Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120121

»Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina Primary
»Obama’s Misleading Green-Jobs Ad: Taking Credit for Imaginary Jobs
Europe and the EU
»Italy Resumes Search for Concordia Survivors
»Prosecuting the Prosecutor: Star Spanish Judge Garzón on the Defensive
»The EU Brainwash Our Children
»UK: A THIRD of Inmates at Feltham Youth Jail Are Muslims… And More Convert to Get Better Food
»UK: Pilot With Terror Links Deemed a Security Risk Accuses Airline of Racism After Losing His Job
»Acquittal Highlights Albania’s ‘Culture of Impunity’
North Africa
»Egyptian Women Cane Morality Police
Middle East
»Iran Sanctions Good for Business in Tiny Omani Port
»Were the Ancient Sumerians the World’s First Brewers?
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Nigerian Blasts Death Toll Rises to 143
»South Sudan Considers Shutting Down Oil Exports
Culture Wars
»Boy or Girl? The Parents Who Refused to Say for Five Years Finally Reveal Sex of Their ‘Gender-Neutral’ Child


Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina Primary

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former House speaker Newt Gingrich scored an easy victory Saturday in the South Carolina primary, blowing a hole in Mitt Romney’s aura of inevitability.

The 12-point win represented a swift and extraordinary turnaround in Gingrich’s fortunes — thanks largely to strong performances in two debates. In those forums, he issued a stirring appeal to the state’s strident conservatism, convinced its voters he would be a formidable opponent against President Obama and threw Romney off his stride.

“We don’t have the kind of money that at least one of the candidates has,” Gingrich said in his victory speech in Columbia, referring to Romney. “But we do have ideas, and we do have people and we proved here in South Carolina that people power with the right ideas beats big money.”

He also peppered his speech with dismissive references to “elites” in the media and in Washington and New York — a sign that he intends to continue the truculently populist tone that resonated with voters in South Carolina.

After disappointing distant finishes in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, Gingrich had limped into South Carolina more than 10 points down in most polls. So battered was his candidacy that Gingrich himself had conceded that his campaign might be over if he failed to turn in a strong performance.

His victory not only changes the near-term dynamic of this presidential campaign but also defies political history. South Carolina is known as a firewall for the GOP establishment in presidential contests, traditionally extinguishing the hopes of insurgent candidates such as Gingrich…

[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Misleading Green-Jobs Ad: Taking Credit for Imaginary Jobs

By Hans Bader

There are only 140,000 jobs in the whole renewable-energy sector, but in a new ad, Obama is taking credit for a “clean energy industry” that has “2.7 million jobs.” Obama inflated the number of “clean-energy” jobs by adding people who have nothing to do with clean-energy, like “trash collectors” and bureaucrats. By inflating the total, Obama was able to paper over his complete failure to live up to his utterly unrealistic campaign promise “to create 5 million new green jobs.” Most of America’s existing green jobs predate the Obama Administration, which did not create them: “from 2003-2010, the rate of growth for clean jobs was 3.4 percent.”

Indeed, the Obama Administration used federal green-jobs money to outsource American jobs to countries like China: “Despite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies, according to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop” at American University. “79 percent” of all green-jobs funding “went to companies based overseas,” with the largest payment going to a bankrupt Australian company. “Most of the jobs are going overseas,” said Russ Choma at the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

Meanwhile, America actually lost jobs in wind-manufacturing: “Even with the infusion of so much stimulus money, a recent report by American Wind Energy Association showed a drop in U.S. wind manufacturing jobs last year.” (CBS News recently reported that there are 11 more companies, in addition to Solyndra, that are embroiled in financial trouble after receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money; five have already filed for bankruptcy).

