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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
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by J. E. G. Dixon
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by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
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interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky



















These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 22, 2009.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
UN to monitor Swedish migration board

The UN apparently believes that it, not the Swedish government, sets Swedish immigration policy.  From the Local in Sweden:

The United Nations refugee organ, the UNHCR, plans to spend nine months closely monitoring the work methods of the Migration Board (Migrationsverket). The UNHCR regularly directs criticism at Swedish migration policies. 

Sweden already has some of Europe's most lax immigration standards, but it will never be lax enough to satisfy the UNHCR.

[...]

The UNHCR has previous been a stern critic of Swedish migration policies, specifically since deportations to Iraq were resumed.

The organ has directed criticism over deportations to Baghdad, among other places, which the UNHCR did not consider to be sufficiently safe.

How many of those "other places" are, like Iraq, not sufficiently safe due to the results of intra-Islamic violence?  All over Dar al -Islam, Sunnis are killing Shia, Shia are killing Sunni, and the West, not other Muslim nations, must take them all in.

The Swedes will rue the day they cede their sovereignty to the UN.

Posted on 08/22/2009 1:39 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Saturday, 22 August 2009
NER in Boston Tomorrow

Rebecca Bynum, Hugh Fitzgerald and Jerry Gordon will be speaking speaking about “Islam as Religion and the Strategies of Denial and Delusion” at Rabbi Jon Hausman's Synagogue Sunday August 23rd at 10am. 

Ahavath Torah Congregation

1179 Central Street
Stoughton, MA 02072

If you're in the Boston area, we hope to see you there.

Posted on 08/22/2009 8:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Who Can Be Regarded As A "Refugee" From A Muslim-Ruled Land?

If the criteria for "refugee" status include the following: that you in flight from places likely to be in thrall to assorted Lords of Misrule, places where economic distress is chronic, save where the manna of oil revenue temporarily disguises it and allows those who rule the government to seize for themselves, and distribute to their courtiers, most of that wealth, places where the natural tendency of the polity is despotism -- military (as with Colonel Nasser, Colonel Qassem, Colonel Khaddafy, Major Hafez al-Assad, and a large assortment of smiling, fly-whisking, terry-thomas-moustachioed  Pakistani generals, each more meretricious and dangerous to the West and the interests of non-Muslims than the last), places where women can be beaten, or even killed, with impunity by male relatives (who need only invoke the need to protect the family's "honor"), places where aggression and hostility against one's enemies is always likely, always in the air, and where men are held in check mainly by force and the threat of force, and society closer to the state of natural hobbesian man than in most other places -- why then, our criteria for "refugees" whom we will allow into our places of relative enlightenment, and peace, and prosperity, and something like civilisiation, constitutes almost a complete list of what is wrong with Muslim countries and peoples, because of Islam itself. But why should we be endangering ourselves because of a wrong-headed, nearly suicidal, definition of "refugee." Why do we not instead insist that while non-Muslims may indeed be considered "refugees" from Muslim lands, Muslims cannot be, for they are part of the problem from which they suffer, and carriers of the ideological virus that already has done such damage, over so long a time, to Muslim peoples living in Muslim-dominated lands.

And the solution to the distress of Musliims who, since they never recognize the true source of that distress -- Islam, and instead bring with them, wherever they go, in their mental baggae, Islam itself, and often, when finding themselves among non-Muslims, save for a handful of the most thoughtful and enlightened, tend to become not less but even more fanatical in their faith, and since they are now practicing that faith, and spreding that word, in non-Muslim lands, where the laws, customs, and understandings all go against the spirit and the letter of the Shari'a, and since Muslims have been inculcated with the idea that they are superior in every way to non-Muslims and that Islam must everywhere dominate, and Muslims must rule, it is clear that the immigration of Muslims into non-Muslim countries must necessarily lead to disaster, and has already led to the following inexorable conclusion: 

The large-scale presence of Muslims in the countries of Western Europe has led to a situation for the native non-Muslims, and for other, but non-Muslim, immigrants, that is much more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous, than would be the case without such a large-scale Muslim presence.

