Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20100815

Financial Crisis
»Will Quantitative Easing by the Federal Reserve Unleash Economic Hell?
»70 Avowed Socialists in U.S. Congress
»American Muslims Debate Loyalty to America
»Between Barack and a Hard Place
»Congress’ New Red Army Caucus
»Egyptian Teacher Looks to Help Reverse Misconceptions About Muslim Culture
»GOP Takes Harsher Stance Toward Islam
»How Many Socialists Sit in Congress Today?
»Islam Means the End of Religious Freedom
»Mischief in Manhattan: We Muslims Know the Ground Zero Mosque is Meant to be a Deliberate Provocation
»Obama & State Takeover by Union: Syndicalism
»Obama is Colluding With New Fascist Imperialism
»Patients’ Files Left at Public Dump
Europe and the EU
»Belgium: “Di Rupo Will Die by the White Sword”
»Fined £150million for Failing to Fly the EU Flag: Now British Firms Are Told How to Fight Back
»France: Roads of Arabia Exhibit at Louvre, Before and After Islam
North Africa
»Gadaffi’s Son to Throw Party to Celebrate Release of Al Megrahi One Year Ago
»Libya: Italian Offers Ready to Tender for Coastal Highway
»‘Thank God for Gordon’: Gaddafi Orders Libyans to Pray for Brown — to Thank Him for Releasing the Lockerbie Bomber
Israel and the Palestinians
»Diplomats on Strike, Contest of Wills With Mossad
»Israel to Buy World’s Most Advanced Warplane
Middle East
»73% of Fake Medicines Routed Through UAE
»Iran Set to Fuel Nuclear Power Plant
»Saudi Arabia: King Tries to Impose Rules on Fatwas
»Saudi Sitcom Row Tests Tolerance Toward Christians
»Syria Gains Absolute Command in Lebanon
»Turkey to Continue Projects With Iran, Minister Says
»Turkey: Chemical Arms Against Kurds, Wide Coverage in Israel
South Asia
»India: 61 Trucks Loaded With 300 Tons of Explosives Go Missing
»Algerian Press and Scholars Against Sarkozy
»Arizona Sheriff: Border Patrol Has Retreated From Parts of Border Because It’s ‘Too Dangerous’
»France: Immigration; UN Criticism All Hype, Elysee Palace
»One Foreign Criminal a Day Wins Right to Stay in Britain
»UK: Rabar Hamad, The ‘Bogus Boy’ Asylum Seeker, Makes Facebook Getaway
Culture Wars
»Mainstream Media an Enemy of Christian America?
»Obama’s Islamic America
»Drug Firms Hiding Negative Research Experiments on People
»Ocean Acidification and the CO2-Propaganda

Financial Crisis

Will Quantitative Easing by the Federal Reserve Unleash Economic Hell?

Prior to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, the Federal Reserve could always count on being able to stimulate the U.S. economy with a quick cut to interest rates. But now with interest rates just barely above zero, the Federal Reserve is searching for other ways to pump life into a U.S. economy that is staggering about like a drunken college student. One of the ways that the Federal Reserve can do this is through something called “quantitative easing”. In essence, what happens is that the Federal Reserve creates money out of thin air and starts buying things like U.S. Treasuries, mortgage-backed securities and corporate debt. But many economic analysts are now warning that further rounds of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve could end up setting off a series of events that could ultimately unleash economic hell. In fact, there are quite a few high profile commentators who now believe that hyperinflation in the United States is absolutely inevitable.


But is it really a good idea for a privately-owned central bank to have the power to create money out of nothing and to do whatever it wants with it outside of U.S. government control?

Of course not, but we dealt with those issues in another article.

What we will concern ourselves with in this article are the negative effects that could be unleashed as the Federal Reserve further abuses this power.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


70 Avowed Socialists in U.S. Congress

DSA lists members of the 111th session

In October 2009, the Democratic Socialists of America released in its newsletter a list of 70 members of the U.S. Congress who are members of the organization:


Hon. Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-07) Hon. Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)

Vice Chairs

Hon. Diane Watson (CA-33) Hon. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18) Hon. Mazie Hirono (HI-02) Hon. Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)

[Comments from JD: List continued at url]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

American Muslims Debate Loyalty to America

American Muslims are debating key questions of loyalty to America, a debate in which the stakes could not be higher. Alarmingly, “no fewer than four United States citizens and a permanent U.S. resident have risen to senior leadership posts within al-Qaeda,” according to an Investors Business Daily editorial by Paul Sperry. Thus, “five English-speaking leaders are actively planning or facilitating attacks against their countrymen, while recruiting and radicalizing other American turncoats to carry them out.” The implications of this are frightening. No longer is America at war with a foreign enemy. The enemy is here — an enemy who understands how “America works, having lived here for decades.” Thus, fellow Americans are recruited by the enemy. These traitors are “fed by a native Muslim population once believed [to be] … nonthreatening.” Is this an aberration, or does Islam condone and promote this disloyalty?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Between Barack and a Hard Place

Recently a woman who fled Venezuela to escape Hugo Chavez and his democratic revolution was heard crying, “Obama is doing the same things as Chavez! He’s following the same path, going to the same place, but now we have nowhere to run.” Someone who escaped the USSR told me, “I’ve seen all this before. He’s like Nikita Khrushchev. He says he brings hope and change but really he’s just blaming the past because he hopes to rule the present while destroying the hope of the future.” According to an escapee of East Germany, “He’s like Leonid Brezhnev. He promises security, pensions and benefits but all he will do is bring taxes, regulations and more bureaucrats, always more bureaucrats.”

Not a Hitler, not a Stalin, not a Mao, not even a Mussolini to whom shall we compare this man who has brought the crest of the long building Progressive wave crashing against the American experiment? Perhaps we should see who he compares himself to?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Congress’ New Red Army Caucus

There are 81 members of Congress who belong to something called the Progressive Caucus. In 1998, when I first investigated this outfit, there were 60 members. Back then, the Progressive Caucus website was by the DSA — suggesting a rather close association. Following my exposé of this link between the two organizations in several columns in WND, the Progressive Caucus established a website under the auspices of the Congress of the United States.


Because the chief organizing objective of the Democratic Socialists of America is to work within the Democratic Party and remove the stigma attached to “socialism” in the eyes of most Americans.

“Stress our Democratic Party strategy and electoral work,” explains an organizing document of the DSA. “The Democratic Party is something the public understands, and association with it takes the edge off. Stressing our Democratic Party work will establish some distance from the radical subculture and help integrate you to the milieu of the young liberals.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Egyptian Teacher Looks to Help Reverse Misconceptions About Muslim Culture

An English teacher from Cairo, he comes to Missoula via the U.S. State Department’s Teachers of Critical Languages Program, which places Arabic and Chinese teachers in the United States for one-year assignments. The Missoula County Public Schools district was accepted into the program, which will help get its Arabic studies classes off the ground.

