Reader’s links for Jan. 12 – 2016

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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

63 Replies to “Reader’s links for Jan. 12 – 2016”

  1. Now even Merkel admits European refugee crisis is ‘out of control’: Thousands take to the streets of Germany shouting ‘take your Muslims with you’ after mob sex attacks

    German Chancellor admitted Europe is ‘vulnerable’ and said countries do not have control of the situation

    Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Leipzig to protest against the influx of refugees

    Protesters chanted ‘Resistance!’ and ‘Deport them!’ and some had signs which read ‘Refugees not welcome!’

  2. Several dead in blast in central Istanbul Sultanahmet district (BBC, Jan 12, 2016)

    “At least 10 people have been killed in an explosion in a district of Istanbul popular with tourists, the city authorities say.

    The explosion occurred just after 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT) in the city’s historic Sultanahmet district, close to the Blue Mosque.

    Fifteen people were also wounded in the blast, the Istanbul Governor’s Office said in a statement on its website.

    Some reports suggest the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber.

    Police have sealed off the area and the authorities are investigating the type of explosive used, the governor’s office said…”

  3. US Congress ‘stalls’ sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan (tribune, Jan 12, 2016)

    “The US Congress has “stalled” Obama administration’s planned sale of eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

    In October, the Obama administration said it is preparing to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, an overture intended to bolster a tenuous partnership despite persistent concerns about Islamabad’s ties to elements of the Taliban and quickly expanding nuclear arsenal.

    However, the move has now been stalled as lawmakers raised questions about the end use of the combat aircraft and the relationship between the two countries itself.

    Several requests for clarification and information were made by members of the House of Representatives, effectively “stalling” the process, said a congressional source, according to the Hindustan Times.

    At least one member of the Senate, a Democrat, has put a “hold” on the sale, a legislative process of a request to delay floor action on a measure, a bill, nomination or sale. In effect, the sale has been “stalled”, multiple congressional sources confirmed. They, however, clarified at the same time it does not mean the move has been “cancelled”.

    The newspaper reported that lawmakers stalled the deal over several issues worrying them. At recent congressional hearings, key US lawmakers raised a host of questions about the end use of the F-16 aircraft, including whether it could or would be used against India, and about the US relationship with Pakistan…”

    • Caroline Glick:
      Our World: In Pakistan, they trust
      Pakistan is little more than a failed state with nuclear weapons.

      It is a testament to the precarious state of the world today that in a week that saw North Korea carry out a possible test of a hydrogen bomb, the most frightening statement uttered did not come from Pyongyang.
      It came from Pakistan.

      Speaking in the military garrison town of Rawalpindi, Pakistani Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif said that any Iranian threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity will “wipe Iran off the map.”

      Sharif made the statement following his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s defense minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to media reports, Salman was the second senior Saudi official to visit Pakistan in the past week amid growing tensions between Iran and the kingdom.

      Salman’s trip and Sharif’s nuclear threat make clear that following the US’s all-but-official abandonment of its role as protector of the world’s largest oil producer, the Saudis have cast their lots with nuclear-armed Pakistan.

      When last October, the USS Harry Truman exited the Persian Gulf, the move marked the first time since 2007 that the US lacked an aircraft carrier in the region. Nine years ago, the US naval move was not viewed as a major statement of strategic withdrawal, given that back then the US had some one hundred thousand troops in Iraq.

  4. The worrying profile of Jew’s machete attacker

    Rather than having a criminal past and a history of being radicalized, the teenager who attacked a Jewish teacher with a machete was a good student, from a normal family, who showed no signs of being psychologically disturbed. He was a 15-year-old of Kurdish origin who is set to turn 16 next week.

    “He said several times he was acting in the name of Isis, because Muslims in France were dishonouring Islam and French soldiers were protecting Jews,” said Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin. The youth even admitted to investigators that he planned to arm himself and kill police as soon as he is released.

