Who We Are

Our intention is to inform people of racist, homophobic, religious extreme hate speech perpetrators across social networking internet sites. And we also aim to be a focal point for people to access information and resources to report such perpetrators to appropriate web sites, governmental departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Mark Collette Booted Out of BNP ?

Rumours are circulating that Mark Collette has been booted out of the BNP for an attempted takeover.

But the actual claims coming out of the BNP HQ are

1) Alleged financial irregularities and ‘scamming’ concerning the procurement of print, especially large election print run, leaflets and regular publications including Identity magazine.
2) The leaking onto the internet of sensitive party information.
3) The ongoing, co-ordinated and sustained hate campaign, feeding lies to certain anti-BNP blog sites.

Wow is he getting stitched up or SET UP?
Lets hope the truth will out. .

read the official statment HERE

9remember though its Aprils 1st tomorrow and Nazi's have a very childlike 3yr old sense of humour).

Gordon Brown tells illegal migrants: "You are not welcome" (UK)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has stepped up his pre-election rhetoric on immigration by telling would-be illegal migrants: "You are not welcome."

With Labour facing a challenge in some areas from the anti-immigration BNP, Mr Brown urged a "united front" among the main parties to combat "xenophobia".

But he said it was right for politicians to talk about immigration and address people's "needs and fears".
The Tories said Mr Brown had "failed on immigration" and had no new ideas.

In his third major speech on immigration since becoming prime minister in 2007 Mr Brown said Labour's points-based migration system for workers from outside the EU would reduce the UK economy's dependence on migrant labour as British workers were trained up to meet skills shortages.

But he also stressed the importance of addressing voters' concerns about the impact of immigration on their communities.
He highlighted recent tightening up of restrictions on newcomers and changes to housing rules to allow councils to favour local people and a new fund to help high-migration areas cope with the added pressure on public services, paid for by migrants.

And he delivered a stark message to illegal migrants: "To those migrants who think they can get away without making a contribution; without respecting our way of life; without honouring the values that make Britain what it is - I have only one message - you are not welcome."

Giving his reaction to Mr Brown's speech, Conservative leader David Cameron said: "I'm delighted that the prime minister has converted to the cause of controlled migration, but people will wonder what he has been doing for the last few years."

The Conservatives would broadly continue with Labour's points-based system, which sets criteria immigrants from outside the EU must meet to work in Britain, but would also set an annual cap on the number of work permits issued.
They say they want to cut net immigration - the difference between those coming into the UK and those leaving - from "about 200,000" people a year to the "tens of thousands a year we saw in the 80s and 90s".

The Conservatives say they would achieve this by stopping students transferring automatically from study to work and by capping the number of skilled workers admitted from outside the EU, although they would encourage more high value migrants such as entrepreneurs, doctors and scientists.

They would also introduce a border force to combat illegal immigration and English language test for the spouses of legal migrants.
Shadow immigration minister Chris Grayling said: "We want to continue to attract the brightest and the best people to the UK - but with control on the overall numbers coming here."

In his speech, Gordon Brown called the Tory capping plan a "pre-determined quota" which he said was "misleading" as it will not apply to 80% of migrants, including EU nationals, family members and students.
The Liberal Democrats favour a policy of earned citizenship for illegal immigrants - dubbed an "amnesty" by their opponents.

They also say they would channel skilled migrant workers to parts of the country where there are labour shortages, away from the overcrowded South-East of England.
Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said there was "more consensus than meets the eye" on immigration and that "after many years of chronic mismanagement Labour have now got their act together".

But he said a border force, with police powers, was needed and he called for the reintroduction of exit and entry checks. The BNP, which is seeking to win its first seats at Westminster at the general election, want an immediate end to all immigration to the UK, including from other EU countries, and a programme of "voluntary repatriation".
The UK Independence Party is also focusing on immigration in its election campaign. It is proposing a five year freeze on immigration for permanent settlement.

UKIP wants withdrawal from the EU, like the BNP, and would end the automatic right of EU citizens to live and work in the UK, replacing it with a work permit system.

Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP's MEPs, said Britain would have an "open door" to the rest of Europe "while we are a member of the European Union".

"This is the great thing that the Labour and Conservative parties don't want the voters to know," he told the BBC News Channel.

In his speech, Mr Brown sought to differentiate between the position of parties such as the BNP and UKIP and "mainstream parties" who he said share a consensus that immigration is a positive force in British society and a necessary contributor to economic growth.
But he told the audience "how we conduct this debate is as important as the debate itself".

And he called on mainstream parties to unite against "those who want to end immigration not because of the pressures it places on our communities but simply because they don't like migrants".
Mr Brown announced changes to the points system, which will see two occupations - care workers and chefs - on the shortage list removed.
An aide said this would only reduce numbers entering the UK from outside the EU by about 2,500 and would not come fully into effect until 2014.
Mr Brown said he wanted to encourage young British people to take up social care and catering as careers to reduce the need to employ people from outside the EU.
BBC News

Hackney mayoral candidate cleared over BNP complaint

Hackney mayoral candidate Andrew Boff has been cleared by the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Standards Board following a complaint about remarks he made about the British National Party and its members.

Andrew Boff, who is a Member of the London Assembly’s Conservative Group, highlighted the issue of the BNP’s intention to stand Mayoral candidates in Hackney and a number of other London boroughs at Mayor’s Question Time last month.
Boff said, “I hope that the various organisations are alert to the effect that the BNP will have of the British National Party deciding to stand for the mayoralties of Hackney, Lewisham and Newham, and that the communities are alert to any of the issues that may take place amongst the communities in these particular areas.
“I view their decision with some trepidation, because where they go, there are always problems.”

But Richard Barnbrook BNP London Assembly Member made an official complaint, saying that Andrew Boff was claiming that “BNP members and associates are problematic by nature.”

The GLA Standards Board ruled that Boff made the comment in his official capacity (as a London-wide Assembly Member).

Andrew Boff said, “I’m pleased that the [GLA] Standards Board has refused to allow the BNP to silence me and that my comments about them are vindicated.

“The good community relations that exist in Hackney will only be damaged by the the BNP’s decision to stand a candidate for Mayor.
“They get their votes by stirring up the kind of hatred which can lead to violent attacks. Hackney residents and the authorities need to be reminded of that I want as many people as possible to vote on Thursday 6 May to show the BNP that they are not welcome here.”

Hackney Citizen

Teenage girl poses with machine gun on Facebook as she fulfils dream of being a gangster's moll

These shocking images show a teenage girl posing with a replica of one of the world's most powerful machine guns as she fulfils her dream of becoming a gangster's moll.

Chloe Goodman was 17 when she posed with the replica Mac 10 in what looks like a school locker room as a friend stands back-to-back with her brandishing a similar firearm.
In a second photo Goodman poses with a gun in a lavatory and in a third holds a toy gun as she plays an arcade game.
A court heard how Goodman thought it would be 'cool' to hang out with hoodlums but the pictures were found on her Facebook page when she was arrested for taking £300 to hide a loaded gun for a thug from a vicious crime gang.
Today Goodman, now 18, sobbed as she began three years in jail after the impressionable youngster was said to have got a 'buzz' out of associating with gangsters.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Goodman, wept as she appeared with another girl of 17 and two cousins from the South Manchester-based Lostock Crew, which has brought misery to the suburbs of Flixton and Urmston.
She was given a mandatory three years for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition after claims she 'embraced' gang culture.

Judge Timothy Mort told Goodman: 'A gun is used to reinforce a culture of territory or drugs and therefore it has no place in our society.
'That is why Parliament brought in mandatory sentences. The reason for that is because everybody is so concerned about the availability of guns in the community.
'From access to your computer it is clear that at the time you saw it was cool to be associated with lads who were on the fringes of gun culture in the area.
'Various images show that it was something that gave you a buzz.
'And it does seem to me that when you were asked to take this gun you were not that reluctant because it was seen as cool.

'I am satisfied that there was no intention to use that gun. You probably didn't give much thought to the fact that it was intended to shoot people.
'Although you clearly know lads on the fringes of that.'
Earlier the court heard how Goodman, from Urmston, had been friends with gangster Daniel Brown, 21, and regularly communicated on MySpace with a senior thug in the Lostock Crew.
Brown had served jail terms for robbery and drug dealing and was renowned for racketeering and demanding protection money from locals.
In May last year Brown drew up outside Goodman's house in a car with four friends and handed her a Smith and Wesson double action 0.44 revolver containing five bullets and wrapped in a white sock.

