Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/27/2008

Barack Obama as George Wallace
Prosecutors for Obama Hunting for ‘Lying Ads’
Europe and the EU
Four Arrests in North London Linked to Possible “Petrol Bomb” Attack on Jewel of Medina Publisher
Spain: Basque PM, Madrid Violates Human Rights Convention
Spain: Our Financial System is the Best, Zapatero
Spain: Investments Fall for First Time in 12 Years
Mediterranean Union
EU-Syria: Brussels Allots 110 Mln Euro to Support Reforms
Med: Syria; Three-Year 7.3 Mln Euro Innovation Project
North Africa
Algeria: Country Does Not Reject Foreign Capitals
Algeria: USD 29 Bln Trade Surplus Jan-Aug 2008
Morocco: Marriage at Nine, Website Shut Down
Israel and the Palestinians
Middle East: Amnesty Granted to Fatah Militants
Nasrallah: Palestine Belongs to Palestinians From Sea to River
South Asia
Catholic Priest Killed in Meerut Diocese (Agra)
Two Christians Killed in Orissa; Churches Destroyed in Madya Pradesh, Kerala; Missionaries Targeted
Italy: Charity Concert to Raise Awareness About Immigrants
Italy: Immigrants to Stage First Cricket Tournament in Sicily
When Europeans Were Slaves

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, KGS, Larwyn, Paul Green, Steen, TB, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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Barack Obama as George Wallace

Obama supporter and Hollywood mouthpiece Sarah Bernhard said that if VP candidate Sarah Palin comes to Manhattan, she will be gang-raped by Bernhard’s “big black brothers.” Wallace was good at this sick sexual demagoguery, too. During the 1970 race, an Alabama radio station in Anniston played a 30-second ad: “Suppose your wife is driving home at eleven o’clock at night. She is stopped by a highway patrolman. He turns out to be black. Think about it. Elect George C. Wallace.”

Obama is now accumulating and playing more race cards than Wallace could have ever dreamed of doing in 1970. Obama began turning up the heat against his fellow African-Americans during the primary when reports surfaced of “Obama operatives” threatening prominent African-Americans to switch their allegiance from Hillary to Obama.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said the “verbal bludgeoning” reminded him of racist “1950s-style Missouri politics.” Author Tavis Smiley was bombarded with the coordinated bullet-point mantra of “hater, sell-out, traitor” to the race.

Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Hillary’s co-chairwoman, was receiving the most hideous phone calls of her life, and each time she changed her phone number, “they” found her again and again. Five days before the Denver Convention, Jones suffered a massive brain aneurysm and died at Huron Hospital in Cleveland.

As the Hollywood porn-thug rapper P. Diddy would proclaim, “Obama or Die!” Literally.

During this six-month period of harassing black leaders, Obama never issued a statement condemning the actions of the grass-root “surrogates.” George Wallace never condemned the actions of the Klan in 1970.

[Return to headlines]

Devastating!… Dems Caught on Video Refusing to Reform Freddie & Fannie in 2004

The Ménage à trois among the Dems plus Freddie and Fannie

At this 2004 hearing [you can see] Democrat after Democrat, including Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Maxine Waters, cover[ing] up for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Democrats covered up and killed legislation that would reform their cash cows.

Obama has received $105,849 from troubled mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

[see post for list of donations and further revelations regarding the Dems and Freddie and Fannie. A real ménage à trois ]

           — Hat tip: Larwyn[Return to headlines]

Prosecutors for Obama Hunting for ‘Lying Ads’

‘Truth Squad’ using sheriffs, DAs to police bias against candidate

A team of Obama-supporting prosecutors and sheriffs in Missouri is preparing to pursue legal challenges to any presidential campaign ads deemed to be false or misleading.

KMOV-TV in St. Louis reports District Attorney Robert McCulloch, a past president of the National District Attorneys Association, said that whether the ads could be attributed to an opponent’s campaign itself, or another organization, “If they’re not going to tell the truth, somebody’s got to step up and say, ‘That’s not the truth. This is the truth.’“

The effort appeared to be part of a move by the Obama campaign to block advertisements to which it objects. The campaign also sent “threatening” letters to several news agencies in Pennsylvania and Ohio demanding they stop airing ads exposing Obama’s gun stance, according to the National Rifle Association.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Election Threatens to Erode Bavarian Conservatives’ National Role

For decades, politics in Bavaria have been synonymous with the Christian Social Union, the state’s sister party to Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. When voters go to the polls on Sunday, the party could lose an absolute majority it has maintained for decades. Is this the end of Germany’s last bastion of old-fashioned conservatism? […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Four Arrests in North London Linked to Possible “Petrol Bomb” Attack on Jewel of Medina Publisher

The arrests are thought to be linked to a fire at a property in Islington, north London, which is used as the home and office of publisher Martin Rynja.

His company, Gibson Square, recently agreed to publish a controversial novel about the prophet Muhammad and his child bride, entitled The Jewel of Medina. The blaze, which led to people being evacuated from the house, may have been started by a petrol bomb pushed through the letter box.

Initially, three men, aged 22, 30 and 40, were detained at around 2.25 am this morning in the Islington area of north London after a fire at a property in Lonsdale Square.

Two were stopped by armed officers in Lonsdale Square, and the third was seized following an armed vehicle stop near Angel underground station.

Police are searching four addresses around north-east London — two in Walthamstow, one in Ilford and one in Forest Gate.

The men, who were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, are being questioned at a central London police station.

Later a fourth person, a woman, was arrested at a property in Ilford for allegedly obstructing the police, a spokesman for Scotland Yard said.

The police confirmed that there has been small fire inside the property in Lonsdale Square, which had to be put out. “At this early stage it is being linked with the arrests,” the spokesman added.

Yard officials have refused to identify those arrested or give any information on the nature of the terrorist plot they are alleged to have been planning.

Residents in Lonsdale Square said armed police, assisted by fire-fighters, broke down the door of number 47 at around 2.30 this morning.

Francesca Liebowitz, 16, who lives five doors away with her parents, said: “The police couldn’t get the door open so the fire brigade battered it down.

“There was smoke coming from around the door, but I don’t know whether that was because of the door being broken down. They evacuated people from the house. It’s a bit scary to have this happen on your doorstep, nothing like this has ever happened round here before.”

A neighbour and friend of Mr Rynja said the company normally published books on current affairs, and said the publisher had never expressed concerns that his work might endanger his safety. A green hoarding covered the doorway to the four-storey town house this afternoon.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Peter Hitchens: China’s New Slave Empire

[…]These poor, hopeless, angry people exist by grubbing for scraps of cobalt and copper ore in the filth and dust of abandoned copper mines in Congo, sinking perilous 80ft shafts by hand, washing their finds in cholera-infected streams full of human filth, then pushing enormous two-hundredweight loads uphill on ancient bicycles to the nearby town of Likasi where middlemen buy them to sell on, mainly to Chinese businessmen hungry for these vital metals.

