- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity Iran 5.5 !More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Two British Muslim teenagers arrested by anti-terrorist police after father alerts authorities.(Telegraph).Two British Muslim teenagers were arrested by anti-terrorist police while trying to get into Somalia after one of their fathers chased them to Kenya and alerted the authorities.Mohamed Abdulrahman Mohamed and Iqbal Shahzad, both 18 and from Cardiff, were said to have been trying to get into the war-torn African state to “fight a holy war”.However, the pair were stopped just six miles from the Somali border after Mohamed’s father, fearing his son had been “brainwashed”, travelled to Kenya and gave pictures of his son to the police.Kenyan officials said they had not committed any offences and put the two friends on a plane back to Heathrow airport, where they are expected to be questioned by British police when they land early this morning.Security officials in Kenya questioned the teenagers over whether they intended to join the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab, which a detonated a car-bomb near the foreign ministry in Mogadishu yesterday. It is not known what the teenagers told police.The attack was seen as a clear signal of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamists’ intent to fight back against Kenya since it invaded Somalia at the weekend to hunt down insurgent forces it blames for a series of abductions of Westerners. At least four people were killed in the midafternoon attack, including the bomber. Mohamed and Shahzad are understood to have flown to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, on a Virgin Atlantic flight from London on October 9.The teenagers were stopped on Sunday just short of the Somali border after passing through the popular tourist resort of Lamu.The island is 30 miles from where a British man, David Tebbutt, was shot dead and his wife abducted last month, and immediately adjacent to Manda Island, from where a disabled Frenchwoman, Marie Dedieu, was kidnapped from a beach house.A police source said detectives believed the British teenagers had travelled from Nairobi to the northern town of Garissa before travelling up the coast to the Lamu archipelago.They were arrested after apparently reporting as required to the local police station in the border town of Kiunga, where they claimed to be tourists.As the teenagers travelled towards the border, Mohamed’s father, Abdirhman Haji Abdallah, flew to Kenya to raise the alarm.Mr Abdallah said he gave photographs the personal details of his son to police, which were then distributed to guards at the border crossings.Mr Abdallah told the BBC’s Somali Service: “He was brainwashed and taken away from us and he was told that he was going to fight a holy war in Somalia. So I travelled to Nairobi in an effort to save him.“I met a former Kenyan member of parliament on the plane to Nairobi. He linked me up with the Kenyan anti-terrorism police and I passed to them the pictures of my son as well as details including his date of birth.“With God’s help the authorities managed to arrest my son. “I was told he will be handed over to the British police.” Mohamed, whose mother is believed to be a care home cleaner, is of Somali origin and was born in August 1993. He is understood to have previously travelled to several other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Norway and other European destinations. Shahzad, who was born in December 1992, is of Pakistani origin and is believed to have travelled to Saudi Arabia in 2008 to study, although the subject is not known.Read the full story here.
- Plane forced to make emergency landing as man, 29, Reza Shahsauri arrested amid fears he was 'trying to break into cockpit'.(DailyMail).A flight was forced to land today because of the unruly behaviour of one male passenger in mid-air. Southwest Airlines Flight 3683 made an unscheduled stop after the pilot made an emergency call to the nearest airport. The plane was en route from Los Angeles to Kansas City when it landed at Amarillo Airport, Texas at 3.30pm.Ali Reza Shahsauri, from Indialantic, Florida, was arrested at the airport on a charge of interference.An emergency call to the flight tower at the Texas airport initially reported that the 29-year-old passenger was trying to get into the flight deck.However Amarillo Aviation Director Patrick Rhodes later said he was 'not trying to break into the cockpit, but was unruly and had confronted the cabin crew'.The FBI said the incident did not appear to be terrorism related.A spokesman said: 'The FBI continues to investigate, but initial indications are that there was no terrorist intent. This guy is a U.S. citizen.'Another passenger Doug Oerding told the Amarillo Globe-News that Shahsavari started screaming obscenities at fellow travellers during the flight.Attendants attempted to calm Shahsavari but he went to a bathroom at the rear of the plane and started making a commotion.Mr Oerding said: 'All of us guys were looking at him like are we going to have to do something.'The suspect's father Mohammad Shahsavari confirmed the suspect was his son but that he had no idea what lead to the incident.Mr Shahsavari told the Associated Press: 'I don't know what to say.'Ashley Dillon, spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, said: 'Flight 3683 was en route from Los Angeles to Kansas City. 'It landed at Amarillo after a passenger became disruptive on board. 'The passenger was removed from the flight by authorities. We are working with them to establish what happened.'None of the 136 passengers and five crew members were injured in the incident and the plane completed its journey to LA.Hmmmm.....FBI:"Could not be terrorisme,This guy is a U.S. citizen"....Sigh.The guy the Predator just blew up in Yemen wasn't he a 'US Citizen?Read the full story here.More here: Muslim shouts "You're all going to die, Allahu akbar" on Southwest flight, plane makes emergency landing
- Chinese toddler ignored by 18 passers-by after she was the victim of a hit and run undergoes new emergency surgery as condition deteriorates.(Telegraph).The Chinese toddler who was ignored by 18 passers-by after she was the victim of a hit and run is now fighting for her life after undergoing fresh emergency surgery this morning, as doctors reported that her condition had begun to deteriorate.Two-year-old Wang Yue suffered serious head and abdominal injuries last Thursday after she was run over by two cars in a wholesale market in China's southern Guangdong Province in an incident that was captured on closed-circuit cameras and triggered worldwide outrage and disbelief."She had an emergency operation this morning at 9am and the doctors haven't told us anything since then," her grandfather, who gave his name only as Mr Wang, told The Telegraph.He added that the girl's parents – named only as Mr Wang and Ms Qu – had not to come down to the hospital on Wednesday. "The strain is too great for them. We're hoping they can arrange a private visit later," the elder Mr Wang said.Earlier in the day doctors made a brief statement to reporters who had gathered at the military hospital in Guangzhou city where the girl – known by her pet family name 'Yueyue' – is on life support in intensive care.Su Lei, the director of the Intensive Care Unit at the General Hospital of Guangzhou military region, gave scant reason for optimism."I can say only two things: one is that the Little Yueyue's condition has started to deteriorate since last night, and we are doing everything in our power to save her," she said at the hospital gates."Second, we will use every means and all available resources [to save her], but as to the end result, we can only inform you of that tomorrow." The downbeat assessment comes after the hospital's head of neurosurgery said on Tuesday that Yueyue was likely to remain in a persistent vegetative state even if she survived her massive physical injuries.Her mother and father, who owned a small stall in the wholesale market in the nearby town of Foshan, have refused to enter into the debate over how 18 people could ignore their daughter as she bled to death on the roadside."I won't judge them. Let them make their own judgment," Yueyue's mother told the China Daily newspaper. "If they are married and have children, they will know. But I bear no grudge and refuse to be disappointed by society. Many kind people have come to help." She added that despite the bleak outlook, she was still hoping for a miracle for her daughter who slipped out of the house when her seven-year-old brother went out to play."I didn't care for my child very well, and it's my fault," Mrs Qu said, "But Yue Yue can't leave her mother and her mom won't leave her."Read the full story here.
- Figures. COMMUNIST LEADER Cheered at Occupy Chicago is ALSO an OBAMA ORGANIZER.(GatewayPundit).On Saturday night thousands of Occupy Chicago protesters cheered the communists as they spoke at the rally and march in downtown Chicago.
