Daily Archives: September 3, 2010

Belgian sex abuse tapes amplify Catholic scandals

Reuters | Aug 29, 2010

By Tom Heneghan

PARIS (Reuters) – Leaked tapes of Belgium’s Cardinal Godfried Danneels urging a victim not to reveal he was sexually abused by a bishop are some of the most damaging documents to emerge in the scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church.

The tapes, made secretly by the victim and published in two Belgian newspapers on Saturday, show the former primate of Belgium exhorting him to accept a private apology or wait one year until the bishop retired before making his case public.

Their meeting took place on April 8, at a time when the Vatican was under fire for allegedly covering up similar abuse cases by priests in other countries and shocking abuse claims dominated the news in several European states.

A spokesman for Danneels denied the once popular archbishop of Brussels wanted to cover up the case, which led to the sudden resignation of Bruges Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, 73, later that month, but the tapes show him arguing firmly for silence.

Belgian Church spokesman Jurgen Mettepenningen confirmed to Reuters that the transcripts in the Flemish dailies De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad were genuine.

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“From everything he says, it’s clear that his only aim is to avoid having the case made public so many years after the facts. It is containment, nothing more,” De Standaard wrote in a commentary accusing Danneels of lacking any compassion.

The Church has been hit over the past year by two detailed government reports on sexual abuse in Ireland and waves of abuse allegations in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. Five bishops have quit because of the scandals.

Church and legal documents published in the United States this spring showed how American bishops and the Vatican dealt with predator priests without informing police of their crimes.

RARE VERBATIM RECORD

The Belgian tapes stand out as a rare verbatim record of how a leading Catholic prelate tried to persuade the victim, a 42-year-old nephew of Vangheluwe, to keep the case quiet.

They emerged as a judicial probe into the scandal teetered on the edge of collapse after reports that a June 24 police raid on Church offices and Danneels’s apartment to seize files and computers was illegal and the documents could not be used.

In their one-on-one meeting, the victim says he feels a duty to report the case to the Church hierarchy and asks Danneels to help. The cardinal responds by urging him not to go public.

“The bishop will resign next year, so actually it would be better for you to wait,” the cardinal says. “I don’t think you’d do yourself or him a favor by shouting this from the rooftops.”

The man pleads for help but Danneels, 77, who had stepped down as Brussels archbishop in January, says he cannot discipline Vangheluwe or inform higher authorities, including Pope Benedict. The bishop should turn himself in, he says.

Danneels warns the victim against trying to blackmail the Church and urges him to seek forgiveness, accept a private apology from the bishop and not drag “his name through the mud.”

“He has dragged my whole life through the mud, from 5 until 18 years old,” says the victim, who denies he wants to blackmail anyone. “Why do you feel so sorry for him and not for me?”

SECOND TAPE

In a second tape, Danneels and Vangheluwe meet the victim and one of his relatives. The bishop apologizes and says he has searched for years for a way to make up for his misdeeds.

“This is unsolvable,” the relative replies. “You’ve torn our family completely apart.”

Vangheluwe resigned on April 23, admitting he had sexually abused “a boy in my entourage” about 20 years earlier. According to De Standaard, he did this after a relative of the victim emailed all Belgian bishops demanding he quit by late May.

The newspaper said the victim decided to publish the tapes to counter allegations he had tried to blackmail Vangheluwe into paying hush money.

In his defense, Danneels’s spokesman Toon Osaer said the cardinal never meant to cover up the case and had spoken about it at an April 24 news conference.

Belgian media stressed that Danneels had told journalists his role at the April 8 meeting was to listen to the victim’s case and did not mention his bid to persuade him to keep quiet.

Pope gives rare glimpse into youth, vocation in Nazi Germany

AFP | Sep 3, 2010

The Pope in his Hitler Youth uniform

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI offered a rare glimpse into his youth, recalling the ambitions of his generation in Nazi Germany and his vocation in a message ahead of the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid.

“During the Nazi dictatorship and the war, we were, so to speak, ‘hemmed in’ by the dominant power structure. So we wanted to break out into the open, to experience the whole range of human possibilities,” the pope said.

