Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20100930

Financial Crisis
»Big Labor, Not Tea Party, Is Workers’ Worst Enemy
»David Cameron Dismisses ‘Unfounded’ Fears Over Defence Cuts
»Irish Deficit Jumps After New Bank Bail-Out
»Portugal Announces Austerity Package
»The Godfather Complex
»As Obama Pretends at Its Freedom, His Gov’t Plans Takeover of Internet
»Czar Wrote That Redistribution of Wealth is “Absolutely Essential”
»Emanuel to Depart White House for Chicago Mayoral Bid
»Fort Hood Soldiers Told to List Private Weapons
»Hollywood Legend Tony Curtis Dies at 85
»‘I Am a Christian by Choice, ‘ Says Obama
»Lockerbie Bomber’s Release ‘Manipulated’ Claim US Senators as BP Blasted
»Terror Probe Targets Couple With Links to President
»Video: Times Square Bomber Targeted Largest Crowds
»Will Obama and Holder Stop the FBI Probe?
Europe and the EU
»Anti-Muslim Feeling Up in Germany
»BBC News Stars May Snub ‘Political’ Strike: Anger at Plan to Black Out the Tory Conference
»British Brothers ‘Planned Mumbai-Style Terror Attack in Europe’
»Britons Training in Pakistan for UK Terror Attacks
»Dutch Government Pact Cuts Budget, Bans Burqa
»MEPs Back a Single Work and Resident Permit for Foreigners in the EU
»New Danish Book Reprints Prophet Cartoons
»One Day Turkey Will Run the EU
»Police Remove ‘Spy’ Cameras From Birmingham
»Prosecutor Drops Case Against Dutch Cartoonist
»Spain: US Citizen Arrested ‘For Funding Al-Qaeda’
Israel and the Palestinians
»‘Obama Asks for 2-Month Building Moratorium’
Middle East
»An Alarmed Iran Asks for Outside Help to Stop Rampaging Stuxnet Malworm
»Attacks on Baghdad Green Zone Surge
»Dubai Police Chief ‘Threatened’ By Mossad
»Israeli Military Offsets Turkey’s Loss With Greece, Romania
»Saudi Father Says Daughter Kidnapped by Genie
»Saudi Arabia: Police Arrest 210 Suspected Drug Traffickers
»Stuxnet Worm Heralds New Era of Global Cyberwar
»U.S. Targets Eight Iranian Officials Over Abuses
South Asia
»Ayodhya Verdict: Muslims and Hindus Ordered to Share Religious Site
»NATO Says Aircraft Did Cross Border Into Pakistan
Far East
»Petrodollars to Flood China’s Economy
Culture Wars
»Video: Film Documents Higher Ed’s Intolerance for Dialogue
»You Have to be Nuts to See a Shrink
»Climate Research Has Been Hampered by the IPCC and Governments for Over Twenty Years

Financial Crisis

Big Labor, Not Tea Party, Is Workers’ Worst Enemy

The Service Employees International Union plans to send 25,000 rank-and-file workers on 500 buses to Washington this weekend to protest the tea party movement, Republicans and Fox News. If SEIU members had any sense, they’d be demonstrating at their own bosses’ D.C. headquarters. It’s the Big Labor Left, not the Tea Party Right, that is flushing rank-and-file union workers’ hard-earned dues down the collective toilet in these hard times.

The co-organizer of the so-called “One Nation” protest by a coalition of progressive groups is George Gresham, president of the behemoth SEIU Local 1199 based in New York. (This is the same SEIU affiliate that employed current Obama domestic policy adviser Patrick Gaspard as chief lobbyist for nine years.) Peeved by all the attention that grassroots conservatives and limited government activists have received over the past year, Gresham spearheaded the rally plans earlier this summer to “counter the Tea Party narrative” and reclaim the voice for “working people.” Perhaps Gresham should pay more attention to his workers’ pensions than to tea party leaders’ media appearances.

SEIU Local 1199’s Upstate Pension Fund has plunged from 115 percent funded in 1999 to 75 percent funded, and its Greater New York Pension Fund was funded at only 58 percent of its future obligations as of 2007, according to Hudson Institute analyst Diana Furchtgott-Roth. The union fat cats blame Wall Street. But while the pensions of SEIU workers nationwide are in “endangered status,” the pensions of SEIU top brass have been protected and remain fully funded.

[Return to headlines]

David Cameron Dismisses ‘Unfounded’ Fears Over Defence Cuts

David Cameron today dismissed concerns over “draconian” defence cuts, voiced by his defence secretary, Liam Fox, as “unfounded”.

In television interview, the prime minister insisted that although the armed forces faced “difficult decisions”, there was no basis for the fears voiced by Fox in a letter leaked this week.

In the private letter to Cameron, the defence secretary said the Tories risked “destroying much of the reputation and capital” they had built up with the armed forces.

The letter, leaked to the Telegraph, was written before Tuesday’s meeting of the new National Security Council to discuss the strategic defence and security review.

Fox wrote that the proposed review was “looking less and less defensible” and appeared to be more like a programme for cuts.

Speaking on ITV1’s This Morning programme, Cameron said: “His fears are unfounded because we are not going to take bad decisions.

“We have thought very carefully about how to fund our armed forces properly and, above all, how we structure them for the future.

“We need to fit them for the dangerous world we live in, where you need greater flexibility and a different structure of your armed forces. That is what we are going to get right.”

He added: “Of course there are difficult decisions, and of course there will be intense conversations between the Treasury on the one hand and the Ministry of Defence on the other.

“But as the prime minister, I can absolutely guarantee you we will have well-funded, strong armed forces to defend our country.”

Fox has been particularly vocal in opposing cuts to the defence budget. The budget will become clear next month when the chancellor, George Osborne, announces his spending review.

Annual defence spending in the UK currently stands at about £37bn, around 2.5% of GDP. Cuts of 10%-20% are expected as part of the austerity measures.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Irish Deficit Jumps After New Bank Bail-Out

The Irish Central Bank has said it will need to increase the amount of support to the country’s banking sector.

The total amount has risen to 45bn euros (£39bn), or 32% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The Bank said supporting Anglo Irish Bank alone would cost from 29.3bn euros to a “stress scenario” bail-out of up to 34bn euros (£29.2bn).

The finance minister, Brian Lenihan, says it is “manageable”. Without the bank support, the deficit would be 12%.

In comparison, the UK’s deficit — including the cost of its bank support — is just over 10% of GDP for this year.


In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Lenihan said the support was vital as Anglo Irish was too big to fail.

“The bank had grown to half the size of our annual national wealth, so clearly the failure of a bank on that scale would do huge damage to the local economy here in Ireland,” he said. A mass issue of new shares would take the government’s stake to 90%.

Shares in the AIB have fallen 30% in response to the latest announcements.

Further help — of 2.7bn euros — would also be given to the Irish Nationwide Building Society.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Portugal Announces Austerity Package

Portugal has announced a new package of austerity measures designed to reassure markets that it will meet ambitious deficit-reduction targets and not seek emergency funding in a Greek-style crisis.

The measures include a 5 per cent cut in the public sector wage bill and a 2 percentage point increase in value added tax to 23 per cent, José Sócrates, Portugal’s centre-left prime minister, said on Wednesday.

The package was “absolutely essential to defend the international credibility of our economy”, he said.

