Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110505

Financial Crisis
»Finnish Professor: Drop Crisis States From Euro
»Greece: Desperate and Resigned
»Obama Administration Floats Draft Plan to Tax Cars by the Mile
»Treasury Suggests $2 Trillion Debt Cap Raise: Sources
»Andrew Bostom: America’s Morning News Interview About Bin Laden’s Burial and Death Photos
»Italian Furniture Designer Looks to Expand in US
»Man Sentenced to Life for Killing 5 Family Members
»Native Americans Offended by Code Name ‘Geronimo’
»Prince Charles Tells America to Cut Down on Steaks … for the Sake of the World
»Report: Nearly Half of Detroiters Can’t Read
Europe and the EU
»Dirk Van Der Maelen (MP for the Belgian Socialists): “Colleague Veys, You’re the Voice of an Israeli Propaganda Offensive”
»Germany: Merkel: Christian and Cynic
»In Praise of Flanders, Right-Wing Intellectuals and Theodore Dalrymple
»Mafia Boss Claims Berlusconi Was Told “Agree or Face Bomb Attacks”
»UK: Acid Attack on School-Run Mother in Newham
»UK: Poison in Holy Water From Mecca: Illegal Bottles on Sale in London Contain Arsenic
North Africa
»Egypt: Mubarack Minister Sentenced to 12 Years for Corruption
»Egypt: Cairo: Pro and Anti-Mubarak Clashes, Dozens Injured
»Libya: ENI Chief Worried About Protracted ‘Somalia-Style’ War
»Libya: Peaceful Solution Wanted as Tripoli Bishops Warns Against Leaving Gaddafi Out
»NATO Ops in Libya Over in Months, Says France’s Juppé
»Progress? Now Even Egypt’s Religious Establishment Hates America
Israel and the Palestinians
»Cameron Threatens to Recognise Palestine State Unless Israel Opens Peace Talks
»Israel Buys 6th Submarine, Will Carry Nuclear Missiles
Middle East
»Syria: Sweep-Up in Damascus Suburb, Over 300 Arrested
»Turkish Citizens Mistrust Foreigners, Opinion Poll Says
»Washington Post: Old Arab Order Pro-Bin Laden! British Government: Hamas-Fatah Merger is Great!
»216 Immigrants Land in Lampedusa With More Arriving
»EU in Major U-Turn as it Says National Border Controls Could be Reintroduced
»French Police Arrest Tunisia Migrants, Influx Grows
»Greece Powerless to Quickly Expel Illegal Migrants: Minister
»Pope Urges Europe to Welcome Migrants From North Africa
»UK: ‘Learn English, Get a Job and Stop Smoking Cannabis’: What Judge Said to Immigrant Drug Dealer on Benefits
»UK: Dutch Lesbian and Bogus Bridegroom Jailed for Sham Marriage, As Vicar Reveals How He Snares Fake Couples
»US Government Targeting Muslims Via Immigration System
»Repressing Women is Sharia’s Raison D’etre

Financial Crisis

Finnish Professor: Drop Crisis States From Euro

Professor of Economics Vesa Kanniainen of the University of Helsinki says that eurozone crisis economies should be allowed to go into debt restructuring. Kanniainen adds that Greece and Portugal should be dropped from the common currency.

Interviewed on YLE TV’s breakfast chat show on Thursday, he also said that a strong devaluation of the euro as well as the recapitalisation and nationalisation of German, French and Spanish banks are essential moves in this situation.

Only after these measures have been taken would Kanniainen advise giving EU structural support to crisis-stricken countries.

According to the LSE-educated professor, the permanent stability mechanism that is now being established is unfounded and should be abandoned.

The outgoing Finnish Parliament’s working group on Portugal is discussing the support package on Thursday morning.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Greece: Desperate and Resigned

3 May 2011 Libération Paris

Worn out by repeated austerity packages, the Greeks have reached a point where they no longer believe in their government. While populism attracts more and more votes in the country, euro-enthusiasm has entered into free fall. Libération’s special correspondent reports from Athens.

Jean Quatremer

The incident was kept quiet to protect the image of Prime Minister George Papandreou. It happened in Hydra, a very fashionable island off the Peloponnese coast and about an hour and a half from Athens, where the Greek Prime Minister was spending Easter, the main celebration of the year in Greece — a kind of heady mix of Christmas and New Year. On 22 April, which was Good Friday, Papandreou attended the mass for “the descent from the cross,” not in the small cathedral, but more discreetly, in one of the many churches in the town. A few moments after arriving at the service, he was aggressively taken to task by worshippers angered by his austerity measures. Insults flew and local police were called on to assist his exit.

Only a few months ago, the same man was applauded by the crowds when he took part in the Athens marathon accompanied by only two bodyguards. However, since then the political climate has gone from bad to worse. The Greeks have been driven to despair: unemployment is soaring, wages are being cut, and droves of small companies are closing down. In particular, they are disgusted by the endless succession of austerity packages over the last 12 months — the most recent was announced on 15 April. After three years of economic recession, the country’s morale is in decline. “There is an atmosphere of despair,” points out a European diplomat. “Every day, no matter where it comes from the news is bad,” complains Lena, who owns several businesses in around Syntagma Square in downtown Athens. “Even if their pay has not been cut, how can you expect people to spend money in this climate? You known its true, because when the Greek media went on strike for four days, there was an increase in morale and consumer spending recovered a little…”

“People are not depressed by the sacrifices and the changes, but by the absence of results and the fact that there is no prospect of an end to the crisis,” remarks Yanis Pretenderis, an influential columnist. “We still haven’t seen any proof of Greece finally becoming an organised state,” confirms Léna, who nonetheless admits that corruption is on the wane — probably because the Greeks have no more money to fill the fakelaki (little envelopes) used to pay bribes. “The recession has killed off corruption,” remarks a smiling Pretenderis. “We knew that 2011 was going to be more difficult than 2010,” points out a European diplomat. “Sacrifices were made, but the results have yet to be seen. A lot of effort has gone into applying the reforms, but the state is still quite inefficient, and the rich still aren’t paying much in the way of income tax…” One of the main reasons for the sour atmosphere.

The citizens “have been angered by Papandreou’s incompetence, and his inability to implement real change in the country,” affirms Pretenderis. That said, their despair will not necessarily lead to a revolt, notwithstanding the increasing prevalence of protests and demonstrations against austerity measures (according to the police, the centre of Athens was partially or fully closed 496 times in 2010). “The country is not about to explode, but it is about to sink into depression,” says Yannis Pretenderis. It is a view that is shared by Ilias Iliopoulos, the general secretary of ADEDY (the main civil service trade union), and George Pontikos, the international relations secretary for PAME, a union close to the KKE (a Stalinist communist party): “Everyone has had enough, but Greece is nowhere near a revolution” — a fact borne out by the limited turnout at demonstrations. However, people are likely to express their “anger” in other ways, particularly at the ballot box: although it still tops the polls at 21 percent, PASOK (the country’s socialist party) has lost 23 points since 2009.

Along with the New Democracy conservatives, the country’s two main political parties can only expect to obtain 40 percent of the vote, whereas they used to be able to count on close to 80 percent. Populists of a wide range of hues are cashing in on the crisis: in particular the KKE and the LAOS (people). And the corollary of all of this is a vertiginous decline in euro-enthusiasm: “The union only cares about the economy, not about the people,” complains Ilias Iliopoulos who is calling for a “patriotic front” against austerity measures.

Translated from the French by Mark McGovern

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

Obama Administration Floats Draft Plan to Tax Cars by the Mile

The Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.

The plan is a part of the administration’s Transportation Opportunities Act, an undated draft of which was obtained this week by Transportation Weekly.

The White House, however, said the bill is only an early draft that was not formally circulated within the administration.

“This is not an administration proposal,” White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said. “This is not a bill supported by the administration. This was an early working draft proposal that was never formally circulated within the administration, does not taken into account the advice of the president’s senior advisers, economic team or Cabinet officials, and does not represent the views of the president.”

News of the draft follows a March Congressional Budget Office report that supported the idea of taxing drivers based on miles driven.

Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.

[Return to headlines]

Treasury Suggests $2 Trillion Debt Cap Raise: Sources

(Reuters) — The Treasury has told lawmakers a roughly $2 trillion rise in the legal limit on federal debt would be needed to ensure the government can keep borrowing through the 2012 presidential election, sources with knowledge of the discussions said.

Obama administration officials have repeatedly said that it is up to Congress to decide by how much the $14.3 trillion debt limit should be raised.

But when lawmakers asked how much of an increase would be needed to meet the government’s obligations into early 2013, Treasury officials floated the $2 trillion working figure, Senate and administration sources told Reuters.

Former Treasury officials have said it is routine for Congress to ask the Treasury Department for guidance. Republican leaders have asked the White House to provide the size of any proposed increase before the two sides sit down on Thursday to discuss the debt limit face-to-face.

“We have not specified an amount or a time frame. We think that should be left up to Congress,” Mary Miller, Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial markets, told reporters on Wednesday.

