Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/12/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/12/2009Ignoring for a moment all the brouhaha about the Climate Summit in Copenhagen…

Israeli settlers — angry about the moratorium on new settlements — have allegedly desecrated a mosque in the West Bank. Among their reported actions was the burning of a Koran, and the OIC has already lodged a protest.

In other news, the Thai authorities confiscated an Eastern European cargo plane and detained five people after the plane was found to be filled with heavy weapons originating in North Korea.

Thanks to Esther, Fausta, Fjordman, Gaia, JD, RRW, Srdja Trifkovic, Steen, TB, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Financial Crisis
Europe Urges ‘Social’ Tax on Banks Worldwide
How Can Gold be a Bubble?
7 of 10 American Colleges Censor Speech
Fort Hood Ups Challenge to Recruit Muslim, Arab Troops
Islamic Terror Wannabes Turned in by Their Own Mosque.
Did Five Torontonians Join Jihad in Somalia?
Europe and the EU
Finland: Räsänen: Spread of Islam “Cause for Concern”
Netherlands: Islamic Hat Allowed for Lawyer in Courtroom
Sweden: Father Prosecuted for Scolding Son’s Bully
UK: Middle-Rank Civil Servant Was Paid £310,000 in Just a Year… Double the PM’s Salary
UK: Manchester Terror Suspects Cleared to Work as Guards
Will Church Bells Toll for the Climate?
The “Serbian Lobby” In the United States Does Not Exist at All
Israel and the Palestinians
Islamic Conference Condemns Mosque Desecration
Israeli Settlers Burn Quran in Attack on Mosque
Middle East
Iran Men Don Veil in Protest Against Government
Israel Blasts Lobby Group Touted by U.S.
Yemen Rebels Claim Capture of Saudi Border Post
Russian ‘Security’ Plan to ‘Disorganize’ NATO
South Asia
Pakistan: Senior Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in US Predator Drone Strike
Thailand Detains Plane With Weapons Cache From N. Korea
Far East
Asia Populated by Immigration From Southeast Asia: Study
Sub-Saharan Africa
Eritrea Arrests 30 Praying Women, Relatives Say
Ceuta’s Scream
Culture Wars
Christian Fathers Put in Jail for Shunning Explicit Sex Ed
Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis Decry Internet’s ‘Terrible Impurity’
Hurricane Expert Rips Climate Fears

Financial Crisis

Europe Urges ‘Social’ Tax on Banks Worldwide

The idea is among proposals being considered to ensure that trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ support during last year’s financial crisis is repaid with a slice of boom-time profits.

Brussels — Europe on Friday backed Anglo-French moves to introduce a “social” tax on banks, insurers and markets, but Germany resisted calls for a levy on bankers’ past bonuses as well.

European Union leaders endorsed a fresh call by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, supported by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for the International Monetary Fund to examine a global so-called ‘Tobin’ tax.

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]

How Can Gold be a Bubble?

At a speech in Prague Rogers surveyed about 300 people, including big money managers, and 76 percent had never owned gold, he said. “So when you say it’s a bubble … nobody owns gold yet,” Rogers said. Still, silver is preferable, with silver 70 percent off its all-time high and gold near it’s all-time high, he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


7 of 10 American Colleges Censor Speech

Report says continued flouting of Constitution ‘an ongoing scandal’

Seven out of every 10 American colleges and universities censor speech with rules that violate the U.S Constitution, according to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The organization’s 2010 report on campus speech codes reveals, despite the U.S. Constitution’s assurance of freedom of speech and a multitude of court precedents establishing that includes offensive speech, that:

  • At State University of New York at Brockport, e-mail with “offensive language or graphics” is banned “whether or not the receiver objects, since others may come in contact with it.” Also banned is e-mail that might “inconvenience others.”
  • New York University bans “inappropriate jokes” as well as “insulting” or “teasing” when they are based on a legally protected status such as race or religion.
  • At San Jose State, officials have banned “any form of activity, whether covert or overt, that creates a significantly uncomfortable … environment” for dorms. Included are “verbal remarks” and “publicly telling offensive jokes.”

“It is an ongoing scandal that so many public and private colleges and universities maintain rules that so blatantly flout our Constitution and our national traditions of freedom of speech and academic freedom,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Fort Hood Ups Challenge to Recruit Muslim, Arab Troops

DEARBORN, Mich. — Army recruiter Sgt. Chris McGarity is on the front lines of the military’s effort to add troops who speak Arabic and understand Middle Eastern culture — a battle that grew more challenging after the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

McGarity says he recently signed up an Arab-American high school student who lacked only her parents’ approval to enlist. Then came the Nov. 5 rampage at Fort Hood. The Army has charged Maj. Nidal Hasan, 39, a Muslim and Arab American, with killing 13 people and wounding 32.

The high school student’s mother “made her withdraw her application,” McGarity says.

Such experiences illustrate heightened fears of discrimination and harassment aimed at Arab-American and Muslim troops since the Fort Hood shooting, says Mikey Weinstein, a former Air Force lawyer who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for separation between church and state in the military.

Muslims in the military experience “horrible” discrimination, he says.

Before the shooting at Fort Hood, the foundation had 80 Muslim clients who had reported instances of discrimination and harassment, Weinstein says. Complaints jumped 20% to 103 in the weeks after the shooting. “We had people almost immediately … being told ‘you people’ should not be in the military,” he says.

Weinstein says he regularly gets complaints from troops who report name-calling, extra duty on holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, anti-Muslim graffiti scrawled on prayer centers, and officers who encourage their troops to kill Muslims or demand Christian prayer.

Language as a powerful weapon

As the U.S. fights wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mission to recruit troops who have language and cultural skills useful there has become so critical that the Army created two programs to achieve that goal.

Last year, the Army sought 270 recruits who speak Arabic, Pashto, Dari and Farsi — the languages of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan — to serve as military interpreters, says Douglas Smith, spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

The Army exceeded its goal, recruiting 321, he says. In 2010, the Army is seeking 165 recruits.

A second recruiting program began in February in New York and has expanded to Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. That program targets non-citizens who have been in the U.S. at least two years and have special language and cultural skills from the Middle East, China and Korea, he said. The Army has recruited 455 people under that program, which expires Dec. 31.

“Non-citizens have stepped forward to serve this country in previous wars since the American Revolution,” the military says in its briefing papers on the program.

Making the cut in Dearborn, Mich.

