Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120816

Financial Crisis
»Switzerland Forecasts 1.5 Billion Franc Surplus
»Christianity & Gun Owners in the Crosshairs: Chilling Tactic Exposed
»Delaware Opens Pandora’s Box With Bloomenergy Black Box
»Document Reveals Accounts of Vicious Assault From Victim and Suspects
»Floyd Lee Corkins Charged in Family Research Council Shooting
»Muslim Group Blasts U.S. Judge Over ‘Sea Monster’ Comparison
Europe and the EU
»Attraction and Repulsion Define French-German Relations
»Finland: Mannerheim Played by Kenyan Actor in Yle Film Sparking Controversy Well Before Premiere
»France’s Politicians Struggle for Answers After Amiens Riot
»France: Amiens Mayor Warned of Trouble Two Months Ago
»German City to Recognize Islamic Holidays
»Germany: Hamburg to Guarantee More Rights to Muslims
»Germany: Gesture of Tolerance: Hamburg Recognizes Muslim Religious Holidays
»Germany: Nestlé Suffers Setback in Coffee Capsule War
»Germany: Minister: Ban Biofuel, It Boosts Famine
»Norway: Driver Misses Moose But Hits Bear
»Norway: Pensioner Dies After Cow Attack
»UK: £17.5m Mosque Plan Set to Win Approval
»UK: City Unites for March
»UK: Home Office Rejects Far-Right Campaign Against Azad Ali and UAF
»UK: HMRC Publishes Mugshots of 20 Most Wanted Tax Fugitives for First Time
»UK: Leicester Estate Out in Protest Over Islamic Community Centre Plans for Disused Scout Hut
»UK: Witchcraft Child Abuse: Social Services and Police ‘Cowed by Political Correctness’ Claims Minister
Middle East
»Despite Alarm by U.S., Europe Lets Hezbollah Operate Openly (New York Times)
»Syria: The Gap Salesman Turned Rebel Executioner
»New York-Moscow Plane Lands in Iceland Following Bomb Threat
South Asia
»Suicide Bombers Storm Pakistan Airbase
Latin America
»Ecuador Grants Asylum to Assange
»Ecuador Grants Asylum to Wikileaks’ Assange

Financial Crisis

Switzerland Forecasts 1.5 Billion Franc Surplus

Switzerland is set to end the year with healthier finances than expected and a surplus of 1.5 billion francs ($1.5 billion), the government said on Wednesday.

The forecast, which comes after the Federal Council previously announced a balanced budget for 2012, was explained by lower expenditures than the 64.1 billion francs planned because of the impact of lower interest rates.

However, net income was expected to fall by 800 million francs by the end of the year owing to the economic slowdown, the government said in a statement. It added that the surplus would not have any effect on 2013 budget — which contains a 400 million franc deficit.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Christianity & Gun Owners in the Crosshairs: Chilling Tactic Exposed

If you are an outspoken Christian in America, you need to be concerned. If you are an outspoken Christian in America who happens to be a gun owner, you need to be very concerned. And if you are a Christian gun owner who disagrees with the Progressive anti-Christian agenda in America and have a platform to inform others, you better believe that you are under intense scrutiny. Sound like paranoid propaganda? Read on.

It’s one thing to say that there is a war against Christianity and an active agenda to disarm Americans, but it’s another thing altogether to watch it unfold, up close and personal. And yet another to actually document an insidious but effective tactic that is presently being used to silence and disarm Christians right here in America. In this report, I will expose a new tactic being used by the atheistic communist supporters of the Obama regime to silence Christian critics and to disarm them at the same time.


The officers took Jason to the local hospital psychiatric ward for “evaluation.” For the next 18 hours, he was subjected to some of the most humiliating searches, probes, and questions by hospital personnel. Questions included those specific to his religious faith and what he thought about the government and Obama. Questions that were structured in such a manner that regardless of the answer, they would result in portraying him as a dangerous, gun-owning Christian zealot. All as a result of Jason expressing his non-violent, well reasoned, and articulate views on our show as well as his own. All ostensibly from the concern of one “friend” from another state and well over 100 miles away.

Jason was indeed released after about 20 hours of evaluation. He was given his belt and shoelaces back, and all of his personal belongings taken from him upon admission. He was released without fanfare, without apology, and without explanation. But with little additional interaction, Jason was now labeled with the medical diagnosis of “psychosis” and urged to take medication that he states he does not need and does not want. Additionally, Jason was released under the condition that he gets rid of any and all firearms he owns and report to a crisis counseling center upon discharge.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Delaware Opens Pandora’s Box With Bloomenergy Black Box

In November 2011, Bloomenergy applied for permits to build an energy center in a Delaware protected coastal zone area. The center would employ solid oxide fuel cells powered by natural gas and housed in casings that look like huge boxes—Bloom boxes or “energy servers.”