Portugal, like Ireland, has seen its cost of borrowing rise to record levels this week amid market concerns that two countries could be forced to seek bail-out loans from the international community, triggering a new eurozone crisis.

[Return to headlines]

The Godfather Complex

As the political Godfather of the United States, Soros’ agent of change appears to be doing everything in his power to collapse the economy of the United States which, according to the domino theory, will topple the economies of every nation in the world. And, as Obama invests his sweat equity in purposely burdening the United States with debt that will almost certainly collapse its economy, Soros is stockpiling gold to protect his financial assets as he cautiously treads on uncharted ground.

Soros believes he has covered his butt by making sure that just in case there is no safe haven currency where he can park his wealth until the global financial crisis is over and one-world government exists, he will still be part of the ruling caste when the dust settles. Soros Fund Management LLC holds 5.24 million shares of SPDR Gold Trust, worth about $650 million. In addition, Soros holds about $250 million in gold mine shares. If the world’s currencies collapse, Soros’ gold holdings will be worth billions of dollars. And, of course, at that time, every government in the world will likely seize every smidgen of gold owned by private citizens—except those in the ruling caste. Which is precisely what Franklin D. Roosevelt did under Presidential Proclamation 2039 on March 6, 1933 when he seized all of the gold owned by working class Americans under the threat of ten years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00. Not seized were the gold coins possessed by recognized “collectors” (i.e., the wealthy). The seized gold was replaced with fiat scrip at face value, backed only by the government’s “good intentions,” and printed by the Fed under the cover of night on orders from Roosevelt before he ascended into the White House.

That’s one thing about the dons and capos in the federal government—unlike the fictitious Don Corleones or the real John Dillingers, they don’t need a gun when they rob the American people. The law is their weapon. (Foreigners holding post-1933 US paper dollars were still allowed to redeem them for gold at any Fed bank until Aug. 15, 1971. President Richard M. Nixon permanently closed the gold window on that date, ending the practice of gold redemption for scrip.)

[Return to headlines]


As Obama Pretends at Its Freedom, His Gov’t Plans Takeover of Internet

In an address to the United Nations on Thursday, Sept. 23, President Obama pledged to preserve a “free and open Internet” and would call out nations that censored content.

In a veiled reference to China and other nations that censor the Internet, Obama said that a civil society fosters open government. “Civil society is the conscience of our communities, and America will always extend our engagement abroad with citizens beyond the halls of government. And we will call out those who suppress ideas and serve as a voice for those who are voiceless.”

“We will promote new tools of communication so people are empowered to connect with one another and, in repressive societies, to do so with security,” Obama said. “We will support a free and open Internet, so individuals have the information to make up their own minds. And it is time to embrace and effectively monitor norms that advance the rights of civil society and guarantee its expansion within and across borders.”

Yet even as Obama stood giving high sounding words to a “free and open Internet” and scolding other nations that have oppressive controls on Internet access for their own citizens, Barack Obama’s own government has itself been quietly making plans to take over the Internet from private companies.

Obama’s Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Julius Genachowski, has been angling to use telephone regulations from the 1930s to try and take over full control of the Internet.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Czar Wrote That Redistribution of Wealth is “Absolutely Essential”

White House Science Czar Wrote That Redistribution of Wealth is ‘Absolutely Essential,’ Says ‘Have a Nice Day’ When Asked to Comment about It

John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said “have a nice day” and otherwise declined to comment on Tuesday when asked about a statement he made that worldwide redistribution of wealth is “absolutely essential” in order to provide all human beings with a decent life.

“Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being,” Holdren wrote along with Paul and Anne Ehrlich in the final chapter of Human Ecology, a book the three co-authored in 1973. Paul Ehrlich is also author of the famous 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb. Holdren, President Obama’s top science adviser, advises the administration on issues that include health care and climate change. approached Holdren to ask him about his statement on redistributing wealth after he gave a speech on “Science, Technology, and Sustainable Economic Growth” at the Woodrow Wilson Center in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.

When started asking Holdren about the statement, he said, “I’m not talking to you. Bye bye. Have a nice day.” said: “You said in your book Human Ecology, quote, ‘Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.’“

“I hope you have a really nice day,” Holdren said as he boarded an elevator, declining further comment.

Holdren was accompanied by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology, which oversees Holdren’s White House Office of Science and Technology.

[Return to headlines]

Emanuel to Depart White House for Chicago Mayoral Bid

President Obama will give his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, a send-off at the White House on Friday as Mr. Emanuel officially announces his departure from the West Wing to run for mayor of Chicago, officials familiar with the decision said.

The event will take place in the Rose Garden, weather permitting, and is tentatively scheduled for late morning, said the officials, who declined to be named in advance of an official announcement.

Mr. Obama plans to name Pete Rouse, a senior adviser, to replace Mr. Emanuel, two officials confirmed. Mr. Rouse has been at Mr. Obama’s side since the moment he arrived in Washington nearly six years ago, serving as his chief of staff in his United States Senate office.

[Return to headlines]

Fort Hood Soldiers Told to List Private Weapons

Base requires make, model, serial number and who owns them

The U.S. Army command at Fort Hood, where Muslim psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly shot and killed 13 people and an unborn child, now is demanding that its soldiers confess whether they have any guns in their off-base homes, what kind of guns they are and what are their serial numbers.

The action recalls similar disclosure demands on which WND has previously reported at Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

According to Christopher Haug Sr., the chief of media relations for Fort Hood, officials at the base issued an “operation order” that directed commanders “to reinforce Soldier Health and Wellness on Sept. 27.”


But a soldier on base who contacted WND regarding the demand for information about off-base weapons said that’s not the way it was presented to soldiers.

“At the end of the day formation … we were all required to state whether we owned a firearm. Then those that owned firearms were required to have their names put on a watch list that included registration status of the firearms and where the firearms were kept,” wrote the soldier, who asked for anonymity to avoid retaliation.

“The list included those … who live off post in privately owned homes,” the soldier confirmed.

“I feel like I have been violated and my 2nd Amendment rights infringed,” the soldier wrote. “Last year Homeland Security said that veterans are a potential threat to the country, now I and many others in my unit are on a watch list because we own guns.”

The soldier said the actions were taken against soldiers throughout the brigade. Further, the soldier reported the lists of the with guns were assembled and passed out to various individuals on the base.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Hollywood Legend Tony Curtis Dies at 85

Curtis, one of the biggest box office stars of the 1950s, died in bed at midnight, at his home in Henderson, Nevada, confirmed his business manager.

The actor appearing in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot with Monroe and Jack Lemmon, and received an Oscar nomination in 1959 for The Defiant Ones, in which he starred with Sidney Poitier.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

‘I Am a Christian by Choice, ‘ Says Obama

“I am a Christian by choice,” Obama said at a backyard conversation with voters in New Mexico, in response to a question from a woman who asked him why he followed the faith.

Obama said he was not raised by a family that frequently went to church, but said that he came to his Christianity late in life, saying it was the teachings of Jesus Christ that inspired “the kind of life I would want to lead.”

“I think, also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the kind of humility we all have to have as human beings.”

But Obama also said that the United States must stick by its constitutional requirements to allow freedom of all religions, as well as offering a home to atheists and agnostics.

A Time magazine poll in August found that 24 percent of respondents wrongly said Obama is a Muslim.

Some 18 percent said the same in a study from the non-partisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The surveys were taken at the height of a controversy over plans to build a Muslim cultural center near the Ground Zero site of the felled World Trade Center in New York.

