Reader links for Nov. 12 – 2015

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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

59 Replies to “Reader links for Nov. 12 – 2015”

  1. Krekar ‘jihadist network’ targeted in Europe terror raids (BBC, Nov 12, 2015)

    “Police have targeted 17 people in raids in several European countries connected to a suspected jihadist network.

    Among those arrested were six suspects in Italy, four in Britain, and three in Norway. Police say some of the suspects may have travelled to Syria or Iraq.

    Italy’s Ansa news agency said the suspects were accused of international terrorism association.
    The network was allegedly plotting to free its leader, Mullah Krekar, who is already in detention in Norway.

    Krekar, the Iraqi-Kurdish founder of the radical Islamist group, Ansar al-Islam, is one of those held in the operation.

    Two other suspects were arrested in Norway. The three of them are suspected of plotting attacks in Norway and other European countries, according to Italian police.

    They face extradition to Italy….”

    • 13 arrested from alleged European ISIS recruiting ring

      ROME — European law enforcement authorities announced Thursday they had broken up a Norway-based Iraqi Kurdish recruitment ring that radicalized prospects via the Internet and sent them to fight in Iraq and Syria alongside with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Thirteen people were arrested in Italy, Britain and Norway.

      Italian Carabinieri Gen. Giuseppe Governale called it “the most important police operation in Europe in 20 years.”

      Italian authorities said the ideological leader of the ring was Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, known as Mullah Krekar, who was already in prison in Norway. He had been a founder of the now-defunct Ansar al-Islam insurgent group of Sunni Kurds, which aimed to install an Islamic caliphate in Iraqi Kurdistan and merged with the ISIS last year.

      Once living in exile in Norway, Krekar formed another group, Rawti Shax, to educate a new generation of Iraqi Kurds in Europe to eventually return to violently overthrow the government in the Iraqi Kurdish region and replace it with a radical caliphate, Italian police said in a statement.

      He developed a network of followers across Europe who communicated by Internet chats, which Italian police monitored, leading to Thursday’s arrests. Eurojust, the European Union judicial cooperation agency, said 13 people were arrested in Italy, Britain and Norway.

      Italian authorities said arrest warrants were issued against 17 people, but at least one of them was killed in Iraq in 2014. The discrepancy couldn’t be immediately explained.

      The suspects are accused of international terrorism association.

      The emergence of ISIS provided Rawti Shax with a training ground, and at least six people were recruited to fight in Iraq and Syria, Italian officials told a press conference. At least two died in the region.

      Police said Rawti Shax created a virtual university online to radicalize potential recruits, and a secret committee discussed attacks against Norwegian diplomats and lawmakers to negotiate Krekar’s freedom. Governale, however, said the group’s primary activity was recruitment.

      Krekar was sentenced last month to 18 months in jail in Norway for praising the slaying of cartoonists at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had lampooned Islam and other religions. He was also found guilty of urging others to kill a Kurdish immigrant in Norway.

      The Norwegian suspects face a court hearing Friday in Oslo, Norway, pending a possible deportation to Italy, said a spokeswoman for Norway’s security service PST, Siv Alsen.

      Earlier this year, Ahmad was freed after nearly three years’ imprisonment for making death threats. The 59-year-old Kurd, who came to Norway as a refugee in 1991, was convicted in 2005 for a similar offense. Norway and the United States have accused Ahmad of financing Ansar al-Islam.

      “If this means that Krekar leaves Norway, that’s fine,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, speaking from Valettta, Malta, where she was taking part in an European Union summit on the migrant crisis.

  2. Sinjar battle: Kurds in offensive to retake Iraq town from IS (BBC, Nov 12, 2015)

    “Kurdish forces in northern Iraq have launched an offensive to retake Sinjar, a strategic town near the Syrian border, from Islamic State militants.

    The campaign is supported by air strikes by the US-led coalition.

    Recapturing Sinjar would effectively cut off the supply line between the IS strongholds of Raqqa and Mosul.

    When the town fell to IS last year, tens of thousands of people from the Yazidi religious minority were trapped after fleeing up Mount Sinjar.

    Hundreds of Yazidi men were killed and thousands of Yazidi women and girls captured and used as sex slaves…”

  3. Iran, France to Pursue Aviation, Auto Deals at Paris Talks (abcnews, Nov 12, 2015)

    “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran and France are pursuing deals in car manufacturing, agriculture and “probably” Airbus aircraft.