Dearborn, where Arab Americans account for nearly a third of the population, is fertile ground, yet just one Arab-American recruit in 20 makes it through the vetting process, about half the success rate of other recruits.

“If you don’t have a valid green card, you’re out. If you can’t pass the aptitude test or can’t physically qualify, you’re out,” says McGarity, 31, who served in Iraq early in the war and has recruited in Dearborn for four years. “Then there are the guys who are willing, but their families aren’t.”

The recruiters recognize that Arab-American enlistees may worry about fitting in with fellow troops or having to fight in Arab or Muslim countries. They work with Arab organizations in the community and attend job fairs to meet potential recruits. They hire Arabic linguists to work in their office, learning about the Middle Eastern cultures themselves.

Sgt. Ian Parker, 27, starts conversations with potential soldiers by asking how they feel about going to Iraq or Afghanistan. “Once you hit an objection to that, you’re just wasting your time,” Parker says.

Arab Americans and Muslims in the military remain a tiny minority. Of nearly 1.5 million active-duty military, about 3,500 are Arab Americans. The military does not keep full data on the number of Muslim troops.

Jamal Baadani, 45, a Marine reservist living in Virginia, is one of them. He founded the Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military and often walked around Arab-American communities in uniform. People would ask why he wanted to serve a government “that’s going to kill your own kind,” he says.

“The U.S. military did not go over there to ‘kill your kind.’ They went over there to attack a threat that came to this country to attack us,” Baadani would respond. “The U.S. Army really respects our community and goes above and beyond to understand our community.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Islamic Terror Wannabes Turned in by Their Own Mosque.

Have you heard this one? Five young American Muslim men in Alexandria, Virginia, disappeared suddenly December 1, 2009. The five guys, all of whom were college students, had left their families and taken a plane to Pakistan. One of them had left a video behind, described as a “disturbing farewell message.”

The good news here is that the Mosque promptly contacted the FBI and told them, we are worried about these five young men. The five were picked up in Pakistan, apparently en route to a terror squad training camp, and have been questioned by the FBI. It is not clear if they have broken any US or Pakistani laws, but it is fairly clear that they had fallen prey to Al Qaeda internet propaganda. They were headed for Waziristan, the Taliban stronghold in Pakistan on the Afghan border.

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]


Did Five Torontonians Join Jihad in Somalia?

They hung out at a Somali restaurant in “Little Mogadishu” in the northwest corner of the city, played basketball together, and worshipped at a North York mosque.

The five friends, in their early to mid-20s, grew up and attended schools in Toronto. They spoke English and Somali. At least two of them were university students.

That is, until all five disappeared.

No one recalls them ever causing trouble. But the Star has learned Canadian intelligence officials were watching at least one of the young men several months before he mysteriously left home.

Mahad Dhorre, Mustafa Mohamed, Mohamed Abscir and a fourth we know only as Ahmed vanished the first week of November. A fifth, Ahmed Elmi, left his home in Scarborough about three months ago. A sixth man, an Afghan, who worshipped at the same mosque, is also reportedly missing.

Their passports are missing and they haven’t called home. The overwhelming fear is that — like at least 20 young Somali-American men in Minneapolis who have disappeared in the past two years, and others from Australia, Sweden and Britain — the young men are en route to Somalia to fight alongside al Shabaab, an Islamist youth militia aligned with Al Qaeda.

The Shabaab, which is fighting the government, is often called Somalia’s Taliban. Its increasingly savvy online presence is being blamed as a possible reason for the disappearance of the five Canadians. And Somali community leaders fear other young people will be targeted as long as they feel alienated in this country, and embraced by another.

“These people can speak in their language and lure them from right under our nose,” said Ahmed Hussen, the Ottawa-based president of the Canadian Somali Congress, adding people in the community have told him chat rooms were also used to lure the missing men. “We won’t even know what’s going on.”

THE FIRST Somali-Canadian to leave the country was Ahmed Elmi. The 22-year-old vanished in early September. A month later, friends say, he called his parents and told them he was in Kismayo, a port city in southern Somalia where the Shabaab has ruled for more than a year.

Those who knew Elmi wonder how a boy who grew up in a quiet Scarborough community would flee to a city plagued by violence.

Elmi’s soft-spoken father said the family is still in shock and trying to understand what happened. He declined to be interviewed.

RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service officers are investigating the disappearances, canvassing areas in Little Mogadishu and questioning families.

But six months ago, CSIS agents paid a visit to the Scarborough condominium complex where another of the missing men, Mustafa Mohamed, lived with his family, says the building’s property manager.

“They said there was some kind of suspicious Internet activity and the family was under surveillance,” said Raees Akhtar.

On the second floor of the building, Mohamed’s mother, Shukri, was too distraught to talk. “I’m not ready …,” she said from behind the closed door of her apartment.

A friend said the family hadn’t heard from Mohamed. “(Shukri) is very upset,” she said. “She doesn’t know what to do … She has other younger children, too, and she’s worried about them.”

During questioning, RCMP officers have shown photographs to the families and queried them about their sons’ activities.

“(The families) are just as bewildered … they are also looking for answers,” said Abdurahman Hosh Jibril, president of the Somali Canadian National Council.

MAHAD DHORRE was only about 6 when he left Somalia. He and his adoptive mother spent about four years in a refugee camp before they arrived in Canada in the mid-1990s, friends say.

His father died in Somalia; his biological mother still lives there.

The gangly, bearded youth from Markham grew up playing basketball, watching baseball and dreamed of going to university.

“He liked going to the mosque but there was nothing radical about him,” said Yusuf Arshame, a friend who has known Dhorre for years.

Dhorre was studying math and history at York University when he decided to take a break this summer. He started working at the bookstore at Abu Huraira Islamic Centre, the mosque in North York where the five hung out.

Arshame says Dhorre began socializing less and spending more time at the mosque. In October, Dhorre flew to Nairobi with his mother. Days later, he disappeared.

Abdul Warsame, a youth leader in the community, first met Dhorre at a conference this summer. “He was smart and funny,” recalls Warsame. “One of the first things he said was ‘I know most of you think we (from the city’s east end) are uptight. But we are not different.’ That’s the kind of a guy he was — always speaking his mind.”

They quickly became friends. He last saw Dhorre during Ramadan, then weeks later he went missing.

OF THE 20 or so Somali-Americans who have gone missing, at least five have been killed in Somalia. One died in a suicide bombing in October 2008, part of coordinated attacks that killed 20 people.