For the next year, Elkhateeb will teach the Arabic language, culture and traditions to Missoula students at Hellgate and anywhere else he is asked to visit.

A devout Muslim and “ambassador for my culture,” his message is simple: Ignorance of another culture leads to misunderstanding and even hatred, and that works both ways across the Arabic-Western divide.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

GOP Takes Harsher Stance Toward Islam

The harsh Republican response to President Barack Obama’s defense of a mosque near ground zero marks a dramatic shift in the party’s posture toward Islam — from a once active courtship of Muslim voters to a very public tolerance after Sept. 11 to an openly aired sense of mistrust.

Republican leaders have largely abandoned former President George W. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 rhetorical embrace of American Muslims and his insistence — always controversial inside the party — that Islam is a religion of peace. This weekend, former Bush aides were among the very few Republicans siding with Obama, as many of the party’s leaders have moved toward more vocal denunciations of Islam’s role in violence abroad and suspicion of its place at home.

The shift plays to a hostility toward Islam among many Republican voters, and it fits with traditional Republican attacks on Democratic weakness on security policy.


Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles Burlingame was the pilot of the jetliner that crashed into the Pentagon and who serves on the board of Keep America Safe, agreed that there is an emotional component but rejected the notion that the mosque issue is a “feelings” concept instead of part of a larger debate about different cultures and how the U.S. should engage with Muslim culture within the country.

“I do ascribe to the ‘clash of civilizations’ theory now,” said Burlingame, who has been among the main voices questioning the funding behind the proposed mosque, and the intents of Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind it. She said, as she did after Obama’s speech, that many Muslims have practiced peacefully in the U.S. before and after the attacks, but that Rauf has made statements supporting radical elements of Islam, and that the location was chosen to be provocative.

She criticized those, mostly led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who are defending the project under freedom of religion, saying, “That’s a Western concept.”

“This is a different model,” she said, arguing that in the United States people “for generations had been raised on this concept of separation of church and state, and that you don’t trash someone because of their religion … but that’s not what we’re dealing with here.”

“I think the challenge for us is enlisting the Muslims who have already bought into the American program and not adjusting” to Muslim culture, she added. For Burlingame, the issue is not political — she said she objects to the content as well as the form of efforts by Bloomberg and others to push back because the goal is “to shut you up.”

“We’re talking to the wrong people,” said New York City firefighter Tim Brown, a survivor of the attacks who has worked with Burlingame. He suggested that “radical” Muslims are being recognized in the United States as part of the religious dialogue, as in the case of the mosque. “Whoever made this decision and whoever set us on this path, and I don’t care if it’s the Bush administration or whoever, it’s the wrong path.”…

           — Hat tip: Henrik[Return to headlines]

How Many Socialists Sit in Congress Today?

1 group boasts 70, but see what WND survey suggests

WASHINGTON — The Democratic Socialists of America boasted in a newsletter to insiders 70 of its members currently serve in Congress, but an independent survey by WND suggests the number of actual avowed or semi-secret socialists in the House and Senate is considerably higher — at least 82.

The DSA is a political action committee and bills itself as the heir to the defunct Socialist Party of America. It’s chief organizing objective is to work within the Democratic Party as the primary, but not sole, method of achieving public ownership of private property and the means of production.


While the DSA tries to paint distinctions between its brand of socialism and communism, before scrubbing its website following the WND expose 12 years ago, the site included a song list that included:

“The Internationale,” the worldwide anthem of Communism and socialism.

“Red Revolution” sung to the tune of “Red Robin,” with these lyrics: “When the Red Revolution brings its solution along, along, there’ll be no more lootin’ when we start shootin’ that Wall Street throng. …”

“Are You Sleeping, Bourgeoisie?” Lyrics included: “Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping? Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie. And when the revolution comes, We’ll kill you all with knives and guns, Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Islam Means the End of Religious Freedom

His endorsement of the Ground Zero mosque is another case of Obama standing “with the Muslims” and against Americans of all other faiths

At an Iftar dinner in the White House, Barack Hussein Obama proclaimed that he supports the building of the Ground Zero mosque as part of his “unshakable commitment to religious freedom”. Which of course sounds very noble and good, until you ask a single question, Where is the religious freedom in the Muslim world?

Obama has made the case for Islam in America, on the grounds that America’s religious diversity promotes the religious freedom of all. Islam no less than any other belief system. Yet if introducing Islam into America promotes religious freedom, then why is there no religious freedom in the Muslim world? Why are churches firebombed in Malaysia because Christians presumed to use the word Allah? Why are non-Muslims forbidden to enter the city of Mecca, from which Jews and Christians were ethnically cleansed by Mohammed? Why are Coptic Christians being oppressed and humiliated by the Egyptian government? Why are Muslims murdering Buddhist teachers in Thailand? There are a thousand examples, all of which add up to a single conclusion — Muslims demand religious freedom, yet are not willing to give it to others. Jews are fleeing European cities in record numbers because of Muslim persecution

This has ominous implications for the prospects of religious freedom in America. Nor is this a theoretical issue. Jews are fleeing European cities in record numbers because of Muslim persecution. The recent case of Malmo, highlights the fact that Islam actually threatens religious diversity. Simply to protect themselves, Malmo’s 650 Jews were forced to spend half a million Kronor a year. The situation is much the same across Europe, as Jewish institutions are forced to become fortresses. What the Nazis did not succeed in accomplishing in Europe, the rise of Islam seems to be doing.


Let’s look at how some of the participants in Obama’s Iftar dinner embody that famous Islamic tolerance…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Mischief in Manhattan: We Muslims Know the Ground Zero Mosque is Meant to be a Deliberate Provocation

By Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city council speaker Christine Quinn announce this week’s decision to deny landmark status to the site of a planned Muslim centre near the World Trade Center site.

Last week, a journalist who writes for the North Country Times, a small newspaper in Southern California, sent us an e-mail titled “Help.” He couldn’t understand why an Islamic Centre in an area where Adam Gadahn, Osama bin Laden’s American spokesman came from, and that was home to three of the 911 terrorists, was looking to expand.

The man has a very valid point, which leads to the ongoing debate about building a Mosque at Ground Zero in New York. When we try to understand the reasoning behind building a mosque at the epicentre of the worst-ever attack on the U.S., we wonder why its proponents don’t build a monument to those who died in the attack?

New York currently boasts at least 30 mosques so it’s not as if there is pressing need to find space for worshippers. The fact we Muslims know the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel. The proposal has been made in bad faith and in Islamic parlance, such an act is referred to as “Fitna,” meaning “mischief-making” that is clearly forbidden in the Koran.

The Koran commands Muslims to, “Be considerate when you debate with the People of the Book” — i.e., Jews and Christians. Building an exclusive place of worship for Muslims at the place where Muslims killed thousands of New Yorkers is not being considerate or sensitive, it is undoubtedly an act of “fitna”

So what gives Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the “Cordoba Initiative” and his cohorts the misplaced idea that they will increase tolerance for Muslims by brazenly displaying their own intolerance in this case?

