Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/24/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/24/2009It seems that despite the official media disapproval of BNP leader Nick Griffin, his appearance on the BBC’s “Question Time” on Thursday night did his party some good. The latest polls suggest that 20%-25% of the British public would now be willing to vote for the BNP.

In other news, a Chinese ship hijacked by pirates is now anchored off the coast of Somalia. If the Chinese take action against the pirates, it will be the first time in hundreds of years that the country’s naval forces have engaged in combat outside of China’s territorial waters.

Thanks to AD, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, Nilk, Sean O’Brian, TB, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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1st Amendment in the Age of Obama
All Trains Run Through Obama
Coming in December: World Government
FCC Not Only Agency Seeking Media Regulation
Insider Reveals Secrets of North America Plot
Obama’s Maoist Media Controller
President Obama Declares H1N1 Flu a National Emergency
Report Identifies Top Thieves of U.S. Secrets
Swine Flu Cases “Overstated”
Europe and the EU
Former Prisoner to Re-Enact Stasi Jail Time
Italy-Albania: Frattini, Support to Tirana to Join EU
Italy-Albania: Frattini, Nearing End of Visa Requirement
Italy: Lawyer Rejects Turncoat’s Claims Linking Berlusconi to Mafia
Serbia-France: Ruzica Djindjic, Veran Matic Awarded
Showing Just 73 Highways at One Inch Per Mile, England’s First Road Atlas Printed in 1675
Sweden: Writer Guillou Admits KGB Connection
UK: One in Five ‘Would Consider Voting BNP’ After Nick Griffin Question Time Appearance
UK: Our Smug Leaders Have Done Nothing to See Off the BNP
UK: Police Told to Avoid Saying ‘Evenin’ All’
UK: Poll Boost for BNP After TV First
UK: Soldier Blasts Leaders Over Trust
UK: White House Volunteer ‘Misled’ About Talk Show
‘What Do the Sweden Democrats Want to Do With Us Muslims?’
Albania-Bosnia: Rehn, Strict Rules on Abolition of Visas
Serbia-EU: Rehn, Accord’s Freeing in Hands of ICTY
War Crimes: Seven Croatians Arrested for Killing Serbs
North Africa
Syria: 6 Countries Not in Boycott Israel Conference
Terrorism: Morocco Taking Part in Active Endeavour
Turkey to Build Algeria 3rd Biggest Mosque of the World
Israel and the Palestinians
Shalit: Hamas Encouraged by Druse Prisoners Release
Unprecedented IDF Mutiny at Kotel
Middle East
Italy-Cyprus: Kyprianou, We Want a European Turkey
Obama Offers Millions in Muslim Technology Fund
Signing of the Association Agreement on Human Rights Between Syria and Europe Delayed
Syria-EU: Association Agreement; Assad, We Want to Reflect
Turkey: Ankara Censors Controversial TV Series
Yemen: Clashes Between Inhabitants and Saudi Forces at Border
Energy: Putin Speaks of Projects With Berlusconi & Erdogan
South Asia
Bangladesh Islamist Group Banned
Dutch Defence Minister: “NATO Warning us on Departure From Uruzgan”
In Southern India, Hindu Radicals Declare War on Muslims Over Love Jihad
Indonesia: Islamic Groups Fine With Cabinet Exclusion
Australia — Pacific
Australia: HSC Religious Question Unfair, Students Say
Man Jailed Over Racist Attack on Indian Student
Sub-Saharan Africa
Chinese Ship Seized by Pirates Reaches Somali Coast
An Insightful Twist on the Alien Invasion
Don’t Listen to the Whingers — London Needs Immigrants
UK: Labour Let in Migrants ‘To Engineer Multicultural UK’
UK: Labour ‘Encouraged Mass Immigration’
UK: Labour Immigration Plot
Culture Wars
Tom Tancredo: Hate-Crimes Law: Another Attack on Free Speech
Why Muslims Are Not the New Jews


1st Amendment in the Age of Obama

The opening five words of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law,” represents the central tenets of what the Bill of Rights stands for: limits on government power to limit or compel religious beliefs, the right to hold political opinions and express them, protections for a free press, the right to assemble peaceably, and the right to petition the government, through protest or the ballot, for a redress of political grievances.

Let’s take a look at how the First Amendment is viciously and relentlessly attacked in the Age of Obama:

* Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

All Trains Run Through Obama

This week Obama began throwing around his weight around more than usual. In the USSR all the trains ran through Moscow in order to centralize control of the country. In the US today, Obama is pushing to make sure that all the trains run through him.

First Obama’s minions began pushing the rest of the media to denounce and distance themselves from FOX. This of course is only the latest in the Obama Administration’s long addiction to public Stalinist purges and denunciations, but this time it was launched against an entire network.

And second the Obama Administration now appears to be targeting state Democrats who don’t “coordinate” with the White House. The Washington Post spins it as the White House distancing itself from a supposedly losing candidate in the Virginia Governor’s race, but the practical upshot of it is that it’s a warning shot that blames losing candidates for not relying enough on Obama, sending the message that the failure to “coordinate” your campaign with the White House will be a death blow to your candidacy.

Senior administration officials have expressed frustration with how Democrat R. Creigh Deeds has handled his campaign for governor, refusing early offers of strategic advice and failing to reach out to several key constituencies that helped Obama win Virginia in 2008, they say.

Translation, he failed to pay off ACORN, SEIU and whatever other munchkins and 527’s the Obama Administration has its deals with.

[Return to headlines]

Coming in December: World Government

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the climate-change treaty now being negotiated for adoption at the Copenhagen, Denmark, U.N. meeting in December. The Kyoto Protocol was bad enough. It required the United States to reduce its carbon emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. When fully implemented, the Kyoto target was supposed to reduce global carbon emissions by 5.2 percent. Thanks to George W. Bush, the U.S. did not participate in the Kyoto accord.


This treaty will create an international bureaucracy with the authority to regulate energy use. This entity would, in fact, be a political institution with the power to govern. In other words, the treaty will create a world government to administer global governance.

Lord Christopher Monckton created a tidal wave across the Internet with excerpts from his Oct. 14 presentation to the Minnesota Free Market Institute. He, too, has read the negotiating text and says without hesitation that this treaty will create a world government. He goes further, much further, to explain that while this treaty will have no impact on global climate, it will have a great impact on the global economy.

The purpose of the treaty is, and has been since the very beginning of negotiations in the early 1990s, to transfer the wealth from developed nations to the developing nations — under the supervision of the United Nations. Treaty negotiations justify this action because developed nations have spewed more carbon into the atmosphere than the developing nations. Therefore, according to U.N. reasoning, it is the developed nations that caused the global warming, so the developing nations are entitled to compensation.

Go figure. Or better yet, go wade through the negotiating text, but only if you have a strong stomach. It will make a non-Marxist throw-up.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

FCC Not Only Agency Seeking Media Regulation

Obama chief Sunstein drew up ‘New Deal Fairness Doctrine’

The Federal Communications Commission’s unanimous support yesterday for a rule that would open the door to government regulation of the Internet has raised the concern of free speech advocates, but there are other members of the Obama administration who support similar measures.

The president’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, drew up a “First Amendment New Deal,” a new “fairness doctrine” that would include the establishment of a panel of “nonpartisan experts” to ensure “diversity of view” on the airwaves.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Insider Reveals Secrets of North America Plot

No ‘conspiracy theory,’ scheme hatched by CFR was sold to Bush, now Obama

NEW YORK — The integration of the United States with Canada and Mexico, long deemed by many as little more than a fanciful “conspiracy theory,” was actually an idea promoted by the Council on Foreign Relations and sold to President Bush as a means of increasing commerce and business interests throughout North America, according to a top Canadian businessman.

Thomas d’Aquino, CEO and president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives — the Canadian counterpart to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — confirmed in an interview recently published in Canada the accuracy of what WND first reported over three years ago: namely, that the Council on Foreign Relations was the prime mover in establishing the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP.


According to d’Aquino, President Obama wants to continue North American integration under the renamed North American Leaders Summit, provided the North American Competitiveness Council can be recast to include more environmentalists and union leaders.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Maoist Media Controller

What does it say about Barack Obama and his devout supporters that his White House communications director is a big fan of Mao Zedong?

I know. I know. She said her two favorite philosophers were Mao and Mother Teresa. How’s that for moral and intellectual disconnect?

Did you ever think you would hear those two names mentioned in the same breath?

Were there two people in the history of the world more opposite that Mother Teresa and Mao?

One devoted herself to saving lives. The other devoted himself to taking them.

One’s worldview was shaped for her reverence for God. The other’s was shaped by his denial, even hatred, of God.

Welcome to the strange world of Anita Dunn, Obama’s self-proclaimed media controller.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

President Obama Declares H1N1 Flu a National Emergency

President Obama Saturday declared the H1N1 flu a national emergency, clearing the way for legal waivers to allow hospitals and doctors offices to better handle a surge of new patients.

The proclamation will grant Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius the power to authorize the waivers as individual medical facilities request them, officials said.

It says that Obama does “hereby find and proclaim that, given that the rapid increase in illness across the Nation may overburden health care resources and that the temporary waiver of certain standard Federal requirements may be warranted in order to enable U.S. health care facilities to implement emergency operations plans, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in the United States constitutes a national emergency.”

White House officials downplayed the dramatic-sounding language, saying the president’s action was not prompted by a new assessment of the dangers posed to the public by the flu.

Instead, officials said the action provides greater flexibility for hospitals which may suddenly find themselves confronted with a surge of new patients as the virus sweeps through their communities.

“The H1N1 is moving rapidly, as expected. By the time regions or healthcare systems recognize they are becoming overburdened, they need to implement disaster plans quickly,” White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said Saturday.

The waivers authorized by the president’s actions still require individual requests by the hospitals, Cherlin said.

“Adding a potential delay while waiting for a National Emergency Declaration is not in the best interest of the public, particularly if this step can be done proactively as we are doing here,” he said.

If granted a waiver, hospitals would be freed from some regulations that guide their behavior during normal day-to-day operations. Cherlin provided the following example:

“Requirements under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act would prohibit hospitals from certain rapid triage or sorting activities and prevent the establishment of off-site, alternate care facilities that could off-load emergency department demand,” he said.

Public health experts praised the move, saying it was an important precautionary step that could help hospitals and other first responders care for large numbers of sick people as the outbreak continues.

[Return to headlines]

Report Identifies Top Thieves of U.S. Secrets

Judicial Watch said Justice Department docs cite Iran, China

Counterespionage agents for the United States government are reporting that the nations cited most often as stealing — or trying to steal — U.S. military equipment and technology are China and Iran.

The report comes from Judicial Watch, the Washington public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption.


