Reader’s links for April 28 – 2015

This post has all its contents in the comments. For the newest freshest videos and news stories of interest to the Counter-Jihad and the Geopolitics of Islam, please click comments and add to, or read what is posted there.

Some will be integrated into the day’s posts and others not. But this way we can keep a great news flow going without interfering with the conversations about the issues under the various essays and news items in the posts that will be presented throughout the day.

Thank you all for your informative and important contributions.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

44 Replies to “Reader’s links for April 28 – 2015”

  1. Grisly discovery in Nigerian town: Hundreds of decomposed corpses (CNN, Apr 28, 2015)

    “Hundreds of decomposed corpses were discovered buried in shallow graves in the streets of the northeastern Nigerian town of Damasak this past weekend, according to local officials and a resident.

    The town had recently been freed from the Boko Haram terror group in a joint Nigerian-Chadian military operation.

    A provincial government committee was visiting the area as part of an effort to assess the level of destruction in towns that had been in the deadly grip of Boko Haram.

    “We found hundreds of dead bodies in shallow graves and on the streets of Damasak during our visit,” Damasak local government spokesman Babagana Mustapha told CNN on Monday….”

  2. NYT – Pope Francis Steps Up Campaign on Climate Change, to Conservatives’ Alarm

    WASHINGTON — Since his first homily in 2013, Pope Francis has preached about the need to protect the earth and all of creation as part of a broad message on the environment. It has caused little controversy so far.

    But now, as Francis prepares to deliver what is likely to be a highly influential encyclical this summer on environmental degradation and the effects of human-caused climate change on the poor, he is alarming some conservatives in the United States who are loath to see the Catholic Church reposition itself as a mighty voice in a cause they do not believe in.

    As part of the effort for the encyclical, top Vatican officials will hold a summit meeting Tuesday to build momentum for a campaign by Francis to urge world leaders to enact a sweeping United Nations climate change accord in Paris in December. The accord would for the first time commit every nation to enact tough new laws to cut the emissions that cause global warming


    Pope’s unprecedented encyclical on climate change due this summer, but it’s already proving controversial

    The largely secular climate movement is about to get what some predict will be a historic boost from an intriguing source: Pope Francis.

    Francis is putting the final touches on what may be the most authoritative papal teaching ever on the environment, a topic bound up with economics, global development and politics and thus very controversial. Even though no one outside Francis’s inner circle has seen the document — called an encyclical — it’s already being lambasted by some religious and political conservatives and held up by environmentalists as a potential turning point in their movement.

    The encyclical is expected to be published in early summer and, church historians say, represents the first time in memory that such an important papal writing is being timed by a pope to influence a civil process — in this case, a major U.N. summit in December on climate change.

  3. Saudi Arabia arrests 93 Islamic State suspects: state news agency

    Saudi Arabia has arrested 93 people suspected of belonging to the Sunni Muslim militant group Islamic State, including at least 65 Saudi nationals, the interior ministry said in a statement carried on the official Saudi Press Agency on Tuesday.

    The kingdom and some other Sunni Gulf monarchies have taken part in U.S.-led air strikes against the group in Syria.

  4. CANADA – Foreign funds promoting ‘extreme Islamic jihadist’ views in Canada, national security advisor says

    Money is coming into Canada to promote extremist ideology and much of it is going to religious institutions, the prime minister’s national security adviser testified at a hearing Monday on the government’s counter-terrorism bill.

    Asked by Senate national security committee chairman Daniel Lang about millions of dollars allegedly coming from Gulf states “in respect to the extreme Islamic jihadist interpretation of the Qur’an,” Richard Fadden said it was a problem.

    “I think it’s fair to say, without commenting on the particular country of origin, there are monies coming into this country which are advocating this kind of approach to life,” responded Fadden, who works in the Privy Council Office.

    A lot of these funds, I think, are directed to religious institutions or quasi-religious institutions.

    It’s very difficult in this country to start poking about, if you’ll forgive my English, religious institutions because of the respect that we have for freedom of religion.”