She also said it would be better to raise the debt ceiling enough so that the government does not bump up against it so frequently.

“Obviously, a longer period of time between these activities would be beneficial in terms of the work that goes into preparing for a debt limit increase. But again, you know that’s not the Treasury’s call,” she said.

A Reuters analysis of Treasury’s borrowing needs forecast Congress would have to raise the debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion to get through next year’s election without having to revisit the issue. According to the Treasury, the government borrows on average about $125 billion per month.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Andrew Bostom: America’s Morning News Interview About Bin Laden’s Burial and Death Photos

Today on America’s Morning News Radio Show with John McCaslin I discussed how the absurdly self-abasing burial, and the failure to release proof of death photos of Bin Laden, which the American public fully deserves, are conjoined by a unifying willful blindness to the enemy threat doctrine—Islamic jihad.

Bin Laden was a pious Muslim jihadist—yet our military and political leaders insisted for more than a decade that he practiced an “un-Islamic” perversion of Islam, and then they bestowed this orchestrator of the cold blooded mass murder of Americans with an elaborate Muslim burial, “…in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices,” as described by our counter-terrorism czar John Brennan, infamous for his witless conception of jihad as an “inner purification.” President Obama and his staff have further responded to those clamoring for the release of Bin Laden’s death photos by insisting that “we don’t spike the football,” and claiming their release would endanger our troops—yet our jihad denialist COIN policies with their cripplingly restrictive ROEs, and the accompanying demand for dangerous “partnering,” have resulted in 35 “inside the wire” murders of NATO troops—30 of them Americans—by our so-called Afghan allies just since December—all of this hideous carnage by such “moderate” Muslims being of course unrelated to Bin Laden’s assassination, or public proof of his death.

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]

Italian Furniture Designer Looks to Expand in US

Hopes to generate $20 million in five years

(ANSA) — Milan, May 4 — One of Italy’s most prestigious furniture designers, Poltrona Frau, is to strengthen its assault on the US market after signing an accord with American design group Haworth.

Poltrona Frau, which already has several flagship stores in New York, Los Angeles and other US cities, hopes to generate $20 million in the next five years under the new agreement which will promote its office furniture in particular.

The company is part of the Charme Group owned by prominent Italian industrialist Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.

Poltrona Frau’s chief executive Dario Rinero said the company was “very pleased with this accord” which will help Poltrona Frau to develop a more extensive distribution network across the US market.

“Haworth is an ideal partner for us to develop the office segment in the United States,” Rinero said.

“This strategy supports our important expansion into the residential area of the American market, something in which we and our selected partners have already invested.

“This will increase awareness of our brands and the presence of the group in the United States. We are confident that this alliance, accompanied by an important plan to expand the residential market with expected new openings, will enable growth to double in this market in the next few years and also increase our market share”. Poltrona Frau creates innovative sofas, chairs and benches using traditional craftsmanship and modern technology.

The company designs specific furnishings for homes, offices, theatres and ships.

It recently opened a store in Chicago while its biggest showroom is expected to open in Miami in June.

Haworth is known around the world for the design and manufacture of office furniture and workspaces, including raised-access floors, systems furniture, seating and storage.

“This important alliance is the beginning of a strategic partnership between Haworth and the Poltrona Frau Group, leader in the top-range segment of design furniture,” said Haworth’s chief executive, Franco Bianchi.

“It will create the possibility to work together in a synergetic way to offer the corporate world products of the highest quality that represent the best ‘made in Italy’ in the world,” Bianchi said.

Based in Holland, Michigan, the company operates in more than 120 countries and has a global network of 600 dealers as well as an extensive US sales network. The company had net sales of $1.21 billion in 2010.

Haworth is a family-owned business that was created in 1948 and has grown from a US operation into an international firm with 6,000 employees worldwide.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Man Sentenced to Life for Killing 5 Family Members

Prosecutors say he was angry they wouldn’t convert to Islam

A man who was angry that his family would not go along with his conversion to Islam was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in the slayings of his mother, pregnant wife, infant son and two nieces in a rampage last year on the South Side.

“I’m sorry for what I did to my family,” Larry said, standing in a tan jail jumpsuit, his hands clasped behind his back. “I regret it every day, and I pray for them.”

Family members chose not to submit victim-impact statements for the judge to consider and declined to speak after the hearing, telling a court liaison they were simply relieved the case was over.

Prosecutors said Larry came to Chicago in April 2010 bent on slaughtering his relatives at the home in the Marquette Park neighborhood. He had converted to Islam while serving a prison sentence in Wisconsin for a weapons conviction.

“He was upset at his wife and their family — he felt disrespected that they would not join his religion,” Assistant State’s Attorney Jim McKay said. “It didn’t matter if they were young or old, pregnant or not. He wanted them dead.”

The massacre began in the early morning hours April 14, at the family home in the 7400 block of South Mozart Street. Larry first shot his mother, Leona Larry, 57, as she slept on a sofa in the living room. He then went systematically through three first-floor bedrooms, fatally shooting his wife, Twanda Thompson, 19; his 7-month-old son, Jihad; his 3-year-old niece, Keleasha Larry; and his 16-year-old niece, Keyshai Fields, who was pregnant.

Larry also shot his 13-year-old nephew, Demond Larry, in the face, but the boy survived. The defendant then kicked in the bedroom door of a man who lived in the basement of the home and tried to shoot him, but no bullets fired, prosecutors said.

After Larry’s 12-year-old niece awoke to the gunfire and saw her bloodied relatives, she ran out of the house. Larry chased her down the street and fired but missed, prosecutors said. The girl made it to a gas station and called her mom.

When Larry was arrested a short time later, he said to police that Allah told him to kill his family, according to court records. A police report quoted him as saying: “I wish I had more bullets. I wish I had more bullets.”

Linn remarked in court that, based on the accounts of the defendant’s erratic behavior, he expected to see some evidence of underlying psychiatric issues. But in the end, he said, “there were none.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Native Americans Offended by Code Name ‘Geronimo’

Native American leaders in the United States expressed outrage Wednesday that the name of legendary Apache warrior Geronimo was used as a military code name during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

“To associate a native warrior with bin Laden is not an accurate reflection of history, and it undermines the military service of native people,” said a statement by Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians, or NCAI.

Geronimo, an Apache chief who lived from 1829 to 1909, was a famed warrior who fought in what is now the U.S. state of New Mexico, battling U.S. and Mexican authorities as the American West was being settled.

Keel said using the name of Geronimo during the U.S. Special Forces operation against bin Laden in Pakistan was an affront to Native Americans because it linked them to one of the most reviled enemies of the United States. He noted that 77 U.S. troops of Native American origin have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, and another 400 have been wounded.

Jeff Houser, chairman of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, sent a scathing letter this week to President Barack Obama, demanding an apology for what Houser described as the misappropriation of their hero’s name.

“We are quite certain that the use of the name Geronimo as a code name for Osama bin Laden was based on misunderstood and misconceived historical perspectives of Geronimo and his armed struggle against the United States and Mexican government,” he wrote from Apache, Oklahoma, near the burial place of the legendary warrior.

He called the link to bin Laden “painful and offensive to our tribe,” especially after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Geronimo for his bravery and defense of his homeland. “Now a little over two years later your administration has further immortalized his existence by linking him to the most hated person in recent American history.”

The elite U.S. Navy SEAL team that stormed bin Laden’s compound uttered the words “Geronimo-E KIA” — enemy killed in action — after the al-Qaeda leader was confirmed dead.

U.S. officials have stressed the mission itself was called “Jackpot” and that the name Geronimo was not equated with the al-Qaeda leader, but was the verbal signal that the mission had succeeded.

The New York Times, in its account of Obama and top officials following the progress of the raid from the White House Situation Room, described “Geronimo” as the code name for bin Laden, and quoted CIA chief Leon Panetta as saying “We have a visual on Geronimo.” Time magazine, in its account, said a source in the Situation Room later issued a clarification to say the exact words were “Visual on Geronimo.”

The Onondaga Council of Chiefs said there would have been an “outcry if they had used any other ethnic group’s hero” as a code name. “Geronimo bravely and heroically defended his homeland and his people, eventually surrendering and living out the rest of his days peacefully, if in captivity,” the group said in a statement quoted by the Syracuse Post-Standard. As Geronimo is “arguably the most recognized Native American name in the world,” the link “only serves to perpetuate negative stereotypes about our people.”

The top staff member on the U.S. Senate’s Indian Affairs Committee also criticized the code name, adding that insensitive use of Native American names and symbols would be the subject of an upcoming congressional hearing. “These inappropriate uses of Native American icons and cultures are prevalent throughout our society, and the impacts to native and non-native children are devastating,” Loretta Tuell, the committee’s chief counsel, said in a statement Tuesday.

She said it was the latest egregious example of a wider problem faced by Native Americans, whose names and images are used in commerce for everything from marketing professional sports teams to selling tobacco products.

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

Prince Charles Tells America to Cut Down on Steaks … for the Sake of the World

America’s appetite for beef is jeopardising the world’s water supply, the Prince of Wales said during a visit to the US.

