Monday, October 19, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/19/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/19/2009Various articles from the Russian media provide some interesting opinions on the slow-motion Marxist train wreck that the United States is in the middle of. The Russians have been there and done that, and they have their own perspective on what’s happening.

In other news, the Vatican supports the teaching of Islam in Italian schools, while the Lega Nord opposes it.

Thanks to A Greek Friend, Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Gaia, Henrik, Insubria, JD, JP, KGS, Steen, TV, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
- - - - - - - - -
Financial Crisis
Barney Frank, Predatory Lender
Bitten by Profligacy
Book Review: ‘End the Fed’
Cash for Oldsters
Congressional Budget Chief Says Climate Bill Would Cost Jobs
Dictator Obama and Reaching the Point of No Return
Half-Billion in Fed Cash for Measly 54 Local Jobs
The American Self Immolation, Truly a Sight to See
 
USA
3 Senators, Obama Secretly Write Health Bill
53 House Republicans Call on Obama to Fire Kevin Jennings
America’s Decline Into Marxism Began Long Before Obama-Nation
Climate Assumptions From Another Planet
Google’s Archive Shows Obama’s Birth Story Has Changed
Merck Wins Approval for Gardasil Vaccine in Boys
Oath Keepers Pledges to Prevent Dictatorship in United States
Part II: Obama Controls Your Televison Set — Search and Ye Shall Find… Left-Wing Advocacy
Rep. Myrick Repeats Call to Cut CAIR Ties
The Obama Nobel Mystery
This Isn’t Change, It’s Treason
White House Boasts: We ‘Control’ News Media
Yes, CAIR is Planting ‘Spies’ On Capitol Hill
 
Europe and the EU
Agriculture: Italy and France Together for New Policy
Barack Obama Must Attend Climate Change Talks to Avoid ‘Catastrophe’ For the Planet
Cinema: Sicily Launches Project to Become Mediterranean Set
Finland: “Honour Violence” — A Threat to Immigrant Women
Islam ‘Sweden’s Biggest Threat’: Far-Right Leader
Italy: Berlusconi Threatens to ‘Change Constitution’
Italy: ‘No to Teaching of Islam in Schools’, Says Minister
Linking Islam and Terrorism is Wrong
Sweden Democrats Lash Out Against Islam
Thatcher Adviser: Copenhagen Goal is 1-World Government
The Mufti of Berlin
UK: Convicts Teaching Children: How Indecent Assault and Drug Use Are No Bar to Working in Schools
UK: Moderate Muslim Majority Must Confront Extremism
UK: Ramadan? No Scholl Today
UK: Spying on Communities Contravenes Cherished British Freedom
UK: Surge in Children Taken Into Care as Recession Stress Takes Toll on Parents
UK: The Schools Told: Shut for Three More Holy Festivals
UK: Woman Passenger Beaten by Train Thugs… For Being Fat
Vatican Supports Call to Teach Islam
Wiesenthal Centre’s Seventh Year Chasing Hate From the Frankfurt Book Fair
 
Balkans
Bosnia ‘On Brink of New Civil War’
 
Israel and the Palestinians
Barak: We are obligated to keep migrant workers’ children in Israel
Israelis, Palestinians Continue Rights Violations, UN Official Said
Italy: New Photos of Berlusconi and Naked Girls Surface
The Warped Mirror: ‘Psychoactive’ Against Israel
Twin Cities With Dachau, Remains a Taboo for Some
Two Arabs Indicted for Attacking Jewish East J’lem Homes on Yom Kippur
 
Middle East
Analysis: Trip by Saudi Royal Unlikely to Herald Radical Change
Defence: Turkey to Possibly Buy 20 More F-35 Fighters
Environment: Abu Dhabi-UN Agreement for Dugong Protection
Le Monde: 53% of Turks Would Not Want a Jewish Neighbor
Meseznikov Backs Decision to Cut Out Workers’ Turkey Trips
UN Nuclear Chief Calls for U.S.-Iran Talks on Nuclear Dispute
 
Russia
Miracle or Hoax? Russians Puzzled as Phrases From the Koran Start Appearing ‘Spontaneously’ On Baby’s Skin
Russia, India to Jointly Develop 5th-Generation Fighter
 
South Asia
Afghan Fraud Panel Voids Thousands of Karzai Votes, Sets Stage for Runoff
Indonesia: Muslim Civil Servants Obliged to Read Koran
Taliban in Pakistan Warns Christian Leaders to Convert to Islam or Face Dire Consequences
The Battle for ‘Terror Central’ In Pakistan
 
Far East
Philippines: Mindanao: No Claims Fr Sinnott’s Abduction
 
Latin America
Humberto Fontova: Rush, Jesse, And Fidel
 
Immigration
ACLU & Catholic Bishops & Evangelicals & the Gutierrez Gang Expose Their Radical Agenda
Libya: Tripoli Vicar, Serious Risks if Sent Back
UK: Migrant Facing Deportation Wins Right to Stay in Britain… Because He’s Got a Cat
 
Culture Wars
‘Astro Boy’: The Latest in Line of Left-Leaning Animated Films?
MTV’s Exotic Marathon
Obama Nominates Lesbian Activist to Employment Post
The New Face of Psychiatry
Tom Deweese: “Globally-Acceptable Truth” And the Crime of Thinking
 
General
Lack of Understanding Exploited to Perpetuate Climate Science Falsehoods
Photos: Sex Symbols of the 1980s: Now and Then

Financial Crisis

Barney Frank, Predatory Lender

Almost two-thirds of all bad mortgages in our financial system were bought by government agencies or required by government regulations.

Far more interesting than the FHA’s prospective losses on its 2007 and 2008 book are the agency’s losses on its 2005 and 2006 guarantees, when the housing bubble was inflating at its fastest rate and there was no need for government support. FHA-backed loans during those years also have delinquency rates between 20% and 30%. These adverse results—not the result of a “policy” effort to shore up markets—pose a significant challenge to those who are trying to absolve the U.S. government of responsibility for the financial crisis.

[…]

The answer, of course, is that it was government policy for these poor quality loans to be made. Since the early 1990s, the government has been attempting to expand home ownership in full disregard of the prudent lending principles that had previously governed the U.S. mortgage market. Now the motives of the GSEs fall into place. Fannie and Freddie were subject to “affordable housing” regulations, issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which required them to buy mortgages made to home buyers who were at or below the median income. This quota began at 30% of all purchases in the early 1990s, and was gradually ratcheted up until it called for 55% of all mortgage purchases to be “affordable” in 2007, including 25% that had to be made to low-income home buyers.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Bitten by Profligacy

The dollar edges closer to becoming a third-world currency.

Foreign central banks, suffering from the Treasury and Fed-engineered decline in the dollar’s value, are moving new currency reserve investments from the dollar into Euros and Yen.

Long-range effects on the United States will be bad.

If foreign central banks continue to shift their currency reserves from the dollar to other currencies, the dollar will lose its international reserve currency status, damaging our nation’s future. Interest costs on the national debt will rise, reflecting a higher level of economic risk for foreign dollar holders. To pay higher interest on the national debt, taxes will have to rise, crimping business and depressing employment. Costs of our imports, upon which we came to depend for inexpensive consumer and industrial goods, will rise, because the dollar is worth less on international markets. Those higher import costs will reduce business profits, further constraining creation of new jobs.

[…]

Despite propaganda from people like the New York Times’s Paul Krugman, economic prosperity cannot be created by the secular political state. For that we must rely upon the effects of myriad individual actions. The more those actions are regulated the less the scope for return to prosperity.

Rather than removing constraints upon resumption of business activity that will create new jobs, the Obama administration is waging an ideological war to reduce the United States to third-rank economic and political status.

[…]

Democrat/Socialist economics are the equivalent of trying to pull yourself out of quicksand by employing people to shovel on more quicksand. Instead of dealing with the real problem, Democrat/Socialists attempt to leverage the crisis into more of what got us into trouble.

[…]

The nation got into the worst economic recession since the 1930s Depression in a multi-step process.First, Democrat/Socialist welfare entitlements programs, initiated under President Lyndon Johnson, grow far more rapidly than the underlying economy. Second, the Treasury and Federal Reserve have been funding the resulting deficit expenditures with ever-growing debt. Third, Federal Reserve creation of fiat money to fund the deficit expands the lending reserves of banks. Fourth, banks’ increased lending reserves lead them to look aggressively for new loans and investments, a process that tends to lower credit standards. Fifth, encouraged by this flood of excess liquidity, businesses take on more debt to over-expand production, and individuals make consumer purchases far in excess of their capacities to repay the resulting credit card and mortgage debt. Sixth, when resulting bubble sectors of the economy — housing in the recent case — over-expand production and consumers can no longer pay their debts, a recession ensues.

Because of our poor educational system since the 1960s, voters have no clue to this basic economic cycle that is repeated in every recession. Excessive government spending, financed by creation of fiat money, leading to over-expansion of bank credit that encourages speculation and spending beyond our means with borrowed money, culminating in a bubble burst. This was exactly the pattern leading to the Great Depression: creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, over-expansion of bank reserves by the Fed that produced, in six years, an increase of bank deposits to double the total accumulated in the entire history of the nation prior to 1920, excessive bank lending and investments that created a false boom in the 1920s, and a bubble that finally burst in 1929.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Book Review: ‘End the Fed’

In 17 years of writing game and book reviews, I can count on two hands the number of times I have ever given out the highest rating. True excellence is to be distinguished from the merely very good, and it is far rarer than the heavy use of superlatives in our everyday language would tend to indicate. “End the Fed” is more than a timely political polemic, it is also the story of the long and patient campaign by a small group of freedom-loving patriots to restore economic liberty to the American people.

Being a student of economic history myself, I was deeply impressed by Paul’s knowledge of not only the Federal Reserve system’s present organization and practices, but the way in which the system was surreptitiously created and inflicted upon an unsuspecting American people who had no idea what was intended for their money or understood that the financial rapine of their descendants was being secured. Few of those who errantly believe that a central bank is a vital necessity to a national economy have any idea that Americans have shaken off the paper chains of a central bank three times in their history, much less know that the Fed’s destruction of nearly 100 percent of the value of American money is entirely in keeping with the historical performance of its three predecessors.

Paul makes a strong case against the Fed by its own standards. He shows how it has not been successful in stabilizing the business cycle by citing the 18 recessions that the National Bureau of Economic Research records as having taken place since the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. He describes how it has failed to provide banking stability, and he demonstrates the way in which it has completely failed to control inflation with a graph that shows how 95 percent of the purchasing power of the dollar has been inflated away during the 96 years of the Fed’s monetary monopoly.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Cash for Oldsters

A $250 bribe to help the ObamaCare medicine go down.

No one ever went broke underestimating political cynicism, but these days even we can’t keep up: On Wednesday, President Obama announced that he wants to send every American senior a $250 check.

“Even as we seek to bring about recovery, we must act on behalf of those hardest hit by this recession,” Mr. Obama said. Of course it’s a mere coincidence that these checks are being proposed, and probably passed, just as Congress is about to vote on health care.

Supposedly these “economic recovery payments” are justified because seniors won’t get an inflation-adjusted increase in Social Security benefits this year. This zero cost-of-living, or COLA, increase has many seniors alarmed, and AARP and other lobbies have been fanning their anxiety. Mr. Obama’s Wednesday news was timed to pre-empt yesterday’s announcement of the zero COLA by the Social Security Administration. The $250 checks will funnel $13 billion to some 57 million beneficiaries—in addition to whatever they have already received as part of the $787 billion stimulus.

[…]

The real calculation here is political and comes right out of White House strategist David Axelrod. Every poll shows that seniors are among the most opposed to ObamaCare—by more than a 10-point margin in a late-September Gallup survey. Democrats are panicked that the zero COLA will feed senior opposition to health care and stop their attempt to ram it into law in the next few weeks. Mr. Obama’s $250 checks are essentially bribes, a sort of political anesthesia intended to hush up seniors until the legislation is on the books.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Congressional Budget Chief Says Climate Bill Would Cost Jobs

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf warned a Senate energy panel that there would be “significant shifts” from emissions-intense sectors such as oil and refining firms to low-carbon businesses such as wind and solar power.

“The net effect of that we think would likely be some decline in employment during the transition because labor markets don’t move that fluidly,” Mr. Elmendorf said, testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“The fact that jobs turn up somewhere else for some people does not mean there aren’t substantial costs borne by people, communities, firms and affected industries,” he said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Dictator Obama and Reaching the Point of No Return

The Leftists’ intermediary move to better Ensure the Deal?

To top that off, on 15 September 2008—under two months prior to the US Presidential and General elections—a coordinated and as yet “culprits-unnamed” draw-down on money market accounts to the tune of $550Billions in under 2 hours (a run on the banks) was announced by the Federal Reserve. It quickly pumped $120Billions into the system, temporarily shut down the Reserve and announced if it had not done so, by 3:00 p.m. that same day $5.5Trillions would have been lost by the USA alone and the world economic system would have crashed and burned.

Hmmm. Was this run on the banks and potential destruction of the economic system a way to better ensure Obama would be installed as POTUS? I don’t know but, it was certainly highly “coincidental” wasn’t it? This bank-run caused President Bush—under the prodding of the Democrat-run Congress—to call for TARP or “Troubled Asset Relief Program” to be instituted. Note: It appears that the economy was doing too well for the Left to take any more chances that their Marxist candidate wouldn’t win. So…the run on the banks was necessary. What a movie this will make. But, who will play Obama? Will Obama soon control the film industry—at least the small portion he doesn’t currently dominate?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Half-Billion in Fed Cash for Measly 54 Local Jobs

WASHINGTON — The stimulus isn’t doing a thing to help the unemployment rate in the New York metro area, according to shocking new White House data released yesterday.