Judicial Watch said the report, labeled “For Official Use Only,” reported Iran was cited for 31 cases between Sept. 29, 2001, just after the 9/11 terror attacks, and May 16, 2008.

China was cited for 20 cases.

Among the situations that were documented:…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Swine Flu Cases “Overstated”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on their main flu Web site that flu activity is increasing in the United States, with most states reporting “widespread influenza activity.”

The CDC goes on to say, and I quote:

“So far, most flu is 2009 H1N1 flu (sometimes called “swine flu”).”

But wait stop the presses.

A three-month-long investigation by CBS News, released earlier this week that included state-by-state test results, revealed some very different facts. The CBS study found that H1N1 flu cases are NOT as prevalent as feared. A CBS article even states:

“If you’ve been diagnosed “probable” or “presumed” 2009 H1N1 or “swine flu” in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn’t have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn’t have flu at all.”

Obviously CBS News and the CDC are completely contradicting each other. So who is right?

Well, CBS reports that in late July 2009 the CDC advised states to STOP testing for H1N1 flu, and they also stopped counting individual cases.

Their rationale for this, according to CBS News, was that it was a waste of resources to test for H1N1 flu because it was already confirmed as an epidemic.

So just like that virtually every person who visited their physician with flu-like symptoms since late July was assumed to have H1N1, with no testing necessary because, after all, there’s an epidemic.

It’s interesting to note that at the same time as the CDC decided the H1N1 epidemic warranted no further testing for cases due to its epidemic status, Finnish health authorities actually downgraded the threat of swine flu.

In late July the health ministry and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in Finland actually removed swine flu from a list of diseases considered dangerous to the public because the majority of cases recovered without medication or hospital care!

And, as the CDC continues to use fear to motivate and control Americans with their worst-case swine flu scenarios, they say nothing of the experience of those in the southern hemisphere, which just finished their flu season and found it was not as bad as expected.

CBS News Finds H1N1 Tests “Overwhelmingly Negative”

Before beginning their investigation, CBS News asked the CDC for state-by-state test results prior to their halting of testing and tracking. The CDC did not initially respond so CBS went to all 50 states directly, asking for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July.

What did they find? CBS reported:

“The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico.”

As you can see from this CBS News graphic, not only are most cases of suspected flu-like illnesses not H1N1, they’re not even the flu but more likely some type of cold or upper respiratory infection!

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Former Prisoner to Re-Enact Stasi Jail Time

A former prisoner of East Germany’s fearsome secret police will return to one of its jail cells in a reenactment of the communist regime’s oppression 20 years after the Berlin Wall fell.

The 65-year-old Carl-Wolfgang Holzapfel will be locked in a cell of the former Hohenschönhausen prison in Berlin for seven days under the same conditions he once endured, wearing prison garb with no right to lie in his bed during the day.

Holzapfel will stay in the cell from October 29 to November 5, an organisation dedicated to the memory of the Stasi police abuses said Friday.

Holzapfel is chairman of the organisation, called ‘17th June 1953’, and another group representing the victims of Stalinism. He was a passionate activist who demonstrated against the imprisonment of political prisoners throughout the communist regime’s tenure.

In August 1989 Holzapfel staged one of his last demonstrations against the Berlin Wall itself by lying across the border at Checkpoint Charlie.

The Hohenschönhausen reenactment, dubbed “Happening,” will be broadcast live on the internet, his organisation said in a statement.

Holzapfel, a West Berliner, was arrested in East Germany for political activism in 1965 and sentenced to eight years in prison. West Germany had to pay to secure his release, a common practice at the time. The prison is now a museum.

Germany is holding a slew of events to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall, which took place on November 9, 1989.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy-Albania: Frattini, Support to Tirana to Join EU

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 21 — “Italy has confirmed its full commitment to supporting Albania’s European prospect” said Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini after a meeting this morning at the Italian Foreign Ministry with his Albanian counterpart Ilir Meta. Frattini said that the two have discussed the recent request to become member of the European Union made by Tirana. “I have confirmed” Frattini underlined “that I will again raise the issue of a rapid transmission of the accession request to the European Commission, during the next meeting of Foreign EU Ministers in Luxemburg (October 26).” The Italian foreign minister said that he hopes that “will lead to the recognition of Albania as a candidate country”. “I know very well” he added “that some member States are reluctant, but I do hope that the majority of EU member States will follow my opinion.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy-Albania: Frattini, Nearing End of Visa Requirement

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 21 — “Albania is getting close to having carried out all the technical requisites for setting up a visa-liberalisation regime”. Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, has been speaking in a press conference at the country’s foreign ministry following a meeting with his Albanian counterpart, Ilir Meta. According to Mr Frattini, Tirana “has made enormous progress on document security, on biometric passports and on border control”. After attaining a freeing of visa controls for Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro at the end of this year, the Frattini’s hope is that Albania will soon be able to follow suit. Happy with the stance taken by Italy, Meta pointed out how Albanian citizens “are the most isolated in Europe”. Now, he said, we are making “significant progress and are confident that in a few weeks wéll have all the necessary measures in place”.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Lawyer Rejects Turncoat’s Claims Linking Berlusconi to Mafia

Rome, 23 October (AKI) — Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s lawyer has strongly rejected on Friday, claims by mafia turncoat Gaspare Spatuzza who quoted a former mafia boss as saying he had links to the premier.

“The statements given by Spatuzza about prime minister Berlusconi are baseless and can be in no way verified,” said the premier’s lawyer and MP for the ruling People of Freedom party (PdL) Niccolo Ghedini on Friday.

He was referring to claims by Spatuzza that jailed Sicilian mafia boss Giuseppe Graviano told him in 1994 that Berlusconi was helping the mafia. Spatuzza said Graviano disclosed the information to him during a conversation in a bar Graviano owned in the upscale Via Veneto district of the Italian capital Rome.

“I met Giuseppe Graviano inside a bar in Via Veneto. Graviano was very happy and said that we had obtained everything and that these people were not like those four bastard Socialists,” Spatuzza said without elaborating.

“The person from whom we obtained everything was Berlusconi and also one of our countrymen, Dell’Utri,” said Spatuzza, Graviano’s assistant.

He was referring to PdL Senator Marcello Dell’Utri who has been convicted of a series of crimes including mafia association. He has been sentenced to over 10 years in jail since 1999 but has never served time in prison.

Spatuzza made the remarks to prosecutors during questioning on 6 October. A transcription of Spatuzza’s interrogation was made public on Friday at an appeals court in the southern Italian city of Palermo.

“I did not know Berlusconi, and I asked if it was the guy from Canale 5 (TV Channel 5) and Graviano told me that indeed it was. About the guy from our town, I was only told his surname, Dell’Utri, not his first name,” said Spatuzza.

“Graviano told me that thanks to the seriousness of these people we had obtained what we wanted. “We have the country in the palm of our hand,” he said.

Dell’Utri has dismissed Spatuzza’s allegations as “nonsense”.

“These claims are nonsense, which fortunately, still make me laugh. It is all melodrama which amuses me,” Dell’Utri said on Friday from Palermo, where he is appealing the charges of Mafia association.

Further defending the premier, Ghedini also said Italy’s judicial authorities have already “widely investigated the absurd accusations in the past…about Berlusconi and has completely ruled out any link with the mafia, a phenomenon that all governments headed by the honourable Berlusconi have always strongly opposed.”

The statements by mafia turncoat Spatuzza were made public by the substitute attorney general of Palermo, Antonino Gatto.

Gatto also revealed the Sicilian mafia (also known in Italian as ‘Cosa Nostra’) had planned a major attack against Italy’s paramilitary police or Carabinieri.

“In 1993 there was a planned attack in Rome by Cosa Nostra, against the police,” he said.

“Gaspare Spatuzza and Cosimo Lo Nigro met Giuseppe Graviano…Some time afterwards, Giuseppe Graviano met the hired gunmen and planned a devastating attack against the police,” Gatto continued.

Lo Nigro is a suspected Sicilian mafia member who is serving a life sentence for mafia attacks in Rome, Florence and Milan in 1993.

“They were talking about at least 100 dead policemen. They were waiting for the ‘go ahead’ from Graviano,” Gatto added.

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

Serbia-France: Ruzica Djindjic, Veran Matic Awarded

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, OCTOBER 22 — Today in Franch Embassy in Belgrade in the presence of great number of people from political, public and cultural life in Serbia, Ruzica Djindjic (wife of assassinated Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic) and radio B92 Director and Editor in Chief Veran Matic received the French Legion of Honor Medals, reports Tanjug news agency. When presenting medals on the behalf of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, French Ambassador to Serbia Jean Francois Terral stated that in this manner, France would like to show recognition to the fighters for democratic values and tolerance. Terral once again reiterated the whole-hearted and full support of Paris to the Serbia’s EU path. Serbian President Boris Tadic, who attended the ceremony, stated that the Legion of Honour Medal identifies the Serbian citizens who were prominent in the establishing of democratic standards in Serbia and who contributed to the promotion of the France-Serbia eternal friendship. Tadic recalled that Serbia is the only country that has the Monument of Gratitude to France.(ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Showing Just 73 Highways at One Inch Per Mile, England’s First Road Atlas Printed in 1675

The atlas depicts 7,500 miles of road and shows how their condition was so poor, it would have taken more than two weeks to travel from Newcastle to London.

Britannia Volume The First Or An Illustration Of The Kingdom Of England And Dominion Of Wales is expected to fetch up to £9,000 at auction next Thursday.

Experts hailed the 17th-century work by John Ogilby, which contains 100 double pages of routes split into parallel vertical strips, a ‘landmark’ in road-mapping.

Charles Ashton, an auctioneer at Cheffins Fine Art, Cambridge, said: ‘What’s unusual about this book is that it is complete.

‘This is one of the original printing batch from 1675 and there are probably about 100 out there across the world — mostly in university and library collections.

‘From the outside it looks like nothing — the plain board cover is quite beaten up and unornamented, not elaborate at all — you would never guess how special this book is.

‘But once you open it, its full glory is revealed. It doesn’t look much like a modern road map.

‘It set a new standard for map making in England as the first attempt at a serious road map in England.’

The road map, which has been in the same family for generations, was the first time in England an atlas was prepared on a uniform scale, at one inch to a mile, based on the statute of 1,760 yards to the mile.

Ogilby claimed that 26,600 miles of roads were surveyed in the course of preparing the atlas, but only about 7,500 were actually depicted in print.

Oxford University’s Dr George Garnett said: ‘The roads would have been pools of mud. The stone that Romans used to build roads had been removed for building houses.

‘It meant people travelled little unless they had to. Newcastle to London could take weeks.’

