‘Criminal in uniform’: Senior London policeman jailed for attempting to frame Iraqi

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Commander Ali Dizaei of London’s Metropolitan Police Service today became the most senior officer anywhere in the United Kingdom to be convicted of offences by a court. Dizaei, who was branded a “criminal in uniform” by Independent Police Complaints Commission chair Nick Hardwick, has been jailed for four years after he attempted to frame an Iraqi businessman.

It took a Southwark Crown Court jury under three hours to find Dizaei guilty of misconduct in a public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The charges carried a maximum of life imprisonment.

Dizaei, 47, who is head of the National Black Police Association, had gone to the Yas Persian restaurant, run by one of his friends, and taken his wife Shy with him. They then went to their car and struck up a conversation through its open window with the restaurant’s manager. During this conversation they were approached by Waad al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi website designer in his twenties. He requested that Dizaei pay £600 that he owed Baghdadi, who had constructed his website.

According to the Crown, this dispute had been ongoing for months and Dizaei had been attempting to intimidate Baghdadi. He told the Iraqi to depart when he entered the restaurant; although the businessman did, he stayed nearby and rang the 999 emergency number.

The exact content of the argument that led up to this is unclear. Dizaei and his wife testified that Baghdadi was abusive and threatening, telling the officer he would “extract the money out of your throat” while the owner of the Yas said he was “a crook basically… His history … everybody knows he’s not a good gentleman,” said owner Sohrab Eshragi. Eshragi said that the request Baghdadi leave the premises was due to concerns of trouble, claiming Baghdadi had been in a previous fight. Baghdadi denied the allegations and the court rejected Dizaei’s version of events.

Everybody knows he’s not a good gentleman

While Baghdadi was making his emergency call, Dizaei arrested him and made a 999 call of his own. He requested assistence from other officers, and said that Baghdadi had assaulted him by stabbing his stomach with a shisha pipe. He maintained this account when police arrived and kept it up in written statements, but although Baghdadi was found to be carrying such a pipe examination of Dizaei’s wounds by a police doctor concluded he had inflicted them upon himself.

A Home Office pathologist questioned this finding for the defence. Dr. Nat Cary said it was based on a “fundamentally flawed approach,” and that the injuries were consistent with Dizaei’s version of events. He has helped investigate the assassination of former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto, and the death newspaper seller Ian Thomlinson, the latter of whom died during a G20 protest.

The Crown further alleged that Dizaei told Baghdadi “I’ll fuck your life… You think I don’t know what you do in London… I’ll find every single detail of your life in London.” The prosecution case was presented by Peter Wright QC, who has prosecuted in trials over serial murders of Suffolk sex workers and a plot to bomb transatlantic airliners. He said that Dizaei’s actions were a “wholesale abuse of power by a senior police officer for entirely personal and oblique motives.”

Judge Justice Simon said that Dizaei had committed a “grave breach of public trust” and told him “This sentence needs to send a clear message that police officers of whatever rank are not above the law.” A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said outside the court that “He abused his power and ignored his responsibility,” and that while corruption was unacceptable in any police officer it was particularly so in a senior member of the forces. “The public should have confidence that we will prosecute anyone, regardless of their position, if they commit serious offences. We believe justice has been served for the victim and the public.”

The greatest threat to the reputation of the police service is criminals in uniform like Dizaei

“[I]f he [Dizaei] had been successful, Mr al-Baghdadi may have been sent to prison,” noted Hardwick. “Mr al-Baghdadi has shown tremendous strength of character throughout this case ? from the moment he was confronted by Ali Dizaei, throughout our investigation, and finally when giving evidence at court. We are grateful for the confidence he placed in the IPCC and, as a result of that, justice has been done today.”

Dizaei has been a policeman for 24 years, and at one stage was rumoured to be destined to take control of the Metropolitan Police, although the Metropolitan Police Authority may now choose to end this career. His trial, which began this month, is his second this decade. He was prosecuted in 2003 but cleared of any wrongdoing. The incident with Baghdadi was in June 2008 and Dizaei has been suspended on full pay since September of that year. Hardwick said that “The greatest threat to the reputation of the police service is criminals in uniform like Dizaei.”

SpaceX Falcon I rocket fails to orbit test satellite

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket has failed to place a DARPA demonstration payload into orbit, on its first flight into space. The rocket launched from Omelek Island, at 01:10 GMT on 21 March, just less than a year after its maiden flight which failed just seconds after launch.

