Police investigating child abuse search peer Greville Janner’s home
Paul Peachey, Independent, Dec 20 2013
Police investigating allegations of historic child abuse linked to children’s homes in Leicestershire have searched the home of the Labour peer Greville Janner. ‘Lord’ Janner’s legal team confirmed on Friday that he was assisting police with their inquiries after officers reportedly spent several days searching his home in Golders Green, north London. The 85-year-old, who served as an MP in Leicester for 27 years, has not been arrested and police did not indicate what was taken away from the flat. The father-of-three was accused of child abuse in a court case in 1991 but was not prosecuted and was given all-party support in the House of Commons when he described his ordeal and said there was “not a shred of truth” in the claims against him. ‘Lord’ Janner was named by Frank Beck, a former head of three children’s homes in Leicestershire, who was given five life terms after 200 children complained that they had been abused by him over 13 years to 1986. A 30-year-old man also gave evidence that he had been abused by ‘Lord’ Janner when he was in care aged 13. A letter was shown to the jury that was allegedly sent from the MP to the boy. The prosecution in the case called the claims a red herring and part of “the great Janner diversion” in an attempt to deflect blame from Beck, the court heard. ‘Lord’ Janner gave written evidence to the Kirkwood inquiry which looked into wider failures within the care home system. Beck, one of Britain’s most notorious sex offenders, died of a heart attack in 1994 while playing badminton at Whitemoor prison in Cambridgeshire. ‘Lord’ Janner was made a life peer in 1997 and is best known for his work to recompense victims of the Holocaust. He chairs the Holocaust Educational Trust and was instrumental in arranging the 1997 London Nazi Looted Gold conference, according to his website. His wife of more than four decades died in 1996. In a statement, his lawyers WilmerHale said:
‘Lord’ Janner has not been arrested but has been assisting the police with their inquiries. We are not able to make any further comment at this time.
In Golders Green, builders working at a house next to ‘Lord’ Janner’s home said they saw a number of police cars at the address on Monday and Tuesday this week. In the Daily Mail, a man who identified himself as ‘Lord’ Janner’s spiritual healer was quoted as saying the peer was exhausted with the stress of dealing with the police. The man said:
He’s old and he needs his rest. I don’t want to say any more.
Police raid home of Labour ‘Lord’ as part of historic sex abuse probe
and spend two days searching his £600k apartment
Lizzie Parry, Daily Mail, Dec 20 2013
Police officers have raided the London home of Labour ‘Lord’ Greville Janner, as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into historic sex abuse allegations, it has emerged. Leicestershire Police refused to comment on what was seized at ‘Lord’ Janner’s Barnet flat. Officers were seen combing the property on Monday and Tuesday. Janner, a prominent speaker on Jewish rights who was President of the Board of British Jews, has been hailed for his efforts to see Holocaust victims receive compensation. In 1955, he married Myra Sheink, born and bred in Australia, who passed away in 1996. He has three children and many grandchildren. On his official website, Janner says his hobbies include ‘autograph collections, glass and other antiquities, swimming, speaking his nine languages and his family.’ It also says he is a member of the Magic Circle and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. In 2006 ‘Lord’ Janner was struck by fellow ‘Lord’ Bramall, a former head of the Armed Forces, during a furious row over the Lebanon conflict. Officers from Leicestershire Police spent two days searching the peer’s £600k apartment in Barnet, north London. The force refused to give details of what was seized at the 85-year-old’s home but confirmed it is part of an ongoing probe. It is understood the investigation is into allegations of historic sex abuse. A police spokesman said:
Leicestershire Police can confirm its officers executed a search warrant of a property in Barnet, London, as part of an ongoing criminal inquiry. No arrests have been made at this stage.
The former barrister was named ‘Baron Janner of Braunstone’ in 1997. The peer’s lawyers WilmerHale said in a statement:
‘Lord’ Janner has not been arrested but has been assisting the police with their inquiries. We are not able to make any further comment at this time.
