Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/22/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/22/2009The big story of the day concerns the appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin on the BBC’s “Question Time”. There was a lot of protest and controversy over the BBC’s decision to allow Mr. Griffin to appear, and the progressive establishment in the UK is not happy.

In other news, a Korean-Australian has escaped prison time for severely beating his 12-year-old female relative. The judge labeled his crime “horrendous”, but absolved the accused from full responsibility due to “cultural differences”.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, DK, ESW, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, JD, Nilk, RRW, Steen, TV, Vlad Tepes, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
- - - - - - - - -
USA
Hinduism Studies and Dhimmitude in the American Academy
Mainstream Media Blackout on Dick Cheney Speech
Meet White House Adviser Who Supports Islamic Law
Mitt Romney: We Must Stand Strong With Allies & Confront Iran
Muslim Leader: Sue the Public, Sue the Press
Obama Will Continue Chinese Quid Pro Quos
Police: Man Ran Down ‘Too Westernized’ Daughter
State Launches Boycott of ‘Unconstitutional’ Federal Laws
Sue Big Oil Over Global Warming? Court Tells Katrina Victims, Yes You Can!
Teacher Gets 10 Years for Sex With Teens
The Saints of Socialism and the Religion of Radicalism
U.S. Troop Funds Diverted to Pet Projects
Why Obama’s Lieutenants Love Mao
 
Canada
Canada: The Human Rights Crowd — Power & Money Before Principle
Granting Asylum to White South African ‘Perverse, ‘ Ottawa Says
Green Buyers More Likely to Lie, Cheat and Steal
Toronto Imam Preaching ‘Hate Instead of Harmony’
 
Europe and the EU
Cosmic Pattern to UK Tree Growth
Europe’s War on Free Speech
Italy: Olympic Medalist Arrested for Theft in Rome
Italy: The Media’s Most Recent Monster
Italy: ‘Angel’ Saves Church From Lightning Bolt
Italy: Minister Vows to Close Down Site Urging Death of Berlusconi
Italy: Berlusconi’s ‘Secret’ Visit to Russia Raises Questions
Italy: Berlusconi’s Spokesman Responds to Media Freedom Report
Italy: Man Fled Wife for Jail
Melanie Phillips: The Clash of Uncivilisations
New Statesman: “BNP is to the Left of Labour”
Sweden: Teacher Who Paid for Sex With Minor ‘Can’t be Fired’
Taking Over Paris Streets
UK: Age of the Thug: Violent Crime by Women Goes Up 80% Under Labour
UK: BBC is Right to Allow BNP on Question Time, Says Mark Thompson
UK: Convicted Rapist Flees Court After Hearing Guilty Verdict
UK: If Our Archbishop Spent Less Time Fretting About Climate Change, He Might Notice the Pope is About to Mug Him
UK: Muslim Woman ‘Blackmailed by Couple Who Threatened to Show Family Photos of Her Wearing Western Clothes’
UK: Newborn Baby of 23st Mother and Her Six Siblings Taken Into Care ‘Over Obesity Fears’
UK: Teacher ‘Bullied’ By Council for Leaving Bag of Waste Paper Next to Full Recycling Bin
Violent Immigrant Attacks on Swedes Are Breaking Records Again
 
Balkans
Spain: 50% of Population Ignores Mediterranean Diet
 
North Africa
Iran, Israel Attend Secret Nuclear Meet in Cairo
 
Middle East
EU: Syria Takes Time, Association Agreement Postponed
‘Good Morning Baghdad’
Jordan: Italy to Restore Ancient Jordan River Bridge
Mideast Leaders Believe They Can ‘Blackmail, Cheat’ U.S.
The Women of Kuwait Can Travel With Their Passport Without Their Husbands’ Permission
 
South Asia
Islamabad: Commandos Ambush a Military Vehicle, An Officer and the Driver Dead
Orissa: Anti-Christian Hindu Leader, Madhu Baba, Arrested
UN to Cut Aid to Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal Over Lack of Funds
 
Far East
Book Excerpt: China’s U.S. Conversion
Rivals China, India in Escalating War of Words
Xinjiang: Thousands of Uyghurs Have Disappeared Into Thin Air: “Maybe Dead”
 
Australia — Pacific
El Masri Wanted as Liberal Candidate
Korean Man Who Beat Child Dodges Jail Because of Cultural Differences
Muttaburra ‘Lawless’ Because Police Officer ‘Too Good’
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
Piracy: Merchant Ship Jolly Thwarts Attack in Mombasa
 
Immigration
Greek Socialists to Grant Citizenship to Migrants’ Children
Israel: Shock Campaign With Posters of Children
UNHCR Stats Show Iraqis, Afghans and Somalis Topping List of Asylum-Seekers in Industrialized World
US Filling Up With Dumb People: Immigration’s Ultimate Dilemma
 
Culture Wars
Obama’s Safe-Schools Boss Sponsors Radical Porn
 
General
Carbon Offsets to Form New Bubble

USA

Hinduism Studies and Dhimmitude in the American Academy

M. Lal Goel

Professor Emeritus of Political Science, www.uwf.edu/lgoel

Pro-Islamic and anti-Hindu mindset known as dhimmitude (described more fully later) is prevalent in sections of the American academy. The case in point is the recent book by Dr. Wendy Doniger [1] , The Hindus: An Alternative History, The Penguin Press, 2009.

Doniger’s 779-page tome is laced with personal editorials, folksy turn of the phrase and funky wordplays. She has a large repertoire of Hindu mythological stories. She often narrates the most damning mythical story—Vedic, Puranic, folk, oral, vernacular—to demean, damage and disparage Hinduism. After building a caricature, she laments that fundamentalist Hindus (how many and how powerful are they?) are destroying the pluralistic, tolerant Hindu tradition. Why save such a vile, violent religion, as painted by the eminent professor? There is a contradiction here.

This review focuses on Doniger’s discussion of Islamic incursions into India. Islam entered south India in the 7th Century with Arab merchants and traders. This was peaceful Islam. Later, Islam came to India as a predatory and a conquering force. Mohammad bin Qasim ravaged Sindh in 712. Mahmud Ghazni pillaged, looted and destroyed numerous Hindu temples around 1000 AD, but did not stay to rule. The Muslim rule begins with the Delhi Sultanate, approximately 1201 to 1526. The Sultanate gave place to the Mughal Empire, 1526-1707. Doniger makes the following dubious points regarding the Muslim imperial rule in India (1201-1707).

Muslims marauders destroyed some Hindu temples, not many.

Temple destruction was a long-standing Indian tradition. Hindus destroyed Buddhist and Jain stupas and rival Hindu temples and built upon the destroyed sites.

Muslim invaders looted and destroyed Hindu temples because they had the power to do so. If Hindus had the power, they would do the same in reverse.

The Jizya—the Muslim tax on non-Muslims—was for Hindu protection and a substitute for military service.

Hindu “megalomania” for temple building in the Middle Ages was a positive result of Muslim demolition of some Hindu temples.

The Hindu founders of the Vijayanagara Empire double-crossed their Muslim master in Delhi who had deputed them to secure the South.

Hindus want Muslims and Christians to leave India for Hindustan is only for Hindus.

Let us take each point in turn to examine Doniger’s mistaken views.

Muslim invaders beginning with Mahmud Ghazni in 1000 CE looted, pillaged and destroyed not few but many Hindu and Buddhist temples. Muslim chroniclers describe the humiliation and utter desolation wrought by the Muslims on the kafirs (unbelievers). Alberuni, the Muslim scholar who accompanied Mahmud to India, describes one such event: “Mathura, the holy city of Krishna, was the next victim. In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and finer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultan was of the opinion that 200 years would have been required to build it. The idols included ‘five of red gold, each five yards high,’ with eyes formed of priceless jewels. . . The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire, and leveled with the ground. Thus perished works of art which must have been among the noblest monuments of ancient India.” [2]

At the destruction of another temple, Somnath, it is estimated that 50,000 were massacred. The fabulous booty of gold, women and children was divided according to Islamic tradition—the Sultan getting the royal fifth, the cavalry man getting twice as much as the foot soldier. Hundreds of Hindu and Buddhist shrines were destroyed.

Dr. Doniger asserts that Hindus too persecuted minority Jain and Buddhist religions and destroyed their shrines. She narrates the now discarded story about the impaling of Jains at the hands of Hindu rulers in the Tamil country. Then she says that “there is no evidence that any of this actually happened, other than the story.” (p 365). Then why narrate the story? Hindu sectarian violence pales in comparison to what happened either in Europe or in the Middle East. The truth is that both Jainism and Buddhism were integrated into Hinduism’s pluralistic tradition. The Buddha is accepted as one of the Hindu Avatars (God in human form). Exquisite Jain temples at Mt Abu at the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan built around 1000 CE survive in the region dominated by Hindu Rajput rulers, falsifying notions of Hindu carnage of Jain temples.

Doniger says that Hindus would do the same to Muslims if they had the power to do so. Hindus did come to power after the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, when the Mughal rule rapidly declined. The Marathas were the strongest power in Western and Southern India in the 18th and 19th centuries, as the Sikhs were in North India. There is no account of large scale demolition and looting of Muslim places of worship either by the Marathas or the Sikhs. If a copy of the Quran fell into the hands of Maharaja Shivaji during a campaign, the same would be passed on to a Muslim rather than being burned.

Contrary to what Doniger says, Jizya is a long held Muslim tradition. It was levied to begin with on the defeated Christians and Jews, the People of the Book, as a price for the cessation of Jihad. Hindus, not being one of the People of the Book, did not deserve to live by paying the special tax. If defeated in battle, their only option was Islam or death. This was the position taken by the Islamic clergy. Unlike the clergy, however, the Muslim governors were practical men. If they had killed the Hindus en masse for failing to adopt Islam, who would build their palaces, fill their harems, cut their wood and hue their water? [3]

Doniger argues that Hindu ‘megalomania’ for temple building resulted from Muslim destruction of some Hindu temples. In other words, because the Muslims destroyed some of the Hindu temples, the Hindus went on a building spree. If Doniger’s argument is accepted, Hindus should thank Islamic marauders for looting and desecrating their shrines. The truth is that in northern India which experienced 500 years of Islamic rule (1201-1707), few historical temples of any beauty remain. In contrast, temple architecture of some beauty does survive in southern India, the region that escaped long Muslim occupation.

That the Hindu founders of the Vijayanagara dynasty in the South double-crossed their Muslim master in Delhi is one among the innumerable editorial negative portrayal of Hindu character. One may ask: why wouldn’t a slave double cross his oppressor?

The view that Muslims and Christians should leave India is not one held by most Hindus, only by a small minority on the extreme fringes. Muslim population has increased in India from about 9 percent at the time of Independence to about 13 percent now (1947-2009). In contrast, in Pakistan, Hindu population has declined and now constitutes less than one percent. In Muslim Bangladesh in the same period the Hindu population has declined from 29 percent to less than 10 percent. Muslims hold important positions in government and business in contemporary India, which is 83 pct Hindu. The richest person in India has been a Muslim, Premji; the most popular film stars are Muslim; Christian and Muslim chief ministers and governors head several of the states. The single most important leader in India is an Italian-born woman Sonya Gandhi and the Prime Minister is a Sikh, Dr. Manmohan Singh. The past President APJ Kalam was a Muslim and before that K R Narayanan, a lower caste. In Federal and State civil service, 50 percent of the jobs are reserved for backward classes and Untouchable, in order to compensate for past discrimination. India has moved.

Let us look more closely. Doniger describes the invasion of Sindh by Arab soldier of fortune Muhammad bin Qasim as follows:

Qasim invaded Sindh in 713. The terms of surrender included a promise of guarantee of the safety of Hindu and Buddhist establishments. “Hindus and Buddhists were allowed to govern themselves in matters of religion and law.” Qasim “kept his promises.” The non-Muslims were not treated as kafirs. Jizya was imposed but only as a substitute for military service for their “protection.” He brought Muslim teachers and mosques into the subcontinent. (paraphrased)

From Doniger’s assessment, Qasim should be regarded as a blessing. Contrast Doniger’s description with that written by Andrew Bostom in “The Legacy of Islamic Jihad in India.” [4]

The Muslim chroniclers al-Baladhuri (in Kitab Futuh al-Buldan) and al-Kufi (in the Chachnama) include enough isolated details to establish the overall nature of the conquest of Sindh by Muhammad b. Qasim in 712 C.E. . . . Baladhuri, for example, records that following the capture of Debal, Muhammad b. Qasim earmarked a section of the city exclusively for Muslims, constructed a mosque, and established four thousand colonists there. The conquest of Debal had been a brutal affair. . . Despite appeals for mercy from the besieged Indians (who opened their gates after the Muslims scaled the fort walls), Muhammad b. Qasim declared that he had no orders (i.e., from his superior al-Hajjaj, the Governor of Iraq) to spare the inhabitants, and thus for three days a ruthless and indiscriminate slaughter ensued. In the aftermath, the local temple was defiled, and “700 beautiful females who had sought for shelter there, were all captured.”

Distinguished historian R. C. Majumdar describes the capture of the royal Fort and its tragic outcome:

Muhammad massacred 6,000 fighting men who were found in the fort, and their followers and dependents, as well as their women and children were taken prisoners. Sixty thousand slaves, including 30 young ladies of royal blood, were sent to Hajjaj, along with the head of Dahar [the Hindu ruler]. We can now well understand why the capture of a fort by the Muslim forces was followed by the terrible jauhar ceremony (in which females threw themselves in fire kindled by themselves), the earliest recorded instance of which is found in the Chachnama. Cited in Bostom.

Doniger extensively footnotes Romila Thapar, John Keay, Anne Schimmel and A. K. Ramanujan as her sources for Islamic history, providing an impression of meticulous scholarship. Missing are works of the distinguished historians: Jadunath Sarkar, R. C. Majumdar, A. L. Srivastava, Vincent Smith, and Ram Swarup.

Doniger writes at page 458: when Muslim royal women first came to India, they did not rigidly keep to purdah (the veiling and seclusion of women). They picked the more strict form of purdah from contact with the Hindu Rajput women. Doniger finds much to praise in Muslim women during this period: some knew several languages; others wrote poetry; some managed vast estates; others set up “feminist” republics within female quarters (harems); some debated fine points on religion; some even joined in drinking parties (chapters 16, 20). Such descriptions are patently negated by distinguished historians. See The Mughal Harem (1988) by K S Lal, available free on the Internet.

If Hinduism is the source of strict purdah among Muslim women, as Doniger contends, how does one explain the strict veiling of women in the Middle East, a region far removed from Hindu influence? Or, the absence of it in southern India, a region that escaped Islamic domination?

Doniger writes at page 627, “the Vedic reverence for violence flowered in the slaughters that followed Partition.” And, Gandhi’s nonviolence succeeded against the British. But it failed against the tenaciously held Hindu ideal of violence that had grip on the real emotions of the masses.

What is one to make of these weighty pronouncements uttered in all seriousness by the author? These are an expression of the hurt feelings on the part of a scholar. While discussing the Hindu epic Ramayana in London in 2003, Doniger put forth her usual gloss: that Lakshman had the hots for his brother Rama’s wife Sita, and that sexually-charged Sita reciprocated these feelings. An irate Hindu threw an egg at her and conveniently missed it. This incident is her cause célèbre.

DHIMMITUDE

Doniger’s uncritical review of the Islamic marauding raids in India (712-1200) and later the Islamic empire (1201-1707) suggests dhimmitude. The concepts of dhimmi and dhimmitude were developed by the Egyptian born Jewish woman writer, Bat Ye’or (Daughter of the Nile), who fled Egypt in 1958 in the wake of Jewish persecution following the Suez Canal crisis. Her meticulous research puts to rest the myth of peaceful expansion of Islamic power in the countries of Middle East and Eastern Europe. [5]

Dhimmitude is a state of fear and insecurity on the part of infidels who are required to accept a condition of humiliation. It is characterized by the victim’s siding with his oppressors, by the moral justification the victim provides for his oppressors’ hateful behavior. The Dhimmi loses the possibility of revolt because revolt arises from a sense of injustice. He loathes himself in order to praise his oppressors. Dhimmis lived under some 20 disabilities. Dhimmis were prohibited to build new places of worship, to ring church bells or take out processions, to ride horses or camels (they could ride donkeys), to marry a Muslim woman, to wear decorative clothing, to own a Muslim as a slave or to testify against a Muslim in a court of law.

Ye’or believes that the dhimmi condition can only be understood in the context of Jihad. Jihad embodies all the Islamic laws and customs applied over a millennium on the vanquished population, Jews and Christians, in the countries conquered by jihad and therefore Islamized. She believes that dhimmitude was once the attribute of defeated Christian and Jewish communities under Islam. Now it is a feature of much of the Western world, Europe and America. Her theory of dhimmitude applies to many Hindus in India. Whereas dhimmitude in previous centuries resulted from real-life powerlessness and humiliation, modern dhimmi syndrome results from some combination of the following.

