Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/29/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/29/2009In Ireland, the campaigners for a “no” vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum maintain that the European Commission has broken the law by funding a campaign to promote a “yes” vote in Ireland. The EC spent £139,000 to produce a 16-page booklet that was inserted in Irish newspapers.

In other news, a housewife in Malaysia was amazed to discover the word “Allah” on a piece of meat that she was preparing for dinner. She decided not to eat the meat, and instead will dry it to use for medicinal purposes.

Thanks to Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Lurker from Tulsa, McR, Perla, Steen, TB, TV, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Financial Crisis
Economy: Turkey; Erdogan, ‘We Will Grow Without IMF’
FDIC Insurance Plan is No Long-Term Solution
Japan: Prices and Employment Plunge as Fear of Deflation Grows
Texas Ranks Nearly Last in Getting Stimulus Funds
 
USA
ACORN’s Man in the White House
Andy Williams Accuses Barack Obama of Following Marxist Theory
Attorney: Oklahoma City Bomb Tapes Appear Edited
Convicted Felons Could be Working in Your Mother or Father’s Nursing Home
Mass Psychosis of the Radical Left
NYC Police Covering Up Assault by Iran Official?
Obama’s Globalism: ‘We Are the World’
Stakelbeck: Scenes From the Muslim Prayer Rally in DC
Stanford Being Moved From Site of Texas Jail Fight
The Socialist Strategy
 
Europe and the EU
Barmy Britain Through the Looking Glass
Denmark: Oprah Wants Only the Happiest
Elite Swedish Soldiers Blow Up Wrong House
EU Intervention in Irish Referendum ‘Unlawful’
French Actor Cécile Cassel Shocked by ‘Hijack’ of Film by Italy’s Far Right
Ireland: Almost 9,000 Operations Cancelled Since January
Ireland: Media Manipulation — Verhofstadt Style
Sweden: Police Probe Serb Ties to Helicopter Heist
UK: Don’t be Taken in by Brown — He’s a Brazen Hypocrite
UK: Union to Use Barack Obama’s Election Tactics in 50 Key Labour Seats
UN Body Designates Swedish Dialect a ‘Threatened Language’
 
North Africa
Training Scholars or Breeding Terrorists?
 
Israel and the Palestinians
Barak Sought for Alleged ‘War Crimes’
Jerusalem: Yom Kippur, Tensions on Temple Mount
 
Middle East
5 More Nuke Plants Spotted in Iran
Bias Exposed in Turkish Education
Book Excerpt: ‘Iran Threatens Our Survival’
Books: Samir Kassir, History of Beirut, Plural City
Energy: Turkey: Gas Storage Necessary for Country’s Future
Environment: Jordan and Syria to Meet Over Water Dispute
Pakistan: Al-Qaeda Leader’s Son Sent to Saudi Arabia
Terrorism: Hizballah’s Brand is Tarnished
 
South Asia
Malaysian Villagers Amazed by “Allah Meat”
Orissa: Hindu Extremism Behind the Bomb at the Christian Refugee Camp
Swede Held in Pakistan ‘Refuses to be Released’: Official
 
Immigration
Face of Tesco is an Illegal Immigrant
In Calais, Migrants Are Once Again Roaming the Streets
Norway: Rapes by Immigrants in Oslo Out of Control
 
Culture Wars
Death of the West: Our Sexual Identity Crisis
‘Safe Schools’ Chief Encouraged Child Sex With Older Man
Sunstein: Governments Must Fund Abortion
 
General
Islam and Honor Killings

Financial Crisis

Economy: Turkey; Erdogan, ‘We Will Grow Without IMF’

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 18 — Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, announced that the Mid-Term Program is being prepared without adding IMF sources to calculations, daily Sabah reported. “We are trying to stand on our own two feet and have no intentions of walking with a cane”, Erdogan declared during his opening speech at the Istanbul Congress Center, which will host both the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in October. “We have not calculated our growth objectives according to funds that may be sourced by the IMF. All calculations were made according to our current standing. All of our mid-term program efforts are being conducted accordingly”, the Prime Minister said.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


FDIC Insurance Plan is No Long-Term Solution

WASHINGTON (AP) — A plan that regulators proposed Tuesday to have banks prepay $45 billion in insurance premiums won’t provide a long-term fix for the shrinking fund that insures bank deposits.

But the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s proposal would spare ailing banks the immediate cost of an alternative idea: paying an emergency fee for the second time this year. And most banks would likely be able to prepay their premiums without having to reduce lending to businesses and consumers.

Regulators said they expect the cost of bank failures to grow to about $100 billion over the next four years — up from an estimate of $70 billion earlier this year. Faced with that sobering news, they voted to require banks to prepay $45 billion in premiums to replenish an insurance fund that will start running dry on Wednesday.

The FDIC board’s proposal to require early payments of premiums for 2010-2012 could take effect after a 30-day public comment period. Depositors’ money is guaranteed — up to $250,000 per account — by the FDIC. It would be the first time the agency has required prepaid insurance fees.

The increased loss estimate underlines the short-term nature of the prepayment solution. The agency will be able to continue paying depositors when banks fail. But banks will have to pay tens of billions more in coming years to keep the fund solvent.

Still, the shortfall won’t likely make it harder for consumers and businesses to get loans. Most banks still have adequate funds available for lending. In a sluggish economy, fewer people and businesses are seeking loans. And investors wary of stocks and bonds have funneled more of their deposits to banks.

“What the FDIC is effectively doing is borrowing from the banking industry, and they can afford it,” said independent banking consultant Bert Ely.

The FDIC’s plan would draw on banks’ ready cash. Instead of charging them a one-time fee that would deplete their capital reserves, it would spread the costs of the refunding over three years.

But the expected cost of hundreds more bank failures means banks will likely face higher premiums and more fees in the long run.

“Any way you slice it, the banking industry will pay the cost of these failures over time,” said James Chessen, chief economist with the American Bankers Association. “It will be a burden that healthy banks will have to shoulder over the next seven or eight years.”

Banks pay for the deposit insurance program through regular premiums. The fund has been sapped by a rash of bank failures since mid-2008. Without additional special fees or increases in regular premiums, the insurance fund — at $10.4 billion at the end of June — will become “significantly negative” next year and could remain in deficit until 2013, the FDIC now projects.

Ninety-five banks have failed so far this year as losses have mounted on commercial real estate and other soured loans amid the most severe financial climate in decades. That has cost the fund about $25 billion, the FDIC said Tuesday.

The $10.4 billion already was the fund’s lowest point since 1992, at the height of the savings-and-loan crisis. That is equivalent to 0.22 percent of insured deposits, below a congressionally mandated minimum of 1.15 percent.

Most of the $100 billion in costs are expected to come from failures this year and next, the agency said. -

Given those rising costs, some analysts said increased premiums or another fee are inevitable.

“You pull this forward once, but if the gap is large, you’ll have to charge (an extra fee) anyway,” said Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with Concept Capital’s Washington Research Group.

Banks are limited in their lending by the amount of capital they hold in reserve. Capital provides a cushion to protect against loan defaults and other losses. Banks that lack enough capital can’t extend new credit.

Some banks have had to tighten lending since the financial crisis struck because regulators say their capital buffers are too low. The FDIC plan preserves bank capital by spreading the cost of replenishing the fund over three years. Because the fees were expected, banks’ long-term financial outlook doesn’t change.

The agency had considered several options for propping up the fund. They included tapping a $100 billion credit line at the Treasury Department, or charging banks a special fee for the second time this year.

The Treasury plan would have raised bank premiums in the long run as the agency paid down its debt. A one-time fee would have drawn down banks’ capital abruptly. That would have limited their ability to lend and endangered banks that are already short on cash.

“What the FDIC has realized is that another special assessment like that would do more harm than good,” Chessen said.

The plan the FDIC settled on amounts to an “early collection” of money the fund would need over the next three years, Seiberg said. He called the move a “one-time accounting gimmick.”

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said it struck “a good balance,” requiring the banking industry “to step up” while spreading the cost over a number of years.

An insurance payment by the industry of $45 billion “is not going to constrain lending,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]


Japan: Prices and Employment Plunge as Fear of Deflation Grows

Consumer prices dropped 2.4 per cent in August, a record since 1971. Fears grow that lower demand might lead to further cuts in production and more job losses, setting in motion a deflationary spiral.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Core consumer prices excluding fresh food, which have been falling since March, dropped 2.4 per cent in August from a year ago, a record since 1971, compared to a 2.2 per cent decline in July. Much of this drop reflects last year’s peak in oil costs when crude reached an unprecedented US$ 147.27 a barrel in July to drop more than 50 per cent since then.

Even excluding food and energy, consumer prices fell 0.9 percent in August, the same pace as July, which was the sharpest decline in seven years?

This drop reflects the decline in overall consumer spending, a consequence of a record jobless rate of 5.8 per cent.

Even though the GDP rose 0.9 per cent after various months of decline, consumers are still unwilling to spend more

While most developed economies in the world are expected to battle with inflation in the coming months, deflation in Japan is likely to persist into 2010 because of weak consumer demand, excess capacity and strength of the yen, this according to David Cohen at Action Economics in Singapore.

Yesterday, the yen rose to an eight-month high of 88.22 against the dollar after Hirohisa Fujii, Japan’s finance minister, indicated that Tokyo would not intervene to stem its recent rise. It fell to 90.07 this morning.

The business community is concerned about recent announcement by the new ruling Democratic Party government to suspend parts of a Y 15,000 billion economic stimulus package and by the worsening export demand, which could undermine the real health of the economy.

For the new government increasing domestic demand is crucial. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has promised cash transfers to families with children, toll-free highways and income supplements for farmers.

By holding back the recovery and hiring, lower demand is cutting into families’ purchasing power. “As households’ spending power falls, there’s concern that this deflation will lead to further deflation—in other words, that we’ll enter into a deflationary spiral,” said Kyohei Morita, chief economist at Barclays Capital in Tokyo.

Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said that this month prices would continue to fall for “some time.” But the Central bank noted that the economy showed “signs of recovery,” partly because of a lower lending rate.

Other experts are more optimistic. For them, lower consumer demand is due to consumer expectations that prices might drop further. Shortly however, consumers should start spending again.

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


Texas Ranks Nearly Last in Getting Stimulus Funds

WASHINGTON — Texas has received less funding per resident from the stimulus package so far than almost any other state, according to a Dallas Morning News analysis of federal grants and contracts.

Texas lawmakers have long complained about one reason for the disparity: Federal funding formulas, often written by small-state lawmakers, disadvantage big states like Texas.

But Texas is also a victim of its own thrift: With fewer research universities, less subsidized housing, and a smaller contribution to programs like Medicaid and unemployment insurance, it stands to receive less emergency funds than if it spent more of its own money on the programs.

“If you are looking for benefits, you don’t move to Texas,” said Sherri Greenberg, an expert in public finance at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs.

The $787 billion stimulus flows through a variety of established channels — tax credits, student loans, Social Security checks, highway contracts and dozens of other programs. The law devoted extra funds to entitlements like Medicaid, and lawmakers extended safety nets for unemployment insurance and subsidies for COBRA, which allows workers to maintain their group health coverage if they leave or lose their jobs.

Texas has been approved for about $12.9 billion in stimulus grants and contracts, not including the estimated $4.2 billion that Texans received through the law’s main individual tax credit, according to federal estimates.

But adjusted for population, the state’s share of stimulus grants — about $533 per person — ranks 49th among 50 states, according to data reported by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. Alaskans have received $1,377, while New Yorkers have gotten $873, and Californians netted $677.

