Reader’s links for Dec. 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

61 Replies to “Reader’s links for Dec. 23 – 2015”

  1. A rare bit of good news from Scandinavia (or maybe Fennoscandia if we’re being technical)

    The article is from Finland’s version of the CBC so it’s oh so lachrymose, but the money quote is here:

    “Helenius says that those who leave often base their applications on a family member falling ill or dying in their home country. Many also cite feeling homesick for their country and missing their family. The process itself has also taken some by surprise.

    “People may have had the notion that the asylum procedure is quick and effective at uniting families. When they realise that that is not true they change their minds and opt to return,” says Helenius.”

    So in other words, the chief inspector of Finland’s Immigration Service is basically confirming two things we already knew:

    1) These people have no fear of persecution in their home country.(Try for a second to imagine a Jew returning to Nazi Germany in 1940)

    2) The young men showing up on European shores are the first wave. The second will be composed of the rest of their extended family/clan. All eager for welfare benefits.

  2. Refugees in Italy revolt over lack of Wi-Fi

    Migrants dump rubbish in the streets in protest over the fact the free Italian villa they have been given does not have a CLEANER and wi-fi

    Refugees were given shelter at the Italian duplex after arriving from Africa

    They blocked roads in town near Milan, sparking heated rows with locals

    The town’s mayor said: ‘We absolutely won’t tolerate protests like this’

  3. Experts call for strict Pak-Afghan border management (tribune, Dec 23, 2015)

    “With militants crossing Pak-Afghan border becoming a major issue, experts from Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to put in place a stronger, mutually coordinated border management mechanism.

    This decision was taken at an unofficial security dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan that concluded in Kabul on Tuesday. Retired generals, parliamentarians and security experts from both sides deliberated upon key issues and would now share their recommendations with their respective governments.

    A joint declaration issued after the conference called for devising a formal mechanism to coordinate security operations on both sides of the border. It recommended establishing hotlines and developing other communication systems between commanders on ground for intelligence sharing and enforcing developing standard operating procedures….”

  4. Muslim couple thrown out of US mall for ‘suspicious’ behaviour (tribune, Dec 23, 2015)

    “A Muslim couple was thrown out of a mall in Arkansas, US and termed ‘terrorists’ on social media because their alleged “suspicious behavior” sparked concern among shoppers.

    Alan and Daphne Crawford, who were dressed in a thobe and hijab, were escorted from the Central Mall in Fort Smith, Arkansas, with their son on Saturday after customers saw them filming and alerted security.

    The family had purchased $200 worth of shoes and a pair of Armani glasses when five police officers turned up and asked to leave the mall.

    The couple was told that they were recording videos which went against mall policy that forbids photography without permission. It was not clear what the couple was filming at the time and they were not charged for any offences….”

  5. Afghan Minister: Troops Rushed to Area Under Taliban Attack (abcnews, Dec 23, 2015)

    “Reinforcements have been rushed to a besieged southern district threatened for days with takeover by Taliban fighters, Afghanistan’s acting defense minister said on Wednesday.

    Fighting in the Sangin district of Helmand was continuing as army and police arrived to help security forces who had been pinned down for days, Masoom Stanekzai said.

    Afghanistan’s embattled security forces needed international military help, especially air support, which would help reduce casualties, Stanekzai told reporters.

    Sangin is an important poppy-growing district in Helmand, which borders Pakistan and sits on transport routes for drugs, arms and other lucrative contraband.

    “The Helmand battle is not easy because the province has a long border, is a core of opium production, and our enemies are well-equipped and deeply involved in the smuggling of drugs,” he said. “These factors complicate the battle for Sangin.”

    Britain has sent a small contingent of soldiers to Helmand as advisers under the NATO mandate. The return of British troops is poignant, as they suffered more than 100 of their 456 fatalities during their 13-year Afghan combat mission in Sangin.

    Afghanistan’s security forces are taking on the Taliban alone, following the end of the international combat mission last year. The U.S. and NATO have around 13,000 troops in the country, most of them operating under a training mandate.

    Districts across Helmand have been threatened by the Taliban in recent months. The fight for Sangin has been particularly ferocious, with officials saying that only the army base was still in government hands until Tuesday.

    Supply lines were cut, preventing ammunition and food from reaching government forces, and roads around the district center mined, officials have said.

    Stanekzai said that with the arrival of new troops to the area, the battle would be reinvigorated and “this should help cut the number of casualties, and provide much-needed logistical support.””

  6. Germany Arrests Man Suspected in Drowning of 5 Migrants (abcnews, Dec 23, 2015)

    “Police in Germany have arrested a suspected people-trafficker over the drowning of five migrants off the coast of Turkey in April.

    Jens Schobranski, a spokesman for federal police, says the 37-year-old Syrian man was arrested Tuesday in Strausberg, near Berlin.

    Schobranski said Wednesday that a relative of one of those who drowned tracked down the unidentified suspect and tipped German police.

    The suspect, who came to Germany as a refugee in August, allegedly had taken $2,400 from fellow Syrian migrants and put them on a small boat to Greece despite bad weather. It capsized and sank.

    Schobranski said police are hoping others harmed by the man’s actions might come forward. He faces a minimum of three years imprisonment if convicted of trafficking resulting in death.”

