Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20101223

Financial Crisis
»EU: Budget Wars Continue
»Fresh Humiliation for Euro Zone as China Says it Will Bail Out Debt-Ridden Nations
»Has the Financial Collapse of Europe Now Become Inevitable?
»Italy: JPMorgan: Italy Not Sucked in by Debt Crisis
»Municipal Bond Market Crash 2011: Are Dozens of State and Local Governments About to Default on Their Debts?
»Spain: Moody’s Maintains Negative Outlook for Spanish Banks
»1776: Victory or Death
»Arsenal Gets Man 12 Years
»Bolton: Oval Office Antics Creating World Instability
»Growing Threat of Domestic Terror
»MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Protects Terror Networks
»Obama ‘Snookered’ By Russia in New Arms Treaty
»Steven Spielberg Advising Nancy Pelosi on Rebranding Democrats
»U.S. Approves Business With Blacklisted Nations
»Video: General: Muslim ‘Moderates’ Plot Undoing of America
»Will Jewish Community Leaders Stand Up?
Europe and the EU
»Arrogant Judiciary is Undermining British Society
»Hungary Gags Media and Throws Its EU Presidency Into Doubt
»Ireland: Council Warns of Legal Action to Remove Families From Site
»Italy: Parcel Bomb Attacks Strike at Embassies in Rome
»Italy: Slide in Berlusconi’s Approval Rating Levels Out
»Italy Blasts EU’s Response to Christian Persecutions
»Italy: Parcel Bomb Attacks Hit Rome Embassies
»Italy: ‘Anarchists’ Launch Bomb Attacks on Two Rome Embassies
»Man Fined for Insulting French Flag
»Portugal: Scandal Splatters Barroso
»Scottish Socialist Party Leader Tommy Sheridan Found Guilty of Perjury
»The Jihad of the British Left
»The Meaning of That Joint Article
»The Spanish Ham Lawsuit and Other Muslim Problems Hitting Iberia
»UK: Chairman Mao and the Coalition’s Lunatic Fixation With Change
»UK: Meet Chaser: The Incredible Border Collie Who Has Learned the Names for 1022 Toys
»UK: Muslim ‘Poppy Burners’ Deny Offending Public Order After Armistice Day Protest
»UK: Muslim Extremists in Poppy Trial Slur
»UK: The Wind Turbine Lunacy of a Generator That Won’t Even Work in the Cold Snap
»UK: Ten More Deaths Linked to Flu in a Week as Cases Accelerate
»UK: Who Are You? Wife of 22 Years Pleads With Husband to Reveal His True Identity — But He Refuses
»UK: Where Did Labour’s £1bn Foreign Aid Go? There Are No Proper Records, Says Scathing Report
»Why Anti-Semitism is Growing in Germany
North Africa
»Egypt’s Coptic Christians Struggle Against Institutionalised Prejudice
Israel and the Palestinians
»Anti-Arab Attacks in Jerusalem, 10 Arrests
»Christmas in Bethlehem: The Cross Banished From Souvenirs Shops
»PNA: EU Commission Approves 1st Package of 100 Mln in Aid
»Support for Israel’s Settlements From Europe’s Right
»Temple Mount Arrest of Zealot, Press
Middle East
»Christian Exodus From Iraq Gathers Pace
»Girls’ Schools Face the Heat for Competing in ‘Illegal’ Sports Event
»Lebanon: Jihadis Fleeing to Europe
»Russia and India Agree to US$ 35 Billion Contract for 300 Fighter Jets
»Russia Not About to Nix Nuclear Arsenal
South Asia
»Afghanistan: The Pedophilia Capital of Asia
»Indonesia: Christians Are Top Victims of Intolerance in West Java
»Malaysia Court Rules Child Marriage ‘Illegal’
»Pakistan: ‘Butcher of Swat’ Was Striking Ceasefire Deal When He Was Killed by US Drone
Far East
»China: Vatican Criticism is “Imprudent” And “Dangerous”
Australia — Pacific
»Australian Muslims Found Guilty of Terror Plot
»Three Guilty, Two Walk Free Over Terror Attack Plan
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Sudan: Bashir: Damn Ethnic Diversity… Let’s Continue Flogging
»Refugee Fight for Uzbek Group in Kazakhstan
»U.S. Congressman Declares: Borders Will be ‘Irrelevant’
Culture Wars
»Vets Protest Plan Opening Military to Homosexuals
»Climate Change Extremism is Doing Its Job
»U.N. Protections for Islam Losing Ground

Financial Crisis

EU: Budget Wars Continue

“Rich countries are going to freeze the EU budget in 2 years’ time,” headlines Polish daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. On December 18 France, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland, following the United Kingdom’s lead, sent a letter to EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso demanding that, as of 2014, EU budgets be increased by no more than the level of inflation. As French daily La Croix explains, London, Paris and Berlin have agreed that “structural funds, rather than the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), should be adjusted” in future budgets. “The structural funds,” the paper continues, “represent nearly 56% of EU expenses (53.3 bn euros) and are the most significant expense in European budgets”.

The use of the funds is contested, the French paper notes because “they are used more and more often to shore up the economies of Eastern European countries”. Dziennik Gazeta Prawna writes for its part that France has an interest in protecting the CAP, of which it is the primary beneficiary. While Poland, which benefits greatly from the structural funds, is threatened. Quoting MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, the Polish daily explains that Poland “can count on the support of all the Central European countries. But it should also seek the support of “veteran” countries in particular Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece”.

The EU Commission could also be an ally, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna suggests. But for Spanish daily El Pais, “the real budgetary battle won’t begin before June 2011 when the Commission will present its first draft budget for the 2014-2020 period”. This will be a difficult battle, warns Dziennik Gazeta Prawna because the main contributors to the EU budget are not “thinking of ways to narrow the gap between the ‘new’ and the ‘old’ Europe, but are just trying to find ways to survive”.

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

Fresh Humiliation for Euro Zone as China Says it Will Bail Out Debt-Ridden Nations

China has said it is willing to bail out debt-ridden countries in the euro zone using its $2.7trillion overseas investment fund.

In a fresh humiliation for Europe, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu said it was one of the most important areas for China’s foreign exchange investments.

The country has already approached struggling European countries with financial aid, including offering to buy Greece’s debt in October and promising to buy $4billion of Portuguese government debt.

‘To have any discernible effect China will have to buy a lot more than 5billion euros if they expect to have any impact on the negative sentiment surrounding Europe,’ said Michael Hewson, currency analyst at CMC Markets.

China’s astonishing economic growth has put it on track to overtake America as the world’s economic powerhouse within two years, a recent report claimed.

But experts believed still be some years before America’s leadership role is really challenged — largely because Beijing has given no indication it is ready to take on the responsibility of shepherding the world’ economy.

This foray into the future of the euro could be a signal from Beijing that it is ready to change that perception.

The euro rose temporarily on the news of China’s support — but was sinking again this morning to a three-week low against the dollar.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Has the Financial Collapse of Europe Now Become Inevitable?

What in the world is happening over in Europe? Well, it is actually quite simple. We are witnessing the slow motion collapse of the euro and of the European financial system. At this point, many analysts are convinced that a full-blown financial implosion in Europe has become inevitable. Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Belgium are all drowning in an ocean of unsustainable debt. Meanwhile, Germany and the few other “healthy” members of the EU continue to try to keep all of the balls in the air by bailing everyone out. But can Germany keep bailing the rest of the EU out indefinitely? Are the German people going to continue to be willing to hand out gigantic sacks of cash to fix the problems of other EU nations? The Irish were just bailed out, but their problems are far from over. There are rumors that Greece will soon need another bailout. Spain, Portugal, Italy and France have all entered crisis territory. At the same time, there are a whole host of nations in eastern Europe that are also on the verge of financial collapse. So is there any hope that a major sovereign debt crisis can be averted at this point?

One would like to think that there is always hope, but each month things just seem to keep getting worse. Confidence in European government debt continues to plummet. The yield on 10-year Irish bonds is up to 8.97%. The yield on 10-year Greek bonds is up to an astounding 12.01%. The cost of insuring French debt hit a new record high on December 20th.

Bond ratings all over Europe are being slashed or are being threatened with being slashed.


Well, many are speculating that the EU could actually break up over this whole thing, but another possibility is that we could eventually see much greater integration.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Italy: JPMorgan: Italy Not Sucked in by Debt Crisis

(ANSAmed) — ROME, 20 DEC. — Italy has not been sucked into the crisis that is besieging other Euroland countries and is contributing more than most to economic recovery. So stated JPMorgan’s president and ceo James Dimon, in an interview to the Spanish daily El Economista, quoted by Bloomberg. Dimon added that “The EU is going through a difficult time, it’s a growth crisis, and it’s holding up”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Municipal Bond Market Crash 2011: Are Dozens of State and Local Governments About to Default on Their Debts?

In the United States, it is not just the federal government that has a horrific debt problem. Today, state and local governments across America are collectively deeper in debt than they ever have been before. In fact, state and local government debt is now sitting at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP. Once upon a time, municipal bonds (used to fund such things as roads, sewer systems and government buildings) were viewed as incredibly safe investments. They were considered to have virtually no risk. But now all of that has changed. Many analysts are now openly speaking of the possibility of a municipal bond market crash in 2011. The truth is that dozens upon dozens of city and county governments are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Even the debt of some of our biggest state governments, such as Illinois and California, is essentially considered to be “junk” at this point. There are literally hundreds of governmental financial implosions happening in slow motion from coast to coast, and up to this point not a lot of people in the mainstream media have been talking about it.

Fortunately, a recent report on 60 Minutes has brought these issues to light. If you have not seen it yet, do yourself a favor and click on the video below and spend a few minutes watching it. It is absolutely stunning.

In the piece, one of the people that 60 Minutes interviewed was Meredith Whitney — one of the most respected financial analysts in the United States. According to Whitney, the municipal bond crisis that we are facing is a massive threat to our financial system…

“It has tentacles as wide as anything I’ve seen. I think next to housing this is the single most important issue in the United States and certainly the largest threat to the U.S. economy.”

State and local governments across the United States are facing a complete and total financial nightmare. The 60 Minutes report posted below does a pretty good job of describing the problem but it doesn’t even pretend to come up with any solutions.


Let’s take a closer look at some of the state and local governments that are in some of the biggest trouble…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Spain: Moody’s Maintains Negative Outlook for Spanish Banks

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, DECEMBER 13 — The risk assessment agency Moody’s has maintained its negative outlook for the Spanish banking system and estimates that it will have to deal with losses of up to 176 billion euros, due to endowments and reserves, compared with the 88 billion recognised by the financial institutes.

In the “Overview of the Spanish Banking System” report released today and cited by the Europa Press agency, Moody’s underscored the difficulty of access to financing and lasting pressure on capitalisation, which is why it predicts that Spanish banks will have to come up with 17 billion euros to get over the minimum levels required as proof of its solvency. The agency recognised the good health enjoyed by the Spanish banking system compared with that of other countries, since Spanish credit institutes do not need bailout plans, but justifies its negative outlook with the crisis seen in the economy and the constant deterioration of asset quality as well as the Spanish government’s fiscal austerity plan.

According to the report, Spanish banks will have to deal with a capital deficit of about 17 billion euros, since “revenue is unlikely to compensate for capital needs in all cases”, which “will oblige many institutes to request capital through foreign sources”. Moody’s predicts that banks will have to request aid from the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB), supplied with 99 billion euros, which “will enable the institutes to strengthen capital above the levels used in the stress tests of the agency itself”.

In September Moody’s lowered its rating for Spanish debt from AAA, highest level of solvency, to AA1, with a “stable outlook”, and reduced also the rating for the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring.(

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


1776: Victory or Death

He really had no choice, as the fragile fire of American liberty was close to being extinguished.

“[Future generations] you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” — John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) Sixth President of the United States of America

“The [Revolutionary] war was a longer, far more arduous, and more painful struggle than later generations would understand or sufficiently appreciate.”— David McCullough “1776”

“There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily.”—George Washington (1732-1799) 1st President of the United States of America

The frigid scene by the Delaware river was illuminated by flickering camp-fires, a few lanterns, and a scattering of storm-tossed torch-light.