Do they not understand that building a mosque at Ground Zero is equivalent to permitting a Serbian Orthodox church near the killing fields of Srebrenica where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered?

There are many questions that we would like to ask. Questions about where the funding is coming from? If this mosque is being funded by Saudi sources, then it is an even bigger slap in the face of Americans, as nine of the jihadis in the Twin Tower calamity were Saudis.

If Rauf is serious about building bridges, then he could have dedicated space in this so-called community centre to a church and synagogue, but he did not. We passed on this message to him through a mutual Saudi friend, but received no answer. He could have proposed a memorial to the 9/11 dead with a denouncement of the doctrine of armed jihad, but he chose not to.

It’s a repugnant thought that $100 million would be brought into the United States rather than be directed at dying and needy Muslims in Darfur or Pakistan.

Let’s not forget that a mosque is an exclusive place of worship for Muslims and not an inviting community centre. Most Americans are wary of mosques due to the hard core rhetoric that is used in pulpits. And rightly so. As Muslims we are dismayed that our co-religionists have such little consideration for their fellow citizens and wish to rub salt in their wounds and pretend they are applying a balm to sooth the pain.

The Koran implores Muslims to speak the truth, even if it hurts the one who utters the truth. Today we speak the truth, knowing very well Muslims have forgotten this crucial injunction from Allah.

If this mosque does get built, it will forever be a lightning rod for those who have little room for Muslims or Islam in the U.S. We simply cannot understand why on Earth the traditional leadership of America’s Muslims would not realize their folly and back out in an act of goodwill.

As for those teary-eyed, bleeding-heart liberals such as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and much of the media, who are blind to the Islamist agenda in North America, we understand their goodwill.

Unfortunately for us, their stand is based on ignorance and guilt, and they will never in their lives have to face the tyranny of Islamism that targets, kills and maims Muslims worldwide, and is using liberalism itself to destroy liberal secular democratic societies from within.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Obama & State Takeover by Union: Syndicalism

Even moderately observant Americans realize Obama’s policies strongly favor unions. But why? Some believe simply because unions helped deliver his presidency. But, do more basic and sinister motives lurk beneath the surface? In Marxism, great emphasis is placed on use of unions to advance socialism. French historian of labor Michel Collinet claims… “The control of labor unions was, and still remains, the principle objective of Communist parties in industrialized countries.”

Given immense potential for shutdown and sabotage, and for use as vehicles of propaganda and agitation, unions remain indispensable tools of Marxist ambition. Unions contributed an estimated $400 million to Obama’s presidential campaign. Despite comprising only 9% of US workers, labor unions are still key to socialist schemes, and still have potential to badly damage our democracy. This essay argues unions are crucial to Obama’s plans for socializing America.

Clarence B. Carson in “Basic Communism,” says unions have always held a special attraction for Marxists, writing,

“Labor unions were of special interest to and targets for Communist penetration and control. After all, Communist ideology has always focused on industrial workers, ie, the ‘proletariat.’ Communist revolutions were wrought in the name of the proletariat, and they were supposed to be the base for rule following a seizure of power. Labor unions, therefore, were instruments at hand for potential use by Communists…More broadly, the modern labor union arose more or less simultaneously with socialism. Nor was the simultaneous rise a coincidence. Socialism provided the intellectual underpinnings of unionism.”

Earliest union leaders were socialists, such as Eugene Debs and Samuel Gompers. For takeover, unions don’t need a Marxist majority, says Carson. A few ambitious Marxists will dominate a local union, being willing to do tasks many members avoid.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama is Colluding With New Fascist Imperialism

Nothing is more like the fascist Axis of the 1930s than Islamist expansionism today. Like the Hitler-Tojo-Mussolini Axis of the 1930s, Islamic fascists are fundamentally imperialistic, with an explicit order from on High to subjugate civilized people or turn them to ashes. Mohammed himself famously threatened the cultured Persian and Byzantine Emperors of his time, and in the following years, his followers knocked those empires over like devouring army ants. The peace-loving Buddhist monasteries of India were consumed by invading Muslim armies, with the result that there are no Buddhist monasteries left in India today. Not a single one. Only Hinduism survived the Muslim invasions, because Hindus are not pacifists. You can ask any Sikh about that; they are a huge warrior religion that arose as a buffer between Hindu India and its many Muslim invaders, who now hold Pakistan and Afghanistan. In India, the Buddhist monks just died or fled to Tibet. So much for the glorious results of peaceful resistance against Muslim armies.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Patients’ Files Left at Public Dump

Four Massachusetts community hospitals are investigating how thousands of patient health records, some containing Social Security numbers and sensitive medical diagnoses, ended up in a pile at a public dump.

The unshredded records included pathology reports with patients’ names, addresses, and results of breast, bone, and skin cancer tests, as well as the results of lab work following miscarriages.

By law, medical records and documents containing personal identifying information must be disposed of in a way that protects privacy, and leaving them at a dump is probably illegal, privacy lawyers and hospital officials said. Violators face steep fines.

A Globe photographer discovered the records July 26 when he was dumping his trash at the Georgetown Transfer Station. When he got out of his car, he said, he saw a huge pile of paper about 20 feet wide by 20 feet long. Upset that the paper wasn’t being recycled, he looked more closely.

The photographer said he saw health and insurance records from at least four hospitals and their pathology groups — Milford, Holyoke, Carney, and Milton — mostly dated 2009. The Globe notified the hospitals. It is unclear how many other hospitals’ records might have been discarded in the dump.

Hospital executives and pathologists said they are distraught…

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgium: “Di Rupo Will Die by the White Sword”

Sat 07/08/2010 — 12:01 The Flemish commercial broadcaster VTM has received a letter containing death threats addressed to the man currently leading the negotiations for the formation of a new federal coalition Elio Di Rupo (Francophone socialist). VTM passed the letter on to the Federal Judicial Police in Brussels.

A police spokesman told journalists that the threats are been taken seriously and that an investigation has been launched.

The spokesman added that the very fact that an investigation has been launched proves that the Federal Police don’t believe that the letter is the work of a prankster.

The letter opens with the words “In the name of Allah”.

The writer goes on to say that “A homosexual can’t become the Prime Minister of a future Islamic state like Belgium.”

“The sinner and homosexual Di Rupo will die by the white sword.”

Although Mr Di Rupo keeps his private life very much to himself he makes no secret of his homosexuality.

If he becomes Belgium’s next Prime Minister he will be the European Union’s first openly homosexual PM.

The Interior Ministry’s Crisis Centre has decided not to give Mr Di Rupo extra protection.

The Centre will continue to monitor the situation and make any changes if necessary .

           — Hat tip: AA[Return to headlines]

Fined £150million for Failing to Fly the EU Flag: Now British Firms Are Told How to Fight Back

Companies receiving European grants must display its logo on their buildings, posters and websites or face being forced to pay back some of the funding. Now Yorkshire Forward, a regional development agency, has produced an 18-page booklet that advises organisations how to escape the punitive penalties.