Obama’s mythical green-jobs are like other imaginary jobs he claimed to have created with the $800 billion stimulus package…

           — Hat tip: Hans Bader[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Italy Resumes Search for Concordia Survivors

Rescue efforts continue in the Costa Concordia after a state of emergency is issued by the Italian government. Over 30 people are now feared to have died on the shipwrecked cruise ship.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Prosecuting the Prosecutor: Star Spanish Judge Garzón on the Defensive

Many hailed crusading Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón as a hero for going after powerful criminals around the world. But this week saw him sitting at the defense table in what was the first of several trials stemming from his efforts to confront the power elite in his own country.

Spanish star judge Baltasar Garzón came on foot to his execution on the first day of his trial. The proceedings, which were to put an end to his celebrated career, were heard this week in Madrid before Spain’s Supreme Court. Garzón became famous for his dogged pursuit of dictators and others who had committed crimes against humanity across the world. But now he was the one standing trial — for having attempted to dig up the darkest secrets of the powerful in his own country. Now he must pay the price.

As in Germany, the worst accusation that can be leveled against a judge is “perversion of justice.” This judge, who is as vain as he has been successful, is accused of having committed “sustained perversion of justice” by using controversial methods in his efforts to shed light on a corruption scandal that has absorbed the Spanish political establishment for years. He had conversations between suspects — thought to belong to a network of corruption — and their lawyers secretly taped. In Spain, as elsewhere, such a violation of rights is only permitted in extreme cases. The victims of these secret recordings struck back by filing a joint complaint against Garzón. And they have powerful friends.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The EU Brainwash Our Children

A PROPAGANDA programme from Brussels to “brainwash” British children in the classroom should be halted, critics said yesterday.

The call comes after a new video shows the EU official responsible for teaching aids for UK schools blatantly admitting the desire to get to youngsters “early enough”.

The programme is to convince them it is good to be in the EU before they “form prejudices and are misinformed by other sources”.


Ukip deputy leader and education spokesman Paul Nuttall MEP said: “It is what we always suspected but could never prove. Now we can. They [the EU] are effectively using our cash to brainwash our children. And it has to stop.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: A THIRD of Inmates at Feltham Youth Jail Are Muslims… And More Convert to Get Better Food

A third of inmates at one of Britain’s most notorious youth jails are Muslims and the religion is attracting a large number of converts.

There are 229 Muslims out of a total of 686 youngsters detained at Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution in West London, according to Ministry of Justice figures.

There are now so many worshippers at Friday prayers that they have to be split between Feltham’s mosque and its gym.

Sources claim that converts are attracted by the chance of better food and a more comfortable regime.

But there are also fears that some are being radicalised.

During Ramadan, Muslim prisoners are given food in separate hot and cold containers so they can eat what they choose at the end of their daylight fast.

A source revealed: ‘Over the last few years there has been a huge surge in those attending Muslim services.

‘The popularity of the faith has surprised people. We are seeing a large number of inmates converting to Islam.’

He added: ‘There is a difference between mainstream believers and extremists, but the fear is that some in the jail are being radicalised.

‘Others convert for protection or to have what they believe is an easier lifestyle.’

Prison insiders say most non-Muslims are locked up during Friday prayers because so many guards are needed to monitor the lunchtime service.

The Ministry of Justice said: ‘The Prison Service is committed to ensuring the religious needs of prisoners of all faiths are met.’

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

UK: Pilot With Terror Links Deemed a Security Risk Accuses Airline of Racism After Losing His Job

A British airline pilot arrested over an alleged terrorist plot is claiming racial and religious discrimination after losing his job.

The pilot, a Muslim, was judged a security risk because of his close links to two alleged extremists suspected of ‘planning to use an aircraft as part of a hostile or terrorist act’.

Because of draconian reporting restrictions imposed last week by an employment tribunal, the man cannot be identified and neither can his employer.

Despite this, a well-known British carrier said in a letter that the pilot was ‘in a position to cause considerable harm’ and added that it was in the ‘national interest’ to ensure he never flew commercial aircraft again.

Concerns about the two suspected extremists — one is a business partner of the pilot’s brother — were first raised when they paid for flying lessons and a light aircraft in cash.

