Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110810

Financial Crisis
»Act Now to Save Dying Euro
»Economy at the Precipice — Obama Approval Among American Muslims at 80% — Ramadan Celebration on Schedule
»Former Comptroller General: “Sudden and Very Painful” Economic Collapse is Coming
»Greece: Brain Drain: Young People Say Farewell to a Country in Crisis
»Italian Bonds Rise Again as ECB Buys More Securities
»Italy: Govt: Unions and Employers to Meet on Crisis
»Last Ditch Defence of Swiss Franc Intensifies
»The West is a Chinese Colony. But This Will Collapse
»U. S. President Obama Goes on Vacation Despite the Crisis
»US Stocks Fall Near Day’s Lows in Late Trading
»GMOs Failing Across America — Farmer to Farmer Film Reveals Disastrous Failure
»Homeland Security Chairman Seeks Probe Into Administration-Sanctioned Bin Laden Movie
»Stakelbeck: New Federal Lawsuit Links Iran to the 9/11 Attacks
Europe and the EU
»Blowing-Up the Solar Power Market
»Denmark: Von Trier and Df Point Fingers Over Norway Tragedy
»Finland: Hate Speech to Get Defined Legal Limits
»France: Inquiry Targets Christine Lagarde
»Islamic Human Rights Commission: UK Must Stop Demonising Its Rioters
»‘Riots Reveal the Decay of British Society’
»Spain: Big Firms Evading Tax Worth Over 42 Billion
»Spain’s Archbishop Urges Catholics to Pray for Mild Weather
»Spain: Back to Work Permits for Romanians
»Sweden: Politicians to Blame for Far Right Growth: Mankell
»UK Riots: MCB [Muslim Council of Britain] Condemns Riots and Joins Calls to Clean Up Our Streets
»UK Riots: Looters Now Issuing Leaflets to Scare People From Coming Forward
»UK Riots: Insurers ‘Will Pay Claims Then Recover Money From the Police’
»UK.: Turkish Shop Owners Trying to Defend Businesses in East London
»UK: ‘Fed Up’ Residents Form Anti-Looter Patrols
»UK: ‘My Boy’s Death is Not a Race Issue’: Devastated Father Whose Son and Two Friends Were Mowed Down by Riot Thugs Appeals for Calm
»UK: Armed Sikhs Protect London’s Southall Gurdwara
»UK: A Crisis That Has Been Brewing for Years
»UK: Defiant Londoners Attempt to Defend Their Communities From Rioters and Looters
»UK: Joining the Clean-Up Operation
»UK: London Riots: Neighbours Mount Anti-Gang Patrols Amid Fears of Far-Right Agitation
»UK: London Riots: This is What Happens When Multiculturalists Turn a Blind Eye to Gang Culture
»UK: London Riots: Mosque Worshippers Ward Off Gang as They Ambush Whitechapel Road
»UK: Pervert Dr. Haleem Bhatti Sexually Assaulted 5 Women Being Examined for Chest Pain
»UK: The Riots Are David Cameron’s Biggest Test Yet
»UK: Tower Hamlets Removes Litter Bins From Streets Following Riots
»UK:78:000 People Signed an E-Petition to Axe Rioters Benefits
»Ukraine: The Invasive Generosity of Budapest and Bucharest
»Why Police Were So Soft on London Looters: They ‘Were Ordered to Stand and Observe’ As Capital Burned (But in Manchester They Were Hunting Looters Within Hours)
»Would-be Terrorists Looking to Capitalize on U.K. Riots
»Kosovo: NATO Commander’s Romance With Ethnic Albanian Sparks Political Row
North Africa
»Libya Says Cameron Lost All Legitimacy and Must Go
»Libya: Blasts Rock Tripoli, Rebels in Deep Crisis
Israel and the Palestinians
»81 Congress Members to Visit Israel
»Drones Deployed to Protect Gas Fields
Middle East
»Britain Crackdown Unacceptable, Ahmadinejad Says
»Change to Legal Basis for Coups Gets Wide Backing in Turkey
»EU Countries Account for 75% of Turkey’s Auto Exports
»Kuwaiti Policeman in Ramadan Shooting Spree
»New Syrian Defence Minister is Christian: A Difficult Role
»Saudi Arabia: Divorce Rate Highest in Arab World
»Syria: Assad: Shall Continue to Hunt Terrorists
»The Pope’s Appeal and the Fears of Christians in Syria
»Turkey: Woman Says Life in Danger as Abusive Husband Released
South Asia
»Red Mosque Imam Ready for War to ‘Talebanise’ Pakistan
»573 Foreign Killers in UK Jails Cost us £23m a Year
»Australia: Frail 96-Year-Old Faces Deportation
»Denmark: Newspaper Challenges Right Wing Leader on Multiculturalism
»Illegal 22 Afghans Land in Otranto
Culture Wars
»Melanie Phillips: Goodbye to the Enlightenment
»Religious Conflict on the Rise in Sweden: Study
»Pursuit of Religious Commonality

Financial Crisis

Act Now to Save Dying Euro

Mediapart Paris

They may agree on the malaise afflicting the global financial industry and the Eurozone in particular, but European governments, who appear to be unaware of the gravity of the situation, have failed to take concerted action. French news website Mediapart argues that time is running short for the implementation of existing solutions.

Martine Orange

The situation has been discussed! Independently of any other details, this news is supposed to be reassuring. Right in the middle of the summer holidays, the leaders of major governments and western monetary institutions, who participate in the G7, took part in a telephone conference — an apt testament to the critical nature of the problems posed by the crisis.

But since they can hardly agree on anything, yet again the politicians have to decided to wait and see how the financial markets respond before revising their opinions and embarking on yet another last-minute bid to plaster over the cracks.

The recent downgrade of US treasury bonds is also a reflection of inadequate public policy. Today governments are being forced to pay for the fact that they failed to implement appropriate measures in response to the 2008 crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Blinded by ideology, incompetence, or fear, our political leaders missed a unique opportunity to restore sanity in a financial system that had run amok. After a brief respite in 2009-10 and apparently unaware that denial of reality does not constitute a viable policy, they were convinced that everything could start again as normal.

Having lurched from bubble to bubble and from hidden crisis to latent crisis, the financial system, which was disconnected from any genuine reality, fell apart in 2007. The ensuing confusion came to a climax with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

In response to the emergency, central banks sought to restore and even increase liquidity, while governments rushed to the rescue of banking institutions in a desperate bid to save the economy. Three years later, if the same governments find themselves with hardly any options, it is because they gambled their balance sheets then to save the financial world.

But governments do not appear to have not learned from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, or at least they have not learned the right lesson. The consensus discreetly disseminated by financial institutions, which had every interest in promoting such a view, was that there should be no interference in the banking sector otherwise the entire world would go to the wall. Too big to fail, the banks were given an unlimited right to draw on public funds and to hold governments permanently to ransom. Of course, all of this was done in the name of protecting depositors, in much the same way that small shareholders have served as pretext for a stock market which has excluded them for years.

And what was obtained in exchange? Nothing. There would be no right to supervise, no holding to account or initiative of any kind. The much-vaunted shareholders, who were supposed to accept the burden of risk, were never called on. Only Great Britain, which appeared to demonstrate a better understanding of the financial system, opted to nationalise its main banks. By contrast, in what amounted to a caricature of governance, France responded by entrusting the drafting of a plan to save the French banking sector to Michel Pébereau, the managing director of BNP Paribas.

US banking authorities staged a small scale clean-up. Banks were obliged to recapitalise, and dozens of institutions were forced to close or merge with others. But nothing of this kind happened in the eurozone. It was simply assumed that the banks knew what they were doing, and they just needed time and money to introduce reforms. Thereafter, the banking stress tests turned out to be a farce.

Even the measures announced in the panic that surrounded the G-20 summits in late 2008 and early 2009 have not been applied: remember there were to be “no more tax havens, no more ratings agencies, and no more speculation.”

Ever since their pretense of co-operation with the OECD, the tax havens have been thriving like never before. The ratings agencies, who recently sparked public outrage by downgrading US debt, have not been troubled for a moment, while the pledge that Europe would create its own ratings agency has yet to be honoured.

Speculation continues to run rife. No measures have been introduced, for example, to prohibit the short selling of sovereign debt. Credit default swaps [used to insure bonds], which have been described as financial weapons of mass destruction, continue to be traded without any controls and in a total absence of transparency. Europeans, who are completely dependent on private American organisations for the merest scrap of information, still do not even have any means of knowing what is happening.

There will be no escape from the impact of further shocks in the crisis. The system has reached the point of exhaustion. But what can be done to settle the mountain of debts caused by the deregulation of the monetary and financial system?

First and foremost, there is an urgent need to put a stop to speculation. Sovereign states can no longer allow their economies to be devastated, just because it has been assumed that it is unhealthy to impede the circulation of capital. They have a range of weapons at their disposal if they decide to make use of them: bans on the short selling of sovereign bonds, controls on the movement of capital, and the deployment of central banks.

Secondly, Europe will have to introduce measures to ensure that the market for eurozone sovereign debt no longer resembles a clay pigeon shoot. One after another France’s political leaders have solemnly announced that they found a miracle solution to this problem: more federalism, they say, bouncing up and down on their seats like the young goat so beloved of General De Gaulle. According to them, this will take the form of a strengthened European Financial Stablity Facility until the eurobond can be launched. However, Germany is against this idea, and the government in Berlin is right: because this will amount to another gamble, which this time will bet the balance sheets of all of Europe’s member states. The best solution is to change the status of the European Central Bank, which will have to accept to become the lender of last resort for all of Eurozone states.

Thereafter, the deregulation of the financial system and the debt economy will have to be progressively reined in. Even though it is important to keep public finances on an even keel and establish fair taxation, the reduction of budget deficits, which is the sole policy advocated by governments, is not a sufficient response to the enormous scale of the problem. Inevitably it will only lead to austerity, extreme poverty and hasty political decisions.

In any case, the mountain of debt is such that more than one mechanism will be needed. Some portion of it will have to be written off, which once again raises the question of control of the banking system. There will also have to be some devaluation to reduce excessive liquidity and to cope with the consequences of this measure. Finally, we will have to act to reduce trade imbalances. With so many people jobless, western countries can no longer import everything without creating any wealth, and we will have to reconstruct an employment base that is worthy of the name…

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

Economy at the Precipice — Obama Approval Among American Muslims at 80% — Ramadan Celebration on Schedule

With the nation teetering at the cliff’s edge of a catastrophic collapse and the financial markets bracing for an overnight flood of panic stock-sell orders, there are two side-show items that should be of great interest to Americans (that is to say the few that are capable of paying attention to something other than professional sports or Lindsay Lohan’s rehab status) who may just be wondering what on earth is happening to the United States:

A survey released by Gallup via CNS News Service says that Obama’s approval rating among American Muslims is at 80 %…

And, thank the stars (and crescent) above, the Associated Press reports that there will be another Iftar Ramadan celebration at the White House…

And let us not forget that the Prez is still planning to go on vacation. Fear not, though. Jay Carney says there is no such thing as a Presidential vacation.

If there is a hard slide downward in the Dow Jones average tomorrow and Friday, look for a plunge into the abyss next Monday.

[Return to headlines]

Former Comptroller General: “Sudden and Very Painful” Economic Collapse is Coming

Former head of the Government Accountability Office and Comptroller General of the United States, David Walker has issued a stark warning following the compromise deal to raise the debt ceiling.

“We are less than three years away from where Greece had its debt crisis as to where they were from debt to GDP,” Walker highlighted in an interview with CNBC earlier today.

Greece’s ratio of debt to GDP has surpassed 100% and is heading towards 150%, a factor that has meant without bailouts from the EU and the IMF, the country would have defaulted.

The US is now nearing the same 100% margin with GDP growth floundering below 1%.

“We should recognize that this could be a leading indicator for us,” Walker said, adding that something must be done now to significantly restructure government spending if a major collapse is to be avoided in the future.

Walker, who has long spoken out against wasteful federal spending, urged that the nation should “deal with the disease, instead of the symptoms,” adding that increasing the debt ceiling as well as federal budget deficits will inevitably lead to the same situation in the US as has been witnessed in Greece.

“Here’s the bottom line. If you take the total liabilities of the United States — public debt, unfunded pensions, retiree health care, under funding with regard to social security, with regard to medicare, a range of commitments and contingencies — as of September 30 2010 we would have had to have had $61.6 trillion dollars in the bank in order to be able to defease those obligations.” Walker explained.

“The fact of the matter is that government has grown too big, promised too much and waited too long to restructure. Our problem is overwhelmingly a spending problem.” Walker, now the head of the fiscal advocacy group the Comeback America Initiative, told viewers.

“Lets understand something very simple. If you have escalating deficits and mounting debt, that means you have to increase the debt ceiling limit at some point and it means absent structural reforms in entitlement programs, defense and other spending, those represent deferred tax increases.”

[Return to headlines]

Greece: Brain Drain: Young People Say Farewell to a Country in Crisis

Like their counterparts in Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy, young Greeks facing a lack of opportunities and the ravages of economic crises are heading abroad. According to Le Figaro, “over 70,000 Greeks have already left for the United States, and more than 15,000 have gone to Germany, England and France.” “Not everyone has the same opportunity,” the Paris daily clarifies. “These are largely professionals. More and more headhunter agencies are offering the Greeks the chance to pursue their interests abroad. The Swedish company Paragona is stepping up its ads in the Greek press and on the Internet, guaranteeing a job that matches candidates’ job skills — and a good salary.” “In recent months,” Le Figaro adds, “the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been awash in requests for new or renewed passports. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, especially now when everyone is anxious to get out. This wave of migration calls to mind the one Greece lived through in the early twentieth century. ‘Except there’s neither war nor famine,’ one diplomat confides.”

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

Italian Bonds Rise Again as ECB Buys More Securities

Milan, 9 August (AKI/Bloomberg) — Spanish and Italian government bonds rose for a third straight day, cutting the extra yield investors demand to hold the 10-year securities instead of German bunds, as the European Central Bank purchased the debt.

German bonds fell, pushing the 10-year yield up from within three basis points of the lowest since October. Greece sold 812.5 million euros (1.2 billion dollars) of 182-day bills, while Italy will offer as much as 6.5 billion euros of 366-day securities on Wednesday. Spain’s 10-year yield touched the lowest since December, while Italy’s fell to a one-month low.

“In the near term we’re likely to see a further decline in Spanish and Italian spreads,” said Elwin de Groot, a senior market economist at Rabobank Nederland in Utrecht.

“Now that the ECB has taken this decision, they’re likely to continue with this for some time. The ECB will make a strong statement with their purchases.”