Medicaid limits

One reason for the difference is Medicaid, which accounts for 63 percent of stimulus outlays so far. New York has received $4.7 billion for its program, and California has gotten $4.3 billion. Texas has received $1.9 billion, according to a News analysis of stimulus grant data.

Most low-income, childless Texans can’t get Medicaid, and advocates complain the state does a poor job of signing up all children who qualify. About 17 percent of Texans are enrolled in Medicaid, compared with 27 percent in New York and 29 percent in California, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

“The fact that Texas is 50th out of 50 states in terms of children and adults insured for health care, that has not only hurt those families, it has cost us billions of federal dollars,” said U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, a Waco Democrat who supported the stimulus. “That, along with the decision to reject $550 million in unemployment stimulus funding, certainly hurt the funding totals for Texas.”

Texas lawmakers gave up $565 million in stimulus funds when they decided not to make changes to the unemployment benefits program. To get the stimulus funds, states had to expand their program to reach more unemployed workers, including those who seek only part-time work. Only 20 percent of unemployed Texans received unemployment benefits during the second quarter of 2008, the second-lowest rate among states, according to the National Employment Law Project.

Most Republicans scoff at the notion that Texas is losing out on the stimulus. Gov. Rick Perry says accepting some funds, like the unemployment money, would require changes that would make the state less competitive.

“Texans are kind of sick of having Washington take their money in the form of all these taxes and fees and what have you, and then dribbling it back to them — and particularly, dribbling it back to them with all these strings attached,” Perry said.

But not all funds come with strings attached.

The stimulus provided $8.2 billion to the National Institutes of Health to award research projects performed by universities, nonprofits and businesses. An additional $2.5 billion went to the National Science Foundation for science and engineering projects. Texas lags in this category, too. Its universities and companies have won far fewer stimulus-funded research grants than states such as California, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

So far, California universities have landed about $453 million in stimulus grants and contracts for special projects, compared with $161 million for New York schools, $110 million in Pennsylvania, and $91 million in Texas, according to a News analysis of NIH data.

The University of California at Berkeley, the flagship school of the California system, has been awarded more than $204 million in stimulus grants and contracts, much of it from the Energy Department.

The University of Texas at Austin has won grants and contracts worth $22 million. Four years ago, UT lost a bid to host the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Los Alamos has been awarded $132 million in Energy Department stimulus funds.

“That disparity is pretty dramatic,” said state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, chairman of the Texas House’s Higher Education Committee. “We have to do a better job of getting our percentage of these billions of dollars of grants.”

Housing subsidies

Texas is also lagging behind in stimulus funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Much of HUD’s early awards have gone to a program that subsidizes rents for low-income tenants. Texas has far less housing in the program than it once did, after more than 150 properties left the program during the late 1990s, according to the National Housing Trust.

With a lower unemployment rate than other states, Texas could be at a disadvantage to win billions in competitive grants that are symbols of the Obama administration’s green jobs strategy.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said high-unemployment states are likely to win more of his department’s competitive stimulus grants because of their abundance of vacant, cheap real estate and a trained workforce.

Businesses “see this vacuum — you still have the workforce there, you still have the factories, so in a certain sense, it’s being backfilled with the new energy opportunities in those areas,” Chu said. “In large part, it sort of automatically” gravitates to areas of high unemployment, he said.

Most of the law’s competitive grants — which are supposed to improve infrastructure and create jobs — have yet to be awarded. The city of Dallas applied for more than 20 competitive grants. So far, it’s won four of them, including $9 million to hire and fund 50 police officers for three years.

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said the competitive grant process has gone too slowly, arguing that many stimulus-funded jobs will be created after the recession ends. “There is a real concern that a lot of the dollars are going to be spent when it’s a different economic environment,” Leppert said.

Texas-based projects are starting to benefit from competitive grants, including a South Texas wind farm that was awarded $114 million in cash assistance from the Energy Department.

Oncor, the Dallas-based power line company, is seeking more than $327 million, including $200 million to help customers pay for smart meters. If the company wins the grant, it would probably reduce customers charges for the meters, which help people conserve electricity and may enable them to save money on electric bills.

“The Department [of Energy] is looking for some projects that are viable and up and running,” said Jim Greer, an Oncor senior vice president. “I think they’d like to have a viable project that they can get behind and show this can actually work and show some leadership.”

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]

USA

ACORN’s Man in the White House

Newly discovered evidence shows the radical advocacy group ACORN has a man in the Obama White House.

This power behind the throne is longtime ACORN operative Patrick Gaspard. He holds the title of White House political affairs director, the same title Karl Rove held in President Bush’s White House.

Evidence shows that years before he joined the Obama administration, Gaspard was ACORN boss Bertha Lewis’s political director in New York.

Lewis, the current “chief organizer” or CEO of ACORN, was head of New York ACORN from at least 1994 through 2008, when she took over as national leader of ACORN. With Gaspard at work in the White House, Lewis might as well be speaking to President Obama through an earpiece as he goes about his daily business ruining the country.

Erick Erickson of the website RedState recently did an excellent job explaining the relationship of Gaspard to Lewis and President Obama so I won’t take up space here recalling all his valuable insights. Suffice it to say Erickson reported that Gaspard figures prominently in Lewis’s rolodex, which Erickson has in his possession.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Andy Williams Accuses Barack Obama of Following Marxist Theory

Williams had a less favourable opinion of the current president. “Don’t like him at all,” he said, “I think he wants to create a socialist country. The people he associates with are very Left-wing. One is registered as a Communist. “Obama is following Marxist theory. He’s taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail.” Politicians, media personalities and conservative activists have accused the US president of espousing socialist ideas. Earlier this month, Jim Greer, the chairman of the Republican Party in Florida, said he was “absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology”, after the US leader appeared in a televised address to be shown in classrooms around the country.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Attorney: Oklahoma City Bomb Tapes Appear Edited

OKLAHOMA CITY — Long-secret security tapes showing the chaos immediately after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building are blank in the minutes before the blast and appear to have been edited, an attorney who obtained the recordings said Sunday.

“The real story is what’s missing,” said Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake City attorney who obtained the recordings through the federal Freedom of Information Act as part of an unofficial inquiry he is conducting into the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

[…]

“Four cameras in four different locations going blank at basically the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995. There ain’t no such thing as a coincidence,” Trentadue said.

He said government officials claim the security cameras did not record the minutes before the bombing because “they had run out of tape” or “the tape was being replaced.”

“The interesting thing is they spring back on after 9:02,” he said. “The absence of footage from these crucial time intervals is evidence that there is something there that the FBI doesn’t want anybody to see.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Convicted Felons Could be Working in Your Mother or Father’s Nursing Home

Florida seniors and disabled adults too frail to live on their own have been beaten, neglected and robbed by caregivers with criminal records.

A cancer patient at a Pompano Beach assisted living facility watched helplessly from bed as a nurse’s aide with a record for theft rifled through her handbag and stole $165.

“What are you doing with my bag?” a police report quoted her as saying. “You have no right. Put it down.”

A video camera caught an aide at a North Miami Beach group home for the disabled shoving a cerebral palsy patient face-first to the floor, busting her lip. The aide had previously pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and never should have been working there.

More than 3,500 people with criminal records — including rape, robbery and murder — have been allowed to work with the elderly, disabled and infirm through exemptions granted by the state the past two decades, a Sun Sentinel investigation found. Hundreds more slipped through because employers failed to check their backgrounds or kept them on the job despite their criminal past.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Mass Psychosis of the Radical Left

Far be it for me to play armchair shrink here, but the more I see how the modern leftist mind works, the more I am convinced that there is a very real mental disorder in play.

For years I thought that radical leftists in the U.S. were just ill-informed, morally bankrupt children of the ‘60s, born with pot, acid, party barbiturates or heroin coursing through their veins.

I thought they were just well indoctrinated by yesteryears’ draft dodgers become Ivy League Law professors or anti-American ACLU legal hacks. But the closer I look at their consistent behavioral patterns, the more I become convinced that there is a mass psychosis involved.

[Return to headlines]


NYC Police Covering Up Assault by Iran Official?

Member of Ahmadinejad’s entourage at U.N. allegedly attacked protester

The New York City Police Department is covering up an alleged assault on a protester by a member of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s entourage, claims an attorney who just days ago served the radical Middle East leader with notice of a lawsuit over his terror campaign.

Larry Klayman of the government-watchdog Freedom Watch arrived on the scene in front of Ahmadinejad’s New York hotel Friday shortly after the attack. He said the female demonstrator, who had been protesting Iran’s government, asked him about representing her.

Suddenly, officers from both the NYPD and the U.S. Secret Service intervened, cutting off the conversation between Klayman and the woman and refusing to allow him further communication with her.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Obama’s Globalism: ‘We Are the World’

True to his word, though barely reported, Obama made this statement in his U.N. speech: “We have fully embraced the Millennium Development Goals.” I’m not sure where he got the authority to make that unilateral declaration, but he nonetheless made it. I guess now that he’s president, he can sometimes just issue fiats instead of having to deal with the cumbersome legislative process — such as when he had difficulty as senator getting his Global Poverty Act passed. That bill would have committed the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of the U.S.’ gross domestic product on foreign aid, amounting to $845 billion more than the U.S. already spends.

So why do you suppose the evil Bush administration opposed the innocuous-sounding “Millennium Development Goals”?

Well, how about its multi-pronged assault on America’s national sovereignty? It commits participating nations to be bound by the International Criminal Court treaty; support regional disarmament measures for small arms and light weapons; and press for the full implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which Wikipedia describes as “an international legally binding treaty” that includes among its goals a “fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources,” the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, described as “an international bill of rights for women,” and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which purports to be a “legally binding international instrument” that gives children the right to express their own opinions “freely in all matters affecting the child” and requires those opinions be given “due weight.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Stakelbeck: Scenes From the Muslim Prayer Rally in DC

About 3,000 Muslims showed up at the U.S. Capitol last Friday for what was dubbed “A Day of Islamic Unity.” Organizers had anticipated a crowd of some 50,000 worshippers. So in terms of numbers, the event was a bust. But there are some interesting points to note.

The event’s organizer is an attorney who has represented several Islamic terrorists in court. And despite a slew of recent terrorism arrests on U.S. soil, none of the speakers took the time to condemn Islamic terrorism or terror groups like Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Some attendees we spoke to also had troubling views about Islam and its role in America. For more, watch my report from the event at the link above.

[Return to headlines]


Stanford Being Moved From Site of Texas Jail Fight

HOUSTON (AP) — Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, awaiting trial on charges he ran a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, will be moved from the lockup where he got into a jail fight that resulted in him being hospitalized for a concussion.

But U.S. District Judge David Hittner’s order, issued Friday and made public Monday, is not connected to Stanford’s Sept. 24 fight with another inmate, said Kent Schaffer, one of Stanford’s court-appointed attorneys.

Hittner ordered Stanford to be moved from the Joe Corley Detention Facility in Conroe, north of Houston, to the Federal Detention Center in downtown Houston.

The judge granted a request, filed last week before the fight, by Stanford’s attorneys, who said the Corley facility interfered with their ability to meet with their client and review the large number of records in the case.

“The Court recognizes the extraordinary nature and complexity of this case, the extent and gravity of the charges levied against Stanford, the hundreds of records involved, and the enormous amount of time no doubt necessary to review those documents and adequately prepare a defense,” Hittner wrote.

Hittner ordered that Stanford be moved no later than Thursday.

