responded to the allegations.

Members of Tunisia’s journalism union accused pro-government reporters of using internal regulations to take over.

Union President Neji Bghouri told the pressure group: “This was a government takeover of an organisation that was meant to be independent and autonomous.”

Reporters Without Borders said the move “bodes ill not only for the union’s independence but also for Tunisia’s already extremely limited degree of press freedom”.

President Ben Ali has been in power since a bloodless coup in 1987.

He changed the constitution in 2002 to allow himself more time in office and has polled more than 90% of the vote in each of the four previous elections.

He is regularly criticised for tolerating no internal dissent.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Gaza: Abbas: Salaphites Sons of Hamas. Hamas Accuse Al-Qaeda

(ANSAmed) — RAMALLAH (WEST BANK) — Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the moderate President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has described Saturday’s attack by Hamas radical militants on a group of even more hard-line separatists (Jund Ansar Allah), linked to Al Qaeda as “atrocious and inhuman”. The group, he said, was initially affiliated to Hamas. “The method used (an attack on a mosque in Rafah which led to the deaths of more than 20 people) was atrocious and inhuman” said Mahmoud Abbas outside a meeting of the PNA government in Ramallah. “I don’t know that group (Jund Ansar Allah), but I believe they came out of Hamas”, he added. Hamas rose to power in 2007 after a show of force against institutions loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, since when it has created a de facto entity in Gaza, separate from the West Bank, which is currently run by the PNA and the President’s Fatah party. Reconciliation talks mediated by Egypt have so far failed to heal this split. In recent days Mahmoud Abbas — despite the recent election of a Fatah administration which is more hard-line towards Hamas — announced his intention to proceed with talks in Cairo, but a Hamas spokesman today retorted that there would be no possibility of agreement as long as PNA security forces continue to strike at Islamic militants in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Khalid Amayreh, a Palestinian journalist and spokesman for Hamas, published today on the website Islamonline.net a harsh attack on Al Qaida’s “nihilism” and “fanaticism”, followed by an appeal against the Gaza Strip becoming “another Iraq”. He describes last Friday’s fighting in Rafah between Hamas militants and supporters of Jund Ansar Allah as “a distressing bloodbath”. But he credits Hamas with doing “the right thing” by quashing the rebellion. “It is vital to understand that stopping the Gaza Strip from turning into another Iraq or another Swat (the anarchic tribal area in northern Pakistan) is a task of utmost importance” writes Amayreh, who describes Al Qaeda and its supporters as “forces for fanaticism and nihilism” who condemn anyone who disagrees with their ideology as “kafir” (infidel) or “murtad” (apostate), and intent on spreading a cause in Gaza “which the (Palestinian) people do not want to embrace”, that of transforming the Strip into “a base for Osama bin Laden”. Amayreh admits that the “authorities” in Gaza (Hamas since 2007) have tolerated the nonbelligerent presence of “groups and splinter groups which orbit the Al Qaeda galaxy” for too long. And he says that they are responsible for the recent attacks on internet cafes and other ‘western symbols’ in Gaza, as well as violence on the local Christian community. But the iron fist was truly required when the head of Jund Ansar Allah (Abdel Latif Mussa, who died during the fighting on Friday) “declared war” on the “democratically-elected government” in Gaza in the name of Al Qaeda’s “fanciful political objectives”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Israel Removes Outpost in Lebanon-Disputed Terrain

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, AUGUST 17 — Over the night the Israeli army removed an observation post on the hills of Kfar Shuba, occupied by Israel but to which Lebanon claims territorial rights, as reported by the Lebanese agency NNA. The agency said that an Israeli army unit had also lifted the cement barriers put up over the past few weeks as a protective measure for the outpost, set up in July. A month ago, dozens of Lebanese had protested against the Israeli post, removing part of the barbed wire around it. The hills of Kfar Shuba are a small piece of land along the border with Syria which the Israeli state has occupied since 1967, along with the Syrian Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farms. The Lebanese side of the Kfar Shuba hills and the Shebaa Farms are in the eastern section of the area under the UN mission in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL). A week ago, the Israeli army reinforced the barbed wire on the tops of the Kfar Shuba hills, perhaps in view of today’s dismantling of the observation post, located further downhill on the Lebanese side. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Mahmoud Abbas: Attack by Hamas Inhuman

(ANSAmed) — RAMALLAH (WEST BANK), AUGUST 17 — Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the moderate President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has described Saturday’s attack by Hamas radical militants on a group of even more hard-line separatists (Jund Ansar Allah), linked to Al Qaeda as “atrocious and inhuman”. The group was initially affiliated to Hamas. “The method used (an attack on a mosque in Rafah which led to the deaths of more than 20 people) was atrocious and inhuman” said Mahmoud Abbas outside a meeting of the PNA government in Ramallah. “I don’t know that group (Jund Ansar Allah), but I believe they came out of Hamas”, he added. Hamas rose to power in 2007 after a show of force against institutions loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, since when it has created a de facto entity in Gaza, separate from the West Bank, which is currently run by the PNA and the President’s Fatah party. Reconciliation talks mediated by Egypt have so far failed to heal this split. In recent days Mahmoud Abbas — despite the recent election of a Fatah administration which is more hard-line towards Hamas — announced his intention to proceed with talks in Cairo, but a Hamas spokesman today retorted that there would be no possibility of agreement as long as PNA security forces continue to strike at Islamic militants in the West Bank. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Muslim Group Republishes Punishable Cartoon

AMSTERDAM, 20/08/09 — The Arab European League (AEL) says political motives are behind the Public Prosecutor (OM)’s decision not to prosecute the organisation for publishing a controversial cartoon. In order to provoke the OM into taking the AEL to court after all, the Islamic group has republished the cartoon on its website.

On Tuesday, the OM decided that a cartoon showing two Jews ‘inventing’ the Holocaust is a punishable offence. Nevertheless, the OM decided not to prosecute the AEL, which made and published the cartoon on its website over three years ago.

The condition attached to this dismissal was that the website would not republish the cartoon. But in the meantime, the AEL has published the cartoon on its website a second time.

The AEL is republishing the cartoon in protest against the OM’s simultaneous decision, also announced on Tuesday, that cartoons portraying the Islamic prophet Mohammed are permitted. These are the political cartoons that were originally published in a Danish newspaper in 2005.

According to the OM, the ‘Danish cartoons’ are not punishable because they concern the prophet Mohammed and say nothing about Muslims as a group. “None of the cartoons is offensive towards Muslims or incite hatred, discrimination or violence against Muslims. Therefore their publication or distribution is not punishable either”, stated the OM.

On the other hand, the AEL cartoon about the ‘invented Holocaust’ is punishable. “By claiming that they invented the murder of six million Jews, Jews are being insulted as a group”, according to OM.

This explanation did not go down well with the AEL. Spokesperson Abdou Bouzerda is especially angry because the Danish cartoons were republished in the Netherlands by anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders.

“Wilders is judged right and may continue to publish cartoons that one and a half billion people perceive as offensive. While we have to remove political cartoons that could be offensive to Jews”, Bouzerda sneered.

Bouzerda claims that the OM is not prosecuting the AEL out of fear of Muslims. “The OM merely wished to prevent angry Muslim reactions if it became evident that we were being prosecuted and Wilders was not”.

Due to this “hypocrisy”, the AEL republished its cartoon. In doing so it implicitly provokes the OM into taking the matter to court. “Let the OM prosecute us by all means; we want a court verdict “.

The OM had in fact initially received the request to take the AEL to court from the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI). Following Tuesday’s OM decision not to prosecute the AEL despite its alleged crime, CIDI director Ron Naftaniel is starting an Article 12 procedure, which means he is appealing the OM’s decision not to prosecute.

Naftaniel considers it “disgraceful” that the OM took three and a half years to pass judgement on the AEL cartoons. He is also disgruntled that the OM deems another AEL cartoon as legal. This cartoon portrays Adolf Hitler in bed with Anne Frank. “A nightmare for the thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors still alive.”

