Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/10/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/10/2009While official denials at the highest levels continue, the evidence of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s connection with radical Islam continues to accumulate: an extremist imam and his extremist mosque, and statements before witnesses which were reported to military authorities, but ignored. Public officials are still avoiding using the I-word.

In other news, a Lebanese man in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to death for practicing black magic.

Thanks to Aeneas, C. Cantoni, Diana West, Henrik, Insubria, JD, Paul Green, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Financial Crisis
Italy: Jobless Rate Below European Average
Shocking Numbers: Real Unemployment Tops 22%
The New Faces of Day Labor
 
USA
Alleged Fort Hood Shooter Frequented Local Strip Club
Answers Sought on Fort Hood Suspect’s Link to Imam
Democratic Consultant Says He Got a Warning From White House After Appearing on Fox News
Despite Ban, Holder to Speak to CAIR-Linked Group
Obama’s No. 2 Iran Man on Soros-Funded Council
Pyrex Cookware May Explode and Injure You
Suicidal Political Correctness
The Demon of Diversity
The Lords of Entitlement
To Our Great Detriment Redux
What’s Behind America’s Politically Correct ‘Love’ Of Islam?
Who’s Watching the Watchers?
 
Europe and the EU
“In Recent Times the Holy Spirit Has Moved Groups of Anglicans…”
Berlin Wall: La Russa, Deafening Silence From the Left
EU Reform That Sweeps British Justice Aside
EU: D’Alema Gains Support for Foreign Policy Post
EU: MP Calls for More Consultation on Gas Pipeline
Fini: Quicker Citizenship for New Italians
Italian Crucifix Case Reignites Old Issue
Italy: ‘Paedophile’ Prophet Remarks Rile Muslims
Italy: Camorra Probe Hits MP
Pope Allows Married Anglicans to Become Catholic Priests in Bid to Tempt Them to Defect
Spain: Alakrana, Towards Extradition of Somali Pirates
Spain: No to EU Proposal on Agricultural Policy Change
UK: Let’s Give Elderly the Legal Right to Die at Home, Says Health Secretary
UK: Our Libel Laws Shame Us
UK: Police Report Pregnant Woman to Social Services Over Half-Decorated Home
UK: Terrifying Moment Crowd is Engulfed by 20ft Fireball at Family Festival After ‘Yob Threw Aerosol Can Into Flames’
UK: The Laws That Stain Britain’s Good Name
 
Balkans
Transport: Serbia-Italy, Accord for Low-Cost Flights in Dec
 
North Africa
Egypt Mufti: Niqab ‘Showy’ And Could be Banned
 
Israel and the Palestinians
The Untold Stories of Israel’s Martyrs
 
Middle East
Cyprus: US-Based Group Files $400 Bln Lawsuit Against Turkey
Iraqi Court Ruling Against Guardian Seen as Part of Crackdown on Media
Saudi Arabia: Sentenced for Black Magic
Turkey Runs Hot and Cold
Turkey: 953 Women Murdered in First 7 Months, Minister Says
Yemen: Muslim Leader Calls for End to Saudi Action
 
Russia
Russia Buying Rapid-Response Carriers
 
South Asia
An Ode to India Divides Muslims and Hindus
 
Far East
Philippines: Kidnapped Teacher Beheaded by Militants
 
Immigration
Pope: Migration is Opportunity
Spain: Despite Crisis, Foreign Residents Increase 10%
 
Culture Wars
‘Gay’ Blogger Calls Church-Bomb Threat a ‘Joke’
Vatican Engineered Victory for Pelosicare

Financial Crisis

Italy: Jobless Rate Below European Average

Paris, 9 Nov. (AKI) — Unemployment in the 16 countries in the Eurozone rose slightly by 0.1 percent in September to 9.7 percent, according to new data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on Monday. For the 30 members of the OECD, the Paris-based organisation said that unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in September, the same as the previous month.

While the number of jobless rose 0.4 percent to 10.2 percent in the United States, Italy posted an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent.

Earlier on Monday the Italian minister of labor, Maurizio Sacconi, said the government would outline new measures in the next few days to support incomes and employment.

Speaking on an Italian television programme, Sacconi said the new measures would reinforce income protection and above promote employment and work experience.

Last week the OECD said that major economies across the world including Italy, France, the UK and China, were showing strong signs of recovery.

The Canadian and German economies are also displaying “tentative signals of expansion”, the organisation said.

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


Shocking Numbers: Real Unemployment Tops 22%

Obama figures deliberately understate economic downturn

The true rate of unemployment for October 2009 may be 22.1 percent, not the 10.2 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert reports.

Unemployment at 22.1 percent, if accurate, would be at numbers not seen since peak unemployment during the 1973 to 1975 recession.

Economist John Williams, publisher of ShadowStats.com, estimates that the peak of unemployment in nonfarm unemployment in the Great Depression of the 1930s would, by his methodology, have registered at 34 to 35 percent in 1933.

So, how does the Obama administration get away with reporting the lower unemployment percentage?

Corsi explained that the Clinton administration changed the way BLS calculates unemployment statistics by excluding “discouraged workers,” those who had given up looking for a job because there were no jobs to be found.

Since the Clinton years, discouraged workers looking for a job for more than one year are not counted as “unemployed” because they are considered to have dropped out of the labor force.

[…]

With millions of jobs outsourced to China and India under free-trade globalism, the dollar weakness that accompanies most recessions is not stimulative, he explained, largely because the U.S. has lost so many manufacturing jobs that are never returning to its shores.

“Truly, the only way the Fed can stimulate the economy is through creating bubbles generated by keeping interest rates artificially low,” Corsi wrote. “As I argued in ‘America For Sale: Fighting the New World Order, Surviving a Global Recession, and Preserving USA Sovereignty,’ the Bernanke stock-market bubble caused by keeping interest rates at zero is merely a repeat of the Greenspan housing bubble that was caused by keeping interest rates at 1 percent in 2003-2004.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The New Faces of Day Labor

It sounds like a George Lopez joke.

“Times are so bad that I saw an Anglo day laborer standing outside Home Depot the other day.”

Except it’s true.

In the latest sign of the Las Vegas Valley’s economic free fall, U.S. citizens are starting to show up in the early mornings outside home improvement stores and plant nurseries across the Las Vegas Valley, jostling with illegal immigrants for a shot at a few hours of work.

Experts say the slow-starting but seemingly inexorable trend is occurring nationwide.

“It’s the equivalent of selling apples in the Great Depression,” said Harley Shaiken, chairman of the Center for Latin American studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

[Return to headlines]

USA

Alleged Fort Hood Shooter Frequented Local Strip Club

KILLEEN, Texas — The Army psychiatrist authorities say killed 13 people and wounded 29 others at the Fort Hood Army Base Thursday was a recent and frequent customer at a local strip club, employees of the club told FoxNews.com exclusively.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan came into the Starz strip club not far from the base at least three times in the past month, the club’s general manager, Matthew Jones, told FoxNews.com. Army investigators building their case against Hasan plan to interview Jones soon.

“The last time he was here, I remember checking his military ID at the door, and he paid his $15 cover and stayed for six or seven hours,” Jones, 37, said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Answers Sought on Fort Hood Suspect’s Link to Imam

e FBI knew that alleged Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had communicated with a radical imam nearly a year before the attack but concluded the Army psychiatrist was no threat, officials said.

The report comes on the same day that Fort Hood held a memorial service honoring the 13 people who died during Thursday’s shooting rampage at the Texas base. President Obama and the first lady attended the ceremony that drew an estimated 15,000 people.

Hasan, the only suspect in the attack, was shot by civilian police and remains hospitalized under guard in San Antonio. The 39-year-old Army psychiatrist is reportedly awake and talking to doctors and has met with his lawyer.

As the impact of the worst-ever mass shooting at a military post sinks in, information has begun to emerge raising questions over what U.S. intelligence agencies knew about Hasan’s behavior and whether they shared that knowledge with local Army and law enforcement officials in the weeks and months before the Fort Hood shootings.

E-mails With Imam Were Deemed ‘Fairly Benign’

vestigative officials told The Associated Press that FBI Director Robert Mueller has ordered an internal investigation into whether the agency mishandled an “assessment” of Hasan that was conducted last December and concluded he did not pose a threat. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to communicate with the media.

On Monday, the FBI and military officials briefed senior lawmakers. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said it was his understanding that Hasan and a radical Yemeni imam had exchanged 10 to 20 e-mails.

The imam, whom reports have identified as Anwar al-Awlaki, was released from a jail in Yemen last year. He writes a blog that denounces U.S. policies as anti-Muslim and once presided at a mosque in Falls Church, Va., that Hasan attended.

The officials said a joint terrorism task force, with military participation, took “a look” at Hasan, but concluded his communications with Awlaki were “fairly benign.” At the time, Hasan was conducting research on post-traumatic stress at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the officials say Hasan’s communications were judged to be consistent with that research.

They said the military was made aware of the communications, and that law enforcement authorities could not take the matter further because the messages did not advocate violence or threaten violence. The terrorism task force concluded Hasan was not involved in terrorist planning.

The concerns, one official said, were not enough even to start a preliminary investigation.

Former Walter Reed Colleagues Talk Of Dismissal Effort

The officials also dismissed the significance of reports that Hasan’s colleagues complained about his religious and political views. One official said they get thousands of complaints every year, some of which lead to investigations, while others do not.

Two psychiatrists who worked with Hasan at Walter Reed told NPR that during the six years he was there, he was frequently distracted and often late for work. The psychiatrists, who asked not to be identified, said that when on call, Hasan often would simply not answer the phone.

They also said Hasan once tried to convert a patient to Islam, telling him that Islam would “save his soul.” Hasan received a verbal warning for that incident.

He was repeatedly warned about his performance, but officials said the problems had nothing to do with his faith.

At one point, the psychiatrists said, a former psychiatric director at Walter Reed, Scott Moran, sought to have Hasan dismissed, reportedly saying, “I do not think Hasan should carry the Walter Reed name.” Moran, reached by NPR, declined to comment.

But the administrative procedure for removing a resident at Walter Reed was considered onerous, according to the psychiatrists, and a key official on a review committee reportedly asked how it might look to terminate a key resident who happened to be a Muslim.

Hasan was later reassigned to Fort Hood.

Radical Cleric Calls Hasan ‘A Hero’

Awlaki praised Hasan as a hero on his personal Web site Monday. The posting stated that American Muslims who have condemned the Fort Hood attack are hypocrites who have committed treason against their religion.

It went on to state that the only way a Muslim can justify serving in the U.S. military is if he intends to “follow in the footsteps of men like Nidal.”

“Nidal Hassan [sic] is a hero,” Awlaki said. “He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.”

Hasan’s family attended the Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, where Awlaki was preaching in 2001. A funeral for Hasan’s mother was held there on May 31, 2001, according to her obituary in the Roanoke Times newspaper, around the same time two Sept. 11 hijackers worshipped at the mosque.

The mosque is one of the largest on the East Coast, and thousands of people attend prayers and services there every week.

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, outreach director at Dar al Hijrah, said he did not know whether Hasan ever attended the mosque but confirmed that the Hasan family participated in services there. He said the Hasans were not leaders at the mosque and that their attendance was normal.

Suspect Warned Of Difficulties For Muslim Troops

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Hasan warned his medical colleagues a year and a half ago that to “decrease adverse events,” the U.S. military should allow Muslim soldiers to be released as conscientious objectors rather than force them to fight fellow Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims,” Hasan said in a presentation to senior Army doctors, a copy of which was obtained by the Post.

Officials say Hasan will face charges in a military court. Hasan’s attorney, retired Col. John P. Galligan, said he told his client Monday that all of his rights as a defendant in the military justice system will be respected.

Galligan appeared on CBS’s The Early Show on Tuesday and said he found Hasan to be “coherent” and that he is “aware that he’s a suspect. But there were no formal charges that I could discuss with him.”

Galligan said he thought it would be difficult for Hasan to get a fair trial at Fort Hood, “given the national media attention that has been focused” on the case.

           — Hat tip: Paul Green[Return to headlines]


Democratic Consultant Says He Got a Warning From White House After Appearing on Fox News

At least one Democratic political strategist has gotten a blunt warning from the White House to never appear on Fox News Channel, an outlet that presidential aides have depicted as not so much a news-gathering operation as a political opponent bent on damaging the Obama administration.