[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Writer Guillou Admits KGB Connection

Prominent Swedish author and journalist Jan Guillou had liaisons spanning five years with the Soviet intelligence service in the 1960s. Guillou maintains he was trying to reveal how the KGB was operating in Sweden.

The revelations have been disclosed by the newspaper Expressen after it obtained documents from Swedish intelligence agency Säpo on Guillou’s relations with the KGB.

The documents centre around Russian agent Jevgenij Ivanovitj Gergel, the KGB’s man in Stockholm at the end of the 1960s.

A witness statement from one of Guillou’s journalist colleagues at the time raised the alarm over relations between the two. It also refers to an assignment to steal an internal telephone directory from the American Embassy in Stockholm.

Guillou confirmed that he first met Gergel at a reception held at the Soviet Embassy in Stockholm in 1967.

“We never did anything other than talk politics,” he told the newspaper.

Guillou adds that his connection never led to any journalistic revelations and he denies spying for the Soviets.

He concedes, however, that he undertook paid assignments but claims the purpose was of a professional nature, to investigate how the KGB was working in Sweden at the time.

“It was just a few non-events and it is not a crime to meet foreign intelligence services,” he added.

Guillou had contact with the KGB until 1972 when he began publishing articles that revealed the existence of Informationsbyrån, a secret Swedish military intelligence agency that spied on Swedish citizens for political purposes. He was later jailed for espionage.

Säpo’s investigation of Guillou’s KGB relations never led to any indictments writes Expressen.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

UK: One in Five ‘Would Consider Voting BNP’ After Nick Griffin Question Time Appearance

More than a fifth of the public would consider voting for the British National Party, according to the first opinion poll taken since the appearance of its leader, Nick Griffin, on Question Time.

Support for the party has increased in the last month, a survey for The Daily Telegraph indicated.

The findings will lead to accusations that the BBC’s decision to invite the far-Right MEP on to its flagship current affairs programme may have backfired by giving him a national platform.

The YouGov poll was taken hours after Mr Griffin’s appearance on Thursday, before which anti-fascist protesters rioted outside BBC Television Centre in London.

The survey found that 22 per cent of voters would “seriously consider” voting for the BNP in a future local, general or European election. This included four per cent who said they would “definitely” consider voting for the party, three per cent who would “probably” consider it, and 15 per cent who said they were “possible” BNP voters.

Two-thirds said they would not consider voting for the party “under any circumstances” with the rest unsure.

Mr Griffin’s performance, during which he was challenged about his views on the Holocaust, immigration, Islam and homosexuality, has divided the political establishment. Some senior figures criticised the BBC for inviting him on to the programme.

David Lammy, the Higher Education Minister and one of the first black men to serve in a British government, gave warning of a potential rise in racist and anti-Semitic attacks, saying he was “very worried about the days which will follow”.

More than half of those questioned said they agreed with the BNP, or thought that it “had a point” in wishing to “speak up for the interests of the indigenous, white British people … which successive governments have done far too little to protect.”

This included 43 per cent who said that, while they shared some of its concerns, they had “no sympathy for the party itself”.

Twelve per cent said they completely agreed with the BNP, while 38 per cent said they “disagree totally with the BNP’s political outlook”.

YouGov found that overall voter support for the party had risen from two to three per cent since last month.

The party claimed that 3,000 people had registered to sign up as members since Mr Griffin’s Question Time appearance. The BBC is likely to face further questions if Mr Griffin’s appearance results in a rise in racial assaults.

France’s far-Right leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, praised the corporation for inviting the BNP to appear and predicted the party would enjoy a surge as a result.

In a vindication of the BBC’s stance, however, the poll showed that nearly three quarters of the public supported the decision to invite Mr Griffin to appear, compared with 63 per cent when the same question was asked last week.

Labour encouraged mass immigration to help socially engineer a “multicultural” country and to try to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Our Smug Leaders Have Done Nothing to See Off the BNP

In the modern Anglican Baptism service, the congregation is warned to avoid “the glamour of evil”. No danger of that with Nick Griffin, is there? On Question Time on Thursday night, he resembled a disgruntled commuter on a late-night train from Liverpool Street — the sort who engages you in conversation with superficial, beery geniality and then inflicts his unpleasant opinions without a break until debouching at Romford. Not a bat-squeak of Nuremburg Rally glamour — only the drone of banality.

Yet the appearance of Mr Griffin on the programme produced the greatest coalition of the British establishment since the Yes campaign in the European referendum of 1975. The sledgehammer portentously cracked the nut.

Three state-funded politicians of the three main parties denounced the dismal Griffin. The state-funded millionaire, David Dimbleby, forsaking all chairmanly impartiality, even told the wretched man not to smile. The audience, much younger and more “ethnic” than the actual composition of the population, cheered each sally against him. Bonnie Greer, an American, spoke of the “good sense of the British people” in rejecting the BNP. But if Mr Griffin had not been so charmless, I think I would have felt another traditional British quality — sympathy for the underdog.

The message coming out of the programme, reinforced by the BBC’s self-congratulatory coverage, was: “Free speech triumphed. Vile Griffin was allowed his say, but we saw him off. Aren’t we all marvellous?”

No, we aren’t marvellous. We are smug. We are missing two important points.

The first is that we are slipshod in our definition of extremism. The BNP certainly is extreme, because hate is intrinsic to its message. But our Government has active links with people who are more extreme. There are Islamist groups which support Hamas suicide bombings, the killing of homosexuals (Mr Griffin merely finds it “creepy” when they kiss in public) and the killing of British troops in Afghanistan. These groups engage with the state, and even get taxpayers’ money. The Government justifies this with the weird theory that it is only the hard men who can hold back the even harder men from violence. So the hard men get the leverage.

In Northern Ireland, Labour has set up a system which permits and pays Martin McGuinness to be Deputy First Minister. Mr McGuinness was for many years Chief of Staff of the IRA, planning its terrorist operations. He has dropped this occupation, but never renounced it. He has proved the favourite terrorist argument — well-calculated murder wins you power. When Martin goes on Question Time these days, there is no Griffin-style bashing, just the solemn nodding of panel heads when he explains how to bring peace to our troubled world.

On Thursday night, Jack Straw fiercely engaged Nick Griffin on the subject of Holocaust denial. But when he was Foreign Secretary, Mr Straw led the attempt to appease President Ahmadinejad of Iran, who denies the Holocaust on the global stage and is trying to build a nuclear bomb to wipe out Israel.

When establishment figures say that the attitudes of the BNP help prepare the ground for violence, they are right. But they do not apply this logic to their engagement with Islamism — the only form of extremism which nowadays kills large numbers of our fellow citizens.

As for the BBC, it devotes hours of broadcasting to straining after links with racists among the Tories’ eurosceptic allies at the European Parliament. Yet it approvingly (I heard it on Today yesterday) reports Hamas without ever mentioning the anti-semitic libels which are in that organisation’s founding Charter.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

UK: Police Told to Avoid Saying ‘Evenin’ All’

Police have been urged to avoid using greetings such as “evening” and “afternoon”, because the words are “somewhat subjective” and could cause confusion among those from different cultural backgrounds.

The official guidance means the salutation “evenin’ all”, which marked the start of each episode of Dixon of Dock Green, could be under threat.

The instructions form part of lengthy guidelines issued by police forces and fire services across the UK on what language their staff should use. Critics have accused the guides of “lacking common sense”.

Other words now discouraged include, “businessman”, “housewives” and “child”, which the organisations argue have negative connotations and could cause offence.

Confusingly, staff are also barred from using the word “homosexual”, for which they are instructed to use the term “gay”, while they are warned against using the phrase “straight”, and told to say “heterosexual”.

The instructions have emerged in response to a Freedom of Information request to police forces and fire services about the guidance they give their staff on their use of language. One force urging caution over the use of “evening”, is Warwickshire Police.

Under a section entitled “Communication, Some Do’s & Don’ts”, in its “Policing Our Communities” handbook, it gives advice to officers on communicating with people from different ethnic groups. It states: “Don’t assume those words for the time of day, such as afternoon or evening have the same meaning.”

A spokesman added: “Terms such as ‘afternoon’ and ‘evening’ are somewhat subjective in meaning and can vary according to a person’s culture or nationality. In many cultures the term evening is linked to time of day when people have their main meal of the day.

“In some countries including the UK, the evening meal time is traditionally thought of as being around 5-7pm but this might be different say for a family say from America who might have their main meal earlier and thus for them ‘evening ‘ may be an earlier time.

“The point is there is an element of subjectivity leading to a variation between cultures that we need to be aware of — taking steps as far as possible to ensure our communication is effective in serving the public.”

A number of organisations, among them Essex Police and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, now instruct staff to avoid the phrases “child, youth or youngster”.

The 52-page guide used by both organisations states that such phrases could have “connotations of inexperience, impetuosity, and unreliability or even dishonesty”. It also states that addressing someone as “boy” or “girl” “may cause offence”. Instead, officers and firemen are instructed to use the phrase “young people”.

The same guide also warns against the phrases “manning the phones”, “layman’s terms” and “the tax man”, for “making women invisible”.

The Metropolitan Police warns its staff about “common errors” to watch out for in their language. It says “homosexual” should be avoided and “gay” used, but that “straight” should not be used and “heterosexual” should. “Homosexual” should only be used in connection with legislation, according to the force.

London Fire Brigade instructs its staff not to use the terms “businessmen” or “housewives”, because it says they “reinforce outdated stereotypes”.

For the same reason, it tells workers not to call themselves “firemen” — they are “firefighters”. Other organisations have discouraged using the terms “postmen” and “binmen”.

Marie Clair, spokeswoman for the Plain English Campaign, said: “I have never heard of anyone being confused as to what part of the day it is. When the police need absolute accuracy over when something happened, then I am sure they use the exact time. There comes a point when common sense must prevail.”

She also criticised the decision to avoid phrases like “child” and “youth”. “Do you call a two-year-old a young person? Surely we can get greater accuracy in the language we already use, which is non-offensive,” she added.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

UK: Poll Boost for BNP After TV First

Nearly a quarter of adults would consider voting for the far-right British National Party, a poll out today suggests, after its leader made a controversial appearance on a BBC show.

The YouGov survey for The Daily Telegraph newspaper, conducted after BNP chairman Nick Griffin made his debut Thursday on Question Time, BBC television’s top political panel show, found that 22% of voters would ‘seriously consider’ voting BNP.

The debate over whether Mr Griffin should have been allowed on the programme — plus the fall-out from the show — has triggered heated debate in the UK and dominated newspaper headlines.

Many critics of Mr Griffin’s appearance feared that giving him such a platform would hand a boost to the far right.