    “The difficulty is in most cases the monies are not coming from governments; they’re coming from fairly wealthy institutions or individuals within some of these countries. It makes it doubly difficult to track,”

  5. Morocco arrests four over ‘burning alive’ fatwa

    Morocco arrested four people Tuesday in the Western Sahara after they allegedly issued a fatwa authorising the burning alive of a person they accused of rejecting Islam, the interior ministry said.

    It said the four members of a “terrorist cell” detained in the disputed territory’s main city of Laayoune had planned to “carry out dangerous terrorist crimes” in Morocco.

    The ministry, in a statement carried by the MAP news agency, said they had issued a fatwa, or decree, ordering the kidnap and “burning alive” of someone they accused of apostasy — the act of rejecting Islam or any of its main tenets.

    It said an investigation had revealed the suspects’ “total acceptance” of the Islamic State group’s agenda.

    Morocco took control of most of Western Sahara in November 1975 when Spain withdrew, prompting a guerrilla war for independence that lasted until 1991 when the United Nations brokered a ceasefire and sent in peacekeepers.

    The interior ministry statement said the cell leader had “great experience” in making explosives and wanted to use this “in carrying out terrorist plans against sensitive targets” in the kingdom.

    There are an estimated 1,500 Moroccans in the ranks of jihadist groups such as IS, and last year the country passed special legislation to better able it to combat the phenomenon.

    The authorities have announced that several “terrorist cells” have been broken up over the past month.

  6. SYRIA – Intra-rebel fighting in Quneitra countryside

    Rebel forces fought with a pro-Islamic State group in the Quneitra countryside on Tuesday after the group ambushed an FSA convoy and captured fighters, reported pro-opposition Sham News Network.

    Free Syrian Army and Islamist battalions battled IS allies and arrested Islamic State supporters from several villages in the Quneitra countryside, including a leader in Jaish al-Jihad, the group that carried out the convoy ambush, reported the opposition news outlet Syria Noor.

    The fate of the FSA captives remains unknown.

    The convoy was originally headed to fight regime forces in Ba’ath city, the de facto capital of Quneitra and one of the regime’s last outposts in the province, but was ambushed outside a village en route, Abu Yahya, an official from a participating FSA brigade told the Southern Front’s website.

  7. Iran’s military ‘fires at and seizes US cargo ship’

    Iranian forces have reportedly fired at and seized a US cargo ship with 34 sailors on board, according to Saudi Arabian state TV.

    The vessel has been directed to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the southern coast, Al-Arabiya has reported.

    It remains unclear why or if the ship was captured, and whether the shots injured anyone on-board, as neither US nor Iranian officials have confirmed the allegations. The US Fifth Fleet off the coast of Bahrain had no immediate comment on the report, according to Reuters.

    Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency suggested that the ship was trespassing in the Persian Gulf.

    However, a US official told Reuters that there are no indications so far that any US ship is being directed by Iranian forces.

    The official said the US was still working to get clarity on the situation.

    The incident comes as relations between Tehran and Washington have started to thaw after three decades of animosity.

    Negotiators from the US and five other nations are attempting to secure an agreement by the end of June requiring Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions which has damaged the nation’s economy.

    This week, the US Senate will begin debating a bill allowing Congress to review the potential agreement.

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will on Tuesday meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York, for talks on Iran’s nuclear programme and other issues, an EU official said.

    However, it is not yet known whether the incident at sea will be addressed during the meeting.

    Pentagon spokesman identifies ship as Maersk Tigris, says no US citizens aboard – @Reuters

    • Pentagon spokesman says US planes, destroyer USS Farragut responding to Maersk Tigris distress call and are monitoring situation- @Reuters

      Ship manager for Maersk Tigris declines to comment when contacted – @Reuters

      • Iran fires at, boards Marshall Islands cargo ship; U.S. sending defense

        Iranian troops boarded a cargo vessel early Tuesday morning after firing shots at the ship, prompting the U.S. to send assets to the ship’s defense.