    Rouhani, speaking to France-2 television and Europe-1 radio Wednesday, said protocol agreements will be signed during his visit to Paris next week that will “constitute a basis” for renewed trade. He said negotiations are already under way on industrial cooperation in the auto sector and aviation in particular.

    The visit comes amid thawing relations after Iran and leading world powers, including France, reached an agreement this year aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

    Rouhani insisted that Iran “is completely ready to keep all of its commitments” of the nuclear deal as long as the other signatories “keep theirs as well.””

  4. EU Presses African Nations to Accept Migrants Back (abcnews, Nov 12, 2015)

    “The European Union pressed African leaders on Wednesday to take back thousands of people who do not qualify for asylum, as overwhelmed Slovenia began building a razor-wire border fence to keep migrants at bay, raising tensions with neighboring Croatia.

    Sweden, struggling to manage the influx too, became the latest EU nation to announce the introduction of temporary border controls, as of Thursday.

    According to the International Organization for Migration, almost 800,000 people have entered Europe by sea this year. The EU predicts that three million more could arrive by 2017.

    The Europeans say most Africans are coming in search of work and should be sent home, but many deliberately arrive without documents and must wait months before they are taken back.

    At an EU-run summit in Malta, African leaders are set to commit “to cooperate with the EU on return and admission, notably on travel documentation,” according to the latest draft of an “Action Plan” being drawn up…”

  5. Polish teacher: How many migrants must be pushed overboard for boat to float? (CNN, Nov 12, 2015)

    “To the teacher, the assignment was a simple question of physics. To critics, it was a tasteless assignment about death at sea.

    A teacher in the eastern Polish city of Bialystok gave the size of a boat and the number of people on board.

    The students’ assignment? To calculate how many Syrian refugees had to be thrown overboard for the boat to stay afloat and reach Greece.

    The teacher, Grzegorz Nowik, said it was a matter of holding the students’ attention.

    “Pupils are not interested when I explain the lift of a wooden block floating on water,” he said. “I told them it was a joke while saying words to be written down.”

    But if it was a joke, it was to many people a tasteless one, coming as it did when families trying to escape the war in Syria are drowning on a regular basis.

    And one mother, upon seeing the assignment in her daughter’s notebook, was not amused. She photographed the assignment and posted it on her Facebook page.

    “4 refugees from Syria are to reach Greece on a raft which is 1m x 2 m x 20cm and (illegible) 800kg/m2,” the assignment said. “Calculate how many refugees you need to push off the raft for them to reach their goal if each of them weigh 60kg.”

    School officials did not appreciate the joke, either.

    “We will terminate our cooperation immediately if it happens again,” said Elzbieta Stasiewicz, deputy director of the Bialystok Gymnasium. “The teacher apologized and repented for what he had done.”

    And the assignment drew criticism as well from Anna Mierzynska, of the Normal Bialystock Association, a group that promotes acceptance of multiculturalism.

    “This test question has some kind of subtext, not expressed directly — how many people must die so that anyone could survive,” Mierzynska said. “This is question about murdering.””

    • I guess it is “stupid” to ask why they dont give room to respond to someone who is against multiculturalism (and or who doesnt project a subtext that doesnt have to be there, and who more honestly tries to analyze the underlying moral dilemmas)…

  6. I am not Malala: Teachers release novel against Nobel Peace winner (tribune, Nov 12, 2015)

    “The All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) launched a rebuttal to Malala Yousafzai’s novel ‘I am Malala’ by releasing a book titled ‘I am not Malala, I am a Muslim, I am a Pakistani’ at the National Press Club in Islamabad.

    “The book is written with the aim to reveal the truth and counter anti-Islamic propaganda and expose the nefarious designs of anti-Islam forces,” said the author of the book, Mirza Kashif Ali, President All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF).

    “I am Not Malala, I am a Muslim, I am Pakistani” was introduced in a ceremony chaired by Ali at National Press Club in Islamabad.

    “I am Malala” describes Malala’s life under the Taliban’s brutal rule in the Swat valley in the mid-2000s and hints at her ambition to enter Pakistani politics.

    Some private schools banned it from their premises last year due to what they called its “anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam content”.

    APPSF which comprises of a total of 173,000 private schools termed the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s book ‘controversial’, banning it in all private schools and colleges as a result.

    According to the organisation, the book contains offensive text regarding Islam, Quranic teachings, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Pakistan’s ideology, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Pakistan Army, thus cannot be added in the curriculum.

