Archive for April, 2010



India bans Chinese telecom equipment citing security

The Canadian Press

NEW DELHI — India has banned telecom equipment from China citing national security reasons, heightening trade tensions between the two Asian economic giants.

In a recent order, the government has told mobile operators not to import any network equipment manufactured by Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE.

Indian officials say the ban was prompted by concerns that Chinese telecom equipment could have spyware or malicious software – known as “malware” – embedded in it which could give Chinese intelligence agencies access to telecom networks in India.

The ban and other regulations come less than a week after media reports that Chinese hackers had broken into the computer networks of India’s security, defence and diplomatic establishment.

Under strict new conditions, Indian telecom companies will have to get “security clearance” from India’s home ministry before projects are approved, an official said Friday.

“All service providers have to submit details of the equipment used, and their applications will have to get security clearance from the home ministry,” said Satyendra Prakash, a telecommunications ministry spokesman.

The government also ordered that the operation and maintenance of telecom networks be carried out “entirely” by Indian engineers…



John McCain swings right in desperate bid for political survival

One-time moderate Arizona senator keeps step with the Tea Party and gets tough on illegal immigration

Guardian – Ewen MacAskill in Tucson

John Ladd points to the piles of empty water and Coke bottles, a yellow blanket and numerous other bits of debris abandoned on his cattle ranch in Cochise county, near Tombstone, Arizona. The sprawling estate, stretching 10 miles along the US-Mexico border, is a favoured route for those making the illegal, dangerous and often fatal, journey to what they hope is a bright new future.

Ladd recalls waking up one morning in 2004 and finding about 900 Mexicans milling about on his land. “You could not go anywhere without seeing one and the border patrol was screeching around everywhere,” he says.

This is Wild West country, a land of mesquite and sagebrush, of Apache trails and re-enactments for the tourists of the OK Corral shoot-out. The ranch, and other crossing points like it, lie at the heart of the immigration debate that has gripped the US over the past week. That debate is anchored to Arizona’s controversial extension of police powers in dealing with immigrants.

Already the subject of international attention, it is threatening to consume one of America’s best-known politicians, John McCain, former PoW, senator for Arizona, and Republican choice for a doomed campaign against Barack Obama in 2008.

McCain is up for re-election for a fifth term in the Senate and the resurgence of the immigration issue is potentially disastrous. Ladd has met the defeated presidential candidate three times since 2004: on each occasion McCain went to the ranch to see firsthand the disruption caused by the almost non-stop flow of immigrants. “He is a neat guy,” says Ladd. “But he’s done nothing. He tells me, ‘This is terrible, I need to help you.’ And nothing happens.”

Ladd, who voted for McCain in the past, now feels betrayed and is not planning to support him in the Republican primary in August.

For McCain, now 73 and one of the Republican party’s elder statesman, re-election to the Senate might have been routine. Instead he is battling for survival amid a Republican party being forced ever more to the right. In an email this week appealing for donations, he wrote: “I am facing what many have called the toughest political fight of my life.” He is saying it is proving tougher than the 2008 Republican primary race, which saw him resurrect a struggling campaign and beat Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani; tougher even than taking on Obama.

To survive in Arizona, McCain is having to reinvent himself at speed. The straight-talking maverick, who bucked his own party to form alliances with the Democrats, is now portraying himself as a mainstream conservative and courting rightwing talkshow hosts.

Astonishingly, McCain told Newsweek: “I never considered myself a maverick.” Yet, he frequently referred to himself as such in the 2008 campaign and even proudly included the label in the title of a book he wrote, The Education of an American Maverick.

McCain is disliked by the right for his approach to climate change, for restrictions he championed on campaign finance and for his support of the Wall Street bailout. He has now dropped his climate change plan, said he was misled about the bailout, and was muted when the supreme court undid his campaign finance initiative.

The biggest about-turn, however, has been on immigration. In 2007, McCain proposed a joint immigration bill with Ted Kennedy that would have opened the path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants in the US. Other Republicans branded it an amnesty and killed it off.

This time, McCain has taken a hard line. He has described the new Arizona legislation, which requires police to stop all people they suspect of being illegal immigrants, as a necessary tool. The border has to be secured first, before immigration reform is tackled, he says; he proposes a six-point plan which includes sending 3,000 National Guard members to the border, a move not so different from the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association’s 10-point plan.

On the Bill O’Reilly show on Fox News this week, contrary to his previous habit of not demonising illegal immigrants, McCain claimed that “the drivers of cars with illegals in it … are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway”.

His U-turn prompted a New York Times editorial, entitled Come Back, John McCain, that argued that no election was worth winning “if you have to abandon what you believe”. Columnist Michelle Malkin made much the same point in the National Review, saying: “I need a Dramamine to cover Senator John McCain’s re-election bid. With his desperate lurch to the right he’s inducing more motion sickness than a Disneyland teacup.”

… Wes Harris, one of the founders of the North Phoenix Tea Party, not only voted for McCain in the past but worked on his campaigns. He has shifted his allegiance to Hayworth. Harris, 70, a military veteran, called McCain a hero but a poor senator, and was upset about his immigration plan. He was disappointed too with the campaign against Obama. “If he had exhibited as much zeal against Obama as he has done against Hayworth, he might have won … Everything else you could almost have forgiven him for but the campaign he ran was almost treasonable.” Harris predicts a McCain win, thanks to his well-run political machine and tremendous cash backing.

On Wednesday a meeting of the Tea Party, at Queen Creek, east of Phoenix, attracted about 20 people, a mix of ages with one African-American. Asked how many would back McCain, no one volunteered. The concerns were about Obama being a socialist, about the federal debt, and about immigration.

Obama has promised to reform immigration laws, having classed it as immoral and impractical to expect illegal immigrants to return “home”.

A practical benefit for the Democrats is that this would help them woo Latino voters, the fastest growing demographic group in the US. The Republicans risk alienating Latinos by calling for a crackdown on illegal immigrants in public, while bowing in private to business interests that want cheap workers.

“The Republicans want cheap labour, the Democrats cheap votes, and the American public cheap tomatoes,”…]



Jury convicts Palin e-mail intruder on 2 counts; mistrial declared on ID theft

KNOX News – By Jim Balloch

KNOXVILLE — A federal jury this afternoon convicted Sarah Palin e-mail intruder David C. Kernell of felony destruction of records to hamper a federal investigation and misdemeanor unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer.

The jury acquitted Kernell, 22, of felony wire fraud.

U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Phillips declared a mistrial on the fourth charge, felony identity theft, after the jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Weddle said federal prosecutors would decide next week if they would retry the former University of Tennessee economics major on that charge.

Phillips said he would set a sentencing date after prosecutors make that decision.

Kernell and his family left the federal courthouse without comment. His attorney, Wade Davies, said they would issue a statement later.

Kernell remains free on bond.

The jury of six men and six women began its fourth day of deliberations this morning by hearing a special added instruction from Phillips.

Called an Allen charge in legal parlance, it is commonly called “a dynamite charge.”

Phillips told the jurors that as they resume deliberating they should each reconsider their positions, but there was no need to rush to a verdict.

By Thursday, the panel had reached unanimous agreement on three of the four counts against Kernell, whose father is state Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis. Those verdicts were not announced until this afternoon.

The four charges are all felonies with only the protected computer count including a lesser misdemeanor offense. The jurors chose the misdemeanor count of the charge. Kernell was facing a total of 50 years in prison if convicted of all the felonies…]



The Truth about the Redgraves and the ’60s Left: Kudos to journalist Nick Cohen

PajamasMedia – Ron Radosh

There is no better précis of how the Left thinks about the world, and acts on it, than the British journalist Nick Cohen’s article appearing in the new issue of Standpoint. Cohen writes a candid appraisal of what left-wing politics did to the mind and life of the late actor Corin Redgrave, brother  of the more famous Vanessa, who like her brother, is a lifetime member of a small fanatic Trotskyist sect, the Workers Revolutionary Party, led by a man named Gerry Healy. The group was so fanatic that it accused Trotsky’s American followers of having been responsible for his murder in Mexico, ignoring all the evidence that it was an NKVD operation orchestrated by Joseph Stalin.

As  Cohen notes, all the Redgraves are good actors. Vanessa could, while she denounced Israel and praised Palestinian terrorists, at the same time appear on American television as a Jewish concentration camp victim in a Holocaust drama. I used to say, when people asked for my position on the blacklist of the 1950s, that I despise Vanessa Redgrave’s politics, but would go at a minute’s notice to see her perform in a Broadway play.  I praised her acting ability, and her prowess as an actor did not make me pay an ounce of attention to her political harangues.

This, of course, is not how the British media (so similar to the American media in this regard) dealt with her brother’s politics after his recent death. All the usual sources praised Redgrave as a man who fought “injustice and oppression,” and who tried “to make a better world.” That is certainly the case, if by a better world one means the regimented police states so favored by Marxist-Leninist regimes, to which Redgrave devoted his life.

… It should not be a surprise to learn from Cohen that as the recent past emerged, “Healy took money from Gaddafi’s Libya and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. In return for funding from Arab dictators, the WRP led the charge of the far-Left into the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the far-Right and, as seriously, agreed to spy on Iraqi dissidents living in London and hand over their details to the Baathist state without a thought of what could happen to their families back in Iraq. Even after the scandals about the rapes and links to Saddam broke, the Redgraves stuck with Healy, as did Ken Livingstone,” the former Mayor of London.

Except for the demented few like Vanessa Redgrave and the dwindling group of true believers, to whom no facts stand in the way of accepting the revolutionary myth, the rest of the liberal community has moved on, away from Communist era politics. This is the case except in one regard, and Cohen puts his finger on it. The old ideology still remains “in the bloodstream of the wider Left — the propensity for Jew-baiting and conspiracy theory, the shrieking dogmatism, and, beyond all that, the self-censorship, which stops a broadcaster legally obliged to be objective dealing plainly with news that reflects badly on its class and kind.”

After all, in the media spokesmen’s eyes — so many of whom were part of the ’60s generation — Corin and Vanessa Redgrave represented their pure ideals, and hence must be defended even after  their passing, even if what they did and lived for was hideous. To do the opposite would be to condemn their own youthful illusions — illusions few are prepared to thoroughly give up.



We speak English, or something

They call it ‘Globish’ and a ‘dialect’ international and accepted by many anglophone – Simplification of a language can be useful to learn

ELPAIS – By FRANCESCO Manette

The stage can be a medical conference, an economic summit or an international electronics fair. The actors are surgeons, researchers, politicians, engineers or executives. They all represent, or, rather, they improvise their role in a show with simple argument. The goal is not to achieve critical acclaim.  Here it is simply to communicate, understand and be understood and, if the script requires it, or close a business deal.  For it is advisable to speak the same language.  “English?  Let’s say English, or, in most cases, something like that.

That something was what looked like Jean-Paul Nerrière every time he went to a symposium or a congress, from the U.S. to Asia. When work commitments allowed him to her home in Paris, the former IBM executive turned the matter. Why is better understood a Mexican and a Chinese that a Chinese and an American? ¿What language is bound to each other? One day she finally decided to strike (and protected by intellectual property laws) the word Globish, a fusion of global terms and English (English) which aims to summarize a philosophy of universal understanding. “Globish English is commonly spoken in Istanbul or in Montevideo,” explains Nerrière telephone from France. E In a more technical definition is “a thoughtful and organized structure of English that puts limitations on itself, say they are not used more than 1,500 words,” he continues.  “It will end with a whole culture and a tradition of teaching?

The invention, with tens of thousands of supporters, it might seem yet another method of learning more or less rapid and more or less effective than one language, similar to what already proposed almost a century ago the linguist Charles K. Ogden with the 850 words of the Basic Español. However, Nerrière, which was responsible for marketing strategies of the multinational computer and knows how to sell an abstract concept, has gone further. Has succeeded in creating a system that has set and found acceptance even in the Anglo world. Robert McCrum, literary critic and editor of Britain’s Sunday Observer, congratulated him on a book, Globish The World Over, in which he outlined his thoughts on language teaching. And the same McCrum is about to publish a text on the phenomenon: Globish: How the language Español Became the World’s language.

It will, he says, a kind of “dialect” XXI century that finds its origins in a changing international geopolitical awareness. Something that makes now the English and their culture is perceived as differentiated values of all colonial heritage. The complex called imperialist, at least in the Western world, has disappeared. Like saying: “Cheer up, English is the heritage of everyone, both those born in Boston and those who have grown up in Istanbul.

