Reader’s links Feb. 19 – 2016

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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

100 Replies to “Reader’s links Feb. 19 – 2016”

  1. Polish magazine sparks fury with ‘Islamic rape of Europe’ cover (middleeasteye, Feb 18, 2016)

    “A right-wing Polish magazine has sparked fury after publishing an edition titled “Islamic rape of Europe” featuring a cover picture of a white woman draped in an EU flag being molested by dark-skinned men.

    The weekly wSieci magazine, published this week, highlights articles on the clash between Christianity and Islam and Europe’s “suicidal” disregard for problems caused by immigration.

    Critics blasted the cover as a disgrace and have compared it to Nazi and fascist propaganda…”

    • The other day I saw a video of a German woman being kicked in the head by immigrants in what looked like a subway station.

      That is a disgrace.

          • I started seeing this war when we let the US stop us from finishing off Saddam in Gulf War I, events are moving slower then I thought they would and the west is in worse shape then I thought would happen before the push back began. What the US needs is the Army we had during WWII, Korea and Nam and for the politicians to turn the military loose.

            • Back then I was young enough and healthy enough for the military to recall me to active duty. Now I ain’t that young or healthy and the war is coming to the US instead of us going to war.

    • The best propaganda has always been the truth, Joseph Goebbels the Nazi propaganda minister knew this and insisted that all of their propaganda when ever possible had a kernel of truth at their center. This wasn’t always possible but they tried.

      Since the 1960s the left has ignored this important tactic intheir propaganda and usually uses nothing but lies.

    • It isn’t the right wing magazine. Why everybody who is against migrants is called “right wing”?
      As for critics, they should look at their own law which is broken every day by illegal, economical migrants illegally crossing the borders.

      • You can be sure, Kathy, that most of us here at Vlad Tepes hear you and feel the same way. It’s an attempt to disparage our point of view, to discredit even objective reporting of news.

        Together with all our little buddies – underdogs who dare deviate from the party-line {even if we have to bark to be heard} – are always dubbed “right-wing”. Even the dreaded farrr-rrright-wing.

        I’m beginning to read it as laudatory: The Correct Wing, The ones who deserve to be heard.

        • They have called us facists for so long a lot of kids are starting to think the fascists were the good guys in WWII, after all if the fascists in the US are working for individual rights and freedom how can they be bad?

      • The left has spent a lot of time, energy and money vilifying the right and thus call any group, company or individual that dares to disagree with them right wing and often far right wing. All we can do is get use to being called right wing, racists, sexists and intolerant.

        They have used this tactic for so long it has (to a large extent) lost any power to force people to shut up.

  2. Yemen intervention to continue until Hadi govt restored: Jubeir (saudigazette, Feb 19, 2016)

    “RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen will continue until the country’s legitimate government is fully restored to power, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told AFP Thursday.

    “It’s a matter of time before the international coalition in Yemen succeeds in restoring the legitimate government… in control of all of Yemen’s territory,” he said.

    “The support for the legitimate government will continue until the objectives are achieved or until an agreement is reached politically to achieve those objectives.”

    Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab allies launched airstrikes against Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels last March, after they seized control of large parts of Yemen and forced President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government to flee the capital Sanaa.

    The Houthis have been backed by forces loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

    Jubeir said the coalition had helped the government reclaim more than three-quarters of Yemeni territory, open up supply lines for aid and “put enough pressure on the Houthis and Saleh for them to seriously consider a political process.”

    He dismissed claims that Saudi Arabia was mired in the conflict. “A very, very small part of our total military is involved in Yemen and it is not bogged down,” he said.

    Priority of any Syria ground operation must be Daesh

    Any participation by Saudi forces in a US-led ground operation in Syria would focus on fighting the Daesh (the so-called IS) group not President Bashar Al-Assad, Al-Jubeir said.

    “Saudi Arabia has expressed its readiness to send special forces to Syria as part of the coalition, with the goal of eliminating Daesh. This is the mission and the responsibility,” Al-Jubeir said.

    Riyadh has been a fierce opponent of Assad, but Jubeir said any participating Saudi force would make the battle against Daesh the priority.

    “For now the objective of any ground forces or special forces would be to fight Daesh on the ground in order to seize territory from them,” he said.

    “If they enter Syria, these forces will work in the framework of the international coalition to fight Daesh, there will be no unilateral operations,” he said.

    Asked if the mission could be expanded to include operations against Assad’s forces, Jubeir said: “This would be something the international coalition would have to make a decision on.”

    Saudi Arabia backs rebel forces fighting Assad and insists he must leave office for the country’s conflict to be resolved.

    No cut in oil production

    Saudi Arabia is “not prepared” to cut oil production, Al-Jubeir said as the top exporter agreed with Russia to freeze output if major rivals follow.

    “If other producers want to limit or agree to a freeze in terms of additional production that may have an impact on the market but Saudi Arabia is not prepared to cut production,” Al-Jubeir said.

    “The oil issue will be determined by supply and demand and by market forces. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will protect its market share and we have said so,” he said.

    Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers have refused to reduce output in an attempt to drive less competitive players, in particular US shale oil producers, out of the market.

    But in the first sign of OPEC and non-cartel producers cooperating after prices fell around 70 percent since mid-2014, Saudi Arabia and Russia said Tuesday they would freeze output if other major producers do the same.

    Venezuela, Qatar and Kuwait also agreed on the planned freeze following talks in Doha.

    Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran surprised markets by saying that it too supported the move, sending prices soaring.

    Although Tehran has not committed to any output curbs, its comments were seen as significant as it returns to world markets following the lifting of international sanctions.”

  3. Polish president Duda says Russia fomenting new Cold War

    WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish President Andrzej Duda accused Russia of fomenting a new Cold War through its actions in Ukraine and Syria, and said Poland was ready to help any future NATO efforts in combating the Islamic State.

    In an interview with Reuters, Duda hit back at comments by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who last week described East-West relations as descending “into a new Cold War” and said NATO was “hostile and closed” toward Russia.