The yield on 10-year Italian bonds fell 11 basis points to 5.18 percent at 5:02 p.m. in London, after reaching 5.08 percent, the least since July 6 and below the danger level of six percent. That narrowed the difference in yield, or spread, over similar-maturity German debt by 22 basis points to 281 basis points.

The yield spread between Spanish debt and bunds narrowed 18 basis points to 272 basis points, as the yield on the Spanish securities dropped eight basis points to 5.08 percent, after being as low as 4.98 percent, the least since Dec. 3.

The ECB bought Italian and Spanish government bonds on Tuesday, according to three people with knowledge of the transactions, who declined to be identified because the trades are confidential.

A spokesman for the central bank declined to comment. The ECB started buying yesterday, after Standard & Poor’s lowered the U.S. rating by one level to AA+ with a negative outlook on Aug. 5. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have affirmed the U.S. at AAA.

Spanish and Italian 10-year yields slid yesterday by the most since the euro’s introduction as the ECB moved to stabilize markets and prevent the sovereign-debt crisis that forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek aid from spreading to the euro area’s third- and fourth-biggest economies.

Spanish bonds have returned 4.8 percent this year, while Italian debt handed investors a 0.5 percent loss, according to indexes compiled by Bloomberg and the European Federation of Financial Analysts Societies. German debt gained 4.9 percent, while U.S. Treasuries rose 6.4 percent, the indexes show.

The ECB may have spent more than 10 billion euros Monday, with purchases “heavily concentrated” in Italian securities, according to Ciaran O’Hagan, head of European interest-rate strategy at Societe Generale SA in Paris.

Deutsche Bank AG analysts estimated that the purchases reached 7 billion euros, Jim Reid, a strategist at the bank in London, wrote in a research note on Tuesday.

Euro-area leaders agreed on July 21 to empower the 440- billion euro European Financial Stability Facility bailout fund to buy bonds in the secondary market.

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

Italy: Govt: Unions and Employers to Meet on Crisis

Austerity measures may include pension reform, wealth tax

(ANSA) — Rome, August 9 — The government meets this week with unions to illustrate its austerity budget plan and already battle lines are being drawn over expected pension reform.

A ‘wealth tax’ is also expected to come up for discussion and, although Italy’s billionaire Premier Silvio Berlusconi has always been against, the possibility of taxing assets and-or earnings over one million euros has been raised by party members of the premier’s key ally, the Northern League.

Berlusconi is expected to return to Rome from holiday in Sardinia on Wednesday to take part in a meeting which, aside from unions will also include representatives from leading employers’ associations, first among them Confindustria.

At a similar meeting last week unions and employers presented an unusual joint six-point plan to boost growth and revenue and stressed the importance of wasting no more time on structural reforms.

Initially the government, which presented its own eight-point plan to tackle the budget crisis, postponed until next month the presentation of a revised plan but this changed after Italy on Friday bowed to pressure from markets, the European Central Bank and the European Union to move forward its target of balancing the budget from 2014 to 2013.

Although the details of the revised budget plan have not been confirmed, there is a general consensus that it may involve pension reform, including moving forward an increase in the retirement age for women, limiting the possibility of retiring solely on the basis of years worked — as opposed to age — and cutting benefits for those who have inherited a pension. Italy in recent years revised its generous pensions system and unions say that the changes made were as far as they were ready to go.

In an interview published Tuesday by the Turin daily La Stampa, Raffaele Bonanni, the leader of the CISL union, said that while he was ready to work to eliminate abuse of the pension system, changing the requisites to receive a pension or its limits on pension benefits were out of the question.

According to the union leader, savings first of all had to come from the political system which had to put its own house in order by cutting waste and excessive benefits.

“A profound reform of the State is needed on a central and local level to reduce the cost of government. On pensions everything possible and imaginable has already been done and the sustainability of our system has been recognised throughout Europe,” he said.

After stating that in no other country in Europe were institutions so “complicated, costly and inflated,” Bonanni broadsided the municipal-run services and utility companies which he defined as “a true Soviet dinosaur in Italy. It is a waste bin for failed politicians with 27,000 administrators hired with no market logic whatsoever”.

In order to raise state revenue, the CISL leader suggested raising taxes on financial market gains from 12.5% to 20% and a tax on assets worth over one million euros “excluding one’s primary home”.

“If these things are done the state could rake in a load of cash and there would be no need to take away from pensions,” Bonanni said.

Privatizing or deregulating municipal-run enterprises is also a Confindustria demand and appears to be an option the government is ready to adopt.

In an interview in Tuesday’s economic daily Il Sole 24 Ore, Regional Affairs Minister Raffaele Fitto said “we are ready to deregulate local municipal services, obviously in full respect of the recent referendum.

Fitto penned a law to deregulate or privatize municipal companies which was partially overturned by a referendum earlier this year which focused on water utilities.

Speaking out in favor of a ‘wealth tax’ was the Northern League mayor of Verona, Flavio Tosi, who told a TV news magazine show on Monday night that “we should probably start thinking about a wealth tax or one on major financial-market gains.

“At a time when we need to find (revenue) resources it is important that we think carefully where we are going to find them. And if we also want economic growth then we have to protect household income because if you cut household spending the economy retreats,” Tosi said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Last Ditch Defence of Swiss Franc Intensifies

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has flooded more francs into the market for the second time in a week in an effort to curb the relentless rise of the Swiss currency.

The SNB said on Wednesday it would inject a further SFr40 billion ($55 billion) of liquidity as the franc approaches parity with the euro.

Against the dollar on Tuesday, the franc saw its biggest one-day gain against the dollar in 30 years, hitting a record level of SFr0.7085.

The SNB move is being viewed as a last ditch desperate attempt by the central bank to arrest the rise of the franc. But observers are not convinced it will work given the unresolved debt problems in Europe and the United States that are fuelling a flight to safety to the Swiss currency.

“I do not think this will help a lot,” Daniel Kalt, UBS bank’s chief economist for Switzerland, told “The strong franc is being driven upwards by so many factors that are not in the sphere of the SNB’s influence.”

European leaders have been slated for making a mess of solving the bloc’s debt crisis while the US had its AAA rating cut to AA+ at the weekend. This has weakened investor appetite for European and US bonds and increased demand for the franc.

Reputational risk

The strengthening franc has increased the cost of Swiss goods abroad, hitting the export industry. The tourism sector has also been hurt as Switzerland becomes a more expensive place to visit.

This is not the first time the central bank has intervened in an attempt to cool the franc. A large scale shopping spree for euros last year failed to halt the franc’s upward progress and left the SNB with losses that have so far amounted to more than SFr35 billion ($48 billion).

Last Wednesday the SNB pumped an extra SFr50 billion of liquidity into the markets while slashing interest rates by 50 basis points to a new target range of 0.0 to 0.25 per cent. The latest injection has taken its total output of francs to SFr120 billion.

Ursina Kubli, currencies expert at Bank Sarasin, also doubts that these measures will be enough to halt the rise of the franc. If the SNB fails again, its reputation could take another pounding, she added.

“The SNB needs to be certain that this will work this time or it risks losing credibility in the markets,” Kubli told

Changing times

The renewed input of liquidity reverses the SNB’s policy of mopping up excess francs at the start of the year when economic conditions looked better and fears of inflation were being raised. But now the greatest fear is for a double dip recession to grip the global economy.

Julius Bär bank forex expert David Kohl believes the central bank’s previous forays into the currency markets were premature, but that the time is now ripe for intervention.

“The over-valuation of the franc is now more extreme and could really hurt the Swiss economy,” he told “The economic outlook is different to a year ago which makes intervention more credible.”

“The previous intervention was sterilized by the need to bring it to a halt to prevent the economy from overheating,” he added. “The economy is now more in need of sustained stimulation, but these measures can only hope to cushion adverse conditions, not prevent them.”

Switzerland’s central bank also announced that while it would not on this occasion buy euros directly, it would swap its francs for foreign currencies…

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

The West is a Chinese Colony. But This Will Collapse

The communists celebrate, because Beijing’s great economic progress forces Europe and the U.S. to act as if they were its colonies. But they do not understand that without reform of the economic system — and especially if they fail to insert democracy within their domestic politics — they will not be able to avoid social unrest and the collapse of the one-party dictatorship. The analysis of the great dissident.

Washington (AsiaNews) — The so-called China model is designed to treat the developed countries as a new type of colony and use them for commodity dumping. This statement will make many “patriotic” angry Chinese youths feel triumphant: now here comes the revenge, we are a sovereign state able to dominate them as colonies. Ever since the anti-imperialist cultural and political movement of May 4, 1919, the propaganda by the Chinese intellectuals that was distorting history and inciting hate is still poisoning the minds of many. However, the dreams of a fool’s paradise by these angry youths are not as great as they seem.

Although the developed countries have become dumping grounds like colonies, the newly emerging industrialized countries have not become sovereign states ruling over these developed countries. The reason is because people’s incomes in China and other newly emerging industrialized countries have not significantly improved, and their domestic markets, infrastructure and technological levels are not increasing simultaneously. Instead, the markets are flooded with low-quality goods. The quality levels have been declining globally. This is the era that one can make a lot of money without advancing science and technology, or improving quality. What one needs to do instead is to maintain a low human rights standard among the laborers, rather than a high-tech advantage. The global politics under the control of global capital are all at work to maintain this “advantage” of a low labor rights standard. The people in the newly emerging industrialized countries have much less income than those of the “colonized” markets, along with even lower human rights and even lower consumption. They are even less than these people in the colonies. They are the slaves for the colonies.

So who is the exploiter, who has the sovereign rights over the colony markets? The answer is: transnational capital. Nowadays, the capitalists do not oppose the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP is capitalist itself. Their slogan is “let all the capitalists in the world unite, so that some people enjoy a prosperous life.” The premise allowing some of these people to get prosperous is the global free trade under unfair conditions. Its foundation is the deprived human rights of the people of these emerging industrial countries. Its consequence is the economic recession in the developed countries, as they move closer to the less developed countries. Its method is not rent-seeking of the capital, but a controlled politics that is well planned and well organized by capital to serve for the lower human rights standards and unfair trade. Global free trade has been transformed into a tool of transnational capital for excess profits. It has lost the functionality it once had for promoting the global economy after World War II.

The most important variable in this transformation is the so-called China Model. Despite the name of global free trade, it has already deteriorated into a global unfair trade. For the developed countries, unfairness is reflected in the low human rights standards of their competitors. The authoritarian political system guarantees unfair low labor cost. Coupled with unfair measures of market access, high-quality merchandise is only squeezed out of the market by the inferior goods. To the newly emerging countries, unfairness is reflected in the income of the working-class, which is not synchronized with the growth of the economic development. An undeveloped domestic market inhibits economic development, inhibits technological progress, and contributes to political corruption. This phenomenon can be seen in almost all the newly emerging industrialized countries.

With both developed and emerging countries being harmed, will this global trade economy be sustainable in the long term? The answer is no. That is because the scale of global consumption growth is less than the actual growth in production. Production rate will be difficult to maintain. The financial surplus-induced recession is only a beginning, and a warning. If there is only a financial surplus, then inflation will automatically balance it. But the reason for the financial surplus is because of the excessive profits due to the global trading system. Therefore, the market cannot automatically balance it. The result of the self-balancing becomes a starting point: on balance the next round will continue downward, which means continued economic decline.

In another words, GDP growth has not brought growth in the global market, while the excess profits will still bring excess growth in financial markets. The rate of inflation will continue to accelerate, but will always fall behind the financial growth rate. On the one hand is the surplus of goods, and on the other hand is the excess money. Both cannot flow freely, but are hindered by the highly profitable market rules and extreme disparities of income. This hindrance is the reason which lead to economic crisis and foreign expansion in the past few centuries. In this crisis, the actual situation in China is worse than in developed countries. The semi-closed market in China prevents the automatic adjustment of the market. This closure continues to improve conditions for excess profits, while it further increases the gap between rich and poor, and inhibits market development. Thus, the degree of recession in China is much larger than that of developed countries.

As the current global trading system cannot automatically adjust and cannot automatically balance itself, every country has to take their own measures to restore a balance of the markets in their own countries. The first step is that the actual colonial states have to enforce trade protectionism, to resist the overall dumping. If, as happened in the nineteenth century China, it cannot stop the dumping of cheap goods, then the result will be a national economic recession with declining industries and growing unemployment. Eventually, politics will be controlled by these external forces for economic reasons. This has gradually become the reality in the USA. Therefore, in order to save themselves, the Western countries must take protective measures to reverse this trend. Western democracy is struggling with the capital now. To force the Chinese currency RMB’s appreciation is just the beginning of self-help, but not all that is required.

In this process, inevitably China will be subject to strikes on its export. Surely the so-called export-oriented economic model will not be able to be maintained. Here, there are two possible options.

The first option is to plan ahead. China should proceed immediately to expand the domestic market while reforming the currency and commodity markets. In this way it will quickly balance the domestic market via the international market, and get over the difficulties of economic recession by cooperating with the developed countries. However, this option is at the cost of losing the excess profits of the international and domestic capital, and reducing support for authoritarian politics. The difficulty now is that China’s existing one-party dictatorship with the support of the big capital could hardly to make this compromise, unlike the fight that is going on between the capital and national interests in the Western countries. China’s national interests have long been subordinated to the interests of capital, and there is no democratic process that can correct it.

So the CCP is left only with the second choice: to adhere to the semi-closed market and closed monetary policy, taking one step at a time. Besides occasionally making small compromises when it is forced to, the ultimate goal will be to keep the excess profits of the China Model in order to win the continued support of global capital. But the difficulty is that this choice will force the West to speed up its process of protectionism and simultaneously speed up the outbreak of social conflict in China, thus speeding up the collapse of communist regime. The Jasmine Revolution in the Arab world was promoted in this way. However, the greatest difficulty is that the CCP is controlled by the big capitalists, for whom it is impossible to give up excess profits and impossible to truly initiate the reform process. Thus, capital and the CCP can only take China into the abyss, and cause a new round of global economic turmoil.

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

U. S. President Obama Goes on Vacation Despite the Crisis

(AGI) Washington — Markets across the world are in turmoil, speculators are still targeting the U.S. dollar and government bonds, but U.S. President Barack Obama has confirmed he will vacation, as planned. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made it clear that while on Martha’s Vineyard, President Obama “ will be in constant communication” with the White House and “will be fully capable if necessary of traveling back to Washington.” .

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

US Stocks Fall Near Day’s Lows in Late Trading

U.S. stocks slumped as investors fretted over the health of European banks and weighed the Federal Reserve’s gloomy economic outlook against hints of further actions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 401 points, or 3.6%, to 10838, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index slid 37 points, or 3.2%, to 1135 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 70 points, or 2.8%, to 2412.