P It therefore seems a good opportunity to learn the language once. It can also be the perfect excuse for self-indulgence and to convince (deceive, as by some professors usually do much of the ruling class) that few words are enough to master.  Depends. Perhaps both occur is a matter of perspective….

Original Link (Spanish)

‘Globish grammar’

– Study Globish means learning some 1,500 words, many combinations of two terms, monosyllables … We must speak with direct expressions, avoiding negative phrases or sentences passive. The streets were cleaned in the morning se convertiría, en globish, en The workmen cleaned the streets in the morning. The phrasal verbs are allowed, but must know how to use them because they can cause problems. The streets were clean in the morning would become, in Globish in The workmen cleaned the streets in the morning. Jean-Paul Nerrière up as an example the beginning of the speech Barack Obama’s inaugural.

Inglés. I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. – English. I stand here today Humbled by the task Before us, Grateful for the trust you Have bestower, mindful of The Sacrifice borne by Our ancestors.

– ‘Globish’. I stand here today full of Respect for the work Before us. I want to thank you for the trust you have given, and I remember the sacrifices made by our ancestors. I want to thank you for the trust you Have Given, and I remember the Sacrifices Made by Our ancestors.

–  Castilian. I stand here today humbly aware of the task before us, grateful for the confidence you have placed in me, knowing the sacrifices made by our ancestors.



end

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Senate Dem Leaders Take “Border Security First” Approach to Immigration

In the wake of a major crack down on illegal immigration in Arizona, Senate Democratic leaders released a 26-page framework for legislation on Wednesday that sets tough border security standards as a precursor to illegal immigrants finding a pathway to U.S. citizenship, something critics often label amnesty. This “border security first” approach was one advocated by Republicans in 2005 when major reform was last attempted.

“Proponents of immigration reform ackowledge that that we need to meet clear and concrete benchmarks before we can finally ensure that America’s borders are secure and effectively deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S.,” the document states.

The outline, obtained by Fox, was written by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, with Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, number three in leadership, and Cuban-American Bob Menendez, D-NJ, responsible for his party’s 2010 midterm election effort.

“Reid, Schumer and Menendez submitted an outline to pro-immigration groups this morning in advance of a meeting later today. The outline represents the framework for a potential bill that would be co-sponsored by senators like Durbin and Feinstein and advanced by Democratic leadership later this year,” one senior Democratic official said.

Menendez tells Fox he hopes the measure “instigates the White House to have a summit to bring individuals from both houses and both parties together to see what is possible to move forward.”

The outline contains a number of items not previously in reform bills with a heavy focus on border enforcement as a benchmark.

More Border Patrol officers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are called for, with biometric identification elements, a controversial issue in previous reform efforts, as a way to detect fraud.

Menendez noted that the proposal calls for more family reunification measures, something the senator fought hard for in 2005 when the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA, worked with Sen. John McCain, R-AZ on a broad reform effort…