Rebel Pundit has now identified the young communists leaders at the rally.
We have identified the three individuals in the march who we interviewed. In the photo below starting on the left is James Raines, a University of Memphis teacher (from reader tip), next to his right is Jordan Farrar (Young Communist League and Organizing for America), and next to him is Gabe Niechcial, another young communist
That’s right .The communist leader is also an organizer for Obama’s re-election campaign.
According to the P/oed Patriot, Farrar, seen in the white C.P. USA shirt, is not only a Young Communist League leader, but he is also a member of Barack Obama’s Organizing for America and he organized a rally in 2009 for OFA to support President Obama’s health care bill. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was featured guest at Farrar’s event as well.Hmmm.........""You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?"Read and see (Video) the full story here.
- Analysis: Schalit on Egypt TV: exploitative, abusive, cruel.(JPost).Israeli officials described Gilad Schalit’s first interview after his release as “exploitative.” They could have added amateurish, propagandistic, opportunistic and downright cruel.Tuesday’s travesty – carried live on state TV – was conducted by Shahira Amin, a leading Egyptian journalist who in February quit the channel because of its skewed coverage of the popular protests that unseated president Hosni Mubarak. That Amin now appears to be doing Cairo’s bidding bodes ill for hopes the “new Egypt” would usher in the first free media environment in the post-colonial Arab world.The notion that Schalit agreed to give Nile TV an interview of his own free will defies belief. Forcing him to do so immediately after his release from Gaza – before seeing medical staff, much less an Israeli representative or his family – is in itself an apparent breach of journalistic ethics.That issue aside, more than a few of Amin’s questions ran the gamut from fatuous to sadistic.“During all that time of captivity, you did just one video to tell the world and your family that you’re alive,” she tells the soldier. “Why just once? Why didn’t it happen again?” Rather than letting him answer, however, Schalit’s Hamas minder-cum-interpreter scolds Amin for asking the same question twice (a peculiar accusation, given the footage shows the question hadn’t been asked before).The resulting argument between interviewer and minder is one of the interview’s more regrettable scenes. Amin says Schalit appears unwell, and “that’s why I’m asking the question again” – as if drilling him repeatedly will have a salutary effect. The question is itself absurd, roughly tantamount to asking a hostage victim why he or she didn’t escape sooner.Amin’s subsequent question is little better: “It was the Egyptian national security that mediated for your release. There were previous failed mediation efforts, including one by the Germans. Why do you think that this time round, the mediation was a success, and what would you like to tell the Egyptian authorities?” The reporter is seated beside an Egyptian flag – as if she were not the interviewer but an Egyptian government interviewee. Schalit, by contrast, sits next to a houseplant. Throughout the 12-minute ordeal, the soldier breathes heavily, his eyes either downcast or darting sideways and his tone of voice anxious.Struggling to reply, Schalit mumbles, “I think the Egyptians succeeded because they’re on good relations both with Hamas and with Israel.”He could well have said, “Don’t use me as a prop for Egyptian propaganda. I haven’t a clue how the mediations were conducted, given I know nothing about anything that has happened over the past five years. Next question?” Amin proceeds to ask Schalit what “lessons” he learned in captivity. After asking for the question to be repeated, he says he believes a deal could have been reached sooner. Here the Hamas minder renders his response as praise for reaching a deal “in such short time” – a mistranslation repeated by the BBC’s own real-time interpreter.“Gilad, you know what it’s like to be in captivity,” Amin continues as the painful charade drags on. “There are more than 4,000 Palestinians still languishing in Israeli jails. Will you help campaign for their release?” Schalit’s answer, after a few seconds’ stunned silence, is superior: “I’d be very happy if they were released,” he says, then adds the caveat, “provided they don’t return to fighting Israel.”Again, the Egyptian interpreter fails to translate the sentence’s second clause, and again the omission is repeated by the BBC’s interpreter, though he too was apparently translating from Hebrew in real-time.“I will be very happy for the prisoners to go free, so that they can be able to go back to their families, loved ones and territory. It will give me great happiness if this happens,” the BBC’s interpreter relays.Yonit Levi is the Channel 2 News presenter who throughout Tuesday’s coverage waxed poetic over Schalit’s every step, shunting aside the sensitivities of bereaved families or the thought that the lopsided prisoner exchange could spawn further acts of terrorism. In reacting to the Egyptian interview, however, she was spot-on: The “bizarre” spectacle, she said, “was borderline abusive.”On his Twitter feed, Adel Abdel Ghafar, an Egyptian graduate student based in Australia, summed it up better still: “After five years in captivity, Schalit has to go through one last form of torture: an interview with Egyptian Public TV.”Read and see the full story here.
- Federal Reserve Now Backstopping $75 Trillion Of Bank Of America’s Derivatives Trades.(DailyBail).This story from Bloomberg just hit the wires this morning. Bank of America is shifting derivatives in its Merrill investment banking unit to its depository arm, which has access to the Fed discount window and is protected by the FDIC.This means that the investment bank's European derivatives exposure is now backstopped by U.S. taxpayers. Bank of America didn't get regulatory approval to do this, they just did it at the request of frightened counterparties. Now the Fed and the FDIC are fighting as to whether this was sound. The Fed wants to "give relief" to the bank holding company, which is under heavy pressure.This is a direct transfer of risk to the taxpayer done by the bank without approval by regulators and without public input. You will also read below that JP Morgan is apparently doing the same thing with $79 trillion of notional derivatives guaranteed by the FDIC and Federal Reserve.What this means for you is that when Europe finally implodes and banks fail, U.S. taxpayers will hold the bag for trillions in CDS insurance contracts sold by Bank of America and JP Morgan. Even worse, the total exposure is unknown because Wall Street successfully lobbied during Dodd-Frank passage so that no central exchange would exist keeping track of net derivative exposure.This is a recipe for Armageddon. Bernanke is absolutely insane. No wonder Geithner has been hopping all over Europe begging and cajoling leaders to put together a massive bailout of troubled banks. His worst nightmare is Eurozone bank defaults leading to the collapse of the large U.S. banks who have been happily selling default insurance on European banks since the crisis began.Hmmmm..........Read the full story here.
- Related - The Federal Reserve and Bank of America Initiate a Coup to Dump Billions of Dollars of Losses on the American Taxpayer.(BlacklistedNews).Source: Washington's Blog.
Yves Smith notes:
If you have any doubt that Bank of America is going down, this development should settle it …. Both [professor of economics and law, and former head S&L prosecutor] Bill Black (who I interviewed just now) and I see this as a desperate move by Bank of America’s management, a de facto admission that they know the bank is in serious trouble.
The short form via Bloomberg:
Bank of America Corp. (BAC), hit by a credit downgrade last month, has moved derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to a subsidiary flush with insured deposits, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation…Now you would expect this move to be driven by adverse selection, that it, that BofA would move its WORST derivatives, that is, the ones that were riskiest or otherwise had high collateral posting requirements, to the sub. Bill Black confirmed that even though the details were sketchy, this is precisely what took place.
Bank of America’s holding company — the parent of both the retail bank and the Merrill Lynch securities unit — held almost $75 trillion of derivatives at the end of June, according to data compiled by the OCC. About $53 trillion, or 71 percent, were within Bank of America NA, according to the data, which represent the notional values of the trades.
That compares with JPMorgan’s deposit-taking entity, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, which contained 99 percent of the New York-based firm’s $79 trillion of notional derivatives, the OCC data show.