    Earlier in a statement, Adeeb Javadani, the central president of All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association (APPSMA) said that the book, the book was meant for the Western audience and did not receive much appreciation in Pakistan – a fact that had already decided its fate.

    Further, APPSF announced its decision to take the matter to court on November 13, in order to ban the book across the country.

    “Malala is a darling of the west and Shiv Sena, the same people who created al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), have created Malala,” Ali said.

    The book, “I am not Malala”, aims to tell the readers that Malala, by comparing the Army with militants, the young literati is actually bashing the Army under the garb of female education.

    Further, while the book praised Aitizaz Hasan, the young student who sacrificed his life to save his schoolmates by tackling a suicide bomber, it also questions her indifference towards Israeli aggression or the ongoing brutality in Gaza, which she did not mention in her book for while she spoke against the atrocities of Boko Haram in Nigeria, thus concluding that Malala is loyal to the Jews and the west.

    “She has formed strong nexus with Salman Rushdie and Bangladeshi writer Tasleema Nasreen, and also believes in their ideology,” he alleged. “Malala says that she does not fear the Taliban any longer but will she return to Pakistan if she has no fears?” he questioned. “She will never do so because she will lose support of her masters and the easy money flowing in,” he further alleged.

    The rebuttal of Malal’s book also portrays her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai as a ‘double agent’, electricity thief and a traitor based on his demand to hand over Shakil Afridi, the man who allegedly ran a fake vaccination campaign with CIA’s help to gather information in order to assist the US trace Osama bin Laden.

    However, Ali stressed that the organisation went on a countrywide strike in order to show solidarity with Malala when she was attacked.

    “We are not against her but the ideology being imposed on us by such traitors and billions of dollars of Malala Fund are being used for this to introduce secular curriculum.”…”

  7. If anyone has any doubt that Socialism is only for the sensibilities of females:

    “In a statement read to the court today the victim, who met her former lover on Facebook, said she she had ‘poisoned her life’ took her ‘youth and vitality.’

    She said: ‘Not only have I had to delete all the friends I have made in Chester apart from one I feel like I can’t visit that friend or the beautiful city again.'”

    ‘Socially I feel trapped. Still living in this invisible prison Gayle has made.'”

    Eight years in prison?. I would have given her a David Attenborough Award for Achieving Consensual Sex.

    Though if a Muslim raped a little boy who then turned around and said, “please sir, can I have some more,” a Sharia Court would refer to some rooftops.

    These seedy governments that promote then interfere with promiscuous relationship.

    A lesser sentence than deliberately giving someone syphillis.

  8. Assailants open fire on church in Giza’s Haram district, injuring policeman (ahram, Nov 12, 2015)

    “Unknown assailants fired several shots at an evangelical church in Giza’s Haram district midday Wednesday, leaving a policeman injured, MENA state news agency reported.
    Sources from the interior ministry told the state news agency that three assailants riding a motorcycle were witnessed opening fire on the church.

    The sources said the assailants then started shooting at the security personnel who were guarding the church. The guards returned fire.

    The last similar attack on churches in Egypt was in April, when assailants opened fire on a church in Alexandria, injuring a policeman and four civilians.

    Minor bombs in churches were also reported in different governorates in April, resulting in minor injuries.”

  9. UPDATED: Assailants raid house, kill 8 in Egypt’s North Sinai Al-Arish city (ahram, Nov 12, 2015?,-kill–in-Egypts-Nor.aspx

    “Eight civilians were shot dead late Wednesday by unknown assailants who raided their home in Egypt’s North Sinai Al-Arish city, MENA state news agency reported.

    Security and medical sources told the state news agency that the unknown assailants raided a house in Al-Batal district in Al-Arish city and shot everyone present in the house.

    The attack resulted in the death of eight people, one of which was a young girl, while another individual was injured.

    Security sources claim that the killing of the eight individuals was due to conflicts between families.

    AFP, however, reported that the “victims had been killed for cooperating with security forces,” according to other security sources.

    Previous media reports have been issued of civilians killed by Islamist militants for allegedly cooperating with the army and police personnel in the northern parts of the peninsula.

    Al-Arish is at the center of ongoing fighting between Egyptian armed forces and Islamist militants Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis.

    The majority of attacks carried out by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis are reported to have targeted security personnel.

