Reader supplied links for June 23 – 2015

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In order to preserve the flow of conversation about various posted items, and also in order to make it easier for visitors to find the list of related links being shared by other readers, regulars and interested parties in one place, each day a post is automatically created at a minute past midnight ET.

This way, under the various posts of the day, conversation can take place without as much ‘noise’ on the various links and articles and ideas in the main posts and all the news links being submitted can be seen under these auto-posts by clicking on the comments-link right below these ones.

Thank you all for those that take the effort to assist this site in keeping the public informed. Below, typically people can find the latest enemy propaganda, news items of related materials from multiple countries and languages, op-eds from many excellent sites who write on our topics, geopolitics and immigration issues and so on.

About Eeyore

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

48 Replies to “Reader supplied links for June 23 – 2015”

  1. Wikileaks has released thousands of classified cables sent out by Saudi Arabia to and from its embassies around the world. Some of them expressed alarm about Ezra Levant’s book Ethical Oil.

    They were especially angry about an ad Levant’s non-profit aired calling OPEC oil anti-woman. So by “Holy Royal Decree,” they formed a committee to address this threat!

  2. Pakistan – Ramadan – Day 4

    Pakistan calls for urgent measures as heatwave toll nears 700

    Pakistan: Bodies pile up as Karachi heatwave kills hundreds during Ramadan fast

    Hundreds more are being treated for heat-related ailments, including fever and dehydration, said Seemi Jamali, a spokeswoman for Jinnah Hospital. She said most of those who had died were over 50 years of age.

    Many of the victims were weak because they were fasting.

    […]We are urging them to bury the dead bodies as soon as possible, because there is danger of the bodies decomposing. There is also danger of the spread of disease.”

  3. Obama hosts Iftar dinner to mark Ramadan — and reach out to Muslims

    President Obama hosted an Iftar dinner Monday night to mark the Muslim holiday of Ramadan and to reach out to the roughly 1.5 billion Muslims around the world when much of the Islamic world is struggling with war, terrorism and economic challenges and when the United States remains embroiled in many of those conflicts.

    The president said that the holiday dinner “is also a reminder of the freedoms that bind us together as Americans, including the freedom of religion — that inviolable right to practice our faiths freely.”

    Citing the shootings at the Charleston, S.C., church and the murder of three young Muslim Americans in Chapel Hill, N.C., earlier this year, Obama said that “as Americans, we insist that nobody should be targeted because of who they are, or what they look like, who they love, how they worship.” He said “our prayers remain in Charleston.”

    The Iftar dinner, which continues a tradition started by President Clinton and continued by President George W. Bush, featured nearly the entire diplomatic corps representing the Islamic world as well as a few young Muslim Americans Obama held up as examples of what can be achieved in the United States. There were about 150 guests, including some members of Congress.

    The Ramadan holiday, which began last week and lasts a month, marks the time when Muslims believe the Koran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. “It’s a time of spiritual renewal and a reminder of one’s duty to our fellow man — to serve one another and lift up the less fortunate,” Obama said.

    During Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours and since June 21 is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere the White House meal was served promptly. Because of the lunar calendar, Ramadan falls at different times of the year.

    Despite Obama’s message of peace, the Middle East remains torn by conflict from the Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq to Saudi Arabia’s air attacks on factions fighting for control of Yemen to the recent Taliban attack on Afghanistan’s parliament building.

    Obama linked tolerance within the United States to American goals abroad. “These are the freedoms and the ideals, and the values that we uphold,” he said. “And it’s more important than ever, because around the world and here at home, there are those who seek to divide us by religion or race or sect.”

    The president held up several Muslim Americans as models.

    Ziad Ahmed, 16, a Bangladeshi-American growing up in New Jersey, two years ago founded Redefy, a Web site to combat harmful stereotypes by encouraging teens like him to share their stories.