The corrupting power of oil money to influence think tanks, lobbyists and academic institutions.

De-Christianizing of Europe. It is now also happening in the U.S. See Pew research reports.

Guilt feelings in the West on account of the Crusades to liberate the Holy Land (1095-1291).

Multiculturalism: the belief that all cultural practices and ways of life are equally valid.

Violence by radical Muslims is on account of being poor and exploited by colonial hegemony.

Islam provided the West its basis for advancement in math and science.

The rising number of Muslim populations in Europe and America.

The rising level of alienation from one’s own culture in the West.

Doniger’s inflammatory book on the Hindus makes sense only in the light of a larger global trend—a trend that seeks to re-package Islamic history as a force for tolerance and progress. Doniger is not alone in holding such views. Dhimmi attitudes of subservience have entered the Western academy, and from there into journalism, school textbooks and political discourse. One must not criticize Islam. For, to do so would offend the multiculturalist ethos that prevails everywhere today. To do so would endanger chances for peace and rapprochement between civilizations all too ready to clash. See,

The field of Middle East Studies in the U.S. is now controlled by pro-Middle East professors, according to Martin Kramer, editor of the Middle Eastern Quarterly. “The crucial turning point occurred in the late 1970s when Middle East studies centers, under /Edward/ Said’s influence, began to show a preference for ideology over empirical fact and, fearing the taint of the ‘orientalist’ bias, began to prefer academic appointments of native-born Middle Easterners over qualified Western-born students,” contends Kramer. The book is summarized at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_17_119/ai_90989239/.

In contrast, the field of Hinduism studies is controlled by non-Hindus and anti-Hindus, with some notable exceptions of course. Hindu gods and goddesses are lampooned and denigrated. Hindu saints are described as sexual perverts and India in danger of being run over by Hindu fundamentalists. In these portrayals, Doniger is joined by Martha Nussbaum, Paul Courtright, Jeffrey Kripal, Sarah Caldwell, Stanley Kurtz, to name a few of the leading academicians. For a critique of the American academy, see Rajiv Malhotra at www.sulekha.com, and a 2007 book titled, Invading the Sacred. [6]

Doniger is quite harsh on the British record in India (1757-1947). She compares the British argument that they brought trains and drains to India to Hitler’s argument that he built the Autobahn in Germany (p. 583). Censuring Britain and giving a pass to the more draconian Islamic imperialism in India fits with the dhimmi attitude that I have described.

Consequently, attitudes of concession and appeasement are on the rise. A reversal of language occurs. Jihad is called ‘struggle within’ or struggle for liberation. Dhimmitude is called tolerance. Jizya is called protection. Tony Blair declares Islam is a religion of peace and that the terrorists are not real Muslims. Parts of London have been ceded to the control of radical mullahs. Sharia arbitration courts are now part of the British legal system. Melanie Phillips tells that London is becoming Londonistan. [7] Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe. The destruction of life and property caused by Islamic extremists in the last thirty years is simply horrendous. Of course, distinction must be made between moderate Muslims and radicals who wish to bring back the 7th century version of Islam.

The British helped abolish the horrible practice of Suttee (widow burning) in India in the 19th century. At its peak in the 19th century, the practice of Suttee claimed the lives of 500 to 600 women a year in India. The honor killing of women, genital mutilation, and the caning of girls for minor sexual impropriety raises only a limited protest in the 21st century. Amid the rising level of alienation, multiculturalism and the feelings of guilt in the West, the moral compass has been lost.

politicalislam.com Use and distribute as you wish; do not edit and give us credit.

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


Mainstream Media Blackout on Dick Cheney Speech

American opposition to the Obama Administration and/or its policies are ‘silenced.’ Former Vice President Dick Cheney gave an important speech today and it was not televised on any American “news’ or “quasi-news” network. Recently this administration has boasted about ‘controlling’ all American news networks. Indeed, they apparently do. Not even Fox news televised this speech. They have; however, posted the speech on their website. Patriotic Americans believe this isn’t good enough! Please , Please consider posting this speech on your website for the sake of honoring the necessity of free speech for all people. Please Read The Speech Below. Thank you. E. Morris Phoenix, Arizona

Remarks by former Vice President Dick Cheney

Center for Security Policy As prepared for delivery October 21, 2009

Thank you all very much. It’s a pleasure to be here, and especially to receive the Keeper of the Flame Award in the company of so many good friends.

I’m told that among those you’ve recognized before me was my friend Don Rumsfeld. I don’t mind that a bit. It fits something of a pattern. In a career that includes being chief of staff, congressman, and secretary of defense, I haven’t had much that Don didn’t get first. But truth be told, any award once conferred on Donald Rumsfeld carries extra luster, and I am very proud to see my name added to such a distinguished list.

To Frank Gaffney and all the supporters of Center for Security Policy, I thank you for this honor. And I thank you for the great energy and high intelligence you bring to as vital a cause as there is — the advance of freedom and the uncompromising defense of the United States.

[…]

So among my other concerns about the drift of events under the present administration, I consider the abandonment of missile defense in Eastern Europe to be a strategic blunder and a breach of good faith.

It is certainly not a model of diplomacy when the leaders of Poland and the Czech Republic are informed of such a decision at the last minute in midnight phone calls. It took a long time and lot of political courage in those countries to arrange for our interceptor system in Poland and the radar system in the Czech Republic. Our Polish and Czech friends are entitled to wonder how strategic plans and promises years in the making could be dissolved, just like that — with apparently little, if any, consultation. Seventy years to the dayafter the Soviets invaded Poland, it was an odd way to mark the occasion.

[…]

Candidate Obama declared last year that he would be willing to sit down with Iran’s leader without preconditions. As President, he has committed America to an Iran strategy that seems to treat engagement as an objective rather than a tactic. Time and time again, he has outstretched his hand to the Islamic Republic’s authoritarian leaders, and all the while Iran has continued to provide lethal support to extremists and terrorists who are killing American soldiers inIraq and Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic continues to provide support to extremists in Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, the regime continues to spin centrifuges and test missiles. And these are just the activities we know about.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Meet White House Adviser Who Supports Islamic Law

Muslim leader says Dalia Mogahed ‘shares the outlook of Islamists in Egypt, Pakistan’

She describes her role in the Obama administration as a communicator to the president and other public officials of “what it is Muslims want.”

But Muslims such as Steven Schwartz, a prominent American convert to Islam and ardent critic of Muslim fundamentalism, contend Dalia Mogahed, a scheduled speaker at the annual fundraiser Saturday in Washington for the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations’, certainly doesn’t speak for them.

The Egyptian-born, hijab-clad adviser drew attention earlier this month when she defended Shariah, or Islamic law, on a British television show hosted by a member of an extremist Muslim group, insisting the majority of women around the world associate Shariah with “gender justice.”

Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, states in a column for the Weekly Standard that according to Mogahed’s view, Muslims are “either fundamentalist or confused.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Mitt Romney: We Must Stand Strong With Allies & Confront Iran

America and Israel are bound together by common commitments and shared values. We believe in representative democracy and human rights. We believe in the rule of law—in learning, scholarship, and free inquiry. We believe in the dignity of the human soul and in its God-given right to ascend above government domination… with freedom to speak, worship, associate and think as one desires.

And because we share the same values, we also share many of the same adversaries. We reject oppression, terrorism, authoritarianism. Violent Jihadists have referred to America as the “great Satan” and to Israel as the “little Satan.” Of course, they don’t recognize the irony, committed as they are to the imposition of power over others, to violence, to brutality, to the subjugation of women and girls and to bigotry and racism.

Israel has been fighting all of these things from the moment it was born. As the United States carries on that fight in countries scattered across the globe, we know that Israel is America’s most ardent ally in the Middle East.

The world is fast becoming a more dangerous place. Liberty and peace are threatened in new and frightful ways. Russia is returning to its authoritarian ways, fueled by its energy stranglehold on Europe. China has married the power of free enterprise with the oppression of Communist rule. Violent Jihadists are fighting to crush people and nations across the globe. And rogue nations with maniacal autocrats are recklessly pursuing nuclear capabilities that puts the world in jeopardy. Left unchecked, a nuclear race will be joined by many, many others.

For all these reasons, America needs strong allies.

This is one reason why I am so very concerned by the current drift in our government’s relationship with Israel.

In pursuit of a peace process, the United States today has exerted substantial pressure on Israel while putting almost no pressure on the Palestinians and the Arab world.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Muslim Leader: Sue the Public, Sue the Press

CAIR chief revealed strategy for winning notorious ‘flying imams’ case

Declaring the “flying imams” case — settled out-of-court yesterday in favor of the imams — to be as important to Muslims as the iconic Rosa Parks case was to blacks during the 1950s, the head of a controversial Islamic nonprofit organization in the nation’s capital revealed the strategy his organization embraced in pursuing the imam’s legal case: Sue everyone in sight, including passengers who, frightened by what they considered bizarre behavior, alerted authorities that a terror attack might be imminent.

[…]

“The settlement of this case is a clear victory for justice and civil rights over fear and the phenomenon of ‘flying while Muslim’ in the post-9/11 era,” Awad said in a post-settlement press statement.

Not so, says Paul Sperry, investigative journalist and co-author of the sensational new best-seller, “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” which documents CAIR’s Saudi funding, radical ideology and ties to convicted terrorists. Moreover, the book documents conclusively that CAIR is a U.S. front for the notorious Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of al-Qaida and Hamas.

“CAIR brags this is a ‘victory for civil rights.’ It’s not a victory for civil rights,” Sperry said in response to the settlement. “It’s a victory for future hijackers. This settlement will have a chilling effect on law enforcement and security at our nation’s airports. Even pilots will now think twice about bouncing from flights any Arabs or Muslims acting suspiciously and threateningly.”

“The victims in the case are not the imams,” Sperry emphasized. “The victims are passengers who are now more vulnerable to terrorist attack — thanks to CAIR which according to documents revealed in ‘Muslim Mafia’ manipulated this whole case from the start,” he said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Obama Will Continue Chinese Quid Pro Quos

On Sept. 29 Obama issued a Presidential Determination that copied the Presidential Decision Directive issued by Bill Clinton that transferred the waiver authority from the Department of Defense to the Department of Commerce. Only in this case, Obama’s Presidential Determination altered one key provision in the Defense Authorization Act of 1999 that was designed to defang overzealous presidents. When Clinton sold China 300 super computers, he did irreparable harm to the United States. Congress was determined that no future president would possess the power to arbitrarily transfer critical technology without first notifying Congress what he was doing, and getting their consent to complete the transfer the technology.

Only, Obama’s Presidential Determination violates Section 1512 of the the Defense Authorization Act of 1999by ignoring the [provision] that requires the President or his agent in the Department of Defense (or elsewhere) to notify Congress whether the transfer of missile or space technology to China (in this instance), would harm the space-launch technology of the United States, or in any way, help or assist China advance their missile programs or systems. The law was passed in the aftermath of the Loral Space Systems and Hughes Electronics espionage case.Loral was fined $20 million in that case, and Hughes Electronics was fined $32 million by the State Department. It was imperative, in 1998, that Bernard Schwartz of Loral and Mike Smith of Hughes Electronics should have been criminally-charged with espionage and made to stand trial for treason against the United States of America. Both men should be spending the balance of their natural lives in prison. In our society, rich men are exempt from the full penalty of the law because those who contribute millions of dollars to politicians can expect politicians to exceed on their behalf and pardon their crimes.

However, today, even though Obama chose to ignore that provision of law, Section 1512 of the Defense Authorization Act mandates that the President of the United States certify that the technology he is allowing to pass into other hands will not harm the United States if that information falls into the wrong hands, nor will it benefit the recipient’s efforts to develop either guided missiles or rockets for space exploration. Obama apparently chose to ignore that requirement because he knows he is not an Article II citizen, and thus, is not constitutionally the president of anything. The new policy, with appears to structure a new era of cooperation between the United States and China can, and likely will have, extremely dangerous consequences for the United States. China now possesses the power to collapse the economy of the United States at will, whenever they wish.And while US economists are convinced it will harm China equally as bad, any nation with the brute power to regulate its currency by fiat, has an internally secure monetary system.

[Comments from JD: Article provides also outlines in detail the entire Loral-Hughs saga — worth reading as soon we’ll see version 2.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Police: Man Ran Down ‘Too Westernized’ Daughter

(CNN) — Arizona police are looking for an Iraqi man who they allege ran down his daughter and her friend because he believed his daughter had become “too Westernized.”

Peoria, Arizona, police said Wednesday that Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 48, struck his 20-year-old daughter, Noor Faleh Almaleki, and her friend Amal Edan Khalaf with a vehicle he was driving in a parking lot Tuesday afternoon.

Faleh Hassan Almaleki was angry with his daughter “as she had become too ‘Westernized’ and was not living according to [the family’s] traditional Iraq[i] values,” Peoria police said in a statement released Wednesday.

Noor Faleh Almaleki is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, according to the statement. Khalaf, 43, received injuries that are not life-threatening but is still in the hospital, police said.

Noor Faleh Almaleki lives with Khalaf, police said but did not elaborate on how the two women knew each other.

Faleh Hassan Almaleki was last seen in a gray or silver Jeep Grand Cherokee, police said.

No further details were immediately available.

Peoria is about 13 miles northwest of Phoenix.

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]


State Launches Boycott of ‘Unconstitutional’ Federal Laws

Urges 49 others to join in combating government’s ‘abuse of authority’

Tennessee is urging 49 other states to come together and create a “joint working group between the states” to combat unconstitutional federal legislation and assert state rights.

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen signed HJR 108, the State Sovereignty Resolution on June 23. According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the resolution created a committee to form a joint working group between the states to enumerate the abuses of authority by the federal government and seek repeal of imposed mandates.

State Rep. Susan Lynn recently wrote a letter to the other 49 state legislatures, inviting them to join the group and warning that the role of the federal government has been “blurred, bent and breached.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Sue Big Oil Over Global Warming? Court Tells Katrina Victims, Yes You Can!

Landowners along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are blaming a mishmosh of oil, coal and chemical companies for property damage caused by Hurricane Katrina as a result of global warming. Yes, that’s right, the specter of global warming lawsuits has come to call and thanks to a recent federal appeals ruling, the plaintiffs have earned their day in court.

[…]

At the very least, it does open a door the energy industry prefers would remains firmly closed and we’ll likely see more of these cases filed.

Russell Jackson, a Skadden Arps partner and mass tort litigation specialist, says exactly that in his own writeup on the issue and in the WSJ’s Law blog.

Here’s why. The Comer case is a private class action for compensatory and punitive damages, not a suit brought by states or municipalities for injunctive relief, Jackson writes.

This means contingency fees. Translatation: an opportunity that can not be missed, and even more of these lawsuits to look forward to.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Teacher Gets 10 Years for Sex With Teens

Danielle Jones guilty of unlawful sexual activity with 4 minors.

Dressed in a baggy blue jail uniform, the former sixth-grade science teacher denied Tuesday that she was a predator preying on teenage boys.

“I am not a monster,” she said.

Jones, 33, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having sex with four teenage boys.

In August, a jury found Jones guilty of five counts of lewd battery and three counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Saints of Socialism and the Religion of Radicalism

The phenomenon of the quasi-religious worship of Obama is only shocking to those who fail to understand that socialism is itself a religion. Henri de Saint-Simon, the French 18th century thinker who coined the term socialism, described it as “The New Christianity”. Like many early socialists he envisioned its ideas as a tool for returning to primitive Christianity. The famous 19th century historian Renan explicitly made the comparison, writing, “If you want to get an idea of what the first Christian communities were like, take a look at a local branch of the International Workingmen’s Association.” The Association is better known as the First International, one of whose members was Karl Marx.

The original name of the Communist party that Karl Marx would go on to head was The League of the Just, whose stated goal was, “the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth, based on the ideals of love of one’s neighbour, equality and justice”. The same essential principles sum up the ideals of the Religious Left today which define religion in terms of social justice. Of course the end result of this process wipes everything from the blackboard, including God and the Bible, which become nothing more than props for socialist preaching. And that is exactly what the religion of socialism looks like.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


U.S. Troop Funds Diverted to Pet Projects

Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis.

Among the 778 such projects, known as earmarks, packed into the bill: $25 million for a new World War II museum at the University of New Orleans and $20 million to launch an educational institute named after the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

While earmarks are hardly new in Washington, “in 30 years on Capitol Hill, I never saw Congress mangle the defense budget as badly as this year,” said Winslow Wheeler, a former Senate staffer who worked on defense funding and oversight for both Republicans and Democrats. He is now a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information, an independent research organization.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Why Obama’s Lieutenants Love Mao

The left’s long romance with tyranny and terror is manifesting itself in the Obama administration once again. Having experienced the high of putting $900 million of American taxpayers’ money into Hamas’ blood-soaked hands, some Obama advisers are now getting a new fix by offering thanks and praise to the late communist mass murderer Mao Zedong.

