Daily Archives: April 20, 2008

Pope speaks about his Hitler Youth days

ratzinger hitler youth

Pope Benedict as a Hitler Youth member

Blames American society for pedophile priest abuses

BBC | Apr 20, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the first time about growing up under the “monster” of Nazism.

Speaking at a youth rally in New York, he said his teenage years had been “marred by a sinister regime”.

The Pope was a Hitler Youth member as a teen, usual for young Germans at the time, and was conscripted by the German army near the end of World War II.

Earlier, during a Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan he again condemned paedophile Catholic priests.

Pope Benedict’s tour of the US is his first visit to the country since being elected head of the Catholic Church – it was the third anniversary of his elevation to the papacy on Saturday and the event was formally commemorated with the Mass at St Patrick’s.

Prisoner of war

Later in the day he addressed a cheering crowd of 30,000 young people on the field of St Joseph’s Seminary, in the New York suburb of Yonkers.

As a teenager, the pope was forced to join the Hitler Youth and he was conscripted into the German army towards the end of World War II, serving briefly in an anti-aircraft corps.
He deserted the German army towards the end of the war and was briefly held as a prisoner of war by the Allies in 1945.
After his release he studied theology and became a priest.
‘Banished God’

The Pope told the crowd his own years as a teenager had been “marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers”.
“Its influence grew, infiltrating schools and civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion, before it was fully recognised for the monster it was,” he said.

“It banished God and thus became impervious to anything true and good.

“Let us thank God that so many people of your generation are able to enjoy the liberties which have arisen from the extension of democracy and respect for human rights.”

The earlier Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan marked the third anniversary of his election as leader of the Roman Catholic church.

Pope Benedict was greeted by the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, and the cathedral was filled with priests, deacons and members of religious orders.

A choir sang as the Pope walked down the large cathedral’s central aisle. The congregation rose and applauded and some people leaned over to touch his robe or kiss his Fisherman’s Ring.

“I join you in praying that this will be a time of purification for each and every particular Church and religious community, a time for healing,” the Pope said in his sermon, referring to the scandal of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.

“I also encourage you to co-operate with your bishops who continue to work to effectively resolve this issue.”

‘Christian morality’

More than 4,000 US Catholic clergy have been accused of sexually abusing minors since 1950.

The Church has paid out more than $2bn (£1bn) in compensation and legal fees, most of it since the scandal erupted in 2002.

Speaking out on the issue again during the Mass at St Patrick’s, the Pope said the scandal had not only caused much damage to the victims of paedophile abuse, but had diminished the reputation of the church in US society.

“A society which seems to have forgotten God and to resent even the most elementary demands of Christian morality,” he said .
The Vatican official in charge of reviewing sexual abuse claims against clergy worldwide said on Friday that the Church was considering changes to canon law governing the handling of such cases.

The official, Cardinal William Levada, did not specify the changes but said they would make it easier to remove clergy who had sexually abused children.

The sexual abuse scandal has been a recurring theme in the Pope’s visit.

Addressing 40,000 people at a Washington stadium earlier in the week, he spoke of the issue before talking privately to a group of people who had been abused by priests.

On Sunday, he will lead prayers at the scene of the 9/11 attacks in New York and then celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium before returning to Rome later on Sunday.


priests salute hitler

The Catholic Church and Nazism in Germany

The Catholic Nazi Inquisition

Lawsuit charges that Nazi gold funded Vatican ratlines

Christianity’s Role in the Rise of the Nazis

Ratlines (history)
Ratlines were systems of escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe at the end of World War II.

Knights of Malta Shadow government
Catholic Knights of Malta helped thousands of the worst Nazis and members of the SS to escape to freedom down the “Ratlines”

The Reichskonkordat is the concordat between the Holy See and Nazi Germany. It was signed on July 20, 1933 by Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli and Franz von Papen on behalf of Pope Pius XI and President Paul von Hindenburg, respectively. It is still valid today in Germany.

Pope blames US for abuse crisis

Gulf Daily | Apr 19, 2008

WASHINGTON: Pope Benedict yesterday chided Americans for a moral breakdown he said had fuelled the church’s child sex abuse scandal, as he addressed the paedophile priest scandal that has rocked the US church.

In a speech to US Catholic bishops, the pontiff berated the bishops for their poor handling of a scandal surrounding sexual abuse of children in the church.