George Washington sat on his horse, with his back turned to the wind and sleet. It was 3:00 a.m. on the morning after Christmas, 1776. He and his ragged band of soldiers had just crossed the Delaware river into New Jersey from Pennsylvania. They were gathering for an assault on German mercenaries— the Hessians—hired by Great Britain to help stamp out the revolt in their American colonies. The Hessians were stationed about ten snow-covered miles away, in Trenton, New Jersey.

The crossing of the Delaware had been more difficult than anticipated, and Washington and his force were now three hours behind schedule. They were one tine of a planned three pronged attack on Trenton, and Washington knew that his force would no longer be able to meet up with the other two forces on time. He had to decide, and quickly, whether or not to go ahead with the attack.

Unknown to them, if they pushed ahead, Washington and his men would be facing the Hessians alone. The other American commanders had called off their attacks, due to the extremely bad weather.

The Nor’easter that blew in late Christmas Day, had increased in fury until it was perilous, simply to stand outside for any length of time. Freezing to death was a very real possibility, and indeed two colonial soldiers died from the cold that night. How many suffered from frost-bite will never be known.


Washington’s attack on Trenton was much more than a clever jab at the enemy. It was a last ditch—do or die—attempt to save the revolution from extinction. As Washington put it to his aide Joseph Reed, “…necessity, dire necessity…must justify an attempt.”

How had the young republic come to such a sorry state? The year had started out so well.


On Christmas Day, Washington had his soldiers assembled, and had Thomas Paine’s new tract “The Crisis” read to them. Paine had accompanied the soldiers along the march south, and knew firsthand of the hardships they had endured. He was all too aware of the precarious state of the young republic— a “crisis” indeed.

The first words of Paine’s pamphlet echo down to us through the years. “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered…”


George Washington was a profoundly religious, even spiritual man. He was a man with a deep sense of duty, honor, and integrity. He felt honor-bound to lead “we the people” in the fight against an indifferent, arrogant, and tyrannical government. He never trusted government; he once said, “Government is…a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Arsenal Gets Man 12 Years

The arsenal of semi-automatic weapons was for recreation only, a Franklin Township man told a U.S. district judge in Columbus yesterday.

And the pipe bombs? Abdullah M. Muslim said he’d removed them from his neighborhood streets and kept them so others couldn’t use them.

Judge Michael H. Watson didn’t buy those arguments, calling the collection of weapons “extremely dangerous” to the community. He sent Muslim, 38, to prison for 12 years.

Muslim was charged with illegal possession of firearms and bombs, lying in a passport application and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty in 2009 and 2010 to all the charges and could have been sentenced to 42 years in prison.

Watson did not label Muslim a terrorist, even though he admitted traveling before his arrest to areas of Pakistan where the Taliban operate and trying to get a fake passport to return there. Investigators wouldn’t comment on whether Muslim has been involved with terrorists.

No evidence tied Muslim to terrorists, said his attorney, Joe Edwards. But he pointed out that Muslim has a history of mental-health issues.

Muslim said he has schizophrenia.

He came to the attention of the Violent Crime Impact Team, led by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, when Franklin Township police were called to his house at 1851 Eastfield Dr. in November 2008.

His wife, Aisha, had shot herself in the foot while cleaning an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle, Watson said.

Officers from the task force went to the house in southern Franklin County with a search warrant and found 12 weapons, two flak vests and 200 rounds of ammunition, according to court records. Already convicted of felonious assault in 1994 and of mailing threatening communications in 1999, Muslim could not possess a firearm without court permission.

He surrendered his passport and was released on his own recognizance after being charged with firearm and bomb possession. Then, in an attempt to return to Pakistan, he schemed to obtain a new identity, court records say.

Using what Watson said were skills he learned during other prison stints, Muslim posed as an associate of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry seeking mentally handicapped people who needed grants for assistance. Muslim used the fake grant applications to collect personal information on 10 people.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Bolton: Oval Office Antics Creating World Instability

Europeans ‘should realize’ if threat arises, ‘the president will be otherwise occupied’

President Obama’s equivocation on matters of national interest and security — such as his lukewarm response to WikiLeaks release of classified documents — are creating instability around the globe and might be encouraging U.S. enemies to push their own agendas, including violence, according to former Ambassador John Bolton.

In a series of recent interviews, including with WND, Bolton said he has a high level of concern that “America’s adversaries will take the measure of our equivocation on world events and question whether or not we are willing to protect our allies.”

“The weak pace and scope in challenging our adversaries will incentivize them to increasing bad acts,” he warned.

Consequently, according to Bolton, America’s allies also might be in the crosshairs.

“The president,” Bolton elaborated in a report in the London Guardian, “unlike the long line of his predecessors since Franklin Roosevelt, simply does not put national security at the center of his political priorities.


He said Obama is focusing on what he wants: to remake the U.S. economy into something heavily influenced by socialism and doesn’t directly address “threats” to America.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Growing Threat of Domestic Terror

With the holidays here, President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser tried to reassure the public today it’s safe to travel. John Brennan said law enforcement and intelligence agencies are doing all they can to prevent a terror attack.

But the threat of terror does not come only from overseas. More and more often, it is starting right here. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric presents Homegrown Terrorism “In Focus.”

“It’s the day after Thanksgiving in Portland, Ore., you have upwards of 10,000 people packed into the city’s main square — you have families. You have little kids. People are singing Christmas carols. What they don’t know is that someone is actually planning to blow the event up,” CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy said. “His goal is to either kill or injure every single person there.”

A covert FBI sting operation may have foiled the plot to bomb downtown Portland. But the fallout from last month’s attempt reveals an emerging terrorist threat — homegrown in the U.S.

“This is a 19-year-old American teenager,” Tracy said. “And at some point, he basically became radicalized enough to want to blow up tens of thousands of people in what was essentially his hometown.”

Terror in the U.S.

Since the attacks of September 11th, 58 Americans and foreigners living here legally have been implicated in plots against the U.S. They have tried to carry out 11 acts this year alone.

“Individuals prepared to carry out terrorist acts are in this country,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Dec. 6, 2010.

The Americanization of al Qaeda

“Al Qaeda today is more sophisticated than what the general American thinks,” CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian said. “They think about al Qaeda in Afghanistan with turbans and AK47’s on their shoulders.”

Nothing has spread al Qaeda’s reach like the Internet, with its vast network of websites targeting disaffected Muslims. What was once taught at a training camp can now be learned online.

“It’s very hard to find someone working in Kansas or Missouri self-radicalizing,” CBS News investigative producer Pat Milton said.

“It wasn’t that long ago that when there was a the terrorist attack, we were talking about something hatched by someone in a cave overseas,” CBS News senior investigative producer Keith Summa said. “Now, we’re talking about people from Connecticut.”

While earlier plots relied on sleeper cells, American terrorists are increasingly acting as lone wolves, who can easily blend in.

“You talk to counterterrorism people, and the one thing they fear most is terrorists with what they call the ‘golden passport’ — a U.S. passport,” CBS News Homeland Security producer Andy Triay said. “Someone who can travel freely.”

A perfect example is Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.

“What makes it difficult in tracking Shahzad is he was just an average guy with a family in Connecticut,” CBS News chief investigative producer Len Tepper said. “What makes it more difficult for a guy like him is — he is free to go around looking for targets.”


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Protects Terror Networks

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, who called communist Van Jones a “great patriot” during the “One Nation Working Together” rally, has now decided it is his job to protect Islamic terrorists from being investigated by Rep. Peter King, the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The ink was barely dry on a King op-ed calling for scrutiny into those networks when Schultz featured Muslim Democratic Rep Keith Ellison on his show, complaining in advance that the probe would be a “witch hunt.”

The choice of guests was no accident. Reporter Kevin Diaz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that Ellison’s Minneapolis, Minnesota district “has been fertile recruitment ground for Al-Shabab insurgents in Somalia” who are under the influence of al Qaeda. So the witches apparently do exist.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism found that Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress who was just elected co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has been financially supported by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who favor imposition of Islamic law on society.


One of those federal officials, Philip Mudd, associate executive assistant director of the National Security Branch of the FBI, said, “In Minneapolis, we believe there has been an active and deliberate attempt to recruit individuals—all of whom are young men, some only in their late teens—to travel to Somalia to fight or train on behalf of al-Shabaab.”

The hearings resulted in a report, “Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Home Grown Terrorist Threat.”

A report into the Minneapolis problem by the cable channel HDNet described it as “a chilling threat to national security that has sparked one of the largest anti-terror investigations since 9/11.” It quoted FBI Special Agent Timothy Gossfeld as saying, “We have a principal, potential threat to national security right here on U.S. soil, actually, even within the state of Minnesota. So our director has already acknowledged the potential for individuals trained by al-Shabaab, under the influence of al-Qaeda, potentially being used to target the United States.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama ‘Snookered’ By Russia in New Arms Treaty

‘They got virtually everything they wanted but gave up nothing of importance to us’

The lame-duck Senate voted 71-26 today to ratify President Obama’s strategic arms reduction treaty with the Russians, which numerous Reagan and Bush administration defense experts say will put America at a strategic disadvantage.

The Obama administration is “intent on putting the United States out of the nuclear weapons business,” said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy and a former acting assistant secretary of defense for security policy.

Gaffney accused Obama of following a policy of “radical denuclearization.”

“Ours is the only country they can denuclearize,” Gaffney lamented.

The so-called New START treaty limits each side to 1,550 strategic nuclear weapons but fails to address the massive 10-1 Russian advantage in tactical nuclear weapons. Disputes over interpretation of the treaty may allow the Russians to expand their nuclear advantage even further.

“The Russians have already said they think they can have 2,200 warheads, far more than the 1,550 they’re supposed to have,” said Gaffney.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Steven Spielberg Advising Nancy Pelosi on Rebranding Democrats

Midway through Philip Rucker and Paul Kane’s story about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s transition to minority leader comes an interesting bit of news. The California Democrat, vilified by Republicans in the last election, has turned to director Steven Spielberg for help rebranding House Democrats.

Lawmakers say she is consulting marketing experts about building a stronger brand. The most prominent of her new whisperers is Steven Spielberg, the Hollywood director whose films have been works of branding genius. Lawmakers said Spielberg has not reported to Pelosi with a recommendation.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

U.S. Approves Business With Blacklisted Nations

A little-known office of the Treasury Department has permitted American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism.

[Return to headlines]

Video: General: Muslim ‘Moderates’ Plot Undoing of America

Praises daring investigation exposing ‘terrorists with neckties’ in D.C.

Recently, retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, former U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, made an impassioned plea for Americans to learn about the inner workings of stealth jihadists by reading “Muslim Mafia.”

“There’s a recent book that came out called ‘Muslim Mafia,’“ said Boykin at a major Christian conference. “Have any of you read this? Have any of you ever seen it? I encourage you to get this book — ‘Muslim Mafia.’ … This book will scare you. This book will open your eyes. This book will shake you. What this book says is frightening.”

Watch Gen. Boykin describe “Muslim Mafia” below: …

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Will Jewish Community Leaders Stand Up?

Multiculturalism has utterly failed. . . .For years we’ve been deceiving ourselves.” Recent pronouncement of German Chancellor Merkel. “Radical Islam is a clear and present danger to America.” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on July 29, 2010 at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC.

These statements by German Chancellor Merkel and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich serve as dire warnings to Westerners about the threat that we face in the terror war, yet many of our national and community leaders and clergy refuse to absorb the message, thereby representing the troubling and pathological phenomenon of denial in our society. Our leadership fails to understand that our gestures of kindness and accommodation are interpreted as signs of weakness by the Islamic world. Peace cannot be created with forces who do not share our common values. And it is vital to stress: we are not fighting with Muslims; we are fighting with Islamic ideology. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated it accurately when he said, “there is no such thing as moderate Islam vs. radical Islam, there is only Islam.” If there are moderates, they remain largely irrelevant because they either remain silent or they do not have influential positions in leadership.