The feds have spent a half-billion dollars on 10 of the largest government stimulus contracts in New York City and Long Island — but created or retained only 54 jobs.

That’s an astounding $9 million per job.

The largest contract, at Brookhaven labs on Long Island for $261 million, has put only 26 people on the payroll, while two contracts for $23 million apiece to rehab the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in Manhattan hasn’t created a single job, according to new data.

A $53 million contract to fix a Brooklyn post office created just a third of a job, while a $5.5 million plumbing contract for a federal courthouse didn’t create any.

Statewide, New York has gotten $776 million in government contracts through the stimulus, creating or saving 656 jobs, according to the data, which the feds compile from contractors.

Nationally, 30,000 jobs were created by $16 billion in contracts.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The American Self Immolation, Truly a Sight to See

It can be safely said, that the last time a great nation destroyed itself through its own hubris and economic folly was the early Soviet Union (though in the end the late Soviet Union still died by the economic hand). Now we get the opportunity to watch the Americans do the exact same thing to themselves. The most amazing thing of course, is that they are just repeating the failed mistakes of the past. One would expect their fellow travelers in suicide, the British, to have spoken up by now, but unfortunately for the British, their education system is now even more of a joke than that of the Americans.

While taking a small breather from mouthing the never ending propaganda of recovery, never mind that every real indicator is pointing to death and destruction, the American Marxists have noticed that the French and Germans are out of recession and that Russia and Italy are heading out at a good clip themselves. Of course these facts have been wrapped up into their mind boggling non stop chant of “recovery” and hope-change-zombification. What is ignored, of course, is that we and the other three great nations all cut our taxes, cut our spending, made life easy for small business…in other words: the exact opposite of the Anglo-Sphere.

That brings us to Cap and Trade. Never in the history of humanity has a more idiotic plan been put forward and sold with bigger lies.Energy is the key stone to any and every economy, be it man power, animal power, wood or coal or nuclear. How else does one power industry that makes human life better (unless of course its making the bombs that end that human life, but that’s a different topic). Never in history, with the exception of the Japanese self imposed isolation in the 1600s, did a government actively force its people away from economic activity and industry.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

USA

3 Senators, Obama Secretly Write Health Bill

When he was a presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised to make negotiations over healthcare reform an open and transparent process. Now that he’s president, the reality is that most of the high-stakes work is being conducted by just three senators behind closed doors.

According to the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sens. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., gather in Reid’s office to hammer out a merger of competing bills before a Senate vote. The only other people allowed in the room are key aides and Obama’s representatives on healthcare reform.

More than a year ago, Obama promised something entirely different.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


53 House Republicans Call on Obama to Fire Kevin Jennings

A group of 53 Republican members of the House has sent a letter to the president asking for the removal of Kevin Jennings, the gay activist who now runs the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. “It is clear that Mr. Jennings lacks the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in this capacity,” the lawmakers write.

[…]

King says he believes the new letter might influence the administration, which has so far been staunch in its defense of Jennings. “A week ago, Barney Frank was declaring me to be a bigot,” King says. “Now, we have 53 who have taken a stand on this…I think the president has to listen to what I think is the core of the mainstream values of America.”

Here is the full text of the letter to Obama:…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


America’s Decline Into Marxism Began Long Before Obama-Nation

Pravda.Ru has recently published an article “American capitalism gone with a whimper” which describes the present-day economic situation in the USA. This article triggered a very vivid discussion in Western media sources. We received a lot of emails from our readers and here are the most interesting of them:

Wayne VanDerwood: “I read today the article about the United States loosing it’s freedoms. This article angers me a great deal. Especially coming from Pravda.Ru. I am particularly angry that there is not a single untruth in the entire article. The very idea of printing the truth. What has happened to the world when a Russian news paper lectures Americans on liberty and is completely correct.”

[Comments from JD: see article for link to the story referred to by Wayne.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Climate Assumptions From Another Planet

As the 821-page Kerry-Boxer climate bill gets fast-tracked in the Senate, as a companion to the 1427-page House bill, it is critical that we reexamine the assumptions behind cap-tax-and-trade legislation.

[…]

Applying much more realistic assumptions, CRA Associates, American Council for Capital Formation and other analysts have calculated that Waxman-Markey would reduce US gross domestic product by a cumulative $9.4 trillion by 2035. Emission permit costs for energy users could exceed $300 billion per year by 2035.

Average households could pay 58% more for gasoline, 90% more for electricity, the Heritage Center for Data Analysis calculated. A typical family of four could pay $829 more annually just for electricity, and up to $4,600 for energy, food and consumer goods, say Heritage, CRA and other analysts.

This is not wealth creation. It is a massive wealth transfer — from hydrocarbon users to carbon traders, non-hydrocarbon energy industries, bureaucrats, activists and other preferred groups. Poor families could get “energy welfare” payments, to offset some added costs, but small businesses and middle class families would get hammered.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Google’s Archive Shows Obama’s Birth Story Has Changed

This archive containes scanned images and or digitized text of printed newspapers and electronically available news reports for more than 100 years from papers and news agencies around the globe.

However, its results are skewed when you attempt to search for “Kenyan-born Obama”; results are missing; years prior to 2004 seem scrubbed; and when you click a link to an article in 2000, you get an article in 2004.

Deliberate sabotage of their own news archive?

This article will document what Google has done, for posterity’s sake.

[Return to headlines]


Merck Wins Approval for Gardasil Vaccine in Boys

“This is an important milestone, because the use of Gardasil can now help protect boys and girls and young men and women from certain diseases caused by this common virus,” said Richard Haupt, executive director of Merck Research Laboratories, in the company’s statement.

Approval in boys could add as much as $200 million and $300 million in annual sales, said Leerink Swann & Co. analyst Seamus Fernandez in a research report last month. Gardasil generated revenue of $1.4 billion last year.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Oath Keepers Pledges to Prevent Dictatorship in United States

Group asks police and military to lay down arms in response to orders deemed unlawful

Depending on your perspective, the Oath Keepers are either strident defenders of liberty or dangerous peddlers of paranoia.

In the age of town halls, talk radio and tea parties, middle ground of opinion is hard to find.

Launched in March by Las Vegan Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers bills itself as a nonpartisan group of current and retired law enforcement and military personnel who vow to fulfill their oaths to the Constitution.

More specifically, the group’s members, which number in the thousands, pledge to disobey orders they deem unlawful, including directives to disarm the American people and to blockade American cities. By refusing the latter order, the Oath Keepers hope to prevent cities from becoming “giant concentration camps,” a scenario the 44-year-old Rhodes says he can envision happening in the coming years.

It’s a Cold War-era nightmare vision with a major twist: The occupying forces in this imagined future are American, not Soviet.

“The whole point of Oath Keepers is to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here,” Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper and Yale-trained lawyer, said in an interview with the Review-Journal. “My focus is on the guys with the guns, because they can’t do it without them.

“We say if the American people decide it’s time for a revolution, we’ll fight with you.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Part II: Obama Controls Your Televison Set — Search and Ye Shall Find… Left-Wing Advocacy

My ten-year-old daughter loves “So You Think You Can Dance.” I suspect most eight to eighteen-year-old girls do. So, my question to the producers of this hit show is: “Why are you pointing my daughter to a web page asking her to work at Planned Parenthood?”

Next week the networks will coordinate their shows’ story-lines to promote volunteerism. At the September 10 press conference in New York announcing this unprecedented message coordination, Ashton Kutcher got his famous Twitter feed displayed on the Times Square jumbo screen. It said: “2Day, I activate my citizenship by participating. I Participate! Do u? www.iparticipate.org.” (Damn he’s good at this whole “Under 14o characters” thing.)

[…]

While we’re looking at all those volunteer options on www.createthegood.org, we should also take a look at that really nifty video listed second from the top. No matter where you are in the country, if you type “health care” as the subject you want to volunteer for, this video called: “How To Spread The Truth About Health Care Reform” pops up for your viewing pleasure:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Rep. Myrick Repeats Call to Cut CAIR Ties

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) continued to accuse a Muslim advocacy group of attempting to place interns on key national security committees to sway policy in its favor, a day after the group’s spokesman received a death threat.

Asked for her opinion on CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper receiving a death threat after the accusations she made on Wednesday, Myrick’s office reiterated her calls for Congress to stop dealing with the group.

“Why would anyone allow a group, who the FBI says is tied to terrorism, to influence national security policy, or any policy for that matter?” she said in a statement. “If the FBI has cut ties with CAIR, Congress should wake up and do the same.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Obama Nobel Mystery

Obama’s Nobel Prize win a blatant attempt to Europeanize US policy

According to Alfred Nobel’s will — and in contrast with other Nobel Prize committees — the members of the Nobel Prize for Peace committee are not experts, but politicians, members of the Norwegian Parliament.

American President

The chairman of the committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Norway, is the Vice President and the Chairman of the Middle East Committee of the “Socialist International,” known for its opposition to US and Israeli policies. He is, also, the Chairman of the “Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights,” which advocates a Dovish-Leftist worldview, in cooperation with former President Jimmy Carter, who is close to President Obama and considered a role-model for the new Nobel laureate.

Along with other members of the Committee, Jagland represents a Parliament that has called to recognize Hamas, to dialogue with Iran, to tolerate rogue regimes, to enhance ties with Muslim regimes, to condemn (what he terms) Islamophobia and to condemn systematically the policies of Washington (until Obama’s victory) and Jerusalem.

Awarding Obama the Nobel Peace Prize — in spite of the fact that the deadline for nominations was February 1, 10 days into Obama’s Administration — constitutes a transparent attempt by European politicians to bolster Obama’s determination in the global arena and improve his standing in the domestic arena. While Obama’s stock has risen internationally, it has deteriorated internally, in light of his lack of success in the areas of unemployment, taxes, budget deficit, health insurance reform, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Russia and al-Qaeda.

Jagland and his colleagues are determined to provide Obama with a tailwind. They consider him the most UN-driven American President since Woodrow Wilson, who established the League of Nations in 1920. They encourage him to sustain his efforts to endear the UN to the American people and legislators and to highlight the UN as the key formulator of international relations. They identify with — and are eager to advance — Obama’s worldview, as they assess it: that the superpower role pf the US is over, that moral equivalence — and not moral superiority — dominates relations between the US and non-Western democracies, and that the West must reconcile itself to the rise of the Muslim World.

‘Wet dream’ of US critics

This perceived worldview also holds that the US must desist from unilateral political and military initiatives, that America should advance multilateral initiatives which reflect values and attitudes shared by the majority of the UN membership, that there is no military option against Iran, that the battle against Islamic terrorism must be conducted diplomatically, economically and legally and not militarily, that there should not be a surge in Afghanistan, that retreat from Iraq should be accelerated, that the Palestinian issue is the core cause of Middle East turbulence and anti-Western Islamic terrorism, etc.

Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama does not reflect respect by the Nobel Prize Committee toward the American President. It does not intend to express appreciation of the American legacy and American human and mega-billion monetary sacrifice, which spared Europe defeat during World War I and World War II, produced victory over Communism and minimized Islamic terrorism in Europe.

The Nobel Peace Prize Committee aimed to improve Obama’s image among Americans and leverage his presidency in order to Europeanize US policy, thus accomplishing the “wet dream” of US critics, rivals and enemies. Reservations expressed by most of the US public, legislators and media suggest that the Norwegian politicians may relive the Biblical episode of Balaam in reverse: They came to bless, but ended up cursing.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]


This Isn’t Change, It’s Treason

Some, including myself, have described what Obama and his Socialists are up to as a bloodless coup. But, after further evaluation of what’s really going on behind the scenes in Washington, I have come to an even more alarming conclusion: What they are doing is committing legislative jihad.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


White House Boasts: We ‘Control’ News Media

Communications chief offers shocking confession to foreign government

TEL AVIV — President Obama’s presidential campaign focused on “making” the news media cover certain issues while rarely communicating anything to the press unless it was “controlled,” White House Communications Director Anita Dunn disclosed to the Dominican government at a videotaped conference.

“Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn’t absolutely control,” said Dunn.

“One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters,” said Dunn, referring to Plouffe, who was Obama’s chief campaign manager.

“We just put that out there and made them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it as opposed to the press controlled it,” Dunn said.

Continued Dunn: “Whether it was a David Plouffe video or an Obama speech, a huge part of our press strategy was focused on making the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to why the campaign was saying it, what the tactic was. … Making the press cover what we were saying.”

[Comments from JD: see article for videos.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Yes, CAIR is Planting ‘Spies’ On Capitol Hill

FBI cites ‘people in positions of power within the organization directly connected to terrorism’

In response, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper laughed, ridiculing the claims of the Congress members and accusing “Muslim Mafia’s” authors of racism and bigotry. He also claimed he’d received a faxed death threat, which he displayed during televised interviews.

Others leapt to CAIR’S defense, like Rep. John Conyers, Jr., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who said, “Numerous Muslim-American interns have served the House ably and they deserve our appreciation and respect, not attacks on their character or patriotism.”

ACLU spokeswoman Amanda Simon said, “Attempting to stigmatize legitimate activities with sinister and baseless accusations is reminiscent of some of the darkest days of our history.”

Even much of the media coverage echoed CAIR’s ridicule of “Muslim Mafia” and the congressional calls for investigation, while portraying the group as a moderate, everyday D.C. lobby group. Politico’s article was so favorable and one-sided, in fact, that CAIR showcased it on its website, along with MSNBC’s mocking, sarcastic attack on “Muslim Mafia” and the four Congress members, whom host Rachel Maddow compared with Sen. Joe McCarthy.

Inexplicably absent from most news reports was any mention of CAIR’s long and sordid history of terror connections, for which reason the FBI broke off ties with the organization last year.