Obama spoke out for the right of Muslims to build the center, despite its unpopularity so close to the epicenter of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Lockerbie Bomber’s Release ‘Manipulated’ Claim US Senators as BP Blasted

The Scottish government ‘purposely manipulated’ the Lockerbie bomber’s release to ensure that he was freed on compassionate grounds, senior US senators claimed tonight.

Senator Robert Menendez, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said Scots ministers intervened in Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi’s medical diagnosis to make it appear he was close to death.

In a bold claim he also demanded that BP be refused any new drilling permits in America as punishment for being ‘bad corporate citizens’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Terror Probe Targets Couple With Links to President

Feds target former leader of Chicago-based socialist party

President Obama has ties to yet another Chicago activist whose home was raided last week by the FBI as part of a terrorism probe, WND has learned.

Last Friday, as part of an investigation into material support for terrorist organizations, the FBI raided eight homes, including that of Chicago anti-war activist Joseph Iosbaker and his wife Stephanie Weiner.

In 1998 the duo worked as leaders of the Chicago New Party, a controversial 1990s political party that sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new political party with a socialist agenda.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Video: Times Square Bomber Targeted Largest Crowds

Faisal Shahzad, due to be sentenced next week, said he planned 2nd attack

NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors say the man convicted of trying to set off a car bomb in Times Square on May 1 regularly checked live video feeds to see where, and at what time, the crowds would be the largest.

In a memorandum filed Wednesday urging a federal judge to sentence Faisal Shahzad to life in prison, prosecutors say Shahzad told the FBI after he was arrested that believed the car bomb would have killed at least 40 people. If he had not been arrested, he told the FBI, he planned to build and set off another car bomb somewhere in New York City two weeks later.


The government has also released a video showing the detonation of a device constructed by the FBI, based on the design of Shahzad’s bomb, intended to show the likely destructive effect of his car bomb.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Will Obama and Holder Stop the FBI Probe?

Left-wing activists showed up outside the FBI headquarters on Tuesday afternoon to protest FBI raids on what they and the media are calling “anti-war” and “peace” groups. But the evidence that some U.S. activists are involved with terrorist groups in the Middle East and Latin America is substantial.

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink was the most prominent personality to attend the Washington, D.C. “rally,” which featured only about a dozen or so people mostly wandering around and holding signs denouncing the FBI. Eventually, they paraded around in a line in front of the FBI building and used a bullhorn to chant such phrases as, “From Colombia to Palestine, resistance is not a crime.”

It looked like the number of journalists covering the event may have approached the number of people participating in it. However, anti-FBI protests in other cities reportedly generated hundreds of participants.

In the nation’s capital, one Code Pink activist pranced around and posed for the media while wearing pink sunglasses. Others held protest signs from the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) group and the International Action Center. ANSWER is a front of the communist Party for Socialism and Liberation.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Anti-Muslim Feeling Up in Germany

Berlin — A majority of Germans believe the country’s roughly four million Muslims are an economic burden, a poll showed on Thursday, adding further fire to a raging immigration debate in Europe’s top economy.

The survey, by the Allensbach Institute for the Financial Times Deutschland, showed that 55% of Germans thought Muslims “cost considerably more socially and financially than they produce economically”.

Only one fifth of those polled believed the opposite.

Anti-Muslim feeling was strongest in economically depressed East Germany, where 74% had a negative view.

The poll followed weeks of debate prompted by a member of Germany’s central bank, Thilo Sarrazin, who sparked outrage when he said the country was being made “more stupid” by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim immigrants.

Most Germans, however, believe he is correct, the poll suggested, with 60% saying they agreed with his thesis and 13% disagreeing.

Sarrazin eventually resigned from the bank, but the controversy raised fears that a charismatic populist, like anti-Islam Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders — who is due in Germany this weekend — could win considerable support.

There are between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims in Germany, or between 4.6% and 5.2% of the population, according to government figures.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

BBC News Stars May Snub ‘Political’ Strike: Anger at Plan to Black Out the Tory Conference

Senior BBC journalists are threatening to boycott strikes targeted at next week’s Conservative Party conference because they fear the corporation’s ‘impartiality’ is in peril.

There is increasing anger over the decision to take industrial action on the day of David Cameron’s keynote speech on Wednesday — before the two-day walkout is repeated to coincide with Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review.

Last night a string of top names from BBC News told the Daily Mail they were ‘considering’ their position over the strikes, with some threatening to simply ignore them and go to work.

The BBC’s respected political editor, Nick Robinson, is understood to be wrestling with his conscience over whether to cross a picket line next week.

The planned walk-out has infuriated senior staff who feel Left-wing union leaders are exploiting two major news events to attack the Coalition.

One senior source accused the National Union of Journalists, Bectu and Unite of resorting to the ‘Bob Crow level of industrial relations’.

The two 48-hour walkouts — in protest at plans to overhaul the corporation’s gold-plated pension scheme — have been deliberately timed to wipe out coverage of the two most high-profile events in this autumn’s political calendar.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

British Brothers ‘Planned Mumbai-Style Terror Attack in Europe’

Eight Germans and two British men reported to be behind plot foiled by drone attacks on militants in Pakistan.

Two British brothers were at the heart of a “Mumbai-style” terror attack planned on the UK, France and Germany, according to reports.

Yesterday it emerged that a plot to launch “commando-style” attacks had been intercepted and foiled by drone attacks on militants based in Pakistan.

Associated Press reported today that eight Germans and two British men were behind the plot. The news agency said one of the British brothers had been killed in a recent CIA air strike.

US, UK, French and German intelligence agencies were involved in disrupting the planned suicide raids, officials revealed yesterday. The plan for the attacks bore similarities to the 2008 atrocity in Mumbai, where 166 people were killed in a series of gun and grenade assaults.

AP quoted an unnamed Pakistani intelligence official as saying German and British citizens were behind the planned attacks.

He said the suspects had been hiding in North Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal region where militancy is rife and the US has focused many of its drone-fired missile strikes.

The official said that one of the Britons, whom he named as Abdul Jabbar, was killed in a strike on 8 September. Jabbar was believed to be under 30.

AP said the source had “characterised the plot as immature” but he warned against underestimating the suspects.

“It does not mean that they are not capable of materialising their designs,” the official said. “They are very much working on it.”

He said the group had backing from al-Qaida, the Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan Taliban.

“They have been making calls to Germany and London,” the official said. “They have been talking about and looking for facilitators and logistics they need there to carry out terror strikes.”


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Britons Training in Pakistan for UK Terror Attacks

At least 20 Britons are undergoing terrorist training in Pakistan to launch Mumbai-style shootings and suicide attacks in Britain, intelligence sources have told The Daily Telegraph. The young Muslims, who all hold British passports, are said to have travelled into the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan to join training camps run by al-Qaeda and their associated militant groups. They are being trained to use firearms as well as explosives so that they can launch random shooting sprees in the UK, Western intelligence sources said.