The pamphlet details ‘approved’ versions of the EU flag, instructions on its colour and dimensions, and the precise wording that must accompany the logo. The rules also require building and infrastructure projects to display billboards and plaques praising the EU for providing funds.

Each poster or plaque must set aside ‘25 per cent of the total area’ for EU propaganda. They must also include the words: ‘Investing in your future.’ The Yorkshire Forward booklet also reveals the organisations to have fallen foul of the petty regulations.

Among the projects hit was a £3.5 million refurbishment of Whitley Bay Playhouse in North Tyneside. Some £60,000 of the EU’s £626,500 contribution had to be repaid because of ‘a number of failings’. Not meeting rules on publicity cost the scheme £16,450 of the total.

The YMCA in Peterborough had to repay £1,325 of a grant to help promote parenting skills, volunteering and sports among young people, again because it fell foul of the strict rules on publicity.

Organisers had not displayed the EU flag at YMCA premises or used it in publicity material.

Last month, it emerged that Brussels bureaucrats had ordered the British Government to collect an astonishing £150 million from organisations and companies because of failures to prominently display the EU flag on premises that were receiving funding.

Critics are particularly appalled as Britain is a £6.4 billion net contributor to the EU budget. Last night, Local Government Minister Bob Neill said: ‘It is unfair that local firms, community groups and councils are being punished by EU officials for the most minor breaches of complicated and over-bureaucratic EU rules.

This is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. ‘Disadvantaged and needy groups should not lose out because of failing to follow excessive EU propaganda demands to the letter.

‘The end result is British taxpayers’ money being wasted on bloated design guidelines, form-filling and millions of pounds of red tape.’

A number of other British regional development agencies, which help Whitehall to distribute EU grants, have issued their own guide books to prevent further disqualifications of grants.

Six pages of the Yorkshire guide are devoted to showing how the EU’s circle of stars flag should appear on letterheads, Press releases and publicity. The guidelines for commemorative plaques state they ‘should be placed where they can be seen by the public and should not be hidden away in obscure locations’.

It adds: ‘Reception areas are ideal, as areas by entrances. Plaques should be sized so that they are easily readable.’

And in a stark warning to any recipients of EU funding, it states: ‘Project managers are reminded that failure to implement the publicity regulations or implementing them incorrectly could lead to expenditure being declared ineligible, leading to loss of grant on which the project is depending.’

The European Commission was unavailable for comment last night.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

France: Roads of Arabia Exhibit at Louvre, Before and After Islam

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, AUGUST 13 — Three hundred works, many of which have never left the country, reveal the archaeology and history of Saudi Arabia from prehistoric times to the dawn of the modern world in an exhibit taking place at the Napoleon Hall of the Louvre, called Routes d’Arabie, or the Roads of Arabia. One of the curators of the exhibit is the head of museums and archaeology of the Tourism Commission of Saudi Arabia, Ali Al Ghabban, who has designed comprehensive view into the heart of the country through photographs of the picturesque landscapes in the region. A succession of stops in the oases that hosted powerful states, or which became holy Islamic sites after the 7th century, a panorama of the various cultures that followed one another, also in the little-known past in a pre-Islamic Arab world that was brilliant and prosperous.

Neolithic funeral steles, colossal statues of the kings of Lihyan (4th-6th century BC), silver dishes and jewels found in tombs reveal a dynamic presence in this civilisation that was also enriched by trans-Arabian trade with nomadic groups.

The exhibition, sponsored by the Total Foundation and Al Rubalyat, also highlights the role of Arabia as the birthplace of Islam. Mecca is reached by travelling the pilgrimage roads, with a selection of funeral steles that illustrate the evolution of writing and decorative arts between the 10th and 16th century. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Gadaffi’s Son to Throw Party to Celebrate Release of Al Megrahi One Year Ago

The son of Libyan dictator Colonel Gadaffi is to celebrate the first anniversary of the Lockerbie bomber’s release by giving a party for him.

Saif Gadaffi, whose friends include Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson, will attend the revelry for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi in his two-storey house in Tripoli.

He will foot the bill for food and drink, following a day’s fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

When Megrahi, 58, was released on August 20 last year, Scottish authorities said he had only three months to live and was ‘going home to die’.

Frank Duggan, a lawyer and spokesman for the families of the 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombing, said: ‘Megrahi is obviously still deemed a hero in Libya.

‘Saif Gadaffi was instrumental in pulling off a public relations masterstroke to get him released on the 40th anniversary of the Libyan revolution.

‘We understand the celebrations are meant to be more low key this time.’

Mr Duggan added that the victims’ relatives did not want to focus on Megrahi on August 20 and were instead looking forward to a wedding between two of them the next day.

Megrahi’s arrival in Tripoli from Scotland last year was met by scenes of jubilation.

He was showered with rose petals by supporters who waved the Scottish flag.

Libyan authorities have insisted they want to avoid a repeat of the international revulsion sparked by Megrahi being treated to a hero’s homecoming.

Instead, they will ‘pray’ to ‘give thanks’ for those who freed Megrahi, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

A spokesman for the Libyan leader said: ‘He does not want wish to cause offence in other parts of the world, especially in Britain and America.’

The survival of Megrahi has cast doubt on the prognosis that he had just three months to live.

Yesterday Professor Karol Sikora, who was paid by the Libyan government for his medical opinion, said he felt uncomfortable with how his advice had been used by politicians.

The leading cancer specialist said he would have been ‘more vague’ if he had known that his theory that Megrahi would die within three months would be interpreted as fact.

Saturday’s wedding in New Jersey is between Sonia Stratis, 28, and Chris Tedeschi, 33, who met at an event to commemorate the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

Miss Stratis was seven when her father Elia was killed in the attack, and Mr Tedeschi’s father later married widow Kathy Daniels, whose first husband Bill was aboard the doomed jet.

Mr Tedeschi, 33, an advertising executive, said: ‘There is a lot of sorrow and sadness thinking about Megrahi’s release but I will let God bear the weight of that.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Libya: Italian Offers Ready to Tender for Coastal Highway

(ANSAmed) — MILAN — Just a few days go before the due date, on Friday August 20, by which the consortia of Italian companies — who are involved in an exclusive tender — should present their offers for the building of Libya’s great coastal motorway. The deal comes as part of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed between the two countries two years ago.

According to the tender invitation and to reports in the Italian daily press, the works are worth around three billion dollars and cover the whole of the 1,700-kilometre stretch of the Rass Ajdir-Imsaad highway. According to the wording of the invitation for tenders issued by the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, it will be a motorway with “two lanes, plus relief lane, in each direction, including bridges, junctions and crossings and including safety facilities”. Offers are to be addressed to the Libyan state’s Rome office.