Builders working on a renovation next door to Janner’s home saw a number of police cars and officers at the address on Monday and Tuesday. One said:
There were police cars here on Monday and Tuesday. They were coming and going all day. I don’t know what happened, but they’ve been back since. They were here on Tuesday and came back on Wednesday.
The huge white-fronted property in West Hampstead contains six luxury flats. Janner was at home on Thursday afternoon but did not answer the door. A young man who identified himself as ‘Jameson’ came to the door. He claimed he was ‘Lord’ Janner’s personal spiritual healer. He said:
The ‘Lord’ won’t come to the door. He is exhausted with all the stress of dealing with the police. He’s old and needs his rest. I don’t want to say any more.
evidently the critturs are going to be busy making laws to penalise people like me who talk of israeli “demographic warfare”
US slams Richard Falk’s ‘despicable and deeply offensive comments’
JPost, Dec 20 2013
The US condemned UNHRC rapporteur Richard Falk on Friday, after he accused Israel of having “genocidal” intentions against the Palestinians in an interview with Russian television earlier this week. Friday’s State Dept comments came in the aftermath of Falk’s brief appearance on Dec 15 on Russia Today’s English television news. Falk was interviewed for only a few seconds as part of a larger program on Israel that included an argument that it was Israel, not Iran, which had a dangerous nuclear program. Falk was asked about a past article he had written in which he said that Israel was “slouching toward nothing less than a Palestinian holocaust.” Falk told RT:
When you target a group, an ethnic group, and inflict this kind of punishment upon them, you are in effect nurturing a kind of criminal intention that is genocidal.
State’s Jen Psaki told a press conference:
Richard Falk’s latest comments represent a new low. The administration has repeatedly condemned in the strongest terms his despicable and deeply offensive comments, particularly his anti-Semitic blog postings, his endorsement of 9/11 conspiracy theories, and more recently, his deplorable statements with regard to the terrorist attacks in Boston. We do not support his mandate or his work, which has been one-sided and biased, nor do we believe he should continue to serve as UNHRC rapporteur, and we reiterate our calls for him to step down from this role. Falk’s term as rapporteur ends in Mar 2014, and he cannot be reappointed to the role after that time. While the US opposes Falk’s comments and role in the UNHRC, it still does good work, and it is important for the US to continue to be a member of the organization.
Earlier this week, Canada condemned Falk’s anti-Israel comments as well, calling on the UNHRC to fire him.
Canada wants UN official ousted over ‘Palestinian holocaust’ comment
JTA, Dec 20 2013
TORONTO — Canada has called for the removal of a top UN official who accused Israel of having “genocidal intentions” against Palestinians. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement:
The Government of Canada completely rejects and condemns the appalling remarks made by Richard Falk, UNHRC Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories. His remarks not only undermine the fundamental values of the UN, they also belittle the terrible genocides that have tragically taken place throughout history and around the world. Canada has previously called for Falk to be fired for his numerous outrageous and anti-Semitic statements, and these comments underscore once more the complete and total absurdity of his service as UNHRC Rapporteur. We again call on the UNHRC to remove Falk from his position immediately.
In a Dec 15 interview on Russia Today’s English television news, Falk was asked about a past article he had written in which he said that Israel was “slouching toward nothing less than a Palestinian holocaust.” Falk told RT:
When you target a group, an ethnic group and inflict this kind of punishment upon them, you are in effect nurturing a kind of criminal intention that is genocidal.
