Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Did Family Guy Go Too Far With Trig Palin Downs Joke?

In an effort to offend as many people as possible while hiding behind the flimsy John Mayer excuse of “pushing boundaries,” Seth MacFarlane and his team of Family Guy writers came up with a joke in last week’s episode where Chris goes on a date with a girl who obviously has Downs Syndrome. And then they bring Sarah Palin into it, because the whole point of this not-even-that-funny-or-insightful throwaway line was to invoke a reaction from the former mayor of Alaska (which it did…she took to her Facebook again like a real adult) and get more publicity for their show.

Watch the full clip after the jump, as well as a snippet of Bristol Palin’s reaction from her mom’s Facebook note.

Bristol says:

When you’re the son or daughter of a public figure, you have to develop thick skin. My siblings and I all have that, but insults directed at our youngest brother hurt too much for us to remain silent. People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you’ll ever meet. Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them? As a culture, shouldn’t we be more compassionate to innocent people - especially those who are less fortunate? Shouldn’t we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks. - Bristol Palin”

This of course comes right on the heels of Palin calling for Rahm Emanuel to resign after using the word “retarded” in a derogatory manner…something that definitely didn’t escape Seth MacFarlane’s attentions when writing this joke. It’s really terrible when we have to find ourselves siding with Miss Alaska here but that joke wasn’t just offensive (which definitely has its place in good comedy), it was also lazy and looking to cash in on Palin’s outrage. And that’s just retar…that’s just dumb.

BY by Drew Grant

Breaking News:Celtics talking to Knicks about trade for Nate Robinson

The dunk champ may be getting himself new digs.

The New York Daily News is reporting that the Celtics and Knicks have entered talks to trade Nate Robinson to the Celtics. Terms of the proposed deal were not reported.

Robinson signed a one year deal in the offseason, which provides him the equivalent of a no-trade clause. He has reportedly informed the Knicks he'd only approve a trade to a contender, with the Celtics being one of the teams he would approve.

Trading for Robinson would give the Celtics a true backup point guard which means they would be able to use Marquis Daniels where he's best, at the wing, and not allow Eddie House to run the offense ever, ever, ever.

The Knicks would (gasp) be looking for more cap relief from the deal.

Join Us Thursday, February 18th For AFP Report Card Day

Join us Thursday, February 18th for AFP Report Card Day Media Luncheon and Press Conference!

We have an exciting day lined up, including a guided tour of the State House!
First on tap will be our Media Luncheon Press Conference and Award Ceremony for our A-rated legislators. We'll need your help to hand out our "Hero of the Taxpayer" awards to our top-rated Senators and Assembly members. Our Media Luncheon Press Conference and Award Ceremony will begin promptly at 12:00 NOON.

These "Heroes of the Taxpayer" include:
District 09 - Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove (R)
District 10 - Sen. Andrew R. Ciesla (R)
District 21 - Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R)
District 23 - Assemblymen John DiMaio (R) and Erik Peterson (R) and Sen. Michael Doherty (R)
District 24 - Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (R) and Assemblyman Gary Chiusano (R)
District 25 - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R)
District 26 - Assemblyman Jay Webber (R) and Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R)
District 40 - Assemblyman David C. Russo (R)

Afterwards, we'll be scouring the State House to distribute the rest of our AFP Report Cards to the remaining members of the Legislature.

And at 2:00pm, you will be treated to a VIP Tour of the State House. This professionally guided tour will take you through State House and give you a complete history of this storied landmark.

Alexander McQueen hanged himself in London home

Alexander McQueen hanged himself in his apartment on the eve of his mother's funeral after leaving behind a note, a coroner's inquest said Wednesday in the first confirmation of details of the fashion designer's death.

The inquest — which has yet to formally rule McQueen's death a suicide — opened as London Fashion Week prepared to mark the passing of one of British fashion's brightest stars.

Coroner's official Lynda Martindill told the inquest at Westminster Coroners Court that 40-year-old McQueen died from asphyxiation and hanging.

Days before his body was found on Thursday, McQueen had left several messages on the social networking site Twitter revealing his grief at the death of his mother days earlier.