The application raised alarms among Delaware citizens worried that they were being handed a Pandora’s Box of unwelcome rate hikes and other surprises. Because of my energy, chemistry and thermodynamics expertise, they asked me to review it.


Because of the Bloom servers’ low efficiency and high capital cost, Delaware citizens will pay Bloom over $200 per megawatt hour of power delivered to their PJM grid. But in January 2012 the US Energy Information Agency said the projected “levelized” cost of electricity over the next 30 years from advanced gas-fired combined cycle power stations is $65.50 per MWH.

In other words, Bloom plans to charge First State citizens three times the $65 rate, for dirtier power.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Document Reveals Accounts of Vicious Assault From Victim and Suspects

Court documents reveal that the victim of an alleged vicious sexual assault remembers some of the suspects telling her about being unhappy with the way they were treated in the United States. Five Iraqi nationals were arrested in connection with the case.

Two are charged with the crime while all five are charged as accessories with the crime. Some of the victim’s injuries were described by police as being “rarely seen.”

“I can tell you this is one of the most horrific sexual assaults I’ve seen in my career as a police officer,” said Lt. Howard Black with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

More specifics about the victim’s injuries were redacted from publicly available documents to protect the victim’s privacy.

According to police, the victim reported overhearing a scuffle involving several people at about 1:30 a.m. at the Wildridge Apartments on July 21. She works the night shift and was out checking her mailbox at the time. She decided to stand between the two groups of men in an attempt to calm them down.

Following the fight, the victim told police she was invited inside an apartment by one of the men. There, she met three other men who were about 20 years old.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, the victim described a conversation with the men that centered on how unhappy they were with the treatment they received in the United States. The men also spoke about “the Untied States oppressing them and calling them terrorists.”

The victim told police the men reminded her of her own son and she wanted to help calm them down. She also sympathized because she had been in the military and previously lived in foreign countries.

During their conversation, the victim was given what she believed was lemonade. Police say she has no recollection of what happened after that.

On July 22, officers found a significant amount of blood throughout the apartment where the alleged attack occurred and also in the victim’s apartment. One officer also spoke to a neighbor who lives directly below the victim’s apartment. According to the affidavit, the neighbor described speaking to the victim and described her as “out of it.” The neighbor also saw her bleeding.

As the investigation continued, the affidavit says the victim was able to identify Sarmad Fadhil Mohammed in a photographic lineup. Looking at the photo, the victim identified him as the male who held a knife during the original disturbance. She also remembered that he had exposed himself to her before she lost consciousness.

When a search warrant was executed at the apartment where the assault occurred, tactical officers found Ali Mohammed Hasan Al Juboori, Yasir Jabbar Jasim, Sarmad Fadhi Mohammed and Mustafa Sataar Al Feraji inside. The affidavit says all four agreed to go to the Police Operations Center to be interviewed.

The affidavit details Sarmad Fadhil Mohammed’s interview first. It says he admitted to carrying a kitchen knife during the fight, but said he was trying to assist a friend named “J.” When they all returned to the apartment, Mohammed said he offered the woman a drink of rum asked her if she was there to have sex. He says she refused, said she twice stopped “J” from performing oral sex on her.

Mohammed also told police that he was falling asleep on the couch when he awoke to hear the woman groan. He asked her to leave, he said, because he did not want the blood stains in his apartment.

The next two interviews detailed in the documents involved of Yasir Jabaar Jasim. During the second interview, he admitted having lied previously about what he witnessed in the apartment. According to the papers, Jasim said he saw “J” force oral sex on the victim and violently assault her.

Jasim also told police there was blood everywhere and that “J” told him, “Man, she’s going to die.”

Jasim, Mohammed and Mustafa Sataar Al Feraji all told officers that the man they knew as “J” was probably named Jaseen Ramadan. Officers investigated and found a photo of Jasim Mohammed Hassin Ramadon that each man identified as the being the same person.

A warrant was issued for Ramadon on July 26, and he was arrested the next day. According to the affidavit, he admitted the victim was in the apartment but denied having any sexual contact with her. He claimed it was Al Feraji who sexually assaulted her and caused the injury.

The detective also wrote in the affidavit that Ramadon claimed he was the one who helped the victim home after she was injured and bleeding.