  7. Nigerians: Cameroon Troops Chase Insurgents, Kill 70 (abcnews, Dec 23, 2015)

    “Cameroonian troops have killed at least 70 residents while chasing Islamic insurgents in the Gwoza area of Borno state in northeastern Nigeria, fleeing villagers said.

    Troops entered Kirawa-Jimni village on Sunday, asked where Boko Haram insurgents were and started shooting, residents said.

    “We didn’t know what was going on but the Cameroonian troops suddenly appeared and began to ask us for Boko Haram terrorists,” said Muhammed Abba, a resident of the village and deputy commander of a local group of civilians set up to fight the extremists in Gwoza. “Before we could say a word, they started firing. That scared most of us and we began to run.”

    Abba said that when people returned Monday, they found 70 corpses littering the ground.

    The Borno state spokesman for a civilian self-defense group, Abbas Gava, confirmed the reports, saying he received calls from residents of Ashigashiya village near the border with Cameroon.

    “They said the soldiers were in hot pursuit of the Boko Haram terrorists who ran into Kirawa-Jimni. The soldiers did not waste time upon arrival as they immediately opened fire on the villagers,” he said.

    Kirawa-Jimni is a border community near Cameroon, located around the area where Boko Haram insurgents once held sway. Many Gwoza residents who had fled to Maiduguri and Yola say the insurgents are still very present in the area.

    Cameroonian troops also chased Boko Haram fighters into Nigerian territory on Nov. 30, killing at least 150 people, burning huts and forcing people out of their communities, Nigerians said.

    Cameroon’s government denied the charges, saying the military is trained to respect human rights. It said it had also carried out a coordinated operation on several border villages around Lake Chad Nov. 27 to Nov. 29, freeing 900 people held by extremists.”

  8. British MP Says US Denied Boarding to Muslim Family (abcnews, Dec 23, 2015)

    “Prime Minister David Cameron’s office says he will investigate a lawmaker’s claim that U.S. officials prevented a British Muslim family from flying to Disneyland for a planned holiday.

    Stella Creasy, a member of the opposition Labour Party, says U.S. officials gave no explanation for refusing to allow her constituents to board a flight from Gatwick Airport on Dec. 15. She told The Guardian newspaper this is part of a larger pattern affecting British Muslims, and that a lack of information from U.S. officials is sparking resentment among Muslims who feel discriminated against.

    The issue is sensitive in part because U.S. presidential contender Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims visiting the U.S. due to concerns about extremist attacks.

    Creasy’s office told The Associated Press Wednesday that she had written to Cameron seeking his intervention. She complained that U.S. officials who kept the family from boarding provided no information and complained she had hit “a brick wall” seeking information about the case.

    Creasy told the prime minister there is “growing fear” among British Muslims that aspects of Trump’s plans are coming into practice even though they have been widely condemned.

    She warned that some Muslims believe the public condemnation of Trump’s position “contrasts with what is going on in practice.”

    Cameron’s office said he would look into the matter. He had earlier characterized Trump’s policy as “divisive and wrong.”

    U.S. Embassy officials declined immediate comment Wednesday.”

  9. Iraq: Car Bombings Kill at Least 7 North of Baghdad (abcnews, Dec 23, 2015)

    “Iraqi officials say car bombings in a town north of Baghdad have killed at least seven civilians.

    A police officer says the first car was parked inside a bus station in the town of Khalis, killing three and wounding 10 others. He added that the second one exploded in the town’s outdoor grocery market, killing four civilians and wounding eight.

    The Shiite-majority town is located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad.

    A medical official confirmed causalities. Both spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

    The attack came a day after Iraqi security forces reported progress in recapturing some areas in the western city of Ramadi from the Islamic State militants who control about a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria.”

  10. Somalia bans Christmas celebrations (BBC, Dec 23, 2015)

    “Somalia’s government has banned the celebration of Christmas, warning that such Christian festivities could threaten the nation’s Muslim faith.

    “Those celebrations are not in any way related to Islam,” an official at the religious affairs ministry said.

    Security agencies have been directed to stay alert to stop any gatherings.

    Foreigners are free to mark the Christian holiday in their own homes, but hotels and other public places have been prohibited from marking the day.

    “Having Muslims celebrate Christmas in Somalia is not the right thing, such things are akin to the abandonment,” local media quote Mohamed Kheyrow, a top official at Somalia’s justice and religious affairs ministry, as saying.

    Correspondents say as the country recovers from years of civil war, a growing number of Somalis who grew up in the diaspora are returning home, some of them bringing Western customs with them.

    Christmas is not widely celebrated in Somalia, which officially adopted Sharia in 2009, but the odd event was held – especially as an excuse to hold a party, correspondents say.

    Mr Kheyrow said Christmas was “part of another faith, a custom for another religion which has nothing to do with the Islamic faith”.

    Celebrations will be allowed at UN compounds and bases for African Union peacekeepers, who are in the country to back the government’s fight against militants from the Islamist al-Shabab group.”

  11. Scurvy. TB. Scarlet fever: They’re all back (CNN, Dec 23, 2015)

    “… Some London neighborhoods have higher rates of tuberculosis than almost anywhere else in the world, as high as 113 per 100,000 people. That’s significantly higher than in countries such as Rwanda, Iraq and Guatemala.

    “We think TB is a disease of developing countries or of days gone by, but TB is a disease of today. It certainly was a disease of yesterday, and we need to make sure that it isn’t a disease of tomorrow,” says Dr. Onkar Sarhota, who is chair of London’s Health Committee.