The Democratic strategist said that shortly after an appearance on Fox, he got a phone call from a White House official telling him not to be a guest on the show again. The call had an intimidating tone, he said.

The message was, “We better not see you on again,” said the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to run afoul of the White House. An implicit suggestion, he said, was that “clients might stop using you if you continue.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Despite Ban, Holder to Speak to CAIR-Linked Group

Attorney General Eric Holder has agreed to give a keynote speech next week to a Michigan group which includes the local branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations even though the FBI has formally severed contacts with the controversial Muslim civil rights organization.

On Nov. 19, Holder is scheduled to speak in Detroit to the first annual awards banquet of Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust, a coalition of several dozen law enforcement and community groups. An online registration form for the event includes the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan on a list of “official & participating organizations.”

A spokeswoman for ALPACT confirmed that CAIR is a member of the coalition.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Obama’s No. 2 Iran Man on Soros-Funded Council

Expected to negotiate with radical regime while serving group opposing sanctions

A former U.S. diplomat slated to become the No. 2 Iran official at the State Department serves on the board of a controversial Iran council that has argued against imposing sanctions on Tehran and has received funding from groups tied to billionaire George Soros.

John Limbert, a former ambassador to Mauritania, reportedly was appointed to serve as deputy assistant secretary for Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. State Department sources were quoted by Politico saying Limbert would play an active role in negotiations with Iran, working with Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns.

But Ed Lasky, writing at American Thinker, points out that Limbert also serves on the National Iranian American Council’s advisory board.

NIAC describes itself as advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. It has been accused of largely toeing the line of the Iranian regime.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Pyrex Cookware May Explode and Injure You

So why are you suddenly hearing reports of Pyrex exploding? (To see the video “Testing Pyrex: Experts Weigh In,” please see this link.)

The Pyrex products now sold by Wal-Mart are NOTt the same Pyrex products your mother and grandmother received as wedding gifts.

Most people have no idea that Corning actually sold Pyrex to a company called World Kitchen in 1998. But even prior to that, the U. S. industry as a whole switched from borosilicate to soda lime glass in the 1980s, for a number of reasons:…

[…]

Pyrex for the kitchen is now made from heat-treated soda lime glass, although the Pyrex sold in Europe is still made of borosilicates. If you have a Pyrex dish that is more than 25 years old, there is a good chance it contains borosilicate glass.

Heat-treated lime isn’t able to withstand temperature changes the way the old borosilicate glass could. Soda lime glass undergoes three times the thermal expansion of borosilicate glass, which is why a hot soda lime dish placed on a cold, wet surface turns your baking dish into a virtual thermal bomb.

This also explains why borosilicate is still the type of glass used for laboratory glassware.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Suicidal Political Correctness

Even as more and more realize oppressive political correctness is damaging our nation and killing our people, we still hold ourselves hostage to it. We can’t criticize Obama on his policy agenda without absurd accusations of racism, and now our authorities’ first instinct after the mass murder at Fort Hood is to victimize the identified shooter — Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan — rather than to protect our soldiers.

The military is the last place we should expect political correctness to flourish. We recognize, after all, that our armed forces exist primarily to safeguard our national security, not as a laboratory for social experimentation. Or do we?

Forget “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for now. I’m referring to the reaction of the Army’s top brass to the Fort Hood slaughter in the news conference and television interviews following the shooting.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Demon of Diversity

“Everybody’s looking for a ‘why’ answer, and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think there’s a ‘why’ answer. And that’s probably part of the frustrating thing about being human,” stated Army Chaplain Col. Frank Jackson at an “interfaith” service on Fort Hood.

With all due respect to Col. Jackson, he unwittingly illustrated precisely what the “why” is.

The Problem: A vital institution responsible for the safety and protection of the citizens of the nation incapable of making a moral judgment based on an absolute standard that left those within its ranks and within its protectorate vulnerable to predators. Who is this?

The Army — yes. The church — yes.

Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey Jr. appeared to express that the demon of diversity was of equal concern to military brass as the first order of national security in stating, “As great a tragedy as this was — it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.”

When did diversity take precedence over “protect and defend”?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Lords of Entitlement

Every medical insurance decision will be subject to rationing by politics.

The lone Republican, Joseph Cao, represents a Democratic-leaning Louisiana district and extracted a promise that Mr. Obama would increase Medicaid payments to his state, and even then he only voted after Democrats had already hit 218. Let no one suggest this was the “bipartisan” health reform that Mr. Obama has long promised.

The bill is instead a breathtaking display of illiberal ambition, intended to make the middle class more dependent on government through the umbilical cord of “universal health care.” It creates a vast new entitlement, financed by European levels of taxation on business and individuals. The 20% corner of Medicare open to private competition is slashed, while fiscally strapped states are saddled with new Medicaid burdens. The insurance industry will have to vet every policy with Washington, which will regulate who it must cover, what it can offer, and how much it can charge.

We have little sympathy for the insurers, or for that matter most of the other medical providers who signed on to this process only to claim now to be appalled by the result. The insurance lobby—led by Aetna CEO Ron Williams— made the Faustian bet that it could trade new regulations for more new subsidized customers who would face a tax penalty if they didn’t buy their insurance. The Pelosi bill includes the regulation but guts the tax penalty because it’s unpopular. Insurers will thus have to cover more sick people with fewer dollars, as healthy folk opt out of coverage until they are sick.

[…]

The real importance of the abortion uproar is as preview of the politics that will dominate every medical coverage issue if ObamaCare becomes law. Every decision of what to insure or not—when an MRI can be used, or whether a stage-four breast cancer patient can get Avastin or some future expensive drug —will become subject to political intervention over moral disputes or budget constraints. Heretofore, these decisions have largely been made between a doctor and patient. This is the real “right to life” issue.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


To Our Great Detriment Redux

by Diana West

Maj. Stephen Coughlin (USAR) is a lawyer and reserve military intelligence officer who used to be the Pentagon’s sole specialist on Islamic law charged with lecturing about jihad doctrine — what the Koran and assorted Islamic texts say about Islamic holy war — to military leaders who had been (and continue to be) strategizing, planning, and fighting the so-called war on terror for years without any comprehension of Islamic ideology.

***Unclosed Item!***Hesham Islam, an Islamic aide to then Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England didn’t care for what Coughlin’s brief said about Islam — even though the brief relies on authoritative Islamic sources. Under Islam’s tutleage, England and, thus, the Pentagon preferred outreach — you know, Muslim outreach — even to unindicted co-conspirators in government terrorism cases. Long story short: Muslim outreach was “in,” and Coughlin and his famous brief on jihad doctrine {“To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad”) were “out.” (Brief available here.)

Flash forward to Ft. Hood.

Today’s Washington Post reports: “Fort Hood Suspect Warned of Threat Within the Ranks.” The Post finds its lede in the fact that Hasan “warned a roomful of senior Army physicians a year and a half ago that to avoid “adverse events,” the military should allow Muslim soldiers to be released as conscientious objectors instead of fighting in wars against other Muslims.”

Far more sensational is 1) these senior Army people did NOTHING about this lecture “on Islam, suicide bombers and threats the military could encounter from Muslims conflicted about fighting in the Muslim countries of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a copy of the presentation obtained by The Washington Post,” and 2) all of the non “conscientious objectors” parts of this jihadist Hasan brief. It was titled:

“The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military.”

From the Post…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]


What’s Behind America’s Politically Correct ‘Love’ Of Islam?

The second they heard about the Fort Hood massacre, millions of thinking Americans wondered in their gut: “Oh God, is this another crazy Muslim terrorist carrying out a one-man jihad, as has happened so many times before?”

Then, when the alleged perpetrator’s name and religion were made public (Nidal Malik Hasan, a lifelong Muslim) along with eyewitness reports he had shouted the obligatory pre-terror-attack proclamation, “Allahu akbar” (“Allah is greatest”) before commencing his orgy of slaughter, their suspicions were confirmed: This was surely a major attack on the American homeland by a Muslim terrorist.

Further evidence quickly rolled in: Hasan had reportedly refused to fight fellow Muslims, called the war on terror a “war on Islam,” told a co-worker Muslims had a right to rise up and attack Americans, and reportedly had posted online his astoundingly twisted belief that an Islamic suicide bomber was morally equivalent to a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades.

In other words, although the Army had many warnings Hasan was a certifiable, America-hating, jihadist “ticking time bomb” waiting to go off, it did nothing to avert last week’s terror attack. Why?

And why, after the truth about Hasan became undeniable following his mass slaughter, does the government, as well as its mouthpiece the establishment press, agonize in their usual pathetic manner over what could possibly have motivated the Army psychiatrist to coldly, methodically murder 13 and wound 38 others?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Who’s Watching the Watchers?

Feds ramp up plans for new electronic security centers

The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency both recently announced plans for huge new electronic security centers that could monitor, sort and archive e-mails, telephone calls and other intercepted communications.

But critics wonder just who is watching the watchers.

“The director of the NSA is in charge of an organization three times the size of the CIA and empowered in 2008 by Congress to spy on Americans to an unprecedented degree,” said James Bamford, author of the recently published book about the NSA, “The Shadow Factory.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

“In Recent Times the Holy Spirit Has Moved Groups of Anglicans…”

The complete text of the apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum cœtibus” regulating entry into the Catholic Church by communities coming from the Anglican Communion

by Benedict XVI

In recent times the Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion individually as well as corporately. The Apostolic See has responded favorably to such petitions. Indeed, the successor of Peter, mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of the episcopate and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion of all the Churches, (1) could not fail to make available the means necessary to bring this holy desire to realization.

The Church, a people gathered into the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, (2) was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, as “a sacrament — a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people.” (3) Every division among the baptized in Jesus Christ wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists; in fact, “such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching the Gospel to every creature.” (4) Precisely for this reason, before shedding his blood for the salvation of the world, the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father for the unity of his disciples. (5)

It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion. (6) He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of the Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer. (7) The Church, however, analogous to the mystery of the Incarnate Word, is not only an invisible spiritual communion, but is also visible; (8) in fact, “the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, the visible society and the spiritual community, the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches, are not to be thought of as two realities. On the contrary, they form one complex reality formed from a two-fold element, human and divine.” (9) The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff. (10)

This single Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic “subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside her visible confines. Since these are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.” (11)

In the light of these ecclesiological principles, this Apostolic Constitution provides the general normative structure for regulating the institution and life of Personal Ordinariates for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner. This Constitution is completed by Complementary Norms issued by the Apostolic See.

I. §1 Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church are erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with that same Conference.

§2 Within the territory of a particular Conference of Bishops, one or more Ordinariates may be erected as needed.

§3 Each Ordinariate possesses public juridic personality by the law itself (ipso iure); it is juridically comparable to a diocese. (12)

§4 The Ordinariate is composed of lay faithful, clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, originally belonging to the Anglican Communion and now in full communion with the Catholic Church, or those who receive the Sacraments of Initiation within the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate.

§5 The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate.

II. The Personal Ordinariate is governed according to the norms of universal law and the present Apostolic Constitution and is subject to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia in accordance with their competencies. It is also governed by the Complementary Norms as well as any other specific Norms given for each Ordinariate.

III. Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.

IV. A Personal Ordinariate is entrusted to the pastoral care of an Ordinary appointed by the Roman Pontiff.

V. The power (potestas) of the Ordinary is:

a. ordinary: connected by the law itself to the office entrusted to him by the Roman Pontiff, for both the internal forum and external forum;

b. vicarious: exercised in the name of the Roman Pontiff;

c. personal: exercised over all who belong to the Ordinariate;

This power is to be exercised jointly with that of the local Diocesan Bishop, in those cases provided for in the Complementary Norms.

VI. §1 Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law (13) and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments (14) may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI “Sacerdotalis coelibatus,” n. 42 (15) and in the Statement “In June” (16) are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.

§2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.

§3. Incardination of clerics will be regulated according to the norms of canon law.

§4. Priests incardinated into an Ordinariate, who constitute the presbyterate of the Ordinariate, are also to cultivate bonds of unity with the presbyterate of the Diocese in which they exercise their ministry. They should promote common pastoral and charitable initiatives and activities, which can be the object of agreements between the Ordinary and the local Diocesan Bishop.

§5. Candidates for Holy Orders in an Ordinariate should be prepared alongside other seminarians, especially in the areas of doctrinal and pastoral formation. In order to address the particular needs of seminarians of the Ordinariate and formation in Anglican patrimony, the Ordinary may also establish seminary programs or houses of formation which would relate to existing Catholic faculties of theology.