CAR appears to be suffering a chadian invasion, while samantha power sits in the capital and talks bullshit
Violence in the CAR Escalates as President’s Family Flees Country
Danny Gold, Vice.com, Dec 20 2013
We ran across dirt roads, pausing every so often to seek shelter behind mud-brick walls and giant tree trunks as the sounds of heavy machine guns echoed all around. We couldn’t tell where the bullets were coming from, or whether the main roads were safe. Behind us in the creeping dark, two critically injured men lay bleeding in the back of our pickup truck. We’d had to abandon it, and them, as the firing drew closer. We’d been following a French military convoy after hearing initial reports that there was sporadic firing in the Bangui neighborhood of Gobongo. Eventually we stopped following, and while pausing briefly on the side of the main road, we saw a FOMAC convoy coming up behind us, and let them pass. “It’s bad FOMAC,” our fixer told us. FOMAC is a multinational African peacekeeping force currently stationed in CAR, but some of its ranks have been infiltrated by Chadian fighters who helped overthrow the CAR president last March as members of the ex-rebel group Séléka. The convoy stopped short ahead of us, then turned and began firing into residential neighborhoods with heavy machine guns. Civilians scattered, running for cover. I was told that earlier in the day, anti-balaka forces, the mostly Christian militias fighting against the mostly Muslim ex-rebels of Séléka, had thrown a grenade at a convoy of Chadian fighters, but I saw no anti-balaka in Gobongo. We pulled a u-turn and quickly headed down a side road. All around us we heard the heavy thud of big guns and the pops of small arms. Residents of the neighborhood directed us toward two wounded men who they said had no way of getting medical attention. They pleaded with us to take the injured to the hospital. Both victims were young, probably teenagers. One had a stomach wound, the other was hit in the leg. We loaded them into the back of our pickup truck. The residents of the neighborhood told us they deal with this every night, as Chadian FOMAC forces shoot at them indiscriminately. Gunfire still echoed in every direction. The dirt roads grew increasingly narrow, the gunfire increasingly closer and more frequent. Eventually we had no choice but to get out of the truck and seek cover. We were told the roads were not safe, that Chadian FOMAC forces were everywhere.
It was getting dark, and it was well past the 6 PM curfew. A group of locals gathered around us. They showed us where to go, where to duck, where to seek cover. The gunfire slowed. About 30 people gathered in a dirt square between a few small houses. This way wasn’t safe, they said. That way wasn’t safe. We heard French helicopters in the distance. We needed to get out. Still, we had no choice but to wait for about an hour, until the gunfire died down and all we heard were RPGs firing every 10 minutes or so. A group of locals then volunteered to lead us to a nearby Catholic church compound, already home to 15,000 people who’d been driven from their homes. We would go on foot to make sure the roads were safe, then we would call for the truck. Six of us set off in the dark, guided by the occasional light from a cell phone. We skulked through the dark, tripping over divots and tree branches, pausing at every open crossing as I cursed my choice of a khaki shirt, which seemed to glow white in the moonlight. When we reached the church, we saw thousands of people cowering inside, behind the locked gates. The priest in charge received us kindly, as did the civilians there seeking shelter. The lucky ones had mats to sit on. There was already one wounded man and one dead man there when we arrived. We called the driver to let him know the road was safe, and he brought the two wounded young men to the gates. Shortly after they arrived, both men died as a result of their wounds.
There was more gunfire outside the church gates. Whenever the rounds sounded like they were getting close, people picked up and huddled farther away from the gates at the back of the compound. Almost no children cried, but adults did, including the families of the wounded men. I couldn’t make out what they were saying as they sobbed, though I heard the phrase “Chadian FOMAC” repeated often then and throughout the night. We’d been experiencing for three hours what people in Bangui have experienced for more than nine months under Séléka rule, and it was absolutely harrowing. However, as we were running and hiding, some of the civilians we were with laughed, and told me not to stress out. At one point as I cowered behind a wall, a boy who couldn’t have been older than 10 looked at me, shook his head, and laughed. It was the same thing someone would do to the stranger next to him in an especially long line while last-minute Christmas shopping. This was simply what people did in Gobongo. Welcome to the neighborhood. The French military eventually picked us up from the church and brought us to safety. I’m told by my fixer, but cannot confirm, that seven more people were killed in front of the church at about 4am. Today, in reprisal attacks, anti-balaka forces attacked Chadian FOMAC and Muslim neighborhoods, killing at least 12 people. The cycle of revenge killings continues, and shows no signs of stopping.