    TB is one disease often synonymous with poverty, affecting the most vulnerable.

    And it is not the only such disease worrying London’s doctors.

    Recent studies for Britain’s National Health Service found that other diseases, widespread in the 19th and early 20th centuries, are making a comeback.

    “There has been a huge rise in scarlet fever — 14,000 [suspected] cases in the last year, the highest since the 1960s,” says Dr. Nuria Martinez-Alier, a London immunologist. “We have seen a rise in the cases of tuberculosis, we’ve seen a rise in cases of whooping cough, we have seen more measles in the last 10 years than in the last 10 years before that,” she warns.

    Over the past five years in England, hospital admissions for scarlet fever have risen 136%, scurvy by 38% and cholera by 300%, though the number of scurvy and cholera cases is very small.

    Modern factors like migration are contributing to the resurgence, as well as age-old afflictions: malnutrition, poverty and lack of access to health care.

    In England, malnutrition has risen by 51% over the past five years, the National Health Service reports.

    And there are other factors.

    “We are seeing a reduced vaccine uptake, for example with measles; reduced population immunity, for example with whooping cough; increased poverty and more people on the poverty line,” Martinez-Alier says.

    London health officials credit awareness campaigns and free screening sessions in the city for a steady improvement in the rate of tuberculosis infection this year, though it remains high…”

    • These are another reason to halt all immigration until we can find out who is a jihadists and who is sick. What most people don’t know is that once the idea of germs caught on the US quarantined all immigrants until they were proven to be disease free. Those that were sice were shipped back to Europe. We need to do the same thing now.

  12. Chinese media accuses labour activists of ‘disrupting social order’

    Chinese state media accused seven detained labour activists of “meddling” in employment disputes and “seriously disrupting social order” on Wednesday, as an uptick in labour protests coincides with slowing economic growth.

    One of the accused, Zeng Feiyang, the director of labour rights group the Panyu Workers’ Centre, was detained earlier this month in southern China along with at least two other activists, the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin (CLB) reported.

    “Workers’ representatives believe that the true intentions of Zeng Feiyang et al is to incite workers to strike, create social impact, interfere with factories’ normal production and disturb social order,” the state-run Xinhua news agency said. The report also accused him of accepting overseas funding.

  13. China’s counterterrorism bill ‘inspired by US’

    Beijing (AFP) – China studied US legislation to draft its controversial counterterrorism law, it said Wednesday, amid concerns in Washington that the bill’s provisions may tighten media controls and threaten the intellectual property of foreign tech firms.
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    The country’s first anti-terror law comes as Beijing wages a controversial campaign to stamp out ethnic violence linked to the western Xinjiang region and works to tighten controls over political dissent online and on the ground.

    The homeland of the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority has been plagued by unrest in recent years, provoking China to launch a police crackdown on separatist “terrorists” it says are behind the violence.

  14. Now the TSA can force you to go through the body-scanner

    Your next flight might include a mandatory trip through the body scanner, with the US government quietly changing the opt-out rules for searches. In a document published earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security outlined an update to the Advanced Imagery Technology protocols used by the TSA at US airports, adding a clause which allows officers to insist travelers go through the controversial machines.

    Previously, though the body scanners were present at many airports across the country, travelers were free to opt-out of the process. Billed as a privacy consideration, it meant a physical screening was mandatory, but alleviated concerns held by some that the technology could “see them naked” and store photographs of that.

    Now, though, that option is being diluted, though not completely retired.

    “TSA is updating the AIT PIA to reflect a change to the operating protocol regarding the ability of individuals to opt opt-out of AIT screening in favor of physical screening,” the DHS writes. “While passengers may generally decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening, TSA may direct mandatory AIT screening for some passengers.”

  15. Spain’s socialists reject pact with ruling People’s Party

    MADRID (Reuters) – The leader of Spain’s Socialists Pedro Sanchez on Wednesday said his party would vote against a new government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy or of his People’s Party, rejecting a pact between the country’s two main parties.

    Such an alliance would be one of the only combination of political forces allowing a stable government in Spain after an inconclusive election on Sunday.

    “We say ‘no’ to Rajoy and his policies,” Sanchez told a news conference after meeting with Rajoy.

    “The Socialists will work so that there is a new government, a government of change, with progressive ideas and capacity for dialogue,” he also said.

  16. Teacher ordered to take down tiny Christmas tree aptly analyzes problem with so-called ‘tolerance’

    Catherine Gordon, who teaches math at Bangor High School, has been decorating her classroom each Christmas season for the past three decades with a tiny pink Hello Kitty Christmas tree.

    On Friday, Gordon received an email from the principal telling her the tree was inappropriate.

    Her response neatly sums up the problem with zero tolerance policies, which have become a fixture in schools throughout the country. She told Boston NBC affiliate WLBZ:

    I just think it’s because of the culture and our society now, that we are so afraid that it might offend somebody, that we have become so conscious of that, that in our wanting to not offend, we literally are being restrictive on everything now. It’s like nothing is deemed appropriate.

  17. France sticks to plan to strip terrorists’ passports

    UPDATED: After appearing to have ditched the move the French government made a last minute decision to push through a plan to strip dual nationals of the French citizenship if they are convicted of terror offences.