In the following days, several of the suspects were re-interviewed. In the end, Sarmad Fadhi Mohammed and Jasim Mohammed Hassin Ramadon were arrested for both the sexual assault and being accessories to the crime. Mustafa Sataar Al Feraji, Ali Mohammed Hasan Al Juboori and Yasir Jabbar Jasim were also arrested and charged as accessories.

All of the suspects obtained a lawful permanent resident status within the past five years.

A spokesperson from the District Attorney’s office told 11 News Tuesday if the men are convicted they will serve their time here and then be deported. If they’re found not guilty they will likely still be sent back to Iraq.

A check of the suspect’s criminal backgrounds indicates this is the first time they’ve been in serious trouble with the law.

All five men were in jail late Tuesday night.

           — Hat tip: Hermes[Return to headlines]

Floyd Lee Corkins Charged in Family Research Council Shooting

The man authorities say was angry with the conservative stance of the Family Research Council and shot the group’s unarmed security guard in a downtown D.C. office was ordered by a judge Thursday to undergo a mental evaluation.

An FBI affidavit quotes 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II of Herndon telling the guard, “I don’t like your politics” as he pulled a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol from a backpack he had carried with him on Metrorail from East Falls Church.

D.C. police said that Corkins shot the guard, Leonardo R. Johnson, 46, once in the arm and that Johnson, though wounded, helped subdue the suspect and wrestle the gun from him in the building’s lobby on G Street NW.

In his bag, court documents say, police found 50 rounds of ammunition and 15 sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, which combined with the suspect’s statement added a political dimension to the shooting.

The head of the Atlanta-based fast-food chain has spoken out against same-sex marriage, a stance embraced by the Family Research Council. Corkins had been volunteering at a U Street NW support center for the gay community.

On Thursday, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and the head of the FBI’s District field office visited Johnson’s 72-year-old mother and 102-year-old grandmother at their house in Southeast Washington, and they credited him with preventing a tragedy.

In an interview, Virginia Johnson said she was proud of her son for subduing the gunman and “so happy” to hear the District’s police chief call him a hero.

“I’m sorry for what happened and the way he got hurt,” Virginia Johnson said. She spoke with her son when he called from a hospital moments after she saw news of the shooting on television newscasts.

“Yes, I’d say he was a hero,” she said.

Meanwhile, in U.S. District Court, prosecutors charged Corkins with assault with intent to kill while armed and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition. Assistant U.S. Attorney George P. Varghese requested a 24-hour mental evaluation of Corkins, which was granted by Magistrate Judge Alan Kay.

Corkins appeared in a white prison jumpsuit, walking into the courtroom quietly between two U.S. marshals. His right eye was blackened and swollen. As Kay outlined the charges against him, he stood and twirled his thumbs with his hands behind his back.

Kay asked Corkins whether he had enough money to pay for an attorney; he said he did not. “I have about $300,” Corkins said in a soft, clear voice.

During the proceedings, which lasted about 20 minutes, the judge ordered Corkins held without bond until a hearing scheduled for next Friday.

At a news conference Thursday, the president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, condemned what he called “reckless rhetoric” that labels his organization a “hate group,” saying it incited the shooting.

[Return to headlines]

Muslim Group Blasts U.S. Judge Over ‘Sea Monster’ Comparison

(Reuters) — A Muslim rights group criticized a federal judge on Wednesday, complaining he had compared the civil liberties of Muslim Americans to a “hideous sea monster” while tossing out a lawsuit over the infiltration of California mosques by an FBI informant.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney dismissed the lawsuit on Tuesday, which charged that the undercover FBI informant had violated civil liberties of U.S. Muslims by spying on them, ruling that allowing the case to proceed could risk disclosure of government secrets.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Attraction and Repulsion Define French-German Relations

Together, Germany and France have long been viewed as the motor of European integration. In the midst of the economic crisis, however old suspicions and rivalries between Europe’s two key nations are being reawakened. Once again, the German approach has France’s intellectuals mystified — and the tone is getting sharper.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finland: Mannerheim Played by Kenyan Actor in Yle Film Sparking Controversy Well Before Premiere

Helsingin Sanomat has learned from sources that the new film about Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was shot in May this year near the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Only one scene, depicting the Winter War, was shot in Finland. All of the actors were also Kenyan.

The newspaper Iltalehti reported on Tuesday that Mannerheim would be played by an “African-born” actor in a film produced by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).

The actor in question is a Kenyan, Telley Savalas Otieno

HS contacted Telley Savalas Otieno in Nairobi on Tuesday.

“Yes, I portray Mannerheim in the film Marshal of Finland”, the actor says, adding that the film was a magnificent experience for him.