All of Italy’s major players in the road construction sector are expected to take part, with Impregilo already having confirmed its interest, and with ready-made consortia being formed. Once the offers fulfilling all of Libya’s requisites have been short-listed, the actual competition will start with financial offers being presented. Among the other Italian groups having the size and expertise to take on such a job are Astaldi, as well as Condotte, Pizzarotti, Gavio, Todini and the large cooperatives.

The highway has been much discussed during diplomatic meetings between the Italian and Libyan government over recent years, but its construction did not get the official seal of approval until Italy’s Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, signed the Friendship and Cooperation Treaty in August 2008.

Libya’s interest has always been in a reconstruction of its ancient ‘Balbo Way’, a highway that joined Tripoli to Bengasi, which was constructed during the period of Italian colonial rule under Governor Italo Balbo, whose name it bore.

The Treaty also includes the payment by Italy of five billion dollars over the coming twenty years by way of compensation to Libya for damages suffered during the colonial period. Some of these funds are to be ‘diverted’ straight towards the construction of the coastal highway. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

‘Thank God for Gordon’: Gaddafi Orders Libyans to Pray for Brown — to Thank Him for Releasing the Lockerbie Bomber

Libya will mark the first anniversary of the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al Megrahi by thanking God for Gordon Brown and Kenny MacAskill, the two men who let him go.

Colonel Gaddafi, the country’s dictator, has ordered prayers to mark Friday’s anniversary of the decision to free Al Megrahi from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.

The Libyan leader is keen to avoid a repeat of the international condemnation sparked by the decision to give the convicted terrorist a hero’s welcome when he returned to Libya on August 20, 2009, allegedly with just three months to live.

The families of the 270 people who died in the 1988 bombing of Pam Am Flight 103 were furious at what they saw as scenes of triumphalism at Tripoli airport, with large crowds cheering and shouting.

A spokesman for the Libyan leader said: ‘The celebrations this year will involve people giving thanks to God for Brother Al Megrahi’s release, and marking the event with their own quiet celebrations.’

He added: ‘People will pray for Al Megrahi and give thanks to those who helped free him, including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill.

‘This is what the Brother Leader [Col Gaddafi] wants. He does not wish to cause offence in other parts of the world, especially in Britain and America.’

Despite this official nervousness, youths across the country will pay their own tribute by wearing the same kind of white baseball cap that Al Megrahi, 58, wore at the time of his release. Many will also have his image blazoned across T-shirts.

‘Brother Al Megrahi is massively popular across the country — a real hero,’ said near neighbour Hamid Najiz. ‘Young people love him, and many new babies have been named after him.’

The most significant gathering will be in the two-storey house that Al Megrahi shares with his wife and five children.

The Libyan ­dictator’s second son, Saif Gaddafi, will visit the property, paying for food and drinks for selected guests ­following a day’s fasting as required during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

But even these low-key celebrations are likely to attract intense international criticism.

The continued survival of Al Megrahi, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer, has led many to question the decision to free him.

Critics on both sides of the Atlantic claim that the release was approved as part of moves to secure a £450 million Anglo-Libyan oil deal that was engineered by the last Labour Government in 2007.

A year after this treaty was signed, Peter Mandelson, the then Business Secretary, met with Saif Gaddafi to discuss bilateral relations and Al Megrahi’s future. The prisoner-transfer treaty that paved the way for the bomber’s release was eventually signed in 2009.

In June, Saif Gaddafi claimed that Tony Blair had become an adviser to the state fund that now advises Libya on its oil wealth. However, a spokesman for the former Prime Minister denied that he had any paid or unpaid role with Colonel Gaddafi.

According to the terms of his release from Scotland, Al Megrahi is not allowed to leave his luxury family home, which is under 24-hour guard by the Libyan authorities.

As a sick man Al Megrahi is excused the need to stop eating and drinking during Ramadan, but his diet is ­nonetheless extremely meagre.

Despite recent claims that Al Megrahi was solely relying on natural remedies to ease the pain of his ­cancer, he has just begun a new course of chemotherapy.

Al Megrahi has always maintained his innocence over Britain’s worst terrorist atrocity.

A source in Tripoli said: ‘His number one aim is to prove he had nothing to do with the Lockerbie bombing, and this is the reason he is putting so much effort into regaining his health.’

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Diplomats on Strike, Contest of Wills With Mossad

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, AUGUST 13 — A contest of wills is underway in Israel between Mossad and diplomats, who since June have been engaging in strategic strikes and putting forth wage demands. Speaking out in the press are a number of diplomats union representatives who say that secret services functionaries had agreed on a number of occasions to take over tasks normally entrusted to diplomats, thereby threatening the effectiveness of their protest.

Hanan Goder, one of the leaders of the union imitative of the Foreign Ministry functionaries, has accused Mossad of having oragnised an ordinary official visit by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to Greece, scheduled since Monday, in this way committing a “breach of professional conduct”.

Goder said that “it is unacceptable that the prime minister make use of another organism, one that deals solely with issues of security, to avoid dealing with a protest strike.” The functionary said that, in response, striking diplomats would be breaking off all forms of collaboration with Mossad abroad, “except for in life or death cases”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel to Buy World’s Most Advanced Warplane

Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday approved the purchase of a fleet of US-built F-35 strike fighters in a move set to ramp up the capabilities of the Israeli Air Force.

The minister “approved in principle” a recommendation by the military to purchase the F-35 or Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), a statement from his office said.

Israel is initially expected to buy 20 of the aircraft in a deal worth an estimated 2.75 billion dollars, the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily said in several reports published last week.

Should the deal be approved by the security cabinet, it will be the most expensive weapons deal ever signed by the Jewish state, it said.

“The F-35 is the fighter plane of the future which will give the air force better short-range and long-range capabilities which will help state security,” Barak said in the statement.

Delivery of the first F-35s, which are still not yet operational, is expected only in 2015, the paper said.

The price includes the cost of setting up a logistical infrastructure in Israel to allow local firms to assemble the fighter plane and manufacture spare parts for it.

Udi Shani, defence ministry director general, said a key element of the deal was an agreement which would allow Israeli industries to get involved in the assembly of the plane and the manufacture of spares.

“The considerations for approving the deal were not just about the operational abilities of the plane but the agreements for involving Israeli industries in the assembly of the plane,” the ministry quoted him as saying.

Acquisition of the F-35, which is made by US aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin, will give Israel access to stealth technology that will provide it with air superiority over enemy anti-aircraft defences.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Middle East

73% of Fake Medicines Routed Through UAE

Almost one in seven counterfeit items — including 73 per cent of fake medicines — seized at European borders last year was routed through the UAE, new figures show.

A report by the European Commission Taxation and Customs Union revealed that the last port of call for 15 per cent of the 118 million articles seized in Europe was the UAE — more than any nation other than China.

The country was also the last port of call before arriving in Europe for almost three-quarters of counterfeit medical products.

The number of fake medicines arriving via the UAE jumped from around 750,000 in 2008 to almost 5.5million in 2009.

It was also the distribution point for a third of fake CDs and DVDs.