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Obama Hopes to See Willing From Palestinians

(ANSAmed) — WASHINGTON, AUGUST 18 — Barack Obama, the President of the United States today spoke with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and said that he hoped to see “gestures” from the Palestinian side of the conflict as well. He recognised that Israel’s most recent “actions” have been “heading in the right direction. I hope that it will not only be Israel that makes these gestures, but that Palestinians will move forward and make progress in terms of security, and that Arab countries will show goodwill to Israel,” he concluded. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Obama to Mubarak, Israel in Right Direction

(ANSAmed) — WASHINGTON, AUGUST 18 — During a meeting with the President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, at the White House, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, has stated that his government is encountering “movement in the right direction” on the part of Israel over the settlements issue. Obama, who has consistently called on Israel to freeze its settlements programme, made the statement to journalists after his meeting with Mubarak. The latter said for his part that the US president’s speech delivered in Cairon “removed any doubts” over the relationship between the United States and the Moslem world. This is Mubarak’s first visit to Washington in five years. Talks have focussed on the Middle East situation and projects to put on the ground to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Obama: Palestinian State Now, Israel’s Security Later

Official says U.S. applying ‘huge’ pressure for total freeze on Jewish construction

JERUSALEM — The U.S. is seeking a deal that will set the final borders of a Palestinian state immediately and negotiate other issues, such as security and water, at a later date, according to a senior Egyptian official speaking to WND.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Peres: Yes to Conference in Moscow Without Hamas

(ANSAmed) — MOSCOW, AUGUST 18 — Israel will participate in a press conference on peace in the Middle East that Moscow is organising only if Hamas representatives are not invited, said Israeli President Shimon Peres in an interview with Kommersant newspaper before a meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Sochi on the Black Sea. “I have a utterly positive view on this initiative, but only within certain limits, meaning without Hamas and other terrorist organisations. We will be happy to participate in such an event,” he explained. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

IAEA Accused of Withholding Iran Nuclear Evidence

Israeli officials and high-level Western diplomats have accused the International Atomic Energy Agency of concealing evidence that Iran was seeking nuclear-weapon information and taking other steps to develop nuclear arms, Haaretz reported today (see GSN, Aug. 18).

Israel, the United States and several European powers have expressed concern that Iran’s nuclear program could support nuclear weapons development, but Tehran has insisted its atomic activities are strictly aimed at generating electricity.

IAEA inspectors submitted the evidence to the Vienna-based organization in a secret addendum that was not included in safeguards reports on the country’s nuclear activities, the officials contended. Top officials from France, Germany the United Kingdom and the United States have pressed agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei to release the information when the IAEA General Conference convenes next month, according to the Israeli newspaper.

“We expect the details to appear in the new report and to be made public,” said one Western diplomat.

Some Israeli diplomats expressed concern, though, that ElBaradei would continue to withhold the reported information ahead of his retirement scheduled for later this year.

Israel Atomic Energy Commission head Shaul Horev and the Israeli Foreign Ministry have led efforts to win the release of the report. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu neither confirmed nor denied the report’s existence.

ElBaradei has said there is no concrete proof of the existence of an Iranian military nuclear program, though he said in June his “gut feeling” is that Tehran aspires to have nuclear-weapon capability (see GSN June 17). The IAEA chief has rejected assertions from Jerusalem that he has been too easy on Tehran, and has called on Iran to increase the transparency of its nuclear activities.

After 12 years, ElBaradei is scheduled to leave his post in November. Israeli officials hope the next head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano, will clamp down on Iran, Haaretz reported (Barak Ravid, Haaretz, Aug. 19).

Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today said he would rethink a plan to sell an advanced air defense system to Iran, Israeli President Shimon Peres said after meeting with the Russian leader.

“President Medvedev gave a promise he will reconsider the sales of S-300s because it affects the delicate balance which exists in the Middle East,” Peres said, the Associated Press reported.

Israel has expressed concern that Iran could use the S-300 system to defends its nuclear facilities from an Israeli air attack (Mansur Mirovalev, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Aug. 19).

“The fact that Iran is investing billions of dollars in the development of long-range missiles, in parallel to its nuclear project, is clear indication of its intent” to build nuclear weapons, Peres added in a statement. “Iran constantly threatens not only Israel, but also the entire world.”

Medvedev reaffirmed Russia’s opposition to a nuclear-armed Iran during his meeting with Peres, according to the release (United Press International, Aug. 19).

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim[Return to headlines]


Iran Still Won’t Agree to Talks With Obama

Israel warns that Russia, Iran, Syra sending weapons to Hamas, Hezbollah

NEW YORK — Iran’s state television reported Tehran was ready to engage in direct talks, only to retract the statement within hours in a move that appears to diminish the probability of any action before the White House’s September deadline.

If Iran does not accept by next month the Obama administration offer to engage in direct talks, the White House has threatened to seek increased U.N. economic sanctions.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Israeli President Shimon Peres disclosed that Israel has concrete proof Iran and Syria are delivering Russian-made weapons to terrorist organizations Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Kirkuk: A Businessman Killed, A Doctor Kidnapped. Fear Returns to Haunt Christians

Yesterday in northern Iraq two violent episodes took place against the Christian community. A man was murdered because he tried to prevent the abduction of a Muslim child. A doctor kidnapped for money; a passer-by killed during the abduction. Local sources confirm a climate of “concern” that could cause “another mass exodus.”

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) — More murders and kidnappings targeting the Christian community in Kirkuk, northern Iraq. Yesterday evening Sabah Daowd Askar, 55 years old, married and father of three children, was killed in front of his home in the district of Almas. Also yesterday, in another episode, a 50 year old doctor was abducted on his way home. AsiaNews sources in the city speak of a “climate of fear” and are afraid of a “new mass exodus” of Christians.

Sabah Daowd Askar was killed because “he tried to prevent a kidnapping.” The man, Christian, saw four people “kidnap a Muslim child.” He tried to save him, but the “criminals opened fire”. “He was a businessman — said the source, who knew the victim well — very kind and generous”. Because of his generosity he had tried to prevent the abduction of the child, “irrespective of his faith or the community he belonged to”.

Samir Gorgia, 50, married with two children, a boy and a girl, was abducted around 9 last night, on his way home. During the course of the abduction a passer-by was killed, also of the Christian faith. “Even in this case — the source tells AsiaNews — this is a well known person. He is a medical specialist, known and appreciated by all” for his dedication to his work.

Once again “a climate of concern and fear” reigns upon the Christian community in Kirkuk, a victim of fundamentalist and criminal violence in the past. The source says that “for some time the city has been living in a situation of instability” and a new mass exodus is feared. “Despite some attacks — the source concludes — few faithful have left the city, on the contrary, many families have recently returned. These latest episodes of violence, however, have generated a real concern for the future”. (DS)

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


Lebanon: Polemics Over Cow ‘Cross-Over’ From Israel

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, AUGUST — A cow is at the root of an incident giving rise to fresh polemics between Lebanon and Israel, with neither side wanting to take on the responsibility of the carcass of the animal which fell into a wadi (a small ravine) a few days ago near Kfar Chouba, after it had crossed the border into Lebanese territory in search of water. The body of the dead animal, according to today’s issue of the Lebanese daily L’Orient le Jour, has become the prey of wild birds and animals, but neither side intends to remove it. It is also a problem for Indian soldiers who are part of the UN mission in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL), who have responsibility for the area. For them, almost all of whom are of the Hindu religion, cows are holy animals entitled to a proper burial. It is not the first time that animals crossing over the border from Israel has given rise to tension between the two countries, with Lebanon accusing Israeli farmers of deliberately driving their animals to get water from Lebanese territory. In order to prevent further incidents, yesterday UNIFIL soldiers began to put up barbed wire to protect the Baathail reservoir, the main water source in the disputed hills of Kfar Shuba, territory partially occupied by Israel since 1967.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Lebanon: HRW, “Racism” Claims at Beach Clubs