The designer's body was found in the armoire at his London apartment and was formally identified by his sister, Janet.

Police detective inspector Paul Armstrong told the inquest there were no suspicious circumstances.

After a five-minute hearing, coroner Paul Knapman adjourned the inquest until April 28. McQueen's family, who are now free to hold the designer's funeral, issued a statement through their lawyers appealing to the media to respect their privacy.


RNC Chairman Steele, media saying GOP trying to co-opt Tea Parties, "that's a croc"

Takes a Swipe at Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee

Republican Chairman Michael Steele got a little animated in showing annoyance with recent media portrayals of the GOP trying to absorb the Tea Party movement. Leaders of the Tea Party met with the Chairman in Washington yesterday to air greviences and to discuss possible areas of cooperation, independent of the GOP apparatus. At 3:45 into the Chairman's intro, Steele says:

"The press is scratching their heads, trying to figure out what our agenda is... and what our motives are. [spooky look] Well I have no agenda folks. I'm not here to co-opt anyone. Oh gee, here are the GOP cards. Sign everybody up. Come back if you left, or join us if you've never been here. That's a croc. It ain't happening. That isn't what this is about."
A little later in the video he doesn't mention the individual by name, but clearly takes a jab at Houston-area Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee:

"This is about getting the folks across the street to pay attenion to what is going on in America. That the frustration, the anxiety, the anger comes from the fact, that when I go to a meeting with my congressmen, she's too busy on her cell phone to listen to my story, and to hear my frustration..."
Rep. Jackson-Lee held a town hall last August, and was caught in the middle of the meeting talking for minutes on her cell phone, while a constituent was directly addressing her and asking for help.

Hat tip Jim Hoft at Gateway.

Black History Month à la Britannia (pt. 1)

Are you bored with Black History Month because you know all you wanna know about Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver and the same old short list of African-American luminaries?

I’m about to spice your shit up, friends, by gazing across the pond. England has its own Black History Month – in October. But I shan’t wait till then to showcase a few intriguing cultural figures from Britain’s past.

We begin with George Bridgetower, a virtuoso violinist who rocked the stage with Beethoven two centuries ago.

George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower was born in Poland circa 1780. Black father, white mother. As a child prodigy on violin, Bridgetower was taken under wing by England’s future King George IV, and received an elite education in music.

In his twenties, he was introduced to Beethoven. They jammed in Vienna. Beethoven was so impressed, he dedicated his new Violin Sonata No. 9 to “the mulatto Brischdauer.”

Beethoven and Bridgetower debuted the sonata together on May 24, 1803. It was a triumphant performance.

But then, so goes the story, Bridgetower made an insulting remark about a woman Beethoven happened to know. Pissed off, Beethoven re-dedicated the piece to another violinist... named Kreutzer.

To this day, the composition is known as the “Kreutzer Sonata,” while Bridgetower is said to have died in obscurity.

(Click here to hear the sonata’s third movement, as performed by Itzhak Perlman.)

George Bridgetower’s name and story have been resuscitated in recent years. Afro-British jazz pianist Julian Joseph has composed a “jazz opera” about Bridgetower’s life. And American poet Rita Dove last year published “Sonata Mulattica,” a poetry collection inspired by Bridgetower’s relationship with Beethoven.

Check the vidclip below:

Michael Jordan Wants To Own The Bobcats

Michael Jordan is looking to become the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. If he gets his way this would be his biggest move since his retirement. Hopefully, it would also be his most successful. MJ’s days since leaving the hardwood haven’t been so wonderful.
First he played double-A baseball poorly. Then he selected Kwame Brown with the first pick in the 2001 NBA draft. When he retired for the final time, the Wizards didn’t ask him back and he went to Charlotte where he became part owner of the Bobcats. He’s currently in charge of Basketball Operations.

Well, things are finally turning around for the Bobcats and team owner Bob Johnson wants to sell the team. Jordan “badly” wants to be the one to buy the Bobcats. Larry Brown says that Jordan is “trying his hardest” to buy the team. Rockets executive George Postolos is also interested.