The rocket, which is the first privately-funded liquid-fueled launch vehicle, was intended to place the payload into a low-Earth orbit, but all contact with the rocket was lost just over five minutes into the flight.

The first stage burn proceeded nominally, and separation occurred on schedule. As the first stage fell away from the second, it was observed to have impacted on the engine bell of the second stage. About five minutes into the flight, the second stage began to roll out of control. All data was lost at T+5 minutes, 5 seconds.

Bomb attack in Londonderry, Northern Ireland injures two police officers

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Friday, October 8, 2010

A bomb exploded early on Tuesday morning in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, injuring two police officers. Investigations into the identity of the bombers and their motive are continuing. The Real Irish Republican Army a paramilitary group that aims to bring about a united Ireland, has claimed responsibility.

The explosion on Culmore Road caused serious damage to nearby buildings, including Da Vinci’s hotel and a branch of the Ulster Bank. A telephone warning was given an hour beforehand and the area, including the hotel, was cleared. The officers, standing near the edge of the exclusion zone, suffered injuries to their necks and ears when they were blown over by the blast.

Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin from the Police Service of Northern Ireland asked for anyone who had seen the Vauxhall Corsa car in which the bomb was hidden before the explosion to come forward. Although the bomb, thought to be over 200lb, was left near the bank, Mr Martin did not think it was the intended target and said that the bomb may have been left because of the presence of police in the area.

The Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, called the bombers “Neanderthals” and “conflict junkies”, and added that they were “failing miserably” to destroy the peace process in Northern Ireland. He is attending the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham; the Daily Mail reports he refused to comment on if the attack was to coincide with his absence. The city’s mayor, Colm Eastwood, who was at the scene, said he was “disgusted”, adding “I do not know what these people are hoping to achieve. They say they love their country but they spend time trying to destroy it.”

Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger on the Bush family feud, neoconservatives and the Christian right

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Monday, November 12, 2007

In a recent interview with the Dalai Lama’s Representative to the Americas, Tashi Wangdi, David Shankbone remarked to him that Americans have trouble relating to centuries-long conflicts that exist between peoples around the world, including those in Asia. Many Asian countries dislike each other tremendously, and the conflict over Tibet is just one enduring multi-national battle.

According to Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger, it is not that Americans do not have these deep-seeded conflicts; it is that they do not remember them and thus have no context in which to see them as they resurface in our political culture.

On the same day he spoke to the Dalai Lama’s representative, Shankbone sat down with Unger, author of The New York Times best-seller House of Bush, House of Saud. In his new book, The Fall of the House of Bush, Unger attempts to fill in some of the blanks of an epochal narrative in American politics. Using a mix of painstaking research, interviews with cultural and political leaders and delving into previously classified records to come up with some overview of how America has arrived at this particular political moment.

To make sense of such complicated history, Unger draws upon three themes: He illustrates the conflict within the modern Republican Party via the oedipal conflict between George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush. Things are not well within the House of Bush. Bush Jr. has not only shut out his father and his allies from his administration—something Bob Woodward discovered in his interviews with the President—but he also appointed many of his father’s bitterest enemies to key cabinet positions.

Unger’s second theme draws upon this Bush family feud: many of Bush Sr.’s foes happen to be leaders of the neoconservative movement, who had been working against the President’s father since the 1970’s. Back then the neoconservatives did not have a base of political support within the Republican Party, which brings Unger to his third theme: the marriage between the neoconservatives and the Christian right to create a formidable ideological block.

Unger is a Fellow at the Center for Law and Security at NYU’s School of Law. In addition to his work at Vanity Fair, he is a former editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine, and former Deputy Editor of the New York Observer. A journalist of the old school who believes in verifying his sources’ veracity, Unger illuminates the Republican Party’s ideological struggle between the old and the new and traces its history for those who do know it.

Unger disputes the recent assertion by The New York Times that these forces are dead; they are thriving. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Craig Unger about his book, The Fall of the House of Bush.

Contents

  • 1 On the likelihood of an attack on Iran before the 2008 election
  • 2 This history behind the Bush family feud
  • 3 Bush appoints his father’s enemies to his Cabinet
  • 4 Paul Wolfowitz and the Office of Special Plans
  • 5 What the neoconservatives want
  • 6 The Christian right and the neoconservatives
  • 7 Orthodox Jews and Fundamentalist Christians
  • 8 On the press
  • 9 External links
  • 10 Source

Baby Bears Den Launches Oopsy Daisys Eric Carle Collection

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Baby Bears Den Launches Oopsy Daisys Eric Carle Collection

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Elizabeth Barr

Baby Bears Den is excited to be expanding its product offering to now include the new Eric Carle collection of canvas wall art and night lights from Oopsy Daisy Fine Art for Kids. The World of Eric Carle is beautifully reproduced in this glicee collection that features his most beloved characters including Brown Bear, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and many more of his colorful animals.