To see them, as they plod miserably past, is to be reminded of pictures of unemployed miners in Thirties Britain, stumbling home in the drizzle with sacks of coal scraps gleaned from spoil heaps.

Except that here the unsparing heat makes the labour five times as hard, and the conditions of work and life are worse by far than any known in England since the 18th Century.

Many perish as their primitive mines collapse on them, or are horribly injured without hope of medical treatment. Many are little more than children. On a good day they may earn $3, which just supports a meagre existence in diseased, malarial slums.

We had been earlier to this awful pit, which looked like a penal colony in an ancient slave empire.

Defeated, bowed figures toiled endlessly in dozens of hand-dug pits. Their faces, when visible, were blank and without hope.

We had been turned away by a fat, corrupt policeman who pretended our papers weren’t in order, but who was really taking instructions from a dead-eyed, one-eared gangmaster who sat next to him.

By the time we returned with more official permits, the gangmasters had readied the ambush.

The diggers feared — and their evil, sinister bosses had worked hard on that fear — that if people like me publicised their filthy way of life, then the mine might be closed and the $3 a day might be taken away.

I can give you no better explanation in miniature of the wicked thing that I believe is now happening in Africa.

Out of desperation, much of the continent is selling itself into a new era of corruption and virtual slavery as China seeks to buy up all the metals, minerals and oil she can lay her hands on: copper for electric and telephone cables, cobalt for mobile phones and jet engines — the basic raw materials of modern life.

It is crude rapacity, but to Africans and many of their leaders it is better than the alternative, which is slow starvation […]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Spain: Basque PM, Madrid Violates Human Rights Convention

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 26 — Basque region’s moderate nationalist president, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, today launched a harsh attack on the “centrist” parties in Madrid, the ruling PSOE and the oppositional Peoplés Party, after a recent ruling by the Spanish Constitutional Court which annulled a self-determination referendum planned by the Basque government to put an end to violence. In the Basque parliament Ibarretxe also accused Spain of “violating the European Convention on Human Rights” impeding the right of Basques to self-determination, and confirmed that “thousands of Basque citizens” will appeal the decision of the Spanish constitutional judges to the Strasbourg Court. According to the Basque Prime Minister the Spanish “centrist” parties through the Constitutional Court ruling “have carried out a frontal attack on the Basque self government” by putting limits with “barbed wire fence”. “PSOE and PP, using the Constitutional Court, have shown us clearly the limits of the barbed wire fence, confirming that there is only one nation, the Spanish, one people, the Spanish, and the Basque people does not exist and does not have the right to decide,” he said. “These arguments remind me of those of imperial Spain, “united, big and free”, which the Francoist regime expressed,” he said. Ibarretxe denounced the fact that the Spanish socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero launched talks, later failed, with Basque separatist group ETA, two years ago, also on the statute of the Basque Country. “The future of Euskadi (the Basque Country) cannot be decided in talks between the Spanish government and ETA,” he warned. ETA “will never decide the future of the Basque society” and “must stop killing and extorting, once and for all”, he said. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain: Our Financial System is the Best, Zapatero

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 25 — The Spanish financial system “is probably the most solid in the international community”, Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stated before some 30 managers of U.S. companies and financial institutions yesterday in New York, as reported today by the Spanish media. After outlining a spectacular picture of the economic growth in the past few years, Zapatero emphasised that the Spanish income per capita is of $35,000, higher than the Italian one, “a fact which depresses very much Prime Minister Berlusconi”, he assured. Before representatives of companies such as Microsoft, Alcoa, Dow Chemical, Pfizer, IBM, Google, Citigroup, Bank of America and Merryl Lynch, Zapatero assured that “our target now is to overtake France in three or four years in terms of income per capita, something which my friend Sarkozy does not want even to hear”. In the European Union, he remarked, “only Germany ranks before us”, but he recalled at the same time that Spain “is the leader in the sector of olive oil and wind power energy and six of the main companies which manage infrastructures in the world are Spanish”. In New York, shocked for the financial Tsunami, Zapatero however recognised as the only weaknesses of the Spanish economy the excesses of the real estate sector and the high foreign deficit. Because of the latter, Spain needs investments from the USA, the first foreign investor in the country. “We will give you good reasons to continue to increase your presence in Spain”, he said and listed the adopted measures, from the reduction of administrative offices to the partial privatisation of airports, along with the benefits coming from few social conflicts. As regards the recession signals sent by the Spanish economy, Zapatero assured that “Spain will soon recover in terms of growth, but in the meantime it will take advantage of the situation to carry out structural reforms to encourage investments and competition”, he concluded. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain: Investments Fall for First Time in 12 Years

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, AUGUST 28 — The slowdown of the Spanish gross domestic product (GDP), which went up by just 0.1% in the second quarter, and by 1.8% on the year, confirms that the end of the real estate speculative bubble has had a bad effect on the entire economy with negative results in the industrial sector. According to data by the National Statistics Institute (INE) reported today by the media, investments between March and June registered negative figures for the first time in 12 years with a 0.02% drop, chiefly due to the recession in the real estate sector. The economic crisis has forced the Spanish households to limit their consumption with a just slight increase of the spending in the quarter by 1.2%, the worst result since 1993. “It is not good news,” according to David Vergara, Secretary of State for Economy, who attributes the reasons for the slowdown to the real estate sector, whose sales dropped by 29.6% on the year in June, and to the global financial crisis. On the other hand, the state secretary emphasises the improvement in the foreign sector with exports up by 4.1% in the past year, against a 2.3% rise of imports. And the good situation of the employment rate, which increased by 0.4% year-on-year in the second quarter. The Government “is not working on a hypothesis of recession”, given the fact that 0.1% growth in the second quarter will be equal to the projected growth for the second half and “is in line with the expectations of the Government,” Vergara said. According to the governmental representative, Spain keeps growing “at a faster rate compared to the euro zone countries,” which is seen at 1.6% for the whole 2008, higher than that of the neighbours in the euro zone. The Spanish economy will book negative results in future, according to a report by Standard & Poor¿s, reported today by the media, which compared the situation of various European economies. “While Germany and to a lesser extent France are likely to show some resilience thanks to strong fundamentals, the Spanish economy is bound to experience at least two quarters of negative growth, which would qualify it as being in a technical recession,” S&P chief economist for Europe Jean-Michel Six said. According to the study, the euro zone GDP drop by 0.2% in the second quarter indicates a major slowdown in the second half of this year. “We consider the outlook for inflation in the next 12 months to be probably the most critical variable for Europés economies,” Six noted. The intensity of the real estate downturn and the scarce competitiveness of companies abroad are the reasons for which the Spanish economy will suffer the most among the euro zone countries in the next months, according to the analyst. However, for now it is the only one among the five big economies in the EU which is technically not in a recession. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Taboo on Moroccans Criminals Broken, Solutions Yet to Materialise

THE HAGUE, 27/09/08 — Although this would have been inconceivable a few years ago, almost all the parties in parliament have explicitly expressed their great concern and abhorrence for the crime committed by young Moroccans. In an unscheduled debate, a cross-party majority also admitted that it is not a question of incidents, but that the Netherlands is facing a structural problem.