NBA Trade Water Cooler, Part 2

Some more trade rumors floating out there, according to The Sporting News:

■The Cavs are talking to the Warriors about Corey Maggette if an Amare Stoudemire deal doesn’t work out, according to ESPN. Adding some sense to the deal, Cleveland Plain Dealer scribe Brian Windhorst tweets Maggette would likely be part of a three-team scenario.
■Speaking of Stoudemire, there were conflicting reports on Monday as to whether the Suns big man would even want to come to Cleveland. The News-Herald reported Stoudemire wasn’t interested in landing with the Cavs. Once again, Windhorst jumps in with the definitive word, saying there has been no such discussion.
■The Spurs are working on finding a home for Roger Mason, according to Yahoo.
■Miami is not inclined to deal second-year forward Michael Beasley before the trade deadline, according to the Miami Herald.
As always, stay tuned to Slam Dunk Central on further developments on these and other potential NBA trade rumors and transactions.

Kevin Eubanks is “The Tonight Show” Bandleader and Sidekick

Kevin Eubanks is “The Tonight Show” bandleader and sidekick, however, he has reportedly decided to leave the “King of Late Night” altogether. Find out more details and see photos and a video here.

I’m sure Jay will be in search of another bandleader for his show, since Kevin Eubanks has decided to go Jay-walking. But who could really replace Kev?

As a biography, Kevin Eubanks was born in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania on November 15, 1957 so his age is 52. He is a talented musician, most-known for his gig as Jay Leno’s bandleader and sidekick on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” from 1995-2009.

Jay Leno is set to make his return back to The Tonight Show following the Olympic Games and it is said that “it will be as if the past eight months had never happened.” That may be true, but now late night has lost another, The Tonight Show bandleader and sidekick, Kevin Eubanks.

What is Jay going to do? Eubanks has been a part of the show for years! A source shared that cool and calm Kevin decided to leave because he “wanted a change”. It is said that the musician was in search of other options. However, a different source says that he will be apart of the new Tonight Show when it is set to air on March 1st.

Let’s just assume there are no guarantees on whether Eubanks will appear with Jay Leno and its comeback, but it will certainly be interesting if not. Who knows? Maybe Kev and Conan can hook up and work out some sort of a business deal. Now wouldn’t that be something?

Leave us your thoughts about Kevin Eubanks, The Tonight Show bandleader and sidekick in the comment box. Also, see pictures and film below.

52 Percent – Kick Obama to the Curb in 2012!

Just 13 months after the arrival of the “messiah”:

“52 percent of Americans said President Barack Obama doesn’t deserve reelection in 2012, according to a new poll.

44 percent of all Americans said they would vote to reelect the president in two and a half years, less than the slight majority who said they would prefer to elect someone else.

Obama faces a 44-52 deficit among both all Americans and registered voters, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Tuesday. Four percent had no opinion.”

Being this is a CNN poll the results most likely be worse if the sample were more accurate to the American electorate. Nevertheless this is stunning, but not unexpected. The slide has been occurring in most polls, Rasmussen for instance, for months. In fact in Rasmussen’s daily tracking Obama hasn’t been out of negative numbers in nearly six months.

By MacRanger

Warrants issued in killing of Hamas commander

Dubai Public Prosecution has issued the international arrest warrant against suspected murderers of Mahmoud Al Mabhouh on charges of premeditated murder in Dubai.

Attorney-General Essam Eisa Al Humaidan said that the warrants were issued as per current UAE laws, including the International Judicial Cooperation Law on criminal issues, and UAE agreements with the declared home countries of the suspects.

He said that the UAE had the judicial cooperation agreement with many countries that allowed requests for extradition.

A combination image made from undated photos released by the Dubai Ruler's Media Office on Monday, Feb. 15, 2010, which were claimed by Dubai's Police Chief to show eleven suspects wanted in connection with the killing of a Hamas commander, Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, in his Dubai hotel room last month. (From left to right, top row): Evan Dennings of Irish nationality, Gail Folliard of Irish nationality, James Leonard Clarke of British nationality, Jonathan Louis Graham of British nationality; (From left to right, middle row) Michael Bodenheimer of German nationality, Paul John Keeley of British nationality, Michael Lawrence Barney of British nationality; (From left to right, bottom row) Peter Elvinger of French nationality, Kevin Daveron of Irish nationality, Melvyn Adam Mildiner of British nationality, Stephen Daniel Hodes of British nationality.

