Daily Archives: July 20, 2007

Church of England Releases ‘Harry Potter’ Guide for Youth

Christian Post Reporter | Jul 19, 2007

The resource has creative ideas for using the Potter books as a basis for Christian teaching

By Eric Young

To capitalize on the “Potter” mania that is sweeping across the world, the Church of England has released a guide on how to evangelize using the popular “Harry Potter” phenomenon.

The guide’s author, Owen Smith, is a youth worker at St. Margaret’s Church in the United Kingdom and also wrote “Mixing it Up with the ‘Simpsons’” – a book that was released earlier this year by the Church of England’s publishing company in hopes of showing how Christianity is relevant to life today through issues tackled in the popular U.S. TV cartoon series.

In his latest work, “Mixing it Up with Harry Potter,” Smith enables youth leaders to draw parallels with daily life and help young people discuss ”big issues.”

“Using film scenes in which the characters make tough decisions to prompt discussion about moral choices and extracts from the books that demonstrate the power of words and their impact on others, the resource has creative ideas for using the Potter books as a basis for Christian teaching,” the Church of England announced in a press release.

Other ideas in the book include discussing stereotypes of what is ”normal” to examine how living a Christian life might cause a young person to stand out from their peers.

“The excitement and anticipation generated by the Harry Potter books show just what a great storyteller J. K. Rowling is,” said Diocese of Oxford Bishop John Pritchard, according to the Church of England. “Although the fictional world of Harry Potter is very different from our own, Harry and his friends face struggles and dilemmas that are familiar to us all.”

From theological concepts such as sacrifice and mercy, to everyday issues such as fears and boasting, each of the guide’s 12 sessions reportedly provides a basis for an hour’s discussions and activities. The sessions include Bible verses that present the Christian perspective on the theme, and prayer activities drawing on the topic.

“Jesus used storytelling to engage and challenge his listeners,” Pritchard noted. “There’s nothing better than a good story to make people think, and there’s plenty in the Harry Potter books to make young people think about the choices they make in their everyday lives and their place in the world.”

For years now, Christians have been split on whether the Harry Potter novels have a negative influence on a person’s faith, in particular that of youth. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr, George Carey described the series as “great fun and a serious examination of good and evil.”

Pope Benedict XVI, however, has taken the opposite view and lambasted the megahit fantasy series, describing it as “deeply distorting Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly.”

In his introduction, the author of the newly released guide acknowledges that some Christians have expressed concerns over the influence of Harry Potter, but argues that engagement with the phenomenal success of the series is more productive than criticizing it from the sidelines.

“These sessions draw parallels between events in the world of Harry and his friends, and the world in which we are seeking to proclaim the gospel to young people,” Smith writes. “The magic in the books is simply part of the magic that J. K. Rowling has created, in the same way that magic is part of the world of Christian writers such as C. S. Lewis.

“To say, as some have, that these books draw younger readers towards the occult seems to me both to malign J. K. Rowling and to vastly underestimate the ability of children and young people to separate the real from the imaginary,” he adds.

As publication approaches for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” J.K. Rowling’s seventh and final Harry Potter book, another “Potter” frenzy is expected to explode following last week’s release of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the fifth movie from the series.

“Mixing it Up with Harry Potter” is hoping to ride on the wave and is now available for churches to purchase from a range of Christian and general booksellers. The book is designed for use with 9-13 year olds.

Airports to scan eyes, heartbeat, breathing, behavior and brainwaves to decide if you are a terrorist

Wired Blog | Jul 16, 2007

Homeland Security Sees Lasers and Heart Sensors in the Future of Anti-Terror Screening

By Ryan Singel

The cutting-edge tech folks at Homeland Security don’t like screening lines that have x-ray machines any more than you do. That’s because they seek x-rays as something shoe salesmen used to use measure your foot size. X-rays aren’t sexy. Lasers are cooler. Add some machine learning and you might get close to cool enough for these guys.


