Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20101204

Financial Crisis
»Germany: Wealthy Lean Toward ‘Social Darwinism’ After Economic Crisis
»America Warns Islam — We Don’t Want Your Kind of Peace
»US Police Search Home Near Burned Islamic Centre
»Galloway Speaks in Churches While Iran Persecutes Christians
Europe and the EU
»Italy: ‘Pianist’ Star Wins Court Case Against ‘Giallo’ Movie Producers
»Italy: Police Impound Hotel in Mount Vesuvius National Park
»Italy: Mafia ‘Shys Away From Traditional Violence’ In Eastern Sicilian City
»Liam Neeson Angers Narnia Fans by Suggesting Aslan is Mohammed
»UK: Four Arrests Over Stoke-on-Trent Mosque Arson
North Africa
»Egypt: Copts Fear the Rise of Islam Promoted by the State
»The Gadhafi Cables: US Diplomats Struggle With an Eccentric Despot
Middle East
»Iraq: Government Says 41 Percent of Kurdish Women Are Circumcised
»Turkey — Vatican: Mgr Franceschini: The Turkish Church “Can Not Intervene” Against Falsehoods on Mgr. Padovese
»Unconventional Warfare on Iran
»The “Distorted View” Of America’s Ally and Putin’s Friend
Far East
»Cables Discuss Vast Hacking by a China That Fears the Web
»Attacks on Immigrants Increase
»‘Parli Italiano?’ — Italian Language Test for Migrants
»Wikileaks: France Has Not Integrated Its Minorities

Financial Crisis

Germany: Wealthy Lean Toward ‘Social Darwinism’ After Economic Crisis

Hostility towards minorities and the poor has increased significantly among Germany’s middle and upper classes, a development likely stemming from the global economic crisis, according to a new study.

Supposedly open-minded, highly-educated people with above average incomes exhibited similar levels of racism, xenophobia, and homophobia as the less well-off, the research found.

The recent financial and economic crisis is largely to blame for this “freezing of the social climate,” said researchers from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (IKG) at Bielefeld University.

“During the crisis many high earners experienced for the first time what financial losses mean,” study leader Wilhelm Heitmeyer said.

With this realisation, carefully learned social norms and values were quickly forgotten, and ideas of so-called social Darwinism, or survival of the fittest, increased. Feeling threatened by the financial crisis also lead to a creeping “radicalising of the middle class,” with levels of anti-Islamic sentiments up significantly among political moderates and liberals, while this actually dipped slightly among conservatives.

Every fourth study participant agreed to the statement, “Muslims should be prevented from immigrating to Germany” — an increase of five percentage points from last year’s results.

Anti-Semitic sentiments were also more socially acceptable among wealthier respondents.

Negative feelings toward the homeless or jobless increased only among those who earned a net monthly income of more than €2,500 per month.

The long-term study of group-oriented misanthropy in Germany began in 2002 and focuses on how different social, religious and ethnic backgrounds are received in by the country’s citizens.

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


America Warns Islam — We Don’t Want Your Kind of Peace

The America people are fast learners and with Europe’s history of modern day multiculturalism falling apart the question of whether we need to be welcoming Islam into our communities is fast becoming a question for all peaceful Americans. America has always prided itself for being open to all cultures, we are the great melting pot after all. This is why many are still apprehensive when it comes to seeing Islam for what it is: bent on domination.

We seek so hard to be fair that many of us have lost the ability to recognize the danger. Almost like a man who has lost the feeling to his arm, pain does not register and until the sight of blood nothing seems to be wrong, but by then it is too late. We fear repeating our history that left Japanese Americans in internment camps and in turn we gamble with the lives of millions of Americans.

Islam and its purveyors of propaganda are well aware of this psychological inclination to hold harmless all cultures and have counted it their greatest weapon in the domination of the United States and all Western powers.

However, the vast majority of Americans are daily seeing thought this ploy and are speaking out and demanding that American Muslims either abandon violent Koranic verses and Sharia Law or leave the nation.

Quran (9:29) — “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Quran (25:52) — “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness…” Hadith — Muslim (1:33) — the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah This is causing the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) to fight back with efforts to demonize any American who speaks out.

Just recently a Muslim planning to blow up a Christmas Tree lighting event in Portland Oregon was arrested before his holy Islamic plot was realized. A few days latter someone took it into their own hands to set fire to the mosques that the bomber belonged to. Americans are starting to connect the dots.