The announcement came even as the British and Irish passports used by the nine of the 11 suspected killers of Hamas commander Mahmoud Al Mabhouh last month were described as fake by the two respective governments.

The Dubai Police Chief, Lieutenant-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, said that the Interpol had been alerted, but maintained that the arrests could take some time.

“We cannot tell at this stage,” he said. “If it is proved that there are other suspects, we will issue arrest warrants and (insist) that they be handed over to the UAE.”

Humaidan said that the prosecution began its probe immediately after the murder, ordered forensic investigation to establish cause of death, and took down testimonies.

Khalfan, stating that Dubai remained secure and that Mabhouh’s killing was only the second of its kind, maintained that the police could not prevent such internationally orchestrated crimes and that they could occur anywhere.

He further said that the slain Hamas leader had not informed the police about his arrival. The fact that he perceived a threat or needed protection was not made known either.

Did NJ Elect Governor McChristie?

Having been in the room eight years ago when the State House Press Corps staged a mini-revolt in reaction to the McGreevey Administration’s attempt to set a new set of ground rules for a press briefing on the state’s fiscal condition, I must admit I was mildly amused to learn that history seems to have repeated itself in the early days of the Christie Administration.

Back in 2002, reporters walked out of a budget briefing when they were told they could not tape record the session nor could they quote by name the officials who would be outlining the issue and answering questions.

Fast forward to 2010 and the special address on the state’s budget crisis that Governor Christie delivered to the Legislature last week. According to Sunday’s Star-Ledger, the Governor’s staffers insisted that reporters refrain from using tape recorders and from quoting those conducting the briefing by name. The ground rules didn’t sit any better with the press corps this time around, but apparently a compromise of sorts was reached. Reporters were allowed to record the session, but still could not identify the officials giving the briefing.

What makes this case of déjà vu all the more intriguing is that Christie and McGreevey are on opposite ends of the political world – and that this is not an isolated similarity.

Shortly after he was elected in November, Christie tapped David Samson to head his transition committee -- the same David Samson whom McGreevey chose as his Attorney General eight years earlier.

Then, Christie added Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac to the transition team. McCormac served as State Treasurer while McGreevey was Governor and as the Chief Financial Officer in Woodbridge for the 10 years McGreevey was the township’s Mayor.

It’s not hard to see why Christie would reach out to individuals such as Samson and McCormac. Both are well-respected and highly regarded by members of both political parties.

One can make a similar argument for Glenn Reith, who was first appointed Adjutant General of New Jersey by McGreevey and will continue to serve in that role under Christie.

Even some of Christie’s new cabinet members have ties to the McGreevey Administration. The new Governor’s first cabinet announcement was his choice of Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow as Attorney General. Dow was appointed to her county post by McGreevey in 2003.

Likewise, Christie’s choice for Community Affairs Commissioner is Lori Grifa. Grifa was Samson’s chief of staff while he served as Attorney General under McGreevey.

Aside from the people who share connections with the two Governors, I also noticed a similarity in their inaugural addresses. In their remarks after taking the oath of office, both reflected on Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 visit to New Jersey and the inspiration that his words provided at a time when the nation was “on the verge of rupture (Christie 2010)” and/or “on the verge of its greatest crisis (McGreevey 2002).”

But there is a more serious side to all of this too.

When Christie addressed the Legislature on the current budget crisis, he attributed much of the problem to tax revenue projections that turned out to be far less than anticipated. “With spiraling unemployment heading over 10 percent, with a financial system in crisis and with consumers petrified to spend, only Trenton treasury officials could certify that kind of growth,” he said.

His point is well-taken. Perhaps that is why McGreevey made a similar argument after he took office and – like Christie – had to address an immediate shortfall in the budget he inherited from his predecessor.