Conceptual Proposal for Immigration Reform
I. Achieving Operational Control of America’s Borders to Prevent Future Illegal Immigration
A. Securing the Border First Before any Action can be Taken to Change the Status of people in the United States Illegally
Proponents of immigration reform acknowledge that we need to meet clear and concrete benchmarks before we can finally ensure that America’s borders are secure and effectively deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States.  These benchmarks must be met before action can be taken to adjust the status of people already in the United States illegally and should include the following: (1) increased number of Border Patrol officers; (2) increased number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to combat smuggling operations; (3) increased number of ICE worksite enforcement inspectors and increased inspection resources; (4) increased number of ICE document fraud detection officers and improved detection capability; (5) increased number of personnel to conduct inspections for drugs, contraband, and illegal immigrants at America’s ports of entry; (6) improved technology, infrastructure, and resources to assist the Border Patrol and ICE in their missions; (7) increased resources for prosecution of drug smugglers, human traffickers, and unauthorized border crossers; and (8) increased immigration court resources to expedite the removal of unlawfully present individuals.
Subtitle B. Further Fortification of America’s Border Enforcement Capability
Even after the benchmarks have been met, further fortifications of our border enforcement capabilities will still be required.  These include substantial increases in the number of border patrol agents stationed on the southern and northern borders and the number of officers stationed at America’s ports of entry to conduct inspections for drugs, contraband and illegal immigrants.  In addition, rather than spending billions of federal dollars in an attempt to link up untested satellite technology, our strategy calls for installation of high-tech ground sensors throughout the southern border and for equipping all border patrol officers with the technological capability to respond to activation of the ground sensors in the area they are patrolling.  This solution is far more cost-effective than the SBInet project in Arizona and has been proven to be far more effective in the areas in which it has been deployed.
As a result of this proposal, the Border Patrol will also receive substantial upgrades in technology—including: 1) clear and secure two-way communication capabilities among all border patrol agents conducting operations between ports of entry; 2) use of Department of Defense equipment at the border; and 3) increases in the number of sport utility vehicles, helicopters, power boats, river boats, portable computers to track illegal immigrants and drug smugglers while inside of a border patrol vehicle, night vision equipment, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS), scope trucks, and Mobile Surveillance Systems (MSS).
Notwithstanding this substantial increase to America’s current border enforcement capabilities, this proposal recognizes that there may still be occasions where the border patrol needs additional, flexible support to maintain operational control of America’s borders.  In this regard, the proposal recommends the creation of a border patrol auxiliary unit to assist the US Border Patrol in accomplishing the mission of detecting, interdicting, and apprehending those who attempt to illegally enter or smuggle people, including terrorists, or contraband, including weapons of mass destruction or narcotics, across US borders between official ports of entry.   The proposal also provides the Secretary of Homeland Security with the authority to deploy National Guard personnel at our borders when needed.
The proposal also recognizes that securing the border between America’s ports of entry is a necessary but insufficient step to preventing future illegal immigration.  Due to years of insufficient investment in our port-of-entry, far more contraband and illegal immigrants enter the United States through our ports-of-entry than between the ports-of-entry.  That is why the proposal calls for construction of additional ports-of-entry and for the hiring of thousands of new customs and border protection inspectors.  These ports-of-entry will also have enhanced connectivity with all government fingerprint databases to ensure that criminals are not permitted to enter the United States.  We also require the construction and commencement of operations of additional permanent Border Patrol Forward Operating Bases.
More must also be done to ensure that all officers within U.S. Customs and Border Protection have the tools they need to succeed.  These officers will all receive training to: 1) identify and detect fraudulent travel documents; 2) accomplish border enforcement without engaging in racial profiling; and 3) address vulnerable populations such as children and victims of human trafficking.  Officers will also be equipped with high-quality body armor that is appropriate for the climate and risks faced by each officer.  They will also be equipped with weapons, including non-lethal intermediate force weapons, that are reliable and effective to protect themselves, their fellow agents, and innocent third parties from the threats posed in the line of duty.
Other agencies will also be asked to play a greater role in using their expertise and capabilities to make America’s borders more secure.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be given additional investigators for the specific purpose of investigating alien smuggling.  The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be given more agents for the Southwest Border Initiative to investigate the cross-border smuggling of drugs, firearms, and other contraband between the United States and Mexico.  The proposal also calls for more resources for America’s immigration courts to expedite the removal of unlawfully present individuals.
C. Other Necessary Reforms
Upon enactment of this proposal, a bipartisan commission will be created and tasked with investigating the state of security on the southern and northern borders and issuing recommendations on additional resources, technology, manpower, and infrastructure that must be implemented to ensure complete operational control of the southern and northern borders within 12 months.  Congress shall be required to vote on whether to enact the Commission’s recommendations.  Because the federal government will have fulfilled its obligation to secure America’s borders, states and municipalities will be prohibited from enacting their own rules and penalties relating to immigration, which could undermine federal policies.
This proposal also ensures that we will secure our borders in a manner that is consistent with America’s best values and traditions.   The Departments of Homeland Security, Interior, and Agriculture will work together to make sure we are protecting our borders while at the same time preserving our national parks and our protected wildlife sanctuaries.  We will provide grants to local towns and counties to mitigate the impact of unauthorized immigrants crossing the border and to assist them in transferring unauthorized immigrants to law enforcement authorities. Owners of property near the border will be protected from civil lawsuits for injuries that took place on their property that were related to the duties of law enforcement officers seeking to combat drug smuggling and illegal immigration.  Indian tribes that have been adversely affected by illegal immigration will be reimbursed for law enforcement activities and restoration of areas damaged by illegal immigration. Northern border cities will be treated just like their southern border counterparts, and will be reimbursed for handling case dispositions of criminal cases that are federally initiated but federally declined-referred.
To ensure that our border security efforts are not substantially affecting the quality of life and economic viability of the cities near our borders, the proposal establishes a Border Communities Liaison Office that will be responsible for conducting outreach to residents of border towns and a standardized complaint process for addressing complaints from the public related to the operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Communities will be given the ability to create alternatives to detention programs to lower the costs of immigration detention and, if detention is necessary, there will be custody standards providing for basic minimum standards of care at all Border Patrol stations, holding cells, checkpoints and short-term custody facilities.
II. Detection, Apprehension, and Removal of Unlawfully Present Persons in the United States
In addition to increasing border enforcement, this proposal will substantially enhance our capabilities to detect, apprehend, and remove persons who entered the United States unlawfully and persons who entered lawfully on temporary visas but failed to leave the country when designated.  We will complete implementation of an entry-exit system that permits us to know whether foreign nationals have overstayed their visas and will permit us to apprehend and expeditiously remove these individuals.  This proposal will equip all ports of entry with the United States-Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (“US-VISIT”) system and will deploy this system in an interoperable fashion with all immigration screening systems operated by the Department of Homeland Security.
The Department of Homeland Security will promptly identify, investigate, and initiate removal proceedings against every alien admitted into the United States on a temporary nonimmigrant visa who exceeds his or her period of authorized admission beyond a specified period or otherwise violates any terms of the alien’s nonimmigrant status.  All criminals in federal, state, and local prisons will be checked for lawful immigration status and will be deported if they are here illegally.  The Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”) will be evaluated and monitored to ensure that no country on this program has a high percentage of visa overstays.  Countries whose nationals frequently overstay their visas will be removed from the VWP until such time as they implement accountability systems to ensure compliance from their nationals.
Additional measures will also be critical to combat future illegal immigration.  There will be zero tolerance for illegal entry and reentry into the United States.  Gang members will be prohibited from entering the United States and will be deported when apprehended.  In order to combat human trafficking, convicted sex offenders will be prohibited from petitioning to bring foreign nationals to the United States.  DHS will have greater authority to seize boats and other vessels used to traffic drugs, guns, and human beings and to subject these vessels to forfeiture.  Noncitizens in removal proceedings will be required to inform the United States government of their location at all times.  Laws will be amended to encourage individuals here illegally to depart voluntarily.  New crimes will be created for the trafficking and misuse of passports and increased penalties and prison sentences will be levied upon persons who sell or use false documents.  Fraud and misrepresentation in the context of immigration proceedings will be punished.
To ensure the removal of dangerous individuals, laws will be amended to sanction countries that delay or prevent repatriation of their citizens and the U.S. Government will have heightened authority to detain dangerous criminals until they can be deported.  States will be quickly reimbursed for the costs of incarcerating and transporting aliens.  All foreign nationals will be required to provide the United States government with biometric information, and will be refused admission or deported for non-compliance.  Carriers will be required to provide advanced delivery of passenger manifests to the U.S. government, to ensure that dangerous individuals are not permitted to travel to the United States.
When aliens must be detained by the United States government to ensure their appearance in Court, or to ensure their removal, uniform standards will govern their detention.  The Department of Homeland Security will be required to file a charging document with the immigration court closest to the location at which an alien was apprehended within 48 hours of the alien being taken into custody by the Department.  If an alien is detained, minimum standards for detention will be enacted for both government and privately-owned detention facilities to ensure that these facilities are in compliance with standards recommended by leading experts.  In addition, no detainee shall be transferred from his/her area of apprehension until arrangements have been made for the detainee’s children, and the government has given due consideration to the best interest of the child in decisions concerning detention, release or transfer of a parent.
Penalties and sanctions will also be increased for violators of immigration law.  There will be substantial increases in fines and prison sentences for individuals who: a) evade border checkpoints; b) fail to obey the lawful commands of border officials; c) engage in human smuggling; d) use vessels and aircraft to smuggle aliens; e) sell firearms to illegal immigrants; f) engage in money laundering or use stored value cards and E-Currencies to fund illegal trafficking activities; and g) willfully fail to comply with conditions placed upon them if they are on supervised release programs.
There will also be penalties to ensure that unscrupulous employers are not permitted to exploit unauthorized labor.  Victims of egregious labor violations will be provided with legal incentives to cooperate with law enforcement to report labor law violations committed by their employers.  Egregious labor law violators will face civil sanctions and prison sentences.
Existing enforcement laws will be reformed to become more efficient and effective.  The government will require any state or local entity that participates in the 287(g) program to collect and maintain such records and data as are reasonably necessary to ensure that actions under the agreement comply with federal law.  Refugees and asylees will be admitted to become lawful permanent residents when they receive the grant of refugee or asylee status, so as to reduce inefficiency and unnecessary duplication in government.  The proposal includes new custody options for refugees and other vulnerable populations. Children seeking asylum will be afforded necessary protections and certain vulnerable refugee groups will be permitted to obtain expedited adjudication to minimize the risk of facing government persecution while awaiting adjudication of refugee status.
III. Ending Illegal Employment through Biometric Employment Verification
In order to prevent future waves of illegal immigration, this proposal recognizes that no matter what we do on the border, our ports of entry, and in the interior, we will not be completely effective unless we can prevent the hiring, recruitment, or referral of unauthorized aliens in America’s workplaces.  Jobs are what draw illegal immigrants to the United States.
Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this proposal, the Social Security Administration will begin issuing biometric social security cards.  These cards will be fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear resistant, and machine-readable social security cards containing a photograph and an electronically coded micro-processing chip which possesses a unique biometric identifier for the authorized card-bearer.
The card will also possess the following characteristics: (1) biometric identifiers, in the form of templates, that definitively tie the individual user to the identity credential; (2) electronic authentication capability; (3) ability to verify the individual locally without requiring every employer to access a biometric database; (4) offline verification capability (eliminating the need for 24-hour, 7-days-per-week online databases);  (5) security features that protect the information stored on the card; (6) privacy protections that allow the user to control who is able to access the data on the card; (7) compliance with authentication and biometric standards recognized by domestic and international standards organizations.  The new biometric social security card shall enable the following outcomes: (1) permit the individual cardholder to control who can access their information; (2) allow electronic authentication of the credential to determine work authorization; and (3) possession of scalability of authentication capability depending on the requirement of the application.
Possession of a fraud-proof social security card will only serve as evidence of lawful work-authorization but will in no way be permitted to serve—or shall be required to be shown—as proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status.  It will be unlawful for any person, corporation; organization local, state, or federal law enforcement officer; local or state government; or any other entity to require or even ask an individual cardholder to produce their social security card for any purpose other than electronic verification of employment eligibility and verification of identity for Social Security Administration purposes.  No personal information will be stored on the electronic chip contained within the social security card other than the individual’s name, date of birth, social security number, and unique biometric identifier.
Under no circumstances will any other information, including medical information or position-tracking information, be contained within the card.
The Secretary of Homeland Security shall work with other agencies to secure enrollment locations at sites operated by the federal government.
Prior to issuing an individual a new fraud-proof social security card, the Social Security Administration will be required to verify the individual’s identity and employment eligibility by asking for production of acceptable documents to be provided by the individual as proof of identity and employment eligibility.  The Secretary of Homeland Security will work with the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to verify non-citizens’ employment authorization.  SSA will also be required to engage in background screening verification techniques currently used by private corporations that use publicly available information that can be derived from the individual’s social security number.  An administrative adjudication process can be invoked in the event that an individual is unable to establish his or her identity or lawful immigration status.  Adverse decisions can be reviewed in the federal courts.  There will be a multi-stage process of re-verification if an individual claims he lost his previously issued fraud-proof social security card to ensure that there is no identity-theft or unlawful collaboration of identity. There will also be a multi-stage process for resolution of proper identity if an individual claims an identity tied to a social security number that has been claimed by another individual.  Tough penalties will be put in place for fraud in procurement of a fraud-proof social security card.  The same penalties shall apply for conspiracy to commit fraud if false information is intentionally provided.
Employers hiring workers in the future will be required to use the newly created Biometric Enrollment, Locally-stored Information, and Electronic Verification of Employment (BELIEVE) System as a means of verification.  There will be strict employer penalties for failure to participate in the BELIEVE system after being notified of a requirement to do so by the Secretary of Homeland Security or after the BELIEVE system has been fully implemented nationwide such that it is required to be used by all employers.  Prospective employees will present a machine-readable, fraud proof, biometric Social Security card to their employers, who will swipe the cards through a card-reader to confirm the cardholder’s identity and  work authorization.  The cardholder’s work authorization will be verified by matching a digital encryption key contained within the card to a digital encryption key contained within the work authorization database being searched.  The cardholder’s identity will be verified by matching the biometric identifier stored within the micro-processing chip on the card to the identifier provided by the cardholder that shall be read by the scanner used by the employer.
During the transition period from the current employment verification system to the BELIEVE System, all current employment verification laws applying to employers, including all laws currently pertaining to E-Verify, will be extended until such time as a particular employer is notified of a requirement to verify their employees using the BELIEVE system or until after the BELIEVE system has been implemented nationwide such that it is required to be used by all employers.  When the BELIEVE system is deployed nationwide current employment verification laws will sunset.  This date is estimated to occur six (6) years after the date of enactment.
Employers will be permitted to voluntarily verify their employees by using the BELIEVE system, even if it is before the date they are required by law to use the system.  DHS shall require expedited participation in the BELIEVE system for certain employers who: (1) are in an industry which the Secretary knows or has reason to believe has a high rate of employment of aliens who are not authorized for employment in the United States; (2) have access to locations or information directly related to national security; or (3) who have engaged in material violations of the law.  DHS will provide ample notice to those employers required to participate on an expedited basis and will provide clear guidance to employers as to the process for informing employees of the need to obtain a new social security card and the process for enrolling in the BELIEVE system.   DHS will provide a reasonable time period for employers to verify that all employees have been confirmed as authorized for employment by the BELIEVE system.  The federal government will be required to use the BELIEVE system as the sole employment verification system within three (3) years after the date of enactment and federal contractors will be required to use the BELIEVE system within four (4) years after the date of enactment.
Within five (5) years of the date of enactment, the fraud-proof social security card will serve as the sole acceptable document to be produced by an employee to an employer for employment verification purposes.  This requirement will exist even if the employer does not yet possess the capability to electronically verify the employee by scanning the card through a card reader.  In that circumstance, the employer’s sole responsibility shall be to obtain a photocopy of both sides of the card and maintain that document for inspection by the Secretary.  But all businesses will be required to possess electronic scanning capability within six (6) years after the date of enactment.  If a business is unwilling or unable to scan an employee on its own, government-certified, private sector providers will be permitted to conduct verification of an employer’s employees.  All private sector providers will be required to post a $150,000 financial bond to the Secretary as a requirement for certification.  There will be annual auditing and undercover investigations of private sector providers to ensure that they are operating as required
by law.  For businesses that do not want to use a private provider, DHS and SSA shall promulgate regulations authorizing the use of United States Post Offices or other local government offices as locations where individuals may be verified for employment eligibility.
The following procedures will govern the employment verification process for a particular worker.  Employers will swipe the biometric society security card through a card reader for all new hires no sooner than the date of hire and no later than the third business day after the employee has reported for duty, or no later than the first day following recruitment for employment or any time an employee requests to provide self-verification.  The BELIEVE system will respond to each inquiry as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after receiving the inquiry. Employers will notify the employee of the response within 24 hours of receiving the system response. If there is a denial, employers will provide employees with a notice, in written form developed by the Commissioner, which states the reason for the denial, the right to contest the denial, and contact information for initiating a contest of the denial.  Employees may contest any initial disapproval within 10 days of its receipt. If the system is unable to confirm the employee’s work authorization, employees will have 30 days to file an administrative review of a work disapproval under procedures developed by SSA and DHS.  They will also have an opportunity to seek judicial review within 30 days of receiving the final determination of the administrative review. Employees will be provided lost wages when a determination is reached that the disapproval was caused by erroneous system information and not by an act or omission of the employee. Employees will be provided with a private right of action against the employer when a determination is reached that the disapproval was caused by an act or negligence on the part of the employer.