The director and most of the production crew are Kenyans.

Marshal of Finland combines traditions of African storytelling and biographical elements of Mannerheim. The story mixes the African storytelling tradition and Mannerheim’s life story. The languages spoken in the film are Swahili and English.

The premiere of the film, which runs for about 50 minutes, is at the Love and Anarchy film festival in Helsinki on September 28th. It will be shown on the YLE Teema television channel later in the autumn.

The film concentrates on Mannerheim’s person and his human relations. Savalas Otieno says that Mannerheim was a difficult role to play.

“I didn’t want to portray him as stiff, even though I am stiff myself as the result of a traffic accident. But when I got the uniform on, I thought that this is what I was born to be: tall and stiff.”

As an actor he was interested in Mannerheim as a conflicted person. The Marshal is unsure about matters of love, for instance. One of the characters in the movie is Mannerheim’s beloved Kitti — Catharina Linder.

“I wanted to show how Mannerheim’s imperfections. We will never know what it was like when the Marshal was alone.”

Actor Telley Savalas Otieno was born in 1977. He has worked as a photo model in Italy. His résumé also includes jobs as a fruit picker, a tour guide, and as a teacher of English in Italy.

Now he lives in Nairobi. In an interview with the Kenyan newspaper The Standard last year he was described as “one of Kenya’s best actors”.

Savalas Otieno says that the Mannerheim film project is the best film that he has ever been involved with. The role was also one of the biggest that he has had. Previously his roles have mainly been those of extras — in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Besieged by director Bernardo Bertolucci.

Telly Savalas Otieno got the role of Mannerheim through an audition, to which hundreds of people showed up.

“I saw a poster at the Kenyan National Theatre where they were looking for an actor.”

“In a scene I was Gustaf and I was proposing to Kitty, a beautiful young girl. Mannerheim had a relationship with a very young girl, didn’t he? In the scene Kitty was stand-offish, and rejected the proposal, and Gustaf did not understand why.”

Savalas Otieno believes that he got the role because they liked the chemistry between himself and the Kenyan woman who played Kitty.

He says that it was not until after the shooting that producer Erkko Lyytinen let him read a biographical book Mannerheim: the years of preparation by John Screen.

“I had not heard about Mannerheim before the film. Two months ago I read about him on the internet, and from the book, and I was amazed! If I had read the book in advance, I would have been afraid of this film.”

Savalas Otieno says that the shooting took five days near Nairobi. The script was written by a working group which included Emma Taulo among others.

“At the time we did not know that this was such a revolutionary project”, Savalas Otieno says. “Erkko was very nervous during the shooting, and we Kenyans tried to tell him to calm down — this is just a movie. Erkko said that this is not just a movie — this is a movie about Mannerheim.”

“Now the roles have been reversed. I am the one who is afraid. Who am I to talk about Mannerheim?”

Savalas Otieno says that the film project is “crazy”.

“Nobody in Africa has heard about Mannerheim. That is another reason why I like this film.”

Helsingin Sanomat has learned from its sources that the YLE Mannerheim film cost just slightly over EUR 20,000.

           — Hat tip: HHVL[Return to headlines]

France’s Politicians Struggle for Answers After Amiens Riot

After riots that injured police and burned property, France is on edge. Christopher Dickey on whether the trouble will spread.

A lot of people in one of the rougher neighborhoods of Amiens, a small city in northern France, had a sleepless night last night-and much of the rest of the country will be on edge tonight. The reason: a breakout of riots that one French tabloid likened to “urban guerrilla” activity. Someone even shot at the cops with live ammunition, which is still considered a rarity in France. Sixteen police were injured in the violence. And no arrests have been made. The question now is whether the rioting will spread.

For decades, young people in the housing projects and isolated immigrant-filled suburbs on the outskirts of French cities have taken out their frustrations by burning cars and clashing with cops. Mostly that’s happened on long, hot summer nights, when school is out and jobs are in short supply, especially for young men from African and Arab families. Then in October and November 2005, riots spread throughout the country. Around the world, headlines asked, “Is Paris Burning?”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Amiens Mayor Warned of Trouble Two Months Ago

The mayor of Amiens alerted central government two months ago to “renewed delinquency” and a shortage of police officers in the city, a newly-released letter shows. Meanwhile five people have been arrested in connection to the violence.

Amiens mayor, Gilles Demailly, wrote the letter, published today in national paper Libération, to Interior Minister Manuel Valls on May 25, shortly after he entered office.

In it, the Mayor Demailly underlines his personal “exasperation and worry”, as well as that of local residents and security forces, about the “renewed delinquency” evident in some parts of the city.