        The Pentagon said at least five Iranian patrol vessels approached the Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris cargo ship at 5:00 am eastern time as it was transiting the Straight of Hormuz and directed the ship to proceed further into Iranian waters.

        When the ship’s master declined, the Iranian ship fired shots across the bow of the cargo vessel, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said. After shots were fired, the ship proceeded into Iranian waters near the vicinity of Larak Island. It was boarded by members of the Iranian military and is now unable to leave Iranian waters.

        The Marshall Islands gained independence from the United States in 1986, but the U.S. continues to have “full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands,” according to the State Department’s website.

        The Maersk Tigris issued a distress call, prompting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command to send the U.S. destroyer Farragut to the site as well as aircraft to observe the interaction, Col. Warren said. The destroyer is currently on the way, with no clear timetable of when it will arrive on the scene.

        The U.S. assets are being sent to “monitor the situation,” Col. Warren said.

        It is unclear if the Maersk Tigris inadvertently entered Iranian waters. There are no Americans aboard the cargo ship and currently no injuries reported among the crew, Col. Warren said.

  8. NYT – Where the Islamic State Gets Its Weapons

    […]The militants’ abrupt possession of former American matériel was part of the battlefield turnabout last summer that led Julian E. Barnes, a Wall Street Journal correspondent, to tweet a proposed name for the Pentagon’s anti-militant bombing campaign: Operation Hey That’s My Humvee. And yet by this year, for all the attention the captured weapons had received, M-16s were seemingly uncommon in Syria. The expected large quantities had eluded researchers.

    […]The rifle, which its current owner said had been captured from the Islamic State last year, was not an M-16. It was a Chinese CQ, an M-16 knockoff that resembles its predecessor but has a starkly different arms-trafficking history.

    […]The Kurd’s rifle cartridges, too, were from the same Chinese manufacturer (Factory 71) and the same production year (2008) as those previously found in South Sudan.

    […]The investigator, looking for one thing, had found something else: evidence suggesting that the Islamic State had obtained weapons flowing into Syria from East Africa.

    […]The list of the Islamic State’s inventory reads like a roll call of arms-exporting nations: cartridges from Russia and the United States; rifles from Belgium and a host of formerly Eastern bloc states; guided anti-tank missiles from MBDA, a multinational firm with offices in Western Europe and the United States. Moreover, some of the manufacturing dates on ammunition from Kobani were remarkably recent. Investigators found Sudanese, Russian, Chinese and Iranian small-arms ammunition made from 2012 to 2014 — showing that the militant organization is a long way from being logistically isolated, no matter the forces arrayed against it.

    […]Were these rifles shipped in via Turkey on flights from Sudan or South Sudan, shipments intended for rebels opposed to Assad? If so, when?

  9. USA – Muslim Congressmen Want To Block ‘Islamophobic’ Dutch Lawmaker Geert Wilders From Entering US

    The two Muslim members of Congress have called on two U.S. Cabinet members to block Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders from entering the U.S. because they believe he is “Islamophobic.”

    Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison and Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson penned a joint letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson last Thursday. Foreign Policy reported it on Tuesday.

    “We write to raise our deep concern regarding the visit of Mr. Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker known for perpetuating Islamophobia,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote, citing a 1998 law, the International Religious Freedom Act. The law allows the State Department to deny foreign leaders guilty of “severe violations of religious freedom” from entering the U.S.

    The law has only been enforced once before, in 2005, to ban Narendra Modi, India’s current prime minister. He was accused of failing to protect Muslims during riots in 2002 in which more than 1,000 people died.

    Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom, is slated to appear at several events during his trip to the U.S. On Wednesday, he will appear at two events in Washington D.C. at the invitation of Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King. One is hosted by the Conservative Opportunity Society. Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert has also helped facilitate Wilders’ appearences.