    “If Mr Medvedev talks about a Cold War, then looking at Russian actions, it is clear who is seeking a new Cold War,” Duda, allied to Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) said in an interview in his presidential palace in Warsaw.

    “If someone is undertaking aggressive military activities in Ukraine and Syria, if someone is bolstering his military presence near his neighbors … then we have an unequivocal answer regarding who wants to start a new Cold War. Certainly, it is not Poland or the NATO alliance.”

    The West says it has satellite images, videos and other evidence that show Russia is providing weapons to anti-government rebels in Ukraine, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Russia denies such accusations.

    • Despite what the left wants the world to think it is not the US that causes the problems in the world but the people who decide the US in an enemy.

      • The US under the Obama administration is part of the problem, a major part of the problem. The USA is a great country, but not under Obama.

        • True, he is the worst in a long line of bad Democrat Presidents, in the late 1960s early 1970s the far left took control of the Democrats and the LSM has been aiding them in their efforts to make their treasonous actions seem legal.

    • The idea that Russia is trying to ignite a new Cold War ignores the reality of the ongoing hot war, Russia’s actions are attempts to drive the US and our allies (that Obama has stabbed in the back) out of the regions Russia wants to dominate after the war.

      We are leaving the phoney war period in WWIII and major active fighting is about to begin, one of the reasons we are leaving the phony war is that Obama has done so much damage to the US military that the wanna be world conquers are making their moves before he leaves office.

      Once the major shooting starts the US is going to have to make a crash rebuild of the US military and many of the troops Obama has spread out around the world are going to face the same fate as the US troops in the Philippines at the start of WWII faced. The post below this one is a analysis by a retired Naval Intel officer and paints a very scary picture of what is happening as well as pointing out what is probably going to happen around the world.

      • Well, mr Duda is somewhat right. During the Cold War there were also many peripheral military conflicts, only they were small in size. Presently situation is the same, there are peripheral small conflicts in Crimea/Ukraine as well as conflict on Georgia border (south Osetia).. Poland is in really bad situation because from one side there is EU with its migrants and on the other side there is conflict in Ukraine and NATO. In the case of Russian military intervention one never know whether NATO help will come in time.

        • Yes during the Cold War there were side conflicts that were Western Proxies fighting Soviets Proxies and at times US troops fighting Soviet Proxies and Soviet Troops fighting US proxies. But back then both sides had firm control of the proxies and kept the side conflicts fairly small and didn’t allow them to spread. Now Obama and company have managed to destroy almost all of the secular leaders in the Middle East while leaving the MB in its many names alone to form a Caliphate. This is what the entire civilized world is fighting under one name or another. The idea of Russia fomenting a new Cold War is wrong because there is a major hot war blowing up, one that is mainly the fault of Obama and the leftist leaders in Europe.

          This hot war is a war of survival and Russia is the only European nation that is fighting it as one. The west has allowed the left to disarm us and allowed an invading army into their nations while smuggling in weapons to preposition for use when the order is given. A new Cold War would do nothing to help win the Hot War and would actually give aid and comfort to the Caliphate. What Russia is doing is engaging in a few raspberries at our expense while at the same time praying that their actions will cause us to rebuild our military. Putin knows we aren’t going to be his friend but he is praying we will be his reluctant ally in the fight against Islam.

          • People really need to watch the old James Bond classic, ‘Octopussy’. It lays it all out pretty clearly. I think I might do exactly that tonight. By the way, I would welcome people’s opinions on the most recent X files episode. I think its number 4 of the new series.
            Its, well rather on topic.

        • Check out what the retired intel pros are saying in the post just below this conversation, they are more eloquent and professional but make the same points. The main article posted has a lot of hot links to older articles and other blogs besides Dyer’s. They are all worth reading.

  4. Checking in with World War III: U.S. fades, others surge

    The war this time has a lot of moving parts, and there is no time right now to sketch the full “big picture.”

    Here are the key things to remember: the war is already in progress across the Eastern hemisphere. It’s a real war, even though it hasn’t been “officially” declared in the pre-1945 sense.

    In some places, it’s as bloody and destructive as any war has ever been. It’s changing the meaning of borders, even though our minds haven’t caught up to that reality yet.

    The geopolitical landscape in our Pax Americana-bound minds no longer applies. Across the Middle East, and even in North Africa, it’s not about the old borders now. It’s about the intentions of the anti-status quo instigators, and about geographic realities more fundamental than modern borders – coastlines, mountain passes, waterways, chokepoints, the location of resources and the demographics and situations of peoples.

    • US-Backed Groups Now Fighting Each Other in Syrian Civil War

      U.S. proxy rebel groups in northwestern Syria have begun fighting each other as well as forces of the Damascus regime, further complicating United Nations efforts to halt the fighting, ease the refugee crisis and bring relief to starving civilians, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.

      “We want them to stop fighting each other” and return to battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Army Col. Steve Warren said of the recent conflict between Kurdish militias backed by the U.S. and other so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition groups that also receive U.S. support.

      However, Warren acknowledged that the U.S. has little influence over the groups caught up in the push northward by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad under cover of a relentless Russian bombing campaign.

      “Yes, we are concerned” that the fighting between the groups had taken the focus off the defeat of ISIS but “there’s a civil war going on right now. Civil wars have confusion and that’s what we see playing out here,” said Warren, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, which coordinates the campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

      “The purpose of the train and equip mission is to fight ISIL,” Warren said, using another acronym for ISIS, but “at the end of the day we’re not there on the ground to force people to do anything.”

      • History strikes back: Turkey, Iran inevitably jockey over Syria
        By J.E. Dyer June 30, 2015
        History strikes back: Turkey, Iran inevitably jockey over Syria
        Erdogan and Rouhani meet in modern times. (Image via Aydinlik Daily)

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        The beginnings of a dynamic are emerging, one as predictable as anything ever was. “Turkey” and “Iran” (in their earlier as well as contemporary incarnations) have jockeyed over the disposition of Syria (and Mesopotamia) for many centuries, and now that the clamps of the post-World War I order have been released, they are going to do so again.