When the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Mosque preached picking up the sword and fighting the infidel to rule our nation, Charles Jacobs, a prominent Jewish community leader, exposed the problems associated with the backers of the Mosque. Several of them have been convicted of fraud. Yet, in support of the Mosque, Rabbi Eric Gurvis and 70 other rabbis from Massachusetts blamed Jacobs for his comments rather than allow the truth to be known.

New York Rabbi Joy Levitt of Manhattan JCC and Rabbi Michael Friedland of South Bend, Indiana are major supporters of the mosque in New York. They ignore the fact that the planned mosque is actually part of Ground Zero. The building was condemned due to major damage caused by the fuselage of one of the terrorist planes. They also ignore that during Islamic domination, mosques were purposely built over the ruins of destroyed churches and Synagogues as a symbol of victory — like the mosque in Cordoba, Spain, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Arrogant Judiciary is Undermining British Society

BRITAIN is no longer a properly functioning democracy. The governance of our country is increasingly in the hands of a judicial elite that is beholden to Brussels and its own Left-wing bias.

Puffed up with power, these courtroom zealots appear to have nothing but contempt for justice, the national interest or the will of the British people.

And in the Human Rights Act they have the perfect instrument for pushing through their own agenda.

One recent legal case graphically symbolises the destructive influence of our politically correct judges. Ignoring common decency, a court decided last week that the British Government cannot deport a failed Iraqi Kurdish asylum seeker, Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, who killed a 12-year-old girl, Amy Houston, in a brutal hit-and-run accident in 2003…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Hungary Gags Media and Throws Its EU Presidency Into Doubt

The European Union has been thrown into turmoil after Hungary approved a Communist-style media gag just weeks before it assumes the rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc.

It has left the EU in the unusual position of threatening to blackball the country that is set to inherit the presidency on January 1 for six months.

On Tuesday, Hungary’s parliament — led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban — approved a contentious new law that will expand the state’s power to monitor and penalize private media.

There will be fines of 25 million forints for newspapers and 10 million forints for websites that breach vague new rules on ‘balance’ and ‘human dignity’.

In extreme cases, media outlets could be shut down in a move that will be seen as a serious backwards step for a nation that moved out of Communism two decades ago.

By doing so, Hungary will breach a series of rules to which it agreed when it joined the EU, with freedom of expression and media pluralsim enshrined in Article II of the Charter Of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The move has drawn howls of protests from a variety of quarters and an investigation by the European Commission has been launched.

EU heavyweight Germany is leading the outcry with a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s saying her office was paying ‘close attention’ to the matter.

German deputy foreign minister Werner Hoyer, a prominent EU lawmaker, said the European commission must not rule out sanctions against Hungary.

Hoyer also said that Germany welcomes the investigation by the commission on whether the law violates the EU’s legal standards.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Ireland: Council Warns of Legal Action to Remove Families From Site

TRAVELLERS HAVE occupied a vacant site in north Dublin that Dublin City Council needs to include in the Government’s land aggregation scheme to stop mounting loan payments.

The council is anxious to off-load three plots in the Darndale/Donaghmede area for which it has already paid out more than €8.5 million in interest. However it will be unable to transfer one of the sites due to its recent occupation by a group of about 15 Traveller families.

Under the scheme, which has been set up to cut the escalating property loan debts of local authorities, housing loans are paid off by the Department of the Environment and the land is transferred to the recently established Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency, which will determine the future use of the land in consultation with the National Asset Management Agency.

In 2008, the Travellers had moved on to council-owned lands at Oscar Traynor Road, in north Dublin. The council sought a High Court injunction to remove them from the site more than two years ago. The injunction was granted and was due to come into effect about three months ago.

However just days before the implementation of the court order, the Travellers left the site and occupied other council-owned land at nearby Newtown Court, off Belcamp Lane, which the council intends to transfer to the State housing agency.

An inspection of the site by the council in October found that a new entrance to the land had been created and large amounts of hard-core stone had been used to create makeshift roads and parking spots for caravans. Lighting and toilets were installed but it was not apparent how water was being sourced, the council said.

A senior council official said there was no option but to again begin legal proceedings against the Travellers to try to move them off the site.

However this process is likely to take a considerable length of time and in the meantime, the council will have to keep paying interest on the land which it cannot transfer to the agency.

He said the families have been made a number of offers of accommodation by the council but these have all been rejected or ignored.

Under the terms of the land aggregation scheme, the council must have vacant possession of a site before it can seek transfer to the agency.

The Travellers have not occupied all of the lands due to be transferred and it is likely that the Department of the Environment will pay off the loans of the unencumbered sites.

However the council said that due to the impediment the illegal occupation was causing, it was seeking to have the case listed with the High Court as “a matter of urgency”.

The State’s local authorities have a combined housing loan debt of about €650 million. Most local authorities have applied to offload some or all of their unwanted land to the housing agency.

Travellers’ View ‘They’ve Tried to Put Us in Hostels, B&Bs . . . That’s Not Suitable

The extended Gavin family who moved on to the Newtown Court lands almost three months ago said the council has not offered them a suitable place to live.

“They offered us a place in St Dominick’s that isn’t fit for human habitation, for one thing, and it’s not safe for us there,” Martin Gavin a spokesman for the family said.

The Gavin family has been involved in a dispute with a family already living at St Dominick’s Park, a halting site about a kilometre from Newtown Court, which is in an extremely rundown state, and they have agreed not to go back to the site, Mr Gavin said.

“They also offered us a place in Dunsink Lane where there are also people we’ve had problems with in the past.

“They’ve tried to put us in hostels, B&Bs, all housing that’s not suitable for Traveller families.”

Mr Gavin concedes that the conditions are Newtown Court site are not appropriate either, particularly given the presence of children at the site.

“There is no proper water system here, we’re using porta-loos we’ve got in ourselves, a generator for electricity. There’s no proper surface on the ground, so especially when it rains the place is a mess.”

However, he said it was preferable to the alternatives offered by the council, and the families do not intend to move on in the current circumstances.

“Until the council can sort us out with proper accommodation for our family and unless we don’t plan on moving, at least here, there is a bit of peace.”

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Italy: Parcel Bomb Attacks Strike at Embassies in Rome

ROME — Diplomatic missions in Rome were hit by a coordinated assault of parcel bombs on Thursday, officials and news agencies reported, seriously injuring at least one person and injecting Europe with a new atmosphere of anxiety about possible terrorist plots ahead of the Christmas holiday. Police were conducting checks at all embassies in the capital, The Associated Press reported.

The first attack, a parcel bomb at the Swiss Embassy, exploded at midday. Shortly after, a second parcel bomb exploded at the Chilean Embassy here, wounding an employee, Reuters reported, and a suspicious package was reported at the Ukrainian Embassy in Rome.

It was not immediately clear who had sent the packages or why the embassies had been chosen as targets. The Swiss embassy said that no one had claimed responsibility for the bomb there.

The attacks rattled a city already on edge after violent student protests last week and ongoing security alerts across Europe this month. The Swiss Embassy said in a statement that a package containing a hidden explosive device detonated around noon when an embassy employee opened it, causing injuries to both of his hands. Those injuries appeared serious, said a spokesman for the Carabinieri, Italy’s paramilitary police. The employee, a 53-year-old Swiss national, was taken to a local hospital.

Similarly, a package exploded at the Chilean embassies when an employee opened it there, Reuters reported. A spokesman for the police could not immediately be reached for comment. Shortly after, news agencies reported that a suspicious package had been found at the Ukranian Embassy.

After the first explosion, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini of Italy quickly condemned what he called a “deplorable act of violence” against the Swiss Embassy and wished the employee a speedy recovery. Counterterrorism officials have opened up an investigation, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.

After the explosion at the Swiss embassy, bomb disposal experts checked the building, located in the leafy Rome neighborhood of Parioli, but no one was evacuated, Reuters reported. “The ambassador is still on site,” Maurizio Mezzavilla, a police spokesman, told reporters at the scene…

[Return to headlines]

Italy: Slide in Berlusconi’s Approval Rating Levels Out

Poll finds center-right maintains marginal lead among voters

(ANSA) — Rome, December 21 — After steadily declining for months, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi saw his approval rating among Italian voters hold at 35%, its lowest since he took office in May 2008, according to a monthly survey by the IPR research group released on Tuesday.

Berlusconi’s disapproval rating for the month was also steady at 59%, its highest since May 2008.

While the premier managed to keep his approval rating from falling further, the same was not true for his center-right government which saw its approval rating drop three percentage points in one month to sink to its lowest to date: 24%.

Although the government’s disapproval rating remained steady at its peak of 67%, voters who had no opinion or neither approved nor disapproved of the executive climbed three points to 9%.

The government last week narrowly survived a confidence vote in parliament.

The approval rating for individual government ministers saw Labor Minister Maurizio Sacconi once again on top with 61%, the same as last month, but he was joined by Justice Minister Angelino Alfano who rose a percentage point.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni was third, slipping a point to 59%, while three minister had approval ratings of 50%: Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti, Reform Minister Umberto Bossi and Government Program Minister Gianfranco Rotondi.

Italy’s recently appointed Industry Minister Paolo Romani had the lowest approval rating, 20%, while the minister for relations with parliament, Elio Vito, and Regional Affairs Minister Raffaele Fitto remained at 23%, where they were joined by Culture Minister Sandro Bondi and Tourism Minister Maria Vittoria Brambilla, who both fell two points in one month.

The IPR survey was commissioned by the left-leaning La Repubblica daily and taken between December 15 and 17 on a cross-section of 1,000 resident Italian voters.

IPR also took a poll on voter intention which found that the governing coalition of Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party and Bossi’s Northern League remained ahead of any center-left coalition, even if it allied with the breakaway center-right group headed by House Speaker Gianfranco Fini and the opposition centrist UDC party, the so-called ‘third pole’.

Were elections to be held today, a center-left coalition would capture 39.5% of the vote, the current government coalition 42.5% and the ‘third pole’ 13.5%.

However, were the center left to ally with the ‘third pole’ they would get only 39%, while the center right would get 43%.

IPR’s voter intention poll was taken between December 18 and 19 on a cross section of 1,000 Italian voters.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy Blasts EU’s Response to Christian Persecutions

Frattini also hits out at EC for ‘forgetting’ Christmas

(ANSA) — Rome, December 22 — Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini blasted the European Union on Wednesday for not doing more to combat Christian persecutions in Iraq and other Middle Eastern Countries.

Frattini said United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also worried about the plight of Middle Eastern Christians, who are leaving the region in increasing numbers, especially from Iraq, where they have been the victims of a series of bomb attacks this year.

“We are worried and so are the United States and other big nations,” Frattini said on Italian television, having spoken to Clinton on the telephone Tuesday to exchange Christmas greetings.

“Frankly, it is a little sad that Europe isn’t reacting on this issue as it should”.

Italy is set to present a resolution to the United Nations on religious freedom which aims to stop this persecution and it has the backing of the EU, while several non-EU countries have expressed “great interest”.

Last week Pope Benedict XVI said Christians were the religious group that suffered most persecution around the world.

The foreign minister also expressed indignation Wednesday at the European Commission for forgetting to highlight Christmas in a diary for 2011 released by the European Union’s executive.

The diary marks Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and Chinese festivities, but the festivals of the continent’s biggest religion, including Christmas, were left out.

“Publishing three million copies of a diary with European taxpayers’ money with the all the festivals of all the religious except for December 25 is indecent,” Frattini said on Italian television.

“The European Commission has apologized, but it’s too easy for some bureaucrat to admit a mistake. I want to know who it was and I want the dairies withdrawn”. Frattini also confirmed Wednesday that Italy will start its gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan in the new year, hopefully in spring.

Italy and the other members of the NATO-led ISAF mission are aiming to hand back security control to the Afghan authorities in phases ahead of a total withdrawal of combat forces in 2014.