    Did Frenchwoman buy fake belly to hide bomb?

    A French woman and her partner have been arrested in the south of France on suspicion of using a fake pregnancy belly to hide explosives in order to carry out a terror attack.

    The 25-year-old woman, a convert to radical Islam from the French city of Montpellier was arrested by police on Monday and remains in custody along with her 34-year-old partner.

  18. Woman killed in blast at an Istanbul airport

    A female cleaner was killed and another wounded early Wednesday after an explosion of unknown origin beside a plane at Istanbul’s second international airport, with Turkey on high alert for possible attacks.

  19. The Importance of Saying ‘Merry Christmas’

    The nearly universal change from wishing fellow Americans “Merry Christmas” to wishing them “Happy Holidays” is a very significant development in American life.

    Proponents of “Happy Holidays” argue that it’s no big deal at all, and that proponents of “Merry Christmas” are making a mountain out of a molehill, especially when proponents say that the substitution of “Happy Holidays” is part of a “war on Christianity.”

    But the “Happy Holidays” advocates want it both ways.

    They dismiss opponents as hysterical while, at the same time, relentlessly pushing to rid America of “Merry Christmas.”

    So, then, which is it? Is the substitution of “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas” important or not?

    The answer is obvious.

    It is very important. That’s why the anti “Merry Christmas” crowd has worked so hard to make this greeting a thing of the past.

    And they have been extraordinarily successful.

  20. New York Times: ISIS Roots in Iraq Predated Iraq War

    “The Islamic State was not created by removing Saddam Hussein’s regime; it is the afterlife of that regime”

    This is a pretty good piece that makes its way through much of the same territory that my own, “The US Didn’t Create ISIS, Saddam and Assad Did” followed. Kyle Orton goes deeper into depth in some areas and it’s a good thing to see something like this run in the New York Times.

    Kyle Orton also makes some important points,

    The government imposed a version of Shariah law: Thieves had their hands cut off, homosexuals were thrown from rooftops and prostitutes were beheaded in public squares. Numerous mosques were built, Quran study became a national focus and midlevel clerics acquired new roles as community leaders.

    The Faith Campaign claimed to be ecumenical, but its clear pro-Sunni tilt led to a final collapse of relations between the state and the Shiite population and heightened sectarian tensions. In the Sunni areas, however, the campaign was effective, creating a religious movement I call Baathi-Salafism, under Mr. Hussein’s leadership. It also eased strains between the regime and independent religious movements like the “pure” Salafists, whose long opposition to the regime gave way to some of its members serving in its administration, even though Mr. Hussein was warned by his intelligence chief that if the alliance continued, the Salafists would eventually supplant the regime.

    Alongside the Faith Campaign, Mr. Hussein’s regime constructed a system of cross-border smuggling networks designed to evade the sanctions. This funded a system of patronage, much of it distributed through mosques, that maintained a series of militias directly loyal to the ruler, like the Fedayeen Saddam and the Sunni tribes, as a hedge against any repeat of the 1991 Shiite revolt. These networks, which are deeply entrenched in the local populations, especially the tribes of western Iraq, are now run by the Islamic State, adding to the difficulty of uprooting the “caliphate.”

  21. How Saddam Hussein Gave Us ISIS

    WIRRAL, England — WHOM should we blame for the Islamic State? In the debate about its origins, many have concluded that it arose from the American-led coalition’s errors after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In fact, the groundwork for the emergence of the militant jihadist group was laid many years earlier by the government of Saddam Hussein.
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    The Arab nationalist Baath Party, which seized power in 1968 in a coup in which Mr. Hussein played a key role, had a firmly secular outlook. This held through the 1970s, even as religiosity rose among the Iraqi people. But soon after Mr. Hussein invaded Iran in 1980, it began to change.

    In a few tactical instances during the 1980s, Mr. Hussein allied with Islamists, notably the Muslim Brotherhood, to destabilize his regional rival in Syria, but these were limited, plausibly deniable links. In 1986, however, the Pan-Arab Command, the Baath Party’s top ideological institution, formally reoriented Iraq’s foreign policy toward an alliance with Islamists. This was the first clear deviation from secular Baathism.

    The shift was accompanied by a domestic “Islamization,” with regime media dropping references to a “secular state” and describing the war against Iran as a “jihad.” The changes accelerated after 1989 when Michel Aflaq, the Christian founder of the Baath Party, died, and Mr. Hussein claimed that Mr. Aflaq had converted to Islam. Alive, Mr. Aflaq was a bulwark against Islamization; as a dead convert, he could — and did — baptize a new direction.

  22. TURKEY -Wiretapping reveals communication between Turkish officers and ISIL

    Some Turkish officers on the Syrian border have been revealed to have communicated with terrorists of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, a daily reported on Tuesday.

    “It emerged that the telephone communications some officers made with ISIL militants were wiretapped,” the Cumhuriyet daily said, describing the officers’ contact with ISIL members as scandalous.

    The wiretapping reportedly took place last year as part of an investigation conducted by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

    The investigation file was handed over on March 15 this year to the military prosecutor’s office of the Gaziantep 5th Armored Brigade Command as the prosecutor’s office deemed the issue outside of its jurisdiction, according to the report.

    An investigation was launched by public prosecutor Derda Gökmen into the 27 suspects, some of whom are in Syria, the report said.

