Daily Archives: July 29, 2011

Ghost towns on the increase as rural America accounts for just 16% of population


Blackout: This official graphic shows dominant U.S. urban areas, marked in white, while large swathes of rural areas are becoming darker as people move away

Migration will form a virtual mega-city stretching through Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland and ending in the capital Washington D.C.

In 1910 72% of Americans lived in rural areas

Daily Mail | Jul 28, 2011

Vast swathes of the U.S. countryside are emptying and communities becoming ghost towns as rural America now only accounts for just 16 per cent of the population.

The 2010 census results suggest that by 2050 many of these areas could shrink to virtually nothing as businesses collapse and schools close.

This dramatic population implosion is the culmination of a century of migration to cities, as in 1910 the share of rural America was at 72 per cent.

In 1950 the countryside remained home to a majority of Americans, amid post-World War II economic expansion and the baby boom.

However, once busy areas have been abandoned, in South Dakota for example, the town of Scenic is up for sale for $799,000 as today just eight people live there.

Overall the share of people in rural areas over the past decade fell to 16 percent, passing the previous low of 20 percent in 2000, and is expected to drop further because of the economic crisis.

But in contrast American cities are booming and will continue to swallow suburban communities, producing a virtual mega-city stretching through Boston, Massachusetts, through New York City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland and ending in the capital Washington, D.C.

‘Some of the most isolated rural areas face a major uphill battle, with a broad area of the country emptying out,’ said Mark Mather, associate vice president of the Population Reference Bureau, a research group in Washington, D.C.

‘Many rural areas can’t attract workers because there aren’t any jobs, and businesses won’t relocate there because there aren’t enough qualified workers. So they are caught in a downward spiral.’

The rural share is expected to drop further as the U.S. population balloons from 309 million to 400 million by 2050, leading even more people to crowd cities and suburbs and fill in the land around them.

In 2010, the census found cities grew overall by 11 percent with the biggest gains in suburbs or small- or medium-sized cities.

In fact, of the 10 fastest-growing places, all were small cities incorporated into the suburbs of expanding metro areas, mostly in California, Arizona and Texas.

In all, the share of Americans living in suburbs has climbed to an all-time high of 51 percent.

Despite sharp declines in big cities in the Northeast and Midwest since 2000 due to the recession, U.S. cities increased their share by 3 percent to a third.

The data was supplemented with calculations by Robert Lang, a sociology professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.

In the census ‘rural’ is generally defined as non-metropolitan areas with fewer than 50,000 people.

‘These new patterns suggest that there will be a blurring of boundaries as regions expand well beyond official government-defined definitions,’ Mr Frey said.

‘People like to have it all – affordable housing in a smaller-town setting but in close proximity to jobs and big-city amenities such as specialised shopping, cultural events and major sports and entertainment venues.’

Areas areas like the Great Plains in the central U.S. and Appalachia in the East, along with parts of the South and Texas, could face the most significant population declines, demographers say.

These places suffered some of the biggest losses over the past decade as young adults left and the people who stayed got older, moving past childbearing years.

Rural towns are scrambling to attract new residents and stave off heavy funding cuts from financially strapped federal and state governments.

Delta Air Lines recently announced it would end flight service to 24 small airports, several of them in the Great Plains, and the U.S.

The U.S. Postal Service is mulling plans to close thousands of branches in mostly rural areas of the country.

Many rural areas, the central Great Plains in particular, have been steadily losing population since the 1930s with few signs of the trend slowing in coming decades.

Among the struggling rural areas are vast stretches of West Virginia in Appalachia. Several of the state’s counties over the past decade have lost large chunks of their population following the collapse of logging and coal-mining industries.

Leader of Ancient Order of the Templar Knights in Malta denies mentoring Norwegian killer

timesofmalta.com | Jul 27, 2011

 

Paul Ray, Ancient Order of Templar Knights

Paul Ray, the originator of the English Defence League, who now lives in Malta, has denied he is the man who mentored Norwegian killer Anders Breivik.

In his 1,500-page manifesto, Breivik says his mentor was Richard (the Lionhearted)”.

Although Mr Ray (real name Paul Sonato) is known as Richard the Lionheart, he has said on his blog:

“It has been implied several places that due to the fact I use the name Lionheart on this blog and my anti-Islamic fundamentalism ideology is similar, not the same, as Anders Breivik that Richard could mean Richard the Lionheart, thus Lionheart could mean me.

“I might be a Christian fundamentalist who has a deep dislike for Islamic fundamentalism who looks to Templarism as an example, but anyone who knows me knows that I personally would play no part in such inhumane savagery that has no place in the civilised world.