All 30 of the Dow components and all 10 of the S&P 500 sectors were in negative territory, with just a handful of S&P 500 components in positive territory. In a reflection of investor concern, the CBOE Market Volatility Index, the “fear gauge” known as the VIX, surged 18%, though it was off its highest levels of the day.

“The market can go from euphoria to depression at the flick of a switch,” says Chris Brown, portfolio manager of the Pax World Balanced Fund, with $2 billion in assets under management. “People are concerned about France’s ratings, and the banks are under an extreme amount of pressure.”

Leading the declines were financial stocks, with Citigroup falling 8.9%, Bank of America off 7.9%, J.P. Morgan Chase down 4.1% and American Express shedding 5.8%…

[Return to headlines]


GMOs Failing Across America — Farmer to Farmer Film Reveals Disastrous Failure

(NaturalNews) The mainstream media reports almost nothing about the downside of GMO farming. Only the propaganda of creating more agricultural abundance cheaply is broadcasted. A short video documentary “Farmer to Farmer: The Truth about GM Crops” offers a glimpse into the undisclosed downside reality of GMO farming.

Documentary Essence

Michael Hart has been a commercial farmer in Cornwall, England for thirty years. He is not an organic farmer, but he is a proponent of agricultural diversity from family farms. He wants the EU to avoid the GMO seed/herbicide trap.

His recently produced short documentary focuses on American farmers, who have bought into the biotech industry’s propaganda of higher yields with less overhead. The farmers he interviewed underscore the same theme: Monsanto has trapped them into a financial system of patented seeds and herbicides that have resulted in faltering crop yields with higher operating expenses.

[Return to headlines]

Homeland Security Chairman Seeks Probe Into Administration-Sanctioned Bin Laden Movie

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling for an investigation into the Obama administration’s granting of high-level access to filmmakers re-creating the U.S. special operation forces mission that killed Usama bin Laden.

In a letter to the inspectors general of the Defense Department and CIA, U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., wrote that the administration’s first duty in declassifying material is to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people to build public trust through transparency of government.

“In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history,” King wrote in the Aug. 9 letter.

The movie is the creation of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, who won an Oscar for their portrayal of an Iraq war bomb squad in “The Hurt Locker.” In a New York Times column that appeared Sunday, columnist Maureen Dowd noted that the White House was counting on the “big-screen version of the killing of bin Laden to counter Obama’s growing reputation as ineffectual.”

Dowd added that the pair had gotten “top-level access” to the mission and the projected October 2012 release date is “perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher.”

“Our upcoming film project about the decade long pursuit of Bin Laden has been in the works for many years and integrates the collective efforts of three administrations,” a public relations representative for the film and Mark Boal said in a statement. “This was an American triumph, both heroic, and non-partisan and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise.”

The Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that it is cooperating with the project.

“This film project is only in the script development phase, and DoD is providing assistance with script research, which is something we commonly do for established filmmakers,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said. “Until there is a script to review, and a request for equipment or other DoD support, there is no formal agreement for DoD support.”

A CIA spokeswoman said the agency’s goal is an “accurate portrayal” of its mission.

“As part of our public outreach, this agency — like others in our government — has over the years engaged with writers, documentary filmmakers, movie and TV producers and others in the entertainment industry,” Marie Harf said. “Our goal is an accurate portrayal of the men and women of the CIA, their vital mission and the commitment to public service that defines them.”

However, Fox News has learned that when the Pentagon cooperated with Bigelow on “The Hurt Locker,” a Department of Defense-sanctioned Army adviser pulled out at the last minute because Bigelow added several scenes that had not been authorized, breaking the production assistance agreement.

Among the additional scenes not approved by the Pentagon were one in which a U.S.-armored Humvee with an American flag on it drove into a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan to film “angry reaction” of the crowd. The directors also added scenes that showed U.S. military personnel abusing detainees.

King said he questioned whether military officials and the CIA will be able to screen the film before its release, whether the filmmakers access to CIA agents could blow their covers and how many tactics, techniques and agency methods could have been compromised…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck: New Federal Lawsuit Links Iran to the 9/11 Attacks

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, new evidence is coming to light that Al Qaeda did not act alone.

My latest report examines a new federal lawsuit, filed by the families of 9/11 victims, that reveals Iran’s role in the deadliest day of terror in American history.

Members of the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission, plus three Iranian defectors, are all involved in the case.

They lay out convincing proof that the Iranian regime not only had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, but actually worked directly with some of the hijackers in the months prior.

Click on the above link to watch.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Blowing-Up the Solar Power Market

Like most forms of renewable energy, solar power still loses points for cost effectiveness. Two Swiss energy pioneers hope to change that with a blow-up solution.

Felix Tiefenbacher and Samuel Kutter of Vienna-based Heliovis have seen the future and the future is sausage shaped and inflatable.

The prototype is impressive: a 35-metre long tube, two metres in diameter. The final 200-metre long device is due on the market in 2016.

The solar innovators have permission to assemble and test their device on the grounds of the Dürnrohr steam power plant near Zwentendorf in Austria. went along for a physics lesson.

Tiefenbacher is pleased and annoyed in equal parts. On the plus side, the welded joints of the inflated tube withstood tests x- rays.

But due to the breakdown of a relay afterwards the tube deflated slightly and because it was loose a gust of wind was enough to damage the outer film.

Now the company engineers are working on making the relays fully functional again. Among them the quantum physicist from Basel explains how the so-called “Heliotube” turns the light of the sun into energy.

Heliotube system (swissinfo)

How it works…

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

Denmark: Von Trier and Df Point Fingers Over Norway Tragedy

Director says there is a “direct line” between DF’s rhetoric and killings; DF calls von Trier “perverse”, a “Nazi”

Controversial film director Lars von Trier and Søren Espersen, spokesman for the Danish People’s Party (DF), engaged in a war of words over the role Denmark’s political debate may have played in inspiring Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

In an interview with Politiken newspaper on Saturday, von Trier expressed regret that his film ‘Dogville’ was listed among Breivik’s favourites and that the film’s violent climax may have played some part in inspiring the 32-year-old Norwegian’s deadly shooting spree on the island of Utøya.

“I feel terribly bad thinking that ‘Dogville’, which is in my eyes one of my most successful films, could have been a kind of script for him,” von Trier told Politiken. “It is horrific.”

Von Trier’s 2003 film, which Breivik listed as one of his favourites on his now-defunct Facebook profile, ends with the mass murder of all of the residents of the fictional American town of Dogville. Von Trier argued that if Breivik took inspiration from the movie, he had misunderstood it.

My intention with ‘Dogville’ was totally opposite,” von Trier said. “Namely to examine whether we can accept a protagonist who takes revenge on an entire town. And here I completely distance myself from the revenge. It’s a way of making the protagonist and our feelings more nuanced and perhaps even exposing them, so that it isn’t just black and white.”

And so you could ask if I am sorry that I made the film,” he continued. “And yes, if it means that it had this effect, then I am sorry I have made it.”

But while von Trier appeared willing to accept blame for any unwitting role he may have played in Breivik’s plans, he lashed out at the DF for not acknowledging that its “foreigner hostility” and “Islam-fright”, in his words, may also have influenced Breivik. Von Trier pointed a finger squarely at the party’s leader Pia Kjærsgaard for her role in stirring up prejudice against Muslims and foreigners. It was not the first time in the wake of the July 22 terror attacks in Norway that the tone of Denmark’s politics was examined.

“I think there is a direct line from Pia Kjærsgaard’s view of humanity to Utøya,” von Trier said. “One must demand that Kjærsgaard step forward and take her share of the responsibility for what happened in Norway.”

“[The DF’s] attitudes might not legitimise what happened in Noway, because it is extreme. But when you dehumanise an entire population, there is a price to pay. We have built up a debt that must be paid, and now unfortunately it has been paid by some children on Utøya,” von Trier continued. “And the Danish People’s Party has been part of establishing that debt.”

The DF, however, rejected von Trier’s criticism and said the director was in no position to point fingers. A party official would not allow Politiken to speak with Kjærsgaard on the matter, saying that von Trier was not her equal and that he was mentally ill and a Nazi. Politiken instead reached party spokesman Søren Espersen, who expressed the same view.

“It’s interesting that [the criticism] comes from a declared Nazi and a man who has made violent films of the most perverse character which, according to Breivik himself, inspired his atrocities,” Espersen told Politiken.

Espersen was referring to von Trier’s now infamous Cannes press conference in which the director quipped that he was more of a Nazi than a Jew and said he “understood” Adolf Hitler. His comments caused an international uproar and resulted in the director being banned from the film festival. Von Trier later apologized for his remarks and avowed that he absolutely is not a Nazi.

According to Espersen, the DF had been unfairly singled out, and not just for the attacks in Norway.

“It is so unfair. We also got the blame for the embassy burnings following the Mohammad crisis. It’s almost like we can’t do anything right, whether it is enraged Islamists, perverted anarchists, or Anders Breivik,” Espersen said. “We must not take the blame away from Anders Breivik. A person takes the leap from debate to violence and terror all on their own. Others should not bear the responsibility or blame.”

           — Hat tip: The Midget[Return to headlines]

Finland: Hate Speech to Get Defined Legal Limits

Clear legal boundaries are being imposed on internet hate speech. According to the newspaper Turun Sanomat, the police are collecting material— including comments in the immigration debate—so that the state prosecutor could give precise instructions for what merits fines and prison sentences.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

France: Inquiry Targets Christine Lagarde

Libération, 1 January 1970

Is the IMF the kiss of death for the French? In the wake of the May resignation of IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn following his arrest for sexual assault, his successor, Christine Lagarde, has become the target of uncomfortable allegations. A judicial inquiry is to investigate the role of the former French Finance Minister in the settlement of a dispute between businessman Bernard Tapie and a bankrupt nationalised bank, Crédit lyonnais. Lagarde is suspected of abusing her position by placing the matter, which had been in the courts since the mid-1990s, in the hands of panel of private arbitrators in 2008. The arbitrators subsequently ruled in favour of Tapie, and ordered the state to pay him damages of 390 million euros.

“Lagarde trips up over Tapie,” headlines Libération, which points to the businessman’s “close association with the head of state” Nicolas Sarkozy. For the left-wing daily, the managing director of the IMF “has been undermined in an institution which insists that its staff behave with ‘integrity, impartiality and discretion.’“ Adopting a more cautious tone, the editorial in right-wing daily Le Figaro argues that the affair “should not give rise to a media circus” and reminds its readers that “the investigation is a routine judicial procedure.” For its part, Catholic newspaper La Croix points out that the news will come as yet a further problem for Lagarde: “This new situation in Paris will not help her in her role in Washington or in the resolution of international disputes.”

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

Islamic Human Rights Commission: UK Must Stop Demonising Its Rioters

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHCR) Tuesday expressed its deep concern about the level of demonisation in media and governmental discourse regarding the worst riots and disturbances seen in Britain in living memory.

“IHRC is alarmed that discussion and debate has targeted and criminalised youth in general and black youth in particular, as well as dismissing key issues of poverty and social and economic marginalisation, police violence, profiling and racism,” the London-based organisation said.

IHRC chair, Massoud Shadjareh told that there is clearly a discussion to be had over “the loss of values that has seen violence and looting overshadow demonstrations and the real issues of grievance.”

“However, there is a deep hypocrisy in this when just recently British politicians were embroiled in expenses scandals that focussed on the acquiring of luxuries from flat screen TVs to holidays at public expense,” Shadjareh said.

“This, and the continued violence of British foreign policy for oil and gain, are the examples that have been set by the leaders of this country, and any discussion of morality and values must focus on and deal with the entirety of the problem, not just scapegoat those already marginalised,” he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that the riots, which started on Saturday night in London and spread across the capital into other major cities, were “criminality pure and simple and it has to be confronted and defeated.”

“These are sickening scenes — scenes of people looting, vandalising, thieving, robbing, scenes of people attacking police officers and even attacking fire crews as they’re trying to put out fires,” Cameron said.

He made no mention of police working with community leaders as called for by the chair of the Home Affairs Committee Keith Vaz, but warned that those responsible will feel “the full force of the law and if you are old enough to commit these crimes you are old enough to face the punishment.”

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

‘Riots Reveal the Decay of British Society’

After the fourth night of riots in England, observers are asking what is behind the wave of violence. German commentators argue that the unrest reflects a deep-seated malaise at the heart of British society.

Britain is searching for answers after four consecutive nights of riots that have shocked the country and led to hundreds of arrests.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who cut short his vacation in Italy in reaction to this week’s violence, was due to chair a meeting of Cobra, the British government’s emergency council, on Wednesday to discuss how to proceed. He has recalled the British parliament, which will meet on Thursday to discuss the rioting , the worst violence of its kind in Britain since race riots in the 1980s.

London was relatively quiet on Tuesday night, following the deployment of around 16,000 police in trouble spots around the city. Many businesses closed early on Tuesday amid fears of unrest.

Violence spread to an increasingly number of towns and cities around England, however, including Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, where groups of young men in hooded tops looted shops and set fire to cars and buildings. In one of the most serious incidents, a police station in Nottingham was firebombed. Violence was also reported in Wolverhampton, Leicester, Bristol and Gloucester.

Youth have reportedly been using mobile phones and social media to organize the disturbances. In some places they reportedly played cat-and-mouse games with police, who appeared overwhelmed at times. So far police have not used heavy-duty, anti-riot tactics such as tear gas or water cannon, but some conservative and right-wing politicians have called for a harder crackdown on the unrest.

There were reports of residents in some cities organizing to protect their businesses and neighborhoods. In Southall, west London, local Sikhs insisted they would protect their temple against rioters. Meanwhile the leader of the far-right English Defense League, Stephen Lennon, has said his group would “stop the riots,” claiming the police were unable to cope with the situation.

A murder inquiry has been launched in Birmingham after a car ran over and killed three Muslim men. The men were reported to have been part of a group that was trying to protect their neighborhood. A 26-year-old man who was found shot in a car in the London suburb of Croydon on Monday has since died in hospital. He is believed to have been shot during unrest there.


The authorities have been shocked by the scale of the rioting. “This has been senseless on a scale I have never witnessed before in my career,” commented Garry Shewan, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester police.

Police in London said they had arrested 768 people since the rioting began, and charged 167 suspects. One arrested youth was only 11 years old. Dozens of youths were arrested in other cities, with 300 arrested in the Greater Manchester area alone. A total of 1,335 people have been arrested since the unrest began. Over 110 London police officers have been injured in the violence.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who was heckled Tuesday during a visit to a damaged shopping street in Clapham, has said that plans to cut police numbers should be reconsidered in the light of the violence.

The riots come less than a year before London is due to host the Olympics Games. Johnson insisted that the city would be able to host the event as planned. “We have time in the next 12 months to rebuild, to repair the damage that has been done,” he said.