Mr Ian Metcalfe prosecuting said Goodman took the gun and told the younger girl she was 'looking after some heat for Danny B'.
She said Brown had told her it could 'blow her head off if she handled it' and described her situation as a 'load of pressure'.
But just hours later police raided Goodman's house following a tip off and the gun was stuffed in the 17-year-old's handbag and tossed out of a back window and landed on a hedge.

Officers found Goodman in the living room making calls on her mobile phone and the 17-year-old girl was found hiding in a storage area over a loft space.
Inquiries revealed how in the run up the arrests Goodman had sent a text message to Brown saying: 'Hiya Danny, Make sure you shout us whenever you need a favour. Hold it safe yeh.'
And three days before the gun was handed to Goodman she sent a text to Brown saying 'I'm gonna watch Shameless, but ru going to bring it me tomorrow?'

Brown replied saying 'I can bring it.'

The court heard that Goodman's computer was also examined and police found pictures of Goodman 'in a series of poses which seemed to corroborate gun or gang culture' going back to 2008 which 'embraced' gun culture.
She was also found to have a photo labelled 'Lostock Boys' which shows a group of youths holding weapons.
In mitigation, Goodman's counsel Miss Sarah Johnston said: 'The photograph of the Lostock boys was not taken by her but was posted on her Facebook.
'She has suffered panic attacks during her period in custody.'
Brown, from Stretford, was jailed for five years for possessing a firearm with ammunition and unrelated offences of conspiracy to blackmail.
His cousin, Michael Brown, 22, from Davyhulme got 16 months after the cousins threatened a man who owed them money.

The 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing ammunition and was jailed for two years.
Det Chief Insp Chris Packer, of Greater Manchester Police said after the case: 'This case highlights the very real dangers young women face when they are persuaded by either their boyfriends or male friends to store guns.

'These sorts of criminals coerce young and impressionable girls, asking them to stash weapons and take the heat off them.

'In many cases they probably have little or no regard for these women, but simply use them to hide weapons or drugs and try and stay under the police radar.

'However, as this case has proved, hiding a gun is tantamount to hiding a crime and as these young women can now testify, the consequence of that is a stint behind bars.
'It is important to stress that some women find themselves caught up in this cycle and are pressured into hiding the guns, to the extent where they are physically threatened if they do not do as their boyfriend's ask.

'I would urge anyone who is in this position to think carefully - is it worth getting a criminal record for this man? Do not let these men ruin your life.

Missouri hatemonger runs racist radio ads... to get elected to U.S. Senate (USA)

A Missouri man is counting on write-in votes - and racist radio ads - to catapult him into the United States Senate.

69-year-old bigot Glenn Miller, a leader of the White Patriot's Party during the 1980s, has paid for a series of offensive advertisements to be played on a local station. And there apparently is nothing the radio station can do about it.
“The company is required by federal law to run these spots and to do so without any edits,” Neil Larrimore, KMBZ program director, told the Kansas City Star. “Our hands are tied.”

One of the statements Miller makes in his ads includes, "Jews control the federal government and the media. Surely you don't still believe white men are in control, do ya? It's the Jews, stupid."

In another, he states:

"The future of white children will be a nightmare."

Many of his ads actually call white people "stupid," mixed in with an assortment of racist slurs directed at minorities.
This isn't the first time Miller has run for office. He made a similar bid in 2006, during which time he got only 40 votes, according to The Associated Press.

Another white supremacist, this one in Indiana, has been making a similar bid. Tom Metzger, 71, is using ads in local papers to support his write-in candidacy to get elected into the House of Representatives.

Like Miller, he has several failed attempts to get elected to public office under his belt.

NY Daily News

Holocaust survivor fights apathy on final trip home (Romania)

Hedi Fried was never supposed to return home. Packed into a cattle truck in 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz with the other 17,000 Jews in Sighet, now Sighetu Marmatiei in Romania.

But like her town's most famous son, the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, she survived and has often returned to the town to bear witness to what happened with talks and lectures.

Now, aged 85, she's made an emotional final journey there.
The rain streams down as we draw up outside Sighet's Jewish cemetery.
"This is my pilgrimage, the last one," says Hedi, stepping over a large brown puddle.

Hedi Fried was never supposed to return home. Packed into a cattle truck in 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz with the other 17,000 Jews in Sighet, now Sighetu Marmatiei in Romania.

But like her town's most famous son, the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, she survived and has often returned to the town to bear witness to what happened with talks and lectures.

Now, aged 85, she's made an emotional final journey there.
The rain streams down as we draw up outside Sighet's Jewish cemetery.

"This is my pilgrimage, the last one," says Hedi, stepping over a large brown puddle.

"At first I thought I could never return to Auschwitz, but I did and since then my nightmares are not as strong. I still have them but I no longer wake up in a damp sweat."

But Hedi is also concerned that new generations are not learning the truth about the Holocaust.
"My aim to come to Sighet was that the children understand what their great-grandparents have done, because when I lived here as a child I was a 'damned Jewess','' she says.

"They don't know what their grandparents have done: some have been perpetrators, a few rescuers, the majority bystanders. And that's what they have to learn: never, ever be a bystander."

Teenage ignorance
At the Elie Wiesel museum in Sighet, schoolchildren perform a folkdance for Hedi. She gives a talk - but the event is disorganised.
While she sits behind a table, teenagers stand huddled in front of her looking embarrassed.
Others are outside in the corridor. They couldn't hear a word even if they were trying to - which they're not.

I ask one 17-year-old boy why he is here.
"I don't know why, we've been told to come," he says, laughing.
"What do you know about the Holocaust?" I ask.
"Nothing, we haven't done it at school yet."
A 15-year-old girl who was inside is a little more forthcoming. She says Hedi spoke about her childhood in Sighet and what happened to her family.

"Were you surprised?" I ask.

"Yes," she replies.

"Have you ever heard what happened here in your town before?"


Fading traces
Monosyllabic answers are common to teenagers. But the local schools clearly did not see Hedi's visit as an opportunity to teach their pupils about this town's horrific recent history.
Of the 17,000 Jews who lived here before the war, there's hardly a trace - just a few families and a single surviving synagogue.
After the talk, Hedi joins in the folkdance, drawing on enviable reserves of energy for an 85-year-old.
But back at the hotel afterwards, she's clearly tired when asked about the lukewarm response that her testimony drew from the local youth.
"People don't want to talk about it, especially what happened in their own community. The bystanders are ashamed of it," she says.

"But tomorrow I am going to another school."
BBC News Special


France's top administrative body has advised the government that any total ban on face-covering Islamic veils could be unconstitutional.
The State Council also said a ban could be justified in some public places. Prime Minster Francois Fillon had asked the council for a legal opinion before drawing up a law on the subject. However, an MP from President Nicolas Sarkozy's party was quoted as saying that those drafting the legislation might ignore Tuesday's ruling. In the ruling, the council said any law could be in violation of the French constitution as well as the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. "It appears to the State Council that a general and absolute ban on the full veil as such can have no incontestable judicial basis," it said.

'Clear message needed'
But it added that rules requiring faces to be uncovered in public places such as schools, hospitals and law courts could be justified for security reasons, to combat fraud and to meet the needs of some public services. The State Council is required to give an opinion before any major piece of legislation is drafted in France. However, Jean Leonetti, the deputy parliamentary leader of Mr Sarkozy's UMP party, said a ban "needs to be complete or else it is misunderstood". "We still are of the view that a message needs to be sent that is clear and does not waver in terms of its implementation," he said. President Sarkozy has said more than once that the face-covering veil is not welcome in France, and that he wants a law restricting it. In January, a French parliamentary committee recommended a partial ban on Islamic face veils that could be imposed in hospitals, schools, government offices and on public transport. There are several types of headscarves and veils for Muslim women - those that cover the face being the niqab and the burka. In France, the niqab is the version most commonly worn. The interior ministry says only 1,900 women wear full veils in France, home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority.