    Munira Khalif, the daughter of Somali immigrants, started an organization to support girls’ education in East Africa. Though she just graduated from high school in Minnesota, Obama noted, she’s already lobbied Congress to pass the Girls Count Act so that girls in the developing world are documented at birth. Obama signed the bill into law last week. She was accepted to all eight Ivy League colleges and will attend Harvard.

    Batoul Abuharb, born in a refugee camp in Gaza, grew up in Houston and graduated from Rice University. After spending a summer in Gaza working with a United Nations health clinic, she started Dunia Health to improve the distribution of vaccines. The United Nations is now planning to expand Dunia’s work to more countries across the Middle East, Obama said.

    The president also mentioned Samantha Elauf, who went to the Supreme Court to defend the right to wear a hijab without sacrificing job opportunities at Abercrombie & Fitch. And she won, Obama noted.

  4. Sickening new ISIS video shows caged prisoners lowered into a swimming pool and drowned, shot with an RPG and blown up with explosive-filled ‘necklaces’

    Sickening seven-minute video shows the deaths of several ISIS prisoners
    Five men are filmed being drowned in a pool in the ISIS stronghold Mosul
    Underwater cameras capture them thrashing before falling unconscious
    Another group are shot with a grenade launcher while locked in an old car
    Final sequence shows seven prisoners being chained together with explosive necklaces, which are then detonated

  5. TURKEY – President Erdo?an joins Quran defamation case as plaintiff

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become involved as a plaintiff in a case filed against a woman who allegedly “insulted the Quran” by posting a photo on Twitter showing her foot standing on the Muslim holy book.

    The defendant faces up to four years in prison.

    With Erdogan’s involvement in the case there are now 22 plaintiffs, including Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek and former minister Egemen Bagis, who was one of the most prominent names embroiled in Turkey’s huge corruption probe launched in late 2013.

    The woman did not attend the first court hearing in the case, which was held in Istanbul’s 58th Criminal Court of First Instance on June 17.

    The indictment against the woman, prepared by the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office, carried a penalty of up to four years in prison on charges of “incitement to hatred and enmity.”

    President Erdo?an’s attorney, Ferah Yildiz, said the charge against the woman was clear and they demanded that she be punished.

    “My client [Erdogan] has been harmed by the crime,” Yildiz added.

    The attorneys of other plaintiffs, including Bagis and Gökçek, also said their clients had been harmed by the crime.

    The indictment said the defendant was required to serve from 1.5 to 4 years in prison for “inciting society to hatred and enmity by insulting Islam, the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad.”

    The woman, who is being tried without arrest, will be brought to court by force for the next hearing due to her absence in the first hearing.

    • Elementary schools offer computer science classes. I showed this article to a friend who teaches junior high. He screamed: “Root on UNIX-system?! My students could cause serious damage just messing around.”

      I like Dyer’s acronym: CLIF = Complete loss of intellectual function.

  6. WikiLeaks: Saudis tried to shield students from US scandal

    A group of Saudi students caught in a cheating scandal at a Montana college were offered flights home by their kingdom’s diplomats to avoid the possibility of deportation or arrest, according to a cache of Saudi Embassy memos recently published by WikiLeaks and a senior official at the school involved.

    The students were in a ring of roughly 30 alleged cheaters at Montana Tech accused of having systematically forged grades by giving presents to a college employee.
    The cheating was discovered — and the staffer was fired — following an investigation made public in early 2012, but the memos reveal for the first time that the students were almost all Saudis and that their government booked them flights home following a meeting between college administrators and Saudi diplomats in Washington just before the scandal broke.
    A Saudi memo describing the meeting, dated Feb. 3, 2012 and labeled “Secret / Urgent,” says it was Montana Tech Chancellor Donald Blackketter who floated the idea of flying the students out of the United States. The memo goes on to say that an unidentified diplomat at the embassy subsequently “issued travel tickets to those students … to return to the kingdom so they don’t face jail or deportation by the American authorities.”

    Reached by phone at his home in Butte, Montana, the college’s Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs Douglas Abbott told The Associated Press the Saudi Embassy’s account of the meeting sounded accurate.