A soccer game between England and the Netherlands that was supposed to take place in London on Wednesday has been cancelled because too few police officers are available to guarantee security, given the massive show of force elsewhere in the city…

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

Spain: Big Firms Evading Tax Worth Over 42 Billion

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, AUGUST 9 — Spain’s multinationals deprived the country’s treasury of 42,711,000,000 euros in 2010, or 71.8% of total tax evasion and three times the sum amassed by the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed. The figures emerge from a report compiled by specialists at the Revenue Agency of the Finance Ministry, and which has been released today. Fiscal evasion by SMEs and the self-employed is estimated at 16,261,000,000 euros, making the total amount of evasion by business 59,515,000,000 euros, or around double that of employed workers, which has been put at 30 billion euros.

Three quarters of all tax evasion was concentrated in the 41,582 largest companies. Especially large corporations which turn over more than 180 million euros, paying in 19.5% of total revenues, around four and a half percent less than the smallest companies.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain’s Archbishop Urges Catholics to Pray for Mild Weather

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, AUGUST 9 — The Cardinal and Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, has today thanked the youngsters taking part in International Youth Day of Madrid (August 16-21), calling upon them to pray that “it doesn’t get too hot in the capital” next week for the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI on his visit.

Cardinal Rouco Varela made this appeal during his homily spoken at a mass of welcome which was celebrated at the Youth Day headquarters in Madrid’s trade fair park in the presence of around 2,000 of the 30,000 enrolled volunteers that have begun to arrive in the capital city. The Chair of the Spanish Bishop’s Conference expressed his hope that “it won’t get too hot” during the Pope’s visit, which begins on August 18, “so that he can enjoy the event to the fullest”. The Cardinal praised “the participation of young people who are prepared to live the Youth Day in the spirit of service to others”.

According to the organisers, around 3,000 volunteers have been trained in emergency procedures by Spain’s Samur and Civil Guard for performing first aid, evacuating premises and risk limitation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain: Back to Work Permits for Romanians

La Razón, 10 August 2011

The EU “accepts Spain’s limits on the access of Romanians” to the Spanish labour market, headlines the daily La Razón, announcing that the European Commission “will allow Spain as of tomorrow [August 11] to re-institute work permits for citizens of Romania,” which were abolished in 2009. From now on they will be mandatory for new residents.

The conservative daily writes that “Brussels and the [Spanish] government agree on the timing of the decision to restore” what the Commission calls a “normal labour market” in Spain. The Romanian community in Spain has more than 860,000 residents, attracted in recent years by Spain’s economic boom. Today, with an unemployment rate of 21 percent — 30 percent among Romanian workers — Madrid needed a free hand from the EU “to cut back on one of the fundamental freedoms of the European treaties: freedom of movement”, and, what’s more, “during the summer, which sees thousands of temporary Romanian workers come to the Spanish countryside.” The restrictions will not apply to Romanian workers already resident in Spain, even if they are unemployed, La Razón concludes.

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

Sweden: Politicians to Blame for Far Right Growth: Mankell

Swedish bestselling author and human rights activist Henning Mankell said in an interview on UK television on Monday that mainstream politicians shoulder the responsibility for the rise of the far right.

Interviewed on the BBC news show Hardtalk, Mankell told journalist Tim Franks that the terror attacks in Norway have shown us that any religion can be hijacked and used a reason for terrorism by a sick mind.

“Terrorism will now always be connected to people that are not only ‘kidnapping’ Islam but Christianity or any other religion,” Mankell told the BBC.

Mankell also said he is concerned about people speaking about Anders Behring Breivik, responsible for the bombing and massacre in Norway in July, as an “evil person”.

“No child is born evil. Evil circumstances are always surrounding evil actions. If we start talking of evil people we go back 500 years in time.” Mankell said.

Mankell also said that Behring Breivik is living in an imaginary world where he believes himself to be a soldier at war, demanding to be allowed to dress in uniform in court.

He also said he believes that examinations will show Behring Brevik to be severely mentally disturbed.

The BBC asked him how concerned the rest of the world should be of the rise of the far right in Scandinavia.

“We should be concerned but we should also be realistic. So far the ultra extreme right wing hasn’t had such a profound impact in Scandinavian society. But we will have to see to that they will not grow too much,” Mankell responded.

However, Mankell blames the mainstream politicians for the increase in support for the far right in the region.

“They have taken the attitude ‘we will ignore them — we won’t discuss with them’ and that to me is completely wrong. You have to take the dialogue with them otherwise they will be left to grow,” Mankell told the BBC.

           — Hat tip: The Midget[Return to headlines]

UK Riots: MCB [Muslim Council of Britain] Condemns Riots and Joins Calls to Clean Up Our Streets

The Muslim Council of Britain expresses its condemnation of the violence, destruction of properties, looting and disgraceful attacks on the police in various parts of the capital and other towns. There can be no justification whatsoever for such mindless and thuggish behaviour. We call upon all our communities to remain calm and vigilant. We ask community leaders to support the authorities, particularly, the police and the fire service in their valiant and commendable efforts to maintain law and order, and protect our streets and properties. We also request our communities and youth to provide whatever help they can in clearing and cleaning up. We join the appeal by authorities to urge parents to be extra vigilant over their children. Searching questions will be asked about what led to these young yobs to carry out this thuggery. For now, tough and challenging times require unity and solidarity. It is essential that active and suitable fora are provided and utilised to work towards restoring peace, trust and mutual respect between all sections of the society.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK Riots: Looters Now Issuing Leaflets to Scare People From Coming Forward

After three days of continuous rioting, looting and violence in pockets of the UK that has already claimed millions in property damage, public service costs and some lives, criminals are now issuing street leaflets discouraging culprits and witnesses from coming forward regarding crimes undertaken by youths.

This is one of a number of disturbing new trends that has reared its ugly head since Saturday night’s initial unrest began in Tottenham North London, which soon turned into “Retail Rioting”, as youths between the ages of 12 and 20 years old took to the streets in search of take-away retail prizes. The result was mass violence, theft and arson not seen before on this scale.

It seems that lawlessness knows no bounds.

Police are currently combing through thousands of CCTV still images and video footage in an effort to ‘name and shame’ youths embedded in their urdan communities, and hoping to track down vandals who participated in the mass social unrest which has plagued urban areas in London and other areas of the UK this week.

In response to this, shadowy criminal advocates have printed flyers in an attempt to reassure thousands of culprits not to come forward to police even if their digital portraits are show in the media.

On one level, criminals have exposed to oxymoron of the CCTV camera, in that police do not have the manpower or stable of analysts needed to go through and follow-up on so many CCTV leads.

In a bid to out smart the authorities, the flyer is telling looters to “lay low”, “delete dodgy texts”, “change your haircut” and “be careful who you speak to about what happened”.

This level of organisation, normally reserved for political activists and ideological anarchist activities, is a new trend whereby criminals and looters are employing dissemination of advocacy information for the purpose of protecting participants in one of the worst criminal mass demonstrations in modern UK history.

Similar disturbing revelations will no doubt come to light as this story unfolds in the coming days and weeks.

Already authorities are keen to sequester Twitter account details and Blackberry network server logs for BBM texts, in an attempt to catch those involved in propagating and organising retails raids and arson…

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK Riots: Insurers ‘Will Pay Claims Then Recover Money From the Police’

Britain’s police forces could face a bill for tens of millions of pounds from insurance companies because property was damaged in the rioting while the “police effectively failed to keep law and order”.

Grahame Trudgill, the head of corporate affairs for the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba), said insurance companies had the right to reclaim the money under the Riot Damages Act of 1886.

He said members would “respond” to claims from householders and small businesses, and would then attempt to reclaim the money from the police. Biba’s brokers handle around half of the value of all home contents, motor, travel, commercial and industrial insurance policies in the UK.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), the trade body for insurance companies, said damages from the three nights of civil unrest would cost “well over £100m”. Most insurers have said they will honour claims for damage caused by the rioting.

Nick Starling, the director of general insurance and health at the ABI, said home insurance policies “should cover people for fire, looting or damage caused”. He added: “Many policies will also cover people for accommodation costs if they can’t stay in their home.”

Most commercial insurance policies will cover businesses for damage to their premises, including the interruption to their business as a result, while some policies will also cover businesses that are not damaged but whose trade is affected by the aftermath…

[Return to headlines]

UK.: Turkish Shop Owners Trying to Defend Businesses in East London

Turkish shopkeepers in an east London neighborhood are refusing to close their shops amid huge riots as they attempt to guard their property

Turkish and Kurdish business owners between Hackney’s Stoke Newington High Street and Kingsland Road in London have been fighting to defend their properties from days of rioting across the United Kingdom.

“It was between about 9 or 10 at night,” said Yilmaz Karagöz, sitting in his coffee shop next to a jeweller’s shop that has been shuttered since Sunday when the rioting began and a pharmacy that closed a day after.

“There were a lot of them. We came out of our shops but the police asked us to do nothing. But the police did not do anything, so, as more came, we chased them off ourselves,” Karagöz said.

The staff from a local kebab restaurant ran at the attackers with döner knives in their hands. “I don’t think they will be coming back,” Karagöz said.

According to British daily The Guardian, on Green Street in East Ham a similar-sized group of rioters was chased away by several hundred Asian residents. And in Bethnal Green local shopkeepers came out to defend their property.

Tuesday night there were further reports of communities taking steps to defend themselves. Dozens of men were guarding the main Sikh temple in Southall, west London.

Around 200 people were walking around the center of Eltham, southeast London, following rumors that the area was going to be the latest place to be hit by disturbances. The group, predominantly men, had been congregating in pubs since rumors began to circulate in mid-afternoon. “This is a white working-class area and we are here to protect our community,” said one man.

In Enfield, north London, about 70 men were seen chasing a group of youths.

According to the daily Telegraph, officers were nowhere to be seen in south London as shop fronts were smashed at St. John’s Road, Clapham Junction.

But the gangs of youths were prevented from carrying on their activities south into Northcote Road, site of restaurants — specialist food stores and boutiques — by locals who guarded the top of the street from a branch of Nando’s to the Northcote Pub.

A core of 20 people gathered at the junction, with up to 50 at some points, from just after 9 p.m. until 11 p.m.

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

UK: ‘Fed Up’ Residents Form Anti-Looter Patrols

Members of the public have taken to the streets of London to protect their communities from violence and looting.

On the streets of Enfield, in the north of the capital, a group of 70 men patrolled their streets late into Tuesday night.

They were one of several groups in the area determined to take a stand against rioting and to help the over-stretched police force.

Enfield was badly affected by the riots on Monday night, with a Sony warehouse set on fire.

One of those involved in the patrol, Nick Davidson, said a lack of action from police prompted their decision: “We’ve had enough of the police just standing there… while people are looting and ruining the whole area.

“Everybody here pays tax and we’ve all had enough of it. We’re sickened by the police doing absolutely nothing.

“They’re not policing our streets, we have to police them.”

On the patrol in Enfield, the men told Sky News that they were determined to take a stand for “as long as it takes”.

Another participant told Sky News: “The real community of Enfield have had to come together and stick up for ourselves, the businesses, the places we come and shop, the places that we live and prevent any more damage happening.”

They also believe they have struck a chord with their community.

Matt Skooly, 39, insisted that his group had had a positive response: “We’ve been cheered by pedestrians, other local people and the police cheered us on as well.

“Hopefully this is going to cap it, this is the last of the kids coming out like thugs and wrecking stuff, we’ll look after our own streets in a responsible way.”

As the evening progressed the crowd grew and was later estimated to number 300 people.

In Southall, west London, hundreds of Sikh men stood guard outside their temple and patrolled the streets…

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘My Boy’s Death is Not a Race Issue’: Devastated Father Whose Son and Two Friends Were Mowed Down by Riot Thugs Appeals for Calm

Tariq Jahan, the father of victim Haroon Jahan, 21, made a statement on a street in the city asking for people to come forward in the search for justice and said that the issue was not related to race.

Mr Jahan said: ‘We lost three cherish members of our community taken in a way no sister, brother, father should endure.’

‘Today we stand here to plead with all the youth to remain calm, for our communities to stand united.

‘This is not a race issue. The family has received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of society.’

He called on people to ‘respect the memories of our sons’ by bringing a stop to violence.

Visibly emotional, Mr Jahan said: ‘I lost my son. Blacks, Asians, whites — we all live in the same community.

‘Why do we have to kill one another? Why are we doing this? Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise, calm down and go home — please.’

Following his statement, there was a very minor disturbance involving a group of men, but Mr Jahan again got to his feet and said: I’m mourning my son.Grow up. Go home.’

As Mr Jahan spoke, the Prime Minister described the apparent killing of the three men as a ‘truly dreadful incident’ and offered his condolences to their families.

Mr Cameron added: ‘I know that the police here in Birmingham, here in the West Midlands, are working night and day to get to the bottom of what happened and bring the perpetrators to justice.

‘We rely on the police to keep our communities, to keep our country, to keep our shops and homes safe.

‘They need our support in doing that job.’

Earlier today, Mr Jahan told how he performed CPR on his dying son, after a hit-and-run driver mowed down the three men who were ‘protecting their community against rioting and looters’.

He said his hands and face were ‘covered in blood’ as he tried to save the life of 21-year-old son.

Clearly in shock and pleading for an end to the violence that has swept across cities and towns, he said: ‘I miss him dearly but two days from now the whole world will forget — no one will care.’

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘Tensions are already high in the area.

‘It’s already bad enough what we are seeing on the streets now without other people taking the law into their own hands.’

Haroon, Abdul Musavir, 31, and Shazad Ali, 31, were mowed down as they stood on the pavement protecting their mosque and businesses in the community.

Today, a 32-year-old man was being questioned on suspicion of murder.

The father said he was standing round the corner as the car mounted the pavement and knocked down the three young men.

He said he acted instinctively and helped — without realising his boy was one of the trio who were fatally injured.

Mr Jahan said: ‘The car came up on the pavement for God knows what reason and I was standing nearby.

‘I heard it happen and I turned round and I saw three people on the ground and my instinct to help and I started CPR and someone told me that one of them was my son.

‘I started CPR on my own son and my hands and face were covered in blood. What was the point in doing it? We are here defending the community. He was a good kid aged 21, and very well liked.’

Mohammed Chowdhri, who knew Haroon, said the three young men were on the streets protecting the mosque and businesses from rioters.

He said: ‘I have known Haroon since he was a baby, we are all absolutely devastated. He was fed up with the rioters and the looters and he was determined that they would not destroy our community.

‘Him and the two other boys who died, Shazad and Musaver, went out to protect the mosque and the local businesses.

‘They were very worried that the businesses and the mosque would be looted and destroyed.