“We believe there are 15 to 20 Britons in the camps,” said an intelligence source in Islamabad, speaking on condition of anonymity. The disclosure comes after the CIA launched drone strikes on Pakistan training camps in North and South Waziristan in an attempt to disrupt an al-Qaeda plot to launch an attack targeting Britain, France and Germany. The plans would have seen terrorists sent on to the streets, probably of the capital cities, to shoot random passersby before heading in to landmark buildings. Intelligence sources said that the attacks would have been coordinated for maximum impact and may have been aimed at financial institutions. However, the terror cells had not yet travelled to Europe and the targets were still unclear. A missile from one US unmanned drone killed several Britons in a training camp in Pakistan, sources said, and the security services are now trying to trace their links back to the UK. MI5 is thought to be uncomfortable that an ongoing operation has become public while they were still building up a picture of the terrorists’ support network. “This is an ongoing operation with a constantly changing dynamic,” one security source said. “There are local, national and international links, including Pakistan.” Intelligence agencies in Britain and the US were in the early stages of establishing the full details of the plot but MI5 had traced it from Pakistan back to Britain, sources told The Daily Telegraph. A US intelligence source said the threat was “credible, but not specific” and could have included other European countries such as Spain and Italy, or even the US.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Dutch Government Pact Cuts Budget, Bans Burqa

AMSTERDAM, Sept 30 (Reuters) — Two centre-right parties have agreed to ban the burqa in the Netherlands as a price for parliamentary support from the anti- Islam Freedom party for their minority government.

The pact, presented on Thursday, envisages 18 billion euros ($24 billion) in budget cuts and aims to bring the deficit within European Union limits by 2013. It tightens the rules on immigration, boosts the number of police officers and makes coffee shops closed clubs.

The size of parliament and the senate will be cut by a third, there will be fewer ministries and local government levels and spending on culture and the public broadcaster will be cut.

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders said the measures would cut non-Western immigration by half.

The pact still needs approval by a Christian Democrat (CDA) congress on Saturday after the party failed to resolve divisions on whether to rely on support from the Freedom Party during 15 hours of talks on Wednesday.

If the coalition deal is rejected by the CDA, it could prolong a policy deadlock on how to cut the budget deficit from 5.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Prominent members of the CDA have spoken out against working with Wilders, who is on trial for inciting hatred against Muslims, but some now expect the CDA congress to approve the deal — even though the outcome is far from certain.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

MEPs Back a Single Work and Resident Permit for Foreigners in the EU

A simplified administrative procedure and equal treatment with national workers on pay, working conditions and social security: this is the aim of a draft directive that received the backing of the EP Civil Liberties Committee on Tuesday. The broad aim is to stop the exploitation of foreign labour by boosting the rights of third-country citizens working in the EU.

The “single permit” directive will dovetail with the EU blue card, which is designed to facilitate legal immigration where it meets the needs of the European labour market. It will allow citizens of non-EU countries to obtain a work permit and a residence permit through a single procedure at a one-stop shop.

The holder of a single permit would also acquire the right to travel through other Member States. Any decision to reject an application for a permit would have to be justified and there would be a right of appeal in accordance with national law.

The draft directive does not affect the rules on the admission of non-EU citizens, which are decided by the Member States. However, it guarantees them certain core rights and gives them a secure legal status, as a safeguard against exploitation.

The legislation does not cover seasonal labourers (who are the subject of a different draft law) or applicants for international protection.

Equal treatment with national workers

The directive seeks to ensure equal treatment between workers from non-EU states and national workers in areas such as pay, working hours and conditions, training and social security. However, the Member States can restrict equal treatment in certain circumstances, for example by requiring proof of a thorough knowledge of the language in order to follow education or training courses.

Members of the Civil Liberties Committee believe it is up to the Member States to decide whether an application for a single permit should be lodged in the non-EU country or the Member State of destination. If the application is not lodged in a non-EU country, it will have to be made by the applicant’s employer.

The Civil Liberties Committee’s report, drafted by Véronique Mathieu (EPP, FR), was adopted by 41 votes to 8, with 2 abstentions.

The draft legislation was published in 2007 but the legal basis has changed as a result of the Lisbon Treaty and Parliament is dealing with it under the co-decision procedure with the Council of Ministers.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

New Danish Book Reprints Prophet Cartoons

A book on the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed will be released despite recent threats against Denmark linked to the case, the publisher said Wednesday prompting the Danish foreign minister to call in a meeting with representatives of Muslim countries.

“The book will come out as planned,” Karsten Blauert of Jyllands-Posten Editions told AFP.

“The Tyranny of Silence” is due out on Thursday, five years to the day the cartoons first appeared in Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Although it will not reprint the drawings separately, its inside pages will feature “a picture of the front page of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that had the Mohammed cartoons on it,” Blauert said.

Asked about the possibility of a strong reaction to its publication, he said: “It’s clear that a lot of things are happening, but everything is taking place as planned, and nothing will change that.”

The book is by Flemming Rose, who was the Jyllands-Posten’s cultural editor when on Sept. 30, 2005, the newspaper ran its front-page spread featuring 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The drawings sparked outrage across the Muslim world and led to violent protests against Denmark and Danish interests in 2006. Rose himself has since received numerous death threats.

In an August interview Rose insisted he was not trying to be provocative with the new book, stressing that he simply wanted to “tell the story of the 12 drawings and put them into a context of (other) pictures considered offensive.

It was important to write the book because, he said: “Words should be answered with words.

“That’s all we have in a democracy, and if we give that up we will be locked in a tyranny of silence.”

A terrorist target

Norwegian police said Tuesday that an Iraqi Kurd being held in Norway on suspicion of planning bombings had admitted that his target was the Jyllands-Posten.

The Danish intelligence service PET, confirming the Norwegian claim, said Denmark had become a “priority terrorist target for Islamic extremists.”

On Wednesday Denmark’s foreign minister met ambassadors of 17 Muslim countries ahead of the publication of the book.

Lene Espersen’s meeting with the ambassadors took place in a bid to defuse tensions with Muslim countries.

“It can no longer come as a surprise that there are people in Denmark and around the world who will be hurt when they hear that the drawings will be published again,” Espersen said in a statement.

“In light of our experiences from the past five years, I have taken a number of steps to avoid new confrontations, which do nobody any good,” she added.

The meeting was aimed at preventing new protests against Denmark and Danish interests over the publication Thursday.

The minister met ambassadors from 17 Muslim countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Iran, Klavs Holm, the Danish ambassador for public diplomacy, told AFP.

“It was a good meeting, a good atmosphere,” he said.

Espersen had stressed that “freedom of speech in Denmark is the cornerstone of our democracy and that people therefore have the right to print books as long as it is within the law,” he said.

At the same time, she emphasized in the statement that “Denmark wants to maintain strong and good and friendly relations with the Muslim world. A constructive dialogue is the way forward.”

“The Danish government respects all creeds and religious communities, including Islam … and all peoples’ religious sensibilities,” she added.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

One Day Turkey Will Run the EU

Turkey isn’t even a member yet, but deputy prime minister Ali Babacan is already demanding a leading role in Europe for his country. All you have to do is look at Turkey’s economic and demographic growth to see it’s likely to get what it wants, says Die Presse

Wolfgang Böhm

“When Turkey becomes a member of the EU, it is not going to be in a secondary position, that’s one of the reasons why countries like Germany and France are quite nervous about our membership,” Turkish vice-premier Ali Babacan declared at a World Leadership Forum in New York during the recent UN plenary session.

And Turkey’s claim to a leading role in the EU is based on hard facts. With economic growth set to hit 7% this year, near-inexhaustible human resources, and mounting clout as a hub of international oil and gas pipelines, Turkey has recently moved into the European fast lane.