“Spring 2011 is an opportune moment for the start of the withdrawal, but obviously we’ll do this in coordination with the NATO command,” he said in an interview with the

“(United States President Barack) Obama has spoken of spring 2011. “In the first half of next year we’ll start the withdrawal, area-by-area, region-by-region, although we’ve said that we won’t say which to avoid giving useful information to the terrorists and the Taliban”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Parcel Bomb Attacks Hit Rome Embassies

BOMBS exploded last night at the Chilean and Swiss embassies in Rome, injuring two people, as authorities feared a new spate of parcel bomb attacks.

A parcel bomb delivered to the Swiss embassy in Rome exploded in the hands of a mail worker who opened the package, seriously injuring the man in what Italy’s foreign minister termed “a deplorable act”.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The Rome prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation on suspicion of “an attack with terrorist aims,” the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Reports said the injured man is a 53-year-old Swiss national and he faced the amputation of one or both his hands..

           — Hat tip: LL[Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Anarchists’ Launch Bomb Attacks on Two Rome Embassies

The first explosion, which occurred at midday (11amGMT) seriously injured a caretaker at the Swiss embassy.

The second, which occurred at around 3pm (2pm GMT), was at the Chilean embassy, also injuring one person.

The Rome prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation on suspicion of “an attack with terrorist aims,” ANSA news agency reported One of the investigators said that one of the main lines of inquiry was on “anarchist circles of the eco-terrorist movement.” Another possibility mentioned by investigators is that “the attack was organised by insurgent anarchist groups.”

The parcel bomb delivered to the Swiss embassy in Rome exploded in the hands of a mail worker who opened the package. “A device hidden inside a package exploded in the embassy. at midday (1100 GMT),” the Swiss embassy said in a statement. “The postal worker’s hands were injured and he was immediately taken to hospital,” it added.

The embassy said there had been no claim of responsibility. The injured man is a 53-year-old Swiss national and he risks the amputation of one or both his hands but his life is not in danger. A suspect package has found at the Ukrainian embassy in Rome, proved contain no dangerous items.

Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, branded the attack “a deplorable act”.

“We express full solidarity with the Swiss ambassador and all diplomatic staff, targeted by a deplorable act of violence that merits the firmest condemnation.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Man Fined for Insulting French Flag

A court in the south of France has fined an Algerian man 750 euros (£637; $984) for insulting the national flag — the first penalty under a new decree.

Abderrahmane Saidi, 26, was at a local government office on Tuesday when he grabbed a flag and snapped the pole in two during a row with a clerk.

A July decree made insulting the tricolour an offence punishable by a fine of up to 1,500 euros.

The rule was triggered by a photo of a man wiping his bottom with the flag.

Saidi was sentenced by a court in Nice. It also gave him a four-month suspended prison sentence and ordered him to attend citizenship classes.

Frustrated by a bureaucratic delay, he not only attacked the flag but also threw the broken pole at the clerk’s window, AFP news agency reports. Two police officers then restrained him, but he tried to punch them.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Portugal: Scandal Splatters Barroso

“The European Commission, presided over by José Manuel Barroso, must decide if it wants to launch an investigation against the former [Portuguese] government of its president,” notes the Portuguese daily, i. Barroso, who was the Portuguese prime minister from 2002 to 2004, is the target of an inquiry request filed December 20 by the Socialist member of the European Parliament, Ana Gomes, the paper explains. Gomez is alleging corruption, fraud, violation of internal market regulations and misuse of public funds concerning Portugal’s purchase of two submarines from the German Submarine Consortium in 2004. She is asking for the Commission to cancel the contract despite the fact that, according to the terms of the contract, the Portuguese state gave up the right to sue in case of a dispute.

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

Scottish Socialist Party Leader Tommy Sheridan Found Guilty of Perjury

Former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan was facing years in jail after he was convicted today of lying during his defamation case against the News of the World.

The firebrand politician was found guilty after being awarded £200,000 following his successful 2006 action during which the newspaper claimed he was an adulterer who visited swingers’ clubs.

But in his 12-week trial, the court heard from a succession of high-ranking members of the SSP who said Sheridan had confessed to attending such a club in Manchester on two occasions.

It took a jury of 12 women and two men just six and a half hours to convict the politician at the High Court in Glasgow.


He was found to have lied about statements he made during a meeting on November 9, 2004, an alleged trip to a sex club in Manchester and about having sexual relationships with Anvar Khan and Katrine Trolle.


Following the majority verdict, Advocate Depute Alex Prentice gave a short biography of Sheridan’s political career, mentioning previous convictions for breach of the peace.

Sheridan told the jury himself how he had spent time in jail after his protest against the Poll Tax and nuclear weapons.

Lord Bracadale requested background reports and said any submissions by Sheridan could be made at the sentencing hearing next month.

The judge told Sheridan: ‘You have been convicted of the serious offence of perjury and must return to court expecting to begin a prison sentence.’


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

The Jihad of the British Left

A new and authoritative report by Ehud Rosen has just been published by the Jerusalem Institute for Public Affairs, which maps the forces behind the campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel and shows how the UK has become the global hub of such bigotry.

But the UK has also become the global hub, outside the Arab and Muslim world itself, of Muslim radicalisation. The two phenomena are, of course, symbiotically connected. And what Rosen shows is how the radicalisation of British Muslims — an issue of the greatest possible concern in Britain — is not just the result of extremist Muslim preachers and the like. It has also been actively pushed by the far left.

It has often been remarked upon with surprise that in Britain, the supposedly ‘antifascist’ left marches shoulder to shoulder against Israel and America with the most obscurantist Islamist fanatics who believe in extinguishing the freedom — and sometimes even the lives — of women, gays and apostates in the Muslim world, let alone unbelievers anywhere else.

The conclusion has accordingly been drawn that this unholy alliance is based on a shared aim of toppling western society and the destruction of Israel. A series of conferences between 2002 and 2007 brought together the Socialist Workers’ Party, the Stop the War Coalition and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, along with delegates from British trade unions and what turned into the Respect-Unity Coalition, and Islamists from Hamas, Hizballah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other radical jihadi organizations. The agenda was to organise worldwide boycotts, demonstrations and campaigns against Israel and America.

But as if all this wasn’t enough, what has not been paid sufficient attention is the way in which the British far-left also sought to radicalise British Muslims to the jihad through its close association with the Muslim Brotherhood — part of whose strategy for western domination is to radicalise home-grown Muslims to the cause — through the Brothers’ UK front in the Muslim Association of Britain. Rosen writes:

…politicizing the Muslims in Britain is perceived as one of the SWP’s major achievements in the last few decades. As explained by Arun Kundnani, editor of the Race& Class journal: ‘The role of the anti-war movement and the coalitions it fostered between Islamists and the Left have obviously been central to this [politicization] dynamic and given a wide range of Muslim groups a level of confidence to speak out on issues such as civil rights and foreign policy, despite the fear of being associated with terrorism.’

… In reality, as already discussed, the MAB also played a major role in forming the political alliance with the British left, mostly manifested by the younger generation of its Brotherhood activists. Rajib al-Basil, an Egyptian journalist and blogger, explained that the MAB has two main political goals: to guide the Islamic awakening in Britain, and to raise the political awareness of the Muslims in Britain and make them more involved in the political process.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

The Meaning of That Joint Article

Recently, The New York Times published a joint article penned by four foreign ministers, William Hague of Great Britain, Franco Frattini of Italy, Carl Bildt of Sweden and Alexander Stubb of Finland, which supported the full membership of Turkey in the European Union. In this joint article, the four foreign ministers describe the meaning of European integration as strengthening the rule of law, common European values and standards all over the continent. In this context, they say that blocking new chapters in order to stop the negotiations between Ankara and Brussels is against these principles.

There are so many reasons for this support: the mission of European integration is still incomplete; recent economic crisis and serious economic problems of some member countries almost stopped the integration process. Recently, Turkey became a new growth engine of the region, it is a bridge between East and West, fulfilling various duties such as security, trade and being an energy corridor. Turkey is, as they say, in a class of its own.

The problem is that governments in some other key countries like France and Germany do not want to approve those reasons, even if they believe that four foreign ministers are telling the truth. Furthermore, with this attitude they are also strengthening the negative public opinion in their countries about Turkey’s full membership.

Some Turks get angry when they listen to Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy and their intentions about Turkey’s place in the western hemisphere. It is not of course rational to get angry at what they say. They are politicians and obviously they try to please their constituencies. It means that the percentage of European people who dislike Turks is more important than what these two leaders say.

The reaction of the Turkish people to such negative attitude and their complaints about a lack of understanding in some European countries are well known: If it is proper to repeat, the majority of the Turks believe that Europeans have left Turkey alone in its fight against terrorism; and in some cases they defended terrorist activities in Turkey and applauded those who were responsible for those activities. When positive views or news about Turkey is published or broadcast by a European media outlet, during almost the same day or night some sad event that happened decades before is televised too, as if to try to offset a potential positive impression about the Turks. Xenophobia is becoming stronger in every part of Europe and the ratio of the people supporting political parties on the extreme right is increasing.

As a matter of fact Turkey is really in a class of its own. Maybe this is the reason why Europeans cannot grasp the characteristics of this country. And many of them repeat the same question: Can this mainly Muslim country be a model democracy for its region and can it reach Western standards of human rights and democracy in the foreseeable future? It means that Turkey’s positive assets that were repeated in that joint letter seem not enough to convince the leaders of some countries and some part of the people in those countries that after some new reforms, there will be no barrier in front of Turkey’s full membership.

In that letter, four ministers delivered important messages to both sides. Indicating the importance of Turkey for the completion of European integration, they also noted the necessity of new reforms to shape a political and social environment in Turkey in accord with European values and standards.

To comprehend Turkey’s importance is their job, to justify that importance is ours.

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

The Spanish Ham Lawsuit and Other Muslim Problems Hitting Iberia

A high school teacher in southern Spain is being sued for child abuse by the parents of a Muslim student who claims that the teacher “defamed Islam” by talking about Spanish ham in class. The case is one of a growing list of recent controversies that illustrate the increasing assertiveness of Muslims in Spain at a time when Spaniards are slowly waking up to the integration challenges posed by uncontrolled immigration from Muslim countries.

Although Spanish legal scholars are divided over whether the lawsuit has real merit, nearly everyone agrees that the case has potentially major implications for free speech in Spain. They also agree that the constant threat of lawsuits will force Spanish school teachers to carefully consider their choice of words in the future.

The latest dust-up occurred at the Instituto Menéndez Tolosa, a secondary school in the town of La Línea de la Concepción in the southern region of Andalusia, where José Reyes Fernández, a geography teacher, was giving a lecture about the different types of climates in Spain. During the class, Reyes mentioned that the climate in Andalusia offers the perfect temperature conditions for curing Spanish ham (Jamón Ibérico), a world-famous delicacy.

At this point, a Muslim student in the class interrupted Reyes and, according to local newspaper reports, argued that any talk of pork products is offensive to his religion. Reyes responded by saying that he was only giving an example and that he does not take into consideration different religious beliefs when teaching geography.

The Muslim student informed his parents, who then proceeded to file a lawsuit against Reyes, accusing him of “abuse with xenophobic motivations.” Article 525 of the Spanish Penal Code makes it a crime to “offend the feelings of the members of a religious confession.”

The Spanish ham controversy follows several other recent imbroglios involving Spain’s Muslim community, which now numbers around 1.5 million (compared to only 100,000 in 1990), and exposes the growing uncertainty in Spain over how to deal with Muslim mass immigration.

In September 2010, for example, a discotheque in southern Spain was forced to change its name and architectural design after Islamists threatened to initiate “a great war between Spain and the people of Islam” if it did not. La Meca was a popular discotheque in the southern Spanish resort town of Águilas (Murcia) in the 1980s and 1990s. After being closed for more than a decade, the club reopened in August 2010 under new management, but using the original name, La Meca. The mega-nightclub, which has been visited by more than 100,000 patrons since its reopening, features a large turquoise-colored mosque-style dome, a minaret-like tower, as well as traditional Arabic architecture common in southern Spain.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Chairman Mao and the Coalition’s Lunatic Fixation With Change

According to Vince Cable, the disgraced Business Secretary, we are governed by Maoists. During his newspaper sting he confided to two winsome female reporters that ‘there is a kind of Maoist revolution happening in a lot of areas’ across government.