Demailly reminds Valls of the reduction that 20 officers were recently cut from the local police force — and invites him to Amiens to “appreciate the difficulties we meet”.

“Security and the law are still not present in certain areas. These services, as a whole, cannot be given back to residents, who feel they have been pushed outside the values of the republic,” Demailly wrote.

After the riots early Tuesday morning, in which 16 police officers were injured, Demailly told the AFP: “For months I have been asking for more funding because the tension has been mounting in that part of the city.”

The area concerned was already known to authorities, and had been recently classed as a “priority safety zone”, with the aim of improving security in the area by September with a more obvious police presence.

The publication of the letter comes after five arrests were made in Amiens in connection to the riots.

All arrests were made in the north of the city, near to where the violence took place. The youngest arrested is 15 years old, the eldest is 30.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

German City to Recognize Islamic Holidays

BERLIN (AP) — Authorities in Hamburg have become the first in Germany to officially recognize Islamic holidays so Muslim employees and students can celebrate them at home.

The decision forms part of an agreement between the north German city and local Muslim groups. Similar agreements exist with Christian and Jewish communities in the city.

Hamburg’s mayor, Olaf Scholz, said Tuesday that he hopes the deal will serve as an example for other German cities.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: Hamburg to Guarantee More Rights to Muslims

Hamburg wants to make an agreement with Muslims and Alevi cementing their rights and responsibilities. It would be the first such pact to be undertaken by a German state.

Hamburg might soon make it a right for Muslims and Alevi to receive religious teaching in public schools and to take off on special holidays. Social Democrat (SPD) Olaf Scholz presented a draft of these provisions to the mayor of Hamburg on Tuesday (14.08.12). He was joined by representatives of the Muslim organizations and the Alevi community.

Hamburg is home to some 130,000 Muslims and 50,000 Alevi, a Muslim group primarily rooted in Turkey. If the pact goes through, they will receive guarantees for school holidays, religious instruction and funeral rituals.

A first for Germany

The draft plan comes at the end of a five-year-long negotiation period initiated by the previous Christian Democrat (CDU) mayor, Ole von Beust. “We had the goal of reaching agreement on mutual rights and responsibilities in various parts of life,” said Dietrich Wersich, current chairman of the opposition CDU in Hamburg’s parliament. Discussions centered not only on integration and dialogue, but also the recognition of fundamental German values by Muslims and Alevi who live here. One key example was gender equality.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: Gesture of Tolerance: Hamburg Recognizes Muslim Religious Holidays

The German city-state of Hamburg plans to officially recognize Muslim holidays and improve Islam courses in schools. Many of the measures are already standard practice, but the agreement with Muslim groups is still viewed as a positive signal. Other states may soon follow suit.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Nestlé Suffers Setback in Coffee Capsule War

A German court rejected on Thursday an application by Swiss food giant Nestlé to ban the sale of unlicensed coffee capsules for its Nespresso coffee machines in Germany.

The regional court in Düsseldorf rejected Nestle’s application for an injunction against two rival Swiss companies from selling cheaper coffee capsules that carried a label saying they were “suitable for Nespresso machines”.

While Nestlé subsidiary Nestec held the patent on the Nespresso machines and both it and its license holders produced the original Nespresso capsules, a consumer was not infringing Nestle’s patent if they used coffee capsules made by other manufacturers in the machines, the court argued.

While the capsules were essential for making coffee with the machines, they were not the machines’ “functional core”, it ruled.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Minister: Ban Biofuel, It Boosts Famine

Biofuel containing corn should be banned from German petrol pumps, a minister has demanded, as droughts and a dramatic rise in food prices mean more of the world population is going hungry.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Driver Misses Moose But Hits Bear

A Norwegian driver who swerved his car on a rural road to avoid running into a moose hit a bear instead, authorities said today.

The driver spotted the moose on a country road near Hanestad, 225 kilometres north of Oslo, around midnight yesterday. He tried to go around the animal but did not realise a bear was also nearby.

“The driver had lost a bit of speed as he tried to avoid the moose before hitting the bear,” said Svein Erik Bjorke of the local wildlife authority, who was out in the forest searching for the wounded animal.

“We are currently tracking the bear and we have found traces of blood indicating internal injuries,” he said.

The driver escaped uninjured, while his car suffered some damage.

Norway’s rugged mountains are sparsely populated and full of wildlife. The country, nearly the size of Germany but home to just five million people, has around 100,000 moose and 150 brown bears, authorities said.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Norway: Pensioner Dies After Cow Attack

An 87-year-old man in eastern Norway has died after he was attacked by a cow last weekend.