Osman Ahmed’s nephew, Bashir Hasan, vanished more than a year ago, resurfacing in southern Somalia. He died three months ago.

“He was 17 … he was naive,” said

Ahmed, a Minneapolis-based businessman. Three months before Hasan disappeared in November 2008, he was filling out university applications, planning his future as a lawyer. “And suddenly, he was gone,” said Ahmed, who believes his nephew was enticed by the Shabaab over the Internet.

Days before he died, Hasan called his mother and told her he wanted to come home. “And then, we got a call saying he was dead,” said Ahmed, who believes Shabaab executed him. “You only leave as a martyr … there’s no other way out.”

His is one of the few Minneapolis families to speak publicly about their loss. “We’ve lost as a family, we didn’t want to lose more as a community,” said Ahmed.

But it hasn’t stopped other young Somali-Americans from trying to join the Shabaab. About two weeks ago, four young men, two under the age of 16, were stopped while trying to fly to Kenya through Chicago.

Two days earlier, U.S. federal officials announced terrorism charges against eight men, seven of whom are still at large. It brought to 14 the total from Minneapolis who have been indicted or pleaded guilty for allegedly indoctrinating, recruiting or training local youths to join militia-waged war in Somalia.

Omar Jamal, a well-known advocate for the Somali diaspora in the U.S., said Toronto community leaders must ensure mosques play no role in radicalization. “We have to do everything to keep our kids safe. … We can’t let them go to a place we left years ago.”

In Minneapolis, some families of missing men have accused certain mosques of radicalizing their sons.

In Toronto, the North York mosque where the five Toronto men worshipped has come under scrutiny since they disappeared.

The Abu Huraira mosque, located in a nondescript building in an industrial area near Sheppard Ave. and Highway 404, was the first to alert police that the men were missing. “The parents came to us and we immediately told (police),” said administrator Omar Kireh.

He stressed the men only “occasionally worshipped at the mosque over the years,” adding the mosque has no hardline agenda. The mosque, with a congregation of about 1,000 mostly Somali-Canadians, holds classes for youth, he said, where they are encouraged to stay out of gangs and guns.

It became the subject of controversy a couple of months ago when Saed Rageah, the mosque’s charismatic young imam, gave a controversial sermon interpreted by some as an attack on those calling for a ban on the niqab and burqa.

Rageah later said he had been misinterpreted. The Star could not reach him for comment.

Members of the congregation, however, describe Rageah as traditional, but not radical. And the Somali community believes the mosque had nothing to do with the disappearance of the men, although some suspect they may have been targeted there.

“It’s not a coincidence that all worshipped here and disappeared at almost the same time,” said Ahmed Yusuf, a Somali-Canadian social worker. “The question is how, and can it be done again.”

THAT BOTHERS many Somali-Canadians in Toronto.

There are stories of how mothers have hidden their grown-up sons’ passports while other family members keep an eye on them. Some mothers are even trying to monitor their sons’ Internet activities.

It sounds over-the-top but Jibril said, “It’s an extraordinary situation.” There’s a fear there may be an exodus of more young men from Toronto as happened in Minneapolis, he said. Toronto is now home to almost 50,000 Somali-Canadians, he points out.

In Little Mogadishu, an area bounded by highrises along Dixon Rd. and between Kipling and Islington Aves., families run thriving restaurants and grocery stores. Yet Somalis remain one of the GTA’s most disadvantaged, scoring near the bottom in household income, employment and education.

Mohamed Gilao, executive director of Dejinta Beesha, a settlement agency, said young people find it difficult to integrate; some drop out of school and fall prey to crime, drugs and gangs. And now, it seems, radicals, too.

But the five missing men were raised in middle-class families and none had a run-in with police, say community leaders.

Warsame, the youth leader, talks of the crisis of “belonging” that plagues all young people from war-torn countries, especially if they still have relatives there.

Most Somali-Canadians still have families in that country and faithfully keep track of events there. Many send money back, ensuring the bond never severs.

“I’m not making any excuses (for Mahad Dhorre) and others,” said Warsame. “But these kids wonder about equality and justice when they see war, hunger and violence in their native country. Is that what drives them? I don’t know.”

           — Hat tip: RRW[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Finland: Räsänen: Spread of Islam “Cause for Concern”

Speaking on YLE’s Ykkösaamu discussion programme on Saturday, Päivi Räsänen, chairwoman of the Christian Democrats, said the spread of Islam in Europe is a “real cause for concern.”

Räsänen says Islamisation should be taken seriously because the religion seems to include expansionist aspirations and demands for adopting Sharia law.

She points out that a religious vacuum is the most dangerous thing for society, as the void can be filled with the negative effects of radical Islam. Räsänen says that for this reason Finns should hold on to their values and Christian cultural heritage—also in schools.

“Traditions, such as the Nativity story are a part of Finnish culture. These traditions are for everyone. Children from Muslim families and kids of atheist parents should also have the right to learn about these traditions. This doesn’t mean that parents have to give special permission for their kids to see the Christmas manger,” says Räsänen.

Commenting on Switzerland’s ban on minarets, Räsänen said the Finnish Parliament doesn’t have to take a stand on the building of minarets.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Islamic Hat Allowed for Lawyer in Courtroom

THE HAGUE, 12/12/09 — The appeals chamber of the Bar Association’s disciplinary council has acquitted lawyer Mohammed Enait of contempt of court. He has the right not to rise when the judge enters the courtroom and can wear a Muslim hat during sessions, it ruled Friday.

It is customary for lawyers to stand up during court cases when the judge enters the courtroom. Enait deliberately refuses to do so. His argument is that his religion maintains that everyone is equal and as a Muslim, he therefore does not want to behave subserviently.

The disciplinary council of the Bar Association reprimanded the Islamic lawyer in May. On three points, he showed contempt of court, it ruled; he refuses to rise, wears an Islamic head-covering during sessions and showed contempt of a judge in a TV talkshow.

But the appeal chamber acquitted the lawyer on all three counts Friday. His refusal to rise and his headgear are not meant to show contempt of court, I its view. And in the TV programme his relative lack of experience as a lawyer played a role.

Enait appears regularly in talk-shows on TV. He is known for his complicated vocabulary, preferably using at least one difficult word in every sentence.

The lawyer earlier became the focus of satire after it emerged that the secretaries portrayed on the website of his office were porn actresses. Enait refuses to shake hands with women.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Father Prosecuted for Scolding Son’s Bully

A Lund man has been charged with trespassing after going to the home of a boy who had been bullying his son and verbally scolding him.