    Fighting between the Egyptian armed forces and Islamist militants has intensified in the past two years, with hundreds killed from both camps.”

  10. Turkey reportedly detains 11 IS suspects in Istanbul (ahram, Nov 12, 2015)–IS-suspects-in-Istanbul.aspx

    “Turkey’s state-run news agency says police have detained 11 people in a new security sweep in Istanbul against suspected Islamic State militants.
    The Anadolu Agency says the suspects, including seven foreign nationals, were detained Thursday during simultaneous raids on some 20 addresses in the city.

    The report said the suspects had arrived in Turkey to join the IS group. There was no information on their nationalities.

    Turkey has detained dozens of IS suspects in recent weeks, including some 20 in or near the city of Antalya, which will be hosting U.S. President Barack Obama and other G-20 leaders at a summit meeting Sunday and Monday.”

  11. Refugees opting for Bulgaria route exposed to violence (DW, Nov 12, 2015)

    “Refugees opting for a land route to Europe are hiking in and out of Bulgaria, where they must cross dense forests and lightly populated areas that leave them exposed to violence from local gangs, human trafficking rings and the Bulgarian border police.

    Many refugees arrive in Serbia with swollen faces and bruised bodies, claiming they were attacked, robbed and, at times, detained in residential houses or hotels where they are forced to pay off middlemen and kidnappers. To bring light to the issue, volunteers working at a refugee camp in Dimitrovgrad, a Serbian town just four kilometers north of the Bulgarian border, have been collecting testimonials from injured refugees and documenting their experiences.

    “They are being targeted by both local criminals and the Bulgarian border police, and don’t know which one is worse,” said Sharon Silvey, a British volunteer coordinator in Dimitrovgrad. “We have reports that police officers beat them, set dogs on them, make them stand naked in holding cells and spray them with cold water … I’ve seen their wounds. They kick them like footballs.”

    Ahmad Salim, a telecommunications engineering student from Jalalabad, Afghanistan, who arrived in Dimitrovgrad, said his family avoided the Bulgarian police by walking along mountain crests, but he did not advise other families to take the Bulgarian route.

    “The police are hunting refugees like it’s a sport,” Salim said. “My friends said the first thing they ask for is your mobile phone so you can’t record anything or communicate with anyone about where you are. Then they beat you.”….”

  12. Berlin police raid homes in crackdown on right-wing ‘hate speech’ (DW, Nov 12, 2015?

    “Police have raided buildings in the German capital in a crackdown on far-right hate speech.

    Officers confiscated smart phones and computers and urged social networks to help slow the spread of xenophobic content.

    Berlin police searched several homes early on Thursday for the source of allegedly illegal far-right material that had been posted on the Internet. Some 60 state security officials were involved in the raids, which took place in a number of Berlin districts.

    Smart phones and computers were seized, police and prosecutors said, but the devices’ contents were yet to be evaluated.

    State security were said to be systematically investigating individuals for incitement against asylum seekers and refugee housing. A total of 10 search warrants were executed.

    If charged and convicted of incitement, individuals face heavy fines or even imprisonment.

    Berlin’s top security official, Frank Henkel, said authorities “won’t turn away if racism or incitement is being spread on the Internet.”

    Henkel called on social network operators to put in place more effective controls to combat hate speech. Facebook, in particular, has been accused of doing too little to deal with the issue in Germany.

    Germany’s domestic intelligence service has warned of a radicalization of right-wing groups amid a record influx of migrants into Germany. There have been protests against refugee homes and clashes with police in several towns, mostly in the former communist East Germany.”

  13. Germany’s Schäuble likens migrant wave to ‘avalanche’ (DW, Nov 12, 2015)

    “German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has compared the refugee crisis to an avalanche that could engulf Europe. He appealed for greater solidarity in the issue, although there a few signs of that emerging.

    The German finance minister warned that EU member states could still see the immigration crisis worsen, adopting an alpine metaphor to get his point across.

    “Avalanches can be triggered if any careless skier hits the slopes and moves a little snow,” said Schäuble.

    “Whether we are already in the situation where the avalanche has already reached the valley below, or if we are in the situation where it is on the upper slopes, I don’t know,” he told the Centre for European Policy in Berlin on Wednesday.

    The migration issue, Schäuble said, was a “rendezvous of our society with globalization.” The pressure of migration, he said, was something that could only be solved at a European level “or it could go quite badly for all of us.”

