August 22, 2007

News You Might Have Missed * Vol. 6, No. 34

Important but overlooked news from around the world.

QUOTED:

“Politically, neo-Nazi groups are not a big force. But worryingly, they reflect widely held views across society.”

— Hate-crimes analyst Alexander Verkhovsky, on Russia’s surge of anti-immigrant violence (see “Fascism,” below).

CONTENTS:

*Top Stories*
Ten chapters to jihad
The atrocity illustrations
Hate crimes and the homeless

*Religion*
Spreading the gospel of intolerance

*Fascism*
A neo-Nazi resurgence tests speech limits

*Drugs & Society*
Mexico’s drug war crosses the border


TOP STORIES

Ten Chapters to Jihad

A military manual put together by Taliban militants and clerics shows how organized the group really is, and underlines its geographic power base along the southern Pakistani border.

The 10-chapter manual, “Military Teachings for the Preparation of Mujahedeen,” is a how-to manual that details everything from constructing explosives and how to target heavy vehicles to techniques for blowing up bridges and power lines.

It also encourages students to join the Taliban without the consent of their parents.

The Telegraph reports that the manual has already been delivered to Taliban militants in Pakistan. Experts say it has the potential to fall into the hands of pro-Taliban ethnic Pashtun tribes along the border who also oppose the occupation.

The Atrocity Illustrations

An advocacy group called Waging Peace wants to submit “evidence” of crimes against humanity witnessed by Sudanese children who say Arabic Janjaweed militants, backed by government troops, killed their families and torched their villages in Darfur.

A group of child refugees drew pictures when asked to describe the atrocities their witnessed. Arguing that children’s memories are more reliable than evidence provided by the Sudanese government, the group now wants to submit 500 drawings to the ICC as it prosecutes Sudanese war criminals.

Lawyers for the ICC say using the drawings could present problems in court. Not only does it suggest the NGO has an agenda, it could force the children and their surviving relatives to undergo harsh cross-examination on the stand.

Hate Crimes and the Homeless

Violent street attacks on the homeless have multiplied across America in recent years, prompting lawmakers in six states, including California, to introduce legislation that would label such attacks hate crimes and punish people accordingly.

According to a 2006 report from the National Coalition for the Homeless, the number of rapes, beatings and murders has jumped to 142 attacks countrywide from 36 such assaults recorded in 2002.

The report points out that most homeless attacks are likely to go unreported.

As for the perpetrators, crime statistics point squarely to middle-class males of European descent, typically in their teens.

Those who oppose including protection for the homeless under hate crimes legislation say that unlike race or gender, being homeless is sometimes a choice.

“People aren’t born into homelessness,” comments one such opponent.

Sources:

“Taliban secrets revealed”
Telegraph (U.K.), August 16, 2007

“Drawn in Darfur: pictures don’t lie”
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, August 14, 2007

“Hating the homeless”
Southern Poverty Law Center/Intelligence Report (AL), Summer 2007


RELIGION

Spreading the Gospel of Intolerance

Whether it’s Jews against Christian, Christians against Muslims, or Iraqi sects against each other, religious intolerance is thriving, sometimes with deadly results.

The Yedizi community, an ancient minority Kurdish ethnic- religious group in Iraq, faces near-annihilation following a coordinated carpet bombing attack carried out by al-Qaeda operatives last week in the Sinjar district west of Mosul.

The Yedizis, who were heavily persecuted under the regime of Saddam Hussein, have endured other attacks in recent months.

Yedizi leaders are now contemplating bringing disparate Yedizi settlement together under Kurdish tribal lands for safety.

Dutch Minister Geert Wilders made headlines last week when he wrote an editorial calling for a ban on the Koran, which he called a “fascist” text that exhorts violence.

Dutch officials condemned his statements, and an Egyptian diplomat said Geert’s language “only demonstrates the racism of certain Western politicians.”

Geert is the leader of the right-wing “Freedom Party,” which has over 150 members in the parliament.

In Italy, the Vatican has declared that good Catholics must withdraw their support for Amnesty International if the human rights group goes through with a policy decision to back abortion in the cases of rape or threat to the life of the mother.

Amnesty, a Catholic-founded group, decided to take a stand on the abortion issue for the first time after discovering reports of rape used as a means of political control by attackers in Darfur.

And in Israel, an American Evangelical couple who have established a church in Jerusalem are accusing the Israeli government of religious persecution after officials refused to renew their temporary visa.