“The bullying stopped the same day, so it was worth it,” the man, known as Michael, told the Skånskan newspaper.

Michael is a highly educated university lecturer, and reportedly has a quiet and friendly demeanour. Moreover, he had never, until now, had contact with the justice system or the police.

“It feels upsetting, and strange. But what should I have done otherwise?” he asks.

The matter began on April 3rd last year, when his son Christoffer was being subjected to intense bullying. But with a culture of silence that existed at he school his son attended, Michael and his wife had been unaware of their son’s plight.

“Christoffer was often sick and had a stomach ache. He didn’t want to go to school. But one day, the truth seeped out,” Michael said.

When Michael and his wife took up the matter with their son’s school and the class teacher, they made it clear that Christoffer was vulnerable. The school had a special group that handled such matters, but in this case the group decided to take no action, as the parents of the accused bullies believed that their children were innocent, according to Michael.

“It was so frustrating. You must experience it yourself, how upsetting it is when your children are being bullied.”

Michael reached the final straw when his son came home one day saying that one of the bullies had hit him, and another had threatened that Christoffer would “die over Easter”.

Michael decided that something had to be done, so he went over to the lead bully’s home to confront his parents. However, while the parents were not home, the 12-year-old bully was.

“He understood immediately what I was there for. I was so angry, and I scolded him,” Michael said.

The prosecution turns on how far inside the house Michael was. According to the bully and his sister, Michael was several metres inside the house, which would mean that a charge of trespassing might be sustained. However, according to Michael, he was just beside the door frame, or just inside.

“And was I threatening? Yes I was, I said that if it happens again you will have a problem with me. That could perhaps be seen as a threat,” Michael said.

“But what should I have done? I couldn’t see my son feel so awful. And the fact is that after that day the bullying stopped,” he added. He is irked that the bully has received the support of the school, while he is pilloried.

The court proceedings to consider the trespassing charge will commence shortly.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

UK: Middle-Rank Civil Servant Was Paid £310,000 in Just a Year… Double the PM’s Salary

Smiling cheerfully, this is Azad Ootam, a mid-ranking civil servant working for the border security force.

He has every reason to look pleased after being paid more than £310,000 of public money last year — more than double the pay of Gordon Brown.

Mr Ootam joined the UK Border Agency in June 2006. He was supposed to stay as an interim consultant for only five weeks, but ended up working at the Government agency in charge of enforcing immigration rules for three years.

Mr Ootam was given various roles until he was appointed senior commercial director in the agency’s resource management department. During this time he was paid £750 a day, giving him an annual salary of £180,000.

He also received an extra £128,000 for four months ‘consultant services’ work last year, and successfully claimed £13,856 in expenses for five months between 2007 and2008.

But when he left the agency in April this year, his post was advertised offering a salary of £80,000.

Details of Mr Ootam’s pay come after MPs slammed the UKBA this week for handing out bonuses of £295,000 to 29 senior managers while still ‘under-performing’.

He drives a Porsche sports car and now runs his own consultancy from his £1.3million house in Ealing, West London, which he shares with his wife Jane, 42, who works as a lawyer and director of his company, and their two young daughters.

Lib Dem shadow Home Secretary Chris Huhne said: ‘Even for the UKBA, which has been a byword for mismanagement, this is an extreme waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.

‘Given that the agency has just paid bonuses for senior staff, this carelessness with public money should make them ashamed.’

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, chairman of the Parliamentary Counter Terrorism sub- committee, said: ‘This is yet another example of the Government squandering money out of the all-important security budget.

‘I shall be writing to the Home Secretary about this.’

Matthew Elliot of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘This is a massive bill to pay for one middle manager.

All too often consultants are able to secure obscenely high rates for their work from quangos like the UKBA, and it is time the rules were tightened up to stop us getting ripped off.

‘This consultant is walking away with a fortune, leaving taxpayers with a massive bill and that is unfair.’

Mr Ootam declined to comment. A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘The employment of contractors is undertaken in accordance with stringent cross-Government guidelines.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Manchester Terror Suspects Cleared to Work as Guards

Ten members of a suspected Islamist terror cell, said by MI5 to be plotting to blow up a shopping centre and a nightclub in Manchester, had been granted permission by the Home Office to work as security guards in Britain.

The Pakistani students — who were never charged for lack of evidence — were arrested over an alleged plot to bomb Britain last Easter. Police believed they had conducted “hostile reconnaissance” of the Arndale and Trafford shopping centres and the Birdcage nightclub.

It has now emerged that in the months before the alleged plot, the men were given licences to work as security guards by the Security Industry Authority (SIA), a Home Office body that regulates the private security industry.

They all passed a vetting programme designed to bar criminals and undesirables from taking up sensitive security posts protecting airports, ports and Whitehall buildings from terrorist attack. When arrested, two of the students were working for a cargo firm which had access to secure areas at Manchester airport.

Critics said the case highlights serious flaws in the system for vetting overseas applicants for the permits. Foreign migrants do not need to have their applications counter-signed by a British referee. Officials privately admit they do not even attempt to make checks on applicants’ address histories in Pakistan.

The blunder occurred despite ministers’ promises to tighten up the system two years ago after it emerged that the SIA had allowed more than 7,000 illegal immigrants to work as security guards. One had even been allowed to guard the prime minister’s car.

Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, is writing to Alan Johnson, his Labour counterpart, to demand an explanation. “The fact that security checks on overseas nationals seeking clearance for the security industry are much more lax than for British people just beggars belief. This is clearly a huge hole in our security system,” he said.

“We’re spending huge amounts to protect us from the very real threat of terrorism yet parts of the system … appear to be creating an open door for abuse and worse.”

Details of the case emerged after a post-mortem into Operation Pathway, a five month-long police inquiry into the suspected Easter bomb plot.

The suspects, aged 22 to 38, are thought to have arrived in Britain on student visas in 2007 and 2008. Their visas allowed them to work in paid employment for up to 20 hours a week. Because they had successfully applied for SIA permits, they were all able to get work as security guards.

Patrick Mercer, chairman of parliament’s counter-terrorism committee, said that without proper address checks and a UK referee, there was no way of knowing whether or not an applicant had spent the past five years in a terrorist training camp.

“Every element of the security industry must be trained properly by the government to be suspicious of all applications for jobs like this,” he said.

