Key Al-Qaeda informant comes out, foils plots
A man that U.S. officials have called one of the most credible and useful Al Qaeda informers in Europe came out during conversations with U.S. investigators, The New York Times reported Feb. 17.
Jordanian Shadi Abdullah told investigators: “My family is very poor. I wanted to come to Germany to start a new life. Another reason was the opportunity to live a freer life in Germany. This involves my sexual tendencies toward men. I had expected problems and disadvantages in relation to this in Jordan.”
According to The Times: “In addition to providing counter-terrorism officials with details like the meanings of code words used in taped conversations, [Abdullah] laid out a road map of the network’s capabilities and intentions and explained how the hierarchy was rebuilt after the death or capture of Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan. Mr. Abdullah provided names and descriptions of dozens of Qaeda members, helping authorities to disrupt terrorist plots in Germany, Italy, Britain and the United States.”
37 percent of Scottish gays have children or want to
Twenty percent of Scottish lgbts have children and an additional 17 percent want to, a survey has found.
Only nine percent of the parents made use of artificial insemination. Most of the children resulted from previous opposite-sex couplings.
The survey was commissioned by the Glasgow gay group Beyond Barriers.
Respondents said the most important issue facing gay people is partnership rights, followed by discrimination and prejudice. Surveyors found that two-thirds of respondents had been verbally abused by homophobes and 23 percent had been physically attacked. Only 17 percent reported the incidents to police.
London police recruit transgender officer
London’s Metropolitan Police Service has recruited a transsexual officer for the first time.
The 39-year-old man, a former woman, has entered the force’s officer training course.
The Met said the man will not be allowed to conduct physical searches of suspects because the law requires that a suspect be searched only by someone of the same gender.
A department spokesman said deliberate recruitment of transgender officers “will help us make the organization more representative of the communities we serve.”
There are other transgender officers on the force, but they switched genders after they were hired.
Scotland Yard creates gay squad
London’s Metropolitan Police Service has created a pool of gay and lesbian officers who will be deployed when their sexual orientation could be beneficial to an investigation.
Similar pools are being created based on ethnicity.
Met officers are being asked to submit details on their sexuality and ethnicity to a database that also will catalog language skills, life skills and hobbies.
Birmingham hopes to build gay village
In England, the Birmingham city council is hoping to build a gay neighborhood.
Twenty acres are being set aside near the city center to attract developers to a “Gay Gateway.”
A spokesman said Birmingham is “seriously rivaling Manchester as a place where gay people feel comfortable.”
Gay protesters zap President Mugabe
Gay and human-rights activists repeatedly protested anti-gay Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Feb. 19 and 20, calling him a murderer and demanding he be arrested for torture.
As the Franco-African summit opened in Paris, the protesters blasted fog horns and threw paint at the Zimbabwean Embassy. They also staged demonstrations outside Mugabe’s hotel and at the Ministry of Justice and the Palace of Justice.
The protesters came from ACT UP, the Pink Panthers and the Movement for Democratic Change. Several people were arrested, including well-known British gay activist Peter Tatchell.
Tatchell, who has had several high-profile run-ins with Mugabe over the years, was grabbed by police Feb. 20 outside a Metro station en route to the protesters’ fifth action, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We were bundled into a police van and taken into ‘preventive detention’ at a nearby police station,” Tatchell said. “I was told by the senior arresting officer that the interior minister had ordered the arrest of all protesters. We were held by the police for nearly two hours, until Mugabe left the Foreign Ministry. On our release, we were trailed by police cars and plainclothes officers. We were hunted like rats through the streets of Paris.
“It seems that the whole apparatus of the French state is organized to protect a human-rights abuser such as Mugabe and quash peaceful protesters like ourselves,” Tatchell said.
Mugabe has said of gays: “What an abomination, a rottenness of culture, real decadence of culture. [Homosexuals are] repugnant to my human conscience … immoral and repulsive. … Animals in the jungle are better than these people because at least they know that this is a man or a woman. … I don’t believe they have any rights at all.”
Spain votes down gay marriage bill
Spain’s Parliament voted down five bills Feb. 20 that would have legalized same-sex marriage, Agence France-Presse reported.
The report said all MPs from Prime Minister Jos Mara Aznar’s People’s Party were forced to vote against the measures.
People’s Party deputy Rosa Estaras said the bills – introduced by the Socialists, the United Left and three regional parties – were torpedoed because they were “unconstitutional.”
Trans marriage upheld
The full bench of the Family Court of Australia Feb. 21 rejected Attorney General Daryl Williams’ effort to invalidate a marriage between a woman, Jennifer, and a transsexual who used to be a woman, Kevin. Kevin’s birth certificate and passport now say he is male and the couple have had two children via in-vitro fertilization.
Attorney General Williams might appeal to the High Court. According to his spokeswoman, “The case raises serious issues concerning the meaning of marriage under the Marriage Act.”