    According to the daily’s report, the big scandal came out into the open after the investigation was opened by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office upon the reports of relatives of six Turkish citizens stating that they were missing and believing them to have joined the ranks of ISIL.

    The Turkish government has long been accused by opposition parties of turning a blind eye to the activities of ISIL in Turkey and for letting ISIL terrorists freely pass through Turkey’s border with Syria.

    The prosecutor’s office then reportedly took permission to wiretap the phones of 19 people who were believed to have put the six missing people in touch with the terrorist organization, during which time the activities of ISIL came under close scrutiny in Ankara.

    The files of the six missing people and of the 19 people believed to be involved were combined into one single file in the investigation.

    The investigation reportedly revealed that those who wanted to join ISIL’s ranks received ideological training by meeting in the building of an association or foundation, or at a bookstore.

    According to the report, some suspects were seen to have acted as agents for those who wanted to join ISIL, to have helped them by formulating an itinerary to pass the border to Syria, by supplying a vehicle or by contacting ISIL.

    “Those [who joined ISIL] from Ankara often used Elbeyli district [of Kilis] as a throughway by traveling via Gaziantep and Kilis to the village of Able, which is subordinated to Syria’s Al-Bab district,” the report said.

    A note is written in one of the transcripts for the wiretappings that states the person designated in the transcript as “X2” is considered to be a member of the military, Cumhuriyet reported.

    Below are samples from the wiretapped conversations:
    –Yes, brother.
    X2: We are on the mined land where I delivered the vehicle. We have put our lights on. [We have the] material on us; come here with your men from that side…
    — OK. We are coming brother.
    X2: Come quickly.
    — Brother, do you mean the place where you/I gave first lieutenant Burak the car?
    X2: Yes, a little further from the place where you delivered [the car]… Our two cars are on the Turkish side.
    — OK, brother.
    Yet another script in the investigation’s file outlines a conversation between Mustafa Demir, who is being tried for having a high-level position in ISIL, and a person referred to as X2, who is believed to be a member of the Turkish military forces.
    — Yes?
    — Brother … they’ve called the non-commissioned officer.
    — OK, brother, OK.
    — OK…
    — Until later. Call me if anything happens…
    — OK.

    Yet another transcript of a wiretapped conversation in the report is indicated to have taken place at 8:06 p.m. on Nov. 25, 2014 between a person called Ali and a high-level member of the military.

    According to the transcript, the person is telling Ali that their colleagues are being detected by the thermal camera on the border. Saying that he learned this from the locals, the speaker is also saying to Ali that the person in charge of the thermal camera is receiving money from them to let them pass through the border.

  23. Syrian foreign minister to visit China this week

    Syria’s foreign minister will visit China this week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, amid a renewed bid by Beijing to play a more active role in finding an end to conflict in the Middle East.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem will be in China from Dec. 23 to Dec. 26 and will meet his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

    Wang over the weekend invited Syrian government and opposition figures to come to China as Beijing looks to ways to help with the peace process.

    China has played host to both Syrian government and opposition figures before, though it remains a peripheral diplomatic player in the crisis.

    While relying on the region for oil supplies, China tends to leave Middle Eastern diplomacy to the other five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia.

    The U.N. Security Council on Friday unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an international road map for a Syrian peace process, a rare show of unity among major powers on a conflict that has claimed more than a quarter of a million lives.

    Hong said China hoped for more international cooperation in fighting terrorism to avoid incidents like the downing of a Russian fighter jet.

    “The downing of the jet is a loss to the international effort to fight terrorism,” Hong said.

    Investigators in Moscow said on Monday they were unable to retrieve information from the damaged black box of a Russian warplane shot down by Turkey last month, data the Kremlin hoped would support its version of what happened.

    Hong said Chinese specialists had recently participated in the black box’s analysis at Russia’s invitation.

    China has expressed concern that Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people from western China’s Xinjiang, have ended up in Syria and Iraq fighting for militant groups there.

  24. Kicking the Can in Syria Down the Road to Damascus
    The Obama administration’s latest diplomatic placebo.

    The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution, on December 18th, which purports to set out a framework and timetable for ending the nearly five year war in Syria and establishing an “inclusive and Syrian-led political process.” Negotiations between selected opposition groups and Syrian government representatives are slated to begin in January. Within 6 months, a transition government with full executive powers is supposed to be established. Within 18 months, under the terms of a newly drafted constitution to be negotiated, UN-supervised “free and fair” elections are to take place. There is also supposed to be a parallel UN-monitored ceasefire in Syria, while the political talks are underway, except with respect to the ISIS-controlled territories where military efforts to degrade and destroy ISIS will continue. As many UN resolutions do, however, this resolution papers over key issues still dividing the warring parties. The elephant in the room – the fate of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad – was sidestepped, completely.

    Hours of last-minute negotiations among the countries comprising what is known as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) took place at a Manhattan hotel before agreement was reached on the final wording of the Security Council resolution. The Obama administration is thrilled. So is Hillary Clinton, who said during the Democratic presidential debate on Saturday that, thanks to the UN Security Council resolution, “We now finally are where we need to be” in the fight against ISIS and in “bringing the world together to go after a political transition in Syria.”