SSA and DHS will be required to establish procedures to maintain the accuracy and integrity of the system. Also, a public education campaign and registrant training will be developed in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services and the States –within 6 months before the first date of registration.  Minimum system requirements will be established to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and privacy. Several of those measures include: a mechanism for employers to attest to their compliance; audits of employer use of the system; timely entry and access of all data; a method to correct relevant data held within the system; secure procedures for individuals to examine their records, request expedited corrections of errors, and appeal disapprovals; procedures limiting agency and contractor personnel to enter data; and 24-hour Internet and telephone help desk.
An annual report will be submitted to Congress by SSA, no later than 24 months following full implementation of the BELIEVE System, which provides a certified determination of the percentage of inquiries that result in an initial or final disapproval within the applicable timeframe and that were not overturned on appeal.  If the percentage is less than 99 percent the Commissioner must detail the steps being taken to bring the percentage to 99 percent, with specified timeframes.  Further, the Commissioner must provide an assessment of the privacy and security of the BELIEVE system and employer compliance with the system’s rules.  Only the absolute minimum amount of data necessary to accomplish employment verification and detect and prevent employment related identity theft shall be stored in the database.  Storing of biometric data stored in the fraud-proof social security card in any government database will be prohibited under all circumstances.  Any office, employee, or contractor shall be punished for willfully and knowingly using information in a manner other than prescribed in the law.  SSA will establish procedures whereby an individual may block and remove a block on the use of their Social Security Card for any employment verification purpose until such time as they unblock their card.
Protections will be put in place to prevent misuse of the system.  Employers will be prohibited from using the BELIEVE system to selectively verify a class, level, or category of new employees and we will allow employers with multiple locations to verify employees at selected locations without verifying at all locations.  Officers, employees, and contractors will face strict penalties for willfully and knowingly using information in a manner other than prescribed in the law.  Restitution will be available to victims of a violation of the BELIEVE system, including those who have suffered a financial loss due to an improper disclosure of information. Restitution issued to the Commissioner shall be deposited in the Social Security trust funds. It will be an unfair immigration-related employment practice to: terminate or to take any adverse employment related action unless authorized or required to do so by this Act or by the Secretary; screen an applicant prior to an offer of employment; to use the system on current employees unless required to do so by the Secretary; or to require an individual to self-verify unless permitted by the Secretary.  There will be substantial civil monetary penalties for violations of this section.
Employers will be protected from liability for employment related actions taken with respect to an employee in response to information provided by the BELIEVE system.  SSA in conjunction with DHS will provide proof of verification via the BELIEVE system to employers that they can produce to the Secretary to show compliance upon request.  In addition, all state and local immigration or employment verification laws will be preempted by federal immigration law.  There will be an Employment Verification Advisory Panel consisting of experts and representatives from affected industries, including human resources, employer and employee organizations, and those in the database and biometric technology industries that will advise the Government on the implementation, deployment, and security of the BELIEVE System.  The Government Accountability Office will also be required to conduct a study and submit a report every two years following the date of enactment in order to evaluate the accuracy, efficiency, integrity and impact of the BELIEVE system.
To make the system air tight, the proposal substantially increases civil monetary penalties by 300 percent for violations of knowingly hiring someone not authorized for employment or hiring without verifying employment eligibility, continuing to employ an unauthorized alien knowing the alien is or has become unauthorized to work or violating the anti-discrimination protections related to employment authorization.  It also increases penalties of any person or entity that engages in a pattern or practice of violations and requires imprisonment for repeat offenders.  There will be mitigation of certain increased penalties for small employers and an exemption from penalties if the employer proves it was the first of such a violation and that they acted in good faith.  There will also be a safe harbor for employers who hire or continue to employ unauthorized workers through a subcontractor, unless the employer knew or recklessly disregarded that the subcontractor hired or continued to employ an unauthorized worker.  Employers will be able to include in a written contract or subcontract an effective and enforceable requirement that the contractor or subcontractor adhere to the immigration laws, including the use of the BELIEVE system.
Enforcement will also be made more effective by the requirement that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Commissioner of Social Security, and Secretary of Homeland Security establish a national birth and death registration system.   The system will ensure fraud prevention and uniformity for all states. The Department of Defense will process information regarding the death of military personnel and their dependants within one year. The Department of State will improve registration and notification for births and deaths abroad.  States will be required to retain birth and death data within three years of enactment.  Moreover, employers who hire unauthorized workers will be prohibited from deducting wages paid to unauthorized workers.  Employers will be required to provide a list of employees whose wages are being deducted and the date in which their employment eligibility was verified.  The Internal Revenue Service will perform random inspections to determine if employees were verified as claimed by the employer.
In order to pay for implementation of the BELIEVE System, funding will be obtained in whole or in part by collecting the following fees and fines: (1) an employment authorization fee that will be charged only to non-citizens in order to obtain the biometric social security card required for employment—under no circumstances will a fee be charged to United States citizens for obtaining an initial biometric Social Security Card; (2) an employment authorization system fee to be paid by all employers who seek to petition for an employment-related immigration benefit for a non-citizen worker; (3) fees charged to business entities who seek pre-certification as authorized private employment eligibility screeners under regulations provided for pursuant to this Act; (4) fines charged to every person or other entity subject to the Immigration and Nationality Act who fails to comply with the provisions of this law; and (5) fees charged to U.S. citizens for obtaining replacement Social Security Cards.  This proposal also requires that neither backpay nor any other monetary remedy for unlawful employment practices, workplace injuries or other causes of action giving rise to liability shall be denied to a present or former employee on account of: the employer’s or the employee’s failure to comply with the requirements of the policy in establishing or maintaining the employment relationship; the employee’s violation of the provisions of federal law related to the employment verification system set forth in the proposal; or the employee’s continuing status as an unauthorized alien both during and after termination of employment.
IV. Reforming America’s Legal Immigration System to Maximize American Economic Prosperity
A. High Skilled Immigration
This proposal will reform America’s high-skilled immigration system to permanently attract the world’s best and brightest while preventing the loss of American jobs to temporary foreign labor contractors.  At the moment, high-skilled workers are prevented from emigrating to the Unites States due to restrictive caps on their entry.  In order to accomplish this goal, a green card will be immediately available to foreign students with an advanced degree from a United States institution of higher education in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, and who possess an offer of employment from a United States employer in a field related to their degree.  Foreign students will be permitted to enter the United States with immigrant intent if they are a bona fide student so long as they pursue a full course of study at an institution of higher education in a field of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.  To address the fact that workers from some countries face unreasonably long backlogs that have no responsiveness to America’s economic needs, this proposal eliminates the per-country employment immigration caps.
This proposal also adds fraud and abuse protections for existing temporary high-skilled work visas.   It will amend current law regarding H-1B employer application requirements to: (1) revise wage determination requirements; (2) require Internet posting and description of employment positions; (3) lengthen U.S. worker displacement protection: (4) apply certain requirements to all H-1B employers rather than only to H-1B dependent employers; (5) prohibit employer advertising that makes a position available only to, or gives priority to, H-1B nonimmigrants; and (6) limit the number of H-1B and L-1 employees that an employer of 50 or more workers in the United States may hire.  The proposal also authorizes the Department of Labor (DOL) to: (1) investigate applications for fraud; and (2) conduct H-1B compliance audits.   DOL will also be required to conduct annual audits of companies with large numbers of H-1B workers and initiate H-1B employer application investigations. Penalties for employers who violate the law will be increased.
For L-1 visas, the proposal prohibits, with a specified waiver by the Secretary of Homeland Security, an employer from hiring an L-1 nonimmigrant for more than one year who will: (1) serve in a capacity involving specialized knowledge; and (2) be stationed primarily at the worksite of an employer other than the petitioning employer.  The proposal also specifies L-1: (1) employer petition requirements for employment at a new office; (2) wage rates and working conditions; and (3) employer penalties.  DHS will be authorized to initiate investigations of L-1 employers suspected of being non-compliant with the law. DHS shall also report to Congress regarding the L-1 blanket petition process.
B. Immigration of Lower-Skilled Workers.
This proposal will reform America’s lower-skilled worker programs to ensure that businesses only obtain foreign workers when American workers are unavailable.  For agricultural workers, the H-2A program will be reformed to adopt the proposals agreed to by the farm workers and the growers which are enumerated in the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act (“AgJOBS”), which is a bi-partisan agreement of interested stakeholders in the agricultural industry that has existed since 2003. AgJOBS also addresses the acute labor needs of the dairy industry.
For non-agricultural seasonal workers, the H-2B program will be reformed to add critical protections necessary to eliminate fraud and abuse within the program.  The Department of Labor will be given the authority to impose penalties and seek injunctive relief to assure employer compliance with the H-2B rules.  Aggrieved workers will have a right to file a civil action against the employer.  Employers must notify the Department of Labor within 30 days of an H-2B employee’s termination and submit to DOL payroll records showing that the employer paid the required wage, transportation and other expenses.
Employers using the H-2B program will also be required to conduct advanced recruiting of U.S. workers prior to hiring an H-2B worker and will be required to pay higher wages than the current wages paid, namely, either the wage set forth in a collective bargaining agreement, or if there is no collective bargaining agreement, higher than: (1) the wage determination issued under the Davis-Bacon Act; (2) the wage issued under the Service Contract Act; (3) the median rate of the highest 50% of the wage data published under the most recently published OES Survey compiled by BLS; or (4) a wage that is 133% of the minimum wage.  Employers will be required to reimburse H-2B workers for the reasonable transportation costs incurred by the worker to reach the job site and to return home.  Returning workers will not be counted toward the current H-2B cap in any year the national unemployment rate is at, or below, 8.0% percent.  If unemployment is greater than 8.0%, a returning worker may still be exempted from the cap if the metropolitan statistical area where the labor is to be performed is below 6.0%.
This proposal also creates a provisional visa (H-2C) for non-seasonal, non-agricultural workers to enter the United States.  The visa shall be for three years, and is renewable once for a total of six years.  Workers in the H-2C program shall be permitted to earn lawful permanent residence if they meet sufficient integration metrics to demonstrate that they have successfully become part of the American economy and society.  The provisional visa will be a dual intent visa so there is not a problem with intending immigrants.
Employees on H-2C visas shall have portability to change employers after 1 year.  The annual cap for H-2C visas shall be adjusted each year based on unemployment and relevant economic indicators. If an employer cannot obtain a foreign worker because the annual cap has been reached, the employer may still obtain the worker by paying an additional fee to USCIS, a heightened wage to the employee, and by engaging in additional recruiting to demonstrate the need for the worker.  In all cases, no H-2C worker may be hired before an employer takes affirmative steps to recruit and hire American workers, including through America’s Job Bank and recruiting through State Workforce Agencies.  H-2C workers shall be entitled to the same labor protections as American workers and shall have the same causes of action afforded to American workers.  Any qualified American worker who is displaced by an H-2C worker or who applies for a job that was filled by an H-2C worker shall have redress for being unlawfully displaced by an H-2C worker.
This proposal also authorizes the creation of the Commission on Employment-Based Immigration.  The Commission shall have the purpose of studying America’s employment-based immigration system to recommend policies that promote economic growth and competitiveness while minimizing job displacement, wage depression and unauthorized employment.  Each year, the Commission shall publish a report to Congress detailing all relevant economic data surrounding the usage of all of America’s employment-based visas and green cards and shall issue recommendations.
The Commission shall have the power to declare an emergency in the immigration system.  An emergency shall consist of a situation in which America’s employment-based immigration system is either substantially failing to admit a sufficient number of workers for the needs of the American economy or is substantially admitting too many foreign workers, leading to significant job displacement and/or wage depression in the American workforce.  If the Commission declares that an emergency exists, the Commission shall recommend proposed adjustments in the employment based immigration system to remedy the emergency.  Congress shall then be required to vote on whether to enact the Commission’s recommendations or to disapprove of enactment of the Commission’s recommendations.
The proposal will also reform America’s Green Card system to ensure efficiency and equity in legal immigration to the United States.  It authorizes the recapture of immigrant visas lost to bureaucratic delay.  The family immigration backlog will be cleared over the course of eight years. After eight years, the current numeric caps on the family preference categories would remain the same as in current law.  Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents will be classified as “immediate relatives” to promote the efficient reunification of families. To address the fact that some countries face unreasonably long backlogs, the per country family immigration limits will be amended from 7 to 10 percent of total admissions.
The proposal will also address several remaining technical issues that prevent widows and orphans of U.S. citizens from obtaining immigration benefits.  It will eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status.  The proposal also exempts the children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas.  It also provides protection for children and people with special humanitarian considerations. The proposal would address several other technical issues related to stepchildren and adoptive children.
V.  MANDATORY REGISTRATION, ACCEPTANCE OF RESPONSIBILITY, AND ADMINISTRATION OF PUNISHMENT FOR UNAUTHORIZED ALIENS PRESENTLY IN THE UNITED STATES
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are approximately 10.8 million people currently in the United States with no legal status.  Accordingly, this proposal not only includes well-designed statutory provisions that will strengthen future enforcement, but also includes a broad-based registration program that requires all illegal immigrants living in the U.S. to come forward to register, be screened, and, if eligible, complete other requirements to earn legal status, including paying taxes.  These criteria are intended to exclude individuals who threaten public safety or national security and to ensure that those individuals taking advantage of the program intend to stay in the U.S., integrate into society, and become productive, tax-paying members of the community.
In order to register and screen millions of applicants effectively, the program must be simple and straightforward to implement. To achieve these goals, this proposal includes a two-phase process.  In Phase 1, eligible applicants, including individuals on Temporary Protected Status and other statuses designated by the Secretary, will be registered, fingerprinted, screened, and considered for an interim “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” (LPI) status that allows them to work and to travel outside of the United States.  In Phase 2, which will take place in eight years after current visa backlogs have cleared (often referred to as the “back of the line” provision), LPIs who have fulfilled all additional statutory requirements will be permitted to petition for adjustment to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status.
There will be a broad and streamlined registration/application process that is characterized by rigorous security checks and verification of eligibility. This approach is designed to achieve two complementary objectives:
1. Encourage maximum participation in the legalization program. A broad-scope program will serve to bring the vast majority of illegal immigrants out of the shadows. Streamlined processing, including rapid collection of fingerprints from applicants leading to prompt issuance of a biometric-enabled credential to those found eligible for LPI status, will register the physical presence of those here illegally, record their identities with the U.S. Government, and ultimately help ensure that those who are qualified are integrated as accountable, tax-paying members of U.S. society.
2. Enhance law enforcement capabilities and protect U.S. national security. Speedy checks of biographic and biometric information against law enforcement databases will help ensure that only those applicants who qualify are granted authorization to remain. Providing eligible applicants with a secure, tamper-resistant credential will enhance border security and interior enforcement by allowing law enforcement to more readily identify and remove convicted criminals; national security and public safety risks; individuals who do not comply with the requirement to register; and other ineligible applicants.
The intended population for the program is that portion of the approximately 10.8 million illegal immigrants currently present in the United States, including minors, who are not disqualified by criminal convictions or actions that threaten national security. Spouses and minor children living abroad will be eligible for legalization, once their resident relative obtains LPI status.
Specifically, to be eligible for initial registration for the legalization program and interim status as an LPI, each individual must: (1) complete an application supplying basic biographic and biometric information; (2) pass terrorism, criminal history, and other security checks; (3) pay all applicable fees, civil penalties, and taxes; and (4) have been continuously present in the United States since the date of enactment.
Such persons will not be eligible for registration if they: (1) have been convicted of any felony offense under Federal or State law (all offenses punishable with a term of imprisonment greater than one year), or three or more misdemeanors; (2) have participated in the persecution of others; (3) are inadmissible under certain provisions of INA 212(a), particularly with regard to national security grounds and criminal grounds; (4) are currently present in the U.S. in an authorized immigrant or nonimmigrant status; or (5) have entered illegally after the date of introduction of the bill.
After eight years, individuals who have been granted LPI status will be permitted to apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence (LPR), provided that they can demonstrate that they meet criteria related to: (1) basic citizenship skills; (2) English language skills; (3) continuous residence in the U.S.; (4) updated terrorism, criminal history, and other checks;  (5) payment of all federal income taxes, fees, and civil penalties; and (6) registration for Selective Service.  Administrative and judicial review of adverse decisions in this program will be available under certain conditions.
In addition, the stand-alone registration programs provided by the DREAM Act and the AGJOBS legislation will also be included within this proposal.
VI.  REFORMS DESIGNED TO ENHANCE EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS IN AMERICA’S IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
Finally, the proposal also enacts various technical reforms to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of America’s immigration system.  A new program will be created to provide visas to promote property ownership by foreign nationals for the enhancement of America’s housing market. The R-1 religious worker visa program will be made permanent, and religious organizations will be able to bring minister more easily.  The Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Program will be made permanent and H-1B and J-1 visas will be more easily obtainable by foreign doctors, who will also be given an easier path to lawful permanent residence.
This proposal creates an E-3 visa for nationals of the Republic of Ireland similar to the visa already provided for nationals of Australia and adjusts current immigration law so that fashion models can enter the United States on an O-visa or a P-visa rather than an H-1B visa.  It allows for foreign nurses and physical therapists to enter the United States to alleviate shortages in these areas. Select technical fixes will be made to the EB-5 program.
The proposal will authorize the Department of Justice to make grants to State courts to develop and implement programs to assist individuals with limited English proficiency to access and understand State court proceedings in which they are a party and will put in place extensive nationwide immigrant integration programs.  It will also create a Commission on Wartime Treatment of European Americas to review the United States Government’s wartime treatment of European Americans and European Latin Americans during World War II, and a Commission on Wartime Treatment of Jewish Refugees to review the United States Government’s refusal to allow Jewish and other refugees fleeing persecution or genocide in Europe entry to the United States during World War II.