[…]

Indeed, a review of the public record, including federal criminal court documents, past IRS 990 tax records and Federal Election Commission records detailing donor occupations, reveals that CAIR has been associated with a disturbing number of convicted terrorists or felons in terrorism probes, as well as suspected terrorists and active targets of terrorism investigations. The list is long, and includes:…

[…]

All told, there are now upwards of 50 Muslim activists working on Capitol Hill today, according to “Muslim Mafia.” Their growing presence raises alarms, counterintelligence officials say, because a stated goal of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood is the infiltration of key government agencies and institutions like Congress.

Indeed, during a secret Muslim Brotherhood meeting he organized last decade, CAIR founder and former chair Omar Ahmad expressed the need to strengthen “the influence with Congress.” He argued for using Muslims as an “entry point” to “pressure Congress and the decision makers in America” to change U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and other policies.

The same FBI wiretaps reveal that CAIR’s other founder and current leader, Nihad Awad, early on proposed sponsoring internships and fellowships as a vehicle for infiltrating government “institutions.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Agriculture: Italy and France Together for New Policy

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, OCTOBER 13 — Italy and France are joining forces in light of a revision of the European Agricultural Policy after 2013, as confirmed by today’s meeting in Paris between minister of Agricultural policies, Luca Zaia, and his French counterpart, Bruno Le Maire, to consolidate strategies to counter the recession in the milk and cheese sector ahead of the Council of agricultural ministers that will be held in Luxemburg on October 19, and after the meeting in Vienna, which agreed on a paper to submit to the Commission that was signed by 20 countries plus Greece, which joined in. After the meeting, the French minister announced the intention shared with Italy to “set up new rules for European agriculture” and stated that “Italy and France are two major agricultural nations. Our mission is to defend our produce, our farmers and to assure quality to consumers”. More specifically, and immediately, Italy and France, together with the other countries that signed the Vienna paper, are asking the Commission to free up 300 million euros for the dairy products sector. As emphasised by Zaia, the common paper accepts the Italian requests for private subsidies to the stockpiling of cheese and the request to include labels of origin on European products. Zaia stated that “private assistance to the stockpiling of cheese is of strategic importance for a country such as Italy which allocates 70% of its milk to the production of cheese. Even labels are important because we import 8 million tonnes of milk, and in this moment we are suffering competition from countries that sell low-quality products on our market”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Barack Obama Must Attend Climate Change Talks to Avoid ‘Catastrophe’ For the Planet

Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, has warned of ‘catastrophe’ for the planet unless President Barack Obama and other world leaders ensure a deal on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

[Comments from JD: More scare-mongering to get the US to sign away its freedom.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Cinema: Sicily Launches Project to Become Mediterranean Set

(ANSAmed) — PALERMO, OCTOBER 7 — Sicily is ready to become a point of reference for the cinema industry in the Mediterranean. For this reason it has decided to present ‘Project Sicily for cinema and audiovisuals”: from documentaries to films, from festivals to small independent productions, as long as they are quality productions and use local workers, services and locations. On October 9 and 10 the regional councillor for Cultural Heritage will gather together the heads of Italy’s major cinema production companies as well as directors, actors, technicians, artistic directors and festival organisers at the Teatro Sangiorgi in Catania. The Project will be presented to a specialist audience, which the Region expects to provide proposals and comments for improvements. About a hundred stars of Italian cinema have already signed up for the meeting. ‘The project” explains councillor Nicola Leanza ‘starts from a fundamental concept: the creation of a hub for the audiovisual industry in Sicily. Gone are the days of cut and run productions, Mafia films, projects which come to nothing. The project has been studied in theory, to tempt producers to choose Sicily for their sets, but using ever more highly-qualified local workers and services”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Finland: “Honour Violence” — A Threat to Immigrant Women

Immigrant women in Finland are increasingly the victims of violence perpetrated in the name of family honour. In Helsinki, twice as many immigrant women have sought protection this year from violence than in previous years.

Nasima Razmyar, who herself came to Finland as a refugee from Afghanistan, has been taking in growing numbers of immigrant women and girls at the Monika House shelter in Helsinki’s Sörnäinen district. Some of these women have been forced into marriages, some beaten for disobedience or even threatened with death.

This year, within just six months more than 30 women have sought refuge from honour violence at the facility. That is as many as during the whole of last year. As the coordinator at Monika House, Nasima Razmyar has the impression that the rise can be explained by growing numbers of women of marriageable age.

“Second generation immigrants are at just the age, around twenty and marriageable, when the situation starts being strongly seen,” says Razmyar.

Honour violence involves the subjugation of a woman within some ethnic groups carried out with the intent of controlling her sexual behaviour. It has been rumoured at Monika House that there have been honour killings in Finland, acts in which a family has decided to kill a disobedient daughter who, for example, has refused an arranged marriage.

Police have not confirmed the rumours, but according to Chief Inspector Veli Hukkanen of the Helsinki Police, threatening behaviour has indeed been on the rise. One problem is that the police do not keep statistics on honour violence.

“Statistics are not available for many reasons, some tactical. In order to secure an individual’s situation and protect her, it may not be sensible to file a criminal report,” explains Hukkanen.

However, police believe that only a small fraction, probably less that 5% of all honour violence incidents come to light. The seriousness of the phenomenon is not understood, even by the officials dealing with it.

“More familiarity by officials with other cultures is needed. Women and family members from certain cultures come to tell of these problems, of the violence or that they are being frightened and threatened. They should be met by with a different attitude,” says Chief Inspector Veli Hukkanen.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]


Islam ‘Sweden’s Biggest Threat’: Far-Right Leader

An article by the leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats claiming that Islam is the biggest threat to Sweden since World War II is tantamount to hate speech, according to legal experts.

A number of jurists believe the text, published in the opinion section of the Aftonbladet newspaper, qualifies as agitation against an ethnic group (hets mot folkgrupp).

The Sweden Democrats concluded their annual congress on Sunday in the town of Ljungbyhed in Skåne in southern Sweden.

On Monday, Aftonbladet published an opinion piece by party leader Jimmie Åkesson in which the prominent far-right politician slams Islam.

According to Åkesson, “today’s multicultural Swedish power-elite are totally blind to the dangers of Islam.”

He goes on to claim that more than ten Muslim terrorist organizations have established themselves in Sweden, that Sweden has the most rapes in Europe, and that Muslim men are highly overrepresented among the perpetrators.

“As a Sweden Democrat, I see this as our greatest external threat since World War II and I promise to use all my power to change the trend during next year’s election,” writes Åkesson.

Åkesson’s claims prompted academics and legal experts to draw parallels between the Sweden Democrats and the Nazis.

“This is the same sort of propaganda as the Nazis’ anti-Semitism,” said Jan Hjärpe, an emeritus professor of Islamic Studies at Lund University, to Aftonbladet.

“This also has racist undertones, because the rhetoric assumes that religious affiliation determines how a person acts.”

Several leading lawyers who spoke with Aftonbladet believe the article borders on qualifying as agitation against an ethnic group.

“I think that the Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern — JK) should prosecute it. The article is uniformly directed against and is hateful toward Muslims as a group,” said attorney and media expert Peter Danowsky.

“To single out an entire religion as the greatest external threat is very close to agitation against an ethnic group,” attorney Peter Althin told Aftonbladet.

“A tough jury assessing the boundaries of free speech would condemn this article. It’s an expression of disrespect towards Muslims as a group,” said Per Hultengård, a lawyer with the Swedish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (Tidningsutgivarna).

But Chancellor of Justice Göran Lambertz said he has no plans to launch a preliminary investigation himself as to whether Åkesson’s article violates Swedish rules governing the freedom of expression.

“This isn’t an obvious case of agitation against an ethnic group. If it had been, I would have launched an investigation myself. But I’ll probably receive complaints about the article and then I’ll look more closely into the matter,” Lambertz told TT.

One controversial claim in Åkesson’s article is that Sweden has more rapes than any other country in Europe.

According to Sweden’s National Crime Prevention Council (Brottsförebyggande rådet — BRÅ), researchers agree that it’s impossible to assess and compare the actual number of violent crimes and rapes across different countries by comparing the number of crimes reported to police.

“The differences between countries’ judicial systems and their systems for gathering statistics regarding crimes reported to police isn’t just big — it’s really big,” council head Jan Andersson wrote last spring in comments on an EU study on the matter.

“Firstly, we in Sweden have an obvious legal definition of what is considered rape. That means that more cases in Sweden are tried and registered as rape than in many other countries. Secondly, we in Sweden began putting a lot of effort into registering all cases which could be suspected of being rape at a very early stage in the process, which means that we even count cases which later turn out to be some other sexually-related crime, no crime at all, et cetera.”

In Sweden, every individual act reported to police is registered, not just the most recent or primary criminal act. In many other countries, authorities want and remove many cases from statistics.

There is also no basis for Åkesson’s claim that Muslim men are overrepresented among rapists.

“I haven’t seen any scientific articles dealing with this which have reached that conclusion. It’s based on an assumption,” Brå researcher Klara Hradilova Selin told TT.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Åkesson’s article makes clear what the Sweden Democrats want to achieve.

“They have an interest and that’s to differentiate between people, to create an us-against-them way of thinking, cast suspicion on ‘them’ and in that way lay the groundwork for policies by which ‘they’ are thrown out or deported,” Reinfeldt said at an informal press conference on the margins of a Monday morning visit to Gothenburg University.

“Every attempt by those in power to single out the right religion or right nationality, right sexual preference, has always ended horribly. Because as soon as practical policies are to be made using that approach, a dividing up of people begins which is neither manageable nor desirable.”

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Italy: Berlusconi Threatens to ‘Change Constitution’

Rome, 16 October (AKI) — Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi announced during an official visit to Bulgaria, that he wanted to amend the Italian constitution and reform the judiciary. “It is not an easy thing to do,” said Berlusconi, adding that he would ask the people in a referendum only after it is changed.

“We need a reform that makes of our country a real democracy, which is not subject to the power of an order that has no electoral legitimacy. Therefore we have a lot of work to do. We must grab the bull by the horns,” said the premier, speaking in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

He made the remarks a little over a week after Italy’s Constitutional Court stripped him of his immunity by declaring the ‘Lodo Alfano’ law unconstitutional. A few days before that ruling, another court found Berlusconi co-responsible in a corruption case.

“There are accusations brought against me only as a pretext, just like all the other ones that have been issued against me, because they want to bother the enemy, which they consider an obstacle, so that the Left can have the majority in the country,” said Berlusconi adding that he did not agree with the court’s decision.

“I do not share the decision of the constitutional court. In reality, the court told those ‘Red’ public ministers the following: Reopen the manhunt against the premier.”

Until the ‘Lodo Alfano’ law was introduced, Berlusconi was a defendant in the case involving British tax lawyer, David Mills, who was sentenced in February to four and a half years in jail for accepting a 600,000 dollar bribe from the prime minister for giving false evidence in corruption trials.

In addition, Berlusconi threatened state broadcaster RAI, telling reporters in Sofia that he did not see the TV programme ‘Annozero’, but that in Italy there was a “criminal” use of the TV and said the company could find itself “in trouble with its balance sheets” because half of Italians would stop paying yearly public TV fees.

Annozero is the prime time TV chatshow where the Italian escort Patrizia D’Addario — who claims to have slept with Berlusconi in exchange of money and favours — said the premier “knew” that she was a prostitute and that she made tapes of their intimate pillow talk.

D’Addario and other showgirls spoke about parties hosted by the 73-year-old Berlusconi at his private residences in Rome and Sardinia attended by dozens of young women, many of them allegedly prostitutes.

Also on Friday, one of Italy’s opposition parties accused Berlusconi of wanting a “majority dictatorship”.

“All democratic forces must be united in opposing Berlusconi. The head of government wants to destroy the credibility of the institutions and constitutional guarantees,” said opposition MP and leader of the Italia dei Valori (Italy of Values) party in the lower house, Massimo Donadi.

“An operation in a pure ‘Peronista’ style which aims to install a majority dictatorship, eliminating the system of checks and balances among the powers of the state,” Donadi said.

Earlier this week, the head of the IDV Antonio di Pietro said Berlusconi was behaving like Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

“Berlusconi behaves today, like Mussolini did in the past. He gets upset with those that criticise him in order to keep his power intact, “ said Di Pietro.

“The difference is that Mussolini did it because of an existential and mental problem, while Berlusconi does it consciously and scientifically in order to advance his own judicial, business, media-oriented and personal interests, which are more serious than the twenty years of the fascist period.”

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


Italy: ‘No to Teaching of Islam in Schools’, Says Minister

Roma, 19 October (AKI) — Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni from the anti-immigrant Northern League party said he would not back a proposal to teach Islam in Italian schools to improve integration.

“The Northern League is absolutely against the proposal of an hour of Islamic religion in Italian schools,” Maroni told the commericial TV programme Mattino 5.

The proposal was put forward by the deputy minister of economic development Adolfo Urso.

“While the hour of Catholic religion represents an entity, the Church, which has a hierarchy and contains clear, well defined values that can be conveyed, Islam on the other hand is a completely different case,” Maroni said.

“The imam can freely interpret the Koran, there is not a series of tenets, there is not a clear message to convey…If the proposal served to improve integration, we would be all in agreement, but this is clearly the wrong way to do it,” Maroni.

In September, the Vatican said that religion in Italian schools should have the status of a school subject. The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education expressed the view in a letter sent to the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI).

The head of the CEI, Mons. Angelo Bagnasco quickly rejected the idea of an ‘Islam hour’ in schools.

“The hour of Catholic religion teaching is based on the Concordat, because that is part of our history and culture. I do not think that the proposal to teach Islam for an hour has anything to do with this rational and renowned reason,” said Bagnasco.

The 1929 Concordat (also known as the Lateran treaty) established Catholicism as the religion of Italy.

The CEI also said that the teaching of different religions could generate religious relativism and discouraged it because it could cause “confusion” or “damage”.

Italy’s public schools offer an optional “religion hour” in which students may study the Catholic religion or other faiths.