  5. Hungarian Top Economist: CIVIL WAR IS COMING 2016. 01. 08 Published on Jan 8, 2016

    Zsolt Bayer, Hungarian journalist, publicist, and co-founder of Hungary’s currently ruling political party, and Dr. László Bogár, former politician and leading economist, discuss the Cologne sexual assualts committed by migrants on New Year’s Eve, 2016.

    This short part of the 60-minute long television program that aired on Echo TV on January 8, 2016, is of a rant by Mr. Bogár warning of WWIII and the background powers inciting the whole thing.

  6. Can’t resist one more from this YouTube channel…it echos the sentiments of Stuck Mojo’s “Open Season”…relating the recent betrayal of Hungarians to the ’56 Revolution and the effective blowback Wake Up Europe

  7. Germany: Head of German lawyers union rejects tighter asylum laws at the cost of civil rights

    Germany cannot simply expand its security laws and tighten its asylum legislation, the President of the German Bar Association (DAV) Ulrich Schellenberg said in Berlin, Tuesday, adding “The protective state too needs freedom and civil rights and it is our task to safeguard these […] laws.”

    Speaking at a press conference, Schellenberg stated that asylum legislation has to be carefully separated from issues that have been discussed “under the keyword ‘terror attacks'” against the background of recent incidents in Cologne, Paris, and Tuesday’s suicide bombing in Istanbul. Speaking on the West German city and the events of New Year’s Eve, Schellenberg pointed out that the sexual assaults were of a different ilk to those in the French and Turkish capitals.

    SOT, Ulrich Schellenberg, President of the German Bar Association (German): “Even if we are jarred by the incidents in Istanbul, we have to face the fact that there is no ultimate safety. We will always have to make an effort to prevent such horrible attacks. At the same time, however, we have to be aware of the fact that we cannot simply expand our security laws. The protective state too needs freedom and civil rights and it is our task to safeguard these freedom and civil rights.”

    SOT, Ulrich Schellenberg, President of the German Bar Association (German): “I am convinced that we have to carefully differentiate between questions concerning the rights of foreigners and refugees and issues which we have been discussing since Paris under the keyword ‘terror attacks,’ and which we will have to be discussed now in the context of Istanbul and Cologne, the latter in a different quality however. We have to be careful to make sure that these questions are treated seperately.”

    SOT, Ulrich Schellenberg, President of the German Bar Association (German): “We will have to carefully consider whether asylum seekers who have become delinquent are to be deprived of their right to stay. However, we realise that we are obligated by an international framework of regulations and laws. The Geneva Refugee Convention applies to Germany and we will have to examine the resulting boundaries.”

  8. Cologne attacks: Germany to make foreign deportations easier (BBC, Jan 12, 2016)

    “Germany has announced plans to make it easier to throw out foreign criminals and strip sex attackers of refugee status.

    The decision follows hundreds of sexual assaults and robberies on women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve by men of mainly Arab and North African origin.

    Justice Minister Heiko Maas said no-one could put themselves above the law.

    Thousands of far-right protesters on Monday blamed the Cologne attacks on Germany’s influx of refugees.

    More than 1.1 million people claimed asylum in Germany in 2015…”

  9. Germany ‘out of control’ Syrian teens arrested for rape of girl in pool amid more attacks (express, Jan 12, 2016)

    “A TEENAGE girl was surrounded and attacked in a swimming pool in the latest of a series shocking sex assaults emerging from Germany.

    Police said they have detained migrants in three more cases – one of which was traced to an asylum centre.

    Tensions in the country are at breaking point as protests and counter-protests over the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne spark riots.

    Yesterday, a masked group of 200 barricaded buildings and smashed shop windows as they demanded action from authorities in the city of Leipzig.

    And vigilante groups have attacked foreign migrants as ‘revenge’ for the sex assaults.

    Three teenagers aged 15 from Syria have been arrested for rape after a 17-year-old girl was attacked in a public swimming pool in Munich on Saturday.

    The trio allegedly surrounded the teen, with one of the boys groping her under her swimming costume and penetrating her, making the sex attack rape under German law.

    The girl’s sister was also allegedly groped before they managed to flee to a lifeguard who called the police.