VII. The Ordinary, with the approval of the Holy See, can erect new Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, with the right to call their members to Holy Orders, according to the norms of canon law. Institutes of Consecrated Life originating in the Anglican Communion and entering into full communion with the Catholic Church may also be placed under his jurisdiction by mutual consent.

VIII. §1. The Ordinary, according to the norm of law, after having heard the opinion of the Diocesan Bishop of the place, may erect, with the consent of the Holy See, personal parishes for the faithful who belong to the Ordinariate.

§2. Pastors of the Ordinariate enjoy all the rights and are held to all the obligations established in the Code of Canon Law and, in cases established by the Complementary Norms, such rights and obligations are to be exercised in mutual pastoral assistance together with the pastors of the local Diocese where the personal parish of the Ordinariate has been established.

IX. Both the lay faithful as well as members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, originally part of the Anglican Communion, who wish to enter the Personal Ordinariate, must manifest this desire in writing.

X. §1. The Ordinary is aided in his governance by a Governing Council with its own statutes approved by the Ordinary and confirmed by the Holy See.17

§2. The Governing Council, presided over by the Ordinary, is composed of at least six priests. It exercises the functions specified in the Code of Canon Law for the Presbyteral Council and the College of Consultors, as well as those areas specified in the Complementary Norms.

§3. The Ordinary is to establish a Finance Council according to the norms established by the Code of Canon Law which will exercise the duties specified therein. (18)

§4. In order to provide for the consultation of the faithful, a Pastoral Council is to be constituted in the Ordinariate. (19)

XI. Every five years the Ordinary is required to come to Rome for an “ad limina Apostolorum” visit and present to the Roman Pontiff, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in consultation with the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, a report on the status of the Ordinariate.

XII. For judicial cases, the competent tribunal is that of the Diocese in which one of the parties is domiciled, unless the Ordinariate has constituted its own tribunal, in which case the tribunal of second instance is the one designated by the Ordinariate and approved by the Holy See.

XIII. The Decree establishing an Ordinariate will determine the location of the See and, if appropriate, the principal church.

We desire that our dispositions and norms be valid and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, should it be necessary, the Apostolic Constitutions and ordinances issued by our predecessors, or any other prescriptions, even those requiring special mention or derogation.

Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on November 4, 2009, the Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo.

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

__________

(1) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium,” 23; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter “Communionis notio,” 12; 13.

(2) Cf. Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium,” 4; Decree “Unitatis redintegratio,” 2.

(3) Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium,” 1.

(4) Decree “Unitatis redintegratio,” 1.

(5) Cf. Jn 17:20-21; Decree “Unitatis redintegratio,” 2.

(6) Cf. Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium,” 13.

(7) Cf. ibid; Acts 2:42.

(8) Cf. Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium,” 8; Letter “Communionis notio,” 4.

(9) Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium,” 8.

(10) Cf. CIC, can. 205; Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium,” 13; 14; 21; 22; Decree “Unitatis redintegratio,” 2; 3; 4; 15; 20; Decree “Christus Dominus,” 4; Decree “Ad gentes,” 22.

(11) Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen gentium,” 8.

(12) Cf. John Paul II, Ap. Const. “Spirituali militium curae,” 21 April 1986, I § 1.

(13) Cf. CIC, cann. 1026-1032.

(14) Cf. CIC, cann. 1040-1049.

(15) Cf. AAS 59 (1967) 674.

(16) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Statement of 1 April 1981, in Enchiridion Vaticanum 7, 1213.

(17) Cf. CIC, cann. 495-502.

(18) Cf. CIC, cann. 492-494.

(19) Cf. CIC, can. 511.

__________

COMPLEMENTARY NORMS

Jurisdiction of the Holy See

I. Each Ordinariate is subject to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It maintains close relations with the other Roman Dicasteries in accordance with their competence.

Relations with Episcopal Conferences and Diocesan Bishops

II. §1. The Ordinary follows the directives of the national Episcopal Conference insofar as this is consistent with the norms contained in the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum coetibus.”

§2. The Ordinary is a member of the respective Episcopal Conference.

III. The Ordinary, in the exercise of this office, must maintain close ties of communion with the Bishop of the Diocese in which the Ordinariate is present in order to coordinate its pastoral activity with the pastoral program of the Diocese.

The Ordinary

IV. §1. The Ordinary may be a bishop or a presbyter appointed by the Roman Pontiff ad nutum Sanctae Sedis, based on a terna presented by the Governing Council. Canons 383-388, 392-394, and 396-398 of the Code of Canon Law apply to him.

§2. The Ordinary has the faculty to incardinate in the Ordinariate former Anglican ministers who have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church, as well as candidates belonging to the Ordinariate and promoted to Holy Orders by him.

§3. Having first consulted with the Episcopal Conference and obtained the consent of the Governing Council and the approval of the Holy See, the Ordinary can erect as needed territorial deaneries supervised by a delegate of the Ordinary covering the faithful of multiple personal parishes.

The Faithful of the Ordinariate

V. §1. The lay faithful originally of the Anglican tradition who wish to belong to the Ordinariate, after having made their Profession of Faith and received the Sacraments of Initiation, with due regard for Canon 845, are to be entered in the apposite register of the Ordinariate. Those baptized previously as Catholics outside the Ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the Ordinariate.

§2. Lay faithful and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, when they collaborate in pastoral or charitable activities, whether diocesan or parochial, are subject to the Diocesan Bishop or to the pastor of the place; in which case the power of the Diocesan Bishop or pastor is exercised jointly with that of the Ordinary and the pastor of the Ordinariate.

The Clergy

VI. §1. In order to admit candidates to Holy Orders the Ordinary must obtain the consent of the Governing Council. In consideration of Anglican ecclesial tradition and practice, the Ordinary may present to the Holy Father a request for the admission of married men to the presbyterate in the Ordinariate, after a process of discernment based on objective criteria and the needs of the Ordinariate. These objective criteria are determined by the Ordinary in consultation with the local Episcopal Conference and must be approved by the Holy See.

§2. Those who have been previously ordained in the Catholic Church and subsequently have become Anglicans, may not exercise sacred ministry in the Ordinariate. Anglican clergy who are in irregular marriage situations may not be accepted for Holy Orders in the Ordinariate.

§3. Presbyters incardinated in the Ordinariate receive the necessary faculties from the Ordinary.

VII. §1. The Ordinary must ensure that adequate remuneration be provided to the clergy incardinated in the Ordinariate, and must provide for their needs in the event of sickness, disability, and old age.

§2. The Ordinary will enter into discussion with the Episcopal Conference about resources and funds which might be made available for the care of the clergy of the Ordinariate.

§3. When necessary, priests, with the permission of the Ordinary, may engage in a secular profession compatible with the exercise of priestly ministry (cf. CIC, can. 286).

VIII. §1. The presbyters, while constituting the presbyterate of the Ordinariate, are eligible for membership in the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese in which they exercise pastoral care of the faithful of the Ordinariate (cf. CIC, can. 498, §2).

§2. Priests and Deacons incardinated in the Ordinariate may be members of the Pastoral Council of the Diocese in which they exercise their ministry, in accordance with the manner determined by the Diocesan Bishop (cf. CIC, can. 512, §1).

IX. §1. The clerics incardinated in the Ordinariate should be available to assist the Diocese in which they have a domicile or quasi-domicile, where it is deemed suitable for the pastoral care of the faithful. In such cases they are subject to the Diocesan Bishop in respect to that which pertains to the pastoral charge or office they receive.

§2. Where and when it is deemed suitable, clergy incardinated in a Diocese or in an Institute of Consecrated Life or a Society of Apostolic Life, with the written consent of their respective Diocesan Bishop or their Superior, can collaborate in the pastoral care of the Ordinariate. In such case they are subject to the Ordinary in respect to that which pertains to the pastoral charge or office they receive.

§3. In the cases treated in the preceding paragraphs there should be a written agreement between the Ordinary and the Diocesan Bishop or the Superior of the Institute of Consecrated Life or the Moderator of the Society of Apostolic Life, in which the terms of collaboration and all that pertains to the means of support are clearly established.

X. §1. Formation of the clergy of the Ordinariate should accomplish two objectives: 1) joint formation with diocesan seminarians in accordance with local circumstances; 2) formation, in full harmony with Catholic tradition, in those aspects of the Anglican patrimony that are of particular value.

§2. Candidates for priestly ordination will receive their theological formation with other seminarians at a seminary or a theological faculty in conformity with an agreement concluded between the Ordinary and, respectively, the Diocesan Bishop or Bishops concerned. Candidates may receive other aspects of priestly formation at a seminary program or house of formation established, with the consent of the Governing Council, expressly for the purpose of transmitting Anglican patrimony.

§3. The Ordinariate must have its own Program of Priestly Formation, approved by the Holy See; each house of formation should draw up its own rule, approved by the Ordinary (cf. CIC, can. 242, §1).

§4. The Ordinary may accept as seminarians only those faithful who belong to a personal parish of the Ordinariate or who were previously Anglican and have established full communion with the Catholic Church.

§5. The Ordinariate sees to the continuing formation of its clergy, through their participation in local programs provided by the Episcopal Conference and the Diocesan Bishop.

Former Anglican Bishops

XI. §1. A married former Anglican Bishop is eligible to be appointed Ordinary. In such a case he is to be ordained a priest in the Catholic Church and then exercises pastoral and sacramental ministry within the Ordinariate with full jurisdictional authority.

§2. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be called upon to assist the Ordinary in the administration of the Ordinariate.

§3. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be invited to participate in the meetings of the Bishops’ Conference of the respective territory, with the equivalent status of a retired bishop.

§4. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate and who has not been ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church, may request permission from the Holy See to use the insignia of the episcopal office.

The Governing Council

XII.§1. The Governing Council, in accord with Statutes which the Ordinary must approve, will have the rights and responsibilities accorded by the Code of Canon Law to the College of Consultors and the Presbyteral Council.

§2. In addition to these responsibilities, the Ordinary needs the consent of the Governing Council to:

a) admit a candidate to Holy Orders;

b) erect or suppress a personal parish;

c) erect or suppress a house of formation;

d) approve a program of formation.

§3. The Ordinary also consults the Governing Council concerning the pastoral activities of the Ordinariate and the principles governing the formation of clergy.

§4. The Governing Council has a deliberative vote:

a. when choosing a terna of names to submit to the Holy See for the appointment of the Ordinary;

b. when proposing changes to the Complementary Norms of the Ordinariate to present to the Holy See;

c. when formulating the Statutes of the Governing Council, the Statutes of the Pastoral Council, and the Rule for houses of formation.

§ 5. The Governing Council is composed according to the Statutes of the Council. Half of the membership is elected by the priests of the Ordinariate.

The Pastoral Council

XIII. §1. The Pastoral Council, constituted by the Ordinary, offers advice regarding the pastoral activity of the Ordinariate.

§2. The Pastoral Council, whose president is the Ordinary, is governed by Statutes approved by the Ordinary.

The Personal Parishes

XIV. §1. The pastor may be assisted in the pastoral care of the parish by a parochial vicar, appointed by the Ordinary; a pastoral council and a finance council must be established in the parish.

§2. If there is no vicar, in the event of absence, incapacity, or death of the pastor, the pastor of the territorial parish in which the church of the personal parish is located can exercise his faculties as pastor so as to supply what is needed.

§3. For the pastoral care of the faithful who live within the boundaries of a Diocese in which no personal parish has been erected, the Ordinary, having heard the opinion of the local Diocesan Bishop, can make provisions for quasi-parishes (cf. CIC, can. 516, §1).

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved these Complementary Norms for the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, adopted in the Ordinary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, November 4, 2009, the Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo.

William Card. Levada

Prefect

Luis. F. Ladaria, S.I.

Titular Archbishop of Thibica

Secretary

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


Berlin Wall: La Russa, Deafening Silence From the Left

(AGI) — Milan, 9 Nov. — The political left and the Democratic Party are clearly not celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, said Italian Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa from an celebration in Milan to commemorate the fall on November 9 1989. “The first people who should be celebrating now” said La Russa “are those who have legitimate antique roots now but who want a different future, but all we hear is a deafening silence. The leader of the Communist party has told me that November 9 regards the complete German domestic political situation. But what surprises me is that Bersani and the PD are doing nothing on this date. Perhaps they could celebrate next year, but I expect that Bersani sees this date in a different light. I was already fighting the Wall when it was still standing, others should at least celebrate its fall”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


EU Reform That Sweeps British Justice Aside

Unfathomable EU proposals point to a single jurisdiction across Europe, warns Philip Johnston.