That’s why the Advanced Research Project Agency (HSARPA) wants to build a system that fuses information from remote eye, heart, breath and brain sensors and lasar radar to decide if you are a terrorist before letting you on that flight to Las Vegas. The fuser will be the brains of the Future Attribute Screening Technology Project.

And HSARPA wants the fuser to be a wicked smart learner. The group is so intent on bringing on the future, it is currently soliciting information from outside groups in hopes of making it show up faster.

Persons involved in or planning to be involved in possible malicious or deceitful acts will show various behavioral or physiological abnormalities. Though these signs can, at times, be detected by trained observers, they often go undetected and even when detected, are not quantified in any measurable way.

[Q]uantifiable inputs may include cardiovascular, respiration, infrared, lidar (ed. Note: lasar radar) , video, audio, eye tracking as well as other promising technology capable of providing behavioral indicators.

The goal is to take the individual outputs of the distinct sensors and combine them into a decision matrix in order to provide a single decision.

So that’s it fliers and Super Bowl goers, DHS has seen the future of security: it’s a world where you get to keep your shoes on through security if you think pure thoughts and breathe like a yogi. Or at least, pure enough thoughts to fly under the lidar. That is, until the lidar learns to get lower.

If you are pretty sure you know how to make a whipper-snapper lidar-cardiovascular fusion engine, send no more than 10 pages in Word doc format by August 31 to margo.graves ATSIGN dhs.gov. Better yet, drop it in the comments. The server logs say DHS comes around here pretty often.

Ron Paul emerges as GOP’s unlikely rock-star candidate

Las Vegas Sun | Jul 18, 2007

Long-shot libertarian iconoclast pulls in surprising cash totals, eclectic young crowds

by Michael J. Mishak

LAS VEGAS — The punk-band members, with spiked hair, tattooed arms and piercings, stood with a crowd of more than 300 and cheered at the rock star on stage, especially when he called for abolishing the Federal Reserve — you know, the banking system that for nearly a century has helped stabilize the U.S. economy, give or take a Great Depression.

Presidential candidate Ron Paul didn’t stop with the Fed. The devout and suddenly popular libertarian-running-as-a-Republican also wants to repeal the Patriot Act. (More cheering.) And the IRS and NAFTA-like trade deals. (Loud applause.) And bring home American troops, all of them, from Iraq and from every last spot on the globe. (Standing ovation.) And that national ID card, forget about it.

What the crowd heard was the testimony of a carved-in-granite libertarian who disdains the a la carte politics and deal-making of mainstream candidates, a physician whose political beliefs exist at that whiplash point on the political spectrum where the far right meets the far left.

Abolish the IRS, the Fed, the Patriot Act? Is that libertarian or a lefty anarchist?

The crowds he’s drawing across the country are often an unusual mix of 20- and 30-something lefties and righties. Some are drawn to his beliefs. But many said that they admire him most for sticking to a clear set of principles, even if they disagree on some issues.

“He’s consistent,” said Jennifer Reilly, a 23-year-old student at the College of Southern Nevada who attended a recent rally here. “I actually believe everything he says.”

Thus Paul has become the early surprise of the 2008 campaign.

Beyond the consistency, he is filling a void in a Republican field dominated by mainstream candidates who are reluctant to break ranks with President Bush. He’s the only Republican who opposes the war in Iraq. (“We just marched in. We can just march out.”)

Paul describes himself as a strict constitutionalist, but his views can be traced to the late Barry Goldwater, the 1964 GOP presidential nominee and father of the modern conservative movement.

As Paul puts it: “Freedom is popular.”

“I agree with his message of freedom and limited government,” said Jennifer Terhune, a 22-year-old dental-hygiene student in Reno. “People are dependent on the government for everything, and they need to start standing up for themselves. The country is getting so far away from that.”