It is not known if the men were under MI5 surveillance at the time they applied for SIA permits. But critics say the SIA needs to be far more vigilant, especially about applications from Pakistan. Gordon Brown has repeatedly said that two out of three UK terror plots have been hatched in that country.

The SIA initially said in a statement this weekend that all applicants “must” have a UK passport holder to act as a referee. But its own guidance notes state that in “exceptional cases” this is not required.

Although applicants must list their addresses for the past five years, officials admit privately that it is impossible for UK-based officials to check.

MI5 was investigating the terror suspects for five months before the arrests. Police swooped in April, arresting 12 men in Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe, Lancashire. One was released almost immediately but the remaining 11 — all Pakistanis — were held under the government’s controversial 28-day terrorism laws. Brown said at the time that the arrest had thwarted “a major terrorist plot”. But police uncovered no explosives or indeed any hard evidence and the Crown Prosecution Service said they could not be charged.

The men have always insisted they were innocent. They were freed but rearrested and held in immigration detention. MI5 said they must be deported because they represented a threat to national security.

Most of the men have now returned to Pakistan, while two others remain in custody to fight their case.

The SIA said: “We conduct robust identity, criminality and right-to-work checks on all applicants. We cannot act on hearsay, but do refuse, revoke and suspend licences on the basis of information given by partners such as the police.”

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Will Church Bells Toll for the Climate?

The bells of world’s churches are set to toll on Sunday afternoon in a bid to raise awareness about climate change but in Switzerland, many will stay silent.

The Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC) calls climate change an ethical and spiritual issue but the mass bell ringing, endorsed by Switzerland’s national church federations, has been rejected by the largest Protestant groups over questions of politicking.

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]


The “Serbian Lobby” In the United States Does Not Exist at All

Interview: Srdja Trifkovic

At a hearing before the Helsinki Committee of the House of Representatives last spring, at which Ivo Banac, Paddy Ashdown and others opened fire from all weapons on the Republika Srpska and [its prime minister Milorad] Dodik, demanding the abolition of the entities and the appointment of an American envoy to the Balkans, they were not countered by a single Congressman, or a representative of the [Serbian] Diaspora, or a lobbyist, or a visitor from the Republika Srpska, although they would not have been denied the platform had they asked for it.

For the past two decades the Bosnian Serbs and Serbia have been subjected to a hostile treatment by the Western power centers. In Serbia and the Republika Srpska alike, the attempts to correct or even reverse such trends in the U.S. and the European Union have often relied on the impact of the Serbian diaspora in the United States and in the leading countries of the EU. Such expectations and the reality are in a chronic discord, however. […]

Dr. Srdja Trifkovic debunks many flawed assumptions in the Old Country about the political potential of our kin in America… He points out the remarkable inertness of the official Belgrade and Banja Luka vis-a-vis the Serbian diaspora and also regarding attempts to convince the influential Western interlocutors of the validity of arguments advanced by Serbia and by the Republika Srpska in the ongoing Balkan unravellings:

“The Serbian diaspora has no influence on the formulation of the U.S. policy. It is the least well organized among all ethnic groups of comparable size. A concrete example: when an appeal went out, some ten years ago, for the survival of Serbian studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago, barely $30,000 was collected and the chair was extinguished. On the other hand, the Lithuanian community in Chicago — far smaller than the Serbian one — threw a benefit dinner for a similar purpose and collected a million dollars in a few hours. The Serbian community has no excuse for this state of affairs. The diaspora has neither the money nor the will to work for the defense and promotion of the Serbian-American community’s interests — and money as the precondition of all activity. As Mark Twain pointed out 150 years ago, America has “the best Congress money can buy!” It is naive to assume that Bob Dole, Joe Biden, the late Tom Lantos, Joe Lieberman and other Serb-haters have acted for so many years in the manner well known to us out of purely moral principles and deepest conviction. Someone had to approach them, to present the specific views to them, to motivate them to accept those views — which means money — and to promt them to act accordingly — again money! Those four steps represent the essence of lobbying. The principle is the same, regardless of whether you are advocating a centralized Bosnia-Herzegovina or Federal subsidies to dairy farmers in Wisconsin.

Novi Reporter: How do you explain the fact that, nevertheless, encouraging news has reached Serbia and the Republika Srpska of certain successes of the “lobbying” in the US?

Trifkovic: There are people in the Diaspora who are sparing no effort to project, on the Serbian public scene, an image of themselves as very influential players closely connected with various Congressmen and Senators. Having paid a few hundred dollars to their journalist contacts to write suitably intoned fairytales in some Belgrade tabloids, they flaunt those cuttings back home to prove that they are influential in Serbia’s public and political life and that they should be taken into due account in some future combinations. This reflects the infantile vanity of some diaspora leaders with bombastic-sounding titles and negligible influence, and the syndrome is well known to the American Serbs. It is noteworthy, however, that the U.S. Administration is not interested in nurturing the ambitions of any potential Serbian B-Team, because the Americans find the present government in Belgrade perfectly suited to their interests.

To this very day there is no “Serbian Lobby” in the U.S. — it simply does not exist. The “Serbian Congressional Caucus” is a Potemkin’s Village, which is in any event in the state of deep hibernation. The members of the Caucus merely express some interest in the Balkans, but they do not necessarily support Serbian positions on The Hague, Kosovo, Dayton… To give you but one example, at a hearing before the Helsinki Committee of the House of Representatives last spring, at which Ivo Banac, Paddy Ashdown and others opened fire from all weapons on the Republika Srpska and [its prime minister Milorad] Dodik, demanding the abolition of [the Dayton-provided] entities and the appointment of an American envoy to the Balkans, they were not countered by a single Congressman, or a representative of the [Serbian] Diaspora, or a lobbyist, or a visitor from the Republika Srpska, although they would not have been denied the platform had they asked for it.

Are there within the Serbian diaspora in the U.S. persons and institutions which do not act under the patronage of the well known organizations, but which nevertheless make a respectable contribution and are worthy of attention?

There are, but the less they act under the “Serbian” banner, the more effective they are. The ability to act independently is the precondition of success.

How would you define the key common objectives which could unite the Serbs in North America? What are the realistic, and what are the optimal potential results of their work?

The key objective is to articulate the interests of the Serbian community and to present it competently through the prism of American interests. The theme of the Balkans as the weak link in the war against terrorism is essential, as it may be related to American concerns. However, more than eight years after September 11, there is no “White Book” which would contain a consolidated dossier of the Sarajevan political establishment’s Jihadist connections. All kinds of terrorist attacks since that time, from Riyadh to Casablanca to Madrid or Bali, indicate that there is a “Bosnian Connection.” This remains an unused capital.