However, under a 2007 ruling, only students studying Catholicism were able to receive academic credit.

In mid-August, an Italian court ruling said that high school students may no longer receive academic credit for studying Catholicism, sparking criticism from conservative centre-right politicians, including the education minister, Mariastella Gelmini.

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


Linking Islam and Terrorism is Wrong

The government must stop seeing all Muslims as innately prone to violence if it wants to rebuild trust in the community

by Rizwaan Sabir

In a recent article published by the Guardian, it was reported that the Prevent strand of Contest 2, the British counterterrorism strategy, was being used to collate intelligence on Muslims who were innocent, or who had no suspected involvement in terrorism. This may come as a surprise to members of the public who do not really have much to do with the subject of counterterrorism, but for those who study, analyse or take an interest in this subject, it is hardly a surprise.

On Thursday, I attended a policing conference in St Andrews. Speaking to two academics there, our conversation quickly progressed on to British counterterrorism and Prevent. I remember saying that there was something “not quite right” about Prevent, but I couldn’t put my finger on what this was and decided that maybe it was just paranoia and cynicism on my part. Less than 24 hours later, I was reading the Guardian and saw the article titled “Government anti-terrorism strategy ‘spies’ on innocent”. Reading it, I found that “the government programme aimed at preventing Muslims from being lured into violent extremism is being used to gather intelligence about innocent people who are not suspected of involvement in terrorism”.

Eureka! I could finally put my finger on it. The government, through its policy of trying to stop Muslims from becoming radicalised, whatever that means, is collating intelligence and information on their “political and religious views, mental health, sexual activity and associates”. This reveals some disturbing assumptions behind government thinking.

Firstly, the government still thinks that a correlation exists between acts of indiscriminate killing and the religion of Islam, even though it’s a well-known fact that indiscriminate killing is not condoned by Islam, but rather justified through a flawed, restrictive and manipulated understanding of Islam, unless you’re Geert Wilders. Why else would it be trying to collate intelligence on people’s religious views? So it can fund the construction of more mosques?

Secondly, the government is now thinking that the reason why some individuals may carry out violence is not because of overzealous policing, disproportionate counterterrorism measures and a foreign policy that has led to thousands of deaths, including British service personnel, but is somehow caused by the mental condition of British Muslims.

Thirdly, the government thinks that collecting information on the sex lives of British Muslims could indicate a potential link between acts of violence and British Muslims. Essentially this means that British Muslims who “aren’t getting any” are more vulnerable to radicalisation.

And fourthly, the government is playing a very sinister and dangerous game of guilt by association. It is presuming that if you are in contact with certain individuals, you have the potential to become a terrorist or have to the potential to adopt a violent methodology for change. Does this mean that every Muslim in touch with suspected terrorists or individuals convicted on terrorism charges should all be monitored, snooped upon and intercepted? Maybe they should. Maybe then the government will actually be able to justify its £3.5bn yearly counterterrorism budget.

However, what this will not do is build bridges between the government, the police services and the Muslim community, where distrust, anxiety and fear are rife. To build bridges, the British government must rethink the prejudiced manner with which it views young Muslims, their attitudes towards world events and their desire for a more just and peaceful world. Just because they view Israel as an occupying power or believe that the west has a hypocritical foreign policy, does not mean that they are terrorists or will take up jihad. The government needs to engage with Muslims on all levels, rather than merely with those who dance to the tune of their pipe, such as the Quilliam Foundation.

Fighting militancy and violence is a serious problem that must be confronted. By spying on innocent people and viewing them with a deep antipathy and suspicion because of their faith is not a way to do it though. The government must stop viewing all Muslims as potential terrorists or individuals that have an innate potential to resort to violence. Only then can work on rebuilding a bridge between British Muslims, the police services and the government recommence.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Sweden Democrats Lash Out Against Islam

With their party conference just barely over, the ultra right wing Sweden Democrats are creating headlines in Sweden again.

In an article in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet Jimmie Åkesson, party leader, writes that Islam is the greatest threat against Sweden since WWII.

According to Åkesson “today’s multicultural Swedish power elite is completely blind to the dangers of Islam”. He goes on to say that there are 10 Muslim terror organisations established in Sweden today, that Sweden has the highest number of rapes in Europe and that Muslim men are highly represented among the offenders. He concluded his article by saying that if the party is elected into parliament in 2010, he will do everything in his powers to “change the trend”.

Åkesson wrote the article, which was published on Monday, in answer to the request by Aftonbladet’s editor-in-chief Jan Helin during a TV-debate, that the Sweden Democrats once and for all explained their views on immigration. The article has caused a strong reaction and legal experts say that it is bordering on persecution against an ethnic group. Per Hultengård, lawyer for the Swedish Newspaper Publishers’ Association, told Aftonbladet that the article can be read as a warning to Swedish Muslims, not in the least due to Åkesson’s promise at the end.

“I would take that as a threat,” said Per Hultengård to Aftonbladet.

According to Jan Hjärpe, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Lund, the rhetoric used by Åkesson has clear racist undertones, as it is based on the assumption that religion is decisive for how people act.

“This is the same kind of propaganda that was used by Nazi anti-Semites,” Hjärpe told Aftonbladet.

His views are shared by the head of the Swedish Muslim Council, Mostofa Kharraki.

“This can’t be interpreted as anything but racism,” he said to Aftonbladet.

According to the Chancellor of Justice in Sweden, Göran Lambertz, Åkesson’s article is not a clear case of persecution against an ethnic group. This, despite the lack of scientific basis to Åkesson’s statement regarding Muslim men being highly represented among rapists. Lambertz is anticipating receiving complaints about the article and will look closer into them as they come in, he told Swedish News agency TT.

Aftonbladet’s Jan Helin decided to print the article against the advice of legal experts. If the Chancellor of Justice would decide that the article was a case of persecution against an ethnic group, it is Helin who is legally responsible for the publication and would be prosecuted for the offense.

“I have decided to take that risk. Åkesson’s text is important because it shows clearly on what values a party, on its way into Parliament, rests on. You may think that he is right or wrong in his views. But through reading this article you get a chance to consider what the Sweden Democrats actually believe,” Helin writes in Aftonbladet today.

In the latest opinion polls the Sweden Democrats received 4.7% of votes. This means that if elections were held today the party would get in to Parliament.

At an informal press conference at the Gothenburg University, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said that Åkesson’s article reflects what it really is that the Sweden Democrats want to achieve.

“ This is the core of this party’s ideas. They may have spent a whole weekend trying to make it look as if they have svereal different areas of interest. They don’t. They have one area of interest and that is to create an ‘us-and-them’ scenario,” said Reinfeldt.

The Prime Minister also made clear that he would not consider leading a government in power with the support of the Sweden Democrats.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Thatcher Adviser: Copenhagen Goal is 1-World Government

‘Global warming’ to be used as ‘pretext’ for ‘change’

A former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher says the real purpose of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on Dec. 7-18 is to use global warming hype as a pretext to lay the foundation for a one-world government.

“At [the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in] Copenhagen this December, weeks away, a treaty will be signed,” Lord Christopher Monckton told a Minnesota Free Market Institute audience on Thursday at Bethel University in St. Paul.

“Your president will sign it. Most of the Third World countries will sign it, because they think they’re going to get money out of it. Most of the left-wing regimes from the European Union will rubber stamp it. Virtually nobody won’t sign it,” he told the audience of some 700 attendees.

[…]

Monckton’s lecture can be viewed online and his slides also can be accessed on the Internet.

[Comments from JD: see article for links to Moncktons presentation, videos and pdf.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Mufti of Berlin

Arab-Nazi collaboration is a taboo topic in the West

One widespread myth about the Mideast conflict is that the Arabs are paying the price for Germany’s sins. The notion that the Palestinians are the “second victims” of the Holocaust contains two falsehoods: It suggests that without Auschwitz, there would be no justification for Israel, ignoring 3,000 years of Jewish history in the land. It also suggests Arab innocence in German crimes, ignoring especially the fascist past of Palestinian leader Haj Amin al Husseini, who was not only Grand Mufti of Jerusalem but also Waffen SS recruiter and Nazi propagandist in Berlin. When a German journalist recently tried to shed some light on this history, he encountered the wrath of the Arab collaborators’ German apologists.

Karl Rössel’s exhibition “The Third World in the Second World War” was supposed to premier on Sept. 1 in the “Werkstatt der Kulturen,” a publicly funded multicultural center in Berlin’s heavily Turkish and Arab neighborhood of Neukölln. Outraged by the exhibition’s small section on Arab complicity in Nazi crimes, Philippa Ebéné, who runs the center, cancelled the event. Among the facts Ms. Ebéné didn’t want the visitors of her center to learn is that the Palestinian wartime leader “was one of the worst and fanatical fascists and anti-Semites,” as Mr. Rössel put it to me.

The mufti orchestrated the 1920/1921 anti-Jewish riots in Palestine and the 1929 Arab pogroms that destroyed the ancient Jewish community of Hebron. An early admirer of Hitler, Husseini received Nazi funding—as did Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood—for his 1936-1939 Palestinian revolt, during which his thugs killed hundreds of British soldiers, Jews and also Arabs who rejected his Islamo-Nazi agenda. After participating in a failed fascist coup in Iraq, he fled to Berlin in 1941 as Hitler’s personal guest. In the service of the Third Reich, the mufti recruited thousands of Muslims to the Waffen SS. He intervened with the Nazis to prevent the escape to Palestine of thousands of European Jews, who were sent instead to the death camps. He also conspired with the Nazis to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Rommel’s defeat in El Alamein spoiled these plans.

After canceling the exhibition, Ms. Ebéné clumsily tried to counter the impression that she had pre-emptively caved to Arab pressure. As a “non-white” person (her father is Cameroonian), she said, she didn’t have to fear Arabs, an explanation that indirectly suggested that ordinary, “white,” Germans might have reason to feel less safe speaking truth to Arabs…

[Return to headlines]


UK: Convicts Teaching Children: How Indecent Assault and Drug Use Are No Bar to Working in Schools

Dozens of teachers with criminal convictions are being allowed to remain in the classroom, a shocking investigation has discovered.

Members of staff who have been convicted of crimes including harassment, battery, assault, indecent exposure, indecent assault and possessing Class A drugs have not been banned from teaching.

They have either escaped punishment entirely or just received a ‘slap on the wrist’ from the profession’s watchdog, the General Teaching Council.

This is despite a public furore three years ago about a loophole that allowed sex offenders to work in schools.

Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats under the Freedom of Information Act show that in the last five years 133 teachers were convicted of offences.

Ninety-two had sanctions enforced against them by the GTC. Three were unlimited prohibition orders — two for driving dangerously and harassment and one for forgery. This means they can no longer work in state schools.

There was also a prohibition order for 12 years for six counts of indecent assault. The 88 others either had shorter prohibition, suspension or conditional registration orders enforced.

However 14 teachers had no sanctions enforced against them at all.

Five had convictions for assaults; three for driving under the influence of alcohol; two for possession of drugs; two for obtaining property by deception; one for harassment and one for conspiracy to defraud.

Twenty-seven were given reprimands that stay on their records for just two years. Five had convictions for possessing class A drugs; five for driving under the influence of alcohol; four for indecent exposure; four for assault; three for battery; two for theft; one for making a false statement; one for causing death by dangerous driving; one for not declaring offences to an employer and one for outraging public decency.

David Laws, Liberal Democrat schools spokesman, said: ‘It’s astonishing that teachers found guilty of serious crimes are getting nothing but a slap on the wrists from the Teaching Council.

‘We need to be confident that appropriate action is being taken when a teacher commits a serious offence.’

Margaret Morrissey, of the pressure group Parents Outloud, insisted: ‘If they didn’t want to lose their jobs, they shouldn’t have broken the law.’

An inquiry concluded earlier this year that at least 50 sex offenders who pose an ‘ongoing risk’ to children were cleared to work in schools.

Some were approved by ministers or senior officials to continue working with children despite evidence they had committed sex offences.

An investigation — instigated in January 2006 by former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly — ordered the barring of 50 offenders permitted to work with children.

The law was tightened and now all adults convicted or cautioned for sex offences against children are automatically placed on List 99, the list of people banned from working with children.

A spokesman for the General Teaching Council said yesterday: ‘Each hearing committee needs to determine whether the criminal conviction or caution is relevant to the teacher’s role as a teacher. It also looks at how serious the offence was.’

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


UK: Moderate Muslim Majority Must Confront Extremism

If people were convinced that Islamic extremists had little support among British Muslims it would be easy to write them off as an eccentric fringe element.

In such a context, plans for rallies by fundamentalists to press claims for a wholesale switch to sharia law in Britain could be regarded with equanimity rather than alarm.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. With the threat of Islamist terrorism a major factor in our national life and with a bewildering array of Muslim pressure groups always ready to press for new cultural concessions, the British public has come to a depressing conclusion: give them an inch and they will take a mile.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


UK: Ramadan? No Scholl Today

PARENTS and headteachers are furious after schools were given permission to shut for Ramadan and other non-Christian holidays in the name of multiculturalism.

Children will be given the day off to mark the Muslim religious holiday of Eid-Ul-Fitr, the Hindu celebration of Diwali, and the Sikh commemoration of Guru Nanak as well as Christmas and Easter. The directive applies to state schools in two London boroughs to “raise awareness of different faiths and cultures within the school community, which in turn supports cohesion for the wider community.”

But parents argue the move, by Waltham Forest and Newham councils, will increase resentment to minority ethnic groups.