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Most of the Eric Carle canvas wall art pieces are available in the great standard size of 24 x 18. A few are also available in larger sizes. Oopsy Daisy’s children’s stretched canvas wall art reproductions are created in their San Diego studios where they print in the best digital method currently available, achieving great clarity and color resolution in each piece. After printing, the canvas is stretched by hand over a wood frame. The sides of the canvas include a decorative edge, so no framing is required. Canvases may be wiped clean with a soft, dry or slightly damp cloth. These prints are durable and beautiful! Each Eric Carle Night Light is like a mini work of art stretched over wood frames. These come in an adorable Oopsy Daisy signature green gift box that allows you to wish sweet dreams to your favorite child. The mini canvas is mounted through the wood to the night light base. A 5 watt bulb (included) and on/off switch, ensures soft light when you want it. When the night light is no longer needed, we suggest repurposing the night light by unscrewing the base and placing the art piece on a shelf! One of our favorite baby shower gift ideas is to pair one of the Eric Carle wall art pieces or night lights with the corresponding classic book. This is a unique gift that will be loved by both mother and child for years to come. All of the Eric Carle pieces will look wonderful in a childs nursery, big kid room or playroom.

Elizabeth Barr is the owner of an internet retail store

Baby Bear’s Den

which offers childrens wall art, personalized growth charts, and other decor items for childrens’ rooms and nurseries.

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Baby Bears Den Launches Oopsy Daisys Eric Carle Collection

Stanford physicists print smallest-ever letters ‘SU’ at subatomic level of 1.5 nanometres tall

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A new historic physics record has been set by scientists for exceedingly small writing, opening a new door to computing‘s future. Stanford University physicists have claimed to have written the letters “SU” at sub-atomic size.

Graduate students Christopher Moon, Laila Mattos, Brian Foster and Gabriel Zeltzer, under the direction of assistant professor of physics Hari Manoharan, have produced the world’s smallest lettering, which is approximately 1.5 nanometres tall, using a molecular projector, called Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) to push individual carbon monoxide molecules on a copper or silver sheet surface, based on interference of electron energy states.

A nanometre (Greek: ?????, nanos, dwarf; ?????, metr?, count) is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a metre (i.e., 10-9 m or one millionth of a millimetre), and also equals ten Ångström, an internationally recognized non-SI unit of length. It is often associated with the field of nanotechnology.

“We miniaturised their size so drastically that we ended up with the smallest writing in history,” said Manoharan. “S” and “U,” the two letters in honor of their employer have been reduced so tiny in nanoimprint that if used to print out 32 volumes of an Encyclopedia, 2,000 times, the contents would easily fit on a pinhead.

In the world of downsizing, nanoscribes Manoharan and Moon have proven that information, if reduced in size smaller than an atom, can be stored in more compact form than previously thought. In computing jargon, small sizing results to greater speed and better computer data storage.

“Writing really small has a long history. We wondered: What are the limits? How far can you go? Because materials are made of atoms, it was always believed that if you continue scaling down, you’d end up at that fundamental limit. You’d hit a wall,” said Manoharan.

In writing the letters, the Stanford team utilized an electron‘s unique feature of “pinball table for electrons” — its ability to bounce between different quantum states. In the vibration-proof basement lab of Stanford’s Varian Physics Building, the physicists used a Scanning tunneling microscope in encoding the “S” and “U” within the patterns formed by the electron’s activity, called wave function, arranging carbon monoxide molecules in a very specific pattern on a copper or silver sheet surface.

“Imagine [the copper as] a very shallow pool of water into which we put some rocks [the carbon monoxide molecules]. The water waves scatter and interfere off the rocks, making well defined standing wave patterns,” Manoharan noted. If the “rocks” are placed just right, then the shapes of the waves will form any letters in the alphabet, the researchers said. They used the quantum properties of electrons, rather than photons, as their source of illumination.

According to the study, the atoms were ordered in a circular fashion, with a hole in the middle. A flow of electrons was thereafter fired at the copper support, which resulted into a ripple effect in between the existing atoms. These were pushed aside, and a holographic projection of the letters “SU” became visible in the space between them. “What we did is show that the atom is not the limit — that you can go below that,” Manoharan said.