Paul raised $640,000 in the first quarter of the year, a paltry sum compared with his party’s front-runners. But when the second quarter closed last month, Paul had $2.4 million cash on hand, besting Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Pentagon Plots Digital “Crystal Ball” to “See the Future” in Battle

Wired Blog | Jul 19, 2007


“Blitzkrieg” will quickly model sets of alternatives, while “Crystal Ball” will take information currently coming into a headquarters to figure out which scenarios are the most likely to happen, and which plans are likely to work best.

By Noah Shachtman

Darpa, the Pentagon’s way-out research arm, is looking to design a software suite that predicts the future for battlefield commanders. At the heart of the package: A digital “Crystal Ball” that forecasts how a mission is going to turn out, before it’s done. No, I am not kidding.

The overall, three-year program is called “Deep Green.” Its goal is to “allow the commander to think ahead, identify when a plan is going awry, and help develop alternatives ‘ahead of real time.'” If it works out the way agency officials hope (a very big if), Deep Green will enable officers to out-hustle and out-think any potential foes — and do all that planning and analysis with a quarter of the staff that it takes today.

Deep Green has a half-dozen different interlocking components, including a “Sketch to Plan” program that reads a commander’s doodles, listens to his words, and then “accurately induces” a plan, “fill[ing] in missing details.” That allows an officer “to specify an option at a coarse level, then move on to the next cognitive task.” A related program, “Sketch to Decide” allows a commander to “see the future” by producing a “comic strip” to represent his possible options in a given situation. That may “sound exotic,” the Agency notes. But “since the 1970s (and perhaps earlier), there have been novels and game books in which the reader is asked to make a decision and then is directed to a different page or paragraph, depending on the choice made.”

To make these warzone versions of choose-your-own-adventure novels, Darpa proposes two pieces of software. “Blitzkrieg” will quickly model sets of alternatives, while “Crystal Ball” will take information currently coming into a headquarters to figure out which scenarios are the most likely to happen, and which plans are likely to work best.
Crystal Ball will use this estimate to nominate to the commander futures at which he/she should focus some planning effort to build additional options/branches. Crystal Ball will identify the trajectory of the operation in time to allow the commander to generate options before they are needed.

Darpa believes these kind of clairvoyant tools are needed, because some well-worn martial concepts have been proven obsolete by the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Specifically, the “venerable Observe Orient Decide Act (OODA) loop is no longer viable for an information-age military.” To fight a fast-moving foe, these four tasks have to now happen all at once. That’s the goal of Deep Green.

The Observe (execution monitoring) and Orient (options generation and analysis) phases run continuously and are constantly building options based on the current operation and making predictions as to the direction the operation is taking. When something occurs that requires the commander’s attention or a decision, options are immediately available. Ideally, the OO part of OODA is done many times prior to the time when the commander must decide. When the planning and execution monitoring components of Deep Green mature, the planning staff will be working with semi-automated tools to generate and analyze courses of action ahead of the operation while the command concentrates on the Decide phase. By focusing on creating options ahead of the real operation rather than repairing the plan, Deep Green will allow commanders to be proactive instead of reactive in dealing with the enemy.

Robotic Covert Surveillance Insect Takes Off for the First Time

ABC News | Jul 19, 2007

By Rachel Ross


The Harvard-bred robot weighs only 60 milligrams and has a wingspan of three centimeters.  (Robert Wood)

Researchers at Harvard have created a robotic fly that could one day be used for covert surveillance and detecting toxic chemicals.

A life-size, robotic fly has taken flight at Harvard University. Weighing only 60 milligrams, with a wingspan of three centimeters, the tiny robot’s movements are modeled on those of a real fly. While much work remains to be done on the mechanical insect, the researchers say that such small flying machines could one day be used as spies, or for detecting harmful chemicals.

“Nature makes the world’s best fliers,” says Robert Wood, leader of Harvard’s robotic-fly project and a professor at the university’s school of engineering and applied sciences.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding Wood’s research in the hope that it will lead to stealth surveillance robots for the battlefield and urban environments. The robot’s small size and fly-like appearance are critical to such missions. “You probably wouldn’t notice a fly in the room, but you certainly would notice a hawk,” Wood says.