President Obama’s White House communications director, Anita Dunn, recently praised Mao Zedong in a videotaped speech to high schoolers by calling him “one of the two people that I turn to most.” When confronted on it, she said she was just joking. It remains a mystery what is laughable about extolling the greatest mass murderer in human history who slaughtered 70 million of his own people. In any case, Dunn was clearly not joking, as is evident in the detailed and earnest explanation she gave the high schoolers in her references to both Mao and Mother Teresa while emphasizing the importance of perseverance and choosing one’s own path.

Dunn’s veneration of Mao is shared by another Obama insider, “manufacturing czar” Ron Bloom, who, it appears, has been quoting the communist mass murderer with great approval. At a 2008 Union League Club meeting in New York, for instance, Bloom explained to his audience that:

“We know that the free market is nonsense. (…) We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun.”

And from the barrel of a gun Mao’s political power did come indeed. Let’s for a moment reflect on the crimes that Mao perpetrated:

[…]

In 1966, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, designed to purge the country of all dissent and bring it completely under the dictator’s vicious rule. Millions of schoolchildren became the infamous Red Guards, whose task was to destroy anything connected to traditional culture and philosophy. As Paul Johnson put it, the Cultural Revolution became “a revolution of illiterates and semi-literates against intellectuals, the ‘spectacle-wearers’ as they were called. … It was the greatest witch-hunt in history, which made the Zhdanov purges in post-war Russia seem almost trivial.”

[Comments from JD: Article summarizes the horrors of Mao. WARNING: Graphic descriptions.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Canada

Canada: The Human Rights Crowd — Power & Money Before Principle

When I came down the gangplank of the troopship in Halifax in November 1945, I was a proud 21-year old Canadian army veteran. If someone had told me then that my very own governments would take a wrecking ball and destroy almost all I fought for, I would never have dropped my weapons.

I rushed home and innocently returned to school; went to university, got married and contributed to the baby boomer generation. I trusted my governments. I foolishly believed they understood the fundamental principles that underpinned our laws and would never allow such principles to be breeched. I didn’t reckon with the wreckers; Prime Ministers Pearson and Trudeau and their acolytes.

There is insufficient space here to discuss all the convoluted machinations that these men employed to destroy every principle of justice and fairness that had been our heritage for hundreds of years. Had they obeyed just one single principle of the many, none of the massive soul-destroying changes they foisted on Canadians would have seen the light of day. That principle, once so well understood by every Canadian adult and most schoolchildren — at least in the English-speaking world — was simply this:

“Every citizen is the equal of every other citizen before and under the law.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Granting Asylum to White South African ‘Perverse, ‘ Ottawa Says

OTTAWA — The federal government has denounced as “perverse” a refugee board ruling that granted asylum to white South African Brandon Huntley on the grounds he could face persecution in his homeland because of his skin color.

In a written submission to the Federal Court of Canada, the government said the ruling that Mr. Huntley’s claim was “justified” is unreasonable and based on a “jaundiced assessment”, by the one-man board, of conditions within South Africa.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is asking the Federal Court for permission to seek a judicial review of the ruling by board member William Davis.

Mr. Davis’ ruling in late August sparked outrage in South Africa where, among other things, the governing African National Congress said the reasoning behind the decision “can only serve to perpetuate racism.”

In Ottawa, Abraham Sokhaya Nkomo, South Africa’s ambassador to Canada, told Canwest News Service Mr. Davis’s ruling was shocking and could seriously damage relations between the two countries.

Within days, the federal government announced it was taking the rare step of appealing a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

The federal submission took Davis to task for effectively accepting Huntley’s argument that he did not seek police protection after allegedly being attacked six or seven times by black South Africans because he did not trust a police force dominated by blacks to help him.

It said Mr. Huntley, who hails from Cape Town, failed to provide “clear and convincing” evidence of the South African government’s inability to protect him.

Mr. Davis’ implicit acceptance of Mr. Huntley’s argument represents a “disturbing view” that “rests largely on the board’s jaundiced assessment of the country conditions,” the government said.

It took strong issue with the statement by Mr. Huntley, who is living in Ottawa, he would stick out like a “sore thumb” because of his colour if he was forced to live anywhere in South Africa.

Dismissing the statement as “unreasonable and perverse,” the government cited figures from Statistics South Africa that said whites form a sizeable minority in the country, ranging from 23.9% of the population of Pretoria, for example, to 16% in both Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.

The government said that while it is “indisputable” that crime is prevalent in South Africa, all South Africans are affected, regardless of race.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Green Buyers More Likely to Lie, Cheat and Steal

Can green consumers be trusted? Maybe not.

A new study to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found that just being around green products can make consumers behave more altruistically. But buying those same products can have the opposite effect.

Researchers found that while consumers who were simply exposed to green products tended to act more altruistically, consumers who actually purchased green products were more likely to “cheat and steal” than those who purchased conventional products.

The research found buying products that claim to be made with low environmental impact can set up “moral credentials” in people’s minds that give license to selfish or questionable behavior.

“This was not done to point the finger at consumers who buy green products. The message is bigger,” says Nina Mazar, a marketing professor at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and a self-admitted green consumer. “At the end of the day, if we do one moral thing, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will be morally better in other things as well.”

Because purchasing green products affirms individuals’ values of social responsibility and ethical consciousness, the study predicts that “purchasing green products will establish moral credentials, ironically licensing selfish and morally questionable behavior.”

What’s next, a burgeoning black market for compact florescent light bulbs and low flow toilets?

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]


Toronto Imam Preaching ‘Hate Instead of Harmony’

A Toronto-area imam is under fire for using derogatory language against Jews and Christians, calling for Allah to “destroy” the enemies of Islam from within and calling on God to “damn” the “infidels.”

The address, given last Friday by Imam Saed Rageah at the Abu Huraira Centre and then posted on YouTube (watch it above), is an attack on those who have been calling for a ban on the niqab and burka, both of which cover the faces of women.

“Allah protect us from the fitna [sedition] of these people; Allah protect us from the evil agenda of these people; Allah destroy them from within themselves, and do not allow them to raise their heads in destroying Islam.”

Tarek Fatah, a Canadian Muslim author and commentator, said that type of language could be interpreted as a call to violence. As well, the imam asks Allah to “damn” Christians and Jews.

“The cleric’s ritual prayer asking for the defeat of Christians and Jews and the victory of Islam is not unique,” Mr. Fatah said. “It is uttered by many clerics across Canada spreading hate instead of harmony. There should be no room in Canada’s mosques for such hatred, especially when most of these institutions get [tax-free status].”

The Abu Huraira Centre attracts about 800 to 1,000 people to a typical Friday service. A man who worked at the centre said that many women who attend only wear the hijab, which covers the head, and do not wear any covering on their faces.

The National Post repeatedly attempted to reach Mr. Rageah for an interview, but was unsuccessful.

Throughout the 35-minute speech he uses the word “kuffar” to describe non-Muslims.

In referring to those Muslims who would seek allies outside the Muslim community to bring about legislation that would ban face coverings, the imam said: “You will see a lot of them going to the kuffar, taking them as friends and allies. The wrath of Allah is upon them. If they were true believers they would never take them as allies.”

At its most benign, kuffar means “non-Muslims.” But others say the most common usage is considered highly offensive, akin to calling a black person a “n****r,” Mr. Fatah said.

“It goes back to the Arab use of the word against black slaves. It’s used in a very derisive manner.”

Professor Amir Hussain, who teaches theology at Loyola Marymount College in Los Angeles, but grew up in Toronto, said he does not read the word “destroy” in a literal way.

“For me, I don’t see the remarks ‘destroy them from within themselves’ as hoping for violence. Rather, I see it as him asking that the group implode from within. Granted, implode and destroy are of course violent metaphors, but I liken it to him asking for the organization to disintegrate.”

Earlier this month, the Canadian Muslim Congress called on Ottawa to ban the wearing of the burka or niqab in public. They said the right should not be protected by the Charter’s guarantee of religious freedom because nowhere in the Koran is there a requirement for women to cover their faces in public. They argue that the burka “marginalizes women.” The Koran does call for modesty.

Much of Mr. Rageah’s address questions why the liberty of certain Muslims should be infringed upon. He even berates fellow Muslims for being far too passive in the face of attacks on their freedom.

“I’m appealing to the congregation not [to] allow such foolish people to be in charge of the affairs of the umma [family of all Muslims] to the point they would make such serious decisions for us. Our wives have the right to wear it. We should not allow them to dictate how we live. What we should do. Where we should eat. Enough is enough.”

Walid Saleh, professor at the centre for the study of religion at the University of Toronto, said much of what Mr. Rageah said must be taken in the context of how Muslims may use terms in the midst of a religious service.

“If you ask me [kuffar] is unreformed language that is unbefitting for a multicultural society. That being said, it is religious language that is Quranic, and in the hadith [the oral tradition], so the issue is internal: how do traditional Muslims want to refer to non-Muslims? Using this language is regrettable, but one is not sure how far one can go in demanding a change.”

However, he said the imam could have simply used non-offensive language to refer to non-Muslims.

“He could call them Christians and the Jews, either by their [neutral] Arabic names or even better, Ahl al-Kitab, or People of the Book, a rather positive Islamic term. In this sense there are options. That he chooses to use the term kuffar, is not innocent as such.”

However, Prof. Saleh said it was important to note that he was asking his members to write letters to the government to make their objections known.

“So, you can see that the democratic notions are seeping through. He is fully aware of the limitation of his position.”

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Cosmic Pattern to UK Tree Growth

The growth of British trees appears to follow a cosmic pattern, with trees growing faster when high levels of cosmic radiation arrive from space.

Researchers made the discovery studying how growth rings of spruce trees have varied over the past half a century.

As yet, they cannot explain the pattern, but variation in cosmic rays impacted tree growth more than changes in temperature or precipitation.

[…]

“The correlation between growth and cosmic rays was moderately high, but the correlation with the climatological variables was barely visible,” Ms Dengel told the BBC.

[…]

The levels of cosmic rays reaching the Earth go up and down according to the activity of the Sun, which follows an 11-year cycle.

[…]

“We tried to correlate the width of the rings, i.e. the growth rate, to climatological factors like temperature. We also thought it would be interesting to look for patterns related to solar activity, as a few people previously have suggested such a link,” explains Ms Dengel.

“We found them. And the relation of the rings to the solar cycle was much stronger than it was to any of the climatological factors we had looked at. We were quite hesitant at first, as solar cycles have been a controversial topic in climatology.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Europe’s War on Free Speech

Freedom of speech around the world has been a hallmark of Christian civilization, but today there is less and less freedom to criticize Islam.

In Denmark, a 15-year-old Danish boy faces prison time for distributing leaflets warning that the country could someday become a Muslim nation and that he thinks that is a bad thing. A Danish prosecutor called the leaflets “hate speech.”

Yet, across the water in Sweden, it was not hate speech when a leading national newspaper printed an article a few weeks ago claiming that Israeli soldiers harvest and sell organs from dead Palestinians. Some say that claim amounts to the anti-Semitic Jewish blood libel, that Jews commit human sacrifice on non-Jews.

The Swedish government, which defended the newspaper, said it was free speech.

Welcome to Europe, where many say the difference between free speech and hate speech is dictated by left-wing political correctness and fear of Islam.

“Free speech is coming under increasing pressure by the day,” Lars Hedegaard, head of the International Free Press Society, told CBN News.

It does not matter if the criticism is factual.

For instance, Islam teaches that when Mohammed was 52, he consummated his marriage to a 9-year-old girl. But when Austrian politician Susanne Winter said that, in today’s world, Mohammed would be considered a child molester, she was convicted of hate speech.

Dutch Parliament member Geert Wilders is awaiting trial on the charge of “inciting hatred and discrimination.” In Wilders’ short film about Islamic violence “Fitna,” he simply reprinted violent verses from the Koran itself and added video of radical sermons and photos of Islamic terrorism.

“He’s being accused of hate speech for repeating in a film what radical imams and religious leaders have been saying about their own motives and their beliefs,” Hedegaard said. “They’re not being prosecuted for hate speech. He’s being prosecuted for repeating it.”

But there is another force behind the push to censor critics of Islam — the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference. Only the United Nations is larger.

“In 2008, the Organization of the Islamic Conference laid out a 10-year plan for suppression of free speech and for the introduction of laws that would prevent criticisms of religions and the reading of Islam,” Hedegaard explained.

The OIC calls itself the collective voice of the world-wide Muslim “ummah,” or nation. It has its own declaration of human rights, called the Cairo Declaration.

The document states “All rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah,” which is strict Islamic law.

Marshall Sana, an Islamic expert at Barnabas Fund, said the OIC “actually wields an enormous amount of influence.”

“That’s been evident the last few years with perhaps its number one agenda item, which is combating ‘Islamophobia’ as they call it, or the defamation of religion,” he added.

The OIC calls Islamophobia “the worst form of terrorism” and a threat to world peace.

“That has been a project under construction by the OIC, to develop the concept of ‘Islamophobia’ as any criticism upon Mohammed, the Koran, the fundamentals of Islam, but now it’s being coupled with racism,” Sana said.

The Organization of the Islamic conference is now a major force in the United Nations. For four straight years, the U.N. has adopted a non-binding OIC resolution banning the defamation of religion.

Observers say the ultimate goal of the OIC is to get a U.N. law criminalizing criticism or blasphemy of religion, even though Wilders said that in the Muslim world, respect for religion only goes in one direction.

“Look at how Christians today are treated in countries where Islam is dominant,” he said. “Try buying a Bible in Saudi Arabia. Try to visit a church in Iran. Try to do anything Christian in an Islamic country. There is no room for it. They are intolerant.”

Supporters of Wilders said free speech itself is on trial, and if Wilders loses, it will be the ultimate religious, political, and cultural capitulation by the Dutch government to Islam.

The Wilders case is just a small part of a growing worldwide phenomenon— the censorship of any speech that criticizes Islam.

“You’d better care because this is a road circus that’s coming your way,” Hedegaard warned Americans.

Wilders agreed, saying, “Don’t think this won’t happen to you. Don’t think it won’t happen to the United States.”

CBN News Original Broadcast Date: September 11, 2009.

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


Italy: Olympic Medalist Arrested for Theft in Rome

Rome, 19 October (AKI) — Former Romanian boxing champion Daniel Dumitrescu was arrested in the Italian capital, Rome, for aggravated theft. The arrest came after he dressed as a policeman and together with an accomplice, helped steal from tourists in the Vatican area.

The 41 year-old Dumitrescu was caught by Italian military police as he stole the wallet of a 46 year-old German tourist.

Dumitrescu’s 23 year-old accomplice would first approach the tourists to ask them for information. Then, the former Olympic medallist would approach them and order the tourists to hand over their wallets, as he showed a card which had the writing ‘Police’ on it.

Dumitrescu won the Olympic silver medal at the 1988 games held in Seoul after losing to Italy’s Giovanni Parisi. A year later he took a silver medal in the lightweight division at the 1989 European Amateur Boxing Championships in Athens, Greece.

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


Italy: The Media’s Most Recent Monster

[ IT ]Amara Lakhous

Events surrounding the Moroccan woman in Verona who turned up at a public swimming pool wearing a ‘burkini’ have been widely reported by the Italian media. This is a very significant example for understanding how an extremely serious issue can become trivial and tabloid gossip. The crux of the problem concerns social control over the female body in the public sphere. Its media exploitation, however, is also used to distract from what should be the real priorities in a serious debate on the integration of immigrants.

What do the women of Kabul have in common with Ursula Andress, the super sexy icon of the Sixties? Apparently nothing at all. However there appears to be something. Last summer Italian public opinion discovered a link between the famous bathing costume worn by Ursula, as James Bond’s partner, and the full veil that covers a woman’s entire body. And, just in the animal world, mating two different breeds creates a new one, obviously with its concurrent risks. In the case of dogs, for example, the experiment resulted in the pit-bull! For the moment we can relax, the bikini-burqa combination has only resulted in the ‘burkini.’

The Italian media devoted a great deal of attention to this new creation. The central character of these events was a forty-year-old Moroccan woman named Najat Rezki, a cultural mediator resident in Verona. The headline in the Corriere della Sera read: Muslim woman in swimming pool wearing a “burkini”. Mothers say “it frightens the children.” Mrs. Rezki provided newspapers with a few additional details. Her ‘burkini’ was bought in Morocco for 200 Euros (three months salary for a worker in the Maghreb!). “The children’s fear” she explained “is only an excuse for hiding their mother’s racist attitudes. Do you not all say that Muslim women just stay at home and never go out and that they should become integrated? How can we integrate if we are not free to do so while respecting our own values and not offending yours?”