In a speech in Washington, the Prince said that the need for vast amounts of irrigation in industrialised food production was threatening to deplete reserves of the “magical substance we have taken for granted for so long”.

“For every pound of beef produced in the industrial system, it takes two thousand gallons of water,” he told the Future of Food conference at Georgetown University.

“That is a lot of water and there is plenty of evidence that the Earth cannot keep up with the demand.”

Americans eat more than 41kg of beef a year on average, according to the UN, almost twice that consumed by Britons and four times the international average.

The Prince called for an overhaul of food production, championing organic and sustainable techniques, and also criticised the US for allowing the destruction of vast regions of its rural land.

“Here in the United States I am told one acre is lost to development every minute of every day, which means that since 1982 an area the size of Indiana has been built over,” he told the 700—strong audience. “Again, in the US, soil is being washed away 10 times faster than the Earth can replenish it.”

Five days after the marriage of Prince William, the Prince said his address made “a change from making embarrassing speeches about my eldest son”.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Report: Nearly Half of Detroiters Can’t Read

DETROIT (WWJ) — According to a new report, 47 percent of Detroiters are “functionally illiterate.” The alarming new statistics were released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund on Wednesday.

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke with the Fund’s Director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, who explained exactly what this means.

“Not able to fill out basic forms, for getting a job — those types of basic everyday (things). Reading a prescription; what’s on the bottle, how many you should take… just your basic everyday tasks,” she said.

“I don’t really know how they get by, but they do. Are they getting by well? Well, that’s another question,” Tyler-Ruiz said.

Some of the Detroit suburbs also have high numbers of functionally illiterate: 34 percent in Pontiac and 24 percent in Southfield.

“For other major urban areas, we are a little bit on the high side… We compare, slightly higher, to Washington D.C.’s urban population, in certain ZIP codes in Washington D.C. and in Cleveland,” she said.

Tyler-Ruiz said only 10 percent of those who can’t read have gotten any help to resolve it.

The report will be used to provide better training for local workers.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Dirk Van Der Maelen (MP for the Belgian Socialists): “Colleague Veys, You’re the Voice of an Israeli Propaganda Offensive”

Commission on Foreign Affaires of Wednesday 4 May 2011

05 Merged questions

- Mr Tanguy Veys the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Institutional Reforms on “the recent statements by the South African judge Richard Goldstone on the Goldstone report commissioned by the United Nations” (No. 3889)

- Mr Dirk Van der Maelen the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Institutional Reforms on “the succession of the Goldstone report (No. 3932)

05.01 Tanguy Veys (VB): Mr Chairman, Minister, Israel began in late 2008 with a major military offensive against Hamas. The war lasted three weeks and cost the lives of 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians and 13 Israelis. Israel began the war to an end to rocket attacks by Palestinian militants for years performed almost daily on southern Israel. The South African judge Richard Goldstone examine the war on behalf of the United Nations in September 2009 and published a report in which he concluded that both Israel and the radical Palestinian movement Hamas may have been guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

To critical reports from human rights organizations, the Israelis have long grown accustomed since appearing with the regularity of a clock. The accusations came from the Goldstone report particularly hard, especially since NGOs and political commentators continued eagerly used the Goldstone report to accuse Israel of war crimes. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that never before such severe accusations against the Government of Israel and against Israeli soldiers were expressed. Politicians in several European countries were at that time as just the chickens in Israel for the publication of the report to accuse. That was the case in Belgium, where parliamentarians and Eva Brems Vriendt Wouter Groen!, Bruno Tuybens and Dirk Van der Maelen sp.a of Prime Minister Leterme asked that the Government would make efforts to see Israel condemned.

Richard Goldstone has its own UN report with an opinion piece in the Washington Post on April 1 — April 1 that was not a joke — now swept aside as irrelevant. Goldstone said that if he had known then what came to light, the report would have led to different conclusions. Goldstone believes that Israel took every precaution to citizens not to take Hamas and is to date still does not own investigation into the crimes of the terrorists have done. Goldstone I quote: “We now know much more about what happened in the Gaza war. If I knew then what I know now, would the Goldstone report have been a different document. Goldstone said in his opinion piece.

Goldstone said that hundreds of Hamas rockets fired with only the intention to kill as many civilians as possible. I quote: “That while so few Israelis were killed, does not alter this criminal behavior.” Goldstone said literally that Israel deliberately attacked citizens and that no general policy was to do that. He continued: “Hamas missiles were deliberately and indiscriminately directed against civilian targets, so that hundreds of Hamas rockets fired with only the intention to kill civilians as possible and leaving as few Israelis were killed, does not alter this criminal behavior.”

In other words, Minister, who fell to the 400 civilian deaths, not 1100 as previously stated in the press, unfortunately civilians were unfortunately as in any military conflict or fall. Belgium is well placed to realize, given the recent experience in Afghanistan where Belgian soldiers are involved in and where regular civilian casualties.

However, it is important to know whether the citizens were deliberately targeted. Goldstone argues that it was not the case, with respect to Israel.

The U.S. State Department has now also commented: “We’ve made ​​clear from When the Goldstone report was initially Presented and Maintained eversince That We Did not See Any Evidence That the Israeli government had intentionally targeted civilians or Otherwise engaged in any war crimes “. Thus the Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner.

The Minister responded to the recent statements by the South African judge Richard Goldstone on the Goldstone report commissioned by the United Nations? If so, how and what was the position? If not, why not?

Is the minister prepared by the United Nations, for instance the example of the Dutch Freedom Party, the withdrawal of the Goldstone report and related findings to advocate and ask that a review by the United Nations would take place, including Belgium to Israel, it would insist this time to cooperate fully with the investigation? If so, how and when? If not, why not?

05.02 Dirk Van der Maelen (SP.A): Mr Chairman, Minister, I’ll skip my introduction, you have read them. Every victim is one too many. Sure what myself and my colleague Bruno Tuybens, we have always said that both Hamas and Israel in this fault. It is difficult to make comparisons, but I need the numbers from fellow Veys view. Again, I approve of such attacks on civilians with rockets by Hamas is not good. I have already repeatedly condemned, and condemn them now. However, when you look at the relationship between the number of victims of the rockets and the number of civilian casualties, consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or not intentionally, by the Israeli intervention in Gaza, you will see that it very large differences. Whether citizens are falling as victims of a terrorist organization, as wing of Hamas, or if they fall as victims of an army of a country called Israel, is always regrettable.

Minister, at first, you share the view of the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Goldstone report to the trash should be referred to?

Secondly, how do you judge the future of the Goldstone report in? If so, do you consider continuing to call for subsequent examination of the report? If not, how should the fight against impunity for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the war to continue Gaza?

Thirdly, if so, how can we increase the pressure so that especially Hamas, but Israel continued to conduct credible and impartial investigation into the allegations in question? Attn Mr Veys I say that all investigations by the Israeli army to conduct of Israeli soldiers have been implemented. I call that no impartial investigation.

Fourth, you will find that both camps gross violations of international humanitarian law have been committed?

Fifth, you will find that the two studies to date have been inadequate?

Sixth, find that, despite the lack of consensus in the EU and the UN Security Council, the matter should be referred to the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC?

3.5 Minister Vanackere : I have of course noted the opinion piece, published by Richard Goldstone in The Washington Post on April 1 this year. I did not react, as this opinion piece does not affect the remainder of the international procedure and, also, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Pillay stated.

In that context, I absolutely do not intend to advocate the repeal of this report. In this context I would like to Belgian explanation of October 16, 2009 recall, which the report was hailed as a serious effort to give effect to the principle of accountability. I continue anyway this view. For those who think that I had no opinion about, I can tell everyone that a report written after saying “I had known then what I know now, then my report there have been different” this demonstrable proof that such a thing as progressive insight and that the above sufficient to lead to resistance against thinking that the ultimate truth in a moment can catch. This applies in all circumstances.

As for the rest of the process, I would point out that the Human Rights Council at its 16 e session in March this year, a resolution on the succession of the Goldstone report. This resolution would refer the dossier back to the General Assembly. Since the fight against impunity is one of the priorities of the Belgian policy on human rights, Belgium attaches very great importance to all parties in all conflicts human rights and international humanitarian law to respect. This applies to both state and non-state actors, including Hamas. Therefore, Belgium has systematically stressed the importance of independent investigations by the parties themselves and is committed to closely examine those to follow. The Belgian government not only provides for such succession of regular bilateral contacts but also with Israeli, Palestinian and international NGOs. Whether there are gross violations of international humanitarian law were committed, is precisely the subject of the ongoing investigations. It is not up to me to now a definitive statement about it.

So I suggest that we in the ongoing proceedings, as quoted by the High Commissioner, the chance to continue to be completed. Regarding the claims that Mr Van der Maelen me now invite stance: the referral to the ICC is a decision by the Security Council should be taken. I would assume that people will find that the first full-term research in order must have come before you feel about a decision. I wish, therefore, there is currently nothing to add.