The poll found 4% said they would ‘definitely’ consider voting for the BNP, a further 3% who would ‘probably’ consider it, plus 1% who said they were ‘possible’ BNP voters.

More than half of those surveyed agreed with the BNP or thought the party ‘had a point’ in wishing to ‘speak up for the interests of the indigenous, white British people… which successive governments have done far too little to protect’.

This included 43% who agreed that they had ‘no sympathy for the party itself’, though they shared some of its concerns.

Some 12% said they completely agreed with the BNP, against 38% who said they disagreed totally with the party’s politics.

The BNP claimed on its website that 9,000 people had either signed up as ‘registered potential members or on our mailing lists’ since the show aired.

Cabinet minister Peter Hain, a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner who fought unsuccessfully to try to stop Mr Griffin’s appearance, said: ‘This is exactly what I feared and warned about.

‘The BBC has handed the BNP the gift of the century on a plate and now we see the consequences. I’m very angry about this.’

The BBC invited him on after his party won nearly a million votes — and a 6.2% share — in the European Parliament elections in June, which saw Mr Griffin and a colleague voted in.

The British Broadcasting Corporation has defended the decision, saying it was duty bound to be impartial.

The BBC said it had received more than 350 complaints about the show, most of which alleged bias against the BNP.

Nearly eight million people watched the show — triple the regular audience.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

UK: Soldier Blasts Leaders Over Trust

A serving soldier has accused politicians of abusing the trust of the Army and serving soldiers.

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who is facing a court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan, made his comments before an anti-war demonstration in central London.

L/Cpl Glenton is leading former colleagues, military families and anti-war protesters in the march, calling for British troops to be brought home.

He told protesters at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park that he found it distressing to disobey orders but felt that he had been left with no choice.

He released a statement before the rally which read: “It is distressing to disobey orders but when Britain follows America in continuing to wage war against one of the world’s poorest countries I feel I have no choice.

“Politicians have abused the trust of the army and the soldiers who serve, that’s why I am compelled and proud to march with the Stop The War Coalition today.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: White House Volunteer ‘Misled’ About Talk Show

Panel had members of anti-Western group under U.S. scrutiny

A Muslim member of President Obama’s faith council says she was misled about the nature of a British TV talk show on which she was recently interviewed. It was hosted by a representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which the State Department has condemned for an anti-Semitic, anti-Western ideology that officials said might indirectly generate support for terrorism.

Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, did a phone interview on the Oct. 8 show. It was hosted by a member of the group, Ibtihal Bsis Ismail, and featured as another guest the group’s women’s media representative, Nazreen Nawaz.

Mogahed said Friday that she did not know about the affiliation of Nawaz until Nawaz was introduced on air, and only learned later about Ismail’s association with Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Emancipation).

She said that she would not have agreed to the interview had she known of their affiliation beforehand and that she believed that Ismail “misled us” to score propaganda points for an ideological movement.

“I don’t regret anything I said,” she said. “My regret is that I went on the show.”

Mogahed is one of 25 faith representatives who sit on a volunteer council that advises the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships on policy issues.

Mogahed said she thought that Gallup’s public relations department booked her appearance on the show to discuss her data on Muslim women. Mogahed has directed several studies of Muslims, including an analysis of the attitudes of Muslim women in 2005, and she is the co-author of the 2009 book “Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘What Do the Sweden Democrats Want to Do With Us Muslims?’

Anna Waara, chairperson of Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice, calls for politicians and the media to reject in the strongest possible terms the views expressed in an opinion piece by Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson, in which he refers to Muslims as the greatest threat to Sweden since World War II.

through the open use of the same kind of rhetoric used to denigrate Jews in the 1940s. The party feels comfortable propagating pure lies in an opinion piece that’s out there for all to see; their calculation is that this won’t be a problem, since they assume that antipathy toward Muslims will predominate in the public debate.

When it comes to the view of Muslims in today’s society, the apparent dehumanization and total lack of nuance lead to a situation in which Muslims are viewed as an inordinately terrifying phenomenon. This is driven home by the fact that the Sweden Democrats’ frontal attack is met by a deafening silence from the country’s otherwise so vociferous leader writers.

The Sweden Democrats have a right to express themselves, and should preserve that right, but in a democratic society there is nothing forcing people to listen. Freedom of expression is an important foundation, which enables people to take a stance on the kind of society they want Sweden to become.

What’s surprising is that the media establishment has received the Sweden Democrats’ views with a sense of calm. The party’s message contains errors that are misleading or, in some cases, consist of pure propaganda. Despite this, a lot of what they say is permitted to pass without critical examination, vocal protests, or sober counter-argumentation. This offers a snapshot of the current societal climate with regard to Muslims and Islam.

What the Sweden Democrats portray is an enemy within, in a society they wish to divide into “us against them”. Such views have never led to a healthy, peaceful society, and Åkesson’s propaganda represents a direct threat to the 200-year tradition of peace we have here in Sweden.

It would be particularly troubling if the established parties were to replicate the Sweden Democrats’ rhetoric, providing succour to this sort of propaganda. We have seen it before in Europe — in Srebrenica for example, where 7,000 to 8,000 Muslims were murdered simply because of their identity. This happened just fifty years after the Holocaust: the kind of outrage that was never supposed to happen again.

There’s a risk that Islamophobia and intolerance will become established and accepted in Sweden. Is that really the kind of society we want to live in?

A major Gallup poll thought to represent the opinions of 90 percent of the world’s Muslims has shown that 93 percent are against acts of violence. None of the 7 percent who did not respond that they were opposed to violence cited religious reasons. They made reference instead to political reasons, such as achieving freedom from oppression. This is the same freedom considered so fundamental to Western values.

The study also supports the view that young Muslims, contrary to what Åkesson might claim, do not want extremism, fanaticism or violence; instead they strive for freedom, rights and democratization. The survey also showed that Muslims view Islam as a religion that confers on them a sense of meaning, direction, purpose and hope.

Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice (Svenska Muslimer för Fred och Rättvisa) is Sweden’s first Muslim peace organization. Our aim is to be one of the foremost organizations promoting peace and security in Sweden and Europe, based on justice, Islamic principles, and human rights. With this in mind, we have previously invited the Sweden Democrats to debate with us; we have engaged in a dialogue with them because we believe in talking to those with dissenting opinions. We believe in a society characterized by diversity, which is why we find the Sweden’s Democrats’ rhetoric so frightening.

The party openly displays its defiance towards Swedish values such as respect and tolerance. It is extremely important going forward that the established parties do not slip under the net and co-opt the views the Sweden Democrats are trying to propagate, rather than countering them. The Sweden Democrats want to create the kind of society that can not be achieved by peaceful means in light of the prevailing conditions in multicultural Sweden. It is with this in mind that their election promise to do all they can to create a uniform Sweden raises so many critical issues. Just what do the Sweden Democrats want to do with us Muslims?

The question brought to a head by Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats is that of the kind of society we want to live in. I am certain that I don’t want to live in a society pervaded by opinions that are laced with hatred, ignorance and intolerance, and in which not all individuals are permitted to feel safe — regardless of who the messenger might be. What kind of society do the Sweden Democrats want to live in?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Albania-Bosnia: Rehn, Strict Rules on Abolition of Visas

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 22 — “We must be responsible and guarantee a credible and rigorous selection process, also because that is the only way to convince the EU interior ministers of the reliability and security” of the countries for which the liberalisation of visas in the Schengen area has been proposed. European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said this to explain the exclusion of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania from the list of countries for which visas will no longer be needed as of January 2010, in the context of a conference organised in Brussels by the European Policy Center. According to the Commission, these two countries are not ready yet, unlike Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, “which have done their homework”. “When Bosnia and Albania will comply with the required criteria, we will present a proposal for these countries as well” said Rehn, “but we will not punish countries which have done a good job”. Regarding Bosnia, “now we are concerned how the current political deadlock created by the country’s leaders will be broken” the commissioner added, “and how the country will become a credible candidate to join the EU and NATO”, which it is not at the moment. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Serbia-EU: Rehn, Accord’s Freeing in Hands of ICTY

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 22 — The road to Serbia’s integration into the EU will depend on the ad interim accord being re-activated and this “is in the hands of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, (ICTY), Serge Brammertz”. The statement has come from the European Commissioner for Enlargement, Olli Rehn, speaking at conference organised in Brussels by the European Policy Centre. Having suggested the freeing of the EU-Serbia accord, “our credibility, mine and that of the Union,” said Rehn, “ has suffered by not being able to advance” on Belgrade’s rapprochement process. “In fact, the Chief Prosecutor for the ICTY is the person in the key position: I am confident that Serbia is truly cooperating with the ICTY and I trust that Brammertz will pronounce the “magic words”: full cooperation”, which is a necessary condition for freeing the EU-Serbia accord. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

War Crimes: Seven Croatians Arrested for Killing Serbs

(ANSAmed) — ZAGREB, OCTOBER 20 — Seven Croatians, all former or current members of the Zagreb army, were arrested yesterday by the Croatian police over suspected war crimes in 1995 in Bosnia-Herzegovina against Serbian prisoners, writes the Croatian press today, quoting the public prosecutor in Zagreb, without giving details of the identities of the suspects until the end of the investigation. According to the press, the seven Croatians are suspected of shooting five Serbian prisoners of war in the east of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the summer of 1995. During this period the Croatian armed forces were operating in Bosnia against the Bosnian Serb army based on an agreement with the central government in Sarajevo, made up of a majority of supporters of the Muslim community. One of the key conditions for Croatia’s entry into the European Union is the willingness and commitment by the Croatian justice system to put its own officials and military on trial over accusations of war crimes. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Syria: 6 Countries Not in Boycott Israel Conference

(ANSAmed) — DAMASCUS, OCTOBER 23 — Six Arab countries have decided not to participate in a meeting in Syria on a boycott against Israel. This year Egypt and Jordan, which have diplomatic relations with Israel, as well as Oman, Mauritania, the Comoros and Bahrain were not present at the 83rd “Boycott Israel Conference”. The meeting, in which strategies to isolate Israel through an economic boycott are discusses, has united members of the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference for decades. With time however and with the normalisation of relations between Israel and some of the participating states, the meeting has lost some of its supporters. Pepsi Cola, Caterpillar and Procter and Gamble are some of the ‘haram’ companies, companies Arab entrepreneurs should not do business with because of their ties with Israel. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Terrorism: Morocco Taking Part in Active Endeavour