The accident happened on Saturday as Rolf Rudsengen tried to chase away two cows that had stepped onto his land near Trevatna Lake, newspaper Nationen reports.

One of the cows responded by attacking Rudsengen, breaking three of his ribs and a shoulder blade in the process. The animal is believed to have bundled the man to the ground before dragging him several metres across a field.

There were no eye-witnesses to the incident, but a neighbouring woman heard his cry for help and called for an ambulance.

When she arrived at the scene, she too was attacked by the cow.

Rudsengen died from his injuries on Tuesday at GjøvikHospital.

Its owner has now had the animal put down.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: £17.5m Mosque Plan Set to Win Approval

Plans for a £17.5 million mosque in Cambridge are set to be approved after the designs were praised as “exciting” and “high quality”. The application for the three-storey domed building on the site of the former Robert Sayle warehouse in Mill Road will go before councillors next week. In a consultation, 45 residents objected, complaining the building was too large and would cause parking chaos. There were also claims the mosque was a “step towards a Muslim-controlled nation” and that the dome was “needlessly provocative”, according to a report which will be considered by the city council’s planning committee.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: City Unites for March

by Katie Mansfield

A GROUP of church leaders, community groups and political parties are preparing to unite against the English Defence League (EDL) this weekend.

EDL members are expected to descend upon Chelmsford town centre on Saturday, 18 August and Unite Chelmsford is preparing to march. The protest coincides with the first day of V Festival at Hylands Park. Unite Chelmsford’s Celebration of Unity will be starting from Tindal Square at 11.30am and marching through the city at 1pm, the group expects their numbers to swell to 200 as they take a stand against the EDL. Malcolm Wallace, Secretary of Chelmsford TUC, speaking on behalf of United Chelmsford, said: “This will be a magnificent demonstration of our City’s opposition to racism and islamophobia. The divisive policies of the EDL stand in sharp contrast to our multi-cultural Team GB and the spirit of the Olympics.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Home Office Rejects Far-Right Campaign Against Azad Ali and UAF

In March this year the English Defence League’s political wing, the British Freedom party, launched a letter campaign aimed at persuading MPs who had signed Unite Against Fascism’s founding statement to withdraw their support from the organisation. The hook for this campaign was provided by a witch-hunting article by Andrew Gilligan (a journalist greatly admired by right-wing Islamophobes) who had accused UAF vice chair Azad Ali of being a fascist. The model letter provided by the BFP also included the claim that Azad Ali had been “exposed at the web site Harry’s Place” (which has been another source of inspiration for far-right racists).

It appears that the only positive response the BFP received was from Brian Donohoe, Labour MP for Central Ayrshire, who took up the issue after being contacted by George Whale, editor of the British Freedom website. To the delight of the BFP, Donohoe replied to Whale with a friendly assurance that he was pursuing the question of UAF on his behalf: “I have written to both the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary asking for an update on this website as I am sure the majority of these ‘signatories’ are unaware their names are listed there.” Donohoe also relayed to the Home and Foreign offices Whale’s accusation that UAF is an extremist group.

Giving Donohoe the benefit of the doubt, we can only assume that he was unaware of Whale’s political background — though you’d have to be politically very naive not to suspect that a constituent demanding that you sever links with an organisation committed to opposing the far right might, just possibly, have some connection to the far right himself. As it turned out, Donohoe was given an admirably firm brush-off in a letter from James Brokenshire MP, parliamentary under secretary for crime and security at the Home Office.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: HMRC Publishes Mugshots of 20 Most Wanted Tax Fugitives for First Time

The names and faces of 20 most wanted “tax fugitives” who owe HM Revenue and Customs more than £700m are being published for the first time today.

HMRC has decided to publish the FBI-style list of mugshots to try to enlist the support of the public in tracking them down.

The names on the Most Wanted list are described as “tax criminals who have absconded after being charged with a crime or during trial.”

It is the first time that HMRC has published photographs and details of tax fugitives.

David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary, said: “The Government is absolutely committed to tackling tax evasion and fraud.

“These criminals have collectively cost the taxpayer over £765m and HMRC will pursue them relentlessly.

“We hope that publishing their pictures in this way will enable members of the public to contribute to the effort to catch them.”

The list includes Hussain Chohan, 44, who was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court for his role in a £200million fraud, part of which involved importing 2.25 tonnes of tobacco worth £750,000 in duty.

Chohan, believed to be in Dubai, was given 11 years for smuggling and fraud offences and for failing to appear in court. He is also subject to a £33million confiscation order.