Heads are “frustrated” the “political tactic” is being enforced where there are few Muslim, Hindu or Sikh pupils. Jewish holy days are being ignored.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


UK: Spying on Communities Contravenes Cherished British Freedom

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) today voiced the alarm and concern that is resonating in the British Muslim community after reports that the community is the subject of the “the biggest spying programme in modern times.” Such reports, if true, point to a failure to live up to our collective British values of fairplay, justice and the primacy of the rule of law.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


UK: Surge in Children Taken Into Care as Recession Stress Takes Toll on Parents

The recession has come as social workers adopt a “no-risk” policy in the wake of the Baby Peter scandal, with the result that more children are being removed while their parents are risk-assessed. It is estimated that there is already a shortage of some 10,000 foster carers nationally, and there is now a fear that economic pressures are placing the care system under further strain.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: The Schools Told: Shut for Three More Holy Festivals

Schools are being ordered to close on Muslim, Hindu and Sikh holy days despite objections from teachers.

The directive by two London councils means the schools must shut for the annual celebrations of Eid-Ul-Fitr, Diwali and Guru Nanak’s birthday in addition to the traditional Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter.

The policy even affects schools with only a small number of Muslim, Hindu or Sikh pupils.

Headteachers have complained about the enforced holidays, arguing they should decide if the religious dates are marked with days off.

The controversy surrounds Waltham Forest and Newham councils, which have publicised their school calendars for Autumn 2009-2010.

They both told schools to take off September 21 for Eid-Ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Guru Nanak’s birthday is scheduled for a holiday on November 2. It is celebrated by Sikhs and Nanak’s teachings form a central part of their scripture.

The policy in Waltham Forest affects all community primary and secondary schools in the borough, but not Church of England or Catholic schools.

A review of the policy has begun after complaints from schools. Rachel MacFarlane, head of Walthamstow School for Girls, said the school is ‘frustrated’ by the holiday requirements.

Councillor Liaquat Ali, Cabinet member for children and young people in Waltham Forest, said it was important to teach children about different cultures and backgrounds ‘as much as possible’.

Nobody was available to comment from Newham Council yesterday.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]


UK: Woman Passenger Beaten by Train Thugs… For Being Fat

Overweight people have launched a campaign to make the world more fat-friendly after a woman was attacked on a train because of her size.

Marsha Coupe, 53, was left covered in bruises after being set upon on a train from Charing Cross to her home in Hayes, Kent.

Her story — which will be shown on BBC1 tonight — sparked one group of overweight women to appeal to London Mayor Boris Johnson for help reducing ‘fatism’.

They hope the mayor will work to make the city more like San Francisco, where discriminating against fat people is banned.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Vatican Supports Call to Teach Islam

The Vatican has surprisingly welcomed a proposal to teach Islam in Italian schools.

Adolfo Urso, an ally of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, said the subject should be taught for an hour a week to “avoid Muslim youngsters being drawn to the ghettos of madrasse (Islamic schools) run by fundamentalists” and was backed by deputy prime minister Gianfranco Fini.

Cardinal Renato Martino, of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said: “This would avoid radicalism and should be considered — obviously with some form of control.”

But the proposal rocked Fini’s Right-wing coalition and was slammed by the anti-immigration Northern League.

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


Wiesenthal Centre’s Seventh Year Chasing Hate From the Frankfurt Book Fair

Turkish Publishers Blame Centre for Ban on Antisemitic Texts

Frankfurt, 16 October 2009

In his annual Report to Frankfurt Book Fair Director, Jürgen Boos, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, noted that “this is the seventh year that the Simon Wiesenthal Centre monitors incitement to hate and violence on the display stands of the Frankfurt Book Fair — the largest literary gathering in the world.

At the opening press conference, I was struck by your allusion to controversy surrounding China as your 2009 Honoured Guest.”

The Report recalled that “controversy had marked the Fair’s 2008 Honoured Guest, Turkey, following the number of antisemitic conspiracy theory volumes identified by our Centre, exhibited at both the official and private publishers’ stands.”

Samuels expressed “gratification to find that this year, the displays of the almost 100 participating Turkish publishers were hate-free. According to Metin Celal Zeynioglu, Secretary-General of the Istanbul-based Turkish Publishers Association, ‘this was the result of the Wiesenthal Centre’s complaints. These had led to German intervention with the Turkish authorities to stop the publication in Turkish of the many best-selling versions of “Mein Kampf”, as its copyright was held by the Munich municipality.’“

Mr Zeynioglu continued, “The Turkish Cultural Ministry would no longer issue the silver sticker barcode obligatory for every volume’s display and sale.”

Apparently, by extension, this principle was applied to any book construed to be antisemitic, for exhibit at this, the 60th Fair.

The Report emphasized that, “unfortunately, this was not the case for new texts expressing hostility to Jews, found — as in past years — on the stands of the Egyptian publishers and — for the first time — on the stand of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Moreover, the same books already fomenting a culture of death at last year’s Fair were again on the Children’s Literature shelves of the Palestinian Territories and on two Iranian stands.”

Attached are photos of:

1. Conspiracy theory literature:

“America, Greater Israel: The True History of US Policy in the Arab World — Israel, The Little America”, by Aboulhay Zalloum, Arab Institute for Research and Publishing, Amman

[on Jordanian Stand 5.0.A906]

2. Conspiracy theory literature:

2.1. “Iran and the Jews”, by Mohamed Taki Boor, translated from Farsi by Ahmad Hussein Bakr, publisher Maktebat Nafida, Cairo 2008.

2.2. “The Children of Ishmael”, by Ahmed Rabieh abd Al-Mounim, publisher Dar Mashrek, Cairo 2009.

2.3. “The Jews in Iraq 1856-1920”, by Reda Hamdi Abdelsalam, publisher Maktabat Med Bouli, Cairo 2009.

Nazi iconography:

2.4. Rudolf Hess — The Most Famous Prisoner in the World”, by Hisham Hodr, publisher Dar al Mashrek.

All four books are displayed by Al Ahram Establishment — Cairo [Egyptian Stand 5.0.A918].

3. Conspiracy theory literature:

“America and Iraq: Eternal Love or Definitive Divorce”, by Noman abd Razak Al-Samani, publisher Obeikan Publishing, Riyadh.

[Saudi Arabian Stand 5.0.A925]

4. Incitement to a culture of war in Children’s Literature and propaganda for the Naqba, Intifada and Jihad (Palestinian):

4.1. “Palestinian History Book for Youth”, by Sonia and Saed Nimr, publisher Tamer Institute, Ramallah.

4.2. “Rasha’s Window”, by Abia Tubasi, publisher Tamer Institute, Ramallah.

[Palestinian Territories Stand 5.0.D924]

5. Fomenting a culture of death and martyrdom in Children’s Literature (Iranian):

5.1. “Babaya Sura”, by Ali Kughafi Khansari, Madrese, Tehran.

5.2. “That Man Came in the Rain”, by Mohammad Hamzezad, Ghoo, Tehran.

[Iranian Cultural Fairs Institute — ICFI Stand 3.0.K347]

6. Fomenting a culture of death and martyrdom in Children’s Literature (Iranian):

6.1. “Hassani, Where Are You Going?”, by Mohammad Reza Yusefi, publisher Shabaviz, Tehran.

6.2. “My Cat”, by Mahdokht Kashkouli, publisher Shabaviz, Tehran.

[Iran Stand, 3.0.J370]

7. Security attention should be drawn to the stand of Galland Publishing Books and Ares Enyalius Spanish Military Magazine, Valladolid and London [Stand 5.1. E940]. The heavy emphasis of the display on Nazi valour — though perhaps legal in Germany — appears to act as a magnet for Skinhead-style visitors.

Samuels repeated that “the above-mentioned Egyptian, Palestinian and Iranian publishers are annual recidivists. They have ignored previous warnings that they are in violation of their contractual obligations to the Frankfurt Book Fair.”

He stressed that “to allow these books, year after year, to remain on view to the 300,000 visitors over the five days of the Fair — the book jackets are patently clear to even non-Arabic or Farsi readers — passes the message that Jew-hatred is acceptable in Germany and worldwide.”

The Centre urged the Fair “to promptly confiscate these offensive texts, to condemn their pollution of the Fair and to unambiguously blacklist the abovementioned exhibitors from participation in the 61st Fair in 2010. We also request your cooperation with the German authorities to repeat their successful intervention with Turkey, by seeking similar results with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Iran.”

“Thereby, I would sincerely wish that, next year, I will be able to report that there is nothing to report”, concluded Samuels.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is an international Jewish human rights organization with a worldwide membership of 440,000. Established in 1977, with headquarters in Los Angeles, it draws the lessons of the Holocaust to the analysis of contemporary issues of prejudice and discrimination. The Centre is an NGO in consultative status to the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Organization of American States and the Council of Europe.

For further information, please contact Dr Shimon Samuels at +33.609.7701.58

           — Hat tip: Tv[Return to headlines]

Balkans

Bosnia ‘On Brink of New Civil War’

Bosnia is heading for a new civil war as a constitutional crisis threatens to cause the collapse of the political system, the country’s leaders have warned.

The concerns have been triggered by Bosnian Serb leaders who have stepped up their demands for independence with a warning the country is no longer “sustainable”.

The growing ethnic divisions have raised fears of a return to the fighting which claimed the lives of up to 110,000 people between 1992 and 1995.

Senior European and US officials have called an emergency meeting in Sarajevo on Tuesday to meet the country’s leaders to find a solution.

The crisis centres on attempts to overhaul the constitution which was imposed on the country in 1995 in the wake of the war.

Since then Bosnia has been made up of two semi-independent entities — the Serbs’ Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation.

The two are linked with weak central institutions whose functioning is often obstructed by ethnic rivalries.

Serb groups claim attempts to streamline the complex government system are designed to undermine their position and absorb them into stronger central state.

Milorad Dodik, the Bosnian Serb prime minister, has described constitutional changes as “unnecessary and unacceptable”.

“Bosnia is an unsustainable country … the international community has overplayed its hand in Bosnia, and this will become evident in the end,” he said.

Mr Dodik has called for referendum on self-determination to be included in the constitution that could pave the way for Republika Srpska’s independence from Bosnia.

Sulejman Tihic, the leader of Bosnia’s largest Bosnian Muslim party, said he fears that a new war could be looming.

“If it continues to go on like this, there is no question there will be conflict. It’s just a question of what kind of conflict there will be, and is it going to be in three months, six months or one year?,” he said.

Lord Ashdown, who served as the international community’s High Representative in Bosnia from 2002 until 2006, has also sounded the alarm.

“This is a crucial moment and if the international community fails to address it, Bosnia risks slipping towards disintegration,” he said.

Jim Steinberg, the US deputy secretary of state, will fly to Sarajevo on Tuesday for talks aimed at breaking the deadlock, along with Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, and Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Enlargement.

Mr Rehn said on Wednesday: “This political stalemate has dragged this country backwards.

“I hope that Bosnian leaders will rise to the occasion for the sake of their citizens and for the sake of the Western Balkans and Europe as a whole.”

Brussels is holding out the prospect of EU membership as an incentive for constitutional reforms.

“We are aiming at agreeing certain constitutional changes that will make Bosnia-Herzegovina a functional state and able to be considered as candidate country for the EU. We want Bosnia Hercegovina to be a credible applicant for EU and Nato membership.

“But for this to happen the country needs to stand on its own feet without the OHR [High Representative] and its broad executive powers. No quasi-protectorate can join the EU.”

Bosnia-Hercegovina is still recovering from the devastating three-year war which followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

The conflict centred on whether Bosnia should stay in the Yugoslav Federation, or whether it should become independent.

The war left Bosnia’s infrastructure and economy in tatters. Around two million people — about half the population — were displaced.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Barak: We are obligated to keep migrant workers’ children in Israel

The Labor Faction on Monday added its voice to the public outcry against the proposed deportation of 1,200 children of migrant workers, calling for the government to grant the children’s parents Israeli citizenship.

“It is our Jewish, national, moral and human obligation to keep the children in Israel,” said Defense Minister Ehud Barak during Monday’s faction meeting.

Human rights organizations in Israel congratulated their new supporters, expressing hope that Labor ministers and MKs would actively oppose the proposed deportation bill, set to be discussed in a government session on November 1.

Later on Monday, dozens gathered in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood to protest the living conditions induced by the abundance of migrant workers in the southern part of the city. The residents complained that a Jewish atmosphere was absent from foreign-populated areas and that it was sometimes unsafe to walk around at night.

Others retaliated that the dangers in south Tel Aviv had more to do with its drug and prostitution industry than with its migrant population.

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


Israelis, Palestinians Continue Rights Violations, UN Official Said

New York, 16 October (AKI) — Strong evidence indicates that all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in different ways and with different effects, have committed and continue to commit serious violations of international human rights, a top United Nations official said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told a special session of the Human Rights Council on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory that the situation in East Jerusalem and Gaza were matters of concern, with numerous clashes in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in recent weeks.

The stringent restrictions imposed by Israel on Palestinians wishing to enter the mosque must be lifted for Palestinians to exercise their right to worship, she said, adding that home demolitions in East Jerusalem continued in violation of international humanitarian law and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Turning to Gaza, Pillay reiterated her support for the UN fact-finding mission into the fighting at the start of the year.

That probe, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, found evidence that both sides committed serious war crimes and possible crimes against humanity and called for urgent action to counter impunity, with all parties carrying out impartial, independent, prompt, and effective investigations into reported violations.

Pillay said she was dismayed by Israel’s continued blockade of Gaza that severely undermined the Palestinians’ rights and welfare, with living conditions deteriorating ever further due to restrictions on the import of goods and services, including basic food, fuel and essential building materials for reconstruction of homes and infrastructure destroyed during the Israeli attacks nine months ago.

The 47-member Council earlier this month deferred action until March on a draft resolution endorsing the Goldstone report and condemning organised discrimination and human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory and East Jerusalem, but it brought forward the debate after a request from Palestine, co-sponsored by 18 countries.

The reactions from victims, concerned people and organizations to the postponement are compelling evidence that addressing impunity for human rights violations is essential to preventing further violence and shoring up the peace process, Pillay said.