“It’s difficult to properly express the size of their stacked S and U, but the equivalent would be 0.3 nanometres. This is sufficiently small that you could copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the head of a pin not just once, but thousands of times over,” Manoharan and his nanohologram collaborator Christopher Moon explained.

The team has also shown the salient features of the holographic principle, a property of quantum gravity theories which resolves the black hole information paradox within string theory. They stacked “S” and the “U” – two layers, or pages, of information — within the hologram.

The team stressed their discovery was concentrating electrons in space, in essence, a wire, hoping such a structure could be used to wire together a super-fast quantum computer in the future. In essence, “these electron patterns can act as holograms, that pack information into subatomic spaces, which could one day lead to unlimited information storage,” the study states.

The “Conclusion” of the Stanford article goes as follows:

According to theory, a quantum state can encode any amount of information (at zero temperature), requiring only sufficiently high bandwidth and time in which to read it out. In practice, only recently has progress been made towards encoding several bits into the shapes of bosonic single-photon wave functions, which has applications in quantum key distribution. We have experimentally demonstrated that 35 bits can be permanently encoded into a time-independent fermionic state, and that two such states can be simultaneously prepared in the same area of space. We have simulated hundreds of stacked pairs of random 7 times 5-pixel arrays as well as various ideas for pathological bit patterns, and in every case the information was theoretically encodable. In all experimental attempts, extending down to the subatomic regime, the encoding was successful and the data were retrieved at 100% fidelity. We believe the limitations on bit size are approxlambda/4, but surprisingly the information density can be significantly boosted by using higher-energy electrons and stacking multiple pages holographically. Determining the full theoretical and practical limits of this technique—the trade-offs between information content (the number of pages and bits per page), contrast (the number of measurements required per bit to overcome noise), and the number of atoms in the hologram—will involve further work.Quantum holographic encoding in a two-dimensional electron gas, Christopher R. Moon, Laila S. Mattos, Brian K. Foster, Gabriel Zeltzer & Hari C. Manoharan

The team is not the first to design or print small letters, as attempts have been made since as early as 1960. In December 1959, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, who delivered his now-legendary lecture entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” promised new opportunities for those who “thought small.”

Feynman was an American physicist known for the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as work in particle physics (he proposed the parton model).

Feynman offered two challenges at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society, held that year in Caltech, offering a $1000 prize to the first person to solve each of them. Both challenges involved nanotechnology, and the first prize was won by William McLellan, who solved the first. The first problem required someone to build a working electric motor that would fit inside a cube 1/64 inches on each side. McLellan achieved this feat by November 1960 with his 250-microgram 2000-rpm motor consisting of 13 separate parts.

In 1985, the prize for the second challenge was claimed by Stanford Tom Newman, who, working with electrical engineering professor Fabian Pease, used electron lithography. He wrote or engraved the first page of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, at the required scale, on the head of a pin, with a beam of electrons. The main problem he had before he could claim the prize was finding the text after he had written it; the head of the pin was a huge empty space compared with the text inscribed on it. Such small print could only be read with an electron microscope.

In 1989, however, Stanford lost its record, when Donald Eigler and Erhard Schweizer, scientists at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose were the first to position or manipulate 35 individual atoms of xenon one at a time to form the letters I, B and M using a STM. The atoms were pushed on the surface of the nickel to create letters 5nm tall.

In 1991, Japanese researchers managed to chisel 1.5 nm-tall characters onto a molybdenum disulphide crystal, using the same STM method. Hitachi, at that time, set the record for the smallest microscopic calligraphy ever designed. The Stanford effort failed to surpass the feat, but it, however, introduced a novel technique. Having equaled Hitachi’s record, the Stanford team went a step further. They used a holographic variation on the IBM technique, for instead of fixing the letters onto a support, the new method created them holographically.

In the scientific breakthrough, the Stanford team has now claimed they have written the smallest letters ever – assembled from subatomic-sized bits as small as 0.3 nanometers, or roughly one third of a billionth of a meter. The new super-mini letters created are 40 times smaller than the original effort and more than four times smaller than the IBM initials, states the paper Quantum holographic encoding in a two-dimensional electron gas, published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The new sub-atomic size letters are around a third of the size of the atomic ones created by Eigler and Schweizer at IBM.

A subatomic particle is an elementary or composite particle smaller than an atom. Particle physics and nuclear physics are concerned with the study of these particles, their interactions, and non-atomic matter. Subatomic particles include the atomic constituents electrons, protons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are composite particles, consisting of quarks.