Another person on the list is Wayne Joseph Hardy, 49, believed to be in South Africa. He was convicted at Ipswich Crown Court for manufacturing tobacco products and not paying duty and was given a three-year sentence in October 2011. The estimated cost to the taxpayer was £1.9 million.

The Government is committed to cracking down on those who try to dodge their responsibility to pay tax and has invested over £900m in HMRC in order to raise an additional £7bn each year in tax revenue.

The three are among 20 people whose pictures and details will be posted at 9am on HMRC’s Flickr page at

Last month, Mr Gauke announced plans to force accountants to hand over the names of millionaires who use complex schemes to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

The names would not be routinely be made public — although they could be disclosed if the case went to a tax tribunal.

Here is the list of the 20 “most wanted” tax fugitives in full:

  • Hussain Asad Chohan, 44, believed to be in Dubai. He was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court in his absence and sentenced to 11 years for his part in fraud worth around £200 million, which included importing 2.25 tonnes of tobacco worth £750,000 in duty. Chohan has also been served with a £33 million confiscation order.
  • Nasser Ahmed, 40, believed to be in Pakistan or Dubai, was convicted at Bristol Crown Court in 2005 for his role in VAT fraud worth around £156 million. He fled before verdicts were given, and was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison in his absence.
  • Zafar Baidar Chisthi, 33, thought to be in Pakistan, was found guilty at Kingston Crown Court for his part in VAT fraud worth around £150 million. He was sentenced to 11 years for conspiracy to defraud the public purse and one year for perverting the course of justice.
  • Darsim Abdullah, 42, believed to be in Iraq, was convicted at Guildford Crown Court for being part of a money laundering gang that processed £1 million to £4 million per month. Eleven other members of the gang were convicted or pleaded guilty, but he ran away before sentencing.
  • Leigang Liang, 38, believed to be in the UK, was convicted at Lewes Crown Court for illegally importing tobacco from China. He was sentenced in his absence to seven years. The estimated cost to the taxpayer of the scam was £2.6 million.
  • Olutayo Owolabi, 40, believed to be in the UK, was convicted in January 2010 for 27 charges linked to tax credits and money laundering, and sentenced in his absence to nine months in jail. The estimated cost to the taxpayer was £1 million.
  • Wayne Joseph Hardy, 49, now believed to be in South Africa, was convicted at Ipswich Crown Court for manufacturing tobacco products and not paying duty. He was given three-year sentence in October 2011. The estimated cost to the taxpayer was £1.9 million.
  • Adam Umerji — aka Shafiq Patel, 34, thought to be in Dubai, was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for 12 years for VAT fraud and money laundering. The cost to the taxpayer was around £64 million.
  • Gordon Arthur, 60, believed to be in the United States, suspected of illegally importing cigarettes and alcohol and failing to pay around £15 million in duty. He fled in 2000 and a warrant was issued for his arrest at Maidstone Crown Court in 2002.
  • Emma Elizabeth Tazey, 38, also believed to be in the United States, is wanted in connection with the same allegations.
  • John Nugent, 53, thought to be in the United States, was accused of putting in fraudulent claims for duty and VAT worth more than £22 million. A warrant for his arrest was issued at Manchester Crown Court.
  • Malcolm McGregor McGowan, 60, believed to be in Spain, was found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court in December 2011 of illegally importing cigarettes worth around £16 million into the UK, and was sentenced to four years.
  • Timur Mehmet, 39, believed to be in Cyprus, is wanted over a £25 million VAT fraud. He was found guilty in absence and sentenced to eight years at Northampton Crown Court.
  • Vladimir Jeriomin, 34, thought to be in Russia or Lithuania, was part of a gang that made false claims for tax repayments. The estimated cost to the taxpayer was £4.8 million. A warrant was issued for his arrest at Liverpool Crown Court.
  • Cesare Selvini, 52, thought to be in Switzerland, is wanted for smuggling platinum bars worth around £600,000. A warrant was issued for his arrest at Dover Magistrates’ Court in 2005.
  • Dimitri Gaskov, 27, thought to be in Estonia, allegedly smuggled three million cigarettes into the UK using desktop computers. He fled before trial and an arrest warrant was issued at Ipswich Crown Court.
  • Mohamed Sami Kaak, 45, thought to be in Tunisia, is wanted for smuggling millions of cigarettes into the UK between March 2005 and September 2006 and evading around £822,000 in duty. He was convicted in his absence at Isleworth Crown Court and jailed for four years.
  • Rory Martin McGann, 43, believed to be in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, is wanted for alleged VAT fraud worth more than £902,000. He was arrested in November 2008 but later fled.
  • Yehuda Cohen, 35, thought to be in Israel, is wanted over VAT fraud worth around £800,000. He was arrested at Heathrow Airport in March 2011 but later fled while on bail.
  • Sahil Jain, 30, believed to be in the UK, was arrested over alleged VAT fraud worth around £328,000 but failed to appear at the Old Bailey and a warrant was issued for his arrest on June 8.