Dubai Customs declined to comment on the latest report, but pointed out that last year it did not have the legal authority to inspect goods on ships that arrive in its port en route to another destination…

[Return to headlines]

Iran Set to Fuel Nuclear Power Plant

Iran’s atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi has confirmed next week’s launch of the Islamic republic’s first nuclear power plant, as announced by Russia which has helped build the facility.

“We are preparing to transfer the fuel inside the plant next week … Then we will need seven to eight days to transfer it to the reactor,” said Mr Salehi.


“The fuel will be charged in the reactor on August 21. From this moment, Bushehr will be considered a nuclear installation”…

[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: King Tries to Impose Rules on Fatwas

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 13 — Saudi sovereign, King Abdullah Ibn Abd-el-Aziz, has requested that only the learned officials of the realm should issue fatwas, the religious edicts which often have a bearing on contemporary issues. It is the mushrooming in the numbers of fatwas being issued, especially by the more fundamentalist-leaning ulemas, with recent rulings having divided the Kingdom’s authorities, that has led the King to promulgate a decree addressed to the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh.

As the EFE press agency cited by the Vatican daily, Osservatore Romano, the decree expresses the desire that the issuing of fatwas be limited in future to members of the Council of Grand Ulemas, which are drawn from persons fully qualified for holding such a position.

In his provision, King Abdullah also tackles the problem of the political use some scholars make of their Friday sermons in the country’s mosques, calling on them to limit their sermons to purely religious matters, and condemning messages regarding events which have occurred inside or outside the Kingdom.

According to some Saudi fundamentalists, this decree forms part of a policy of intolerance that can be traced back to the terrorist attacks in the United States of September 11 2001.

According to other observers, it is part of the State’s attempt to control religious thought. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Saudi Sitcom Row Tests Tolerance Toward Christians

(Reuters) — A popular Saudi holiday sitcom has drawn the ire of conservative clerics over an episode portraying Arab Christians in a positive light after the kingdom sought to sell itself as a leader of dialogue between faiths.

“Tash Ma Tash,” which has aired during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan for 17 years, is no stranger to controversy and its episodes have grown bolder over the years, tackling issues from morals police and polygamy to the heavy influence of religion on education in the deeply conservative society.

U.S. ally Saudi Arabia is ruled by an absolute monarchy in coordination with clerics from the austere Wahhabi school of Islam, who oversee the judiciary and education and run a police service that enforces strict Islamic-behavior guidelines.

A two-part “Uncle Boutros” episode of the sitcom showed the two main Saudi characters, both Muslims, being advised by their dying father to visit the brother of their deceased Lebanese mother, about whom they know next to nothing.

After a tearful reunion, the pair discover their mother’s relatives were Christians and Uncle Boutros was a priest. Despite their initial shock, the brothers slowly come to respect their uncle’s Christianity, although they try to convert him to Islam and give him a Koran.

The duo are pleased when their uncle hands them a box of jewelry that had belonged to their mother and which he had held for them for years. They also respect their uncle’s charitable deeds toward a Lebanese Muslim neighbor.

But some Saudi clerics were not impressed.

“A Muslim is allowed to praise only the one true religion — Islam,” said Eissa al-Ghaith, a judge at the Justice Ministry, in remarks carried by al-Madina newspaper on Sunday.

Independent Islamic scholar Abdulwahab al-Salhi said the “indecent lot of ‘Tash Ma Tash’ … used drama to destroy Muslims’ stable religious principles by portraying Christians as believers and not apostates.”

On the program’s Internet forum, some participants were more sympathetic.

“I don’t see the harm in portraying a priest as being honest… You find many faiths in Arab countries. The Christian can be found next to the Muslim; the Shi’ite neighbors the Sunni,” said one participant, writing under the name Khayal al-Omr, responding to an angry comment.

“And what’s wrong with the characters? You used to find them funny … and now that it talked about religions they became stupid and revolting,” she added.

The rulers of the world’s top oil exporting country have wrestled with whether to moderate Wahhabism since the September 11 attacks in 2001 on U.S. targets, carried out by mostly Saudi nationals, and the emergence of al Qaeda militancy against the Saudi government in 2003.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Syria Gains Absolute Command in Lebanon

(di George Baghdadi) (ANSAMed) — DAMASCUS — A milestone joint visit two weeks ago to Lebanon by Syrian President Bashar Assad and Saudi King Abdullah was perhaps unthinkable of a few months earlier: Damascus seems to have been given the blessing by many countries to re-establish its influence and hold sway in the tiny Mediterranean state and Washington seems to have accepted this new situation. The Bush administration withdrew its ambassador from Damascus five years ago. Recently, the Obama administration said it wanted to send Robert Ford as a new envoy in the Syrian capital.

Top US Middle East diplomat Frederic Hof was in Damascus last week for behind-the-door talks with the Syrians and special envoy George Mitchell was expected in the Syrian capital in a few days for talks with Assad, according to Syrian sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Assad flew in Beirut on board of the King’s private plane for an hours-long controversial visit, seen by many analysts as a testimony to the revival of Damascene power, albeit minus a military presence, from the 87-year old King, the biggest political gun on the Arab scene. Saudi Arabia and Syria have long competed for influence in Lebanon, and were widely seen as backing opposing sides in last year’s parliamentary election. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri counts Riyadh as his key international backer. Hariri and his allies have in the past pointed an accusing finger at Syria for a string of political killings in Lebanon, including his billionaire father and former Premier Rafiq Hariri. Damascus has denied any involvement but faced with mounting pressure it withdrew its troops from Lebanon in April 2005, two months after the massive bombing on the Beirut seafront, ending 29 years of military and political presence.

A long-time experienced leader, Abdullah must have sensed that he would absolutely need Assad to defuse the potentially explosive situation over the possible implication of Hezbollah in the murder of Hariri. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah — a Muslim group backed by Syria and Iran — has made recent television appearances saying clearly that his organization would not accept any blame and would fight against the charges.

Nasrallah’s remarks have sparked fears of a sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon similar to one that brought the country close to civil war in 2008. Damascus probably now has as much influence in Lebanon as it ever did. “It is a triumphant return. Assad was on board the King’s plane when he went to Beirut. This is a crystal clear recognition and legitimization from the Saudis for a new Syrian role in Lebanon,” says Mahmoud Awad, a political analyst.

Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri, who once accused Damascus of killing his father, has been in the Syrian capital four times since taking over in November, ordering his supporters to stop their criticism on Syria or quit his group. (ANSAMed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey to Continue Projects With Iran, Minister Says

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, AUGUST 13 — Turkey will support petrol sales by Turkish companies to Iran despite US sanctions that aim to squeeze the Islamic Republic’s fuel imports, Today’s Zaman reports quoting Energy Minister Taner Yildiz as saying. The pledge came ahead of an expected resumption of talks next month between world powers and Tehran on the Iranian nuclear program, which Washington suspects aims to develop atomic weapons.