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AGO 14 — The lebanese office of the group Human Rights Watch accused beach clubs and swimming pools to be racist, Bbc web site reported. According to Hrw, a majority of the beach clubs it surveyed prevent many migrant workers from Asia and Africa from using their facilities. It is alleged the bans are on household maids and domestic servants, widely employed by lebanese families and the many Gulf Arab among the tourists. As the vast majority of the maids are women from places like the Philippines, Nepal, Ethiopia and Kenya, it seems no-one can be in any doubt as to who restrictions are aimed at. “It’s a clear manifestation of the racism that exist in large parts of lebanese society”, says Nadim Houry of Human Right Watch, whose survey found that 17 out if 27 beach clubs enforce some kind of restriction on migrants. One of Beirut’s best know and oldest beach establishments, the Sporting Club, is among those enforcing such restrictions. Mr. Marwan Abu Nasser, general manager of the club, conceded he was operating a policy of discrimination. The country’s labour ministry says it condemned the practice of banning maids from beach clubs as an act “of discrimination and racism”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Tourism: Brits, Iranians Prefer Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, AUGUST 17 — The number of British and Iranian tourists visiting the Mediterranean province of Antalya increased since last year, tourism officials said on Saturday. Speaking to Anatolia news agency, officials from Antalya’s provincial directorate for tourism said that nearly 4.7 million tourists from more than 100 countries arrived in Antalya during the first seven months of 2009. Noting that mostly Russian, German and Dutch tourists preferred Antalya as a holiday destination within this period, officials said more number of British and Iranian tourists also started to come to the Mediterranean province thanks to its qualified services, sea, sand, sun, and historical & natural beauties. The number of British and Iranian tourists visiting Antalya during the first seven months of 2009 increased by 15 and 30% respectively, sources said. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Turkey: Protests in Ankara Over Anti-Smoking Law

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, AUGUST 18 — About a thousand people, for the most part bar and cafe owners, gathered today before the Turkish Health Ministry buildings to protest against the recent introduction of a law which bans smoking in the country’s cafes and restaurants. Coming from all across Turkey, the protestors yelled slogans and waved signs and banners with slogans against the Justice and Development Party (AKP, pro-Islamic and currently in the government) which promulgated the anti-smoking law, as well as against its leader, prime minister Tayyip Erdogan, well-known for his aversion to cigarettes. According to Turkish Bars and Cafeterias Association chairman Murat Agaolgu, the ban on smoking in public places in Turkey — which passed into law on July 19 — will put at risk at least a million jobs “due to the combined effect of the ban and the global economic crisis”. The ban on smoking indoors in public places in Turkey was brought in on May 19,2008, but came into force on July 19 in order to give the establishments time to adapt their premises. Law 4207 does not allow separate smoking and non-smoking areas to be created. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Turkey: Villagers Beat Up British Cyclists

[Comment from Tuan Jim: They made it through Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran — only to get attacked in Turkey…]

Two British cyclists who had pedaled from India through Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, were beaten up by angry villagers in the Black Sea coastal province of Ordu on Tuesday.

The cyclists, 38-year-old Diana Judith Pinkett and 40-year-old Adrian Smith, had decided to ride back to the United Kingdom after traveling to India by air. The two entered Turkey through the Doðubeyazýt customs point and reached the village of Aydýncýk in Ordu late Tuesday.

As they were cycling, a tractor carrying five locals passed the riders and swerved in front of them, causing Smith to hit the rear tire of the tractor and fall. In the argument that followed, the villagers reportedly assaulted the cyclists with sticks and left them at the side of the road.

The cyclists were taken to a local hospital by an ambulance called by a passer-by. The gendarmerie detained a father and son for the attack.

Pinkett suffered bruises while Smith’s right hand was fractured and his head bruised, according to reports. Smith was later transferred to Ordu State Hospital for further treatment, after which he was returned to the local hospital and the cyclists were provided with accommodation by the doctors.

Reports said the investigation into the matter is continuing.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim[Return to headlines]


Turkey: Trabzon Official Takes Wind Out of Tourists’ Rites

Tourists from Russia and Greece are refused permission to light candles at a former monastery. The tourists are told religious ceremonies are banned at museums

Russian and Greek Orthodox Christian worshippers were shown that it is better to curse the darkness than light a candle over the weekend when Turkish officials interrupted their visit to the Sümela Monastery in northeastern Turkey.

Nilgün Yýlmazer, museums director in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, proved the fallacy of the Chinese proverb when she blew out a candle lit by Russian parliamentarian Ivan Savidis and told him, “According to Turkish law, you are not allowed to perform a religious ceremony here.”

The visiting group of about 500 people from Greece and Russia, including Thessaloniki Gov. Panayotis Psomyadis, reacted against the intrusion and then continued to sing hymns and pray at the site.

The monastery stands at the foot of a steep cliff facing the Altýndere valley in the region of Maçka in Trabzon. It sits at an elevation of 1,200 meters, overlooking much of the Altýndere National Park. The only way to reach the monastery is on foot.

It was founded in A.D. 386 and functioned as one of the main monasteries of the Greek Orthodox world until 1923 when it was abandoned as much of the region’s Greek Orthodox population migrated to Greece during the population transfers between Turkey and Greece. The monastery is officially a museum and is one of the main tourist destinations in the region.

The group traveled to Trabzon on three private planes. After the prayers, the tourists left the monastery in groups.

“We came here to pray,” Psomyadis said. “There is no notice proclaiming that religious ceremonies are forbidden here. I’m from Trabzon. My ancestors and grandfathers grew up here. Besides that I’m Greek and also the Thessaloniki governor.”

Russian deputy Ivan Savidis said he could not understand why the Turkish officials had mistreated them, adding that the group wanted to return to Trabzon and visit the Sümela Monastery again in the future.

He said they respected Turkish traditions and laws and had not lit candles or taken photos after they were told not to. They were banned from entering the town center, he said, adding that he did not understand why such limitations were imposed.

Officials also banned a band accompanying the group from performing at Sümela and had collected the priests’ religious cloaks at the airport.

Savidis called on the Turkish government to fire the governor of Trabzon and said he would also write a letter to the Russian parliament about the way they were treated.

Savidis said he had supported the construction of a mosque in Moscow as a Russian parliamentarian and that the construction of mosques in Russia faced no bans.

“I did not oppose constructing mosques in Russia,” Savidis said. “You are Muslim and we are Christian. You have to have to respect me if you want me to respect to you.”

Savidis said he expected thanks from Turkish officials for bringing hundreds of tourists rather than “being insulted.”


Every country has its rules

Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Åžahin, who is originally from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, responded to Savidis’ remarks and supported the officials’ reactions to the group.

“I saw the museum manager last night on television reminding them about our law and telling that they cannot hold a religious rite or ceremony there. We also have museums in Istanbul converted from historical religious places,” he said.

“It is forbidden to perform religious rites in these places even if the place belongs to Muslims. We cannot accept non-Muslim residents of Turkey or tourists misusing these places. Everybody has to obey the rules of the country they are visiting. It is not suitable for a civilized person to push the limits here.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim[Return to headlines]


Turkey: Friends, Foes, Friendly Foes and Hostile Partners

[Comment from Tuan Jim: Apparently the EU is a big priority for the Turks too.]

It’s a wonderful thing that the IFF (identify friend or foe) systems guiding rockets and bombs on Turkish fighter aircraft are completely independent of how the majority of Turks would program them. Imagine the complexity about Turkish pilots firing at U.S., British or Russian aircraft, saluting any jet from countries to Turkey’s east, and both firing at and saluting U.S., Syrian and German warplanes. Bizarre? It’s just how the Turks see their friends and foes.