(ANSAmed) — NAPLES, OCTOBER 23 — Morocco has signed an agreement to contribute to the NATO operation which aims to prevent terrorist attacks in the Mediterranean. The agreement was signed in Naples by Division Admiral Mohammed Berrada Gouzi, inspector of the Royal Marine of Morocco, and Squad Admiral Maurizio Gemignani, commander of the anti-terrorism operation Active Endeavour. Over 100,000 mercantile vessels have been contacted in the eight years since the operation began. According to a statement, the accord “constitutes an important step forward in the cooperation between NATO and Morocco and established the modalities in which Morocco will contribute to the operation, from information exchange to the deployment of naval and air systems.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey to Build Algeria 3rd Biggest Mosque of the World

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 22 — Turkish government will extend necessary support to Turkish companies to undertake construction of third biggest mosque of the world in Algeria, Anatolia agency reported quoting the Turkish Minister for Foreign Trade, Zafer Caglayan. The minister said that German companies were preparing architectural project of the third biggest mosque of the world in Algeria, adding that 40,00 people would be able to perform prayer in the mosque worth of $5 billion. Caglayan said a bidding for construction of the mosque would take place in the coming days, noting that “I think Turkish companies will construct the mosque in the best way”. Referring to drilling works of Petroleum Corporation’s (TPAO) in Algeria, Caglayan said a bidding would take place in Algeria on 20 December to explore oil in the North region of the country. “Chance of TPAO is high in this tender”, he added. Caglayan said Algeria met 12% of Turkey’s natural gas need, indicating that Algerian Energy Minister expressed readiness to give more gas to Turkey in case it is needed. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Shalit: Hamas Encouraged by Druse Prisoners Release

(ANSAmed) — GAZA, OCTOBER 23 — German mediation efforts are moving forward at “a fast pace” for a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas, which since 2006 has been holding Corporal Ghilad Shalit prisoner in Gaza, reported Osama Mezeini, a Hamas leader in Gaza in charge of coordinating the indirect negotiations with Israel. Mezeini told the Palestinian press agency MAAN that Hamas had been encouraged by the recent release of two Druze prisoners by Israel. He said that the latter had happened on the explicit request by Hamas, after a few weeks ago Israel received a few minutes of footage showing Shalit for the first time in the secret place where he is being held. Mezeini was referring to the release on October 15 of the Druse Issam al-Luli and Bashar al-Moqt, both residents in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Both had been sentenced to 27 years in jail for armed activities against Israel and were to have been released in four years. In Israel, their early release was called a “goodwill gesture”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Unprecedented IDF Mutiny at Kotel

( An unprecedented mutiny took place at the swearing-in ceremony of Shimshon Battalion soldiers at the Kotel Thursday evening. Immediately after being sworn in, some of the soldiers raised large signs which said “Shimshon Battalion does not carry out evictions at Homesh.”

Parents of soldiers also raised similar signs at the same moment.

[Video shows soldiers shouting out vow of allegiance and unfurling sign, subsequent talk with commanders. / Arutz Sheva.]

The anger and frustration within the ranks of the Shimshon soldiers and their families reached a boiling point after the battalion carried out numerous evictions at Homesh — a Shomron (Samaria) community that was razed in the “Disengagement”.

Just as the Kfir Regiment Commander began his speech at the ceremony, soldiers from the battalion and raised two large signs against the evictions. Similar signs were raised by the soldiers’ relatives in the audience. The “Disengagement” carried out in 2005 by the government of now-comatose Ariel Sharon included the destruction of all Jewish communities in Gaza. It was carried out in the hope of bringing about peace with the Arabs. However, no peace has materialized, and Jewish activists have been persistent in their attempts to return to Homesh. The military, on its side, has been evicting these Jews from the ruins time and time again — sometimes in a violent manner, and often on the Jewish Sabbath.

IDF officials warned Friday that the soldiers could face expulsion from Shimshon for their actions. “This was a shameful and anomalous breach of IDF discipline,” a spokesman said. “Kfir Regiment Commander Colonel Oren Abman will consider terminating their service in the regiment.”

           — Hat tip: AD[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Italy-Cyprus: Kyprianou, We Want a European Turkey

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 22 — “Cyprus agrees that Turkey should become part of the European Union, but what we require is a European Turkey, not simply a Turkey inside Europe”. The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, Markos Kyprianou, was speaking at the Foreign Ministry after his meeting with his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini. He defined their meeting: “a good opportunity for discussing bilateral and European issues, especially the question of enlargement, ahead of the discussion scheduled for December’s European Council which will look at Turkey more specifically. It is an issue of great moment for us”. According to the Cypriot minister, Turkey “has to fulfil all of the conditions and undertakings, as have all candidate countries. These conditions have been imposed on all EU member countries. Unfortunately, however, Turkey has yet to fulfil its undertakings — especially those regarding Cyprus — which were defined by the Council of Europe at the end of 2005. Many years have passed and if there isn’t an improvement, a sign of progress, by December, we do not think that this matter should be tackled as if it were an ordinary item of business”. Kyprianou went on to reaffirm how “he have good collaboration with Italy, in other matters too, such as over the Mediterranean and on immigration. There is a convergence of opinions and in policy coordination on these issues”. The Cypriot minister thinks that “over recent years, the Council of Europe has acknowledged that Turkey has not met its obligations and has simply appealed to them to do so. The latest report by the European Commission also goes into detail on all of Turkey’s obligations and recognises that Turkey has not fulfilled them. It is high time, after all these years, we think, that Turkey should answer for its refusal to comply. This is a political decision, not a technical question which can be addressed in the course of time. This is a political issue to be tackled regarding Turkey and therefore there should be consequences”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Obama Offers Millions in Muslim Technology Fund

The White House said the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) had issued a call for proposals for the fund, which will provide financing of between 25 and 150 million dollars for selected projects and funds.

The Global Technology and Innovation Fund will “catalyze and facilitate private sector investments” throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the White House said in a statement.

Eligible projects would advance economic opportunity and create jobs in areas like technology, education, telecoms, media, business services and clean technology, the White House said.

OPIC said sample projects could help foster the development of new computer technology or telecommunications businesses, or widen access to broadband Internet services.

Proposals must be submitted by the end of November, and managers of funds that make a final short list will make presentations in Washington in January.

Final selections will be announced next June.

In his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last June, Obama argued that “education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century” and that under-investment was rife in many Muslim nations.

As well as the fund, Obama also said he will host a summit on entrepreneurship this year to deepen ties between business leaders in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

In his speech on June 4, Obama vowed to forge a “new beginning” for Islam and America, promising to purge years of “suspicion and discord.”

In what may be one of the defining moments of his presidency, Obama laid out a new blueprint for U.S. Middle East policy, pledged to end mistrust, forge a state for Palestinians and defuse a nuclear showdown with Iran.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Signing of the Association Agreement on Human Rights Between Syria and Europe Delayed

President Assad talks of “technical issues”, but diplomatic sources in Brussels say that the origin of the delay is a clause wanted by the EU which gives them the opportunity to suspend deals in cases of proven human rights violations .

Beirut (AsiaNews) — Syria wants to “revise” the association agreement with the European Union. For a “technical issue”, according to President Bashar al-Assad; according to diplomatic sources in Brussels over a clause on the observance of human rights that the Europe wants included.

“I have always supported cooperation with the European Union — the Syrian president said yesterday on state television — it is a priority. But first we must cooperate more effectively with Europe, before signing this Association agreement there is a technical issue”.

Rumours in Brussels report the question is quite different. Days ago there was talk of the 26 of this month as the date of the signing of the agreement, then of a referral. At its origin, according to European diplomatic sources, there is a request made by the Dutch in particular and endorsed by the Swedish who hold EU Presidency, to introduce a clause in the treaty that provides for the EU’s right to suspend it in the case of proven rights violations. Over the very same question of respect for human rights, however, a draft agreement between Syria and Europe, drawn up in 2004, was never signed.

This time, already in the middle of October, the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, had raised the possibility of a postponement, saying that “if the government finish the exam during the Swedish presidency we will sign the agreement, otherwise we will do so with the Spanish” presidency which begins early next year.

Assad’s intervention puts an end to the question, for the time being. It should be noted that the Syrian president has referred to what he himself would have said during conversations with Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, on a visit to Damascus (see photo). But in the lavish reports on the Mrs. Halonen’s visit made by the Syrian official news sources — especially dedicated to what was said by Assad — the issue was not discussed. The only reference was contained in the news on the meeting between foreign ministers of both countries, from which we learn that the Finnish Minister Alexander Stubb, “expressed strong support for signing the Association Agreement between Syria and EU.” An that was all. (PD)

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

Syria-EU: Association Agreement; Assad, We Want to Reflect

(ANSAmed) — DAMASCUS, OCTOBER 22 — After four years of stalling due to the political opposition of some countries of the European Union, “technical” reasons are now reportedly the basis for the Syrian request to postpone in extremis the signing of the association agreement with the EU, scheduled for Luxembourg on Monday. The agreement, in exchange for easier trade, asks Damascus to commit itself to human rights inside its borders. Speaking to journalists in a live press conference on State television, the Syrian president Bashar al Assad said today that Damascus intends “to reconsider the agreement with Europe”. In the conference held at the end of the meeting with Finnish president Tarja Halonen, on visit to Damascus today, Assad affirmed having “always supported the partnership with the European Union” and that it is “a priority”. For the leader in Damascus however “there is the need to cooperate effectively with Europe before the agreement is signed. It is only a technical question”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Ankara Censors Controversial TV Series