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E-Verify: Sí, podemos! Es La Ley! (Yes, We Can! It’s The Law)

Related Links:

Desert Invasion – U.S.

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end

Search for cause of Smolensk disaster continues

The location of beacons at the military airfield in Smolensk is not standard, informs RZECZPOSPOLITA.

The paper speculates this might have led to the pilot’s misinterpretation of the actual flight level, which caused the tragic accident of the Polish presidential plane on April 10th.

Typically, such beacons are placed 1 and 4 kilometers from the start of the landing strip. This is only partially true at Smolensk, because their location on one side of the airport is 1 and 6 kilometers, respectively.

This could certainly explain why on the fatal day the plane had descended to barely a few meters above ground level almost one and a half kilometers short of the runway.

Three days earlier the same pilot, flying the same machine, with the Polish PM on board approached from the other side where the beacons are at standard distance.

His personal experience coupled with lack of information on the difference between the two approach routes and extreme conditions of dense fog could have brought the tragic effects, is the attempted conclusion…

Source:  Polskie Radio


UPDATE

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced the first results of investigation of the crash near Smolensk

MAPKEP (RU) среда, 28 апреля 2010 года / / Wednesday, April 28, 2010 (English Translation)

Donald Tusk, the first senior officials read out the information on the interim results of investigation into the crash of Tu-154 near Smolensk, in which the death Lech Kaczynski. The current government is essential to prove that the reasons for the tragedy are clarified in detail and quickly as possible. Openness will deprive the election trumps the opposition, which has already seized on the story of the involvement in the crash of the Russian secret services. Tusk began his speech with praise of interaction of Russian and Polish authorities in investigating the causes of the disaster. He highlighted the work of the Russian side in the first minutes and hours after the tragedy.

What Tusk said

Donald Tusk praised the work of the Russian side in the first minutes and hours after the disaster.

He said that Poland stood the test of a tragedy.

Tusk believes that the rush to the investigation will not give reliable results. He advocates a thorough analysis of all aspects of the disaster.

Prime Minister of Poland said on the composition and powers of the civil commission, which investigates accident. Tusk said that the Polish side has access to the same material as the Interstate Aviation Committee. He then outlined the work of prosecutors.

Answering the question of guilt of specific individuals, namely the Minister of Defence Bogdan Klich, Tusk said that the punishment can be discussed only after receiving a final answer on the causes of the disaster, and called guided by facts, not speculation.

Interaction with the Russian side is in full compliance with the Chicago Convention and in any additional documents or agreements required.

Responding to a question about the negotiations pilots, the recording of which have been given a listen to Tusk, Polish Prime Minister refused. He said that this could be interpreted as pressure on the people involved the investigation. Tusk stressed that the transcripts “black boxes” is not complete.

Several questions were asked about why the investigation failed to attract international experts and military experts of NATO. Tusk said that the need for this was not.

Polish prime minister also dismissed any speculation about the possible loss of secret papers and electronic media with government documents.

In conclusion, Tusk was asked to explain how to solve the issue of identification of the body Lech KaczynskiAccording to the Polish prime minister, Vladimir Putin assured him that Moscow is easier to identify the body and to commend the deceased President of the necessary military honors. But Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the need for this is not found. Tusk stressed that the relationships above agreements between heads of states.

The main stages of the investigation is not completed

At the same time, no specific information shedding light on the causes of the disaster, there is still no. And there can not be: an investigation no less resonant crash Boeing 737 Aeroflot-Nord “in Perm, which occurred a half years ago, took eight months.

The investigation of the disaster is the Interstate Aviation Committee, together with Polish experts. Last Saturday in Moscow flew Polish delegation headed by Defense Minister Bogdan Klich, who was briefed on the investigation, the minister could listen to the recording flight data recorders.

From official reports it is clear that the main stages of the investigation is not completed. Just today, ending work on the identification and recording the voices of the crew on board the negotiationsContinues processing the information received during an overflight of ground radio equipment to ensure safety and control approach to the airfield aircraft laboratory. In addition, the Russian side for further investigation requested by the Polish specialists on the preparation of the crew and aircraft for the flight.

Polish prosecutors do not exclude the guilt of the Russian air traffic controller

Yesterday issued a joint statement of civilian and military prosecutors in Poland, which work regardless of the aeronautical authorities of the investigation. It says that we are considering all possible versions of the causes of the disaster, including the actions of those responsible for air traffic control. While none of the versions did not receive the status of labor. However, the public prosecutor in an interview with the Polish media did not rule out the probability of fatal errors managers airfield North.

Airplane Polish president was fueled high-quality fuel

Prosecutors had questioned 60 witnesses involved in the preparation and organization of the flight, as well as the study of flight documentation. In conclusion, experts say that fuel samples meet the requirements of the standard aviation fuel JET A-1, which is used in military aviation. Translated from the Russian language documentation for technical inspection and repair of aircraft prosecutors have not yet been completed.

Confirmed a sharp deterioration in weather conditions

Were analyzed and video from the crash site, which was published on the Internet. She could hear short conversations between men and women in Russian and Polish languages. Some words are difficult to read due to interference and noise, which is not allowed, and draw conclusions about the presence of sounds similar to gunshots. This issue will be the subject of further proceedings.

According to prosecutors, the video shows the changes in meteorological conditions in the northern airfield during a routine approach the Tu-154. The video footage shows that the weather is getting worse by the minute and the fog thickened. Prosecutors questioned the author of this record as a witness.

Original Link (RU)

End Update



Hours can not be given the Presidential plane crash

Wiadomosci onet – (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

Currently you can not yet officially given hour presidential plane crash to the ground, continues to read as registrars aircraft – a joint communique says the Attorney General and the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the message, the Military District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw by activities – examination of witnesses and analysis of documents related to the flight – in order to determine the exact time of the disaster. Media write that the plane crashed a little earlier than previously given – for the moment taken at the disaster. 8.56 Polish time.

The Communication stated that the prosecution has already resulted in the opinion of forensic research agency ABW film from the crash site, which was published on the Internet. “During the study no evidence was found to make interference with the continuity of the record, however, was the fact that modification of the format of recording and re-entry to the file” – informed. According to experts, it is possible that the records “were repeatedly subjected to compression, which could wipe out even the most visible signs of interference in their continuity.”

Regarding the possible sounds of gunshots, experts said that because of the presence of strong interference, including possibly originating from the gusts of air, a small signal to noise ratio, suspected of modifying the format of recording, it was not possible any measurement analysis of the sounds-like shot. This will be the subject of further steps “.

The film, which has a Polish prosecutor’s office that the weather conditions in Smolensk on April 10 were deteriorating by the minute, you can see it clearly deepening fog.

– Military District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw has a recording of a film illustrating the changes in meteorological conditions in the immediate vicinity of the airport “Siewiernyj” in the direction of Smolensk and during the planned approach to land the aircraft Tu-154M. With ponadgodzinnego recording film clearly shows that weather conditions worsen by the minute, you can see it clearly deepening fog. In these circumstances, a witness interviewed in the film developer – said in a statement.

In addition, it also, inter alia, that secured for the investigation of fuel samples, which fueled the plane at the airport in Warsaw and an expert was consulted to verify that the fuel met the required parameters. “With that opinion shows that the fuel is tested in the Air Force Institute of Technology met the requirements of the standard aviation fuel JET A-1 used in military aviation and the document AFQRJOS for fuel used in civil aviation.”

The Communication reiterates that “are tested all the possible versions of the causes and circumstances of the occurrence of disasters, including the correctness of the proceedings of the persons responsible for managing air traffic.”

So far, none of the established version of the inquiry has not been verified in a procedural negatively. No it has not gained the status of the parent version – underlined.



What you will discover the voices of the MARS-a?

Investigation of Smolensk. Presidential Tu-154 had four, not three so-called. black boxes. None of the data is not lost, though the fourth recorder was not protected from damage. Identification of votes of the crew is almost complete

Gazeta.pl – Bogdan Wróblewski – (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

About four and not three black boxes found in Saturday’s Communication Deputy Sergei Ivanov of Russia after his meeting with Defence Minister Bogdan Klich. Is the fourth through the black box, we can prove something more about the circumstances of the disaster near Smolensk?

MARS recorded pilots

– It’s a matter naming – explains the unexpected information about the fourth box flight data prok. Col. Zbigniew Turnip from the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office. – A fourth recorder is here called KBN Russian unit – the old type, recording operating data Tupolev. He was not protected from damage – said Colonel. Turnip. – Poles ATM DVR it replaced – the latest generation, now under consideration in Poland in the Military Institute of Aviation Technology. Both collect the same data.

As reported by Colonel Turnip, analysis of pilots’ conversations in the cockpit is finished. They enrolled a black box – voice recorder, the device was tupolewie MARS BM -. In Moscow, the crew votes in the identification of the pilot part of the 36th Special Aviation Regiment, and from our public prosecutor – Col. Jaroslaw Ciepłowski.

The content of conversations the prosecution is silent, it is known only that was saved last 30 minutes of talks. Col. Turnips asked yesterday whether there are additional sources to verify the content of conversations of pilots, for example the recording of conversations in Smolensk Shuttle service from the plane – a recording of the tower. – From what I know is – is responsible prosecutor Turnip.

Will talks with cockpit also registered by Air Operations Center as proof of military aviation air traffic? This prosecutor has to check.

Uncertain minutes

According to our sources, voice recorder MARS stopped the chair. 8.41. Is it one hour emergencies? Previously reported was 8.56. The relationship of the journalist of “Gazeta” Marcin Wojciechowski, who was in Smolensk on April 10, shows that 8.56 of the official documents investigations have included ex post facto. Data are reliable electricity company (gave them before, “Journal Legal Newspaper), a line failure caused the crash in the chair. 8.39.

Colonel Turnip – The administration of the final hours emergencies must wait for the readings to rip all the black boxes, the final report. One device could be rozkalibrowane.

According to the prosecution of a problem with giving the hour of tragedy shows how difficult it is to provide clear information on the subject.

“The newspaper appealed yesterday to the prosecution of conspiracy denial of hypotheses about the causes of the disaster and reliable information about the basic facts. – The appeal of “Gazeta” has not remained unnoticed – we spokesman said Attorney General Andrew Seremeta prok. Matthew Martyniuk. And Colonel Turnip announced to issue a communication of facts can be disclosed without harming the investigation. – Communication will be on Tuesday – afternoon cut spokesman Martyniuk journalists’ questions…]




Radio Chatter – International Aviation Forums

“I have confirmed information that the pilots of Tu-154 and their colleagues from the 36th Special Transport Aviation Regiment routinely used the non-WGS-84/PZ-90.02-compliant coordinates (runway threshold) given on the Smolensk instrument approach charts. They should not if the FMS was set to WGS-84. Evidently their training was lacking in that area.”

“The error estimated was 180 m east-west and 30-40 m north-south. That explains why the aircraft was 40 m south of runway’s extended centerline – it was pefectly tracking runway’s extended centerline to the runway threshold. The crew had the distance from the threshold – the indicated distance ws 180 m shorter than the real one – but it is irrelevant to the crash – this position error is not significant enough “

“One should not expect better guaranted accuracy than 550 m (0.3 NM) with GPS RAIM anyway. Unfortunately their vertical navigation was much less perfect.”