        Michael Ledeen initiated a fresh focus on this with a short post late last week, in which he predicted that Iran would soon form a federation with Syria and Iraq, or at least with the nominal central governments that remain to them: an arrangement that would formalize the Iranian military presence for which the mullahs have big plans. Says Ledeen:

        [Such a federation] advances Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards

      • The IRGC’s involvement in the battle for Aleppo
        By Amir Toumaj & Max Peck | February 13, 2016 | [email protected] | @AmirToumaj & @Maxwell_Peck

        On Feb. 11, the US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar agreed in Munich to a ceasefire in Syria. But the Russian Foreign Minister announced that his country would not stop its bombing against “terrorists.” (Russia’s definition of “terrorists” includes most rebel organizations, not just Al Nusrah Front, the Islamic State, and other jihadist groups.) Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed to retake the whole country, warning it could “take a long time.” These statements hardly signal good faith.

        Assad’s allies, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has a central role in ongoing operations in northern Aleppo, do not appear to be interested in serious negotiations. The Assad-Iran axis believes momentum on the ground is on their side.

        On the same day as Geneva III talks started on Feb. 3, the Syrian Arab Army, Syrian National Defense forces and pro-Assad fighters backed by Russian air power launched a major offensive in northern Aleppo. They broke the siege of the predominantly Shiite towns of Nubl and Zahraa and captured the surrounding area, cutting off the opposition’s primary supply route from Turkey. They continue to push the offensive, encircling the rebel-held areas of Aleppo.

        Since the operation started on Jan. 31, the IRGC has announced at least 42 fatalities, a significant spike in the death toll. The rate is comparable to October 2015, when Russia began its military intervention and pro-government forces launched a major offensive in southern Aleppo.

        Like the October offensive, the IRGC members killed in the past week were from regular ground force units from across Iran. They included several senior officers: three brigadier generals, a colonel, and two lieutenants. Iranian media also reported the presence of officers and operatives from the IRGC’s Qods Force. The unit is not known to publicly report its fatalities.

        A senior non-Syrian security official close to Damascus told Reuters that Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani was in the area supervising the operation, which is intended to preserve Bashar Assad’s regime. Soleimani helped convince the Kremlin to intervene militarily and deploy its air force, which has given the pro-Assad forces a huge edge. Soleimani oversees all of the Shiite militias active in Syria. Lebanese Hezbollah, the Afghan Shiite Fatemiyoun Brigade, and the Iraqi Shiite Badr Corps have all played significant roles in the recent operations in northern Aleppo.

        It is worth noting that at least one dozen of the IRGC’s recent fatalities were from its Khuzestan province unit, which hails from Iran’s Arabic-speaking province. These troops are valued for their language skills, as they can embed and communicate with Arab forces fighting on Assad’s side. These reported fatalities strongly suggest that regular IRGC ground forces have integrated with the international Shiite brigades commanded by Soleimani.

          • That they are, Iran is using a lot of tools including Russia but Russia is using Iran to further their own goals. The more you study middle eastern politics you realize that Machiavelli was at times an amateur compared to the groups fighting for the Caliphate.

      • Iranian Kurdish opposition leader: Khomeini Center in Iraq’s Kirkuk for recruiting youth
        Posted on February 12, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Kirkuk, Politics
        Hussein Yazdanpan, Freedom Party of Kurdistan PAK

        Commander of paramilitary armed forces of Iraqi Kurdistan, also Deputy Secretary General of the Freedom Party of Kurdistan (PAK). Photo: PAK

        KIRKUK, Northern Iraq,— An Iranian-Kurdish opposing leader revealed that Kirkuk’s Governor, Najm al Din Karim, has inaugurated Khomeini Cultural and Sports Center in Kirkuk, in the presence of Iranian Consul in Kurdistan, Murtada al-Abadi, on the occasion of Khomeini’s revolution anniversary.

        The Iranian consulate general officially opened a sport centre in Kirkuk on Wednesday, February 10th, on the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s establishment.

        The center is considered to be a base for recruiting Kirkuk’s youth to join the militias affiliated with Tehran, and it is associated to the Iranian Quds Force, which is supervised by Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

      • Obama draws back from military action in Libya
        Nancy A. Youssef, Politico February 18, 2016
        Obama draws back from military action in Libya
        Not interested.

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        [Ed. – The MSM always write these stories as if the military thought up the concept of having a military plan for Libya. That’s not how it works. If the military was planning for ops in Libya, it’s because Obama told them to. Now he’s changed his mind. Probably for the best, since he’s a disaster as commander in chief. I don’t want to see one more American service member get so much as a paper cut trying to carry out his unexecutable policies.]

        Despite the growing threat from the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Libya, the Obama administration has turned down a U.S. military plan for an assault on ISIS’s regional hub there, three defense officials told The Daily Beast.

        In recent weeks, the U.S. military—led by its Africa and Special Operations Commands—have pushed for more airstrikes and the deployment of elite troops, particularly in the city of Sirte. The hometown of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the city is now under ISIS control and serving as a regional epicenter for the terror group.

      • Revealed: The U.S. Is About To Take The Fight To ISIS In A Whole New Way

        “Islamic State has vastly expanded its hold over territories in Libya.”

        Yochanan Visser January 11, 2016 at 10:27am
        Share on Facebook Tweet Email Print

        Advertisement – story continues below

        Algerian newspaper al-Khabar reported this weekend that three Western countries have informed the Algerian government they will soon launch airstrikes against the Islamic State in Libya.

        Several Arab and Iranian news sites reported the U.S., France and Great Britain have decided to bomb selected Islamic State targets in Libya. Intelligence agencies of both countries and the United Kingdom have already collected and analyzed intelligence on the activities of Islamic State in Libya, a well-informed European source reportedly told al-Khabar.

        The airstrikes will target ISIS training camps, command centers and ammunition depots, according to the source, who added the decision to bomb Islamic State targets was taken after the November terrorist attacks in Paris.

