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With just about everything in the budget having been leaked (even the aggregate expenditure and revenue data), there is an opportunity to glance overseas. That quickly produces an assessment that we can thank our lucky stars – but not because our fiscal policy is leading the world (in today’s Australian Henry Ergas exposes such claims). Rather, because we are less exposed to Islamism, the threat to our culture from increasing proportions of Muslims in populations of western countries and, importantly, the failure of governments to deal seriously with this difficult problem.

The articles below ( I apologise for sending three but they are important analyses) reveal the seriousness of the problem in the UK and European countries as well as in the US. The article on the Cameron government in the UK identifies more than religious problems: as in Australia there is clearly an inability to identify what kind of society the two-party government stands for. In Europe there is a similar failure that, regrettably, is characterising parties seeking much less central government under the failed Euro system as “far right”: such phraseology has also been used here to describe those who support less government. But the flood of money into Europe by the central bank (ECB) will not solve the structural problem there and more will be heard from the so-called far right.

In the US the Obama administration has not only adopted the class warfare approach (copied by Gillard) but has also soft-peddled the handling of Islamic extremism by changing the rules of evidence so that it will be difficult to convict the 9/11extremist and his friends even though they are obviously guilty (as the leader has admitted). Where do we draw the “human rights” line?

While Australia has less of a problem, it is still a serious one. Some of the (committed) Benbrika group have been released from their far too-short prison terms, as Benbrika himself also received. But nothing has been done to increase the terms for avowed extremists or to improve the vetting of immigrants.


David Cameron's left turn puts Tories in a dead end
Article by Hal G.P. Colebatch in The Australian 7 May 2012

THE British local government election results are a disaster for Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron's strategy of attempting to outflank Labour on the left with a whole raft of trendy, politically correct social policies, in an unnatural alliance with the even further left-leaning Liberal Democrats.

The Lib Dems have managed to frustrate the Tories' efforts to implement conservative policies and have, largely condoned by Cameron, despite their disloyalty to the coalition, played a big part in forcing political correctness on all manner of British institutions.

The two parties of the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition appear to have lost 821 local government seats between them, the Lib Dems losing half their seats. The anti-EU UK Independence Party has gained a few, as has George Galloway's weirdo anti-Israeli party Respect, the latter an indication of the growing electoral power of Muslims.

This is a massive rejection of Cameronism. If the Conservatives have any ambitions of retaining government after the next general election, they should be looking at Cameron's politically tougher rival, David Davies.

This time it was not a case of "It's the economy, stupid!" Despite the Lib Dems' obstruction on many necessary measures, Cameron was gradually getting needed economic reforms into place. The reasons for the disaster were political and sociological.

Since coming to power, Cameron has done almost nothing to oppose - in fact, his government has supported and condoned - the flowing tide of political correctness that seems to be attacking and dissolving virtually every major institution in the country.

Defence cuts have brought the defence force below the level of military viability in any real defence emergency. There is not a single dedicated aircraft carrier left (there is vague talk of sharing the single French carrier) and the Harrier naval strike force was sold off to the US at bargain-basement prices. The once-proud Royal Navy has just 19 frigates and destroyers left, and there are rumours of even more cuts.

While one coroner's inquest after another has blamed the deaths of British soldiers in battle on scanty and inadequate equipment, the equivalent of a whole division is being kept in the futile war in Afghanistan - nobody seems to know why, or to seriously expect it to accomplish anything lasting.

The Royal Air Force has seven squadrons of modern jets - even tiny Belgium has six. Certainly, given Britain's present budgetary problems, inherited from Labour governments that spent money like drunken sailors, big cuts had to be made somewhere, but they could have been made in bloated foreign aid budgets (where spending has actually been increased), the BBC with its multi-million pound salaries for cheap, smutty comedians, and bird-mincing wind farms (one of which generates rent in four figures a week from the taxpayer for Cameron's father-in-law).

Recipients of foreign aid range from India, which has a navy about three times the size of Britain's, a nuclear arsenal and a space-program, to the demented tyranny of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe and the communist police state of Vietnam.

Cameron's determination to ram through homosexual marriage in Britain under the rainbow flag was also blamed for the party's loss of popularity among many traditional voters. Meanwhile, courts have been ordered by the government to convict people who for religious reasons of conscience refuse to rent rooms to homosexual couples. Children calling out playground insults at other children have found themselves arrested, locked in cells, fingerprinted and hauled before not mere magistrates but judges for alleged hate crimes. These measures go hand-in-hand with a strange spineless permissiveness that prevents serious criminals, rapists, hate-preachers and even terrorists from being deported lest their human rights be violated.