“I’ve been perplexed about this all day due to how serious the nature of being linked to a political mass murderer is (it’s no small thing), and now the penny has finally dropped on who the most likely person is, who ‘Richard’ the English mentor of Anders Breivik is.

“EDL’s financier and political controller Alan Lake.”

EDL leader Stephen Lennon, leader of the English Defense League, told The Associated Press yesterday that he does not condone Breivik’s rampage but “the fact that so many people are scared – people have to listen to that.”

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Lennon also claimed that “Richard (the Lionhearted)” was Mr Ray, who was kicked out of the group a few years ago.

Mr Ray fled England almost two years ago after being arrested for stirring racial hatred and settled in Malta.

In Malta he leads an anti-Muslim group called The Ancient Order of the Templar Knights.

Norway killer made pligrimage to Malta, home of Knights Hospitallers


Breivik mentions Valletta as one of his favourite destinations.

Norway killer visited Malta, impressed by Valletta

di-ve.com | Jul 25, 2011

by John Paul Cordina

Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind the death of at least 93 people in 2 attacks in Norway last Friday, had visited Malta in the past, citing Valletta as one of his favourite destinations.

Mr Breivik (pictured) is believed to be responsible for 2 terrorist attacks which took place last Friday. The first was a bomb explosion in the heart of Norwegian capital Oslo, in which at least 7 people were killed, and the second was a shooting spree at a summer camp on the lake island of Utøya to Oslo’s northwest, which left 86 dead, mostly youths aged 15-16.

Both attacks were politically motivated. The bomb was placed outside the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, while the summer camp targeted was organised by the youth organisation of Mr Stoltenberg’s Labour Party.

Mr Breivik has owned up to the attacks – describing them as “gruesome but necessary” – and said that he has acted alone. He also published a 1,516 page manifesto titled 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence – under the pseudonym Andrew Berwick.

The manifesto is stridently anti-Islam and opposes “Marxism” and multiculturalism. It states that there should be a violent revolution in 19 European countries – Malta among them – and appeals to the countries’ armed forces to overthrow the government.

The report mentions Malta a number of times. In a section where he describes himself, Mr Breivik states that Malta is one of 24 countries he “had the privilege of experiencing.” It apparently also stood out as one of his favourites: he later mentions Valletta as one of his favourite destinations.

“A perfect balance of culture and nightlife,” Mr Breivik writes as he describes the capital. “The architecture and historical sites in Valletta are amazing. Everyone should study the history of Malta as it was Western Europe’s frontline against Jihad for centuries and its history, architecture and historical sites reflect this.”

The 32-year-old also claimed that Malta was one of few countries which were highly opposed to Islam, stating that the Maltese still remembered when the “Ottoman Empire enslaved Gozo’s population a few centuries ago.”

Curiously, Mr Breivik cites the Nationalist Party within a list of anti-immigration parties and organisations, one of very few prominent centre-right parties within the list. His Malta list also includes VivaMalta, Imperium Europa and Azzjoni Nazzjonali.

The mention appears to have been made simply due to the party’s name – centre-right politicians such as Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel are castigated elsewhere within the document – and prompted the PN to stress that it had nothing to do with such viewpoints.

“The PN’s position on immigration is clear: people’s lives and dignity precede all other interests. The PN celebrates, not castigates, diversities in traditions, cultures and skin colour,” the party said, later stressing that far-right language was never used by the PN and never would.

Mr Breivik described himself as a “justiciar knight commander for Knights Templar Europe,” and revealed an obsession with crusading knights which may explain his interest in Malta. “I would strongly advice all Justiciar Knights to visit Valetta (sic), Malta and Jerusalem, Israel and to visit all the Knights Templar historical sites,” he states at one point.

Oslo killer Anders Breivik ‘linked to’ Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, Ulster terrorist


Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, was leader of the Ulster Freedom Fighters Photo: PA Duncan Gardham

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian gunman, was linked yesterday to the Ulster terrorist Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair.

Telegraph | Jul 28, 2011

By Duncan Gardham

The potential connection has emerged following scrutiny of Breivik’s links to British blogger, Paul Ray, who calls himself the “Lionheart”.

Ray, 35, who has faced speculation that he might have acted as a ‘mentor’ to Breivik, has denied ever meeting the Norwegian but admitted he may have drawn “inspiration” from his writings.

The Daily Telegraph can now disclose that Mr Ray played host to Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair, former leader of the Ulster Freedom Fighters in Malta last February.