(by Furio Morroni) (ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 22 — Relations between Israel and Turkey must be recovered at any cost, which have continued down a bumpy path since last January 29, when at the Davos Forum, Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan controversially abandoned for not having been able to reply to Israeli president Shimon Peres. It is for this reason that Turkish public television (TRT) has decided to cut various scenes from a controversial show which it had put on the air in recent days increasing the tension that had already existed between Ankara and Tel Aviv, in which Israeli soldiers are seen shooting at Palestinian children. The first episode of the show, called ‘Separation: Palestine in Love and War’, was put on the air October 13 and infuriated officials from the Jewish country, according to whom the show “instilled hate towards Israel”. In particular in that episode Israeli soldiers were seen killing a newborn, a little girl and an old man, all Palestinians. In Davos, the motive behind Erdogans “scene” was the issue of the Israeli military operation “Cast Lead” against the fundamentalist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Turkey, which has had a strategic alliance with Israel and good relations with all Arab countries and the non-Arab Iran, is a lay nation of Islamic majority and apparently took a position contrary to Israel following the attack against the Gaza Strip. The last official agreement for military cooperation between the two countries was in February 1996 but strategic collaboration relations between the two countries date back to the ‘50s. It was during the Cold War and in Washington Turkey was considered a strategic platform against the USSR and to keep the US’s interests in the Middle East under control. It was therefore through the benevolence of Washington that Israel and Turkey in 1958 signed a secret military pact, just weeks after the republican coup that brought Abdel Karim Kassem to power in Baghdad. This agreement was the culmination of already good relations between the two countries and represented the creation of the “peripheral strategy” wanted by Israeli Premier David Ben Gurion. The Israel-Turkey pact was signed on August 29 and 30 1958 in Ankara by Ben Gurion and his Turkish colleague Adnan Menderes. To keep the meeting a secret, the aircraft in which the Israeli Premier travelled landed at the airport in Ankara simulating technical problems and the waiters that served lunch to the two leaders were officials from the Turkish Foreign Ministry. It was during the same period that Ankara and Tel Aviv formalised the cooperation that had already existed between the two countries secret agents. In spite of this, Turkey’s Premier Erdogan, as local analysts agree, created the incident in Davos to gain the support of more Islam supporting voters in light of the imminent administrative elections on March 19 which were won by a margin of 39%. Then, at the beginning of October, the diplomatic crisis exploded caused by the unilateral cancellation by Ankara of combined military manoeuvres in which the Israeli Air Force was also to participate. The manoeuvres, according to Israel, were cancelled by Ankara as a sign of disapproval for the attacks against the Gaza Strip. But, as a spokesman for the Turkish government, Cemil Cicek, reported, the decision to cancel the participation of Israel was made by the Turkish Chief of Staff on the proposal of leaders from the air force for the lack of delivery of 7 of 10 Heron spy planes (drones without pilots) commissioned in 2005 by Turkey to the Israeli aerospace industry with a contract worth 180 million dollars. The show however id also causing tension between Turkey and Iran. It is not regarding ideological motives, but more simply the fact that the production of the series has not paid the hotel bill in Iran where the actors and film crews stayed yet. For this reason the Foreign Minister in Tehran sent written notice to that of Ankara. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Yemen: Clashes Between Inhabitants and Saudi Forces at Border

(ANSAmed) — SANAA, OCTOBER 22 — Yemeni Shiite rebels reported the death and wounding of various people, Saudis and Yemenis, during clashes between the inhabitants of northern Yemen and Riyadh’s regular army, which, according to rebels, is attempting to construct a wall at the border between the two countries in Yemeni territory. “Saudi forces opened fire, after a clash with the local population on the construction on the part of the Saudi’s of a wall on Yemeni territory”, reads a document published on the internet site of the rebel group. “The residents of the area refuse any kind of fence that would have a negative economic impact for them and separate them from their brothers living on the other side”. The rebels often accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting the Yemeni army offensive against the Shiite rebels, but Sanaa denies Saudi involvement. At the origin of the discrimination against the Shiite minority in Yemen is reportedly an alliance between president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Saudi Arabia, the bordering Sunni power. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Energy: Putin Speaks of Projects With Berlusconi & Erdogan

(ANSAmed) — MOSCOW, OCTOBER 22 — Russian premier Vladimir Putin and his Italian visitor Silvio Berlusconi have spoken today via online conference with the Turkish premier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Among the subjects were the Gazprom-Eni South Stream pipeline project and the Italo-Russian and Turkish Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, due to connect the Turkish Black Sea coast with its Mediterranean coast. Speaking on Russia’s second state tv channel, where he appears seated alongside Berlusconi in front of a green marble fireplace, Putin told his viewers: “I have informed premier Erdogan of the initial negotiations held with Kazakhstan” (whose President Nursultan Nazarbaiev is in Turkey today). “Our Kazakh colleagues have expressed their willingness to fill this pipeline with their oil,” he said with reference to the Samsum-Ceyhan pipeline. A joint declaration for its construction has been signed in Milan during the past few days. “This project is therefore becoming a great international project and it will make its contribution to strengthening Europe’s energy security,” Putin went on. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Bangladesh Islamist Group Banned

The Islamist organisation, Hizb-ut Tahrir has been banned in Bangladesh, the home ministry has announced.

Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikdar said the government feared Hizb-ut Tahrir posed a threat to peaceful life.

It is the first time that an Islamist group which has not been implicated in any terrorist acts been outlawed.

The group has condemned the ban and pledged that it will not be silenced by a government it said was guilty of a “pro-imperialist stance”.

Officials say that Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in at least 20 countries and topped a government list of about 10 groups suspected of plotting subversive acts in Bangladesh.


“The government has decided to ban Hizb-ut Tahrir because they are against the interest of law and pose a threat to public security,” Mr Sikdar said.

Hizb-ut Tahrir has been active in Bangladesh for the past eight years.

Nearly 40 members of the organisation were arrested earlier in the year after they were alleged to have distributed leaflets in support of a mutiny by border guards in which over 50 army officers were killed.

Mr Sikdar said that intelligence agencies had been monitoring the activities of 12 organisations.

Out of those, four were banned earlier — they were suspected of involvement in what the government calls “terrorist” and “anti-state” activities.

The head of Hizb-ut Tahrir in Bangladesh, Professor Mohiuddin Ahmed, denied his organisation was involved in terrorist activities.

He said the group believed that terrorism and other violent acts were totally contrary to the teachings of Islam.

Professor Ahmed said that such action by the government had failed to silence his organisation in the past and would not succeed in the present.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Dutch Defence Minister: “NATO Warning us on Departure From Uruzgan”

BRATISLAVA, 24/10/09 — NATO partners would regard a departure of the Netherlands from the Afghan province of Uruzgan as a “remarkable unilateral move”.” So said Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop Friday in an interview with NRC Handelsblad newspaper.

Two weeks ago, the Lower House adopted a motion in which the government was urged to ensure that all troops were out of Uruzgan after December 2010. Van Middelkoop says however that what the government will decide is still open. The cabinet does not legally require a parliamentary majority for a longer stay in Uruzgan.

The Netherlands is under “subtle pressure” within NATO due to the House motion, said the defence minister in the interview during the two-day informal NATO meeting in Slovakia. He noted that his colleagues from other NATO countries would view a possible withdrawal by the Netherlands from Uruzgan as a “remarkable Alleingang (unilateral move) that raises questions on the developments in the alliance.”

The House motion was put forward by the government parties Labour (PvdA) and small Christian party ChristenUnie, and supported by all opposition parties except centre-left D66 and the smallest Christian party SGP. The Christian democrats (CDA), the biggest government party, was ‘not amused’ by the broadly supported motion.

Van Middelkoop himself is a member of ChristenUnie, but made no effort Friday to give the impression that he supports his MPs. “The motion is there, it is the cabinet’s move. It is now open. Then it becomes important what NATO thinks (…).”

The Dutch armed forces, if they were to withdraw, would “switch from over-performing to underperforming,” added the minister, while “in NATO we actually encourage one another to perform.” He also remarked that “the Netherlands is very good at this sort of mission.”

Van Middelkoop terms the pressure of his colleagues currently still “subtle” because people know that the Dutch government still has time. He expects the pressure to increase in December, at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. Then the second round of the Afghan presidential elections will be over and US President Barack Obama will have made a decision on the possible deployment of more troops in Afghanistan.

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

In Southern India, Hindu Radicals Declare War on Muslims Over Love Jihad

Sri Rama Sene leader Pramod Mutalik announces campaign against movement that entices young women into marriage to force them to convert to Islam. He demands that for every Hindu girl forced to convert to Islam, five Muslim girls be converted into Hinduism.

Bangalore (AsiaNews) — Karnataka’s radical Hindu movement Sri Rama Sene (the Army of god Rama) has declared war on the ‘love jihad’, an alleged network of Muslim men bent on enticing non Muslim women to marry Muslim men and then forcing them to convert to Islam. The announcement was made by Sri Rama Sene’s founder Pramod Mutalik, a figure in this southern Indian State well known for its intransigence towards secularism and non-traditional religions.

“I have asked the activists of the Sena to ensure that five Muslim girls are converted into Hinduism” for every “Hindu girl who is converted to Islam by the ‘Love Jihad”, Mutalik said.

The call to arms came at a press conference on Wednesday. It coincided with a statement by the State High Court expressing concern over attempts by the ‘Love Jihad’ to infiltrate the state’s colleges and university.

Similarly, Home Minister V S Acharya instructed police to launch an investigation into the matter in response to a habeas corpus petition by C. Selvaraj of Chamarajnagar district, in which he demanded that his daughter Siljaraj, who has been missing since August, be found. He claims she was the victim of the’Love Jihad’ after he found out that she had eloped with a young Muslim man from Kerala and been subjected to religious indoctrination. Similar cases have been reported in Kerala (see “Love Jihad: luring girls online and forcing them to convert to Islam,” in AsiaNews, 5 October 2009).

As part of his crusade, Mutailik and his organisation have launched an information campaign with literature for young people in Karnataka to alert them of the danger and urge them to make public any case that comes to their attention.

During the press conference, the founder of the “Army of god Rama” said that many of the tricked women are pushed towards anti-Hindu Islamic extremism. (NC)

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

Indonesia: Islamic Groups Fine With Cabinet Exclusion

Jakarta, 23 October (AKI/Jakarta Post) — Indonesia’s two biggest Muslim organisations, Nahdhatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, say they are not disappointed by their exclusion from the new cabinet.

Muhammadiyah Youth chairman Muhammad Izzul Muslimin told Indonesian daily The Jakarta Post it made sense for president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to exclude NU and Muhammadiyah despite both organisations having large numbers of politically active members.

“Yudhoyono might not have felt the need to include mass organisations in his cabinet because his party won by a landslide in the elections and now he has a strong and big coalition,” he said.

“I think Yudhoyono might have felt he had all the support he needed.”

Yudhoyono did not ask either NU or Muhammadiyah to nominate any of their members for his cabinet.

Several cabinet members, however, are affiliated to the two organisations.

Ministers loosely affiliated to NU include National Education Minister Muhammad Nuh and Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali, while Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar was a senior Muhammadiyah official.

In 2004, Yudhoyono appointed Muhammadiyah’s Siti Fadilah Supari as health minister and NU’s Maftuh Basyuni as religious affairs minister.

“Back then the Democratic Party was still a small party and their coalition wasn’t as strong as today,” Izzul said.

He ruled out Muhammadiyah’s exclusion from the new cabinet because of its support of then vice president Jusuf Kalla’s presidential bid.

“The chairmen of both NU and Muhammadiyah might have seemed to be leaning toward Kalla, but neither ever formally announced their support of his bid,” Izzul said.

“So maybe this is just about the organisations’ stances.”

NU deputy chairman Masdar Farid Mas’udi was reluctant to comment on the matter, saying he considered Yudhoyono a regular “NU person”.

“We’re glad the President has put his trust in many of our members in the effort to make the nation more prosperous,” he said.

He added he expected they would all work hard to fulfill the president’s campaign promises and give their best to improve the people’s welfare.

“We as a community organization can only support them so that their programes are a success over the next five years,” Masdar said.