BBC News


Final results from Italy's regional and local elections have confirmed a surge in support for the anti-immigrant right, mirroring similar gains recently seen in the Netherlands and France. With Silvio Berlusconi and his allies taking four regional governorships from the left, Umberto Bossi's Northern League has emerged as the undisputed winner. The League was expected to take 13% of the national vote, up from 8% at the last general election in 2008 when it used a poster of white sheep kicking out a black one. Bossi's party won two important governorships – Piedmont, the region around Turin, and the Veneto. In the Veneto it received a 10% higher share than the prime minister's Freedom People movement. The League also continued its expansion into areas outside its Po valley homeland. In "red" Emilia-Romagna it won almost 14%. The party's success fitted an emerging pattern. Earlier this month the Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders, who has compared the Qur'an to Hitler's Mein Kampf, made big gains in local elections. In France Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front won nearly 10% of the vote in regional ballots. The League's platform in the campaign leading up to the Italian poll on Sunday and Monday was less overtly racist than the NF's or that of Wilders' Party for Freedom. But Bossi's party is in government and, with control of the interior ministry, it has been able to implement many of the policies it sought to introduce, including the turning back of would-be clandestine immigrants at sea and the setting up of "centres for identification and expulsion".

Welcoming the results, Bossi called his party "unchained". He gave a hint of what that could mean when he clashed with another minister, loyal to Berlusconi, after declaring that he wanted a Leaguer to be the next mayor of Milan. There was another spat after Berlusconi's public sector minister, Renato Brunetta, was defeated in a bid to become mayor of Venice. He said "friendly fire" from Bossi's followers had brought him to grief. In the main election the governorships of 13 of the country's 20 regions were up for grabs. Six went to the right and seven to the left – a relative victory for Berlusconi, who entered the campaign handicapped by the economic crisis and the rank incompetence of his own officials who failed to submit on time the list of his party's candidates in the key region of Lazio. Berlusconi, who controls a daily newspaper, a weekly news magazine and three television channels, said he had survived a "terrible campaign of slander and defamation". He added: "Once again, love has conquered envy and hate." He said the result would enable his government to enact "the reforms necessary for the modernisation and development of our country". The reform at the top of his agenda before the poll was an overhaul of the judiciary intended to draw the claws of the prosecutors who have been trying to put him in jail for more than 20 years.

The Guardian


Juventus defender Jonathan Zebina claimed he was the victim of racism after being hit by a fan on Sunday. Zebina was slapped on the back of the head by a Juve supporter as he was about to enter the team's bus ahead of their home Serie A game against Atalanta. A group of Juve fans were protesting outside the team's hotel in Turin when the incident took place. "It is a racist act,'' Zebina said. "I believe one has the right to criticise the team. We, players, are fortunate. We have an important responsibility considering the social climate in which we live, where people are losing their jobs. "Hence, those that pay for a ticket to watch a game can protest as long as it is done with civility.'' This is not the first time this season Juve fans have been accused of racism. A section of Juve fans were banned earlier this year by the Italian football league from attending a game after racial taunts against Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli. However, Zebina believes authorities should take more action. "The institutions should send out more signals of condemnation,'' he said. "I don't think Italy is racist but I am saddened that the image of this country is stained by incidents like this one. I believe these acts also take place in France, England and the United States. "These episodes, however, do not tarnish the image that I have of Italy having lived here for 12 years.''



Germany's Jewish community on Monday warned of an "alarming" rise in anti-Semitic violence by Arab and Turkish immigrants after Berlin police reported two unrelated attacks against Jews at the weekend. "There's an urgent need to fight the roots of anti-Semitism, especially coming from young Turks and Arabs, and to effectively counter it," the Jewish Community in Berlin said in a statement. "That the violence from the immigrant community is being increasingly aimed at Jews or people they assume are Jews is alarming," it added. A sensitive issue in Germany because of its Nazi past, even relatively minor reports of anti-Semitic violence make the news. Police reported at the weekend that two women and a man were beaten, struck on the head with beer bottles and insulted by a gang of immigrants in an underground station. Local media reports said the three were first asked if they were Jewish. The attack started after they said yes. Police said they were searching for the assailants. In a separate incident, a 61-year-old German was detained after shouting anti-Semitic slogans at two 10-year-old girls at a train station. He threatened to beat a 28-year-old man who tried to protect them with a beer bottle. He was detained and faces charges of inciting racial hatred and attempted bodily harm.


US 'Christian militants' charged after FBI raids (USA)

Admin Comment: With the Southern Poverty Law Centre giving the number of active hate groups in America at around 840+ incidents like this will obviously start to become a regular event.

Nine alleged members of a radical US Christian militia group have been charged with conspiring to kill police officers and wage war against the US.

The suspects were detained in a series of FBI raids across the Mid-West, while one remains at large.

Prosecutors say the eight men and one woman belonged to the Hutaree group.
It is alleged they planned to kill a police officer in Michigan and then stage a second attack on the funeral, using landmines and roadside bombs.

Preparing for the Antichrist
The FBI raided properties in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana over the weekend in the belief that the group was planning a reconnaissance exercise.
"The indictment... outlines an insidious plan by anti-government extremists to murder a law enforcement officer in order to lure police from across the nation to the funeral where they would be attacked with explosive devices," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
"Thankfully, this alleged plot has been thwarted and a severe blow has been dealt to a dangerous organisation that today stands accused of conspiring to levy war against the United States."
A website in the name of the group shows video footage of military-style training exercises and describes Hutaree as "Christian warriors". It is edited to a backing track of rock music.

A statement on the website says the group are preparing to defend themselves upon the arrival of the Antichrist.
The website says Hutaree is "preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive".
In the indictment, Hutaree is described as an "anti-government extremist organisation" advocating violence against the police.
BBC News

BNP hires security guards for Poster (UK)

FURIOUS BNP chiefs have drafted in security guards - to protect a POSTER.

The far-right party splashed out £2,000 on its first billboard campaign in Scotland.
But just hours after the massive sign was unveiled, it was targeted by outraged protesters and torn down.

And since being replaced, the poster has been pelted with paint, covered in graffiti branding the BNP "nazi scum" and even set on fire.
The party has now hired two security guards to keep an eye on the Aberdeen billboard round the clock.

Barry Scott, the BNP's north east organiser, said: "We thought we might get a problem with graffiti but we never expected the poster would be destroyed.
"If people have a problem with the BNP we would rather they emailed us."
On their website, the BNP boasts that the poster on Aberdeen's Great Northern Road is "yet another breakthrough" for the party.
But local Labour councillor George Adam said: "There are certainly people who are extremely concerned about this, who think the poster is offensive."

And Ken Ferguson, of the Scottish Socialist Party, added: "It's not surprising that a poster for the BNP has attracted hostility. Their racist views are repugnant to the vast majority of people in Scotland."

Grampian Police said four men aged between 20 and 25 have been charged in connection with three incidents involving the billboard.

The Sun

Man Sets Fire To BNP Poster in Aberdeen (Scotland, UK)

A MAN set fire to an Aberdeen a billboard displaying a BNP poster.
First offender Ewan Ross, drank alcohol to build up the “Dutch courage” to set fire to the poster in Aberdeen’s Great Northern Road, which advertised the policies of the British National Party.

The 25-year-old was seen walking backwards and forwards in front of the billboard on Aberdeen’s Great Northern Road before setting it alight at 10.50pm on Friday.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard the blaze had put the BNP £200 out of pocket in damages. Ross, whose address was listed in Aberdeen Sheriff Court papers as 33 Bonnyview Drive, Aberdeen, was admonished of the charge.


Brown to focus on 'fair' immigration system in speech (UK)

Gordon Brown is to urge all parties to show a "united front" against those opposing immigration out of prejudice.

In a speech in London, the PM will say it is right for politicians to talk about the issue and address people's concerns about immigration levels.
But he will say debate must be measured and talk that immigration is "out of control" plays into extremists' hands.
The speech comes as a number of leading politicians challenged the main parties to toughen pledges on immigration.
The parliamentarians, including Labour MP Frank Field, have written an open letter challenging all the main parties to toughen their manifesto pledges.
The British National Party (BNP), which wants a stop to all immigration, except in exceptional cases, and to deport all illegal immigrants, won its first seats in the European Parliament last year.
Some Labour and Tory politicians blamed the BNP's breakthrough on the failure of their parties to address concerns about the impact of immigration on jobs, housing and social services.