He is also friends with Nick Greger, a German “known as Nazi Nick,” who describes himself as a “former neo-Nazi-leader, convicted terrorist, militiaman, artist, book writer and preacher”.

Mr Greger posted a video online them together with Adair on Youtube last year, titled “The Gathering.”

The film shows the three men visiting historic churches around Malta, cut together with footage showing UFF terrorists and Mr Greger with a Kalashnikov, set to a trance music track and illustrated with slides of Templar Knights.

Mr Greger has also been a supporter of Charles Taylor, the former dictator tried for war crimes over his time in Liberia, and has traveled to the Ivory Coast.

Breivik, the Oslo killer, wrote of traveling to the Ivory Coast and Liberia in 2002 telling his friend he was planning to “research the potential to smuggle blood diamonds and selling them in London.”

In London soon afterwards, he said he had attended the founding meeting of the “Knights Templar Europe” explaining that he “joined the session after visiting one of the initial facilitators, a Serbian Crusader Commander and war hero, in Monrovia, Liberia.”

At the meeting he claimed he had been delegated a “long term task” with one other “to create a compendium based on the information I have acquired from the other founders during our sessions” which turned into the 1,500 page document he circulated hours before his attacks.

Breivik wrote that due to “EU persecution for alleged crimes against Muslims” the Serbian was “living at one point in Liberia.”

Mr Greger, who is banned from Britain, has traveled widely in Africa and currently lives in Malta, as does Mr Ray, who is originally from Luton, Bedfordshire.

In his 1,500-page “compendium”, Breivik wrote that his “assigned mentor” at the London meeting was “referred to as Richard (the Lionhearted).”

Referring to the right-wing British group the English Defence League, Breivik added: “I wonder sometimes if one of the EDL founders was one of the co-founders of [the Knights Templar], I guess I’ll never know for sure.”

Mr Ray was a founding member of the EDL and has written about reforming the Knights Templar.

Mr Ray told the Daily Telegraph he was convinced that he had never met Breivik but added: “It does worry me that he got inspiration from my blog and it does look that way.

“I do worry that he has taken what I say and overreacted to it. I worry about that. That is my main worry.”

Several of the “founding principles” of the Knights Templars bear close analysis to language used by Mr Ray on his Lionheart blog including “support Israel’s fight against Jihad” and the Templars’ “mantra,” “Martyrdom before Dhimmitude” – a word which means supplication to Islam on which Ray wrote extensively in 2007.

‘Lionheart,’ for instance, asked: “Where is the support from within the ranks of the Templar Army in Britain?…We die together as Christian brothers and sisters in protection of the Christian and Jewish world, for the future of our people.”

Claiming he had “dug his sword into the ground” ‘Lionheart’ added: “God will revive the ancient order of the Knights Templar and count me worthy to die amongst them in service of my God in protection of the Christian and Jewish world.”

Mr Ray said: “What [Breivik] has done has nothing to do with Christianity, antijihadism and Templarism.

“I am horrified that I am linked to what happened here,” he said. “How can anyone in a sane mind condone what he did? The mind boggles at it and you cannot comprehend what he has done.

“I have never had any dealings with the man whatsoever in my life. I have never met him and have checked all my emails and can say I have never dealt with him.”

He said he condemned wholeheartedly what had happened and offered his deepest sympathies to Norway and the relatives of the dead.

Hugo Chavez compared to Hitler after vow to rule until 2031


Hugo Chavez (right) with Fidel Castro in Cuba during his treatment there last month Photo: AP

President Hugo Chavez has been compared to Adolf Hitler by political opponents after dismissing continuing questions about his health by pledging to rule Venezuela for another two decades.

Telegraph | Jul 26, 2011

By Robin Yapp, Sao Paulo

In an interview with the government-backed newspaper Correo del Orinoco, he said that stepping down from the presidency had never crossed his mind despite his ongoing battle to overcome cancer.

Mr Chavez, who has already been in power since 1999, spoke of his ambition to complete three decades in power and predicted that the 2020s would be a “golden decade” for his country.

“I have medical reasons, scientific reasons, human reasons, reasons of love, political reasons to stay at the front of the Government and with that my candidature becomes stronger than before,” he said. “I’m determined to get to 2031.”

But his comments are likely to increase concerns for Venezuelan democracy after his brother Adan Chavez, a provincial governor, said recently that a return to “armed struggle” should not be ruled out by supporters of the radical left-wing regime.

Milos Alcalay, a former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s not the first time that he says the only successor to Hugo Chavez is Hugo Chavez.

“History shows that dicatators who think they are going to last forever will only end up in the cemetery as nobody can rule eternally.