Presumably Mr Cable is not completely serious. Mao Zedong was responsible in various purges for killing up to 70 million people.


There is nonetheless more than a grain of truth in what he says. The Tory-led Coalition sees itself in revolutionary terms. Steve Hilton, who is David Cameron’s political guru, is supposed to have declared: ‘Everything must be changed by 2015. Everything.’ An odd thing, perhaps, for an alleged Conservative to have said.

Then there is Nick Boles, the staunchly Cameroon Tory MP for Grantham, who at a conference last week said that David Cameron and Nick Clegg want their ‘people power’ revolution to unleash ‘chaotic’ effects across the community. That sounds like Mao Zedong on a wild night.

During the election campaign Nick Clegg often said that he plans to ‘change Britain for good’, a call to arms he repeated at the Lib Dem party conference in September. I don’t know about you, but there is quite a lot about Britain which I like, and I am by no means sure that Mr Clegg’s transformed version would be preferable.

There is a good deal of this Maoist-type talk. And if you look at the Coalition’s proposals in various areas, there is a lot of frenetic activity of which Mao, as the creator of ‘permanent revolution’, would have warmly approved.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Meet Chaser: The Incredible Border Collie Who Has Learned the Names for 1022 Toys

Dog owners like to think that their pets understand what they’re being told.

Indeed, some owners will talk to their dogs at great length while the animal gazes back at them with what is probably a mixture of affection and bewilderment.

However, there is one dog who appears to understand a great deal of what is being said.

Border collie Chaser has, according to psychologists Alliston Reid and John Pilley, managed to learn more than 1,000 words.

Their findings could mean that all those conversations with our pets aren’t entirely wasted.

Professor Reid and Dr Pilley worked intensively with six-year-old Chaser for three years to see how large a vocabulary she could command.


‘We worked with Chaser for four to five hours each day testing her on the words over and over again and were able to establish that she could remember and distinguish between them all. We’re not saying this means dogs can learn language in the same way children do, but it does show they are capable of learning many more words than might have been thought.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim ‘Poppy Burners’ Deny Offending Public Order After Armistice Day Protest

Two men accused of burning poppies on the anniversary of Armistice Day each denied a public order offence today.

Mohammad Haque, 30, and Emdadur Choudhury, 26, were arrested during a demonstration by Islamist group Muslims Against Crusades.

The group held a noisy and confrontational demonstration in Kensington, west London, on November 11.

Haque, of Bethnal Green, east London and Choudhury, of Spitalfields, east London, stood in the dock during the short hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court to confirm their respective names, ages and addresses.

The pair, who both had beards and wore traditional black Muslim robes under their coats, each pleaded not guilty to one count under section five of the Public Order Act.

It is alleged that on November 11 at Kensington Gore both employed threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within hearing or sight of persons who could be alarmed or distressed by this.

Outlining the charge, Prosecutor Malachy Pakenham said: ‘It is a matter of so-called protest. They burned poppies on Armistice Day, it is as straightforward as that.

‘Our case is that they did cause alarm and distress to the persons that witnessed this.’


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Extremists in Poppy Trial Slur

MUSLIM extremists triggered chaos in court yesterday as two men were accused of torching a giant Armistice Day poppy. Twenty fanatics in the public gallery refused to stand for District Judge Quentin Purdy and rowed with staff.

The defiant protesters belonged to the group Muslims Against the Crusades.

Mohammad Haque, 30, and Emdadur Choudhury, 26 — also said to be members — allegedly chanted “British soldiers die in hell”, before burning the poppy in Kensington, West London, on November 11.

The pair, from East London, denied insulting behaviour at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and were bailed for trial.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: The Wind Turbine Lunacy of a Generator That Won’t Even Work in the Cold Snap

Imported from Denmark, the 42ft blade, 11 kilowatt turbine sits on the brow of a hill, 200ft above sea level, dominating views in every direction. It cost thousands to buy and erect — meaning that it will take years to recoup the money through savings on the Joneses’ electricity bill.


In this intensely cold weather — just when electricity demands are at their highest — you might think the turbine might be doing its bit to fulfil demand. But its blades are motionless because, say the Coles, there often isn’t any wind at all in these parts.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Ten More Deaths Linked to Flu in a Week as Cases Accelerate

The H1N1 swine flu strain is responsible for the majority of the deaths as cases of influenza continue to rise.

It is feared cases of flu and deaths are accelerating as the flu season takes hold.

The number of people seeing their GP with flu symptoms has increased six fold in the last three weeks.

H1N1 is the predominant strain circulating this winter and is following a similar pattern as during the pandemic when it struck young age groups hardest and caused some severe illness.

Officials do not believe there will be another significant wave of flu as seen during the pandemic but it was expected that H1N1 would become a circulating seasonal flu for this winter and in coming years.

The latest figures released by the Department of Health showed that just over 300 people were in intensive care with flu, accounting for one in ten of all critical care beds in England.

However overall, flu levels remained within normal ranges for this time of year and claims that the NHS was under undue pressure have been denied.

Vaccine uptake remains low with less than half of those under the age of 65 who are pregnant or who have long-term illnesses having had the jab. Uptake is higher among the over 65s and around two thirds have so far been vaccinated.

The Health Protection Agency has been informed of ten deaths over the past week in people suffering from flu.

Out of the total of 27 deaths, 24 have been connected to H1N1 and three to influenza B. Nine of the deaths were in children under the age of 18. Almost half the deaths were in people with long-term illness who are in so-called risk groups, eligible for the vaccine. Of the 27 deaths, it is known that 21 had not received the jab, one had and it is not known if the remainder had been vaccinated.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Who Are You? Wife of 22 Years Pleads With Husband to Reveal His True Identity — But He Refuses

A father stole the name of another man and used it for 22 years, not even revealing the truth to his wife and child.

The real Mr Akintola moved to the United States in 1979 and had no idea someone had been using his identity in the UK.

It was only in September this year when the thief applied for a passport renewal and officials double checked his credentials that the lie was uncovered.

The man — still insisting on using the name Akintola — was jailed for two years after admitting a string of fraud offences at Southwark Crown Court.


Although the false Mr Akintola’s true identity is not known, it is thought he is originally from Nigeria, and he is likely to be deported back there on his release.

Usha Shergill, prosecuting, said the defendant, who claims to be 50-years-old, stole Mr Akintola’s identity some time after he emigrated in 1979.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Where Did Labour’s £1bn Foreign Aid Go? There Are No Proper Records, Says Scathing Report

Labour spent £1billion of taxpayers’ money on foreign aid to African and Asian schools without even monitoring whether it provided value, a damning report has found.

The Department for International Development failed to measure if the huge cash investment has made any difference to school attendance rates in the poorest nations.

DFID had even decided that the risk of money going astray was ‘manageable’ despite widespread fraud being detected in one educational programme in Kenya.

MPs on the influential Public Accounts Committee have now given the department a year to reform.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Why Anti-Semitism is Growing in Germany

BERLIN — A group of Muslim teenagers in Hanover attack an Israeli dance troupe, reportedly yelling “Juden raus” as they hurl stones at them.

German leftists march in Berlin with Muslims to protest the 2008-2009 Gaza military conflict. “Death to the Jews!” the marchers chant.

At a soccer game between teams from the St. Pauli section of Hamburg and the city of Chemnitz in eastern Germany, the Chemnitz fans shout “Sieg heil” and wave imitation Nazi flags. “We’re going to build a subway from St. Pauli to Auschwitz,” some chant — not because the St. Pauli team is Jewish, but simply as a way of expressing contempt through casual use of Holocaust imagery.

This is happening in a country that has confronted its Nazi past, where Holocaust education has long been mandatory and such expressions of anti-Semitism are illegal. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany.

But generational and demographic changes are converging in Germany today, and there is a shift afoot in the zeitgeist. While Germany continues to contend with vestiges of traditional anti-Semitism, a new and more deeply embedded strain has emerged related to Israel. Polls show that this strain is distinguishable from mere opposition to Israeli policies, or even from anti-Zionism. In a 2010 report by the University of Beilefeld’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence, institute researchers, who conduct an annual poll on anti-Semitism, found an increase linked specifically to Israel. Among their findings:

More than 57% agreed that Israel is waging “a war of annihilation” against the Palestinians (up from 51% in 2009).

In 2008 — the most recent year the question was asked — more than 40% agreed that “what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is basically no different from what the Nazis did with the Jews during the Third Reich.”

More than 38% of Germans polled agreed that “considering the politics of Israel it is easy to see why one would have something against Jews” (up from 34% in 2009).

Yet at the same time, 67.5% in the 2010 poll agreed with the statement, “I like it that increasingly more Jews live in Germany.”

“As a psychologist, I think that this reflects ambivalent attitudes,” wrote Beate Küpper, one of the researchers who produced the report, in an e-mail to the Forward. “Germans are happy if there are some Jews in their country as this gives us release. It shows off that we are tolerant…. However, the strong blaming of Israel common in Germany (because we like peace and go for the weaker…) is full of anti-Semitic stereotypes [and] associations.”

She summarized: “When it comes to anti-Semitism I strongly believe that the old myths are still around, even though they are usually not awakened in their traditional forms today… [It’s] definitely less than some 60 years ago, but it is still around.”

Mirko Niehoff, a 31-year-old social worker who works with Muslim youth, sees aspects of these trends in his daily work. “We realized we were dealing with a new anti-Semitism with roots in the Middle East conflict,” he said.

Muslim and classic right-wing anti-Semitism are combining with left-wing demonization of Israel to produce a toxic mix, despite Germany’s postwar efforts to ensure that future generations continue to learn the lessons of the Holocaust. This new strain renders old ways of combating anti-Semitism less effective. According to some observers, in Germany the Holocaust narrative is no longer the powerful antidote it once was.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt’s Coptic Christians Struggle Against Institutionalised Prejudice

Christmas is coming in Giza, but the neighbourhood is far from festive. The road to St Mary’s, the half-built church in the neighbourhood of Al-Talbiyya, is strewn with giant clumps of concrete — all torn from the four-lane highway that towers above.

It was from this highway late last month that security forces launched a barrage of tear gas, live ammunition and handheld rocks upon thousands of Coptic Christians demonstrating below.

“Imagine how it feels to be standing in your own country with your own people, as the agents of your own government begin hurling bullets at you and your children,” recalls Ayed Gad, a pharmacy worker.

The clashes, triggered when local authorities halted construction at St Mary’s, left two young Copts dead. A priest described the government’s actions as barbaric. “The police acted as if they were Israel and we were Hamas,” Father Mina Zarif told a local newspaper.

It’s been a hard year for Egypt’s estimated 8 million Copts, the largest Christian community in the Middle East. It began with a drive-by massacre of churchgoers leaving midnight mass; it has ended with the deadly violence in Al-Talbiyya, along with election results that leave Copts with less than 1% representation in parliament.

In between there has been a bitter row over the alleged kidnapping of a priest’s wife who wanted to convert to Islam, accusations by Muslim clerics that Christian places of worship are being used to stockpile weapons, and a high-profile spat between the Coptic pope and the Egyptian government over the church’s right to regulate “personal status” issues among its members.

“Sectarian polarisation of Christians and Muslims stretches back over the centuries, but the problem of sectarian violence is a modern phenomenon,” says Hossam Baghat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and a prominent human rights activist. “This year we’ve seen Muslim protesters shouting anti-Christian slogans after the Friday sermon, which is a very new and worrying development.”


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Anti-Arab Attacks in Jerusalem, 10 Arrests

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, DECEMBER 21 — Ten young Israelis, many of them under the age of 18, have been arrested by police as part of an investigation into repeated attacks on Arabs in the centre of Jerusalem, particularly at night. This is according to the nationalist Jewish organization, Honenu.

The youths told police that they had decided to carry out the attacks in order to discourage Arab men from “courting Jewish girls”. To do this, three Jewish girls were used as “bait”.

Honenu says that the girls have also been arrested.