    • Asian escalation: Why China picked Woody Island for its first South China Sea missiles

      Asia, Foreign and Defense Policy
      Font Size

      Just weeks after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near an island claimed by China in the South China Sea, the U.S. Government announced that Beijing has emplaced advanced surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) on the largest island in the same group. Washington and Asian nations are now decrying Beijing’s militarization of the region’s waters. Yet there is good reason that China picked isolated Woody Island as the first place it deployed such defenses. It is another step in a long campaign to ensure that China develops an unparalleled military position in the vital waters of Southeast Asia.
      Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, May 21, 2015. Reuters

      Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, May 21, 2015. Reuters

      Woody Island is part of the Paracel Islands group. It lies about 250 miles southeast of Hainan Island, which contains one of China’s main submarine bases. Beijing has controlled Woody Island since 1956, although both Taiwan and Vietnam both claim it.

      Woody Island is no natural preserve, however. It has long had a port, and China built a runway and airfield on the island a quarter-century ago, in 1990. Late last year, it also deployed advanced J-11fighter jets, giving it the ability to control the airspace around the Paracels, especially when supported by fighters from Hainan, and deeper into the South China Sea by about another 200 miles (360 km). From China’s strategic perspective, emplacing advanced HQ-9 SAMs is a defensive measure, protecting whatever planes and ships are on the island. This is how Beijing can claim that it is simply fortifying long-held Chinese territory for purely defensive reasons.

      Unlike the better-known Spratly Islands, where China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, all claim sovereignty, the Paracels are disputed primarily only by China and Vietnam, making them seem less a potential flashpoint. For Beijing to have put advanced missiles on the newly reclaimed islands it has made in the more congested Spratlys, such as Fiery Cross Reef or Subi Reef, would likely have been seen as far more destabilizing and aggressive. What Beijing wants to do is slowly normalize the idea of its having advanced defenses on all of its possessions.

      • China wants to control who and what moves in the South China Sea and wants to own all of the islands bordering that region. Since the Philippines are our ally we should be defending them but Obama has made that almost impossible. Japan is rearming and the Philippines may be scared enough to invite their help in keeping China out.

    • Meanwhile, in the South China Sea: “Forget the US”

      enator James Webb (D-VA) told David Gregory on Meet the Press three weeks ago that he thinks the US is facing a “Munich moment” with China in Southeast Asia. While no exact analogy is on the horizon to the original Munich moment – Neville Chamberlain proclaiming “peace in our time” after agreeing with Hitler to the partition of Czechoslovakia – Webb’s larger point is that China’s career of aggression in the South China Sea needs checking.

      Recent activity

      Perhaps a better analogy would be calling the current situation in the South China Sea a prospective remilitarization-of-the-Rhine moment. In any case, Webb is right that there are things to worry about. China has been systematically occupying and fortifying tiny islands in the Paracel and Spratly chains for decades, as have other claimants like Vietnam and the Philippines. But growing Chinese aggression against the maritime activities of Vietnam, which has included damaging the equipment of oil exploration vessels and attacking Vietnamese fishing ships, has the region on edge.

    • This one is a must read, all should read this article and those attached this is the opinion of several professional intelligence analysts and while it is more professional then mine it echos what I have been saying. The big advantage is they have added details about what is happening. This is the future we are facing and ignoring the warnings will just make survival more difficult.

      • Now I understand why the Turk put feelers out to Israel to “mend fences”. It’s not about that off-shore gas development at all. That made no sense.

        And why Bibi seems to be receptive to such nonsense. I thought maybe it was to improve the terms of the deal with Greece and Cyprus.

      • Sorry, and I will answer your other statements in this comment.

        She is right the US and Europe no longer matter on the world stage, Obama and the leftist in Europe have reduced our military power to the point where we will be hard pressed to defend ourselves. The editorial boards on all of the LSM papers are so delusional that they think we still have the ability to matter in the current conflict. (Under the next President (I refuse to think Hillary or Berni will win) will be forced to do a crash rebuild of our military, once it is rebuild we will once again be a major player but by that time the real large scale fighting will be occurring. The editorial boards also ignore all but the middle east, they refuse to think that other nations can have ambitions for more territory besides the Caliphate. Especially China, they have been covering for China because of its communist government for as long as China has been communist. I keep posting articles about the Far East and reminding people that they need to pay attention to that region but people keep ignoring what is going on.

        One thing people ignore is that crazy fat boy Kim is a meat puppet of China’s, they let him run loose but still keep him on a short leash. This is being done so the west will look to china for protection from Kim, this means that through him they are helping the Iranians as much as the Russians are. They are also capable of selling nuclear weapons to Saudi or even ISIS if they think this will further their long term goals. The SAMS and the Surface to Surface missiles are a long step to controlling access to the regions they want to conquer. In our weakened state if China moves on any of the mainland nations in that region we would be hard pressed to get a naval relief force past their defenses.

        Yes we are in that bad a shape and both China and Russia know it. So do the terrorist groups and wanna be Caliphs so China may be trying to get them to move in Europe and North America before they start their land grab.

  5. Breaking the iPhone: Once again, conservative establishment is urgently, insistently wrong
    By J.E. Dyer February 18, 2016
    Breaking the iPhone: Once again, conservative establishment is urgently, insistently wrong
    Apple CEO Tim Cook

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    I’ve never seen so many people sitting around wishing desperately that the federal government could track their activities more intrusively.

    Have seven years of Obama taught them nothing? This was Fox’s Special Report panel, last night, all huffing and puffing angrily about Apple CEO Tim Cook and his refusal to give the FBI a method for overriding an iPhone security feature, which very probably would enable the FBI to break into your iPhone whenever it wants to. (For the record, the panelists were Charles Krauthammer, Stephen Hayes, and A.B. Stoddard. If I find a video of this panel segment, I’ll add it.)

    The issue itself is somewhat technical (although not overly so). Laymen can be forgiven for getting a key point or two wrong, as the panelists in fact did. They claimed that the “override” fix the FBI is asking for would inherently apply only to the iPhone used by San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook – just because the judge so ordered it.