Schaffer said Stanford was very pleased with Hittner’s order.

“Visitor rooms for attorneys in the (downtown) detention center are better suited to being able to sit down with clients and prepare,” he said.

Schaffer said his client, who he visited Monday, is still in physical pain from the concussion, two black eyes, broken nose and cut on his forehead that he suffered during the fight. Stanford was returned to the lockup Sunday afternoon.

“He’s in better spirits than what I would have expected him to be,” said Schaffer, who added that he does not know what started the fight.

Stanford, 59, has been in the Corley facility since he was indicted in June on 21 counts, including wire and mail fraud. He has been jailed without bond; Hittner considers him a flight risk.

Stanford and other executives of the now-defunct Houston-based Stanford Financial Group are accused of orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme by advising clients to invest more than $7 billion in certificates of deposit from the Stanford International Bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Investors were promised their investments were safe and were scrutinized by Antigua’s bank regulator and an independent auditor.

But authorities say Stanford and the indicted executives fabricated the bank’s balance sheets, bribed Antiguan regulators and misused investors’ money to pay for his lavish lifestyle.

Stanford and three former company executives have pleaded not guilty.

Another former executive, James M. Davis, has pleaded guilty in the case and is cooperating with prosecutors.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]


The Socialist Strategy

Tammany Hall is dead today, but the system is still alive and well in the Democratic Party. Tammany Hall claimed to help immigrants, but what it actually did was oppress them. Behind the holiday gift baskets, the politicians who spoke German, Italian, Yiddish, Polish—and all the talk about “sticking it to the rich”, was a political system that was nothing more than organized crime. Those same politicians played “divide and conquer” pitting the Irish against the Jews, the Germans against the Blacks, and promising to fight for whatever ethnic group they were speaking to at the time. All the while they were robbing everyone blind.

The money they spent on their constituents was a small share of the taxes they collected. Most of the money instead went to the municipal bureaucracy and the Tammany Hall leaders at the top. As corruption crackdowns came, the Democratic party began to eschew open bribery in favor of “Honest Graft”. This moved the party up and away from street level crime and low level paid appointments. Instead the focus became on appropriating government revenues for their own benefit. Municipal appointments no longer depended on direct payments, but on party loyalty. Taxes had to be raised to offer more services administered by that same ever growing bureaucracy. Organized crime had become socialism.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Barmy Britain Through the Looking Glass

Cases such as the dinner lady fired for telling the truth about bullying show how an obsessive adherence to certain laws flies in the face of common sense, says Philip Johnston .

Let’s get this straight, shall we? If a school staff member tells parents that their seven-year-old child is being bullied, she is dismissed for a breach of confidence, even though this is information that the mother and father should know and would expect to be told. Yet if two mothers (both policewomen, incidentally) enter a private arrangement to share childcare while they are at work, it is fine to report them to the “authorities” for an apparent breach of a law that requires that they should be properly checked for criminal propensities before doing so.

We are developing a culture in this country that is a mirror image of what most of us would expect to happen. Everything is back to front. Most people would consider that Carol Hill, the school dinner lady who witnessed the bullying of Chloe David, was right to tell her mum and dad when she found out that the school was not going to. Even Chloe’s parents think she did the right thing. Yet she has been sacked for not properly following the school’s procedures, even though they are patently daft.

The two policewomen thought it would be a good idea to look after each other’s offspring while at work. Yet under the Childcare Act 2006, they are supposed to register with Ofsted, complete a criminal record check, learn first aid, take a childcare course and even follow Labour’s “nappy curriculum” for under-fives.

Even though this is quite clearly barmy as well, someone denounced them for their “crime”, and they are banned from continuing with their agreement unless they conform to the law.

Not only do you wonder at the mentality of those who see it as their duty to tip off the “authorities” when the practice is so innocuous (this is not whistle-blowing but malevolence), you must also once again question how such a law could be a) drawn up in the first place and b) passed by a Parliament that seems to have been asleep for the best part of the past decade, other than when it comes to putting in expenses claims.

When the childminding ban became known as a result of a petition placed on the Downing Street website, it was described as “a little-noticed law”; that’s true — not least by our MPs.

The Government defended the restrictions on private childminding arrangements on the grounds that they did not cover close family members, as though this somehow made it perfectly proper for the state to intrude into the affairs of two friends reaching a personal accommodation. But it is all of a piece with the nationalisation of childhood that has been going on for years now. It has become a displacement activity for a government that once was able to run large chunks of British national life when a good deal of our industry was state-owned but which now has to exercise its control-freakery in some other way.

The pressure organisation Action for Children worked out that successive British governments have made more than 400 major announcements relating to children and young people over the past 21 years, leading to 98 Acts of Parliament, 82 strategies and 77 initiatives, many of which are no longer working. Three quarters of these policy changes and statements were made in the past decade under Labour. This is a sure sign of a governing class that has lost all sense of what are the proper limits of state activity.

There is something else that has gone terribly askew in our national mirror. A government spokesman said that the law on childminding was “proportionate”. Yet that is clearly what it is not, and this lack of balance is everywhere we look.

On Thursday, for instance, a British diplomat was fined for “racially aggravated harassment” because he fulminated at the television screen when he was exercising in the gym. Rowan Laxton, head of the South Asia desk of the Foreign Office, was watching a report about the death of a farmer killed by Israeli bombs when he exclaimed: “———- Israelis,

———- Jews.”

Two other members of the gym were on the floor below and heard Laxton’s imprecations. They objected, complained to the staff, who told the police, who arrested Laxton. He was fined £350 at the City of Westminster magistrates’ court, ordered to pay £500 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge (to whom?). He might now lose his job.

This case had all the hallmarks of our looking-glass world: it was a disproportionate response to the free expression of an opinion that, however, intemperate, was directed only at a television screen. It infringed a law that cannot possibly have been drawn up for this purpose. And even though he apologised to fellow gym members who had overheard them, Laxton was denounced for his remarks.

He was threatening nobody. He was unaware that there was anyone within earshot. Had he said the same thing in his sitting room, and been overheard through an open window by someone walking past, should he then be arrested and prosecuted?

What is really worrying is that there are people who think the answer to that question is yes.

[Return to headlines]


Denmark: Oprah Wants Only the Happiest

Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo production company has landed in Copehagen to help Chicago in the bid to host the 2016 Olympics

The city of Copenhagen and its happy residents are on the agenda as Oprah’s talk show comes to town

American talk show queen Oprah Winfrey may be arriving in Copenhagen on Wednesday to boost Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics, but that’s not keeping her away from the day job.

A team from her Harpo production company arrived in the city today to scout locations and participants for a Danish segment of the Oprah talk show.

The 30-minute segment filmed during Winfrey’s trip will feature locals in Copenhagen showing off the city and their homes and explaining why Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world.

Oprah’s team is currently recruiting Copenhagen guests through her website and the happy episode is due to air on 9 October.

Denmark’ reputation as a happy country stems from numerous surveys and is often cited as a given, but the label of happy Danes raised heckles when it was brought up on popular US day-time show The View last week.

Guest Joy Behar told the panel that Danes were the happiest people around because they didn’t have to worry about health care or sending their children to college because ‘everything’s paid for’.

Fellow panellist Whoopi Goldberg was unconvinced and rejected Behar’s comment. As did many visitors to the show’s website.

Website visitors from both Denmark and the US questioned just how happy Danes can be when taxes are so high in order to pay for the ‘free’ education and health care promoted by Behar.

News pundit Carolyn Plocher from the Media Research Center was quick to add her weight to the unhappy campaign and pointed out that from the latest happiness survey, other Scandinavian countries with ‘free’ education and health care did not even rank inside the happiness top 10.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Elite Swedish Soldiers Blow Up Wrong House

A group of elite Swedish soldiers made a colossal error during a demolition exercise at the weekend when they blasted their way into the wrong house.

The incident took place during what was supposed to be a routine training operation, for a group of soldiers from Sweden’s Life Regiment Hussars (K3), an elite cavalry division involved in intelligence and paratrooper training.

On its website, the Life Regiment Hussars characterize themselves as “light, highly mobile units with substantial strike power.”

Among other credentials, the Hussars also boast of having “long experience in the area of intelligence.”

But something nevertheless went wrong for the soldiers involved in an exercise which took place in Röjdåfors in northern Värmland in west central Sweden, near the Norwegian border, according to the Nya Wermlands-Tidningen (NWT).

The mission, performed in conjunction with the Swedish home guard (Hemvärnet), called for the soldiers to capture a house.

However, the elite unit somehow managed to hit the wrong target, and instead bombarded a house located about 200 metres from their intended target.

Collateral damage included blown out doors and window frames, before the soldier’s discovered their mistake.

“I think we’ve already cleaned up after ourselves. And we have, of course, contacted the owner. There’s no hard feeling between us,” K3’s public relations officer told the newspaper.

The K3 soldiers are prized as one of Sweden’s elite military units and have recently completed training drills in both France and Germany, including exercises performed in collaboration with German paratroopers in Bavaria.

Charlotte Webb (news@thelocal.se)

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


EU Intervention in Irish Referendum ‘Unlawful’

The European Commission has been accused of “unlawful” interference in Ireland’s referendum after paying for a 16-page guide to the Lisbon Treaty to be inserted into national newspapers.

Campaigners for a “No” vote have threatened a legal challenge after 1.1 million copies of the European Union booklet were distributed, at a cost to the taxpayer of £139,000.

The guide gives a summary of European Union’s achievements before outlining how the Lisbon Treaty would help improve life in Ireland further.

It reads: “Today, members of the EU enjoy a wealth of benefits: a free market with a currency that makes trade easier and more efficient, the creation of millions of jobs, improved workers’ rights, free movement of people and a cleaner environment.

“These are major goals. The Lisbon Treaty is designed to give the EU the tools to achieve them.”

The European Commission has defended its actions by claiming the pamphlet is designed to simply inform voters.

“The commission has a duty to inform people about the treaties. The guide does not advocate a Yes or a No. It is information not campaigning,” said a spokesman.

But The Daily Telegraph has learnt that the legal services of both the commission and the Council of the EU, which represents governments, expressed reservations the publication of the “citizens summary” of the Lisbon Treaty.

An EU official said: “The lawyers asked if it was right for the commission to produce a summary of Lisbon, before it was ratified and when there was not one for the Constitution.

“The reluctance of some countries, particularly France and Netherlands where the Constitution was rejected, needed to be overcome too because of the similarities between the two texts.”

Patricia McKenna, a former Green MEP and a leader of the People’s Movement, which is opposed to the Lisbon Treaty, has attacked the latest Brussels intervention in Friday’s referendum.

“The EU Commission, with the massive funds and resources available to it, courtesy of the taxpayer, can just throw money at influencing Irish opinion prior to the vote. We have to campaign on a shoestring,” she said.

Mrs McKenna won a landmark legal challenge to the Irish Supreme Court 14 years ago, to prevent the “unconstitutional use of taxpayers’ money for propaganda purposes in referendum campaigns”.

“This is an unlawful use of European taxpayers’ money, since the European Commission has no competence whatever in the ratification of treaties. It is gross interference,” she said.

“I am taking legal advice. We will take out an injunction if they attempt to put the booklet elsewhere.”

Irish voters go to the polls this Friday for a second referendum after Ireland rejected the Lisbon Treaty, the successor to the EU Constitution, for a first time in June last year.

Irish expatriates living in Brussels, and often working in the EU institutions, have been offered free Ryanair flights to Dublin, as long as they campaign for a Yes vote.