‘Haroon was a very religious boy, a very good boy, and he was doing what he thought was right. The boys took it upon themselves to put an end to the violence.

‘They went to stand outside the mosque to protect it, and a car came driving round and round the nearby streets, at a really high speed. Suddenly it mounted the pavement and hit the three boys.’

Shazad Ali had recently got married, and his wife, Khansa, is four months pregnant. The men were killed while trying to protect a Muslim Community Centre, and a friend’s business, from rioters as chaos spread across Birmingham last night…

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Armed Sikhs Protect London’s Southall Gurdwara

LONDON: Armed with swords and hockey sticks, over 700 Sikhs took to the streets to protect the Guru Singh Sabha gurdwara in Southall as the police in the UK were stretched to maintain law and order in London.

Local vigilante groups have been formed in various areas in London to protect homes and business establishments that have been vandalised by rioters — mainly of Afro-Caribbean origin — in London over the past four days. These include shops owned by businessmen of Indian origin in Harrow and Ealing. Southall in west London has a large population of Indian origin, which rallied together when, apprehending violence, elders in the gurdwara appealed to the community for help.

Amarjit Singh Klair from nearby Hounslow, who helped rally the men, told the Daily Mail: “We are working along side the police, they’re doing what they can but they are stretched. Why shouldn’t we defend our homes, businesses and places of worship? This is our area. There’s lots of talk about it kicking off here. But we’re ready for them.” Groups of Sikh men stood guard at different parts of the town, keeping in touch via their mobiles. Another man told the paper: “They caught us off guard last night but we still managed to get people together to protect the area. We saw them putting on their balaclavas preparing to jump out of three cars but we charged at them and managed to chase them off.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: A Crisis That Has Been Brewing for Years

Last Friday I wrote a post for this blog suggesting we had a problem with our young people. Well we do now.

I remember talking to Camila Batmanghelidjh of Kids Company in the aftermath of the killing of Damilola Taylor and she said she was concerned that some children in her project had become “suicidally uncaring”. She meant that there was a group of young people who were so damaged that they had no empathy for others. Many of them were effectively homeless. Most disturbingly, they had developed their own parallel morality. This was over a decade ago.

Writing in the Independent today, Camila makes some very similar points: “Working at street level in London, over a number of years, many of us have been concerned about large groups of young adults creating their own parallel antisocial communities with different rules. The individual is responsible for their own survival because the established community is perceived to provide nothing. Acquisition of goods through violence is justified in neighbourhoods where the notion of dog-eat-dog pervades and the top dog survives the best. The drug economy facilitates a parallel subculture with the drug dealer producing more fiscally efficient solutions than the social care agencies who are too under-resourced to compete.”

I don’t know whether the riots have been carried out by the suicidally uncaring but it looks to me that those involved are operating within a parallel morality. Mary Riddell puts it well in the Telegraph:

“Britain’s lack of growth is not an economic debating point or a stick with which to beat George Osborne, any more than our deskilled, demotivated, under-educated non-workforce is simply a blot on the national balance sheet. Watch the juvenile wrecking crews on the city streets and weep for all our futures. The “lost generation” is mustering for war.”

Sarfraz Manzoor has been tweeting that there should be a reclaim-the-streets-march to fight back against the looters. He is right that people need to show solidarity. But the slowly dawning realisation is that we should have got to grips with this years ago. That’s why it is absurd to blame the current government alone for this crisis, however startled and unprepared its representatives may appear in the face of the crisis.

It will be interesting to see how an administration committed to decentralisation and liberalisation will deal with a genuine social crisis. David Cameron needs to show leadership and demonstrate that his government cares. It is simply moronic to suggest that this level of extreme behaviour, such as the capital has not seen for decades, can be explained away as a spontaneous outpouring of criminality.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Defiant Londoners Attempt to Defend Their Communities From Rioters and Looters

DEFIANT Londoners have taken to the streets to defend their communities against the looting and arson which have consumed the British capital over the last four days.

Hundreds of Sikhs, many dressed in traditional outfits, gathered outside the their Gurdwara, or temple, in Southall, west London, after earlier rumours circulated it was next on the looters’ hitlist. Around 200 locals in Enfield, the north London borough at the heart of previous attacks, strode through the area to “protect their streets”, an AFP correspondent said.

The group became involved in a “minor skirmish” with a group of youths which it accused of taking part in criminal activity, the Guardian reported. Amateur video footage released Wednesday showed a group of around 100 men running down an Enfield street chanting “England, England, England”.

A similar number of football fans congregated in the south-east suburb of Eltham, also rumoured to be a likely hot spot. “This is a white working class area and we are here to protect our community,” one man told the Guardian newspaper. We are here to help the police. My mum is terrified after what she saw on the television in the last three days and we decided that it’s not going to happen here,” he added.

Meanwhile, mainly Turkish shopkeepers in the north London districts of Hackney and Kentish Town sat outside their shops into the early hours, many with makeshift weapons by their side.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Joining the Clean-Up Operation

It was 8am this morning when I first saw Sophie and Ella’s clean-up call trending on Twitter. I duly trotted down to Clapham Junction to find the whole area wreathed in smoke and in lockdown. With only four of us there so far, and the police busily trying to restore order, there wasn’t anything we could do at that moment.

And so I ventured down there again later in the morning, joining a procession of locals carrying brooms and bags in wheelbarrows. Dress code: hoodless tops, Marigolds and brooms. I spent a cathartic hour with two other girls cleaning up the streets behind Debenhams. We bagged scores of coat hangers (sizes 40 and 42 most popular), empty BlackBerry boxes, shoe boxes, lots of drinks cartons and bottles (looting’s obviously thirsty work). Some spectators fretted that we were removing “evidence”, but the police confirmed that only Clapham Junction’s main drag remained off-limits to the clean-up operation.

My fellow cleaners said “they’d” been trying to take the sunbeds out of the tanning salon, and they has removed all the hairdryers from Headmasters — where shall I get my blow-dries now? The spookiest rumour was that parents were ferrying their aberrant kids and the booty home in cars. At midday — as I walked up Lavender Hill to my middle class, but now fragile-feeling, enclave — there was a burst of spontaneous applause when a police car passed. And they are giving out free coffee at the Battersea Arts Centre. It’s an extreme way to get out that inner community spirit, but that spirit is certainly blossoming today.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: London Riots: Neighbours Mount Anti-Gang Patrols Amid Fears of Far-Right Agitation

Homeowners and shopkeepers took to the streets last night to protect their neighbourhoods from the gangs amid concerns far-Right groups are attempting to take advantage of community tensions.

In Enfield, where a gang on Monday night torched a Sony warehouse, residents declared a ‘looter free zone.’ Nick Davidson, 27, a computer shop owner said: “Everybody supports the police but we can see their hands are tied. We’re good people but we’re not having this.” In Southall, west London, hundreds of Sikh men stood guard outside their temple and mounted street patrols, armed with baseball bats. In Eltham, south east London, a crowd of 200 men gathered in the streets, promising to protect their neighbourhood from looters and arsonists following rioting in nearby Lewisham and Woolwich. “We won’t stand for it. If anyone wants to come down here and start looting tonight, let them try — we’ll be ready for them,” said one. “We’re here to protect the town. What went on last night was a disgrace. It shouldn’t be allowed. We’re taking a stand.”

On Monday night, the Turkish business owners in Stoke Newington, North London, chased a gang of rioters out the area and yesterday men stood guard last night with baseball bats and fire extinguishers. In Whitechapel groups of Muslim men gathered outside the East London mosque to defend it and repelled looters from a bank.

But there were concerns far-right groups were seeking to take advantage of the disorder. Stephen Lennon, the leader of the far-right EDL, said he spent yesterday in Enfield and claim to have 100 supporters on the streets of the town. Lennon said the group had encouraged all its members to take part in street clean-ups. He said members would launch street patrols in Bristol, Manchester, Luton and Leicestershire over the coming days in an attempt to talk young men out of rioting. “If they tried to smash up Luton town centre I’d know every one of them. I can go into any working class community and talk to them.”

Footage emerged last night of a gang of white men chasing an alleged looter through the streets of Enfield. One bystander shouts: “We’re chasing blacks.” Nick Griffin, the British National Party leader, claimed the men in Eltham had chanted ‘BNP’. He said the situation was in the town was a “race riot”.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: London Riots: This is What Happens When Multiculturalists Turn a Blind Eye to Gang Culture

The roots of these appalling events are many and tangled, but for the moment let’s just focus on one: the way Britain’s educational establishment has cringed helplessly in the face of a gang culture that rejects every tenet of liberal society. It’s violent, it’s sexist, it’s homophobic and it’s racist. But it is broadly tolerated by many people in the black community, which has lost control of its teenage youths. Those youths scare the wits out of teachers and social workers — and some police officers, too. The threat of physical violence is ever present in many schools, and one can hardly blame individual teachers for recoiling from it. But we should and must blame those schools and education authorities that have made extra space for gang culture in children’s lives because they believe it is an authentic expression of Afro-Caribbean and Asian identity. We are seeing a lot of black faces on our screens tonight; it’s a shame that the spotlight can’t also fall on those white multiculturalists who made this outrage possible.

[JP note: Short, pithy and to the point. Name and shame pictures of white multiculturalists such as Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman should be published, and their philosophy, which has held sway for far too long, should be pilloried unrelentlingly in metaphorical stocks for the public shaming of the far-Left.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: London Riots: Mosque Worshippers Ward Off Gang as They Ambush Whitechapel Road

Worshippers confronted with chaotic scenes as they left the Whitechapel mosque last night chased off rioters and formed a protective cluster to stop thugs from entering the building.

Hundreds of Muslims from across Tower Hamlets and beyond were leaving the East London Mosque after evening prayers when violent mobs struck the area at around 10pm.

While women and children were ushered back into the mosque, a hardcore of worshippers confronted the gangs as they attacked shops and buildings on Whitechapel Road.

A ten-minute standoff ensued, with rioters attempting to mingle in the with the crowds in a bid to hide themselves as riot police closed in on the area.

Salman Farsi, the mosque’s communication chief who was witnessed the scenes, said: “Worshippers chased them away. There was a lot of shouting. A missile was hurled towards direction of mosque and the atmosphere was very tense. “I don’t think any member of our community is going to stand for vandalism. We’re going to stand here united.

“Our mosque volunteers and stewards were calming people and guiding them back into the mosque. We advised young people to keep away from the riots and go straight home after prayers.”

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, visited the area today and said she was told by shopkeepers and residents that they believed the rioters had come from other boroughs to cause trouble. She said: “The worshippers must have been very frightened. Everyone is adamant these people are not going to divide our community. The rioters tried to enter the mosque with the intention of causing damage and the worshippers stood firmly against them.”

Whitechapel Road, Bethnal Green Road and Roman Road saw the worst of the damage with shops looted and windows smashed in. Tower Hamlets Police said five officers were injured in the riots, which started at around 10pm.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Pervert Dr. Haleem Bhatti Sexually Assaulted 5 Women Being Examined for Chest Pain

A perverted GP who abused his position to sexually assault five patients while pretending to carry out medical examinations has been jailed for seven years.

Dr Haleem Bhatti targeted his victims when they consulted him for rashes, chest pain and weight gain, taking the opportunity to violate their most private areas.

The 48-year-old groped his victims’ breasts and even put his hand between their thighs, while asking needless and inappropriate questions about their sex lives.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

UK: The Riots Are David Cameron’s Biggest Test Yet

When Parliament meets in emergency session tomorrow, it will conduct two snap audits, interlinked but separate: first, of the nation’s social fabric and, second, of David Cameron’s premiership. This is the greatest test to date of the PM’s mettle and of his statesmanship. Political legend has it that a child once pointed at Lord Randolph Churchill and asked: “Mama, what is that man for?” A Prime Minister who cannot preserve the social order faces similar questions, and rightly so. Cameron did himself no favours by failing to come home until yesterday. The public was left with the impression that his return was forced rather than instinctive; that it was the consequence of political calculation rather than of reflexive empathy with the nation’s anxieties. His dithering and delay over the weekend left the televisual field open to the rioters. On Monday evening in particular the stage was left clear for the rioters, their moment of vile celebrity on our television screens ensured by the absence of any serious competition from the political class. Hackney, Croydon, Ealing: the images of conflagration were more or less uninterrupted, a sort of open-mike night for the thuggish to do their worst on national television.

At a subliminal level, Cameron was also subverting the basis upon which his Coalition came into being. Fear of disorder, as I have written before, was the midwife to its formation. In those nervous days after the general election it was the scenes of rioting in Athens, as the mob protested over the Greek financial crisis, that focused the inter-party talks in Whitehall and impressed upon politicians and senior civil servants alike the urgent need to secure a deal as quickly as possible, to calm market neurosis and — above all — to establish unambiguously who was in charge. If that was clear to Cameron in May 2010 — and it was — why did it take him so long to perceive the much sharper dangers in August 2011?

In his brilliant history of London, Peter Ackroyd notes that “the curious and persistent feature of London life is that ‘law and order’ has never collapsed and that civic peace has been maintained even in the face of grave disorder … Its mobs have never yet dominated it”. That is true — so far — but will be scant comfort to those outside the capital in West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Manchester sifting through the debris of last night’s mayhem.

The deployment of 16,000 police officers on London’s streets made a significant difference but this disorderly virus is both mobile and mutating fast. It has already moved on to infect other cities — cities whose immune systems are much less robust than London’s. The social contagion spreads and those charged with containing it face an unenviable task.

But contain it they must. Predictably, the first four nights of disorder have triggered a rhetorical riot of analysis and over-analysis, an intellectual glamorisation of young men stealing plasma screens and trainers. The Left has stormed in with a wearyingly familiar narrative involving spending cuts, tuition fees, the abolition of the education maintenance allowance, closed youth clubs and (what they really mean) the presence of a Tory in No 10. To see this at its slippery worst go to iPlayer and watch the angry exchange between Michael Gove and Harriet Harman on last night’s Newsnight. Labour’s deputy leader notionally condemned the riots, while insinuating — disgracefully — that the mayhem is somehow connected with the Coalition’s policies.

Yet many on the Right have also defrosted their favourite analyses in the microwave much too quickly, alluding instantly to the terrible impact of welfare dependency, family breakdown and the inability of inner-city schools to help the “underclass”. These are indeed dreadful social pathologies, many of them first explored in Losing Ground (1984), the pioneering study by the US political scientist Charles Murray. But I do not share the certainty of some on the Right that what we are seeing on Britain’s streets can be neatly explained with reference to such analyses. Indeed, I see little political or sociological content of any kind — only a violent consumerism, in which the only right being fought for is the right to free trainers. There was a time when English mobs fought for “Church and king”. Now they smash windows for “Adidas and Nike”.