Cities that permit mosques will have greater chances of terrorist activities. Millions of Americans are fighting the construction of Mosques around the nation; however, liberal judges and city council members are still not convinced of a connection between Islam and violence. This is primarily do to a well funded propaganda effort paid for by international Islamic groups out of Saudi Arabia and other Islamic controlled areas.

The outrage is growing and Americans are fast realizing that political correctness will surely kill them as a free people. The fact that CAIR, a know terrorist sympathizer, can operate with impunity in a culture of free people has brought the greatest shame to America. Our political and legal systems have now became so disattached from the popular sentiment of the people that if not changed or challenged quickly our entire society may collapse: exactly as planned by the Islamic leadership.

Now you may say I have Muslim friends and they don’t want to take over our nation. Did the people of Germany want to take over Poland or France under Hitler: no. Until the people of the world see Islam for the national system that it is and not a religion they will not understand that there are political branches, military branches and then the people who are often oblivious to the national plan.

However, there is one way to be sure they support the over all Islamic national effort: they seldom, if ever, will condemn their nation of Islam for its acts. If they are pressured into condemning an act of terrorism they will insist that the act was by an individual not representing them, yet the outcome would always further the goal of Islamic domination.

America and the West must stop being frightened and dust of their shield and armor, as the hoards of Islam are back and they haven’t come with the sword in hand, but with our own laws and constitutions. However, be sure, heads will roll as our resolve fades.

The only way to safeguard Western existence is to demand the following: Sharia Law must be banned in all Western nations; no further foreign funds should be allowed to fund western mosques; Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations must be forced to stop Christian persecution prior to any additional Muslim immigration and all Islamic leaders in western nations should be deported if they have ever espoused Islam as dominating their host nation: These must occur or western nations will continue to fall under the weight of their own laws and constitutions protecting the Islamic cultural assault.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

US Police Search Home Near Burned Islamic Centre

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Police have searched a home near the Islamic centre in Oregon, that was torched two days after a Somalia-born teenager was arrested in a plot to kill thousands at a Portland Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Court documents say 24-year-old Cody Crawford and his mother live in the home 200 feet (60 metres) from the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center. The search was conducted Monday, a day after someone tried to burn the place of worship.

The FBI says no one has been arrested.

Court documents show Crawford’s arrest record includes accusations of criminal mischief, assault and spitting food at a deputy while in jail.

The FBI has been looking into whether the arson was in retaliation for the alleged bomb plot at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square last month. The suspect in that case sometimes worshipped at the centre.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]


Galloway Speaks in Churches While Iran Persecutes Christians

When George Galloway was on his cross-country Canadian tour organized by StopWar last month, he transfixed his largely drone-like audiences from church pulpits. In Vancouver, he spoke from the pulpit of the St Andrew’s-Wesley United church. Four days later, he presented at the Winnipeg Broadway Disciples United Church, hosted by Peace Alliance Winnipeg. And he perversely used those pulpits to spout the most outrageous cover-ups for a regime that persecutes Christians and other religious minorities

Galloway often took time to defends his Press TV employers, the Iranian regime, suggesting there is a robust democracy in Iran:

“That Iran is a democracy is already established. We saw a presidential election, unprecedented in its frankness. Well it is the democracy that the Iranian people’s constitution provides for. Iran has only been a democratic country for thirty years, but in those thirty years its come along way. It is democracy, is its form of democracy…

Ahmadinejad got eleven million votes more than the second place candidate. That is a gigantic majority. It is proof of democracy Iranian style, It must be proof of it. This is proof and it is a credit to Iran for having a system that allows them to vote and for their votes to count. I am not interested why Galloway and united churches love each other, but I can inform you that at the same day that Galloway was using Vancouver United church’s pulpit, Iranian Protestant pastor of the Rasht City Church, Yousef Nadarkhani, was sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy.

“TEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News) — A detained pastor of a major network of Christian house churches in Iran will be executed by hanging for “apostasy”, or abandoning Islam, according to translated court documents seen by Worthy News Wednesday, November 24.

The 11th Chamber of The Assize Court of the province of Gilan said Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani had proved his “apostasy” by “organizing evangelistic meetings and inviting others to Christianity, establishing a house church, baptizing people, expressing his faith to others and, denying Islamic values.”