The criminal justice system appears to alternate between the cosseting of dangerous criminals with politically correct credentials and punishment for the most trivial or imaginary instances of wrongdoing (a man who was fined for littering after accidentally dropping a banknote takes the cake).

There have been a stream of cases of health workers and others sacked for wearing crucifixes or offering to pray for sick people. Cameron has asked Christians to resist this persecution (which is what it amounts to) but appears to have done nothing to help the victims.

Yet the government, carrying on in Labour's footsteps, has bent over backwards to accommodate other religions, particularly Muslims, but also including Druids and Satanists.

Out-of control illegal immigration has already made large areas of London and some other big cities no-go areas for British people. There are reports of hundreds of cases - the exact figures are not known - of honour killings of women and female genital mutilation in the spreading Muslim areas.

Recent reports indicate the preceding Labour government deliberately set out to change the demography of Britain by flooding it with Muslim and other presumably Labour-voting migrants. The government, by its inactivity or tortoise-paced activity to prevent this gives the impression, not so much that it condones it but, even more damningly, that it does not really know what is going on. However, those being forced out of their homes and neighbourhoods by unassimilable, often hostile migrants are voters - and there is a feeling of rage abroad.

From the Tory point of view, the local elections may have had two silver linings: they will make it easier for the Tories to get rid of the toxic influence of the Liberal Democrats, and, if they can only muster the gumption, free of Cameronism too.

Far right aims to dismantle euro
Article by David Charter in The Times 7 May 2012

GEERT Wilders, the Islamophobic politician who brought down the Dutch government, has a new rallying cry.

The bleached-blond maverick built his substantial following by attacking Muslim immigration and the spectre of sharia law but his target is now the ogre from next door.

Like far-right politicians across the continent, Wilders has switched his focus from Islam to the European Union.

"We are against Europe - we are against the euro," he said late last month after bringing down the Dutch coalition. His message has been echoed across the 17-nation eurozone as mainstream politicians flounder and follow unpopular austerity programs to meet EU targets.

Marine Le Pen helped to boost her National Front vote in France to its highest level last month through bashing Brussels, while the True Finns leapt from anti-immigrant obscurity to third-largest party in last year's Finnish elections by targeting the euro.

Fifty-five years after the Treaty of Rome was drawn up as an antidote to poverty, hatred and extremism, the eurozone crisis risks tearing the dream apart - as a direct result of the currency created to bind nations more closely together. And in the vanguard of the wrecking movement is Wilders.

"Dutch governments, as governments elsewhere in Europe, have signed away a significant part of our own sovereignty to the European Union, a supranational institution run by unelected and undemocratic bureaucrats," Wilders told an audience in New York last week.

Wilders's Freedom Party did not join the Liberal-Conservative coalition but kept it in office for 18 months by providing essential support for it to command a majority in parliament. He pulled away after weeks of budget talks aimed at saving 16 billion ($20.5bn), saying he objected to cuts that would hit pensioners.

Wilders has been written off as an unreliable partner for the country's elections called for September 12, but one thing that the Dutch should never do is rule him out of the game.

"Our electoral campaign will focus on the need to restore our national sovereignty, because without our sovereignty we cannot defend our identity and fight against Islamisation," Wilders said recently, combining his twin targets.

He may never win power in his own right but his example is inspiring others. "It is only a matter of time before one of these parties gets into power and tries to pull the rug from under the euro," said Maurice de Hond, a Dutch pollster. "If it does not happen in The Netherlands, it will happen somewhere else in Europe."

That other place could well be Austria, where another Freedom Party is vying for a place in government at next year's elections.

Austria has its own Geert Wilders in Heinz-Christian Strache, 42, who may not have an extravagant hairstyle but is still a showman, as his rap recordings testify. In his "HC Rap", he warns about "Islamists on the march" and "terror gangs" threatening Austrian children.

Like Mr Wilders, he combines plans to stop the building of minarets and the public wearing of veils with attacks on the madness of the euro and a forecast that it will break into a northern and southern currency.

Unlike the Dutch Freedom Party, the Austrian Freedom Party tasted power in coalition government from 2000 to 2005 and is keen to return to office.

Among the main eurozone nations, it is only Germany, the country most associated with driving the harsh austerity measures, that does not have a significant anti-EU political movement.

Angela Merkel is said to be terrified of the emergence of a far-right party, notwithstanding all the historical reasons that have so far put this beyond the pale in her country.

She has been lucky so far, but her tough fiscal demands seem to be driving disgruntled voters to the extremes almost everywhere else and undermining the Europe she claims to be saving.