At present, Turkey is the 17th biggest economy in the world. Experts predict that in 20 years it will make the top ten, outstripping countries like Spain and Italy. According to forecasts by the IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) and the Vienna Institute of Demography, the Turkish population will be around 85.5 million by then — surpassing Germany, now the most populous nation in the EU.

If Turkey were to be admitted into the EU despite resistance from countries like Austria, Germany and France, it would dominate policy in the EU institutions. Even as things are today, Turkey would be the second biggest political force in the European Parliament and on an equal footing with the heavyweights on the EU Council.

Although the EU power structure will have to be gradually adjusted under the rules of the Lisbon Treaty, not much would change for Turkey. By dint of its rapid demographic growth, Ankara’s influence would actually increase, since the number of seats in Parliament and the new representation ratios in the Council will essentially be based on population size.

Given its size, Turkey could not only push EU decisions through with ease, it would also be able to block those that are not to its liking. The Lisbon Treaty provides that as of 2014, countries whose combined populations exceed 35% of the EU population may constitute a blocking minority. That means Ankara could join forces with, say, London, Madrid and Warsaw to thwart any step backed by Paris and Berlin — which would jam the prevailing German-French axis.

What would change politically in the event of Turkish accession? With Turkey on board, European diplomats say, EU foreign and security policy would be even more heavily US-geared. In matters of commerce, Ankara would probably favour free trade more than the EU members do now. Ankara would, in all likelihood, get behind efforts to cooperate more closely on internal security — even while downplaying certain civil rights such as the protection of private data.

Babacan argued in New York that letting Turkey in would boost the EU’s standing on the world scene. “The weight of the European economy in the world has shrunk and will continue to shrink. And only with enlargement will the EU be able to protect its power and influence.”

An opinion seconded by Gerhard Schröder in Die Welt’s online edition. “Without Turkey the EU will sink into mediocrity,” writes the Social Democrat ex-chancellor, pointing to the rapid pace of growth there: this year alone the Turkish economy will grow four times as much as the French and twice as much as the German economy. Schröder expects Turkey to be the fourth or fifth biggest European economy in 20 years. Then there will be no ignoring it.

Translated from the German by Eric Rosencrantz

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

Police Remove ‘Spy’ Cameras From Birmingham

West Midlands Police said it has removed all covert “spy” cameras installed in areas of Birmingham with a large Muslim population.

More than 200 — covert and overt — were put up earlier this year, paid for with government money to tackle terrorism.

An independent report into their installation said public consultation was “too little and too late”.

Chief Constable Chris Sims has apologised and said none of the cameras were ever used.

All overt cameras have also now been covered until after discussion with a new project board which has a “strong community representation”.

Mr Sims said: “I am sorry that we got such an important issue so wrong and deeply sorry that it has had such a negative impact on our communities.

“No cameras associated with the project have ever been used.”

The cameras were installed in the Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook districts and were put up by the Safer Birmingham Project (SBP), made up of the city council, police and other agencies.

They can record pictures and number plates of every car that goes in or out of the areas.

The £3.5m funding for the cameras came from the Terrorism and Allied Matters Fund.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Prosecutor Drops Case Against Dutch Cartoonist

Gregorius Nekschot: International Free Press Society has been of the utmost importance in achieving “complete victory” By Katrine Winkel Holm COPENHAGEN, September 25, 2010 — International solidarity works and sometimes the good people win. That is conclusion one may draw from the Dutch prosecutor’s recent decision to drop all charges against the intrepid cartoonist who goes under the ominous pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot. In a mail to the Danish Free Press Society’s webzine, Nekschot characterises the outcome as a “complete victory”. Nekschot goes on to say that “five years of expensive investigations, an arrest, legal procedures and consultation at the highest level have resulted in nothing. I think the prosecutor wanted to drop the whole thing because the case against Geert Wilders is due to begin. It’s the same prosecutor, you know.” There is one fly in the ointment: Nekschot’s website may no longer display the “discriminating” drawings he was being investigated for. However, they are still on the internet and Dutch newspapers are allowed to reprint them for “journalistic reasons”, as stated by the prosecutor. As Nekschot sees it, however, that is “a very, very small price to pay. I can carry on making caricatures, perhaps even more controversial ones, because I have been allowed to keep my anonymity.” The issue of continued anonymity has been Nekschot’s biggest worry all along. A public trial would have forced him to show his face, and that would have been tantamount to a death sentence. He remembers all too well what happened to two other Dutchmen who dared to offend the tender sensibilities of the religion of peace, the politician Pym Fortuyn and the film-maker Theo van Gogh, who were murdered in 2002 and 2004.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Spain: US Citizen Arrested ‘For Funding Al-Qaeda’

Barcelona, 29 Sept. (AKI) — A US citizen has been arrested in the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona for sending money to Al-Qaeda’s North African branch, Spanish police said on Wednesday.

Mohamed Omar Debhi, of Algerian descent, is accused of sending more than 60,000 euros to the Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is based in Algeria.

Debhi, 43, who was arrested in the Esplugues de Llobregat district of Barcelona, where he is a resident. He also faces charges of possessing a false ID and defrauding Spanish social security services.

He is alleged to have sent money via bank transfer to a fugitive Algerian militant named by police as Toufik Mizi.

Police have been searching for Mizi since 2006, who is suspected of belonging to a terrorist organisation. Police believe he fled Spain several years ago when the authorities smashed an Al-Qaeda fund-raising cell.

US officials did not immediately comment on Debhi’s arrest, and little is known of Debhi’s American connections — although it is believed he once lived near Houston in Texas.

AQIM emerged in early 2007 from an Algerian militant group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which aligned itself with Al-Qaeda.

The terror formation has waged a campaign of suicide bomb attacks and ambushes in Algeria, and in recent years has become more active in the Sahara.

The group frequently kidnaps Europeans travelling in the Sahara Desert regions of Mali, Niger, Algeria and Mauritania.

The group is still holding five French citizens snatched from a uranium mine in Niger two weeks ago.

It has in the past killed several hostages, most recently Michel Germaneau, a 78-year-old French hostage being held in Mali.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

‘Obama Asks for 2-Month Building Moratorium’

In return, US reportedly will not demand further extensions, commit to UNSC vetos, weapons deliveries and IDF presence in Jordan Valley.

US President Barack Obama has requested that Israel extend the West Bank settlement construction moratorium by two months. In return the US “will not ask for a moratorium extension beyond sixty days,” according to David Makovsky from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a close associate to Dennis Ross and Obama’s Middle East adviser, Army Radio reported Thursday.

“According to senior US officials,” wrote Makovsky on Wednesday, the Obama administration’s efforts to extend the construction freeze “culminated in a draft letter negotiated with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak and chief Israeli peace negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, ultimately sent from President Obama’s desk to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.”

Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process, explains that, “At its core, the letter offers a string of assurances to Israel in return for a two-month moratorium extension. More specifically, US officials indicate that the document makes commitments on issues ranging from current peace and security matters to future weapons deliveries in the event that peace-related security arrangements are reached.”

The letter would commit the US to veto any UN Security Council proposal regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the coming year. In addition, Washington would not object to the request of leaving Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley for a prolonged duration.

“Regarding policy issues,” Makovsky writes, “the letter guarantees that Washington will not ask for a moratorium extension beyond sixty days. Rather, the future of settlements is to be settled at the table as part of territorial negotiations.”