But he urged efforts “to address the sin of abuse within the wider context of sexual mores” as well as a reassessment of “the values underpinning society.”

“What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?” the pontiff said on the first full day of his US visit.

“Children deserve to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships. They should be spared the degrading manifestations and the crude manipulation of sexuality so prevalent today.”

Describing clerics who sexually abuse children as “gravely immoral,” the octogenarian Pope warned that the scourge of paedophilia “is found not only in your dioceses but in every sector of society.” “It calls for a determined, collective response,” he said, but did not outline any firm action that the Vatican intended to take to purge the church of paedophile priests.

At the first public Mass of his US pilgrimage at the National Park stadium in Washington, he however, praised the United States as a land of opportunity and hope, though he lamented that the America’s promise fell short for Indians and blacks.

Hope for the future, he said, “is very much a part of the American character.”

Tens of thousands of worshippers filled a stadium on a clear spring day and cheered Benedict as he arrived in a white popemobile, standing in the back and waving. A crowd of 46,000 was expected, and the demand for tickets doubled the supply, organisers said.

The Pope, wearing scarlet vestments, led the service from an altar erected in the middle of the recently inaugurated baseball stadium. Rows of red-robed church leaders joined him. In brilliant spring sunshine, the pope walked down from the altar to distribute Holy Communion near the end of Mass.

“Americans have always been a people of hope,” he said during his homily. “Your ancestors came to this country with the experience of finding new freedom and opportunity.”

The US Catholic church plunged into its worst crisis in 200 years in 2002 when the archbishop of Boston confessed he had protected a priest who had sexually abused young members of his church – opening a floodgate of thousands of similar abuse cases around the country dating back decades.

Benedict angered victim support groups by praising the bishops’ efforts to heal the wounds from the scandal.

“The Pope continues to stand behind his men – the bishops who conceal clergy sex crimes,” said a Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests member, Joelle Casteix.


Pope ‘led cover-up of child abuse by priests’

Pope ‘obstructed’ sex abuse inquiry
Confidential letter reveals Ratzinger ordered bishops to keep allegations secret

Pope says clergy abuse scandal sometimes ‘badly handled’

Police to launch military-style spy drones over Britain


The BAE Herti aircraft has been proven in Afghanistan and Iraq, but faces new challenges tracking muggers and stolen cars

The Times | Apr 19, 2008

By David Robertson

Airborne military technology developed to track the Taleban in Afghanistan will be deployed in England to spot muggers, stolen cars and even illegal immigrants arriving by sea.

Police forces in Kent and Essex have begun a development project with BAE Systems, Europe’s largest defence company, to make unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) part of their arsenals.

BAE’s high endurance rapid technology insertion vehicle (Herti) aircraft has been used by the British military in Afghanistan to direct bombing raids and to follow the Taleban back to their bases. Some UAVs operating in Iraq and Afghanistan have been fitted with missiles that are capable of destroying enemy units when they are uncovered.

Police commanders hope that such military-grade equipment will be capable of automatically detecting crimes from the air and then directing ground forces to investigate further.

BAE’s work with the Kent and Essex forces, called the South Coast Partnership, is part of a wider strategy that the company is adopting to move from pure defence into security. BAE wants to generate up to £300 million a year from civilian security operations, such as providing UAVs and monitoring the surveillance feeds from closed-circuit television cameras.

Alison Woods, BAE’s strategy director, said: “We have the kit and we have the skills that are relevant to the security sector and our intention is to build on that.”

A number of police forces, including Merseyside and Strathclyde, have already deployed remote-controlled aircraft as spy-in-the-sky drones. They are used typically to monitor crime scenes and can be programmed to operate within a certain area using GPS navigation.

However, modern military UAVs are significantly more advanced and can change their missions to pursue a perceived threat or a criminal.


Remote-control pilots suffer war stress from viewing video carnage
BAE has begun to work with the police to determine how the Herti can be used by officers. Some test flights are expected within three years. The biggest hurdle that the technology faces is getting approval from the Civil Aviation Authority to use civilian airspace. This is particularly important in the South East, given the proximity of Gatwick, Stansted and other airports.

Richard Williams, BAE’s director of civil autonomous systems, said: “UAV capabilities are already available to the military and many of the same capabilities are desirable to the police. UAVs offer police the option of persistent surveillance, keeping a set of eyes open over a large area.”

BAE hopes that through the South Coast Partnership it will be able to develop Herti for civilian applications for the 2012 Olympic Games when they are held in London.