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Born in 1927 in the German region of Bavaria, Joseph Ratzinger was conscripted into Adolf Hitler’s army in the last few months of World War II.

“We were not willing to settle for a conventional middle-class life,” Pope Benedict said, comparing his own generation’s ambitions with those of today’s youth.

“Naturally, part of that was due to the times we lived in,” he added.

The pope also discussed his vocation as a priest and his doubts about it after the war.

“I was somehow aware quite early on that the Lord wanted me to be a priest,” the pope said.

“Then later, after the war, when I was in the seminary and at university on the way towards that goal, I had to recapture that certainty. I had to ask myself: is this really the path I was meant to take?” the pope said.

Pope Benedict said he then found certainty that priesthood was the right path for him.

World Youth Day, launched by Benedict XVI’s predecessor John Paul II, is held in a different city every two or three years.

The last occasion was in 2008 in Sydney, Australia.

Meltdown of the climate ‘consensus’

Overall, the IAC slammed the IPCC for reporting “high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence.”

If this keeps up, no one’s going to trust any scientists.

NY Post | Sep 1, 2010

By MATT PATTERSON

The global-warming establishment took a body blow this week, as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received a stunning rebuke from a top-notch independent investigation.

For two decades, the IPCC has spearheaded efforts to convince the world’s governments that man-made carbon emissions pose a threat to the global temperature equilibrium — and to civilization itself. IPCC reports, collated from the work of hundreds of climate scientists and bureaucrats, are widely cited as evidence for the urgent need for drastic action to “save the planet.”

But the prestigious InterAcademy Council, an independent association of “the best scientists and engineers worldwide” (as the group’s own Web site puts it) formed in 2000 to give “high-quality advice to international bodies,” has finished a thorough review of IPCC practices — and found them badly wanting.

For example, the IPCC’s much-vaunted Fourth Assessment Report claimed in 2007 that Himalayan glaciers were rapidly melting, and would possibly be gone by the year 2035. The claim was actually false — yet the IPCC cited it as proof of man-made global warming.

Then there’s the IPCC’s earlier prediction in 2007 — which it claimed to have “high confidence” in — that global warming could lead to a 50 percent reduction in the rain-fed agricultural capacity of Africa.

Such a dramatic decrease in food production in an already poor continent would be a terrifying prospect, and undoubtedly lead to the starvation of millions. But the InterAcademy Council investigation found that this IPCC claim was also based on weak evidence.

Overall, the IAC slammed the IPCC for reporting “high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence. Furthermore, by making vague statements that were difficult to refute, authors were able to attach ‘high confidence’ to the statements.” The critics note “many such statements that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective or not expressed clearly.

Some IPCC practices can only be called shoddy. As The Wall Street Journal reported, “Some scientists invited by the IPCC to review the 2007 report before it was published questioned the Himalayan claim. But those challenges ‘were not adequately considered,’ the InterAcademy Council’s investigation said, and the projection was included in the final report.”

Yet the Himalayan claim wasn’t based on peer-reviewed scientific data, or on any data — but on spec ulation in a phone interview by a single scientist.

Was science even a real concern for the IPCC? In January, the Sunday Times of London reported that, based in large part on the fraudulent glacier story, “[IPCC Chairman] Rajendra Pachauri’s Energy and Resources Institute, based in New Delhi, was awarded up to 310,000 pounds by the Carnegie Corp. . . . and the lion’s share of a 2.5 million pound EU grant funded by European taxpayers.”

Thus, the Times concluded, “EU taxpayers are funding research into a scientific claim about glaciers that any ice researcher should immediately recognize as bogus.”

All this comes on top of last year’s revelation of the “Climategate” e-mails, which revealed equally shoddy practices (and efforts to suppress criticism) by scientists at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia — perhaps the single most important source of data that supposedly proved the most alarming claims of global warming.