“Second,” Makovsky continued, “the letter promises that the United States will veto any UN Security Council initiative — Arab or otherwise — relating to Arab-Israeli peace during the agreed one-year negotiating period.”

“Third, Washington pledged to accept the legitimacy of existing Israeli security needs and not seek to redefine them,” said Makovsky. “In this context, the letter explicitly mentions the need to ensure a complete ban on the smuggling of rockets, mortars, arms, and related items, as well as the infiltration of terrorists into Israel.”

Addressing Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley, Makovsky continued, “the letter offers to help maintain a transitional period for Jordan Valley security that is longer than any other aspect of a negotiated peace — an apparent allusion to keeping Israeli troops in that region for an extended period of time.”

Regarding future weapon deals, Makovsky wrote that “the letter explicitly discusses the need to enhance Israel’s defense capabilities in the event that the parties reach security arrangements. Even if a security deal fails to materialize, Washington’s offer creates the baseline for Israel’s defense needs in a post-peace era.”

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Middle East

An Alarmed Iran Asks for Outside Help to Stop Rampaging Stuxnet Malworm

“week secretly appealed to a number of computer security experts in West and East Europe with offers of handsome fees for consultations on ways to exorcize the Stuxnet worm spreading havoc through the computer networks and administrative software of its most important industrial complexes and military command centers. debkafile’s intelligence and Iranian sources report Iran turned for outside help after local computer experts failed to remove the destructive virus.

None of the foreign experts has so far come forward because Tehran refuses to provide precise information on the sensitive centers and systems under attack and give the visiting specialists the locations where they would need to work. They were not told whether they would be called on to work outside Tehran or given access to affected sites to study how they function and how the malworm managed to disable them. Iran also refuses to give out data on the changes its engineers have made to imported SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, mostly from Germany.

The impression debkafile sources gained Wednesday, Sept. 29 from talking to European computer experts approached for aid was that the Iranians are getting desperate. Not only have their own attempts to defeat the invading worm failed, but they made matters worse: The malworm became more aggressive and returned to the attack on parts of the systems damaged in the initial attack.

One expert said: “The Iranians have been forced to realize that they would be better off not ‘irritating’ the invader because it hits back with a bigger punch.”

Looking beyond Iran’s predicament, he wondered whether the people responsible for planting Stuxnet in Iran — and apparently continuing to offload information from its sensitive systems — have the technology for stopping its rampage. “My impression,” he said, “is that somebody outside Iran has partial control at least on its spread. Can this body stop malworm in its tracks or kill it? We don’t have that information at present, he said.

As it is, the Iranian officials who turned outside for help were described by another of the experts they approached as alarmed and frustrated. It has dawned on them that the trouble cannot be waved away overnight but is around for the long haul. Finding a credible specialist with the magic code for ridding them of the cyber enemy could take several months. After their own attempts to defeat Stuxnet backfired, all the Iranians can do now is to sit back and hope for the best, helpless to predict the worm’s next target and which other of their strategic industries will go down or be robbed of its secrets next.

While Tehran has given out several conflicting figures on the systems and networks struck by the malworm — 30,000 to 45,000 industrial units — debkafile’s sources cite security experts as putting the figure much higher, in the region of millions. If this is true, then this cyber weapon attack on Iran would be the greatest ever. “

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Attacks on Baghdad Green Zone Surge

BAGHDAD — The heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq’s capital has in recent weeks come under an intensifying barrage of rocket attacks, and a senior American military commander suggested Wednesday that Iranian-backed militias were behind the attacks in an effort to influence the formation of a new Iraqi government.

The attacks — 23 in the past month, including 2 on Wednesday — have alarmed American officials and raised questions about the ability of Iraq’s security forces to stamp out attacks on the capital’s governmental and diplomatic core.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Dubai Police Chief ‘Threatened’ By Mossad

Dubai, 29 Sept. (AKI) — Dubai’s police chief said Israel’s Mossad spy agency threatened to kill him over his role in the investigation of the assassination of a Hamas leader, according to Arab-language newspaper Al-Ittihad.

Dahi Khalfan is cited as saying that he received “two death threats in relation to the case of Hamas” leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was found dead on 20 January in a Dubai hotel.

Khalfan said he received the first threat in February, a few days after he released a photos of the 11 people suspected of the killing.

The second threat came by way of a telephone call to a relative who was instructed to make Khalfan “shut up,” the report said.

Dubai accused the Israeli spy agency of carrying out the assassination after studying images from a hotel surveillance camera taken prior to the killing. An investigation also uncovered false passports used by the alleged assassins that investigators claim lead to the Mossad.

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

Israeli Military Offsets Turkey’s Loss With Greece, Romania

Amid severely damaged ties with Turkey, the Israeli army has moved to replace the formerly valuable military cooperation through newly developed relations with Athens and Bucharest. The Romanian element was publicly revealed only through the crash of an Israeli military helicopter

Since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres clashed 20 months ago in Davos, Switzerland, the talk in Western capitals has been about whether Ankara has reversed its traditional pro-Western foreign policy. Being debated much less, however, are Israel’s countermeasures to make up for lost military opportunities in Turkey.

Amid the severely damaged ties, the Israeli army has moved to replace its formerly valuable military cooperation with Turkey through newly developed relations with two Balkan countries, Greece and Romania. “The Israeli military in recent months has been very keen to develop a strong defense relationship with some Balkan countries near Turkey,” said one Turkish defense source Tuesday.

Since Israel’s creation in the late 1940s the two countries had strong, albeit pretty secret, political relations and security cooperation during the Cold War, although Ankara’s formal diplomatic ties had remained at a low level. The ties reached a strategic level in the mid-1990s with the signing of a critical defense cooperation agreement in 1996, which also led to Turkey’s purchase of Israeli defense equipment worth billions of dollars over the next decade.

At the zenith of the Turkish-Israeli relationship between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s, Israeli aircraft were training in the skies over Anatolia, and the militaries of the two then-allies had joint maneuvers several times each year.

But after January 2009, when Israel held a major offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the two nations’ ties suffered badly and the Israeli military’s privileges in Turkey gradually came to an end. The Israeli Air Force’s training program in Turkish airspace was halted and in October last year, Israel was expelled from Turkey’s annual international Air Force exercises.

Turkish-Israeli ties hit the bottom in late May when Israeli commandos attacked a Gaza-bound Turkish-led aid flotilla, killing nine onboard.

Israel’s need to replace Turkey

Israel, whose size is nearly half of Turkey’s central province of Konya, has very limited airspace. After Turkey’s loss, its air force’s modern fighters are now holding training flights in Greece’s vast airspace over the Mediterranean, international defense analysts say.

In late July, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou visited Israel, and less than a month later Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hosted in Athens by Papandreou. Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister to visit Greece.

During his two-day stay in Athens, Netanyahu told reporters that the two nations were “opening a new chapter” and that he and Papandreou had discussed military cooperation. Papandreou said Greece and Israel were looking at expanding strategic ties.

Greece’s ties with Israel, indeed, had remained tense for decades. Ironically, during the long rule of Papandreou’s father, late Prime Minister Andrea Papandreou, Israel had accused Greece of favoritism toward the Arab side in the Arab-Israeli conflict and of tolerance for individuals Israel considered to be terrorists.

Former Aegean rivals Greece and Turkey have greatly improved relations especially in the past 10 years. Greece now backs Turkey’s eventual membership to the European Union, and Ankara is preparing to remove Athens from a list of threats in its next national security document expected to be adopted soon.