Europe for Ireland, a Brussels-based Yes campaign group, has made the offer on its website, with campaigning strings attached.

The offer stated: “You must agree in writing to canvass for a Yes vote while in Dublin. We will put you in touch with one of the relevant organisations in Dublin. (If you do not turn up to canvass, your return flight may be jeopardised).”

The campaign group has already come under fire for trying to raise money to fund the Yes campaign from Brussels lobbyists who will benefit from the Lisbon Treaty.

Ryanair too has been criticised for bankrolling a “Vote Yes to Europe” campaign just a year after Michael O’Leary, its boss, compared the EU to Zimbabwe for ignoring Ireland’s first referendum rejection.

[Return to headlines]


French Actor Cécile Cassel Shocked by ‘Hijack’ of Film by Italy’s Far Right

Cécile Cassel said she had not been aware of the film’s ‘political ghosts’. Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

A leading French actor who backs immigrants’ rights has said she was shocked to discover that her latest film, an Italian historical epic, is being used as a propaganda tool by Italy’s xenophobic Northern League party, an ally of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Cécile Cassel, the sister of actor Vincent Cassel, is starring in Barbarossa, a $30m (£19m) production part-funded by the Italian government which celebrates the military defeat in 1167 of the German Holy Roman emperor Frederick I, known as Frederick Barbarossa, by a league of rebellious northern Italian cities — an event celebrated by the modern-day Northern League.

Umberto Bossi, the league’s leader, who once suggested opening fire on boats of migrants arriving from Africa, has been showing clips of the film at rallies and urging supporters to see the film, which premieres on Friday.

“I knew nothing of the political ghosts behind Barbarossa,” said Cassel, who plays Frederick Barbarossa’s wife in the film. “Let’s just say that if I had known, I probably would not have accepted the part.”

The league, which calls for autonomy for northern Italy and a crackdown on immigration from abroad, features on its flag a depiction of Alberto da Giussano, the legendary warrior who led his fellow Italians against Frederick.

Bossi has claimed he is the modern-day equivalent of Da Giussano and that Barbarossa, played by Rutger Hauer in the film, represents the Italian state that the league is seeking freedom from.

Da Giussano is played by an Israeli actor and the film’s crucial battle scene was filmed in Romania to cut costs.

Renzo Martinelli, the director of Barbarossa who claims Bossi inspired him to make the film, reacted to Cassel’s discomfort by saying he would think twice about hiring her again.

“Like many French people, she has an enormous sense of self-importance,” he told Corriere della Sera.

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


Ireland: Almost 9,000 Operations Cancelled Since January

Figures released to Fine Gael ( An Irish Political party) show that almost 9,000 operations were cancelled in Ireland’s public hospitals in the first six months of this year.

The figures, received by Fine Gael in response to a parliamentary question, show a 27 per cent increase on figures for the same period in 2008.

A total of 8,935 operations were cancelled in the first six months since January 2009. Of these, 2,594 were scheduled for day patients and 6,341 were scheduled for in-patients.

The latest figures bring the total number of cancelled operations since 2007 to over 40,000.

“It is depressing that figures I sought from the HSE [Health Service Executive…The government run health service] confirm that the gridlock in our hospitals continues to see patients’ procedures cancelled. At 8,935 the number of cancelled operations in the first half of the year is well up on the same period in 2008,” Fine Gael health spokesperson, Dr James Reilly TD, said in a statement issued this morning.

“The 7,037 cancelled operations by June 2008 more than doubled to 16,316 by year end which suggests 20,000 operations may be cancelled by the end of this year,” he added.

The Adelaide & Meath Hospital Inc NCH had the most cancellations with 291 planned admissions for day cases cancelled and 937 in-patient operations cancelled.

Beaumont Hospital recorded 179 cancellations for day cases and 742 cancellations of operations for inpatients. Cork University Hospital had 571 cancellations for day cases and 309 cancellations of operations for in-patients.

Of the 39 hospitals detailed in the figures, ten hospitals recorded no cancellations.

“I have also analysed INO trolley (gurney) figures which show the average daily number of patients on trolleys (gurnies) was 267 this year so far, compared to 230 for the same period last year. It is clear that ongoing A&E overcrowding and delayed discharges from acute beds lead to cancelled operations,” Dr Reilly said.

“Scandalously 40,000 operations have been cancelled since 2007,” he said.

“Cancelled operations have a real impact on patients — postponing important procedures, prolonging pain and delaying investigations which may lead to early detection of serious illnesses. Patients whose procedures are postponed, having suffered prolonged and unnecessary pain, may then develop into an emergency to be dealt with at A&E,” Dr Reilly added.

“This broken system is vastly inefficient and costly to the taxpayer and it is a vicious circle for the patients who are left to wait on all sides — on trolleys in A&E; in acute beds after their acute phase of care has ended; and, worst of all, in pain as their operations are cancelled.”

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]


Ireland: Media Manipulation — Verhofstadt Style

A new Irish Times opinion poll published today suggests that the yes side are still ahead in the second Lisbon referendum campaign but that the no side have made up a little ground. Some 48 per cent of people are likely to vote yes, 33 per cent say they will vote no and 19 per cent are undecided. This is good news for yes campaigners, although there is still a lot of nervousness at home and abroad.

Take Guy Verhofstadt, for instance. The leader of the Liberal group in the European Parliament is coming to Ireland on Monday to campaign for the treaty. He is the man, who as former Belgian prime minister inspired the Laken declaration in 2000 committing the EU to be more democratic, transparent and effective. He also heads a group committed to the promotion of press freedom and civil rights.

But this week he only agreed to be interviewed by The Irish Times on condition that he could ‘authorise’ the article before it went to press. The main reason cited by Verhofstadt’s people was the huge “sensitivity” in the referendum campaign and a fear that saying the wrong thing could in some way tip the balance towards a no vote.

Authorisation is a media control technique used mostly by German politicians, who often refuse to do interviews without asking to see the final text before it is printed and giving them leeway to edit parts.

My newspaper has a policy not to accept these types of conditions placed on journalists. So no interview was granted, which is a shame because Verhofstadt was a key player in the talks to conclude the EU constitution and the Lisbon treaty. He probably could have added to Irish people’s understanding of the treaty before the vote next week.

Perhaps he’ll open up a little when he goes to canvass in

Ireland on Monday. Let’s hope so or his trip to Ireland will turn out to be a PR stunt rather than an important opportunity for an important member of the European parliament to explain and listen to people’s views.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]


Sweden: Police Probe Serb Ties to Helicopter Heist

Police in Serbia suspect the mastermind behind last week’s brazen helicopter heist is a 40-year-old Bosnian Serb living in Belgrade known as the ‘gangster king’.

The man has an extensive criminal record and has lived in Sweden in the past, but has lived in Serbian capital for the past six years, according to Austrian news bureau APA.

Swedish police confirm that the man is of interest to their investigation.

The 40-year-old is also listed as a friend of one of the arrested suspects on the social networking website, Facebook.

According to newspaper Vecernje Novosti, Swedish investigators are set to arrive in Belgrade on Tuesday to exchange information with their Serbian colleagues.

Serbian Home Secretary Ivica Dacic also confirms that the national police attempted to warn their Swedish colleagues of the planned coup.

The Serbs also warned Swedish police that members of the former special operations unit, the Red Berets, were involved in preparations for the robbery.

The Red Berets were an “anti-terrorist unit” within the Serbian-Yugoslavian police.

Their leader, Milorad Ulemek, otherwise known as Legija, has been sentenced twice to 40 years imprisonment for the murder of prime minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003, and for the murder of Yugoslavian former president Ivan Stambolic in 2000.

The Red Berets have also been accused of war crimes in Kosovo.

The group was disbanded after Djindjic’s murder. Aside from those members that have been arrested, little is known of the group.

Swedish police are currently holding six suspects in Stockholm whom they believe had a role in the early morning raid on the G4S cash depot in Västeberga south of Stockholm.

In emerged on Tuesday that the youngest of the six, a 21-year-old male, was in police custody less than two weeks ago on suspicions of having robbed an armoured vehicle south of Stockholm.

The 21-year-old man has the most extensive criminal record of all the arrested suspects and is being held on suspicion of being an accessory to aggravated robbery.

The second robbery in which the man is suspected to have been involved transpired on September 18th in Kärrtorp, when a guard stopped an armoured vehicle to refill an automatic teller machine.

One of the men threatened the female guard with an axe, the other held her at gunpoint.

The pair grabbed a bag of cash and made off in a vehicle that was later abandoned and exchanged for a moped.

A short time afterwards, police arrested two men suspected of the robbery, including the 21-year-old.

Police requested to have the men remanded in custody, but the 21-year-old was released due to insufficient evidence.

“Suspicions against him remain. He was found at the scene of the crime behaving strangely,” criminal inspector Sven-Olof Karlsson told the TT news agency.

Karlsson was surprised when he discovered on Monday that the 21-year-old was one of the arrested suspects in the Västberga coup.

“I was surprised when he showed up in these circumstances, but I’ll never be surprised again,” he added.

The man is well known by police in Stockholm’s southern districts. His previous convictions include abuse, illegal threats, narcotics-related offences and obstruction of justice.

Police have clamped down on communication with the press and will not be releasing any new information pertaining to the investigation of the helicopter robbery.

“At the present time we are not releasing any information at all about the ongoing investigation,” said Varg Gyllander, spokesperson for the National Criminal Investigation Department (Rikskriminalpolisen).

Such a measure is highly unusual and may relate to the fact that at least ten of the suspected robbers remain at large.

There remains a significant risk that these men may tamper with important evidence, or hide themselves abroad.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


UK: Don’t be Taken in by Brown — He’s a Brazen Hypocrite

He boasts of his honesty but the Government has rightly become notorious for its sleaziness

GORDON Brown’s hypocrisy is so brazen that it verges on the psychotic.

For months, rumours have swirled around Westminster that the Prime Minister is taking heavy-duty medication to cope with the pressures of his job. Yesterday, in an interview with the BBC, Brown denied this. Yet, judging by his recent pronouncements, he has either lost all grip on reality or is the most shameless fraud in post-war British political history.

The more his Government pursues its destructive course of betrayal, waste and oppression, the more loudly heblathers about his commitment to patriotism, responsibility and fairness.

As the Labour Party gathers for its annual conference in Brighton this week, the Prime Minister has been indulging in his usual duplicity. Without any sense of embarrassment he claimed to be the guardian of the public finances — this from a man who has plunged the nation into unprecedentedlevels of debt with his socialist addiction to state intervention and bureaucracy. Brown posing as the champion of fiscal restraint is like Al Capone promising to drive gangsterism from the streets of Chicago.

‘He will say anything to deceive the public’

In an attempt to give some weight to this unconvincing rhetoric Brown proposes to introduce a “Fiscal Responsibility Act” which will oblige governments to reduce the deficit by a certain amount every year. Such a measure is atypical piece of unworkable nonsense, like all those meaningless Labour targets on cutting crime or child poverty. It is nothing more than legislative tinkering designed to give the illusion of action.

IF Brown was really worried about his Government’s extravagance he would not have squandered taxpayers’ money on such an epic scale. Equally absurd is his pretence of empathy with the middle class. In another weekend interview he had the nerve to say that “these are thepeople who I identify with”. Really? Then why has he spent the last decade punishing the mainstream majority?

Increasingly brutal taxation, the obliteration of the private pensions system, contempt for the law-abiding and the destruction of our traditional national identity have all been features of Labour’s ideological war against Middle England.