By Philip Johnston

Can you imagine being tried in this country for something that is not a crime here? If this sounds like something Kafka might have dreamt up, it is actually a proposal before EU interior ministers that will soon be enshrined in UK law. It is the sort of legislation that, were it going through Parliament, would be exciting a good deal of comment and debate; but because it is being promulgated in the councils of Europe, hardly anyone knows it is happening.

The initiative, known as the Transfer of Criminal Proceedings, is the latest in a succession of pan-European reforms designed to speed up extradition, prosecution and conviction of criminals. You might think that is no bad thing — except that how a country organises its system of criminal law and sanction is the very essence of nationhood.

This is no longer about mutual co-operation to ensure the bad guys don’t escape justice by hopping from one EU country to another; this is about putting in place the trappings of a single jurisdiction.

As the European scrutiny committee of the House of Commons noted in its report on the proposed reform: “[This] is both novel and far-reaching: it gives national courts competence to try a criminal offence that is not prescribed by UK law or, put another way, that the Government has not proposed nor Parliament agreed should be a crime. Instead, jurisdiction comes from the EU Member State that is transferring the proceedings.” For instance, someone accused of holocaust denial, a crime in Germany and Austria, could be tried for it in an English court even though it is not an offence here.

This is indeed novel and far-reaching. It is also the shape of things to come. Another huge programme of reform is about to take place in this area and much of it is to be agreed in the coming weeks. It involves common access to crime databases, common asylum and immigration policies, new human rights laws and an extension of legislation for the protection of children and vulnerable people (as though we have not had enough of all of these already).

Much of this is being done with UK acquiescence, even if there are some aspects of the reform programme with which the Government disagrees. Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, emphasises that “it is essential that the differences in Member States’ justice systems are respected and the Government will seek to ensure that this continues in the coming years”. It is hard to believe that a British minister even needs to make such a thing clear given the differences between the inquisitorial system that operates on the continent and the adversarial one here.

It is also difficult to reconcile Mr Johnson’s sentiment with the proposed Transfer of Criminal Proceedings: how would this work in practice given the different systems? How would the offence be defined, what would the sentence be, and would case law or common law apply?

The Commons committee concluded: “We find it hard to conceive of situations in which transferring jurisdiction to prosecute from one Member State to another would improve the efficient and proper administration of justice.”

However, this is not about making improvements; it is about establishing a common judicial area even though the two systems do not fit together. Other matters being pursued include common definitions of offences rather than the mutual recognition that has underpinned the system until now; and primacy for European action against terrorism and organised crime.

By 2014, it is envisaged that there will be a common asylum system and a target has been set to train a third of all police officers across the EU in a “common culture” of policing. In addition, now that Lisbon is operational, the EU will be able to develop the sort of surveillance powers with which we are so familiar in Britain. Maybe we can start exporting CCTV cameras.

All of these developments have taken place before the additional impetus that Lisbon will provide once powers over justice and home affairs policy shift to the EU level with little or no accountability to the citizens who will be affected and who are often blissfully unaware of what is being agreed in their name.

As Stephen Booth, of the think tank OpenEurope, said: “We are fast approaching a situation where the EU will have the full coercive machinery of a state but without the proper democratic controls or robust checks on power that citizens should expect. How can citizens expect their fundamental rights to liberty and independence from the state to be protected by unaccountable institutions which have a vested interest in creating more laws?”

The only elected body to oversee this is the European Parliament, which is almost entirely wedded to the integrationist agenda. When the Tories had the temerity to join the only anti-federalist grouping in the parliament, they were denounced for allying themselves with neo-Nazis, an allegation that is not only unfounded but is laughable given the anti-democratic inclinations of the accusers.

These, then, are some of the practical implications of what we were assured was just “a tidying-up exercise”. They are why we were entitled to have a say in the matter. But now it is too late.

           — Hat tip: Aeneas[Return to headlines]


EU: D’Alema Gains Support for Foreign Policy Post

Brussels, 9 Nov. (AKI ) — As speculation continued on Monday about whether British foreign secretary David Miliband would seek the role of European Union foreign policy chief, there was growing support for former Italian prime minister Massimo D’Alema to assume the post, sources told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Sources from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament in Brussels confirmed media statements made by Martin Schulz in Romania, firming their support for D’Alema.

Schulz is a German member of the European Parliament and chairman of the alliance.

Schulz has reaffirmed the support that D’Alema has gained from the president of the Party of European Socialists, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen.

D’Alema “enjoys the strongest support” from his European colleagues, sources said.

“This is a very delicate issue and I cannot and must not say anything,” said D’Alema, a former foreign minister and senior leader in Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party. “It is not up to me but the European council.”

At the weekend D’Alema said Miliband, would be the most likely choice for the expanded European foreign policy chief if Tony Blair failed in his bid to become president of the European Council.

D’Alema has won the backing of the centre-right Berlusconi government in his bid for the job, but rated his chances of winning the position at “much less than 50 percent”.

However, as Blair’s victory looked increasingly unlikely for the top job, D’Alema predicted support would shift to Miliband once the presidency was decided.

“The British cannot endure two ‘no’s,” D’Alema told the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera on Sunday.

Miliband is widely considered a future Labour leader and has insisted he does not want the job.

Some media reports previously suggested that D’Alema’s own ambitions were fading because of eastern European opposition since he is a former Communist turned social democrat.

Jan Tombinski, Poland’s ambassador to the European Union, said “It would be better to have someone whose authority could not be questioned because of his past political affiliations”.

However, D’Alema insisted that he had made “peace” with Poland.

“From Poland they let me know that the view of the Polish ambassador to the EU is a personal position,” he said.

Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy has emerged as a possible compromise candidate for the presidency while Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has also been flagged.

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


EU: MP Calls for More Consultation on Gas Pipeline

Brussels, 9 Nov. (AKI) — A plan by the Russian-German consortium Nord Stream to build a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea had failed to take account of historical sensibilities in countries like Poland, prominent European MP Danuta Huebner said on Monday. Huebner, a Polish economist and centre-right MP, also criticised Russia for using unfounded arguments to support the project.

The former European commissioner was speaking as celebrations were being held to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“The fact is that the Nord Stream project was decided ( by then German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian president Vladimir Putin) and there was no European consultation, as there should have been,” Huebner told Adnkronos International (AKI).

The project cleared two major hurdles last week as Sweden and Finland approved the project’s construction in their waters.

“It is not that Poland does not understand the need for Europe to diversity its energy sources, and on the contrary, Warsaw has promoted this principle,” she said.

Huebner said that one cannot forget the historic sensibilities of countries that were once ‘satellites’ of Moscow for 40 years.

“Unfortunately, they have forgotten to consult all the countries that may have been interested in a decision,” she said.

Nord Stream has raised concern both among environmental groups, who are worried about the impact on the Baltic Sea, as well as countries such as Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states which view the project as a threat to their energy security.

“The basic risk is that once it becomes operational Russia could stop deliveries to Poland without affecting its key client, that is Germany,” said Przemyslaw Wipler, a former top oil expert in the Polish government.

Many European Union officials have backed the pipeline because it means the bloc, while still heavily dependent on Russia for energy needs, would be less at risk of supply disruptions due to Moscow’s running dispute with Kiev.

A plan by Russian-German consortium Nord Stream to build a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea cleared two major hurdles on Thursday as Sweden and Finland signed off on construction in their waters.

Nord Stream has raised fears both among environmental groups, who are worried about the impact on the Baltic Sea, and countries such as Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states which view the project as a threat to their energy security.

“The basic risk is that once it becomes operational Russia could stop deliveries to Poland without affecting its key client, that is Germany,” said Przemyslaw Wipler, a former top oil expert in the Polish government.

European Union officials have backed the pipeline because it means the bloc, while still heavily dependent on Russia for energy needs, would be less at risk of supply disruptions due to Moscow’s running dispute with Kiev.

A standoff between Russia and Ukraine late last year left hundreds of thousands of people temporarily without gas and European officials are concerned to prevent a similar conflict in future.

“These steps make the pipeline more likely, but still there is a long way to go,” Wipler said, noting that for Warsaw the worries begin in earnest once construction starts.

That could lead to Poland having to buy Russian gas via Germany.

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


Fini: Quicker Citizenship for New Italians

(AGI) — Rome, 9 Nov — “Italy today is not just for Italians, it is and should be more and more for those who love it. So also for those who come here as tiny children, who are born here, or who have the sacred right after ten years working here to be a fully-fledged Italian citizen”, said President of the House, Gianfranco Fini to Tg1, adding “my idea is to make it possible to become a citizen via quicker routes, which above all derive from the adhesion of these new Italians to the values of our society”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italian Crucifix Case Reignites Old Issue

A European Court of Human Rights judgement against the display of crucifixes in Italian classrooms has stirred up debate over the issue in Switzerland.

The court ruled on Tuesday that children’s freedom not to believe in any religion extends to symbols expressing a belief or religion — thereby satisfying secularists who maintain that a state education should be free from religious influence.

Education director Claude Roch from the Catholic Swiss canton of Valais took a firm stand following the Italian ruling, telling Le Temps newspaper: “I am against the principle of removing existing crosses. If I am handed such a request, I will oppose it.

“In my opinion a crucifix attached to the wall of a classroom doesn’t infringe on the freedom of belief of a non-Catholic pupil.”

In the Protestant canton of Zurich crosses are banned from schools as part of a legal requirement for religious neutrality.

Robert Steinegger of Zurich’s Public Schools Office was also clear on their position, telling the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that hanging a crucifix in a school would suggest that it was a Christian institution.

This was last an issue in Switzerland in 1990 when a teacher from the Italian-speaking and traditionally Catholic canton of Ticino complained about the presence of a crucifix in his classroom.

“ We should not be offended by these symbols which are holy to some people. “

Felix Gmür, Swiss Bishops Conference Cadro case

The so-called Cadro case ended up in the Federal Court where the judges had to rule on the question of whether crucifixes on the walls breached the doctrine of state impartiality.

The court concluded that the state should not offend the religious sensibilities of pupils or their parents. Moreover, it could not be ruled out that some people would feel offended in their religious beliefs by the constant presence of a religious symbol belonging to another religion.

In other words, the teacher won. But although the Cadro case established a principle, specifically with regard to primary schools, it was not followed by a mass clear out of crucifixes from state schools in Catholic regions. In fact, very little changed.

“As long as nobody complains, there is no problem,” law professor Etienne Grisel of Lausanne University told swissinfo.ch.

“The Ticino case was isolated and has not been repeated, which implies that where crucifixes are still visible it’s not necessarily a problem. Apparently people don’t complain, it’s difficult to say why but they just don’t.”

Grisel pointed out that the issue of teachers wearing the Muslim headscarf in the classroom, once ruled against by the Federal Court, is dealt with in a similar way.

“Short-sighted”

The Italian case was brought by the mother of two children attending a state school who objected to the crucifixes on the walls of all the school’s classrooms. When she got no satisfaction from the school’s governing body, the woman embarked on a legal battle which ended in the country’s administrative court.

The court held that the crucifix was both the symbol of Italian history and culture and subsequently of national identity and dismissed the applicant’s appeal.

The latest reverse judgement from Strasbourg sparked angry reactions from the Italian political establishment and the Vatican called it “wrong and short-sighted”.

“ … It’s not the quality of the objects or the buildings that will change things, it’s the work and presence of the church. “

Simon Weber, Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches Mixed tradition

One key difference between the Christian tradition in Italy and Switzerland is that Switzerland is mixed Catholic and Protestant, with neither church granted a special position by the state.

Most of the recent debate on religious symbols in Switzerland has related to the country’s third-largest religious group — Muslims.

Felix Gmür of the Catholic Swiss Bishops Conference drew parallels between the crucifix row and the vote later this month on banning the construction of minarets.

“We get a lot of letters about the minaret initiative, saying that we are a Christian country. But what does it mean to be a Christian country if Christian symbols are not visible?” Gmür asked.

“We should not be offended by these symbols which are holy to some people. The Christian tradition in Switzerland is in danger of becoming invisible. If people vote no to minarets, the next step will be Christian symbols,” he told swissinfo.ch.

Visibility

However Simon Weber, spokesman for Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, did not see a danger of Christianity disappearing from public view.