Nadarkhani is “an apostate [and] will be executed by being hung…Somehow his soul is taken from him,” the court wrote.

I have nothing to say to St Andrew’s-Wesley United Church’s Pastor, Mr. Gary Paterson, except this: brother, you are lucky that you live in Canada. Enjoy your freedom of speech.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Italy: ‘Pianist’ Star Wins Court Case Against ‘Giallo’ Movie Producers

Rome, 25 Nov. (AKI) — Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, star of The Pianist, has won a legal battle to ban the further US sale of a film by Italian horror master Dario Argento. Giallo Productions and Hannibal pictures are also banned from using Brody’s likeness to promote the movie, ‘Giallo’.

Brody claims he is owed 640,000 dollars for his work in the film and that it was released on DVD in the United States in October without his permission.

Thirty-seven-year-old Brody also claims the film’s producers misled him about financing and overstated the value of the film’s Italian distribution rights.

In ‘Giallo’, an Italian-set 2008 thriller, Brody stars as an FBI special agent hunting a serial killer in the northern Italian city of Turin. He also plays the murderer.

The movie’s producers’ lawyer has denied wrongdoing by his clients.

Brody was reportedly been paid nearly a million dollars for his role.

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

Italy: Police Impound Hotel in Mount Vesuvius National Park

Naples, 29 Nov. (AKI) — Tax police in the Naples area on Monday impounded a hotel in the Mount Vesuvius National Park worth 20 million euros and are investigating 14 people. The hotel’s owners fraudulently obtained 5 million euros of public funds though loopholes in legislation aimed at boosting the tourism sector, according to investigators.

Monday’s operation at the Villa Rota hotel in Boscotrecase followed an investigation into the hotel’s owner, a company named as Ansari, by prosecutors in nearby Torre Annunziata, some 20 kilometres south of Naples. The area is close to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.

Pompeii, the largest archaeological site in the world, receives several million visitors each year.

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

Italy: Mafia ‘Shys Away From Traditional Violence’ In Eastern Sicilian City

Catania, 29 Nov. (AKI) — Catania on Sicily’s east coast, is the hub for the island’s mobsters who conduct business not through traditional extortion and other violent means, but with apparently legitimate commercial enterprises, according to the head of the Sicilian branch of Italy’s largest business trade group.

Companies that conduct everyday business aren’t as attention-catching as traditional mafia operations like drug trafficking, prostitution and gambling, said Ivan Lo Bello, head of Sicily’s Confindustria in Sicily and president of bank Banco di Sicilia.

“It’s an insidious phenomenon because it doesn’t alarm people,” he said in an interview published on Monday with newspaper Corriere del Mezzogiorno. “Robbery makes more noise. This is a silent mafia that doesn’t shoot and at times gives apparent opportunities for development.”

He urged caution when judging the conduct of crime syndicates whose seem to conduct affairs without thugs.

“It’s only an illusion because in the end it destroys wealth and hurts the economy. Mafia business activities create a protected market without competition.”

Lo Bello in May received a death threat for his outspoken anti-mafia activism.

As a Sicilian business leader, he made it an part of the Sicilian Confindustria branch’s rules to expel anybody who made extortion payments — known as the “pizzo” — to the mafia, known as Cosa Nostra in Sicily.

Catania’s mafia has a long business tradition and controls large parts of the city’s concrete, earth moving, construction and services industries, Lo Bello said.

“Mafia infiltration has been heavy in the construction of Catania’s commercial centre,” he contends.

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

Liam Neeson Angers Narnia Fans by Suggesting Aslan is Mohammed

The actor who voices the lion in the film adaptations of the books has angered some fans of the stories, who claim he is distorting Lewis’s intentions to be “politically correct”. Aslan the lion features in all seven Narnia books, guiding children away from evil and harm and encouraging them to do good. Lewis was clear that the Aslan was based on Christ, and once wrote of the character: “He is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question: “What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia?”.”