Still, Athens’ rapprochement with Israel comes at a time of an extreme mutual frustration in Israeli-Turkish ties. “We are not concerned over the new Greek-Israeli relationship. We are just trying to understand if it will affect us,” said one Turkish diplomat. “We are trying to find out if there are elements that would seek to hurt us.”

Romanian case

Romania is another Balkan country recently developing military cooperation with Israel, but nothing much is known about it publicly. Romania, a member of the former Warsaw Pact during the decades of the Cold War, had tense ties with Israel as part of the Soviet policies of the time.

But now Romania, which after the end of the Cold War “changed sides” and joined NATO in recent years, has become one of the staunchest supporters of the United States in the alliance and enjoys very good political ties with Israel. Romania earlier this year made it clear that it actively wanted to join a U.S.-led collective missile defense system to counter potential missile threats from Iran.

The Israeli-Romanian military cooperation inadvertently became public when an Israeli heavy-lift military helicopter crashed in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains area in late July. Several Israeli soldiers were killed in the incident.

The helicopter, which probably crashed due to bad weather conditions, was a U.S.-made CH-53 Sea Stallion, called the Yasour by the Israelis. “One might wonder why an Israeli helicopter was in Romania in the first place. The answer is that every long-range Israeli Air Force operation today, wherever it may take place in the world, including in Israel, takes into consideration ‘third-sphere threats’ like Iran, which are far from Israel,” the Jerusalem Post, a top Israeli newspaper, said in an analysis published just after the July 26 accident.

“The Yasour helicopters in Romania this week, for example, flew nonstop from Israel and received midair refueling over Greece, something they do not get to do every day. That is why these training exercises are so important,” the Jerusalem Post said. “Israeli airspace is limited and flying in places like Romania, with lots of open spaces, also gives Israeli pilots the ability to train in new and unfamiliar terrain, especially mountainous areas similar to those in Lebanon.”

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

Saudi Father Says Daughter Kidnapped by Genie

16-year-old had earlier disappeared from hometown Alkharj and was found in Riyadh

Saudi police backed by a civil defence aircraft and hundreds of town residents have launched an extensive operation in search of a teenage girl whose father says she has been kidnapped by a jinn (genie). (SUPPLIED)

Saudi police backed by a civil defence aircraft and hundreds of town residents have launched an extensive operation in search of a teenage girl whose father says she has been kidnapped by a jinn (genie).

The 16-year-old Saudi girl disappeared from her house in the central town of Alkharj a month ago but was found later in Riyadh, Shams daily reported.

She vanished again three days ago, triggering a massive search campaign by the police, civil defence and residents of the town, the paper said.

“Her father believes she is possessed by a jinn, who threatened to take her to Riyadh last month and carried out his threat,” the daily said.

“He says this jinn speaks out through her and told them that he would take her to Riyadh…and that is what happened as they later found her in Batiha neighourhood in Riyadh…he then threatened that he would take her away and make her disappear forever…he said he would take her outside the country.”

But the paper said the unidentified father’s theory has been refuted by Moslem scholars on the grounds jinns can not transport humans.

It quoted Sheikh Ahmed al Aseeri, preacher at Alkharj state prison, as saying the girl could be suffering from mental problems.

“This story about a jinn taking the girl away can not be believed because jinns are not able to carry humans or make them disappear…they can control minds but not bodies so this theory is not correct,” he said.

According to the newspaper, the girl is short and lean and was wearing a white shirt when she disappeared from her house before dawn three days ago.

“She was in her room at around 2.00 am before she vanished…..her mother said her daughter cheated her when she gave her the wrong key for her room…the next day, they found out that she was not in her room,” the paper said.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Police Arrest 210 Suspected Drug Traffickers

Riyadh, 29 Sept. (AKI) — Saudi Arabia has arrested 210 suspected drug traffickers since the beginning of an anti-drug campaign three months ago, according to the Saudi interior ministry.

Of those arrested between 13 June and 10 September, 133 were Saudi citizens while others were from other countries, primarily in Africa and and the Middle East.

Drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia can be punishable by death.

The Saudi drug seizures yielded 9.3 million amphetamine pills, six tonnes of hashish and ten kilogrammes of heroin.

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

Stuxnet Worm Heralds New Era of Global Cyberwar

The memory sticks were scattered in a washroom of a US military base in the Middle East that was providing support for the Iraq war.

They were deliberately infected with a computer worm — the undisclosed foreign intelligence agency behind the operation was counting on the fallibility of human nature.

According to those familiar with the events, it calculated a soldier would pick up one of the memory sticks, pocket it and — against regulations — eventually plug it into a military laptop.

They were correct.

The result was the delivery of a self-propagating malicious worm into the secure computer system of the US military’s central command — Centcom — which would take 14 months to finally eradicate in an operation codenamed Buckshot Yankee.

That attack took place in 2008 and was only acknowledged by the Pentagon this August. It is strikingly similar to the recently disclosed cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities with the Stuxnet worm, which also appears to have used contaminated hardware in an attempt to cripple Iran’s nuclear programme, rather than using bombs dropped from the air.

Where these two incidents differ from previous high profile cyber attacks, including some backed by states, is the fact that they have gone far beyond cyber annoyance — even on a grand scale — and pushed towards real cyberwar.

Like the attack on Centcom’s computers, the Stuxnet worm, which Iran admits has affected 30,000 of its computers, was a sophisticated attack almost certainly orchestrated by a state, a sabotage operation using computer code as a weapon. It appears intelligence operatives were used to deliver the worm to its goal.

Its primary target, computer security experts say, was an off-the-shelf Siemens-manufactured control system used widely by Iran — not least in its nuclear facilities.

Yesterday Iran confirmed that the worm had been found on laptops at the Bushehr nuclear reactor — which had been due to go online next month but has now been delayed. It denied the Stuxnet worm had infected the main operating system or been responsible for the problems.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

U.S. Targets Eight Iranian Officials Over Abuses

The United States on Wednesday named eight senior Iranian officials — including the commander of the Revolutionary Guards and several cabinet ministers — as participants in human rights abuses including killings after disputed presidential elections in June 2009.

“On these officials’ watch, or under their command, Iranian citizens have been arbitrarily arrested, beaten, tortured, raped, blackmailed and killed,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a news conference. “Yet the Iranian government has ignored repeated calls from the international community to end these abuses.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Ayodhya Verdict: Muslims and Hindus Ordered to Share Religious Site

Three Indian judges today ruled that the disputed religious site in Ayodhya, claimed by both Muslims and Hindus, should be shared by both communities.

In one of the longest awaited and most controversial judgments in India’s history, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court decided against the claim by the Muslim community that they should be allowed to rebuild a 16th century mosque demolished by a mob of Hindu extremists in 1992.

The site of the mosque would be split between two Hindu groups and one Muslim group, the judges said.

The 2,000-page ruling ordered that status quo at the religious compound in Ayodhya at the centre of the dispute — currently under state control — would be maintained for three months.

Lawyers representing the Muslim claimants said they were “partly disappointed” and that they would appeal the decision at the supreme court.

Chaotic scenes accompanied the release of the judgment after lawyers for Hindu groups left the court before it was published to hold an impromptu press conference claiming victory.

The destruction of the mosque — known as the Babri Masjid — 18 years ago sparked some of India’s worst religious rioting since independence, causing 2,000 deaths. The reaction to today’s decision is being seen as a crucial test of India’s commitment to secularism and rule of law.