    Because the asylum seekers were only 15, they were not remanded in custody and were released, and will be prosecuted under juvenile law….”

  10. Terror suspects arrested as police swoop on British home (express, Jan 12, 2016)

    “TWO men have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in terrorism offences connected with Syria.

    Officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit detained the pair in Walsall, West Midlands today.

    The men aged 25 and 32 were arrested on suspicion of the preparation, commission or instigation of terrorist related offences at their home.

    The offences under investigation all relate to terrorism activity connected to Syria.

    Officers are this morning carrying out searches at a number of addresses in the Walsall area associated with the suspects…”

  11. Flow of Foreign Fighters to Iraq, Syria Unrelenting

    New figures on the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq show the scope of the problem is much bigger than first thought, with would-be militants still finding their way to the battlefront.

    For the second time this week, intelligence officials have released updated estimates on the number of foreign fighters, now saying more than 36,500 from at least 120 countries have gone to take part in the fight since the start of the conflict.

    That figure includes at least 6,600 Westerners.

    The earlier estimates had put the total number of foreign fighters at more than 34,000 from 120 countries, including at least 6,000 Westerners.

    Back in October, intelligence officials had estimated there were more than 30,000 foreign fighters from at least 115 countries, including more than 4,500 from the West.

    Young people, women drawn to jihad

    There is also evidence that the jihadist-foreign fighter message continues to resonate with European youth and with women despite counter-messaging efforts.

    “It’s still a profile that tends to be quite young,” said David Sterman with the New America International Security program.

    “The average age is 24 — many teenagers within the sample,” he said. “Women continue to be quite well represented.”

    U.S. counterterrorism officials have also worried that Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would spur more would-be militants to join the fight.

    “It would not be surprising if ISIL features the Russian build-up as a tie into their apocalyptic narrative, and to help bridge the generational divide among jihadists with Moscow’s actions in Afghanistan and Syria as bookends,” a U.S. counterterrorism official said at the time, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

  12. Norway security agency: Muslim influx brings problems (thelocal, Jan 12, 2016)

    “The head of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) told a Swedish security conference on Monday that immigration from Muslim countries will lead to societal conflicts and the rise of far-right groups.

    PST head Marie Benedicte Bjørnland warned on Monday of the “unfortunate” consequences that come with large numbers of refugees and migrants from Muslim countries.

    “A strong increase in immigration, particularly from Muslim countries, can cause other long-term challenges. When a large number of asylum seekers come to a local community, it can have unfortunate consequences,” Bjørnland said at a security conference in the Swedish ski resort town of Sälen.

    “One cannot take for granted that new population groups will automatically adapt the norms and rules of the Norwegian society,” she added.

    In an interview with broadcaster TV2, Bjørnland said that large numbers of foreigners can lead to violent clashes and the growth of far-right extremist groups. “

  13. Girl, 17, is ‘raped’ and her 14-year-old sister is sexually assaulted as she tried to save her when group of Syrian migrants surrounded them at German public swimming pool

    Three Syrian teenagers arrested in Munich for attack on girls at public pool

    The three boys, all aged under 15, circled the two girls then groped them

    One was arrested for rape and the other for assault, it has been reported

    It comes as concerns grow over the New Year mass assaults in Cologne

    Far right protesters vandalised ethnic shops during hate spree last night

  14. DAILY MAIL –ISIS burns its own fighters alive for losing Ramadi to Iraqi troops in terrifying warning to other militants after they fled to group’s stronghold of Mosul

    Jihadi leaders rounded up fighters and them set them alight in town square
    Fanatics sent message to militants preparing to defend Mosul from attack
    They are also murdering women and children accused of being spies
    Terror expert says ISIS is ‘fracturing, paranoid from within’ and ‘desperate’

    Residents claim the jihadists were set alight in the town’s main square in a terrifying message to other militants who may be forced to defend Mosul from an attack.

    ‘They were grouped together and made to stand in a circle. And set on fire to die,’

  15. Germany ‘out of control’

    Syrian teens arrested for rape of girl in pool amid more attacks

    A TEENAGE girl was surrounded and attacked in a swimming pool in the latest of a series shocking sex assaults emerging from Germany.