Israeli representative Aharon Leshno-Yaar called the Goldstone report biased and flawed in accusing Israel of war crimes for fighting Hamas, dubbing them war criminals who had openly called for Israel’s destruction and had fired thousands of rockets against it.

Relevant Israeli authorities were investigating mistakes that had been made but regrettably, the report saw no problems with Hamas’ actions in using mosques, homes and hospitals for military purposes, he said, adding that the proposed resolution would be a reward for terror and send a clear message to terrorists everywhere.

Palestinian representative Ibrahim Khraishi said Israel had had imposed a blockade on East Jerusalem, preventing inhabitants from going to their houses and places of worship, arrested and killed scores of people, and continued to ‘Judaize’ the holy city, altering its cultural identity.

It continued to destroy homes and public property, to build the wall, and to hinder movement of the Palestinian people, he added.

The Gaza Strip is still under an unjust blockade in violation of international law, with its residents subject to numerous human rights violations, including the right to life, he declared, adding that Israel as an occupying power constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

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


Italy: New Photos of Berlusconi and Naked Girls Surface

Rome, 16 October (AKI) — New photos of scandal-prone Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and topless women at his villa in the Italian island of Sardinia surfaced on Friday. The five shots include one picture of a topless girl walking with a cigarette in her hand, while another is sunbathing topless.

Two other photos show the premier on a balcony with two other young women, while another is of three other women arriving at an airport and being met by two men.

The snaps were published by Italian daily La Repubblica on its website. The paper said that Colombian photo agency Ecoprensa has in its possession more than 10,000 photos of Berlusconi and girls at the premier’s lavish residence, Villa Certosa, in Sardinia.

It is believed Ecoprensa obtained the pictures from Sardinian photographer Antonello Zappadu.

The photos — of which seven were published in June by Spanish daily El Pais — are held by the news agency at its offices in the Colombian capital, Bogota, said La Repubblica.

The pictures published in June by Spanish daily El Pais included one of a topless young woman by a pool and a naked photo allegedly of Mirek Topolanek, a former Czech prime minister.

Most of the shots were taken between 2007 and January 2009 by Zappadu, who tried to sell them to an Italian magazine for 1.5 million euros. However, their publication was blocked in Italy after Berlusconi took legal action to protect his privacy.

Zappadu earlier this year claimed to have 5,000 other “politically embarrassing” pictures.

Ecoprensa said it has had many enquiries about the pictures, according to La Repubblica.

The report said one of Berlusconi’s photos might end up in Israel, after a hotel chain in Tel Aviv said it wanted to use the photo of the premier accompanied by girls to promote their hotels.

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


The Warped Mirror: ‘Psychoactive’ Against Israel

What a bizarre title, you may be thinking — and you’re right. But it only reflects how bizarre things can get when you venture out to the fringes where it’s fashionable to demonize Israel as a uniquely evil force in today’s world.. It wouldn’t be worth writing about it were it not for the fact that when it comes to demonizing Israel, nothing is too absurd to get aired in respectable media outlets or at academic conferences; indeed, there are even prestigious awards to be won.

A good example is former Israeli lawyer and political activist Felicia Langer, who was recently awarded Germany’s “Federal Merit Cross, First Class.” Langer, who has lived in Germany for some 20 years, has made a name for herself as a fierce critic of Israel who wouldn’t even shy away from language that suggests comparisons between the Jewish state and Nazi Germany. Reportedly, she left Israel out of protest and has explained that she made “a politically conscious choice for Germany … because I understood with what brutality and sophistication Israel was exploiting the Germans’ guilt.”

Obviously, the kind of positive reinforcement bestowed on Langer is by and large reserved for Jewish “critics” of Israel, because if a non-Jew suggests that Israel should be suspected of genocidal intentions or be compared to Nazi Germany, most people realize that this kind of “criticism” of Israel is tainted by anti-Semitic attitudes. The phenomenon of Jews eager to level those preposterous charges against Israel has led to a debate about the question if this is a manifestation of “Jewish anti-Semitism.”

Recently I came across an article that railed against the “tropes of ‘Jewish antisemitism’“ and dismissed the “concept of the ‘self-hating Jew,’“ which was described as having been “dignified with a pseudo-psychopathology by those keen to suppress dissent.” The writer, Antony Lerman, is a regular contributor to the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” blog, and this was not the first time that he expressed his passionate rejection of the concept of Jewish “self-hatred.” One of the previous occasions was in Lerman’s recent review of a book by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, whom Lerman criticized sharply:

He wants space for dissident voices, yet repeatedly gives credence to the notion of Jewish self-hatred, a bogus concept that serves no other purpose than to demonise Jewish dissent. He calls on Jews not to see all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism, but he endorses wholesale the idea of the ‘new anti-Semitism’ — basically, that Israel is the Jew among the nations — which licenses Jews to do precisely what he says they shouldn’t.”

Since a note at the end of the review announces that Antony Lerman “is writing a book reflecting on his personal experience of Zionism and Israel,” we can expect to hear more from him in defense of even the most outlandish accusations against Israel.

While I myself have reservations about the concept of Jewish “self-hatred” — though for very different reasons than Lerman — it seems to me that his thinking on the matter is rather confused. To give just one example, consider his assertion: “Far from being the antithesis of Jewish self-hatred, it is arguable that Zionism was actually a display of it.” Really?

Moreover, in his most recent article, Lerman hardly helped his case when he praised a conference held last week at Birkbeck, University of London, which explored the subject “Sites of Conflict: Psycho-political Resistance in Israel-Palestine.” Lerman explained that this conference “was prompted by the work of a group called Psychoactive — Mental Health Professionals for Human Rights” and he highlighted the contribution of Professor Uri Hadar of Tel Aviv University, an Israeli psychologist, who “sought to explain ‘Israeli brutality towards Palestinians and what enables it.’“

According to Lerman, Hadar presented a “troublingly controversial” argument by suggesting “that Israel has never been properly able to mourn the mass murder of six million Jews, thus never properly assimilating it into the Israeli psyche, and that this has led to [a] ‘full-blown Palestinian Holocaust being part of an unconscious Israeli itinerary.’“

That is indeed a “troublingly controversial” argument, to say the least — though at the Birkbeck conference, it was immediately given a veneer of respectability with a reference to Primo Levy, whom Lerman described as “perhaps the most respected moral voice and witness of the Holocaust.” But there is nothing remotely respectable about the ramblings regarding the “Israeli psyche” — which is of course meant to be the Israeli Jewish psyche. There is also nothing original to this “psychologizing,” since it has become rather fashionable in certain circles to put the Jews on the couch to diagnose the supposed pathologies of their collective psyche — in fact, Antony Lerman is among those who has tried his hand at this endeavor.

There are two superb critiques of this latest fashion from a left-wing political perspective: one is an article by David Hirsh published in April in the Jewish Chronicle, the other is a post by Shalom Lappin published on normblog in May. Lappin describes the “psychologizing discourse” as “a vintage case of pseudo-science in the service of prejudice” and emphasizes that it is used to lend respectability to “attitudes and assumptions that would be inadmissible if expressed in traditional terms.”

But it’s perhaps also time to let the “psychologizers” have a taste of their own medicine. A recent article written by some of the members of the “psychoactive” group whose work inspired the Birkbeck conference throws some light on their own “psychoactivity.” In an article published in September, members of the group describe their emotions during and after Israel’s military campaign against Gaza. They note that due to their opposition to the Gaza campaign, they felt “a sense of deep disconnection from the Israeli collective.” At the same time, it seems that the efforts of the group members to remain engaged in a mutually supportive dialogue with their colleagues in Gaza, the West Bank and Israeli Arab communities were not all that rewarding:

The fact that we were activists speaking out against the attack did not really count in our favour: we were perceived as part of the attacking entity and hence as an address for expressions of frustration and outrage. [Â…] From time to time the Jewish participants came up with calls for Palestinians to express their disavowal of Hamas or their recognition of the suffering of the Jewish citizens of Sderot or the Gaza area. Such demands were perceived as non-legitimate by most Palestinians — at a time when Israel was carrying out, in their words, war crimes against their brethren in Gaza. [Â…] our need to feel moral and humane was linked to Palestinians’ recognition of our morality and humanity.

Whether consciously or not, we expected to receive recognition and acknowledgement in our activities, and to assert the difference between ourselves and the Jewish majority. We needed to confirm our humanity and morality through its appreciation by the Palestinian participants. When this did not quite happen, we found ourselves, again, coping with a sense of isolation and loneliness.”

When the bar for the sought-after “recognition” is set so high, some real effort is required — like talk about a “full-blown Palestinian Holocaust being part of an unconscious Israeli itinerary” during a conference in London. That should do the trick and get the Jewish group members the desperately sought “recognition and acknowledgement,” and help them “to assert the difference between ourselves and the Jewish majority” by confirming their “humanity and morality through its appreciation by the Palestinian participants.”

Obviously, this is the perfect description of what is usually meant by “self-hatred.” But this example also provides a perfect illustration why this concept is problematic: the “psychoactivity” described here has nothing to do with self-hatred; to the contrary, it reveals a sense of superiority that sets a small self-appointed “elite” apart from an inferior majority that is unable and unwilling to live up to the lofty standards this elite holds dear.

But what can you do: in Israel, it just isn’t everybody’s thing to hold out for a pat on the back and a heart-felt “well done” from people who see no reason to disavow Hamas.

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


Twin Cities With Dachau, Remains a Taboo for Some

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV,8OCTOBER — Seventy-six years after its inauguration on the part of Heinrich Himmler (SS), the name of the German concentration camp in Dachau in Bavaria still makes the blood run cold in Israel for those who survived the Shoah. For this reason the decision of the mayor of the small town of Rosh ha-Ayin, northeast of Tel Aviv, to begin close collaboration with Dachau for a twin cities project was met yesterday with disbelief, which turned into indignation. Even if today’s Germany enjoys friendly relations with Israel, which for example buys its submarines, a few peoples nerves were tested. Noach Kliger, a survivor of the Holocaust, defined the project as “stupid, horrendous, repugnant” in Yediot Ahronot. Another survivor, the ex-Governor of the Bank of Israel who came out of that particular death camp “by chance”, implored “the tinniest sensitivity” towards the remaining survivors of the Shoah. “When wére all dead and gone”, he said, “you can do all the twinning you like”. At the origin of the ordeal is the project of the mayor of Dachau, Peter Buergel, to set up a study centre for the new generation which documents the crimes committed in that camp but that also provides the tools to build a better world. Already today, he said to military radio, every year the concentration camp is visited by 800,000 people. For students in Bavaria it is obligatory. Buergel thinks that it is important for delegations from Israel to visit his city to begin close dialogue. Other cultural and economic initiatives could also develop. Finding an Israeli mediator was not easy for him. In the end he located Moshe Sinai, the mayor of Rosh ha-Ayin, an ex-Israeli settlement of Jews who immigrated from Yemen that in the meantime has developed into a suburb in the hinterland of Tel Aviv just a few kilometres from the West Bank. For three hours last summer, Buergel guided Sinai through the concentration camp. “His eyes were full of tears”, Sinai stated. And even the youth of the disreputable city struck him: they are no different, he stated, from those of Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg. So if dozens of other Israeli cities have engaged in twin city projects with German ones, why should Dachau be boycotted? Now Sinai is under pressure. The national directorate of Israeli municipalities asked him to look over the issue again. For his part, Buergel has no doubts: the delegation exchange, he thinks, will begin soon. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Two Arabs Indicted for Attacking Jewish East J’lem Homes on Yom Kippur

The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office on Monday filed an indictment with the Jerusalem District Court against Mohammad Kak, 30, and Nasser Abissieh, 22, for allegedly throwing two firebombs at Jewish-owned homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan during disturbances that took place in and around the Old City on Yom Kippur.

According to the indictment, Kak was apparently upset with his father, who had sold their Silwan home to Jews in 2003, and decided to attack the house on Yom Kippur.

The indictment details Kak’s preparation of the two firebombs on the night of Yom Kippur, before asking Abissiyeh to join him. The two then hurled the flaming bottles filled with flammable liquid at the house. Both firebombs hit a nearby pile of garbage, which was set ablaze.

The indictment states that the firebombs could have seriously injured or killed someone, and the the two have been charged with manufacturing weapons and arson.

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

Middle East

Analysis: Trip by Saudi Royal Unlikely to Herald Radical Change

by Jonathan Spyer

The Syrian Al-Watan newspaper reported on Wednesday that a two-day visit by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz was due to begin that day. The talks, Al-Watan noted, would conclude with the signing of a joint agreement on the issue of taxes.

This is what is known as setting a low bar for success. The editors of Al-Watan have good reason for their caution. Despite the great importance being attached by some regional analysts to the Saudi-Syria talks, they are unlikely to herald a fundamental shift in regional diplomacy.

In seeking to repair relations with Syria, Riyadh is adjusting to an existing reality. That reality is the decision by the US administration to end the policy of isolation of Damascus.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Syria went below the freezing point after the murder of Saudi citizen and former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. Syria was (and is) suspected of being behind the murder.

At that time, Saudi anger at the Syrians fit with broader Western policy. In the last weeks, however, senior Syrian officials have visited Washington. Saudi Arabia sees no benefit in pursuing a regional policy in opposition to that of its protector.