A recent public opinion poll carried out by the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization, or USAK, has revealed that the United States still tops the list of “threats” despite the “Obama pop star effect.” Israel made quite a jump on the threat list, now ranking second with the approval of 22.64 percent of Turks, from around 10 percent five years earlier. We may call this the “Davos effect.” The third threat is now France (12.09 percent in 2009 vs. 2.5 percent in 2004), and that may be called the “Sarkozy effect.”

The usual foes — Armenia, Greece and Russia — come right after the top three from the politically western hemisphere. The five threats in the top 10 are EU member states (France, Greece, Britain, Cyprus and Germany). Possibly to add some humor to the boring list of countries posing a threat to Turkey, the Turks also cited Denmark (11th) and Belgium (14th). Those may be called the “Roj TV plus Prophet Mohammed cartoons effect” and the “Fehriye Erdal effect,” respectively.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoðlu’s “zero-problem-with-our-neighbors” optimism has apparently found a smaller echo on public perceptions of threat. Turks view five out of seven of their territorial neighbors (Greece, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria) as a threat to their country — the lucky two are Bulgaria and Georgia.

If we consider the two geopolitical/naval neighbors, Russia and (Greek) Cyprus “neighbors,” then the composition of friends vs. foes around our country becomes a stressful seven out of nine. Similarly, Turks do not share a border with the 11 countries on their 14 most friendly countries list. That may be the “Ottoman effect” and tells us that our foreign minister must further refine his peace-with-all-neighbors doctrine.

Our best friend is Azerbaijan. And nobody should be surprised about that, especially because the Azerbaijanis generously agreed to sell us natural gas at $2 per cubic meter and became the second country in the world to recognize Turkish Cyprus. That may be the “one-nation-two-states effect.”

The list of top 14 friendly countries includes 10 from the “Orient” (Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Syria, Kazakhstan, the Turkish Cyprus, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and South Korea) and that must be the “Western effect.” Only two EU countries proudly found a place on the top 14 list, but they come at the very bottom (Italy 13th, and Germany 14th). Combine that with another finding of the survey, that 56 percent of Turks see their country’s future in the EU, then the gist of EU membership becomes more clear: the “euros-in-my-pocket” effect.

Interestingly the Turks view Turkish Cypriots and Japanese almost as equally friendly (5.82 percent for Turkish Cyprus, and 5.64 percent for Japan). We may think this is too mean for the Turkish Cypriots or too generous for the Japanese, or both. A Turkish Cypriot may complain: “Oh, the Turks of the Mainland love us only as little as they do the Japanese”; or the Japanese may cheer up and think: “How lovely, the Turks love us as much as their brothers!”

The top two threats to Turkey, according to Turks, are also the top two threats to world peace: the United States and Israel. Then we see Russia, sixth biggest threat to Turkey, as third biggest threat to world peace, and France as fourth, followed by an intellectual answer: “the Afghan problem.” Then we see three other countries from the threat to Turkey list as global threats: Britain, Iraq and Greece. Greece as threat to world peace? Don’t laugh. That must be the “school textbooks effect.” But intellectualism reappears at the bottom of the list: China, the Palestinian problem and North Korea.

You may have noticed by now. The Turks view the United States as the top threat to both their own country and to world peace and also as a friend. I am quite short of words to tell what effect this might be. But the United States is not the only country with which the Turks apparently have a love-and-hate relationship with. The other friendly countries that also pose a threat to Turkey are Germany and Syria.

There would not have been more complexity if the pollsters had not asked Turks which countries would rush to their aide if Turkey faced war or a natural disaster. The top three saviors, respectively, are the United States (again!), Azerbaijan and Japan.
The list goes on with the Turkic republics, Pakistan, Islamic countries, Germany, Iran, Greece, Italy, Britain, Syria, Turkmenistan (tautologically, a Turkic country), France, Russia, Israel, South Korea and India.

Now what should we make out of this? In a matter of life and death the Turks would hope help more than all the others from what they view as the top threat to both their country and to the world peace. Nice. That may be the “strategic value effect.

But what about this: Turks would also pin hopes on help from eight countries on their top threat list: Germany, Iran, Britain, Syria, France (France!), Russia and Israel (but one minute!). That’s even nicer! Meanwhile, one country they only remember when it comes to help is India, which they cite neither as friendly nor as foe or a threat to world peace.

I am not sure if all these findings would fall into the jurisdiction of political scientists or sociologists or psychiatrists or a big joint committee with members from all three disciplines, but we may just call it the “media effect.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim[Return to headlines]


Turks Rally Against Smoking Ban

Hundreds of Turks have taken to the streets of Ankara to protest against a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants which was brought in last month.

Many of the protesters are cafe owners who say the ban is hurting trade and want smoking to be allowed in special areas of their establishments.

The government banned smoking in most enclosed public spaces in May last year and extended the ban last month.

Turkey has 20 million smokers but polls suggest most people support the ban.

Turkey aspires to become a member of the EU, and the ban brings the country into line with most EU countries.

Anyone caught lighting up in a designated smoke-free area faces a fine of 69 lira ($45; £28).

Bar owners who fail to enforce the ban could be fined from 560 lira for a first offence up to 5,600 lira.

On Tuesday about 1,000 protesters gathered in a park outside the health ministry buildings with brightly coloured banners daubed with slogans and, inevitably, many cigarettes.

“Don’t add a coffeehouse crisis to the economic crisis,” one banner read.

Other banners threatened that the party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a supporter of the ban, would suffer at the next election.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Russia

Fighting Alcoholism in Russia Absolutely Impossible, Medvedev Says

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed the problem of alcohol consumption in Russia in his residence “Bocharov Ruchei” in Sochi. The president urged the government to take measures to reduce the consumption of alcohol in Russia.

“Alcoholism has become a national disaster,” Dmitry Medvedev claimed. According to official data, average Russians, including newborns, consume about 18 liters of alcohol a year.

According to the World Health Organization, if alcohol consumption per capita exceeds 8 liters a year in Russia, the health of nation will find itself in serious danger.

Besides, mass alcohol consumption in Russia results in many families getting separated. Drunken drivers account for almost 5,000 road accidents killing about 8,000 people.

By the president’s opinion, the previously taken measures had given no effect.

“Probably, on the one hand the whole range of restrictive, awareness-raising measures is needed to promote normal and healthy lifestyle,” Medvedev declared.

“It is impossible to fight alcoholism in a poor country,” the president added, stressing the necessity to raise living standards in the country.

“No matter how one views the 1985-1990 anti-alcohol campaign and the mistakes that were made, the campaign did lead to a serious drop in death rates, especially among men, and it saved the lives of one million people over five years,” Health Minister Tatyana Golikova claimed.

According to the data quoted by the minister, only 40 percent of this year’s Russian school leavers are likely to live to the pension age of 55-60.

The authorities are not going to repeat the mistakes made in the past. They will not introduce dry law but pay more attention to preventive measures.

By the president’s opinion, it is necessary to strengthen responsibility for those selling alcohol to minors. Medvedev also suggested changing the regulation of sales of the so-called low-alcohol drinks so as to make them subject to general principles of regulation and restrictions as to strong drinks.

This implies a ban on the sale of alcohol near schools, recreational centers and sport facilities.

Tatyana Golikova suggested inviting the church to join the anti-alcohol company. It has always been an influential institution.

By the way, some governors intend to show the nation how to struggle with alcoholism. For instance, the governor of the Kaliningrad region Georgy Boos told reporters that within the next few days he will impose a ban on the sale of alcohol in his administration office.

Besides, alcohol will not be offered to officials during any ceremonial events. An exception will be made only for international events.

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: Hindu Students Against Muslim Girl Kept Out of Class for Wearing a Headscarf

The case involves the Sri Venkatarama Swamy College in Bantwal, near Mangalore. School regulations do not impose any ban but the student’s classmates and the school principal object to her “half-burqa”, seen as a provocative religious symbol.