Brown could also be found clinging ever more tightly to the so-called “moral compass” which he says he inherited from his father, a Scottish Presbyterian Minister. Asked about his attitude towards the Tory opposition, he proclaimed with nauseating piety: “I was brought up in a family whereI was taught not to attackpeople personally.”

Let us not forget that this is the Prime Minister who employed the notoriously thuggish Damien McBride as his key aide until earlier this year. As leaked e-mails revealed, McBride was plotting to smear leading Tories on an industrial scale through squalid innuendoes about their private lives.

This has always been thepattern with Brown ever since Labour came to government. Filled with neurotic insecurities, obsessed with clinging on to power, he will say anything in his cynical willingness to deceive the public.

There is never any connection between his words and his deeds. That is why, in his sweating, shifty performances in television interviews, he comes across so much like a modern British version of that disgraced US President Richard Nixon, who liked to proclaim his high moral values while leadinga regime of institutionalisedcorruption.

During one of their numerous spats Brown once famously said to his arch rival Tony Blair: “I’ll never believe another word you say to me.” The British people should feel the same way towards Brown after his dismal record in office. In his very first conference speech as Prime Minister in 2007 hetrumpeted a policy of “British jobs for British workers” while presiding over a system that gives more than 80 per cent of new jobs to migrants.

HE boasts of his belief in “British values” but has accelerated the surrender of our sovereignty to the European Union and, through mass immigration, has turned many urban areas into places where native Britons feel like aliens in their own land. He speaks of his “passion for liberty” yet his Government slides towards totalitarianism, complete with ID cards, databases and universal CCTV.

Brown boasts of his honesty but the Government has rightly become notorious for its sleaziness. Characteristic of his moral turpitude is a decision to allow Baroness Scotland to remain in office despite breaking the law by the employment of an illegal migrant as her cleaner.

In the same vein, all his talk about “fairness”, “personal responsibility” and the “virtue of hard work” is undermined by Brown’s lavish expansion of the welfare state which rewards idleness to such an extent that over five million British people of working age live on benefits.

What is so sickening is that the Labour Party will applaud his hypocrisy in Brighton this week. That is because the party is bent on a vast project to change Britain into a multi cultural, socialist land.

The activists know that the British people do not want that, so, like Brown, they hide behind the rhetoric of deceit. We shouldn’t pay the slightest attention to what Labour says — it is what they do that is so frightening.

Given the wreckage that the Government has created it is the British public, not Brown, who should be on anti-depressants. And the best cure of all would be the ejection of this loathsome hypocrite

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


UK: Union to Use Barack Obama’s Election Tactics in 50 Key Labour Seats

Britain’s biggest union is to target key Labour seats using political profiling techniques developed by Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign.

Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley, Unite’s general secretaries, flew to America last year to meet the Obama election team. The pair plan to adopt methods devised by the Democrats to identify union members who were unsympathetic to their party.

The Democrats used the technique with great success when trying to target members of the United Steel Workers who were considering voting for the Republican candidate, John McCain.

Charlie Whelan, Gordon Brown’s former spin doctor and now head of Unite’s political unit, also flew to the US to draw up a similar strategy for next year’s general election. In addition, Unite paid for four of its own full-time staff to work on the Obama campaign.

With Labour severely behind in the polls, Unite has identified around fifty marginal seats that in many cases have more Unite members within the key constituencies than the size of the swing needed for the seat to be seized by the Tories.

Unite, which was formed out of the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers’ Union two years ago, will plunder its £2 million fund to finance its election profiling.

The union, which represents around two million members, yesterday launched a website aimed at boosting Labour’s chances of winning the next general election. The site allows Unite members to contact Labour campaigners in their area as well as those in key seats.

Union officials said that the website would play a crucial role in campaigning for a fourth term Labour Government. The world light welterweight boxing champion Amir Khan helped to launch the website at the Labour party conference in Brighton — the last before the general election.

Unite plans to use the data it gathers to target less sympathetic members by discovering their concerns and anxieties about Labour through e-mailing, letters, phone calls and door-to-door campaigning.

Last year, Unite announced that it was merging with the United Steel Workers, America’s biggest private sector union. Under the terms of the deal, the new global union will be called Workers Uniting, and will represent employees from sectors such as manufacturing, services, mining and transport.

According to current polls, the Tories are on course to win a clear majority, depriving Labour of around 140 seats.

[Return to headlines]


UN Body Designates Swedish Dialect a ‘Threatened Language’

The Scanian (‘Skånska’) dialect of southern Sweden has landed on Unesco’s list of threatened languages, much to the exasperation of Swedish linguists.

“There are neither linguistic nor practical reasons why Scanian should be counted as a language,” Carl-Einar Lundbladh, head of the Dialect and Place-Names Archive (Dialekt- och ortnamnsarkivet, DAL) in Lund, told the Expressen newspaper.

But members of the Scania Future Foundation (Stiftelsen Skånsk Framtid), are thrilled with the Unesco designation, which adds support for their contention that the the Scanian dialect is a language, and an endangered one at that.

They want to see ‘Skånska’ added to the list of Sweden’s protected minority languages.

Yet no one knows exactly why, “Scanian”, which scholars consider a Swedish dialect, is now clearly listed on Unesco’s interactive homepage as “unsafe”.

Lundbladh and Ulf Teleman, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Nordic Languages, are in agreement as to why Scanian may not be considered a language.

Every language should have a written equivalent, which Scanian lacks. Additionally, a language should be sufficiently distinguished from other languages — in this case, Swedish.

Lundbladh insists that he has never seen any material which would even facilitate a qualified comparison between Scanian and Swedish.

It is unclear, for instance, which of the Scanian variants could be considered as norms for the language.

“People don’t see the use in it. So that work seems fruitless and surprising because I just can’t see any reason to waste effort on it,” Lundbladh told the newspaper.

Professor Teleman agrees, however, that Scanian and other dialects are worth preserving.

“Part of a person’s identity is in the way they speak. People think its charming when they meet other people from different parts of the country,” he told Expressen.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Training Scholars or Breeding Terrorists?

Egypt Suspects European Students Studying Arabic of Terrorism

Young men with downy beards, caps, kneelength a traditional Arab galabeyas and sandals sat chatting in a McDonalds’ restaurant in Nasr City, a large middle class district in the eastern part of Cairo. Women wearing concealing black garments and veils over their faces scurried around the small dusty streets between their apartments and the neighborhood shops. They were not from here and they barely spoke any Arabic. Asking around revealed that every one of them came from Europe and most of them have North African roots.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Barak Sought for Alleged ‘War Crimes’

New York, 29 Sept. (AKI) — A group of Palestinian families living in Britain on Tuesday sought to obtain an international arrest warrant against Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak for alleged war crimes following the three-week Gaza offensive that ended in January.

Barak, a former prime minister, is due to visit the United Kingdom for talks with senior officials, Israeli media said. However, his office dismissed the allegations saying Barak enjoys diplomatic immunity.

“No arrest warrant has been issued, and in any event, he has immunity due to his being a minister in the government,” Barak’s office said in a statement, quoted by Israeli daily Haaretz.

“Therefore, his programme will continue without disturbance.” Barak was due to speak at the Labour Party Conference, a fringe event for the Labour Friends of Israel.

The UK-based lawyer representing the Palestinian families, Michel Massih, quoted by Arab TV network Al-Jazeera, said that he believed the British government was obliged “to actively pursue people who are alleged to be involved in war crimes.”

“One does not need, at this stage, to provide more than a basic prima face case and the suggestion would be that Barak certainly was in a position where he has to answer some of the allegations made about the commission of crimes by Israeli troops,” he told Al-Jazeera from London.

The group is seeking the minister’s arrest under principles of universal jurisdiction citing the International Criminal Court Act 2001 and the Criminal Justice Act.

The action took place as the author of a United Nations report on Israel’s Gaza offensive earlier this year, told the UN’s Human Rights Council that the lack of accountability for war crimes is undermining peace efforts in the region.

“A culture of impunity in the region has existed for too long,” said Richard Goldstone, a former UN war crimes prosecutor.

“The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible war crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence,” Goldstone told the council on Tuesday.

The United Nations has said more than 50,000 homes were destroyed, as well as 29 mosques, two churches and 200 schools during Israel’s military action called Operation Cast Lead in December and January.

The 22-day Israeli military operation, launched with the stated aim of ending Hamas rocket attacks against Israel, killed some 1,400 Palestinians and injured more than 5,400 others, according to UN figures.

The operation caused widespread damage and destruction in the coastal territory. Medical officials said the Palestinian victims included at least 700 civilians, many of them women and children.

Israel estimates there was a total of 1,166 Palestinian casualties and that two-thirds of them were militants.

Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians, hit by cross-border rocket fire, were killed in the conflict.

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


Jerusalem: Yom Kippur, Tensions on Temple Mount

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, SEPTEMBER 25 — Tensions are rising on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount with the approach of Yom Kippur (which will start on Sunday night). The ‘al-Aqsa foundation for Waqf’ has warned against the plans of a group of extremist Jews to enter Temple Mount (where the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are situated) on Sunday morning, ignoring the resistance of the Muslims who are in charge. One of these, sheikh Mohammed al-Tamimi, has asked Muslim believers to guard their holy places. The question whether or not God-fearing Jews should enter Temple Mount (where the Temple of Jerusalem stood until 70 AD) remains a source of disagreement. Orthodox Jews stay away from the holy place — fearing that they might inadvertently enter the Kodesh Hakodashim, the most holy place in traditional Judaism where only the High Priest can go though the exact location is unknown -, while nationalist Jews see a visit to Temple Mount as a religious duty. The most radical religious groups also ask for the construction of a new Jewish temple, on the location of the Temple of Jerusalem 2 thousand years ago. On Sunday a massive police force will be deployed in the Israeli cities with a mixed Jewish-Muslim population to avoid a repetition of last year’s incidents in Acre. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

5 More Nuke Plants Spotted in Iran

Intel agents describe guarded operations buried in mountains

Deep-cover MI6 agents who have described the workings of the once-secret underground uranium enrichment plant near the Iranian city of Qom now have discovered a staggering five more similar operations, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

They, like the Qom facility, are buried deep inside the mountains of north Iran and are guarded by divisions of Revolutionary Guards.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Bias Exposed in Turkish Education

A study shows the bias potential educaters have towards those they view as others and how they see only the positive side of Turkish history.

A research project involving graduate students training to be teachers came up with results that showed the meaning of the term “biased” changes when the subject is the Turks themselves.

The students thought texts that consider the British “hardworking,” “brave,” “religious” and “always right” were biased, and commented on the British being “liars,” “filthy” and “deceitful.”

The study, called “Evaluating Us Through Others,” was conducted by associate professor Yücel Kabapnar from Marmara University and was published with the subtitle: “The opinions of education students on the methodology of history and the educational purpose of the lesson.” The names of the two universities where the 140 graduate student are studying were kept secret due to ethical reasons.

The texts copied from Turkish schoolbooks were altered as such: “Turk,” “Muslim” and “raiders” became “British,” “Christian” and “knights.” The texts were signed by imaginary British writers and the education students were asked to evaluate them through “the attributes of history and social studies and the feelings and thoughts they invoke.” The altered texts are as follows:

“The Christian religion has added to the strength of the already present courage of the British. The British Army was always ready for war; it did not know the meaning of being tired. It was reported by eastern writers that a hundred British were louder than ten thousand Muslims. The courage of the British soldiers was above all estimation.