“If the preference of the private sector is to sell these (petroleum) products to Iran, we will help them. There is no demand for Turkey to halt the trade of these products with Iran,” Yildiz said. The sale of petrol, as well as other projects Turkey is planning with Iran, may indicate a shift in its energy policy to give priority to its energy-rich neighbors in the Middle East over conditions set by its traditional Western allies.

Any firms that sell gasoline to Iran could face retribution including a possible ban from accessing the US financial system or denial of US contracts, according to a document from the US Treasury. Tupras, Turkey’s sole refiner and gasoline exporter which is owned by Koc Holding, declined to say whether the company had sold anything to Iran. The refiner buys 33 % of its crude from the Islamic Republic, however. A Tupras official said, “For us, Iran is more important than America, because we get crude oil from them. We don’t get anything from America.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Chemical Arms Against Kurds, Wide Coverage in Israel

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, AUGUST 13 — Israeli papers have granted wide coverage to the inquiry by Germany’s Der Spiegel into Turkey’s alleged use of chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels. The accusation -which is not new among the international press against Turkish forces — has this time however been flanked by photos of the corpses of PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) fighers which appear to show signs of the effects of lethal chemical agents. Backing up the authenticity of the images are also the opinions of experts questioned by Spiegel. Israel — which for years was a strategic ally of Turkey, without the former paying particular attention to the anti-Kurdish repression — has over the last few months seen progressive deterioration of relations with the Turkish government under the Islamic conservative Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is a rift that has neared the breaking point in relations between the two countries after the May 31 bloody raid by Israeli commandos on a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists trying to force the blockade on the Gaza Strip in which nine Turkish nationals were killed. It is an incident which a number of Israeli commentators brought up today on the margins of German reports of alleged anti-Kurdish chemical weapons, implying that Turkey’s condemnation of the events on May 31 was tantamount to “the pot calling the kettle black”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: 61 Trucks Loaded With 300 Tons of Explosives Go Missing

Some 61 trucks loaded with over 300 tons of explosives have gone missing in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, a senior police official said Friday. “The trucks were sent from a state-owned factory, Rajasthan Explosives and Chemicals Limited, in Dholpur to a private company called Ganesh Explosives in the state’s Sagar district. But it never reached there,” the official said. A massive search is on to track down the trucks as fear is mounting that if the explosives, including detonators and gelatin sticks, reach the wrong hands it could be devastating, he added. Meanwhile, Rajasthan Explosives and Chemicals Limited has claimed that it can’t be blamed for this disappearance as it sent explosives only in trucks authorized by the company. “We hand over the explosives to those who have the license. And they then dispatch it on their truck. Now, whatever happens to that explosive thereafter, we are not responsible for that,” Y.C. Upadhyay of the company said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Algerian Press and Scholars Against Sarkozy

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, AUGUST 13 — “Official xenophobia”, “Sarkozy preparing Le Pen-ism”, “racist and xenophobic shift to recover voters of the National Front Party”. The Algerian press and intellectuals, breaking the silence that the government and political parties tend to follow as part of their normal policy of non-interference, launched a clear condemnation of the recent “anti-foreigner” shift of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, reports the Algerian correspondent for Le Monde.

It is widely known that immigration is an important electoral issue in France (and elsewhere), but “there is currently an unprecedented discussion at this level of state, a Republican dam has been breached”, said a political science professor in Algiers. For Chems Eddine Chitour, a professor at the School of Applied Sciences, the fact that blacks and Arabs are used as “variables” in difficult periods is a shift towards and apartheid society. The Algerian press, which has never been easy on their old colonial power when it comes to calling upon France to officially apologise for the horrors committed during the colonial period, does not believe in the polls that state that French people widely support Sarkozy’s “shift”. “Subliminal propaganda”, was what was written by Liberte’, which accused polling institute Ifop of “fascistising France”. The immigration bill includes a crackdown on conditions to enter France and the creation of special areas for large-scale arrivals of refugees. Algerians residing in France registered with the embassies almost amount to one and a half million, including dual citizens. But it is the entire North African population in France that is under fire according to the Algerian League of Human Rights, which called on North African NGOs to build a ‘common defensive front to prevent Sarkozy’s anti-immigration and anti-foreigner laws’ together with French associations, and underlined that in France “right now it is difficult to distinguish between right and far right”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Arizona Sheriff: Border Patrol Has Retreated From Parts of Border Because It’s ‘Too Dangerous’

Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County, Ariz., one of four Arizona counties contiguous with the U.S-Mexico border, said Friday that the U.S. Border Patrol has pulled back from parts of the border in his and neighboring counties because manning those areas has become too dangerous.

“And you frankly have Border Patrolmen—and I know this from talking to Border Patrol agents—who will not allow their agents to work on the border because it is too dangerous,” Dever told in a videotaped interview. “Now what kind of message is that for crying out loud?”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

France: Immigration; UN Criticism All Hype, Elysee Palace

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, AUGUST 13 — “This is a pure and simple question of hype”. These the words used by Claude Gueant, the Elysée Palace’s General Secretary and right-hand man to President Nicolas Sarkozy to describe the controversy surrounding criticisms of France made by the UN’s anti-discrimination committee over the law-and-order policies being implemented against Roma and foreigners, and the “lack of political will” to fight racism.

“It is not the UN that is criticising France,” Gueant pointed out, “There is a committee that is in deliberation and some of its members have made comments on their own initiative.

The committee is not due to express its opinion until August 27”. In France “there are judiciary powers that have nothing to do at all with racism”.

The UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination yesterday strongly criticised France’s policies towards it minorities, especially as regards its Roma community and condemned what it called an increase in racism and xenophobia in the country. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

One Foreign Criminal a Day Wins Right to Stay in Britain

One foreign criminal is escaping deportation nearly every day by using human rights laws, shocking figures reveal.

UK Border Agency statistics showed 350 offenders, including a double murderer, were allowed to stay in the UK last year on human rights grounds instead of being sent home.

In many cases, dangerous offenders were granted the right to stay despite the courts accepting that they pose a risk to the public.

Among those to have taken advantage of the Human Rights Act to stay here are killers, rapists, serial burglars and drug dealers. Critics said the figures should prompt a further examination of how human rights laws are being used.

Tory MP James Clappison said: ‘Deportation of foreign criminals was a sorry saga under the last Government.

‘This shows there are still issues to be resolved and we need to look very carefully at the way in which human rights legislation is being implemented in the UK — not least because this seems to be allowing foreign criminals to remain in this country.’

In Opposition the Tories promised to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, but the pledge was abandoned by the coalition Government.

Each individual case can cost taxpayersthousands in court costs and legal aid as criminals try everything to avoid returning to their homelands.

The foreign prisoners scandal erupted in 2005 when it emerged that more than 1,000 foreign inmates had been released without anyone even considering whether they could be kicked out of Britain.

In 2007, shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown told foreign nationals to ‘play by the rules’ or face the consequences. He added: ‘If you commit a crime you will be deported from our country.’