UAVs have a big advantage over traditional helicopter surveillance as they can stay in the air for up to 24 hours, depending on the equipment carried, rather than only two or three. In addition, they are much smaller and quieter than helicopters and military versions have been fitted with sensors to detect radiation, chemical and biological emissions.

Other defence companies, including Qinetiq and Thales UK, are developing UAV technologies. Thales won a £800 million contract two years ago to build 54 Watchkeeper UAVs, which will provide battlefield intelligence to the Army. Thales said that it was considering how the technology could be used in the civilian sector.

Critics said that such monitoring would add to concerns that Britain was becoming a surveillance society.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, the human rights group, said: “It’s a grave step in any democracy to use military surveillance methods against your own peacetime population. Where is the lawful authority for this policy? When was the parliamentary debate? A paradigm shift in privacy protection can’t be left to cosy little deals between big business and local police.”

Not to be messed with

Payload: 150kg, including full motion video, infrared sensor, three still cameras. Options include synthetic aperture radar, a target geo-location capability, target designation systems, electronic and signals intelligence sensors

Wingspan: 8m

Flight time: 20 hours

Weight: approx 750kg

Armament: up to four missiles and one 70mm cannon

Missions: Helmand, Afghanistan

Airport scanner a ‘virtual strip search’

“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values.”

– Zbigniew Brzezinski, CFR member and founding member of the Trilateral Commission, and National Security Advisor to five presidents.

Telegraph | Apr 19, 2008

Travellers at New York and Los Angeles airports will be among the first in the world to be searched using a new scanner which can see through clothes.

The millimetre wave imaging technology, which begins trials this week, creates an picture of the body which critics say amounts to a virtual strip search.

New Airport Scanners Too Revealing?

But security officials say it can show contours of the body and can pick up hidden items, such as guns or knives and may be more effective than a physical ‘pat-down’ in detecting contraband.

After the normal airport routine of walking through metal detectors, some travellers will be selected at random to go through the scanning devices, which each cost £75,000. Passengers will walk into a large booth and the machine will beam electromagnetic waves on to the body, creating a three-dimensional image from reflected energy.

Security staff in a separate room will examine the image, which will later be erased from the system. Officials officials say this distance protects a person’s privacy because, apart from the image, they are unable to see the people being examined. The passenger’s face is blurred and the images are not stored.

Passengers may choose not to go through the scanner, but will then be subject to other screening, including pat-down searches.

The US Transportation Security Administration plans to buy at least 30 of the devices, but the first machines are being used in Los Angeles and John F. Kennedy in New York, two of the country’s busiest and highest-profile airports. They are being tested in what the TSA calls “actual conditions”.

“This will allow us to enhance our security at LAX (Los Angeles airport),” said Nico Melendez, a TSA spokesman. “Imaging devices are not a brand new security tool, but they are a brand new security tool for airports.”

But Peter Bibring, from the American Civil Liberties Union said safeguards were needed if the technology was not going to be abused.

“I don’t think people are really aware of just how accurate and detailed the images are of their naked body,” he said. “We need to make sure there are good safeguards. The temptation is great not to follow procedures when a celebrity or someone well known is involved.”

Britain’s Equality Chief Warns of Race ‘Cold War’

The Sunday Times | Apr 20, 2008

By David Leppard

THE head of Britain’s race relations watchdog says lack of control over immigration has led to a racial “cold war” among rival ethnic communities.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), believes that the failed policy risks inflaming racism among millions of young mothers and working professionals.

In an address to mark the 40th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s infamous “rivers of blood” speech in which Powell warned of apocalyptic social consequences if the rising tide of immigration were not halted, Phillips will say that the predictions have not come true. But he will warn that mass immigration has caused a different form of “war” that is just as worrying.

“Powell predicted ‘hot’ conflict and violence. However, we have seen the emergence of a kind of cold war in some parts of the country, where very separate communities exist side by side . . . with poor communication across racial or religious lines,” Phillips will say.

“In essence, Powell so discredited any talk of planning or control that it gave rise to a migration policy in which government knew too little about what was going on. Ironically, Powellism and the weakening of control it engendered may have led Britain to admitting more immigrants than fewer.”

Phillips will also warn ministers that they are playing into the hands of antiimmigrant parties such as the British National party by failing to respond to justified concerns among large sections of the “settled” population about the impact of mass immigration on their daily lives.