'Courtroom jihad' as 9/11 defendants delay Gitmo trial
Article in AP (published in The Australian) 7 May 2012

THE second attempt to prosecute the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks started badly yesterday, with the defendants disrupting their arraignment and forcing the proceedings to drag on late into the night.

The court hearing for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants should have taken a couple of hours at most.

But it lasted almost 13 hours, including meal and prayer breaks, as the men appeared to make a concerted effort to stall the hearing.

They knelt in prayer, ignored the judge, refused to listen to Arabic translations over their headsets and one even insisted on having the more than 20 pages detailing the charges against them read aloud, rather than deferred for later in their case as the judge wanted, which added more than two hours to the proceedings.

"They're engaging in jihad in a courtroom," said Debra Burlingame, whose brother, Charles, was the pilot of the plane that flew into the Pentagon. She watched the proceeding from Brooklyn.

Mohammed, the admitted 9/11 architect, and the four men accused of aiding the 9/11 conspiracy put off their pleas until a later date. They face 2976 counts of murder and terrorism in the 2001 attacks that sent hijacked jetliners into New York's World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. The charges carry the death penalty.

Earlier, Mohammed cast off his earphones providing Arabic translations of the proceedings and refused to answer judge James Pohl's questions or acknowledge he understood them. All five men refused to participate in the hearing; two passed around a copy of The Economist magazine and leafed through the articles.

Walid bin Attash was confined to a restraint chair when he came into court, released only after he promised to behave.

Ramzi Binalshibh began praying alongside his defence table, followed by Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, in the middle of the hearing; Binalshibh then launched into a tirade in which he compared a prison official to the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and declared that he was in danger.

"Maybe they will kill me and say I committed suicide," he said in a mix of Arabic and broken English.

The detainees' lawyers spent hours questioning the judge about his qualifications to hear the case and suggested their clients were being mistreated at the hearing, in a strategy that could pave the way for future appeals.

Mohammed was subjected to a strip search and "inflammatory and unnecessary" treatment before court, said his lawyer, David Nevin.

The defendants' behaviour outraged 9/11 family members watching on closed-circuit video feeds around the US at east coast military bases. One, at the Fort Hamilton base in Brooklyn, shouted: "C'mon, are you kidding me?"

A handful of people who lost family members in the attacks, selected by a lottery to attend the proceedings, sat in the courtroom.

It was the defendants' first appearance in more than three years after stalled efforts to try them for the terror attacks in which hijackers steered four commercial jets into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon as well as a field in western Pennsylvania.

The Obama administration renewed plans to try the men at the US base at Guantanamo Bay after a bid to try the men in New York City, blocks from the trade centre site, faced political opposition.

It adopted new rules with congress that forbade testimony obtained through torture or cruel treatment, and officials now say that defendants could be tried as fairly here as in a civilian court.

Human rights groups and defence lawyers say the secrecy of Guantanamo and the military commissions, or tribunals, will make it impossible to defend them.

They argued the US kept the case out of civilian court to prevent disclosure of the treatment of prisoners like Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times.

Mr Nevin said he believed Mohammed was not responding because he believed the tribunal was unfair. Jim Harrington, representing Binalshibh, said his client would not respond to questions "without addressing the issues of confinement".

Cheryl Bormann, a civilian lawyer for bin Attash, appeared in a conservative Islamic outfit that left only her face uncovered and she asked the court to order other women present to wear "appropriate" clothing so that defendants did not have to avert their eyes "for fear of committing a sin under their faith".

Colonel Pohl warned that he would not permit defendants to block the hearing and would continue without their participation.

"One cannot choose not to participate and frustrate the normal course of business," he said.

Colonel Pohl, who brought translators into the courtroom to interpret the proceedings live once the men refused to use earpieces, attempted to stick to the standard script for tribunals, asking the defendants if they understood their rights to counsel and would accept the attorneys appointed for them. The men were silent.

Mohammed, a Pakistani citizen who grew up in Kuwait and attended college in Greensboro, North Carolina, has admitted to military authorities that he was responsible for the September 11 attacks, "from A to Z", as well as about 30 other plots and the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Binalshibh was allegedly chosen to be a hijacker, but could not get a US visa and so provided assistance such as finding flight schools.

Bin Attash, also from Yemen, allegedly ran an al-Qa'ida training camp in Afghanistan and researched flight simulators and timetables. Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi is a Saudi accused of helping the hijackers with money, Western clothing and credit cards. Al-Aziz Ali, a Pakistani national and nephew of Mohammed, allegedly provided money to the hijackers.

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