    Unfortunately for President Obama and his wannabe successor, agreement on the UN resolution has not suddenly created a Road to Damascus moment. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who along with Secretary of State John Kerry cosponsored the ISSG discussions, said, “I’m not too optimistic about what has been achieved today.” Even Kerry conceded the limitations on what the resolution has accomplished: “No one is sitting here today suggesting to anybody that the road ahead is a gilded path. It is complicated. It will remain complicated.” Furthermore, refusing to admit that the Security Council resolution simply kicked the can down the road with regard to the major issues, Kerry said, “This is not being kicked down the road; it’s actually being timed out.” In full spin mode he added that “this at least demands that the parties come to the table.”

    The parties who will be representing the fragmented opposition at “the table” are still being sorted out. And whether they will actually agree to sit down at the same “table” across from Assad’s hand-picked negotiators, while Assad himself remains in power during a transition period, remains a big question mark.

  25. DAILY MAIL – Radical Islamic convert is arrested in France on suspicion of plotting a suicide bomb attack after she bought a fake pregnancy belly ‘to hide explosives’

    23-year-old woman was detained by police in Montpellier, southern France
    Investigators searched her home and found fake belly covered in silver foil
    Counter-terror police called amid suspicions she was planning an attack

    A radical Islamic convert has been arrested in France on suspicion of plotting a suicide bomb attack amid claims she bought a fake pregnancy belly to hide explosives.

    The unnamed 23-year-old was detained by officers in Montpellier, southern France, on Monday and is in custody with her partner, 35.

    Police searched her home and found a fake belly covered in silver foil and investigators believe she may have wanted to use it to conceal an explosive device.

  26. NETHERLANDS – Geldermalsen refugee centre plan dropped in wake of riots

    Plans to build a temporary refugee centre for 1,500 people on an industrial estate in Geldermalsen have been dropped, mayor Miranda de Vries said on Wednesday.

    At least 14 people were arrested earlier this month when a mob of anti-refugee protestors tried to storm the town hall where the plans were being discussed.

    Nevertheless, Geldermalsen will still do its duty, De Vries told broadcaster Nos, without giving further details. This will be done in dialogue with locals, she said.

    The speed and scale of the previous plan was an error of judgement and did not deal properly with the concerns of the town’s population, the mayor said

    She also thanked the police and security guards for the way they ‘protected local democracy’. The riots, which led police to fire warning shots into the air, ‘wounded both society and democracy’, she said.

    The police originally reported all of those arrested came from Geldermalsen itself. However, four actually came from other places, namely Culemborg, Zaltbommel, Neerijnen and Lingewaal.

    • DAILY MAIL – Facebook page linked to Taliban and Al Qaeda was registered to same address as British Muslim father whose Disneyland trip was blocked by Homeland Security

      Mohammad Tariq Mahmood tried to travel from Gatwick Airport to LA
      He, his brother and nine children were stopped on the orders of the US
      Mr Mahmood says the family were barred ‘because we are Muslim’
      He dismissed Facebook account claiming links to Al Qaeda and Taliban
      It was set up by someone who has lived at the family’s postal address

      […]When asked about the account, Mr Mahmood believed hackers may have been to blame, adding: ‘That could be anything, maybe a mistake.’

      He said: ‘It is not my son’s Facebook page. It has a similar name, but not the same as my son’s.

      ‘The page is also linked to our home address and that could be coincidence. I don’t know why it is linked there. The name is not even the same. The authorities must have linked it simply because of the name Hamza.'[…]

    • DAILY MAIL – Just because Britain’s border security is a Mickey Mouse operation you can’t blame America for not letting this lot travel to Disneyland – I wouldn’t either

      Nothing to see here ladies and gents, nothing to see.

      Just a family of eleven, off to Disneyland. A lovely big British family, off to the place where magic happens and Mickey Mouse makes dreams comes true.

      They’d saved hard to get together the £9,000 for flights to make their family happy at Christmas. But were turned away at the gate by ruthless officials from USA Homeland Security who said they were no longer allowed to board.

      At least, that’s the story you’d be believing if you listened to the BBC or Labour’s blond-bobbed maniac Stella Creasy, whinging on about the obvious discrimination against them on religious grounds.

      But there is another side to this story not being told.

      This lovely big British family aren’t exactly conventional. They are two brothers – and 9 children… between 8 and 19 years old.

      I’m sorry? Two brothers and nine children. All called Mahmood.

      When was the last time two grown men, took nine ‘kids’ abroad on their own?

      And since when was a 19 year old a child?

      I was stopped on the way back the UK with my husband and three kids because we have the wrong surnames. And needed two marriage certificates and three birth certificates to make it through.

      If I had been playing my usual game of ‘spot the terrorist’ at the airport, (beard -5 points, rucksack – 10 points, sandals – 5 points – be honest, you’ve all done it) I’d have been feeling a little anxious.

      Without any way of knowing the truth, this is what I’d have been asking myself; where were the mothers of these 9 children? Was it just that the women’s place was in the home? Were they too female to fly? Or were they not needed for this family’s final destination?

      So if Homeland Security were suspicious about the fact there were no mothers in the group, who can entirely blame them?

      And then there’s their address in Waltham Forest, a known hotbed of extremism

      Anjem Choudary –

      Britain’s loudest extremist hate speaker – came from Waltham Forest.

      And if it wasn’t enough that two Muslim men from an extremist area of England, plus their nine children were flying together without any women, to set off alarm bells there’s the fact that they have confirmed links with Al Qaeda.