During a raid on the London home of one of the pair, detectives found documents relating to the operation of aircraft, a flight map of the UK and literature from an Islamic extremist group banned in many countries.

The pilot, who lives in South-East England and was based at Heathrow, has known the men for ten years and rented a flat from one of them.

In October 2007 the pilot himself was arrested — and immediately suspended by the airline — but was never charged.

Both his landlord and the other man were prosecuted under the Terrorism Act. Charges against one of the men were later dropped and the other was cleared by a jury.

It was at this point that the airline began an internal investigation into the pilot’s conduct, having been passed information about him by Scotland Yard’s SO15 anti-terrorism command at the time of his arrest.

The investigation heard claims, denied by the pilot, that he had suggested the September 11 attacks were ‘comparable to the United States’ wars in Afghanistan and Iraq’.

On another occasion, while returning to the UK, it was alleged he had read a book on the flight deck which, he explained to the colleague who was captaining the plane, put a ‘different perspective on 9/11’.

The pilot claims the internal investigation found no evidence, however, that he made comments implying support for terrorist acts.

Neither, he says, did it find evidence that he passed documents on operating aircraft to the two terror suspects or was involved with, or supported, Islamic extremists.

But because of his close links with the two men — and ‘secret evidence’ the airline received from other sources — serious doubts were raised about his suitability to operate aircraft and he eventually lost his job in October 2010.

Details of the extraordinary case have never previously been disclosed.

The pilot’s discrimination claim began last week at a tribunal in Havant, Hampshire, where he claimed his employers had effectively ruled that he was ‘guilty by association’.

He told the hearing that it was ‘inconceivable that the treatment that I have received .?.?. would have happened to a non-Muslim or to someone of a different race’.

Although the pilot’s case is likely to attract the support of human-rights campaigners, there will be considerable sympathy too for the airline, which said yesterday in a statement that ‘the safety and security of our customers, aircraft and employees is always our number one priority and we will never compromise this area of our business’.

The airline added that following information from the police ‘we carried out a thorough investigation and risk analysis and concluded that the claimant was not suitable for work in his role’.

Before the hearing began on Thursday, the pilot’s legal team successfully obtained a temporary restricted reporting order preventing him being identified. The reasons for the order, which is being challenged by lawyers for The Mail on Sunday, were not given, although they are understood to relate to illness.

The hearing was told that the pilot, who describes himself as being of Asian descent and a practising Muslim, joined the airline’s training scheme in the Nineties, later securing a job. He said he had a ‘perfect record at the company’.

But in October 2007 he was suspended and his airside pass withdrawn after his arrest by SO15 detectives investigating the terror plot.

Four months later he was told by police that no further action would be taken against him. ‘I was delighted and believed my name had been cleared,’ he said.

On April 22, 2008, he received a letter from his employer telling him that it would begin an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

‘I was not overly concerned because I had done no wrong,’ he said.

The pilot was later accused of ‘conduct prejudicial to the safety and to the good name’ of the airline and was interviewed by a senior manager.

The pilot told the tribunal: ‘During one interview .?.?. I was asked about an alleged conversation that took place in late 2005.

‘It was suggested that I had been reading a book in late 2005 that talked about incidents on 9/11. I was asked whether I had said the attack on the Twin Towers was justified. I never said anything like that.

‘Similarly, I said that I had never said anything to suggest that the attack on the Twin Towers was comparable to the United States’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.’

‘I said I read books by Noam Chomsky [the American liberal political activist critical of US foreign policy] but did not make the kind of comments that were being imputed on me.

‘Noam Chomsky is not involved in any terrorism. In fact, he is anti-war.’

During the investigation he was also asked questions relating to the Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. ‘I was not a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and never have been,’ he said.

During cross-examination, Ingrid Simler QC, for the airline, said documents relating to the operating of aircraft found at the pilot’s house were identical to some found at the home of one of the two terror suspects, where a number of computer disks were found.