“I have made an analysis of possible Tu-154 approach profiles with use of available flight simulator and I am now leaning towards the third primary reason, not mentioned by me before – barometric altimeter setting error. I don’t know who made the error – controller or pilots, if this theory is right. Simple entering QFE value 759 mm Hg instead of 749 mm Hg would put the aircraft 120 m lower than intended by the crew.”

“It seems to me a bit less likely now, that the crew intentionally doubled the rate of descent, being as close to the ground as 100 m above aerodrome threshold, because it seems to be contrary to common sense of majority of airmen. Possibly, they could have believed, according to the baro-altimeters (with wrong QFE) that they were high on the glidepath (virtual, since no glideslope existed) and close to the Inner NDB.”

“That’s why they increased rate of descent trying to reach MDH shortly before Inner NDB or over it. Unfortunately the RA altitude callouts could have been unavailable, due to TAWS inhibition by the crew (depending on type of TAWS) caused by lack of XUBS airbase in TAWS airport database – possibly they never included scan of the RA – maybe it was intented later, after passing Inner NDB, as I previously noted, providing they had ever considered going below MDA. Maybe they never intended to go below MDH.”

“On the other hand you don’t try approach with 400 m visibility and 120 m MDH. The success, even without considering the tragic approach lights technical condition, was unlikely, without ducking under MDA close to the Mised Approach Point. Maybe they had reason to believe that the visibility had been better than reported. Or maybe they just wanted to close the mouth of their supervisors ungry that they didn’t give a try. Definitely there was lot of pressure (even if not spoken verbally).”

“Staying high on glidepath could be misleading to the controller, who was not aware of wrong altimeter setting or anything else going bad, until they increased the rate of descent. Increasing rate of descent at about 2 km from the threshold, when you know you are in heavy jet just 100 m above the ground is a bit strange to me – however if they wanted to try really hard and had never thought about the lower terrain 1.5 km from the threshold”

“(I bet they were not aware of its existance – you don’t see such insignificant things during approach in VMC), they just had concentrated on RA and artificial horizon and pressed on, however the pilot monitoring should be looking occasionally outside. Likely he saw the ground just two or three seconds too late.”

“Regarding the wrong QFE the question is whether the error was made by the controller or by the crew, and exact circumstances of the error making. And no doubt, it always unsafe when you mix QFE with QNH, mm of HG with of hPa, and meters with feet, especially if you are accustomed to QNH, hPa and feet, because it always adds some unneccessary confusion and distraction.”



TVN24: Warning devices in the Tu-154 worked

“I do not know SITUATION TO COMMAND PILOT ignored from the Tower”

Warning devices on board the presidential aircraft Tu-154 just before the crash worked. How TVN24 learned unofficially, the alarm rang in the booth for 30 seconds before the crash and was recorded by black boxes. Head of Training Air Force Maj.-Gen. Anatol Czaban also said that they do not know if that military pilot landed below the minimum conditions for landing. Also assured that Cpt. Protasiuk was fully trained.

– Cpt. Protasiuk was a pilot has trained on the Tupolev aircraft. (…) He flew a lot. Last year he had 295 hours flying time – emphasizing Czaban said the pilot experience.

He added that the pilot made a lot of training, some of them were recommended Badges. – He MCC training, which passed the civil center, training in risk in multi-crew aircraft (Eurocontrol). He also additional training – to operate by. instruments. Ambitious and at their own expense held a training on-line license – Czaban enumerated. – He made so everything is possible – concluded.

“I do not know the situation, would not respond to commands from the tower”

When asked how is it possible that the pilot did not follow the recommendations of the tower told Czaban: “Sometimes someone is passing a red light, and doing it unconsciously, because I do not see it. Or does it knowingly failing to comply with, and so is an offense more.” He admitted the fact that theoretically does not know the situation, to the control tower, something not allowed, and the pilot is done. – The controller in the tower is a key. If anything it is recommended for implementation. As in this case, we’ll find out after the committee’s work. I have such a hypothesis, he suggested that they, and not recommended, because I tell him: “no load” or “Do not follow this” is categorical – Czaban said.

He pointed out that, in this situation, Captain. Arkadiusz Protasiuk had four options: he could wait for the weather to improve land and only then – will have enough fuel, he could fly to another airport and return when the fog settles, he could land at another airport, or be able to return to Warsaw. – I decided to land in such harsh conditions? Wait for an expert – said Czaban.

‘Cases are unknown, someone landed below the minimum conditions “

He added that the cases are unknown, someone landed below the minimum conditions. – Traktowalibyśmy this as a breach of security – assured the general. He argued also that the army has departed from the training system, in which the selection of alternate aerodrome causing embarrassing questions at the pilot who made such a maneuver.

Head of Training Air Force also said that the pilots of the 36th Special transport aviation regiment to which he belonged Tu-154 that crashed April 10 near Smolensk, train in different ways to approach to land, including the use of older types of guidance systems, as the regiment operates flights to various airports, and less equipped.

Original Link – Polish


Related Previous Posts:

Poland: Tragedy Is A Part Of Our History And National Psyche

Smoleńsk-North: MAK Flight Data Recordings And Transcripts Still Not Processed? UPDATED w/Transcripts

Poland’s Sorrow And Unanswered Questions…

Poland Will Not Perish “Jeszcze Polska nie zgine”

Northern Lights Of Smolensk

Tragedy in Smolensk: A Terrible Echo Of Poland’s Past…

Poles 2nd Katyn: Glory To The Heroes! Hail Their Memory!

Related Links:

Tragedy in Smolensk – 1 (English) (Original Link) (Polish)

RP: A strange arrangement of beacons (English) (Original Link) (Polish)

Salon 24: Smolensk disaster – an interesting hypothesis (English) (Original Link) (Polish)

Autokrata.pl: Tu-154 – photos and videos (Polish)

Huffington Post: The Mystery of Poland’s Presidential Plane Crash Deepens


end

UPDATE II (As Of: May 26, 2010)

The Seabed Worker departed the Zone 2 search area for Praia, Cape Verde Islands at about 24/1930z and at 25/0635 was at 5°31’36”N 29°20’32”W Hdg 028.6°T Spd 13.0 knots.

The research of AF 447 saw the conflict of experts

INFO LE FIGARO – The third season of research should be completed Tuesday morning on a failure. The BEA and the army opposed to the position of the wreckage.

The drama of the AF 447 is a mystery for now. The third season of research should be completed Tuesday morning on a failure because the investigators are currently on route Recife in Brazil without being able to locate the wreckage. Yet, despite two months of operation in the South Atlantic, the uncertainty has never been greater, as the experts disagree on the position of the device.

Background. On April 28, investigators returned to Recife to BEA after one month of research at sea after a crew change, they go back to finish searching the area for the third campaign. This area of 2500 km2 was defined from the study of drift of aircraft debris and the bodies of victims recovered in June 2009. A week later, once the theater. The army announced that it detected the signal from the black box: it is a distributed signals heard in June by the nuclear submarine, the Emerald and managed to positively identify the signal emitted by the black boxes of ten months AF447 earlier. “We sent twenty Emerald positions when the signal was seen black boxes,” says one close to the matter. This new area south of the last known position of the device indicates that the Air France flight was turned around before crashing into the ocean.

The Seabed Worker, who participates in research 40 nautical miles further north, was immediately dispatched. It passes the new area in detail. In vain. “There was nothing to find in the south, said a member of the investigation. Everything has been raked. “Seabed The Worker then finish off again to explore the area of the BEA without broadening the scope defined by the army. “They spent 24 hours and no more on our area,” says a source at the Ministry of Defence. The ocean is vast and we are the only ones to offer a scientific data and tangible. ”

Reportedly, the Army has conducted tests in the Mediterranean with black boxes to identify their signal. According to a source close to the BEA, focusing on sounds recorded in June 2009, the Army had confused signals trials in the Mediterranean and those of the AF 447. She would have indicated an area that was not good investigators. “There has never been south of 447 AF, we lost one week, said a relative of BEA. The Navy wanted further work before announcing anything but the Ministry of Defence wanted to communicate quickly and we cut the grass under foot. ”

“Explanations unclear»

Since then, relations between the BEA, under the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Defence will be a bit cold. “The explanation of the army are unclear insists near BEA, and since it’s radio silence on the subject. Asked by the Figaro, the army has not this story:” We are The third deterrent to the world and we are not here to please public opinion, says a source at the Ministry of Defence. We have removed some positions, but we maintain that certain positions are communicated to BEA correct. They have not been explored: BEA prefer to say that the army was wrong rather than saying that we received the signal from the black boxes but no one may know where he ever comes. ”

The propagation of sound in water environment is indeed very complex. The black boxes of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed last January off the coast of Lebanon were heard at 16 nautical miles from the crash site while recording only emit 5000. “If nuclear deterrence is hiding under water, is that this environment is complex,” said one source at the Ministry of Defence. Today we have the probabilities of position of the wreckage. ‘

A fourth round is planned

The failure of this third season does not mean that the wreckage of flight AF 447 will never be found. Indeed, a fourth phase of research could be organized after-school new data from the army and the drift models of aircraft debris. The BEA has been able to study up on the drift and returns with data finer than the models that have so far been exploited.

“It is sufficient that the BEA was mistaken from 0.2 to 0.3 knots (about 0.4 to 0.6 km / h, Ed) for our area is the same,” says a source at the Ministry of Defence. The echoes of the AF 447 will also be re-analyzed. The definition is complicated by their position on terrain and the phenomena of echoes. Asked by Le Figaro, a government source said “there is little chance that this new campaign, if it occurs, should be held before next autumn.”

ORIGINAL LINK:  Le Figaro – France : Les recherches de l’AF 447 virent au conflit d’experts


UPDATE

Breakthrough in Air France crash black box search

(Reuters) The defense ministry said the boost had come through detailed follow-up analysis of sonar readings taken in the first few weeks after an Air France jet crashed into the Atlantic killing 228 people on June 1 last year.

Finding the black boxes is seen as essential to help crash experts and relatives understand exactly what caused flight 447 to plunge into a remote part of the Atlantic during an equatorial storm on its journey from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

“It is probably the signal (of the boxes),” said General Christian Baptiste, deputy spokesman at the Defense Ministry.

The discovery of a possible ‘ping’ from at least one of the recorders on board the Airbus A330 has allowed experts to narrow the search to a few square kilometers from several thousand ahead of the anniversary of the airline’s worst crash…

Le Figaro newspaper later reported in an advance copy of its Friday edition that the aircraft may have turned around to escape a zone of turbulence or to return to Brazil. The newspaper cited a government source, without specifying whether it was a Brazilian or French source.

The paper said the new search zone for the wreck was 20 nautical miles, just under 40 km southwest of the last known position of the aircraft. Previously the focus of search efforts had been the area north of the last known position of the plane.

Air France and BEA could not immediately be reached for comment on the Le Figaro story.

The AF 447 had turned around to exit turbulence

Le Figaro (English Translation)(Emphasis Mine)

According to a government source, the area where the wreck is located about 20 miles south of the last known position of the aircraft.

AF 447 delivered her first secret? Reportedly, the new research area of the wreck would be located 20 nautical milessouthwest of the last known position (just under 40 km) of the aircraft. According to a government source interviewed by Le Figaro, “this means that the aircraft was in distress and would, in accordance with current procedures turned around to exit an area of cumulonimbus, or frankly to return to Brazil.

The reserve was de rigueur in Air France pilots interviewed Thursday night. In their view, if the wreck is at this point, it could be a sign of a plane stalled and did a spin and went on a wrong course before being damaged in the ocean.

This revelation is a twist in the investigation into the plane crash on 1 June. It means that experts from the Bureau of Investigations and Analysis (BEA) seeking the wreckage of the AF 447 in the South Atlantic since the end of March are not the right place. They are indeed far focused on an area north of the last known position of the aircraft is heading the northeast that was supposed to be that of the AF 447 at the time of the tragedy.

This new scope is based, where the wreckage of the AF 447 was defined by joint studies of the Navy and Thales, according to reports from fellow RTL. The army has revisited the recordings made last June by the nuclear submarine at the Emerald of the first research campaign mounted in the emergency a few days after the tragedy.

Following this unsuccessful mission, the Navy has approached Thales has developed software capable of exploiting the signals received in June. One of them corresponds to “pingers” black boxes, that is to say issuers that send a signal for a month.

This new zone should be explored as early as Thursday evening by the Seabed Worker. The French office has indicated that the area was forwarded by the army stood out “two hours at sea south of the position” of his current ship.