Commit that sentence to memory. Don't leave home without it. You know that it's true. You may not necessarily agree on measures suggested to deal with this -- you may be one of those inclined to throw up your hands and say "well, what can we do?" and "we'll just have to live with it" and -- to suggestions made by the sober and clear-headed, "Oh, we couldn't possibly do that" -- but what you cannot do is deny the truth of that sentence, fittingly in bold, above.

Posted on 08/22/2009 8:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Not Dink Stover

Read, and look at the pictures  here

 

 

Posted on 08/22/2009 8:49 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 22 August 2009
If You've Got The Money, Honey

Martin Kramer fleshes out some rumors in the Yale cartoon book case:

One of the most disturbing aspects of the Danish cartoons scandal at Yale University Press is the role of the university administration. When author Jytte Klausen was summoned by John Donatich, director of the press, to hear that it wouldn't publish the cartoons in her book about them, Donatich had company. Also present were the chair of Yale's Mideast center, Marcia Inhorn, and Linda Lorimer, Yale vice president and secretary of the Yale Corporation. Klausen now asserts that the university effectively forced the hand of press, by collecting almost "unanimous" opinions of "experts" warning that violence would erupt if the images were republished. Klausen: "Once the university had decided to collect these alarmist reports about the consequences [of including the pictures], there was very little the press could do. That is why I agreed to go ahead with it, [although] I disagree with it." The press has confirmed reaching its decision "after receiving the outside advice collected by the university." And that advice was collected from on high. Islamic art historian Sheila Blair, one of the outside experts (who recommended in favor of publication), says she was approached by an assistant in the office of Yale president Richard Levin.

What prompted the Yale administration to intervene? Roger Kimball and Diana West have already suggested that Yale University is foraging for funding from oil-soaked Arab sources. Yale's administration intervened not to prevent violence, but to prevent damage to its fundraising prospects in Araby. There's a strong prima facie case for this, and it revolves around Yale's courting of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Over the years, I've reported on Prince Alwaleed's efforts to buy up prime academic real estate in the United States. It was six years ago, in July 2003, that Alwaleed, then the world's fifth-richest man, announced his plan to go on what I called "an academic shopping spree." On a stop in Britain, Alwaleed revealed that "I am in the process of establishing centers of Arab and Islamic studies at select universities in the United States." I made a prediction:

If you want a fabulously wealthy Saudi royal to drop out of the sky in his private jet and leave a few million, you had better watch what you say.… Prince Alwaleed's buying binge is liable to reduce the entire field [of Middle Eastern studies] to a cargo cult, with profs and center directors dancing the ardha in the hope of attracting the flying prince.… In the near future, don't be surprised to see grinning university presidents posing with Prince Alwaleed. They will say there are no strings attached. Puris omnia pura: To the pure all things are pure.

Sure enough, in December 2005, Harvard and Georgetown universities announced that they'd each received $20 million endowments from Prince Alwaleed—Harvard for an Islamic studies program and Georgetown for John Esposito's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Sure enough, a photographer captured Georgetown's President John J. DeGioia beaming alongside the Prince, and a Georgetown administrator made the inevitable assurance: "The funds are designated, but there are no strings attached."

The crucial thing to know about Prince Alwaleed is that he believes in "strategic philanthropy." He's not tied emotionally to particular universities, and he's not interested in honors. He seeks maximum return on investment. The two $20 million gifts he made in 2005 followed a semi-secret competition, in which half a dozen institutions put on their most Saudi-friendly face. Alwaleed later named some names in an interview with the New York Times: Harvard, Georgetown, Chicago, Michigan, "and several of the Ivy Leagues" were in the running. The interviewer pressed for more names. "Please. Keep the other universities out," said Alwaleed. "I'd rather not embarrass them."

Who was spared embarrassment? The Yale Daily News asked President Levin if Yale had been in the race; Levin "said two University proposals had been in the final running." Finalist, but not a winner.

But everyone assumes that Alwaleed will run another competition. He isn't worth as much as he was a few years back, but according to Forbes, he's still worth over $13 billion. (In March, he summoned a Forbes reporter to spend a week with him, just to prove he's still living the opulent life. "Observing wealth on this scale, even for a seasoned billionaires reporter, was staggering.") And he's still in the academic market—so says Muna AbuSulayman, executive director of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation: "Because of what is happening (in the markets) people might think he is stopping his philanthropy; on the contrary he is fully committed to his charity goals no matter what happens." According to her, the Alwaleed Foundation has set aside $100 million for its Islam-West dialogue project, which endowed the centers at Harvard and Georgetown.