In the climax of the first book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan sacrifices his life to save Narnia, before rising from the dead, a plot which is widely believed to represent the crucifixion and the resurrection. But ahead of the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third Narnia book to be made into a film, next week, Neeson said: “Aslan symbolises a Christlike figure, but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries. “That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids — that’s what he means for me.” Walter Hooper, Lewis’s former secretary and a trustee of his estate, said that the author would have been angered by Neeson’s comments. He said: “It is nothing whatever to do with Islam. Lewis would have simply denied that. He wrote that ‘the whole Narnian story is about Christ’. Lewis could not have been clearer.” Mr Hooper attributed Neeson’s remarks to political correctness and a wish to be “very multi-cultural”.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Four Arrests Over Stoke-on-Trent Mosque Arson

Four teenagers have been arrested after a gas pipe was put into a Stoke-on-Trent mosque in an attempt to set light to the building, police said.

The incident is being treated by police as a deliberate racist attack.

Officers were called to Regent Road at 0630 GMT after live CCTV footage showed smoke emerging from inside the building.

Three males aged 16, 18 and 19, and an 18-year-old female remain in custody. All are from the local area.

A Staffordshire Police spokeswoman said there was no structural damage, but the fire was being treated as a case of criminal damage.

‘Community appalled’

Police said the attackers fed a gas pipe from a nearby building through a mosque window.

Ch Insp Wayne Jones said: “It’s clearly visible for people to see.

“A gas meter on an external wall has been interfered with. That’s gone into the mosque and the damage could have been significant.

“At this stage we are treating this incident as a racist attack on a religious building.

“I am sure the community are as appalled as we are at this behaviour.”

Stoke-on-Trent CID are examining the scene and CCTV footage of the area.

[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Copts Fear the Rise of Islam Promoted by the State

The Coptic community in Egypt is afraid of being increasingly marginalized by an Islamism it claims to be encouraged by the state, although the Islamist opposition was swept in the parliamentary elections of which the second round is held Sunday.

“Discrimination against Copts is systematic and widespread in Egypt. It is found in government bureaucracy, courts, police and universities,” said Emad Gad, of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. “Discrimination is not only practiced by the government,” but “the government has managed to Islamize society […]. They use religion to gain support from people,” he adds, speaking of “a fanatic bureaucratic system.” “Just to repair the window of a church, you must obtain permission from the government. If you want to build a mosque, you can get it in no time,” he said.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

The Gadhafi Cables: US Diplomats Struggle With an Eccentric Despot

For American diplomats, Libya is a notorious hardship post. With his quirky habits, hard bargaining, whiny sons and Ukrainian nurses, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is far from easy to deal with — and a master of political extortion.

The “Great Leader” likes to wear jogging pants along with well-worn slippers and a shirt bearing a silhouette of Africa. He often fasts on Mondays and Thursday, and he usually lives in a simple house rather than the kind of Bedouin-style tent often associated with him.

The floors in this house are creaky, the white walls are bare, and the household servants wear street clothes. Indeed, in private, 68-year-old Moammar Gadhafi — the colonel, the leader of the Libyan revolution and the composer of the literary debut entitled “The Village, the Village, the Earth, the Earth and the Suicide of the Astronauts” — is a very unassuming fellow. Still — at least as the Americans see him — Gadhafi is also a man plagued by paranoia, anxiety and neuroses, a man who only trusts his closest advisers, a man whose pride is easily wounded and a man who will suffer no criticism. Indeed, for the Americans, Gadhafi is a despot who lost touch with reality long ago and whose only information about the broader world comes from what his aides tell him.

Whenever he feels like it, Gadhafi opens or closes his country’s oil spigot, be it to penalize countries for insubordinate behavior or to cover special expenses. In 2009, for example, he let 100,000 extra barrels of oil flow in order to pay for the party he held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the “revolution” — a luxurious gala complete with Spanish flamenco dancers and bands from New Zealand.

This is the picture that emerges from 599 reports sent from the US Embassy and liaison office in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, to Washington between December 2004 and February 2010. And most of them have something to do with the “Great Leader” himself.

In one dispatch, Ambassador Gene Cretz comments: “While it is tempting to dismiss his many eccentricities as signs of instability, Qadhafi* is a complicated individual who has managed to stay in power for forty years through a skillful balancing of interests and realpolitik methods.”

The American diplomats in Tripoli monitoring Gadhafi and his clan are occasionally amused, but more often their mood is one of concern. They have to tread a fine line between wanting to protect the interests of American oil companies and being expected to pressure the Libyan regime to observe human rights. But, as was shown by the attempted “human rights dialogue” in September 2009, the latter of these appears to be somewhat of a compulsory but vain exercise in the domain of diplomacy with despots. When the talks concluded, the Libyans simply declared that the country had no need for a civil society, anyway.