Why the MPs seem to have abandoned political correctness concerning Moroccan criminals is a matter for conjecture. It may be a reaction to Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV), which is winning popular support with its tough tone. They may be influenced by the mainstream media, whose dominant sympathy for the Dutch doctrine of multiculturalism is slowly but surely giving way to a more critical attitude. Or it may be the seriousness of the crime problem itself that prompted the MPs to tumble over each other in the debate to express harsh opinions about Moroccan troublemakers.

The analysis of Labour (PvdA), which is often accused of having become a party for immigrants and Muslims, was typical of the atmosphere. “People have had enough,” said PvdA MP Attje Kuiken. “We should not be pampering them, but taking a hard line,” declared Christian Democrat (CDA) MP Coskun Coruz. “The water is up to our necks,” was the opinion of Ed Anker of the socialist Christian party ChristenUnie. And conservative (VVD) MP Letitia Griffith insisted that “The State must reconquer the street.”

The PVV was the instigator of the debate, sparked by a recent strike by bus drivers in the municipality of Gouda. The drivers claimed they were continually robbed by Moroccans. According to the PVV, many cities follow a policy of deliberately keeping police out of criminal neighbourhoods.

PVV MP Hero Brinkman showed the House an internal memo circulated by the Amsterdam police in 2006. This instructed policemen not to patrol the Overtoomse Veld neighbourhood, where Moroccans were causing unrest at that time. This proves that the police fail to take action from fear of generating bad news, said Brinkman, who was a policeman in Amsterdam himself for years.

Although the House spoke hard words, the solutions still have to be found. However, a majority emerged in favour of sending young Moroccans who continuously cause trouble to a reform school for re-education. Parliament instructed the cabinet to produce a proposal quickly.

The CDA-PvdA- ChristenUnie cabinet however wants to continue to give local authorities the freedom to decide how they feel problems should be tackled. Also, this should happen as much as possible in consultation with Islamic organisations, including mosques. The cabinet will meet shortly with such organisations to discuss solutions.

In a letter to the House, the government admitted prior to the debate that “Dutch-Moroccan youngsters in high-risk groups” cause problems in various towns and cities. The cabinet also reported that 19.8 percent of Dutch-Moroccan men aged between 18 and 25 (in 2005) had been charged with one or more crimes in that year.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

The EU Blog Wars Have Begun

Achtung — blogs verboten!

England Expects, the leading Eurosceptic “insider’s blog”, is no more.

Blogger Gawain Towler was the subject of complaints for breaching the EU Parliament’s code of conduct and threatened with a loss of his livelihood (he is Press officer of the UK delegation to the Ind/Dem Group, the UK Independence Party, and as such an employee of the EU) if he continued to blog.

Gawain admits he was in breach of the code of conduct, though as Press Officer for an anti-EU party, “My job is to bring the institutions into disrepute, which I am doing, well if I am any good I should be doing.”

It does seem that bloggers outside EU offices are safe, for the time being. MEPs on Thursday rejected a call by Estonian MEP Marianne Mikko “for full clarification of the legal status of webblog authors, disclosure of bloggers’ interests and the voluntary labelling of blogs” — instead, they voted for what the EU Observer is calling “much softer language” — “an open discussion on all issues relating to the status of weblogs.”

The site reports that Ms Mikko’s recommendations had been supported by MEPs across the political spectrum when fed through committees. A recent European Commission report leaked earlier this month said that the EU was “losing the battle for hearts and minds” partly because of the activities of anti-EU bloggers. The recent defeat of the Lisbon Treaty in the Irish referendum led Eurocrats to study blog activity in the Republic; they concluded that Eurosceptic blogs, some by anonymous sources, outnumbered pro-treaty blogs. Of course the fact that the main Irish newspapers were overwhelmingly pro-Lisbon didn’t seem to worry them unduly.

“Blogging is also seen as an anti-establishment activity,” the report concluded, complaining that “the quality of debate has suffered” as a result of blog dissent attracting the attention of readers from TV and radio.

Bloggers anonymous and otherwise have good reason to be delighted to have proved a thorn in the EU’s side on this and other issues. The mainstream media on continental Europe is increasingly docile: Blogs offer the only real dissent in some countries. Even in Britain, where Eurosceptic newspapers enjoy a large market share, the reporting of EU issues is feeble: Dedicated Eurosceptic bloggers like Richard North spend almost as much effort correcting false Eurosceptic reporting as they do criticising the EU itself.

Journalists are increasingly stung by dissenting bloggers. Once, columnists and hacks could thunder their views from the comments pages, untroubled by the common herd. With the arrival of “have your say” boxes in online editions, the authority of official columnists has been fatally undermined.

The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee attracts a swarm of “pedants” (her description) who correct her basic economics after every column (Tim Worstall is one of the best offenders). George Monbiot and Seumas Milne are also eviscerated by their online critics. Right-wing columnists aren’t immune.

So, it should come as no surprise that a Guardian columnist should complain about the “lies and deceit” the web encourages: “We may soon have to consider devising controls on entry, though what form they’ll take is not easy to envisage. It is possible that we will find out, in five or 10 or 20 years, that, in the internet, we have created a monster we cannot tame…

           — Hat tip: Paul Green[Return to headlines]

The Populist and His Protégé

Jörg Haider used to be Austria’s far-right scourge, the populist who could win elections. Now Heinz-Christian Strache, his former protégé, has stepped into his shoes. The two men hate each other, but dissatisfaction among Austrian voters this Sunday could give them unprecedented power.

Outside, the late summer has brought one last bout of sweltering temperatures to the Austrian city of Klagenfurt. But inside the convention center, the state of Carinthia has thrown a party for itself. A trade show devoted to wood products has just opened. Industry officials are giving remarks. The economics minister has traveled to Klagenfurt from Vienna, and even the bishop is there.