    That is incorrect (see link). If the override were developed, it would quite probably enable the FBI to override the security feature on any iPhone. (The feature is a limit on the number of invalid PINs that can be tried, before the iPhone locks you out from all further attempts. In a technical sense, there can be no guarantees that the method Apple has been ordered to come up with would in fact have limited application only to the one iPhone that belonged to Farook. It almost certainly wouldn’t. This is a really big issue for technology and the law.)

    • Relieved to see J.E.Dyer gets it.

      I’m as surprised as she is that so many otherwise sensible observers don’t. Could be that anxiety about anything remotely technical freezes their higher processing capabilities.

      Another argument for adding pre-STEM requirements to the general college core curriculum. All graduates should also know how to swim and handle firearms.

  6. GERMANY – VIDEO: ‘hate mob’ chants at terrified refugees

    The chant of “Wir sind das Volk” (we are the people) was once the famous war cry of protests against the East German regime which eventually brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989.

    Its words were – at the time – a rebuke to a government which claimed to represent the nation but which was forced to prop up its power with barbed-wire fences and the most far-reaching spy network the world had yet seen.

    Now it’s been taken up by the anti-refugee movement in Germany, many of whose adherents accuse Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government of being just as illegitimate as that of the former German Democratic Republic.

    And it’s at the centre of a video that surfaced on Friday morning showing people in Clausnitz, Saxony, chanting at a bus full of refugees arriving in the town.

    Women and children can be seen through the windscreen of the vehicle, with a young boy appearing to weep as he looks out at the chanting faces of the townspeople from beneath a sign saying “enjoy your trip”.

    The video quickly spread online after being tweeted by TV comedian Jan Böhmermann, who wrote “Clausnitz (Saxony) yesterday. The German fear mob greets those who escaped the jaws of death.”

    • GERMANY – No more asylum seekers from Morocco, says Germany’s most populous state citing crime

      Frequently the young men are arriving appear disproportionately as offenders, Ralf Jäger, the state interior minister, says

      Germany’s most populous state has said it will not accept any more asylum seekers from Morocco, after migrants from the country were identified among suspects in the Cologne sex attacks.

      The government of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Cologne lies, said federal authorities had agreed not to send any more Moroccans to refugee accommodation in the state.

      There is no suggestion that Moroccans will be blocked from entering the state if they enter.

      “Immigrants from the North African region appear disproportionately as offenders,” Ralf Jäger, the state interior minister, said.

      “Frequently the suspects are young men travelling alone.”

      Mr Jäger said the state had already taken more than its share of Moroccan asylum seekers.

      Currently, 80 per cent of Moroccan migrants are in the state, chiefly in the two main cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf.

      They have little chance of being granted asylum in Germany. Some 6,000 Moroccans in the state have had their claims refused and are theoretically due to be deported.

      While Germany’s federal police say there is no link between crime and refugees from war-torn countries like Syria, there has been a sharp rise in crimes committed by North Africans.

      Police in North Rhine-Westphalia say gangs of North African thieves and pickpockets are operating in the cities.[…]

      […]Meanwhile, women asylum seekers in Cologne have complained they are victims of sexual harassment.

      In an open letter, women staying at a gym being used as a temporary refugee shelter said security guards had filmed and photographed them while they were showering, and pressured them for sex.

      “For us, the gym is no shelter. It is a prison,” they wrote.

      One Syrian woman said a security guard had asked her for sex.

      “When I told him I was involved with some one and wasn’t interested, he told me I’d be thrown out,” she said.

      “I am appalled at these allegations. I am sure they are unfounded,” Bernhard Deschamps, manager of the company responsible for the site, said.

      The Cologne authorities said they would investigate the allegations.

  7. 150 people burnt alive in a Turkish military carnage in Sirnak province

    According to a Russian media report, a member of Turkish parliament accused the military for burning alive more than 150 people in Turkey’s southeast.

    “In the Cizre district of S?rnak, around 150 people have been burned alive in different buildings by Turkish military forces. Some corpses were found without heads. Some were burned completely, so that autopsy is not possible,” Feleknas Uca the pro-Kurdish MP said.

    The MP also said that more people could face a similar fate as more than 200 people were trapped inside buildings.

    “The situation in Diyarbakir is terrible. Its district Sur is seeing its 79th day of curfew. Two hundred people were trapped in basements and Turkey’s Special Forces won’t rescue them,” he said.

    Since a two-year cease-fire collapsed in July last year, Turkish security forces have been trying to clear southeastern towns and cities of PKK members. It is reported that dozens of civilians have been trapped in basements in the Cizre district of Turkey’s Sirnak province.

    It was reported by Turkish Human Rights Foundation last month that more than 160 civilians including 29 women and 32 children had been killed since Ankara’s launched its crackdown on the PKK in August.

    Turkey: Footage shows basement where 150 reportedly burned alive in Cizre

    • Turkey’s Erdogan says Syrian Kurdish militia used U.S. weapons on civilians

      ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said U.S.-supplied weapons had been used against civilians by a Syrian Kurdish militia group that Ankara blames for a deadly suicide bombing, and said he would talk to President Barack Obama about it later on Friday.

      U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish PYD, which Washington considers a useful ally in the fight against Islamic State, has enraged Turkey and risks driving a wedge between the NATO allies. Turkey sees the group as a terrorist organization linked to Kurdish militants waging an insurgency on its own soil.

      Erdogan and the Turkish government have said the PYD’s armed wing, the YPG, was responsible for a suicide car bomb attack in the administrative heart of the capital, Ankara, on Wednesday which killed 28 people, most of them soldiers.

      Erdogan said he was saddened by the West’s refusal to call the PYD and YPG terrorists and would explain to Obama by phone how weapons provided by the United States had aided them

      “I will tell him, ‘Look at how and where those weapons you provided were fired’,” he told reporters in Istanbul.

      “Months ago in my meeting with him I told him the U.S. was supplying weapons. Three plane loads arrived, half of them ended up in the hands of Daesh (Islamic State), and half of them in the hands of the PYD,” he said.