    “I feel deeply honored by the invitations. In my speeches I will warn my American colleagues of the dangers of Islamization,” Wilders stated on his personal website earlier this month.

    On Sunday, Wilders travels to Garland, Tex. where he will give a speech at the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an event hosted by Pamela Geller. That group will hold its inaugural “Muhammad Art Exhibit” and will award a $10,000 prize for the best cartoon depiction of Muhammad. The contest was created in response to the Islamist massacre at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo earlier this year.

    But Ellison and Carson believe that Wilders’ past criticism of Islam — and he has indeed been critical — is hate speech and that it warrants him being kept out of the U.S.

    “We respectfully request that the U.S. government deny Mr. Wilders’s entry due to his participation in inciting anti-Muslim aggression and violence,” wrote Ellison and Carson, the first and second Muslims to be elected to national public office, respectively. “Mr. Wilders’s policy agenda is centered on the principle that Christian culture is superior to other cultures.”

    The lawmakers point out that in 2010 and 2011 Wilders was brought up on formal charges of inciting hatred and discrimination. He is also currently facing charges because of a recent speech in which he called for fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, they point out.

    “Mr. Wilders’ policy agenda is centered on the principle that Christian culture is superior to other cultures,” the joint letter states, citing Wilders’ comment that “Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology, the ideology of a retarded culture.”

    “We should not be importing hate speech.”

    While noting that freedom of speech is “a bedrock principle” that distinguishes free societies from oppressive regimes, “free speech…is not absolute,” the letter reads.

    Geller called Ellison’s and Carson’s evidence of “sharia,” or Islamic law.

    “It is revealing that these Muslim congressmen would show themselves to be enemies of free speech and free discourse,” Geller told The Daily Caller. “They cannot refute Wilders and don’t dare debate him. All these little authoritarians can do is try to prevent people from hearing his message.”

  10. Yoweri Museveni: Train Ugandan youths to tackle al-Shabab (BBC, Apr 27, 2015)

    “President Yoweri Museveni has ordered security agencies to re-introduce military training for Ugandan civilians to counter the threat from al-Shabab. Writing in the state-owned New Vision newspaper, Mr Museveni said that although al-Shabab was “defeated”, Ugandans need to guard against attacks.

    Uganda has more than 6,000 troops in Somalia as part of an African Union force battling the Islamist militants. In 2010, al-Shabab bomb attacks in Kampala killed at least 76 people.

    In his open letter, President Museveni focuses on al-Shabab, calling them “idiots”.

    But the threat of attack from the Islamist militants is not the only source of insecurity for Ugandans. As the Ugandan army spokesman told the BBC, al-Shabab are not the only targets of this policy.

    In the past few months, security has become a bigger concern than usual in Uganda. In December, two Muslim clerics were shot dead in the capital Kampala, and in March, the top state prosecutor, who was investigating the 2010 al-Shabab attack, was shot and killed on her way home from work.

    It is still unclear who is responsible for the killings and whether they are linked. It is also far from certain that military education for civilians would help keep Uganda safe…”

  11. AFGHANISTAN Fighting flares as Taliban advance on major Afghan city

    KUNDUZ, Afghanistan: Intense fighting flared in northern Afghanistan as security forces battled Taliban insurgents advancing Tuesday on a major provincial capital, officials said, with terrified residents fearing the fall of the besieged city.

    Hundreds of militants closed in on Kunduz city after attacking outlying police and army checkposts Friday, just hours after the Taliban launched their annual spring offensive.

    The battles are raging as close as six kilometers north of Kunduz city in Imam Sahib district and nearby villages in the east and south, officials said.

    “The Taliban have surrounded the district and if reinforcements don’t arrive… the district will fall to Taliban,” Imamuddin Quraishi, the district governor of Imam Sahib, told AFP.

    “They are attacking us from three directions. We don’t have enough forces to contain them,” he added.

    The streets of Kunduz city were deserted, with shops closed and local administration officials deserting government buildings, residents said as fears of a Taliban takeover grew.