For guidance I would turn not to Marx or to Murray, but to Thomas Hobbes. This much-misunderstood political philosopher was not a defender of authoritarianism for its own sake but understood that “commodious living” depended upon the preservation of basic order. For Hobbes, the alternative was a “state of nature” in which life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. Only a “common power” could prevent the war “of every man against every man”. What we are seeing on the streets of Britain this week is a sporadic glimpse of the Hobbesian state of nature — localised and digitised for 21st-century consumption. These are Riots 2.0 — broadcast in real time on Twitter, organised on BlackBerrys, agile and nimble to an extent that would have been unthinkable in the Eighties.

The first and most basic task of any government is to keep the peace; to protect those it serves from the passions, frustrations and caprice of their fellow citizens. One man’s legitimate grievance is another’s unjustified whinge: the state, enacting the law, preserves a modus vivendi so that conflicts of interests, unsatisfied demands and sheer anger do not lead to social breakdown. And that is all that counts right now. Until order is restored, all else is distraction. Until the shops stop being boarded up at 3pm, all analysis is pointless. Until the fires are doused, the public will look at Cameron and ask: “What is that man for?” So, Prime Minister: what is your answer?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Tower Hamlets Removes Litter Bins From Streets Following Riots

Tower Hamlets has taken pre-emptive safety precautions in light of the recent riots plaguing London.

The council has announced that it has removed possible fire hazards and projectiles from the streets. Litter bins and large container bins, belonging to both the council and private contractors, have been removed. The council is advising residents to put out their refuse in black sacks and recycling in pink or clear sacks on their usual collection day while the bins are removed. Businesses can also put out their refuse in red sacks and recycling in lilac sacks on their normal collection day.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK:78:000 People Signed an E-Petition to Axe Rioters Benefits

(AGI) London — Over 78,000 British citizens signed an e-petition calling for authorities to take benefit payments away from rioters found guilty of fueling the violence which fired across England. The BBC reported that if the petition got a hundred thousand signature, it will be referred to the backbench business committee of MPs. The Committee may then call a debate on it and even take a vote.

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

Ukraine: The Invasive Generosity of Budapest and Bucharest

“Kiev is beginning to have serious problems with its neighbours,” writes the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, reporting on Ukraine’s annoyance with the granting of passports to its Hungarian and Romanian nationals, notably those in the western part of Ukraine. Despite the prohibition on dual nationality in Ukraine the practice is growing, especially as “the requirements for obtaining a Romanian passport and Hungarian are minimal: the applicant must prove his roots [ethnic Romanian or Hungarian] or show that his family had lived in territories that were once part of Romania and Hungary, particularly before the Second World War.”

This “individual integration into the EU” should be a warning to the government, which, incapable of solving social and economic problems, could see “hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians obtain foreign citizenship” the Russian newspaper warns. But the real threat that’s emerging is separatism, since Kiev can “lose control over the territories inhabited by the foreign nationals,” Nezavisimaya Gazeta adds, quoting the Ukrainian expert Alexander Gavrich: “For separation, it’s enough that the slogans of cultural belonging be transformed into political demands.”

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

Why Police Were So Soft on London Looters: They ‘Were Ordered to Stand and Observe’ As Capital Burned (But in Manchester They Were Hunting Looters Within Hours)

Police were ordered to ‘stand and observe’ rioters as they laid waste to London’s streets instead of confronting them, it was claimed today.

Scotland Yard insiders have revealed teams were frustrated at their inability to wade in and arrest troublemakers while they looted and burnt out shops.

They had apparently been told to try and contain any violence but not to haul away offenders who would instead be identified through video footage later, according to The Times.

It was only on Monday night, when the riots escalated still further, that tactics changed and armoured vehicles called Jankels were used to disperse the crowds.

On Tuesday night, some 16,000 officers also flooded London’s streets — almost triple the previous night’s deployment — and they were finally given the green light to confront the gangs.

The Met has also come under fire for taking three days to issue any images of suspects — and then only releasing 12 grainy pictures. The Mail Online managed to produce another 30 with ease.

In contrast, Greather Manchester Police were issuing images online via social network sites within hours of similar violence in their area.

In Birmingham, police tracked down suspected rioters hours later and smashed into their homes to arrest them.

Officers mounted raids on around a dozen properties across the city and made seven arrests. They also recovered apparently looted items.

The police’s tactics have led to much public criticism from residents and business owners, who are bemused at the ‘soft’ approach when their livelihoods are being ruined.

Eye witnesses have told of ranks of police standing by while mobs of youths rampaged and stole from shop fronts and terrorised residents.

However, it has been suggested that the approach may also have been dictated by the sheer scale of the problem with teams unable to spare officers to make arrests on the spot.

There have also been calls for far more robust measures — including plastic bullets, water cannon and even the Army — to quell the chaos.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Would-be Terrorists Looking to Capitalize on U.K. Riots

NEW YORK — Islamist extremists are trying to capitalize on the riots engulfing Britain, calling on their followers to help incite further violence so that a terror attack can be launched amid the chaos.

Via “jihadist” websites, the extremists say English-fluent Muslims should infiltrate social media with messages that encourage the rioters so that the police remain “preoccupied” by the disturbances, according to the Washington-based monitoring group SITE.

The extremists are characterizing the violence as “useful” for London-based terror cells, saying the rioters are young and impressionable, and can be easily manipulated if the messages appear to be the sort of things they would write.

The extremists reason that by extending the violence, the police will drop their guard against jihadist terror planning.


Complete coverage of the London riots

.The increased chaos could also force the British government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, some of the sites say.

“The events in London are an opportunity for the mujahedeen to make a move in London and attack,” says one prominent entry, adding that continued violence “may weaken the position of (the British) staying in Afghanistan, because the soldiers will be needed in London.”

The riots spread after Saturday night when a small protest over the police shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old suspected gang member, escalated into violence.

“We are all Mark Duggan” and “The people want punishment for the killers of Mark Duggan” are among a string of slogans another jihadist site provides as examples it is seeking from English-speaking Muslims.

Other examples mimic typical slogans of the political left in Britain, such as “No to favouritism and austerity” and “The people want a dignified life.” Yet another — “A call for free people of Britain to stop racism” — is a clear reference to the fact Duggan was black.

“We ask the brothers who are fluent in the English language to write a number of inciting sentences (at least ten sentences or phrases) and post them here in the subject,” the site says. “We will do the rest with permission from Allah.”

Other sites call for English-speaking followers to post slogans directly, with one providing a list of Facebook addresses, mainly of prominent English soccer clubs, including Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, and also of British universities.

One site expresses the hope that the riots will escalate to mirror the “Arab Spring” demonstrations that have swept the Middle East and North Africa, toppling some regimes.

“Just as they supported the Arab revolutions through Facebook and Twitter, and elsewhere, we want to export these revolutions to them,” this site says. “Enter their pages . . . and spread photos of their revolution and incite them to continue. Make video clips of their protests and heroic acts.”

This site posts a picture of three masked youths, the centre one holding the Union Jack, as smoke surrounds London’s Big Ben. “Welcome to London and Europe: Spring Revolutions World,” the picture is titled.

“Those who are demonstrating are mostly young people, and it is easy to make use of their enthusiasm,” the site adds cynically.

In the absence of opening the way to a terror attack, efforts to encourage more violence may achieve other jihadist aims, according to a supporter of the jihadist entries. “One of the goals of this workshop is to exhaust the economy of the British government,” the supporter says, according to SITE.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]


Kosovo: NATO Commander’s Romance With Ethnic Albanian Sparks Political Row

Belgrade and Pristina, 10 Aug. (AKI) — Nato’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo’s commander Erhard Buehler’s plan to wed an ethnic Albanian woman has drawn charges from Serb media that the German general is siding with Kosovo Albanians.

“The emotional involvement of the KFOR head with an Albanian woman completely discredits him as main negotiator of the international community over the crisis in northern Kosovo,” the paper said.

Buehler, 55, who is already married with a 27-year-old son according to his official biography, will take home an Albanian bride when his term expires in September, Kosovo Albanian language television Klan Kosova reported.

The couple has been involved since 2004, when Buehler served with the German KFOR contingent in the western Kosovo city of Prizren.

Buehler, 55, last week negotiated an agreement with representatives of the Serbian government on removing barricades in northern Kosovo, set up by local Serbs who oppose Kosovo’s independence.

He is being replaced as KFOR chief by another German general, Erhard Drews, and had asked for another one-year term in Kosovo, but the request was turned down by Nato, according to Klan Kosova.

It is not known if his romance was the reason for Nato’s refusal to extend Buehler’s tenure.

Milan Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb leader, said Buehler’s affair came as no surpise because Kosovo Albanians lobbied for their cause with international officials by supplying them women and money.

The former head of the United Nation mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), German diplomat Michael Steiner, also married an Albanian women while serving in Kosovo, but she left him soon after his term was over, Ivanovic noted.

Steiner’s predecessor and former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner wasn’t immune to local women’s charms while serving in Kosovo either, Ivanovic added.

Kosovo’s overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Belgrade opposes.

A totoal of 77 countries, including the United States and 22 out of 27 European Union members have recognised Kosovo so far.

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

North Africa

Libya Says Cameron Lost All Legitimacy and Must Go

(AGI) Tripoli — The Libyan regime said that British prime minister David Cameron has lost all legitimacy and “must leave”. Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Ka’im urged the international community to intervene in support of the British people following the recent riots across the country. It was reported by the BBC.

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

Libya: Blasts Rock Tripoli, Rebels in Deep Crisis

Several powerful blasts rocked Libya’s capital on Tuesday, as the executive branch of Libya’s rebel government was sacked in a political crisis a week after their military chief’s assassination. The explosions in the Fernej district of southwest Tripoli sent flames shooting into the night sky. They were followed by a series of smaller blasts, suggesting an arms depot had been hit and two other explosions followed.

In the rebel capital of Benghazi, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council, or NTC, sacked the entire executive office of his government, officials said. He dismissed several top ministers — including those responsible for finance, defense and information -while calling for root and branch reform. “Prime Minister Mahmud Jibril would be tasked with creating a reformed body,” spokesman Shamsiddin Abdulmolah said. It was the latest dramatic phase in the turmoil sparked by the assassination of rebel military commander General Abdel Fatah Younis — amid his return to Benghazi under arrest in late July. Although details are sketchy and still under investigation, it is known that an arrest warrant was signed by senior NTC executive member Ali Essawy, raising allegations that the NTC unknowingly helped facilitate his murder. NATO air strikes meanwhile killed 85 villagers near the city of Zliten in western Libya, a government spokesman said on Tuesday, in what he branded a “massacre” of civilians…

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

Israel and the Palestinians

81 Congress Members to Visit Israel

“JPost” — -Eighty-one congressmen, or about 20 percent of the US House of Representatives, will visit Israel over the next three weeks during Congress’s summer recess, with the first group of 26 Democrats scheduled to arrive on Monday.

The Democratic delegation will be followed by two Republican ones, bringing a total of 55 Republicans.

Most of the representatives are freshmen congressmen, with 47 — or fully half of the freshmen Republicans voted into office in 2010 — making the trip.

For many of them, this will be their first trip to Israel.

The week-long trips are sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which brings large delegations of congressmen here every other August.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) will head the Democratic delegation, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor(R-Virginia) will lead one of the Republican groups.

Hoyer, in a statement, said he looked forward to “returning to Israel to continue learning firsthand about the evolving security situation in the Middle East, the deep challenges facing Israel, and the role the US can play in the region during this time of uncertainty.

I’m pleased members of Congress have this opportunity to study American interests in the Middle East and gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved in increasing stability in the region.”

The delegation will visit both Israel and the West Bank, and is scheduled to meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Among those on the delegation arriving Monday are Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., Ohio’s Betty Sutton, and Pennsylvania’s Mark Critz…

[Return to headlines]

Drones Deployed to Protect Gas Fields

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, AUGUST 9 — Israel has started to use drones to investigate and carry out surveillance over the vast natural gas reserves recently discovered off its coastline in the Mediterranean Sea, part of which could be located in areas claimed by Lebanon. The decision to use drones, according to the Israeli press, was made by the government because they fear that Lebanese Hezbollah could try to strike at marine drilling platforms with anti-ship missiles or small boats carrying explosives. A short while ago Hezbollah’s second in command, Naim Qassem, said that Lebanon will adopt all measures necessary to defend its interests at any cost. Israel and Lebanon are in disagreement regarding at least a portion of the line of demarcation of the areas at sea where they are demanding exclusive rights of exploitation. The two countries are still formally at war. Israeli Energy Minister, Uzi Landau, warned that the country will react harshly to an attack against their natural gas extraction efforts.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Britain Crackdown Unacceptable, Ahmadinejad Says

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday strongly condemned what he called the “savage” crackdown by British police on rampaging youths, the state television’s website reported.

“This savage treatment of people is absolutely unacceptable, and British statesmen must hear the voice of the people and grant them freedoms,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying. “British politicians should look to help their own people instead of invading Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya to plunder their oil.”

Ahmadinejad said part of the British public has “lost its patience and become frustrated,” and urged London to “get on the people’s side and change their management, instead of using such approaches.”

He criticized the U.N. Security Council for remaining “silent” over the developments in Britain, which is experiencing its worst unrest in decades.

Riots raged into a fifth day on Wednesday as youths ran amok in Manchester and the industrial Midlands, but London was quiet after British Prime Minister David Cameron boosted the police presence in the capital to 16,000.

Scotland Yard said early on Wednesday that 768 people had been arrested and 111 police officers have been injured in the disorder.

“Even if one hundredth of these crimes were to happen in countries opposed to the West, the United Nations and other organizations claiming to defend human rights would vehemently decry it,” Ahmadinejad added.

“The stage has now been set for testing the U.N. Security Council to see whether it will condemn one of its own permanent members,” he added.

Looters have caused mayhem including in Britain’s second largest city Birmingham, where three Asian men died early on Wednesday after being hit by a car.

Reports said they had just left a mosque and were protecting their neighborhood in the central city.

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

Change to Legal Basis for Coups Gets Wide Backing in Turkey

The government and military agree on a controversial article on the Turkish Armed Forces law, which is seen as the legal basis for coups. The article will continue to list protecting the principles of the Republic among the army’s duties, but a clause on safeguarding the continuation of the parliamentary system will be added

The army and government have reportedly agreed on the need to rewrite an article in the law governing the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, that is seen as the legal basis for military coups. The move is seen as a step toward normalizing problematic civil-military ties.

According to daily Radikal, the article in question, Article 35 of the TSK law, will continue to list protecting the constitutional principles of the Turkish Republic among the army’s duties, but a clause will also be added emphasizing that it will also safeguard the continuation of the parliamentary system.