Finally, the state’s governor steps up to the microphone, sporting a dark tan, smiling with his bright white teeth and wearing a traditional jacket he normally wears at such events. Jörg Haider reports that his state is home to “fantastic manufacturing companies” and that more than 12,000 new jobs have been created. Carinthia is pulling itself up from the bottom of the heap. It’s a model for Austria’s future. That, at least, is Haider’s message. […]

The pollsters predict that the winners will be the archetypes of boorish populism: the right-wing bloc, Haider’s BZÖ and, most of all, Heinz-Christian Strache’s Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) — the same party which once made Haider Austria’s second-most-powerful politician, and which he abandoned after a series of embarrassing caprices. […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

EU-Syria: Brussels Allots 110 Mln Euro to Support Reforms

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 24 — The 110 million euro European programme for support of the reforms in Syria received green light, the European Commission said in a statement. The aids, which will be allocated for the 2008-2009 period, will be distributed as follows: 30 million euro for the reform of public administration and the judicial system, 50 million euro for the economic reform and the reform of the private sector, and 40 million euro for social reforms. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Med: Syria; Three-Year 7.3 Mln Euro Innovation Project

(ANSAmed) — DAMASCUS, SEPTEMBER 25 — The executive director of the Med project European Innovation, John Yesh, presented the objectives of the project that started in 2006 and will end in 2009 at a news conference in Damascus, of which the Italian Foreign Trade Institute (ICE) informed. The value of the project is 7.3 million euro and is aimed at developing the innovative capacity of the companies and administrations of the involved countries. The project provides technical support, training and scientific missions to those who are interested. The project focuses on five points: technological incubators, assistance to support the capacity of innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises, development of the industrial sector and transfer of technology according to the needs of the local market, and in general the markets of the developing states. In detail, the innovation regards the boosting of the productivity of the production processes and the appearance of the products on the international markets. The goal of the project in Syria in particular is to develop technological incubators through the creation of a Database at the Ministry of Industry, the universities as well as the scientific research centres and to update the packaging practice of the public and private sectors. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria: Country Does Not Reject Foreign Capitals

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, SEPTEMBER 23 — Algeria “does not turn its back on foreign investments” and will “carry on with the economic reforms” launched in the past few years, Reda Hamiani, chairman of the Forum of company managers (FCE, the Algerian Confindustria) said in an interview with weekly Jeune Afrique, in the attempt to reassure foreign investors after the restrictive measures adopted by the Algerian government in the last month. On the basis of these rules, the state will have to own 51% in every investment project which involves foreign groups, which will have to pay a 15% tax on the capital transferred abroad, even to the parent company, and reinvest in the Maghreb country part of their profits. The new law which forbids to foreign investors to buy state-owned land has also caused harsh controversies: the land will be given on lease with a 33 year-long contract, renewable at the most for three times. “The head of the government (Ahmed Ouyahia) confirmed the willingness to carry on the economic reforms and not to go back to the socialist experiences of the 70s,” Hamiani explained. “Ouyahia believes in private investments,” he added, admitting, though, that “there is a big disappointment as regards direct foreign investments”. Algeria “wants to focus on an activity based on local companies”, but “does not turn its back on foreign investments, which are vital for the country”. “We cannot be satisfied with an exclusively Algerian development, without opening to the outside world,” FCE’s chairman concluded. “We need the technological contribution, the know-how and innovations”. In July President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had pointed out the need for “foreign production investments”. The head of state had criticised the transfers of capitals abroad, defining them “excessive” and often higher “than the volume of investments carried out in the country”. Algeria, with an economy almost exclusively based on hydrocarbons (gas and oil account for more than 97% of its exports), launched a huge programme of public works, with investments worth some 140 billion euro. The 2005-2009 development programme envisages the construction of the east-west motorway, over 1,200 km long, to which a second motorway which will run across the centre of the country will be added. The programme also envisages tens of dams, ports, sea water desalination plants, electric power stations and more than 1.0 million accommodations.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Algeria: USD 29 Bln Trade Surplus Jan-Aug 2008

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, SEPTEMBER 22 — Algeria posted $29.03 billion trade surplus for the first eight months of 2008, compared to $19.97 billion in the same period of 2007. According to data by the National Centre for Information and Statistics (CNIS), exports reached $54.44 billion in the first eight months of 2008, compared to $37.06 billion in the same period of 2007 (up 44.78%). Hydrocarbons accounted for more than 97% of the country’s exports. Imports stood at $25.4 billion (up 44.11%). A total $9.6 billion (up 51.26%) was spent on industrial equipment, followed by semi processed goods with $6.3 billion (up 33.57%), food products with $5.25 billion (up 76.23%) and consumer goods with $2.84 billion (up 16.02%). (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Morocco: Marriage at Nine, Website Shut Down

(ANSAmed) — RABAT, SEPTEMBER 26 — The Moroccan authorities have announced the closure of the website of theologian Mohamed Magraoui, author of a fatwa which authorises the marriage of nine-year-old girls after the closure of the seat of the association and of the Koranic schools, news agency MAP reported. At the beginning of September the theologian published on the ‘magrawi net’ website a fatwa according to which “the nine-year-old girls can marry the same way as the girls of twenty and more”. Moroccòs Supreme Ulema Council, the only religious instance authorised to issue pronouncements, pronounced itself against the fatwa, denouncing “the use of religion to legitimate the marriage of nine-year-old girls”. Defining Magraoui an “agitator” and a “hoaxer”, the Council, chaired by the king, reminded that “the legal age for marriage, 18 years, was approved by the Parliament and drafted with the participation of the ulema”. A lawyer from Rabat, Mourad Bekkouri, filed a report against Magraoui claiming that the fatwa is “an attack against the family code, against the children’s rights and can encourage sexual violence”. “The anarchic pronouncements published on the Internet also risk to create misinterpretation on the verses of the Koran,” he added. The king’s prosecutor announced the opening of “an in-depth judicial inquiry” into the fatwa and into Magraouìs legitimacy to pronounce it. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Middle East: Amnesty Granted to Fatah Militants

Jerusalem, 26 Sept. (AKI) — Israel has granted amnesty to 10 members of Fatah’s military wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, according to a prominent Israeli daily.

According to a report by Yedioth Ahronoth, the 10 will be pardoned as part of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to mark the Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that ends Ramadan, the holy Muslim fasting month.

The pardon follows reports that Israel handed over a list of 49 wanted men to be granted amnesty after a three-month probationary period.

Twenty-two of them are currently in Palestinian Authority prisons, reported Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

The amnesty is being described as an act of goodwill to the PA to mark the end of Ramadan which occurs on 1 October in most of the Muslim world.

In October 2007, Israel and the PA endorsed an agreement that gave al-Aqsa Brigades militants amnesty if they were willing to lay down their arms.

The amnesty was offered to men who refrained from terrorist acts and abided by an agreement to disarm.

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

Nasrallah: Palestine Belongs to Palestinians From Sea to River

Speaking in Beirut in honor of al-Quds Day, Hizbullah secretary-general says, ‘No one has the authority to concede a grain of earth, wall or stone of the holy land’; adds his organization will continue resistance against Israel. ‘Today more can be done than ever before,’ he notes

No place for Israel in the Middle East? “Jerusalem and Palestine, from the sea to the river, belong to the Palestinian people, the Arabs and the Muslims, and no one has the authority to concede a grain of earth, wall or stone from the holy land,” Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said Friday evening.

Speaking in Beirut in honor of al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, an Iranian-declared observance, Nasrallah added, “Its stones, olives and figs are sacred, and no one has the right to give it up. This land must belong to its owners, and it will return, God willing.