The numbers were not as large in 2002, but the argument was the same. As Anthony Coscia, an advisor to then-new Governor, said at the time: “The budget calls for a 7 percent increase across the board in revenues. Last spring, virtually everyone knew there was economy weakness, and all of the economists who had analyzed where the state's position was at that point disputed the notion that a 7 percent increase in revenue was realistic.”

Faced with a large budget shortfall in the state budget he inherited, McGreevey called the Legislature into special session and outlined a plan to address the problem on February 11, 2002. Eight years later to the day, Christie took a similar path and addressed the Legislature in a special joint session.

Besides making for some interesting trivia, there is a lesson to be learned from some of the similarities in the early days of the administrations of two New Jersey Governors separated by a number of years in time and an even larger span in ideologies.

On the national, state and local levels, officials often come into power promising change. But even when it is desperately needed, change is difficult to attain – especially when it is unpopular and opposed by powerful, influential forces. The Christie Administration is still in its infancy, but ultimately our new Governor will be judged on whether he can successfully deliver the change that eluded his predecessors.

# # #

Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey. A former journalist and former Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies.

One Year Later, Results Of Stimulus Mixed

On Feb. 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law one of the largest packages of tax cuts and spending measures in US history. The two-year American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Obama said would create or save more than 3 million jobs, was originally estimated to cost the federal government USD 787 billion.

A year later and halfway through the plan's implementation, Americans are weighing the recovery act's impact on a stubbornly high unemployment rate and the longest and deepest economic recession in nearly 80 years.

Here are some facts:

- So far, USD 179 billion in the plan has been spent and USD 93 billion in tax cuts have been issued. Another USD 154 billion is in the process of being sent out, and USD 247 billion is left to spend. The remainder comes in tax cuts yet to be granted.

- The Congressional Budget Office revised its cost estimate for the recovery act up to USD 862 billion from USD 787 billion last month.

- More than USD 8 billion from the plan has been spent on increased food stamps, as the assistance program for the hungry recently reached a record enrollment of 38 million people.

- By the end of December, the Department of Transportation approved 10,000 highway projects. Of the USD 34.1 billion the department has made available to states, it has only paid out USD 8.63 billion.

- The plan increased unemployment benefit payments and extended extra payments for those who could not find work when their regular benefits were exhausted through the end of 2009. Recently, Congress pushed the expiration date of both programs to Feb. 28.

- Nearly USD 280 billion of the spending will be directed through state governments, including a USD 48 billion stabilization fund to help states balance their budgets.

- According to figures provided by those who received grants and loans from the plan, 595,263 jobs were created or saved by the plan in the final three months of 2009. A previous report, which had used a different method of calculation, said it had saved 640,239 jobs in the prior quarter.

- The White House Council of Economic Advisers estimated there would have been 1.5 million to 2 million fewer jobs in 2009 if not for the stimulus funds.

- In January, the US employment rate stood at 9.7%. A year earlier, when Congress was negotiating the stimulus plan, it had just reached 7.7%.

- In the fourth quarter of 2009 U.S. gross domestic product grew 5.7%, with two quarters of growth bringing hope that the economy was pulling out of recession.

Sources: USDA,, ProPublica, U.S. Census, Labor Department, Congressional Budget Office

Breaking News: Toyota to launch new safety system

Toyota is to introduce a new brake override system to all new vehicles as it seeks to battle through a global car recall.
According to the BBC, the carmaker will apply a new system which will cut the engine power if the accelerator and brakes are applied at the same time.

The new system could help prevent situations where the accelerator becomes jammed, making the car difficult to control.

Toyota Motor Corp chief Akio Toyoda told Japanese reporters of the decision to add the system, as the carmaker faced an examination by a US safety authority.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced yesterday that it is using its statutory authority to obtain documents from Toyota to determine if the automaker conducted three of its recent recalls in a ‘timely manner’.

"Safety recalls are very serious matters and automakers are required to quickly report defects," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Around 6 million Toyota cars sold in the US alone are affected by a series of recent recalls, which will seek to address issues surrounding the accelerator pedal sticking and inconsistent braking power.