'Right to talk'

Labour says the points-based system governing the amount of people that can come to work in the UK based on different criteria - introduced in 2008 - is fair, flexible and has contributed to a fall in immigration.
But the Tories say the current system is not working and have urged an annual cap to be set on immigration to reflect the UK's economic needs.

Conservative leader David Cameron has said net immigration levels - the difference between those coming into the UK and those leaving - have been too high in the past 10 years and need to be reduced.

In his second major speech on immigration in the past six months, Mr Brown will say people have a right to talk about the issue.
"As politicians in the mainstream of British politics, we have a duty to listen and engage with them - because if we don't people will listen to whoever does," he is expected to say.
 "When we talk of fairness, it is right to talk of immigration and address people's worries and concerns.

"The question of who comes to Britain, and what they have to do to earn that privilege - it is something that should be the subject of open and responsible debate.
"But how we conduct this debate is an important as the debate itself."

'Standing together'
Mr Brown will say there is a consensus among mainstream parties in favour of immigration as a positive force in British society and a necessary contributor to economic growth.
"So I call on all those in the mainstream of our politics to stand together in the coming weeks and present a united front against those who don't value the diverse and outward-looking Britain that we stand for."
In November, Mr Brown announced plans for a points-based test for permanent residence and citizenship and more recently pledged to tighten the rules on student visas. The Lib Dems have said immigrants should be encouraged to go to parts of the UK with specific skills shortages and which have the "will and resources" to accommodate them.

They have also called for improved border controls and for exit checks at all ports to be reinstated.

BBC News


Thanks to SRC for letting us know about this.

Wikileaks' German team member Daniel Schmitt stated in a podcast interview 37,000 internal emails of Germany's far right extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) are on the verge of being released. Wikileaks is currently in the process of designing a tool which will allow people to browse and comment on individual emails. It will be similar to The Guardian's MP expenses site - Wikileaks actually talked to The Guardian about using the platform the newspaper had developed. Different tools however will be required for the NPD emails. Daniel Schmitt also commented on the decrypted US military video which will be released during a press conference this coming Monday. Julian Assange, Wikileaks' spokesperson, twittered last week he and his colleagues were being observed by agents with US State Department IDs and members of an Icelandic security company. Wikileaks still has no clue who the people that were tailing them actually work for and what their intentions are - althought it is plausible they are interested in the video Wikileaks will present in order to prepare a concerted PR action to counter its effects. Mr Schmitt would give no further information, as he had returned to Germany from Iceland before the events took place. He did however state that letters which were sent to the team during their stay in February in Iceland arrived opened and missing their content. Neither the hotel staff nor the Icelandic postal service were able to state how on earth that could have happened. One question raised during the interview concerned editorial control of the 37.000 emails pending release. Asked whether it were ethically responsible to present them to the general public, as a good bunch of the emails will concern private matters with people not related to the party in any way. Wikileaks believes the general interest outweighs the interest of third parties to stay exempt from disclosure. Apart from that, Wikileaks' adheres to the "information wants to be free" viewpoint and also does not have the manpower to sift through the entire database in order to decide what to release, or not.


Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Don't give the EDL a toehold in Aylesbury says Union Leader (UK)

The leader of a Buckinghamshire union has put out a call for help from activists.

Steve Bell, branch secretary for the Bucks Health Branch of Unison, will hold a meeting a week before a planned protest by the English Defence League in Aylesbury.
Mr Bell said: "The EDL, whileclaiming not to be racist or fascist, has on previous demonstrations been giving Nazi salutes and shouting slogans that could be considered racist.
"BNP (British National Party) and other fascist activists have also been witnessed at these events.
"It is also clear that if their ideas are not challenged then the local community in which they are active, will see a rise in racist incidents.
"That is why the Bucks Health branch of Unison believes that we need to challenge their ideas and organise to defeat them, so that the ideas they represent do not get a toehold in the Aylesbury area.

"These ideas are not welcome and are divisive and will set back our struggle to defend the public sector and the terms and conditions of our members."
Mr Bell has invited members of the Labour movement and the local community to work out how to challenge EDL's ideas.

The meeting will take place on April 26 at 7.30pm at the Multicultural Centre


BNP candidate calls gay Tory MP 'immoral'

A BNP candidate in Sussex has attacked a local Tory MP as over his "morals and honesty" because he is gay.

East Sussex BNP leader Nick Prince criticised Greg Barker for coming out after he had won a seat in the 2005 general election.
Mr Prince added that he believe the BNP could topple Mr Barker, who has a majority of 13,449 votes. The Rother area has only 36 BNP members.
The candidate who will challenge the sitting Tory MP is Neil Jackson, 51. He was named as the BNP candidate for the seat last week.

Mr Prince, who is contesting the nearby Hastings seat, told the Bexhill Observer that his party would not allow men to kiss in public or gay couples to adopt children.

He then criticised Mr Barker, who was married with children when he came out in 2006
Mr Prince said: "In the case of Greg Barker, it is a question of morals and honesty. He went to the electorate a married man with a nice young family – now he goes to his electorate five years later a homosexual man.

"I don't believe it to be homophobic to raise this issue when we are talking about a guy in his early forties – it is a little late in life to be confused."
Mr Barker told the newspaper he did not intend to enter a slanging match with the BNP. He said: "The BNP is completely beyond the pale and I have no intention in entering into a debate with that sort of people."

Last week, BNP leader Nick Griffin suggested that he had made his party more gay-friendly.
Speaking to Total Politics magazine in extracts published by PinkNews.co.uk, he said that he knew the party had gay members but that it was a "don't ask, don't tell situation".

Mr Griffin said the party had moved away from wanting to re-criminalise homosexuality but would scrap civil partnerships if it got into power.

Pink News

More must be done to protect young net users (UK)

MORE work must be done to keep abreast of changes in modern technology, according to an internet safety expert.
Dr Tanya Byron said the United Kingdom was the world leader in online safety, but that more can still be done.
Professor Byron, the Government’s internet safety advisor, has carried out a progress review into her report, Safer Children in A Digital World, which was published in 2008.
She has highlighted a number of key successes which have been implemented since the report was published.

One of these was the announcement in December last year of a Government internet safety strategy which will see all over-fives taught e-safety in schools.
The legislation was brought in following The Northern Echo’s Safety Net campaign, launched in the wake of the murder of Darlington teenager Ashleigh Hall.
Seventeen-year-old Ashleigh was killed after befriending a man she met on Facebook.

However, he turned out not to be a 19-year-old youth, but instead 32-year-old convicted rapist Peter Chapman.
When the internet safety strategy was launched, Schools Minister Ed Balls wrote in The Northern Echo that the Safety Net campaign was important as there are “dangers lurking behind computer screens”.
In her review announced yesterday, Prof Byron also praised the creation of the Zip it, Block it, Flag it public awareness campaign and the creation of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, a coalition of government, charities and industry.

She said: “Raising awareness of, and improving education in, the way in which children and young people deal with risks online is an important first step. The UK has taken this first step but there is more to be done.”
She has made a number of recommendations including more work done to prevent underage children accessing social networking sites and pornography, an industry wide self-regulated code of practice and work with mobile phone and games console companies to improve standards for parental controls.

A response to the review is to be completed by July.

Mr Balls said: “I’m glad Professor Byron has made it clear that industry and Government need to redouble their efforts to provide support to parents to help them keep their children safe online.”

The Northern Echo

Three Jews brutally attacked in Berlin

A man and two women were brutally attacked in Berlin allegedly after the assailants demanded to know whether they were Jewish.

According to a statement from the Jewish community of Berlin, a man of "Mediterranean" appearance on Friday night demanded to know if the three were Jewish. After they said they were, the man "obviously went to get some friends," who then beat the three, all in their mid-20s, in an underground train and on the platform in the Wilmersdorf section of Berlin.
Police are investigating the incident as an anti-Semitic and racist attack, as it allegedly began with the attackers cursing the victims. The youths then beat and kicked the two women and one attacker smashed a bottle over the man's head.
Police said they had no information about the identity of the attackers, according to news reports. But Levi Solomon, head of the Jewish community's department for combating anti-Semitism, said in a statement that "violent attacks on Jews or presumed Jews were increasingly committed by youths from immigrant circles."