“We have no worries when it comes to visibility. We still have enough churches to show that we are present and it’s not the quality of the objects or the buildings that will change things, it’s the work and presence of the church,” he told swissinfo.ch.

The religious symbol issue was largely a Catholic one as schools in Protestant areas did not have the tradition of displaying crosses.

Weber said that there was no problem from the Protestant point of view as long as there was neither a ban nor an imposition in public places.

“We are very different to Italy. The great advantage of our system when it comes to small religious issues is that we deal with them at a local level and not in a centralised way as in other countries.”

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


Italy: ‘Paedophile’ Prophet Remarks Rile Muslims

Rome, 9 Nov. (AKI) — One of Italy’s largest Muslim organisations on Monday condemned the feminist and former rightwing MP Daniela Santanche for calling the Prophet Mohammed a paedophile and polygamist on television at the weekend. “If there is a basis to make a formal complaint, we will do so because we need to say enough is enough with this kind of vulgarity targeting Islam’s prophet,” said a spokesman for the Muslim group UCOII, Elzir Izidin.

“It is incitement to hatred and is unacceptable. We are looking into what we can do,” Izidin added.

Santanche made the inflammatory remarks during a heated debate on Sunday with the president of Milan’s Islamic centre, Ali Abu Schwaima, on the placing of the crucifix in Italian classrooms.

“Mohammed was a polygamist and a paedophile because he had nine wives, one of whom was only nine years old, that is a historical fact,” said Santanche.

Santache was referring to Aisha, the Prophet Mohammed’s third wife who was believed to be nine-years-old at the time of her marriage to Mohammed.

Her remarks made on the commercial channel Canale 5, incensed Schwaima and other Muslims in the audience.

The president of Italy’s association of Muslim intellectuals, Ahmad Gianpiero, also deplored Santanche’s comments.

“The accusations made yesterday against the Prophet Mohammed are unacceptable and will only stoke similar reactions and hostility from the Muslim community,” he said.

“Now more than ever before, we need to isolate those who seek to provoke. Instead, we need to rebuild a climate of dialogue between different religions and cultures,” said Gianpiero.

Child marriages such as Aisha’s were relatively common in Bedouin societies at the time of the prophet and remain so in countries such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia among others.

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


Italy: Camorra Probe Hits MP

Arrest warrant for Berlusconi party governorship candidate

(ANSA) — Rome, November 10 — An MP in Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party has been accused of illegal dealings with the Camorra, the Naples Mafia.

A Naples prosecutor wants to arrest Nicola Cosentino, 50, who is economic undersecretary in Berlusconi’s government, and has sent his warrant to the Italian parliament.

Under Italian law, warrants against MPs have to be cleared by the house to which he belongs, in this case the Chamber of Deputies (Lower House).

Cosentino, who denies the charges, has been accused by Camorra informants of collusion in illegal waste disposal with the notorious Casalesi clan, a Camorra family featured in writer Roberto Saviano’s bestselling expose’ Gomorrah.

Cosentino is a native of Casal di Principe, where the Casalesi are based.

He has described the informants’ allegations as “baseless stuff from the 1990s”. The probe has called into question Cosentino’s bid to become president of Campania, the region around Naples, in elections early next year.

Chamber of Deputies Speaker Gianfranco Fini, one of Berlusconi’s key allies, said Tuesday Cosentino’s candidacy was no longer feasible, whether the House authorises prosecutor Raffaele Picirillo’s arrest warrant or not.

“I don’t think (the bid) is possible any more,” he told Sky television. photo: Cosentino

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Pope Allows Married Anglicans to Become Catholic Priests in Bid to Tempt Them to Defect

The Roman Catholic Church is to allow married Anglican converts to become priests in a radical concession to tempt them to defect.

Church of England bishops who switch allegiance to Rome will be able to ordain them, the Vatican said yesterday.

Married Anglican vicars have been able to convert and join the Rome priesthood since the 1950s, but this is the first time that married non-vicars have been allowed to become priests.

The decision to allow Anglican converts to keep their tradition of married priests is a break with rules that have applied in western Catholic churches for nearly 900 years.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Spain: Alakrana, Towards Extradition of Somali Pirates

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, NOVEMBER 9 — The Spanish government is looking into the possibility to extradite two Somali pirates held in Spain for the seizure of the fishing boat Alakrana, so they can be trialled in Somalia or service their sentence in that country after being trialled by the Audiencia Nacional. Spanish Justice Minister Francisco Caamao said this, quoted by the EFE press agency, explaining that the government is looking for legal ways to hand over the pirates to Somalia. The pirates have demanded an extradition in return for the release of the crew of the Alakrana, held for 40 days in the waters of the Indian Ocean. Premier José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, quoted by the press, has asked for caution, discretion and support to the government initiative, in order to reach a solution. At the same time, justifying the government’s secrecy on the negotiations, he said that everything that is said on the matter will be heard by the pirates as well. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Spain: No to EU Proposal on Agricultural Policy Change

(ANSAmed) — Madrid, NOVEMBER 9 — The Spanish government is against the proposal made by Brussels to modify the distribution of EU resources to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as of 2013. Spain will propose an alternative text during its EU presidency, which starts in January. This became clear during a meeting of the government economics affairs commission, quoted today by El Pais, in which the EU proposal was discussed. This EU proposal includes the elimination of market regulating mechanisms; a reduction of food security stocks; a co-funding of member Sates; the replacement of the current payment system of historic rights, replacing with a system based on environmental rights. The Spanish government claims that the proposal dismantles the philosophy for which the Common Agricultural Policy was created. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


UK: Let’s Give Elderly the Legal Right to Die at Home, Says Health Secretary

The elderly and terminally ill could get the legal right to die at home rather than in hospital under plans to be unveiled today.

At present more than 80 per cent of people express a wish to die in the comfort of their own home surrounded by family and friends. But 60 per cent end up dying in hospital.

Under the proposals to be outlined by Health Secretary Andy Burnham, families would be able to sue their NHS trust if they failed to respect their loved one’s last wishes.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Our Libel Laws Shame Us

The fact that England has become an international centre for libel litigation underlines the need for urgent reform

There has never been such momentum for reforming English libel law. The impetus has come, to our shame, from overseas. Neither our own legislators or even our leading media organisations have, until now, seen the need to campaign for reform. The first push for change began in the United States, following the academic Rachel Ehrenfeld’s campaign to protect American citizens from libel actions in English courts. Ehrenfeld had been sued by the litigious Saudi businessman Khalid bin Mahfouz. Only 23 copies of her book Funding Evil were available in the UK, but it was enough for bin Mahfouz to bring an action against Ehrenfeld in London. As a result of Ehrenfeld’s lobbying, Florida, Illinois, New York and California have introduced legislation protecting Americans from legal action in our courts and a bill is now making its way through Congress. The American media has also submitted evidence to the Commons select committee inquiry into libel stating that US newspapers “are actively considering abandoning the supply of the 200 odd copies they make available for sale in London … they can no longer risk losing millions of dollars in libel actions which they would never face under US law.”

The peculiarity of our archaic laws, where a gentleman’s reputation still enjoys a sanctity that may trump the right to free speech, is now an international embarrassment. Oligarchs and businessmen, from Ukraine to Saudi Arabia, come to our courts to silence opposition and criticism because they know that the law in this country is weighted in favour of the claimant.

English PEN and Index on Censorship have been talking to journalists, editors, lawyers, NGOs, bloggers and publishers over the past year to canvass their views on the impact of English libel law on free speech. Today we’re publishing our recommendations for reform. Not only do we believe that they will restore the balance between free speech and reputation, they will bring our libel laws up to date. Libel law is still predicated on a 19th-century model of publication that pre-dates the revolutions in mass communication. It is an anomaly that has become all the more acute since the arrival of the internet and reform is now urgently overdue.

The arguments for libel reform — and the resistance to it — tend to be discussed solely with reference to the traditional media. The culture, media and sport inquiry into libel and privacy, which looks likely to report next month, is focused on press freedom. Almost all of its witnesses are from the media industry. But that is too narrow a focus for the debate.

We are all at risk, as never before, of falling foul of libel law. Anyone who blogs or runs a website may be liable (as, for example, the Sheffield Wednesday supporters’ forum Owlstalk found when the club’s directors took umbrage at comments on the site); NGOs exposing corruption and crimes against humanity may find themselves exposed to a libel suit in an English court, as happened with Human Rights Watch following a report on the Rwandan genocide; book publishers may have to withdraw and even pulp novels when threatened with a libel action. That is why this is a campaign that affects us all. In an age when the possibilities of receiving and imparting information have never been greater, there has never been a more pressing need for enlightened reform that restores the balance to freedom of expression.

           — Hat tip: Henrik[Return to headlines]


UK: Police Report Pregnant Woman to Social Services Over Half-Decorated Home

A pregnant woman who invited a policewoman into her half-decorated home ended up being reported to social workers for being a potentially unfit mother.

Mary Cooke, 27, was visited by police after she called 999 to report that she had nearly been run down by a speeding car.

The officer did not mention that she was unhappy about the state of Mrs Cooke’s rented house, but after leaving wrote a memo to the social services.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Terrifying Moment Crowd is Engulfed by 20ft Fireball at Family Festival After ‘Yob Threw Aerosol Can Into Flames’

This is the horrific moment a crowd of people were engulfed by an explosion at a traditional flaming barrel-carrying festival.

A 20ft fireball blasted across a group of spectators at the family event, injuring at least a dozen, after a yob allegedly threw an aerosol can into the burning tar.

One man suffered serious burns and required plastic surgery after his face was set alight during the centuries-old Bonfire Night event at Ottery St Mary in Devon.

Police are now investigating claims of sabotage after witnesses said they saw a boy throw a can into a flaming tar-filled wooden barrel being carried on a man’s shoulders.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: The Laws That Stain Britain’s Good Name

Libel tourism isn’t just a matter for the media elite. Freedom of speech for everyone is in danger

Britain is a pariah state, shunned by its allies and exploited by the unsavoury. The state of English libel laws (Scotland’s provisions are a little better) is so embarrassing that a number of US states have enacted legislation to protect their citizens from our courts. London is the global centre of libel tourism. From Middle Eastern potentates to Russian oligarchs, the rich and powerful use our legal system to bully people who try to hold them to account.

Sometimes cases make the courts; more often individuals, authors, newspapers or charities involved are forced to apologise even when they know they have done nothing wrong. This is the big chill. This has gone far beyond the rights of the media. It affects people in all walks of life. Thanks to the UK, abuses around the world are hushed up, for fear of what might happen if a single copy of a publication, even if it originated abroad, is found in Britain.

Finally, Parliament is waking up. The Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport is preparing to deliver a long-awaited report on the press standards, privacy and libel. The early signs were that MPs had succumbed to the lazy thinking that the “feral beasts” — to borrow Tony Blair’s description of the press — needed taming. They were struck by the testimony of Gerry McCann, and so they should have been, as the hounding of the McCanns was one of the most indefensible acts of media behaviour of recent years.

But belatedly, politicians appear to understand that it is possible to devise laws that protect innocent people from harassment while encouraging dogged investigation.

BACKGROUND

By your e-mail address shall you be known

The internet is killing storytelling

Ben Macintyre on the fib: mathematical poetry for the internet age

Goodbye cruel world, I’m moving to the internet

The recent attempt to override centuries of parliamentary sovereignty woke MPs from their slumber when the law firm Carter Ruck appeared to suggest that a parliamentary question about the oil trading company Trafigura should not be reported. Carter Ruck, which has been prominent in imposing so-called super-injunctions — where not only can a case not be reported but the very existence of the gag can’t either — quickly backtracked. Shamefully, the Ministry of Justice says that it has no idea of how many super-injunctions are in force.

It seems that the select committee’s findings next month could be quite radical. It is likely to recommend that judges be urged to throw out cases that do not directly involve UK publications; MPs may look again at the casino culture of costs and conditional fee agreements. The “no-win no-fee” system was introduced in 1995 with the laudable aim of broadening access to justice. But rich litigants have created a situation where costs can be 100 times the damages awarded.

The committee’s report has been informed by the work of Index on Censorship and English PEN over the past year. The report we issue today will recommend a series of changes. We suggest that companies and associations with more than ten employees should, as in Australia, not be able to sue for reputation. We also want the scope of a public interest defence to be broadened beyond journalism, to encompass all areas of research and enquiry.