“When the crew was warned he was at the latitude of the last known position of the aircraft, said a government source. It will go into this new area 20 miles south-west of the last known position of the aircraft. This is the last position Acars automatic message sent by the plane at 2:10 in the night of 31 May to 1 June 2009, four minutes before the impact of the plane into the ocean.

(Original Link)(FR)

BEA Press release, 6 May 2010: Update on the sea searches

The French Navy Staff Headquarters this morning provided the BEA with the results of the latest analysis of the audio recordings made by the submarine Emeraude during the first phase of underwater searches. These results were obtained very recently and made it possible to define a zone of a few dozen square kilometres in which the airplane wreckage may be found.

Given this latest information, the BEA has decided to extend the searches to this zone. It is in fact situated two hours sailing time to the south of the position of the ship that is currently exploring the area north-west of the last known position of the airplane. Searches will begin there tomorrow morning.

In relation to these developments, the BEA will provide an update on the situation in its offices at Le Bourget on Monday 10 May between 14 h and 15 h. Journalists who wish to attend are requested to confirm their presence as soon as possible to Martine Del Bono, preferably by email.

END UPDATE


AF 447: unsuccessful searches

INFO LE FIGARO – The third season of location of the wreck is coming to an end.

Le Figaro (English Translation)

More than a few days of hope for investigators and victims’ families. According to our information, the teams located the wreckage of AF447 in the South Atlantic should finish searching the area Friday of 2000 km2 supposed to be the impact area of the plane into the ocean on June 1 last.

Investigators, however, could continue research around the perimeter, but they will anyway, early next week, heading to Recife, Brazil, a distance of three days at sea

The regulatory constraints imposed indeed a relief crew after a month at sea and two boatloads of research have gone since March 28. On the other hand, 10 million euros on the table by Air France and Airbus to support this third campaign in the South Atlantic can not stay longer at sea.

Investigators will have to make boats, Anne Candies, which belongs to Americans of Phoenix International Seabed and the Worker, which belongs to a Norwegian shipowner.

By next week, investigators will therefore explore more remote areas of potential entry points of the plane calculated in the fall from studies of abuse of bodies and aircraft debris recovered in June.

After unsuccessfully scoured an area of 17,500 km2 last summer, the Investigation Bureau of analysis (BEA) in charge of air safety investigation had appealed to the best experts worldwide to identify a new area , smaller.

L’optimisme affiché fin mars sur les quais de Recife, Shortly before departure, is now very far. “Theoretically, the aircraft is less likely to be in areas that will be expanded in the coming days than in those who already recognizes a part of Air France. But everything is possible: the wreck of the Titanic was located on the last day. “

Two scenarios are considered, if the teams return to shore empty-handed. Firstly, the launch of a fourth round of research. But it should be funded. “Nothing is ruled out, but I do not see Air France and Airbus back to the pot without serious reason to return to the South Atlantic,” says one close to the investigation.

“Battle between Air France and Airbus

Otherwise, investigators will be satisfied with weak elements in their possession. The maintenance messages (Acars), sent to Roissy night drama, which indicate a clogged pitot probes and loss of information anemometer. And pieces of the wreckage recovered in June indicating that the aircraft entered the ocean flight line (flat) with a high speed.

“Without the black boxes, there will be a battle between Air France and Airbus, a prognostic framework for the company. Elements that investigators have in their possession does not make it possible to mount any scenario or set the shared responsibility of the aircraft, crew and company in what is one of the worst casualty mysterious recent years.



AF 447: maintenance probes into question

Le Figaro (English Translation)

While the search for black boxes continues at sea, the judicial inquiry confirms that the speed sensors have contributed to the crash but also puts into question their maintenance.

Pitot probes are the heart of the investigation. A preliminary report of experts on the crash of the A330 AF447 Paris-Rio “tip of possible maintenance problems on speed sensors” without actually being the cause of the accident, wrote Saturday that Liberation was able to consult the document.

In December, the Office of Investigations and Analysis (BEA) had already pointed to the speed sensors manufactured by Thales, whose replacement has been required by the European Aviation Safety Agency. At the same time had been ordered a judicial inquiry.

The preliminary report of five legal experts that the newspaper had obtained confirms that the icing sensors measuring the speed of the airplane is a “contributory factor” in the crash, but it is not possible at present to identify “precisely the facts that led to the accident.”

“Independent expert problem”

What is new, experts also highlight the “time (hours and / or calendar time) elapsed since the last maintenance probes”, ie the maintenance of these parts. The French authorities, says Liberation, require maintenance probes every 21 months as Canada, following incidents of icing on the Bombardier, decided in 2008 to reduce this period to 600 hours of flight, about four months.

Experts do not believe however that the probes and the weather are the only causes of the accident, which occurred at night. “The search for additional evidence is needed,” they conclude. The final report of forensic experts is expected in December.

For Alain Jakubowicz, a member of the group of lawyers representing the families, “the expert report does not bring anything new.” It puts into question the independence of experts: “Judges have appealed to experts whose independence is problematic.

An expert is a former Air France pilot, another is an employee of the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation, ed.) If we go toward the Office of Investigations and Analysis, is even worse: it is not independent and does not fall under the judicial authority, “argued the lawyer.

“Air France has complied with the procedures”

Asked on Europe 1, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of Air France said it had no knowledge of this preliminary report but said that his company had complied with all procedures for inspection and cleaning. He added that he does not belong to him to say whether to change these rules, since “it is the role of authorities and manufacturers.

Only analysis of the records contained in the plane’s black boxes would know whether pilot error may also be involved but they still rely on the ocean floor. Dominique Bussereau, Secretary of State for Transport has asked the BEA, head of research at offshore Brazil, to continue his research with the help of Air France and Airbus.

The BEA has provided a new point on May 4, after assessing the situation.



Related Links:

BEA Trajectories

Search Operations Phase 3 – Information

Sea Search Operations Presentation

The BEA has mobilized the following means:

  • the Norwegian ship « Seabed Worker » from the Seabed company, which will be equipped with:
  • three REMUS 6000 autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV)
  • two from the American Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution WHOI and
  • one from the German (GEOMAR) oceanographic institute
  • one (Triton – XLX 4000) remotely operated vehicle (ROV)

Related Previous Posts:

Air France Flight 447:BEA Interim Report No. 2

Air France Flight 447: For Their Honor…

AF Flight 447: BEA/Airbus Require Special Pilot Training For High Altitude System Failure

Air France Flt 447 Black Boxes Are Not Found: Êtes-vous surpris? Are You Surprised?

Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Disinformation (BEA): Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

Air France Flight 447: French Investigators Piece Together Wreckage

Air France Flight 447: The Answer My Friend, Is Blowin In The Wind! (La réponse mon ami, est Blowin dans le vent !)

Justified Anger At Air France/BEA/EASA/DGAC

Time Out For AF Flight 447 Investigation: July In Paris (Fashion Week / National Holiday)

Air France Flight 447: The Paris “Show” Continues

Pitots: Are European Business Interest More Important Than Safe Air Travel?

Air France Flight 447: En Ligne De Vol (Normal Attitude – Wing Level)

FAB Response To BEA: Listen To The Recording That We Gave To You!

BEA Interim Report: ACARS Messages

BEA Interim Report For Air France Flight 447 (RIO-Paris)

Air France Flight 447: BEA Press Conf Does Not Mention Mysterious Water Leak?

Airbus/BEA: Pointing Their Finger At The Big Cloud In The Sky

AF Flight 447 – ACARS Messages Decoded

Air France Flight 447: Sunday In Paris Before The Storm…

Air France Flight 447: FAB SAR Missions End – French Navy Captures Signal

AF Flight 447: NTSB Investigating Two Recent Incidents Involving Pitots

AF Flight 447: Brazilian Intelligence Agency Still Does Not Rule Out Terrorism

Air France Airbus 330 – Unreliable Airspeed Problems Since 2006

Flight 447 Search For Black Boxes: French Sub Hears “Faint’ Signal

Air France Airbus A332 (F-GZCP) ACARS Messages – Past Three Months

Flight 447: Blue Ice

Was Air France Flight 447 Disaster Caused By Leaking Toilet!


end

Sunday Readings –  Anne Sexton

I would like a simple life
yet all night I am laying
poems away in a long box. 

It is my immortality box,
my lay-away plan,
my coffin. 

All night dark wings
flopping in my heart.
Each an ambition bird. 

Anne Sexton reads her own poetry — “Her Kind,” “The Ambition Bird,” “Ringing the Bells,” “Music Swims Back to Me,” and “The Truth the Dead Know.” Sexton was born in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1928. She began writing poetry on the advice of her therapist in 1957, and won the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems, “Live or Die.” Haunted by mental illness and personal torment, Sexton’s poems speak openly of a dark and unhappy world. Copyrighted,  however you can listen by clicking below.

Part 1 .au format (4.5 Mb), .gsm format (1 Mb), .ra format (0.6 Mb)



Ministers apologise for insult to Pope

The Government has apologised to the Pope over official documents that mocked his forthcoming visit to Britain by suggesting he should bless a gay marriage and even launch Papal-branded condoms.

Telegraph – By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent

The astonishing proposals, leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, were contained in secret papers drawn up earlier this month by civil servants following a ‘brainstorm’.

The ideas, included in a memo headed ‘The ideal visit would see …’, ridiculed the Catholic Church’s teachings including its opposition to abortion, homosexual behaviour and contraception. Many appeared to be deliberately provocative rather than a serious attempt to plan an itinerary for the September visit.

The proposals, which were then circulated among key officials in Downing Street and Whitehall, also include the Pope opening an abortion ward; spending the night in a council flat in Bradford; doing forward rolls with children to promote healthy living; and even performing a duet with the Queen.

In reference to the hugely sensitive issue of child abuse engulfing the Catholic Church, the Government document suggests that the Pope should take a “harder line on child abuse – announce sacking of dodgy bishops” and “launch helpline for abused children”.

The document was sent out by a junior Foreign Office civil servant with a covering note admitting that some of the plans were “far-fetched”.

Recipients of the memo were furious at its content and an investigation was launched. One senior official was found responsible and has been transferred to other duties.

Yesterday the Foreign Office issued a public apology…

…There is understood to be increasing unease at the Vatican over the level of hostility that the Pope is likely to face in Britain, with protests and even threats of arrest from secularists. The disclosure of the secret proposals is bound to deepen concerns and cause dismay among the country’s four million Catholics.

Further suggestions on the “ideal visit” list are that the Pope should reverse the Church’s “policy on women bishops/ordain woman” and that the Vatican should “sponsor a network of Aids clinics”.

Another of the three background documents, titled “Papal Visit Stakeholders“, lists figures and groups that the officials consider significant to the tour, and ranks them in order of how “influential” and “positive” each one is perceived to be.

The Queen, David Cameron, and Tony Blair are all ranked as highly influential and positive. It rates Susan Boyle, the singer, as more influential than Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster.

Wayne Rooney, the footballer, who was married in a Catholic Church, is considered to be a negative influence, as are Madonna, the singer, and Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist professor. “Pro-choice groups”, homosexual pressure groups and the National Secular Society are all viewed as negative.



The frustrated collector

EL PAÍS – DIEGO A. MANRIQUE

I watch Eyjafjallajokull erupting and think of Jules Verne’s Voyage to the Center of the Earth. I had forgotten there were active volcanoes in northwestern Europe. Even more intriguing is the discovery that Iceland actually produces detective novels.We are talking about a land with 300,000 supposedly happy and prosperous people, where the murder rate is about two per year.

We might imagine that Icelandic crime novels would feature plots about financial fiddles, as in the novels of John Grisham, since it was (chiefly) the greed of bluff, honest Nordic fisher folk, bent on being players in global finance, that brought Iceland to its present state of bankruptcy.

But no. For the moment, Iceland’s noir exports are the writings of Arnaldur Indridason, featuring the adventures of the police inspector Erlendur Sveinsson. In Indridason’s recent book The Voice, the chief suspect is a record collector. A hardcore collector —not like the amiable caricatures in High Fidelity.

Indridason offers us a crash course in the underworld of music collectors —a really international network, where an Icelandic single may be sold at a fair in Liverpool by a Norwegian dealer, to Japanese buyers. The Japanese, he tells us, are “vacuum cleaners who travel the world, buying everything they lay their hands on.”

He falls into some exaggeration regarding the economic volume of this trade, his excuse being that he has to justify the presence in Reykjavik of a British collector, Henry Wapshott.  I happen to know that Iceland is hardly a Mecca of record collecting: everything there is far too expensive.