There are widespread fears that — despite repeated appeals for calm by politicians from all sides and representatives of all faith communities — the ruling will spark violence.

The government’s cabinet committee on security was meeting today in New Delhi to review the situation in the country following the court verdict.

Many schools and offices remained shut today as a huge security operation involving hundreds of thousands of troops and paramilitaries across the country got underway. Police arrested more than 10,000 people to prevent them from inciting violence, while another 100,000 had to sign affidavits saying they would not cause trouble after the verdict, officials said.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

NATO Says Aircraft Did Cross Border Into Pakistan

Nato in Afghanistan says its aircraft crossed into Pakistan and fired at suspected militants, in an attack Pakistan says killed three soldiers.

Nato said its aircraft killed “several armed individuals” as the crew believed they were being fired on.

Pakistan says the helicopter attacked a military checkpoint, and that it “strongly disapproves” of violation of its sovereignty.

It has blocked supply routes for US and Nato troops in Afghanistan.

It is not clear whether the closure is in retaliation for the attack.

However, if it becomes permanent, the blockade of one of two important routes could lead to a major escalation in tensions between Pakistan and the United States.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said after the border attack on Thursday that “we will have to see whether we are allies or enemies”.


Meanwhile at least five suspected militants have been killed in a suspected drone strike some 30km (18 miles) west of Miramshah, officials say.

There has been a major escalation in such strikes this year — with 64 in North Waziristan and six in South Waziristan.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Far East

Petrodollars to Flood China’s Economy

Middle East Arab nations see U.S. influence waning

Petrodollars — up to $500 billion annually by the year 2020 — are expected to flood China’s economy as Gulf Arab states have begun looking to the day when their wealth no longer will be governed by oil exports and they will reach into other industries, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The increase in trade is projected based on closer strategic ties already developing between the Gulf Arab states and China, including pressure now being applied to Beijing to influence trading partner Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment program.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Video: Film Documents Higher Ed’s Intolerance for Dialogue

‘Censorship like this is an all-too-common occurrence at our colleges and universities’

A new documentary video has been released exposing the intolerance of higher education in the United States when it refused to allow exhibition of a project by Penn State student artist Joshua Stulman called “Portraits of Terror,” according to a civil rights organization.

The project was scheduled to debut in April 2006 at the Patterson Gallery in the School of Visual Arts at Penn State University. But it was canceled by Charles Garoian, director of the school, citing the university’s “Zero Tolerance policy for Hate.”


“Joshua Stulman’s art exhibit was censored not once but twice: first because administrators didn’t like what it had to say, and later out of fear that violence would ensue if his artwork were shown on campus,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “This should be totally unacceptable in the United States. Instead, censorship like this is an all-too-common occurrence at our colleges and universities.”

On his website, Stulman explains the 13 paintings explore the “terrorist culture” that uses “radicalized Islam to legitimize terrorism carried out, often by Palestinian youth, in Israel and abroad.”

The themes include Holocaust denial, the Nazi background of Islamic leader Haj Amin al-Husseini, the use of anti-Jewish propaganda and the glorification of martyrdom.

According to FIRE, criticism of Islamic terrorism or Islam in general increasingly is being punished and silenced on college campuses.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

You Have to be Nuts to See a Shrink

Many Americans recently lamented the six-month anniversary of ObamaCare, a law that is guaranteed to result in tremendous violations of our gun rights.

How do we know that? We know because of what the feds have already been doing with legislation that George Bush signed two years ago.

With the passage of the Veterans Disarmament Act in 2008, Congress granted the Veterans Administration (VA) the authority to computerize the medical records of veterans and ship them to the FBI. Any diagnosis that could be interpreted as “might be a danger to self or others” results in the vet being denied his right to keep and bear arms. People with concealed carry permits are denied renewals. Customers at gun stores are turned down.

In one recent case, a GOA member visited a VA hospital for a couple of days and soon after returning home, state authorities knocked on the door and confiscated his guns.

There is a campaign at the VA to come in and get the “treatment you deserve.” TV ads to this effect have been run. Obama has announced new regulations to make it easier for war vets to get help.


An Arkansas veteran, Wayne Irelan, returned from Iraq with a Purple Heart and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Moreover, he recently learned that no good deed goes unpunished when he was stripped of his right to keep and bear arms. It started when his wife took over the family’s finances in 2009. The VA began paying Sgt. Irelan a small stipend. All of this to say that the Veterans Administration used this as a basis to define him as mentally incompetent — the very words in an unconstitutional federal gun control law that trigger one’s loss of Second Amendment freedoms.

Irelan was notified by the Arkansas State Police that his concealed carry permit was revoked a few days after he attempted to get a gun out of pawn. A few days later still, the BATFE told Irelan that he was not allowed to have any guns and that he would go to jail if they ever found any in his house.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Climate Research Has Been Hampered by the IPCC and Governments for Over Twenty Years

Politicizing of climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and governments directed it to proving that only human CO2 was causing climate change. This ensured almost no advance in climate science in 20 years. It is said, inaccurately, that the science is settled. It is accurate to say the IPCC and governments settled the science.

Three scientists from the beginning of the 20th century had a profound impact on our view and understanding of the world and climate, yet are virtually unknown. They knew each other well; one was related by marriage to another. They worked together and the connections influenced their contributions to a global view and understanding of climate change. Vladimir Koppen produced a global climate classification that is the basis of most systems since. His training combined meteorology, climatology and botany and his system used plants as an indicator of climate. Koppen’s daughter married the second scientist, Alfred Wegener. His contribution was the continental drift theory that provided a fundamental foundation for geology. The third was Milutin Milankovitch, Serbian mathematician and climatologist, whose work combined the effect of changes in Sun/Earth relationships on climate change.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Intelligence not the problem!

In Canada Free Press I give many examples, in a variety of articles, of the myriad falsities inherent in the green movement. Sometimes, falsity can be accepted as a side-effect of stupidity, but not in this case. The green movement is the province of intelligent middle classes. So, why is it that these people come out with such nonsense? It’s because their intellect doesn’t match their intelligence, making them accept emotionalism rather than truth. In other words, they are prejudiced against reality.

One of the most recent pro-green articles by foolish people was, to my surprise, in MENSA magazine (October 2010), written by a newly-degreed fellow reading geology. Way back over 40 years ago I thought of joining MENSA, but then, as today, I cannot think of a benefit. And, now I have read the article, I can see that intelligence is no defence against propaganda and fakery. The article itself is not worthy of inclusion in a journal for people with high intelligence… it is just a collection of the usual propaganda, all hot air and no reason. I do not doubt the author’s intelligence, only his ignorance riding on the back of vanity.


These hot-greens also fail to recognise who is behind the greenism, and why. In my book, ‘The Global Green Agenda’, I prove beyond doubt that what is behind the environmental movement is not concern for the planet, but the sticky hands of very rich men who want to get richer, and governments who want extra taxes without the need for a genuine reason!

To get what they want they base themselves in Marxism and Fascism, which are behind all environmental/ecology claims and plans since the mid 1800s. If this does not concern our greenies, then there is something seriously wrong with their line of thinking. Intelligent they may be — but sensible they are not! It is intelligence bereft of intellectual excellence. They can shout, huff and puff, but it makes no difference, because flaws are flaws and deception is deception.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]