The Moroccan lady is right is stating that scaring the children is only an excuse; but I do not think her ‘burkini’ complies with the laws of Islam. This story is a very significant example for understanding how a serious issue can become trivial and tabloid gossip. The essence of the problem concerns social control over the female body in public areas. The Islamic veil was invented to “regulate” the presence of women outside the home. Keeping the two genders separate is a priority. Fear of promiscuity is exclusive to the Muslim world, but also exists in many traditional and conservative societies, in which the male’s ‘moral and psychological protection’ means excluding women from the public sphere.

In the Muslim concept, promiscuity (ikhtilat), means women and men coming together in the same space, which increases the risk of fitna, which means temptation. This word comes from the Arabic root f-t-n, which has many meanings: to test, to tempt, to seduce, to excite, and above all to create disorder. Moroccan sociologist Fatima Mernissi observes that this fear of fitna derives from the fact that, in the Muslim concept, women have the enormous power of attracting men and making them lose their minds, thus weakening them and overturning the dominated/dominator, inferior/superior, passive/active relationship (1). It is because of fitna that women are excluded from the public sphere. Once again there is discontinuity in rules applied to women from the time of the Prophet and today. One example is access to mosques, which are places of worship and study. In God’s eyes men and women are equal believers; they have the same rights and duties. Nowadays however, in many Islamic countries women are only allowed to enter mosques for Friday prayers.

Thus Muslim society is hence based on a clear separation between men and women. Differences are mythicised in childhood. I remember my father and his obsession about hair. We males always had to have short hair so as not to look like girls, and my sisters had to grow theirs long so as not to be mistaken for boys. I can still remember a discussion between my father and my elder brother, at the beginning of the Eighties, when it became fashionable for men to wear black necklaces. My father opposed this to such an extent that my brother had to wear his in secret.

The mythicization of differences achieves unthinkable and surreal levels. According to peasant women in Giza, Egypt, female circumcision is not an act of violence but a practice necessary to safeguard the beauty of women and their feminine individuality. Hence they perceive the clitoris as a penis that therefore confuses the two genders (2). The project of Muslim extremists is based on the separation of space between men and women. I remember well the battle undertaken by extremist students at Algiers University in 1990 for dividing up the dining facility. In the end they obtained what they wanted, the ground floor for the boys and the first floor for the girls.

So the only place acknowledged for women is the home, and they cannot leave the home without permission from their fathers, husbands or brothers. There is a very well known proverb in the Arab world, “A woman leaves the home only twice in her lifetime. She leave her father’s home to go to her husband’s house, and she leaves her husband’s home to go to her grave.” In Syria there is another proverb that says, “A woman’s world is the home, a man’s home is the world.” The issue of covering women’s bodies in public places must be addressed from the complex issue of social control. Therefore I believe that the ‘burkini’ is simply a rather provincial quirk. The fashion was started in France before appearing in Verona. This has of course been exploited by the Northern League to once again address insurmountable problems concerning the integration of Muslim immigrants. The burkini is also a non-problem. There are other far more important issues. For example, Muslims (immigrants and converts) resident in Italy still do not have decent places of worship in which they can pray and for decades have been waiting for a concordat with the state.

Amara Lakhous is an Algerian author and anthropologist. His work includes the novel “Scontro di civiltà per un ascensore a Piazza Vittorio” (Published by E/O, winner of the 2006 Flaiano Award).

Notes:

(1)See Mernissi F., Beyond the Veil: Male-female dynamics in a modern Muslim society, Schenkman Publishing, New York, 1975.

(2) Khattab H., “Women’s Perceptions of Sexuality in Rural Giza” in Giza, Egypt: The Population Council: Monographs in Reproductive Health , no.1. 1996, p. 20.

Translated by Francesca Simmons

6 Oct 2009

Send us your opinion. Write to us at doc@resetdoc.org

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy: ‘Angel’ Saves Church From Lightning Bolt

Parma, 22 October (AKI) — The statue of a ‘Golden Angel’ atop the 12th century bell tower of the cathedral in the northern Italian city of Parma was struck by lightning early on Thursday, setting it on fire but saving the church, Italian media reports said.

The lightning struck the cross held by the angel which resulted in a small fire, which had to be put out by a local firefighting company.

The clock in the tower stopped at the time the lightning struck, 2:29am.

Damage was primarily to the angel statue (photo) which is a copy installed at the beginning of the 20th century. The original, dating to the 13th century has been kept at the Diocesan museum.

The Cathedral — considered one of Parma’s most famous landmarks — is built in Romanesque style and is filled with Renaissance art.

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


Italy: Minister Vows to Close Down Site Urging Death of Berlusconi

Rome, 22 October. (AKI) — An Internet page on the popular networking site Facebook asking for the death of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi will be shut down by authorities and its creators charged, said the country’s interior minister on Thursday.

“There is a lot of attention being given to this issue by authorities. I do not believe that it is allowed in any country to write ‘Let’s kill the premier’,” said Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni, speaking to the media while visiting the quake-stricken city of L’Aquila.

“We have already given the order so that this page is shut down and all those who are involved in it will be reported to the magistrature,” threatened Maroni, adding that this type of initiative runs the “risk of inciting someone to carry it out.”

Following the appearance of the news in the mainstream Italian media, the group’s ‘Uccidiamo Berlusconi’ or ‘Let’s kill Berlusconi’ membership rose from 5,000 to over 19,000 members as of Thursday.

Many are dismissing Maroni’s threat and continue to join the group every hour.

After learning of the possible charges and investigations, many members of the group even asked other members to create more pages about the death of the premier in case the main one was shut down by authorities.

Meanwhile, the office of the public prosecutor in the capital Rome opened an inquiry on Thursday on the death threats and tasked Italy’s Postal and Telecommunications Police to ask the California-based social networking site, with the blacking-out of the page and to provide all necessary documentation needed to block the death threats.

Antonio Di Pietro, leader of the centre-left Italy of Values (IDV) opposition party also condemned the site, saying it was a “dangerous” site that could incite people to act.

“These are dangerous things, because they legitimise the act. They are very dangerous, more than organised crime,” Di Pietro said on Thursday.

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


Italy: Berlusconi’s ‘Secret’ Visit to Russia Raises Questions

Rome, 21 October (AKI) — A trip to Russia by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has raised questions among Italian opposition politicians after reports surfaced of a two-day ‘private’ trip by the premier to Russia for the birthday of prime minister Vladimir Putin, whose birthday was on 7 October.

“It is quite extraordinary that Berlusconi, president of the council of ministers of a parliamentary democracy, goes to Russia to see Vladimir Putin and both his country and parliament are kept in the dark about the specific reason for this visit,” said the deputy president in the Senate of the opposition Democratic Party, Luigi Zanda.

Berlusconi cancelled a meeting in Rome with King Abdullah of Jordan to travel to Russia.

Zanda called Berlusconi’s ‘secret’ visit “institutionally absurd” and questioned the real purpose of his visit.

A report by the Financial Times said Russia’s controversial plans to build two more gas pipelines to Europe was “expected to be high on the agenda” while Italian daily ‘Il Giornale’, owned by a member of Berlusconi’s family, said both premiers would discuss issues of geopolitics and energy.

“In any other democratic country, a similar move by the leader would have meant the end of his career,” said Zanda.

According to the Times, South Stream — a joint venture between Russia’s Gazprom and Italy’s Eni — would pipe Russian gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on to central and southern Europe.

Last week, Berlusconi was in the Bulgarian capital Sofia to discuss the South Stream issue with Bulgaria’s newly elected premier, Boyko Borissov.

Also, former German chancellor Gerhard Schroder, who now heads the Nord Stream consortium, is also expected to attend the private event.

North Stream would link Russia to Germany in order to pump gas under the Baltic at the end of 2011.

Earlier this week, another Italian politician questioned the premier’s so-called “mysterious” trip.

“Berlusconi’s trip to Russia appears to be quite mysterious,” said the deputy president of the Senate Emma Bonino on Monday.

“No one can understand it, also because I imagine Putin might have an urgent dossier to discuss, such as Iran for example. The idea that they’ll go ‘hunting deers’ seems to be unrealistic, but also that they will be talking about gas…seems to me not only curious, but mysterious,” she said.

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


Italy: Berlusconi’s Spokesman Responds to Media Freedom Report

Rome, 21 October (AKI) — The spokesman for Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday that thanks to Italy’s left-wing governments, non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders were made famous and given credibility.

“The left has made them become famous like Pink Floyd,” said Berlusconi’s spokesman Paolo Bonaiuti, commenting on the organisation’s latest rankings, which place Italy 49th for press freedom, compared with 44th in the previous report.

Bonaiuti made the remarks to Italian public TV programme Unomattina, adding that remarks by left-wing European MPs about the state of media freedom in Italy are wrong.

“Why do 27 left-wing European MPs accuse Italy over a lack of freedom of information when everybody knows its not true?” he said.

Bonaiuti also questioned why Italy’s previous left-wing government did not pass ‘conflict of interest’ legislation during its time in office.

RSF’s report attacked Berlusconi for his control of the media and said Italy lost five spots since the last report.

“In an anomalous situation within the EU, prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi still controls the three channels of public RAI television as well as the leading privately owned radio and television group Mediaset, increasing political interference in their editorial lines and fostering self-censorship on the part of a section of the profession,” said RSF in a statement on its website.

“The state of press freedom in Italy, caught between draconian draft reforms and threats from the mafia, is more and more worrying to its European neighbours.”

The report also blamed the mafia in Italy as well as the re-election of media mogul and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi for declining press freedom.

“The grip of mafia gangs on the media sector is strengthening and forcing a large number of journalists to tread warily. Silvio Berlusconi’s return to power brings back into focus the question of broadcast media concentration and government control.”

RSF ranked Italy behind Argentina (47th), Cape Verde (44th) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (39th) among other developing and non-EU countries.

“The grip of mafia groups on the media has become so threatening that in 2009 these groups were added to Reporters Without Borders’ list of press freedom predators,” RSF said.

The RSF report echoes that of US-based non-governmental organisation Freedom House, which earlier this year downgraded Italy to a country with a “partly-free” press.

In Freedom House’s rankings, Italy stands at number 73, behind the West African country of Benin, Israel in the Middle East and tied with the tiny South Pacific island of Tonga.

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


Italy: Man Fled Wife for Jail

But plea to be put back inside turned down

(ANSA) — Palermo, October 22 — A Sicilian man fled house arrest to get away from his wife Thursday but was sent back home.

Santo Gambino, 30, a bricklayer from a town outside Palermo, reportedly begged police to put him back inside because of the “non-stop nagging” at home.

But a judge ignored his pleas and reinstated his house arrest, urging him to “try to get along”.

Gambino was arrested in March for dumping construction waste.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Melanie Phillips: The Clash of Uncivilisations

The BNP are using the public’s real fear of Islamism to attract support for their racist movement, says Melanie Phillips. If the political class wants to take on Griffin, it must first join the fight against Islamofascism

The frenzy over the participation of BNP leader Nick Griffin on Question Time this week has been a classic case of failing to identify the real elephant in the room. By fixating on the ‘far right’ as the supremely evil force in British public life, the mainstream political class has failed to grasp that a half-baked neo-Nazi rabble is not the main issue. There is another more lethal type of fascism on the march in the form of Islamic supremacism.

The Islamists, or jihadis, are intent upon snuffing out individual freedom and imposing a totalitarian regime of submission to religious dogma which erodes and then replaces British and Western values. Now these two types of fascism are doing battle with each other — and with the white working class and lower-middle classes caught between them. For it is the intense anger of these people with the fact that — as they see it — they are the ignored victims of the jihadis that is driving them into the arms of the BNP.

There are, of course, many factors fuelling BNP support. Most broadly, increasing numbers at the lower end of the social scale feel the mainstream parties are ignoring their most pressing concerns. Most of these anxieties involve British national identity: uncontrolled immigration, multiculturalism, the loss to the EU of Britain’s ability to govern itself. Most toxic of all, however, is the threat from Islamic supremacism and the concern of the disenfranchised white voters that the political establishment is supinely going along with the progressive Islamisation of Britain.

All around them they see the establishment responding to Islamist bullying with acts of appeasement. Jihadis parade on the streets threatening to behead infidels — but it is white objectors whose collars are felt by the police. The mainstream political parties are all petrified of saying anything about either the steady encroachment of Islam into Britain’s public space or the linked phenomenon of mass immigration.

So the BNP have been handed an extraordinary electoral advantage: it can tell voters that it is the only party prepared unequivocally to denounce such things. The rise of Nick Griffin is intimately related to the unchecked march of Islamism in Britain. The BNP is, in one sense, merely the other side of the jihadi coin.

It is highly relevant that Griffin is an MEP for North West England — and did not stand in the old National Front power base around London. His party’s new appeal is based on a new power base — the north-west and Yorkshire. Research by academics at Manchester University reveals that support for the BNP is highest in areas of high Pakistani and Bangladeshi concentration — but significantly, not where there are concentrations of Indians. Strikingly, BNP support actually falls away steeply in Afro-Caribbean areas.

So to try to damn the BNP as racist misses the point by a mile. Not that the accusation is untrue — despite its attempt to rebrand itself, the BNP remains a racist party with strong neo-Nazi overtones. But it attracts votes talking about religion and culture. Crucially, it is cynically using the Islamisation of Britain as cover for its animus against all Muslims and non-white people.

There are many British Muslims, after all, who are a threat to no one, who want to enjoy the benefits of a secular society and human rights and are themselves potential victims of Islamism and sharia law. But the BNP seeks to elide this distinction. It hates not just Islamism but all Muslims; indeed, it has seized upon the widespread concern over Islamic extremism to morph seamlessly from Paki-bashing into Muslim-bashing.

The fears it exploits are those of ordinary white folk in areas of high Muslim immigration who have watched the transformation of their neighbourhoods from communities of people like themselves into a landscape they no longer recognise. The voters the BNP are seeking are bewildered and distraught that no one in authority seems to notice or care — and that they are dismissed as ‘racists’ for expressing such concerns.

It is this asymmetry of anger which helps the BNP so much. Those who this week seemed to be risking an aneurysm over Griffin’s TV appearance either dismiss the jihadis as an exaggerated problem — or, on occasion, even march behind their incendiary and hate-driven banners. There is no Griffin-style outrage over the regular appearances in the media by the fanatics of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas supporters or Iranian-backed jihadis, even though they endorse terrorism and the extinction of human rights.

Liberal society cannot see them as a threat because, under the prevailing doctrines of multiculturalism and moral relativism, minorities can never be guilty of prejudice or bad deeds. Only the ‘far right’, it appears, can be racist. It is not hard to demonstrate that Islamism is a real and present danger not just to democracy, but to groups such as women, gays, Jews, apostates and liberal Muslims. Yet liberals appear to recognise fascism only if it has a white face.

To those at the bottom, who live outside the bubbles of wealth or ideology, the face of intolerance is all too easy to recognise. They can see the churches of Britain being steadily replaced by mosques, can no longer find a local butcher selling pork, or are being regularly intimidated by local youths declaring ‘this is a Muslim area’. They are in no doubt that they are watching the takeover of their country and civilisation.

Stories that attract little attention in the press loom large in the concerns of the BNP target voters. The priests in east London being beaten up by Muslim youths who shout racial and religious abuse. The councils that tear up the planning laws to accommodate the expansion of mosques or madrassas. These are the issues all but ignored by mainstream media and politicians.

As a result, the debate is allowed to descend into a clash of extremists. Last March, for example, Islamists demonstrated against a parade in Luton of Royal Anglian Regiment soldiers returning from Afghanistan. The jihadis were protected by the police, while the only people arrested that day were locals protesting at this provocation. That event led in turn to a demonstration in Birmingham last August by the self-styled anti-Islamists of the so-called English Defence League (EDL) and other groups.

The cycle continued. The EDL provoked a counter-protest organised by Unite Against Fascism and a day of violent disorder. Similar clashes have subsequently occurred in Luton, Birmingham and in Harrow — brawls invariably characterised in the media as between the ‘far right’ and ‘anti-fascists’.

This is where it gets messy. The so-called ‘anti-fascists’ include a number of Islamic fascists, not to mention far-left boot-boys. As for the ‘far right’, the EDL furiously protests that it has no connections with the BNP and stands against them. But one or two individuals in the EDL have been associated with the BNP in some form or other. Most tellingly of all, EDL leaders have admitted that it is opposed not only to Islamist extremism but to ‘all devout Muslims’ — a BNP-style pitch.

To our progressive elite, however, the credentials of such groups are irrelevant. In any street altercation like this, the anti-Islamist demonstrators must be aggressors and those who confront them must be either their victims or heroic anti-fascists.

The left has a blind spot when it comes to defining ‘fascism’. In its Manichaean way, it views everything that is not ‘left’ as ‘right-wing’, everything that is ‘right-wing’ as evil and everything that is evil as ‘right-wing’. Fascists, therefore, are inescapably ‘the far right’. The left rest their own claim to moral virtue on their imagined historic role in fighting fascism. So they jump at any chance to wrap themselves in that heroic mantle.