The proposed change has received approval from the country’s main opposition party, which has typically been a strong supporter of the military.

“We are ready to support proposals for changes to Article 35,” Republican People’s Party, or CHP, leader Kemal Kiliçdaroglu was quoted as saying by daily Milliyet on Saturday. Noting that his party introduced a proposal on the same subject in the last legislative term, the CHP chief added: “Coups d’état, never [again]! I will stand before tanks if the army intervenes in politics.”

The powerful Turkish army staged coups in 1961, 1971 and 1980 on the basis of Article 35, arguing that civilian authorities were failing to preserve constitutional principles. In addition to coups, the army has frequently intervened in politics in other ways, especially during the rule of the weak coalition governments that preceded the Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, ascent to power in 2002.

The rewriting of Article 35 will be carried out after the opening of Parliament in the fall, Radikal reported, adding that there was a serious improvement in joint work with the General Staff under the supervision of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and newly appointed top commander Gen. Necdet Özel.

A turning point in civil-military ties was experienced earlier this month with the resignation of the country’s top generals over a disagreement with the government on the appointments of military personnel incarcerated in connection with various alleged coup plots.

The amendment to Article 35 will be part of a broader campaign to renew the country’s Constitution, which was written by the military junta in 1982, two years after the 1980 coup. Political parties represented in Parliament and many nongovernmental organizations support the move, which will likely dominate Turkey’s agenda after the opening of the next parliamentary session Oct. 1.

Other likely moves to reduce the military’s influence in politics and adopt a more European standard in military-civil ties, including subordinating the chief of General Staff under the Defense Ministry instead of the Prime Ministry and increasing the civilian members of the Supreme Military Council, or YAS, have likewise received support from the opposition parties.

CHP chief Kiliçdaroglu said he also agreed that the chief of General Staff should report to the Defense Ministry and called on the government to propose a draft law on this topic. Referring to a photo described by top ruling party officials as historically important, showing the prime minister sitting alone at the head of table at the most recent YAS, Kiliçdaroglu said it was only natural for the civilian authority to lead the meetings of the high-level council. “These [previous practices] should now be changed,” he said.

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, also supports the proposed moves as a way to reduce the military’s influence on politics. BDP deputy Hasip Kaplan said he proposed changing Article 35 last year, but the idea was not backed by the ruling AKP at the time.

The Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, is also expected to support the rewriting of Article 35 although it was tight-lipped over the weekend on any immediate change. MHP chief Devlet Bahçeli said his party was totally against military coups and called for the army to be cleansed of any figures who were still seeking attempts to stage a coup.

Seen as symbolically important for the maturity of Turkish democracy, the removal or rewriting of Article 35 was previously suggested by President Abdullah Gül in recent months. “Both our legal system and our laws have undergone changes that will not allow for [another] coup,” Gül told journalists April 27 while en route from Belgrade to Turkey. “And Article 35 should also be changed.”

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

EU Countries Account for 75% of Turkey’s Auto Exports

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, AUGUST 9 — Turkish automotive sector makes 75% of its total exports to the European Union-member states, as Anatolia news agency reports. Uludag Automotive Exporters’ Association said on Tuesday that their exports amounted to 22.9 billion USD in 2008, 14.5 billion USD in 2009 and 15.7 billion USD in 2010. Exports reached 11.1 billion USD in the first seven months of 2011. Exports to the EU-member states increased 16% to 8.24 billion USD in the January-July period of the year. Exports to Germany increased 44% to 1.62 billion USD, exports to Belgium rose 67% to 448 million USD and exports to the United Kingdom climbed 19% to 803 million USD while exports to Greece fell by 35%, exports to Portugal decreased by 23% and exports to France dropped by 9%. The sector put its year-end goal as 20 billion USD.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Kuwaiti Policeman in Ramadan Shooting Spree

Four expats killed at ‘10’ to Iftar

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 2: Four Asians died when a Kuwaiti police officer went on a killing spree in Saad Al-Abdullah, Kabad and Salmi on the first day of Ramadan. Securitymen rushed to Kabad after receiving a call from a water tanker driver who saw the bodies of two Asians inside a barn that belongs to the family of the alleged killer. The officers immediately launched a manhunt for the suspect, who was arrested three hours later from the Sabah Health Area near the Psychiatric Hospital.

During interrogation, the suspect admitted the crime and told police that he used a shotgun to kill the two Asian barn workers — a janitor and a teaboy, because he found them eating 10 minutes before Iftar. He also informed police that he killed another Asian laborer in his father’s house in Saad Al-Abdullah and one in Salmi. He also tried killing his father’s housemaid — an Ethiopian, but she managed to run to her room before he fired at her. However, the suspect did not explain why he shot dead the two Asians in Saad Al-Abdullah and Salmi, as well as his motive for trying to kill the housemaid.

Security sources said the suspect, who is employed at the Ministry of Interior, is currently on sick leave as he was found suffering from mental illness and was confined at the Psychiatric Hospital for two weeks. The sources wondered why the hospital staff released the suspect, considering that any disruption in his treatment might prompt him to engage in horrible acts.

Meanwhile, other dailies reported that the suspect killed three Indians and caused injuries to an Ethiopian woman. Sources said the suspect asked his wife to leave their house in Saad Al-Abdullah and took their children with him. Sources added the children were in his car while he was firing at his victims.

           — Hat tip: RR[Return to headlines]

New Syrian Defence Minister is Christian: A Difficult Role

General Daud Rajhi is greek-orthodox. The Christian world has differing views of the president’s choice. Meanwhile, violence continues in the country. Assad reiterates after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu: the security forces “will not cease to pursue terrorist groups.”

Damascus (AsiaNews) — International pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad mounted yesterday, when after a lengthy meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, he said that security forces “will not stop pursuing terrorist groups “. And violence continues unabated. Davutoglu termed methods used by Syrian forces “unacceptable”, and repeated that Syria must stop the bloodshed. Amid growing international isolation the Syrian situation will once again be discussed at the United Nations. Meanwhile, Bashar al-Assad has made an unprecedented move.

For the first time in the history of the Syrian regime’s the new defence minister — till now a post reserved for members of the Alawite minority — is a Christian. General Daud Rajhi, who was appointed on August 8, is in fact greek-orthodox (a fact scarcely reported in the international press), on good terms with his Patriarchate, and especially with the auxiliary bishop Luqa Khoury, organizer of a recent ecumenical gathering in favor of the regime. He is the third Christian present current government, there are two Catholic ministers (who, however, do not have a personal relationship with the Church).

This appointment, which in other circumstances would be considered by all as a historical turning point, is evaluated in different ways within the Syrian Christian world. Some, particularly those who prefer not to talk politics, say it is “a good thing.” Others, even among those who want President Bashar al-Assad to remain, say: “It is no good thing that one of ours is in the front line in these times and in such circumstances.” In other words it does not seem a great honour that a Christian has been called to direct the military crackdown against the protesting population. In fact, the propaganda of the Baathist regime has not failed to point out that the appointment of General Rajhi shows that the view that the Alawite group governs the country is false, as is the belief that the Alawite minority monopolizes the armed forces .

As we know, the President is of Alawite origin, but officially he is a Sunni Muslim, as required by the Constitution with regard to the Syrian head of state, because the Sunnis are the largest religious denomination in the country. Hafez al-Assad, father of the president, was born Alawite but became a Sunni to take over the presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic.

The new minister was born in Damascus in 1947, and has been a general since 1998. He was promoted to deputy chief of staff in 2004 and then appointed Chief of the Army June 4, 2009. As minister he takes over from General Ali Habib, an Alawite, who has resigned due to serious health reasons.

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

Saudi Arabia: Divorce Rate Highest in Arab World

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 9 — An increase in divorce cases has granted Saudi Arabia the unenviable distinction of being the country in the Arab world with the highest rate, with 25 divorces per wedding every day in the single city of Mecca, according to a Saudi Justice Ministry report cited by the Ukath daily newspaper. Last year in Mecca, 2,518 cases of divorce were recorded, accounting for 27% of all those in the kingdom (9,233 compared with 707 weddings). Divorce is also widespread in the eastern part of the kingdom where, according to a report, in 2010 there were 1,970 (21%), compared with 53 weddings. In third place is Medina with 1,198 divorces (13%), compared with 63 weddings (8.9% of the total number of weddings in the kingdom). “Luxury, the lack of a husband at home and information services which do not carry out their role of spreading a marriage culture, as well as the entrance of women onto the labour market with the resulting financial independence, are the main reasons for divorce in the Saudi kingdom,” said Ghasi Asshammary, chairman of the Commission for Family Unity in the eastern part of the kingdom. In the eyes of Saudi author Khalid Sulaiman, on the other hand, “the fragility of the personality of young people belonging to the new generation is one of the main reasons behind the increase in divorce cases. The young become more fragile when they move out of their parents’ homes, who usually support them financially, and into the state of independence with their marriages, where success depends on communication and a spirit of compromise and rights and duties.” “Relations between husband and wife,” underscored Sulaiman, “does not come ready-made, but is like a see which grows and consolidates gradually.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syria: Assad: Shall Continue to Hunt Terrorists

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, AUGUST 9 — Syria “will not give up its right to pursue terrorist groups,” the President of Syria, Bashar al Assad, said today during talks held in Damascus with Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.

The president’s words are reported by pan-Arab TV channel Al Arabiya, with the word “urgent” superimposed on the report.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Pope’s Appeal and the Fears of Christians in Syria

The nightmare is that Syria will become another Iraq, which explains why many Christian leaders seem to support the regime of President Assad. Benedict XVI’s call for dialogue and renunciation of violence by both sides was not reported in Syrian media.

Damascus (AsiaNews) — The appeal pronounced by Benedict XVI on July 7 for an end to violence in Syria, and his very balanced call for shared dialogue (07/08/2011 Pope appeals for reconciliation and peace in Syria and Libya), seems to differ from the positions taken by many Christian leaders of the country. The article from our correspondent in Damascus explains the reasons for this apparent difference in tone.

“ We are not afraid of Islam, we are afraid of a chaos taking over similar to that in Iraq,” the Melkite Greek-Catholic Patriarch and president of the Catholic hierarchy in Syria, Gregorios III, told Vatican Radio, early Sunday afternoon. The patriarch, from his summer residence in Ain-Traz, Lebanon, and not from the official seat of the Patriarchate in Damascus, commented on the appeal made in Castel Gandolfo a few minutes before by Pope Benedict XVI, an appeal known to AsiaNews readers, but totally ignored by Syrian media, as was already the case for the earlier appeal of the pontiff, on May 15 last. Likewise, a week before, after the bloody army operation in the Syrian city of Hama, the Patriarch had expressed to the German program of Vatican Radio, his condolences for “the dead on both sides, that of the demonstrators and the army. “

The patriarch probably would not have spoken in a such a way to Syrian media, because the reference to a possible future chaos implies the hypothesis of an “after Assad,” and the mourning for the dead among the protesters would not be acceptable where these protesters are considered to be “ terrorists “. So far, all the heads of Christian Churches in Syria have united in support of President Assad, with statements and in writing.

Gregorios III has also written letters to several American and European heads of state to ask them not to help in the dispute (the letters are open-letters, being published on the website of the Melkite Greek-Catholic Patriarchate, in Arabic, English and French).

The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, Ignatius Zakka I, also declared himself in favor of the president. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch (also based in Damascus), Ignatius IV, has remained silent, but has left his auxiliary bishops free to speak out, one of which, after having presided over an “ecumenical prayer” for civil peace in Syria , which ended in a political meeting in favor of the president, expelled the American ambassador, Robert Ford, from the patriarchal cathedral in Syria, who is guilty, according to the Archbishop, of expressing his solidarity with the besieged of Hama.

On Syrian television, there are frequent and fervent interventions from bishops and priests, Orthodox and Catholic, in favor of the president. The most vociferous bishops in this sense are both from Aleppo: the Melkite Greek-Catholic Metropolitan Jean-Clément Jeanbart and the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan Gregorios Yuhanna Ibrahim.

A few weeks ago, one of the most respected priests of Damascus, Don Elias Zehlaoui, a Melkite Greek- Catholic, addressed an open letter to French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, to protest statements by the head of the Quai d’Orsay on the loss of legitimacy of the Syrian President. For its part, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, coordinator of the major (and not very many) Protestant communities in Syria, in issued a statement Damascus condemning the “terrorist acts” committed against the army and security forces . Some prelates, however, have remained cautiously silent, especially the Latin Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo, Bishop Giuseppe Nazzaro, Italian Franciscan.

The fear expressed by Gregorios III is that of all the Syrian Christians: they are afraid a regime change would mean losing the security enjoyed by their minority for decades in Syria, a country, as the Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, Archbishop Mario Zenari has repeatedly recognized, “exemplary in terms of harmony between different religious confessions, for mutual respect between the Muslim majority and Christian minority.” It is a reality that everyone can notice in the country.

There have also been, since he became head of state ten years ago, very cordial personal relations between the Syrian president and several Christian leaders, especially Gregorios III. It is often the case that, when a Head of State or Government from Europe is on an official visit to Syria, the Syrian president will take them to the Damascus Melkite Greek-Catholic cathedral for a visit, the last was the Socialist leader of the Spanish Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, last year.

For several years, by the will of the president, the Catholic Churches (greek-Melkite, Syrian, Armenian, Maronite, Chaldean and Latin) have enjoyed “personal statutes”, replacing the old personal statutes for all Christians of the country, in force since the French Mandate over Syria before independence. The official text of the document consists mainly of textual excerpts from the “Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches” promulgated by Blessed John Paul II in 1990. There was an attempt to replace it, in part, with regards marriage and this in conformity with Islamic law, but a joint request to the President by the three patriarchs (greek-orthodox, Melkite Greek- Catholic Syro-Orthodox) sufficed to archive the initiative.

But now, even those bishops to date closest to the president, in private, are begining to question the shedding of blood, the diplomatic isolation of the country (the Italian ambassador was the first to be called, but now, Arab ambassadors, such as those in Qatar and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are even leaving Damascus), the socio-economic crisis with a dramatic increase in unemployment, the paralysis of the tourism sector, etc..

Ordinary Christian citizens fear the future, but also the thirst for real information, essential in making important decisions. Everyone knows that the media in the country, and television first of all, does not report the truth. They also know that the “information” available on the Internet is not always reliable, with many uncontrollable sources, a plethora of videos that show nothing but are often tools of manipulation (as in state television), with obviously inflated numbers of demonstrators, etc.. Although the information given by the press and television in other countries are often just as unreliable, because the Syrian regime, since last March, expelled all foreign journalists, and therefore they can verify nothing. Unfortunately, they all also know that the current situation may last for quite a long time, with more episodes of violence, casualties and suffering, before, as the Pope hoped in his appeal, a “peaceful coexistence” can be restored that will “respond adequately to the legitimate aspirations of citizens. “

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

Turkey: Woman Says Life in Danger as Abusive Husband Released

A woman who fell from a balcony as she tried to run away from her abusive husband has said her husband was released from the police station while she was still lying at the hospital.