“The British are the bravest people history has ever known. Through this bravery, our nation has founded great countries that have important places in history and took many peoples under its dominion. The British people hold their independence dear. They fear no one when their independence is in danger.”

“The British dislike cheating and lies. They do not cheat others. They are forthcoming. They are not afraid to say what they believe is right. They are respectful towards others’ rights. They are honest to their enemies as well as their friends because they believe in the necessity of being fair.”

“The British nation believes being clean comes from Christianity. Through this faith, they pay importance to the cleanliness of their surroundings, home and workplace. They pay importance to the cleanliness of the surroundings as much as the cleanliness of the body.”

Results showed that 60 percent of the education students did not think the texts were suitable for history education and said such texts should not be put in schoolbooks. Among the reasons for disliking the texts, students said they were “completely biased;” “prejudiced toward other nations;” “putting their nation in a higher place;” “insulting to Muslims;” and “extreme on the contents of religious or nationalist opinions.” Only 14 of the 140 education students said they disliked the texts because they were similar to the understanding of Turkish schoolbooks.

On the other hand, 27.2 percent of the education students said that such texts are normal in schoolbooks. Some made statements such as: “The students we are training will be the soldiers of the future. That is why it is normal for a nation to exaggerate things and put itself in a higher place.” When told that the texts were actually from Turkish history books, some said those qualities are not suitable for the British, but are suitable for Turks.

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


Book Excerpt: ‘Iran Threatens Our Survival’

Jewish state reluctantly preparing military strike — with or without U.S.

This is the first of several excepts exclusive to WND from WND senior staff reporter Jerome R. Corsi’s new book entitled “Why Israel Can’t Wait: The Coming War Between Israel and Iran,” available from WND Books.

“For us, a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat,” Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon told the author in a private audio-recorded interview in his Jerusalem office on June 14, 2009. “We have to be ready to defend ourselves.”

What I was next told by Yaalon was confirmed to me by virtually all Israeli officials in the Netanyahu government that I interviewed: Iran’s nuclear weapons program is an existential threat to the survival of Israel, to the extent that Israel is reluctantly prepared to launch a pre-emptive military strike on Iran, with or without the approval of the United States, as early as the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010, if the United States and the world community fail to stop Iran.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Books: Samir Kassir, History of Beirut, Plural City

(by Massimo Lomonaco) (ANSAmed) — ROME — A ‘westernised Arab Mediterranean metropolis’: this is what Beirut was and what it must return to be in the opinion of Samir Kassir, the Lebanese journalist, historian and political activist who was killed in 2005 for his anti-Syrian views. One of the founders of the Democratic Left political movement in March 2005, and the organisers of the anti-Syrian demonstrations following the assassination of Premier Harriri, Kassir wrote a passionate and beautiful text about a city that “was manifestly plural”. In effect already the definition that he offers of Beirut contains the sum of his political beliefs crushed by the fundamentalism that strangled Lebanon. It all began in 1975 and extended to 1990: 15 years of war — the images of which flashed on the TV screens of the entire world with incredible force — causing 130,000 deaths and putting to an end the city that was looking outward as a meeting point for the east and the west. This is because in Kassir’s opinion is the vocation (since ancient times) of Lebanon’s capital where Christians and Muslims contributed to the richness of the country together. During those fifteen years, that richness became its disgrace: an implosion that wiped the primary definition used by Kassir, ‘plural’, away. “It was certainly this”, he wrote, “that gave it its value, the fact that it was an open city, but real, a living body whose extraversion did not neutralise its interior wealth. Maybe it is this that was the true modernity of Beirut…” For the rest, the author went on to observe, among Arabs as among Westerners, the reputation of Beirut as pronounced before the disaster, derived “above all from cosmopolitanism and culture”. Neither Cairo, Damascus and even less so other Arab cities had the mix that made Beirut, and that Kassir hoped will be possible again, a fascinating example of universality. At this point it would serve to quote a description of the Beirut of the past: “a mix of vehemence of thought and tranquillity in life. A benediction for any intellectual worthy of this name… an Arab city, but different, a different city, but Arab”. The ex Switzerland of the Middle East must find again a figure that is not defined by intolerance and fanaticism but by democracy for all and the resolution of the Palestinian issue that has counted so much in the recent history of Beirut. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Energy: Turkey: Gas Storage Necessary for Country’s Future

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 22 — Turkey needs underground natural gas storage facilities since the country’s natural gas contract with Iran results in Turkey having to pay for natural gas to that it does not actually buy, daily Today’s Zaman reports. Energy agreements, signed mainly with Russia, Iran and other countries such as Nigeria and Algeria, are considered attempts to satisfy the country’s hunger for oil and natural gas. However, these agreements carry the condition that even if the declared amount of natural gas is not consumed annually, the purchasing party — Turkey — must still pay the cost of the natural gas that it has pledged to buy. The natural gas agreement signed between Turkey and Iran in 2003 states that Turkey is obliged to pay for at least 6.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually regardless of whether Turkey buys the natural gas which equals to 85% of the total amount of the natural gas Turkey pledges to buy in the agreement. This condition of “pay or buy” results in a huge waste of money and the only way to diminish this financial loss is to build underground natural gas storage facilities. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Environment: Jordan and Syria to Meet Over Water Dispute

(ANSAmed) — AMMAN, SEPTEMBER 24 — Jordanian and Syrian officials are scheduled today to hold another round of talks over a long disputed issue of water sharing between the two Arab neighbours, according to officials from the ministry of water. The meeting will be held in the Syrian capital, where the sticking issue of the Yarmouk River Basin topping the agenda of discussion. Jordan, one of the most water impoverished countries in the world, has been unhappy about constant “infringement” on Jordanian water rights in the river’s basin, according Jordan Valley Authority Secretary General Musa Jamaani, who heads the Jordanian side at the Jordanian-Syrian Committee of the Yarmouk River Basin. “We will discuss two main issues: the first is the Yarmouk River Basin hydrogeological study and the second is how to end the (Syrian) violations on the Yarmouk River,” Jamaani said. Officials in Amman hope water from the river will boost reserves of the kingdom’s dams and meet rising demands by the 6 million population. Officials said talks are part of the Joint Jordanian-Syrian Higher Committee meetings to be chaired by Prime Minister Nader Dahabi and his Syrian counterpart, Mohammad Otri. Dahabi and Otri are expected to announce a number of ground breaking agreements to boost their economic and political ties after years of ebb and flow in their relations.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Pakistan: Al-Qaeda Leader’s Son Sent to Saudi Arabia

Islamabad, 29 Sept. (AKI/DAWN) — Pakistan has handed over to Saudi Arabia two sons of top Yemeni Al-Qaeda leader Alawi who masterminded the suicide attack on Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef in Jeddah last month.

Sources told Pakistani daily Dawn that Saudi authorities had shared intelligence information about Alawi’s sons Ali and Siddique with Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik during his recent visit to Jeddah and requested cooperation in tracing and arresting the two top planners of suicide attacks.

On the basis of the information, Pakistani intelligence agencies went into action and arrested the two during a raid on a sanctuary in tribal areas where they were hiding.

They were brought to Pakistan’s capital Islamabad and, after a brief interrogation were sent to Saudi Arabia escorted by security officials for extradition.

In what appears to be a quid-pro-quo deal, Prince Nayef then announced the release of a Pakistani family of five arrested earlier on the charge of smuggling drugs into the kingdom.

The operation was completed before Eid celebrations and Malik announced at a news conference that the five Pakistanis had been released by the Saudi authorities, but he did not say what had prompted Saudi Arabia to release them.

Alawi is a top Al-Qaeda leader from Yemen and his two sons were operating from Pakistan’s tribal areas, allegedly managing and supervising terror attacks.

In the Jeddah suicide attack, Prince Nayef was injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Ramadan gathering.

Although there is no extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan handed over the two foreign militants bypassing its law to oblige the Saudi authorities.

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


Terrorism: Hizballah’s Brand is Tarnished

by Jonathan Spyer

A famous Hizbullah marching song, “Hizbullah ya ayuni” (Hizbullah — my eyes), contains the following verse: “And today through the blood of the brave, the merciful creator has given us victory, and the whole world and all people have begun to speak of our glory.” Unfortunately for the Lebanese Shi’ite Islamist movement, the main world news story in which it currently features concerns matters of a distinctly inglorious type, with which it would undoubtedly prefer not to be associated.

The revelations concerning the activities of the so-called Lebanese Bernie Madoff — Salah Ezz el-Din of the south Lebanese village of Ma’aroub — are serving to tarnish the image of selflessness and idealism in which Hizbullah likes to present itself. The movement has long sought to differentiate itself from the notoriously corrupt, distinctly nonidealistic political and financial practices with which Lebanon is often associated. Ezz el-Din’s activities suggest that on close observation, Hizbullah may be less different from its surroundings than its admirers (especially in the west) like to think.

Ezz el-Din, a Lebanese Shi’ite in his 50s, is accused of embezzlement and defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of dollars. The means by which he chose to part his victims from their money are familiar. He promised quick returns on investments in what he claimed were construction, oil and gas projects outside of Lebanon. He is reported to have guaranteed investors 20 percent-25% profits within 100 days on certain investments.

It now appears that Ezz el-Din was running a Ponzi scheme — paying clients with funds gleaned from newer investors. The sums involved are large — though nowhere near Madoff-like proportions. He is believed to have defrauded investors of around $500 million.

But Ezz el-Din was no ordinary financier. Rather, he enjoyed close links to Hizbullah…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Malaysian Villagers Amazed by “Allah Meat”

Housewife Rashadah Abdul Rani, 57, said her son bought the meat from a market in the village and it was her daughter who discovered the inscription.

“I cut the meat into six pieces and soaked them in the water. It was my daughter, who was helping me in the kitchen, who saw the word “Allah” on all six pieces of the meat,” Rani told reporters at her house in Kampung Alur Gunung.

Rani said the discovery had changed her plans of cooking the meat for feast and said she would now dry the meat and keep it to use for medicinal purposes.

In 2008, a similar story was reported from northern Nigeria where a restaurant served a piece of meat inscribed with Allah. The customer who discovered the meat said he was about to eat it when he suddenly noticed the words.

Also a similar incident was reported in 2006 when hundreds of Muslims flocked to a pet shop in Liverpool, England to see two gold fish hailed a “miracle” as one’s scales spelled Allah and the other Muhammad, Islam’s prophet.

The internet is also rife with videos of animals thought to be growling Allah’s name.

For Muslims such occurrences only further signal the greatness of their Lord as Islam teaches that everything in the world from the sun and moon to everything with a soul is commanded by God.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Orissa: Hindu Extremism Behind the Bomb at the Christian Refugee Camp

The man who was preparing the bomb is dead. Four injured all belonging to the 32 Christian families living in the Nandamaha camp. Police blame Maoist militants. For the director of the Global Council of Indian Christians is the latest Hindu violence against Christians.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) — The bomb exploded near the Nandamaha refugee camp is yet another extremist attack against Betticola Christians. Sajan K George, director of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), has no doubts about the responsibility and reason for the explosion on 27 September that killed a man and wounded four people, those wounded belonging to the 32 Christian families living in the camp.

From initial investigations it appears that the victim of the bomb is the very attacker, who was preparing the bomb when it exploded. He had arrived in the camp five days beforehand and did not come from the village of Betticola like the other guests of the centre. Police in Udayagiri, responsible for the zone, found four guns and a rudimentary grenade near the camp.