      Yup. Intelligence was received about a Facebook page connected to the family address, containing extremist material sympathising with Al Qaeda.

      And if I tell you Tariq’s brother was also detained in Tel Aviv for 8 days before being ejected from the country (again ‘inexplicably’ – according to his wife) would you still be comfortable getting on board with them?

      So I have a few things to level at Mohammad Tariq Mahmood.

      Mo. I put it to you that you and your lovely British family were not off to Disneyland at all. I am not buying your story.

      I find it utterly improbable two men with the entire Mahmood clan were travelling without the company of a wife or mother to such a family-orientated destination.

      I have worked in Disneyland as a Security Guard. You don’t sound like our typical visitor group.

      If Israel had reason to detain your brother, I suspect the good men from USA Homeland Security also had their reasons. They make their policy absolutely clear; no one is automatically admissible to the USA.

      ‘In order to demonstrate they are admissible, the applicant must overcome all grounds of inadmissibility’.

      In other words, you are considered unwelcome unless you can prove them wrong.

      Stick my tough old arse in a uniform and call me Nicholas Brody.

      An email sent from your computer sympathising with Al Qaeda Mahmood? Computer says no.

      The entire Mahmood mafia of two brothers travelling with a brood of 9 without any women? Computer says no.

      Detained in Tel Aviv and ejected from Israel. Computer says no.

      Neighbours with Anjem Choudary in Extremist Central – Waltham Forest. Computer says no.

      So actually, ladies and gents there is quite a lot to see here. And it is not the discrimination of innocents at Gatwick. It is America protecting its own people. We are weak by comparison.

      I congratulate the USA Homeland Security Force for a job well done.

      My opponents can carry on with their lazy labels. Call me racist (Islam is not a race). Report me for my tweets. (You can’t prosecute the truth) and threaten my life. (Nothing new from the peace-loving liberal left.)

      But it will not stop me from giving balance to the total mis-telling of a story about this lovely British family off to Disneyland to make dreams come true.

  27. Leftist Who Tried to Cover Up Iran Bombing Admits It On Tape
    “Who do you think we’re negotiating with, Switzerland?

    The murder of prosecutor Alberto Nisman temporarily reawakened interest in Iran’s bombing of a Jewish community center which killed 85 people. The most explosive part of the murder lay in Nisman’s allegations against his own government.

    President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner immediately declared that Nisman committed suicide but reversed herself Thursday, in the face of evidence to the contrary, as well as nationwide anger at Nisman’s death.

    Nisman’s investigation focused on the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AIMA).

    His report accused President Kirchner of “deciding, negotiating and arranging the impunity of the Iranian fugitives in the AMIA case.” She and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman allegedly “took the criminal decision of inventing Iran’s innocence to satisfy commercial, political and geopolitical interests of the Argentine republic.”

    These officials planned to get Iran off the hook in return for oil and weapons, while imaginary suspects would be fingered for the bombing,

    Nisman also charged Minister Timerman with obstructing justice and had prepared to ask that his assets, worth $23 million, be frozen.

  28. AUSTRALIA – Victorian woman charged over comments about Islam on Facebook

    Police allege the 27 November post by a Swan Hill woman, 38, would encourage others to commit harm to Muslims

    A Victorian woman has been charged with serious religious vilification after posting comments about Islam on Facebook.

    The Swan Hill woman, 38, was charged on 15 December for a post on 27 November which police alleged would encourage others to commit harm to Muslims.

    The woman used Facebook to defend herself saying she had made the comment on the Stop the Mosque in Bendigo page and said “all mosques should be burnt down with the doors locked at prayer time”.

    “Probably not the best thing to write but that’s my opinion, others commented after my post agreeing with it and unbeknown to myself it got a lot of likes, that is where their incitement charge is coming from,” she wrote.

    “Yesterday I got a call at work by the detective and he told me I was being charged. I told him how can I be charged for an opinion and how can I be charged with a religious vilification when I don’t acknowledge those that are Muslims and those that follow the Quaran (sic) as a religion but as an evil, hateful ideology.

    “I am more than happy for it to go public, if I do nothing about it and let them win it goes against everything I stand for and I can’t do that! I didn’t want this or the publicity that will come with it but it is what it is and I’m not about to back down.”

    The Stop the Mosque in Bendigo page has put a call out for participants to start their own complaints.

    “It is time to start our own discrimination and racial vilification actions on anti-white, anti-Australian and Anti-infidel Australian posts, videos and sermons. If you find them… screenshot or capture them and send them to us,” the post says.

  29. Syrian Refugees Caught Carrying New Disease, and It’s Far More Terrifying Than Ebola or AIDS – See more at:

    (Breitbart) – There is a risk that Middle Eastern refugees entering the U.?S?.? could be infected with a flesh-eating disease that is sweeping across Syria.

    Health agencies confirmed that Syrian refugees have transported leishmaniasis to Lebanon and Turkey, where it has been difficult to manage and treat.

    Compounding the problem, ?patients can be infected with ?the parasitic disease ?without showing symptoms for weeks, months, or even years, ?and ?an asymptomatic patient most likely doesn’t know that he or she is a carrier.
    This means the health screening process for refugees could miss the disease entirely?.

    Breitbart Jerusalem spoke with healthcare experts, including an epidemiologist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC’s Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch, which is responsible for guiding the medical screening of the Syrian refugees seeking to enter the U.S.