“My life is in danger now,” said Gülten Coskun, a 31-year-old newlywed woman who was beaten up by her husband, Mehmet Akif Coskun, on the 10th day of their marriage and fell from a balcony while trying to escape the violence, Anatolian Agency reported.

Coskun said her husband, with whom her marriage was arranged — has been threatening her since they were engaged.

“In the first four days of our marriage he was very nice, but on the fifth day, after we had an argument, he beat me up, spit in my face and insulted me for five hours. I didn’t tell my family about any of this. I was covering the bruises with makeup when I visited them. And if someone asked, then I made up a story, like the door shut on me.”

Coskun said her husband did not let her go outside the apartment or see anyone.

“The day we had an argument he started threatening to kill me and my family. I was scared and ran to the balcony off the kitchen and called the police. When my husband heard me calling for help, he broke down the kitchen door and attacked me,” said Coskun.

Coskun said she thought her husband was going to kill her. “I tried to escape from the balcony by holding onto the drain pipe, but I panicked and lost my balance. I fell from the fifth floor to the balcony on the second floor,” she said.

Coskun was rescued from the second floor balcony with the help of a fire truck and taken to the hospital by the police. Coskun said she broke both of her legs in the fall.

Mehmet Akif Coskun was caught by the police after fleeing the apartment, but he was released just after he was caught, while Gülten Coskun was still under treatment at the hospital.

“My life is in danger. I expect protection for me and my family from the police. I expect support from the prime minister. I am so scared for myself and my family,” said Gülten Coskun.

Meanwhile, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Sahin has applied to the Interior Ministry to request a special police force be created for fighting against domestic violence. Under the plans, if the request is accepted, a specially trained police unit will be responsible for responding to incidents related to domestic violence.

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

South Asia

Red Mosque Imam Ready for War to ‘Talebanise’ Pakistan

Mullah Abdul Aziz accuses the government of “corrupting the country” and inviting “the wrath of Allah”. He says he has 5,000 fighters ready to set up an Islamic state. In 2007, the Red Mosque was the scene of violent clashes between the military and extremists. Analysis and Christians are particularly concerned about the situation. For the latter, tomorrow will be a ‘black day’.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — The imam of Islamabad’s famous Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) has accused the government of “corrupting the country”. He has called on the “soldiers of Islam” to fight “to create an Islamic nation” where “Sharia laws can be enforced”. Mullah Abdul Aziz’s threats are raising concerns in a country where minorities are already victimised and the central government is hostage to fundamentalist fringes. In July 2007, the Lal Masjid was the scene of a gun battle between extremist militants and Pakistani soldiers that caused more than a hundred dead. Meanwhile, the Christian community is preparing for Minorities Day, tomorrow, which was established by the late Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic government minister murdered on 2 March.

The Red Mosque leader blames the Pakistani government for not imposing “Islamic laws in the country,” of polluting it “with corruption” and inviting “the wrath of Allah by allowing the Americans to continue the drone attacks” that “kill our Muslim brothers”.

“It's time for us, the soldiers of Islam, to take a stand against this government and reclaim the Islamic Pakistan,” he said. For that purpose, “I already have over 5,000 students” and “we will use every means possible to make Pakistan an Islamic state” in which Sharia is enforced.

Back in July 2007, Islamabad’s Red Mosque saw violent clashes between extremists and government soldiers who moved in to put down an uprising (see “Operation against ‘Red Mosque’ ends, 83 ‘officially’ dead,” in AsiaNews, 12 July 2007). Abdul Aziz and his brother Abdul Rashid Ghazi led the rebellion, which they saw as a spark of a wider revolt that would engulf the country and lead to the creation of an Islamic state.

The Pakistani military intervened instead on orders of then President Musharraf. Abdul Rashid and another 154 people were killed. Mullah Abdul Aziz was himself arrested and later (2009) released on bail. The mosque had become a haven for extremists and the centre for a movement that wanted to ‘talebanise’ Pakistan (see “Lal Masjid: the mosque that wants to talebanise the country (overview),” in AsiaNews 4 July 2007).

The imam’s latest threats have raised concerns among local political experts and religious minority leaders. The Red Mosque is located in the heart of the federal capital, and remains fertile grounds for extremism.

In the meantime, Pakistani Christians are set to celebrate Minorities Day tomorrow. On this occasion, they will call for the upholding the right of religious freedom and will demand equal rights and protest against violence, forced conversions and targeted murders.

Nayala J. Dayal, president of the Christian Progressive Movement, said that education and economic development are the best insurance policy for minorities in Pakistani society. However, for her 11 August will be a ‘black day’ rather than a day to celebrate minorities as promoted by the government and will be a time for protests against the ongoing anti-Christian violence.

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


573 Foreign Killers in UK Jails Cost us £23m a Year

THE number of foreign murderers being held in British jails has almost doubled in the past 10 years.

There are currently 573 overseas nationals serving sentences for murder — an 86 percent increase on the 308 who were behind bars in 2002.

In the last year alone 50 non-British killers have been given life terms for murder.

Yesterday campaigners expressed alarm at the growing numbers.

Gerard Batten, UK Independence Party MEP and its home affairs spokesman, said: “This growth is quite Âdisturbing.

“It is another symptom of our uncontrolled immigration policy.

“It is quite probable that these murderers committed other offences before they killed.

“It proves we are not looking at who comes into the country and it is the taxpayer who ends up paying the price.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Australia: Frail 96-Year-Old Faces Deportation

A 96-year-old British woman has been refused a visa to live out her days in northern Tasmania with her only surviving family.

The Immigration Department says Gladys Jefferson was refused a visa because she would be a burden on the welfare system.

But it has frustrated her Australian family who say she has the means to pay her own way.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Newspaper Challenges Right Wing Leader on Multiculturalism

Editor-in-chief of Politiken demands to know whether Danish People’s Party believes multiculturalism “is a battle that will result in an inevitable showdown”

A war of words has broken out between Politiken’s editor-in-chief, Bo Lidegaard, and the leader of the Danish People’s Party, Pia Kjærsgaard, about multiculturalism’s place in Denmark.

The exchange comes in the aftermath of the Norwegian massacre in which right-wing politicians have been accused of creating a negative tone in the debate about multiculturalism.

In an open letter to Kjærsgaard on Thursday, Lidegaard asked her to clearly state what she and her party believes is the future of multiculturalism.

“Do you agree that the multicultural society has come to stay and that the debate now needs to focus on how best to adapt to it? Or do you agree with your party members and other voices who see multiculturalism as a battle that will result in an inevitable showdown?” Lidegaard wrote.

“It’s not about forbidding one point of view or another, but making it clear whether the Danish People’s Party wants to solve the problems related to immigration and integration so we can build a multicultural community in Denmark,” he added.

But in Kjærsgaard’s response to Lidegaard on Tuesday, she accused Politiken of using the debate about the rhetoric used by the right as a cover for attacking the Danish People Party’s political views.

“If you don’t accept the multicultural society or if you try to counteract it you’re automatically stigmatised. In fact you’re not even allowed to criticise it at all,” Kjærsgaard wrote.

Kjærsgaard went on to criticise Politiken for not taking a stance against Muslim extremists in Denmark and for not demanding they tone down their language and rhetoric.

“Do you not accept that it is up to individuals to be responsible for their actions in cases such as Anders Breivik — or is it always ‘other’ people’s fault?”

Lidegaard replied quickly to Kjærsgaard, accusing her of missing the point and asking her to clarify her party’s position on multiculturalism.

“Here at the newspaper we would like to take part in the debate about how we solve the problems that arise when people with different backgrounds have to live side-by-side. Is the goal for you and the Danish People’s Party a Denmark for Danes — i.e. a purging of immigrants from foreign cultures? We look forward to your reply.”

           — Hat tip: The Midget[Return to headlines]

Illegal 22 Afghans Land in Otranto

(AGI) Otranto — Police stopped 22 Afghans on Otranto beach as they were heading for the town following the railway tracks.

They probably landed overnight in Alimini, just north of Otranto.

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

Culture Wars

Melanie Phillips: Goodbye to the Enlightenment

An illuminating report on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme this morning said it all about the British riots. Some teenage thugs who were hooding up to go looting were asked why they were doing it. Maybe they couldn’t afford the trainers and other goods they were setting out to steal? Yeah, we can afford them, came the reply; but since the goods were there to be robbed, it was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. What about their parents? Did they know where they were? Yeah, came the reply, but the most they do is shout at me. And as for the police, well the worse that can happen is that I’ll get as ASBO (antisocial behavior order).

Some of the rioters and looters are as young as eight or nine. I then listened to a spokesman for Manchester city council appealing to parents to ensure that their children are not on the streets tonight. Why can’t people see what is staring us all in the face? We are not up against merely feral children. We are up against feral parents. Of course the parents know their children are out on the streets. Of course they see them staggering back with what they have looted. But either they are too drunk or drugged or otherwise out of it to care, or they are helping themselves to the proceeds too.

The parents are the problem; as are, almost certainly, their parents and their parents too. Not that any of them necessarily even know who their parents, in the plural, are. For the single most crucial factor behind all this mayhem, behind the total breakdown of any control or self-control amongst the rampaging gangs of children and teenagers who are rioting, burning, robbing, stealing, attacking and murdering, is the willed removal of the most important thing that socialises children and turns them from feral savages into civilised citizens: a fully committed, hands-on, there-every-day father.

As I have been writing for more than twenty years, a society that embraces mass fatherlessness is a society that is going off the edge of a cliff. There are whole areas of Britain (white as well as black) where committed fathers are a wholly unknown phenomenon; where serial generations are being brought up only by mothers, through whose houses pass transitory males by whom these girls and women have yet more children, and whose own daughters inevitably repeat the pattern of lone and utterly dysfunctional parenting.

The result is fatherless boys who are suffused by an existential rage and desperate psychic need, who take out the damage done to them by lashing out from infancy at the world around them. And all this is effectively condoned, rewarded and encouraged by the welfare state which conceives of need solely in terms of absence of money, and which accordingly subsidises lone parenthood and the destructive behaviour that welfare atherlessness brings in its train.

And the unutterably wicked thing is that this catastrophe has been deliberately willed upon Britain by left-wing politicians, well-heeled media feminists and other middle-class ideologues who wrap their utter contempt for the poor in the mantle of ‘progressive’ non-judgmentalism, witlessly prattling about poverty and social justice and hurling execrations at anyone who suggests that lone parenthood is in general a catastrophe for children (and a disaster for women) and that the state should stop subsidising family and social breakdown and start encouraging married parenthood instead.

What we have seen unfolding before our horrified gaze over the past four days in Britain is the true legacy of Tony Blair’s shattering defeat, in the two years or so after he came to power in 1997, at the hands of the ultra-feminists and cultural Marxist wreckers in his Cabinet and party who were determined above all to destroy the traditional nuclear family and institute the sexual free-for-all that exists today. Blair stood virtually alone against Gramsci’s acolytes, and lost…

           — Hat tip: AA[Return to headlines]

Religious Conflict on the Rise in Sweden: Study

When American research centre Pew investigated the development of religious conflicts and oppression worldwide between 2006 and 2009, Sweden distinguished itself as a country where hostilities related to religion are increasing the most.

In the Pew index Sweden has risen from being one of the safest countries to positioning itself on the middle of the global scale, with an index rise from 1.2 to 2.3 between 2008 and 2009. By way of comparison Finland came in at 0.6 and Norway at 1.3.

Out of the ten countries where social hostilities related to religion are reported to be on the up, five are located in Europe, namely Bulgaria, Denmark, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

According to the report the increase is due to an “increased animosity between the general public and the growing Muslim minority”.

As an example of social hostilities related to religion Pew brings up the riots in Rosengård in Malmö in 2008.

Pew also alludes to a report from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande Rådet-Brå), which shows an increased number of hate crimes being committed against Muslims in Sweden. Pew also mentions a growing anti-Semitism in Malmö.

According to Pew’s report, religious hostilities are rising worldwide. Iraq is the worst case when it comes to violence with index 9.0, while the worst oppression is carried out in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. The report spans 2006 to 2009, when Hosni Mubarak still ruled Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood was prohibited.

The Pew report is based on information from 18 open sources, including the UN, the EU and several human rights organizations.

Therefore Pew says that its results may be misguiding, as open democracies are more likely to report incidents that will go unreported in more closed states.

Sweden, for example, finds itself at a par with Libya when it comes to religious conflict, according to the study.

           — Hat tip: The Midget[Return to headlines]


Pursuit of Religious Commonality

On the other hand, pursuers of religious commonality in the East favor what’s called “Buddlam,” doctrinal mix of Buddhism with Islam.[2] Syncretistic Buddlam poses no problem to Buddhists who historically endorse “many paths.” Nor even to Islamists who tactically embrace inclusionism all the while coddling their own desired end to the contrary.

For the sake of building upon “common ground”—this, in an effort to reconcile creeds that logically clash—willing inclusionists take one for the team, as it were, by forfeiting (or feigning to forfeit) traditional core doctrines of their respective religions.

Syncretism on the Sly

Contrary to popular belief, not all orthodox Muslims are offensive activists who refuse to assimilate. Some are defensive pacifists for whom assimilation (or presence) serves an underlying objective to preserve the house of Islam (dar-al-Islam) and foster its growth.

In short, the destiny mission for all orthodox Islamists is complete world dominance. It’s believed that, in time, the community of non-Muslims (dar-al-kuffer) will comply, whether by conversion or coercion; and one caliph armed with sharia will rule over a global community of all those who affirm Islam (ummah).[3]

With a single eye for this Islamic Grand Design, Muslim proponents of Buddlam target and, then, strategically downplay religious differences—this, in the bogus name of “religious harmony.” Islamists are okay with deception for self-interest.[4]

Put another way, Islamic precedence accepts that the end (ummah) justifies the means—e.g., identifying with other faiths, if only superficially, as a semblance of solidarity. Other tactics include recasting mismatched beliefs as “similar,” or simply trivializing them as superfluous when, in fact, they are not.

Once Islam’s taproot is well established, the faithful are free to drop the façade and, then, summons the conquered to heed the call of Allah to Islam (da’wah) whereupon shouts of Allahu akbar, meaning “Allah is Greater,” will silence the defunct, but currently useful “many-paths-to-God” mantra.[5]

[Return to headlines]


Watcher said...

I think that's a pretty good summation.

We are at waar with:

Islam--the religion of piece by piece by piece.