Thus the Communities Secretary John Denham compared the EDL to Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts, who in 1936 were repulsed in the battle of Cable Street when they tried to take over London’s East End. ‘The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far right and among extremist groups,’ he said. This was as absurd as it was offensive.

The most alarming point was that Denham ignored the Islamist protests which inspired the EDL in the first place. This is the same John Denham who told a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference that there was a need for ‘critical engagement’ with lawful groups with whom one disagreed. Would Denham ‘critically engage’ with the BNP or EDL? Hardly. He’s apparently still fighting them at Cable Street.

But he would, it appears, engage with jihadis who endorse the Islamisation of Britain, death to gays and apostates, the destruction of Israel and the second-class status of women. It is this kind of cravenness and moral inversion that makes people despair of mainstream politicians and sends them towards the BNP.

Worse still, the label of the ‘far right’ toxifies everything it touches. There is now a real danger than anyone who opposes Islamic supremacism will find themselves vilified not only as ‘Islamophobes’ but also as BNP fellow-travellers. Such an intellectual atmosphere would leave liberals reluctant to speak out against Islamism. This would be the surest way to ensure that Nick Griffin is given access to a far greater audience than the million-odd voters he has so far attracted.

The tactics, for both the jihadis and the BNP, is clear. The Islamists have an incentive to provoke a violent reaction by white groups calling themselves names like English Defence League — simply in order to produce yet more demonisation of the anti-Islamists. In this way, the jihadis can establish control of an area as they become untouchable — and the fortunes of Nick Griffin and the Muslims he despises become inextricably intertwined. When these groups are left alone to fight each other, they both win.

This poses a grave challenge to liberals. If they absent themselves from this fray, the battle lines over the survival of Western freedoms will be drawn between the neo-fascists and the Islamofascists. At a time when there is such contempt for our established political parties, this is a fearsome prospect. As such disorder grows more violent, all minorities will be caught in the firing line, and society risks lurching into ever more panic-driven and repressive measures. And the wedge driven into the ranks of the defenders of the West makes the Islamists’ eventual victory more likely.

There is already a huge fissure among anti-Islamists over whether or not to ally with European neo-fascists. Since liberals are either silent, or even aligning with the jihadis on the grounds that ‘we are all Hezbollah now’ and turning instead upon the pivotal victim in this civilisational war, Israel, some anti-Islamists say that allying with neo-fascist groups is a no-brainer, because ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’.

But this is a highly dangerous course. Islamic fascism must be fought to defend Western values of freedom, democracy and tolerance. This cannot be done in an alliance with white neo-fascists bent on their negation. Sometimes, my enemy’s enemy is also my enemy.

This is why all decent people must join in the fight against Islamic supremacism. Support for the BNP would plummet if the political mainstream were to limit immigration, denounce cultural Islamic imperialism and refuse to give one inch to sharia law, saying no to polygamy, sharia finance, sharia courts and all attempts to set up a parallel Islamic society in Britain.

Freedom can only be protected if its defenders are united. But with Britain’s collective brain turned to multicultural jelly, liberals are refusing to acknowledge the civilisational battle now under way and gathering pace. The obsession with the ‘far right’ has cemented progressive opinion into its current lethal state of cultural somnambulism. Liberals must raise their eyes, raise their game and ask where this is leading. For there is far worse on the horizon than a nasty man on Question Time.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


New Statesman: “BNP is to the Left of Labour”

by Daniel Hannan

Regular readers will know how annoyed I am about the way the BNP is forever being called “far Right”. The soubriquet is intended to hurt the mainstream Right, by implying that the BNP are somehow like the Conservatives, only more so. When people see the phrase “Right-wing BNP”, it doesn’t make them think worse of the BNP; it makes them think worse of the Right.

Labour supporters often become tetchy when you point this out. So I was interested to read this article in the New Statesman, the unashamed voice of the British Left. The authors take issue with the usual way in which the BNP is labelled:

“A brief skim through BNP manifesto literature brings to light proposals for the following: large increases in state pensions; more money for the NHS; improved worker protection; state ownership of key industries. Under Griffin, the modern-day far right has positioned itself to the left of Labour.”

The article goes on to make a point well known to canvassers and psephologists, namely that the BNP is mainly competing with Labour for votes. As Hayek noted 65 years ago in The Road to Serfdom, the battle between socialists and fascists is a battle between brothers: that’s what makes it so vicious.

So, all you BBC presenters and Guardianistas, you now have the Staggers’ word for it as well as mine. Please stop referring to the BNP as Right-wing. Better yet, stop referring to the party at all.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]


Sweden: Teacher Who Paid for Sex With Minor ‘Can’t be Fired’

Being found guilty of paying for group sex with a minor is not sufficient grounds for education officials in Stockholm to fire a teacher who has refused to quit following his conviction.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Taking Over Paris Streets

[see link for videos and photos]

Riposte Laïque posted the photos (above) of a Paris in the process of being colonized. The process may be slow, but it is steady, relentless. They were taken in the neighborhood of Barbe’s and rue des Poinssonniers. Barbe’s has been a type of black ghetto for a long time; now it is a Muslim enclave to boot. They show the streets gradually filling up with people as the carpets are laid down:

The next photo is of rue Léon — what a sight! More photos here. You can view the video version of this scene below.

Another page from Riposte Laïque relates the words and images picked up by author Maxime Lépante in various parts of the Barbe’s quarter, on Friday October 16:

The sidewalk on the right side of rue des Poissonniers is totally covered with Muslims kneeling on prayer rugs. The left sidewalk also begins to fill up. At that moment, a black Muslim wearing a djellaba and an orange arm band with the word “security”, calls to the people who are standing around on the sidewalk watching the prayer: “Please get off the sidewalk. People will be praying there!”

In the Middle Ages they called that “being in charge of the street”. It meant that those in a superior social position had reserved for their own use the part of the street closest to the houses, which was higher than the center of the street where the filthy waters flowed, while those in an inferior social position had to walk in those waters.

Closer to our own time, in North Africa until the 19th century, the Muslims forbade the Jews to walk in the clean part of the street, forcing them to use instead the part where the garbage was thrown.

And here we are today, in the middle of Paris, with Muslims reintroducing this barbaric practice, forcing non-Muslims to walk in the sewer, while the Muslims occupy the sidewalks! (…)

The prayer is over (…) The Muslims put their shoes back on, fold their rugs and take off in their cars. The visitor automatically looks at the license plates of the cars and notices with surprise that they come for the most part from the suburbs. We are informed that many Muslims who pray here do not live in the neighborhood. (…) It is not rare, we learn, to find cars with their doors wide open on rue Léon, as the owners rush to arrive before the end of the prayer.

So it isn’t out of lack of space in the mosque that they pray in the open air every Friday, blocking the streets, but because so many of them come from the suburbs to pray in public, to occupy these Parisian streets that the French authorities turned over to them long ago!

What is this if not a deliberate Islamist strategy to take control of public spaces and impose their law on non-Muslims? (…)

This 3’40” video (without words) shows rue des Poissonniers as it fills up, and the non-Muslims walking in the middle of the street. Not much happens in the video, but it is a document testifying to the Islamization of the city. I found it repellent. Rue des Poissonniers was never “chic”, but it was nothing like this…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


UK: Age of the Thug: Violent Crime by Women Goes Up 80% Under Labour

Violent crime committed by women has soared since Labour came to power, it is revealed today.

The number of women found guilty of murder, vicious assault and other attacks has risen by 81 per cent since 1998.

The massive increase, revealed in the Government’s own data, means that women are now being convicted at the rate of more than 200 every week.

[Return to headlines]


UK: BBC is Right to Allow BNP on Question Time, Says Mark Thompson

Censorship is decision for ministers not broadcasters, insists corporation chief

The BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, today robustly defends the corporation’s decision to invite the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, on to Question Time, and challenges the government to change the law if it wants to censor the far-right group.

Writing in the Guardian, Thompson says ministers would have to impose a broadcasting ban on the party — as Margaret Thatcher did with Sinn Féin in the 1980s — before the BBC would consider breaching its “central principle of impartiality”.

Griffin was not asked on to the flagship current affairs show out of “some misguided desire to be controversial”, he says, but because it is the public’s right “to hear the full range of political perspectives”.

He adds: “It is a straightforward matter of fact that … the BNP has demonstrated a level of support which would normally lead to an occasional invitation to join the panel on Question Time. It is for that reason alone … that the invitation has been extended.”

In what appears a direct challenge to the cabinet — including the Wales secretary, Peter Hain, who has argued vociferously for Griffin’s invitation to be rescinded — Thompson says: “The case against inviting the BNP to appear on Question Time is a case for censorship … Democratic societies sometimes do decide that some parties and organisations are beyond the pale. As a result they proscribe them and/or ban them from the airwaves.”

Referring to the ban on Sinn Féin in the 1980s, he says the BBC opposed the move by the Thatcher government, but abided by it. The corporation would similarly abide by a decision to proscribe the BNP.

“My point is simply that the drastic steps of proscription and censorship can only be taken by government and parliament … It is unreasonable and inconsistent to take the position that a party like the BNP is acceptable enough for the public to vote for, but not acceptable enough to appear on democratic platforms like Question Time. If there is a case for censorship, it should be debated and decided in parliament. Political censorship cannot be outsourced to the BBC or anyone else.”

Thompson says the BNP will be challenged tenaciously on the programme.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]


UK: Convicted Rapist Flees Court After Hearing Guilty Verdict

Police hunt thug who subjected teenager to five-hour attack

A thug fled from a courtroom after being convicted of attacking and raping a teenager.

Byron Toner, 25, leaped over the dock, ran out of the third-floor courtroom and down a fire escape after being told he was being remanded in custody.

[Return to headlines]


UK: If Our Archbishop Spent Less Time Fretting About Climate Change, He Might Notice the Pope is About to Mug Him

Can the Church of England be doomed? Would it matter if it were?

These questions are prompted by the news that Pope Benedict XVI is attempting to persuade Anglican clergy and even entire parishes to defect en masse to the Roman Catholic Church.

This is a manoeuvre which, according to one’s point of view, could be described as audacious, unfriendly and even predatory. The Pope looks at our national Church and sees an increasingly fragmented institution, some of whose clergy and laity are longing for strong and decisive leadership. So he turns poacher.

[…]

Since the Pope regards the Roman Catholic Church as the one true Church, and does not even acknowledge the validity of Anglican orders, I suppose we should not be too surprised by what he has done, though it is difficult to imagine his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, making an open overture of this sort. The interesting question is why Pope Benedict should feel emboldened to so.

I am afraid much of the explanation has to do with the leadership — or lack of it — of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. While the Church of England had many problems before he was enthroned, and will continue to have them long after he has gone, it can’t be denied that they have multiplied during his watch. Unsurprisingly, he appears to have been caught off-guard by the Pope’s machinations.

[…]

But the Church of England is not a club intended to keep a diminishing band of members happy. If it is to justify its continued existence as our so-called national Church, it must speak to the whole nation — or at any rate the whole of England.

In his moral timidity and preoccupation with fashionable secular issues, Dr Williams exemplifies the worst traits of the modern Church of England.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Muslim Woman ‘Blackmailed by Couple Who Threatened to Show Family Photos of Her Wearing Western Clothes’

Emal Ismaeli, 34, and Joanna Richards, 22, demanded more than £7,000 in a two-month terror campaign against the woman, identified only as Miss X.

They threatened to confront her traditional Islamic family — including her husband-to-be — with photographs of her in Western clothing with her arms around a man, and with a videotape of her dancing.

Ismaeli and mother-of-one Richards, both of Lye, West Midlands, admitted blackmail at Wolverhampton Crown Court and were jailed for 15 months and 12 months respectively.

Miss X’s potential shame was ‘the powerful weapon being used against her’, the court was told.

The photographs were taken during a day out to a seaside resort two years before with Ismaeli and Richards, who are now divorced.

Prosecutor Bernard Linnemann said: ‘Miss X received a letter on the doorstep of her father’s home with her name on the envelope.

‘Inside was a picture of her in Blackpool wearing western clothing. On the back, Miss Richards had written “If you don’t sort out the money you owe, more will come out”.’

The court heard how Richards formed the belief that Miss X was having an affair with her husband, while Ismaeli attacked her car, ripping off its wing mirror, and tried to unlock the door as she drove.

Gurdeep Garcha, defending Ismaeli, said the blackmail attempt was a short-lived and ‘amateurish’ operation, adding that his client deeply regretted what he had done.

Sam Powis, representing Richards, said the mother-of-one’s crime had been committed out of stupidity and anger but the photographs had not been taken with the intention of using them for blackmail.

Sentencing them, Judge Michael Challinor said: ‘The harm that has been done is very significant.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]


UK: Newborn Baby of 23st Mother and Her Six Siblings Taken Into Care ‘Over Obesity Fears’

An obese couple’s seven children are all to be taken into care, it emerged today, after their newborn daughter was removed over fears she would become dangerously overweight.

Three children had already been removed by social services before the infant was taken from her mother within hours of her birth.

Now her ‘heartbroken’ parents have learned that their three other children will be taken away from them too.

They say the children of the so-called ‘fat family’ are being removed over fears they would also become clinically obese.

[…]

The 18st father, 54, who was at the Children’s Panel hearing, said: ‘The panel members wouldn’t listen to me.

‘They would only listen to the social workers. They were accusing me and my wife of physical and emotional abuse and physical neglect — and we deny all that.

‘I have lost all my children and I am completely devastated.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Teacher ‘Bullied’ By Council for Leaving Bag of Waste Paper Next to Full Recycling Bin

A teacher was threatened with prosecution by her local council for leaving a bag of waste paper next to a full recycling bin.

Vivienne Foster, 61, was accused by Nottingham City Council of fly-tipping after she left the carrier bag of waste paper next to a set of recycling bins outside her local shops.

Paper is not collected from Ms Foster’s home in Sherwood Rise and she had left the bag next to the bins because they were full.

She had planned to pick the carrier bag up as she returned from a dental appointment but forgot.

The council traced her as a piece of paper in the bag had her name and address on it.

The council then wrote to Ms Foster threatening to take her to court unless she accepted a fixed penalty notice or formal caution.

But the authority has now backed down.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Violent Immigrant Attacks on Swedes Are Breaking Records Again

A study in Sweden showed that 85 % of the rapists are immigrants. Only 3 % of the rapists are convicted. Twenty surburbs around Stockholm had on average 54 % immigrants in 1997. In 2008 it increased to 68 %, they expect to be 100 % full of immigrants in perhaps five years from now. Mass immigration had doubles the last two years since the new non-socialist alliance took power.

Why call it “integration” when they add more immigrants until a place is full of only immigrants? The real meaning of the word appears to be “replacing the population”.

The politicians must be judged only on what they do, not what they promise or say.

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

Balkans

Spain: 50% of Population Ignores Mediterranean Diet

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 20 — The Mediterranean diet risks extinction: 50% of the population in Spain has distanced itself from a healthy diet based on traditional products from the two shores of the Mediterranean, assured the Spain’s President of community nutrition, Javier Aranceta, while presenting the 1st Mediterranean Diet and Health Expo, which will be held from October 22-25 in the Spanish capital with the slogan: Come and learn about what is good. In statements to the press, Aranceta explained the results of a study performed by the Mediterranean Diet Foundation, according to which, after Albania, Greece, and Turkey, Spain is the fourth ranked country that has distanced itself the most in the last 40 years from a traditional healthy diet. Mediterranean cuisine “has lost its presence in Spanish kitchens”, assured the report, abandoned by “large portions of the population” despite the fact that it is “the most healthy choice”, pointed out Aranceta. The first expo on the Mediterranean Diet and Health, with the honorary presence of King Juan Carlos and the sponsorship of the Health Ministry, will present visitors new developments and the goodness of the food products that make up the Mediterranean diet, and will be a point of reference worldwide on the Mediterranean diet and for the promotion of health. A section of the exposition is dedicated to children to teach them the importance of a healthy, balanced diet. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Iran, Israel Attend Secret Nuclear Meet in Cairo

Israeli and Iranian representatives recently took part in a conference in Cairo on nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East, the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) said Thursday, but Tehran said the report on the meeting was untrue.

IAEC Spokeswoman Yael Doron, said, however that “no dialogue or interaction” between the Israeli and Iranian representatives took place at the meeting in Cairo in September. She gave no further details.

Iran however dismissed the report, with the spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Organization (IAO) telling the website of state television that “The reports in this regard are sheer lies and there has been no meeting in Cairo.”

Advertisement

Ali Shirzdian called the report “a psychological operation to undermine the successful [nuclear] meetings in Geneva [October 1] and Vienna [October 19-21].”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry confirmed, however, that the non-proliferation conference did indeed take place.

Haaretz learned that Meirav Zafary-Odiz, director of policy and arms control for the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), met several times over September 29 and 30 and, together with representatives of other countries, conversed, presented questions and gave replies.

The meeting was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo under the auspices of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Also attending were representatives of the Arab League, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, along with European and American officials.