“This day comes to stress a number of primary significations to the Muslims, so that the nation feels the intensity of the humiliation of past decades, when its holy places were occupied by racist Zionist hands.

“This is the greatest humiliation of this nation. The second message is to stress the historic, religious and legitimate responsibility of the Muslim nation towards Jerusalem, Palestine and the Palestinian people.”

He warned Israel not to attack Lebanon. “I have always said that the way of the resistance is not a classic war. We are ready to help the resistance of the Palestinian people. But those who attack Lebanon — we shall face them.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

PNA:EU Supports Early Payments of Salaries Ahead Eid Al Fitr

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 25 — The European Union has provided 20 million euro through PEGASE, to help the Palestinian Authority pay September salaries and allowances for pensioners. The payment comes earlier than usual, in anticipation of the major feast of Eid al-Fitr that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The payment includes a specific contribution of 5 million euro from the Government of Sweden. A further 15 million euro is funded from the 400 million euro European Commission’s 2008 aid package. The EU’s PEGASE contribution will be added to this month’s payment of salaries and pensions by the Palestinian Ministry of Finance, reaching over 78,000 beneficiaries. The Palestinian Authority brought forward this payment, due to bank holidays and in order to allow Palestinians to receive their salaries prior the feast of Eid al-Fitr. Eid al-Fitr is one of the most important feasts during the Muslim calendar, and is a joyous occasion for families to gather in celebration after 40 days of fasting.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

The Kidnappers of Five British Men Seized in Baghdad Have Offered to Hand Over the Body of One of the Hostages Who is Said to Have Committed Suicide.

In return the abductors have demanded the release of 10 Iraqi women held by the Americans and an unspecified number of elderly Iraqi detain-ees. An intermediary who relayed the proposal to The Sunday Times said that if the conditions were met, the body of the hostage — named only as Jason — would be delivered to Iraqi officials.

A video passed to this newspaper two months ago entitled Intihar (Arabic for suicide) and depicting Jason claimed he had killed himself on May 25, four days before the first anniversary of the abduction. The Foreign Office has received no corroboration of the claim.

Last week a source with knowledge of the kidnappers’ intentions said they were offering Jason’s body as a gesture of goodwill to mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month […]

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Catholic Priest Killed in Meerut Diocese (Agra)

The clergyman lived like an Indian ascetic in an ashram, preaching peace and promoting inter-faith dialogue. Nothing is known of the motive behind the deed; police will not exclude a botched robbery attempt as the possible cause. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Another Catholic priest has been murdered in India. Fr Samuel Francis (in photo), better known as Swami Astheya (he who is without greed), was found dead this morning in the chapel of his ashram in the village of Chota Rampur. His hands were tied behind his back, his mouth gagged (with cloth) and injuries on his forehead. The 50-ear-old clergyman dressed like an Indian Sanyasin (Hindu monks who lead an ascetic life) and lived in an ashram (monastery) where he taught yoga and meditation.

Chota Rampur, the village where the catholic priest found a refuge, is located 27 kilometres from Dehradun, in the Suffragan diocese of Agra archdiocese, or some 400 kilometres from New Delhi.

How and why he was murdered is not yet clear, but police will not exclude the possibility that it might have been a robbery gone badly wrong. The ashram was in fact ransacked and a woman suffering from psychological problems was also found dead in the ashram’s warehouse.

Fr Davis Varayilan, professor at Samanvayan Theological College, said he knew the slain priest and had nothing but words of praise for his generosity, good heart and intelligence.

“This is a great tragedy for the Church in India,” he said. “We used to send our seminarians for an experience to his Ashram, and in the early 1980s he was in charge of the youth in Meerut Diocese.”

His ashram had become a beacon for inter-faith dialogue and harmony among people.

“He was much loved and respected by all: Hindus, inter-faith harmony and unity, He was a holy person and his spirituality was well respected by all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, the poor and the marginalised.”

Fr Francis embodied the India’s spirit, best exemplified by the Sanyasi lifestyle which calls for no meat and a rigid vegetarian diet.

“Killing so brutally such a man who worked for the betterment of society is a crime against humanity,” said Father Davis.

Swami Astheya’s funeral will be held tomorrow morning at 11 am local time in Chota Rampur village.

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

Two Christians Killed in Orissa; Churches Destroyed in Madya Pradesh, Kerala; Missionaries Targeted

The bodies of the two victims were cut into pieces and thrown into a pond. Some churches from the 1600’s and from the Middle Ages attacked. Sisters and priests forced to conceal their identity in order to escape persecution and reconversion to Hinduism. At a meeting in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), the government is being asked to outlaw radical Hindu groups.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — No end to the attacks and violence against Christians. In Orissa, where for more than three weeks a pogrom against Catholics and Protestants has been underway, two more killings have been recorded. Iswar Digal and Purinder Pradhan were murdered and cut to pieces. Iswar Digal, was from the the village of Gatringia in the district of Kandhamal; he was stopped on September 20 by a group of Hindu extremists while he and his wife were trying to escape to a refugee camp. Their home was burned. The other victim was from Nilungia. His body was cut to pieces, put into a jute sack, and thrown into a pond.

The new wave of violence began last August 23, in the district of Kandhamal, after the killing of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati, a radical Hindu leader. Hindu fundamentalist organizations accuse the Christians of killing him, although the police of Orissa suspect that the authors of the assassination were Maoist militants. The pogrom to “kill all Christians and destroy their institutions” is motivated in part by the accusations according to which Christians are coercing tribals and Dalits to convert through force or bribery.

According to estimates from the All India Christian Council, 37 Christians have been killed in the state of Orissa alone, including 2 Protestant pastors; more than 4,000 homes belonging to Christians have been burned; and more than 50,000 faithful have been forced to flee. Of these, only 14,000 are believed to be in refugee camps provided by the government. Tens of thousands are hiding in the forest.

The primary targets of the Hindu radicals are the priests, the sisters, and their families. They are attacked, and often forced to convert to Hinduism. Even in the camps, the persecution is strong, and the police check to make sure “that there are no conversions”. Priests and sisters present in the camp must conceal their identity.

A sister at the camp in Raikia (district of Kandhamal) tells AsiaNews:

“I am here as part of the medical team; if the authorities find out we are nuns, we will be sent away. I am here dressed in ethnic clothes, wearing bangles, earrings and even the ‘tikka’, in this way we are disguised. The women are in severe trauma, unfortunately, we can only talk to them about their medical problems, we cannot even counsel them, we are continuously being watched, but there is such despair and fear among the women, they have lost every material possession and sadly even hope is lost”.

“This is my tenth day at the camp and even now, I cannot hold back my tears. I have never seen a sight like this before in my life. Yes, I have seen natural calamities like tsunamis, earthquakes and cyclones, but nothing as horrifying as this. The intent of the radicals to destroy humanity is so intense — brutality has no limit, the torture and devastation has stooped to levels beyond imagination”.