And remember, as we have indicated, there are some “derivatives” that should be eliminated, period. We’ve written repeatedly about credit default swaps, which have virtually no legitimate economic uses (no one was complaining about the illiquidity of corporate bonds prior to the introduction of CDS; this was not a perceived need among investors). They are an inherently defective product, since there is no way to margin adequately for “jump to default” risk and have the product be viable economically. CDS are systematically underpriced insurance, with insurers guaranteed to go bust periodically, as AIG and the monolines demonstrated. [Background.]
The reason that commentators like Chris Whalen were relatively sanguine about Bank of America likely becoming insolvent as a result of eventual mortgage and other litigation losses is that it would be a holding company bankruptcy. The operating units, most importantly, the banks, would not be affected and could be spun out to a new entity or sold. Shareholders would be wiped out and holding company creditors (most important, bondholders) would take a hit by having their debt haircut and partly converted to equity.
This changes the picture completely. This move reflects either criminal incompetence or abject corruption by the Fed. Even though I’ve expressed my doubts as to whether Dodd Frank resolutions will work, dumping derivatives into depositaries pretty much guarantees a Dodd Frank resolution will fail. Remember the effect of the 2005 bankruptcy law revisions: derivatives counterparties are first in line, they get to grab assets first and leave everyone else to scramble for crumbs. [Background.] So this move amounts to a direct transfer from derivatives counterparties of Merrill to the taxpayer, via the FDIC, which would have to make depositors whole after derivatives counterparties grabbed collateral. It’s well nigh impossible to have an orderly wind down in this scenario. You have a derivatives counterparty land grab and an abrupt insolvency. Lehman failed over a weekend after JP Morgan grabbed collateral.
But it’s even worse than that. During the savings & loan crisis, the FDIC did not have enough in deposit insurance receipts to pay for the Resolution Trust Corporation wind-down vehicle. It had to get more funding from Congress. This move paves the way for another TARP-style shakedown of taxpayers, this time to save depositors. No Congressman would dare vote against that. This move is Machiavellian, and just plain evil.
Professor Black provided a “bottom line” summary in a separate email:
1.The bank holding company (BAC) is moving troubled assets held by an entity not insured by the public (Merrill Lynch) to the Bank of America, which is insured by the publicKarl Denninger writes:
2. The banking rules are designed to prevent that because they are designed to protect the FDIC insurance fund (which the Treasury guarantees)
3. Any marginally competent regulator would say “No, Hell NO!”
4. The Fed, reportedly, is saying “Sure, no worries” by allowing the sale of an affiliate’s troubled assets to B of A
5. This is a really good “natural experiment” that allows us to test whether the Fed is protects the public or the uninsured and systemically dangerous institutions (the bank holding companies (BHCs))
6. We are all shocked, shocked [sarcasm] that Bernanke responded to the experiment by choosing to protect the BHC at the expense of the public.
So let’s see what we have here.
Bank customer initiates a swap position with Bank. In doing so they intentionally accept the credit risk of the institution they trade with.
Later they get antsy about perhaps not getting paid. Bank then shifts that risk to a place where people who deposited their money and had no part of this transaction wind up backstopping it.
This effectively makes the depositor the “guarantor” of the swap ex-post-facto.
That the regulators are allowing this is an outrage.
If you’re a Bank of America customer and continue to be one you deserve whatever you get down the line, whether it comes in the form of higher fees and costs assessed upon you or something worse.
Stand Up to the Coup
Bank of America has repeatedly become insolvent due to fraud and risky bets, and repeatedly been bailed out by the government and American people. The government and banks are engineering an age of permanent bailouts for this insolvent, criminal bank (and the other too big to fails). Remember, this is the same bank that is refusing to let people close their accounts.This is yet another joint effort by Washington and Wall Street to screw the American people, and to trample on the rule of law.The American people will be stuck in nightmare of a never-ending depression (yes, we are currently in a depression) and fascism (or socialism, if you prefer that term) unless we stand up to the overly-powerful Fed and the too big to fail banks.Read the full scam story here.
- Obama Science Czar Led UN Effort to Hide Proceedings, Subvert FOIA, Records Indicate.(cei.org).By Christine Hall.Washington, D.C., October 17, 2011 - The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), run by controversial White House Science Adviser (and former Mitt Romney climate adviser) John Holdren. The FOIA request seeks records involving an apparently co-ordinated effort between OSTP and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to subvert and circumvent U.S. law. Specifically, CEI's FOIA request seeks details of the Obama Administration's involvement in a UN IPCC plan to hide official online correspondence in non-governmental accounts. The express purpose of creating a non-government web-site "cloud" communications system was to avoid national transparency laws, such as the U. S. FOIA. However, with OSTP having taken over the lead U.S. role in the IPCC in 2009, this also implicates the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA).The new IPCC system sought to shield U. S. government employees working on the Fifth Assessment Report from FOIA requests by hiding their correspondence, even though they are being tasked and paid by the federal government to work on the report. The scandal-plagued IPCC is funded with millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. CEI demonstrates in its FOIA request that the IPCC's motivation to avoid future FOIA requests was past embarrassment over releases of earlier communications between IPCC officials and participating bureaucrats, appointees and scientists working on the assessment reports.CEI's FOIA request notes that this practice was described by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), during oversight of Bush Administration dealings with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, as "creat[ing] non-governmental accounts for official business" and as "using the nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications." The methods employed by OSTP and the IPCC are similar to those involving Abramoff, if with vastly greater potential impact on the United States and its economy."The effort to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act has apparently been conducted with direct assistance by the Obama White House," said Christopher Horner, CEI Senior Fellow. "Shortly after taking office, the Obama administration moved the lead role on IPCC work from the Department of Commerce to OSTP, run by Dr. John Holdren. The plan to create a FOIA-free zone was then implemented."This scheme sought to free UN, European Union, and U.S. bureaucrats and political appointees from oversight and the threat of prying taxpayers which accompanies the use of official e-mail channels, for official work of high public interest, performed on official time and using government computers and facilities," Horner continued. "Running it out of the White House also triggers questions about subverting the Presidential Records Act."The similar practice, serving as the forerunner obstruction to transparency for IPCC-related work, was refusing to produce records that are held in federal government computers on the grounds that the information belongs to the IPCC and is therefore not subject to FOIA. This practice and that it is not lawful was affirmed in a report by the Department of Commerce's Office of Inspector General earlier this year."As negotiations resume next month on a successor agreement to the failed Kyoto Protocol, CEI looks forward to the White House ceasing this unlawful activity and providing prompt access to the requested records so that U. S. taxpayers can know what they and the IPCC are doing behind the scenes," Horner concluded.Hmmmm..........A Czar a day makes the truth fade away?The most 'transparant' administration EVAH!Read the full story here.
- Judicial Watch Obtains Documents Detailing Secret Department of Justice Transparency Workshop.(JW).Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents detailing the Obama White House decision to close to reporters a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) training workshop conducted by the Office of Information Policy (OIP) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Judicial Watch obtained the documents from the OIP in response to a FOIA request filed on December 7, 2009, the same day the workshop was held.The documents consist of a series of emails between White House staff and the Director of the OIP, and include the following statements:
- “I am going to touch base with my public affairs office re your suggestion to get their reaction. I, personally don’t object as my message is the same whether the event is open or not. Our concern had been solely with the inhibiting effect it would have on the gov’t ’ees [employees] who might not speak freely if press are there.” — Melanie Pustay, OIP Director, to Blake Roberts, Deputy Associate White House counsel, December 6, 2009.