    Officers have also made an arrest for rape and attempted murder after a 24-year-old woman was attacked on Christmas Eve. The alleged attacker, aged 20 from Morocco, was traced to an asylum seeker centre.

  16. France brings in bulldozers to smash a third of the Calais Jungle after migrants REFUSE to move into new £20million housing because ‘it looks like a prison camp’

    Residents in Calais ‘Jungle’ refuse to move into new camp

    Police have given them until Wednesday night to vacate tents

    French government has built a £20m camp to host 1,500 migrants

    Come Thursday, a third of the makeshift camp will be destroyed

  17. UK -Birmingham Central Mosque chairman will be city’s next Lord Mayor

    Aston councillor Muhammad Afzal chosen by Labour Party colleagues to become Birmingham’s First Citizen from May

    The chairman of Birmingham’s Central Mosque has been selected by councillors to become the next Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

    Councillor Mohammed Afzal was chosen by Labour Party colleagues to become the First Citizen of Birmingham after the May local elections.

    As the current chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque on Belgrave Middleway he is a keen advocate of forging links with other faith groups and playing full part in the wider city. The Mosque recently hit the headlines after it set up winter soup kitchens for the city’s homeless .

    The Aston councillor was congratulated by Labour colleagues.

  18. FRANCE – MARSEILLE – Jewish teacher felt teen wanted to ‘decapitate’ him in France attack

    Paris (AFP) – A Jewish teacher stabbed by a 15-year-old in the southern French city of Marseille believes the teen, an ethnic Kurd, wanted to decapitate him, his lawyer said Tuesday.

    The teenager, who told police he was acting in the name of the Islamic State group, stabbed the 35-year-old teacher in the shoulder and hand in the attack, which took place in broad daylight on Monday.

    The teacher’s lawyer, Fabrice Labi, said his client had told him: “I had the feeling he wanted to decapitate me.”

    Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said the weapon was blunt, which helped limit the damage. The teacher was released from hospital on Monday night.

    “I told him to stop hitting me but he kept going and I didn’t think I would get out alive,”, the teacher told La Provence newspaper, adding he had seen “hatred… in the eyes of the attacker.”

    Attacked Jewish teacher speaks of ordeal in Marseille

  19. Video shows Canadian PM Trudeau praying with Muslims at mosque

    A video documenting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to a mosque in Canada has recently emerged, showing him joining Muslim worshipers for evening prayers during Ramadan in 2013, nearly two years before he was elected, the CIJNews website reported on Monday.

    Trudeau was leader of the Liberal Party when he visited the Jamea Masjid mosque in Surrey, British Columbia, in West Canada.

    In the video, he is seen wearing traditional Islamic clothing as he delivers a speech that he begins with the Muslim greeting “peace be upon you.”

    In his speech, he thanked worshipers for granting him the honor of praying with them, adding that the values of the holy month of Ramadan were also Canadian values.

    In November last year, the month after his election victory, Trudeau assured Muslim Canadians that the authorities “will work hard to find those responsible” for setting fire to the Masjid al-Salaam mosque in Ontario following the terrorist attacks in Paris.

  20. euronews – Leipzig counts the cost of anti-Muslim protest

    A massive clean-up operation is underway in the eastern German city of Leipzig after hundreds of right-wing supporters went on a rampage.

    Dozens of shops were vandalised and the group also set of fireworks before police brought the situation under control.

    Emotions are running high across the country after gangs of young migrant men allegedly sexually assaulted women at New Year in Cologne and other towns.

  21. IRAQ – Sunni mosques in east Iraq attacked after IS-claimed blasts

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – At least seven Sunni mosques and dozens of shops in eastern Iraq were firebombed on Tuesday, security sources and local officials said, a day after 23 people were killed there in two blasts claimed by Islamic State.

    Ten people were also shot and killed in Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, security and hospital sources said.

    The rise of the Islamist militant group Islamic State, which follows a Sunni jihadist ideology, has exacerbated a long-running sectarian conflict in the country, mostly between the Shi’ite majority and minority Sunnis.