Al Gore and many other warming alarmists have insisted that “the debate is over” — that the science was “settled.” That claim is now in shreds — though the grants are still flowing, and advocates still hope Congress will pass some version of the economically ruinous “cap and trade” anti-warming bill.

What does the best evidence now tell us? That man-made global warming is a mere hypothesis that has been inflated by both exaggeration and downright malfeasance, fueled by the awarding of fat grants and salaries to any scientist who’ll produce the “right” results.

The warming “scientific” community, the Climategate emails reveal, is a tight clique of like-minded scientists and bureaucrats who give each other jobs, publish each other’s papers — and conspire to shut out any point of view that threatens to derail their gravy train.

Such behavior is perhaps to be expected from politicians and government functionaries. From scientists, it’s a travesty.

In the end, grievous harm will have been done not just to individual scientists’ reputations, but to the once-sterling reputation of science itself. For that, we will all suffer.

Matt Patterson is editor of Green Watch, a publication of the Capital Research Center .

NATO air strike kills 10 civilians


NATO has around 150,000 troops in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban-led insurgency

AFP | Sep 2, 2010

KABUL — Ten Afghan civilians were killed Thursday in a NATO air strike on three vehicles carrying election campaign workers in northern Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai said in a statement.

Karzai strongly condemned the incident in his statement, confirming earlier reports of an air strike that killed election workers in Takhar province.

“Three vehicles carrying the members of a parliamentary election candidate’s team was targeted by NATO aircraft twice while travelling towards the Kiwan area in Rustaq district of Takhar province this morning, during which 10 campaign members were martyred (killed) and two others injured,” the statement from the presidential palace said.

“In the war on terror, pro-democracy people should be distinguished from those who fight against democracy,” the statement quoted Karzai as saying.

“President Karzai once again emphasised that air strikes over Afghan villages will achieve nothing in the war on terrorism but the killing of Afghan civilians,” it said.

Officials said earlier that 10 election campaigners had been killed in an air strike by international forces in the relatively peaceful north of the country.

In an initial reaction to reports of the strike, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the international counter-insurgency mission in Afghanistan, said it was “aware of the allegations”.

“We’re investigating to find out if it’s true or not,” an ISAF spokesman said.

Major General David Garza, deputy chief of staff for joint operations at ISAF’s joint command, said in a later statement that the operation had targeted vehicles carrying a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

The IMU is based in Uzebkistan’s Ferghana Valley and is known to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

“These vehicles were nowhere near a populated area and we’re confident this strike hit only the targeted vehicle after days of tracking the occupants’ activity,” Garza said.

The IMU member was believed to be the “deputy shadow governor” of Takhar, the ISAF statement said, referring to the parallel administration that the Taliban has set up in many areas of Afghanistan.

Two other people, including a candidate in the September 18 parliamentary elections, were injured in the alleged air raid in Rustaq district, Takhar provincial government spokesman Faiz Mohammad Tawhedi told AFP.

The men were travelling in a “caravan” of vehicles when they were attacked by “aircraft and helicopter gunships,” he said.

The election campaigners were working for parliamentary candidate Abdul Wahed Khurasani, who had survived the bombing with injuries, he said.

NATO has around 150,000 troops in Afghanistan to fight a Taliban-led insurgency.

The international force has been responsible for scores of civilian deaths, many of them killed during air raids aimed against insurgents.

A recent UN report said about 20 percent of the more than 1,300 civilians killed in the first half of the year lost their lives in NATO and other pro-government troops’ actions, with most of the rest killed by militants.

America Won the Cold War But Now Turning Into the USSR

America Won the Cold War But Now Is Turning Into the USSR, Gerald Celente Says

finance.yahoo.com | Aug 20, 2010

by Aaron Task

There’s a lot of talk these days about America being an empire in decline. Gerald Celente, director of the Trends Research Institute, goes a step further, arguing America is following a similar path as the former Soviet Union.

“While the many glaring differences between the two political systems have been exhaustively publicized – especially in the U.S. – the glaring similarities [go] unnoticed,” Celente writes in The Trends Journal, which he publishes.