Americans dispatched to Libya report in great detail on Gadhafi’s peculiarities, the airs and graces of his sons and the degree to which his advisers fear his wrath. For example, they closely monitored how wounded pride led him to take two Swiss citizens hostage and humiliate the Swiss government, how he almost forced Canada to its knees by threatening to nationalize the assets of PetroCanada and how he more or less compelled the British to extradite Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people, most of them Americans.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iraq: Government Says 41 Percent of Kurdish Women Are Circumcised

ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan: A survey by the Kurdistan Minstiry of Health shows that 41 percent of women have gone under the practise of female genuital mutilation (FGM).

The survey was carried out in July this year. The results of the survey were announced during a campaign to raise awareness on violence against women in Kurdistan earlier this week.

Part of the campaign has focused on FGM. The survey by the government shows that mothers are the main party responsible for forcing their daughters experience the painful ritual and then grandmothers and fathers.

The survey’s results show that none of the participants in Dohuk, Kurdistan’s smallest of the three provinces, were circumcised while the highest rate of FGM was in Sulaimai.

Erbil, Kurdistan region’s capital, came between Sulaimani and Dohuk. According to the survey, most of the women were circumcised while they were under five years old.

Jamil Ali Rashid, the director general of health affairs at the ministry of health, said “the survey’s results are totally correct and credible because the participants were given clear questions and special teams examined the women who participated in the survey after their consent was secured.”

A campaign to end FGM practices in Kurdistan was launched in February 2010 by 51 non-governmental organizations.

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

Turkey — Vatican: Mgr Franceschini: The Turkish Church “Can Not Intervene” Against Falsehoods on Mgr. Padovese

The Archbishop of Izmir confirms reports on attempts to pass off the murderer of the vicar of Anatolia as “mentally ill”. The Latin Church is silenced over manipulation of the court and public opinion. Yet the Turkish minister of justice had promised “the truth”.

Izmir (AsiaNews) — The Archbishop of Izmir, Ruggero Franceschini, confirms to AsiaNews that a group of “professors and lawyers” have ruled that Murat Altun, who assassinated Mgr. Luigi Padovese is insane. This conclusion is in direct opposition to a report by several doctors who — before the murder — had found Murat Altun to be perfectly sane. The bishop of Izmir, who after the death of Mgr. Padovese, succeeded him as vicar of Anatolia, sadly comments that “Unfortunately I can not speak in court. The Vatican can, through the nuncio, the Italian ambassador can, because Padovese was an Italian citizen, and family members of Padovese, they may intervene. The bishops of the Latin Church may intervene, but no one is obliged to listen to them. The Latin Church is not ackowledged as a juridical subject”.

On 3 June last, Mgr. Luigi Padovese, 63, was stabbed to death in the garden of his home in Iskenderun, on the southern coast of the country. The killing, which took place according to a kind of Islamic ritual, was carried out by Altun, who had worked for years as the bishop’s driver. The same Altun, before the murder, had sought to be declared insane, visiting several doctors, who instead had ruled out any instability. Altun had also confessed to “sexual” motivations for the murder, seen by many as an attempt to manipulate public opinion. Yesterday, the Hurriyet newspaper published the news that a group of experts have issued a report stating that Altun is not sane.

A few months ago, in an interview with AsiaNews (See, 10/06/2010 Archbishop of Smyrna: The martyrdom of bishop Padovese we want the truth and not “pious lies”) Mgr. Franceschini claimed to have met the Turkish minister of justice to whom he said: “We want the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We do not want other lies: that there were others involved , there was no one else involved, that it was a crime of passion. Nothing must be kept hidden”.

“[The minister] seemed quite sincere, and he promised me the truth,” the Bishop says today. He adds: “I have not been questioned, no one has ever asked me anything. We don’t even have the possibility to shout or protest. We are even criticized by people who should not criticize us, people who instead should loves us”.

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

Unconventional Warfare on Iran

by Yochanan Visser

No hacker could have been able to launch the cyber attack on Iran, says the writer, who thinks he knows who did. The article below has also been published in Dutch by the Volkskrant.