    A surge in such violence could undermine efforts by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a moderate Shi’ite Islamist, to dislodge the militants from large swaths of the north and west that they seized in 2014.

    At least two Sunni mosques south of Baghdad were attacked last week after a Shi’ite cleric was executed in Saudi Arabia, triggering angry reactions in Iraq and neighboring Iran.

    At the height of Iraq’s civil war nearly a decade ago, such mosque attacks often unleashed revenge killings and counter attacks across the country.

    Officials tried on Tuesday to head off further violence, condemning the mosque attacks as well as Monday’s bombings which Islamic State said had targeted Shi’ites.

    Abdul Lateef al-Himayim, head of Iraq’s government body overseeing Sunni religious sites, called them “a desperate attempt to destroy Iraqi unity”, while the United Nations warned in a statement the mosque bombings could “take the country back into the dark days of sectarian strife”.

    Haqqi al-Jabouri, a member of the local council in Diyala province where Muqdadiya is located, said both types of attacks hurt the social fabric of the community. He blamed “undisciplined (Shi’ite) militias” for burning the mosques.

    Shi’ite militias were crucial in keeping Islamic State from overrunning Baghdad and southern Shi’ite shrines during their lightning advance across the Syrian border in 2014, and have supported Iraqi forces pushing back the militants, including from parts of Diyala.

    Militia elements have been accused of human rights abuses against Sunnis, allegations the groups have repeatedly denied or blamed on rogue members.

    Amal Omran, a Shi’ite member of the Diyala council, blamed the mosque attacks on “infiltrators” seeking to smear the image of the militias.

    Witnesses said some of the those killed on Tuesday had been shot inside their homes or dragged into the street and executed by gunmen wearing black and camouflage uniforms.

    Police sources and local residents said the gunmen were patrolling Muqdadiya and warning families through loudspeakers to leave the city or face death.

    Reuters could not verify these accounts.

    “It’s worse than hell. I hid my two sons under a pile of clothes inside a wardrobe to avoid being discovered,” said Um Ibrahim, a Sunni widow who fled to nearby Khanaqin after seeing two mosques engulfed by black smoke.

    The attacks occurred in the central districts of Mualimeen, Asri and Orouba, the security sources said.

    Two Iraqi journalists were also killed on Tuesday outside Baquba, Diyala’s provincial capital 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, according to police, a security official and their network Sharqiya TV.

    They said the men had been turned back from a checkpoint near Muqdadiya run by a Shi’ite militia. On their way back to Baquba, gunmen sprayed their vehicle with automatic gunfire.

    Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber attacked a police convoy near Baquba, critically wounding a senior police officer and killing three other members of the security forces, police said.

    Brigadier Qasim al-Anbuki, the local head of police intelligence, was leading a force to check tips about a suspected car bomb parked on a highway linking Baghdad to Baquba.

    After reaching the site, a suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle near the officer’s convoy, police sources said. Four others were also wounded, they added.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

    Abadi condemned a separate attack on Monday at a mall in a predominately Shi’ite district of Baghdad that killed 18 people. He called it “a desperate attempt by terrorist gangs after our forces’ victories in Ramadi and other areas”

    The Iraqi government last month claimed victory against Islamic State in the western city of Ramadi, and has slowly pushed them back in other areas.

  22. Swedish FM calls to probe Israeli violence against Palestinians in recent terror wave

    Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom called on Tuesday for an investigation to determine if Israel was guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians during the recent wave of violence there, local media reported.

    The comments were the latest in a series of statements by Wallstrom that have irked Israeli authorities. Ties between Sweden and Israel nose-dived after Sweden announced its recognition of a Palestinian state shortly after Wallstrom’s center-left Social Democrats won general elections in 2014.

    She deepened the rift last year by describing Palestinians’ plight as a factor leading to Islamist radicalization.
    “It is vital that there is a thorough, credible investigation into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability,” Wallstrom said during a parliamentary debate, according to news agency TT .