05.04 Tanguy Veys (VB): Minister, thank you for your reply but I regret of course your position because you are missing an opportunity. I refer to the few courageous stand you have taken in Belgium on behalf of the original approval of the Goldstone report, which you have abstained. There are also countries who oppose the Goldstone report voted. They already had the necessary reserves, which were true. I refer to the opinion piece by Richard Goldstone.

You refer to the serious efforts made. One can see where the Goldstone report so far used, namely to keep Israel in the trap. I think the current situation is the Goldstone report without any value. Therefore I regret that you are not using your position to advocate for its repeal and to advocate for review. I think this is much more relevant.

There are a number of investigations conducted. Mr van der Maelen also referred to, but it is always the Israeli army has conducted such investigations. They have at least more than 400 surveys conducted. Hamas has so far not implemented. You condone it a bit and you say it’s about missiles that were submitted by a wing of Hamas. Hamas itself is a terrorist organization. It’s not just a wing of Hamas.

I also regret that there are casualties. Each victim is perhaps one too many, but they are aware from the corner of Hamas victims. I think it’s certainly not the policy of Israel is to maximize casualties.

05.05 Dirk Van der Maelen (SP.A): Colleagues Veys, first, you’re the voice of an Israeli propaganda offensive that has been used to pretend the whole Justice Goldstone Goldstone report undermine the laundry. I invite you to look very carefully. In most of the op-ed by Judge Goldstone says he now doubts whether the Israeli army intentionally targeted civilians.

For the rest stays the Goldstone report very strong feet and Justice Goldstone did not return from that report. I have great respect for this man, given the earlier work he has done, but perhaps you and I know how he was attacked after the release of the report. He was personally in his own person but also his family, endorsed by hate campaigns. I will be the last to any criticism of Mr. Goldstone to give. I have the utmost respect for him.

Secondly, I invite Mr Veys out to listen. It is not acceptable that the subsequent investigation Hamas does not. I condemn that. But, say that Israel can meet those conditions, knowing that Israel has confined itself to a four hundred studies, I invite fellow Veys out to ascertain how many of these cases there is a penalty is pronounced on those soldiers. To my knowledge there was one. Impartial investigation was certainly not.

I welcome the Minister’s position. The Goldstone report for Belgium remains intact. The proceedings are under way off. I hope that the procedures can be completed successfully with or without a reference to the ICC. It will be difficult to do. It would be the United States and Israel and other countries that have not done credit to the Treaty of Rome should they sign with their actions so that the test of an International Criminal Court could endure. I understand why they do not. In my personal opinion not the first time they have violated international humanitarian law. In Lebanon, our soldiers still in the 1 million cluster bombs they have thrown out there to clean up.

The incident is closed.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Germany: Merkel: Christian and Cynic

Berliner Zeitung, 4 May 2011

“I am delighted that Osama bin Laden was killed.” Spoken shortly after the announcement of the killing of the leader of al-Qaeda by a US commando, this very public statement, not at all consistent with the principle of loving thy neighbour, puts Angela Merkel in an awkward position. “The Chancellor has upset a lot of Christians,” headlines the Berliner Zeitung, reporting that Merkel, who is also president of the Christian Democrat Party (CDU), has come under severe criticism from the churches and their supporters, who hold that “there no reason to rejoice in the deliberate killing of a person.” “The public cheering at the liquidation of Osama bin Laden shows how close Christian culture remains to the base and archaic instincts of man,” writes the daily in its editorial. “Certainly, the dances of joy [in New York] were a ritual of emotional relief. But it did not render justice: a man has been sacrificed to the instinct of revenge,” adds the daily, pointing out the disgust felt across the West — and not just by German goodie-goodies — at the dancing for joy in the streets of Gaza when the Twin Towers were brought down in September 2011.

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

In Praise of Flanders, Right-Wing Intellectuals and Theodore Dalrymple

By Daniel Hannan

At first sight, Leuven looks much like any Flemish city: brick gables, cobbled streets, carillons, a handsome cloth hall and a truly gorgeous stadhuis (this one decorated with 236 statues of distinguished burghers, each standing on a pedestal so richly carved as to be a fine ornament in itself). Look a little closer, though, and you notice that the bricks are less decayed than in other towns, that the roof tiles are more uniform, and that many of the buildings have a sword-and-fire image carved into their exteriors, along with the date 1914.

The motif tells us that they were rebuilt after the destruction of the town by the German First Army. Prussian officers carried a collective memory of having been shot at by French franc-tireurs, some of them in civilian clothes, in the 1870 war. This time, they were determined to disincentivize resistance from the start through overwhelming reprisals. For five August days, they systematically razed Leuven, damaging the church of St Peter, destroying several university buildings, torching hundreds of houses, obliterating the Gothic library and its priceless collection of manuscripts.

The Kaiser’s government was unrepentant, and put out the following statement:

The barbarous acts of the Belgian people in almost all the territories occupied by German troops have not only justified the most severe reprisals on the part of the German military authorities but have even compelled the latter to order them for safeguarding the troops.

I mention this because it’s an episode that has been largely forgotten in Britain. We are so in thrall to the Wilfred-Owen/Oh-What-A-Lovely-War/Journey’s-End interpretation of the Great War that we have edited out of our national memory anything that might look like a justification for having joined it.

We may not remember the episode, but the Flemish do; they remember, too, the money which the United States poured into the reconstruction. Leuven’s library was rebuilt after the war, its stones carved with the names of the hundreds of American institutes of higher education which contributed.

I was in Leuven to watch Theodore Dalrymple receive the 2011 Freedom Prize from the free-market Flemish think-tank Libera! The presentation was made by Bart De Wever, the winner of the most recent Belgian election, and easily the most popular politician in the country. De Wever is an unashamedly clever politician, who mesmerised Belgians with his performances on the their equivalent of Mastermind. He talked brilliantly of Plato’s Republic, of Popper’s conception of the ideal society, and of how Dalrymple’s writings fit into the Western tradition. His spoken English was superior to that of many British politicians, and his delivery so unstuffy and enthusiastic that it was impossible not to warm to him.

Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons. First, because we should remember our ancient league with Flanders, our first ally after Portugal. The day may come when the people of that wet, flat and exquisite corner of Europe opt for independence — something that the Euro-elites, hostile as they are to national self-determination, will do whatever they can to hinder. Britain should stand ready to play her traditional role as a friend and sponsor to her Flemish confederates.

Second, because it’s wonderful to see Theodore Dalrymple getting the recognition he deserves. His books sell massively in Flanders and the Netherlands. He is a well-known figure, too, in American conservative circles; but he hath no honour in his own country.

Why not? Largely because there is little space in British public life for Right-wing intellectuals.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Mafia Boss Claims Berlusconi Was Told “Agree or Face Bomb Attacks”

Brusca maintains he sent Mangano to Berlusconi and Dell’Utri Prime minister: “Charges are incredible. I was not involved in politics”

MILAN — Silvio Berlusconi and Marcello Dell’Utri “have no connection” with the 1993 Mafia murders. Giovanni Brusca said as much in his conversations with his brother-in -law and repeated the assertion at the trial of Mafia boss Francesco Tagliavia, the only defendant for the Georgofili killings. Police collaborator Brusca said that Berlusconi and Dell’Utri “are not the outside instigators of the murders” but under cross-examination, also said that just after the second wave of attacks, he sent Vittorio Mangano on a mission to Milan. The appointed task of Mangano, the “stableman” at Mr Berlusconi’s Arcore villa, was to warn Dell’Utri and Berlusconi that the attacks would continue unless they struck a deal with the Mafia and reviewed the strict regime laid down by article 41b of the penal code and the mass trial of Mafia gangsters.

“I SENT MANGANO TO MILAN” — “In 1992, Cosa Nostra had relations with the Left and with politicians like Lima at local level, and Andreotti at national level”, said Brusca. He was adamant that after the Via d’Amelio bomb attack [which killed anti-Mafia magistrate Paolo Borsellino and five police officers — Ed.], “all contact” with the state was broken off. The attacks in Florence, Rome and Milan were therefore “tools to wake up the state and hint that it should re-open negotiations”. According to Brusca, at that point a new political interlocutor for the Mafia took over. The same demands that had already been made to the then interior minister Nicola Mancino were made to the newcomer. Brusca said: “I sent Mangano to Milan to warn Dell’Utri and, through him, Berlusconi, who was about to become prime minister, that unless there was a review of the mass trial and article 41b, the attacks would continue. Mangano returned saying that he had spoken to Dell’Utri, who had been receptive”. According to Brusca, the attack against Carabinieri officers at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome was a warning for those who had broken promises. “We close the issue with the old by taking revenge and open with the new”.