Recreating a fly’s efficient movements in a robot roughly the size of the real insect was difficult, however, because existing manufacturing processes couldn’t be used to make the sturdy, lightweight parts required. The motors, bearings, and joints typically used for large-scale robots wouldn’t work for something the size of a fly. “Simply scaling down existing macro-scale techniques will not come close to the performance that we need,” Wood says.

Some extremely small parts can be made using the processes for creating microelectromechanical systems. But such processes require a lot of time and money. Wood and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, needed a cheap, rapid fabrication process so they could easily produce different iterations of their designs.

Ultimately, the team developed its own fabrication process. Using laser micromachining, researchers cut thin sheets of carbon fiber into two-dimensional patterns that are accurate to a couple of micrometers. Sheets of polymer are cut using the same process. By carefully arranging the sheets of carbon fiber and polymer, the researchers are able to create functional parts.
Other researchers have built robots that mimic insects, but this is the first two-winged robot built on such a small scale that can take off using the same motions as a real fly. The dynamics of such flight are very complicated and have been studied for years by researchers such as Ron Fearing, Wood’s former PhD advisor at the University of California, Berkeley. Fearing, who is building his own robotic insects, says that he was very impressed with the fact that Wood’s insect can fly: “It is certainly a major breakthrough.” But Fearing says that it is the first of many challenges in building a practical fly.

14 European states assisted CIA to establish secret jails

PanARMENIAN Network | Jul 17, 2007

cia_prisonsAmerican secret jails existed in Italy and Poland, member of the European Parliament Claudio Fava stated. “The information that we obtained, gives us serious grounds to suppose that there existed secret jails on territories of Italy and Poland, where alleged terrorists were kept,” Fava said to a press conference in Brussels dedicated to the results of an investigation on CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) secret jails in Europe. He said, 14 European states have assisted the United States in establishing secret jails in Europe.

“We have found out 14 European governments, which helped the USA to carry out investigations and establish secret jails, existence of which contradicts to the Geneva Convention,” the parliamentarian said. He stressed, according to information, which owns the commission, European countries in rare cases refused to cooperate with the US CIA on this issue.

He also said, Romania has not responded to questions sent by the commission, which was carrying out the investigation, RIA “Novosti” reports.

Police Forced Pregnant Woman to Lay on Her Stomach

KMBC TV | Jul 19, 2007

Pregnant Woman: Police Used Racial Profiling

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A pregnant woman who claims Independence police stopped her on Interstate 70 and made her lie on her belly as cars sped by has filed a complaint alleging racial profiling.

Yvette Hayes, who is principal of a Kansas City school, said police stopped her Friday night.

Authorities said her green Jeep Cherokee was thought to have been involved in several break-ins and thefts.

Police said they made the stop after getting a call from security guards at the J.C. Penney Store on 39th Street about a green Jeep.

“I told him that I’m pregnant; I’m almost six months pregnant,” Hayes said.

She said officers still made her lie on her stomach.

“It was humiliating. I was horrified. I was in fear for my life,” Hayes said.

Dr. Jerry Wolfskill, director of the Johnson County Police Academy and a former officer, looked at dashcam video of the police stop.

“You can tell she’s obviously upset,” Wolfskill said. “I can understand the woman being so upset about what happened, because she knows she didn’t do anything wrong, but the police officer didn’t know that.”

The tape also has officers trying to console Hayes’ two daughters who were in the car with her that night.

Police said the dashcam video is farther away than usual because the dashcam equipment in the cruiser closest to Hayes’ car was not working on Friday night.

Wolfskill said the officers may have been doing the right thing if they had good reason to think the car they were stopping was involved in a felony.

“If that’s the procedure that they’re taught and they implement that procedure in every car stop, then that would be, yes,” Wolfskill said.

“Even with a pregnant person?” KMBC’s Maria Antonia asked.