“Chavez, Hitler or Mao would not nominate their successor. Hitler also had votes but he didn’t have legitimacy.”

Experts in Latin American politics have already warned that if questions over Mr Chavez’s ability to govern continue to linger, Venezuela could be plunged into a potentially volatile political crisis.

Under Venezuela’s current constitution, Mr Chavez would have to win three more elections in 2012, 2018 and 2024 in order to retain power for another 20 years through democratic means.

He insisted in the interview that he would stand down if there was a reason to but continues to confidently state that he is on the road to a full recovery despite refusing to even say which kind of cancer he was diagnosed with.

“Personally, I can say that I never thought for an instant of stepping down from the presidency,” said Mr Chavez. “If there were reasons to do so, I would; especially if there were physical or mental reasons, I would be the first to do so in a responsible manner.”

Mr Chavez returned to Venezuela on Saturday night after a week in Cuba where he underwent a first round of chemotherapy following surgery to remove a “baseball-sized” tumour last month.

He said that tests have found no “malignant cells” remaining in his body but acknowledged that he faces extensive further treatment to guard against a potential relapse.

Mr Chavez will turn 57 on Thursday and pledged to celebrate “with my people like never before” without giving further details for security reasons.

Breivik listened to Lord of the Rings music on his iPod to drown out screams of his victims

Daily Mail | Jul 26, 2011

By Christian Gysin In Oslo, Neil Sears and Sam Greenhill

Anders Breivik is believed to have drowned out the screams of his victims by listening to film music from the Lord of the Rings on his iPod.

Lux Aeterna, which was used in the battle scenes, is described by the killer as ‘very inspiring and invokes the type of passionate rage within you’.

Survivors described Breivik as ‘wearing a headset’ as he calmly fired on his unarmed targets. The explanation is given in his 1,500-page ‘manifesto’, published on Friday hours before his killing spree.

In it he praises Lux Aeterna, by the British film composer Clint Mansell, formerly of the group Pop Will Eat Itself, and says he plans to use it in the atrocity.

He writes: ‘I will put my iPod on max volume as a tool to suppress fear if needed. I might just put Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell on repeat as it is an incredibly powerful song.’

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In the manifesto, Breivik names British nuclear plants, oil rigs and refineries as suitable targets for fellow fanatics.

Convinced that the British Establishment is conspiring to destroy traditional western society by encouraging Islamic immigration, he calculates that precisely 62,216 Britons are race ‘traitors’ who deserved to die.

This list includes former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and ex-foreign secretary Jack Straw, as well as singer Billy Bragg and actor Ross Kemp.

Prince Charles and the Queen are singled out for criticism too.

Yet Breivik, who lived in London as a baby, clearly adores Britain. He refers to it more than any other country in his manifesto, with his heroes including Winston Churchill and Jeremy Clarkson – because Top Gear ‘is one of the funniest shows on TV’.

He also claims extensive links to the right-wing street thugs of the English Defence League and seems to view Britons as members of a so-called ‘Nordic’ race.

As revealed yesterday, he says he is one of up to 12 ‘Knights Templar’ who met in London in April 2002 and pledged to plot individual terror attacks against their ‘cultural Marxist’ enemies. That Knights Templar group, he claimed, included two English representatives.

One of Breivik’s strongest arguments for attacking Britain is  the leaked UK government memo of 2000 – widely covered by British newspapers – in which it was suggested that mass immigration would bring many benefits.

Based on “Lux Aeterna” by Clint Mansell, Remix version “Requiem for a tower” arranged by Simone Benyacar, Dan Nielsen, and Veigar Margeirsson

Breivik – who uses the Anglicised pseudonym Andrew Berwick, and claims he completed his manifesto in London this year – writes: ‘Jack Straw and Tony Blair “dishonestly” concealed a plan to allow in more immigrants.

‘The driving force and intention was also to humiliate right-wing opponents of immigration and “destroy the Conservatives once and for all”.’

As well as proposing that 818kg of anthrax would be enough to post a lethal dose to all 62,000 British ‘traitors’ – politicians, teachers, journalists and many others – along with another 350,000 traitors across Europe, he also suggests high-profile structural targets.

He notes that attacks on nuclear power stations or other sensitive structures can easily cause havoc, and goes on to list numerous UK oil rigs, including one inland in Dorset, and numerous locations in the North Sea. Breivik proposes attacks on Britain’s 24 nuclear reactors, names reprocessing plants and gives a list of nuclear research facilities.