VELTRONI AND THE PRIME MINISTER — “Brusca’s statements to the Florence trial need to be verified but in the meantime, the anti-Mafia committee, which is reconstructing events in 1993 and 1994, should hear Berlusconi”, said Walter Veltroni, addressing his appeal to the committee’s chair Giuseppe Pisanu. Brusca’s statement was discussed during the meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office over the Libya motion. Maurizio Gasparri read the Mafia boss’s remarks about the prime minister, Vittorio Mangano and Marcello Dell’Utri. Mr Berlusconi is reported to have said, with reference to his alleged links with the Mafia: “They accuse us of incredible things, even of being responsible for events at a time when I wasn’t even involved in politics”.

“MANCINO WAS RECIPIENT” — Brusca’s statement also tackled the issue of the papello, the sheet of paper with the list of the bosses’ demands, which comprises written evidence of the negotiations with the state confirmed by Brusca in court in Florence. Two or three weeks before Borsellino’s death, Brusca met Totò Riina and told him: “They’ve finally come forward. I gave him a whole list of demands. He didn’t say who the go-between was but he told me the name of the recipient, the then interior minister Nicola Mancino. It’s the first time I have said this in public”, Brusca concluded. Mr Mancino was swift to reply to Brusca’s assertion. “This is a vendetta aimed at someone who has fought the Mafia with laws that enabled the mass trial to be completed, and perfected and tightened up legislation on organised crime”, said a note from the former interior minister….

English translation by Giles Watson

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

UK: Acid Attack on School-Run Mother in Newham

Police have appealed for information to catch a man who threw acid at a mother as she walked her two children home from school in east London.

The woman, 40, suffered serious burns to her head, shoulder and back when she was targeted in Harold Road, Newham, shortly after picking up her children.

The man, who was black, aged 25-35, 5ft 10ins with short black hair, was seen getting into a mauve-coloured BMW.

Three men have been arrested and bailed in connection with the inquiry.

‘Terrible crime’

Detectives said the woman and her two young children were approached by the man at about 1520 GMT on 24 March.

Realising he had thrown a liquid at her she began to feel a burning sensation and was taken to hospital.

She underwent specialist medical treatment and has since been allowed home.

Police said the suspect was seen getting into the back seat of a BMW. Two Asian men were also in the car which was driven towards Terrace Road.

Det Con Phil Fox, said: “This was a very serious incident against a woman picking up her young children from school.

“I urge anyone with any information to contact police to help bring those responsible for this terrible crime to justice.”

Five men were arrested last month, two were released without charge and the others, aged 26, 32 and 23, were bailed until June.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Poison in Holy Water From Mecca: Illegal Bottles on Sale in London Contain Arsenic

Drinking water containing arsenic is being sold illegally in London to Muslims who believe it is holy, an investigation has found.

“Zam Zam water” from a well in Mecca is considered sacred by Muslim pilgrims. Visitors are allowed to bring back small amounts but Saudi Arabia has banned any commercial export.

However, a BBC investigation has found that large quantities have been sold in shops in London. Tests on water from the well show that it contains high levels of nitrates and arsenic, suggesting the source is contaminated.

Undercover reporters were able to buy Zam Zam water in Muslim bookshops in Wandsworth and Upton Park and in Luton. Posing as a dealer, a reporter also infiltrated a warehouse where bottles were hidden before being sold to shops or directly to customers.

The owner of an Islamic bookshop in Upton Park was secretly recorded saying: “I have some people — they depend on it, they don’t drink anything else.”

Dr Duncan Campbell, president of the Association of Public Analysts, said: “The water is poisonous, particularly because of the high levels of arsenic, which is a carcinogen and can cause cancer. “

Dr Yunes Ramadan Teinaz, an environmental health officer, said it was a “sensitive” issue. He added: “People see this water as a holy water. They find it difficult to accept that it is contaminated but the authorities in Saudi Arabia or in the UK must take action.”

None of the three shops would comment on why they were selling the water but it is believed that it has now been removed from their shelves.

The Saudi embassy in London declined to comment.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Mubarack Minister Sentenced to 12 Years for Corruption

Cairo, 5 May (AKI) — Egypt’s former interior secretary Habib el-Adli has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for money laundering and corruption.

He was the first member of former president Hosni Mubarack’s cabinet to receive a prison sentence since protests toppled the authoritarian government in February.

El-Adli has also been accused of ordering police to open fire on protesters.

If convicted on that charge, he would face the death penalty.

Around two dozen politicians and businessmen close to Mubarack have been detained.

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

Egypt: Cairo: Pro and Anti-Mubarak Clashes, Dozens Injured

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, MAY 5 — Dozens of people were injured yesterday evening in central Cairo during clashes between those supporting and those opposing Mubarak, according to a security forces representative.

Hundreds of Mubarak supporters gathered yesterday outside the building housing the public TV station in the centre of the city for the 83th birthday of the ousted leader, protesting against appeals for him to stand trial. Claiming that the former president is a symbol warranting respect, the demonstrators unleashed the fury of the anti-Mubarak demonstrators at the same location, who instead demand that the former leader be executed for his role in the killing of anti-regime protestors. Clashes broke out between the two factions, who threw stones at each other before the army intervened. Traffic was blocked during the incidents.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Libya: ENI Chief Worried About Protracted ‘Somalia-Style’ War

Rome, 5 May (AKI) — Eni’s chief executive officer said he is worried that the top foreign oil producer in Libya could face a protracted war in the North African country.

“What we are most concerned about is the risk of a Somali-style conflict in Libya, a situation that would make it impossible for anyone to operate,” Paolo Scaroni (photo) said in an interview with newspaper La Stampa.

“We are not afraid of a change of government. What is worrisome is instability and the risk of Libya turning into a Somalia-like situation which would make it impossible for anyone to operate.”

A civil war in Somalia began in 1991, plunging the country into two decades of anarchy.

Before stopping production in March, Scaroni’s Rome-based company was pumping around 280,000 barrels of Libyan oil per day, out of the country’s total daily output of around 1.6 million barrels.

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

Libya: Peaceful Solution Wanted as Tripoli Bishops Warns Against Leaving Gaddafi Out

Libya Contact Group meets today in Rome to discuss economic aid to Benghazi rebels. Mgr Martinelli warns against helping only the rebels because it could fuel anarchy and hatred.

Tripoli (AsiaNews) — Italy, France, Great Britain, United States and representatives of the Arab League and African Union are trying to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis. A meeting of the contact group will be held today in Rome. Representatives from 22 nations and six international organisations (European Union, NATO, Arab League, Organisation of the Islamic Conference and Gulf Cooperation Council) are participating.

“Starting a dialogue is the best thing to do,” said Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, apostolic vicar of Tripoli. “NATO’s bombs are doing no good and we must take into consideration all parties to the conflict, not only the rebels,” he explained.

For the prelate, the civilian population wants peace, not war, and Libyan authorities are prepared at this moment for signs of openness; this is a chance for the parties to talk to end the hostilities.

Mgr Martinelli urges the members of the Contact group to consider the possibility of a transitional government with members from the existing regime to avoid hatred and suspicions in the population.

“It is obvious that Gaddafi will not give up power but I think that he is willing to take a step back and leave his post to a family member,” the prelate said.

The Libya Contact group is discussing humanitarian aid and money to rebels in Cyrenaica, whose leaders have appealed for up to US$ 3 billion to pay for the war and their new administration.

“Everyone is talking about helping the rebels. Newspapers are talking about the dramatic humanitarian situation in Cyrenaica, but no one is saying a word about the people of Tripoli and other parts of the country that need aid, especially hospitals, which lack personnel and drugs,” said Mgr Martinelli.

“Unfortunately, the government is reticent about asking for humanitarian aid. It does not want to give in, for obvious reasons, but I am trying to get them to allow a group of Doctors without Borders into the country,” the clergyman explained.

According to the apostolic vicar, sending aid to the other side in the war could reduce tensions and hatred and allow for direct contacts with Tripoli, which still controls most of the country. The prelate warns in fact that funding only the rebels could fuel an atmosphere of anarchy and hatred.

“I am getting worrying news from the Benghazi area. Two of my fellow brothers were attacked by two people who stole their car,” Mgr Martinelli said.

In rebel-held areas, “Everything appears to be out of control”, he added. “Anarchy is spreading with thugs freely roaming the streets.”

“Despite the difficulties, the situation in Tripoli is better and many are afraid of what might happen after Gaddafi leaves.” (S.C.)

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

NATO Ops in Libya Over in Months, Says France’s Juppé

(AGI) Rome — France’s Alain Juppé today said NATO operations in Libya will end “in a matter of months”. The French foreign minister spoke during an aside with journalists whilst attending Contact Group meetings in Rome. Juppé admitted, however, that “no precise date” exists.

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

Progress? Now Even Egypt’s Religious Establishment Hates America

By Barry Rubin

This is the kind of serious development that everyone better pay close attention to if they want to understand what’s going on in the Middle East and how the West doesn’t get it.

The Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyeb, gave an interview to al-Jazira. Al-Azhar is the most important religious center in the Sunni Muslim world. Up until now, its leadership has been controlled by the Egyptian government, which meant the government of President Husni Mubarak until earlier this year.