The ICNND was set up by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and it is chaired by a former foreign minister of Australia, Gareth Evans, and a former foreign minister of Japan, Yoriko Kawaguchi. Former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami sits on the advisory committee of the organization.

The meetings were held behind closed doors, and all participants committed to complete secrecy, to allow a full and frank discussion. However, the fact of the meeting was leaked by Australian sources to the Australian daily The Age.

The Israel Atomic Energy Commission confirmed that such a meeting did take place but refused to comment.

The exchanges between the Iranian and Israeli representatives took place within three panel sessions, each dealing with one of the issues with which the ICNND is concerned — declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, preventing nuclear proliferation in the region and matters of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The two did not meet or shake hands outside the sessions. In one of the discussions, Soltanieh directly asked Zafary-Odiz — and eyewitnesses say he spoke in an impassioned voice, “Do you or do you not have nuclear weapons?” Zafary-Odiz smiled, but did not respond.

During the meetings, Zafary-Odiz explained the Israeli policy of being willing, in principle, to discuss the Middle East as a nuclear-free zone. She also detailed Israel’s unique strategic situation, saying regional security must be strengthened, security arrangements must be agreed upon and a peace agreement must be sealed before Israel would feel at liberty to discuss this topic.

Zafary-Odiz said Israel lived in a complex geopolitical reality, noting that in three decades, four countries in the region broke their commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria. She said Israel takes a responsible approach to the nuclear issue as a whole, and that the far horizon of its vision did include the possibility of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, even if the chances for this were slim.

Soltanieh defended his country’s policy, and said Iran was not striving for nuclear armament and did not endanger Israel. He said Israel did not understand the mentality and ideology of the Tehran regime. He said the regime did not oppose or hate Jews, but was merely politically opposed to Zionism. He said Iran’s growing arsenal of missiles was for defensive, not offensive, purposes.

Israel and Iran have refrained from all direct and indirect diplomatic contact since 1979.

Meanwhile, French Defense Minister Herve Morin said Thursday that the French and Israeli armies regularly swap information on Iran’s nuclear program.

“e have to know what’s going on so we exchange our information,” said Morin, responding to a question on RTL radio Thursday about a reported

Paris meeting two weeks ago between the French, Israeli and U.S. armies.

He did not respond directly to that claim, saying only that France “consults happily with its partners”.

The remarks came a day after a draft agreement in Vienna with Iran, France, Russia and the United States that foresees the export of Iran’s low enriched uranium to Russia for further enrichment to power a Tehran research reactor.

           — Hat tip: ESW[Return to headlines]

Middle East

EU: Syria Takes Time, Association Agreement Postponed

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 21 — There will be no association agreement between Syria and the European Union for the moment. Damascus is apparently not ready to sign the historic deal on October 26 in Luxemburg, as the EU-27 were hoping. According to Brussels, Syria has announced that it needs time to think, postponing the decision to an unspecified date, possibly somewhere next year. “The EU is ready to sign and will do so as soon as a date will be chosen with Syria” said Minna Fryden-Bonnier, a spokeswoman of the Swedish EU presidency, without ruling out the possibility of an agreement on the 26th. In fact, the European invitation to sign the agreement is a surprise. The Netherlands have vetoed the move for five years, insisting on the need to include a rescinding clause in case human rights are violated in the country. On October 8 of this year the 27 EU members found a way out of the deadlock thanks to a compromise drafted by Sweden, which includes the possibility for single member States to add separate statements to the agreement, including the option of suspension in case of violation of human rights. After this compromise was reached, Damascus was invited to sign the agreement, a few days before the proposed date. Syria has pointed out that it needs some time to study the situation in detail, assessing its impact on an economic level, particularly on the sectors that will feel the direct impact of the abolition of customs duties on European products. Syria would also be the only EU partner with an agreement that includes a rescinding clause. Association agreements allow the EU to give financial aid to countries that promise to carry out reforms. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


‘Good Morning Baghdad’

Nightclubs, Corruption and Iraq’s New Normalcy

By Bernhard Zand

Life is returning to the streets of Iraq as improved security has meant theater openings, packed restaurants and an emerging middle class. But violence is still an element of daily life and corruption threatens to become debilitating.

Mohammed al-Rahhal wears sideburns, a white suit and a red shirt open to his chest. On stage at a Baghdad nightclub, he sings, dances and taps his boots to the beat of the music. A band is playing behind him, and four young women are swooning at his side — three thin ones wearing pumps and full-length dresses, and a heavy, slightly clumsier one.

The audience at Khayyam — named after a Persian poet — is drinking ice-cold beer, nibbling on Lebanese hors d’oeuvres, and swinging exuberantly to the music. A bouncer is collecting small arms at the entrance. Then a businessman stands up, walks up to the stage, pulls a stack of banknotes out of his pocket and whispers something into the singer’s ear.

“Long live the youth of Adhamiyah!”, Rahhal bellows into the microphone. Adhamiyah is one of the Sunni districts of Baghdad that, until two years ago, was firmly in the stranglehold of al-Qaida.

“Long live the youth of Madinat al-Sadr!” It’s a reference to the eastern Shiite slum that has been the scene of devastating suicide attacks. Cheers erupt. The businessman tosses piles of 1,000-dinar and one-dollar bills into the air. The money is whirled about by the ceiling fans, and it slowly falls to the floor, like confetti.

“This is Iraq!” a Turkmen from Kirkuk yells over the din. “This country will never become a theocracy!” The euphoria escalates into joyful pandemonium. Young men — Kurds and Arabs, Sunnis, Christians and Shiites — jump up and dance in front of the stage.

Zest for Life

The first nightclub in Baghdad began welcoming guests a year ago — the first to open for business since the 1990s, when Saddam Hussein suddenly developed a religious streak after defeat in the first Gulf War in Kuwait and prohibited the serving of alcohol. The conservative Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, of all people, lifted the ban.

Now, after years of violence and death, a zest for life has seized Iraq. On Thursday evenings, endless wedding convoys pull up at the hotel security checkpoints, causing traffic to back up for miles. Once they arrive, 50, sometimes as many as 60 couples tie the knot in mass weddings at establishments with names like the Mansur, the Babil, and the Palestine. Right up until the curfew at midnight, colorful lanterns light up Abu Nuwas Street, a famous riverside promenade.

The carp restaurants in the park along the Tigris, which were deserted during the years of terror, are once again doing a brisk business. So too are the police officers who provide security for the neighborhood, often in return for a bit of cash in hand.

In late June, US troops began their withdrawal, and in January, post-war Iraq is to go to the polls for the third time. The new state is gradually taking shape after a violent birth that cost the lives of nearly 100,000 Iraqis and over 4,000 Americans. It is not the model Arab democracy that former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair once envisioned. Neither is it the Islamic Republic that the mullahs in Tehran would like to see as their neighbor. And it is certainly not the murderous caliphate that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden wanted to establish in Mesopotamia.

An Authoritarian Nationalist

It is a state in which hundreds of people continue to die every month in attacks and gunfights. Al-Qaida has been forced to retreat to the north, where it has been launching an increasing number of assaults in recent weeks. Now that the war between Sunnis and Shiites has ceased, the terrorist organization intends to rekindle the conflict between Arabs and Kurds.

In the south the government is trying to boost oil production, but in June when it opened bidding for eight oil fields, an investor could only be found for one. Iraq is the richest country in the Middle East, after Iran; it has the oil that Syria, Egypt and Turkey don’t have; it has the water that is not widely available in the region; and it has an educated elite. But it also has a government that hasn’t even begun to exploit this potential.

The result is a contradictory polity that, for both the Iraqis and the rest of the world, will take some time to get used to. It is a police state — but also one that grants liberties the likes of which have not been seen in living memory. It is an oil superpower riddled by nepotism and corruption, where a handful of parliamentarians are struggling to forge a constitutional state. It is a country whose prime minister, during a mere three and a half years in office, has gone from being a Shiite compromise candidate to an authoritarian nationalist who nonetheless allows for an unusual amount of freedom.

A new, rich upper-class has emerged. During the religious fasting month of Ramadan two years ago, commercial jets flying between Baghdad and Beirut, Amman and Dubai were not even half full. This year’s festival, which took place from late August to late September, saw flights booked out well in advance. Iraq’s elite went shopping. In the affluent Karrada district of Baghdad where, following the US invasion in 2003, new refrigerators, children’s bicycles and kerosene heaters heralded an initial wave of prosperity, car dealerships are now selling Porsches and Jaguars.

‘Lining Their Pockets’

A great deal of money is in circulation, but where does it come from? “Corruption was always bad,” says former Minister of Telecommunications Juwan Fouad Masum. She says that the upcoming elections in January are spurring politicians and high-ranking officials to ever greater degrees of vice. “No minister or general director knows if he will retain his post after the elections. So they’re filling their pockets now.”

Masum lives in the Kadissija compound, a residential area guarded by Kurdish elite units, where Saddam’s ministers once resided. Four cars are parked in front of her villa and the swimming pool glows blue in the twilight.

“The problem,” she says “is the system.” When a minister leaves office, the entire staff of the ministry leaves as well, right down to the man who makes the tea. This is a custom which has been revived from the Saddam era. There is rampant cronyism, which also leads to incompetence and corruption. Masum now has a job directing a business consulting firm. She says she would rather work abroad than in her own country.

Over the past few years, Iraq has risen to become the second-most corrupt country in the world, surpassed only by Somalia on the index of the international non-governmental corruption watchdog Transparency International. Former Minister of Trade Abd al-Falah Sudani, along with his brothers, embezzled so much money from the food rationing program — known as the Public Distribution System — that he decided it would be best to flee to Dubai. His plane was already in the air when it was ordered to return to Baghdad, where he was arrested at the airport.

“We have 10 hours of electricity a day, 15 hours of freedom of speech and 24 hours of corruption,” as the Kurds say in northern Iraq, where two clans have been pulling the strings for decades. One of these groups is led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

The parliament in Baghdad is actually one of the bodies responsible for investigating such abuses. “Our monthly salary is the equivalent of €6,700 ($10,000),” says Maysoon al-Damluji, a parliamentarian. “In addition, we are each entitled to 30 security personnel with a minimum salary of €300 per month.” She doesn’t want to malign her colleagues, she adds, but it is highly common for relatives and friends to be placed on the politician’s payroll, regardless of whether or not they know anything about security.

‘Our Government Is Like a Big Mafia’

By contrast, genuine bodyguards are required to protect the members of the parliamentary anti-corruption and the budget committee, which include men like Sheikh Sabah al-Saadi and women like Shada al-Moussawi. “You don’t make any friends when you demonstrate to the national security adviser that he is legally entitled to a staff of 60, but in reality has 273 people on his payroll,” says Moussawi. When her committee decided to summon a minister, she received threatening phone calls: “It was an interesting time for me in parliament. I certainly won’t run for another term.”

Al-Saadi also recounts how he was often threatened with “physical liquidation.” “Our government is like a big Mafia,” he says. “We uncovered networks that extend through virtually all ministries.” His own Shiite party, Fadila (Virtue), is not involved, he claims, because it has no ministers in the cabinet.

Saadi’s party has joined the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), one of two coalitions of political forces that — depending on the election results — will appoint the next prime minister. A key development will come in January, when the Kurds decide who they prefer — the Shiite dominated INA or the list of candidates put forward by Prime Minister Maliki. And the Kurds’ decision will depend on which alliance is more likely to guarantee them the big prize: the oil city of Kirkuk, which is claimed by both Kurds and Arabs.

“Compared with the conflicts that threaten to erupt following the elections, corruption may actually be a stabilizing factor,” says Joost Hiltermann, an analyst for the International Crisis Group. “Corruption keeps people’s minds focused on money instead of violence,” says Hiltermann.

Religion and Politics Don’t Mix

So far in post-Saddam Iraq, the custom has been to include as many political groups as possible in the government. But there have been disadvantages to this approach, foremost among them that it has prevented the emergence of an opposition.

“The model of the national unity government has failed,” says Safiya Suhail, a liberal member of parliament. There was a time when the US placed its hopes in politicians like her. When President George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union address to Congress in February 2005, she sat in the audience as a symbol of the new, democratic Iraq.

Suhail entered parliament on the list by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. After serving as an independent for a few years she has now changed camps and gone over to Prime Minister Maliki. She recently appeared as the only woman without a head scarf when he presented his list — Maliki was one of the first to understand that politics and religion don’t mix in Iraq.

His own party was originally called Dawa Islamiya (Islamic Mission). Now he’s dropped the adjective, referring to it simply as the Dawa. Other parties have followed Maliki’s lead. The competing list no longer calls itself the House of the Shia, but emphasizes instead that a large number of Sunni leaders have joined it. Other groups have gone for ideologically neutral names like The Center or The Constitution or The Qualified. All parties want to avoid coming under suspicion of representing a specific religious movement. Fears are still rife that a civil war could erupt between Sunnis and Shiites, though that seems unlikely at the moment. There is hope that in the new Iraq, old conflicts will be settled in the political arena.

‘We’ve Learned a Great Deal’

In contrast to four years ago, the green flag of the Prophet, half moons and swords no longer dominate election posters. “We’ve learned a great deal,” admits Sheikh Jalaleddin Saghir. He is a Shiite like Maliki, but a fierce rival of his former ally.

What disturbs Saghir about the prime minister is exactly what makes him popular among voters: his impulsiveness and his tendency to govern Iraq as a strongman. “Maliki has put a lot of talent into disappointing his friends and making enemies,” says Saghir.

Many in Iraq have felt the brunt — starting with the Shiite militias in Basra, Kut, Hilla and Madinat al-Sadr, when Maliki staged a decisive crackdown in March 2008. Some of his former coalition partners then complained that the brutality of the operation — called Charge of the Knights — was comparable to Saddam’s punitive campaigns in the south.

Maliki also doesn’t shy away from confronting the Kurds — he engages their Peshmerga fighters whenever they try to exert their influence beyond their autonomy zone. Individual Sunni tribes, whose so-called “awakening” councils were primarily responsible for driving al-Qaida out of central Iraq, are ignored by Maliki. And finally there is the formerly US-supported People’s Mujahedin of Iran, a group that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Maliki ordered government troops to attack their base at Camp Ashraf in July, resulting in 11 casualties and 500 wounded, according to the Iranian rebels.

“Maliki is drunk with power right now,” says a member of parliament who experienced his behavior first-hand at a secret meeting with the heads of the parties represented in parliament. “He openly threatened us there: If anyone brings something against him and his Dawa Party, he will definitely also find something against him.”

Secret Decree

The prime minister has “a strong authoritarian vein,” says Kadhim al-Rikabi, who heads an association for independent media. He says it is frightening to see with what determination that government is gagging the press: “If the US occupation has left us with one good body of legislation, then this would be the media decrees of 2003,” says Rikabi. At the time, US proconsul Paul Bremer set up an independent media council, whose members were to be elected by parliament.

But ever since Maliki has been in office, Kadhim complains, he has personally named the media councils, which are allowed to grant print, online and broadcasting licenses. He has reintroduced the censorship laws from the Saddam era, and directly intervenes if he disapproves of articles. He also issued a secret decree dated Aug. 6 and sent to the interior, defense and health ministries. “The Prime Minister and Supreme Commander has ordered,” he wrote, “that every government official who, after terrorist attacks gives details concerning the victims to media outlets, shall be severely punished.”

Maliki’s vision of patriotic reporting can be viewed on the broadcasts of the government channel Al Iraqiya. The leader always sits at the front of the table, with subordinates right and left who take notes on his speeches. Praise for the wisdom of his leadership is compulsory — just as it used to be in the days of dictatorship.

Good Morning Baghdad

“Ah, look how beautiful our city is in the autumn,” said a presenter a few days ago on the “Good Morning, Iraq” show. “Now let’s listen to a song by Qassim Sultan.”

Images of a surreally beautiful Baghdad flashed on the screen, children swinging in the city’s Saura amusement park, a baker sliding bread into an oven, policeman directing traffic on Kahramana Square. “Good morning, Baghdad,” sang Qassim Sultan, “good morning, our life, inshallah (Allah willing), will be wonderful.”

These are songs of the Sirens, reminiscent of the rule of Saddam. The reality in Baghdad is different, but it is without a doubt better than in the past few years marred by violence, attacks and barbarity, which form the basis of comparison in today’s Iraq.

Translated from the German by Paul Cohen

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


Jordan: Italy to Restore Ancient Jordan River Bridge

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 21 — Constructed in the 13th century, the old Jasar Almajmàah Bridge was one of the most venerable victims of the six-day war of June 1967. Situated on the banks of the River Jordan, the bridge can now be restored by Italian historic heritage experts. The news has come today at Rome’s Quirinale palace during the presentation of the exhibition, ‘Jordan: crossroads of peoples and of cultures’. “Italy is proud to contribute to the safeguarding of the huge archaeological and historical heritage of the Near East,” a note announces. In this light, the Italian authorities have accepted the invitation issued by the Jordanian and Israeli authorities to restore the old bridge which will thus aspire to become a symbol of peace on the disputed frontier on the River Jordan. The restoration project, with its construction time-lines, are yet to be defined. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Mideast Leaders Believe They Can ‘Blackmail, Cheat’ U.S.