Mangalore (AsiaNews) — Aysha Asmin, a Muslim student at the Sri Venkatarama Swamy College (SVS) in Bantwal, near Mangalore (Karnataka), cannot go to class wearing a traditional Islamic headscarf. Hindu students object to it.

Aysha, a first year student at SVS College, arrived at the school on 11 July, the first day of the new academic year, her head covered in accordance with Islamic precepts.

School regulations ban black dhotis traditionally worn by followers of the Hindu deity Ayyappan but are silent with regards to headcovers for Muslims.

The matter came to the fore because of objections by some of her classmates. For them Aysha’s headcover was a provocative religious symbol. They demanded the school order the female student to remove it in class, which is what the school did on 6 August.

A meeting between the student’s parents and SVS College Principal Sitaram Mayya did not solve the matter.

In fact the principal said that Aysha did not wear a headscarf but a “half-burqa” and that the ban was imposed to avoid tensions among students.

Events at the college in Bantwal have caught the attention of public opinion in the State of Karnataka where Muslim-Hindu relations are often tense and controversial.

In many cities and villages an unwritten law prevents young people from the two religious groups from speaking to one another in public.

Women are especially affected by this climate since they tend to be victims of violence and discrimination by the more fundamentalist fringe groups in the two religions.

Aysha is not the only Muslim female student in that college. There are three other female Muslim students in her class but they submitted to the principal’s order. They “stopped wearing a scarf after being threatened,” she said.

Aysha said she had no intention of tarnishing the image of the college but added that she would fight for her right to cover her head and get an education.

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


Indonesia Probes Saudi Cash Link to Hotels Attack

JAKARTA — A man believed to be from Saudi Arabia has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling money used to finance last month’s deadly Jakarta hotel attacks, Indonesian police said Wednesday.

Police spokesman Nanan Soekarna said the man, identified only as Ali, had been arrested recently as part of the investigation into who funded the July 17 attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels that killed nine people.

Another man identified only as Iwan also had been detained for questioning over his suspected links to the network of Malaysian Islamist extremist Noordin Mohammed Top, the alleged mastermind of the attack.

“Ali and Iwan are still being questioned by our team to prove their links with another country and with the financing,” Soekarna told reporters.

“Ali is believed to be a Saudi Arabian national.”

Analysts have said that if the funding for the attacks came from abroad, a likely source would be Al-Qaeda. But police have not confirmed any connection between the hotel blasts and Saudi-born Osama bin Laden’s organisation.

Al-Qaeda has allegedly financed previous suicide attacks in Indonesia including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, and Noordin’s first major operation, a 2003 truck bombing of the Jakarta Marriott that killed 12.

Noordin, 41, leads a splinter group of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network, which aims to create a regional Islamic caliphate.

He is Indonesia’s most-wanted man and is blamed for a series of attacks against Westerners in the mainly Muslim country that have killed around 50 people and wounded hundreds.

He has previously called himself the leader of “Al-Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago” but it is unclear whether there is any ongoing, direct contact between his group and Al-Qaeda.

“The question is whether he only imitates it or whether he has some structural affiliation,” International Crisis Group expert Sidney Jones said in a report last week.

DNA tests showed that a suspect killed in an August 8 raid on a militant hideout was not Noordin as initially reported, police said last week.

Police also named four suspected senior members of Noordin’s network who are being hunted over the July 17 attacks, including one who was arrested in 2004 and released.

Syaifudin Zuhri bin Djaelani Irsyad, alias Udin or Soleh, is believed to be involved in recruiting suicide bombers, Soekarna said.

Bagus Budi Pranoto, alias Urwah, was convicted in 2004 and jailed for three-and-a-half years for hiding Noordin and his master bomb-maker, Malaysian exile Azhari Husin, who was killed by police in 2005.

The two other suspects were identified as Mohammad Syarir, alias Aing, and Ario Sudarso, also known as Suparjo Dwi Anggoro, Aji or Dayat. Their suspected roles in the blasts were not specified.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim[Return to headlines]


Muslim Model Becomes First Woman in Malaysia to be Caned After Being Caught Drinking a Beer

A Muslim part-time model will become the first woman to be caned in Malaysia after pleading guilty to drinking beer, a prosecutor said today.

An Islamic court ordered that Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, be lashed six times with a rattan cane after she was caught drinking alcohol in a raid on a hotel night club in eastern Pahang state last year.

Prosecutor Saiful Idham Sahimi said Kartika will be the first woman to be caned under Islamic law after she chose not to appeal the sentence.

He said: ‘This is the first case in Malaysia. … It is a good punishment because under Islamic law a person who drinks commits a serious offense.’

Yesterday the court set a one-week period starting next Monday for the sentence to be carried out in a woman’s prison, Saiful said. Prison authorities will decide when to cane her during that period.

He said Kartika will remain in prison during that time and will be released ‘as soon as possible’ after the caning is carried out.

Saiful said the rattan cane to be used on Kartika would be lighter than the one used on men, and its purpose was to ‘educate’ rather than punish.

Caning, administered on the buttocks, breaks the skin and leaves permanent scars. Kartika said earlier that she wanted authorities to cane her as soon as possible so she can resume her life with her husband and children.

Some politicians and women’s rights activists have criticized the penalty as too harsh.

Muslims, who make up about two-thirds of Malaysia’s 28 million people, are governed by Islamic courts in all civilian and Islamic matters.

Most alcohol offenders are fined, but the crime also carries a three-year prison term and caning.

Non-Muslims are governed by civil courts, which also impose caning for offenses such as rape and corruption. Men over 50, women and children are exempt under civil law.

A Muslim man and woman were also arrested during a series of raids in Cherating, a beach town in Pahang state, on the night when Kartika was arrested.

Both were also sentenced to caning, but have appealed.

Malaysian clubs and lounges typically serve alcohol and are not legally required to check if customers are Muslims before serving them.

           — Hat tip: A Greek Friend[Return to headlines]


Obama Reaches Out to Islamist Parties in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama has started reaching out to some of Pakistan’s most fervent Islamist and anti-American parties, including one that helped give rise to the Taliban, trying to improve Washington’s image in the nuclear-armed state.

Obama’s special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, is initiating dialogue between the United States and religious parties previous administrations had largely shunned, both sides said.

“The purpose is to broaden the base of American relations in Pakistan beyond the relatively narrow circle of leaders Washington has previously dealt with,” explained Vali Nasr, senior adviser to Holbrooke.

John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Bush presidency, questioned Holbrooke’s timing for trying to engage Taliban sympathizers on the eve of elections in neighboring Afghanistan, where U.S. forces are battling the hardline Islamic group.

“As a general proposition, democracy in Pakistan is fragile enough now that negotiating with people that some on the democratic side of the Pakistani spectrum would think themselves are terrorists strikes me as fairly risky,” Bolton said.

“What we ought to be doing is making sure that our ties with the military are strong because the gravest risk is radical penetration of the military.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Taleban Paid to Call Off Election Attacks

TALEBAN commanders have been bribed with cash from the international community to hold off violent attacks in the run up to Thursday’s Afghan elections, The Scotsman has learned. Intelligence sources say the money was given to fighters in the hope it would form the basis of permanent peace talks with the Taleban. The news came as the head of the British Army warned that UK troops might remain engaged in operations in Afghanistan for another five years.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, in Edinburgh yesterday for the official opening of the UK’s first purpose-built recovery centre for injured service personnel, said it would take “a bit of time” before Afghan forces were able to take over responsibility for security in the country.

President Hamid Karzai is tipped to be re-elected this week after the bloodiest month for British troops in the eight-year war. His brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, and another key Afghan government figure in reconciliation efforts, Arif Noorzai, have been in negotiations with the Taleban.

They claimed that they had split local commanders in the particularly violent south and east of the country from the Taleban high command in Pakistan. Under the terms of the truce, local insurgents have agreed to “neither help, nor intervene” so long as Nato troops do not attack them on polling day, Mr Noorzai said.