  23. Israeli Deputy Ambassador to UK Reproaches Labour MP for Claiming No Israelis Killed by Palestinian Minors Throwing Rocks

    Israel’s deputy ambassador to the UK reproached a British Parliament member on Monday over claims she made last week relating to the current wave of Palestinian violence, the Israeli Embassy revealed on Twitter.

    Eitan Na’eh took Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah to task for saying last week that the Israeli government provided no evidence of Palestinian minors “causing a death or contributing to a death using a stone.”

    Shah made this remark on Jan. 6, during a parliamentary debate on child detainees in Israel. She told a room full of her colleagues: “The fact is that the disproportionality of someone throwing a stone or a rock and being detained for it is not acceptable.”

  24. 2 US Navy boats held by Iran but will be returned

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The crew of two small Navy craft are being held by Iran, but American officials have received assurances from Tehran that the crew and vessels will be returned safely and promptly.

    Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told The Associated Press that the boats were moving between Kuwait and Bahrain when the U.S. lost contact with them.

    “We have been in contact with Iran and have received assurances that the crew and the vessels will be returned promptly,” Cook said.

    U.S. officials said that the incident happened near Farsi Island, situated in the middle of the Persian Gulf. They say it stemmed from some type of mechanical trouble with one of the boats, causing them to run aground. The troops were picked up by Iran.

  25. China is building its first military base in Africa. America should be very nervous.

    frica is likely to become one of the biggest stories of 2016, and not because of some horrific new disease or harrowing new war. Instead, an unprecedented new dynamic is about to shape the continent. The U.S. and China, major powers with a minor footprint, are both poised for much deeper and more direct involvement in African affairs.

    And rather than finding themselves on a crash course, they’re facing a more complex — and, for America, unnerving — situation. Thanks to the much different challenges and priorities facing both powers, African intervention is shaping up as a feast for China and a famine for the U.S.

    Look to Djibouti for big clues about why. News is quietly breaking that China has sealed a deal to build its first military base in that little country, a former French colony strategically located across from Yemen on the Red Sea, squeezed between Eritrea and Somalia. Confirming years of under-the-radar suspicions, AFRICOM commander Gen. David Rodriguez told The Hill that the “logistics hub” and airfield will let China “extend their reach” into Africa over the course of an initial 10-year contract. Currently, The Hill observed, China can’t do much more than stage some naval patrols out of Djibouti ports.

    Given China’s breakneck expansion into Africa, that’s just not good enough. In Africa, China has found not just a market for money but for jobs and land — crucial components of sustained economic growth. As December’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation revealed, the Middle Kingdom wants to ensure privileged access to that kind of future. Although it’s hard to unravel the details, Beijing used the Forum to pledge $60 billion in loans and export credits.

  26. U.S. military preparing transfer of 10 Guantanamo detainees: Fox News

    A Guantanamo detainee’s feet are shackled to the floor as he attends a
    In this photo, reviewed by a U.S. Department of Defense official, a Guantanamo detainee’s feet are shackled to the floor as he attends a “Life Skills” class inside the Camp 6 high-security detention facility at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base April 27, 2010. REUTERS/Michelle Shephard/Pool

    January 12, 2016

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military is preparing the bulk transfer of 10 Guantanamo detainees to countries in the Middle East on Thursday, Fox News reported on Tuesday, citing two defense officials.

    The transfer would be the largest group of detainees to be shipped out of the prison in Cuba since Defense Secretary Ash Carter informed Congress in December that his department would transfer a wave of detainees at the beginning of 2016, Fox News said.

    A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the bulk transfer plan, Fox said.

    But Pentagon officials have said more Guantanamo transfers were expected soon and were likely to bring the population of the prison for foreign fighters below 100. Four detainees have been transferred so far this year, leaving the camp population at 103.

  27. NATO cannot limit missile defenses to please Russia, U.S. says

    NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg looks down during a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels
    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg looks down during a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 2, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

    January 12, 2016

    By Robin Emmott

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO allies cannot agree to Russian demands to limit their missile defenses because of the threat posed by North Korea, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Tuesday.