This same Muna AbuSulayman is also Alwaleed's point person for his academic programs. "I used to work with him at Kingdom Holding, I was head of strategic studies, and I was given the assignment of doing the first centers in the U.S. I guess I did such a good job that he actually offered me the foundation." You can see her in this photo of Alwaleed with Georgetown's president, and in this one of Alwaleed with Harvard's provost (she's the one with the hijab). AbuSulayman continues to monitor the Alwaleed centers; in March, she convened their directors in London for their first joint planning meeting. (In this photo, she's surrounded by the directors of the endowed centers, including Georgetown's John Esposito and Harvard's Roy Mottahedeh. Look carefully for strings attached.)

Now it gets interesting. In April, Yale named Muna AbuSulayman a "Yale World Fellow" for 2009. This isn't some honorific, and she'll reside from August through December in New Haven. (Her Facebook fan page, August 16: "I need help locating a Town House/condo for short term leasing near Yale University... Anyone familiar with that area?") Can you imagine a better way to set the stage for a major Alwaleed gift? Hosting for a semester the very person who structured the Harvard and Georgetown gifts, and who now directs Alwaleed's charitable foundation? A stroke of genius.

Imagine, then—and we're just imagining—that someone in the Yale administration, perhaps in President Levin's office, gets wind of the fact that Yale University Press is about to publish a book on the Danish cartoons—The Cartoons That Shook the World. The book is going to include the Danish cartoons, plus earlier depictions of the Prophet Muhammad tormented in Dante's Inferno, and who-knows-what-else. Whooah! Good luck explaining to people like Prince Alwaleed that Yale University and Yale University Press are two different shops. The university can't interfere in editorial matters, so what's to be done? Summon some "experts," who'll be smart enough to know just what to say. Yale will be accused of surrendering to an imagined threat by extremists. So be it: self-censorship to spare bloodshed in Nigeria or Indonesia still sounds a lot nobler than self-censorship to keep a Saudi prince on the line for $20 million.

Yale has seen its endowment suffer billions in losses, and its administration has the mission of making the bucks back. Yale's motto is lux et veritas, light and truth, but these days it might as well be pecunia non olet: money has no odor—whatever its source. Still, that isn't the mission of Yale University Press, which seeks to help authors of exceptional merit shed full light on the truth. More than three years ago, I warned against "the deep corruption that Prince Alwaleed's buying spree is spreading through academe and Middle Eastern studies." If this is what caused Yale University to trespass so rudely against the independence of its press, then the rot has spread even further than I imagined. I've been a reader for Yale University Press, which I think publishes a more interesting list in Middle Eastern studies than any university press. But if editorial decisions are to be subjected to vetting and possible abortion by Yale's money collectors, why bother?

Ignore all the denials, and watch for a hefty gift from Arabia, perhaps for another Alwaleed program in Islamic apologetics. Fat endowments speak louder than words—or cartoons.

Take it away, Lefty. "Bring along your Cadillac, leave my ole wreck behind."

Posted on 08/22/2009 6:30 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 22 August 2009
It's Going To Be A Marvellous Party

Gaddafi plans party with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi as his trophy

Prince Andrew is set to pull out of Libya visit for the anniversary of military coup, as claims grow louder that Westminster 'cut a business deal' with Tripoli over the release from a life prison sentence for the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds

If Gordon Brown is hoping that the furore over Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's release will die down now that the only man convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 is back in Libya, he will be disappointed.

According to reports in the Arabic press, Megrahi will be at the centre of next month's celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the military coup that swept Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to power.

The event, to be attended by politicians, leaders and royalty, will be held in the full glare of the world's media. And, unfortunately for Brown and the many people left incensed by the decision to release terminally ill Megrahi on compassionate grounds, the former Libyan intelligence officer will be prominent.

Indeed, one Libyan official, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Asharq Alawsat newspaper that Megrahi will be "the main guest". This may explain why Prince Andrew, a regular visitor in recent years, is now unlikely to attend.