Fifteen minutes before we first stumbled into the initial fire, we had left a press conference given by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power. She said the transitional government would help set up a free election in 2015. She stressed the need for accountability for the atrocities committed. I asked her if it wasn’t sending mixed messages, to stress the need for accountability while letting President Djotodia, the man who led the Séléka last March as they stormed Bangui and overthrew the sitting president, to continue to hold office. Power told me:
What is very important, I think, is that he and the other transitional leaders take steps to show the people that every crime committed here is one that this government takes seriously. As I mentioned, we are very clear, the international community is very clear, that elections need to occur by Feb 2015 at the latest, and we are also very clear that the terms of those accords mean that none of the transitional figures will be in power on the backside of those accords.
Unfortunately, that answer is not one that will be acceptable to the people of Bangui, like those who saved us last night. Every day Djotodia remains president of the country is a day they see no progress towards peace. Shortly after Ambassador Power finished her press conference, an SUV flanked by Chadian FOMAC careened onto the airport tarmac. The convoy came to a stop, and out of the SUV stepped the CAR First Lady and the rest of Djotodia’s family. A possible sign of the uneasiness at the highest levels of power in the country, they were boarding a flight to Benin.
South Sudan military loses control of town as fighting spreads
AP, Dec 19 2013
JUBA – South Sudan’s military said yesterday it has lost control of a key town in an oil-producing state where fighting has spread following what the president described as an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to a former deputy president. Philip Aguer, the South Sudanese military spokesman, said:
We lost control of Bor to the rebellion. Authorities in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, are not answering their phones, leading us to believe they have defected. There were reports of gunfights in Bor overnight as renegade officers tried to wrest control of the town from our forces there.
Jodi Jongole Boyoris, a parliamentarian from the area, confirmed that soldiers loyal to former Vice-Pres Machar now controlled the town. While the government insists a coup was foiled on Sunday, when heavy gunfire erupted in Juba, some analysts say it remains unknown what sparked the violence and doubt the government’s characterisation of events. By the government’s own account, at least 500 people, mostly soldiers, have been killed in violence in the city since Sunday, raising questions about whether there have been targeted killings on a massive scale. The International Crisis Group said:
Armed groups in Juba have targeted civilians based on ethnicity. What has for some time been a political crisis within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, has now spilled over into an army that has long been riven by internal problems, including ethnic divisions and tensions. The blurred lines between these institutions, senior political figures and ethnic communities, as well as wide-scale arms proliferation, make the current situation particularly volatile. The country’s leaders are locked in high-stakes gambles for power. The situation calls for a respected international mediator.
Machar, an influential politician who is a hero of the brutal war of independence against Sudan, is Kiir’s rival for top leadership of the ruling SPLM. Tensions had been mounting since Kiir fired Machar as his deputy in July. Machar, the deputy chairman of the ruling party, later said he would contest the presidency in 2015. At the time, the US and EU urged calm amid fears the dismissal could spark political upheaval in the country.
No deal on Iran presence at peace talks
BBC, Dec 20 2013
International negotiators have failed to agree on whether to invite Iran to peace talks over the Syrian conflict, the UN-Arab League envoy on Syria said. Lakhdar Brahimi said the US remained unconvinced that Iran’s participation “would be the right thing to do.” He said some 26 nations had been asked to join the conference, which is due to be held in Switzerland in January. The US, UN and Russia have been struggling for months to get the talks, known as Geneva II, off the ground. The conference aims to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid, end the fighting and outline a political transition for Syria. Brahimi met US and Russian delegations in Geneva to finalise the list of nations partaking in the planned peace talks on Jan 22. He told reporters on Friday:
On Iran, we haven’t agreed yet. It’s no secret that we in the UN welcome the participation of Iran, but our partners in the US are still not convinced. The Iranian authorities have told us that they’d like to come to Geneva, but if it’s not possible, it’s not the end of the world. They support this process and they will work with us.