Immediately after the attack, police detained four Christians who had made a complaint. On 28 September they also detained three suspects accused of involvement in the explosion. Praveen Kumar, Commissioner of Police of Kandhamal responsible for investigations, said that the attack could be the work of Maoist militants. Sajan K George rejects this hypothesis and instead points to leaders of the Hindu extremists.

The Director of the GCIC said the explosion on 27 September is the latest signal against Christians in the village of Betticola, a community that has found no peace since they had to leave their parish after the pogroms of August 2008 (see AsiaNews, 11 / 09/2009, “Betticola Christians still refugees more than one year after the Orissa pogrom”).

“The 32 families of Betticola — said Sajan K George — have been deprived of everything and are now reorganized around 20 km from the village of Nandagiri at Dugudi where they live in tents.” The Director of the GCIC said: “They had lived in their village since 1995, but now there is no longer even one Christian home left and the extremists will not allow the rebuilding of the parish that was razed. The bomb is a clear signal to them: you can not return to Betticola”.

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


Swede Held in Pakistan ‘Refuses to be Released’: Official

A 19-year-old Swedish woman is still being held in Islamabad after having declined several times to be released without her husband, Pakistani officials report.

Rumours circulated last week that Safia Benaouda and her two-year-old son had been released from prison, a speculation that could not be confirmed by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Utrikesdepartementet).

But according to a high ranking Pakistani official, Benaouda still remains in custody — by her own choosing.

“She won’t leave without her husband,” Pakistani Home Secretary Rehman Malik told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“She and her son are doing well. We are very considerate of her special circumstances.”

Speaking to Sveriges Television (SVT), Malik also confirmed that there is no concrete evidence against the Swedes. The trio are only guilty of violating visa regulations.

Benaouda was arrested in northern Pakistan on August 28th, along with her husband, their 2-year-old son and Mehdi Gezhali, a Swedish national once imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

The group was arrested on the border of the North-western province, Waziristan, in a forbidden zone containing nuclear facilities.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Immigration

Face of Tesco is an Illegal Immigrant

A checkout girl picked to model for Tesco in a glossy advertising blitz has been exposed as an illegal immigrant.

Fatou Cham, 32, came to the UK from Gambia, West Africa, in 1998 on a student visa but stayed after it expired in 2001.

Miss Cham, who works at the Tesco store, in Beckton, east London, was chosen from hundreds of hopefuls to model the Florence and Fred clothing range for an ad campaign used in women’s magazines.

Next to a picture of Miss Cham modelling a blue dress and heels were the words: “Designed by F&F. Priced by Tesco. Modelled by Fatou, checkout number 6, Tesco, east London.”

Immigration officers questioned her at her home in East Ham, east London, on Monday.

The mother-of-three was unavailable for comment when contacted by Sky News Online.

She was quoted in the Sunday Mirror as saying: ““I came here for a better life and never set out to deceive anyone.

“I just want to stay here with my family and be happy.”

She said she had been excited to be chosen for the Tesco campaign and had hoped it would bring her other opportunities.

“Now it has all gone horribly wrong,” she added.

Her solicitor Jamil Trawally told the paper: “I am sure she was brought to the attention of the police because of the Tesco campaign.”

Miss Cham initially came to the UK to study banking, economics and finance at London Metropolitan University.

Her mother and eldest child were allowed to join her in the UK in 2000. Her two other children were born in Britain.

Miss Cham applied to stay in the UK when her student visa ran out but was refused permission.

A further application in January this year was also turned down and she has appealed to the High Court.

When Miss Cham joined Tesco in 2002, overseas citizens just needed a national insurance number to work in the UK.

But since 2004 they have been required to have a valid work visa, although this did not apply to those already in employment.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: “As soon as we were made aware of this issue by the UK Border Agency we co-operated fully with the investigation.

“We carried out all the checks required by law and the authorities have confirmed that they are satisfied that we followed the correct procedures.”

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “The UK Border Agency expects people with no right to be here to return home voluntarily, if people do not we will remove them.”

           — Hat tip: Perla[Return to headlines]


In Calais, Migrants Are Once Again Roaming the Streets

Many of the illegal aliens from a camp in Calais that was evacuated last week are already back, waiting for a chance to cross over to England.

Bertrand Legros, 35, was leaning against the gate in front of his house in Calais. He was angry. “Send them all back in a plane without an engine,” he said.

Behind the gate his wife Véronique (26) stroked their black pitbull. She nodded as her husband continued: “We have to pay for a dog-licence fee and all sorts of things. But that motley crew gets pampered. They make the place unsafe, they shit in public, the dog even got mange from it. Our own homeless aren’t given so much as a blanket, you know, not even in winter.” And he repeated, three times: “We’ve been let down.”

The Jungle

Calm has returned to the street where the Legros live near the port of the northern French town of Calais. Just a hundred metres further along, ‘The Jungle’, an improvised camp of illegal immigrants, was evacuated last Tuesday with the international press looking on.

The evacuation by five hundred riot police had been announced a week earlier by the French minister for immigration, Eric Besson. He cited the lawlessness to which the camp’s name was a reference and the need to deprive human traffickers of their main territory. He also pointed out how untenable the situation had become for the residents of Calais and how appalling the lack of hygiene was at the camp.

Not everyone was convinced. Martine Aubry, leader of the opposition Socialist Party, said shutting down the camp was “inhumane.”

“Inhumane? The camp was inhumane,” said a woman in the street next to that of Bertrand Legros. “Sometimes I found rats in the house. You can be sure that it wandered in from over there. People went to the toilet all over the place, they left food scraps everywhere.” The woman didn’t want to give her name. “Before you know it you have a swastika on your wall.”

Six-degree weather

Unlike many others in the town the woman never helped the immigrants. “That would just make them keep coming.” But suddenly her eyes welled up. “It was terrible in winter. Children sitting in six-degree weather at the roadside, holding their wrists up. Begging to be cuffed. I have children of my own: it gives me goose-bumps just thinking about it.”

A little further along, the four hectares of former ‘Jungle’ looked at least as tragic as they did when the shantytown built from pieces of plastic and blankets still stood. Remnants of canvas covered the piles of rubbish in blue. Even the trees where the illegal immigrants stretched their tarpaulines were uprooted and shuffled onto a pile by the bulldozers. A riot policeman standing on a nearby sand hill had no objection to being photographed and filmed. A French cameraman sneered: “They want us to document their so-called success. This whole action was entirely aimed at giving people the feeling that something is being done.”

Until Besson’s announcement The Jungle housed eight hundred people. Most did not wait for the arrival of the riot police. The police arrested 276 people, most of whom have since been released.

Ongoing cycle

The Jungle was the largest of the six migrant camps in Calais. The influx of illegal aliens started at the end of the nineties with Kosovars; now most of the aliens here are Afghans and Iraqis. They come here because of Calais’ geographic proximity to Britain.

Today’s camps were created when a much larger camp managed by the Red Cross in the neighbouring village of Sangatte was closed down in 2002. Abandoned hangars there provided shelter to some two thousand illegal immigrants. It was closed on orders of the current French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who was the interior minister at the time, for the same reasons cited by Besson this time around.

Critics have sneered that Besson is now fighting the consequences of his boss’s earlier decision. They also point out that the closures are part of an ongoing cycle. ‘Sangatte’ was in fact set up because Calais was inundated with illegal immigrants at the time.

Philippe Wannesson, a volunteer from the aid organisation Salam, sat amidst Palestinians, Iraqis and Sudanese on the covered platform of an abandoned factory next to the port. Blankets, plastic and discarded couches were used to erect a camp here as well. It was left untouched in last week’s action.

A show of muscle

Wannesson — dirty T-shirt, dreadlocks and a thick unruly beard — said in a soft voice: “Before the week is out everyone from the jungle will be back. A hundred people at most were picked up. It’s all just a show of muscle.”

In fact just one day after evacuation it already seemed like most people were back. Groups of young men could be seen everywhere. They smelled unwashed. They evaded questions. Some had their fingertips burned off to avoid being sent back to Greece, the country by which they entered the EU.

An abandoned windowless house near the Place du Norvège has been home to ten Sudanese and Somalis since the evacuation of ‘The Jungle.’ The floors of the damp and draughty ruin were black with caked dirt. The place was littered with broken mattresses, clothing, a tin of soup here, a trampled package of flour there, alongside boxes of fresh vegetables, tomatoes, bread and bananas from the Secours Catholique, a local NGO.

‘Holland, Holland!’

Israel, a 25-year-old Sudanese man, told in broken English how he trekked through the desert for thirty days to Libya, “fleeing the war in my country”, and took a boat from there to Italy. He had to pay five hundred dollars for each leg of the journey. Two days ago he tried to cross over to England. He was picked up, but he said he would try again in two days’ time.

At half past six in the evening a hundred young men, most of them from Afghanistan, were sitting on the platform of an empty factory, waiting for the volunteers from Salam to start distributing food. Someone trying to push to the front was immediately reprimanded by Daniel Agneray, a volunteer.

“Emotions flare up easily when the last 30 kilometres of a 6,000-kilometre journey prove somewhat difficult,” said Agneray. “They will all manage it in the end, no matter what the government says. Otherwise they wouldn’t be here. Three or four thousand euros and you are guaranteed to make it to the other side. Don’t ask me how, or how they get the money. I wish them well: we bomb them at home and then they get knocked around here as well. It is a disgrace.”

Saho, a dirty and dishevelled-looking Somali who seemed much older than the 19 years he claimed to be, greedily slurped his rice with chicken and carrot. He pulled his torn red sweater in front of his face to avoid being photographed. He couldn’t write his name and only spoke a few words of English — and one word of heavily accented Dutch. Saho wanted to go to “Holland! Holland!” With a big smile he added: “House! Money! Outkering! (benefits).”

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


Norway: Rapes by Immigrants in Oslo Out of Control

Raping their way into the record books

This is the unconvenient truth Multiculturalists prefer to leave well alone. The whole issue of their immigrants’ over representation in the crime statistics, most noticeably in the rape department, upsets their carefully placed applecart, it’s the elephant in the room that the politicians refuse to acknowledge, and western women are feeling the brunt of these immigration policies, face face and on their backs. KGS

Oslo rape statistics shock

Two out of three charged with rape in Norway’s capital are immigrants with a non-western background according to a police study. The number of rape cases is also rising steadily.

The study is the first where the crime statistics have been analyzed according to ethnic origin. Of the 111 charged with rape in Oslo last year, 72 were of non-western ethnic origin, 25 are classified as Norwegian or western and 14 are listed as unknown.

Rape charges in the capital are spiraling upwards, 40 percent higher from 1999 to 2000 and up 13 percent so far this year.

Nine out of ten cases do not make it to prosecution, most of them because police do not believe the evidence is sufficient to reach a conviction.

Police Inspector Gunnar Larsen of Oslo’s Vice, Robbery and Violent crime division says the statistics are surprising — the rising number of rape cases and the link to ethnic background are both clear trends. But Larsen does not want to speculate on the reasons behind the worrying developments.

While 65 percent of those charged with rape are classed as coming from a non-western background, this segment makes up only 14.3 percent of Oslo’s population. Norwegian women were the victims in 80 percent of the cases, with 20 percent being women of foreign background.

Larsen said that since this was the initial study examining ethnic make-up there were no existing figures to put the numbers into context.”Meanwhile, it is our general experience that this is an increasing tendency. We note this by the number of time we need to use interpreters in the course of an investigation,” Larsen said.