           — Hat tip: JN[Return to headlines]

UK: Leicester Estate Out in Protest Over Islamic Community Centre Plans for Disused Scout Hut

It’s an unlikely setting for an ongoing night-after-night street protest. However, hundreds of people have been gathering in Thurncourt Road, on Leicester’s Thurnby Lodge estate, for some weeks now to protest against an Islamic charity’s plan to turn a disused Scout hut into a community centre and prayer room.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Witchcraft Child Abuse: Social Services and Police ‘Cowed by Political Correctness’ Claims Minister

‘Political correctness’ is preventing police from stopping child abuse by parents and church leaders who believe in witchcraft, a minister warns.

Tim Loughton, the children’s minister, said that a “wall of silence” was obscuring the full scale of cruelty in some communities where beliefs in evil spirits was common.

He was speaking as the Government announced plans to introduce new training for social workers, teachers, police and church members to combat the abuse.

It follows the conviction earlier this year of Eric Bikubi a London football coach, and his partner Magalie Bamu, for torturing and murdered a 15-year-old boy because they believed he was practising witchcraft.

The couple, whose families came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, subjected Bamu’s brother Kristy to a three-day ordeal because they were convinced he was practising “kindoki” or sorcery.

The case had echoes of that of Victoria Climbié, the eight-year-old girl who was murdered by her guardians who believed she was possessed by demons.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Despite Alarm by U.S., Europe Lets Hezbollah Operate Openly (New York Times)

BERLIN — As American officials sound the alarm over what they call a resurgent threat from the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, thousands of its members and supporters operate with few restrictions in Europe, raising money that is funneled to the group’s leadership in Lebanon.

           — Hat tip: J-PD[Return to headlines]

Syria: The Gap Salesman Turned Rebel Executioner

Yaman Hamoud, 22, divided his time between university and working in a Gap store in Dubai, before becoming an executioner for the FSA

The journey from Gap store shop assistant to rebel executioner was short. Six months ago, Yaman Hamoud was selling fashion, under the watchful eye of a British shop manager. By August, back home in Aleppo, the 22-year-old was part of a Free Syrian Army squad that arrested a member of the Shabiha, the hated Assad militia. After a few hours of to-and-fro with his commander, the squad was given permission to do what they wanted with him. “We took him to the graveyard, where there was a hole in the ground,” he said, laughing. His confession was entirely unprompted. “We shot him. He fell.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


New York-Moscow Plane Lands in Iceland Following Bomb Threat

An Aeroflot jet flying from New York to Moscow has made an emergency landing

“There was an anonymous call saying that there was an explosive device on the plane, which was already in the air,” spokesman Irina Dannenberg said. “The pilot took the decision to land the plane and it landed safely. A search is being conducted.” A spokesman for Iceland’s Keflavik airport said 253 people were on board the flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. A duty officer at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, the plane’s destination, identified it as Aeroflot Flight 103.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Suicide Bombers Storm Pakistan Airbase

Eight militants and one soldier die in attack on Minhas base in Punjab province

Suicide bombers wearing military uniforms have stormed an airbase in Pakistan, heightening fears over the strength of militant groups in the country. The attack on the Minhas base at Kamra, in Punjab province, which is thought to house part of the country’s nuclear arsenal, damaged one plane and led to the death of one soldier. At least eight militants died.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Ecuador Grants Asylum to Assange

The government of Ecuador on Thursday said it had decided to grant asylum to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Mr. Assange has been holed up for nearly two months in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where police arrested some of his supporters on Thursday.

[Return to headlines]

Ecuador Grants Asylum to Wikileaks’ Assange

Ecuador has granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because it believes he will be politically persecuted if extradited, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño announced Thursday.

The UK, meanwhile, has said it is disappointed by the decision and will not grant safe passage out of the country to Assange, who has been holed up inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for nearly two months.

“Under our law, with Mr. Assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the British authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden. We shall carry out that obligation. The Ecuadorian government’s decision this afternoon does not change that. We remain committed to a negotiated solution that allows us to carry out our obligations under the Extradition Act,” said a statement from the British Foreign Office.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]