Ms Simler said: ‘One of those contained documents dealing with flight operations of .?.?. aeroplanes.’

She also said that police found a cheque stub at the pilot’s home for a £10,000 payment to one of the suspects. But the pilot said this was simply a payment for rent…

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]


Acquittal Highlights Albania’s ‘Culture of Impunity’

A landmark bribery case against one of Albania’s highest ranking politicians has ended in acquittal, a year after anti-corruption protests swept the nation. Observers call it a missed opportunity.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egyptian Women Cane Morality Police

Vigilante gangs of ultra-conservative Salafi men have been harassing shop owners and female customers in rural towns around Egypt for “indecent behavior,” according to reports in the Egyptian news media. But when they burst into a beauty salon in the Nile delta town of Benha this week and ordered the women inside to stop what they were doing or face physical punishment, the women struck back, whipping them with their own canes before kicking them out to the street in front of an astonished crowd of onlookers.

Modeling themselves after Saudi Arabia’s morality police as a “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” the young men raided clothing and other retail shops around the Qalubiya province over New Year’s weekend declaring they were there to enforce Islamic law, according to the Tahrir News.

Shop owners were told they could no longer sell “indecent” clothing, barbers could no longer shave men’s beards, and that all retail businesses should expect regular and surprise inspections to check for compliance. Frightened customers were ordered to cover up and threatened with severe punishment if they did not abide by “God’s law on earth.”

But when the women in a Benha beauty salon stood up to the young Salafi enforcers, they found support on the streets as well as online, with one amused reader suggesting that women should be deputized to protect the revolution’s democratic values…

           — Hat tip: RE[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran Sanctions Good for Business in Tiny Omani Port

The West’s sanctions against Iran have made it harder for people there to get their hands on various luxury goods. But, for the inhabitants of a tiny Omani port just across the Strait of Hormuz, the sanctions have been a goldmine.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Were the Ancient Sumerians the World’s First Brewers?

A newly published German report suggests the evidence of a fermented beverage from present-day Iraq may, in fact, not have been beer, but rather, a very low alcoholic drink. Still, other experts beg to differ.

For some people, researching the origins of beer is as stimulating as consuming it. Peter Damerow, a historian of science and a cuneiform-writing scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, was one such person. Damerow, who passed away in November, delved into archaeological findings of ancient beer production and consumption, focusing on ancient Sumerian brewing processes.

In a scholarly paper published in the Cuneiform Digital Library Journal this month, Damerow questioned whether the fermented cereal beverage — so-called Sumerian beer — consumed by the Sumerians, who lived in present-day Iraq, even contained alcohol and should be called beer. “In the case of Sumerian beer, it is unlikely that it was really beer that the Sumerians and their successors prepared from grain and consumed presumably in large amounts,” he wrote.

“Given our limited knowledge of the Sumerian brewing process, we do not even know for sure that the resulting product had any alcohol content at all,” he added. “We really cannot know whether Sumerian beer might, after all, have had a greater similarity with kvass (a fermented grain beverage that originated in Eastern Europe) than, say, with German beer.”

These claims fly in the face of what many historians believe — namely that ancient Sumerians in today’s Iraq were among the first to build agriculture-based cities approximately 6,000 years ago and produce a fermented grain-based beverage that came to be known as beer.

According to popular theory, Sumerian brewers crumbled flat bread made from barely or emmer into a mash, called “bappir,” which is Sumerian for “beer bread.” The problem is, that’s only theory: no one knows for sure, as Damerow points out in great detail.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigerian Blasts Death Toll Rises to 143

A coordinated attack by a radical Islamist sect in north Nigeria’s largest city has killed at least 143 people.

It is the the extremist group’s deadliest assault since beginning its campaign of terror in Africa’s most populous nation.

Soldiers and police officers swarmed Kano’s streets as Nigeria’s president again promised the sect known as Boko Haram would “face the full wrath of the law.”