The Dutch newspaper ‘De Volkskrant’ published a Missing Peace article titled ‘Iran makes Mideast peace impossible’. In the article we wrote the following about the Stuxnet worm, that is causing havoc in computer systems all over Iran:

“The long awaited attack on Iran by Israel could take place in a total different shape than commonly expected. Just this week news broke that the Iranian Nuclear Agency tries to limit damage caused by a computer virus named Stuxnet. The virus has paralyzed a large part of the Iranian industrial complex en could be the result of a combined action by the CIA and the Mossad”.

The idea that the Stuxnet worm could be the long overdue attack on Iran’s nuclear program seemed to be speculation at the time. But now however, it is clear that Iran has indeed been targeted by an unprecedented cyber attack and Israel may be behind it…

           — Hat tip: DonVito[Return to headlines]


The “Distorted View” Of America’s Ally and Putin’s Friend

Dispatches on mixing business with politics and dependence on Russian energy

In message 008676, classified as “secret noforn”, meaning that it should not be disclosed to non-Americans, dated 28 January 2010 and signed CLINTON, the US secretary of state thanks the embassies in Moscow and Rome for their excellent reports on Italian-Russian relations and asks for “any additional information”. Relations between Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin are a source of concern, as the US ambassador, Ronald Spogli, notes in another cable from November 2008, when George Bush was president. Italy’s energy policy is also dissected by Elizabeth Dibble, the US chargé d’affaires in Rome in a communication to Barack Obama in June 2009.

Business behind friendship with Moscow

(1). (C) (…) Berlusconi’s latest comments are a culmination of a string of inflammatory and unhelpful comments in support of Putin (…) These latest statements went considerably further in attempting to place the blame for Russia’s paranoia on the US. (9). (C) All [of our interlocutors in the government — Ed.] reiterated that Berlusconi does not listen to the advice of his own experts in crafting his approach with other states. On Russia, Berlusconi takes this to an extreme (…) as a way of gaining favor with his Russian interlocutors — with whom many (including his own party officials) suspect he has a personally and financially enriching relationship.

Hillary’s reservations over Kremlin relations

In a cable dated 28 January 2010, the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton seeks information on Italy’s relations with Russia. “Have Italian political or business leaders influenced Russian policy against US interests, and if so, how?” “Please provide any information on the personal relationship between Russian PM Vladimir Putin and Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi. What personal investments, if any, do they have that might drive their foreign or economic policies? (…) Please provide any information on the relationship between ENI executives, including CEO Scaroni, and Italian government officials, especially PM Berlusconi and the ministry of foreign affairs”.

Feckless, gaffe-prone key ally

2. (C/NF) Our relationship with Berlusconi is complex. He is vocally pro-American and has helped address our interest on many levels in a manner and to a degree that the previous government was unwilling or unable to do (..) He displays an overweening self-confidence born of stable and strong political popularity that has made him deaf to dissenting opinion. His unorthodox governing style, coupled with his frequent verbal gaffes and high-profile scandals (…), have caused many (…) to dismiss him as feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader. His shortcomings notwithstanding, marginalizing Berlusconi would limit important cooperation with a key ally (…) He has arrested the trend of weak, short-lived Italian governments.

Ambitious Italian G8 agenda

6. (C/NF) Berlusconi’s stewardship of his G8 Presidency has been marked by a proliferation of Ministerial and sub-ministerial meetings coupled with a last-minute change of summit venue (…) that took even his Sherpa [personal representative — Ed.] by surprise. He and his cabinet tend to regard Italy’s G8 year more as an opportunity to curry favor with G8 outsiders such as Egypt, Spain, and Libya than as a tool to address the world’s problems. However, his desire to prevent the G8 from taking a back seat to the G20 on his watch has driven an ambitious agenda that may make useful contributions…

English translation by Giles Watson

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

Far East

Cables Discuss Vast Hacking by a China That Fears the Web

Cables from American diplomats made public by WikiLeaks portray China’s leadership as nearly obsessed with the threat posed by the Internet to their grip on power — and, the reverse, by the opportunities it offered them, through hacking, to obtain secrets stored in computers of its rivals, especially the United States.

Extensive Chinese hacking operations, including one leveled at Google, are a central theme in the cables. The hacking operations began earlier and were aimed at a wider array of American government and military data than generally known, including attacks on computers of American diplomats preparing positions on a climate change treaty.

[Return to headlines]


Attacks on Immigrants Increase

A wave of violent attacks against immigrants by suspected right-wing extremists has put Muslims and the police on alert in rundown parts of Athens with burgeoning migrant populations.