That regime was a dictatorship. It appointed the head of al-Azhar and the mufti of Egypt. It controlled mosque sermons and which preachers went on television. Consequently, it limited their extremism and, knowing their careers were at stake, the clerics complied. They weren’t real moderate but, for example, wouldn’t think of passionately attacking the United States or calling for the abrogation of the peace treaty with Israel.

Now everything is different. The people are the same as those who radicals once derided as Mubarak’s “parrots,” but to survive they must please different masters. The Muslim Brotherhood has publicly announced that it would seek to replace those deemed to be too pro-Mubarak among clerics and especially in al-Azhar. In future, it proposes that the top clerics be appointed by parliament, where they expect to have a very large number of seats.

So instead of pleasing Mubarak, people like Tayyeb have to please the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, the leadership of al-Azhar just held their first official meeting ever with the Brotherhood in order to make some kind of deal.

Therefore, while it is shocking it isn’t surprising that Tayyeb now sounds like a radical jihadist. Responding to Usama bin Laden’s death, he made the following points:…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Cameron Threatens to Recognise Palestine State Unless Israel Opens Peace Talks

Britain is prepared to formally recognise a Palestinian state unless Israel opens peace talks with the Palestinians.

David Cameron last night warned Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu that the UK is prepared to recognise an independent Palestine at a United Nations meeting in September.

British diplomats described the threat as one of Britain’s few ‘levers’ to press Israel to join talks with Palestinian officials.

[Return to headlines]

Israel Buys 6th Submarine, Will Carry Nuclear Missiles

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, MAY 5 — Israel has finalised an agreement with Germany to buy a new submarine for its navy, its 6th in total, according to a government source today who confirmed a story that had previously been reported in Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonoth. No reaction to the news has come from the German government thus far. The acquisition of the new submarine was subject to a long and controversial debate with Germany and had many ups and downs. Israel asked Germany for a contribution or at least financing. It is not known if, or how much, they received. This Dolphin submarine, a more powerful version featuring more advanced technology and equipped with an air independent propulsion system, will increase Israel’s long-range capabilities as well as their ability to provide a lethal response, say foreign military experts, to a non-conventional attack against the country, also taking the threats of destruction made by Tehran into account. The new submarine, similar to the other three already in service since 1999 and 2000, and the other two whose delivery is scheduled for next year (all the same class) will be capable of launching cruise missiles and nuclear warheads, which they allegedly possess, say experts. Israel has never confirmed foreign reports about its alleged nuclear arsenal. According to the daily, the purchase of the submarine, whose cost was not specified but which must be close to one billion dollars, was decided by Premier Benyamin Netanyahu on a recommendation from Defence Minister Ehud Barak, even through the current Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and his two predecessors have not agreed with the move. Reports indicate that payment will be spread out over a period of several years. The construction of the vessel will also require several years. The decision at this point seems to put an end to an intense debate within the navy itself between officials who would have preferred to acquire less expensive surface vessels able to carry different weaponry and those who were in favour of boosting their underwater capabilities. The submarine, similar to others in the same class, will be built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), owned by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

Concerned with the nuclear plans of Iran, which they suspect have military purposes, and after having neglected this part of the arsenal for decades, Israel began an ambitious programme in the early 1990s to expand their underwater weaponry mainly with the intent of acquiring long-range and long-term strategic capabilities. According to foreign sources, Israeli submarines have already carried out operations in the Gulf as well as the Indian Ocean.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Syria: Sweep-Up in Damascus Suburb, Over 300 Arrested

(ANSAmed) — DAMASCUS, MAY 5 — Hundreds of Syrian soldiers in combat gear went into the Damascus suburb of Saqba over the night, raiding houses and carrying out over 300 arrests, according to an opposition source.

“They cut off communications before going in. There was no resistance. The demonstrations in Saqba had been peaceful.

Dozens of people have been arrested,” a resident said.

Thousands had taken part in a street demonstration in Saqba on Friday 29 April to demand that President Bashar Al-Assad step down.

Meanwhile, the army has announced that it will today begin pulling out of Deraa, the southern city which has seen anti-government protests. “The army has completed its mission in Deraa and will begin to pull out over the next few hours,” said General Riad Haddad, director of the Syrian army’s political affairs department. “This will occur in a progressive manner and normal life will resume in the city,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkish Citizens Mistrust Foreigners, Opinion Poll Says

Turkish citizens maintain unfriendly attitudes toward the wider world, according to a recent survey conducted by the Political, Economic and Social Research Foundation, or SETA.

The opinion poll revealed many people in Turkey have negative views of Arabs, Armenians, Jews, Greeks, Russians, and Americans, but views over Europeans seem to be split, while a certain majority expressed positive views of Azerbaijanis whose native language is intelligible to Turks.

According to the research, some 36.6 percent of participants have a favorable view of Europeans, while 35 percent expressed unfavorable sentiments. Some 40 percent of the younger generation also expressed more favorable views regarding Europeans, whereas those who were over 61 years of age tended to have a more negative opinion. On Americans, 64.8 percent of those surveyed indicated unfavorable views, with only 13.8 percent expressing favorable views.

Some 33.2 percent of those surveyed said they had positive attitude toward Arabs, up against some 39 percent who said they had a negative perception of them. Men also seemed to be slightly more unfavorable toward Arabs than women, with some 42 percent of males, as opposed to 36 percent of females, expressing negative sentiments regarding Arabs.

Participants in the survey said if they had to make a choice between Europeans, Americans and Arabs, they would choose Arabs. When asked whether Arabs were better than Americans and Europeans, 25.3 percent of those surveyed said they “absolutely agree,” while 19.9 percent said they “generally agree.”

The research was coordinated by Professor Talip Küçükcan and covered some 3,040 participants in 12 provinces in Turkey.

Views of Iranians were also in the negative, according to the survey, which found 31 percent held favorable views of Iranians as opposed to 39.5 percent who had unfavorable views. The research showed participants with higher levels of education and better jobs tended to entertain more unfavorable perceptions about Turkey’s eastern neighbors. Negative views of Iranians were also higher among women, 44 percent of whom expressed unfavorable views, in contrast to men, only 35 percent of whom were unfavorable.

The participants’ outlook on Armenians, Jews and Greeks was especially unfavorable, with some 73.9 percent saying they held negative views about Armenians, 71.5 percent saying they had negative views toward Jews, and 67 percent saying they had unfavorable views toward Greeks. The survey showed an unfavorable stance toward Armenians and Jews was relatively more widespread among those participants with lower levels of education and socioeconomic status. Unfavorable views of Jews were also slightly higher among younger men.

Results of the poll showed 51.7 percent of participants held unfavorable views toward Russians, while 20.7 percent expressed favorable views. Positive attitudes toward Russians were higher among better educated men, with only 13.2 percent of women stating positive views about Russians, up against some 28.4 percent of men who said they had a positive opinion.

Some 37 percent of those surveyed also said they had a favorable perception of the Chinese, while 30 percent expressed an unfavorable view.

The participants were also asked about which countries Turkey should cooperate with in order to uphold its long-term interests. The Turkic republics of Central Asia and Azerbaijan were top of the list with 31 percent, followed by Islamic countries with 26 percent, the European Union with 23.1 percent, and the United States with 11.8 percent. Russia and China were at the bottom of the list with 8.1 percent.

Previous research conducted by PEW Research Center also showed there was considerable fluctuation among Turkish citizens’ views on foreigners. According to the Global Attitudes survey, 52 percent of Turkish citizens had expressed favorable views of the United States in 2000. That rate dipped in 2007 and climbed back up to 17 percent in 2010 with the election of Barack Obama as the United States president. There was also substantial fluctuation in Turkish citizens’ outlook on Jews, with some 32 percent of Turkish citizens expressing an unfavorable stance toward Jews in 2004, while as high as 73 percent expressed unfavorable views about Jews in 2007. According to a Eurobarometer research, 43 percent of Turkish citizens had a positive stance on the prospects of Turkey joining the European Union as a full member in 2006. That rate climbed to 48 percent in 2009 but fell to 38 percent in 2010. The same research also showed 20 percent of Turkish citizens felt some affinity toward other Muslim countries.

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

Washington Post: Old Arab Order Pro-Bin Laden! British Government: Hamas-Fatah Merger is Great!

By Barry Rubin

This article is published on PajamasMedia. The text is presented here for your convenience.

It is amazing what nonsense appears in the mass media. Consider the following paragraph from a Washington Post story:

“A decade ago, the Middle East might have responded to the killing of Osama bin Laden with fury at the United States. But with the region convulsed by mostly peaceful popular revolutions, the response to his death has been muted, another signal that the old Arab order is being swept away.”

So what does this say? Ten years ago, there would have been fury in the Middle East about bin Laden’s killing but now, with the democracy movement, that’s no longer true.

Two governments have been overthrown in the Middle East, Egypt and Tunisia. These regimes were repressing Islamists. They would have cheered bin Laden’s death. So would every other government in the region. Iran, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and Syria was no fan of bin Laden, either, at least not publicly. Either these governments were anti-Islamist or, in Iran’s case, were a different kind of Islamist.