Iran is the key to Western and Saudi overtures toward Syria…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]


Defence: Turkey to Possibly Buy 20 More F-35 Fighters

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 8 — Turkey is considering raising the number of new generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, or JSF, Lightning II aircraft it plans to buy from 100 to 120, paying at least $2 billion more than earlier planned. The F-35 is being developed and built by a consortium led by the U.S. firm Lockheed Martin. The consortium’s members also include companies from several European allies, including Turkey. “We may buy 120 JSF aircraft instead of 100,” Murad Bayar, head of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, told the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review. Turkey’s potential decision to buy 120 F-35s would bring the cost of Ankara’s program from to at least $13 billion from $11 billion. The country’s eventual decision on the number of fighters to be acquired will depend on the amount of financing available in the upcoming years, another procurement official familiar with the fighter program said. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Environment: Abu Dhabi-UN Agreement for Dugong Protection

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, OCTOBER 13 — The creation of a regional centre in Abu Dhabi for the protection of the Dugong, the enormous marine mammal nearing extinction, is the cornerstone of the agreement signed between the Abu Dhabi Environmental Agency (EAD) and the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP). The centre in the Emirates capital will monitor some 700 Dugong specimens living in the waters of the Persian Gulf, the second largest colony in the world after that of Australia, and will collaborate with the other 47 countries which signed the agreement to save this mammoth marine mammal until 2011. Also called “sea-cows”, the tranquil Dugong can reach two and a half metres in length and nourish themselves eating algae on the seafloor. Moreover, on the basis of the agreement, the centre will monitor another 104 nations that have adhered to the programme for the protection of migratory birds in Africa and Eurasia. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Le Monde: 53% of Turks Would Not Want a Jewish Neighbor

53 percent of Turks would not want a Jewish neighbor, according to a survey published in Le Monde on Monday.

The French daily suggested that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan was exploiting his people’s growing hostility against Israel.

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


Meseznikov Backs Decision to Cut Out Workers’ Turkey Trips

Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov emphasized Sunday that he was not calling for a boycott of Turkey, but he reiterated his support for a decision by the Histadrut Labor Federation’s association of workers’ committees to stop offering low-cost trips to the popular destination.

Meseznikov sent a letter to Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini expressing support for the decision announced on Friday by the powerful union.

Among the large firms whose workers decided to cancel their organized visits was El Al Israel Airlines, which has one of the country’s most powerful workers’ associations.

Meseznikov emphasized on Sunday that, in general, he supports replacing all organized overseas vacations sponsored by labor groups with similar benefits — but to domestic travel destinations such as Eilat and the Dead Sea.

To that end, Meseznikov announced he is working on a bill that would offer tax benefits and discounts to employers sponsoring workers’ vacations in Israel.

In his letter to Eini, Meseznikov said he called on the Histadrut to replace the canceled vacations with domestic trips, and asked him to support his legislative initiative.

But in an interview with Channel 1, Meseznikov denied claims he was calling for a general boycott of Turkey. The Israel Beiteinu minister said that despite the current tensions between the two countries, Turkey retained its historical role as a key ally.

As a lesser-known step reflecting the mood on the Israeli street, the Ilan’s Coffee shop chain announced over the weekend that it would stop selling its black coffee blend known as “Istanbul Coffee” until relations improved between the two states.

Black boiled or stirred coffee known in Hebrew as “Turkish coffee” is a popular product throughout the country — but other companies, such as Elite, which makes the best-selling “Turkish Coffee” product, have yet to announce similar steps.

Last week, The Jerusalem Post reported that reservations of Israeli tourists to Turkey had dropped, and that families — not just large organized tours — had begun to cancel reservations and avoid flying on the Turkish national carrier, Turkish Air.

Israelis account for almost 10 percent of Turkey’s annual visitors, generating millions of dollars annually.

The current crisis, however, came two weeks after one of the peak tourist periods for Tel Aviv-Turkey traffic, during a period that is relatively quiet even under the best of conditions.

This marks the second time in 2009 that Israeli tourism to Turkey has dipped in light of diplomatic tensions. In January, after riots in Turkey after Operation Cast Lead, travel agents also recorded cancelations to the otherwise-popular destination.

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


UN Nuclear Chief Calls for U.S.-Iran Talks on Nuclear Dispute

VIENNA (Reuters) — Direct talks without preconditions between the United States and Iran are the only solution to the conflict over Tehran’s nuclear program, the U.N. nuclear agency’s head was quoted as saying on Saturday.

New sanctions against Iran would only aggravate the dispute rather than push it to give in to international demands, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Austrian daily Die Presse.

“Of course you can impose further sanctions. But I consider it rather unlikely that new sanctions will make Iran come around,” ElBaradei said in an interview to be published on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Russia

Miracle or Hoax? Russians Puzzled as Phrases From the Koran Start Appearing ‘Spontaneously’ On Baby’s Skin

Sayings from the Muslim holy book are said to appear on nine-month-old Ali Yakubov’s back, arms, legs and stomach — before apparently fading away and being replaced with new sayings.

Russian medics claimed they are puzzled over the cause of the marks on a baby’s skin, which started when the word Allah apparently appeared on his chin within weeks of his birth.

Medics deny that the marks are from someone writing on the child’s skin.

His mother, Madina, said that she and her husband were not religious until the writings started appearing on his skin.

Initially they did not show anyone the unexplained writings, she said, until revealing them to their doctor and the imam in their village of Red October which is in a strongly Muslim region.

Now the boy has become a focus of Muslim homage in his troubled home province of Dagestan, close to war-ravaged Chechnya in the south of Russia.

Local MP Akhmedpasha Amiralaev said: ‘This boy is a pure sign of God. Allah sent him to Dagestan in order to stop revolts and tension in our republic.’

The boy’s mother claimed: ‘Normally those signs appear twice a week — on Mondays and on the nights between Thursdays and Fridays.

‘Ali always feels bad when it is happening. He cries and his temperature goes up. It’s impossible to hold him when it’s happening, his body is actively moving, so we put him into his cradle. It’s so hard to watch him suffering.’

The phrases regularly replace each other on the baby’s skin, she said.

Local imam Abdulla has told locals that the Koran forecasts that before the end of the world, there may be people with its sayings on their bodies.

He said that one sign read: ‘Don’t hide these signs from the people.’

The story has attracted considerable attention from the Russian media and online.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]


Russia, India to Jointly Develop 5th-Generation Fighter

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) — Russia and India are set to jointly develop helicopters, infantry fighting vehicles and a fifth-generation fighter, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghan Fraud Panel Voids Thousands of Karzai Votes, Sets Stage for Runoff

KABUL — Fraud investigators have thrown out hundreds of thousands of ballots for Afghanistan’s president from the country’s disputed August election. The report sets the stage for a runoff between him and his top challenger.

A U.N.-backed panel Monday released its findings after nearly two months of investigations.

International officials say the panel determined that President Hamid Karzai’s total fell below the 50 percent needed for outright victory. But a separate commission is yet to accept the findings and call for a second-round vote. That commission had questioned some of the findings.

Investigators did not provide exact figures, but it was clear hundreds of thousands of Karzai votes were thrown out.

           — Hat tip: Henrik[Return to headlines]


Indonesia: Muslim Civil Servants Obliged to Read Koran

Gorantalo, 19 October (AKI) — The city council in Gorantalo, central Indonesia, has ordered its Muslim civil servants to read the Koran — Islam’s holy book — every Friday. Gorontalo mayor Adhan Dambea said Saturday that he was not yet satisfied with the implementation of his instructions.

“Some civil servants are still unable to read the Koran fluently,” he said.

Dambea said his administration would provide religious teachers to improve the civil servants’ ability to read the Koran.

However, he promised that public service would not be affected by the new Koran reading activity in his administration.

Gorantalo is a province in North Sulawesi.

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


Taliban in Pakistan Warns Christian Leaders to Convert to Islam or Face Dire Consequences

Washington — International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on October 6, members of the Taliban sent threatening letters in Sargodha, Pakistan warning Christian leaders to convert to Islam or face dire consequences.

A copy of the letter obtained by ICC warns Christians to convert to Islam, pay Jizya tax (an Islamic tax imposed on religious minorities) or leave the country. If Christians refuse to accept the choices given to them, the letter explains that they “would be killed, their property and homes would be burnt to ashes and their women would be treated as sex slaves. And they themselves would be responsible for this.”

Rev. Zaheer Khan, pastor of Maghoo Memorial Church, Rev. Aamir Azeem, pastor of United Christians Church and Rev. Zafar Akhter, pastor of United Presbyterian Church each received a copy of threatening letter.

The Islamists sent the letters to the following Christian institutions: St Peter’s Middle School, Sargodha Institute of Technology, Sargodha Catholic High School, St John’s Primary School and Fatima Hospital.

Besides the Christian institutions, the letter was also sent to the main Immam-Bar- Gha (Shiite Muslim’s gathering hall). Shiites are a minority Muslim group in Pakistan where the majority of the population is Sunni Muslim.

ICC’s Jonathan Racho said, “Christians in Pakistan are soft targets for attacks by Islamic extremists. Over the past four months alone, 12 Christians have been killed by Muslims due to their faith. We are alarmed by the increase in attacks against Christians in Pakistan. We urge Pakistani officials to take the threatening letters seriously and take measures to protect the Christians and their institutions from attacks.”

International Christian Concern

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]


The Battle for ‘Terror Central’ In Pakistan

As Pakistan pours troops and armour into the al-Qaeda safe haven of South Waziristan, Dean Nelson assesses the timing and significance of the onslaught, and asks whether it could spark a national conflagration.

[…]

The problem for Pakistan is that until now it has not been able to enforce its writ or defend its sovereignty in Waziristan, which has become an “ungoverned space” of the sort that the new post-9/11 world can no longer abide.

Pity poor Pakistan, because the space it gave the Taliban in Waziristan allowed them to train new groups in their own image from all over the country.

Today, there are little bits of Waziristan throughout Pakistan’s major towns and cities, and the army’s belated ground offensive will light the touchpaper for a national explosion.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Far East

Philippines: Mindanao: No Claims Fr Sinnott’s Abduction

In Pagadian Muslims, Christians and Animists are asked to pray for the clergyman’s release. Fr Sinnott has been in his captors for more than a week, but there are confusing reports about where he is being held. The missionary involved in the liberation of Fr Giancarlo Bossi warns about the role of fake mediators.

Manila (AsiaNews) — There have been no contacts with the kidnappers of Fr Michael Sinnott, an Irish missionary abducted on 10 October in Pagadian (Mindanao) by a six men armed commando. He was seen the following day in Lanao del Norte, but since then police and the Church have continued their search operations and mediation efforts. In the meantime, Christians and Muslims are praying for the missionary’s health and prompt release. Yesterday Benedict XCI mentioned the clergyman in his address before the Angelus.

Also yesterday, parents and members of the Hangop Kabataan Foundation, a charity for disabled children founded by Fr Sinnott in 1998, held a prayer march in the city. They invited Christians, Muslims and Animists to pray for the rescue of the missionary, who has been involved for many years in inter-faith dialogue.

In Friday prayers, the local Muslim community also condemned the abduction of the Irish priest.

The local government today handed out thousands of leaflets, appealing “to your [the kidnappers’] kind heart that medicines be delivered to Father Sinnott, who currently has a serious heart ailment”.

According to police and the military, the St Colomban missionary is held by Latip Jamat, a commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), active in the city of Sultan Naga Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte). However, reports are confusing. The MILF in fact continues to deny any involvement in the abduction.

“They are in the province of Lanao del Norte,” said Benito de Leon, army chief in the area, “but there are other reports that place them in Zamboanga and others in Basilan.”

Fr Nador J. Jesulga, who was involved in the liberation of PIME’s Fr Giancarlo Bossi in 2007, warned against “fake mediators who allegedly claim to represent the abductors, because they want to take advantage of the situation for some ‘vested interest’ either for monetary gain or disrupt the dialogue process”.

For this reason, he suggests the authorities set up a task force to include military and police, as well as members of the local community and men of good will who want to see Fr Sinnott free.

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

Latin America

Humberto Fontova: Rush, Jesse, And Fidel

“Viva Fidel!” bellowed Rev. Jesse Jackson during his speech at the University of Havana in June 1984, while trailing a 300 person entourage that included Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “Viva Che Guevara!” he yelled again with fists raised high. “Long Live our cry of freedom!”

[…]

As mentioned, this was summer of 1984, so at the time, the world’s longest-suffering black political prisoner suffered his incarceration and tortures in stoic defiance. “Nigger!” taunted his jailers between tortures. “We pulled you down from the trees and cut off your tail!”

I do not refer to Nelson Mandela. No, this prisoner was being tortured a few miles away from the Revs. Jackson, Wright and their entourage of black American luminaries. The prisoner was a black Cuban named Eusebio Penalver and he was being tortured by Reverend Jackson’s gracious hosts. Mr Penalver’s incarceration and tortures stretched to 29 years which makes him the longest-suffering black political prisoner in modern history, surpassing Nelson Mandela’s record in time behind bars and probably doubling the horrors suffered by Mandela during this period.

Eusebio Penalver was bloodied in his fight with Castroism but unbowed for almost 30 years in its dungeons. He’s what Castroites call a “plantado”—a defiant one, an unbreakable one. “Stalin tortured,” wrote Arthur Koestler, “not to force you to reveal a fact, but to force you to collude in a fiction.”

“The worst part of Communism,” wrote Solzhenytzin, “is being forced to live a lie.”

Eusebio Penalver refused to collude in this lie. He spit in the face of his liar jailers. He scorned any “re-education” by his jailers. He knew it was they who desperately needed it. He refused to wear the uniform of a common criminal. He knew it was they who should don it. Charles Rangel, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, Ron Dellums, etc. etc. etc. all toast his torturer. But through almost 30 years of those tortures Eusebio Penalver stood tall, proud and defiant.

Shortly before his death in 2006, your humble servant here had the honor of interviewing Senor Penalver…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Immigration

ACLU & Catholic Bishops & Evangelicals & the Gutierrez Gang Expose Their Radical Agenda

Gutierrez has become the leader and face of the movement to force a vote on the amnesty, even if it means his Democratic Party losing dozens of seats in next year’s elections. Our Capitol Hill Team has learned that Gutierrez has threatened Pres. Obama that if he doesn’t force a vote on amnesty early in the year that Gutierrez will spark anti-Obama protests in the Hispanic neighborhoods across the nation. Gutierrez is the one Congressman who has spent enough time in dozens of communities and who has the connections to create that kind of grassroots rebellion. Obama’s team apparently takes the threat seriously, thus the reason Gutierrez seems to hold such power over the Administration’s actions.