From Orissa, the pogrom has spread to other states: Chhattisghar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala.

Yesterday, the church of the Holy Name of Jesus in Bangalore was attack by vandals. Rocks were hurled at a statue of the Virgin Mary. The day before, on September 20, also in Bangalore, the church of St. James was ransacked. The vandals desecrated the Eucharistic species and destroyed the furniture and pews. The windows were damaged at a church in Siddapura (district of Kodagu).

In Kerala, two of the oldest churches in India were vandalized. Yesterday, a statue of Christ in the church of Protasius and Gervasius (17th century) was broken and thrown down from its pedestal. The church belongs to the faithful of the Syro-Malabar rite. The nearby cathedral of the Jacobites, the Mar Sabore Afroth Church, was damaged: its windows were broken, and some relics of St. Paulos Mar Athanasius were destroyed. The church of the Jacobites was built in 825.

On September 20 in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), the All India Christian Council (AICC) held a meeting to condemn the violence against Christians. It was attended by more than 15,000 people from various faiths: Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, and even moderate Hindus.

Sam Paul of the AICC criticized the central government for its inability to stop the attacks, and called for a ban against all Hindu radical organizations, like Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal, and Sangh Parivar.

All of these extremist organizations take their political guidance from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Some experts note that the new wave of violence began after the national meeting of the BJP in Bangalore, which was intended to design the strategy for the upcoming national elections, which will be held next March.

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


Italy: Charity Concert to Raise Awareness About Immigrants

Lampedusa, 26 Sept. (AKI) — Italian pop star Claudio Baglioni and comic Fiorello are topping the bill at free concerts being held on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa at the weekend.

Two concerts were being held to raise awareness about the plight of illegal immigrants who land on the island almost daily, said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which is supporting the concerts.

Almost 20,000 illegal migrants have landed on Lampedusa so far this year — twice the number that arrived over the same period of 2007.

“The concerts can do that little extra bit to help the Italian public and institutions understand the problems these people face,” IOM press spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo told Adnkronos International (AKI).

“Most are fleeing war and political persecution and are likely to request political asylum,” Di Giacomo said.

The concerts, held on the island’s picturesque beach, have been an annual event since Baglioni began doing them in 2002 and are getting a lot of media coverage, Di Giacomo added.

Approximately 10,000 people are expected to gather at the concerts, called O’Scià which means ‘my soul’ in the local dialect on Lampedusa.

A new trend among the numbers of illegal immigrants arriving on the island is a surge in young Nigerian women, something the IOM has asked magistrates to investigate.

According to IOM staff, the number of women that have reached Lampedusa so far this year has increased from 600 in 2007 to almost 2,500. Nearly 1,130 came from Nigeria.

“We hope that in this particularly dramatic and challenging situation, the O’Scià concerts will once again raise attention to migration challenges and send a message of solidarity to Italy and other Mediterranean countries,” said IOM’s regional representative Peter Schatzer in a media statement.

Schatzer was due on Friday to take part in a discussion focused on migration, with speakers from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Labour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Comunita di Sant’Egidio and Save the Children charities, the Municipality of Lampedusa and Baglioni.

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

Italy: Immigrants to Stage First Cricket Tournament in Sicily

Palermo, 26 Sept. (AKI) — Immigrants from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are introducing the gentlemanly game of cricket to Italy’s southern island of Sicily.

About 150 immigrants are expected to take part in the first cricket tournament to be held in the island’s capital, Palermo, on Sunday.

The tournament, dubbed City of Palermo-Mother Theresa of Calcutta, will take place on a converted baseball field and is sponsored by the municipality of Palermo.

“The tournament is part of a municipal initiative in order to foment a real and concrete integration of immigrants that have chosen to live in Sicily, between them and Sicilians,” said Palermo Councillor Giampiero Cannella.

“This is an opportunity not only to get to know this game, but also an instrument of entertainment for the immigrant community that is now able to practice the sport of their country of origin,” he said.

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

Young People ‘Think Immigrants Are a Threat to National Identity and Jobs’

Almost two-thirds (60%) of the young people surveyed in the poll by the British Council thought the presence of foreign immigrants was “diluting” their sense of national identity.

A quarter said immigrants posed a threat to British workers’ jobs and 12% said they thought the influx of people from abroad was a risk to security and public order.

Two thousand people aged between 18 and 35 were asked about their attitude towards immigration and their sense of national identity.

The survey comes as shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve warned that multiculturalism in the UK has left a “terrible” legacy, creating a vacuum that has been filled by extremists.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Grieve said: “We’ve actually done something terrible to ourselves in Britain. In the name of trying to prepare people for some new multicultural society we’ve encouraged people, particularly the sort of long-term inhabitants, to say ‘well your cultural background isn’t really very important’.”

He told the newspaper that long-term inhabitants have been left fearful, while second- and third-generation immigrants have felt alienated and unsure what British values stand for […]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Credit Crunch Banker Leaps to His Death in Front of Express Train

The City was in shock last night after the apparent suicide of a millionaire financier haunted by the pressures of dealing with the credit crunch.

Kirk Stephenson, who was married with an eight-year-old son, died in the path of a 100mph express train at Taplow railway station, Berkshire.

Mr Stephenson is believed to have taken his own life after succumbing to mounting personal pressures as the world’s financial markets went into meltdown.

The death of the respected 47-year-old City figure evokes memories of the 1929 Wall Street crash in America …

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Muslim Gang Firebombs Publisher of Allah Novel, Martin Rynja

David Leppard

Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorist command yesterday foiled an alleged plot by Islamic extremists to kill the publisher of a forthcoming novel featuring sexual encounters between the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride.

Early yesterday armed undercover officers arrested three men after a petrol bomb was pushed through the door of the north London home of the book’s publisher.

The Metropolitan police said the target of the assassination plot, the Dutch publisher Martin Rynja, had not been injured.

The suspected terror gang was being followed by undercover police and the fire was quickly put out after the fire brigade smashed down the front door.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

‘There is Absolutely No Reason for Islamophobia’

Germany’s Muslims are pious and yet more tolerant than most assume, a new study has found. Its authors are urging authorities to draw the country’s Muslim children away from Koran schools by offering public religious instruction.

Dr. Martin Rieger of the Bertelman Stiftung thinks Muslim children should have their own religion classes. Rieger was the director of the study “Muslim Religiosity in Germany,” which was provided to SPIEGEL ONLINE ahead of its scheduled publication on Friday.

The study reveals that 90 percent of Muslims define themselves as religous. In contrast a separate survey by the nonprofit German think tank found that only 70 percent of the entire population admitted to being religous. “We need to get the younger Muslims out of the Koran schools,” Rieger urges, “and offer them professionally taught classes on Islam.”