"We urgently need to grasp the causes and affects of anti-Semitism, especially among young Turks and Arabs, and to fight vigorously against this problem."
In another incident over the weekend, police arrested four of the 18 youths who attacked three pedestrians in the Wedding district of Berlin, beating and kicking them. One attacker used a knife to tear a victim's clothing. The victims were treated on the scene for injuries.

Police are searching for the remaining suspects.
There also has been a spate of violent attacks allegedly by right-wing extremist youths in the Neukoln section of Berlin.


The scenario is classic. Hungary's economy is in crisis, its large Roma minority is an easy scapegoat, and a far-right party blaming "Gypsy crooks" and "welfare spongers" is set to be the big winner.

If opinion polls are right, the nationalist Jobbik party has a chance of becoming the second biggest party in parliament after an election on April 11 and 25, denying the center-right favorites Fidesz a possible two-thirds majority. "With its extreme populist rhetoric, Jobbik could put the next government's policy moves under pressure," said political analyst Andras Giro-Szasz. "Jobbik can limit the popular mandate of the next government." The Roma make up between 5 and 7 percent of Hungary's population and vilifying them has proved Jobbik's most successful tactic as an economic slump of more than 6 percent last year has left more than one in 10 Hungarians unemployed. Its biggest gains will be in places such as Ozd in Hungary's poor northeast, a steel town fallen on hard times, where it looks set to defeat the Socialists who have held the seat for 16 years.

Unemployment has grown
Unemployment has been above 20 percent in Ozd for years, and one-third of the population is Roma. Jobbik (Movement For a Better Hungary) nearly beat Fidesz there in the 2009 European Parliament election, and its popularity has only grown since. "Many of us are sick of the way Gypsies think of welfare as a way of life," said Andras Kemacs, a 27-year-old mechanic in Ozd. "Jobbik impresses me with its openness about that." Jobbik has also capitalized on popular resentment toward the political elite, including Fidesz, which it calls corrupt. It has demonized the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, which insisted on painful spending cuts as a condition of bailing out Hungary's public finances. And it is media savvy, using the Internet so effectively that its appeal among young people, including college students, surpasses that of any other party except Fidesz. Polls show national support for Jobbik nearing 20 percent among all decided voters. That puts it neck-and-neck with the ruling Socialists, while Fidesz has about 60 percent of the projected vote. Those gains, splitting the right-wing vote as well as stealing votes from the left, have eroded Fidesz's chances of winning the two-thirds majority that would be a platform for the broad reforms that economists say Hungary needs. Hungary has struggled for years to streamline its bloated government sector and trim public expenditure. The spending cuts have brought the budget deficit under control, but most public sector structural reform has lagged behind. The key reform requiring a two-thirds majority is a rationalization of Hungary's 3,200 local governments, which run hospitals and schools and are major drag on the state budget. Fidesz could also attempt a reform of notoriously corrupt party financing.

Decay and despair
In Ozd, the problems besetting Hungary, and especially its Roma, are painfully evident. The collapse of communism after 1989 led to the closure of Ozd's steel plant, the town's number one employer, throwing 14,000 people out of work. Unskilled Roma were laid off first; most have not worked in the 20 years since. Decay and despair in nearby villages drove thousands more to Ozd. Today, one-third of the 39,000 residents are Roma, says Lajos Berki, leader of the Gypsy Community Council. "About 1,000 of us have more or less regular work," Berki said. "The rest live on welfare. There are problems, there is no denying that. A few thousand Gypsies have caused real problems." The Roma shantytown on the outskirts of Ozd, known as Hetes, bustles with activity, but not paid work. Boys play soccer in the dirt outside the dilapidated homes, while adults chop illegally collected firewood or mill about idly. "I'm not fixated on welfare," said Gyula Budai, standing near the only working tap that 500 Roma share. "Take it away, give us work, then you'll see who wants to work and who doesn't."

Prolonged tension
Ozd's Fidesz candidate, Gabor Riz, acknowledged problems in an interview, but refrained from calling them Roma issues. "There are no grounds to fear a Roma-Hungarian ethnic conflict," he said. "But there could be prolonged tension between wage earners and welfare beneficiaries." However, Ozd's Socialist member of parliament, Istvan Toth, says the politicians have been avoiding the issues. "We have sensed the problems, but pretended that they might go away if we don't talk about them," he told Reuters. "We just tried to divide (Roma) along party lines, and now we suddenly realize that ... Jobbik played the Gypsy card." Ozd's Jobbik candidate, Andras Kisgergely, had no problem filling the region's largest theater to capacity with a rally. "For 500 years, Gypsies have not been able to adopt the cultural norms to live in peace with the majority," he told his audience. "Nine out of 10 criminals are Gypsies ... We need to end that. We need to improve public safety, and create jobs. Make them work. We need to tie welfare to community work." The 800 supporters in the room cheered each point wildly. Peter Borbas, a 40 year-old office clerk, was one of them. "We need to talk about Gypsy crime at long last," he said. "People have had enough. No method is too radical to end Gypsy crime."


Help The Daily Telegraph trace these models pictured 'endorsing' the BNP's anti-immigration policies

Originally published in the Daily Telegraph. Please support this.

In the next few weeks it’s more than likely that a leaflet carrying this image will appear on your doormat. The BNP have printed tens of thousands ahead of the general election and its activists are now busy stuffing them through letter boxes.

The leaflet, Putting British People First, is less immigrant-obsessed than might be expected from the far-right party. Pledges to reduce crime, EU interference and high taxes sit alongside the “No to Immigration” cry on the front cover, and the party’s promise to bring British troops back from Afghanistan is given prominence.
But the most striking thing about the leaflet is the photo on the reverse: three generations of a smiling, prosperous, attractive family beneath the headline “Why People Like You Voted BNP

The endorsements offered in the accompanying text (Islamification of Britain, declining NHS, British jobs for British workers) appear in quotation marks just millimetres from the heads of the people in the picture. While the quotes are not directly attributed, a casual reader could be forgiven for assuming that the Attractive Family vote BNP.

But, let’s be honest, they don’t look very British. The flawless smiles, schmaltzy pose and sunny perfection of the scene owe more to US corporate photography than British electioneering.

If you have any information, please email matthew.moore@telegraph.co.uk

For the full story Daily Telegraph

Credit: The BNP leaflet image was taken from The Straight Choice website, which allows voters across Britain to upload election pamphlets to aid monitoring of parties’ claims and promises.


Monday, 29 March 2010


At the headquarters of Human Rights Watch, more than 30 storeys above the noise and bustle of Manhattan, there is so much high-mindedness hanging in the air you can almost taste it. This is the epicentre of a certain type of socially smart, progressive activism — the kind that persuades Hollywood grandees, power lawyers and liberal financiers to dig deeply into their pockets. When the story broke that one of the organisation’s most prominent and vocal members of staff might be a collector of Nazi-era military memorabilia it felt like some sort of sexual scandal had erupted in the Victorian church. For a lobbying group accustomed to adulatory coverage in the media, it was a public-relations catastrophe. Human Rights Watch is one of two global superpowers among the world’s myriad humanitarian pressure groups. It is relatively young — established in its current form in 1988 — but it has grown so quickly in size, wealth and influence that it has all but eclipsed its older, London-based rival, Amnesty International. Unlike Amnesty, HRW, as it is known, gets its money from charitable foundations and wealthy individuals — such as the financier George Soros — rather than a mass membership. And, also unlike Amnesty, it seeks to make an impact, not through extensive letter-writing campaigns, but by talking to governments and the media, urging openness and candour and backing up its advocacy with research reports. It is an association that is all about influence — an influence that depends on a carefully honed image of objectivity, expertise and high moral tone.