    “I think that we might’ve recommended that,” he said of the flights. Montana law doesn’t bar the alteration of school records — even in return for gifts — but Abbott said that, at the time, campus authorities believed the students could be arrested or even expelled from the country.

    “We didn’t know whether this would happen, whether ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) would show up on the Montana Tech campus,” he said.

    Blackketter did not return messages seeking comment.

    The revelations caused a scandal at Montana Tech, a small four-year college located in the mining city of Butte, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Originally chartered as the Montana State School of Mines, the school is known for its metallurgy, mining, and engineering specialties. Scores of Saudi students — many of them sponsored by their embassy’s cultural section or the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. — attend the college every year to study for degrees in fields like petroleum engineering.

    Officials first noticed transcript alterations on Oct. 25, 2011, and irregularities piled up as the school began digging, according to a statement read out by Abbott during a meeting on Jan. 26, 2012 and later posted to YouTube.

    Abbott said college investigators interviewed an unnamed employee who admitted altering the transcripts. An audit of three years’ records threw up instances of grades being changed, grades being deleted from transcripts and of “ghost registrations” — grades being awarded for classes never taken. In the most extreme case, a student had 16 grade changes, four courses deleted, and six courses added to their transcript.

    “It casts an unfavorable light on the institution,” Abbott acknowledged in the video. But he said officials had been transparent. “The campus is not — has not — tried to hide any of this,” he said.

    The Saudi memos reveal that, on Jan. 4, several days before the scandal became public knowledge, Abbott and Blackketter went to the Saudi Embassy in Washington to brief officials there about the cheating allegations.

    Abbott told AP that the college had been advised by legal counsel that the Saudi Embassy — which together with Saudi Aramco was sponsoring 33 of the suspected cheaters at Montana Tech — should be told of the issue.

    He declined to comment on why his colleague had apparently suggested flying the students out of the country, saying he didn’t remember that aspect of the conversation in any detail.

    Abbott said the college’s legal counsel had warned against naming the students or identifying them by nationality. He added that the college notified the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education in Montana and even called in the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate what he believed were possible crimes.

    Officials from both agencies arrived on campus on Jan. 9 for interviews, Abbott said, but no one was ever charged. He said that was because the rogue employee didn’t accept money for the transcript alterations.

    The employee did accept “gifts” in return for the grade changes, according to another Saudi memo, dated Feb. 2. Abbott said he didn’t remember exactly what the gifts were, describing them only as “small tokens of appreciation.”

    He declined to identify the employee involved.

    Abbott could not immediately say whether the college called law enforcement before or after he and Blackketter visited the Saudi Embassy. Messages left with the FBI and with the DHS public affairs department were not immediately returned.

    Many of the students were eventually expelled, although it’s unclear what happened to all of them. Abbott said he didn’t know whether the students flew to Saudi Arabia before the scandal broke and law enforcement authorities showed up. However the Feb. 3 embassy memo is phrased in a way that suggests the flights had not yet occurred.

    Abbott confirmed information in the Saudi memos which stated that seven students had returned to the college, including at least two who said their grades had been changed without their knowledge — unusual incidents which neither Abbott nor the memo explained in any further detail.

    Abbott said that 18 students were ultimately expelled and that an unspecified number of graduates had their degrees revoked.

    The Saudi Embassy in Washington did not return a message seeking comment on the flights. The embassy has not responded to repeated requests for comment about the massive cache of diplomatic memos made public by WikiLeaks on Friday, although a recent statement carried by the official Saudi news agency appears to acknowledge that the memos paint an accurate picture of the kingdom’s diplomats and their activities abroad.

    “The documents leaked fall in line with the public policy of the Foreign Ministry,” spokesman Osama Nugali said Saturday.
    MTech Tube – Details of Unauthorized Grade Changes at Montana Tech

    Chancellor Donald Blackketter and Vice Chancellor Doug Abbott discuss the unauthorized grade changes at Montana Tech. Filmed January 26th, 2012, edited for time.