The US opposes Iran’s presence, because of Teheran’s support for Assad. Brahimi stressed he would continue to work with Iranian officials if they were not officially invited. Brahimi announced that Qatar and Saudi Arabia would join Geneva II. The US and Russia will be joined by the other three permanent members of the UNSC: Britain, China and France. Russia said Syria would be represented by Foreign Minister Walid Muallem. The Syrian government previously said it would attend Geneva II in principle, but would accept no preconditions and refuses to negotiate with terrorists. The opposition has said any political solution to the crisis must include the removal of Assad. This latest delay in finalising the participants does not bode well for the peace talks themselves, the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva reports. Our correspondent says many obstacles remain, chief among them continued disagreement among opposition forces, some of whom are already saying they will not recognise any agreement the talks may come to.
i suppose you have to prevaricate slightly when writing headlines for things like this: you can’t just say “big money jew funds killers,” for instance
Meet the US Hedge Fund Billionaire Who Could Start a Holy War in the MidEast
Alex Kane, Alternet, Dec 18 2013
Henry Swieca is a money man. The NY-based billionaire made his fortune by co-founding Highbridge Capital Corp., a hedge fund that boasted clients like USAian International Group (AIG). In 2009, the banking giant JP Morgan Chase, another client of Highbridge, fully took over the flagship hedge fund. Swieca went on to play a role at two more hedge funds: Talpion Fund Management, which he launched, and Clearline Capital, which Swieca joined as a start-up investor in Feb 2013. Swieca, whose net worth is $1.2b as of Sep 2013, is well-known as a financial guru. His every move is covered by the financial press. But he’s less known for what his foundation pours money into: right-wing, pro-Israel causes. Along with a host of charitable groups and domestic Jewish centers, the Swieca Family Foundation, which he runs with his USraeli wife Estee, has poured tons of cash into pro-Israel groups, including to religious extremist groups that operate in the most sensitive of holy places. Swieca did not return requests for comment on his donations. According to tax records reviewed by AlterNet, Swieca, an Orthodox Jew, has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the USrael Education Foundation (AIEF), the non-profit offshoot of AIPAC. He’s also handed over cash to groups like the Friends of the IDF, the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Hebron Fund, a Brooklyn-based organization that funnels US money into illegal Israeli settlements in Hebron. But perhaps most alarming is Swieca’s funding of the Temple Institute. In early December, the WaPo disclosed that Swieca and his wife funded the Jerusalem-based Temple Institute’s move to “to a large, renovated space in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, overlooking the Western Wall.” The move put the institute just a short walk away from the place where they hope the Third Temple arises. The religious extremists who run the Temple Institute have their sights set on the Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary in English, which is also the Temple Mount for Jews. The Temple Institute says on their website:
Our short-term goal is to rekindle the flame of the Holy Temple in the hearts of mankind through education. Our long-term goal is to do all in our limited power to bring about the building of the Holy Temple in our time.
In the middle of the Noble Sanctuary sits the Dome of the Rock, a shrine whose gold dome is a fixture on the Jerusalem skyline. The Noble Sanctuary is home to the al-Aqsa Mosque, thought to be the place where the Prophet Muhammad was transported to from Mecca, and is the third holiest site to Muslims around the world. At the same time it is a site deeply revered by Jews, since it is the place thought to be where the First and Second Temples stood. The Second Temple was famously destroyed in the year 70 CE by the Romans, who then sent the Jews into exile (quite wrong – RB). The Temple Institute says:
The Temple Mount has to be cleared of the Dome of the Rock and the mosques which are presently located upon it before the physical rebuilding of the Holy Temple can begin.
Both Judaism and Islam have competing claims to the site, making it the most contested piece of real estate on earth. In 2000, a provocative visit by then-PM Ariel Sharon to the Noble Sanctuary set off clashes that many say sparked the Second Intifada. It continues to be a frequent site of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli authorities. Religious extremists on both sides frequently fan the flames of hatred around these holy sites, and any brash move could easily spark sectarian conflict in a combustible region. The Temple Institute, funded by Swieca and other private Jewish ‘philanthropists’, is one such Jewish extremist group that many say is acting dangerously. And despite being funded by the Israeli government to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years, the Temple Institute has encouraged Israeli Jews to publicly challenge the prevailing legal arrangements that govern prayer on the Temple site, though the Israeli government seems to be slowly coming around to agreeing with the organization’s goals. This month, Israel reportedly asked Jordan, which administers the holy site, to consider allowing some level of Jewish worship, feeding into Palestinian fears that Israel wants to control all of Jerusalem forever instead of ceding the eastern half of it to a Palestinian state. Jordan rejected the request, with the director of the trust that controls the site saying that granting the request would spark “bloodshed.”