In a speech – to be delivered in the same Birmingham hotel where Powell polarised the public debate on race in 1968 – Phillips will say: “For every professional woman who is able to go out to work because she has a Polish nanny, there is a young mother who watches her child struggle in a classroom where a harassed teacher faces too many children with too many languages between them.

“Wanting a better deal for her child doesn’t make her antiimmigrant. But if we can’t find a better answer to her despair then she soon will be.

“For every boss whose bacon is saved by the importation of skilled IT professionals or crafts-people or health professionals, there are a thousand people who wonder every morning why they have to put up with the misery of a packed railway carriage or bus – if they can get on in the first place. Wanting an infrastructure that doesn’t make getting to work daily hell doesn’t make someone a natural voter for an antiimmigrant party. But it soon will.”

In a wide-ranging interview ahead of his speech, Phillips emphasised that he did not believe that too many immigrants had come to Britain. But he wanted to highlight that mismanaged policy had raised fears in the resident population about the impact of so many migrants on their daily lives.

Britain is probably the most tolerant country in Europe, he is expected to say. But the legacy of Powell and a “lack of control” over immigration policy by governments of both parties meant that it has gained an unfair reputation as one of the most xeno-phobic.

“It always seems like we’re a country that hates foreign people,” he said in the interview. He said this false image – which he described as a “calumny” – alienated highly qualified and well trained foreign migrants.

“My fear is that because we’ve been gripped [by this image] for 40 years . . . then we are going to miss the boat. Why would immigrants come to Britain if we behave as if we don’t want them?”

Powell’s notorious comments had the effect of making immigration a subject to be avoided by mainstream political parties for fear of being branded racists.

In his speech Phillips will lay out a programme for managed migration and will say: People should not be intimidated from making legitimate criticism of ethnic minorities.

Women should be treated equally and children properly protected in all communities. “Fair treatment” should not be reserved for ethnic minorities. “We need to do more for young white men who are having to compete with clever Polish graduates,” he will say.

Ministers should actively manage the geographical balance of migration. More migrants should be encouraged to settle in Scotland.

Kremlin shuts newspaper down for report on Putin’s love life

The Sunday Times | Apr 20, 2008

Mark Franchetti, Moscow

A NEWSPAPER that defied the Kremlin by reporting that President Vladimir Putin was planning to marry an Olympic gold medal-winning rhythmic gymnast half his age was shut down yesterday.

The closure of Moskovski Korrespondent, whose editor Grigori Nekhoroshev was forced to resign, was a sharp reminder of the perils of invoking Kremlin displeasure.

Rumours of a romance between Putin, 55, and Alina Kabaeva, 24, who is also an MP in his party, have been circulating in Moscow for months, but until last week no one had dared to print them.

The paper admitted there was no factual basis for its claim that Putin had already divorced Ludmilla, 50, his wife of 24 years, and would marry Kabaeva in June, shortly after standing down as president and becoming prime minister. It cited information from a party planner who claimed to be bidding to organise the lavish reception.

Both Putin and Kabaeva denied the report, which was followed up by European newspapers but ignored by Russia’s media, which do not delve into the private lives of politicians.

“I thought we should run the story to help break the taboo,” said Nekhoroshev. He paid a swift penalty for his daring: the paper, owned by Alexander Lebedev, the billionaire tycoon, ceased publication immediately.

Its parent firm blamed “costs” and “conceptual disagreements with the newsroom” but insisted in a statement that “this has nothing to do with politics and is solely a business decision”.

Few in Russia will believe that. The closure came a few hours after Putin had said during a visit to Sardinia that there was not a word of truth in the story and derided the “snotty noses and erotic fantasies” of the journalists concerned. So protective is the president of his private life that the Russian public has not seen his daughters since he came to power eight years ago.

“Our director came to the newsroom and told us we were being shut down,” said Nekhoroshev, who sounded shaken. “As far as the story is concerned I’ve full faith in my correspondents.”

Kabaeva, who is famed for her “extreme natural flexibility”, had threatened to sue. Her high profile as a sporting pin-up has been enhanced by photographs showing her wearing nothing but furs, but she has spoken of her strong political ambitions.

During Putin’s presidency, the Kremlin has brought all the television channels under its control and become highly sensitive to criticism in the press.

Lebedev, who had ordered his editors to stand up the story with some facts or apologise – they apologised – may now come under further pressure. He also owns Novaya Gazeta, a paper fiercely critical of the Kremlin.