How do you see the relations of the Serbian diaspora in the U.S. with the political instances in Serbia and the Republika Srpska?

The biggest problem of the Serbian diaspora in the U.S. is the absence of legitimate authority and hierarchy. The split within the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1963 undermined its role of the moral pillar, and there is no leadership from the old country. On the other hand, it is unrealistic to expect the diaspora to achieve that which neither Belgrade nor Banja Luka are doing. Let us face the facts: official Serbian guests often come to Washington, not in order to make a serious impact on the political decision-making process relevant to the Serbian people and its interests, but to create back home a convincing illusion of the alleged results of their visit. A textbook example of this we have seen recently, in early November, with a frankly futile Republika Srpska mission to the capital of the United States. The visit was effectively a fiasco, yet it was presented in the Republika Srpska media as a success.

How do you evaluate the results of that visit?

Who are those people trying to hoodwink, or are they deluded themselves, and cherish ungrounded illusions about such visits? Who is “enriching” their scant itineraries with the meetings with political lightweights, or else with antagonists who only receive them in order to give them a stern dressing-down? Is the goal simply to fill in the slots, to justify expenses? Why do they deceive themselves, and others, talking of a successful mission crowned with a half-hour’s visit to the deputy under-secretary’s aide in a windowless office? Or visits with those few members of Congress who are already known as friendly to the Serbs, but who have no influence on the formulation of policy? I am inclined to think that they are simply not up to the task, rather than mendacious. They do not defend Serbian national interests adequately, because they are not attuned to the Washingtonian discourse and therefore unable to articulate those interests in the manner that may have some operational value in the perception of their U.S. interlocutors.

With the current setup of the Serbian diplomacy and lobbying structure in Washington, things will not get any better. The same applies to Serbia’s foreign and every other policy. Almost two decades since the beginning of Yugoslavia’s disintegration nothing has been learned, things merely change in order to remain the same. There is an old Jewish proverb, to the effect that if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you are currently getting. What the Serbs have “got” over all these years we know very well, and there should be no illusions that the slicing of the Serbian salami is by any means over. Quite the contrary!

What are the main causes for the lack of adequate response of the diaspora to the anti-Serb trend which is still largely present in the Western political, media, and academic elite?

There are three key elements of failure. The first is in the lack of strategy for defending the image and identity of the community, based on a clear methodology for the attainment of such goals. The second is the short-sighted focus of many Serbs on the reactive critique of the Western policy and its media presentation, without any strategic elaboration of alternative positions and constant advancement of new concrete solutions as an alternative to the current flawed policy.

And finally, the attempts to influence foreign media and political circles are characterized by complete amateurism of the leadership of organizations with impressive names which nevertheless lack true legitimacy within the Serbian diaspora community. This undermines their credibility among the policy makers and public opinion creators. The consequence is clear: the views and decisions detrimental to the Serbs could be advocated in the Western media, approved in legislative bodies, applied by governments, and verified by the academic and analytical institutions. There was a visible change of tone after October 5, 2000, but it was short lived. […]

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Islamic Conference Condemns Mosque Desecration

RIYADH — The Organisation of the Islamic Conference on Saturday strongly condemned the desecration of a West Bank mosque allegedly carried about by hardline Jewish settlers.

“The profanation of the mosque and the torching of Koran copies found in it, and the spraying of racist graffiti slogans on the mosque’s walls against Islam and Muslims represent a blatant aggression against the sanctity of sacred places,” OIC secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]

Israeli Settlers Burn Quran in Attack on Mosque

Hundreds of Jewish settlers angry at reduced settlement building burned pages of Islam’s holy book in an attack on a West Bank mosque as Palestinian Christians called for sanctions on “evil” Israel and rejected Christian Zionism, press reports said Saturday.

Burned pages of the Quran lay scattered on the mosque’s torched carpet as Israelis from the settlement of Tappuah spray painted in large Hebrew letters “Get ready to pay the price,” a statement referring to a recent government decision to curb settlement building, only in the West Bank and for only 10 months.

Security forces used teargas to disperse hundreds of furious settlers in the West Bank city of Yasuf, where hardline settlers call for a “price tag” policy under which they target Palestinians in retaliation for any Israeli government measure they see as threatening Jewish settlements.

Settler attacks on Palestinians is a common occurrence and last week a house and three vehicles were set on fire in another northern West Bank village. The owner of the house told police he saw three Jewish settlers start the fires.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak sharply denounced the attack.

“This is an extreme act meant to harm the government’s attempts to advance the process for Israel’s future,” his office quoted him as saying.

“Evil” Israel

Meanwhile in the West Bank city of Bethlehem Christians from all denominations called for international sanctions on Israel for its “evil” occupation and urged Western Christians to reject Zionism.

“The aggression against the Palestinian people which is the Israeli occupation, is an evil that must be resisted. It is an evil and a sin that must be resisted and removed,” the Palestinains Ma’an news agency quoted a released document as stating.

“Primary responsibility for this rests with the Palestinians themselves suffering occupation. Christian love invites us to resist it,” the document added.

The group, who call themselves the Palestine Kairos Initiative, modeled after black South Africa’s 1985 Kairos Document, called on the international community to begin “a system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against Israel,” and to “engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the occupation.”

“These advocacy campaigns must be carried out with courage, openly sincerely proclaiming that their object is not revenge but rather to put an end to the existing evil, liberating both the perpetrators and the victims of injustice.”

Faith in God

The group also specifically addressed Chrisitians living in the west who support Zionism and slammed them for “trying to attach a biblical and theological legitimacy to the infringement of our rights.” Their interpretation of scripture has “become a menace to our very existence. … The ‘good news’ in the Gospel itself has become ‘a harbinger of death’ for us.”

The group said misinterpretations of the holy scriptures was threatening the Palestinian people’s existence.

“Those who use the Bible to threaten our existence as Christian and Muslim Palestinians, we renew our faith in God because we know that the word of God can not be the source of our destruction.”

“We call on these theologians to deepen their reflection on the Word of God and to rectify their interpretations so that they might see in the Word of God a source of life for all peoples.”

According to Ma’an the Palestine Kairos Initiative was first proposed in Jordan leading religious figures from all denominations, including Lutherians, Greek Orthodox and Baptists.