The same applies to the Islamist movements. The Muslim Brotherhood held no brief for bin Laden himself, though it supported the insurgent movement in Iraq that was led by al-Qaida. Hamas and Hizballah were not big supporters either. As a Shia group, Hizballah would not have mourned bin Laden, whose movement hated Shia Muslims. True, bin Laden-based on his recent September 11 success-was higher in the public opinion polls. But the few pro-bin Laden demonstrations would have been repressed by the rulers.

In fact, the situation was the precise opposite…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]


216 Immigrants Land in Lampedusa With More Arriving

(AGI) Lampedusa — The first 216 immigrants rescued off the island have arrived in Lampedusa with 40 more arriving in the afternoon. They were all on board two vessels intercepted this morning. The boat escorted by the Financial Police also had six women and a minor on board. the migrants allegedly all come from sub-Saharan Africa and left from Libya .

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

EU in Major U-Turn as it Says National Border Controls Could be Reintroduced

The EU Commission made the proposal today after France and Italy insisted on action to revamp the so-called Schengen system, which allows for unfettered travel across many European borders for citizens, but also for illegal immigrants.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said that ‘it may also be necessary to foresee the temporary reintroduction of limited internal border controls under very exceptional circumstances’.

Malmstroem said one reason for such border checks could be when ‘part of the external border comes under heavy unexpected pressure’ but she did not say if that would include the situation in Italy, which has recently received more than 25,000 illegal immigrants, mostly from Tunisia.

The European Union’s current borderless regime has its origins in a meeting that took place in Schengen in Luxembourg where, in 1985, five European leaders signed an agreement that paved the way for a Europe in which the continent’s inhabitants would be able to travel across each others’ countries without passports.

It took until 1995 for the Schengen Agreement to be implemented. By 1997 nine European Union countries had signed up, and by 2008 there were 25 signatories. Among member states only Britain and Ireland have opted out.

The Commission’s current proposal will now be submitted to a special meeting of EU interior ministers on May 12 and a meeting of EU government leaders June 24.

Touching on such a cornerstone of EU policy already raised objections, especially within the European Parliament, and among member states.

‘Greece believes that freedom of movement within the Schengen Area must be jealously preserved, for it is the most fundamental pylon of European unification,’ said Greek Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis.

Malmstroem insisted that even though border controls may be temporarily coming back, it would not become the norm over the next years.

‘The free movement of people across European borders is a major achievement which must not be reversed,’ she said. Part of her proposal also centred on how the whole of the EU should help nations at the bloc’s external borders such as Italy.

‘We should not leave it only up to the member states at our external borders to deal with extraordinary migratory situations,’ Malmstroem said.

The borderless Europe started to become unstuck last month when France and Italy began grumbling about the Schengen Agreement after immigrants swarmed from Tunisia to Italy.

Most reached the EU through the Italian island of Lampedusa off the Tunisian coast. However many do not want to remain in Italy but aim to travel to France. French authorities were unhappy when the Italian government issued the migrants with temporary residence permits that allow them to travel freely through the Schengen countries.

France acted and halted trains at the northern Italian border town of Ventimiglia to prevent groups of Tunisians from entering France.

Italian politicians reacted with fury. Foreign minister Franco Fattini said France had broken Schengen rules and added: ‘If the situation persists, we would save time by just saying that we are changing our minds about free circulation, which is one of the fundamental principles of the union.’

However the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, an ally of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, responded: ‘It’s easy for Italy to be generous with other people’s territory.’

French ministers have said their introduction of checks on trains complies with the Schengen rules, which allow occasional police inspections on borders as long as there are no routine controls.

They also said they had security concerns because political activists were on the trains, and that people travelling on Italian permits would have to show they had enough money to support themselves.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi then came up with a compromise proposal to revamp the Schengen system, including the reintroduction of border controls.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

French Police Arrest Tunisia Migrants, Influx Grows

PARIS May 4 (Reuters) — French police arrested 138 Tunisian migrants on Wednesday, clearing out an illegal squat in Paris as unease deepened in France over an influx sparked by the upheaval in North Africa.

About 250 riot police were deployed to evict the squatters, most of them Tunisians who entered Europe a couple of months ago via Lampedusa, a tiny Italian island that is one of the closest points for people fleeing North Africa.

“In all, 138 people were arrested, and their situation will be assessed on a case by case basis,” a police officer told Reuters television at the scene of Wednesday’s eviction in the northeast of the French capital.

According to charity groups, 400-500 Tunisians have arrived in France since a popular uprising in Tunisia led to the ouster of the former French colony’s long-time ruler in January, sending a wave of pro-democracy upheaval across the Arab world.

Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose popularity is lower than any French leader in the last 30 years according to an opinion poll published this week, says he wants Europe’s border control rules toughened up in the wake of developments on the southern side of the Mediterannean.

He faces mounting pressure from the anti-immigrant National Front as polls show significant gains in popularity for the far-right party’s new leader, Marine Le Pen.

She has said that immigrants arriving from North Africa should be put back in their boats and sent home.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who is from the opposition Socialist Party, has called on the government to show greater compassion and his press office published a statement saying the building occuipied by the migrants was a fire hazard.

Alternative lodgings were on offer, the statement said.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Greece Powerless to Quickly Expel Illegal Migrants: Minister

ATHENS, GREECE — Greece’s police minister on Thursday called for new detention centers to be built as the country is powerless to expel undocumented migrants seeking to cross into other European countries.

“Without detention centres in various parts of the country…we cannot solve the problem,” Citizen’s Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis told parliament.

“Nobody can arrest a migrant, whether they be illegal or legal, and throw them out. International rules do not allow it, the laws do not allow it, our country’s constitution does not allow it,” the minister said.

Greece has struggled for years to reach a coherent policy on hundreds of thousands of economic migrants and asylum-seekers from Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent who arrive seeking a better future in the West.

Many are kept in overwhelmed detention facilities under squalid conditions repeatedly criticised by rights groups, and eventually find their way to a life of poverty, labour exploitation or petty crime in the cities.

The majority are unable to even return home, and Greece is bound by EU rules to keep them from travelling on to other EU states.

Land and sea patrols by EU border agency Frontex has helped alleviate the pressure but there were still nearly 3,000 undocumented migrant arrests on the Greek-Turkish border in April, up from 2,000 in March, police data shows.

“The situation is dramatic, there’s no doubt about that,” said Papoutsis, who called on local authorities to drop opposition to the new detention camps.

“Local societies are against migrants. They want them out,” he said.

This week, residents of the western Greek port of Igoumenitsa blocked the harbour for hours, calling on the government to remove scores of migrants who have built makeshift camps outside the town.

Riot police moved in when some protesters began throwing stones at some of the migrants who had gathered on the scene.

Immigration concerns have also surfaced in Italy and France with the arrival of thousands of Tunisians after a revolution toppled Tunisia’s dictator in January.

EU authorities this week conceded that controls in the bloc’s border-free Schengen area could be tightened in exceptional circumstances as a bulwark against migration pressure.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Pope Urges Europe to Welcome Migrants From North Africa

In his Easter sermon, Pope Bendict VI lamented the violence and conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East and called on Europe to accept more migrants from war-torn countries.

In his traditional Easter message to the world Pope Bendict XVI contrasted the joy of the Easter season with the violence and strife in North Africa and the Middle East and called on Europe to welcome more migrants from war-torn areas like Libya.

“Here, in this world of ours, the Easter hallelujah still contrasts with the cries and laments that arise from so many painful situations: deprivation, hunger, disease, war, violence,” he said in his “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) address.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Learn English, Get a Job and Stop Smoking Cannabis’: What Judge Said to Immigrant Drug Dealer on Benefits

A judge gave an immigrant drug dealer a verbal dressing-down by telling him to ‘get a job, learn English and stop smoking cannabis’.

Pakistani-born Mohammed Ramzan, 32, had been spending £20 a day on cannabis, paid for by his benefits from the taxpayer.

After admitting three drug possession counts following raids police raids on his home in Derby, he faced a verbal tirade from a Crown Court judge.

As he was handed a suspended jail term at Derby Crown Court, Judge Andrew Hamilton told Ramzan, who had spoken in court through an interpreter: ‘It’s about time you learnt to speak English.

‘It seems to me very difficult to live in this country if you can’t speak the language.

‘And you should be going out, getting work, instead of sitting at home smoking cannabis.

‘My advice to you is to give up drugs, go and learn English, go and get a job and do something useful.’

The court heard how police raided Ramzan’s home in Derby, and found cannabis in plastic bags ready to sell.

Twice over the next three months, they raided different houses where the 32-year-old was living and again found evidence of cannabis.

Ramzan admitted three counts of possession with intent to supply.

The court heard how officers who searched Ramzan’s home in December 2009 found a holdall with his name on it and an address in Pakistan.

Inside it were different types of cannabis, including vegetation and 26g of resin.

Scales to weigh amounts of the drug were also discovered, along with four mobile phones.

They contained texts saying ‘ring me’, messages about debts — and one which read: ‘Have you got any weed?’