MORE FOREIGN WORKERS IS THE KEY ELEMENT

Although Gutierrez gave us few true details today, the amnesty for 12-20 million illegal alien workers and dependents is just a small part of his plan.

He wants increases in every kind of immigration. The current flood of foreign labor is a trickle compared with the foreign labor that will inundate U.S. occupations if Gutierrez gets his way.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Libya: Tripoli Vicar, Serious Risks if Sent Back

(ANSAmed) — VATICAN CITY, OCTOBER 7 — ‘All illegal immigrants” in Libya ‘are at risk of imprisonment, deportation, and even worse, they have no access to legal advice, or health services”, mons. Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, vicar apostolic for Tripoli has told the Synod for Africa. In yesterday’s speech, which was published today by the Vatican press office, Martinelli said ‘We know that there are more than ten million refugees on the African continent, migrants who are looking for a homeland, a land of peace. The phenomenon of this exodus reveals injustice and socio-political crisis in Africa. In Libya we all witness the full tragedy of this phenomenon…Coming to Libya to be turned away by Europe”, he added. ‘There are thousands of immigrants who arrive in Libya every year from sub-saharan Africa”, said Martinelli. ‘Most of these are escaping war and poverty in their own countries, and they arrive in Libya where they look for work to help there families or for a way of getting to Europe in the hope of finding a better and safer life there. Many of them are tricked by promises of well-paid jobs and find themselves forced to do badly-paid and dangerous work, or else they don’t find anything. Many women are forced into prostitution and slavery. In Libya, there are several reception centres for illegal immigrants, and the Church has its own Social Services Centre where mainly Eritreans, Nigerians, Ethiopians, Sudanese and Congolese come, most of them Catholic, but who ‘are living a dialogue of faith with many Muslims”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


UK: Migrant Facing Deportation Wins Right to Stay in Britain… Because He’s Got a Cat

It may have been one of the least plausible attempts to avoid deportation — but it worked.

An illegal immigrant was allowed to stay in Britain because he had a cat, it was revealed yesterday.

The unnamed Bolivian was spared deportation after he told a court that he and his girlfriend had bought the animal as a pet.

Immigration judges ruled that sending him back home would breach his human rights by interfering with his family life.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

‘Astro Boy’: The Latest in Line of Left-Leaning Animated Films?

Crude posters of Lenin and Trotsky adorn the threadbare walls of an office in a desolate part of town, and a group of outcast revolutionaries hatch a scheme to overthrow the ruling powers and bring equality and a classless society to mankind. The beginning of an Eisenstein film? Bunuel? Renoir?

Try ‘Astro Boy,’ the upcoming animated film featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage and Kristen Bell about a boy robot (Freddie Highmore) that leaves his scientist father after finding out he isn’t human. Ostensibly a film for children — with a fringe following of fanboys, thanks to its comic book series — the movie features very adult ideas of ownership and class structure that will most likely be future fodder for college philosophy classes around the country.

While it’s no secret that Hollywood films tend to skew left in general, ‘Astro Boy’ may be the first animated blockbuster to discuss, if not necessarily endorse, explicit Marxist ideologies (albeit in cute robot form, of course.) In the movie, the aforementioned outcasts, led by Robotsky, form the Robot Revolutionary Front, stenciling their logo on city walls and chanting “Viva La Robotolution” at anyone within earshot. On the whole, it’s played for laughs, but makes us ponder the question:

Have animated films gotten more leftist in recent years?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


MTV’s Exotic Marathon

The programming gurus at MTV are basing their profit-making strategy on the viewer demographic of 12 to 34 — as if there’s no difference in maturity level between 12 and 34. MTV’s brand of sensationalistic “reality TV” was easily demonstrated on the night of Oct. 5, when they aired a primetime marathon (from 7 p.m. Eastern to 1 a.m.) of their hour-long documentary series called “True Life.” Just the episode titles were jaw-dropping.

1. “I’m Out.”

2. “I’m Polyamorous.”

3. “I’m Bisexual.”

4. “I’m Changing My Sex.” (This ran twice in a row.)

5. “I’m In The Sex Industry.”

Some of these (“Polyamorous,” “Bisexual,” “Sex Change”) debuted in the last few months. Others weren’t (the “Sex Industry” show debuted last year, “I’m Out” in 2006). Recent “True Life” programs without the Behind the Zipper focus, such as “I’m a Sports Fanatic,” were somehow not sexual or outrageous enough to be selected for this marathon targeted at 12-year-olds and up. MTV isn’t kidding when they tout the series as “remarkable real-life stories of young people and the unusual subcultures they inhabit.”

[…]

But MTV is also encouraging these demanding teenage viewers to feel empathy. The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently located Marlena Roman, a local 16-year-old high school student and a big fan of teen reality shows, especially MTV’s “The Hills.” She finds these shows “addicting. It’s exciting to know what happens next. You can think about it, if you were in that person’s shoes.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Obama Nominates Lesbian Activist to Employment Post

In her paper, “Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion,” Ms. Feldblum argues for legislative and judicial “outcomes that will allow LGBT people to live lives of honesty and safety in today’s society.”

She also believes that religious people who run businesses or operate other institutions have no right to deny services to gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgendered persons. “As a general matter, once a religious person or institution enters the stream of commerce by operating an enterprise such as a doctor’s office, hospital, bookstore, hotel, treatment center and so on, I believe the enterprise must adhere to a norm of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

According to Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, “this means she wants the gay agenda to trump the First Amendment and religious freedom to impose the gay agenda on all Americans — including those with strongly held religious beliefs about homosexuality.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The New Face of Psychiatry

To ensure that psychiatry “permeate every educational activity of national life” and “infiltrate the professional and social activities of [all] people” was a global goal that originated with British Brigadier General Dr. John Rawlings Rees in a 1940 speech to the National Council for Mental Hygiene. He ended on an ominous note: “Though our knowledge be incomplete … I think we must imitate the Totalitarians and organize some kind of fifth column activity.”

Canadian colleague Dr. Brock Chisholm chimed in with sinister comments of his own at the close of the war in 1946, in a speech to the World Federation of Mental Health. He argued for “freedom from morality” and the “eventual eradication of right and wrong.” Such traditional upbringing was making children ill, he insisted. “If the race is to be freed of its crippling burden of good and evil it must be psychiatrists who take the original responsibility.”

Rees and Chisholm had company — in political, educational, journalistic, marketing, and military circles, most ensconced within interconnected foundations, associations, and “research centers” (foreign and domestic). They became Rees’ and Chisholm’s enablers. Together, they created Rees’ dream: “a controlled psychological environment.”

Today, the Department of Defense has a new name for it: “perception management” (or “PM”), and the psychopharmaceutical industry has hit the jackpot.

Ask yourself this: How did people get the impression that parents are “nonprofessionals” and therefore basically incompetent to rear their children without help from mental-health specialists and child experts? Where did we get the idea that being sad about one’s circumstances was a clinical condition to be “cured” with a drug? Or that feeling “overwhelmed” was an indication of longstanding anger requiring anger-management counseling? Or how about that child with the irritating habit of clicking his pen repeatedly, or kicking his foot as he sits at his desk, or passing notes to classmates when he is supposed to be listening to the teacher? How did people decide that he is, in fact, “hyperactive,” and that he needs treatment to address these annoying behaviors?

[…]

The 64-million-dollar question is: How, given what the World War II generation went through — the sacrifice, patriotism, and ideals like duty and honor — could a relatively small cast of radicals snooker an entire population?

Well, first of all, it wasn’t called “perception management” right away. It came in a kinder and gentler package about “changing attitudes.”

The true believers — colleagues of Rees and Chisholm — first seized upon Russian Ivan Pavlov’s “classic conditioning.” They followed that up with German psychologist Kurt Lewin’s “group dynamics,” Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria’s “disorganization of behavior,” and U.S. psychologist B. F. Skinner’s deprivation-based “operant conditioning.” U.S. social psychologist Elliot Aronson added “cognitive dissonance.” By the 1990s, Rees’ vision of a controlled psychological environment had been raised to the level of an art form.

[…]

Tax-exempt, foundation-subsidized bigwigs like G. Stanley Hall, Abraham Flexner, John Gardiner, Theodore Sizer, Ronald Havelock, John Goodlad, Benjamin Bloom, and Ralph Tyler — viewing life’s dilemmas through the prism of the World Federation of Mental Health — saw it differently. For openers, they worked to ensure that school curriculum and testing ditched the traditional focus on excellence and academics to concentrate on a subjective socialization (i.e., socialist) agenda that targeted the child’s “belief system.”

To illustrate the radical nature of this step, one need only quote from the “father of modern education,” John Dewey. In his acclaimed book School and Society he wrote: “There is no obvious social motive for the acquiring of learning [and] … no clear social gain at success thereat.” Fast-forward to 1981 and to the “father of outcome-based education,” Benjamin Bloom. In All Our Children Learning, Bloom averred that “the purpose of education is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students … by [challenging] the student’s fixed beliefs.”

[Comments from JD: This article falls under the category of “must-read”. Especially the sections Course1, Course 2,…which lay out the tactics used to manipulate populations brilliantly.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Tom Deweese: “Globally-Acceptable Truth” And the Crime of Thinking

Address to the 10th Annual Freedom21 Conference

Do you feel it? It’s everywhere. On television. In the newspaper. At any public gathering. In any discussion — even among friends. It’s a feeling of mistrust. Nervousness. Suspicion. Even rage. Mostly, it’s just under the surface. But more and more it’s bubbling to the top. Political debate is breaking into outright war. Just say the words, “I don’t believe government should do that” and the war is on. Take a side. Feel the heat. Tolerance is a thing of the past.

There is an all out, vicious attack on anyone who doesn’t respond properly. Ridicule. Intimidation. Public shunning. Destruction of careers. Removal from public meetings. All await those who express thoughts outside the politically-correct box.

For their efforts they have been fired — discarded — blocked from receiving grants — banned from publications — and threatened. They’ve been compared to holocaust deniers — called nuts, crazy, and dangerous. Al Gore himself has called for violence against them. Others have called for Nuremberg-style trials — government show trials — to present them as enemies of humanity — simply because they disagree with official government reports — reports that are proving more and more to be wrong in the first place.

In other examples, property owners seeking to ask questions at city council meetings about a new regulation that may affect their land are denied the microphone — sometimes even bodily removed from meetings by armed guards.

A pickup truck in Shreveport, Louisiana, is pulled over by a cop. When asked why, the cop simply points to the bumper sticker on the back of the truck that says “Member of the NRA.”

[…]

And then, just last week, at a town hall meeting to discuss the health care plan with his congressman, a black man, Kenneth Gladney was beaten by union goons and sent to the hospital for disagreeing with the Obama plan.

Why? Why the hatred? Why the venom? Why the intolerance to what used to be called a “personal opinion” or political debate?

The fact is we are witnessing an all-out drive to impose thought control that seeks to ban the ability — the right- to think or speak for one’s self. Thinking is becoming a crime.

Today, there is one acceptable idea — government is the answer. Stray from that premise — even a little, as did Miss California, — and there will be no mercy for you. Your life will be destroyed.

[…]

Some describe their efforts as a conspiracy. If so, it isn’t very secret. The goal has been outlined in detail many times.

In the UN’s report on Global Governance; in Agenda 21; in various programs of UNESCO, like its International Baccalaureate program, which teaches global citizenship in a global village; it was in the Biodiversity Treaty; the Kyoto global warming accord; and it’s in the Cap and Trade initiative. It is most certainly in Obama’s health care bill.

All of these policies are blatant in their intent. Top down control; no sovereign, independent nations; no individual thought; no private property; no self defense; no morality; no personal pride of achievement; no questions. Anything that goes against the plan, anything that would cause anyone to hesitate in moving toward the agenda, must be eliminated or neutralized. .

Educate, indoctrinate, intimidate. Above all, destroy reason and control the ability to think.

The real question for which we must all learn the answer is how they are doing it. How have they taken a nation created on the ideals of individual liberty, limited government, and free markets, and gotten us to accept the opposite?

[…]

Ask yourselves this question: when did the ability to think rational thought become replaced with Zombie-like programmed responses? Where do these ideas come from?

Believe it or not, there is an organization, part of the UN, of course, whose purpose is to define what we are allowed to think. Its process is called “globally-acceptable truth.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

General

Lack of Understanding Exploited to Perpetuate Climate Science Falsehoods

Author and scientist Michael Crichton identified exploitation of fear by environmental groups in his book “State of Fear”. But in a January 17, 2003 he identified another concern, “Rather than serving as a cleansing force, science has in some instances been seduced by the more ancient lures of politics and publicity. Some of the demons that haunt our world in recent years are invented by scientists. The world has not benefited from permitting these demons to escape free.” Almost daily mainstream media reports appear to confirm Crichton’s position. Media are usually compliant because they don’t understand the science and are biased by their politics. A good example appeared recently through the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Photos: Sex Symbols of the 1980s: Now and Then

Photo pictorial of many of the male and female stars of the 80s and how they look today.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

1 comments:

DP111 said...

Its not just Russia lecturing America on liberty, but soon we will have China lecturing Britain and America on capitalism and the wealth of nations.

It is not enough for a people to be explained on the evils of socialism, as Churchill does here, "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery", but it has to experience it, it has to live it.

People in the West have become too soft, and think that liberty and wealth, is a "law of nature" right. What obama is doing, though he may not realise it at the moment, is teaching people a hard lesson. Hopefully they will learn.