But any ceasefire has come too late for the nearly 1,000 British troops killed or injured in the war. The Ministry of Defence yesterday released figures showing that 94 British soldiers were wounded in action last month — more than double the 46 injured in June.

It also named two of the five soldiers killed over the weekend, taking the total death toll since the start of operations in Afghanistan to 204. The soaring casualty rate was partly a consequence of the offensive known as Operation Panther’s Claw, which aimed to drive the Taleban from central Helmand ahead of this week’s election.

While polls showed the British public is growing more sceptical about the war, defence chiefs were also embroiled in a row over how long British troops would have to stay in Afghanistan. The immediate concern, however, is this week’s election.

The Taleban has vowed to boycott the vote and commanders have threatened to attack polling stations. People have been warned that anyone found with ink on their finger — used to identify voters and stop them voting a second time — will have it cut off.

Intelligence sources claim the commanders have been paid off, but officials refused to say whether the money had come from a £135 million election fund, bankrolled by the international community.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Bans Petitioners in Beijing

The Chinese government has issued a new regulation to stop petitioners from travelling to the capital, Beijing.

Legal officials from Beijing will now visit people with complaints in the provinces in order to hear their cases.

Petitions can also be filed online and a response or solution is to be given within 60 days.

Officials have previously tried to stop the thousands who go to the capital with complaints about land grabs, police beatings and legal abuses.

It is the first time the highest level of the ruling Communist Party has taken such measures in order to deal with the issue.

‘Extremely horrible’

China’s army of petitioners flocking to Beijing is a constant embarrassment to the authorities.

The phenomenon has been attributed to China’s imperial past, when people sought the emperor seeking justice.

But it reflects a growing distrust of the local courts and officials, with a widespread public perception that the legal system is corrupt.

A top judge with the country’s supreme court, Mr Shen Deyong, has described this distrust as “an extremely horrible situation”.

Now, the Communist Party says it will send legal officials to areas with a high number of petitioners, to review cases on the spot.

Officials in every province, city and county have also been told to set aside one day every month in order to deal with petitions locally.

People who make repeated trips to Beijing have been warned that if they persist in doing so, their cases may be dismissed without review.

The move is part of a drive to maintain social harmony and stability ahead of the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

Beijing has tightened security and ordered hotels and private landlords not to provide accommodation for petitioners before the celebrations in October.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Petrochina in Huge Australia Deal

PetroChina, Asia’s largest oil company, has signed a $41bn (£25bn) deal to purchase gas from a field off Australia’s north-western coast.

The pact is the largest trade deal in Australian history and was hailed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

“This agreement provides the basis for the creation of thousands of jobs and also injecting billions of dollars into our economy,” he said.

The 20-year deal comes despite recent tensions between Australia and China.

‘We need China’

Last week, four employees of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto were formally arrested in China on suspicion of stealing Chinese trade secrets and taking bribes. Stern Hu, head of Rio’s iron ore operation, was later charged with commercial spying.

Rio had pulled out of a deal that would have seen it receive a $19.5bn investment from China’s Chinalco.

A diplomatic row has also broken out over a visit to Australia by exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, who Beijing accused of inciting the recent riots between ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese in Xinjiang province.

“China needs us, we need China,” Trade Minister Simon Crean said after the PetroChina deal.

The Chinese company has agreed to buy 2.25 million tons per year of liquefied natural gas from the yet-to-be developed Gorgon gas field, from the share owned by US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil.

Mr Rudd said the deal would create up to 6,000 jobs.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan Women Set Up “To Hell With Men” Village

Tired of abuse and suppression a group of women in Kenya have joined forces to establish a female only village in Kenya, where the motto seems to be “to hell with men.”

The village, based 350 kilometers west of the capital of Nairobi, was started by a group of 14 women who decided to escape the dominance of men and live according to their own rules, Germany’s Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) reported on Wednesday.

Called Umoja, or unity in Swahili, the village has become a safe-haven for women escaping arranged marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM) or rape and abuse.

Wandering the desertNagusi Lokimo wandered the desert for 90 days without food or water after she ran away from her village in the early 1990s.

“I was brutally raped by three British soldiers from the United Nations,” she said. “I wanted to get rid of my fears.”

Lokimo told her husband about the rape but he showed no compassion and beat her up instead.

“I thought he would understand, but he yelled in my face and said ‘you whore, you disgraced my family.’“

After she ran away, Lokimo met several women who went through similar traumas. They moved between farms and tried to sell vegetables, but no one wanted to buy from them as they were looked upon as indecent.

The women then tried hard to talk to the Kenyan authorities to allow them to establish a women-only village. After strenuous negotiations, they finally managed to obtain the permit.

Fight for your rightsRebecca Lolosoli is the only woman in the village that speaks fluent English. She always receives visitors and organizes publicity campaigns to promote the village outside the country.

Lolosoli’s efforts have not gone to waste as the Kenyan government has started to issue laws criminalizing violence against women.

“We have to fight for our rights,” she said. “Otherwise, nothing will change.”

Despite the fact that women in the village live on their own, men from neighboring villages continue to harass them and throw stones at them.

“Get out of here. You are cursed,” they yell at them, prompting the women to build a barbed wire fence around the village to protect themselves.

“Go to hell”Women in the village make a living by making jewelry and selling them to tourists.

Netikon Leojuba is the latest addition to the manless village.

She ran away and became a resident of Umoja because she said she was miserable after her father forced her to marry an elderly man.

“Women in the village gave me shelter and embraced me,” she said. “For the first time in my life, I am not ashamed of being a woman.”

When asked if she misses men, Leojuba replied “let all men go to hell.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Somali Town Cleared of Radicals

Islamists fighting Somalia’s UN-backed government have lost control of a town — the second such loss in recent days.

Commanders from a local militia group say they took Luq town, near the Ethiopia border, without a fight.

On Monday Ahlu Sunna drove radicals out of the nearby town of Bulo Hawo as part of a continuing offensive.

Analysts say the development is a significant reversal of fortune for the radical Islamists, who have been fighting to overthrow the government.

Thousands of civilians have been killed and more than a million driven from their homes because of fighting in the past two years.

On Tuesday, the UN said Somalia was now the world’s most dangerous country for aid workers.

Forty-two workers have been killed since January 2008 and a further 33 abducted, the UN said.

Foreign fighters

In recent days, Somali militias opposed to hard-line Islamists have stepped up a campaign to drive their fighters out of towns in the south-western province of Gedo.

Correspondents say Hisbul-Islam, who had controlled Luq town, fled when they heard the troops were approaching.

A local elder in Luq told AFP news agency there had been no fighting.

“We saw the pro-government militia enter the town… and they now control it.”

But locals expressed fears that militias could be gathering on the outskirts to launch a counter-attack.

Hisbul-Islam and its ally al-Shabab are fighting the UN-backed interim government and together control much of southern Somalia.

Both groups are said to have links to al-Qaeda and have been reinforced by foreign fighters.

Both Luq and Bulo Hawo are close to the border with Ethiopia and Kenya — an area that has in the past been controlled by groups with links to Ethiopia and who are deeply suspicious of the Islamist rebels.

Analysts say it would have been tough for the insurgents to maintain control there, and if recent reports of splits in rebel ranks are true, it would have been doubly difficult.

But the BBC’s East Africa correspondent Peter Greste says it does appear to be a significant setback for the Islamists.

He says while Ahlu Sunna’s aims broadly support the embattled government, diplomats worry that if it becomes too strong it will become yet another faction in Somalia’s already deeply splintered landscape.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Latin America

What Happened in Guadalajara

President Obama went to Guadalajara, Mexico, this month as part of his promise to “rejoin the world community” and become a “citizen of the world.” He participated in a conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

These cozy meetings of the so-called three amigos used to be labeled the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The three North American heads of state met in Waco in 2005, in Cancun in 2006, in Quebec in 2007 and in New Orleans in 2008.