“Everyone can look around and see the growing amount of information we deal with on a daily basis. All that knowledge is out there. For society to move forward, we need a better way to process it, and store it more densely,” Manoharan said. “Although these projections are stable — they’ll last as long as none of the carbon dioxide molecules move — this technique is unlikely to revolutionize storage, as it’s currently a bit too challenging to determine and create the appropriate pattern of molecules to create a desired hologram,” the authors cautioned. Nevertheless, they suggest that “the practical limits of both the technique and the data density it enables merit further research.”

In 2000, it was Hari Manoharan, Christopher Lutz and Donald Eigler who first experimentally observed quantum mirage at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. In physics, a quantum mirage is a peculiar result in quantum chaos. Their study in a paper published in Nature, states they demonstrated that the Kondo resonance signature of a magnetic adatom located at one focus of an elliptically shaped quantum corral could be projected to, and made large at the other focus of the corral.

Bank of England governor warns housing market is biggest threat to UK economy

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that the state of the housing market in the United Kingdom is the current biggest domestic threat to the country’s economy, due to lack of house building, and regulatory issues.

In an interview to be aired on Sky News today, he said the housing market is the “biggest risk” to the economy and has “deep, deep structural problems”. Of house building he said: “There are not sufficient houses built in the UK. To go back to Canada, there are half as many people in Canada as in the UK, twice as many houses are built every year in Canada as in the UK and we can’t influence that.”

“We’re not going to build a single house at the Bank of England. We can’t influence that. What we can influence […] is whether the banks are strong enough. Do they have enough capital against risk in the housing market?”

Carney also said the Bank of England would look into the procedures used to issue loans and mortgages to see if they were being granted appropriately: “We’d be concerned if there was a rapid increase in high loan-to-value mortgages across the banks. We’ve seen that creeping up and it’s something we’re watching closely.”

Kris Hopkins responded to Carney on behalf of the government, saying the government “inherited a broken housing market, but our efforts to fix it are working”. “We’ve scrapped the failed top-down planning system, built over 170,000 affordable homes and released more surplus brownfield sites for new housing. We’ve also helped homebuyers get on the housing ladder, because if people can buy homes builders will build them. Housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007 and climbing. Last year councils gave permission for almost 200,000 new homes under the locally-led planning system and more than 1,000 communities have swiftly taken up neighbourhood planning. It’s clear evidence the government’s long-term economic plan is working.”

Earlier this month, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development called on the UK government to “tighten” access to the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme introduced by George Osborne and the coalition government in 2013. ‘Help to Buy’ has also recently been criticised by three former Chancellors of the Exchequer — the Conservatives Norman Lamont and Nigel Lawson, and former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling. Darling said: “Unless supply can be increased substantially, we will exacerbate that situation with schemes like Help to Buy.”

Polish drug company Jelfa ordered to shut-down over mislabelled drugs

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Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Polish Prime Minister Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski has ordered the pharmaceutical company Jelfa to halt production following revelations that Jelfa had placed mislabelled medication on the market, whose use could be potentially fatal.

Jelfa distributed vials labelled as Corhydron, a hydrocortisone used to treat allergies and inflammation, but in fact containing Suxamethonium chloride, a drug normally used to cause muscle paralysis during emergency surgery.

The Health Ministry has appealed to people suffering from asthma or allergies to check their medication and return any Corhydron ampoules they possess to the pharmacy.

Polskie Radio reports that the mislabelling was discovered a month ago, but Jelfa and the Polish Health ministry did not inform of the problem.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski ordered Jelfa to halt production until it can assure the Polish Government that it can properly manage its production.

The Polish Outlook reports that that drug companies in Poland were operating unregulated since December, 2005 as the regulations has expired. The government was putting in place new regulations.

The owner of Jelfa is AB Sanitas, the largest drug producer in neighbouring Lithuania. The shut-down has been questioned by the Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas, who expressed concern over the situation and said that he wants to try to settle the issue diplomatically.

Department of Defense report lambasts communication failure in US War on Terror

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Monday, December 20, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. Department of Defenseadvisory committee has released a report harshly criticizing the U.S.-led “[[Waron Terror]]”. The report details communication failures with the Muslimworld, and notes that current efforts may have achieved the oppositeof their intended effect.