    North Korea’s claim last week to have tested a hydrogen bomb, which would represent an advance in its capability to strike Japan and the United States, has underscored Washington’s determination to enhance the defenses that Russia opposes.

    “We are not going to agree to limitations on our systems because we need to have the flexibility to deal with the dynamic and evolving threat,” Frank Rose, deputy assistant secretary of state for arms control, told reporters at NATO in Brussels.

    “North Korea has large numbers of ballistic missiles and they test them often,” Rose said, adding North Korea could already reach South Korea and most of Japan and potentially the United States.

    While there is considerable doubt over the veracity of Pyongyang’s assertion that last week’s explosion was a full-fledged test of a hydrogen device, Washington already warned last February that North Korea is seeking a long-range, nuclear-armed ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg last week called on North Korea to end its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

    NATO’s ballistic missile defense, in place since 2010, has been a source of tension between Russia and the U.S.-led alliance even before Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, although NATO says it is not designed against Moscow.

    Russia threatened last year to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships if Denmark joins NATO’s missile defense system, arguing that it could reduce the effectiveness of its own nuclear arsenal.

    “The key Russian concern … is that in the future, absent legally binding constraints, we will develop systems that could potentially negate their strategic deterrent,” Rose said.

    While the United States provides much of NATO’s missile shield, the alliance in 2012 agreed to develop its capabilities in Europe.

    Romania has agreed to host a defense system, while Turkey already has a missile defense radar in place. The United States sent a destroyer to Spain in September, one of four ships that make up part of the shield. Poland is also due to host defenses from 2018, with construction on a site starting this year.

  28. In Taiwan’s south, calls for independence from China entrenched as poll looms

    Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen greets supporters at the end of a campaign rally in Wuchi district, Taichung city in central Taiwan
    Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen greets supporters at the end of a campaign rally in Wuchi district, Taichung city in central Taiwan January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

    January 12, 2016

    By James Pomfret

    TAINAN, Taiwan (Reuters) – In a gritty suburb of Tainan in southern Taiwan, a city known for its fierce anti-China sentiment, Huang Hsien-ching was stacking election flyers and inspecting campaign trucks rigged up with megaphones before Saturday’s islandwide elections.

    As a rookie candidate for the fledgling Free Taiwan Party – one of a number of smaller, radical groups advocating independence from China – Huang, a family doctor, says he’s put $30,000 of his savings and his career on the line to try to fight back against what he sees as an increasingly assertive China.

    “More and more people want independence in Taiwan,” said Huang, 61 with a buzz cut, in his campaign office fronted by a giant billboard of himself holding his arm aloft with the logo of a bird in flight.

    “China is suppressing Taiwan internationally and they don’t treat us as equals. Independence is the only way for us to develop and move forward,” added Huang, who grew up in Tainan, a trading port that in centuries past was ruled by a succession of powers including the Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Chinese.

    Huang’s rhetoric is exactly the kind of thing Beijing hates the most. China has warned repeatedly it will never tolerate independence for an island it considers a rebel province and has not ruled out the use of force to ensure eventual unification.

    In cities, townships and villages across the mountainous island of 23 million, deep-rooted ideological differences shaped by Taiwan’s fraught history with China will once again play out at the ballot box.

    Nearly seven decades of historical enmity between China’s Communist Party and the Nationalists (KMT), who escaped to Taiwan after the Chinese civil war, have made independence, or unification, a core issue.

    More radical, anti-China voices like Huang’s persist even with the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) expected to sweep in a new president and parliamentary majority on Saturday, and potentially reshape relations with China.

    During a campaign rally through the streets of Tainan in the DPP’s traditional stronghold of southern Taiwan, tens of thousands thronged the streets, set off firecrackers, waved flags and cheered as DPP presidential frontrunner Tsai Ing-wen, likely to become the island’s first woman president, swept by in a motorcade.


    “Taiwan and China, we’re brothers for sure, but we’ve already divided into two families,” said prominent Taiwanese rapper Dwagie, who turned up for a Tsai campaign pitstop at an ornate ancient temple in Tainan with a few friends.