May harden positions following Obama’s overtures to foes

TEL AVIV — Amid recent White House overtures to Syria and Iran, some Mideast leaders are considering hardening their positions against the U.S., believing they may extract more concessions from a conciliatory Obama administration.

“Instead of being pro-American and receiving little, maybe we should change our model to blackmailing and cheating you. This way we will bring more American support,” a Palestinian Authority official told WND yesterday.

The official was offering his analysis of the current U.S. position in the Middle East. He spoke on condition his name be withheld. The official claimed some in the PA were considering adopting a stronger position “so we can have what Syria received without offering much in return.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Women of Kuwait Can Travel With Their Passport Without Their Husbands’ Permission

A Constitutional Court decision. “In the 21st century you can not control his wife.” According to the female Parliamentarian Aseel Al Awadi, the amendment helps “the democratic process in Kuwait.”

Kuwait City (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The women of Kuwait will have their passport and travel without the prior permission of their husbands. This was established by the Constitutional Court yesterday.

Aseel Al Awadi, female Parliamentarian (see photo), has applauded the decision as a “special victory for the constitutional values” and a “vindication for women’s rights”.

Aseel Al Awadi is one of the first four women elected to parliament in Kuwait. In a statement released to the press she said that the decision of the Court “is a first step to eliminate all laws that are unconstitutional and a threat to the democratic process in Kuwait.”

The attorney general Adel Qurban said he was proud of the decision of the Court: “It’s incredible that a man can control the travel or the movement of his wife in the 21st century!”

On 13 July, Aseel Al Awadi proposed the amendment to change the law on passports. The proposal was caused by yet another case where a husband refused to give permission to his wife and their three children to take their passports to ensure that they would not leave the country.

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

South Asia

Islamabad: Commandos Ambush a Military Vehicle, An Officer and the Driver Dead

The attack occurred today in a residential area of the capital, so far no one has claimed responsibility. The government orders the closure of all schools and institutions in the country. A necessary measure to strengthen security following the attack on the Islamic University on October 20 that killed eight people.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) — An armed commando opened fire on a military jeep in Islamabad, killing two people. The incident happened today in a residential area in the capital and is the latest in a series of attacks that have bloodied the country in recent weeks. The army, meanwhile, continues its offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan, the government has ordered the closure of all schools following the attack on the Islamic University International 20 October, which killed eight people (seven of which students).

Today in the attack in Islamabad, Gen. Moinuddin Haider-Asghar and his driver died, a third soldier, who was also aboard the vehicle at the time of attack, was injured. Local witnesses report that the army vehicle was riddled with bullets. So far no one has claimed responsibility.

In recent weeks Pakistan has experienced a wave of suicide attacks against strategic targets, which has caused over 180 casualties. A Taliban response to the long announced military offensive against their stronghold in South Waziristan, which began on 17 October. The latest assault was unleashed against the International Islamic University in Islamabad, which killed eight people. The attack was claimed by Qari Hussain Mehsud, Taliban commander, better known as the “mentor of suicide bombers”. In a telephone call to the BBC, the fundamentalist leader said” the whole Pakistan is a war zone”.

In response, the government yesterday ordered the closure of all schools, colleges and universities in the country. Rashid Mazari, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the measure remains in force until the end of the week to reinforce security measures.

Meanwhile, the army continues its offensive against the Taliban and fundamentalist groups in South Waziristan. In recent days the military captured Kotkai, birthplace of the Pakistani Taliban chief Mehsud Hakimullah. The response of the extremists was immediate, who regained control of the city.

According to the army i9t will take at least six or eight weeks of fighting to crush the resistance of the Taliban in the province. The war is causing a mass exodus from the area, similar to what happened in spring in the Swat Valley, forcing about 250 thousand people to flee their homes.

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


Orissa: Anti-Christian Hindu Leader, Madhu Baba, Arrested

He was the right hand man of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati, whose murder sparked the violence against Christians in Orissa. The court has denied bail. He was involved in the attack on some Dalit Christians from the village of Malipara in July 2008, but police say that the detention is linked to extremist violence more than a year ago.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) — Police in Orissa have arrested Madhu Baba, the Hindu leader of Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the right hand man of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati whose assassination led to the anti-Christian pogrom of August 2008.

On 18 October the police took Madhu Baba from Jalespeta Ashram some 310 km from Bhubaneswar, to prison in Baliguda where he is now being held in custody. The court has placed him under a non-bailable warrant.

Sources in the police commissioner of Baliguda argue that the arrest “has nothing to do with extremist violence last year” and that recently the police had received information of threats and possible new attacks on minorities that lead back to Madhu Baba.

The Hindu leader, however, is long accused of having participated in a Hindu extremist raid that took place more than a year ago. On July 8, 2008, the Christian villagers of Malipara, in the Tumudibandh, were attacked by activists linked to Madhu Baba who accused them of having slaughtered a cow, an act prohibited by Hindu religious dictates. The leader of the VHP had definitely taken part in the quarrel between Christians and his followers that took place in the morning. The attack occurred in the afternoon according to a well known dynamic: the siege of homes of some Christians, the hostel and the orphanage linked the Church, the desecration of a local Catholic chapel run by the Jesuits, the destruction of Bibles, books and liturgical furnishings.

Madhu Baba’s involvement in the affair has long been known and the Hindu leader was on the police most wanted list in the area of Tumudibandh. Hi imprisonment, which occurred suddenly and so long after the events, gives rise to suspicion and speculation among the people of Kandhamal.

The Hindu leader is a controversial figure of the VHP in Orissa, often criticized for its extremist views. Right hand man of Laxmananda Saraswati and his heir to the leadership of Jalespeta Ashram, Madhu Baba was at the scene of the murder of the swami on 23 August and is one of the main witnesses. He himself presented the First Hand Information, the first report that helped spread rumours that the killers of the Hindu leader were Christian and not Maoist militants as later investigations revealed.

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


UN to Cut Aid to Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal Over Lack of Funds

From next January over 90 thousand refugees, 17 years in refugee camps, risk not having enough food to survive. Leader of the refugees: “If we were allowed to return to our country we would not depend on UN aid.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — “We have no work and no legal residence in Nepal. How can we send our children to school and buy food if the UN cuts aid? “. Geeta Rai, a Bhutanese refugee in Nepal, warns “if we have to die of hunger we are ready to stop receiving any support.” Because of lack of funds, the UN World Food Program (WFP) announced on 16 October it would have to halve aid to refugee camps in eastern Nepal. Geeta along with 90 thousand other refugees are in danger of no longer having enough food to survive as of next January.

“We are very concerned about the consequences of the cut food rations,” says Richard Ragan, WFP representative in Nepal, “without aid the most vulnerable people [children and elderly people] will be forced to eat only once a day” . Between ‘77 and 91, during the regime of the then King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, a campaign for the nationalization of the country took place in Bhutan, aimed at creating a state based on Buddhist culture and devoid of outside influences. For the Nepalese Hindu minority, then about one third of the population deportation across the border began, which ended in the ‘90s with the expulsion of about 105 thousand civilians. After 17 years they still have no legal rights in Nepal and only some of them are allowed to leave the camps to work or go to school. UN aid is the only support for them.

Teknath Rijial, leader of the refugees of Khudunabari camp, says: “If we were allowed to return to our country, we would not depend on UN aid. We still have our property in Bhutan, which the government seized after having expelled us”. The leader adds that “if we have no right to live, the UN and the Nepal should continue to send aid enough to feed us. We can not go on half empty stomachs”.

To date, the Government of Bhutan has not allowed the return of refugees despite the Democratic “turnaround” of 2008 and the various sessions of dialogue with the Nepalese authorities. To resolve the plight in November 2007 the United States and international community offered asylum to about 20 thousand refugees. More than 78 thousand people remain trapped inside the camps waiting for asylum. For many, the hope is still that of return.

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

Far East

Book Excerpt: China’s U.S. Conversion

Beijing’s plan to transform American debt into equity

Writing in the Financial Times of London, Yu Qiao, a professor of economics in the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsighua University in Beijing, proposed a plan for the U.S. government to guarantee foreign investments in the United States. While Secretary Clinton may not have pledged American homes to China under eminent domain rights, the Obama administration may well be willing grant a financial guarantee as an inducement for China to convert U.S. debt into Chinese direct equity investment to establish Chinese ownership in U.S. successful corporations and potentially profitable infrastructure projects.

Is the Obama administration is willing to put the U.S. for sale to China in order to induce China to keep financing U.S. government deficit spending?

[…]

“The basic idea is to turn Asian savings, China’s in particular, into real business interests rather than let them be used to support U.S. over-consumption,” Yu Qiao wrote, reflecting themes commonly suggested by Chinese government officials. “While fixed-income securities are vulnerable to any fall in the value of the dollar, equity claims on sound corporations and infrastructure projects are at less risk from a currency default.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Rivals China, India in Escalating War of Words

China offered to help India’s archrival, Pakistan, develop a territory claimed by India. India invited the Dalai Lama, a top irritant to China, to visit a state claimed by China.

[…]

The “People’s Daily,” published by China’s ruling Communist party, launched a blistering attack on India last week, accusing it in an editorial of “recklessness and arrogance” and of harboring “the dream of superpower … mingled with the thought of hegemony.”

The tirade followed an expression by the Chinese foreign ministry of its “deep dissatisfaction” with the election campaign visit earlier this month by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as its own territory.

India responded with a protest at China’s offer of aid for a hydro-power project in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, which India claims as its own territory.

New Delhi has also let it be known that next month it will allow the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, to visit a major Tibetan monastery in Arunachal Pradesh. That is bound to infuriate Beijing, which has been especially sensitive to Tibetan issues since an uprising in Tibet in March 2008.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Xinjiang: Thousands of Uyghurs Have Disappeared Into Thin Air: “Maybe Dead”

The charge was made today by Human Rights Watch. During the protests that broke out in Xinjiang, “the police used torture and intimidation.” The dissident Rebiya Kadeer adds: “Of the twelve condemned to death, nine have already been killed.”

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Of the twelve Uyghurs condemned to death in recent days “nine have already been killed. According to the information in our possession more than ten thousand people of Uyghur nationality were arrested and locked up in jail between July 5 and the first of October. Many are gone, and we think that they have been killed”. The is the charge made this morning by Rebiya Kadeer, the leader of the ethic group from the northern province of Xinjiang, during a visit to Japan.

According to the dissident, the World Congress of Uyghurs — the organization she heads — “wants to talk to the Chinese government. Beijing must agree to our autonomy, because their mode of action is destroying our nation, our education, our religion and our freedom of expression”. This refers to the massive immigration of Chinese Han (the majority in China) to the province of Xinjiang. According to the locals — Muslims of Turkish extraction — the arrival of these “guests” aims to destroy the local identity.

Protected by the central government, the Han are in fact in a dominant position in almost all fields: economic, academic and managerial. Uyghurs — who identify their country with East Turkistan — have repeatedly called for a kind of autonomy (at least cultural) from China. It was precisely this request that formed the basis of the bloody protests that began on 5 July, which according to official sources in Beijing, claimed the lives of 192 people, mostly Han.

But according to a report released today by Human Rights Watch (HRW), and confirmed by the Kadeer’s statements, “thousands of protesters disappeared without trace soon after the protests”. The non-governmental organization based in New York, says it has “first hand evidence of that concern more than 40 individual cases of killings disguised as disappearances. But these are only the tip of the iceberg “. The data is conflicting, but credible sources speak of at least a thousand cases of killings.

The HRW report also speaks of “how the Chinese police tried to stop the protests last July. The roads were armoured by officers in riot gear, who took part in the violence, even detaining suspects for interrogation using torture. In some cases, the police set fire to homes and offices, taking away people without charges or explanation. “

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

Australia — Pacific

El Masri Wanted as Liberal Candidate

The NSW Liberal Party has approached retired NRL star Hazem El Masri to run in the 2011 state election.

The Liberal Party wants the former Bulldogs player to run in the Lakemba electorate once held by former premier Morris Iemma, The Daily Telegraph reported on Friday.

Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell reportedly authorised targeting the Labor Party heartland, as he takes charge of the Liberal Party’s election campaign.

El Masri told the newspaper he could not comment on any approaches made by the Liberal Party.

“I’m just having a break at the moment, I don’t know what the future holds at the moment; I have to go and think about a lot of things,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]


Korean Man Who Beat Child Dodges Jail Because of Cultural Differences

A KOREAN man who beat his teenage sister-in-law for not doing homework or running fast enough has avoided jail thanks to cultural differences in discipline.

The man, 25, was before the District Court in Brisbane yesterday on seven assault charges arising out of his “misguided” efforts to help keep the girl, who was aged 12 to 13 years at the time, on the right track.

The court heard the man, who can’t be named because it would identify a child victim of a violent crime, struck the girl with a metal vacuum cleaner pipe, a hard plastic pipe and a mop handle.

He also threatened to kill the girl by tying her to a boulder and throwing her into the Hinze dam.

Facts before the court also stated the man beat the girl with a metal vacuum cleaner pipe and a mop handle on occasions when she failed to do her homework properly.

The court heard the youngster suffered extensive bruising and she finally reported the assaults to a school teacher who informed police.

Judge David Searles described the offences as “horrendous” but because of the unique circumstances of the case, including cultural differences, he sentenced the man to a wholly suspended nine months jail.

He noted when the man’s father-in-law had died in 2006, the man was expected to take over as head of the family.

Judge Searle said the man was only 23 at the time and his sole experience of parenting was how he had been brought up in Korea, which had involved extensive physical punishment, and he believed that was how discipline was delivered.

Judge Searle said he accepted the man was trying to ensure the girl got a good education but he had been misguided in his actions.

“You went wrong by not understanding that in this country the use of physical violence against children is not acceptable,” he added.

Earlier, the man, who now lives on the Gold Coast, pleaded guilty six counts of assault causing bodily harm while armed and one of common assault on various dates between January and October last year.

Prosecutor David Nardone said the offences were serious and should be met with stern punishment even if the man had only been trying to be strict.

He told the court the man beat the girl with a plastic pipe when she couldn’t keep up with him on a run in a Southport park and also when he felt she wasn’t trying hard enough in a run around the Southport baths.

Defence barrister Mal Harrison said the case against his client, a university student who worked at a Gold Coast service station, had to be viewed against a cultural background where ideas on discipline were different to Australia.

He said his client attended a Korean school where pupils were regularly beaten by coaches and teachers if they were seen to be not trying hard enough at sport.

“My client had no parenting skills to call on other than his own experiences and they include being beaten by his father with a rubber pipe,” Mr Harrison added.

           — Hat tip: DK[Return to headlines]


Muttaburra ‘Lawless’ Because Police Officer ‘Too Good’

THE tiny western Queensland town of Muttaburra has waited 12 months for a police officer only to be told the successful applicant is over-qualified for the job.

The sergeant from Beenleigh, south of Brisbane, learned she had the job six weeks ago, but was later informed she would have to accept a senior constable’s wage — a difference of up to $17,000 a year.

The police prosecutor is taking legal action, claiming she was assured she would keep her sergeant’s rank when she accepted the job.

Her husband, a qualified electrician, has already moved to Muttaburra where he was offered a position managing the town pool.

Outraged Muttaburra residents say the Queensland Police Service is treating them with contempt.

“She’s a sergeant who’s prepared to come out here in the middle of nowhere and the police service is saying she can only do it on a senior constable’s wage,” said local Axel Deininger.

“Country policing is different to Brisbane. It takes a certain sort of person to become integrated and do the job the way it should be done. This person has done country policing.”

The town is one of 11 across Queensland with an empty police station.

The Queensland Police Service said arrangements had been made in each area to maintain a police presence.

Mr Deininger said he had not seen an officer in Muttaburra since August.

“Half the vehicles in the town are unregistered because it’s not worth the effort to drive 200km to Longreach and back,” he said.

“Nobody wears a seatbelt and everybody drives to the pub on a Friday night, and everybody drives home again.”

A QPS spokesman said yesterday that the job had been advertised as a senior constable’s position.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Piracy: Merchant Ship Jolly Thwarts Attack in Mombasa

(AGI) — Rome, 22 Oct — Italy merchant vessel, “Jolly Rosso”, thwarted a pirate attack this morning 300 miles from Mombasa.

On board the Italian ship, no one was injured and the only damage that was caused was due to machine gun fire from the aggressors. The pirates seem to be a group of four, with light weapons. The group targeted the merchant vessel from a skiff.