The police operation is part of efforts to tackle activity by far-right groups who are targeting the presence of Arabs in Jewish areas of Jerusalem. In these areas over the last few months, signs have appeared with the words “Jewis women are not available to everyone”.

It is not yet known if those arrested are also suspects in the murder of a tramp attacked at night a few months ago by a group of thugs in the centre of Jerusalem. The man’s attackers probably believed him to be Palestinian as he was wearing a kefiyah, (a typical Palestinian garment). The man was later revealed to have been a Jew.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Christmas in Bethlehem: The Cross Banished From Souvenirs Shops

For fear of Islamic fundamentalism, textile workshops in Hebron and Jerusalem, produce and sell T-shirts and other items depicting the Church of the Nativity without the cross. Discrimination and economic crisis are forcing Christians to flee from the Palestinian territories and Israel. The risk is to see a future without Christians in the Holy Land. Interview with Samir Qumsieh, director of the Catholic television station Al-Mahed Nativity TV in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem (AsiaNews) — This Christmas in Bethlehem, the cross has been banned from souvenirs for tourists and pilgrims in the Holy Land. Some textile workshops in Jerusalem and Hebron have begun to print and sell T-shirts depicting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem without the cross. Because of the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Palestinian territories, the cross was also removed from t-shirts of football teams. Interviewed by AsiaNews, Samir Qumsieh, journalist and director of the Catholic television station Al-Mahed Nativity TV in Bethlehem, said: “I want to launch a campaign to urge people not to buy these products — he says — because the removal of the cross is an intimidation against Christians, it is like saying that Jesus was never crucified. “

Like every year, thousands including authorities, faithful and tourists from all over the world crowd, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem for midnight mass on the night of 24 December. It will be celebrated by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and will be attended by the highest offices of the Palestinian Authority.

Qumsieh says that the population is living these days with joy, but the situation for Christians is still dramatic. According to the journalist, the dialogue of recent years between Muslims, Christians and Jews has not changed the situation.

“In the Holy Land — said Qumsieh — the emigration of Christians is growing, even if the authorities refuse to give precise numbers. Every day there are people who flee to other countries. As Christians, we live in a constant feeling of fear and uncertainty, and if you live in constant tension and pessimism you can not plan anything.

According to the journalist, “people leave because there is no work and movement is restricted under Israeli control.” Other factors are the internal problems of Palestine, such as the clash between Hamas and Fatah, which has repercussions on the economic situation. Qumsieh points out that from 2002 to 2010 the Christian population of Bethlehem has dropped from over 18 thousand to 11 thousand people. In Gaza, after Hamas came to power in 2006, Christians have fallen by about 3,200 units, from 5 thousand to less than 1800 in 2010. Only 15,400 Christians (2% of the population) live in Jerusalem, as reported in a study by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. They are 50% less than the 31 thousand registered residents in 1948, when Christians accounted for 20% of the population of the city.

The reporter says that if this exodus continues there will be no more Catholics in the Holy Land and that one day the Church of the Nativity could be turned into a museum. “If there are no more Christians in the Holy Land — he says — then there will no longer be Christians anywhere.”

Meanwhile, on the occasion of the celebrations for Christmas, the Israeli military has ordered troops deployed in the occupied Palestinian territories to facilitate the passage of Christian pilgrims at checkpoints. The military has also distributed a brochure explaining the importance of Christmas for Christians and is urging soldiers to avoid unnecessary discussions and obstacles at the borders with the West Bank. (Sc)

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

PNA: EU Commission Approves 1st Package of 100 Mln in Aid

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, DECEMBER 22 — The European Commission has approved an initial financial package worth 100 million for the Occupied Palestinian Territory under the 2011 budget.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton stated: “This decision is a sign of the strong political and financial commitment of the European Union to the Palestinian Authority and to Prime Minister Fayyad’s leadership in building a democratic and viable Palestinian state.

Palestinian statehood is critical for any peaceful, workable and lasting solution to the conflict”. In announcing the package Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood policy tefan Fle said: “By today’s decision the Commission wants to give a signal to the Palestinian people that they can count on our continued support in 2011 as in the past.

Our support will be channelled through PEGASE. The Union trusts that Member States and other donors will continue supporting the Palestinian people through this mechanism.” Today’s decision, by which the EU fulfils by far the pledges made at the Paris Donors’ Conference in December 2007, will help the Palestinian Authority to continue providing essential public services across all the occupied Palestinian territory. Of today’s announced package, 60 million will be channelled through the EU’s assistance mechanism for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, PEGASE1, which was launched in February 2008. These funds will help the PA to cover wages and pensions for essential civilian workers (particularly medical and teaching staff).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Support for Israel’s Settlements From Europe’s Right

Excerpt: Outside Israel, most of the world’s governments oppose the settlement construction, but in recent weeks the settlers have found solid support from what might seem an unlikely source: the far-right of the European political spectrum.

Geert Wilders, whose anti-immigrant party supports the government of the Netherlands, said in a speech this month in Tel Aviv, “Jews need to settle Judea and Samaria,” using the ancient Hebrew name for the West Bank. He added, “Without Judea and Samaria, Israel cannot protect Jerusalem.”

Mr. Wilders told Reuters, “Our culture is based on Christianity, Judaism and humanism and [the Israelis] are fighting our fight.” He added, “If Jerusalem falls, Amsterdam and New York will be next.”

During his trip to Israel, Mr. Wilders also met with Israel’s most prominent settler, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, as Radio Netherlands reported…

           — Hat tip: LL[Return to headlines]

Temple Mount Arrest of Zealot, Press

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, DECEMBER 22 — A few days ago at the end of a manhunt Shin Bet, the Israeli secret services, arrested a Jewish zealot who seemed to be preparing an attack on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, one of the holiest places in Islam.

Reports were in Maariv, which said that after a preliminary inquiry the young man had been taken to a psychiatric hospital since he gave the impression of not being psychologically stable.

It is not known whether he had been carrying weapons or explosives. The newspaper added that Shin Bet had previously stepped up security measures at the entrance to the Temple Mount to promptly intercept the young man, whose intentions they had received information on through intelligence. Maariv noted that aiding his arrest had been teachers of a rabbinic school located not far from Temple Mount, concerned as they were about his behaviour. The possibility of an attack on Temple Mount has frequently been conjured up by the heads of Shin Bet as one of the greatest dangers to stability in the region.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Christian Exodus From Iraq Gathers Pace

Their cathedrals stand silent and their neighbourhoods are rapidly emptying. Now Iraq’s Christians face two further unthinkable realities: that Christmas this year is all but cancelled, and that few among them will stay around to celebrate future holy days.

It has been the worst of years for the country’s Christians, with thousands fleeing in the past month and more leaving the country during 2010 than at any time since the invasion nearly eight years ago. Christian leaders say there have been few more defining years in their 2,000-year history in central Arabia.

The latest exodus follows a massacre led by al-Qaida at a Chaldean Catholic church in central Baghdad on 31 October, which left about 60 people dead, almost 100 maimed and an already apprehensive community terrified. Since then, the terror group has targeted Christians in their homes, including family members of those who survived the attack.

In Baghdad, as well as the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, Christmas services have been cancelled for fear of further violence. Church leaders said they would not put up Christmas decorations or celebrate midnight mass. They told families not to decorate their homes, for fear of attack after al-Qaida reiterated its threat to target Christians earlier this week.

“Now more than 80% of Christians are not going to the churches,” said the head of Iraq’s Christian Endowment group, Abdullah al-Noufali. “There is no more sunday school, no school for teaching Christianity. Yesterday we had a discussion about what we would do for Christmas. We took a decision just to do one mass. In years before we had many masses.”

Noufali’s church was closed and barricaded in 2005 when violence was consuming Baghdad. Many others had stayed open since then. Until now. In the wake of the attack on the Our Lady of Salvation church, at least 10 churches are believed to have been closed. At others, congregations are down to a handful.

Iraq’s Christian population has halved since the ousting of Saddam Hussein. But in the past two months, the rate of departure has soared. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees is reporting high numbers of registrations by Christians in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. And in Iraq’s Kurdish north, the number of refugees is overwhelming.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Girls’ Schools Face the Heat for Competing in ‘Illegal’ Sports Event

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education has launched an investigation into a girls-only sports competition that was held illegally without its prior-permission and in which a number of girls’ schools in Jeddah took part.

“I was surprised to receive a letter from the Ministry of Education questioning me about the competition and the reason why it was held in the first place. I also received a huge number of letters and telephone calls from conservative Saudi men and sheikhs who said that I should’ve known better and advised me not to hold such competitions in the future because it’s not lady-like,” said Farida Farsi, chairman of the board of directors at Al-Hamra Schools.

The investigation has been launched after 200 schoolgirls from six high schools in Jeddah competed in a sports competition at Effat University’s sports facilities on Dec. 8. The competition, dubbed a first-of-its-kind event by its organizers, saw girls competing in basketball, badminton, athletics and swimming.

However, conservative elements within society have begun harassing the schools that participated in the competition, describing their actions as similar to those of non-Muslims and that the organizers would go to hell for making schoolgirls think about sports.

“After the competition, I received more than 60 messages from anonymous people demanding I stop girls from taking part in sports, and that this is a boys-only activity and not for girls,” said Sameera Al-Harakan, administrator at Al-Ferdous Schools.

“They also threatened to report us to the Ministry of Education for taking photos of the girls and giving them to newspapers. Later on, the ministry sent over people to question us. They said that it’s against the rules to let girls compete in sporting events and then publish their pictures in newspapers, even if they are fully covered,” she added.

“I believe this is ridiculous because young girls need to invest their time and energy in something good like sports. Sporting activities are like food for the body and soul, and known to be the number one anti-depression medication for people,” said Lina Almaeena, cofounder and director of the Jeddah United Sports Company and captain of the Jeddah United basketball team.

“What other substitute does the ministry have for young girls? Are they fine with them smoking and hanging out in shopping centers and cafe’s in their free time? I believe sporting activities are the best alternatives and a good source for schoolgirls to spend their free time,” she added.

Ahmed Al-Zahrani, director of the Girls Education Department in Jeddah, said the schools that participated in the competition have broken Ministry of Education rules and will be investigated. He added that the ministry will hold meetings and then decide what to do.

“We don’t have any regulations that say that it’s okay for girl schools to hold sports classes or training. This tournament was held by these schools, something that has now led us to know about their illegal activities,” he said.

“They should have requested a meeting with the Ministry of Education, but they went behind our backs and held the competition without us knowing,” he added.

Commenting on the students’ pictures published in the media, he said, “It’s an issue of personal freedom and we don’t want to get into these small details. As long as their legal guardians are fine with that, we have no objections.”

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Lebanon: Jihadis Fleeing to Europe

French newspaper Le Figaro says that around twenty Jihadis (FR) infiltrated Greece, Germany and France.

The new threat comes from a group of about 50 dangerous Jihadis caught between the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon and the Lebanese army.

Most are Palestinian refugees, others are Syrian, Saudi, Yemeni and North Africans who came to the Palestinian camps in Lebanon, where the army does not venture. Mostly from the al-Qaeda inspired Fatah al-Islam, they found refuge in Ain al-Hilweh, after the Lebanese army evicted them from Nahr al-Barid in 2007.

The army can’t touch all those ‘wanted’ Jihadis. Some went undergrounds, others have impressive security forces. Some chose European exile.

Palestinian Colonel Mahmoud Issa, in charge of security in Ain al-Hilweh, told Le Figaro that in the past year, about twenty of them fled to Greece and Bulgaria, and that some of them continued into Germany, France and Belgium. Issa says they have their names and try to keep track of them, in coordination with the local authorities, but it’s not easy as they sometimes change their identity and appearance.