He added that he hoped the new ministers would involve mass organisations such as NU in implementing their programmes, especially in education, the environment and social issues, pointing out such organisations could put the government directly in touch with voters.

Asked for his opinion on the president’s performance in his first term, Masdar said it could only be appraised from Yudhoyono’s being re-elected.

“The fact he was re-elected shows people have appraised him positively,” he said.

“Whatever, let’s just move forward and hope they can all work harder and we in the meantime will support their efforts.”

Meanwhile, Al Khairaat, a Muslim organization focusing on education, based in Palu, Central Sulawesi, has two of its members in the new cabinet.

Social services Minister Salim Segaf Al Jufri is the grandson of Al Khairaat’s founder, while maritime affairs and fisheries minister Fadel Muhammad is the Al Khairaat Foundation chairman.

The overwhelming majority of Indonesia’s population of 240 million people are Muslim.

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

Australia — Pacific

Australia: HSC Religious Question Unfair, Students Say

DISTRAUGHT HSC candidates have accused the Board of Studies of setting an unfair exam by including questions about subject matter not included in the syllabus.

Students who sat one of the Studies of Religion papers yesterday said they were shocked to find the exam asked them to provide answers they had not covered during the year in class.

Teachers also complained that part of the paper sat by almost 14,000 candidates across NSW on Thursday afternoon was unfair.

The Daily Telegraph’s website was deluged with complaints by angry Year 12 students but the Board of Studies denied the exam was unfair or contained misleading material.

A school master said: “Our students found section one and section two of today’s Studies of Religion HSC very fair but were upset with section three . . . as were the teachers.”

Question four on Islam, worth 20 marks, gave candidates a quotation referring to the Qur’an and the prophet Muhammad. Then it asked candidates: “With reference to the quotation, analyse the role played by the revelation through the Prophet in the life of Muslims.”

One student identified only as Clare said: “When we reached section three I think most students in the state had a communal heart attack as we discovered obscure and obtuse questions which were from absolutely no part of the otherwise very straightforward syllabus.

“I just lost 20 marks from a paper I studied very hard for.”

As a number of schools called for an explanation, Newington College student Nick Grogin said he was stunned by one question.

“I had never seen anything like that in the syllabus,” he said. “Nothing about it related to what I had studied and been taught.”

Board of Studies chief executive Carol Taylor said she was aware of students’ concerns.

“I’d like to reassure them that the question was based on the syllabus and that it was looking for their knowledge of their mandatory depth study of a religion,” she said.

“The quotations used in the questions seem to have thrown some students — they were intended as a prompt or stepping stone into their answer and they will not be expected to have studied the quotations themselves.”

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Man Jailed Over Racist Attack on Indian Student

A gang of racist youths nearly killed a man during an armed rampage in an Indian grocery store in Melbourne’s west for the “sheer thrill” of the attack, a judge said today.

Drunk and carrying wooden planks ripped up from a nearby bus stop seat, the seven youths raided the Impex shop in Sunshine yelling “are you Indian?” as they randomly struck their victims on December 1 last year, the County Court heard today.

Indian student Sukhraj Singh, 28, was in a coma for 15 days and will suffer the effects of a severe acquired brain injury for the rest of his life after being beaten during the assault.

Eight men were punched and hit with the weapons and most suffered minor injuries but Mr Singh was beaten unconscious and spent months in hospital and rehabilitation after being struck three times to the head and body.

In sentencing one of the attackers, Zakarie Hussein, 21, of Braybrook, Judge Pamela Jenkins said today the group had deliberately targeted victims of Indian ethnicity in the “unprovoked rampage”.

The youths had been drinking beer in a park for about four hours before they went to the store in City Place just after 6.30pm where two of the teens began a racist argument with two customers, the court heard.

About five minutes later, the pair returned with their friends, most armed with wooden bars and one with a fluorescent light tube, and began smashing up the store and indiscriminately striking customers and staff as they yelled “are you Indian?” and “bloody Indians, f—- off”.

The shop’s cash register was stolen and the loot divided up among the offenders. Hussein received about $15.

In a victim impact statement tendered to the court, Mr Singh said metal plates had been inserted into his face, he had shed up to 15 kilograms and been left with lumps and scars on his head from the assault. “I am lucky to be alive, all my friends and family thought I was going to die,” Mr Singh said in the statement.

He said he suffered from dizzy spells and had undergone counselling after being plagued by nightmares and flashbacks.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Chinese Ship Seized by Pirates Reaches Somali Coast

Questions remain as to whether China’s Navy will attack to free the hostages. If that happens, it would be China’s first naval battle in centuries. Ship seizure sparks a patriotic wave online.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The De Xin Hai, a Chinese bulk carrier, was seized by Somali pirates and is now anchored off the coast of Somalia. EU Navfor, the European Union anti-piracy force, confirmed yesterday the ship had arrived off the coast of Somalia and was near Hobyo. It was captured on 19 October in the Indian Ocean between the Seychelles and Maldives.

It is still not clear what Chinese authorities will do to free the 25 crewmembers on board, but they vowed “all-out efforts” to rescue ship and crew without endangering their lives.

The De Xin Hai carried coal, heading to India from South Africa when it was hijacked.

Until recently, piracy was centred mainly in the Gulf of Aden region. This is the first time a vessel was captured so far from the Somali coastline.

In addition to the De Xin Hai, pirates also hijacked a Panamanian-flagged carrier, bringing the total number of international vessels in their hands to seven.

Usually, such situations have been solved by the payment of ransom money; it is not clear whether China will do the same.

Three Chinese Navy ships are in the Indian Ocean, and are now sailing towards the Somali coast. They will join ships from NATO, the European Union, the United States, Japan, South Korea and Russia that have been deployed in the area in an attempt to secure merchant shipping.

In China, the hijack saga off Somalia has stoked the fires of nationalism online, with patriotic internet users calling for a showdown between the three Chinese navy ships and the pirates.

“Our government’s authority would be undermined if we surrender to pirates, and this would be a disaster for the leaders and the general public,” someone wrote online.

“China is a major world country and also a permanent member of the UN Security Council, so giving in to terrorism and piracy would make us the laughing stock of the world,” said another.

Various experts believe that China’s Navy is eager for a showdown. For months, the Chinese military have been showing off their modern weaponry and professionalism, displayed in great pomp and ceremony during 1 October celebrations.

If China does take on the pirates, it would be the first time in centuries that Chinese naval forces are involved in combat outside the country’s territorial waters.

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


An Insightful Twist on the Alien Invasion

As I was preparing this week’s column, I read this from my own e-mails. And it’s so good, I just want to share it with you.


Dear Mr. President:

I’m planning to move my family and extended family into Mexico for my health, and I would like to ask you to assist me. We’re planning to simply walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico, and we’ll need your help to make a few arrangements.

We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. I’m sure you handle those things the same way you do here. So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Calderon, that I’m on my way over?

Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

1. Free medical care for my entire family.

2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

3. Please print all Mexican government forms in English.

4. I want my grandkids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bilingual) teachers.

5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and history.

6. I want my grandkids to see the American flag on one of the flagpoles at their school…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Don’t Listen to the Whingers — London Needs Immigrants

Amid the sound and fury over Nick Griffin, there’s a sad but unnoticed fact: it has taken this fiasco to make politicians talk about the impact of immigration.

Yesterday MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames called for a 75 per cent cut in immigration and accused the Government of “clamping down” on any debate.

What’s missing is not only a sense of the benefits of immigration but also of where it came from.

It didn’t just happen: the deliberate policy of ministers from late 2000 until at least February last year, when the Government introduced a points-based system, was to open up the UK to mass migration.

Even now, most graduates with good English and a salary of £40,000 or the local equivalent abroad are more or less guaranteed enough points to settle here.

The results in London, and especially for middle-class Londoners, have been highly positive. It’s not simply a question of foreign nannies, cleaners and gardeners — although frankly it’s hard to see how the capital could function without them.

Their place certainly wouldn’t be taken by unemployed BNP voters from Barking or Burnley — fascist au pair, anyone? Immigrants are everywhere and in all sorts of jobs, many of them skilled.

My family’s east European former nannies, for example, are model migrants, going on to be a social worker and an accountant. They have integrated into London society.

But this wave of immigration has enriched us much more than that. A large part of London’s attraction is its cosmopolitan nature.

It is so much more international now than, say, 15 years ago, and so much more heterogeneous than most of the provinces, that it’s pretty much unimaginable for us to go back either to the past or the sticks.

Field and Soames complain about schools where English is not the first language for many pupils.

But in my children’s south London primary school, the international influence is primarily the large numbers of (mostly middle-class) bilingual children, usually with one parent married to a Brit.

My children have half- or wholly Spanish, Italian, Swiss, Austrian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Congolese, Chinese and Turkish classmates.

London’s role as a magnet for immigration busted wide open the stale 1990s cliche’s about multiculturalism: it’s a question of genuine diversity now, not just tacking a few Afro-Caribbean and Bengali events on to a white British mainstream. It’s one of the reasons Paris now tends to look parochial to us.

So why is it that ministers have been so very bad at communicating this? I wonder because I wrote the landmark speech given by then immigration minister Barbara Roche in September 2000, calling for a loosening of controls. It marked a major shift from the policy of previous governments: from 1971 onwards, only foreigners joining relatives already in the UK had been permitted to settle here.

That speech was based largely on a report by the Performance and Innovation Unit, Tony Blair’s Cabinet Office think-tank.

The PIU’s reports were legendarily tedious within Whitehall but their big immigration report was surrounded by an unusual air of both anticipation and secrecy.

Drafts were handed out in summer 2000 only with extreme reluctance: there was a paranoia about it reaching the media.

Eventually published in January 2001, the innocuously labelled “RDS Occasional Paper no. 67”, “Migration: an economic and social analysis” focused heavily on the labour market case.

But the earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.

I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended — even if this wasn’t its main purpose — to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date. That seemed to me to be a manoeuvre too far.

Ministers were very nervous about the whole thing. For despite Roche’s keenness to make her big speech and to be upfront, there was a reluctance elsewhere in government to discuss what increased immigration would mean, above all for Labour’s core white working-class vote.

This shone through even in the published report: the “social outcomes” it talks about are solely those for immigrants.

And this first-term immigration policy got no mention among the platitudes on the subject in Labour’s 1997 manifesto, headed Faster, Firmer, Fairer.

The results were dramatic. In 1995, 55,000 foreigners were granted the right to settle in the UK. By 2005 that had risen to 179,000; last year, with immigration falling thanks to the recession, it was 148,000.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of migrants have come from the new EU member states since 2004, most requiring neither visas nor permission to work or settle. The UK welcomed an estimated net 1.5 million immigrants in the decade to 2008.