US officials will now check Toyota has covered all affected models in its recent recalls to ensure it did not miss any problems.

"Our top priority is safety and we expect that all manufacturers address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner," said David Strickland, Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If agency officials determine that the carmaker has violated its statutory obligations, the manufacturer could be liable for a maximum of $16.4 million in civil penalties.

Toyota is believed to be fully co-operative with the US investigation.

Mr Toyoda told Japanese reporters that he would not personally attend a US Congressional hearing into the recalls set for 24 February.
Instead, the carmaker’s US executives will go.

The carmaker’s newly-announced Special Committee for Global Quality will hold its first meeting on 30 March in its Tokyo headquarters.

Toyota announced on 26 January that was suspending sales and production of eight models in the US, as it sought to resolve potential problems.

Libya suspends issuing visas to Europeans

Libya has announced it will cease issuing visas to citizens of European countries in the Schengen zone. Even citizens currently in possession of visas will be denied entry.

European countries such as Italy confirmed the news with postings on various governmental websites. The news echoes sentiments from Tipolo's Oea newspaper that originally reported the change. The paper is widely believed to have close ties with Gaddafi's son, Said al-Islam.

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says four Italians are currently being detained at Tripoli's airport, six were sent back to Italy and 37 others managed to make their way into the country.

The Libyan government has neither confirmed the reports nor given a public reason for the reversal of as previous decision.

Libya and Switzerland are engaged in a diplomatic dispute. It began in July 2008 when Gaddafi's son Hannibal and his wife Aline were questioned by Geneva police after allegations surfaced that they had abused their domestic staff.

Global warming getting cold shoulder

Man-made global warming was accepted as fact until late last year--then came the Climategate scandal, as that's not all, the Wall Street Journal tells us:

First it turns out that the Himalayan glaciers are not going to melt anytime soon, notwithstanding dire U.N. predictions. Next came news that an IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) claim that global warming could destroy 40% of the Amazon was based on a report by an environmental pressure group. Other IPCC sources of scholarly note have included a mountaineering magazine and a student paper.

Since the climategate email story broke in November, the standard defense is that while the scandal may have revealed some all-too-human behavior by a handful of leading climatologists, it made no difference to the underlying science. We think the science is still disputable. But there's no doubt that climategate has spurred at least some reporters to scrutinize the IPCC's headline-grabbing claims in a way they had rarely done previously.

Take the rain forest claim. In its 2007 report, the IPCC wrote that "up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state."

But as Jonathan Leake of London's Sunday Times reported last month, those claims were based on a report from the World Wildlife Fund, which in turn had fundamentally misrepresented a study in the journal Nature. The Nature study, Mr. Leake writes, "did not assess rainfall but in fact looked at the impact on the forest of human activity such as logging and burning.

By John Ruberry

Call for Dubai assassination probe

Allegations of Israeli involvement in the assassination of a Hamas commander by killers using fake British and European passports must be investigated by the UK, an MP said.

Hugo Swire, chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council, called for a "full investigation" of who was behind last month's killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

Two Britons whose passports were apparently used by the hit squad have expressed shock at being caught up in the affair after they were named among 11 suspects identified by Dubai police.

The Foreign Office has said the six British passports involved were "fraudulent" and officials in Dublin said they had "issued no passports" in the names of the three people using Irish identities.

It is thought that while details like the names, numbers and dates of birth on the suspect passports matched the originals, the photographs and signatures differed.

Hamas has pointed the finger at Israel, blaming Mossad - the country's secret service - for carrying out the hit.

Dubai police chief Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said it was possible that "leaders of certain countries gave orders to their intelligence agents to kill" the Hamas man.

Mr Swire said it was "easy" to point the finger at Mossad but the UK should demand to see the evidence.

"This is not something that can just be swept under the carpet because of the bad feeling it is going to create in the Arab world. You cannot conduct foreign policy at this extremely sensitive time by this sort of illegal behaviour," he said.

Those travelling with UK documents were named as Michael Lawrence Barney, James Leonard Clarke, Jonathan Louis Graham, Paul John Keeley, Stephen Daniel Hodes and Melvyn Adam Mildiner.