After conservatives exposed the mischievous goals, the amigos accepted the Hudson Institute’s helpful suggestion to change their name. Now they call themselves the North American Leaders Summit.

Prestigious internationalist think tanks, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Hudson Institute and the Center for Strategic & International Studies, explained the real purpose of these high-level get-togethers. These meetings were planned to be the first steps toward a North American Union modeled on the European Union, with open borders and a common currency, which Canada’s Fraser Institute prematurely labeled the amero.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Immigration

It’s Official: White British People Have Been Ethnically Cleansed From Inner London

New official figures from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) have formally confirmed that white British people have been ethnically cleansed from inner city London.

Of the approximately 310,907 children in London schools, 159,340 do not have English as their mother tongue, as opposed to 151,567 who do.

The figures only refer to recent immigrants whose parents have not been anglicised. As a result, second or third generation Third World immigrant-origin children have been counted as having English as a home language. When they are combined with more recent immigrants, the 159,340 figure is likely to be substantially higher.

In effect this means that white British schoolchildren are already a tiny minority in Britain’s capital city and unless the immigration invasion is checked and reversed, the vast majority of the next generation of people living in London will be Third World in origin.

According to the statistics, children with a non-English “mother tongue” form a majority in primary schools in 13 out of 33 London boroughs and in nearby Slough. In inner London, 54 percent of primary pupils and 48.5 percent in secondary schools do not speak English as their first language.

Quite apart from the long-term implications of this bloodless genocide of the British people in their own homeland, taxpayers are also being forced to pay up for the huge costs involved in helping these immigrants learn English.

Many schools are facing bankruptcy over the costs of coping with large numbers of non-English speakers, and new appeals have been made to the Government for extra funding.

The figures show there are 14 council areas in which primary children with English as their second language are in the majority — 13 London boroughs and Slough.

In Tower Hamlets, a now almost totally Islamified occupation zone, 80 percent of children do not have English as their mother tongue.

This process is replicating itself all over the country, with the proportion approaching 50 percent in other areas, including Leicester, Luton and Bradford..

A DCSF spokesman was quoted as saying that the Government had ordered an increase in the funding of the “Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant to £206 million by 2010, to bring students weak in English up to speed.” In addition, the DCSF also uses more tax money to equip schools to offer “effective English as an Additional Language teaching for new arrivals.”

* DCSF figures published in May showed that London inner city children are much more likely to qualify for free school meals than anywhere else in the country. Three times as many primary and nursery-age pupils in Inner London are eligible for the meals than those in the South East, according to the statistics.

The statistics also show that more than a third (33.5%) of inner London primary and nursery-age children qualify for the meals, compared with one in 10 (10.1%) in the South East. Across London almost a quarter (23.7%) of children are eligible. Pupils are eligible for the meals if their parents receive benefits, or if they earn less than £15,575 per year.

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Migrants Create More Italian Jobs

Foreign influx means more jobs ops for locals, Bank of Italy

(ANSA)- Rome, August 18 — An influx of foreign workers is boosting job opportunities for Italians rather than reducing them, according to a report published by the Bank of Italy on Tuesday. The study by Italy’s central bank, part of a wider survey of regional economies in 2008, said “the rise in the number of foreigners [in Italy] has not been reflected in fewer job opportunities for Italians”. It added: “There is a positive relationship between foreigners, more educated Italians and Italian women”. The bank explained that foreigners were usually employed for their technical skills or as labourers, which has in turn created more demand for administrative and management roles. “These positions require people who are qualified at a higher level, who tend to be represented in greater numbers among Italians,” said the bank.

The report also said the influx had resulted in more opportunities for women. In Italy, domestic work, childcare and looking after elderly relatives have traditionally been the domain of women, who have struggled to juggle these responsibilities with a career.

But help from foreign carers and cleaners has alleviated this burden on Italian professional women, making it easier for them to continue in paid work, the report found. In addition, the Bank of Italy noted that foreigners were on average paid about 11% less than Italians. It attributed this to lower levels of education among immigrant workers, combined with their concentration in manual labour. It pointed out that nearly 80% of foreign employees in Italy are blue-collar workers compared to just over a third of Italians.

Commenting on the report, Government Programmes Minister Gianfranco Rotondi said: “Immigrants living in the country legally are a precious resource that Italy is working towards fully integrating”. The centre-right government has made cracking down on illegal immigration a key priority since coming to power last year. At the start of July, parliament finally approved a controversial law dealing with immigration and security matters following months of debate. The law makes entering or living in Italy without a permit a criminal offence, and provides for immediate expulsion orders and fines of up to 10,000 euros.

It also imposes penalties on Italians — with the exception of doctors and school principals — who fail to report migrants living in the country without documents.

Landlords who rent to migrants without papers face tough fines, while parents without legal status will be unable to access public services for their infants.

As well as cracking down on illegal migration, the law also triples the period of time foreigners can be held in detention centres to six months and imposes a longer waiting period for those seeking Italian citizenship through marriage. photo: immigrants queuing for residence permits

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


UK: Who Are the Minorities?

Over and over again, British people — and Europeans generally — are told that they must “accommodate the minorities” in their countries. Yet the worldwide reality is that European-origin people are the true global minority, and, using the liberal logic which demands special rights for minorities, it is Europeans who should receive the special perks.

Consider the following: The world’s population is forecast to hit 7 billion in 2011, the vast majority of its growth coming in ‘developing’ and, in many cases, the poorest nations, according to the latest World Population Data Sheet issued by the Population Reference Bureau in America.

Some 97 percent of global growth over the next 40 years will happen in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, said stark contrast can be drawn between Uganda and Canada, which currently have about 34 million and 31 million residents, respectively. By 2050, Canada’s population is projected to be 42 million, while Uganda’s is expected to soar to 96 million, more than tripling.

“Even with declining fertility rates in many countries, world population is still growing at a rapid rate,” said Bill Butz, president of the bureau. “The increase from 6 billion to 7 billion is likely to take 12 years, as did the increase from 5 billion to 6 billion. Both events are unprecedented in world history.”

By 2050, India is projected to be the world’s most populous nation at 1.7 billion, overtaking current leader China, which is forecast to hit 1.4 billion. The United States is expected to reach 439 million for No. 3 on the list — but the vast majority of that growth will be from immigration from Mexico and South America.

From 1900 to 2100 — a period of 210 years, the proportion of whites on earth will have dropped from 30 percent to three percent. More arresting is that the white population is shrinking not only in relative but in absolute terms. Two hundred million white people, one in every six on earth — a number equal to the entire population of France, Britain, Holland and Germany — will vanish by 2060.

Arabic peoples, 94 million at the birth of Israel in 1948, outnumbered seven to one by Europeans, will rise to 743 million in 2060, a tenfold increase, and will be 75 percent of the ‘white’ population.

A United Nations population survey in 2007 predicted the 21st century disappearance of western man.

By 2050, a fourth of all the people of Eastern Europe will have vanished. Ukraine will lose one-third of its population. Russia, 150 million at the breakup of the Soviet Union, 142 million today, will be down to 108 million.

By 2050, Iran’s population will have risen from today’s 71 million to 100 million. Pakistan will add 84 million to reach almost 300 million. Afghanistan’s population will triple from 27 million to 79 million. Iraq’s will go from 29 million to 62 million.

The UN statistics, however, show the populations of Northern, Western and Southern Europe stabilising or falling only slightly.

According to the Pew Research Center, the Hispanic population of the United States of America will triple to 127 million by 2050, as Mexico’s population grows to 130 million.

It is time, therefore, that liberals stopped talking about ‘minorities’ as if European people were somehow the dominating majority. European-origin people across the world are the true minority, and as such deserve extra special treatment in their home nations.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007, states very clearly that:

[Article 3] Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

[Article 4] Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

[Article 6] Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

[Article 8:1] Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.