    Schäuble added that he believed the problem could not be solved by Germany alone, or by internal borders within the EU. “Nation states can no longer resolve these big issues,” he said.

    Schäuble’s appeal comes as further splits emerge among member states on how to deal with the issue. Germany has warned that it could send refugees from Syria back to other EU states, with Hungary on Wednesday insisting it would take none. Meanwhile Slovenia has begun to emulate Hungary by erecting border fences while Denmark has said it is tightening immigration rules.

    In Sweden, the government imposed temporary border controls from Thursday, a turnaround on its open-door policy so far….”

      Sallah Shabati (Hebrew: ???? ???? ) is a 1964 Israeli comedy film about the chaos of Israeli immigration and resettlement… Upon arrival [Sallah Shabati] is brought to live in a ma’abara, or transit camp. He is given a broken down, one room shack in which to live with his family and spends the rest of the movie attempting to make enough money to purchase adequate housing. His money-making schemes are often comical and frequently satirize the political and social stereotypes in Israel of the time.

  14. Around 3,000 migrants spend the night in the Serbian town of Presevo waiting to get registration papers to allow them to continue their journey into western Europe.

  15. LEBANON – BEIRUT – At Least 37 Killed in Twin Suicide Blasts in Lebanese Capital

    Lebanese officials say at least 37 people were killed in twin suicide blasts in a predominantly Shi’ite suburb in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.

    Authorities say the explosions occurred minutes apart late Thursday in Burj al-Barajneh, a busy commercial and residential area in southern Beirut. At least 40 people were wounded.

    The area is a stronghold of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

    It has been hit in the past, and Sunni militants groups have threatened to carry out more attacks

  16. Berlin police raid 10 sites in German capital in crackdown on online anti-migrant hate speech

    BERLIN – Berlin police say they’ve raided 10 buildings in the German capital as part of a crackdown on far-right hate speech on social media networks.

    Police said Thursday that the morning raids involved 60 officers, who confiscated smartphones and computers as evidence, which are now being evaluated. They didn’t have any immediate information on arrests.

    They say the raids are part of an ongoing investigation into hate speech spread over social media meant to incite people against asylum-seekers and refugee housing.

    Berlin’s top security official, Frank Henkel, says authorities “won’t turn away if racism or incitement is being spread on the Internet.”

    He says that the authorities alone can’t police hate speech online and appealed for social networks themselves to combat it more effectively.

  17. France, Calais: Muslims react to Calais following the Quran burned

    The Muslims of Calais deplored the silence of the French authorities and denounce an attack against Islam and Muslims after a Koran was burned last Sunday during an anti-migrant demonstration, reports the local press.

    “I am disgusted to see that. This silence, municipality, public authorities, is deplorable . It is on the road. There is a big problem there! It happens in an authorized demonstration framed. Lets make it without saying anything, it shocks me, “complains Samlali Ismail, a Muslim living in the locality.

    Following the lead of him, his fellow Muslim Mohamed El Idrissi said that the matter should be resolved at the “justice must do its work. The Koran is the constitution of Muslims is sacred” “By burning the Koran, you attack Islam, Muslims.

    We are in a world where Islam has become the enemy. But that’s what happened with Charlie Hebdo, we condemn all that ” he added. Both lean to the thesis of the demonstrator who “served themselves migrants to protest an anti-Islam.”

    To recall, last Sunday in Calais, members of different identity or nationalist movements Lille, Picardy, Bordeaux and Marseille came manifested against Islam and immigration they called “white genocide”.

    Some demonstrators came against them chanting peace slogans. Although the demonstration did not degenerate, the tension was palpable and a Koran was burned during the authorized demonstration.

  18. Jordanian police academy killer on a journey to ‘paradise or hell’

    Thousands of mourners have attended the funeral of a Jordanian police captain who shot dead five people at police training centre.

    Two of the victims were American instructors and the throng chanted “death to America, death to Israel,” as he was laid to rest.