The report released without publicity the Wednesday before Thanksgiving by Defense Science Board, focuses on a failure of communication, which the Defense Science Board considers vital to the war on terror. It asserts this failure of “strategic communication” contributes to a perceived “negative image in world opinion and diminished ability to persuade” of the United States, and that a resulting atmosphere of hostility can manifest in numerous ways.

The list of harmful effects includes “terrorism, thin coalitions, harmful effects on business, restrictionson travel, declines in cross border tourism and education flows, anddamaging consequences for other elements of U.S. soft power”.

According to the report, “The information campaign … is an essential objective, because the larger goals of U.S. strategy depend on separating the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical-militant Islamist-Jihadists. But American efforts have not only failed in this respect: they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.”

By way of example, the report quotes figures from a June 2004 Zogby poll, claiming to show a significant drop in Arab support for the U.S. in the past couple years. Statistical results are reproduced below.

Country June 2004Favorable/Unfavorable April 2002Favorable/Unfavorable
Morocco 11/88 38/61
Saudi Arabia 4/94 12/87
Jordan 15/78 34/61
Lebanon 20/69 26/70
UAE 14/73 11/87
Egypt 2/98 15/76

The report further claims, “American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists.” As summarised in a Christian Science Monitor headline, ‘They hate our policies, not our freedom’.

So why has support for the U.S. dropped? — to single digits in some Arab nations. President Bush and others have famously claimed that America is hated for its freedom. But the Defense Science Board concluded that most Arabs “do not hate us for our values, but because of our policies.” From the same Zogby study:

MoroccoFav/Unfav Saudi ArabiaFav/Unfav JordanFav/Unfav LebanonFav/Unfav UAEFav/Unfav
Science / Technology 90/8 48/51 83/13 52/46 84/12
Freedom / Democracy 53/41 39/60 57/40 41/56 39/53
People 59/29 28/64 52/39 39/58 46/35
Movies / TV 60/37 35/60 56/41 30/66 54/43
Products 73/24 37/59 61/35 39/57 63/34
Education 61/16 12/74 59/29 38/54 63/23
Policy toward Arabs 4/90 4/85 8/89 5/86 7/87
Policy toward Palestinians 3/93 3/95 7/89 4/90 5/90
Policy on Terrorism 13/82 2/96 21/75 10/84 9/84
Iraq Policy 1/98 1/97 2/78 4/93 4/91

This study explains that while support for American values may not be overwhelming, it is practically non-existent for America’s policies in the Middle East.

“The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states. Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”

In the eyes of Muslims, according to this report, America is really only looking out for its own interests.

It concludes from this that the fundamental problem with relations with the Muslim world is not a simple matter of crafting the right message. “Rather, it is a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none.”

Crucifix in Northern Italy collapses, crushing man to death

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ahead of Sunday’s scheduled canonization of Pope John Paul II, in the Italian village of Cevo, a massive stone and wood crucifix dedicated to the late pontiff collapsed, instantly crushing a man to death and landing another in the hospital. Reports variously say the collapse took place on Wednesday or Thursday.

Marco Gusmini, 21, died after part of the wood of the crucifix splintered and broke, sending it, along with the attached statue of Jesus Christ, toppling to the ground. He was reportedly posing for a photograph under the monument.

The mayor of Cevo, Silvio Citroni, termed the incident “an unexplainable tragedy. A young life, so many hopes destroyed this way”. Describing the tragedy, he elaborated, “The young people were making a snack for lunch and when they heard the crunching noises coming from the cross they fled in all directions. Unfortunately Marco ran in the wrong direction.” Citroni also said the crucifix had undergone maintenance work last summer. “This is a place for pilgrimages and family visits. We never imagined that something like this could happen.” In light of the untimely tragedy, he said, plans for any further celebrations to commemorate the late pontiff’s impending canonization have been scrapped.

Sculptor Enrico Job designed the crucifix, which stood 100 ft (30 m) tall; curved unusually to symbolize, reportedly, the scars of World War II; mounted with a 20 ft (6 m) tall statue of Jesus Christ weighing 1,320 lbs (600 kg). Commissioned to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s 1998 visit to Brescia, and reportedly originally erected at a stadium there, the crucifix was moved to its present location in nearby Cevo in 2005.

Gusmini and his parents reportedly lived on Via Papa Giovanni XXIII, a street in Lovere named after another late pontiff to be canonized alongside Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII. In celebration of this double canonization, Rome is expected to play host to 19 heads of state, 24 heads of government, and some 800,000 Catholic pilgrims, visiting from around the world, according to the Interior Ministry of Italy.

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