Moreover, being nouveau riche, the Icelanders are not distinguished for their interest in recent popular culture: “I have the feeling that people in this country mistreat records. They just throw them out. When someone dies, for example, the kin don’t call somebody who knows, to come and look over his collection.  It goes straight into the garbage.”

This apparent contempt, and the small publishing runs in a tiny country, explain the high prices fetched by certain Icelandic records. For example, the work of Björk before she started The Sugarcubes. In the book, Wapshott arrives on the island with money in hand, bent on buying up the unsold copies of a record only released there.

His plan makes sense: a music critic who knows his business does a shining write-up, covering a rare disk with praise, making an instant legend of it — having previously cornered the market in existing copies.

He can clean up, providing he knows how to place them on the market patiently, drop by drop, a few at a time. The Voice has all the usual suspects: prostitution, drugs, homophobia… But what interests us here is record collecting seen as a pathological condition. A woman cop sees collectors as “blind and repressed, like old monks.” Wapshott has a suspicious interest in children’s choirs, and is seeking out the records made by a child prodigy, who has been found stabbed to death.

The Voice takes place in an Agatha Christie setting — a hotel in Reykjavik, swarming with foreign visitors at Christmas time. As is usual in Indridason’s works, the protagonist is trying to put together the pieces of his broken private life even as he delves into the enigma of the murder.

Erlendur speculates that collecting—of music or of anything else betrays a desire to return to childhood, to the anal phase. He toys with the cliché that explains collecting as a compensation for frustrated sexual desire.

Search me. I’m not a collector, if that means collecting lots of records of a given artist or genre. I was once, but my mind cleared when I understood that the most obscure references, the most sought-after treasures, were usually devoid of musical interest.

So I prefer to have enough records, of many different musical styles. And to save my time for books such as The Voice—a magnificent warning about some parents’ toxic obsession for the social success of their children.



Pardon My French

NYT – By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN

ÉRIC ZEMMOUR, slight, dark, a live wire, fell over his own words, they were tumbling out so fast. He was fidgeting at the back of a half-empty cafe one recent evening near the offices of Le Figaro, the newspaper where he works, notwithstanding that detractors have lately tried to get him fired for his most recent inflammatory remarks about French blacks and Arabs on a television show. Mr. Zemmour, roughly speaking, is the Bill O’Reilly of French letters. He was describing his latest book, “French Melancholy,” which has shot up the best-seller list here.

“The end of French political power has brought the end of French,” Mr. Zemmour said. “Now even the French elite have given up. They don’t care anymore. They all speak English. And the working class, I’m not talking just about immigrants, they don’t care about preserving the integrity of the language either.”

Mr. Zemmour is a notorious rabble-rouser. In his view France, because of immigration and other outside influences, has lost touch with its heroic ancient Roman roots, its national “gloire,” its historic culture, at the heart of which is the French language. Plenty of people think he’s an extremist, but he’s not alone. The other day Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, sounded a bit like Mr. Zemmour, complaining about the “snobisme” of French diplomats who “are happy to speak English,” rather than French, which is “under siege.”

“Defending our language, defending the values it represents — that is a battle for cultural diversity in the world,” Mr. Sarkozy argued.

The occasion for his speech was the 40th anniversary of the International Organization of the Francophonie, which celebrates French around the world. Mr. Sarkozy said the problem is not English itself but “ready-to-wear culture, uniformity, monolingualism,” by which of course he meant English. The larger argument about a decline of traditional values has struck a chord with conservative French voters perennially worried about the loss of French mojo.

The issue is somewhat akin to Americans complaining about the rise of Spanish in classrooms and elsewhere, but more acute here because of France’s special, proprietary, albeit no longer entirely realistic relationship to French. French is now spoken mostly by people who aren’t French. More than 50 percent of them are African. French speakers are more likely to be Haitians and Canadians, Algerians and Senegalese, immigrants from Africa and Southeast Asia and the Caribbean who have settled in France, bringing their native cultures with them.

Which raises the question: So what does French culture signify these days when there are some 200 million French speakers in the world but only 65 million are actually French? Culture in general — and not just French culture — has become increasingly unfixed, unstable, fragmentary and elective.

Globalization has hastened the desire of more people, both groups and individuals, to differentiate themselves from one another to claim a distinct place in the world, and language has long been an obvious means to do so. In Canada the Quebecers tried outlawing signs and other public expressions in anything but French.

Basque separatists have been murdering Spaniards in the name of political, linguistic and cultural independence, just as Franco imprisoned anyone who spoke Basque or Catalan. In Belgium the split between French and Dutch speakers has divided the country for ages…]



The race to discover Viagra for women

According to some accounts almost half of all women suffer from sexual dysfunction. But does it really exist? And would a female Viagra make any difference?

Guardian – Polly Vernon

…  The world’s pharmaceutical companies have been consumed by the race to find a remedy for female sexual dysfunction ever since the late 1990s when Pfizer gained FDA approval for Viagra. Viagra – so very effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men – has proved to be a “blockbuster” drug: a billion-dollar-generating marvel of a product. It worked, it changed lives; it was a sexy drug, in every sense of the term. It became clear that there was a great deal of money and power in the field of sexual dysfunction. Money and power that could be multiplied, if the market were expanded – which it would be, if pharmaceutical companies could sell drugs to women, as well as men.

Vivus had a particular interest in tapping the market. In 1996, 14 months before Viagra launched, Vivus gained FDA approval for Muse – a suppository which, when inserted into the male urethra shortly before sex, improved blood flow to the penis thus alleviating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Muse did extremely good business, until Viagra launched. It had sales of $130m before Viagra, and $59m in the year afterwards; these figures have dwindled ever since. Men preferred a pill to a suppository and abandoned Muse en masse…

… What do we even mean by a “lack of desire”? How do we know that lack of desire is a medical condition, as opposed to a condition relating to the fact that we just don’t fancy our partners any more? Or that we’re not feeling especially sexy temporarily, for any number of other reasons. How we feel about our bodies, or how tired we are, how stressed, how anxious, how fat we feel… Between 80 and 90% of women, after all, are believed to have body-image issues. And if FSD equates to a lack of arousal – how much arousal is normal arousal? What’s the end goal for medication? Loads of orgasms? Constantly desiring our partners, feeling constantly available to them?

What’s a normal sex life, anyway? Anyone? Three times a week, three times a month? Three orgasms, each and every time? Who has the right to tell us we’re not measuring up? How do they know? Are the attempts to treat FSD about helping women; about a woman’s right to a fulfilling sex life? Or are they about the drug companies’ attempts to medicalise female sexuality for financial gain?

Perhaps Liz Canner and Orgasm Inc has it wrong, then. Perhaps not.

The British Medical Journal suggests I speak to an investigative journalist named Ray Moynihan about his research into the treatment of FSD. Moynihan published his first article on the subject in 2003 in the BMJ. It was entitled “FSD, The Making of a New Disease” and it caused uproar internationally, sparking the debate on whether or not FSD exists. Moynihan was inspired to write the article after a friend sent him a press release on Alista. Like Liz Canner (who interviewed him for Orgasm Inc), Moynihan discovered he couldn’t easily move on from the subject; seven years later, he has just completed a first draft of a book devoted to FSD. “Its working title,” he tells me, “is Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals.”

Moynihan is at home in Byron Bay, Australia, when we speak. He’s just come in from a salsa class. I ask him if FSD exists, and he laughs.

“That’s the $1bn question. That’s the question the book asks. Let’s just say: it’s a good question to be asking at the moment. It’s a good question for as many people as possible to ask – and particularly women.”…]



The Pill at 50: Sex, Freedom and Paradox

TIME – By Nancy Gibbs

There’s no such thing as the Car or the Shoe or the Laundry Soap. But everyone knows the Pill, whose FDA approval 50 years ago rearranged the furniture of human relations in ways that we’ve argued about ever since.

Consider the contradictions: It was the first medicine ever designed to be taken regularly by people who were not sick. Its main inventor was a conservative Catholic who was looking for a treatment for infertility and instead found a guarantee of it.

It was blamed for unleashing the sexual revolution among suddenly swinging singles, despite the fact that throughout the 1960s, women usually had to be married to get it. Its supporters hoped it would strengthen marriage by easing the strain of unwanted children; its critics still charge that the Pill gave rise to promiscuity, adultery and the breakdown of the family.

In 1999 the Economist named it the most important scientific advance of the 20th century, but Gloria Steinem, one of the era’s most influential feminists, calls its impact “overrated.” One of the world’s largest studies of the Pill — 46,000 women followed for nearly 40 years — was released this March. It found that women who take the Pill are less likely to die prematurely from any cause, including cancer and heart disease, yet many women still question whether the health risks outweigh the benefits.

Maybe it’s the nature of icons to be both worshipped and stoned, laden with symbolic value beyond their proportions. Because the Pill arrived at a moment of epochal social change, it became a handy explanation for the inexplicable. The 1950s felt so safe and smug, the ’60s so raw and raucous, the revolutions stacked one on top of another, in race relations, gender roles, generational conflict, the clash of church and state — so many values and vanities tossed on the bonfire, and no one had a concordance to explain why it was all happening at once.

Thus did Woodstock, caked in muddy legend, become much more than a concert, and leaders become martyrs, and the pill become the Pill, the means by which women untied their aprons, scooped up their ambitions and marched eagerly into the new age.

That age has seen changes in social behavior that continue to accelerate. In 1960 the typical American woman had 3.6 children; by 1980 the number had dropped below 2. For the first time, more women identified themselves as workers than as homemakers.

“There is a straight line between the Pill and the changes in family structure we now see,” says National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill, “with 22% of women earning more than their husbands. In 1970, 70% of women with children under 6 were at home; 30% worked. Now that’s roughly reversed.”

Today more than 100 million women around the world start their day with this tiny tablet. So small. So powerful. But in surprising ways, so misunderstood…]



The hypocrisy of child abuse in many Muslim countries

Child marriage and pederasty are tolerated in Muslim societies where homosexuality is strictly condemned

Guardian – Shaista Gohir

Some Muslims are fond of condemning western morality – alcoholism, nudity, premarital sex and homosexuality often being cited as examples. But Muslims do not have a monopoly on morality. In the west, child marriages and sex with children are illegal. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many Muslim countries.

I recently saw the documentary on the Dancing Boys of Afghanistan. It exposed an ancient custom called “bacha bazi” (boy for play), where rich men buy boys as young as 11 from impoverished families for sexual slavery. The boys are dressed in women’s clothes and made to dance and sing at parties, before being carted away by the men for sex. Owning boys is considered a symbol of status and one former warlord boasted of having up to 3,000 boys over a 20-year period, even though he was married, with two sons. The involvement of the police and inaction of the government means this form of child prostitution is widespread.

The moral hypocrisy is outrageous in a country where homosexuality is not only strictly forbidden but savagely punished, even between two consenting adults. However, men who sodomise young boys are not considered homosexuals or paedophiles. The love of young boys is not a phenomenon restricted to Afghanistan…

… Whatever one’s view on the prophet’s marriage, no faith can claim moral superiority since child marriages have been practised in various cultures and societies across the world at one time or another. In modern times, though, marrying children is no longer acceptable and no excuse should be used to justify this.

I find the false adherence to Islamic principles and the “holier than thou” attitude of some Muslim societies similar to the blatant hypocrisy and double standards of 19th-century Victorian Britain, where the outward appearance of dignity and prudishness camouflaged an extreme prevalence of sexual and moral depravity behind closed doors…

… A too-passive attitude in dealing with child abuse has rubbed off on Muslim communities in Britain, too. I have heard many stories at first hand of child sexual abuse and rape, which show that the issue is not being addressed at all. Those who have had the courage to speak out have been met with reactions of denial and shame. Such attitudes mean that children will continue to suffer in silence. Sexual abuse of children happens in all communities, as has been revealed by the recent Catholic church scandal. At least, they have finally started to take action. Muslim communities should learn from this and also start being more open, instead of continuing to sweeping the issue under the carpet.

I am finding that more and more Muslims feel it is their duty to criticise others for actions they consider sinful – quoting the following popular saying of Muhammad to justify their interference:

“If you see something wrong, you should correct it with your hand and if you are unable to, then speak out against it and if you cannot do that, then feel that it is wrong in your heart.”

I wonder how, then, Muslims can remain silent when it comes to the sexual abuse of children?



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