Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dutch Minister: No Islamic oaths for police forces

In response to questions from a right-wing and fundamentalist religious party, the SGP, Dutch Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst has written that police officers are not allowed to give oaths in the name of Allah. Until March last year, two police forces did offer the possibility of giving an Islamic oath, but Ms Ter Horst says the practice was against the rules and has been stopped.

Likewise, people who work for the government at national level are not offered the opportunity of giving an Islamic oath. Civil servants may choose between using the sentence "So help me God," in their oath or leaving it out.

The ministry of defence and local governments are allowed to write their own oaths. As a result, they do permit them to be taken in the name of Allah.

The SGP strives for orthodox protestant political values. Its manifesto is based on the bible. Women are not allowed to be elected to any office within the party. It opposes shops opening on Sundays and even its website is closed on the Sabbath. The SGP has two seats in the lower house of parliament.

Understanding the Gaza catastrophe

Understanding the Gaza catastrophe by Richard Falk, a professor emeritus of international law and practice at Princeton University and the UN's special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories.

Some excerpts:

For 18 months, the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza experienced a punishing blockade imposed by Israel, and a variety of traumatizing challenges to the normality of daily life.

Israel refused exit permits to students with foreign fellowship awards and to Gazan journalists and respected NGO representatives. At the same time, it made it increasingly difficult for journalists to enter, and I myself was expelled from Israel a couple of weeks ago when I tried to enter to carry out my UN job of monitoring respect for human rights in occupied Palestine, that is, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as in Gaza.

As always in relation to the underlying conflict, some facts bearing on this latest crisis are murky and contested, although the American public in particular gets 99 percent of its information filtered through an exceedingly pro-Israeli media lens. Hamas is blamed for the breakdown of the truce by its supposed unwillingness to renew it, and by the alleged increased incidence of rocket attacks.

Respected and conservative Israeli commentators go further. For instance, the prominent historian Benny Morris, writing in The New York Times a few days ago, relates the campaign in Gaza to a deeper set of forebodings in Israel that he compares to the dark mood of the public that preceded the 1967 War when Israelis felt deeply threatened by Arab mobilizations on their borders. Morris insists that despite Israeli prosperity in recent years and the relative security, several factors have led Israel to act boldly in Gaza: the perceived continuing refusal of the Arab world to accept the existence of Israel as an established reality; the inflammatory threats voiced by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, together with Iran's supposed push to acquire nuclear weapons; the fading memory of the Holocaust, combined with growing sympathy in the West with the Palestinian plight; and the radicalization of political movements on Israel's borders in the form of Hezbullah and Hamas.

The people of Gaza are victims of geopolitics at its inhumane worst, producing what Israel itself calls a "total war" against an essentially defenseless society that lacks any defensive military capability whatsoever and is completely vulnerable to Israeli attacks mounted by F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters. Such extreme military asymmetry is more suggestive of a "massacre" than a "war." What this also means is that the flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, as set forth in the Geneva Conventions, is cynically ignored, while the carnage continues and the bodies pile up.

Here the full article.

Note: What Israel is doing, collevtive punishment, is the same as what the Nazi's did in Europe. When they found one person who threatens the Nazi's, helped the Jews, etc. they punished the whole village.

Growing Links Seen Between Hells Angels and Neo-Nazis in Germany

Motorcycle gangs have long kept the police busy with violence and drug trafficking. But now investigators are alarmed by a new threat: Militant neo-Nazis are rising through the ranks of the Hells Angels in Germany.

The man who generally goes by the nickname Maxe wanted to become a model citizen, at least that's what he said after his release from prison. Markus W. made headlines during a World Cup match over 10 years ago when he and other German football hooligans viciously attacked French policeman Daniel Nivel, leaving him severely disabled. For his part in the attack, Maxe served four years in a French prison for causing "grievous bodily harm."
After his early release in 2002, he promised to transform from a right-wing thug to a social worker. He wanted to study social sciences and work with people who "have problems with society." Maxe said he hoped that young people could benefit from his experience: "I can tell you, boys, violence doesn't pay."

And there is morreee

Day Opening - January 6

The Wine Harvest (La Vendimia)Painted: 1786 / 87. By Goya.
Lively shades and their contrast forming a harmonic whole, show us the artist´s true maturity. Scenes from everyday life at the time is the main motif in a series of paintings Goya did between 1786 and 1788.
Curiosity: Background workers enjoy their job!.