Breivik suggests disguising a lorry packed with explosives as a fire engine and getting past as much security as possible before detonation at a power plant. Aircraft suicide attacks are suggested for nuclear plants, while attacks on oil rigs could be carried out using a fishing vessel, he suggests, and would require manpower of just a handful of fanatics.

Copious directions on how to obtain and make explosives are also included – and were used to deadly effect in Oslo on Friday.

He notes with satisfaction that an attack on a nuclear installation could lead to ’10,000-50,000’ casualties –  and says even the threat of such  an attack could force the British  government to begin to expel Muslims or force them to convert to Christianity, while demolishing mosques and banning Islamic languages.

Enthusing about how righteous it is to massacre his victims, Breivik declares: ‘We are no more terrorists than the indigenous Brits who fought against the imperialistic Roman invaders, or the Americans who fought against English rule.

‘We are no more terrorists than Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse who fought for their people against the imperialist General Armstrong Custer. We are the Sitting Bulls and Crazy Horses of our time and the imperialistic Custers of our time are called Barroso, Blair, Brown, Merkel and Sarkozy.’

Breivik goes on to recommend  British websites including those of the British National Party, the Countryside Alliance, the Conservative Monday Club and even the Royal British Legion.

Islamic extremists set up Sharia law controlled zones in British cities

dailymail.co.uk | Jul 28, 2011

By Rebecca Camber

The posters warn passers-by that they are entering a zone where Islamic rules, such as 'no alcohol', are 'enforced'

Islamic extremists have launched a poster campaign across the UK proclaiming areas where Sharia law enforcement zones have been set up.

Communities have been bombarded with the posters, which read: ‘You are entering a Sharia-controlled zone – Islamic rules enforced.’

The bright yellow messages daubed on bus stops and street lamps have already been seen across certain boroughs in London and order that in the ‘zone’ there should be ‘no gambling’, ‘no music or concerts’, ‘no porn or prostitution’, ‘no drugs or smoking’ and ‘no alcohol’.

Hate preacher Anjem Choudary has claimed responsibility for the scheme, saying he plans to flood specific Muslim and non-Muslim communities around the UK and ‘put the seeds down for an Islamic Emirate in the long term’.

In the past week, dozens of streets in the London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Newham have been targeted, raising fears that local residents may be intimidated or threatened for flouting ‘Islamic rules’.

Choudary, who runs the banned militant group Islam4UK, warned: ‘We now have hundreds if not thousands of people up and down the country willing to go out and patrol the streets for us and a print run of between 10,000 and 50,000 stickers ready for distribution.

‘There are 25 areas around the country which the Government has earmarked as areas where violent extremism is a problem.

‘We are going to go to all these same areas and implement our own Sharia-controlled zones.


Seizing control: Activist Jamaal Uddin puts up one of the Sharia stickers in Leyton, in the East London borough of Waltham Forest

‘This is the best way for dealing with drunkenness and loutishness, prostitution and the sort of thug life attitude you get in British cities.’

The former lawyer added: ‘This will mean this is an area where the Muslim community will not tolerate drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, usury, free mixing between the sexes – the fruits if you like of Western civilisation.

‘We want to run the area as a Sharia-controlled zone and really to put the seeds down for an Islamic Emirate in the long term.’

Scotland Yard is now working with local councils to remove the posters and identify those responsible for putting them up.

Choudary said he was organising a protest against the Far Right in Waltham Forest this weekend following last Friday’s killing spree in Norway by anti-Islamic gunman Anders Breivik.

He said: ‘We are going to put the events in Oslo on the agenda. We are going to be marching and addressing this issue. It is a whole new scenario now. The Muslim community needs to be vigilant. There is an undercurrent against Islam.

‘I do believe a Norway-style attack could happen here.’

The campaign comes just months after stickers proclaiming a ‘gay-free zone’ and appearing to reference the religious Islamic text of the Koran appeared in Tower Hamlets.

Women in parts of East London including Tower Hamlets have been threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists if they did not wear headscarves.

James Brandon, of the anti-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, which has dubbed the intimidation the work of ‘Talibanesque thugs’, said: ‘This is a small group which is not representative of these communities.
‘It’s great news that the police have decided to investigate this. This has the potential to divide communities and upset people.’

Yesterday the leader of Waltham Forest Council, Chris Robbins, said: ‘As soon as we heard about these posters we worked over the weekend to take them all down.

‘Since then we have been going through our CCTV images and working with the police to try to identify the culprits. Our policy is to use the full extent of our powers to prosecute any offenders.

‘People should not get the wrong idea about our borough because a handful of small-minded idiots, who do not live here, decide to deface our streets with ridiculous posters.’