Seasoned diplomats believe the timing of the event, in effect Gaddafi's chance to showcase himself to the world, and Megrahi's release, are more than coincidental. Despite Libya having shaken off its pariah status since it turned its back on terrorism and renounced weapons of mass destruction in 2003, Gaddafi has little to celebrate at the moment.

Libya's economy is dependent on oil, and its falling price has hit hard. And the country has only recently emerged from a period of double-digit inflation that saw large increases in housing costs and food prices. Megrahi is a good news story at a time when Gaddafi badly needs one.

It was always unlikely, then, that the Libyan leader would respect Brown's request, made in a letter, to handle Megrahi's return "with sensitivity". But questions are now being asked about what role, if any, Brown and his government played in co-ordinating the release. The official line from the Foreign Office is that it was a matter for the Scottish government and there were no backroom deals.

Last week the foreign secretary, David Miliband, angrily dismissed claims that London strong-armed the Scottish government into agreeing the release because it was keen to exploit a business relationship with Libya. "I really reject that entirely; that is a slur both on myself and the government," Miliband said.

But the denial was thrown into question when Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, insisted the decision to free Megrahi was tied to trade agreements. "In all British interests regarding Libya, I always put you [Megrahi] on the table," Saif was reported to have said. Gaddafi himself went on Libyan television to praise "my friend" Brown and the British government for its part in securing Megrahi's freedom. Further speculation came with the disclosure that the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, met Saif earlier this month while holidaying on the Greek island of Corfu. Leaving hospital after an operation yesterday, Mandelson said: "It has been a matter entirely for the Scottish justice minister."

But this suggestion is at best only partly true. Scotland could not have returned Megrahi to Libya without London paving the way. His journey to freedom was established as the result of a clutch of treaties signed late last year between the British government and Libya dealing with myriad issues including taxation, civil and commercial contracts, and, significantly, prisoner transfers.

That all the treaties were signed at the same time has prompted speculation that both sides acknowledged there was what diplomats call "linkage" between them. Certainly, as MPs questioned the rationale for agreeing the treaties with a country that has a dubious human rights record, the government appeared in a rush to get them ratified simultaneously.

In March the justice secretary, Jack Straw, wrote to the chair of parliament's joint committee on human rights, Andrew Dismore, saying that it was "important to ratify all four [treaties] as far as possible at the same time". Straw added: "A delay beyond early April is likely to lead to serious questions on the part of Libya in regards to our willingness to conclude these agreements. The UK-Libya relationship is one of great importance." Now the commitment to fostering stronger ties is to be rewarded.

It is a commitment that has not emerged overnight: since Libya was brought in from the cold, it has been assiduously courted. There is great political PR to be had from turning an enemy state into a friend of the west. Libya, diplomats hope, will become a beacon for other rogue states, so much so that the aspirational phrase, the "Libyan model", has entered the diplomatic lexicon.

Libya's location as a gateway between Africa and Europe is also strategically important. In 2004 Britain, along with Italy and Germany, discussed a controversial plan with Libya that would see Gaddafi's officials build holding camps to process migrants before they set out to sea and Europe. The plan was scrapped after being attacked by the UN and human rights groups, but it gave an indication of how quickly Libya had been embraced by Europe's major political powers.

Libya's greatest importance, however, lies in trade with the UK, which reached more than £1bn last year and could increase exponentially if Libya's estimated £43.7bn of oil reserves can be tapped. In 2007, oil giant BP signed a near £1bn deal to explore part of the Ghadames Basin, an area bordering Tunisia. Last week, just a day before Megrahi was returned, BP said it was seeking companies keen to win contracts to start drilling. British Gas and Royal Dutch Shell have also signed deals. Aerospace firm BAE Systems is eyeing the market closely, while retailers like Marks & Spencer and Next are opening stores in Libya's capital, Tripoli. In the first five months of 2009, UK exports to Libya rose 49%, to £166m.

This, however, is likely to prove small beer now that Megrahi has been returned, removing one of the last impediments to full co-operation between the two countries. The question now is: what else will the UK get in return? A quarter of a century has passed since WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead by someone inside the Libyan embassy in London. Since then no one has been charged with the murder, even though the Libyan government accepted responsibility and paid compensation to Fletcher's family.