- “Ok – please don’t have them reach out to any reporters before I clear w/ wh [White House] press.” — Blake Roberts to Melanie Pustay, December 6, 2009.
- “After talking with… ben labolt [then-Assistant White House Press Secretary], the decision is that the training will be closed to the press.” — Gina Talamona, Press Release Deputy Director for the DOJ to Melanie Pustay and Brian Hauck, Counsel to the Associate Attorney General, December 7, 2009.
- “I think you have the right to give closed training when you want it.” — Brian Hauck to Melanie Pustay and Gina Talamona.
The documents also include a statement by OIP Director Melanie Pustay regarding previous FOIA workshops: “So far I have always held parallel sessions, one for agency ‘ees [employees] and then one that is open.”The training conference, held on December 7, 2009, was jointly hosted by the OIP and the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) as a private workshop to provide tips to FOIA public liaison staff members on communicating, negotiating, and resolving disputes with individuals and organizations submitting FOIA requests.The fact the Obama administration chose to close the transparency workshop to the public led to criticism that the president was reneging on his promises of openness and transparency. On his first full day in office Barack Obama promised to “usher in a new era of open government” and directed agencies to administer the FOIA “with a clear presumption: in the face of doubt, openness prevails.” President Obama further instructed agencies that information should not be withheld merely because “public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.”“There is a scandalously wide gap between Barack Obama’s rhetoric on transparency and the secretive policies of his administration,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “These documents suggest that it is the Obama White House that is directly responsible for this unprecedented lack of transparency. Only in Washington would political appointees think it appropriate to keep secret a government workshop on transparency. And only in Washington would a politician promote his efforts on transparency while simultaneously taking steps to keep the American people in the dark about their government.”Hmmm.....The most transparant Administration EVAH!Read the full story here.
- Senators: V.A. has denied gun rights to more than 100,000 veterans.(DailyCaller).They pledged to support and defend the Constitution, but the office of North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr says more than 100,000 U.S. military veterans may be being improperly denied one of the most fundamental rights they swore to protect.Military veterans whose Veterans Affairs benefits are managed on their behalf by appointed fiduciary trustees are deemed “mentally defective” and reported to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a computerized database which prohibits them from purchasing firearms.Sen. Burr is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. His office told The Daily Caller that around 114,000 veterans have been reported to the NICS and are unable to purchase firearms.Under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, any person determined by a government authority to lack the mental capacity to manage his or her own affairs is subject to being prohibited from buying a gun.The VA’s review process for assigning a fiduciary, however, determines veterans’ ability to manage their finances — not whether they are a danger to themselves or others. the VA assigns fiduciaries to handle disability compensation, pensions, survivors’ compensation and other VA government payments veterans’ behalf.Sen. Burr, a Republican from North Carolina has joined with Democrat Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia to introduce the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which would require a judicial authority to determine whether VA beneficiaries pose a danger to themselves or others before they can be added to the FBI’s NICS database.“As a matter of fairness, a veteran should be permitted to purchase a firearm under the same conditions as every other American,” said Sen. Webb. “This bipartisan bill ensures consistent guidelines are used for reporting citizens to the FBI, and that no veteran is needlessly stripped of their Second Amendment rights.”In various forms, the bill has languished in Congress for several years now, but the House passed one version last Tuesday. The legislation has the support of the National Rifle Association.The VA currently has two options for a veteran to challenge an incompetency determination. He or she can reopen the issue based on new evidence and have the determination reversed. Veterans can also petition VA to have their firearms rights restored on the basis that they pose no threat to public safety.The VA also contends that the new legislation would create a double standard.“By exempting certain VA mental health determinations that would otherwise prohibit a person from possessing or obtaining firearms under Federal law, the legislation would create a different standard for veterans and their survivors than that applicable to the rest of the population and could raise public safety issues,” the VA spokesperson said.More than 7.6 million Social Security beneficiaries are assigned fiduciaries, but the Social Security Administration does not forward any of those names to the NICS.U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano named military veterans as a potential threat in a 2009 memo describing the threat of homegrown terrorism.“The return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks,” the memo stated.Napolitano quickly apologized.Obama says "lone wolf terrorist" biggest U.S. threat.Hmmmm.........Armed veterans who might protect the Constitution a threath?Read the full story here.
- The President's Strange Bedfellows.(Investors).The Left: Barack Obama's promised agenda of "change" was supposed to be about ending Washington's petty differences. But he has now aligned himself with a radical fringe seeking to destabilize the U.S. financial system.'Dr. King would want us to challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing those who work there," President Obama said on Sunday during the dedication of the new Martin Luther King memorial in Washington.Sorry Mr. President, but trying to play both sides of the street doesn't fly. You are either for or against the anti-capitalist revolutionaries of the Occupy Wall Street movement as they trample the public assembly laws, threaten to clog up the courts with their minions, and literally trample the American flag.Thanks to YouTube, tens of thousands have seen Occupy protesters in Portland, Ore., on Saturday singing "F*** the U.S.A." A Reuters photo documents flag desecration by Occupy Wall Street last Thursday.Other protest features range from pre-planned Woodstock-style nude/lewd activities to signs saying "capitalism doesn't work" carried by hard-left front groups like the Workers World party. To call these extremists, as some have, a counterpoint to the Tea Party movement is to insult those patriotic grass-roots activists.So why, then, is the president embracing them? What possible political good could it do to be associated with America haters, rather than condemn them outright?A question in the same vein is why the left's mega-tycoon George Soros has (indirectly, at least) financially supported these protests through groups such as the Canadian anti-capitalist agitation outfit Adbusters, as Reuters reported last week.The answer, as related demonstrations take place in foreign cities, is that it distracts from Obama's record.Along those lines, the president has launched a new rhetorical riff in which he and the Occupiers represent "99%" of the people, while whoever gets the Republican nomination represents the other 1% — the super rich who, we are told, are the Occupiers' targets.There's a big problem with that characterization, however. Why is it that the most despicable entities on the face of the planet are enthusiastically on the side of the Occupiers, along with the president?The American Nazi Party celebrates Occupy as part of "the attack on Judeo-Capitalism."And the Communist Party U.S.A. calls Occupy "the newest wrinkle in the all-people's upsurge against the banks and corporations" that "reflects a new level of class-consciousness."Meanwhile, both Russia's Vladimir Putin and Communist China's government have had favorable comments about the demonstrations.Strange bedfellows indeed for President Obama. Is it really worth stooping so low — and sullying the presidency — in a desperate attempt to get re-elected?Read the full story here.
- Virginia Democrats Fleeing Obama.(WhitehouseDossier).As the Obama Secret Service Bus Tour begins today to plow through conservative southern Virginia, Democrats are scurrying to get out of the way.The biggest no-show: Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine – handpicked for the position by President Obama – who is running for the Senate.Kaine’s campaign claims he has previously scheduled commitments and just can’t make it.OMG IF YOU ARE GOING TO INSULT OUR INTELLIGENCE PLEASE AT LEAST BE ORIGINAL ABOUT IT.I mean, really.According to Virginia Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins, neither of the state’s Democratic senators – Jim Webb or Mark Warner, will be seen with Obama either.Democrats in Virginia, which holds statewide elections this year, are desperately seeking to fend off the 2011 wave of GOP’s 2010 tide, hoping to hold their slim majority in the Virginia Senate.White House officials reportedly changed Obama’s scheduled itinerary, and Mullins told the Associated Press they did it to avoid districts where Democrats are in tight races.