  19. REFUGEES WELCOME – BONN – Stellungnahme zur Party am 7. November

    Refugees Welcome Bonn e.V. wants to comment on the incidents that happened on party on the Township on Nov. 7th and was co-organized by our group. On the party we observed that some men molested, touched and harassed women. As co-organizer we want to apologize. During the party we tried to identify the offenders and make the leave the venue; also we made announcements where we asked to stop this behavior immediately. However, these measures were not successful. We apologize for that! Those men cast a negative light on our organization as well as on all men and male refugees, who were at our party. This misbehavior does not, however, reflect the attitude of the vast majority of the refugees. But it entraps to a generalization that we do not want to follow. Single men, who do not know how to behave, exist in every country 🙂 🙂 🙂 and society as well as patriarchal structures which come to light through such behaviour 🙂 🙂 🙂 . However, we do not want to deny that there are cultural differences . But instead of just adversely pointing fingers at those who misbehave, we believe it’s as important for everyone in our civil society to tackle these differences in the daily integration.

    For that reason we will increase our efforts to give no space to such behaviour during our upcoming parties and other events. We believe it’s essential to treat each other with respect and share the idea of a general equality between all human beings. That necessarily includes, akzepting a „No“, when making advances to somebody, instead of forcing your will on another person.
    We as a group campaign for this. Still it has to be said clearly, that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and not tolerated in our group.

  20. ITALY MILAN – Jewish Man Repeatedly Stabbed by Female Arab in Milan

    A 40-year-old Jewish man was repeatedly stabbed in Milan by a female Arab terrorist

    A 40-year-old Chabad Hasid, identified as Natan Graff, was stabbed between three to nine times in the head by a terrorist, while walking on the street in a Jewish neighborhood of Milan, Italy.

    The injured Jewish man is currently in the hospital and is listed in light to moderate condition.

    He was attacked outside of Carmel Pizza, a kosher pizzeria on via San Gimignano, which is right next to a Jewish school, Scuola Comunita Israelitica.

    The terrorist stabber is a female Arab who attempted to flee the attack site but was captured.

    After the attack there was also bomb scare outside the re Salomone kosher restaurant on via Sardinia. It turned out to be nothing.

    The victim’s name is Natan ben Chana Sara, and prayers for his recovery are encouraged.

    He lives in Milan and holds Israeli citizenship.

  21. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s family members indicted in U.S. court

    Two members of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s family have been indicted in the United States on drug trafficking conspiracy charges, prosecutors said Thursday.

    Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, 29, and Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, 30, were arrested Tuesday night in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince as they were preparing to finalize a deal that would have allowed them to transport 800 kilograms of drugs to the United States, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration source who participated in the arrest.

    One of the men was raised by Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores; the other is her nephew.

    An indictment unsealed Thursday accuses the men of conspiring to import, manufacture and distribute 5 or more kilograms of cocaine into the United States. In October, the indictment says, Campo and Flores de Freitas “participated in meetings in Venezuela, regarding a shipment of cocaine that was to be sent to the United States, via Honduras.”

    The men were set to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday. If they are convicted, the charge carries the maximum penalty of life in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York said.

    Diplomatic immunity claimed

    Information about the arrest was corroborated by Mike Vigil, a former chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration who has contacts that are high-level federal law enforcement officials.

    During the arrest, both men had Venezuelan diplomatic passports and openly identified themselves as the son and nephew of Flores, maintaining that they had diplomatic immunity, Vigil said.

    CNN contacted Haitian authorities to ask about the arrest, but officials there said they were not involved in the raid.

    President decries ‘imperial ambushes’

    The Venezuelan government has not responded to requests for comment.

    Maduro and Flores married in July 2013, several months after he was sworn in as Venezuela’s President on the heels of the death of longtime leader Hugo Chavez.

    But they’d been a couple for years, and both of them were members of Chavez’ inner circle. During Chavez’ final years in office, Maduro was vice president and foreign minister; Flores was the attorney general.

    Now, rather than going by the title of first lady, Flores uses the term “first fighter” to describe her role.

    Photos posted on Venezuelan government Twitter accounts Thursday showed Maduro and Flores smiling as they arrived in Geneva, where the Venezuelan leader spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Commission. In his speech, Maduro criticized what he said were decades of U.S. efforts to undercut his country’s government with bogus allegations of human rights violations.

    In a tweet posted shortly after reports of the arrests, he decried “imperial ambushes” against Venezuela, but he did not mention his family members.

    “The Fatherland will continue on its path,” Maduro wrote, “neither attacks, nor imperial ambushes, will be a match against the People of the Liberators, we have only one destiny … to win.”

  22. CNN – Turkish president: The refugee crisis is a ‘human drama’ ( 4 min 44 )

    Ahead of the G20 summit in Turkey, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells CNN’s Hala Gorani that the western world has shut down its doors on refugees flooding into Europe.

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