“Hate crimes against Muslims are underreported and underrecorded,” said Taskin Soykan, who advises the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on combating racial intolerance. The attacks in Greece mirror similar incidents in other European countries, including Switzerland, where a referendum last November led to a ban on the construction of minarets on mosques, and in France and Italy, where the authorities have deported Roma residents and immigrants.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Parli Italiano?’ — Italian Language Test for Migrants

Testing of long-term residence permit applicants to get under way. Test can be retaken. Eighty thousand potential candidates

ROME — Go into a barber’s shop, if you get the chance. One of the ones run by immigrants nowadays, many of them Bengali. The sort you might find in a working-class area of Rome. You will observe that the scissor-wielder from Dacca communicates with customers, whether they are Roman, Bengali, Chinese or Arab, in Italian. It’s the sort of thing that should interest linguists: Italian as Esperanto. Who knows where this new “language in progress”, born of so many recent contaminations, is heading. What is certain is that the road to integration passes through mutual comprehension. That’s why the decree issued by the ministry of the interior last June will come into force on 9 December, introducing a compulsory language test for foreigners.

We should note, though, that for now the new regulation concerns only foreigners more than 14 years old, formally present in Italy for at least five years, who apply for the EC long-term residence permit. Unlike ordinary residence permits, this document is not time-limited and represents a first step towards the acquisition of Italian citizenship after ten years of legal residence in the country. Immigrants who can prove they have a good knowledge of Italian by presenting educational or professional qualifications will be exempt, as will the seriously ill or disabled.

The ministry assures that there is no need to panic, although there has been a substantial rise in the number of applications for the long-term permit from the 60-80,000 eligible residents in Italy, who are rushing to present their papers before the cut-off date and avoid having to take the test. Deputy prefect Daniela Parisi from the interior ministry’s department for civil liberties and immigration says there is nothing to fear and no reason to rush. The new regulations come into force on 9 December but there’s no need to hurry…

English translation by Giles Watson

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

Wikileaks: France Has Not Integrated Its Minorities

France has not done enough to integrate its ethnic and religious minorities and needs to give Muslims a place in mainstream society, U.S. diplomats said in leaked cables published on Wednesday by a French newspaper.

Comments in diplomatic cables released by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks and published by the daily Le Monde show frustration over France’s record in assimilating minority groups and highlight concerns the problem could be deepening.

“France not only has a problem with integration or immigration; it also needs to act to give Muslims a sense of French identity,” the U.S. embassy in Paris said in a secret diplomatic cable to Washington dated Aug. 17, 2005.

The comments foreshadowed a wave of violent clashes in December that year between youths, many of them second-generation immigrants, and police in the gritty suburban housing projects that ring major French cities.

Television footage of burning cars and rioting youths was beamed around the world, casting a spotlight on tension between the French government and descendants of immigrant groups, many of whom belonged to France’s 5-million-strong Muslim community.

“The real problem is the failure of white Christian France to view its dark-skinned and Muslim compatriots as citizens in their own right,” the U.S. embassy told Washington in a cable dated Nov. 9, 2005. Craig Stapleton was U.S. ambassador to France under the administration of President George W. Bush.

A succession of WikiLeaks releases has exposed the inner workings of U.S. diplomacy and revealed at times frank views of foreign leaders, prompting charges of irresponsibility from countries including France.

The cables published by Le Monde date back to mid-2005 and cover the presidencies of both Mr Bush and Barack Obama, but there is little variation in U.S. attitudes toward France and its policies on immigrants and minorities.

“French institutions appear insufficiently flexible for a population that is growing more diverse,” said a cable from Jan. 2010. Charles Rivkin is currently U.S. ambassador to France.

President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to smooth relations with descendants of immigrants when he came to power in 2007. He renamed the immigration ministry to add the words “national identity” and encouraged debate on what it meant to be French.

His efforts did not hold up. In the wake of controversy over his expulsion of Roma migrants last summer, the immigration ministry was absorbed into the interior ministry and Sarkozy said efforts to promote national identity had been “misunderstood”.

U.S. diplomats said in the cables that France would suffer if it failed to build closer ties with minorities.

“We believe that if France, over the long term, does not succeed in improving prospects for its minorities and give them true political representation, it could become weaker, more divided and perhaps inclined toward crises … and a less effective ally as a result,” said the cable from Jan. 2010.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]