So it was perhaps a little awkward that a key member of staff was found to have such a treasure trove of Nazi regalia. By day, Marc Garlasco was HRW’s only military expert, the person that its Emergencies Division would send to conflict zones to investigate alleged war crimes. He wrote reports condemning the dropping of cluster bombs in the Russia-Georgia war, the alleged illegal use of white phosphorus by the Israeli army in Gaza and coalition tactics that he said “unnecessarily” put Iraqi or Afghan civilians at risk. An enthusiastic source of quotes for the media, he was incessantly on the phone to journalists. But by night, Garlasco was “Flak88”, an obsessive contributor to internet forums on Third Reich memorabilia and an avid collector of badges and medals emblazoned with swastikas and eagles. A lavishly illustrated $100 book he compiled and self-published is dedicated to his grandfather, who served in the Luftwaffe. On members-only sites such as Wehrmachtawards.com he was writing comments like “VERY nice Hitler signature selection”; “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!” An interest in Nazi memorabilia does not necessarily suggest Nazi sympathies — but it is hardly likely to play well in the salons where Garlasco’s employer might solicit donations. Human Rights Watch started small, but there is now a grandness about it, a deep hum of power and connectedness. In Los Angeles, its annual Hollywood dinner is said to raise more than $2m. When he was guest editor of Vanity Fair, Brad Pitt published a profile of the executive director, Kenneth Roth. In London, HRW’s board meetings and fundraising parties are held in huge houses in Notting Hill and Hampstead, with wealthy expat Americans — “the Democratic party in exile”, one board member calls it — vying to outdo each other in lavishness.

Significant contributors in the UK include Tony Elliott, the owner of Time Out, and Catherine Zennstrom, whose husband, Niklas, created Skype. When the philanthropic London-based banker John Studzinski joined the board it was proof positive that he had “made it”. The enthusiasts for Third Reich memorabilia who meet up in cyberspace make up a cosy little community. In one posting Garlasco put up a photograph of himself wearing a sweatshirt with an Iron Cross on the front, sitting next to his daughter. One of his internet buddies comments: “Love the sweatshirt… Not one I could wear here in Germany though — well I could but it would be a lot of hassle.” Garlasco certainly seems to have been more open with his online collector friends than he had been with his employer. “Flak88” was more than happy to talk openly about his day job. He wondered whether he should reveal his hobby to Human Rights Watch — who evidently knew nothing about it: “So I am trying to figure out what to do. My book is clsoe [sic] to done, but I am not sure if I should put my name on it. If folks at work found out I might very well lose my job.” His dilemma did not last long. In September a blogger noted that Marc Garlasco had long been reviewing books on Third Reich memorabilia on Amazon — and that he was the same Marc Garlasco who had written controversial HRW reports about alleged Israeli violations in Gaza and Lebanon. The blogger did not accuse him of being a Nazi, but wondered if Garlasco’s “obsession with anti-Semitic Nazi genocidal lunatics” was in any way related to his “apologism for anti-Semitic genocidal Hamas lunatics”. The story soon gained momentum. Human Rights Watch was forced to investigate.

Initially HRW offered Garlasco unequivocal support. This was not surprising. The organisation is supremely self-confident. When I asked the executive director Kenneth Roth if he could think of any errors made by HRW, he replied: “Nothing major. There is an errata page on our website.” And despite his oddness, Garlasco was also an asset. Born in Manhattan and raised in Queens, his background was a useful counterpoint to the posh-boho culture that pervades the group. He is a keen gun-owner, a member of the National Rifle Association, had worked for the Pentagon and counted key members of the military as friends. More than anything, his military and strategic know-how provided the group with desperately needed credibility — especially when talking about “disproportionate” military responses. HRW’s public-relations machine quickly went into action. Garlasco was defended as “the author of a monograph on the history of German air force and army anti-aircraft medals and a contributor to websites that promote serious historical research… and which forbid hate speech”. They said that comments by Garlasco about Nazi regalia merely “reflect the enthusiasm of a keen collector… and have no bearing on Garlasco’s work for Human Rights Watch”. Garlasco himself wrote an apologetic column on the political website the Huffington Post in which he claimed he had “never hidden my hobby, because there’s nothing shameful in it, however weird it might seem to those who aren’t fascinated by military history. Precisely because it’s so obvious that the Nazis were evil, I never realised that other people, including friends and colleagues, might wonder why I care about these things”.

It wasn’t enough for HRW to defend Garlasco or to make the sensible distinction between an innocent interest in the second-world-war German army and an unhealthy attraction to Nazi iconography. HRW also went on the offensive. It accused those who raised the issue of Garlasco’s hobby of being part of “a campaign to deflect attention from Human Rights Watch’s rigorous and detailed reporting on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by the Israeli government”. It even used the word “conspiracy”: its programmes director, Iain Levine, later went so far as to directly accuse the Israeli government of being behind it. But he provided no evidence for the charge. The vehemence of Human Rights Watch in defending Garlasco surprised many. But it made sense for two reasons. Though HRW relishes complaints from infuriated dictatorships, it is not used to its personnel and methods being questioned at home. And it coincided with a series of less-well-publicised criticisms of the group. Suddenly, when its own practices came under scrutiny, it became very touchy. On September 14 last year the organisation suspended Marc Garlasco with pay “pending an investigation”. But as the months went by, HRW said nothing about the investigation — and nothing about Garlasco’s status. Garlasco himself kept mum. When I called him, he told me that he “had nothing more to say”. I learnt from friends of his, however, that he had been gagged by a confidentiality agreement. They said that he had in effect been fired, but would be paid for the duration of his contract as long as he kept silent. When I visited HRW’s New York headquarters in February, I asked Kenneth Roth about Garlasco’s status. He said nothing had changed. Did he mean that Garlasco is still suspended pending an investigation? “Yes,” came the reply. On March 5, Garlasco’s name was removed from the list of staff members on HRW’s website. Later that day, the Jerusalem Post newspaper asked about Garlasco’s status. A spokeswoman replied by email that HRW had “regretfully accepted Marc Garlasco’s resignation” two weeks before. Kenneth Roth has sent an email to staff, board members and some key donors insisting that they do not respond to any media inquiries about the matter. Garlasco, meanwhile, prefers to stay out of the limelight: when The Sunday Times Magazine inquired about using the picture of Garlasco wearing a sweatshirt featuring an Iron Cross, we received this reply: “It is my understanding that you intend on using a photo or likeness of him, which is copyrighted, without his permission. Should you do so… we will prosecute this matter to the fullest extent of the law. Sincerely, Attorney Paul James Garlasco.” We contacted Attorney Garlasco to find out if he was related to Marc Garlasco; he did not return our calls or emails. HRW was also cagey about the photograph. Garlasco has become a non-person. “It might be him,” hedged the communications director Emma Daly, but “he doesn’t work here any more.”
Every year, Human Rights Watch puts out up to 100 glossy reports — essentially mini books — and 600-700 press releases, according to Daly, a former journalist for The Independent. Some conflict zones get much more coverage than others. For instance, HRW has published five heavily publicised reports on Israel and the Palestinian territories since the January 2009 war. In 20 years they have published only four reports on the conflict in Indian-controlled Kashmir, for example, even though the conflict has taken at least 80,000 lives in these two decades, and torture and extrajudicial murder have taken place on a vast scale. Perhaps even more tellingly, HRW has not published any report on the postelection violence and repression in Iran more than six months after the event. When I asked the Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson if HRW was ever going to release one, she said: “We have a draft, but I’m not sure I want to put one out.” Asked the same question, executive director Kenneth Roth told me that the problem with doing a report on Iran was the difficulty of getting into the country. I interviewed a human-rights expert at a competing organisation in Washington who did not wish to be named because “we operate in a very small world and it’s not done to criticise other human-rights organisations”. He told me he was “not surprised” that HRW has still not produced a report on the violence in Iran: “They are thinking about how it’s going to be used politically in Washington. And it’s not a priority for them because Iran is just not a bad guy that they are interested in highlighting. Their hearts are not in it. Let’s face it, the thing that really excites them is Israel.”