Even Robert Zollitsch, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, the body responsible for the country’s Catholic Churches, backs the plan […]

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Grandmother is Killed by Police’s 100mph Boy Racer — Delivering a Birthday Card to His Sister

A policeman has been suspended after knocking down and killing a grandmother during an appalling boy-racer trip to deliver a birthday card to his sister while he was on duty.

Sounding his siren and flashing his blue lights, the officer reached speeds of up to 100mph after being granted permission to leave his police station to hand over the card.

He then treated a relative to a high-speed ‘black run’ tour of the local area — again with blaring siren and emergency lights.

After dropping the relative back at their home, the officer sped back to his police station.

It was then, while doing nearly twice the speed limit with his blue lights flashing, that he ran over and killed married mother-of-three Sandy Simpson, 61.

Colleagues of the officer in the Metropolitan Police, a newly-qualified ‘standard response driver’, are disgusted by his conduct and failure to resign.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Pilots Coming in to Land at British Airports Have Been Forced to Hand Over the Controls to Colleagues After Being Temporarily Blinded by Laser Beams Deliberately Shone Into the Cockpit From the Ground.

The perpetrators are thought to be using high-intensity laser guns imported from China and Russia which can be bought over the internet for as little as £10.

Police are hunting for the attackers after a number of incidents in the past few months.

Dave Reynolds, flight safety officer of the British Air Line Pilots Association, said: ‘There have been dozens of incidents over the past year or so.

‘The first sign that the aircraft has been targeted is when a light-spot starts dotting around the flight deck. It is a serious distraction at a critical phase of the flight and it is something the authorities need to take very seriously indeed.

‘We have advised our members to shield their eyes from the light and hand over the controls to a colleague if there’s any doubt about their ability to see the instruments or the flightpath clearly.’

He added: ‘These incidents are an increasing nuisance. Luckily nothing has gone wrong to date but it’s only a matter of time before an accident occurs.

‘The pilot’s ability to see can be impaired by flash blindness and we suggest they go to hospital for a check-up to make sure they have suffered no lasting eye damage.’

Powerful laser devices without safety warnings can easily be bought from internet sites.

A Chinese website offers a high-intensity 200milliwatt laser — 200 times above the UK safety limit — for just £60.

Importing such devices has been banned in Australia after a number of similar aircraft incidents there.

A spokesman for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: ‘We are investigating a report given to us by a pilot of a passenger aircraft that on August 13 this year a beam of light was shone on him at 4,000ft as he descended into Cardiff International Airport […]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

When Europeans Were Slaves

Research Suggests White Slavery Was Much More Common Than Previously Believed

A new study suggests that a million or more European Christians were enslaved by Muslims in North Africa between 1530 and 1780 — a far greater number than had ever been estimated before.

In a new book, Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, developed a unique methodology to calculate the number of white Christians who were enslaved along Africa’s Barbary Coast, arriving at much higher slave population estimates than any previous studies had found.

Most other accounts of slavery along the Barbary coast didn’t try to estimate the number of slaves, or only looked at the number of slaves in particular cities, Davis said. Most previously estimated slave counts have thus tended to be in the thousands, or at most in the tens of thousands. Davis, by contrast, has calculated that between 1 million and 1.25 million European Christians were captured and forced to work in North Africa from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Davis’s new estimates appear in the book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan).

“Much of what has been written gives the impression that there were not many slaves and minimizes the impact that slavery had on Europe,” Davis said. “Most accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear.”

Davis said it is useful to compare this Mediterranean slavery to the Atlantic slave trade that brought black Africans to the Americas. Over the course of four centuries, the Atlantic slave trade was much larger — about 10 to 12 million black Africans were brought to the Americas. But from 1500 to 1650, when trans-Atlantic slaving was still in its infancy, more white Christian slaves were probably taken to Barbary than black African slaves to the Americas, according to Davis.

“One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature — that only blacks have been slaves. But that is not true,” Davis said. “We cannot think of slavery as something that only white people did to black people.”

During the time period Davis studied, it was religion and ethnicity, as much as race, that determined who became slaves.

“Enslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England and Iceland,” he said.

Pirates (called corsairs) from cities along the Barbary Coast in north Africa — cities such as Tunis and Algiers — would raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside villages to capture men, women and children. The impact of these attacks were devastating — France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. At its peak, the destruction and depopulation of some areas probably exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African interior.

Although hundreds of thousands of Christian slaves were taken from Mediterranean countries, Davis noted, the effects of Muslim slave raids was felt much further away: it appears, for example, that through most of the 17th century the English lost at least 400 sailors a year to the slavers.

Even Americans were not immune. For example, one American slave reported that 130 other American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793.

Davis said the vast scope of slavery in North Africa has been ignored and minimized, in large part because it is on no one’s agenda to discuss what happened.

The enslavement of Europeans doesn’t fit the general theme of European world conquest and colonialism that is central to scholarship on the early modern era, he said. Many of the countries that were victims of slavery, such as France and Spain, would later conquer and colonize the areas of North Africa where their citizens were once held as slaves. Maybe because of this history, Western scholars have thought of the Europeans primarily as “evil colonialists” and not as the victims they sometimes were, Davis said.

Davis said another reason that Mediterranean slavery has been ignored or minimized has been that there have not been good estimates of the total number of people enslaved. People of the time — both Europeans and the Barbary Coast slave owners — did not keep detailed, trustworthy records of the number of slaves. In contrast, there are extensive records that document the number of Africans brought to the Americas as slaves.

So Davis developed a new methodology to come up with reasonable estimates of the number of slaves along the Barbary Coast. Davis found the best records available indicating how many slaves were at a particular location at a single time. He then estimated how many new slaves it would take to replace slaves as they died, escaped or were ransomed.

“The only way I could come up with hard numbers is to turn the whole problem upside down — figure out how many slaves they would have to capture to maintain a certain level,” he said. “It is not the best way to make population estimates, but it is the only way with the limited records available.”

Putting together such sources of attrition as deaths, escapes, ransomings, and conversions, Davis calculated that about one-fourth of slaves had to be replaced each year to keep the slave population stable, as it apparently was between 1580 and 1680. That meant about 8,500 new slaves had to be captured each year. Overall, this suggests nearly a million slaves would have been taken captive during this period. Using the same methodology, Davis has estimated as many as 475,000 additional slaves were taken in the previous and following centuries.

The result is that between 1530 and 1780 there were almost certainly 1 million and quite possibly as many as 1.25 million white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast.

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


X said...

I don't normally read Rense (it's sort of a one-stop shop for paranoiacs) but someone forwarded this link to me just now.

Obama Goons Call Police Over Man's Questions

It's unsourced and unverifiable at the moment.. It appears to be in Vermont.

CarnackiUK said...

A book on this subject I strongly recommend is White Gold by Giles Milton, available for under $5 via Amazon. Milton puts the number of European slaves at well over a million, as does Prof Rees Davies in an excellent article at the BBC website.