More raids were carried out in January and March 2010 at other properties where he was staying. Cannabis was found at these.

Ramzan initially denied knowledge of some of the cannabis but admitted some of it was for personal use.

Ramzan told the court, through an interpreter, that he had tried successfully to cut down on the amount of drugs he was taking and he was ‘motivated to change’.

During the court hearing, Judge Hamilton said: ‘I’m told you have reduced your drug intake from £20 a day to £10 a day.

‘Where do you get £70 a week? Where does that come from?’

Ramzan, speaking through his interpreter, said: ‘It’s from benefits, your honour.’

The judge asked how much he claimed in benefits, and was told £120 every fortnight.

He told Ramzan, now living in Derby, that the police would pay ‘regular visits’ to his address to make sure he was not taking drugs.

Ramzan was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a two-year supervision order. He must also carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

The judge added: ‘I hope in the course of the supervision, you are directed to learn English.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Dutch Lesbian and Bogus Bridegroom Jailed for Sham Marriage, As Vicar Reveals How He Snares Fake Couples

A bogus bride and groom who were arrested at the altar moments before their sham marriage have both been jailed for 18 months.

Nigerian Abraham Akinola, 32, and his bride-to-be Roqsilmar Marti, 28, a lesbian from the Netherlands, were due to get married in St John’s Church in Tilbury, Essex, on August 25 last year but were instead slapped in handcuffs when police and Borders Agency officials hiding in the vestry jumped out to arrest them.

The sting operation was launched after a tip-off by the priest, Father Tim Codling, who became suspicious when the groom gave two different addresses on wedding paperwork.

And it wasn’t the first time Father Codling had rumbled sham couples about to marry. He said fraudsters were targeting his church in Thurrock because of its growing ethnic diversity and good train links with London. As a result he has reported more than 60 cases to the police.

He caught out one couple because when he asked the bride to repeat the vows, he began reading out train station names and she repeated them back.

Father Codling said: ‘I was asking the bride to repeat the vows and I just knew something wasn’t right.

‘So I started calling out the names of stations on the c2c line — Pitsea, Benfleet and Leigh-on-Sea, and the bride started saying them back to me.

‘She clearly couldn’t understand anything I was saying — I don’t think she even knew why she was in the church.’

At Basildon Crown Court in Essex yesterday, Akinola and Marti both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to take part in a sham marriage and were handed 18-month sentences.

A Ugandan national, Abdallah Magezi, 36, from Plumstead, south east London, was jailed last month for three years after being found guilty of being the fixer for the sham marriage.

Judge John Lodge, sentencing the bogus bride and groom, said: ‘You were not involved in this to the same degree or level as Magezi, who got three years in prison, but both of you were involved over a period of time and in some detail in arranging a sham marriage.

‘Akinola, you wanted to gain from it by staying in this country and Marti, in your case it was for financial gain.’

Police officers and borders agency staff were hiding in the vestry on the morning of the wedding and as Marti, from Rotterdam, walked up the aisle, dressed in a dark suit and white blouse, she and the groom were arrested.

The court heard that Akinola from Tilbury, Essex, who also uses the name, Gafar Makanjuola, had suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of his family during his childhood and had fled Nigeria for a new life in the UK. By marrying a European citizen he would have gained the right to live, work and claim benefits in Britain.

Marti had been involved in a lesbian relationship for the past eight years and her worried partner had flown to the UK and reported her missing on the day of the fake wedding.

She is thought to have been promised £2,000 for her role in the sham marriage which she was planning to use to pay for her sick father’s medical bills.

The couple applied for their marriage bans on June 6 last year and were planning to marry on August 25 but the eagle-eyed priest noticed a problem with the paperwork and tipped off the police and Borders Agency staff.

Officers leapt out and slapped them in handcuffs moments before they were due to exchange their vows.

Magezi, a father-of-one, arrived at the church in a minibus and waited outside the church. He fled when police approached him, jumped a fence and ran onto a railway line.

He claimed he was just a friend of the couple but did not go into the church because he was a Muslim. He claimed to be looking after Marti’s ID card as a favour because he had deep pockets.

He was found guilty of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK Immigration law at the end of a four day trial at Basildon Crown Court and was jailed for three years.

Judge John Lodge told him: ‘People have to play by the rules. Those who seek to circumvent the rules as you did, face lengthy custodial sentences.’

Detective Sergeant Andy Harvey of Essex Police said after the arrests in August: ‘Sham weddings are big business with the organisers charging £10,000 or more to arrange ceremonies and to pay ‘brides’ and ‘witnesses’.

‘The UK Border Agency and Essex Police are working closely to crack down on the criminals involved in these activities.’

Father Codling said the number of weddings he carries out had tripled following a government clampdown of bogus weddings at registrar offices.

He said: ‘I think the vast majority of weddings we have at the church appear to be sham marriages. But the way the legislation works means if someone has been given a wedding licence I have to marry them.

‘We can only stop weddings if we have reasonable grounds to suspect they aren’t genuine.’

He said once a ‘bride’ stripped down to her underwear, pulled a wedding dress out of a black bin back and put it on in the church, even though it was too big for her.

Father Codling said he had refused to carry out weddings he believed were bogus and had his home broken into and his wife threatened as a result.

He said that since the raid in August there had been a noticeable drop in applications to get married at his church.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

US Government Targeting Muslims Via Immigration System

The U.S. government’s aggressive use of the immigration system in its counterterrorism efforts discriminates against Muslims and violates international human rights law, said the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law and the Asian American Legal and Education Defense Fund (AALDEF) as they released a Briefing Paper on the issue. The Briefing Paper, Under the Radar: Muslims Deported, Detained, and Denied on Unsubstantiated Terrorism Allegations, exposes the many ways in which U.S. officials take advantage of the lax standards and lack of transparency that mark the immigration system as particularly ripe for abuse.

“The U.S. government is deporting, detaining, and denying benefits to Muslim immigrants on the basis of innuendo, religious and cultural affiliations, or political beliefs,” said CHRGJ Faculty Director, Smita Narula. “These practices violate fundamental human rights and American values and have had profoundly devastating impacts on Muslim families and communities in the United States.”

The Briefing Paper includes a number of case studies that suggest extremely problematic patterns of the U.S. government’s targeting of Muslims through the immigration system. The Briefing Paper details how the U.S. government is:

  • Making unsubstantiated terrorism-related allegations against Muslim immigrants without bringing official charges in cases involving ordinary immigration violations.
  • Subjecting Muslim immigrants to detention in cases involving minor violations that, ordinarily, do not entail detention.
  • Imposing flimsy immigration charges—such as false statement charges for failure to disclose tenuous ties to Muslim charitable organizations—in a manner that targets Muslim immigrants for religious and political activities and affiliations.
  • Applying overbroad statutory language of the terrorism bar provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to remove, bar, and detain Muslims.

“President Obama recently reiterated that the U.S. is not at war with Islam. However, we have a long way to go before Muslim immigrants are treated with the fairness and dignity that is owed to all immigrant communities in the United States,” said Sameer Ahmed, AALDEF Attorney/Skadden Fellow. “It is time for our government to live up to its rhetoric and make needed reforms to the immigration system in order to prevent these widespread abuses.”

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]


Repressing Women is Sharia’s Raison D’etre

Four is the number at the heart of the violent counter-reformation that confronts our Western values. Four is the number of wives the Koran says a man may have. No such latitude is afforded to women. Osama bin Laden, above all a man of the Koran, took his full quota of wives, a luxury not available to most Muslim men. He was 17 when he married his first wife, who was also his first cousin. She was 14. While this was in accordance with historical custom, in our culture it would have been statutory rape.

Her name was Najwa Ghanem. She had her first child at age 16. Her second at 17. Her third at 19. By the time she was 21 she was the mother of four. In 1982, when bin Laden was 25, he married again, to a woman with a doctorate in child psychology. They had one child. He married a third time, a marriage which produced four children. Then a fourth time, and another three children. All up, 19 children from four simultaneous marriages. In our culture, that would be bigamy.

The cult of personality and mythology that grew around bin Laden masked the real menace, and real cause, for which he stood. Because when you scrape away the layers of rhetoric of such jihadists, or those who rationalise their actions, it is evident their primary concern in seeking to impose strict sharia is to control and constrain women’s freedom. This is the core cultural impact of sharia.

Though sharia is embraced or tolerated by most Muslim women, it is unforgiving, even dangerous, towards those who defy the control allowed to husbands, fathers, brothers. This is not confined to the wild Wahhabist fringe that bin Laden inhabited. The constraints on women imposed daily by sharia are imposed on hundreds of millions of Muslim women by hundreds of millions of Muslim men.

In this context, the whole concept of Islamic holy war has been in part an expression of sexual repression and sexual oppression. Bin Laden was not a great warrior. His greatest asset was inherited family wealth, which he used to buy influence among warlords, fund recruits and support his greed for women…

           — Hat tip: LAW Wells[Return to headlines]


kimjongun said...

Re Acid Attack

Black & drives a BMW any guesses as to his "profession"?