The French security services confirm this new Jihadist flow to Europe. Le Figaro saw classified documents mentioning three names: Imad Karoum, Youssef Kayed and Ahmad Sidawi. [Ed: Karoum is the leader of Jund al-Sham, Kayed was recently deported to Lebanon]

They traveled through Syria and Turkey and from there entered Greece and Bulgaria illegally and without passports. There they bought fake ID for a few hundred dollars. Some were arrested in Sofia, others deported by the Greeks and Bulgarians. “But not all,” regrets Colonel Issa…

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]


Russia and India Agree to US$ 35 Billion Contract for 300 Fighter Jets

Moscow and New Delhi plan to develop and build fifth generation fighter planes. Russian President Medvedev is in India to renew old ties. He backs India’s aspiration for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. The two partners plan to double trade over the next five years.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Russia will supply India with fighter jets, missiles and nuclear reactors. The announcement was made yesterday during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to India. At the same time, “The Russian Federation supports India as a deserving and strong candidate for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council,” a joint Russian-Indian statement said.

The declaration follows similar ones by the United States and France. The United Kingdom also does not appear to oppose India’s permanent seat. Only China has not clearly come down one way or the other. In fact, whilst New Delhi and Beijing have seen their relations improve recently, they remain traditional rivals.

China is also not very keen to see Japan get a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

In his recent visit to India, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said that China “understands and supports India’s aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations, including in the Security Council,” but did not go so far as to endorse a permanent seat for New Delhi.

Russia is one of India’s closest political and economic partners since Soviet times. For decades, it was New Delhi’s main weapons supplier, even though the Indians have recently sought to diversify their suppliers and inched closer to the United States.

Russian-Indian trade hit the US$ 10 billion mark this year, but the two countries plan to double that by 2015.

They will also work together to develop and build 250-300 fifth generation fighter aircraft over ten years in a contract estimated at US$ 35 billion.

Russia successfully tested a prototype of its fifth-generation PAK FA stealth fighter in January, beating out its US and European competitors.

On the nuclear front, Moscow will provide New Delhi another two civilian nuclear energy reactors in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Energy-hungry India is one of the world’s biggest nuclear power markets, with plans to expand its capacity nearly 15-fold to 63,000 megawatts by 2032.

The Russian president, who headed a delegation that included about 100 business leaders, yesterday met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Sing and the ruling Congress party president Sonia Gandhi.

Today he is in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, and will visit some Bollywood studios.

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

Russia Not About to Nix Nuclear Arsenal

General warns not a single missile or launcher that is serviceable will be destroyed

A Russian general has warned that START treaty or not, his nation will not destroy a single missile or launcher before its service life is over, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The warning from Lt. Gen. Alexander Burutin, the first deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, came in a statement to the Russian Ria Novosti news service that the Russian armed forces will test-launch up to 12 ballistic missiles a year over the next decade.

He said, “We currently carry out 10-12 ballistic missile launches a year and we will maintain this level in the foreseeable future.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: The Pedophilia Capital of Asia

According to Reuters, there is a lot of homosexuality going on in Afghanistan, but those engaging in it don’t think of themselves as gay, so that makes it okay since Islam officially disapproves of the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

“They regard themselves as non-gay because they don’t “love” the sex object so Allah is happy. These are the men who avoid their wives as unclean. Apparently there is very little love of any kind in Afghanistan, which explains a lot,” according to Reuters.

“Having a boy has become a custom for us,” Ena Yatullah, a 42-year-old in Baghlan province, told a Reuters reporter. “Whoever wants to show off should have a boy.” [. . .]

Sociologists and anthropologists say the problem results from a perverse interpretation of Islamic law. Women are simply unapproachable. Afghans cannot talk to an unrelated woman until after proposing marriage. Before then, they can’t even look at a woman, except perhaps her feet. Otherwise she is covered, head to ankle, according to columnist Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University, and a former Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Christians Are Top Victims of Intolerance in West Java

(AKI/Jakarta Post) — An organisation run by Indonesian Muslim organisation Nahdlatul Ulama said that West Java tops reports of religious intolerance. Christians top the list of victims.

“From 81 cases reported on [religious] intolerance, 49 cases, or 61 percent, took place in this province,” Moderate Muslim Society (MMS) chairman Zuhairi Misrawi said at the Tolerance and Intolerance Report 2010.

According to MMS data, cases of intolerance in West Java this year increased more than four times to 49 incidents, up from 11 in 2009.

Most cases occurred in the areas of Bekasi, Bogor, Garut and Kuningan.

“All of the victims of intolerance in Bekasi are Christians,” Zuhairi said.

Christians were barred from performing masses, their houses of worship were sealed and some Batak Christian Protestant Church members were attacked, he added. The Batak Christian Protestant Church is the largest Protestant denomination in Indonesia.

Christians were also the victims in seven of the 10 incidents of intolerance documented in Bogor.

“In Garut and Kuningan the victims of intolerance were members of Ahmadiyah,” Zuhairi said.

Zuhairi attributed mounting intolerance to inaction of local authorities in West Java.

“There are also increasing numbers of groups acting violently in West Java. They need to be brought to dialogue to understand diversity,” Zuhairi said.

Zuhairi called on the government to take stern actions toward the perpetrators of violence.

“Otherwise people will suspect that the government has deliberately protected extremist groups,” he said.

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

Malaysia Court Rules Child Marriage ‘Illegal’

The marriage of an 11-year-old Muslim girl to a 41-year-old man has been ruled illegal in Malaysia.

An Islamic court judge found the father of the child had had no intention of marrying her off, and that there were elements of threat and force involved.

Muslim girls in Malaysia under the age of 16 are allowed to get married with the permission of the Islamic court.

The case prompted women’s rights groups to call on the government to increase the minimum age of marriage to 18.

The 41-year-old Muslim man took the 11-year-old girl as his fourth wife in February.

The judge ruled that the union was illegal, not because of the age of the child, but because the couple did not follow Islamic law.

One organisation, Sisters in Islam, says child marriages continue in Malaysia because of a belief that Muslim girls can be married off once they reach puberty.

Earlier this month, a 14-year-old girl married a 23-year-old teacher in a public ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: ‘Butcher of Swat’ Was Striking Ceasefire Deal When He Was Killed by US Drone

Islamabad, 22 Dec. (AKI) — By Syed Saleem Shahzad — Notorious as the “Butcher of Swat” in the Pakistani military circles for his merciless nature, Al-Qaeda commander Bin Yameen (also known as Ibn-e-Amin) was ready to strike a ceasefire deal with the Pakistani security forces to divert fighting to neighbouring Afghanistan when he was killed last week in an attack by US drone aircraft.

Yameen, the chief of operations in northwest Pakistan’s Awat Valley and the chief of the Tora Bora Brigade, one of the six brigades in Al-Qaeda’s Shadow Army called a meeting of other insurgent commanders but his movement was tracked by American intelligence.

His aim was to broaden operations in the Khyber district as well as in the Afghan province of Nangarhar to close down the NATO supply route.

Bin Yameen’s death has indicated a strange dimension in the South Asian war on terror theatre where American drones have successfully eliminated the big number of the vertical command of Al-Qaeda and its affiliated group leaders, but has developed a new situation in which thousands of freshly trained men have split in to small cliques, after the killings of their commanders. This is the most little known aspect behind the much boasted American drone strike successes in the AfPak war theatre.

A recently trained group of the surviving total 400 Swat militants under Bin Yameen in the Khyber Agency are likely to face the similar fate. They are oblivious of their commanders intention to strike a ceasefire deal with Pakistan, which would have diversified strategies in the region making it difficult to figure out by the international intelligence cartel operating in the region.

The development has occurred when Pakistan reluctantly agreed to the military operations in the North Waziristan. So far it is only for a limited surgical strike in the town of Mir Ali , which is bastion of the third and downwards level of Al-Qaeda and affiliated groups.

This trend of the disappearance of the vertical command structure among the militants, deepened in 2010, and the emergence of the little known horizontal commands has become so significant throughout the region it appears that it could create an identical situation of 2007 and 2008 when the Pakistani army conducted military operations in Lal Masjid Islamabad and Swat areas at the simultaneously while scattered groups unleashed opened fronts all across the country. Amid this process, former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and Pakistani security forces suffered a record number of attacks. However, this time militants are gathered all around the border regions and there is a threat that chaos shall spread throughout Pakistan and into Iran and Afghanistan .

The killing of Yameen closed a chapter of one of the leading Al-Qaeda strategist in the region who emerged as one of the Taliban commanders of the Swat Valley, but in fact he was the real leader behind the whole strategy during 2008 and 2009 when he formed a separate command. Along with several Arab and Uzbek fighters he pitched the guerrilla battles against the Pakistani army. Yameen’s brigade mercilessly suppressed any dissent whether it was secular Awami National Party leaders, Sufi guide (Pir) or national army personnel. He established a reign of terror in the whole Swat Valley.

After a successful military operation by the Pakistan Army when it evacuated the whole local population and targeted militants, Yameen retreated to Afghan valley of Nuristan where he stoked fighting efforts. Afghan intelligence was sniffing around the whole province of Nuristan for a newly arrived tall man who wore 12 number size shoes. Wherever he went in Nurista battle flared up.

Bin Yameen was a rebel and defiant but still Pakistani security forces communicated with him before he was killed in drone strike. This was one of the several communication channels which security forces opened with the militants allowing for a relatively calm during the month of Muharram. The talks were close to arriving at a ceasefire deal when Yameen was killed.

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

Far East

China: Vatican Criticism is “Imprudent” And “Dangerous”

(AKI) — The People’s Republic of China on Wednesday responded to recent Vatican criticism of the country’s state-sponsored Catholic church by calling comments by the world’s smallest sovereign state “imprudent” and “dangerous.”

“The Vatican’s behaviour is very imprudent and ungrounded,” a spokesman for China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs said, adding that critical comments from Rome constitute an “attack on religious freedom in China”.

The Vatican last week said attendance earlier this month to the state-sponsored Eighth Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives by bishops was “imposed” on bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.

During the assembly, Chinese bishops elected Bishop Fang Xingyao as the new chairman for the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which controls the state-backed church, as well as a new leader of the council of Chinese bishops.

“The Vatican’s position is well-known. It works to promote political ideas under the pretext of religious belief, which is very dangerous and will seriously harm the healthy development of Chinese Catholicism in China,” the spokesman said.

An estimated one-third of China’s 12 million Catholics belong to a church that has stayed loyal to the Vatican throughout decades of repression under China’s Communist Party.

Increasing numbers of clergy in the state-controlled faith have sought Rome’s blessing since the easing of restrictions on religion in the 1980s.

The Vatican has also clashed out against China for the ordination last month of a priest in the northern Chinese city of Chengde, which it had not approved.

The Vatican and China have not had formal diplomatic ties since 1951, when the Holy See recognised the Nationalist Chinese regime that was in exile in Taiwan as the legitimate government of China.

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

Australia — Pacific

Australian Muslims Found Guilty of Terror Plot

Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 34, Saney Edow Aweys, 27, and Nayef El Sayed, 26 — all Australian citizens of Somali or Lebanese origin — were convicted in the Victorian Supreme Court of conspiring to plot a suicide attack on the Holdsworthy base, and could face life in prison. Two other men, Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed, 26, and Yacqub Khayre, 23, were found not guilty of the same charge.

As jurors left the court following the verdict, Fattal said: “Islam is truth religion. Thank you very much.”

During the three month trial, the court heard that the men had planned to shoot as many people as possible during the attack as revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Prosecutors said Aweys had described Australians as “infidels” and said the 2009 Black Saturday bush fires, which killed 173 people, were punishment from Allah.

In one encounter with an undercover officer, Fattall said: “If I find way to kill the army, I swear to Allah the great I’m going to do it.” RELATED ARTICLES

Indian doctor reaches $1m settlement with Australian government over wrongful detention 22 Dec 2010

The group, which met at a mosque in Melbourne, identified the army base as a “soft target” and sought approval for the attack from Somali sheikhs on a visit to the African country.

The five men were arrested in pre-dawn raids in Melbourne in 2009 following an undercover operation involving 400 police officers. Officials said the men were motivated by a belief that Islam was under attack from the west, and planned to keep on shooting until they were killed.