Foreign criminals who are jailed for more than a year are automatically considered for deportation. But often the Home Office is powerless to act in the face of court and tribunal rulings.

In most cases, lawyers argue that deportation would breach their clients’ right to a private and family life because they have children, a family or relatives in the UK.

Others say they cannot be deported because they would be at risk of imprisonment, persecution or torture in their home countries.

Although individual cases of criminals using human rights laws to escape being sent home have come to light before, this is the first time the shocking scale of the problem has become public.

Previous estimates had put the total number at around 50 per year. And despite publishing the figure of 350, Border Agency officials admitted they still did not know the exact number, because uncovering it would require an examination-of individual files.

A spokesman-for the agency said 5,535 foreign national prisoners were deported last year. He added: ‘A review of our data shows that, in the same year, approximately 350 individuals were successful in preventing their removal from the UK based on their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The UKBA will always appeal against such decisions where appropriate.’

Among those offenders who won the right to stay in Britain are Laith Alani, a paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed two doctors to death.

The Iraqi murdered consultants Michael Masser and Kenneth Paton in 1990, stabbing them both repeatedly in an unprovoked attack.

The tribunal judge ruled that if Alani was sent back to Iraq he would be unlikely to receive the treatment he gets on the NHS for his illness. Sending him home would also breach his right to a family life because he moved to the UK with his parents as a child, the judgment said.

Another case was that of Rohail Spall, a Pakistani businessman jailed after he was seen spiking a woman’s drink so he could rape her. Police found hundreds of date rape drugs in his car.

He was allowed to stay because sending him home would breach his right to a family life. A third offender is Mark Cadle from Belize, who came to the UK aged 18 and was jailed for sex with a 14-year-old girl who he infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

He has a string of other convictions, including racially aggravated assault, and a court heard he was a ‘significant danger to the public’ and likely to reoffend. But the immigration tribunal ruled it would breach his human rights to separate him from his family.

The 42-year-old has five children from five mothers, and his mother and halfsibilings live in Britain. Last year the Home Office was prevented from deporting a Congolese crack addict whom a court described as a ‘burglar on an industrial scale’.

He was given a five-year jail term for beating a woman unconscious and sexually assaulting her but was allowed to remain in Britain because of his right to a family life.

The court ruled he was a ‘home-grown criminal’ because he came to the UK aged five.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Alarm at Foreign Crime Wave

Patrick Mercer said “crime is prevalent among a high number of foreign nationals”

SENIOR police officers are becoming increasingly alarmed by the high number of foreign criminals being arrested after Labour’s shambolic immigration policy left the country exposed to international gangsters.

While it is estimated that at least five are arrested every day, some counties are seeing double that. Figures for Kent are particularly high because of the volume of asylum seekers entering through Channel ports.

In the last year there were 49,424 arrests in the county, of which 4,336 were foreign nationals, nearly nine per cent of the total.

Tory backbench MP Patrick Mercer said last night: “There can be little doubt that crime is prevalent among a high number of foreign nationals coming into the country.”

Canterbury’s Conservative MP Julian Brazier blamed the influx on the Labour government’s failure to insist on immigration checks after Eastern European countries joined the European Union.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

UK: Rabar Hamad, The ‘Bogus Boy’ Asylum Seeker, Makes Facebook Getaway

An asylum seeker who claimed he was a child but was actually 20 has tried to avoid deportation by going on the run with the help of friends from a 2,500-strong Facebook group.

Rabar Hamad disappeared days before officials were to set a date to remove him from the UK.

Members of the Facebook page ‘Don’t Deport 16 Year Old Rabar Hamad to Iraq’ say he is being looked after by people linked to the site and the page has been used to raise money for him.

Hamad arrived in Britain in 2008 hidden in the wheel arch of a lorry and tried to evade deportation by claiming he was a 14-year-old orphan whose parents had been killed in Iraq.

But earlier this year, while he was studying for GCSEs at Breeze Hill School, in Oldham, Greater Manchester, the authorities discovered he was an adult and not protected by laws that forbid the deportation of minors.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Mainstream Media an Enemy of Christian America?

Political Columnist and author S.E. Cupp appeared on The 700 Club, June 4, to talk about why she believes there is so much disdain for Judeo-Christian values among the media, what motivates her as an atheist to defend Christianity, and why she believes a war on Christianity is a war on all Americans. Political comedien Bill Maher says religion is a “neurological disorder.” MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann called prolifers “Christian jihadists.” CBS News Anchor Katie Couric claims Christian values are “repugnant” Christian America is under attack. The enemy? The mainstream media. According to author and political columnist S.E. Cupp, the goal of the mainstream media is to overthrow God and silence Christian America for good. Cupp warns that the mainstream media is using its influence to wage war against the nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage. In her book, Losing Our Religion, Cupp, who is a self-proclaimed atheist, takes a look beyond her own beliefs. She contends it’s not extremists in the news who are the most hostile threat to our nation’s values. It’s the news media itself. Through her book Cupp exposes the media’s overt hostility toward traditional values.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Islamic America

What country is he talking about?

President Obama says Islam has always been part of America, which raises the question, does the president know something about American history that we don’t? It has become customary for presidents to offer greetings to various religious communities on the occasion of their most holy days. Presidents Ford and Carter both issued Ramadan messages, as did Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. The Ramadan greeting became intensely political during Mr. Bush’s tenure because he was seeking to dispel the charge that the war on terrorism was a crusade against Islam. But Mr. Obama has used the occasion of Ramadan to rewrite U.S. history and give Islam a prominence in American annals that it has not earned. In this year’s greeting, Mr. Obama said the rituals of Ramadan “remind us of the principles that we hold in common and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality. And here in the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Drug Firms Hiding Negative Research Experiments on People

This week the drug company AstraZeneca paid out £125m to settle a class action. More than 17,500 patients claim the company withheld information showing that schizophrenia drug quetiapine (tradename Seroquel) can cause diabetes. So why do companies pay out money before cases get to court? An interesting feature of litigation is that various documents enter the public domain. This is how we know about the tobacco industry’s evil plans to target children, the fake academic journal that Elsevier created for Merck’s marketing department, and so on. One of the most revealing documents ever to come out of a drug company emerged from an earlier quetiapine case: an email from John Tumas, publications manager at AstraZeneca. In it, he helpfully admits that they do everything I say drug companies do.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Ocean Acidification and the CO2-Propaganda

Now, as the earth does not become rapidly overheated from CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere, nor the Arctic sea ice disappearing, nor the Pacific atolls drowning, nor the Amazonian jungle drying up, all as previously touted by the IPCC and their gendarmes and adjuvants, a new slogan on the supposed danger of CO2 is increasingly being heard, namely “Ocean Acidification”.

The supposedly happening Ocean Acidification, frequently termed “the other effect of CO2”, is largely based on unrealistic biological experiments, actual measurements over an insufficient time to allow any definite trend delineation, and a lack of understanding of the chemistry involved.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]