      “Against whom were these weapons used? They were used against civilians there and caused their deaths.”

      He appeared to be referring to a U.S. air drop of 28 bundles of military supplies in late 2014 meant for Iraqi Kurdish fighters near the Syrian city of Kobani. Pentagon officials said at the time one had fallen into the hands of Islamic State. The Pentagon later said it had targeted the missing bundle in an air strike and destroyed it.

      The United States has said it does not consider the YPG a terrorist group. A spokesman for the State Department said on Thursday that Washington was not in a position to confirm or deny Turkey’s charge that the YPG was behind the Ankara bombing.

      The spokesman also called on Turkey to stop its recent shelling of the YPG. The YPG’s political arm has denied the group was behind the Ankara attack and said Turkey was using it to justify an escalation in fighting in northern Syria.


      Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier accused the United States of making conflicting statements about the Syrian Kurdish militia.

      He said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had told him the Kurdish insurgents could not be trusted, in what Cavusoglu said was a departure from Washington’s official position.

      “My friend Kerry said the YPG cannot be trusted,” Cavusoglu said at a news conference during a visit to Tbilisi.

      “When you look at some statements coming from America, conflicting and confused statements are still coming…. We were glad to hear from John Kerry yesterday that his views on the YPG have partly changed.”

      Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday the Ankara attack, in which a car laden with explosives was detonated next to military buses as they waited at traffic lights, was carried out by a YPG member from the Hasakah region of northern Syria working with Kurdish militants inside Turkey.

      Erdogan said the bomber may have had two accomplices.

      Within hours of the Ankara attack, Turkish warplanes bombed bases in northern Iraq of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency against Turkey and which Davutoglu accused of collaborating in the car bombing.

      Violence between Turkish security forces and the PKK has been at its worst since the 1990s after a 2-1/2 year ceasefire collapsed last July.

      Two soldiers and a police officer were killed on Friday in a PKK attack in the Sur district of the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, parts of which have been under round-the-clock curfew since December, the armed forces said.

      Three other soldiers were killed as a building collapsed in the same district. The authorities also caught two people in a car loaded with 500 kg of explosives on Thursday evening in the Dicle district of Diyarbakir, security sources said.

      “We as a government have not settled upon assignment of responsibility,” US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on Thursday, while State Department spokesman John Kirby said earlier in the day that Washington was not in a position to either confirm or deny Turkey’s charge that the YPG was behind the attack. He also called on Turkey to stop shelling the YPG.

      Asked to comment on Kirby’s comments, Erdogan said he is not in a position to respond to Kirby because Kirby is not his counterpart,

    • Experts: Turkey has legitimate right for ground operation in Syria, US needs to reassess policies


      International relations Professor Yasar Hac?salihoglu said moves to divide Turkey are being made and the legitimate right to send ground troops into Syria to fight the Syrian PKK affiliate Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) armed Peoples’ Protection Unis (YPG) has emerged for Ankara. “Turkey is fighting more than one terror organization. Turkey’s hands cannot be tied with the lie that the PYD is not a terror organization. No democratic country can surrender to terror. Neither will Turkey,” Hacisalihoglu said, adding that Turkey is directly threatened by terror. “Turkey has shown that it will deliver what is necessary in the fight against terror and it is Turkey’s very legitimate right to send troops into Syria. It is absolutely Turkey’s right from now on,” he said. Underscoring that Turkey’s border security has expanded with the latest attack, Hacisalihoglu said today’s situation in the region has come from those who stirred Iraq and Syria as well as Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime “that has killed 450,000 people of its own.”

      When asked about what the U.S.’s stance will be after the attack in Ankara, Hacisalihoglu said the U.S. has entered into election fever and it will dodge Turkey’s messages. “The U.S. will stall Turkey on the ground by not delivering what it demands,” he contended, adding that it will be possible to see what the U.S. will decide what to do after its presidential election in November.


      Russia to initiate UN Security Council meeting over Turkey’s plans to send troops to northern Syria

      A UN Security Council meeting is to be called at Russia’s request on Friday to discuss Ankara’s plans for a ground operation in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.

      Turkey’s actions in the region are threatening Syrian sovereignty, Moscow said, adding it would table a resolution demanding its prevention.

    • U.S. has asked Russia not to attack special forces in Syria: military

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has told Russia broad areas in which U.S. special forces are operating in Syria and asked them not to strike there, U.S. military officials said on Thursday.

      The move marks a step up in U.S.-Russian military coordination in Syria, which the United States had previously said was limited to a mechanism to avoid accidents in the air as both countries undertake bombing campaigns there.

      Lieutenant General Charles Brown, the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, disclosed the request at a Thursday news briefing at the Pentagon.

      “We told them (the Russians) these are … general areas where we have coalition forces that we don’t want them to strike there, because all it’s going to do is escalate things,” Brown said. “It’s really just to maintain the safety for our forces that are both in the air and in this case on the ground.”

      The United States announced in October it would deploy dozens of special operators in northern Syria to advise opposition forces in their fight against the militant group Islamic State.

      A senior U.S. defense official said at the time that the United States had not notified Russia of the special forces’ location in Syria, but was open to doing so in order to keep the troops safe.

      Russia launched air strikes in Syria last year saying it was targeting Islamic State militants. But rebels on the ground and Western officials say the strikes have mainly targeted moderate rebel groups not associated with Islamic State, including U.S.-trained fighters.

      Major powers agreed last week to a limited cessation of hostilities in Syria in a deal that takes effect at the end of this week. Russia says the “cessation” does not apply to its air strikes, which have shifted the balance of power toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

      The United States has not shared with the Russians specific locations or times of the U.S. special operators’ movements, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said on Thursday. The request was made via the two countries’ defense ministries, and U.S. Secretary Ash Carter was aware of the request, Cook said.

      “We provided (the Russians) a geographical area that we asked them to stay out of because of the risk to U.S. forces,” Cook said. “Up to this point they have honored this request.”