According to the AP, Democrats are keeping their rhetorical distance too:
Virginia’s House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong has distanced himself from Obama in a struggle to retain his seat against a Republican incumbent in southwest Virginia that he’s facing because of redistricting.
Last month, Democratic state Sen. Phil Puckett renounced Obama after his Republican challenger began discrediting him as “Obama’s man in southwest Virginia” and tying him to Obama’s energy policies which are reviled in coal-mining regions like Puckett’s district. Puckett said in a television interview he would not support Obama in 2012.The president won in Virginia, my home state, in 2008 and is hoping to do so again in 2012. So he’s campaigning here and in North Carolina, another state he seized from Republicans and eagerly wants to keep. But the tea leaves I’m reading say Virginia, at least, is more likely to revert to form in 2012 and vote for the Republican presidential candidate.Obama was on track to cross the state line from North Carolina into Virginia early this afternoon. He’ll appear at a high school in Emporia today and Wednesday at a military base in Hampton and a firehouse in suburban Richmond, where he’s sure to accuse Republicans of opposing firemen.Then, with the bus perhaps out of gas, he’ll FLY back to Washington.Hmmmm.........Warning Toxic political promises?Read the full story here.
- Canada - PA Official Booted From Canada over Tweet.(IPT).Linda Sobeh Ali, charge d'affaires of the Palestinian General Delegation in Canada, has agreed to government request that she leave Ottawa after linking to a video calling for Israel's destruction on her Twitter feed.The Toronto Globe and Mail reported Tuesday that earlier this month, Sobeh Ali posted the link on Twitter, telling her followers to "check this video out." In the video, a Palestinian girl is shown crying, shouting and reciting in Arabic a poem entitled "I am Palestinian." English subtitles were said to include language calling millions of people "to a war that raze (sic) the injustice and oppression and destroy the Jews."Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird instructed his deputy to call Sobeh Ali in to complain. The Canadian government lodged a protest with President Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority, which agreed to call her home Tuesday.In an interview with CTV, Sobeh Ali said she sent the tweet from her Blackberry and had not seen the video.Meanwhile, a University of Ottawa professor says the video's English subtitles are not accurate and the offending passage did not call for a war to "destroy the Jews." Rather, said Salah Basalamah, the poem cited by the girl included a call to "kill the soul of Zionism."Sobeh Ali is not the first PA representative in North American to run into trouble in recent weeks. Last month, Maen Areikat, the Palestine Liberation Organization's ambassador to Washington, said Jews would not be welcome in a Palestinian state.Areikat later said that his remarks had been taken out of context. The Huffington Post later published the full quote, making clear that the PLO envoy said the two peoples should be totally separated:"I personally still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated, and we can contemplate these issues in the future. But after the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction I think it would be in the best interests of the two peoples to be separated at first."Read the full story here.
- Schalit deal violation of int’l law.(JPost).By Louis Rene Beres.No modern government has the legal right to free terrorists in exchange for its own kidnapped citizens, military or civilian.A core element of all civilized legal systems is the rule of Nullum crimen sine poena, “no crime without a punishment.” This principle, drawn originally from the law of ancient Israel and reaffirmed at the post-war Nuremberg Trials, is part of all international law. It applies here as well.Were the United States to undertake a Schalit-like deal to free terrorist prisoners, America would stand in violation not only of international law, but also of US law. This is because Article 6 of the Constitution (the “supreme law of the land”) makes all international law part of US law. Several landmark Supreme Court decisions have upheld that stance.For Israel, there is an additional point: The country also has a pertinent and portentous history of terrorist exchanges. In June 2003, Shurat Hadin, the Israel Law Center, in anticipation of a then-planned terrorist releases, condemned Israel’s freeing of 100 Palestinian prisoners. Later, almost five times that number were freed by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon. In her letter to the prime minister and members of his cabinet, Shurat Hadin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner wrote that releasing terrorists for any reason would reignite Arab terrorism against defenseless Jewish men, women and especially children.Nitsana was correct. Soon thereafter, at least two newly released Palestinian terrorists proceeded to launch suicide bomb attacks in Israel. In these attacks, one “military target” of the “heroic fighters” was a cafe filled with mothers and their babies.Every state has an indisputable core obligation under international law to prosecute and punish terrorists. This obligation derives in part from the “no crime without a punishment” principle and is codified directly in many authoritative sources. It can also be deduced from the binding Nuremberg Principles (1950). According to Principle 1: “Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.”Terrorism is a serious crime under international law. The precise offenses that comprise this crime can be found at The European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Some of the Palestinian terrorists previously released were also guilty of related crimes of war and crimes against humanity. These are Nuremberg-category crimes, so egregious that the perpetrators are known in law as Hostes humani generis, “Common enemies of humankind.”International law presumes solidarity between states in the fight against all crime, including terrorism. This presumption is mentioned as early as the seventeenth century in Hugo Grotius’ The Law of War and Peace.Although Israel has a clear jurisdiction to punish any crimes committed on its own territory, it also has the right to act under broader principles of “universal jurisdiction.” Its case for such universal jurisdiction, which derives from an expectation of inter-state solidarity, is found in the four Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949. These conventions impose upon the High Contracting Parties the obligation to punish “grave breaches.”No modern government has the legal right to free terrorists in exchange for its own kidnapped citizens, military or civilian. Terrorism is a criminally sanctionable violation of international law that is not subject to manipulation by individual countries. In the United States, it is clear from the Constitution that the president’s power to pardon does not encompass violations of international law. Rather, this power is always limited precisely to “offenses against the United States.”In originally capturing and punishing Palestinian terrorists, Israel acted on behalf of all states. Moreover, because some of the terrorists had committed their crimes against other states, Israel cannot properly pardon these offenses against other sovereigns.Although Mr. Netanyahu’s impending prisoner exchange would not, strictly speaking, represent a “pardon,” it would have exactly the same effect.No state possesses the authority to pardon violations of international law. No matter what might be permissible under its own Basic Law, any impending political freeing of terrorists by Israel would be impermissible. The fundamental principle is also established in law that, by virtue of such releases, the releasing state itself must assume responsibility for past criminal acts, and for future ones.Under international law, Netanyahu’s impending exchange, effectively analogous to a mass pardoning of criminals, would implicate the Jewish state for a “denial of justice.” This could have practical consequences. Although it is arguable that punishment, which is central to justice, does not always deter future crimes, such an Israeli freeing of terrorists would undermine the Jewish state’s legal obligation to incapacitate violent criminals from committing new acts of mass murder. A tragic aspect of modern international law is the need to make hard and painful choices in order to safeguard larger populations from future harm. Mr. Netanyahu should now act accordingly.The writer is professor of international law at Purdue University and is author of many books and articles dealing with international criminal law.Read the full story here.