In the accompanying video, Celente describes some of these similarities, including:

A rotten political system: He compares politicians (Democrats and Republicans alike) to “Mafioso” and says campaign contributions are really thinly disguised “bribes and payoffs.”

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Crony capitalism: Like in the USSR of old, Celente laments that so much of America’s wealth (93%) is controlled by such a small group small portion of its population (10%). Owing to that concentration of wealth, the government makes policies designed to reward “the bigs” at the expense of average citizens (see: Bailouts, banks).

Military-industrial complex:
The USSR went bankrupt fighting the cold war and Celente fears the U.S. is “squandering its greater but still finite resources on a gargantuan defense budget, fighting unwinnable hot wars and feeding an insatiable military stationed on hundreds of bases worldwide.”

As with many observers, Celente thinks America will suffer the same fate in Afghanistan as the USSR, the British Empire, Alexander the Great and all others who’ve ventured into the “graveyard of empires.”

The irony, of course, is that while America defeated Soviet Communism and won the Cold War, perhaps our greatest threat today comes from China and its booming state-controlled economy.

Innocent man spent three months in jail after cops claimed his rose was a knife

Innocent man spent three months in jail after CCTV blunder cops mistook rose for knife

dailyrecord.co.uk | Aug  28,  2010

by Craig McDonald

AN innocent man was thrown in jail for three months – because he was carrying a rose.

Cops viewing CCTV thought the single rose Stephen McAleer had in his hand as he walked home was a knife.

He was arrested and sent to Barlinnie Jail on remand. And 28-year-old Stephen’s prison ordeal only ended when he was cleared at a two-day trial this week.

A CCTV expert enhanced the images and testified that the item he was carrying was a rose in a plastic sleeve, which tapers to a knife-like point at the end of the stem.

Stephen admits he has served a jail sentence for a previous knife offence but says he has been trying to “move on” since his release in December 2008.

He said yesterday: “Jail was torture – although the other prisoners who heard what I was in for were laughing at me.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. The police were saying I had a knife and they had pictures to prove it.”

Stephen, from Newmilns, Ayrshire, was quizzed over the “blade” after he went to speak to police about traffic offences.

He said: “All of a sudden the police started asking me about a knife, saying they had CCTV pictures of me with one.

“It was from a few weeks previously, when I was walking home with my fianc›e from her mum’s house.

“I was trying to rack my brain to think what it could have been I was carrying. It eventually dawned on me that it had been the rose in its plastic wrapper. But I was still kept in prison until my case came to court.”

Stephen added: “You couldn’t make it up. I am sure no one else has ever spent three months in prison for having a rose.

“When I was being taken from jail to court for the start of my trial one of the other prisoners actually said to me, ‘Don’t worry, Stephen, you’ll come up smelling of roses.

“It would have been funny if it hadn’t been for the fact that I was facing being sent to jail for even longer.”

Stephen, who admits he has convictions for drugs and assault, insisted: “I am ashamed about my past and would never get involved with knives again.

“I am not sure what the answer to the problem of knife crime is. But it certainly isn’t locking up someone for carrying a rose. for their girlfriend just because they have offended before.

“I lost three months of my life.”

Stephen was cleared of carrying a knife by a jury at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.

The court heard he and fianc›e Rochel le had been celebrating her birthday with her mum Joanne Ewing, who bought the rose for her because it was her favourite purple.

As they walked home, he was carrying it for her.

Joanne said yesterday: “I saw the rose and bought it because it it was purple, which is Rochelle’s favourite colour.

“Who would have thought it would have led to what has happened. I think what Stephen has been put through is totally ridiculous.”

Stephen said: “I am utterly relieved at the jury’s verdict and very thankful that my lawyer got the CCTV pictures enhanced. The question is why didn’t the police or the fiscal do that?”

Stephen’s lawyer, Andy Phillips, of Liam O’Donnell and Co, said: “It is extremely unfortunate that Stephen was remanded when, if the police or Crown had had the evidence analysed by someone with the requisite expertise, this could have been avoided.”

Human rights lawyer John Scott, former chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Centre, said last night: “It appears that police officers thought they saw what they wanted to see.