But the uniformed bodies of security agents that filled a Kano hospital mortuary again showed the sect can strike at will against the country’s weak central government.

Friday’s attacks hit police stations, immigration offices and the local headquarters of Nigeria’s secret police in Kano, a city of more than nine million people that remains an important political and religious centre in the country’s Muslim north.

A suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with powerful explosives outside a regional police headquarters, tearing its roof away and blowing out windows in a blast felt miles away as its members escaped jail cells there.

Authorities largely refused to offer casualty statistics as mourners began claiming the bodies of their loved ones to bury before sundown, following Islamic tradition.

However, a hospital official told The Associated Press at least 143 people were killed in the attack.

The toll could still rise, since other bodies could be held at other clinics and hospitals in the sprawling city.

State authorities enforced a 24-hour curfew in the city, with many remaining home as soldiers and police patrolled the streets and set up roadblocks. Gunshots echoed through some areas of the city into Saturday morning.

A Boko Haram spokesman using the nom de guerre Abul-Qaqa claimed responsibility for the attacks in a message to journalists Friday. He said the attack came because the state government refused to release Boko Haram members held by the police.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Saturday that he was “shocked and appalled” by the attacks in the former colony.

“The full horror of last night’s events is still unfolding, but we know that a great many people have died and many more have been injured,” Hague said in a statement. “The nature of these attacks has sickened people around the world and I send my deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of those killed and to those injured.”

President Goodluck Jonathan also condemned an attack he said saw innocent people “brutally and recklessly cut down by agents of terror.”

“As a responsible government, we will not fold our hands and watch enemies of democracy, for that is what these mindless killers are, perpetrate unprecedented evil in our land,” Jonathan said in a statement.

“I want to reassure Nigerians … that all those involved in that dastardly act would be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

But Jonathan’s government has repeatedly been unable to stop attacks by Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north.

The group has carried out increasingly sophisticated and bloody attacks in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law and avenge the deaths of Muslims in communal violence across Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people.

Authorities blamed Boko Haram for at least 510 killings last year alone, according to an AP count, including an August suicide bombing on the UN headquarters in the country’s capital Abuja. So far this year, the group has been blamed for at least 219 killings, according to an AP count.

Boko Haram recently said it specifically would target Christians living in Nigeria’s north, but Friday’s attack saw its gunmen kill many Muslims. In a recent video posted to the internet, Imam Abubakar Shekau, a Boko Harm leader, warned it would kill anyone who “betrays the religion” by being part of or sympathising with Nigeria’s government.

“I swear by Allah we will kill them and their killing will be nothing to us,” Shekau said. “It will be like going to prayers at 5am”

Friday’s attacks also could cause more unrest, as violence in Kano has set off attacks throughout the north in the past, including postelection violence in April that saw 800 people killed. Kano, an ancient city, remains important in the history of Islam in Nigeria and has important religious figures there today.

[Return to headlines]

South Sudan Considers Shutting Down Oil Exports

UN head Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over the “worrying deterioration” in relations between South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan after the South announces plans to stop oil production. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday raised concern over what he termed a “worrying deterioration” in relations between Sudan and South Sudan barely six months after their separation.

UN spokesman Marty Nesirky said, “The secretary-general strongly urges the parties to do everything possible to reach agreement” at Africa Union brokered talks in Ethiopia “to defuse the current oil crisis, and address the other contentious issues on the agenda that require immediate resolution.” The remarks were made after the South Sudanese government announced plan in Juba on Friday to shut down oil production in response to a deepening row with neighboring Khartoum over pipeline fees.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Boy or Girl? The Parents Who Refused to Say for Five Years Finally Reveal Sex of Their ‘Gender-Neutral’ Child

His fairy wings, pink tutu and ballet pumps suggest this little boy has raided the dressing up box.

But if five-year-old Sasha wanted to wear this every day, his parents would have no problem at all.

In fact, as they are bringing him up to be ‘gender neutral’, they would see it simply as their son expressing himself.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]