Noah Pollak, a New York writer who has led some of the criticisms against HRW, points out that it cares about Palestinians when maltreated by Israelis, but is less concerned if perpetrators are fellow Arabs. For instance, in 2007 the Lebanese army shelled the Nahr al Bared refugee camp near Tripoli (then under the control of Fatah al Islam radicals), killing more than 100 civilians and displacing 30,000. HRW put out a press release — but it never produced a report. Such imbalance was at the heart of a public dressing-down that shook HRW in October. It came from the organisation’s own founder and chairman emeritus, the renowned publisher Robert Bernstein, who took it to task in The New York Times for devoting its resources to open and democratic societies rather than closed ones. (Originally set up as Helsinki Watch, the group’s original brief was to expose abuses of human rights behind the iron curtain.) “Nowhere is this more evident than its work in the Middle East,” he wrote. “The region is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human-rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel… than of any other country in the region.” Bernstein pointed out that Israel has “a population of 7.4m, is home to at least 80 human-rights organisations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government…and probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world… Meanwhile the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350m people and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic”. Bernstein concluded that if HRW did not “return to its founding mission and the spirit of humility that animated it… its credibility will be seriously undermined and its important role in the world significantly diminished”. HRW’s response was ferocious — and disingenuous. In their letters to the paper, Roth and others made it sound as if Bernstein had said that open societies and democracies should not be monitored at all. I met Robert Bernstein at an office he keeps in midtown Manhattan. Though he has been retired from publishing for more than two decades, and from HRW for 12 years, he remains active in human rights, especially in China. He said: “It broke my heart to write that article… Of course open societies should be watched very carefully, but HRW is one of the very few organisations that is supposed to go into closed societies. Why should HRW be covering Guantanamo? It’s already covered by a lot of other organisations.”

The revelation of Marc Garlasco’s hobby was also significant because he was the first and only person at Human Rights Watch with any kind of military expertise. While staff members at HRW tend to be lawyers, journalists or political activists, Garlasco, 40, had worked as a civilian employee at the Pentagon for seven years before joining HRW in 2004. According to his HRW biography, he had served as “a senior intelligence analyst covering Iraq” and his last position there was as “chief of high-value targeting” at the very beginning of the Iraq war. This apparently meant that it was he who selected targets for air strikes. According to an interview Garlasco gave to Der Spiegel, he was a key player in an air strike on Basra on April 5, 2003 intended to kill Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as Chemical Ali, but which instead took the lives of 17 civilians. In another interview, Garlasco said he was responsible for up to 50 other air strikes — none of which killed anyone on the target list but which accounted for several hundred civilian deaths. Soon after the Chemical Ali air strike, he left to join Human Rights Watch. In interviews he has suggested that he did so because he was sickened by his responsibility for these deaths, and had always been opposed to the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Associates of Garlasco have told me that there had long been tensions between Garlasco and HRW’s Middle East Division in New York — perhaps because he sometimes stuck his neck out and did not follow the HRW line. Garlasco himself apparently resented what he felt was pressure to sex up claims of Israeli violations of laws of war in Gaza and Lebanon, or to stick by initial assessments even when they turned out to be incorrect. In June 2006, Garlasco had alleged that an explosion on a Gaza beach that killed seven people had been caused by Israeli shelling. However, after seeing the details of an Israeli army investigation that closely examined the relevant ballistics and blast patterns, he subsequently told the Jerusalem Post that he had been wrong and that the deaths were probably caused by an unexploded munition in the sand. But this went down badly at Human Rights Watch HQ in New York, and the admission was retracted by an HRW press release the next day.

Since the Garlasco affair blew up, critics of Human Rights Watch have raised questions about other appointments. An Israeli newspaper revealed that Joe Stork, the deputy head of HRW’s Middle East department, was a radical leftist who put out a magazine in the 1970s that praised the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. In 1976 he attended an anti-Zionist conference in Baghdad hosted by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. As Kenneth Roth pointed out to me, this was all three decades ago, Stork was just one of seven editors of the magazine when its editorial praised the massacre, and he later became a staunch critic of Saddam Hussein. Certainly, he no longer spices up reports with talk of “revolutionary potential of the Palestinian masses.” That said, when Stork was hired by HRW in 1996 he had never worked for a human-rights group, had never held an academic position, and had a history of anti-Israel activism. Stork’s boss, Sarah Leah Whitson, and most of his colleagues in the Middle East department of Human Rights Watch, also have activist backgrounds — it was typical that one newly hired researcher came to HRW from the extremist anti-Israel publication Electronic Intifada — unlikely to reassure anyone who thinks that human-rights organisations should be non-partisan. While it may be hard to find people who are genuinely neutral about Middle East politics, theoretically an organisation like HRW would not select as its researchers people who are so evidently on one side.

While HRW was dealing with the fallout from the Garlasco affair, it was already on the defensive as a result of criticism of a fundraising effort in Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s worst human-rights violators. This involved two dinners for members of the Saudi elite in Riyadh, at which Sarah Leah Whitson curried favour with her hosts by boasting about HRW’s “battles” with pro-Israel pressure groups, such as NGO Monitor. Although HRW has a policy of not taking money from governments, there were at least two Saudi officials present. One was a member of the Shura Council, which, among other things, oversees the implementation of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law. HRW has not given out a transcript of its appeal for donations or to publish a list of attendees at the dinners. I asked the HRW executive director Kenneth Roth about the controversy that surrounded the Saudi dinners. He said: “Because somebody is the victim of a repressive government, should they have no right to contribute to a human-rights organisation?” Even if they had been invited, few victims would have been able to make the dinners — most Saudi dissidents are either in prison or live abroad in exile. It probably gives little comfort to Human Rights Watch that Amnesty International, the association’s great rival, is also dealing with a queasy scandal involving questionable links. Amnesty’s image suffered a blow in February when Gita Sahgal, the director of its gender programme, told The Sunday Times she was concerned that the organisation was compromising its core values by getting into bed with radical Islamists.

Amnesty has allied itself with the Cageprisoners programme that Sahgal said “actively promotes Islamic Right ideals and individuals”. The programme is led by Moazzam Begg, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee whom Sahgal called “Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban”. Amnesty’s reaction to Sahgal’s criticism was swift and jaw-droppingly incompatible with the work of an outfit that actively encourages whistleblowing: she was suspended from her job. Although this provoked a fierce response from Salman Rushdie and a Facebook campaign, it is sticking to its guns while denying that Sahgal was suspended “for raising these issues internally”. Many of those on the left of the human-rights “community” may feel conflicting emotions when it comes to dealing with radical Islam, as if the former is somehow a dangerous distraction from the real struggle. In 2006 Scott Long, the director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights programme at Human Rights Watch, attacked the British campaigner Peter Tatchell, accusing him of racism, Islamophobia and colonialism for having the temerity to lead a campaign against Iran’s executions of homosexuals — a campaign that Long believed was unconstructive and based on “a Western social-constructionist trope”. Human Rights Watch does perform a useful task, but its critics raise troubling questions that go beyond Garlasco’s hobby or raising money from Saudis. Why put such effort into publicising alleged human-rights violations in some countries but not others? Why does HRW seem so credulous of civilian witnesses in places like Gaza and Afghanistan but so sceptical of anyone in a uniform? It may be that organisations like HRW that depend on the media for their profile — and therefore their donations — concentrate too much on places that the media already cares about. HRW’s reaction to the scandals has perhaps cost it more credibility than the scandals themselves. It has revealed an organisation that does not always practice the transparency, tolerance and accountability it urges on others n nalways practice the transparency and accountability it urges on others.
Times Online

Punk star’s anger at rally claim (Wales, UK)

UNDERTONES star Feargal Sharkey has asked Facebook to remove profiles claiming he was supporting a protest by a far-right political group taking place in Cardiff later this year.
A page on the site advertising the Welsh Defence League’s ‘No Sharia’ demonstration contained a profile, claiming to be the Teenage Kicks singer, saying he would be at the event offering his support.

But when Wales on Sunday contacted Sharkey, now chief executive of UK Music, an organisation that protects the rights of the commercial music industry, he said was unaware of it and he supported anti-racism projects.
Just three weeks ago the singer spoke at the annual Hope, Not Hate rally in County Durham which celebrated multiculturalism.
He said: “Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’m now in the process of contacting Facebook and getting a number of bogus addresses removed.”
The ‘static demo’ is due to go ahead in June outside Cardiff Central railway station. The online description of the march states: “It will be a peaceful event to show our displeasure at the increasing influence of medieval Sharia Law in this country.”
A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said that they were aware of the planned demonstration.
Wales Online

BNP's man walks into governor role (UK)

A BNP councillor has joined the governing body of a city high school – because none of the other parties put up candidates.