  7. DAILY MAIL – Chilling footage of killer’s violent 45-minute rampage through north London’s suburban streets when he beheaded great-grandmother, 82, in her own garden

    Nicholas Salvador, nicknamed Fat Nick, killed Italian café owner Palmira Silva
    He stormed back gardens in Edmonton, London after beheading two cats
    25-year-old was then Tasered six times after violent struggle with officers
    Jury today found Salvador not guilty of murder on the grounds of insanity

    • UK – Beheading killer not guilty by reason of insanity

      A man who beheaded an elderly woman in North London will be detained indefinitely in a secure hospital after being cleared of murder by reason of insanity.

      Nicholas Salvador, 25, was suffering from a severe psychiatric illness when he attacked 82-year-old Palmira Silva in her garden in September last year.


  8. Islamic State urges followers to escalate attacks

    Islamic State urged its followers on Tuesday to escalate attacks during the holy month of Ramadan on Christians, Shias and Sunni Muslims fighting alongside a US-led coalition that seeks to defeat the ultra-radical group.

    Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani called on jihadists in an audio message to turn the fasting month of Ramadan, which began last week, into a time of “calamity for the infidels…Shia and apostate Muslims”, urging more attacks in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

    audio – ( 29 min )

  9. Australia checks reports of militant deaths in Iraq (BBC, June 23, 2015)

    “The Australian government is trying to confirm reports that two of its citizens who went to fight for Islamic State have been killed in Iraq.

    Australian media reported that Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar were killed while fighting in Iraq.

    The two came to public notice last year after pictures of severed heads were posted on their social media accounts.

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Tuesday the government was close to verifying one of the deaths….”

  10. Australia prepares new citizenship laws (BBC, June 23, 2015)

    “Australia says it will reveal new laws stripping citizenship from dual nationals engaged in terrorism.

    The government said it wanted to ensure that militants with dual nationality who were fighting overseas could not return to Australia.

    The laws would also strip citizenship from dual nationals who engaged in terrorism inside Australia.

    The government said changes to the Australian Citizenship Act would be introduced to parliament on Wednesday.

    The new laws could be applied to up to half of the 120 Australians fighting in the Middle East with Islamic State (IS), said Prime Minister Tony Abbott….”

  11. US says Benghazi attack suspect killed in Iraq (BBC, June 23, 2015)

    “The US says an air strike in Iraq has killed an Islamic State (IS) militant linked to an attack on a US diplomatic compound in Libya three years ago.

    The Pentagon says Ali Awni al-Harzi died on 15 June in the city of Mosul, which is controlled by IS.

    He was designated as a terrorist by the US Treasury and state department.

    The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was among four Americans killed in the Benghazi attacks in September 2012.

    US officials blamed the attack on militants linked to al-Qaeda.

    The Pentagon described Harzi as “a person of interest” in the attack on the US compound.

    It said he was an organisational intermediary who operated closely with extremists linked to IS – also known as Isil or Isis – throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

    “His death degrades Isil’s ability to integrate North African jihadists into the Syrian and Iraqi fight and removes a jihadist with long ties to international terrorism,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.

    The BBC’s Barbara Plett Usher in Washington says the US is deeply concerned about the spread of IS affiliates, especially in Libya, though it has so far restricted its military campaign to the group’s heartland in Syria and Iraq.”

  12. Calais migrants seek to exploit port strike (BBC, June 23, 2015)

    “A strike has forced the suspension of services through the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France, as hundreds of migrants try to board UK-bound lorries amid the chaos.

    Eurotunnel, which manages the crossing, said “protesters” had entered the terminal and started a fire.

    Migrants have been trying to board lorries caught in slow-moving traffic.

    About 3,000 migrants are estimated to be living rough around Calais, waiting for a chance to cross the channel.

    Lorry drivers have been advised to make sure all their doors are padlocked, to stick with other drivers and not to stop within about 60 miles (100km) of the port.