Dymphna said...


I looked at that article on the BBC website. The #s of captives and the range of the pirates is impressive.

What has always interested me re the white slaves ("slavs") is the fact that they seemed to disappear without leaving any genetic traces in the countries where they were captive. Or at least I've not read any evidence of such.

Is there any trace of European DNA in the populace of the countries to which these people disappeared?

heroyalwhyness said...

Agree with Carnackiuk - White Gold is a fast read with potential for a wonderful adventure film. Hello Hollywood?

Another un-PC book I'm reading is 1946 printing of Sir Naked Blade by Philip Lindsay -again captivating story - based on an incident of a revolt by captured Christian galley slaves led by an English mariner named John Fox in Alexandria 1577. It pulls no punches in describing the degrading nature of Muslim culture - slavery and the harem. It too would make a great film.

Here's just a couple of paragraphs from the opening chapter :

There was no escape for the Little Jesus. Becalmed in this glare of blue sea, with no whisper of wind out of the grayish sky, she lay as if yoked to the unbroken waters of the Mediterranean. Sails drooped on the yards like dried skin and the pitch was hot and wet in the seams. Helpless, she lay while the pirate galleys heaved over the horizon, their oars lifting, falling, centipede-like legs swaying them close to the unmoving English victim. Low ruffs of foam stirred by the dipping blades were the only movement, it seemed, on that dark sea. The Little Jesus waited as if bewitched, as if damned, while her crew leaned on the bulwarks, watching silently, white-faced and steady-fingered. There was nothing further for them to do. All was prepared for battle: cannon loaded, water-buckets filled, the slow-matches burning over them, while powder-kegs stood by pyramids of black shot. Guns and pistols were cocked, powder drying the shut pans, swords, were unsheathed and spat back the sunlight in flickering silver.

"Friend, said the master standing unhatted on the poop, "it is time for prayer, for our time may be short. In the hands of God this day lie not only our souls but our sinful bodies and my ship's cargo. Let us pray God for the strength of David or Samson against these infidels. Only with the Lord's help can we conquer, for we are outnumbered beyond numbering. But let not your stomachs fall at that. We can have no mightier ally than God and this ship is God's ship in honor and love of His Son, while they have but the foolish Allah and his cheat Mohammad to shield them. Take heart fellows and pray that we be not forgotten this day in heaven.

For children from 1953 (untouched by PC editors,pre-Edward Said's "Orientalism" BS) : C. S. Forester's "The Barbary Pirates"

Dymphna said...


I vaguely remember reading a few Rense articles and links before. Some of them are most strange, and yet others seem to be lucid.

The one you linked to is most interesting, but it's not sourced. I would have trouble believing that the police would do this in Vermont...home of Howard Dean, the Screaming Meemie who heads the Democrat National Committee.

While VT is notoriously leftist, it's hard to believe that one's constitutional rights could be so obviously violated without a suit being filed against the city immediately. Even in Vermont, there are lawyers willing to take on such cases.

As you say, Rense doesn't give us any sources. OTOH, his site is an equal opportunity basher. He doesn't appear to like either candidate.

AMDG said...

> In the Basque parliament Ibarretxe also accused Spain of “violating the European Convention on Human Rights” impeding the right of Basques to self-determination

Hold on. How can a third party prevent you to "determine yourself"?. If "selfdetermination" has to be granted, then it is not selfdetermination.

It seems that Wilson´s blunders are still taken at face value.

Afonso Henriques said...

Man, it so... childish...

You see, the ETA does not represent the Basque people, the PNV does. And despite all this, Señor Zapatero goes and talk with ETA and does not talk with the PNV about "selfdetermination". Why did Zapatero did that?

Do you want a clue?

This last election Zapatero won also due to a massive support of the Basques (5% of Spain). But how come the Basques voted for the PSOE if they have always voted PNV since Franco was deposed?
Well, ETA magically killed a Basque-PSOE politician, that's how the people runned to the PSOE.

2004 - Atocha, wins elections
2007/8 - ETA kills, PSOE wins elections

I wonder what is the talk PSOE and ETA had...
And all this could be avoided if Spain was to give independence to its Nations.


ADMG, you're brave for going to Koln, I credit you from that but...

When did Spain provided the Basques with selfdetermination?

Well I know how we got our self determination from Castilla, I know what has happened to the Basques and Catalans who've tried to copy us across History...

By the way, do you really think "Spain" will survive the second decade of the XX century?
Just consider:

The death of King Juan Carlos;
The great number of third worlders among the youth;
The regional referendums over the independence of Catalonia and the Basque Country (2012 I think);
The spread of such referendums;
200 years of the illegal occupation of Olivença (2015);
Maroccan arresment in Ceuta and Melilla;

Will you continue to let the left to be elected ad aeternum just because you want Catalonia and the Basques.

I say you now can only lose Galiza, Catalonia, Aragón(?) and the Basque region.
Are you waiting Canarian, Andalusian and other Nationalisms to mature?

Anonymous said...

Is there any trace of European DNA in the populace of the countries to which these people disappeared?


Many Berber people have blue eyes and blodish or reddish hair. I've read this is from European slaves. See a pic of Zidane Zidane the famous soccer player, who is I believe, from Maghreb origin --he looks totally European.

According to Paul Fregosi's Jihad in the West, there was a very high death rate amongst the European Barbary slaves. They were worked to death, and given no medical care when they got sick. However, the Barbary sultans did allow a Spanish priest order to come in and care for sick Christian slaves.

Anonymous said...

And here is a pic of Zidane, note he has greenish eyes:

Anonymous said...

And here is a pic of a blonde Berber child who was mistaken for the missing British child Madeleine McCann:

The little girl could be French or Northern Italian.

Dymphna said...


Thanks for providing a trail. I'll look up this author.

I can see why a high death rate among the galley slaves, etc., would preclude much in the way of Y chromosomes making their way into the populace, but surely fecund women snatched from villages in England and Ireland produced some off-spring...

...not to mention the fact that the kidnapped probably had Nordic DNA to begin with.

Does anyone know if global DNA maps are being created?

Dymphna said...


I looked at the pictures of Zidane. In drilling down further to his tribal group, they were considered by Hitler to be Aryans.

Go figure.

heroyalwhyness said...

Dymphna asked: "Does anyone know if global DNA maps are being created?"

There is the map created by joint venture between National Geographic and IBM, Genographic Project: Atlas of the Human Journey

Henrik R Clausen said...

ETA is, and has been for decades, a violent mafia organisation using the issue of Basque independence as a smokescreen.

ETA is probably doing irrepairable damage to exactly that cause. They deserve to be crushed, by the necessary means (the law).

But at least ETA has a touch of good style when they bomb something. They usually warn in advance so the place can be evacuated. Compare that to the Islamist 'Maximum overkill' paragdigm...