- Turkey's acceptance of terrorists reveals Hamas ties, Turkey Obama's 'favorite'.(JPost).Turkey’s apparent willingness to take in some of the terrorists Israel will deport in the Gilad Schalit deal is a friendly act, Israeli officials said Monday.The problem is that the friendliness is directed more toward Hamas, than toward Israel, they added.Israel has been careful since the cabinet approved the deal last week not to reveal where the 40 highest-risk prisoners to be exiled to other countries will be sent, but Musa Abu Marzuk, head of Hamas’s political bureau in Damascus, told the London-based pan Arab daily Al Hayat that they would go to Turkey, Qatar and Syria.Another 165 prisoners originally from the West Bank will be deported to Gaza. Some 477 prisoners are scheduled to be freed Tuesday for Schalit, and another 550 in some two months time.Last week, President Shimon Peres said he was “pleasantly surprised by the Turkish government’s stand” on the Schalit deal, without specifying what particularly he was referring to.Ankara’s decision to take in the prisoners shows the good connections Turkey has with Hamas, one government official said, saying it was clear that Hamas viewed Turkey as a “trustworthy, reliable ally.”Both Syria and Qatar have close ties with Hamas, and grouping Turkey with those two other countries says something about Turkish-Hamas relations, he said.In September, when the Shin Bet uncovered a Hamas-terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank that was planning a suicidebombing attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev, the Shin Bet revealed that Hamas operated in Turkey, where it recruited operatives.According to assessments in Jerusalem, by taking in the prisoners, Turkey will again win points in the Arab world, even as it will underline a point it is trying to prove: Nothing happens in the Middle East – from Libya to Syria and including Israel – without its involvement.The official pointed out, however, that it was in Israel’s interest for countries to be found willing to take in the released terrorists, and that Israel preferred countries that would keep an eye on them. It was not clear to what degree Turkey fit into that category.Efraim Inbar, professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, who has written widely on Turkey, said the Turks were amenable to taking in the prisoners not only because this would be viewed positively among the Palestinians and in the Arab world, where Ankara is vying for a leadership role, but also because Ankara believed the deal weakens Israel.On Friday, Ismet Barkan, a veteran Turkish journalist and a columnist for Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, wrote that Israel asked for Turkish help when negotiations over Schalit were deadlocked earlier this year, and that eventually the Turkish National Intelligence Organization became involved, and met with Mossad, Egyptian Intelligence and Hamas operatives.Barkan reported that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal called Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after the deal was reached, saying, “If you do not have any objection, we will announce it in a few hours. I wanted you to know first,” he said.Davutoglu, according to the columnist, said: “This is a totally humanitarian matter. We thank you for being helpful in this issue. The deal is also appropriate from our point of view.”Barkan, playing loose with facts, also wrote in this column that for Schalit’s sake, Israel “turned Gaza upside down, killed thousands of people, including women and children, and turned Gaza into an open-air prison.”Hmmmmm......Makes you wonder what Obama and Erdogan talk about during their frequent phonecalls?Read the full story here.
- How to prevent released 'Palestinian' terrorist recidivism.(IsraelMatzav).Here's a great comment on how to prevent 'Palestinian' terrorist recidivism from BH in Iowa. Carl, here's a simple solution (I heard from a coworker today) to prevent repeat attacks from released terrorists. IDF spokesperson should sincerely thank the released terrorists for their cooperation during imprisonment, that they helped advance the cause of peace and saved the lives of numerous Israelis with the information they provided. Let Hamas/PLO waste the bullets.Hmmmmm......This has potential.Read the full story here.
- Shaykh of al-Azhar: "The Western understanding of human rights is against that which is sacred to us".(TranslatingJihad).The Shaykh of al-Azhar, the Grand Imam Dr. Ahmad al-Tayib, by many considered to be the foremost authority in Sunni Islam, issued a statement yesterday condemning attempts to bring Western notions of human rights and freedom to the Middle East. Dr. al-Tayib explained that "the Western understanding of human rights is against that which is sacred to us," and that "opening the door for human rights from a purely Western understanding would destroy our homes and clash with our beliefs."Of course, if one of us infidels says that Islam is incompatible with the Western understanding of human rights, we're quickly branded Islamophobes. But here you have the Grand Imam of al-Azhar saying essentially the same thing. So I guess either he's just a big Islamophobe himself, or Islam really does conflict with human rights. My bet's on the latter...
Translated from ikhwanonline.com, 17 October 2011:
Shaykh of al-Azhar: "The Western understanding of human rights is against that which is sacred to us"
By Usama 'Abd-al-Salam
The Grand Imam Dr. Ahmad al-Tayib, the Shaykh of al-Azhar, stressed that opening the door for human rights from a purely Western understanding would destroy our homes and clash with our beliefs and with that which is sacred to us. He relates this to the maxim, "He built a palace and destroyed an Egypt," saying, "Not everything which is a right for the Western man is a right for the Arab or Muslim man."
He added during his reception of Dr. Butrous Butrous Ghali, president of the National Council for Human Rights, today at noon, that human rights should not clash with that which is sacred to us, because many of those who brag about defending human rights have taken them as part of a booming trade under the auspices of globalization.
The Shaykh of al-Azhar called for the encouragement of all efforts to resist globalization, because it is crystal clear that America is currently suffering in every place and in every realm. This confirms that the culture of New York should not direct us in the East. We have a culture, values, and history which protect us from dissipating and melting away.
[...] (Goes on to talk about situation in Yemen)
The Grand Imam called for the protection of Arab and Islamic civilization, which is based on morals and religious values. He added that the civilization of the Ummah is led by faith and values, contrary to Western civilization, which is led by the interests of personal freedom. We need to breathe new life into the East, in every meaning of the word--in culture, economics, society, and so on. This will not happen except through hard, continuous, and independent work.Read the full story here
- Fundamental human rights 'do not contradict' any religion.(NewsAZ).News.Az interviews Dr Ivan Nikoltchev, head of the Media Unit at the Council of Europe's Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs.Is it easy to implement Council of Europe standards in post-Soviet republics which have their own traditions and views on democracy?To summarize it, I hope that European standards will be implemented because most of these countries, if not all, are members of the Council of Europe, so they have taken on themselves the obligation to abide by these standards. That of course happens to a different extent in the different countries. Some are more cooperative and more willing to implement reforms, others are not. I will not go into individual cases, but there is a good tendency overall in the South Caucasus where I work, Moldova, Ukraine, to implement the European standards, again to a different degree.
What kind of assistance can the Council of Europe and other European institutions provide to the countries of the South Caucasus to avoid events similar to those in North Africa and the Middle East. Do you see any spheres where the Council of Europe can help to avoid this scenario?
Yes, the situation is of course rather different in Europe, as it was in 89 after the fall of the wall, and as it is now in North Africa, for example. But in any case the Council of Europe can offer a lot of assistance in its three main areas of interest: democracy, rule of law and human rights. We do have a set of standards, conventions, recommendations and a lot of experience in helping democracies to develop along that way. Let me speak from my field, freedom of expression, where I have big experience. In the course of the last 20 years or so, we have offered a lot of assistance to our member states, especially to the newly emerging democracies, in reforming their media laws; for example, to guarantee freedom of expression, to guarantee pluralism of the media. We have offered training for government officials, for journalists, for civil society in order to implement all these standards, the European Convention on Human Rights, our recommendations, in practice. In that sense the Council of Europe is the only organization that has a blueprint, that has a complete, almost complete, set of standards in the field of freedom of expression and we always stand ready to help implement these standards and practices, provided that we are asked of course; that is, the principle of voluntarily asking for assistance.
Azerbaijan is a Muslim country. Some of the considerations of human rights implemented by Europeans contradict some national traditions coming from Islam and so on. Do you think that really all these values can be shared fully by the Azerbaijani side?