Two of their children have married Israelis and live in Israel.

Questions have arisen over whether the small Shalom Shalom Ministry, run by Ron and Carol Cantrell, is proselytizing in an attempt to convert Jews (which is illegal), or just spreading the Evangelical message about the Rapture being hastened by the return of the Jews to the Holy Land.

Sources:

“Egypt calls Wilders ‘racist'”
Agence France-Presse, August 10, 2007

“‘They won’t stop until we are all wiped out'”
Guardian (U.K.), August 18, 2007

“Vatican: Amnesty set to defy Catholic church over abortion”
ADNKronos International, August 13, 2007

“Evangelical pastor told to leave Israel”
Jerusalem Post, August 16, 2007


FASCISM

A Neo-Nazi Resurgence Tests Speech Limits
From a grisly “execution” video to clashes over protest rallies, officials and ideologues tread dangerous ground as neo-Nazi activists seek to push their agenda in Europe and the United States.

In Russia, a student was arrested for posting a video that appears to document the execution-style beheading and shooting of two purported Central Asian immigrants.

The Guardian reports that racist and neo-Nazi crimes in Russia are up 22 percent compared to last year.

Previous incidents there include an assault on an environmentalist camp that left one person dead and nine injured.

Germany remains intolerant of neo-Nazi activity, and banned a march memorializing Rudolph Hess, the Third Reich’s second-in- command, who committed suicide in prison in 1987.

Protests against the ban on the march, however, have moved forward in some German cities, including Munich.

Though a planned Hess memorial there was shut down, neo-Nazis did rally successfully against a law preventing “public incitement,” reports Deutsche Welle.

Agence France-Presse reports that after German officials banned a march for Hess in the town where he is buried, neo-Nazis went to Denmark, where the symbols and language of German fascism are legal.

Their march spurred clashes with local anarchists, resulting in almost 60 arrests, mostly of counterdemonstrators who attacked a car belonging to a neo-Nazi.

In the United States, the mayor of Toledo closed a local park for six hours rather than let counterdemonstrators protest against a neo-Nazi rally expected for this Friday.

A city official said the intent was to avoid drawing more attention to the neo-Nazis.

A similar rally in 2005 also drew counterprotestors, and erupted into a riot that saw a bar burned down and 100 arrests.

Sources:

“Student arrested over Russian neo-Nazi ‘execution’ video”
Guardian (U.K.), August 16, 2007

“Park shut down by mayor to thwart rally”
Toledo Blade, August 13, 2007

“Clashes mark Nazi’s death anniversary”
Agence France-Presse, August 19, 2007

“German Neo-Nazis Fail in Fight to March for Hitler’s Deputy”
Deutsche Welle (Germany), August 17, 2007


DRUGS & SOCIETY

Mexico’s Drug War Crosses Borders

Driven by America’s insatiable appetite for cocaine, marijuana and other narcotics, Mexican drug cartels have increasingly transformed U.S. border towns into scenes of violence, kidnappings and corruption, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The El Paso Times reports that drug cartels are increasingly recruiting U.S. citizens to their networks, including Horizon High School students in El Paso who were recently busted for driving Mexican drugs to Oklahoma City.

According to the Dallas Morning News, U.S. narcotics officials are well aware of the problem, and last week rounded up 30 key Mexican Gulf Cartel operatives that were selling cocaine and marijuana at key points throughout Texas.

One key Gulf Cartel leader, Miguel Trevino Morales, a hit man in charge of fending off any competition in and around Nuevo Laredo, has so far evaded the grasp of both Texan and Mexican officials.

Oddly, Morales is listed as “wanted” only by the Laredo police, and not by the DEA or other national-scale agency, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Competition between rival drug cartels has destroyed the peace in Monterrey, Mexico, a previously well-to-do and quiet city.

The Washington Post reports that assassinations are carried out in broad daylight, while pizzerias install metal detectors and politicians say they feel like targets.

About 400 law enforcement officers suspected of corruption have been taken off the streets there.

Sources:

“Border violence pushes north”
Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2007

“Teens recruited from local high school to smuggle”
El Paso Times, August 18, 2007

“Drug war overruns praised city”
Washington Post, August 12, 2007

“Dallas-area raids net drug cartel suspects”
Dallas Morning News, August 17, 2007

“Drug lord invokes such fear, people won’t even utter his name”
San Antonio Express-News, August 18, 2007


Editors: Julia Scott, Josh Wilson

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