But there is hope this may change. Officers from Scotland Yard investigating Fletcher's murder have visited Libya several times in recent years in their hunt for the killer.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "We hope that, through continued bilateral engagement, the Libyan government will allow the Metropolitan police to return to Libya to continue their investigation."

Families of the Lockerbie victims will question whether the British government is really keen to bring Fletcher's killer to justice, given its role in facilitating Megrahi's release. As Britain was preparing to ratify the transfer earlier this year, Peter Sullivan, who lost a friend, Mike Doyle, in the bombing, wrote to MPs asking them to oppose the deal, saying: "I could present at least 270 compelling arguments as to why."

Posted on 08/22/2009 6:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 22 August 2009
A Musical Interlude: I Went To A Marvellous Party (Beatrice Lillie)

Listen here.

Posted on 08/22/2009 6:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Hamas Holds A Party To Celebate Its Triumph In Gaza

Read here.

 

Posted on 08/22/2009 8:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Deeper

Gordon Brown in new storm over freed Lockerbie bomber

Gordon Brown faced fresh questions tonight after it emerged that he discussed with Colonel Gaddafi detailed conditions for the Lockerbie bomber's return nearly six weeks ago, while senior Labour figures warned of an economic backlash from angry Americans "costing our country dear".

Downing Street released the text of a cordial letter sent to the Libyan leader on the day that Abdulbaset al-Megrahi was released, asking that the event be kept low key because a "high-profile" ceremony would distress his victims and their families.

But critically the letter also refers to a meeting between the two leaders six weeks earlier at the G8 summit in Italy, adding that "when we met [there] I stressed that, should the Scottish executive decide that Megrahi can return to Libya, this should be a purely private family occasion" rather than a public celebration.

Previously officials have said that the two men's conversation in Italy at the beginning of July was brief and that, while the Lockerbie case was raised, Brown merely stressed the matter was one for the Scottish government to decide.

However, the new letter, addressed to "Dear Muammar" and signed off by wishing him a happy Ramadan, suggests that the decision was well enough advanced and Brown well enough briefed to set terms for a homecoming – albeit unsuccessfully. A jubilant Libyan crowd, some waving Scottish flags, greeted Megrahi at the airport.

Meanwhile, details emerged of a second letter written by the Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis to the Scottish justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, confirming that there were no legal reasons not to let Megrahi go and concluding: "I hope on this basis you will now feel able to consider the Libyan application."

Although the Foreign Office said it was not intended to make representations either way, the leaking of the letter suggests the SNP-led administration may be starting to fight back.

Tonight the shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, redoubled calls for the government to release official records of conversations about the release, as Gaddafi increased the embarrassment by publicly thanking "my friend Brown, his government, the Queen of Britain, Elizabeth, and Prince Andrew who all contributed to encouraging the Scottish government to take this historic and courageous decision".

The scale of fury in America was laid bare in a vitriolic letter from the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller – who as a justice department lawyer led the investigation into the bombing – describing the release in a scathing letter to MacAskill as a "mockery of the rule of law" and of the victims' grief.

However, the Scottish government last night responded defiantly, insisting the US had made clear in discussions that, while it opposed Megrahi's release, it regarded freeing him on compassionate grounds because of his terminal cancer as "far preferable" to a prisoner transfer deal that would have seen him in custody.

Fears that the US could retaliate against the British government were eased when Whitehall sources disclosed that the White House had made no complaint to Downing Street, reserving its ire for the Scottish administration.

However, public anger at scenes of the convicted bomber receiving a hero's welcome has prompted demands from ordinary Americans for economic reprisals, with two websites set up to promote a boycott and angry Americans discussing on Twitter which products they should avoid, from Scotch whisky to Highland holidays.

Senior Scottish Labour figures say that MacAskill's references in his original statement last week to the compassion of Scotland's people had turned the entire country, which earns £260m a year through American tourists, into an economic target.

Iain Gray, Labour leader in Scotland, said: "Those calling for a boycott of Scotland are emboldened by [MacAskill's] foolish claim that the decision was taken in the name of the people of Scotland. In seeking to portray this as a decision supported by the whole of the country, he has damaged Scotland's reputation. It shows serious lack of judgment which has cost our country dear."