Founded in 1984, the Temple Institute has been hard at work on a number of activities: recreating ritual objects to be used for a Third Temple; hosting conferences on research about the temple; educating the public and Israeli soldiers about its history; and lobbying for changes to the status quo that prohibits Israeli Jews from praying openly on the Noble Sanctuary’s/Temple Mount’s grounds. The organization, founded by a far-right religious zealot named Rabbi Israel Ariel, is also bolstered by the support of evangelical Christians, who provide the organization with much of their income through buying entrance tickets and museum shop items. Christian Zionists fully support the aims of the Temple Institute. They believe that the building of a Third Jewish Temple is a prerequisite to the coming of the Messiah and the apocalypse. Ariel, a former Israeli soldier who helped capture Jerusalem’s Old City from Jordan during the 1967 War, leading to full Israeli control of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai and the Golan Heights, is a former member of the Kach party. Led by Rabbi Meir Kahane, the party was banned in Israel for its violent and racist rhetoric, which included advocating the expulsion of all Arabs from the lands Israel controls. In 1984, members of a Jewish terrorist group were arrested by the Israeli police for plotting to blow up the Dome of the Rock. Ariel was one of the only people to speak out in support of their actions. Today, the Temple Institute does not advocate for violence. Instead, they’re focused on changing the status quo that prevails at the holy site through other means. Those other means, though, are still considered dangerous and inflammatory. In the words of Israeli journalist Gershom Gorenberg, the author of a book that examines the struggle over the Temple Mount, the institute’s actions are “education for conflict over the world’s most contested holy site.”
The current arrangement at the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount dates back to the 1967 War. Although Israel had captured a site revered to Jews, they gave control of the Noble Sanctuary to the Jordanian-run Islamic Waqf, a trust that controls access to the site, making it that rare area in Jerusalem where Israeli authorities don’t call all the shots. In 1921, members of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate crafted rules that prohibited Jews from entering the area. They said that Jews can only enter if they are ritually pure, but that the necessary purification ceremony is prohibited for various religious reasons. These rules were recently reaffirmed by the rabbinate. Jews are allowed to pray at the Western Wall, another holy place considered to be the wall outside the Temple Mount. The legal prohibitions that surround the holy place haven’t stopped Jews who disagree from going to the Noble Sanctuary. In recent months, the WaPo and the NYT have highlighted the increasing numbers of Jews going up to pray on at the contested site. According to numbers published by an Israeli newspaper, the number of Jews visiting the holy site increased from 5,700 in 2009 to 8,300 in 2011. If Jews are found to be publicly praying, Israeli police take them away, with some being arrested. But some Jews try to pray discreetly. The Temple Institute has been pushing Israeli Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. In September, the organization teamed up with a right-wing movement called Manhigut Yehudit to lead tours at the site for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The organization has been encouraged in recent months by a growing body of right-wing, expansionist Israeli legislators who share the Temple Institute’s goal in changing the prohibitions on prayer at the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount. In November, ha-Beit ha-Yehudi, which promotes annexing 60% of the occupied West Bank, introduced a bill that would establish regular prayer areas for Jews on the holy site. On Nov 4 2013, a heated debate in the Israeli Knesset broke out in response to proposed changes for prayer on the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount. Beit ha-Yehudi’s Orit Strock told Arab MKs:
When King David bought the Temple Mount, you were savages in the desert. You have no rights on the Temple Mount. That’s a historical fact. Nothing will help you. Even now you are savages.
In response, Balad’s Jamal Zahalka told her that she was “playing with fire.” MK Ahmed Tibi warned:
The second intifada broke out because of al-Aqsa, and the third intifada will break out because of you.