During the trial, prosecutors said the men were upset about Australia’s involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia became a staunch US ally in the war on terrorism after Sept. 11. The men were accused of having ties to al-Shabab, Somalia’s powerful al-Qaeda-linked militia group, claims Melbourne’s Somali community strongly denied.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Three Guilty, Two Walk Free Over Terror Attack Plan

THREE worshippers from inner-city mosques were confirmed as Melbourne’s second Islamic terror cell yesterday when a Supreme Court jury convicted them of conspiring to plan a terrorist attack.

Two other men, including one who warned that an attack in Australia would be “a catastrophe”, were found not guilty.

Their target was the Holsworthy army barracks in Sydney’s south-west. Their aim was to enter the barracks armed with military-style weapons and kill up to 500 personnel before they themselves were killed or exhausted their ammunition.

But there was no evidence that the three who were found guilty — Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 34, Saney Edow Aweys, 27, of Carlton, and Nayef El Sayed, 26, of Glenroy — had obtained weapons when they were arrested on August 4, 2009.

Federal police monitored their conversations in Somali, Arabic and English for almost a year as they sought a fatwa, or religious ruling, on the permissibility under Islam of attacking the military in Australia. Ultimately a Somali sheikh suggested it would do more harm than good for Australian Muslims.

The convictions end a 15-week trial and come after the jury of eight men and four women deliberated for more than 47 hours, including sitting through last weekend.

The verdicts drew no immediate reaction from the men. But Fattal, who appeared to be praying before the verdicts were delivered, called out to the jurors as they were dismissed: “I respect you. Islam is a true religion. Thank you very much.”

Found not guilty were Abdirahman Ahmed, 26, of Preston, and Yacqub Khayre, 23, of Meadow Heights. Both were repeatedly embraced and slapped on the back by the guilty men before they left the dock.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the investigation into the group was an example of police and intelligence community co-operation to combat the threat of terrorism. Agencies involved included the federal, Victorian and New South Wales police, the NSW Crime Commission and ASIO.

The court heard that the group’s motivation was anger at the earlier, and what they regarded as wrongful, jailing of a group of seven Muslim men on terrorism charges. Those convictions resulted in sentences ranging from four to 15 years’ jail. The men convicted yesterday were also angry at the deployment of Australian troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fattal was observed travelling to Holsworthy station to assess the likelihood of carrying out the attack. In what prosecutors said was a coded conversation, he was detected telling El Sayed that “the job is easy”.

Fattal was in prison during the final four months of the investigation, when he was on remand for an unrelated assault in Preston. During this period, Aweys repeatedly telephoned religious figures in Somalia for a ruling on the permissibility of military action in Australia. Aweys told one of his contacts that “there were issues about these men having an intention to conduct operations here … one of them came up with this story, to do something here”. To another he said the group hoped to enter the barracks armed with weapons capable of firing 60 rounds, to kill as many troops as possible.

“We are present in their midst, the infidels, their forces ae cast in the lands of Islam, and are causing great damage in the upper front,” Aweys told Somali Sheikh Abdirahman. “They are casted from Afghanistan to Iraq. They are augmented infidels, and these ones aren’t any better than the English.”

Aweys, a father of four who was born in Somalia and arrived in Australia as a teenager, said the group was also angry about the jailing of friends who were convicted on terrorism charges. “They were caught on matters similar to these ones,” he said.

Prosecutor Nick Robinson, SC, argued that Aweys’s remarks welcoming the Black Saturday bushfires as divine retribution for the jailing of the earlier group showed his antipathy to Australia. “Straight away, after the conviction, one day later fires broke out in the country and all were happy … we say Allah bring the fitna [trouble] … Allah bring the calamity,” Aweys said.

Ahmed’s lawyer, John O’Sullivan, agreed that his client asked Aweys to seek a fatwa, but said Ahmed did so only hoping to put an end to the planning. Ahmed was recorded telling Aweys he was fearful that if they were told to enter the barracks it would be a catastrophe.

George Georgiou, for Khayre, said his client’s trip to Somalia, beginning in April 2009, was on his own volition. There was no evidence he spoke to any other of the accused except Aweys. Mr Georgiou said that the fatwa Khayre was seeking was to do with fraud and obtaining money to support Islamists in Somalia.

Fattal, Aweys and El Sayed will be sentenced next year. A pre-sentencing mention hearing is set for January 24.

           — Hat tip: Salome[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sudan: Bashir: Damn Ethnic Diversity… Let’s Continue Flogging

Like thousands of Sudanese in Sudan and abroad I was puzzled and shocked to hear that president Bashir’s government will adopt Islamic Sharia laws and an Islamic constitution.

New laws will come into force as soon as the south of the country splits off in a referendum scheduled to be held on the 9th of January, the president said.

“If South Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution and there will be no more use of deceptive and sneaky terms such as cultural and ethnic diversity in Sudan,” President Omar Hassan al-Bashir told supporters at a rally in the eastern city of Gedaref on Sunday.

Even more embarrassing was the president’s reaction to the widely discussed Youtube video that shows the cruel public flogging of a Sudanese woman. The video led to a massive condemnation of the practice. But the Sudanese president insisted that the woman was punished according to Islamic Sharia which includes flogging, amputation and the death penalty. He advised all those who felt bad and ashamed watching the flogging video to perform the rituals of repentance to renew their being a Muslim. The president gave his own judiciary and police service a slap in the face, scolding them publicly for their earlier decision to investigate the flogging incident.


President Bashir said with a noticeable tone of soreness that the separation of the South is the not the end of the world and that there are enough oil and agricultural resources in the North.

Three weeks before the Southern part of the country secedes, because the Khartoum government persistently refused to relinquish Sharia laws, the President is threatening to impose Sharia in the North while it has actually been implemented there since 1983. That is indeed puzzling. Appalling is also the President’s ridiculing and denial of the ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in Northern Sudan.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]


Refugee Fight for Uzbek Group in Kazakhstan

A group of women in headscarves listen attentively to a judge in a cramped room in Almaty’s district court.

In the absence of the men whose fate is being decided in a series of trials, their wives and mothers are attending the hearings.

Judge Dauren Tleubayev reads out his ruling in the case of one of the men, Uktam Rakhmatov.

The migration department’s decision is upheld — he is denied refugee status.

Mr Rakhmatov is one of 29 Uzbek asylum seekers in Kazakhstan facing extradition back to his homeland.

The men were detained in a series of raids on refugees’ houses in Almaty in early June and have been in the custody of the Kazakh authorities ever since.

All of them are devout Muslims and claim to have experienced religious persecution in Uzbekistan.

But the Kazakh authorities say the detainees have failed to prove they are victims and instead claim there is strong evidence they belong to a banned religious organisation.

Uzbekistan — an authoritarian state which has banned numerous religious and political groups — has been accused of using the threat of Islamic militancy to justify repression.

It has charged the men with “religious extremism” and wants their extradition.

Some were granted refugee status by the UNHCR. But in early 2010 a new law came into effect in Kazakhstan transferring the right to determine refugee status to the government.

A special state commission was set up to examine each case, including the ones already determined by the UNHCR. All of the men bar one were refused refugee status. The UNHCR then withdrew refugee status from 17 of the men.

So far appeal cases of nearly half of the group have been heard and all have been rejected.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

U.S. Congressman Declares: Borders Will be ‘Irrelevant’

Stunning statement from same lawmaker sworn in with hand on Quran, not Bible

A so-called spiritual conference at which Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., called for the U.S. border to become an “irrelevancy” was led by a slew of extremists, including a Marxist who reportedly compared the tea-party movement to Hitler.

Conference speakers include radicals with deep ties to President Obama.

Yesterday,, founded by Fox News host Glenn Beck, posted a video from a conference led by the Network of Spiritual Progressives, or NSP, in which Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, declared to about 400 attendees that “God willing,” the U.S. border will become irrelevant.

Stated Ellison: “No security policy position can be premised on military might. …The way it works is we are a country guided by ideals of equity, generosity and engagement in our relations with other nations and those philosophical ideals create safe borders … and, God willing, one day the border will become an irrelevancy.”

Ellison continued, “And you know, the fact is, it’s time for us to answer a critical question, and that is how are we going to shape a progressive foreign policy agenda that provides a platform for the U.S. government in the 21st century.”

WND has learned the conference was led by a slew of extremists who have had close relationships with Obama.

One of the main speakers was avowed Marxist Michael Lerner, editor of the pro-Palestinian Tikkun Magazine. Lerner been accused of using the magazine to justify Palestinian terror and has written articles in which he suggested the 9/11 attacks were a response to U.S. policies.

According to an account of the conference by Baltimore Sun columnist Marta Mossburg, who attended the two-day event, Lerner compared tea party activists to Hitler at least five times.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Vets Protest Plan Opening Military to Homosexuals

Officer requests command relief over scheduled ‘behavior modifications’

A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army has confirmed to WND that he is asking to be relieved of the command of his squadron because of the new policy. And former combat personnel are telling WND that they are continuing to keep the pressure on Congress to reverse itself.

“I have already requested through my chain of command that I be relieved of command of my squadron prior to new policy implementation on grounds that my personal beliefs don’t permit me to force the coming ‘behavior modifications’ training and other inevitable policies on my soldiers,” the officer, whose name has been withheld, wrote to WND.

The statement highlights the question of whether soldiers themselves are ready to go along with the controversial social experiment imposed by Congress, or whether they’ll carefully withdraw from command positions and troop ranks, pack their bags and leave the military.


A wide range of combat veterans say the law simply substitutes political correctness for military readiness, and that already is harming U.S. national security and morale.

“This further increases the political correctness syndrome within the military,” said Brian McDowell, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 and is now a chief investment officer with FBR Wealth Management Group.

“Loss of attention equals mission failure.”

McDowell, who earned 18 awards and medals in the military and graduated from a number of leadership and command programs, warned soldiers need to concentrate on “weapons cleaning, physical fitness, strategy, tactics, potential threat responses, and operational multipliers, to name a few. Anything that takes attention away from these things increases the chance of not succeeding.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Climate Change Extremism is Doing Its Job

“Stephen Dorling, of the University of East Anglia’s school of environmental sciences, said it was not surprising the cold period raised questions over climate change — but the snowy weather should not be used as evidence against it.”

When scrambling to explain all the cold weather people only expose their ignorance of climate science. They also, fortunately, produce statements that, even those who don’t understand the science, see as illogical. Notice Dorling says “climate change” as he tries to suggest the current cold is just an anomaly in an overall warming trend. Others point to storms and flooding as further evidence of changes due to warming.

The latest one is the rainfall and flooding in California. “It never rains in California, but girl don’t they warn ya, it pours, man it pours” were the words of the 1970s hit song that remind us, it’s the normal pattern. It’s so regular that in the first September class of a climate course,the I predicted California would have heavy rain in November/December with mudslides. When they occurred I brought the headlines to the class. By then they understood enough to grasp the basic weather mechanisms involved. Hot dry summers result in brush fires that expose the soil to the heavy rains that occur when the cold air pushes in from the north.

Another predictable pattern is that environmentalists and those involved in climate science corruption will present natural events as unnatural. They’ll claim the events support predictions of increased disasters due to warming. Tolstoi explained the problem for these people. “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.” Eventually their intellectual blindness is overcome by events and they become extremists defending the indefensible.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

U.N. Protections for Islam Losing Ground

Support plunges in move to stifle speech to benefit Muslims

The Islamic-led Defamation of Religions proposal in the United Nations has been approved one more time, but by the lowest margin yet and opponents say they will keep picking at the plan until it dies.

The idea, introduced on behalf of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, “is nothing more than an effort to achieve special protections for Islam — a move to stifle religious speech,” according to an analysis by Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.

WND reported a year ago when support for the plan fell a step. Now, Sekulow noted opposition to the Islamic plan, which has been “approved” in some form in the U.N. every year since 1999, continues to rise.

The most recent vote, this week, had 67 nations voting against the plan, with 79 supporting it, and 40 nations voting “present.”

The 67 “no” votes is an all-time high, the ACLJ said, and the 12-vote margin is the closest it’s ever been.

“This continued momentum is very good news, and a clear sign that our education efforts are paying off. We continue to meet with more and more delegations at the U.N. and provide them with the facts on why this resolution is a dangerous threat to religious freedom,” the ACLJ reported.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]