Of many absurd individual cases, one stands out. The science writer Simon Singh is being sued by the British Chiropractic Association after he accused it of promoting “bogus treatments”. Singh has fought a dogged and high-profile campaign. But for every one of him, dozens of individuals are bullied into silence.

Shifting the balance towards investigation and away from secrecy has nothing to do with invasions of privacy and long-lens cameras. It is now exceedingly hard for scientists to make reference in academic works to drug trials, for fear of multinational manufacturers destroying them in the courts.

One man who runs a patients’ website was threatened with legal action by a drugs company after posting a comment that a treatment he had tried for ME had not worked. He had to take down his observation. And a journal was threatened after writing a negative review about a polygraph lie detector. Consumer programmes, such as the BBC’s Watchdog, constantly have to tone down comments about goods.

This is not a battle between a media elite and a legal elite. In an age where everyone is a self-publisher, it affects a broad spectrum of society. We also highlight an attempt by Sheffield Wednesday FC to sue individuals who had posted negative remarks on a fans’ message board.

The case that enraged America is that of Rachel Ehrenfeld, who was sued for libel in London by a Saudi, Khalid Bin Mahfouz, over allegations of links with terrorist groups. Her book, Funding Evil, was not published in the UK but 23 copies sold over the internet were shipped here. She refused to recognise the jurisdiction of the court and was ordered by Mr Justice Eady to pay £130,000 in costs and damages. Thus began in the US the battle for what came to be known as “Rachel’s law”. This weekend it was revealed that US publishers have written to MPs threatening to abandon sales of newspapers and magazines in Britain because of the fear of libel.

All civilised societies need libel laws. People are entitled to redress when maliciously and falsely impugned. But Britain’s laws are not equipped for 21st-century mass and immediate communication. Our laws pose a direct and deadly threat to free expression and the right to know.

           — Hat tip: Henrik[Return to headlines]

Balkans

Transport: Serbia-Italy, Accord for Low-Cost Flights in Dec

(ANSAmed)) — BEGLRADE, OCTOBER 14 — Two low-cost companies will start flying from Konstantin Veliki Airport in Nis (around 200km from Belgrade) to Italy and Sweden, Nis Mayor Milos Simonovic said as reported by radio B92. “We have reached a deal with Wind Jet, an Italian low-cost company, on a regular service from Nis airport that will be part of the winter flight schedule”, Simonovic said. He said that Swedish low-cost company MCA Airlines would also be flying from Nis. “That company has generally agreed to our idea that the service to Sweden should also cover an airport in Germany,” the mayor explained He is hoping that Irish and British low-cost companies Ryanair and Jet2 will start flying from Ni” during the 2010 summer flight schedule. “The arrival of these companies was made possible by parliamentary ratification this year of the Open Skies Agreement, as well as Jat Airways” official document stating that the company is not able to increase the number of flights from Nis”, he said. Jat Airways has cancelled its winter service to Zurich, its only service from Konstantin Veliki Airport.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt Mufti: Niqab ‘Showy’ And Could be Banned

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 10 — The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, said that the niqab, the veil which covers the face of a woman, is not only not a religious obligation, but also a showy clothing accessory, such as to attract attention, and therefore goes against the teachings of the Prophet. In a meeting at the University of Mansura, in the region of Delta, the mufti also stresses — reported the Egyptian press — that the niqab is a tradition and is not considered an obligation by most jurists and ulemas. At has also not been advised by the founder of the Malechite school, one of the four judicial schools of Islam. “If certain young women wear the niqab out of personal freedom”, stated Ali Gomaa, referring to Shakespeare, “this freedom should stop where that of others begins, in the universities, hospitals and other places”. He also stressed that in the workplace like banks and public institutions like hospitals it could also be banned. The debate on the veil became animated in Egypt after the Great Imam of the University of al Azhar, Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi, ordered a student to remove the niqab because “it had nothing to do with the religion”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

The Untold Stories of Israel’s Martyrs

For the first time ever, in a book, depictions of the victims of Islamist hatred. Young and old, men and women. Struck down in a bus, at a bar, at the market. Killed solely for the “fault” of being Jewish

ROME, November 7, 2009 — Today Jews all over the world are commemorating their martyrs of the “Night of Broken Glass,” the victims of the Nazi pogrom on the night of November 9-10, 1938, in Germany.

There is universal, mournful observance of that massacre and of the tremendous extermination of Jews by the Reich that came after it.

But the same is not done, in Europe and the West, for the many other Jewish victims who for years have been killed in Israel, assailed by Islamic terrorism.

Every time one of them is killed, it is covered in the news and then immediately ignored. The victim ends up buried in the vagueness of the “Palestinian question,” viewed by many as Israel’s “fault.”

Meanwhile, one out of every three hundred Israeli families has been directly affected by an attack. The terrorist actions number in the thousands. More than 150 suicide attacks have been carried out, and for each of these the Israeli police estimate that they have prevented nine more. 1,723 people have been killed to date, 378 of them women. More than ten thousand have been injured.

The indifference of the West and of Christians in the face of this steady stream of victims, struck systematically in the midst of their daily routine, on the buses, in the cafes, in the markets, at home, now has a response in a book that recounts their stories for the first time. It finally tells us who they are.

The book was published a month ago in Italy, and translations will soon be published in New York and London. Its title is “Non smetteremo di danzare [We will not stop dancing].” And the subtitle: “Le storie mai raccontate dei martiri di Israele [The untold stories of Israel’s martyrs].”

The author, Giulio Meotti, is already known to the readers of www.chiesa for two in-depth reports that have received extensive attention: on the most Islamified city in Europe, Rotterdam, and on the “Hilltop Youth,” the latest generation of Israeli settlers.

His most recent book opens with a preface by English philosopher Roger Scruton, and with a letter by Robert Redeker, the French writer who has been living in a secret location since he began receiving death threats from Islamist fanatics.

The following is an extract from the first chapter.

_________

The unsung dead of Israel

by Giulio Meotti

From “Non smetteremo di danzare,” pp. 26-36

Why this book? Because before it there was not even one presentation of the story of Israel’s dead. It was written without any prejudice against the Palestinians, it is an account motivated by love for a great people and its marvelous and tragic adventure in the heart of the Middle East and through the whole twentieth century. Every effort to exterminate an entire class of human beings, from Srebrenica to Rwanda, has been commemorated in some great story. This does not seem to be allowed for Israel; history has always been scrubbed quickly of the blood of Jews. Jews killed because they were Jews, whose stories have been swallowed up in the disgusting and amoral equating of Israelis and Palestinians, which explains nothing about that conflict and even blurs it to the point of disappearing. This book is intended to rescue from oblivion this vast reserve of suffering, to elicit respect for the dead and love of the living. […]

The most beautiful gift in these four years of research was given to me by the Israelis who opened their grief-stricken world to my request for help, laying their sufferings bare. It was me knocking at the door, a stranger, a non-Jew, a foreigner. But they all shook my hand and spoke about their loved ones for the first time. […]

I decided to tell some of the great Israeli stories full of idealism, suffering, sacrifice, chance, love, fear, faith, freedom — and the hope that, in spite of all this silence, Israel will triumph in the end. […] There are incredible people like the obstetrician Tzofia, who lost her father, a rabbi, her mother, and her little brother. Today she helps Arab women give birth to their children. […] There’s Torah copyist Yitro, who converted to Judaism and whose son was kidnapped and executed by Hamas. There’s Elisheva, from a family of farming settlers who lost them all in Auschwitz, and whose daughter, nine months pregnant, was killed by remorseless terrorists because “she wanted to live the Jewish ideal.” In Tzipi they stabbed the chief rabbi to death, and where his bedroom used to be there is now an important religious school. Ruti’s husband and David’s brother was a great humanist doctor who cared for everyone, Arabs and Jews. There’s the rabbi Elyashiv, whose son, a seminarian, was taken from him, but who continues to believe that “everything in life makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker.” Then there’s Sheila, who always talks about the coming of the Messiah and about how her husband took care of Down’s children. Menashe lost his father, mother, brother, and grandfather in a night of terror, but continues to believe in the right to live where Abraham pitched his tent. […] Elaine lost a son during dinner on the shabath, and for more than a year was not able to cook or make any sound. There are the friends of Ro’i Klein, a human shield who leapt onto a mine reciting the Shema’ Yisrael, saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. Yehudit lost her daughter too soon, coming back from a wedding together with her husband. From Uri, who made the alyah from France, they took his daughter as well, a volunteer working with the poor.

Orly lived a happy life in a trailer, but her son didn’t have time to put his kippah back on his head before he was killed. There’s Tehila, one of those God-fearing but modern women who populate the settlements, the wife of an idealist who “lived the land,” who loved the pink and blue plumage of Samaria’s flowers. […] There’s also the marvelous Yossi, whose son sacrificed his own life in order to save his friends, and every Friday went to give out religious gifts to passers-by. Rina had created a pearl in the Egyptian desert, she thought of herself as a pioneer. She had her son taken from her, together with his pregnant wife. […] There’s Chaya, who embraced Judaism together with her husband. For them, conversion “was like marrying God.” […] All of these stories speak to us of this nation that is unique in the world, born from the 19th-century philosophy of secular Zionism, which from the ashes of the Holocaust brought back to their ancient homeland a people in exile for two thousand years and cut down to less than half its prewar size. Stories that speak to us of courage, desperation, faith, of the defense of hearth and home, even if errors are sometimes made, of the preservation of “honorable warfare” in the only army that permits disobeying an inhumane order. […]

The story of these Jewish victims is not only a story of heroes. They are almost always defenseless people. […] The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, the most important center for analysis in Israel, has calculated that only 25 percent of the Israeli victims were soldiers. The majority were and are Jews in civilian dress. Among the Israelis, 40 percent of all the victims are women. Europeans believe that Israel is the stronger side, the country and military with the control of the territory, the technology, the money, the knowledge base, the capacity to use force, the friendship and alliance with the United States. And before it stands the pitiful weakness of a people claiming its rights, and ready for martyrdom in order to obtain them. But this is not the case. The stories of these new unsung victims proves it.

The Israelis have shown that they love life more than they fear death. The terrorists have killed hundreds of teachers and students, but the schools have never closed. They have killed doctors and patients, but the hospitals have continued to function. They have massacred soldiers and policemen, but the list of those who volunteer has never shrunk. They have shot up buses of the faithful, but the pilgrims continue to arrive in Judea and Samaria. They have made massacres at weddings, and forced young people to wed in underground bunkers. But life has always won over death. Like at Irit Rahamin’s bachelorette party at the Sea Market Restaurant in Tel Aviv. When the terrorist began to shoot and throw grenades into the crowd, Irit threw herself to the ground, and from under the table called her future husband and told him that she loved him. Amid the screams. And the dying.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Cyprus: US-Based Group Files $400 Bln Lawsuit Against Turkey

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, NOVEMBER 3 — A US-based group, Class Action, is filing a 400 billion dollar lawsuit against Turkey with regard to claims by owners of property in Cyprus northern Turkish occupied areas, who are seeking the use and enjoyment of their property. A press release, issued in Washington on the matter and quotend by CNA, said that “on Monday, October 19, 2009, a Class Action lawsuit is being filed against the Republic of Turkey for depriving hundreds of thousands of property owners their rights to use and enjoy their property in northern Cyprus.” It explains that the deprivation of the use and enjoyment of property started with the wrongful invasion and occupation of 40% of the island nation of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974, that continues to this day. “To this day, it notes, the Turkish Cypriot occupation regime through the use of the Turkish military deprive the plaintiffs the rights to use, enjoy or return to their properties in violation of international law and the laws of the U.S. This lawsuit seeks compensation for the denial of the use and enjoyment of the properties belonging to approximately 200,000 refugees and others who were forced to leave by military force.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Iraqi Court Ruling Against Guardian Seen as Part of Crackdown on Media

The court ruling in which the Guardian was ordered to pay the Iraqi prime minister damages of 100m dinar (£52,000) is part of a wider crackdown against media outlets designed to discourage scrutiny of public officials, according to one of the country’s leading journalism bodies.

The Journalists Freedom Organisation, which has lobbied for press freedoms for the past six years, says the Iraqi media have been inundated by writs from officials in recent months and have lost official access and status to state-backed organisations.

“Legal cases have flooded from all sides into publishers and media outlets throughout Iraq,” said one of the organisation’s members, Jabar Dharad. “This is a very effective tactic to silence dissent. A key reason for the diminishing status of private media here is that parliament hasn’t passed a law to protect journalists in Iraq. They are deliberately delaying doing so.”

The prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and several of his ministers have launched at least four legal actions against foreign press outlets over the past year. The Guardian, the New York Times and the wire service AP have all been served with writs, while Al-Jazeera has been forced out of Iraq, allegedly because of an anti-government bias. Local outlets are also being targeted, with representatives from the staunchly anti-government Al-Sharqiya channel now banned from all government events and buildings and the Al-Baghdadia channel, made famous by the shoe-throwing antics of its former reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi, also under threat of a boycott.

However, the pervasive threat of lawsuits against companies that often do not have the means to fight them, or enough confidence in the Iraqi justice system to try their luck in court, troubles many outlets more than the risk of a government blacklist.

“They know we are unlikely to take them on,” said the editor of one of Iraq’s leading independent newspapers, who would not be identified for fear of reprisals. “No one is going to take on an intelligence agency, or the prime minister, and win in court. The powerful will make sure of this. Our pockets are the easiest way to stop us and they know it.”

Media freedoms have improved substantially in Iraq since the tyrannical decades of Saddam Hussein, when all information was controlled by cronies of the former dictator, such as Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, who was the information minister during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was popularly known as Comical Ali for his increasingly outlandish claims about the strength of the Iraqi army.

But in recent months Iraqi journalists have noticed a shift in the attitudes of officials and a heightened sensitivity that has seen reporting become increasingly difficult and, in some cases, dangerous.

“Freedom as a word exists in Iraq, but in application it has been totally lost,” said Dharad. Since 2003 attacks have increased against journalists and so have restrictions against publishing.

“The government media has become very strong. State-controlled press is by far the strongest on the ground. Independent newspapers have folded in large numbers because they are not funded by the government like the government papers,” he said.

“We are seeing a new approach by the security forces of assaulting journalists, who are being prevented from covering incidents, especially live reports from the scene of explosions. Journalists are also being assaulted in parliament.”

Last week the Guardian reported two cases in which Iraqi reporters had allegedly been assaulted while attempting to cover the aftermath of explosions in Iraq. Government sensitivity about security has increased markedly in the wake of bombings since August that destroyed three ministries and damaged the Baghdad governorate building, during a time when the government was trying to persuade Iraqis of security gains ahead of a general election in January.

Iraq’s communications ministry said last week that all 58 radio and television networks operating in Iraq would have to pay an annual fee for using a satellite and apply for licences, in a move that was described as an “overdue step to regulate the media industry”.

However, the moves were set against a backdrop of an increasing resentment towards criticism and scrutiny by media of the spending of public money. Iraqi journalists are reluctant to cover corruption cases and have been warned to tread carefully while covering the actions and claims of extremist groups. Satire is discouraged, along with any coverage that is likely to embarrass any member of the power base.

“There are well known red lines in this society, such as making a chieftain look like a pauper,” said the newspaper editor. “He will waste no time in turning the full weight of his militia, his media empire and now his lawyers on to anyone who tries.”

Despite the setbacks, reporters have access to government announcements and news that ministers want reported. Audiences with officials are regularly granted and some critical questioning is allowed, particularly about the delivery of essential services. The foreign press maintains bureaus in Baghdad, even with attention steadily shifting to the world’s other flashpoints, and satellite channels bring a plurality of views to Iraqi living rooms that was unheard of six years ago.

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


Saudi Arabia: Sentenced for Black Magic

(ANSAmed) — A Lebanese man of 47 was sentenced to death by a court in Medina, in Saudi Arabia, for having practiced black magic, reported the paper Saudi Gazette. The man, who had already appeared on satellite television, was caught in a Medina hotel room while using herbs and talismans for one of his magic rituals. During the two years of processing the man, who is also accused of fraud, he admitted to having practiced black magic rituals and having contributed to the ending of marriages. To be definitive, the court sentence must obtain the approval of the Magistrates’ Court. In the oil kingdom the death penalty is foreseen for the crimes of murder, rape, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking. Since the beginning of the year 60 death sentences have been carried out. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Turkey Runs Hot and Cold

By Andrew Novo

Autumn has proved a busy season for Turkey as the nation of more than 76 million continues to establish itself as a regional hegemon while pursuing a policy of “no problems with neighbors”. While the process of reconciling with neighbors — a tenuous agreement with Armenia, de-mining the border with Syria, a new energy deal with Russia and open amity with Iran — is yielding results, “no problems with neighbors” may mean new problems with old friends.

Turkish foreign affairs have made recent headlines: on October 10, Turkey signed an agreement normalizing relations with Armenia. The border between the two countries, closed since 1993, was opened. Two days later, Turkey canceled a joint air force exercise with Israel. A few days after that, the European Union released its annual report on the progress made by countries aspiring to EU membership.

Naturally, Turkey figured prominently in the report, which many commentators saw as a balancing act, pitting Turkey’s progress — improvements in relations with Armenia and Syria abroad, and more rights for Kurds and improved civil-military relations at home — against its shortcomings: a lack of progress on the Cyprus issue and the recent ruling and fine against the Dogan Media Group.

The dichotomy inherent in the EU report mirrors larger questions not only about Turkish politics and society but also about the country’s diplomatic posture. Turkey is familiar with occupying a unique position in world affairs. As recently as the early 20th century, it was a polyglot Muslim empire with deep roots in Europe. In the time-worn but geographically accurate phrase, it is the bridge between Europe and Asia.

Since 1952, it has been the easternmost member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is also the only Muslim state that is part of the alliance. Turkey contributed to winning the Cold War but has been lukewarm about the fight against fundamentalist Islam and opposed the 2003 war in Iraq. In fact, the Turkish government famously refused a request from the American government to use eastern Turkish provinces as a launching pad to create a second front in northern Iraq. Turkey came under fire from high-ranking American policymakers who blamed this for the strength of the Ba’athist insurgency as late as 2005. More recently, Turkey has not been shy about sending air units and even ground troops to combat what it describes as Kurdish terrorists in northern Iraq.

Turkey’s uncompromising attitude toward the “terrorism” of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) should, in theory, generate support for similar Israeli policies and actions against groups in Gaza and Lebanon. This is no longer the case. In January this year, at Davos in Switzerland, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made headlines when he directed a high-tempered attack on Israeli policy in Gaza toward President Shimon Peres. Since then, Israeli-Turkish relations have suffered more substantive setbacks. The above-mentioned cancellation of joint air exercises being only one example. Turkey continues to improve its relations with Syria and, most significantly, is now courting favor with Iran. This new relationship is of genuine concern.

In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian published on October 26, the prime minister made several controversial statements. He called Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad a “friend”. He claimed that Turkey had no problems with Iran and its peaceful nuclear ambitions, and that Western nations were being unfair in calling for restrictions and transparency that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Erdogan went so far as to say that even if Iran wanted a nuclear deterrent, countries like the United States, Britain or France, as nuclear powers themselves, had no right to protest. Erdogan followed his Guardian interview with a visit to Iran and seems intent on strengthening relations between the two countries even further.

The current administration in Turkey markets itself as a bridging force. It claims that it will serve as the EU’s bridge to its Muslim neighbors and Muslims already within the EU. In 2008-09, it served as mediator for backchannel negotiations between Syria and Israel. Turkey has claimed to use its unique position to bridge the divide between NATO and Iran. Sadly, both for these challenges and for Turkey’s image, these bridges have not yet proved passable.

The motives behind such acts are not entirely clear. The current Turkish administration is somewhat promiscuous in its international affairs. On the one hand it professes love for the European Union, seeks EU membership and is “Westernizing” in line with the EU’s blueprint. On the other hand, Turkey continues its war against the PKK, is pursuing its own energy policy in relation to Russia and is flirting with Iran. The government in Ankara still refused to recognize the government of the Republic of Cyprus, even though Cyprus is a full EU member.

The case of Cyprus should not be forgotten because it holds an important history lesson. In 1974, Turkey, in spite of its membership in NATO and the Cold War, invaded the island to prevent its unification with Greece. Greece was a NATO ally, governed at the time by an anti-communist military junta. Nevertheless, Turkey was willing to invade and risk splitting NATO. War with Greece was even a possibility. As recently as 1996, Greece and Turkey have come close to war stemming from disputes over territory in the Aegean. Such examples are important. They demonstrate that in matters of national security, Turkey will not defer to traditional alliances; it will choose the path along which it feels most secure.

Unfortunately for the West, this path seems to be taking Turkey away from the United States, the European Union and the NATO alliance. The current Turkish administration is making decisions that may determine Turkey’s alliances for years to come. If the present course is not reversed, the effect may be to burn the very bridges that, for years, Turkey sought to build.

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


Turkey: 953 Women Murdered in First 7 Months, Minister Says

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, NOVEMBER 9 — Statistics made public by Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin reveal that the number of women murdered in Turkey has drastically increased (+1.400%) in the past seven years, at an average of 4.5 women per day, 31 per week, as pro-government Today’s Zaman reports. Minister Ergin provided the statistics in response to a formal inquiry from Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputy Fatma Kurtulan regarding the number of charges filed in connection with cases of domestic violence, the number of convictions resulting from these cases and the number of women murdered since 2002. The justice minister subsequently announced statistics on violence against women and the number of women murdered between 2002 and 2009. Ergin, discussing steps the government has taken to put an end to violence against women,noted that 66 women were murdered in 2002, whereas this figure rose to 953 in the first seven months of this year. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Yemen: Muslim Leader Calls for End to Saudi Action

Sanaa, 9 Nov. (AKI) — The supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, has asked Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to stop the military offensive against Shia rebels in Yemen.

In a statement published on the Internet, 81-year-old Akef asked the Saudi monarch to end military action against the militants aligned with the imam Abdel Malik al-Houthi.

“We are upset and saddened by the recent bombings by the Saudi army to harm the much loved Yemeni people,” the statement said.

“Saudi Arabia’s intervention does nothing but feed the useless bloodshed on its border with Yemen.”

Saudi Arabia said it had regained control of territory seized by the rebels in an incursion last week and there were reports that Saudi military had resumed air raids on Monday.

Saudi forces captured 250 militiamen loyal to al-Houthi in fighting in the south of the country in recent days, al-Arabiya Arabic satellite TV network reported on Monday.

Saudi officials also insisted that the air and ground offensive, launched last week after a soldier was killed in a raid in the Jizan region, had not strayed into Yemen.

Meanwhile, rebels in northern Yemen claimed to have shot down a Yemeni fighter jet attacking their strongholds on Sunday.

Sanaa denied the claim, saying the Sukhoi crashed because of a “technical error”.

It was the third Yemeni military plane to crash since the latest fighting between the army and the rebels, known as the Houthis, began some four months ago.

“The Saudi air raids resumed this morning,” rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam reportedly said on Monday.

“Saudi combat fighter jets launched intense raids against border areas inside Yemeni territory on Sunday night. The Saudi military used phosphorus bombs during those night raids, burning mountainous regions.”

But he rejected suggestions that rebel fighters had crossed the Saudi border, saying those who had been detained were illegal migrants, and accused the Saudi government of allowing the Yemeni military to use its territory to launch attacks.

But Saudi assistant defence minister Khaled Bin Sultan insisted on Sunday that Saudi troops were trying to force the rebels from its territory and seal the border to prevent incursions.

Saudi television aired footage on Sunday of Saudi soldiers capturing and blindfolding men who were identified as Houthi fighters.

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

Russia

Russia Buying Rapid-Response Carriers

France working on sale despite threat to Western interests

TBILISI, Georgia — Never at a loss to pass up a commercial deal that could hit Western strategic security interests, the French government is on a fast track to sell Russia one or more helicopter carriers that will provide the amphibious capability it now lacks in the Black Sea, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Such a capability could allow the Kremlin to move troops and tanks into neighboring Georgia more quickly, for example allowing Russian Spetznaz, or Special Forces, to invade in a matter of hours rather than the days it took in its August 2008 invasion.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

An Ode to India Divides Muslims and Hindus

The song “Vande Mataram”, invites citizens to bow before the motherland, as if before a goddess. For some Muslims, this is idolatry. Aghar Ali Engineer, an experienced moderate Muslim, points out that Muslim tradition is not monolithic, and they too have been patriotic in India.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Vande Mataram a song written in 1870 by a Bengali poet, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, has been, and still is, a source of division between Muslims and Hindus.