For the fundamental part, yes, I do believe that they can be shared. The fact is that Azerbaijan, as a member of the Council of Europe, has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights. It does not go into infringing deeply rooted cultural, religious traditions, etc., but there are still some fundamental human rights – the right to life, the right to dignity, the right to freedom of expression etc. – and all these things I think can be done without contradicting anyone’s religion.Read the full story here.
- Latest Update on Christian Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.(Vinienco).Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s defense lawyer has predicted that the supreme leader Ayatolla Ali Khamenei will reveal his “opinion” concerning the pastor’s case within the next 20 days.The defense lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah argues that although Khamenei is not obligated to reveal his decision to the public, lawyers, or the defendant’s family, any future action by the courts will imply that Khamenei has made his decision.“The ayatollah can make any decision he wants. He controls the judiciary, who’s executed, who’s not executed, the military. The list goes on,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, told The Christian Post.“Next time [the court] takes real action we’ll know that the [Ayatollah] has made some kind of decision,” he added.Sekulow also contended that Khamenei does not need to openly state his opinion, but rather can control the court from behind the scenes, putting the decision in their hands.The courts, however, may find it difficult to stand up against the backlash caused by either the international community or the local Muslim community, depending on the verdict.Therefore, the highly regarded Khameini has been given the sole responsibility for reviewing the decision.While the international community pushes for freedom of religion in Iran, the local, radical Muslim community is on the other side of the spectrum, pushing for those not worshipping Islam to be punished to set an example to the rest of the public.“My personal read on the situation is that nobody wants to own the decision. There’s pressure on both sides,” Todd Nettleton, Director of Media Development for the Voices of the Martyrs, told The Christian Post.Dadkhak has called on the United Nations and the Pope to apply pressure on Iran for the pastor’s release.“Eighty-nine Members of Congress just sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging her to engage the U.N. and pressure Iran to free Pastor Youcef,” explained Sekulow.“Our real goal is to keep his case in the spotlight,” Sekulow said.Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor, was originally arrested for protesting in October 2009. His charge then changed to apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims, for which he was found guilty in the local Gilan province court. He appealed his case in December 2010 to Iran’s Supreme Court. The case was then passed back down to the lower Gilan province court, which in turn passed it to Khamenei for review.Countries have argued that Iran is in violation of its International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which allows freedom of religion and freedom to change one’s religion.“The most unfortunate thing is that the U.N. is completely silent on this, which says a lot about where they are,” Sekulow told The Christian Post.“I wish the secretary of state would get a little tougher,” he added.Last week the ACLJ sent a letter directly to the U.N. requesting action in the pastor’s court case.The ACLJ delivered a petition signed by 156,000 Americans to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, hoping for her to support the pastor’s acquittal.Sekulow also assured The Christian Post that placing the case into the hands of Khamenei “is better for the pastor because the decision is not under the kind of pressure from clerics or military.”“There’s no authority higher,” Sekulow added.Sekulow contends that current events have also pushed Iran’s court to involve Khamenei, referencing the recent attempted bomb threat on the United States by the elite Iranian revolutionary group Quds.“In light of what has happened in the United States [on Oct. 11] with terror issues I think the Ayatollah is under even more pressure,” stated Sekulow.International pressure has pushed Iranian court to confirm that Nadarkhani is currently alive awaiting his verdict.Read the full story here.
- Child abuse claims at UK madrassas 'tip of iceberg'.(BBC).Britain's madrassas have faced more than 400 allegations of physical abuse in the past three years, a BBC investigation has discovered.But only a tiny number have led to successful prosecutions.The revelation has led to calls for formal regulation of the schools, attended by more than 250,000 Muslim children every day for Koran lessons.The chairman of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board said he would treat the issue as a matter of urgency.Leading Muslim figures said families often faced pressure not to go to court or even to make a formal complaint.A senior prosecutor told the BBC its figures were likely to represent the tip of an iceberg..BBC Radio 4's File on 4 asked more than 200 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales how many allegations of physical and sexual abuse had come to light in the past three years.One hundred and ninety-one of them agreed to provide information, disclosing a total of 421 cases of physical abuse. But only 10 of those cases went to court, and the BBC was only able to identify two that led to convictions.The councils also disclosed 30 allegations of sexual abuse in the Islamic supplementary schools over the past three years, which led to four prosecutions but only one conviction.The offender in that case was Mohammed Hanif Khan, an imam from Stoke-on-Trent who was imprisoned for 16 years in March this year for raping a 12-year-old boy and sexually assaulting a 15-year-old.Some local authorities said community pressure had led families to withdraw complaints.In one physical abuse case in Lambeth, two members of staff at a mosque allegedly attacked children with pencils and a phone cable - but the victims later refused to take the case further.In Lancashire, police added that children as young as six had reported being punched in the back, slapped, kicked and having their hair pulled.In several cases, pupils said they were hit with sticks or other implements. The number of cases appeared to be rising - among those councils which broke down the figures by year, there were 89 allegations of physical abuse in 2009, 178 in 2010 and 146 in the first nine months of this year.With more than half of Britain's 2.5m-strong Muslim population aged 25 or under, the number of madrassas, where children spend about 10 hours each week learning to recite the Koran in Arabic, is also growing rapidly.Mohammad Shahid Raza, chairman of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, set up by Muslim organisations to improve standards in mosques, said he would now treat the issue as a matter of urgency."These figures are very, very alarming and shocking. There is no justification for such punishments within our mosque schools," he said."I'm not sure how wide this unacceptable practice is, but our responsibility is to make those who run the mosques realise we live in a civilised society and this is not acceptable at any cost."Mr Raza said he wanted the issue dealt with through self-regulation, but there are calls for the government to take action.Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, founder of the Muslim Institute think tank, said large numbers of unregulated organisations were opening madrassas across the country - most in mosques but some in garages, abandoned pubs or private homes.Abuse was far too common, he said."We are basically destroying the lives of young people," he said. "Some kind of system must be put in place to ensure that only teaching takes place there, not sexual or physical abuse."Nazir Afzal, the chief crown prosecutor for the North West of England, said he believed the BBC's figures represented "a significant underestimate"."We have a duty to ensure that people feel confident about coming forward," he said.Corporal punishment is legal in religious settings, so long as it does not exceed "reasonable chastisement".An official report published last year which called for a legal ban on the practice - and which was accepted by the Labour government just before the general election - has not yet led to any action.The report's author, Sir Roger Singleton, chair of the Independent Safeguard Authority, said the BBC's figures were worrying and should be investigated further:"That does lend weight to my view that we're not just dealing with isolated instances," he said. "So I would be quite concerned to understand why the allegations have not resulted in a greater number of prosecutions." Read and listen to the full story here.