Councillor Steve Batkin will fill one of the three vacancies at Edensor High School, in Longton.
He was elected unopposed after the other political groups failed to put up alternatives.
Councillors had previously accused the BNP group of using underhand tactics to get its members elected as school governors.
They complained that the BNP had sprung nominations at the last minute, breaking the unwritten rule that candidates have to be announced in advance

On this occasion the BNP followed this rule, declaring its nomination a week before the meeting.

Council leader Ross Irving, who also leads the Conservative group, said the Tories had been unable to find a suitable candidate for Edensor.
But he admitted that he was disappointed that none of the other groups had put up a nomination either, allowing Mr Batkin to be elected unopposed. He said: "I think this shows how difficult it can be to get people to commit to being a school governor. It isn't like it used to be when the role wasn't very onerous.

"It is worrying that the BNP were the only group which could find a candidate. I certainly hope Mr Batkin will bear in mind the educational mix found at that particular school."

In October the BNP failed to get two of its members elected as governors at Longton High School and St Augustine's Primary School, both in Meir.
Although the BNP group waited until halfway through a full council meeting to make its nominations, the Labour group also put up candidates, who were both elected.

But this time there were no nominations forthcoming from the group.
Labour leader Mohammed Pervez said: "I very much hope that other mainstream political parties will now join forces to ensure that more people put their names forward for these important positions."

BNP group leader councillor Michael Coleman says he has been left disappointed by members of his party being blocked from joining schools.
Mr Coleman, a governor at Longton High School, said: "It's disappointing that other groups don't back us being governors. I have voted for members of other parties in the past as it is important vacancies for governors are filled.

"It seems they would rather see them left empty or get the wrong people in just to keep us out. It's essential if the city is to progress to get the governing bodies working correctly.

"Steve Batkin will do his best for Edensor."
There are now seven schools in Stoke-on-Trent which have BNP councillors as governors.

The other six are: Longton High, Meir; Carmountside Primary School, Abbey Hulton; Mitchell Business and Enterprise College, Bucknall; Middlehurst School, Chell; Maple Court Primary, Bentilee; and Park Hall Primary.
Mr Batkin was unavailable for comment.


BNP criticised for prejudice over halal jobs (Wales, UK)

THE British National Party has been accused of putting their "narrow prejudice before the chance of good jobs" after vowing to oppose a major development earmarked for the region.

Carmarthenshire and Neath have been named as the preferred home for a proposed £150 million Super Halal Industrial Park, said to promise around 1,500 jobs.

But the BNP say they will fight the plans because the jobs would be given to Muslims.
Writing on our website, Kevin Edwards, BNP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Aberavon, said: "If the people of Wales think this will provide employment for them then they must think again. If this is given the go ahead the vast majority of jobs created will have to be allocated to Muslims."
Mr Edwards, a Penygroes community councillor, added: "The Welsh Assembly has a shameful record of handing out grants to companies that have fled as soon as the money has gone.

When this happens, as it inevitably will, 'the industrial estate' will wind up and there will be 5,000 more Muslims in the UK claiming benefits and living on our doorsteps.

 "Only the British National Party will oppose this development."

Criticism of how halal meat is produced has also sparked debate.
Traditionally, halal meat is killed by hand without stunning the animal first, and then blessed by the person doing the job, although some Muslims say a mechanised form is also now acceptable.
Julie Richards, from Pontarddulais, said: "It is absolutely barbaric. Lambs are going to be strung up and bled to death. It is not humane."
However, the possible jobs have been welcomed by some. An anonymous Post reader said: "If Carmarthenshire or Neath don't want it, can we have it in Swansea please?"
Llanelli AM Helen Mary Jones said she was pleased to hear Llanelli was being considered as a location, and branded the view of the BNP as "typical prejudice, racist misinformation".

"It is typical of them to put their narrow prejudice before the chance of good jobs for the many people in this area who are out of work," she said.
Managing director of Halal Industries UK, Mahesh Jayanarayan said: "We don't need Muslims necessarily to work there. If they are preparing food, we may have Muslim supervisors to certify it. The jobs will be given to multi-cultural skilled people and to people from the community.
"We are also not just going to have food processing, we are doing pharmaceuticals.

"We will be hiring from local schools, colleges and universities."

This is South Wales  -------------------------

Barnet Trade Unions Council proposes to unite with anti fascism movement against the BNP

UNION bosses have vowed to fight fascism in the borough after passing a motion at their annual general meeting last week.

Barnet Trade Unions Council met at Hendon Town Hall, in The Burroughs, on Thursday to outline proposals for the coming year and reaffirm their stance on the high profile national strikes that have been held recently.
Members of unions, including the RMT, Unison and the NUT, who live in the borough, voiced their support for the round of walkouts by British Airways staff and the Public and Commercial Services Union strikes.

Outraged unionists criticised the government for “wanting to smash the public sector and take away jobs” while others called on Barnet TUC to join national campaigns against the changes.
Proposals were also put forward for Barnet TUC to affiliate with the Unite Against Facism movement, which aims to alert British society to “the rising threat of the extreme right”, and targets in particular the British National Party (BNP).
Members agreed the increased political presence of some far right parities “needs a specific response” and approved a raft of monitions that aim to curtail the “divisions” caused by their policies.
These include supporting campaigns to remove BNP members in public services and producing their own materials on any emerging issues in Barnet to fight any appearance of the far right.
Helen Davis, chair of Barnet TUC, said: “Fascism creates a feeling that we have to keep our heads down and have to be afraid of being counted.
“The BNP have tried to stand in this borough but the pattern we have seen across the country is they keep chancing there arm where they can.
“It is only a matter of time before they come into Barnet and start trying to divide our community and we on the left want to be ready for that.”
Barnet TUC was relaunched in 2008 to “improve generally the economic and social conditions of working people” around the borough.
It has been at the forefront of campaigns against Barnet Council's plans to cut sheltered housing wardens and the future shape policy, branded easyCouncil, which seeks to outsource services to private contractors.

Ms Davis said they are key in “challenging inequality” in the community, and added: “It is clear people have come round to the idea of having a strong trade union culture in the borough.
“In the context of the economic crisis it has never been more important for a concerted effort to make sure workers in the public sector have an organised approach for that.
“The terms and conditions most people experience in order to live are under threat and the institutions and services they rely on to make sure they are okay, are under threat, and we don't think that resulting social inequality is acceptable.”


Men pushed into canal in anti-gay attack

Police are appealing for witnesses after a homophobic assault on two men who were walking along a Leicester canal path.

The incident happened at around 1.30am on Saturday March 20th, when the two victims, aged 33 and 35, were approached from behind by a group of four men as they walked along the canal behind Tudor Road.
One of the men was pulled to the ground while the other was punched and kicked. Both victims were then pushed into the canal.
As the suspects ran off, one shouted homophobic abuse at the pair.
The two victims then walked to the city until they found police officers to report the attack to. One man was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for treatment to his injuries.
One of the suspects is described as white, about 5’8” tall, of stocky build aged between 25 to 35.. He had mousy brown hair and was wearing a white t-shirt while the rest of his clothes were dark.
A second man from the group is described as white, about 6’2” tall, aged between 25 and 30 years-old and had very short hair. He was wearing a dark t-shirt and trousers and spoke with a local accent.

There is no description for the other two men.
PC Paul Smith, the officer investigating the incident, said: “Both victims were very distressed by the assault and one of them had to have surgery on an injury to his face.
“We would like anyone who witnessed this nasty assault to contact us immediately. The homophobic nature of this is not something we will tolerate and I hope that anyone who has information about the four men responsible will call us immediately and help us with our enquiries."

Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact police on 0116 222 2222 or Crimestoppers, which is free and anonymous on 0800 555 111.

Pink News

Muslim woman stabbed 18 times in Court (Germany)

In July 2009 a Muslim woman Marwa Sherbini, 31, was stabbed 18 times by Alex W during a court room trial in Germany.
Alex W and Ms Sherbini and family were in court for his appeal against a fine of 750 euros ($1,050) for insulting her in 2008, apparently because she was wearing the Muslim headscarf or Hijab.
A You Tuber has recently uploaded a video about this incident that has largely gone unreported around the world.
We believe it is well worth watching and giving it some support.
More about this news story can be found at BBC News

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