The latest chapter of a century long controversy was written last week by a resolution passed during an anti-terrorism meeting of Dar Ul Uloom Deoband which dubbed the singing of Vande Mataram as “un-Islamic”. The reason is that Hindus consider the Mother-land as a goddess and the song says: “I bow down to the Mother-land” and this is considered as an act of idolatry by certain Muslims.

But not all the Muslims think like this. The Muslim reformist, Asghar Ali Engineer said: “With each one vying to promote himself as a better Muslim, they have forgotten the Jamiat’s glorious tradition of participation in the freedom movement, of which Vande Mataram was an inseparable part. This resolution has eclipsed the very purpose of the meeting to condemn terrorism” In fact of the 15 resolutions passed by the Jamiat-e-Ulema-I-Hind at his anti-terrorism conference at Dar Ul Uloom Deoband, only one was highlighted by the media.

The singing of Vande Mataram had always been associated with the independence movement starting from 1906 when it was used as song and slogan against the partition of Bengal by the British, but in 1908 the Muslim Leage criticized it.

In 1939 Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his paper Harijan: “If at any mixed gathering any person objects to the singing of Vande Mataram, the singing should be dropped.” But the ultranationalist Hindu, like the Shiv Sena and the Sangh Parivar had made it an issue of confrontation with the Muslims. Members of the Bajrang Dal and of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad protested immediately against the resolution with slogans like: “If you want to live in this country you must sing Vande Mataram”.

Vande Mataram is not the official national anthem but in 1950 the then president of India Rajendra Prasad declared Jana Gana Mana as national anthem and Vande Mataram as national song.

Asghar Ali Engineer points out examples from the Muslim tradition when the Mughal emperors made courtiers bow to them as sign of respect: “So why should we not bow to our Mother-land?” The poet Allama Iqbal wrote: “Each speck of the motherland is God to me”. There is a variety of Islamic beliefs in India: “The Deobandis consider even singing salaams to Prophet Mohammed’s glory as haraam (sinful) but most Indian Muslims do not” says Engineer “The Deobandis cannot impose their Islam on all Indian Muslims”.

From time to time we read in the newspapers that students in some schools are compelled to sing Vande Materam and some parents object to it. Some years ago in cinema halls the audience was compelled to stand and listen to the national anthem, but the rule was later removed.

“Under compulsion — says Engineer — I won’t sing it to prove my patriotism. And if ordered not to sing by any fatwa, I will sing it to assert my freedom of choice”.

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

Far East

Philippines: Kidnapped Teacher Beheaded by Militants

Manila, 9 Nov. (AKI) — Police in the southern Philippines have found the severed head of a school teacher who was abducted by Islamist militants nearly a month ago. Gabriel Canizares was abducted by Abu Sayyaf militants three weeks ago and his body is still missing.

Canizares was travelling with colleagues on the southern island of Jolo when he was kidnapped by the Al-Qaeda linked militants and his head was left at a petrol station in Sulu province early Monday, a ranking military official said.

According to GMA TV news, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Victor Ibrado condemned the act as “dastardly and inhuman,” while defense secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said the incident illustrated the challenge for the people in Sulu in fighting terrorism.

The militants had demanded a ransom of 42,000 dollars for Canizares, but his family had refused to pay the amount.

Education secretary Jesli Lapus expressed shock at the teacher’s killing, saying six other teachers who had been kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf earlier this year had all been released.

She said president Gloria Arroyo had ordered “punitive action” to “put an end to the Abu Sayyaf group’s heinous and inhumane atrocities”.

“The people of Jolo are condemning this dastardly act,” Jolo municipal mayor Hussin Amin said in a television interview aired in Manila.

The beheading occurred only three days before a visit to Manila by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for many of the country’s terrorist attacks, including the firebombing of a ferry in Manila Bay that claimed more than 100 lives in 2005 and the abduction of American tourists in 2001.

A land mine explosion targeted a military convoy carrying American troops on 29 September killed two soldiers — the first US military deaths in the southern Philippines in seven years.

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

Immigration

Pope: Migration is Opportunity

World Congress on Migrants opens in Vatican

(ANSA) — Vatican City, November 9 — Migration is a growing issue worldwide but should be seen as an opportunity rather than a problem, Pope Benedict XVI said on Monday. Addressing the first session of the Vatican’s World Congress on Migrants, the pontiff said migration was “a bigger issue than ever before, both in terms of size and complexity”. “It now affects nearly every country in the world and is part of the vast process of globalization,” Benedict said. “Many migrants leave their countries to escape living conditions that are humanly unacceptable but without finding the welcome they hope for elsewhere”. The pope urged delegates to view migration as a positive phenomenon “that helps encourage understanding between peoples and builds peace and effective development in every nation”. The Vatican’s ‘migration minister’ Antonio Maria Veglio’ expressed similar ideas, calling for an end to “fears arising from a view of migration as an unknown quantity and reduced solely to a public order issue to be dealt with through repressive measures”. Another key speaker at the opening session was Italian Senate Speaker Renato Schifani, part of a centre-right government whose policies have been repeatedly rapped by leading Church figures in recent months. “Immigration risks becoming nothing more than an ideological issue if reduced to polemics between those who are concerned with security and those who worry about integration,” said Schifani. He called for an end to immigration being used as an “inappropriate political tool”, which he said meant “recognizing first and foremost that security and integration, legality and welcome, and law and justice are all intertwined issues”. Veglio’, who heads the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, has been one of several prominent Vatican figures to express concern over the Italian government’s immigration policies, particularly a new Italian law criminalizing illegal immigration.

The law imposes hefty fines on illegal immigrants as well as on Italians — with the exception of doctors and school principals — who fail to report migrants living in the country without documents.

Landlords who rent to migrants without papers face tough fines, while parents without legal status will be unable to access public services for their infants. Vatican criticism has also centred on a controversial push-back policy launched in May, under which migrant boats intercepted in the Mediterranean are sent back to Libya, which is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention. The 6th World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, which runs until November 12, began with a mass in the Vatican basilica followed by an opening session and audience with the pope. Debate on the first day was dedicated to the theme of population movements in the context of globalization.

Tuesday’s sessions will look at youth pastoral care among migrants and refugees, cooperation with churches of origin, and dialogue and collaboration.

On Wednesday, delegates will consider the “needs and challenges of ecumenical and inter-religious cooperation”, while the event will close on Thursday with the presentation of a document setting out future goals.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Spain: Despite Crisis, Foreign Residents Increase 10%

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, NOVEMBER 5 — Despite the crisis, the number of foreigners in Spain with resident or stay permits has increased 10.31%. In September there were 4,715,757 people, and 38.86% of them were from EU countries. According to data published today by the Ministry of Labour’s Immigration and Emigration Service, there are about half a million (exactly 444,936) foreigners whòve declared residence in the country in the last twelve months, a 1.96% increase in the third quarter compared to the previous one. In terms of origin, the Moroccan community remains the largest, with 758,174 residents in Spain; followed by Romanians (728,580), Ecuadorians (441,455), Columbians (228,255), British (221,073), Chinese, Italian, Peruvian, Bulgarian, and Portuguese. Of the total foreign residents, 53.49% are male. The European Union is the geographic area of origin for the majority of foreigners (38.86%), followed by Latin America (30.71%), Africa (20.84%), Asian countries (6.28%), Non EU Europe (2.84%), North America (0.43%) and Oceania (0.04%). (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

‘Gay’ Blogger Calls Church-Bomb Threat a ‘Joke’

Christian marriage-advocates notify authorities of threat

A homosexual blogger passed off as a “joke” a suggestion by a contributor to his website that there might be church bombings because of Christians’ refusal to support the homosexual lifestyle.

But several individuals named in the column are taking the threat seriously.

[…]

LaBarbera said it is ironic in the wake of the “hate crimes” law signed by President Obama that provides special protections to homosexuals that attacks immediately began targeting Christians.

“It seems the more the gay movement achieves, the more hostile the activists become toward religious people,” LaBarbera said. “They know the religious and moral people are the last impediment to their full agenda.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Vatican Engineered Victory for Pelosicare

The group Catholic Democrats has hailed passage of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009, and notes that the only House Republican voting for it, Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana, is a Catholic and former Jesuit seminarian. “The Catholic Church has been at the forefront of advocating for health care as a right for decades, including pastoral letters issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 1981 and 1993,” the group notes.

The evidence indicates that the Bishops—and the Vatican itself—are calling the shots behind the scene. In fact, as many media organizations are now reporting, they engineered the “compromise” that deleted abortion funding so the bill could pass the House. The Los Angeles Times reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic, not only “conferred with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to be sure the new restrictions were acceptable” but “consulted by telephone with a cardinal in Rome.”

CNN reported that, as a deal was being made between Pelosi and Catholic lobbyists, “Several Democrats, including Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pennsylvania, said they are in touch with their Catholic Bishops back home. Altmire said he must have the approval of his bishop in Pittsburgh before he can vote yes.”

Where is the media outrage over “the separation of church and state?” In this case, there is direct evidence of a foreign entity, the Vatican, actually passing judgment on legislation and, in effect, delivering votes for it.

Few in the media, on the left or right, want to raise the issue, apparently fearful of being labeled “anti-Catholic.”

But the outcome of the legislation in the House demonstrates that while the Republicans don’t have the votes to stop it, the Vatican has the votes to pass it. Could the same thing happen in the U.S. Senate?

[…]

In this context, in a major story largely ignored by the major U.S. media, a London newspaper recently noted that L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, published an October 21 article by Georg Sans that praised the Marxist theory of alienation under capitalism. The article, published in Italian, said that the church “must be grateful” to Marx for explaining the concept of “alienated labor” and “surplus value.” Sans also said that “a large part of humanity” remains alienated.

The article was reprinted by an Italian communist website, complete with an image of Karl Marx flashing a “V” for victory sign.

[…]

Jokes aside, the Vatican newspaper article is embarrassing to many Catholics, for the obvious reason that it exposes Marxist sympathies deep within the Vatican at a time when many Americans, including Catholics, are resisting the Marxist drive for total government control in the U.S. Embarrassment explains why so many conservative Catholic commentators have decided to ignore this Vatican embrace of the key component of revolutionary Marxism.

To make matters worse, the astute “Reading the Maps” blog pointed out that “The explanation for the appearance of Sans’ article may lie in an extraordinary but little-noticed Encyclical which the Pope issued in 2007 called Spe Salvi, or In Hope We Were Saved. Spe Salvi includes a long and surprisingly sophisticated assessment not only of the thought of Marx, but of the whole history of Western thought since the Enlightenment.”

The headline over the blog carried the headline, “Is the Pope a Marxist?”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

2 comments:

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Anonymous said...

The entire Western political establishment is in a state of denial about the truth of the massacre at Fort Hood. Here is an article well worth reading.

Dr. Phil and the Fort Hood Killer
His terrorist motive is obvious to everyone but the press and the Army brass.


By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ

It can by now come as no surprise that the Fort Hood massacre yielded an instant flow of exculpatory media meditations on the stresses that must have weighed on the killer who mowed down 13 Americans and wounded 29 others. Still, the intense drive to wrap this clear case in a fog of mystery is eminently worthy of notice.

The tide of pronouncements and ruminations pointing to every cause for this event other than the one obvious to everyone in the rational world continues apace. Commentators, reporters, psychologists and, indeed, army spokesmen continue to warn portentously, "We don't yet know the motive for the shootings."

What a puzzle this piece of vacuity must be to audiences hearing it, some, no doubt, with outrage. To those not terrorized by fear of offending Muslim sensitivities, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's motive was instantly clear: It was an act of terrorism by a man with a record of expressing virulent, anti-American, pro-jihadist sentiments. All were conspicuous signs of danger his Army superiors chose to ignore.

What is hard to ignore, now, is the growing derangement on all matters involving terrorism and Muslim sensitivities. Its chief symptoms: a palpitating fear of discomfiting facts and a willingness to discard those facts and embrace the richest possible variety of ludicrous theories as to the motives behind an act of Islamic terrorism. All this we have seen before but never in such naked form. The days following the Fort Hood rampage have told us more than we want to know, perhaps, about the depth and reach of this epidemic.

Deny, Deny and Thrice Deny

Read it all.
-------------------------------------

But we must carry on taking the light of freedom and democracy to Islamic nations, one by one, as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course there is the obvious danger that Muslims in the West will show their true allegiance by attacking military bases here, but that is to be expected.

Sooner or later though, reality cannot be denied.