“Even with a pregnant person,” Wolfskill said.

He said that at the police academy, they teach officers to order people to their knees, rather than make them lie on their stomachs. However, he said a kneeling suspect can be more risky for the officer.

Hayes has filed a complaint with the city of Independence and is talking to an attorney about possible legal action.

Hayes said a doctor is monitoring the health of her baby.

Meanwhile, Independence police are investigating. The chief said it appears that procedure was followed.

FEMA suppressed warnings on toxic trailers

Washington Post | Jul 20, 2007

Hurricane Victims Reported Illnesses

By Spencer S. Hsu

The Federal Emergency Management Agency since early 2006 has suppressed warnings from its own field workers about health problems experienced by hurricane victims living in government-provided trailers with levels of a toxic chemical 75 times the recommended maximum for U.S. workers, congressional lawmakers said yesterday.

A trail of e-mails obtained by investigators shows that the agency’s lawyers rejected a proposal for systematic testing of the levels of potentially cancer-causing formaldehyde gas in the trailers, out of concern that the agency would be legally liable for any hazards or health problems. As many as 120,000 families displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita lived in the suspect trailers, and hundreds have complained of ill effects.

On June 16, 2006, three months after reports of the hazards surfaced and a month after a trailer resident sued the agency, a FEMA logistics expert wrote that the agency’s Office of General Counsel “has advised that we do not do testing, which would imply FEMA’s ownership of this issue.” A FEMA lawyer, Patrick Preston, wrote on June 15: “Do not initiate any testing until we give the OK. . . . Once you get results and should they indicate some problem, the clock is running on our duty to respond to them.”

FEMA tested no occupied trailers after March 2006, when it initially discovered formaldehyde levels at 75 times the U.S.-recommended workplace safety threshold and relocated a south Mississippi couple expecting their second child, the documents indicate. Formaldehyde, a common wood preservative used in construction materials such as particle board, can cause vision and respiratory problems; long-term exposure has been linked to cancer and higher rates of asthma, bronchitis and allergies in children.

One man in Slidell, La., was found dead in his trailer on June 27, 2006, after complaining about the formaldehyde fumes. In a conference call about the death, 28 officials from six agencies recommended that the circumstances be investigated and trailer air quality be subjected to independent testing. But FEMA lawyers rejected the suggestions, with one, Adrian Sevier, cautioning that further investigation not approved by lawyers “could seriously undermine the Agency’s position” in litigation.

On the eve of yesterday’s hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, FEMA reversed course on the issue and said it has asked federal health officials to help conduct a new assessment of conditions in trailers under prolonged use. But revelation of the agency’s earlier posture — in documents withheld by FEMA until they were subpoenaed by Congress — attracted harsh bipartisan criticism.

Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) decried what he called FEMA’s indifference to storm victims and said the situation was “sickening.” He said the documents “expose an official policy of premeditated ignorance” and added that “senior officials in Washington didn’t want to know what they already knew, because they didn’t want the legal and moral responsibility to do what they knew had to be done.”

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) said FEMA had obstructed the 10-month congressional investigation and “mischaracterized the scope and purpose” of its own actions. “FEMA’s reaction to the problem was deliberately stunted to bolster the agency’s litigation position,” Davis said. “FEMA’s primary concerns were legal liability and public relations, not human health and safety.”

About 66,000 households affected by Katrina remain in the trailers at issue. FEMA has replaced 58 trailers and moved five families into rental units. The Sierra Club in May 2006 reported finding unsafe levels of formaldehyde in 30 out of 32 trailers it tested along the Gulf Coast, and some residents filed a class-action lawsuit last month in federal court in Baton Rouge against trailer manufacturers.

Three trailer residents who testified before the panel described frequent nosebleeds, respiratory problems and mysterious mouth and nasal tumors that they or family members have suffered. They also said veterinarians and pediatricians have warned that their pets and children may be experiencing formaldehyde-related symptoms.