    Workers from the MyFerryLink company had blockaded the port of Calais in a protest over job cuts earlier on Tuesday….”

  13. Islamic State conflict: Three million displaced in Iraq (BBC, June 23, 2015)

    “More than three million people have been displaced by the conflict in Iraq since the start of 2014, the UN says.

    A statement by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said two-thirds were from the provinces of Anbar, Nineveh and Salahuddin.

    The regions have been hardest hit by fighting between Islamic State (IS) militants and pro-government forces.

    More than 276,000 people were displaced over the past two months amid fighting over Anbar’s capital, Ramadi.

    The city fell to IS in mid-May after the Iraqi army withdrew.

    Since then, pro-government forces led by Shia militias have launched a major operation to regain Ramadi and drive the jihadist group out of Anbar.

    The IOM said on Tuesday that at least 3.09 million Iraqis had fled their homes since January 2014, when IS militants overran parts of Ramadi and took control of the nearby city of Falluja, only 70km (45 miles) from the capital Baghdad.

    Six months later, half a million Iraqis, many of them members of ethnic or religious minorities, fled their homes to escape an IS offensive that saw the group capture the northern city of Mosul before sweeping southwards towards Baghdad and declaring the creation of a “caliphate”.

    Earlier this month, the UN’s Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, said more than eight million people in the country required immediate life-saving support, a number that could reach 10 million by the end of 2015….”

  14. EU Urged to Improve Migrant Centers as 1,000 More Rescued (abcnews, June 23, 2015)

    “The European Union must urgently improve overcrowded migrant reception centers in Italy and Greece, a leading humanitarian group said Tuesday as ships from Denmark and Norway plucked nearly 1,000 people from the Mediterranean Sea.

    Conflict and poverty have driven more than 100,000 migrants to Europe so far this year, and almost 2,000 have died or gone missing on the perilous sea journey.

    EU leaders will discuss an emergency plan to share thousands of new arrivals in Italy and Greece among the bloc’s 28 nations during a summit starting Thursday.

    No agreement on the contentious plan is likely before July, and four European countries — Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland — said Tuesday that they find it unacceptable.

    Doctors Without Borders migration expert Aurelie Ponthieu said the agency’s teams in the two countries are overwhelmed. More shelter, food, access to asylum information and help in identifying victims of abuse and torture are urgently needed, she said.

    “The situation is already out of control in Greece and the Italian reception system is up to its limits,” she said. “EU member states have the resources, and they have the responsibilities.”

    The call came as ships from Norway and Denmark signaled that they have picked up hundreds of migrants from small boats off the coast of Libya in the past 24 hours.

    Svein Kvalavaag, the captain of the Norwegian Siem Pilot vessel, said Monday he picked up 671 migrants from two wooden boats north of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Later that night his ship took on 99 more migrants rescued by a Russian tanker.

    Kvalavaag told the Norwegian industry site that the 770 people included 140 women, three of whom were pregnant, and 45 children. They were all brought to the southern Italian island of Sicily.

    Jesper Jensen, a spokesman for the Denmark-based Torm company, said its Singapore-flagged oil tanker Torm Arawa responded to a call Monday from the Italian coast guard that two boats carrying migrants were reported in distress off the coast off Libya. Jensen said Tuesday it picked up the 222 people, gave them food, water and blankets and brought them to a port in Italy’s southern region of Calabria.

    Doctors Without Borders said its three-ship rescue operation has picked up around 4,500 people in the Mediterranean since the beginning of May.”

  15. Lashed for smoking, caged for card-playing: This was life under ISIS (CNN, June 23, 2015)

    “Tal Abyad, Syria (CNN)Taking God’s name in vain could lead to prison; smoking cigarettes, a public lashing; playing cards, being locked in a cage for days.

    That was life under ISIS for residents of Tal Abyad, a dusty town on the Turkish-Syrian border and a gateway to the area of Syria ruled by the extremist militants.

    Signs of ISIS atrocities lurk close to the surface here.