      He declined to comment specifically on the timing of the request.

      WaPo Pentagon: U.S. has told Russia where U.S. special forces are in Syria

      A top U.S. general said Thursday that the Pentagon has informed Russia of where U.S. Special Operations forces are operating in Syria.

      Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown, commander of U.S. Air Force Central Command, told reporters that the United States has outlined to the Russians where the U.S. forces are operating in “not specific areas, but firmly broad areas” to ensure the troops’ safety.

      Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook would not go into specifics regarding the size of those areas detailed by Brown. Cook said the “highest levels” of leadership within the Pentagon have discussed the Special Operations forces’ locations with the Russians but refrained from saying when those discussions took place. Brown, however, said that the Russians have been made aware of the Special Operations forces’ presence within Syria around the same time the Pentagon announced their deployment in December.

      In October, roughly a month after Russia started airstrikes in Syria, the Pentagon and the Russian Ministry of Defense established a memorandum of understanding that outlined “specific safety protocols for air crews to follow” so that Russian and U.S. aircraft could avoid one another in the rapidly crowding skies over Syria.

      According to Cook, at the time of the memorandum’s announcement, the document specifically did not “establish zones of cooperation, intelligence sharing or any sharing of target information in Syria.”

      On Thursday, Cook explained that giving the Special Operations forces’ location to the Russians was the only instance in which the United States has gone outside the framework of the original memorandum. He said it was done to provide additional safety to U.S. forces operating on the ground.

      • This article shows who is in command in that region, it won’t be long before the Russians are telling us where to deploy the teams.

    • Boston Globe -The media are misleading the public on Syria

      Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.

      For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents: “Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin.” Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it.

      This month, people in Aleppo have finally seen glimmers of hope. The Syrian army and its allies have been pushing militants out of the city. Last week they reclaimed the main power plant. Regular electricity may soon be restored. The militants’ hold on the city could be ending.

      Militants, true to form, are wreaking havoc as they are pushed out of the city by Russian and Syrian Army forces. “Turkish-Saudi backed ‘moderate rebels’ showered the residential neighborhoods of Aleppo with unguided rockets and gas jars,” one Aleppo resident wrote on social media. The Beirut-based analyst Marwa Osma asked, “The Syrian Arab Army, which is led by President Bashar Assad, is the only force on the ground, along with their allies, who are fighting ISIS — so you want to weaken the only system that is fighting ISIS?”

      This does not fit with Washington’s narrative. As a result, much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening. Many news reports suggest that Aleppo has been a “liberated zone” for three years but is now being pulled back into misery.

      Americans are being told that the virtuous course in Syria is to fight the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian partners. We are supposed to hope that a righteous coalition of Americans, Turks, Saudis, Kurds, and the “moderate opposition” will win.

      This is convoluted nonsense, but Americans cannot be blamed for believing it. We have almost no real information about the combatants, their goals, or their tactics. Much blame for this lies with our media.

      Under intense financial pressure, most American newspapers, magazines, and broadcast networks have drastically reduced their corps of foreign correspondents. Much important news about the world now comes from reporters based in Washington. In that environment, access and credibility depend on acceptance of official paradigms. Reporters who cover Syria check with the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, and think tank “experts.” After a spin on that soiled carousel, they feel they have covered all sides of the story. This form of stenography produces the pabulum that passes for news about Syria.

      Astonishingly brave correspondents in the war zone, including Americans, seek to counteract Washington-based reporting. At great risk to their own safety, these reporters are pushing to find the truth about the Syrian war. Their reporting often illuminates the darkness of groupthink. Yet for many consumers of news, their voices are lost in the cacophony. Reporting from the ground is often overwhelmed by the Washington consensus.

      Washington-based reporters tell us that one potent force in Syria, al-Nusra, is made up of “rebels” or “moderates,” not that it is the local al-Qaeda franchise. Saudi Arabia is portrayed as aiding freedom fighters when in fact it is a prime sponsor of ISIS. Turkey has for years been running a “rat line” for foreign fighters wanting to join terror groups in Syria, but because the United States wants to stay on Turkey’s good side, we hear little about it. Nor are we often reminded that although we want to support the secular and battle-hardened Kurds, Turkey wants to kill them. Everything Russia and Iran do in Syria is described as negative and destabilizing, simply because it is they who are doing it — and because that is the official line in Washington.

      Inevitably, this kind of disinformation has bled into the American presidential campaign. At the recent debate in Milwaukee, Hillary Clinton claimed that United Nations peace efforts in Syria were based on “an agreement I negotiated in June of 2012 in Geneva.” The precise opposite is true. In 2012 Secretary of State Clinton joined Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in a successful effort to kill Kofi Annan’s UN peace plan because it would have accommodated Iran and kept Assad in power, at least temporarily. No one on the Milwaukee stage knew enough to challenge her.

      Politicians may be forgiven for distorting their past actions. Governments may also be excused for promoting whatever narrative they believe best suits them. Journalism, however, is supposed to remain apart from the power elite and its inbred mendacity. In this crisis it has failed miserably.

      Americans are said to be ignorant of the world. We are, but so are people in other countries. If people in Bhutan or Bolivia misunderstand Syria, however, that has no real effect. Our ignorance is more dangerous, because we act on it. The United States has the power to decree the death of nations. It can do so with popular support because many Americans — and many journalists — are content with the official story. In Syria, it is: “Fight Assad, Russia, and Iran! Join with our Turkish, Saudi, and Kurdish friends to support peace!” This is appallingly distant from reality. It is also likely to prolong the war and condemn more Syrians to suffering and death.

  8. How Obama Denied Conservative Judges a Vote
    Conservative nominees were blocked from 4 to 6 years

    On a hot day in June, the grandson of a bank president took to the floor of the Senate to denounce the daughter of sharecroppers. “I feel compelled to rise on this issue to express, in the strongest terms, my opposition to the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the DC Circuit,” Senator Obama said.