“We have lost a great deal through our dealings with FEMA,” said Paul Stewart, a former Army officer living in a trailer with his wife in Mississippi, “not the least of which is our faith in government.”

In his appearance at yesterday’s committee hearing, FEMA Director R. David Paulison apologized and said “in hindsight” FEMA should have tested trailers earlier. “The health and safety of residents is my primary concern,” he said. But he depicted the 200 or so complaints as voiced by a small fraction of the number of families in trailers, and he said more research is needed to determine why some trailer residents have become sickened and what level of formaldehyde is unsafe in homes.

Paulison promised to consult with half a dozen U.S. health, environmental and housing agencies and with trailer manufacturers. He also acknowledged that concerns of environmental toxins in trailers go beyond formaldehyde. “There is an issue inside the trailers, but I don’t know if it’s formaldehyde, mold, mildew, bacteria” or something else, Paulison said.

FEMA tested new trailers last September and October after rejecting more stringent standards suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency, Waxman said. In May, the agency reported finding formaldehyde in those trailers at 1.2 parts per million, but it said levels dropped to 0.3 parts per million after four days of ventilation.

FEMA said that met a standard used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for its manufactured homes. But Paulison said yesterday that FEMA now recognizes that ventilating trailers is impractical during the Gulf Coast’s summer heat and humidity. Lawmakers noted that FEMA issued the advice at the beginning of last summer.

Mary C. DeVany, an occupational health and safety engineer advising the Sierra Club, testified that the exposure limit of 0.3 parts per million is 400 times the normal limit for year-round exposure set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. DeVany called the move a “misapplication and skewing of scientific results . . . to minimize adverse health effects.”

FEMA tapped many manufacturers for trailers, and Paulison said he did not know if production problems contributed to contamination. Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) defended the manufacturers pending a more comprehensive study of the problem. “You can’t hang an industry on one case,” he said.

But other lawmakers charged that FEMA’s response augurs poorly for the nation’s emergency preparedness. “I haven’t seen this level of government incompetence outside of the nation of China. . . . And they executed an official in China for not having done their job,” said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), alleging parallels in lax consumer regulations and an uncaring government.

“No one is asking for that here, but how about a simple application of the golden rule?”

French and English Rothschild banking groups unify

Is it mere coincidence that this is happening while the UK is being absorbed (against its will) by the EU?


News.com Australia | Jul 18, 2007

THE French and English branches of the fabled Rothschild banking family announced their unification overnight, ending a separation that dates from the 19th century.

Under an agreement announced overnight the two will unify their shareholdings under a single holding company, the French group Paris-Orleans.

Symbols of big money and finance, the Rothschild dynasty, which includes media personalities, amateurs of horse racing and owners of prestigious vineyards, is best known for its capital management activities.

The two branches were created at the beginning of the 19th century when the founder of the dynasty, Frankfurt-based Meyer Amschel, sent his sons on a mission throughout Europe to develop the bank he had created.

Mr Amschel was renamed Rothschild by his neighbours because of the red shield which adorned his house.

Of the four sons who left Germany, Nathan settled in London and founded NM Rothschild and Sons. Jacob Meyer, who was nicknamed James, settled for Paris.

Jacob Meyer’s success was astounding. He in no time gained influence, largely thanks to his interest in high society life.

The success of the British branch was also spectacular. The son of Nathan, Lionel, in 1858 became the first Jewish member of the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords.

His descendant, Sir Evelyn, the former chief of the British branch who is now aged 75, had privileged relations with the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

A backer of the merger between the French and British branches, Sir Evelyn has passed responsibility over to his three children, Jessica, 33, Anthony, 30 and David 28, who all inherit a share in the new group.

Paris-Orleans is to buy the 50 per cent stake held by the English branch of the family in a holding company that controls the banking empire, Concordia BV.

The transaction will cost Paris-Orleans €446 million ($707.71 million), with payment made 50 per cent in shares and 50 per cent in cash.