Part by accident, part by design, the Government had created its longed-for immigration boom.

But ministers wouldn’t talk about it. In part they probably realised the conservatism of their core voters: while ministers might have been passionately in favour of a more diverse society, it wasn’t necessarily a debate they wanted to have in working men’s clubs in Sheffield or Sunderland.

In part, too, it would have been just too metropolitan an argument to make in such places: London was the real model. Roche was unusual in that she was a London MP, herself of east European Jewish stock.

But Labour ministers elsewhere tend studiously to avoid ever mentioning London. Meanwhile, the capital’s capacity to absorb new immigrants depends in large part on its economic vitality and variety. There’s not a lot of that in, say, south Yorkshire. And so ministers lost their nerve.

I hope it’s not too late now, post-Question Time, for London to make the case for migration.

Of course we’re too small a country to afford an open door — but, by the same token, if the immigrants dry up, this city and this country will become a much poorer and less interesting place. Why is it so hard for Gordon Brown to say that?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Labour Let in Migrants ‘To Engineer Multicultural UK’

Huge increases in immigration over the past decade were a deliberate attempt to engineer a more multicultural Britain, a former Government adviser said yesterday.

Andrew Neather, a speechwriter who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a plan to ‘open up the UK to mass migration’.

As well as bringing in hundreds of thousands to plug labour market gaps, there was also a ‘driving political purpose’ behind immigration policy, he claimed.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Labour ‘Encouraged Mass Immigration’

Labour ministers deliberately encouraged mass immigration to diversify Britain over the past decade, a former Downing Street adviser has claimed.

Andrew Neather said the mass influx of migrant workers seen in recent years was not the result of a mistake or miscalculation but rather a policy the party preferred not to reveal to its core voters.

He said the strategy was intended to fill gaps in the labour market and make the UK more multicultural, at the same time as scoring political points against the Opposition.

Mr Neather worked as a speechwriter for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

“Mass migration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural,” he wrote in in the London Evening Standard.

“I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended — even if it wasn’t its main purpose — to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.”

On the BBC’s Question Time programme, Jack Straw faced questions about whether the policy has played a part in the rise in popularity of the BNP.

Mr Neather dismisses that argument, saying the policy has “enriched” the UK and made London a more attractive and diverse city.

Critics have been quick to accuse the government of creating an “immigration conspiracy” and introduced mass immigration to Britain for “cynical” political reasons.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of think tank Migrationwatch UK, said: “Many have long suspected that mass immigration under Labour was not a cock-up but also a conspiracy, they were right.”

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “If this is true it is deeply shocking that the Government can have taken such significant decisions without public debate and public consultation.

“The essence of good decision-making in a democracy seems to have been ignored.

“Legal migration has undoubtedly brought great benefits to this country by attracting skills and talents from all over the world, but the shambolic control of our borders over the last 10 years has left a legacy of illegal migration which creates social tensions.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Labour Immigration Plot

A FORMER Government speechwriter revealed yesterday that Labour deliberately set out to encourage mass migration into Britain.

Andrew Neather, who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, said huge increases in immigration over the last decade were partly encouraged by ministers hoping to socially engineer a more multicultural Britain.

The “deliberate policy”, from late 2000 until “at least February last year”, sought to lure in more migrants, he wrote in an article published yesterday. Ministers hoped to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”..

Mr Neather defended the policy, saying mass immigration has “enriched” Britain, but acknowledged that ministers made no mention of the policy for fear of alienating Labour voters..

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch said: “Many have long suspected that mass immigration under Labour was not just a cock up but also a conspiracy. This Government has admitted three million immigrants for cynical political reasons.”

MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, joint chairmen of the cross-party Group for Balanced Migration, said: “It is the first beam of truth that has officially been shone on the immigration issue in Britain.”

Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Huhne said: “The shambolic control of our borders over the last 10 years has left a legacy which creates social tensions.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Tom Tancredo: Hate-Crimes Law: Another Attack on Free Speech

The Senate has now passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act to add homosexuals and “transgendered” to the list of the officially designated victim groups. The House already approved the bill, and President Obama plans on signing it.

I am against the idea of hate crimes to begin with. When it comes to murderers and rapists, I’m an egalitarian. No matter what race, religion, creed, or sexual preference of the perpetrator, I think we should throw the book at them.

But we already have laws against violent crime. The only purpose of hate-crime legislation is to stifle politically incorrect speech. The left repeatedly claims that there is absolutely no way that these laws will be used to criminalize speech. Yet at the same time, they are claiming that conservatism fuels hate crimes.


Hate-crime statistics are compiled from the FBI’s “Hate Crime Incident Report,” which lists 21 different “bias motivations” such as anti-black, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-Hispanic.

Oddly, under the current hate-crimes rules, the only category for criminals are Native American, White, Black, Asian and multiracial. So if a bunch of MS-13 gang members attack an African American, it’s listed as “White on Black.” If Arab Muslims spray paint a synagogue, it is “White on Jewish.” But if a white attacks a Hispanic or Arab, it’s listed as “White on Hispanic” or “White on Arab.”

A recent case in New York City shows both how illogical the FBI’s categories are and how the left uses hate crimes to promote their agenda.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Why Muslims Are Not the New Jews

Easy parallels between today’s terrorists and yesterday’s immigrants distort history

Are Muslims — as is sometimes stated — the “new Jews”? In his hybrid documentary, The Enemy Within, broadcast last week on Channel 4, Joseph Bullman draws exact parallels between the historical experiences of the two communities. The comparison is superficially attractive and the JC’s own Jonathan Freedland was seduced by it in his column of September 18.

The programme’s narrator informs us that, in the 1890s, Britain was undergoing an influx of “foreign asylum seekers” including “anarchists — a group of fundamentalists being expelled from their own countries in Eastern Europe”. Bullman thus blurs the immigration of Russian Jews fleeing poverty and oppression in the Tsarist Empire with the movement of political émigre’s to safe havens such as Victorian London. The confusion is deliberately increased by use of the word “fundamentalist”. Yet the Jewish immigrants were neither fundamentalist in a religious sense nor, for the most part, anarchistic.

True, there were anarchists and revolutionary socialists among them. But how Jewish were they? Jewish anarchists were anti-religious. On Yom Kippur, they held a feast outside the Great Synagogue: hardly a sign of fundamentalism. Unlike today’s terrorists who act in the name of Islam, Jewish revolutionaries were driven by a secular ideology..

Moreover, Jews were fleeing a tyrannical regime and a large part of British society, especially the Liberals, sympathised with their fight against Tsarist autocracy. Contrast that to the situation today. Whatever their personal beliefs, British Muslims are popularly aligned with Islamic countries that threaten British interests, like Iran, or where British troops are battling Jihadist militants. Whereas many British Muslims with family roots in Pakistan return regularly, Russian Jews gladly cut their ties with the “old country”. .

Bullman argues that foreign anarchists found a welcome among disenfranchised British workers who were on the brink of revolution. Few historians of Victorian Britain would recognise this picture.

And what of the Jews? According to Bullman, “in the Jewish neighbourhoods, revolutionary sentiment [was] on the rise”. In one passage echoing right wing anti-Jewish propaganda, Bullman’s narrator pronounces that the “Anarchist movement was dominated by Jews”. This would have come as news to Prince Peter Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin, and Enrico Malatesta. It would have bemused Rudolf Rocker, the German who led London’s East End Jewish radicals for 20 years.

The British press certainly did conflate the revolutionary movement with the Jews, but this was a fantasy. If Bullman is trying to persuade us that the linking of Muslims with terrorism today is equally fanciful, sadly his own witnesses proclaim the opposite. Imtiaz and Hanif Qadir and Omer Butt all testify to the widespread radicalisation of young Muslims.

This is not to deny that Jews were involved in violent criminal acts for political ends. In January 1909, two Jewish Bolsheviks raided a payroll van in Tottenham, killing two people and wounding 20 others, including seven policemen. The fugitives were eventually killed in a shoot-out.

In December 1910, police interrupted a group of Jewish revolutionaries breaking into a jewellery shop in Houndsditch. An exchange of gunfire left three policemen dead and two wounded. The gang was later traced to Sidney Street, in Stepney. When the fugitives fired at police officers sent to arrest them, the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, authorised the use of troops. Two Jews died in the assault on their hideout.

This mayhem in London’s Jewish district empowered the bigots who denounced “alien” immigration and reinforced the canard that Jews were revolutionaries. But Jewish anarchists were mostly pacific. The worst violence was committed by Marxist revolutionaries and they were not trying to overthrow the British government, as Bullman alleges, but seeking to fund the cause in Russia.

British Jews denounced the radicals; there was no hint of sympathy or justification for their acts. The Jewish immigrants were no less hostile. Jews in Whitechapel used their votes to elect a succession of impeccably respectable Liberal Jewish MPs to represent them. Unlike today’s voters for Respect, they eschewed religious fundamentalism and political dissidence.

If anything, Jewish radicalism, and the response to it, proves the very opposite of what Bullman intends to show us about Islamic extremism. Despite superficial similarities between the Jewish experience and the position of Muslims now, it is only possible to create a parallel by distorting history.

David Cesarani teaches the new MA in Public History at Royal Holloway that explores the use and misuse of the past.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Mike Courtman said...

If the BNP gave up its racist membership policy, I suspect that figure would be even higher.

The BNPs membership policy really undermines its mainstream credibility, and being forced to change its membership policy looks a lot worse than doing it voluntarily.

Griffin was itching to get on the Islam question, but Straw got an easy early punch in with his comment about the BNP being the only party with a racist membership policy, and Griffin never really recovered.

no2liberals said...

The BNP might gain even more support with this article.
Read some of the comments.

Godffrey said...

Why is it only now that a large percentage of people want to vote for the BNP? Have there really been absolutely no stories in the British MSM just detailing their platform? Have all these new potential voters been unable to investigate the BNP themselves? I realize that the UK isn't a completely free society but it's not the soviet union either, where the government really did manage to hide things in plain sight.

@ no2libs: interesting article. It definitely confirms my suspicions and the suspicions of all of us on the "far right". What I don't I understand is why the British elites think anyone gives a you-know-what whether London is an "attractive and cosmopolitan place". I think I speak for nearly all Americans when I say that I don't care about the new London. I care about the old London, the way London used to be and should still be. I care about St. Pauls Cathedral, the British museum, big Ben, Trafalgar square, etc.

Chechar said...

@If the BNP gave up its racist membership policy, I suspect that figure would be even higher. --M.C.

What do you mean? That blacks may enter BNP? Come on. "Racist" by the way is the enemy's main semantic weapon. We should avoid it except when we talk about anti-white racism.