“There are significant lessons here for the police and for the Crown, who could have done what the defence did and had the pictures enhanced.”

Obama’s new tax on…Rainwater!?

americansforprosperity.org | Aug 30, 2010

Would President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency really force Americans to pay a tax on “rainwater runoff” from homes and small businesses?

You bet they would.  In fact, the EPA, under radical environmentalist Lisa Jackson, is proposing regulations to do just that.

Take a look at the EPA’s own Federal Register filing, where the EPA generally describes the initiative it’s proposing:

…requirements, including design or performance standards, for stormwater discharges from, at minimum, newly developed and redeveloped sites. EPA intends to propose regulatory options that would revise the NPDES regulations and establish a comprehensive program to address stormwater discharges from newly developed and redeveloped sites and to take final action no later than November 2012. (Source)

This is bureaucratic-speak for having the EPA force cities and counties to limit stormwater runoff to levels the EPA deems acceptable.  Limiting “rainwater runoff” will mean forcing homeowners and businesses to pay new taxes in order to rein in rainwater, and that’s no pun intended.

Think about just how big-government this is.  A Washington, D.C. bureaucracy plans on forcing your local county or city to slap new taxes on you and me because this big-government bureaucracy wants to micro-manage rainwater across the entire country.  Already, several counties and cities across the United States are moving to pass new taxes and fees in anticipation of the new EPA rules, including cities in states as disparate as Florida, Ohio and Kansas.  For more details CLICK HERE

Read more: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/040610-obamas-new-tax-onrainwater#ixzz0yVCAOLda

So what DO they allow..?

bigbrotherwatch.org.uk | Sep 1, 2010


The “culture of control” in Australia

More…

East Lancashire’s August ‘coldest since 1993’

lancashiretelegraph.co.uk | Sep 3, 2010

THE past month saw the coldest August temperatures for 17 years in East Lancashire, new figures show.

Temperatures failed to get above 21 degrees celsius, with average highs just 17 degrees.

Top temperatures are usually expected to reach well into the 20s throughout the month.

Roy Chetham, who collected the data from his Huncoat weather station, said: “Temperatures were well down for a summer month, and we’ve seen the coldest August since 1993.

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“There was also six per cent extra rain, which helped with the water shortages.

“So far this year rainfall is now at 72 per cent of normal.”

September is set to start much warmer than August. This weekend forecasters expect 24 degrees on Sunday, four degrees higher than the monthly average.

Met Office forecaster John Hammond said: “There is fine weather and late summer sunshine to be had for many parts of the UK as we head into the weekend.”

Cops suspended after confiscating sports car, taking a joy ride and crashing it

Sky News | Sep 3, 2010

Cops Suspended Over Illicit Sports Car Roll

by Lulu Sinclair

The two officers wrote-off the high-powered Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Two police officers have been suspended after confiscating a super-fast sports car from its driver and then crashing it themselves.

The driver of the turbo-charged, four-wheel drive Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII was stopped in the early hours of the morning in Hale, Greater Manchester, because of his erratic driving.

The 23-year-old was suspected of drink driving and the constables contacted traffic police who subsequently arrested him and took him away.

The original officers were left to wait for a recovery truck to pick up the sports car.

While waiting, they appear to have decided to take the 270bhp car – which can do 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds and is electronically limited to 156mph – for a spin.

The quick spin turned into a disaster with the four-wheel drive hitting a wall and flipping on its side and then after ploughing into the gardens of two luxury homes.

The officers were found inside, one with minor injuries one severely shaken and both severely stirred. No one else was hurt.

The smash is now being investigated by officers from Greater Manchester Police’s professional standards unit.

A spokesman for the force said the officers, both from the Trafford division, have been suspended from driving duties “with immediate effect”.

Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts said: “I can assure the local community that this incident will be rigorously investigated.

“Thankfully, no members of the public were injured. I would like to apologise to residents if this incident has caused any problems or inconvenience.”

The Mitsubishi’s 23-year-old driver remains in custody for questioning.