[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Death of the West: Our Sexual Identity Crisis

Perhaps you’ve heard the tragic story of David Reimer. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1966, David was the victim of a botched circumcision that left his penis charred beyond surgical repair. His parents Ron and Janet, no doubt beside themselves, were confused about the best way to proceed. Then, one day, they saw a man named Dr. John Money on television.

Money was talking about his theory of “gender neutrality,” which states that “gender identity” is learned rather than innate. The idea was that the sexes were the same except for the superficial physical differences; this implies that if a child were altered so as to superficially resemble the opposite sex and was raised as one of its members, he would be happy with that sexual identity. Hearing this, the Reimers hoped they had found their salvation.

They took their boy to Money, who told them that their son’s penis could not be restored and that he stood a much better chance of living a happy life if “sex-reassignment surgery” (in reality, reassigning sex is about as possible as reassigning species) were performed and he was raised as a girl. The Reimers agreed, and the surgery was performed when the boy, who would be named “Brenda,” was 22 months old.

In reality, the kindest way to describe Money’s theory is fanciful. His idea of “gender neutrality” was still in vogue when I was a youth, and “vogue,” in the most frivolous sense, is the correct term. It was always more style than science; it was something that I, even as a teen, knew was bunk. Yet who would listen to people such as me? We were old-fashioned, behind the times. And it didn’t matter that Money was Alfred Kinsey redux and believed pedophilia was lovely if it was for “love.” It didn’t matter that David and his twin brother, Brian, said that Money sexually abused them during photo shoots. He was a “doctor,” a Ph.D. on the cutting edge of a brave new world.

[…]

We have heard about the curious case of Caster Semenya, the 18-year-old South African runner who has been competing as a woman. Semenya has become the focus of suspicion (I’ll use masculine pronouns, as I’m convinced this individual is a boy who experienced abnormal intrauterine development) because of his masculine physique, deep voice, development of facial hair, male mannerisms and the fact that he has been winning races by wide margins. As a result, a battery of medical exams to determine his true sex has been conducted, although the results have not been officially released. Yet the real story here is not what investigation may tell us about Semenya. It is what our reaction to Semenya tells us about ourselves.

This is reflected in comments found throughout the Internet. For instance, consider “JimBob” posting under this Daily Mail piece, who said,

“Why is everyone talking about genetics? What about Caster’s own mind — if she believes within herself that she’s female, then she is.”

Echoing this sentiment here, “Green Is Good” wrote,

“SHE identifies HERself as a female. Done.”

Then, back to the Mail, “Livio” opined,

“This is a clear case of gender identity discrimination. What if she is a man who identifies himself as a woman?”

That’s interesting. What if you’re a lunkhead who identifies himself as intelligent?

Yet it isn’t sufficient to just dismiss this with sarcasm, as this isn’t the rambling of only a few twisted minds.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


‘Safe Schools’ Chief Encouraged Child Sex With Older Man

Washington Times: Kevin Jennings should ‘come clean’

Kevin Jennings, the radical homosexual activist who founded one of the biggest organizations in the nation to promote “gay” activities in public schools, needs to “come clean,” according to the Washington Times.

“A teacher was told by a 15-year-old high school sophomore that he was having homosexual sex with an ‘older man.’ At the very least, statutory rape occurred. Fox News reported that the teacher violated a state law requiring that he report the abuse. That former teacher, Kevin Jennings, is President Obama’s ‘safe school czar.’ … Clearly, the process for vetting White House employees has broken down,” the Times editorial board said.

“In this one case in which Mr. Jennings had a real chance to protect a young boy from a sexual predator, he not only failed to do what the law required but actually encouraged the relationship.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Sunstein: Governments Must Fund Abortion

Declares ‘no problem’ forcing taxpayers with religious, moral conflict

The government should be required to fund abortion in cases such as rape or incest, argues President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein.

“I have argued that the Constitution … forbids government from refusing to pay the expenses of abortion in cases of rape or incest, at least if government pays for childbirth in such cases,” Sunstein wrote in his 1993 book “The Partial Constitution.”

In the book, obtained and reviewed by WND, Sunstein sets forth a radical new interpretation of the Constitution. The book contains a chapter entitled “It’s the government’s money” in which Sunstein strongly argues the government should be compelled to fund abortions for women victimized by rape or incest.

The Obama czar posits that funding only childbirth but not abortion “has the precise consequence of turning women into involuntary incubators.”

Sunstein argues that refusing to fund abortion “would require poor women to be breeders,” while co-opting women’s bodies “in the service of third parties” — referring to fetuses.

Sunstein wrote he has no problem with forcing taxpayers to fund abortions even if they morally object to their money being used for such a purpose.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

General

Islam and Honor Killings

by Valentina Colombo

Last September 15th Sanaa Dafani, an 18 year old girl of Moroccan origin, was killed by her father because she loved a 31 years old Italian. The father was immediately arrested while the mother tried to find a reason for his act: “My husband loved Sanaa. Maybe she was wrong. I could forgive my husband. Yes, I could. He is my husband, my sons’ father. Sanaa dressed and ate in a proper way, but he did not want her to go out in the evening with bad boys or friends. My husband loved Sanaa. Maybe she was wrong. He always sent her messages: come back home. He wanted her beside him.” Almost the same words were pronounced by Hina Saleem’s mother three years ago. On August 11th 2006 Hina, a 21 year old girl of Pakistani origin, was slain by her father because she wanted to live like a Westerner and had decided to go and live with a non-Muslim man. On April 7th 2007, Du’a al-Aswad, a 17 year old Kurdish girl of Yazidi faith, was stoned by a raging crowd in Iraq because apparently she had offended her family’s honor. In Turkey, almost 200 honor killings are committed every year, in Syria, between 200 and 300. In Pakistan there are between 800 and 1000 honor killings every year. These numbers are sad and worrisome.

The problem of honor killings is known; what is less known is that research made by the American psychologist Phyllis Chesler shows that in the period 1989-2009, there have been 87 victims in the West and 130 in the Third World — and that 84% of honor killings committed in the West are by Muslims. When Chesler exposed these results last September during the International Conference on Violence against Women, she was immediately reminded by the Egyptian minister, Moushira al-Khattab, that Islam does not allow this; that the problem are some Muslims and that the Prophet Muhammad respected women.

Even radical Muslims point out that honor killing does not belong to Islam. In a document issued by the Muslim Council of Britain — - after some honor killings in the UK — - you can read the following: “Let us consider the example of the Muslim man recently given a life sentence for slitting his daughter’s throat in an “Honour Killing” after she began dating a Christian. This is a tragic story of irreconcilable cultural differences between a father who had a traditional ‘Muslim’ upbringing, values and background and a daughter who had adopted non-Islamic cultural life. But a devout Muslim who understands their religion correctly would certainly never take another life. In reality, such tragedies have nothing to do with true faith.” (http://www.islamawareness.net/HonourKilling/honour_killings.pdf) These words are the typical beating-about-the-bush of Islamic extremists — which have to be read between the lines. The document acknowledges the Muslim background of these homicides and underlines the culpability of the girls because they left behind their Islamic principles. Muslim women cannot marry Christian men unless he converts to Islam. All this does not imply a homicide, but it clearly shows that in Islam there is no freedom of choice, at least for women.

Even the words of sheikh Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee in Cairo, are very ambiguous: “Like all other religions, Islam strictly prohibits murder and killing without legal justification. Allah, Most High, says, “Who so slayeth a believer of set purpose, his reward is Hell forever. Allah is wroth against him and He hath cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom.” (An-Nisa’: 93) The so-called “honor killing” is based on ignorance and disregard of morals and laws, which cannot be abolished except by disciplinary punishments. It goes without saying that people are not entitled to take the law in their own hands, for its the responsibility of the Muslim State and its concerned bodies to maintain peace, security, etc., and to prevent chaos and disorder from creeping into the Muslim society.” In other words the Islamic state, following the sharia, even though it does not accept honor killings, allows the stoning of the adulteress. Honor killing is replaced with “legal” death.

Honor killing is the product of a male chauvinist society; it can find justification in the Koran and in Islamic tradition. Du’a’s death confirms what has just been said. The Kurdish girl was not only stoned, but her body was mutilated and covered with stones. At the end the crowd started shouting “Allahu akbar”, “God is greatest”, and reciting the shahada, that is the Islamic profession of faith.

One year after Du’a’s murder, the Saudi activist, Wajeha al-Huwaider, wrote: “Had Du’a been an animal, someone would have [probably] taken notice and tried to rescue her from these inhuman men. But she was a woman, and in the Greater East, the life of a woman is worth far less than the life of an animal. […] All those who believe that honor [resides] in the woman’s body are potential murderers, and [could] someday murder a woman when their false sense of honor is aroused. All those who agree that a man has the right to murder a woman, or to cause her physical harm [for the sake of preserving] his honor, are potential killers.”

To all this one can add that in most Islamic countries laws which counteract honor killings almost do not exist. For instance, on July 1st 2009, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad abolished Article 548 of the Penal Code, which had waived punishment for a man found to have killed a female family member in a case “provoked” by “illegitimate sex acts,” as well as for a husband who killed his wife because of an extramarital affair. The article also lowered penalties if a killing were found to be based on a “suspicious state” concerning a female family member. The article that replaced it still allows for mitigated punishment for “honor killings,” but requires a sentence of at least two years. The new text of Article 548 reads: “He who catches his wife, sister, mother or daughter by surprise, engaging in an illegitimate sexual act and kills or injures them unintentionally must serve a minimum of two years in prison.” In the previous text, the killer benefited from a complete “exemption of penalty”. We could say that something is starting to change, but we are still very far away from a true fight of honor killings in the country.

Islam and the male chauvinist tradition are the worst enemies of Muslim women. It cannot be denied, as the Egyptian Minister tried to do, that Islam has something to do with this. In the Koran, in Sura IV, we read: “Should any of your women commit some sexual offence, collect evidence about them from four [persons] among yourselves. If they so testify, then confine the women to their houses until death claims them or God grants them some other way out” and “Admonish those women whose surliness you fear, and leave them alone in their beds, and [even] beat them [if necessary]”. If the Koran does not quote honor killings, it can be of some use to justify them. The Swiss-Yemeni liberal intellectual, Elham Manea, is perfectly right when she says that Muslims should admit that there is a problem concerning women in general and honor killings in particular in Islam itself. This is not meant to be anti-Islamic. Manea is a secular Muslim who does not wish to conceal problems; on the contrary, she wishes to face and solve them to improve the condition of Muslim women.

Only in this way can the West and the Muslim world fight violence against women who only want to be free, as the Lebanese poet Joumana Haddad describes in a poem of hers: “They put me in a cage so that/My freedom may be a gift from them,/And I have to thank them and obey./But I am free before them, after them,/With them, without them. […] I am a woman./They think they own my freedom./I let them think so,/And I happen”.

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1 comments:

Umid said...

Well, as the traditional and historic Swedish dialects are disappearing, the one that seems to be supplanting them (and quite rapidly) is the so-called "Rinkeby Swedish." The broken, bastardized and infested with grammatical errors and with words of Middle Eastern origin speech spoken by the non-Western immigrants. And I heard of a similar situation is happening in Britain also, where the traditionally spoken Cockney and Brummie speech is giving way to the "London Multicultural English" which from what I know is heavily influenced by the Jamaican patois. But hey, while the leftists complain about the influx of English words threatening the "linguistic purity" of their language (think Académie française, and Sweden formally making Swedish an official language recently) they at the same time willfully ignore (along with crime and terror threats) how the flooding of Europe with the third-World people is going to ruin the native, European culture in the long run.