    Volcano-like ulcers

    Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites. It is spread almost entirely by sandflies, including those present in the U.S.

    There are three main types of the disease: cutaneous, mucocutaneous, and visceral leishmaniasis.

    Cutaneous is the most common form among Syrians. It manifests in skin sores ?that typically develop within a few weeks or months of a sand fly bite. The sores can initially appear as bumps or nodules and may evolve into volcano-like ulcers.

    Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis causes skin ulcers like the cutaneous form?, ??as well as mucosal ulcers ?that usually damage the nose and mouth.
    – See more at:

  30. Study: Liberals Lean Right After Terrorist Attacks

    According to a new study, liberals tend to become more like conservatives following a terrorist attack. The study, published in the academic journal Psychological Science, pored through survey data collected after the July 7, 2005 bombings in London. These bombings, which killed 52 people, were found to be carried out by Al Qaeda.

    According to the researchers, Muslims terrorists killing their fellow countrymen led to a shift in liberal attitudes towards Islam.

    “Our findings show that terrorism shifts public attitudes towards greater loyalty to the in-group, less concern with fairness, and greater prejudice against Muslims and immigrants, but it seems that this effect is stronger on those who are politically left-leaning than those who are right-leaning,” said the researchers.

    According to the researchers, it is important for politicians to find ways to combat these prejudices after a terrorist attack.

    “An important challenge following dramatic terrorist attacks is to know how to engage with public perceptions and attitudes, for example to prevent an upsurge in prejudice and its effects,” said one of the professors leading the research.

    Of course it is. It couldn’t possibly be that terrorism knocks liberals off their utopian high-horse, forcing them to finally confront the realities of the world they live in. It couldn’t possibly be as simple as to say that these attacks prove that conservatives were right all along. No, no. Of course not.
    – See more at:

  31. Government under fire over ‘murky’ secret security deal with Saudi Arabia (express, Dec 23, 2015)

    “In March last year Home Secretary Theresa May signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the hardline kingdom’s interior minister, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.

    No details of the Tory minister’s trip or even the existence of a deal were revealed until a year later, when they were buried in a Foreign Office report on the wealthy Middle East state.

    The Foreign Office document says the MoU was signed “to help modernise” the Saudi interior ministry and would draw on “UK expertise in the wider security and policing arena”.

    But the Government has now refused to disclose any more details of the secretive deal.

    The Liberal Democrats, who were in Government at the time the deal was signed, have seen a Freedom of Information request asking for further facts of the agreement turned down.

    It has been refused on the grounds the MoU “contains information relating to the UK’s security co-operation with Saudi Arabia” and publishing details of the deal “would damage the UK’s bilateral relationship” and possibly risk Britain’s national security, reports The Independent.

    The Home Office would not comment on the deal to but said the Foreign Office had confirmed the existence of the MoU.

    Amid continuing concerns over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and barbaric justice system, ministers have now been urged to come clean over the full details of the agreement.

    British-based human rights campaigners have continually highlighted mass executions, beheadings, crucifixions, torture and public floggings within the kingdom, with many sentenced to death having been convicted for political protest – including some aged under-18….”

  32. Russia rearms Kyrgyzstan as security deteriorates in Afghanistan (khaama, Dec 23, 2015)

    “Russia has stepped up rearming the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan amid concerns that the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan could affect the Central Asian countries.

    According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu the step by Moscow has been taken in a bid to counter the threats posed by the emergent Islamic State terror group in Afghanistan.

    “From our side, we are doing everything possible in order to complete the plan for rearming the Kyrgyz Armed Forces so that they can counter threats that are coming [out of Afghanistan],” Shoigu quoted by the State-run RIA news agency said.

    Russia is also having a military airbase in Kant near the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.

    The remarks by Shoigu comes as the security situation in Afghanistan has rapidly deteriorated during the recent months as the Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant.

    There are also concerns that the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has stepped up efforts to further expand the group’s foothold in country.

    In latest efforts to recruit more loyalists, the terror group launched an FM radio which can be heard in parts of eastern Nangarhar province, including the provincial capital city of Jalalabad.

    Meanwhile, the commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, said earlier that the loyalists of the terror group are attempting to establish a regional base in Jalalabad city.

    Gen. Campbell further added that foreign militants from Syria and Iraq had joined the loyalists of the terror group in Nangarhar province as they try to consolidate links with the leadership of the terror group based in Syria and Iraq.”

  33. Russia rejects Amnesty charges over Syria raids (BBC, Dec 23, 2015)

    “Russia has dismissed as “total lies” a report by Amnesty International accusing it of indiscriminate air strikes in Syria.

    A Defence Ministry spokesman said he saw “nothing specific and nothing new” in the report.
    He also denied the Russian military used cluster munitions in Syria…”

    • Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov slammed an Amnesty International report from Moscow, Wednesday, for containing false information “without providing the slightest evidence.” The report alleged that as many as 200 civilians were killed in Russia’s air campaign in Syria, based on “remotely sourced” information.

      Russian MoD spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, also stated that the downing of a Russian Su-24 by Turkey can be considered as a “pre-planned” operation. That is due to Turkish authorities possessing highly detailed data on the number of flights conducted by Russian aircraft. He went on saying that “the Turkish General staff was well aware of how, at what time, in what area the combat mission of the Russian bomber was going to be performed.”

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