    “Independence is an ambition for the future but it’s not possible in the current situation. We should focus on the economy first,” said Dwagie, who raps in Taiwanese Hokkien, a language highly symbolic of the island’s distinctiveness, rather than Mandarin, the official language in both Taiwan and China.

    The DPP says only the people of Taiwan can decide its future. China takes that to mean it wants independence.

    But for Fu Chien-feng, another rookie Tainan parliamentary candidate on the other end of the political spectrum, engagement with China is a historical imperative.

  29. Philippine court allows military deal with U.S. as sides meet in Washington

    U.S. military forces take part in annual
    U.S. military forces take part in the annual “Balikatan” (shoulder-to-shoulder) war games with Filipino soldiers on the shore of San Antonio, Zambales in northern Philippines April 21, 2015. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

    January 12, 2016

    MANILA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Philippines Supreme Court on Tuesday declared constitutional a security deal with the United States allowing an increased U.S. military presence in the former U.S. colony as tension rises in the South China Sea.

    Dozens of anti-U.S. activists held protests outside the court denouncing the deal as a de facto basing agreement that would make the Philippines a launching pad for military intervention in the region.

    Manila has long been a staunch U.S. ally and the pact is widely seen as important for both sides, worried by China’s increasingly assertive pursuit of territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.

    The court voted 10-4 to deny a petition of some lawmakers and activists to declare the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) unconstitutional because it surrendered Philippine sovereignty to a foreign power.

    “EDCA is not constitutionally infirm,” said Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te. “It remains consistent with existing laws and treaties that it purports to implement.”

    In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ash Carter welcomed the court’s decision as they began talks with their Philippine counterparts on security and economic issues, including tensions in the South China Sea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

    “The United States has an iron-clad commitment to the security of the Philippines,” Kerry said in opening remarks. “To that end we welcome the Philippines Supreme Court’s decision … (and) look forward to implementing this accord,” he added.

    Philippine Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin said security cooperation with the United States had become more intertwined amid increasing tensions over the South China Sea.

    “While we grapple with non-traditional security concerns and natural … disasters, traditional security challenges, to include territorial and maritime disputes, remain … fundamental concerns,” he said. “Given this strategic context, we should be in a position to address such common concerns, as well as contribute to regional peace and stability.”

  30. Hezbollah brags that Russia’s about to supply advanced weapons to them directly rather the notional Syria. Next day this editorial is planted in the Jerusalem Post.

    Former Russian TV anchor: Fight anti-Israel media bias
    Opinion: The Russian media often uses conspiracy theories to create division and paranoia.

    In March 2014, the crisis in Ukraine had reached a pivotal juncture. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest corrupt government leadership and violent crackdowns. Dozens were killed and hundreds wounded. During these times of deadly conflict and chaos, it was critical for the media to try to get the story right. However, working as a TV anchor for Russia Today (RT), I soon realized I was part of an organization actively dedicated to skewing the facts.

    The Russian state-funded station was part of a larger propaganda campaign portraying protesters as bloodthirsty fascists in an effort to misrepresent the conflict and justify Russian action. As the death toll grew, I was horrified to be part of what was becoming a manipulation machine. After the Ukraine coverage ended, I resigned, live on air, referencing the bias as the reason for my decision.

    That decision put me at the center of a viral news story. I received a flood of messages, mostly on social media. Many were encouraging and inspiring but plenty were also bizarre and vile. Beyond the profanities and sexist remarks, I found the wave of anti-Semitic hate particularly shocking and confusing. I am not Jewish and I do not have any ties to Israel. But the accusations of being a “Zionist neocon” were unrelenting.

    The assertion was that I was part of a Jewish, Zionist plot. Some radical anti-Israel activists wrote an article portraying my resignation as part of a conspiracy with war-hungry neocons pulling my strings to provide a pretext for another Cold War. I had become used to the knee-jerk reaction of a paranoid population attributing any atrocity to a nefarious conspiracy by power-hungry evildoers intent on controlling the world. But here they accused the Jews specifically of being behind it.

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