“After sitting and theologically reflecting on the situation, the injustice of the situation, we came up with this document,” Kairos spokesman Ranjan Solomon told Ma’an. “Palestinians perceive this as a moment of truth.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran Men Don Veil in Protest Against Government

Five days after renewed student protests across Iran showed that the dispute over the country’s presidential elections is from over, hundreds of Iranian men posted pictures of themselves wearing the Islamic headscarf on social networking website Facebook in solidarity with a detained student leader.

Majid Tavakoli of Tehran’s prestigious Amir Kabir University was arrested on Dec. 7 during anti-government demonstrations and pictures of him wearing the chador, the women’s full-length black wrap, were published on the semi-official Fars news agency, which reported that Tavakoli attempted to flee Iran dressed as a woman.

The pictures provoked a furious response from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s opponents who claim the government faked the photographs, which were also deemed derogatory to women, to embarrass him.

A “Free Majid Tavakoli” group was created on Facebook, calling the student leader “a symbol of integrity and courage,” and more than 380 Iranian men have showed solidarity with him and posted pictures of themselves wearing a veil or chador with captions such as “I am Majid Tavakoli” or “It is not shame to be a woman, it is shame to be a man like you.”

Tavakoli has spent two previous stints in jail and was among a group of students arrested and allegedly tortured in 2007 following a demonstration that disrupted a visit by Ahmadinejad to Amir Kabir University the previous year.

Human Rights Activists in Iran reported that government “agents severely beat and injured Majid during the arrest. The amount of violence and brutality used in the arrest shocked passer[s]-by.”

One witness told the human rights group: “All the pictures published by the state media are false and a clear use of immoral means against student and civil activists in Iran.”

Fabricated images of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wearing a female head cover have been posted on the website,, a seemingly daring mockery of the government.

Tavakoli’s last post on Facebook reads: “Looking at my mother’s tearful eyes and father’s anxious glances and despite all the difficulties, only the true wish for freedom can maintain my drive and steadfastness. And so once again I welcome and accept all the dangers, standing next to my friends, with whom I am honored and proud to be on 16 Azar (last 7th of December) shoulder to shoulder shouting against tyranny. For freedom.”

On Monday, anti-Ahmadinejad protesters used an annual Students Day ceremony on and around Tehran campuses to stage new demonstrations against his controversial second term.

Tehran police chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh said 204 demonstrators — 165 men and 39 women — were arrested in those protests for “disrupting public order.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Israel Blasts Lobby Group Touted by U.S.

Warns organization ‘fooling around with the lives of 7 million people’

The Israeli government blasted a lobby group the Obama administration regularly meets with and promotes, charging the group is “fooling around with the lives of 7 million people.”

Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Michael Oren, called J Street “a unique problem in that it not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments. It’s significantly out of the mainstream.”


J Street is a lobby group mostly led by left-leaning Israelis that receives funds from Arab and Muslim Americans.

The group brands itself as pro-Israel. It states on its website it seeks to “promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.”

J Street, however, also supports talks with Hamas, a terrorist group whose charter seeks the destruction of Israel. The group opposes sanctions against Iran and is harshly critical of Israeli offensive anti-terror military actions.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Yemen Rebels Claim Capture of Saudi Border Post

Yemen’s Shiite rebels said on Friday they have seized control of a Saudi military post along the border between the two countries where Saudi and Yemeni forces are waging a campaign to uproot them.

The claim, which could not be immediately confirmed by Yemeni and Saudi officials, came as a Saudi newspaper reported that Saudi forces had detained 1,805 people so far this month on the border with Yemen.

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]


Russian ‘Security’ Plan to ‘Disorganize’ NATO

New treaty proposal would supersede prior commitments

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed a pan-European security treaty to countries throughout Europe that appears to undermine the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at a time while he’s pursuing his nation’s own military initiatives which would be in violation of his plan, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The Moscow proposal would intimidate countries that have expressed concern over Moscow’s military assertiveness against Georgia last year but still are dependent on Russia for vital energy resources.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Pakistan: Senior Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in US Predator Drone Strike

A senior al-Qaeda leader has been killed in a Predator drone missile strike in north-west Pakistan, US officials said.

The officials told NBC News that the attack using Hellfire missiles had taken place in the last few days.

They said the target was not the network’s Saudi leader Osama bin Laden or his Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Thailand Detains Plane With Weapons Cache From N. Korea

BANGKOK — Thai authorities have detained five people who landed in Bangkok in an east European cargo plane full of heavy weapons that originated in North Korea, officials told AFP Saturday.

The plane’s pilot requested to land at Bangkok’s domestic Don Mueang airport Saturday morning, said government spokesman Panitan Wattanayakorn, and on inspecting the aircraft Thai officials found the cache.

“An eastern European airline asked to land this morning at Don Mueang airport to refuel its tank. When Thai authorities examined the aircraft they found a lot of weapons and detained up to five people,” Panitan said.

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]

Far East

Asia Populated by Immigration From Southeast Asia: Study

Pan-Asian research on genetic data suggested that ancestors of modern-day Asians probably migrated from Southeast Asia into East and North Asia, according to researchers.

The new study confirmed that Asia was populated primarily through a single migration from Southeast Asia, dismissing the theory that there were two major immigration waves including one through Central Asia.

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Eritrea Arrests 30 Praying Women, Relatives Say

Thirty elderly women have been arrested in Eritrea while praying together, one of their relatives living in the United States has told the BBC.

Requesting anonymity, she said she only found out about her mother when she phoned to speak to her this week.

Most of the women belonged to an outlawed evangelical group.

The government only recognises four religions — Islam and Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran Churches — and bans gatherings of more than five.

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]


Ceuta’s Scream

Alvaro Vargas Llosa

CEUTA, Spain—On the surface, this Spanish enclave on the North African end of the Strait of Gibraltar has integrated Muslims and Christians within a liberal democracy. The fact that Jewish and Hindu communities are part of the peaceful mix makes this place all the more intriguing.

Ceuta’s population mosaic reflects its history. It played a strategic role under Carthage and Rome, was the springboard of the Muslim conquest of Spain and was governed by the Saracens of Andalusia for centuries. The Portuguese took possession for a while, but it has been in Spanish hands since the end of the 16th century. Morocco has claimed it since the 1950s.