    “We are really worried that the city could slip into the hands of the Taliban… <b<and all the gains over the last 13 years will be lost,” Ahmad Luqman 35, a shopkeeper in the city, told AFP.

    “We don’t want to go back to the civil war.”

    The fall of a provincial capital would be a major setback for the Afghan government, which has been fighting a resilient Taliban insurgency since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

    Quraishi said the provincial government had asked NATO for air support but the appeal had been rejected on the grounds that it may cause civilian casualties.

    General John Campbell, the commander of NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan, met President Ashraf Ghani Monday to discuss the situation in Kunduz before Ghani left for a three-day trip to India.

    “We can confirm that Campbell met with President Ghani to discuss Kunduz,” Christopher Belcher, a spokesman for international coalition forces, said without elaborating.

    Police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini confirmed that “intense fighting was raging” near Kunduz city, adding that Afghan reinforcements were being called in to stop the advancing militants.

    Local residents said the Taliban had blown up bridges linking districts to the provincial capital in a bid to stop the reinforcements.

    There were no immediate reports of any civilian or military casualties, but in a statement the interior ministry said 27 militants including a Taliban commander were killed on Monday.

    The Taliban denied the deaths and added that the insurgents were advancing towards Kunduz city.

    This year’s Taliban offensive marks the first fighting season in which Afghan forces will battle the insurgents without the full support of U.S.-led foreign combat troops.

    NATO’s combat mission formally ended in December but a small follow-up foreign force has stayed on to train and support local security personnel.

  12. UKRAINE – Forest fires heading for Chernobyl nuclear plant – Ukraine Interior Ministry

    The Ukrainian National Guard has been put on high alert due to worsening forest fires around the crippled Chernobyl nuclear power plant, according to Ukraine Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

    “The forest fire situation around the Chernobyl power plant has worsened,” a statement on Avakov’s Facebook page says.

    “The forest fire is heading in the direction of Chernobyl’s installations. Treetop flames and strong gusts of wind have created a real danger of the fire spreading to an area within 20 kilometers of the power plant. There are about 400 hectares [988 acres] of forests in the endangered area.”

    “Some of the materials that were contaminating that area would ahve been incorporated into the woods. In other words, they land on the ground in 1986 and they get absorbed into the trees and all the biosphere. And when it burns, they just become re-suspended. It’s like Chernobyl all over again. All of that material that fell on the ground will now be burned up into the air and will become available for people to breathe.” Christopher Busby is the scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risks.

  13. NYT – Nigerian Army Claims Rescue of Girls and Women From Boko Haram

    DAKAR, Senegal — The Nigerian Army contended on Tuesday that it had rescued hundreds of kidnapped girls and women from a remote region, even as fresh evidence of a mass killing by Boko Haram terrorists in northern Nigeria emerged, with numerous corpses discovered in a dry riverbed.

    The army asserted in a Twitter post on Tuesday that it had rescued 200 girls and 93 abducted women in the Sambisa Forest, where Boko Haram has long been suspected of operating. The army offered few details, but the hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok more than a year ago were not among those rescued, a spokesman later told Reuters.

    • Nigerian army ‘rescues nearly 300’ from Sambisa Forest (BBC, Apr 29, 2015)

      “The Nigerian military says it has rescued 200 girls and 93 women from an area where the Islamist militant group Boko Haram is active.

      However, it said the girls abducted from a school in Chibok in April 2014 were not among them.

      The military said the girls and women were freed during major operations ending in the seizure of four Boko Haram camps in the Sambisa Forest.

      A military spokesman said they were now being interviewed.

      Weapons were also seized at the camps taken in the latest operation, the military said.

      In recent months Nigerian security forces have taken back most of the territory previously under the control of Boko Haram, the BBC’s Tomi Oladipo reports from Lagos.

      Gen Chris Olukolade said the hostages were freed as part of a major, ongoing operation.

      He said accurate intelligence had helped the military locate the camps, which had been attacked from all directions by ground and air forces….”

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