[Article 8:2] States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;

(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;

(c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;

(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

(e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

[Article 33:1] Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.

[Article 33:2] Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.” […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

General

Communists Cry to Media: ‘We Are People, Too’

Claim ‘red-baiting’ being used to generate opposition to Obama

JERUSALEM — Communists, socialists and Marxists are sick of what they claim are recent “unfair media attacks, stereotyping and vicious slander” against their ideologies and have launched an online protest petition to news media officers entitled, “Communists are people, too.”

In a letter published in the People’s Weekly World, the newspaper for the Communist Party USA, New York labor activist John Pietaro claims detractors of President Obama have been labeling some of his policies “communist” as a means to scare off supporters.

“Red-baiting is back, as a means to stop the even moderately progressive agenda of Obama. They red-baited Obama during the election and are doing so again,” wrote Pietaro.

[Comments from JD: They don’t like the attention now that people have realized that these groups are working actively to undermine the Republic of the United States.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

10 comments:

ole said...

regarding the Swedish blood tale.

This whole Swedish blood tale derives from pure ignorance. As an Israeli who visits hospitals frequently I can tell you Palestinians are taken to Israeli hospitals simply because they are better, and are given equal treatment. Injured Palestinians (including proved terrorists who are injured during an attack on Israeli citizens) are taken to Israeli hospitals by helicopter in urgent cases, just like injured soldiers, and are given the best treatment possible, that includes, sometimes, a surgery. If a Palestinian terrorist or a civilian dies during, or after such a surgery, his body is taken back to his family like any other. The family sees the body has clearly been operated on. That gives way for the hate preacher on duty to make up just about any story he wants about the evil satanic Israelis and their satanic motivation for digging inside bodies. After going to Hamas/Fatah hate school all their lives, nobody is going to believe that the Israelis were just trying to save the guy. Except of curs, for those who have been themselves saved miraculously by an Israeli hospital, they will be the ones standing in the side saying nothing.

Cucurbitae Caput said...

The story in the "Violence erupts for second night in UK town" link is dated July 2001...

Zenster said...

ole: After going to Hamas/Fatah hate school all their lives, nobody is going to believe that the Israelis were just trying to save the guy. Except of course, for those who have been themselves saved miraculously by an Israeli hospital, they will be the ones standing on the side saying nothing.

None of which addresses the monumental ingratitude of the Palestinian woman, Wafa al-Biri, a thankless ingrate who attempted to KILL THOSE WHO SAVED HER LIFE.

Wafa, who is from a Gaza refugee camp, claimed she always wanted to be a martyr. She says the Israelis kill and maim her people and she wants to do the same to them.

Only two months earlier, Wafa's family wrote a thank-you note on her behalf to Soroka hospital in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba.

They thanked doctors and nurses, especially Igor Resnik and nurse Mazal, for their "great efforts and wonderful, warm attitude" in helping Wafa survive burns over 45 percent of her body. A gas cooker had blown up while she was making dinner, burning her everywhere except her face.

Dr. Yuval Krieger, the Israeli doctor who treated Wafa, said she arrived from the Palestinian hospital of Shifa with infected burn wounds. The treatment she had was not good and her burns were dressed incorrectly.

"Did you save her life?" Krieger was asked.

"I believe so, yes," he replied.

But Wafa didn't arrive for Monday's 8 a.m. appointment. "I didn't think much about it. I just marked her as one of the people who didn't show up," Krieger said.

Wafa had begun the journey to her appointment with Krieger, arriving at the Erez border crossing from Gaza into Israel around 5:30 a.m., armed with a letter detailing her appointment and her official permission to cross into Israel for humanitarian reasons.

But that wasn't all the young woman was armed with. She carried a 20-pound bomb inside her underwear. Her target was the outpatient clinic of Soroka hospital and, inevitably, the doctor who saved her life
. [emphasis added]

Just one more example of why Palestinians deserve nothing but the back of our world's collective hand.

laine said...

Devout Muslims follow the teachings of their prophet and sharia law which lays out their every move. Accordingly, they are proscribed from feeling much less expressing sincere gratitude toward what they are told are pigs and monkeys even when the livestock saves their lives.

The initial letter of thanks was either from imperfectly programmed Muslims capable of gratitude toward an infidel or just another takiya maneuver, perhaps to conserve Muslim rights to be treated at state of the art Israeli hospitals so Palestinian leaders do not have to "waste" western donations on building hospitals, but can devote them to weapons for blowing up Israelis.

The actual patient's ingratitude to the extent of trying to kill those who helped her is in line with the old boy Mohammed's exhortations to eternal hostility toward non-Muslims, especially Jews.

Thus are the good punished for ministering to the evil.

The Sentinel said...

Admin - I assume this was deleted on the other thread for being a bit long off topic and not for the content?


In a similar vein to Fjordman's last report, we have this from the UK:


A Muslim who randomly slashed a white man in Manningham, telling him that the town belonged to Muslims and that whites were to be kicked out, was not charged with any racially aggravated assault but merely with wounding with intent.
Although Amir Rehman, 18, shouted racial abuse at 51-year-old Ronald O’Connor, telling him that “Manningham belongs to Muslims. We don’t want whites. We rule Bradford. We are going to get you out,” he was not charged under sections 28-32 and 82 of the Crime and Disorder Act which specifically deals with racist violence and harassment.

"His frightened victim, Ronald O’Connor, tried to get in the shop, but Rehman ran up and stabbed him twice in the upper arm with a four to five-inch bladed knife.

The court heard that Rehman, of Lumb Lane, Manningham, was describ-ed as in a frenzy, “like a crazy man, out of control,” as he tried to slash Mr O’Connor’s face. The palms of Mr O’Connor’s hands were slashed as he tried to defend himself."

As it is, the court case only made local news in the Bradford and Argus Telegraph, with a minor follow-up story in the national Telegraph, but so far the vicious anti-white attack has been deliberately ignored by the rest of the controlled media.

Local Report

Dymphna said...

Yes, Sentinel, that is the case.

Since many people look at "Gov Comments" rather than individual posts, your remarks are likely to be seen anyway. So you don't need the top post.

And the newsfeed is always a handy place for OT comments. Thanks for re-"printing" there.

The Sentinel said...

Sure, no worries.

Zenster said...

laine: Thus are the good punished for ministering to the evil.

Yet one more example of how the West must temporarily abandon some of its most cherished ideals in its war with Islam. A Samaritan attitude does not work with incorrigible parasites. "Diversifying" modern culture with imported Muslims is the latterday equivalent of using leeches to bleed an ailing patient back into better health.

All through history, biting the hand that fed you had one result: STARVATION. That both Muslims and their liberal handmaidens think they can ignore the historical record and defy the most fundamental mechanisms of evolutionary survival is not just astounding but comtemptuous of all reason and sanity itself.

Just as Muslims seek to weaponize Western ideals of decency, compassion, humanity and generosity, so must we set about weaponizing Islam's own sordid credo so that it begins to wreak self-destruction amongst Muslims themselves instead of inside Western culture.

Islam already does this to a certain extent in how it cripples the Muslim mind and body by substituting dogmatic rote memorization for learning and fostering consanguineous marriage that increases retardation and infant mortality in each new generation.

The West must find even more destructive mechanisms within Islam to generate a more intense negative feedback loop that destabilizes and maims Muslim existence to such an extent whereby Islam extinguishes itself or forces its adherents to flee what is nothing more or less than a spiritual and corporeal box canyon.

Baron Bodissey said...

Melon Head --

Yes, that's one of the risks of taking in huge amounts of news tip material in bulk. In this case it was in a batch of stuff that Gaia sent, and I didn't really look at it closely.

Alas, if I had to check out everything in detail, the news feed wouldn't happen at all. So it just has to be caveat emptor, unfortunately.

WAKE UP said...

Zenster is right: you cannot reason with insane fanatics - the first objectives are to pre-empt them and to protect ourselves. Anything else comes later, if at all.