    A traffic circle surrounded by a black fence seems non-descript, but talk to residents and they describe it as the “roundabout of death.”

    It is here that the harshest of punishments meted out by ISIS were executed. Beheadings, shootings and lashings, all part of ISIS’ brutal interpretation of Islam.

    Just down the road from the traffic circle sits a white cage. One man was put in the cage for three days, a resident says, simply for getting caught playing cards…..”

  16. Hungary unilaterally suspends EU asylum seeker rules

    Today’s suspension means Hungary is refusing to take back refugees who landed in Hungary, then traveled to another country. So far this year, more than 60,000 immigrants have crossed into Hungary illegally, the government said.

    Earlier this month, the country’s anti-immigrant prime minister, Viktor Orban, said the era of multiculturalism is over and Hungary should be spared its effects at all costs.

    Hungary suspends key EU asylum claim rule

    “The boat is full,” Zoltan Kovacs told Austrian media, referring to the recent influx of migrants.

    “We all wish for a European solution, but we need to protect Hungarian interests and our population.”

  17. Obama Ordering Changes in U.S. Hostage Policies

    WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday will announce that the government will no longer threaten criminal prosecution of the families of American hostages who are held abroad by groups like the Islamic State if they attempt to pay ransom for the release of their loved ones. The change is one of many that are intended to fix what the administration has acknowledged is a broken policy on United States captives, a senior administration official said.

    In a presidential directive and an executive order, Mr. Obama also plans to make clear that while he is keeping a longstanding federal prohibition against making concessions to those who take hostages, the government can communicate and negotiate with captors holding Americans or help family members seeking to do so in order to ensure their safe return.

    The changes make official what has long been the United States government’s unspoken practice in some hostage cases, but one that has been inconsistently applied and poorly understood both inside federal agencies and among family members desperate to win the release of their relatives.[…]

    […]Mr. Obama will acknowledge many of those problems and seek to confront them in part by creating a small family engagement team with a coordinator who would serve as a point of contact for relatives to the fusion cell and be a part of the White House hostage policy team. The report will say that officials should “clearly and accurately articulate to families what efforts the United States government is undertaking to locate and recover their loved ones.”

    Under the new policy, all government officials who interact with hostages’ families must also receive specialized training on the dynamics of hostage-taking, its impact on victims’ relatives and how to support both current and recovered hostages and their families.

  18. US ‘spied on French presidents’ – Wikileaks (BBC, June 23, 2015)

    “The US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on French Presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande in 2006-12, WikiLeaks says.

    The whistleblower website cites “top secret intelligence reports and technical documents” from the NSA.

    The US declined to comment, while Mr Hollande planned a defence council meeting on the issue for Wednesday, an aide told the AFP news agency.

    The NSA was earlier accused of spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    On Tuesday, Wikileaks said it began publishing the files under the heading “Espionnage Elysee” – a reference to the French presidential palace.

    It said the secret files “derive from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications” of the three French presidents as well as French ministers and the ambassador to the US.

    One of the files, dated 2012, is about Mr Hollande discussing Greece’s possible exit from the eurozone, while another one – from 2011 – alleges that Mr Sarkozy was determined to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, possibly without US involvement.

    It is unclear whether the material comes from data stolen by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the BBC’s security correspondent Gordon Corera says.

    The WikiLeaks files have now been published by France’s Liberation daily and the Mediapart investigative website.

    In response to the alleged leaks, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said: “We are not going to comment on specific intelligence allegations.

    “As a general matter, we do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike.”

    Separately, the French presidential aide told AFP that Mr Hollande would hold a defence council meeting “to evaluate the nature of the information published by the press on Tuesday evening and to draw useful conclusions”.

    The allegation that the US had spied on Germany’s Chancellor Merkel arose from documents leaked by Mr Snowden about large-scale US surveillance in 2013.

    Earlier this month Germany dropped its investigation, saying the NSA had failed to provide enough evidence to justify legal action.”

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