The captain of the “Jolly” thwarted the attack by making several manoeuvres done normally under these circumstances and then by increasing the ship’s speed. The Italian Navy has been informed of the incident.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Immigration

Greek Socialists to Grant Citizenship to Migrants’ Children

Incoming government rolls back immigration policy long condemned by international organisations

A generation of migrant children who were born and raised in Greece but never officially recognised will be granted Greek citizenship, the newly elected socialist government has announced.

The step — part of a wide-ranging overhaul of immigration policies long condemned by international organisations — could affect up to 200,000 children who though Greek in everything but name have never been afforded nationality.

“This country can no longer go on being a hell for migrants,” said Michalis Chrysochoidis, the minister in charge of the newly created citizens’ protection ministry. Human rights activists say the measure will overturn a “surreal” situation where children whose immigrant parents have legally settled in Greece are treated as “aliens” with no rights at all.

“Absurd is too light a word to describe the lot of these kids,” said Petros Papaconstantinou, a prominent anti-racism spokesman. “Even if born in Greece, even if they attend Greek schools and speak only Greek, which invariably is the case, on paper they don’t exist at all.”

Without official documentation the children were often subject to abuse, arrest and deportation at the age of 18, he said. “There are children whose parents are from Africa, Asia and countries like Albania who are enrolled at schools across Greece but who have no papers whatsoever. In Europe this is unique.”

Under the reforms, unaccompanied children held in overcrowded detention centres will also be released. In recent months there have been a series of rebellions in migrant camps on Lesbos and other Aegean islands, often led by minors protesting against poor living conditions.

While other parts of Europe have seen a decline in illegal immigration, Greece has experienced a 50% surge, with its easternmost islands bearing the brunt of the influx. Most of the migrants, who cross over from Turkey, are from Asia, Africa and countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. “Greece remains the main entry point for illegal immigrants into Europe,” said Gil Arias Fernandez, the deputy director of Frontex, the EU border agency.

While Turkey has been criticised for failing to stop the flow, Greece has also been denounced for its “inhuman” handling of migrants. Human rights groups accused the former conservative government of illegally expelling thousands across the border into Turkey.

Following the death of a Pakistani immigrant in police custody in Athens last week, the socialists also plan to integrate immigrants into the police and place psychologists at stations nationwide.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Israel: Shock Campaign With Posters of Children

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, OCTOBER 21 — An awareness-raising campaign against the expulsion of children of illegal workers — a struggle between intransigents and liberals which has been going on for months in Israel — has recently added posters showing the faces and innocent expressions of dozens of children who might be the victims of a wave of repatriations. The walls in Tel Aviv are covered: at first they almost look like advertising posters for Benetton. Children with huge eyes, plaits and honey-coloured or black skin. But the slogan “deported” which accompanies the portraits creates a striking contrast. In a strict application of Israeli immigration law (championed by Interior Minister Eli Yishai), these children should be expelled. Repatriated along with their parents to their countries of origin: the Philippines, India, Nepal, Ethiopia, even the war-torn Sudan. In July this year 2,000 minors risked being sent away from Israel: the issue was resolved at the time by a temporary solution, a postponement of three months decided by Premier Benyamin Netanyahu following a heartfelt appeal by President Shimon Peres. However the thorny issue has not been resolved, and it is now splitting the country in two. Even within the executive, the measures set out by Yishai, a member of the ultra-orthodox Shas party, have found more than one critic. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


UNHCR Stats Show Iraqis, Afghans and Somalis Topping List of Asylum-Seekers in Industrialized World

GENEVA, October 22 (UNHCR) — Asylum applications in industrialized nations rose by 10 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2008, according to the UN refugee agency’s provisional statistics released today. A total of 185,000 asylum claims were filed in the opening six months of this year across 38 European countries, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and The Republic of Korea.

Iraq remains the top country of origin of the asylum applicants (13,200 claims) for the fourth consecutive year. Afghans (12,000 claims) and Somalis (11,000 claims) are the second and third largest groups as security conditions continue to deteriorate in large parts of their home countries. The other main countries of origin are China, Serbia (including Kosovo), the Russian Federation, Nigeria, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

As a region, Europe received 75 percent of all asylum applications although the United States remained the single largest recipient with 13 percent of all applications filed in industrialized nations (23,700, UNHCR estimate). France ranks as the second recipient nation with 10 percent of all claims (19,400), followed by Canada (18,700), the United Kingdom (17,700) and Germany, ranked fifth (12,000).

The UNHCR statistical report shows an uneven distribution of asylum claims. The majority of claims by Iraqis, for example, were submitted in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as in neighbouring Turkey. Afghan claims were mostly filed in the United Kingdom or Norway, while Somalis mainly applied for asylum in the Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Policy changes may also affect asylum trends, according to the report. It cites the example of a sharp decline in Iraqi asylum claims in Sweden after a migration court ruled in 2007 that the situation in Iraq was not one of “armed conflict.” The decision, the report says, may have shifted Iraqi applications to other countries such as Germany, Finland and Norway.

While the report focused on asylum trends during the first half of this year, the authors say the second semester might see a further increase in the number of claims, based on seasonal patterns over the past 10 years. They also caution that the number of applications does not necessarily equal the number of individuals because some people may have applied in more than one country in a given year or more than once in the same country.

           — Hat tip: RRW[Return to headlines]


US Filling Up With Dumb People: Immigration’s Ultimate Dilemma

As an educator in Colorado through the 70s, 80s and 90s, I watched academic standards and expectations drop like a brick in a bucket of water, like a jet fighter plane auguring into the ground, like water cascading over Niagara Falls. As if guided by an invisible hand nationwide, administrators forced teachers to dumb down the academic requirements. Teachers passed kids to the next grade level whether those children performed or not.

[…]

Forty years later, and 100 million people added to the United States from disparate cultures around the world, educational systems around America grind on in total chaos. With a 600,000 Middle Eastern immigrant load in Detroit, Michigan, as reported by NBC’s Brian Williams, “…76 percent of high school students in Detroit schools flunked out this June…other cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston feature similar dropout rates from 50 to 60 percent… each year 1.2 million teens hit the streets illiterate.”

[…]

In a penetrating article, Jared Taylor, “The Silent Catastrophe” October 12 2009, “One great, avoidable evil we face is the declining quality of the American work force. The Census Bureau tells us that if immigration continues at its current rate of nearly two million people a year, whites will become a minority of the under-18 child population in just 14 years—in 2023—and will become a minority of the working population just 16 years later. The greatest increase will be in Hispanics, who are now dropping out of high school at higher rates than blacks, doing little better than blacks when they manage to stay in school, and are the group least likely to go to college. Demographers are beginning to warn that as well-educated, white baby boomers retire and are replaced by poorly educated blacks and Hispanics, the productivity gains of the last several hundred years will be reversed, and the United States could go into a tailspin.”

“We have the possibility of transforming the American dream into the American tragedy,” says Irwin Kirsch, senior research director at the Educational Testing Service. He warns that our increasingly non-white and immigrant workforce threatens not only our standard of living, but the very survival of republican government based on an informed middle class.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Obama’s Safe-Schools Boss Sponsors Radical Porn

Harvard event honoring AIDS activists credits Jennings for ‘gifts and grants’

The chief of President Obama’s Education Department Office of Safe Schools, homosexual activist Kevin Jennings, is being credited for helping sponsor a Harvard University display honoring the work of the radical homosexual organization Act Up.

[…]

Now the advertising for the Harvard exhibition: “Act Up New York: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis, 1987-1993,” credits Kevin Jennings with others including Fred P. Hockberg and Tom Healy, Open Gate and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation for “gifts and grants” used for the project.

The display included dozens of “politically-charged posters, stickers, and other visual media that emerged during a pivotal moment of AIDS activism in New York City,” according to a website promoting the effort.

[…]

A member of the Mass Resistance group attended the event, which runs into December, when it opened just days ago.

“It was extremely disturbing. This exhibit is a ‘celebration’ of anger, terrorism, religious bigotry, and sexual deviance. It’s considered a serious mainstream event by the elite academic and homosexual communities. In many ways it’s a window into what the homosexual movement — including many who teach in colleges and high schools across the country — thinks of children, America, religion, society, and you,” the report said.

“For any public official to be involved with this and funding it (much less a person in charge of directing the nation’s children’s ‘safety’) is beyond offensive. It’s every parent’s nightmare,” the report said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

General

Carbon Offsets to Form New Bubble

Well, gang, get your checkbooks out because you’re soon going to see the emergence of a brand new bubble from which a very small number of people will benefit greatly, while a huge number of people will lose their shirts.

This bubble is essentially driven by the Democrats and the Obama White House in collusion with the UN, having made a commitment to enact Draconian eco-legislation that will feature carbon offsets at its core.

Here’s how carbon offsets work: a company that emits carbon into the atmosphere as a by-product of its business transactions will be allocated a certain number of annual “free” carbon credits by the government. That company will be audited annually and if it were discovered that the emissions exceeded the allocation, then the company would have to purchase carbon credits (currently proposed to be valued at $40.00/ton USD) to cover the excess. If the company emitted less than allocated, it could sell its unused carbon credits on the open market for the same price.

The central driver of this new bubble will be various carbon exchanges, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the European Climate Exchange (ECX) as well as others. Entities with carbon offsets to sell will sell them on these exchanges, which in turn will sell them to companies that have run over their allocation. The justification of this scheme is that it needs to be done in the interest of lowering so-called greenhouse gases, such as carbon, in the atmosphere. But anyone conducting even the most cursory research will quickly come to realize that trading in carbon offsets will achieve no such thing.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

10 comments:

mace said...

Re Korean man who beat child.

The judge has obviously been infected with the multi-cultural disease,decisions such as this threaten liberal democracy.One more step on the road towards a nation of tribes.

Robert Marchenoir said...

Re : the appearance of BNP's leader, Nick Griffin, on the BBC yesterday.

I've just browsed through dozens of webpages of the British supposedly center-right media to learn what was said on the Question Time program (The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Daily Mail).

I've run into heaps of insults and derogatory comments against Nick Griffin, directly made or reported by journalists ("repugnant", "disgusting", "slimy", "creepy", "empty vessel", etc), but very little substance. I had a hard time finding what was actually said on the BBC during the show.

Finally, buried far down a long piece on the Daily Mail, I found the real information : Baroness Warsi, a Conservative Muslim peer, who was on the panel, thinks there are too many immigrants in Britain, and castigated her co-panelist, the Left-wing Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Justice, for being in denial about it.

In effect, a Muslim peer (whom the media presented as summoned by the BBC to oppose Griffin -- as all the other panelists, by the way) agrees with the most important part of the (anti-Islam) BNP's agenda ; and that's nowhere to be seen in the headlines of British media. All we get to hear about is how a black author on the panel refused to shake hands with Nick Griffin, and how she thinks it made herself look clever.

So, if I get this correctly, Griffin is mostly right, in spite of some unpalatable opinions (not denying his alleged Holocaust-denying), dubious friends (having met David Duke of the KKK), being a poor orator and having burly bodyguards ?

In another article of The Daily Mail, the author of a biography of Nick Griffin gloats over unpleasant remarks her wife made about her husband during an interview. He reports a family dinner at his home, which he was invited to share. After dinner, Griffin gave him a cassette tape explaining why Islamisation of Britain had to be opposed. The writer boasts about not having bothered to listen to it.

Now, imagine : you embark on a biography of a controversial political leader. He gives you an audio document explaining one of the main points of his party's agenda. Not only you don't listen to it, but you boast about the fact afterwards in the papers. What sort of biographer is this ?

Reading all these pages, one gets a distinct feeling that Britain is lost. British journalists, who are usually fairly honest and professional, seem to have suspended any fact-reporting on this event, any rational political debate. They have concentrated instead on demonizing the BNP's leader.

Many journalists seem to agree that there is too much immigration, but that it's such a pity that it's the BNP which says it, because it's a "racist" party. They blame mainstream parties for avoiding the problem, thus allowing the BNP's electoral success.

But nobody cares to define what "racism" is, as opposed to fighting mass immigration. Which is BNP's main concern.

The brainwashing is spectacular.

erdebe said...

And specially for our american friends, the latest from good old pat condell!

http://www.youtube.com/user/patcondell#p/a/u/0/KjSjpNe1-Vc

Baron Bodissey said...

erdebe --

You're not paying attention: I embedded that very same video right here at Gates of Vienna yesterday morning.

DP111 said...

The judge labeled his crime “horrendous”, but absolved the accused from full responsibility due to “cultural differences”.

This is the reason why a multicultural nation can no longer police or enforce justice.

For a just society to exist, a society has to have the same cultural traditions and a common religion that underpins it. This is important not just for us in the West, but also for Muslims as well. For Muslims to have a just society based on sharia, they must impose it on all Muslims and non-Muslims, or force non-Muslims to leave. One can see that this what they are doing anyway, and all power to them for enforcing what is right in their context.

Homophobic Horse said...

"Reading all these pages, one gets a distinct feeling that Britain is lost. British journalists, who are usually fairly honest and professional, seem to have suspended any fact-reporting on this event, any rational political debate."

No change there then.

You gotta watch this video.

"Baroness Warsi, a Conservative Muslim peer, who was on the panel, thinks there are too many immigrants in Britain, "

This is a negative dialectical dissimulation (i.e. a cheap and useful lie) from a proper jihad apologising MP.

Sean O'Brian said...

Robert,

I saw Q.T. last night and distinctly remember Baroness Warsi saying it would be a mistake for Britain to "close the drawbridge" to immigrants. She did grumble at Jack Straw over Labour's immigration policy and said that the Conservatives would exercise better border control and liaise more with local authorities. She also took exception to Nick Griffin's use of the term "bogus asylum seeker" - insisting that, legally speaking, there is no such thing.

Jack Straw was asked by an African man why his Government had not done anything to control immigration and responded by awkwardly seguing into his family history, saying that he was a third-generation descendant of Jewish émigrés on his mother's side. A commenter on another blog had a good explanation for this strange digression: it was Straw's pre-prepared answer that he had been expecting to use to disarm a white questioner.

Nick Griffin did not come off well. He was shaking and smiled inappropriately at a serious question about the Holocaust. When asked about his previous Holocaust denial he said that EU law prevented him from explaining why he used to hold such views. The audience and panel jeered at that. The first twenty minutes consisted of the panel and audience quoting all the worst things Griffin has said back to him. His explanations were evasive.

Griffin made one good point during the evening: when he was asked, amid ridicule, to explain what he meant by calling Anglo-Saxons and Celts the indigenous people of Britain he said that Jack Straw would not go to New Zealand and ask a Maori to explain how Maoris are indigenous to that country. He also said that he would not deport anyone already residing in Britain who had not broken the law.

erdebe said...

@baron

Yep, youre right!

Since having my own blog I do not pay half as much attention as i used to.

I came across the vid, thought you guys might like it, had a quick (but evidently not good enough) scan to see if it was allready up and then posted it in the comments.

Sorry, mate, wont happen again!

Robert Marchenoir said...

Thank you, Sean O'Brian. Did you, by any chance, spot any decent written record of the program on the Web ? I did not find any.

I have, since, read the printed account of Le Monde's London correspondent. Strangely enough for a representative of a distinctly Leftist and pro-immigration French newspaper, she thought, contrary to what I reckon is the general feeling within British media, that Nick Griffin came out in a favorable light.

She also wrote, in a knee-jerk, usual Leftist way, that Griffin had it easy, because all the questions were about him, and not about the BNP's agenda on Royal Mail's strike, for instance, and other, non-immigration related, broader issues.

The assumption being, of course, that he would have been too stupid to provide an convincing answer, because the BNP is all about fear-mongering, etc.

However, in a press conference he gave this morning, Nick Griffin precisely regretted that he was asked only questions about himself, and not, for instance, on Royal Mail.

Afonso Henriques said...

Baron, I hope you read this:

I haven't been having much time (wow, notice my good enlish!) and as so I can't make a decent report about it. But if you like you can investigate, I believe there's some material in english on the net.

Our only living Nobel Prize winner, José Saramago, just started barking publicly that the Christian God is a bad person and is not to be trusted and that the Christian bible is a book of bad costumes.

The Catholic Church responded, half of the people were very indignated by Saramago's remark.

Even the little Jewish community condemned him.

And now they made a prime time debate between a Catholic priest and mr. Saramago. I'm seeing it as I am writing it is sickening:

Saramago: "The Catholic Church forbidden the people from reading the bible, for centuries"

Catholic Priest: "It's not exactly like that"

Saramago: "In practise it was"

Catholic Priest: "You're right, you're right. Catholic people only started to read the bible a century ago, to have a knowledge of the bible is a Protestant tradition, not a Catholic one".

The fact that the priest always agrees with almost all Saramago says is sickening. But at least, the priest doesn't allow him to talk in the name of "the people" because a majority of the people is religeous, he claims...

well, if you want, check this out and put a link to it on the next GoV news chart.

Keep going, I'll be visiting and commenting soon... Just don't count on the Portuguese Cultural Enrichment. Unless it is a really big thing, I will not be able to report it.