Things seem so smooth that one is tempted to evoke the great moments of religious and cultural coexistence in medieval Cordoba and Toledo. Muslims comprise 40 of the population and mostly see themselves as Spanish. They send their children to schools run by Christians, and they vote and compete in elections to the local Assembly, where the mainland Spanish parties control the majority. There are sporadic signs of fundamentalism, but no violence. The largest Muslim neighborhood is called Prince Philip, after the heir to the Spanish crown. Many residents are descendents of Muslims who fought against Morocco under Francisco Franco’s Spanish Legion and were later rewarded with Spanish citizenship. Most of the people I talked with in this city, in which the veil and the chilaba, a Moroccan tunic, are a potent presence, expressed few religious complaints.

That includes Sephardic Jews, who have been a part of Ceuta since the days of Saracen rule, and Hindus, who came in the late 20th century for commercial reasons. The church, the mosque, the synagogue and the temple are civil neighbors.

The immigration issue, a sensitive one in a border-fence city that many Africans see as a gateway to Europe, feels less of a time bomb today than it did a few years ago. Thousands of Moroccans work in Ceuta during the day and cross back in the evening. Illegal immigrants from other countries are detained for a few weeks in a center on Mount Hacho, but many are then quietly allowed to travel to the mainland.

One senses, however, that under the surface, things are potentially more troublesome. One big reason is that membership in the European Union, which Spain joined in 1986, has created serious economic limitations. Ceuta was a free port until Europe imposed its statist laws. Taxes are only a bit lower than in mainland Spain, and the regulations are overbearing. As one container operator put it to me, “We are a port city, but we really live off the military barracks and the stuff we smuggle into Morocco.” In the absence of free trade across the border, many Ceutans deal in illegal drugs, which come in through Benzu, in the northern area of Ceuta, under the peaceful gaze of the “Dead Woman,” a gorgeous rock formation on the Moroccan side.

The limitations placed on this city that could be a North African version of Hong Kong are creating a resentment that, if left to simmer, could stoke cultural and religious resentments.

The risk is compounded by the political football that Ceuta is fast becoming in Madrid. The Socialist government, keen to avoid hurting Morocco’s feelings, is making unpopular concessions, including the decision not to press the European Union to give the enclave a status comparable to that of the Canary Islands. In response, part of the Spanish right is succumbing to the temptation to use Ceuta as a nationalist symbol.

None of this is lost on Ceutans. In my conversations, they tended to take sides angrily—mostly for the nationalist faction. If we take into account Morocco’s persistent claim on Ceuta and the economic frustration mentioned earlier, the politicization of the enclave could spill over into the cultural and religious domains.

I asked a small-businesswoman what Ceuta would be like in 30 years. “If we continue to be simply a place of containment for immigration and a military barracks, we will eventually succumb to Moroccan pressure. The Muslim population is growing, and eventually religious leaders are bound to vie for influence over ordinary Muslims. If we don’t have much to show for ourselves, they will act on fertile ground.”

She might be right. Ceutans are screaming for a chance to prosper and for as little politicking as possible. Madrid and Brussels should take notice.

           — Hat tip: Fausta[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Christian Fathers Put in Jail for Shunning Explicit Sex Ed

International organization fighting for parents protecting their children

Sex education classes in Germany are explicit, and the issue is one of the major reasons why families — and not just Christian families — choose to homeschool their children even though the government has maintained its illegality since the days of Hitler.

The students who are being held out of sex education classes also are not being allowed by their parents to participate in a play-acting program called “My Body Belongs to Me,” which essentially teaches children how to engage in sex, the report said.

Guenther reported that one father already has served his week in jail and is scheduled to be released this weekend, while the fathers of seven more families still are facing a similar fate.

The government already has imposed fines on the families, which continue to accrue. Thornton said the families are being targeted with a “Bussgeld,” a fine described as “repentance money” designed to show contrition for wrong behavior.

The families so far have refused to pay because that would be admitting guilt.

Thornton said the cases being brought against the families — whose names are being withheld for the protection of the children — reveal the dedication among German officials to punish parents who refuse to hand over their children to the state for education purposes.


Michael Farris, who heads the U.S.-based Parental Rights website, said it’s not surprising that the German government is reacting the way it is.

They basically believe that the government knows best in every sector of life,” he said.


There’s also no assurance that the U.S. is immune to such draconian measures, officials said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis Decry Internet’s ‘Terrible Impurity’

Leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis on Friday told their flock to shun the Internet, claiming that even sites meant for the arch-conservative religious community contained “lies and terrible impurity.”

Those who enter the world of the Internet “will never return,” they warned ominously in a letter published by three ultra-Orthodox newspapers.

“Many Jewish souls have already fallen into its trap.”

           — Hat tip: Esther[Return to headlines]


Hurricane Expert Rips Climate Fears

‘There has been an unrelenting quarter century of one-sided indoctrination’

Climategate Revelations ‘are but the tip of a giant iceberg’

The following commentary is from Atmospheric Scientist and Hurricane forecasting specialist Dr. William Gray. Gray is the renowned hurricane forecaster and Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU).

Puncturing the Climate Balloon

by Bill Gray December 8, 2009

Had I not devoted my entire career of over half-a-century to the study and forecasting of meteorological and climate events I would have likely been concerned over the possibility of humans causing serious global climate degradation.

There has been an unrelenting quarter century of one-sided indoctrination of the western world by the media and by various scientists and governments concerning a coming carbon dioxide (CO_2 ) induced global warming disaster. These warming scenarios have been orchestrated by a combination of environmentalists, vested interest scientists wanting larger federal grants and publicity, the media which profits from doomsday scenario reporting, governmental bureaucrats who want more power over our lives, and socialists who want to level-out global living standards.

These many alarmist groups appear to have little concern over whether their global warming prognostications are accurate, however. And they most certainly are not. The alarmists believe they will be able to scare enough of our citizens into believing their propaganda that the public will be willing to follow their advice on future energy usage and agree to a lowering of their standard of living in the name of climate salvation.

Rising levels of CO_2 are not near the threat these alarmists have portrayed them to be. There has yet to be a honest and broad scientific debate on the basic science of CO_2 ‘s influence on global temperature. The global climate models predicting large amounts of global warming for a doubling of CO_2 are badly flawed. They should never have been used to establish government climate policy.

The last century’s global warming of about 1 degree F is not a consequence of human activities. This warming is primarily the result of a multi-century changes in the globe’s deep ocean circulation. These ocean current changes have lead to a small and gradual increase in the globe’s temperature. We are coming out of the Little Ice Age and into a generally warmer climate state. This is akin to the warmer global climate of the Medieval Period. We can do nothing but adapt to such long period natural temperature changes.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]