“It just goes to show what a terrible state the Russian media is in after eight years of Putin’s regime,” said Oleg Panfilov, an analyst. “It is so cowed that one just needs to bark at it to see it hide under a table.”

At least Putin, who burnished his macho image by posing bare-chested on a fishing trip last year, saw the funny side of his new-found reputation as a ladies’ man. Relishing a question from a friendly reporter about his supposed engagement, he declared that he fancies all Russian women: “It won’t come as a surprise if I say that I like them all, the most talented and beautiful in the world.”

British government to snoop on sex lives of citizens

“Day by day, the liberty and privacy of the British public is being undermined by Labour’s surveillance state. People will be shocked that taxpayers’ money is being spent on intrusive surveys. Now state spies want to log and record who sleeps with whom and how often. Not even the Stasi went this far.”

– Shadow Communities Secretary Eric Pickles

“Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.”

– Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, 1953

Prying: With government questions couples’ sex lives will no longer be a private matter

Daily Mail | Apr 19, 2008

State to snoop on your sex life with probing questions about promiscuity and contraception


Government inspectors are to pry into the intimate details of more than 500,000 people a year, asking a series of probing questions about their sex lives and earnings.

Snooping officials will want to know about previous sexual partners, contraception, and how long couples lived together before marriage.


The 2,000-question survey from the Office for National Statistics will raise major concerns about privacy – especially as the data will be logged with the respondents’ names and addresses.

Some of the questions seem remarkably insensitive. One asks: “Have you ever had a baby – even one who only lived for a short time?”

Interviewers are told starkly: “Exclude: Any stillborn; Include: Any who only lived for a short time.”

Civil servants claim the sensitive personal information will be made anonymous once it is processed at the department’s headquarters in Newport, South Wales – but that is not enough to satisfy privacy campaigners.

Doubts have also been raised about how useful the information will be, as people have a proven tendency to lie when quizzed about their sex lives.

Investigators conducting the new Integrated Household Survey – at a cost of more than £3.5million a year – will visit 200,000 homes at random each year and question each occupant – about 500,000 individuals altogether.

They have 35 questions on contraception alone, such as whether men have had vasectomies, the brands of pill women take, and whether they have ever used a “morning after” pill.

Other intimate questions include the exact dates when previous relationships ended, the precise amount of take-home pay, and whether people earn extra money from second jobs or from bonuses.

Investigators will find out about the health of children, as well as asking probing questions about respondants’ drinking and smoking habits, such as: “How soon after waking do you usually smoke your first cigarette of the day?” and whether they drink beer in pints, halves, cans or bottles.

Some of the questions verge on the ridiculous, such as: “How many hearing aids do you have that you don’t wear?”

Documents seen by The Mail on Sunday also suggest that even though the survey is voluntary, inspectors will press people into revealing personal details, with follow-up questions designed to draw out more information.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) claims it needs the comprehensive annual poll to keep up with social trends that will help Whitehall mandarins formulate policy.

But some experts have cast doubt on how useful the survey would be.

Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at Kent University, said: “When researchers ask about sexual habits there is a very strong tendency for people to clam up, or to say what they think they want to hear.

“This is not a particularly useful exercise. If you want to find out about intimate details they should do it in a much more sensitive way.

“I would resent being asked these questions and I don’t think the Government should be doing it.”

The ONS denies it will follow other Government agencies, such as the DVLA, in selling the information to private companies – but the sensitivity of the data has prompted fears about privacy.

The Government has previously been rocked by scandals such as the loss of 25million child benefit records, and the fact the new survey will collect the names and addresses of respondents has alarmed protesters.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said: “If this survey is purely to inform public policy, why is the data not anonymised at the point of collection?

“The ONS will need to work incredibly hard to make sure this doesn’t go horribly wrong. The last thing anyone wants is another crisis over data security.”

Shadow Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “Day by day, the liberty and privacy of the British public is being undermined by Labour’s surveillance state.

“People will be shocked that taxpayers’ money is being spent on intrusive surveys. Now state spies want to log and record who sleeps with whom and how often. Not even the Stasi went this far.”

Last night, an ONS spokesman said the new survey was a “high quality, adaptable and efficient” way of “meeting the Government’s future information needs”, adding: “Names and addresses are stripped off the files as soon as they arrive in our office, and the data is then held on a secure server.

“We have never sold information to the private sector and that will continue.”