Jack McConnell, the former Labour first minister, said the decision damaged Scotland in a way "that will take years to recover" and called on MSPs to show it did not have popular support.

A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association said it was "monitoring" the situation, but hoped that initial anger would pass, as it has done in past protests. "We hope that people recognise that this is not necessarily the solution."

The business secretary, Lord Mandelson, left hospital today – where he was recovering from a prostate operation – insisting it was "completely wrong" and "offensive" to suggest that Megrahi's release was linked to trade deals over oil and gas.

Mandelson met Gaddafi's son during a holiday in Corfu this month, several weeks after the prime minister's meeting in Italy, and has admitted the Lockerbie issue was raised. Today he said the Libyans had had "the same response from me as they would have had from any other member of the government".

MacAskill will give a statement on Monday to the Scottish parliament, which has been recalled from recess. He is likely to face tough questioning on why the convicted bomber was not transferred to a Libyan jail.

McConnell said it was a "big if" to suggest that the convicted bomber deserved compassionate treatment but even then, allowing Megrahi "to be welcomed home in Libya as a free man should have been the last option on the list. There were other options that could have been applied if the Scottish government had the will."

However, Monday's session could also examine the political manoeuvrings around the deal, with MacAskill said to believe that he was set up by the British government's refusal to respond to his consultation.

Yesterday John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, also called for a congressional hearing into how the US government lobbied Britain over the issue, which could shed new light on the British response.

Posted on 08/22/2009 8:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Khaddafy Gets Apologies -- And Causes Fury -- All Over The Place

Swiss apology to Libya triggers storm

Geneva - Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz's apology to Libya for the arrest last year of a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi triggered a political storm on Friday amid media claims of a "humiliation".

In an unusually terse statement, the Geneva regional government refused to climb down over the incident in July 2008, which occurred after two servants of Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife alleged they had been mistreated.

Geneva's State Council -- which has its own judiciary and police force under Switzerland's decentralised system -- openly clashed with the federal president.

It reaffirmed its backing for police actions and for "independent" judicial decisions last July.

'More to a farce than to a diplomatic exploit'
The council also expressed concern about a decision by Switzerland and Libya to set up an arbitration panel in the case, warning that it would "resist any action that was not strictly in line with individual liberties".

The head of a federal parliament foreign policy committee, Dick Marty, a centrist senator, told the Swiss news agency SDA that there were "no grounds" for an apology.

The Tribune de Geneve newspaper accused Merz of bowing to a totalitarian state "while denying the principles of a constitutional state."

"The agreement between Switzerland and Libya owes more to a farce than to a diplomatic exploit," it commented.

Le Temps newspaper called the apology a "humiliation" and a measure of Switzerland's "impotence", while Le Matin lamented that Merz had "grovelled on every point".

Libya responded to the arrest by suspending oil deliveries to Switzerland
Merz, who is also the finance minister, held a joint news conference in Tripoli with Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi on Thursday to apologise to the Libyan people "for the unjust arrest of Libyan diplomats by Geneva police".

The Swiss finance ministry said the agreement was aimed at restoring bilateral relations and would also secure the release by September 1 of two Swiss businessmen in Libya who were banned from leaving the country.

But Marty expressed bewilderment at why Merz had not returned with the two men. "Switzerland shouldn't have given in on this," he added.

Libya responded to the arrest by suspending oil deliveries to Switzerland, withdrawing an estimated five billion euros from Swiss banks, ending bilateral cooperation and placing restrictions on Swiss companies.

In an editorial headlined "Kadhafi only speaks one language," the Neue Zurcher Zeitung called the apology a "bitter" but "necessary" pill to swallow to secure the freedom of the businessmen and restore bilateral relations.

"Switzerland is apologising to the leader of the Libyan revolution for the fact that in ... Geneva, all are equal before the law," it added.

The Gaddafi couple were freed after two days in custody on bail of 500 000 Swiss francs (312 500 euros, 444 000 dollars).

The complaint against them was dropped after a lawyer for their servants -- a Moroccan and a Tunisian -- said they had received compensation. - AFP

Posted on 08/22/2009 8:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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