- Hotel cancels Tea Party event after learning that anti-Islam activist was due to be a speaker.(DailyMail).A hotel in Texas cancelled a Tea Party event that was going to be held in their conference room because it didn't approve of the group's keynote speaker. Pamela Geller, a political activist and blogger, was schedule to headline the event and caused hotel representatives to deny the group use of their space. Officially, the Hyatt Place Houston Sugar Land hotel cancelled the event citing 'changing security needs' after they learned that Ms Geller would be speaking.This is not the first time that Ms Geller has ruffled feathers: the staunch conservative has written extensively against Islam and regularly attacks the religion because she deems it 'the radical most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth'.'I'm not bashing Muslims. I'm not bashing people. I love people, It's why I do what I do,' Ms Geller said. In spite of that, the event was forced to move to the Sugar Land Community Center, where it was held Tuesday night. 'I think it's reprehensible, the restriction of free speech, because that's what we're talking about,' Ms Geller said. While event attendees were boycotting the Hyatt, a few dozen residents of Sugar Land, Texas, which is right outside of Houston, boycotted the event, calling it 'hate speech'.Part of her speech at the event was intended to promote her new book, titled Stop The Islamization of America: A Practical Guide To The Resistance. Never known for timidity, Ms Geller likened Hyatt administrators to the Iranian president. 'Mind you, where does Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stay and entertain his murdering comrades when he comes to New York? The Hyatt,' Ms Geller wrote. Read the full story here.
- Those who burn books................ (AlexanderMunch).Tel Adashim: A synagogue was set on fire and burned to the ground.Hundreds of holy books were burned.Hmmmm..........Reminds you of Something....Somewhere......Sometime?Read and see the full story here.
- Napoleon Bonaparte's declaration to the coptic nation on 07 december 1798 - A new social contract.(Copticliterature).Napoleon to the Coptic Nation: "(I am)returning to the Coptic nation its dignity and inalienable rights of man that had been taken away from it....from now on, it shall not be degraded."It was asocial contract based on equality and respect - very different from the Islamic Dhimmitude contract that was based on exploitation and Humiliation.On 30 July 1798, only a few days after the French Expedition landed in Egypt, Napoleon Bonaparte appointed Mu’allem Jirjis al-Jawhari (d. 1810), the most prominent Coptic lay member then, General Steward of Egypt; and honoured him dearly. Al-Jawhari was very close to Napoleon. After the arrival of the French in Egypt, the much hated Turks and Mamlukes (in collaboration with the Arab nomads who inhabited the deserts of Egypt and caused havoc wherever they went) launched several attacks on the French and also massacred many innocent Christian Copts in several villages across Egypt.Mu’allem Jirjis al-Jawhari, as the community’s leader, drafted with other prominent Copts a letter in the name of the Coptic nation, and presented it to Bonaparte. We understand from the content of Napoleon’s response that the Copts, the “Coptic nation”, demanded protection of their members from the attacks by the Turks, Mamlukes and Arabs, and requested certain changes in their condition. Hitherto (before the arrival of the French), what governed the Coptic nation was Islamic law that had only one aim for the Copts – to exploit and humiliate them. The Copts demanded that any laws or practices that had been designed to humiliate and exploit them be abolished; that those who murdered the Copts in the villages be punished; that they enjoyed religious liberty; that they were permitted to carry arms and mount horses and mules, and abandon the restrictions imposed on their natural right to dress in whatever way they liked.Napoleon granted them all that – he decided to return to the Coptic nation, those descendants of the great Pharaohs, its “dignity and inalienable rights of man”, which had been taken away from it by its oppressors. In other words, Napoleon elevated the Copts’ legal status in the State from dhimis to citizens. He, in return, asked them to serve the French Republic. This was a new social contract whereby the Copts were considered equal members of the polity and enjoyed their essential freedoms and fundamental human rights that were due to them in their capacity as men and human beings, and which were inalienable. It was a social contract that puts protection first and demanded loyalty second.For the first time in their history, certainly since they had lost their independence c.1000 BC, the Copts came across this new political language and possibilities. That was a completely different contract from the dhimmittude contract which was based on the Pact of Umar I (634-644).This is not the place to discuss the difference between the two types of contracts – the French social contract of freedom and respect, and the Islamic dhimmittude contract of slavery and humiliation. I simply want to introduce my readers, Copts and non-Copts, to the French text of Napoleon Bonaparte’s letter to Mu’allem Jirjis al-Jawhari, the representative of the Coptic nation, which was dated 7 December 1798, and which forms part of the Napoleonic Collection, and has the serial no. 3717. It was published in 1858 by public order of the Emperor Napoleon III in Correspondance de Napoléon Ier (Vol. 5; pp. 184-5). I have translated Napoleon’s letter into both English and Arabic, which I believe has been done for the first time. I now leave you to read this important Letter, in three different languages, which I call Napoleon Bonaparte’s Declaration to the Coptic Nation:Read the full story here.
- Following the Shalit Deal - Hamas-Affiliated Columnists: There Will Be More Abductions; Fatah-Affiliated Website: Shalit a Monster Who Carried On the Legacy of His Ancestors, the Apes and Pigs; Al-Ahram: No to Further Abductions.(Memri).Following the signing of the deal in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was to be exchanged for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, many articles on Hamas-affiliated websites called the deal a victory and stated that it proved the effectiveness of the strategy of resistance. They urged to kidnap more Israeli soldiers in order to liberate the remaining Palestinian prisoners.An article published on a Fatah-affiliated website, by journalist Sami Foda, stated: “[Gilad Shalit is] a young man who spent his time in bars and brothels, playing games and pampering himself. He enjoyed the pleasures of a land not his own. He went around robbing, stealing, torching, raping, trampling, and desecrating the soil of this land that is not his own. He viciously strove to shed the blood of the martyrs, killed innocent people, shelled the homes of innocent people with tanks, destroying them without shame, mercy, or pangs of conscience, a stupid murderer who did not mind killing our elderly, our men, our youth, and our women, and even our poor children, [so] pure and innocent.“This soldier was a waif born in a shelter as a result of the deterioration and disintegration of Israeli society. A Zionist soldier, he became seeped with Zionism to the bone… [He is] a gullible [boy], the genetic grandson of the Zionist leaders by virtue of his affiliation with, and loyalty to, his Nazi leaders. This monster joined the army of Zionist gangs, to carry on the legacy of his fathers, the apes and pigs of the Haganah, Irgun, Stern, and Palmach organizations, in order to carry out the orders of his fascist masters. That was the Zionist soldier Gilad Shalit, 19 years-old when he was captured by the Palestinian resistance.Read the full story here.
- Kenya’s Army Prepares to Fight the ‘Mother Of All Battles’.(BigPeace).Faced with repeated kidnapping of French and Spanish aid workers by al-Shabaab terrorists from Somalia, as well as attacks on refugee camps on Keyna’s soil, Kenya’s army invaded Somalia on Sunday, backed by helicopters and tanks, and supported by bombers. Both Kenyan and Somali government forces are headed for the region near Qoqani, over 600 km south of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab has mobilised hundreds of fighters and confiscated vehicles to transport them to the same region, with a major battle expected in the coming days in the nearby town of Afmadow. Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage has threatened terror attacks on Kenyan cities. “Kenya has peace, its cities have tall buildings and business is booming there, while Somalia is in chaos. If your government ignores our calls to stop its aggression on Somali soil, we will strike at the heart of your interests,” he said in an address intended for the Kenyan population. Hassan Turki, a senior southern al Shabaab leader, said his men would force the Kenyan troops “to test the pain of the bullets.” Al Shabaab fighters were on Monday said to be boosting defences and sending “hundreds” of fighters towards Kenyan and TFG positions. “I saw around 50 trucks and pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns, with hundreds of fighters heading towards the Kenyan border,” Mr Abdi Jumale, a resident in the al Shabaab-held port of Kismayu told AFP by telephone.Al Shabaab commanders confiscated at least a 100 trucks late on Sunday from the Lower Shabelle region, outside the capital Mogadishu, to transport fighters to the battle zones, witnesses said.Read the full story here.