Sir Evelyn will receive most of the cash, with the shares passed to his children.

The French cousins David and Eric de Rothschild are the two strongmen of the banking empire.

The former already oversees Rothschild’s entire banking activities and he will be soon be at the head of the Paris Orleans holding company that groups the two branches.

Eric will remain president of the Paris Orleans supervisory board.

They will thus share the reins of an international group, active in mergers and acquisitions, as well as private asset management.

Two-hour rape and torture of honour killing girl murdered by her family

Daily Mail | Jul 20, 2007


Details from the pre-sentence hearing looking into the honour killing involving victim Banaz Mahmod indicate she was raped and tortured. Horrific details have been revealed of the last hours of the young Kurdish woman murdered by her family for falling in love with the wrong man.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, was brutally raped and stamped on during a two-hour ordeal before being garotted.

One of her killers, the Old Bailey was told, was 30-year-old Mohamad Hama, who had been recruited by Banaz’s father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and his brother Ari, 51. Both were found guilty of murder last month.

The shocking details of the killing came to light when Hama was secretly recorded talking to a friend in prison. He admitted “slapping” and “f***ing” Banaz, who was subjected to degrading sex acts. Hama and his friend were heard laughing as he described how she was killed in her family home in Mitcham, South London, with Ari Mahmod “supervising”.

The murderers – two other suspects have fled to Iraq – had been told Banaz would be on her own.

Hama is recorded as saying: “Ari (the uncle) said there is no one there. There was someone there, Biza (her sister). The bastard lied to us.” He said of the murder: “I swear to God it took him more than two hours. Her soul and her life would not leave.”

Banaz was garotted for five minutes, said Hama, but it took another half an hour for her to die. Hama said: “The wire was thick and the soul would not just leave like that. “We could not remove it. All in all it took five minutes (to strangle) her. “I was kicking and stamping on her neck to get the soul out. I saw her stark naked, without wearing pants or underwear.”

Banaz’s body was packed into a suitcase and buried in a garden in Birmingham, where it was found three months later.

The trial of the two brothers heard that Banaz was killed because she had walked out of an unhappy arranged marriage – which she was forced into at just 17 – and fallen in love with Iranian Kurd Rahmat Suleimani, 28. The pair had been secretly seeing each other, but her family were furious when they found out because Mr Suleimani was not “immediate family” or a strict Muslim.

Terrified, Banaz wrote to police naming people she said were planning to kill her. Hama was on the list, the court heard. Two other men named by Banaz have fled the country. Transcripts of the prison recording were read out at a pre- sentence hearing for Hama, of South Norwood, South London, who pleaded guilty to murdering Banaz at an earlier hearing. Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, sat to assess the extent of Hama’s involvement. He and the Mahmod brothers are due to be sentenced tomorrow.

Victor Temple QC, prosecuting, told the court that Hama, who sat impassively in the dock, took a “leading part” in raping and killing Banaz in January last year then dumping her body. He was said to have been recorded expressing concern because his fingerprints and DNA were on her body. He was also concerned that a leaking pipe at the house where she was buried was sending water through the suitcase, possibly uncovering it.

During another taped conversation, Hama joked about Banaz’s hair and elbow sticking out of the suitcase and how a police patrol drove past while he was helping to drag it to a car. He said: “The road was crowded. The police came past. People were passing by – and we were dragging the bag. “I almost ran away. Mr Ari (was dragging it) and we were around by each side of him. “You know what it was, sticking out, her elbow, her hair was falling out so much. That was a stupid thing, a silly thing.” Defence barrister Malcolm Swift QC claimed Hama became involved only after Banaz’s body had been put in the suitcase.

He told the court there was no direct evidence that Hama was present at the time of the murder – he took part in the planning but “had realised the error of becoming directly involved in the killing”. Hama’s car was outside his home throughout the morning of the killing and his mobile phone could not be linked to the murder scene. Mr Swift said Hama got his information on the killing from others, including Ari Mahmod.