    Born in segregated Alabama, Janice Rogers Brown had been a leftist like Obama before becoming conservative. When Obama rose to denounce the respected African-American jurist for her political views it had been almost a full two years since President Bush had nominated her in the summer of ’03.

    Obama had arrived a few months earlier on his way to the White House and was eager to impress his left-wing backers with his political radicalism. He held forth complaining that Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who had gone to segregated schools and become the first African-American woman on the California Supreme Court, was guilty of “an unyielding belief in an unfettered free market.”

    And he filibustered Judge Brown, along with other nominee, trying to deny them a vote.

  9. UK Can’t Deport Terrorists, Can Deport 92-Year-Old South African Grandma

    Here’s whom the UK can’t deport.

    Baghdad Meziane ran an al-Qaeda fundraising and support network from his home in Leicester, where he had lived since about 1999. He had come to the UK after fleeing his native Algeria, marrying at least twice and fathering two children. He was arrested in 2001 in connection with supplying false passports and credit cards to jihadists who travelled to al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. Meziane was jailed for 11 years in 2003 and his deportation ordered in 2009 following his release. Meziane has successfully avoided deportation using the Human Rights Act over his right to a family life and fear of mistreatment in Algeria. He is connected to the terror cell that murdered 17 people last month in France through a close Algerian friend who mentored the Paris cell.

    Siraj Yassin Abdullah Ali was brought up by the same foster parents in London as Yassin Omar, one of the co-conspirators behind the failed bomb plot in London on July 21 2005. He lived in a flat directly above Omar and sheltered his friend and other plotters when fumes from Omar’s flat, where they were making the bombs, overwhelmed them, forcing them to flee. Government officials were prevented from deporting Ali due to the Human Rights Act because of the threat of him facing ‘inhumane treatment or punishment’ in his native Eritrea.

    Ismail Abdurahman sheltered Hussain Osman, one of the 21/7 London bomb plotters, for three days after the foiled bomb attack was uncovered. Osman was able to flee the UK, despite a huge manhunt, and was later arrested in Italy, having escaped the country on a Eurostar train to Paris. Abdurahman, who worked for a firm of solicitors as an assistant, was convicted of assisting an offender and jailed for eight years. He served three years of his sentence and was released to a bail hostel. In 2011, he won an appeal to prevent his deportation to his native Somalia on human rights grounds after judges ruled there were fears for his safety.

  10. Remaking Alex Haley’s Fake Roots
    Why the Racism-Industrial-Complex refuses to let the lie die.

    In May, the History Channel will air its remake of Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of An American Family.

    Unsurprisingly, the advertising for the broadcast fails to mention that Roots is a fake, and a fake of the first order.

    First of all, the book upon which the successful mini-series was based was actually authored by Murray Fisher, Alex Haley’s editor from Playboy magazine.

    Secondly, Roots wasn’t just ghost-written; it was plagiarized: In 1978, Judge Robert Ward concluded that Haley had stolen the idea for Roots from Harry Courlander, the white man who authored The African. Courlander charged Haley with having “copied [from his book] language, thoughts, attitudes, incidents, situations, plot and character.”

    In spite of having initially denied it, Haley ultimately acknowledged that he lifted from The African verbatim at least 81 passages.

    He settled with Courlander out of court by agreeing to pay him the equivalent of 2 million dollars in today’s terms ($650,000).

    Finally, when, years later, Judge Ward told BBC that Haley “had perpetrated a hoax on the public,” he doubtless wasn’t just referring to his plagiarism.

    Gary B. and Elizabeth Shown Mills are professional genealogists who have shown that, far from substantiating the claims that Haley makes regarding his genealogy, “plantation records, wills,” and “census records” undermine those claims. The Mills assert that the evidence “contradict[s] each and every pre-Civil War statement of Afro-American lineage in Roots” (emphases original)!

  11. Israel’s Dangerous Consensus
    99% of Mossad and Shin Bet officers are leftists?

    Recently I found myself in a chance conversation with a former head of the Mossad’s Directorate of Operations. The former master spy, whom I had never met before, knew that I am a journalist.

    He was aware of my political views.

    Directing his remarks at a friend of mine, he declared that 99 percent of Mossad and Shin Bet officers are leftists. He then added triumphantly that according to a former commander of the air force whose name he cited, 99% of the air force’s pilots are similarly leftists.

    Initially, I dismissed his comments as obnoxious chest-beating by a man who felt like irritating a group of right-wingers.

    But given the source, it is impossible to simply brush off what he said. And to be clear, far more troubling than the prospect that Israel’s security establishment is uniformly leftist is the notion that there is any intellectual or ideological uniformity of any kind in the ranks of our defense community.

    But given our defense community’s record in recent years, there is ample reason to believe that there is more than a grain of salt in the spy chief’s boast.

    Consider Israel’s handling of Gaza.

    • The scary thing is she may be right, wrong on the percentages but the majority of them may be leftists, a lot of the early Zionists were far leftists.

  12. Donald Trump Predicts Germany’s Merkel Will ‘Be Out if They Don’t Have A Revolution’

    GOP front runner Donald Trump tells Breitbart executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon that Germany’s Angela Merkel is “a catastrophic leader” and that “she’ll be out if they don’t have a revolution.”

    On Friday’s Breitbart News Daily radio program, heard on the Sirius-XM Patriot Channel, Trump said, “When you look at Europe, I have friends that live in Germany, they’re leaving. I have friends that are leaving Germany because of what’s happened.” Trump was discussing Merkel’s policy of allowing thousands of unvetted Muslim refugees to come into the country. Merkel is struggling just weeks after being named TIME magazine person of the year.

    “You know, what Merkel has done is incredible, it’s actually mind boggling. Everyone thought she was a really great leader and now she’s turned out to be this catastrophic leader. And she’ll be out if they don’t have a revolution,” he continued.

    Trump said that all of Europe is turning into “a total disaster” because of unwise immigration policies:

  13. CIA Has Dedicated Program to Recruit Transgender Individuals
    Intelligence agency releases 3-year ‘diversity and inclusion strategy’
    CIA Director John Brennan / AP

    CIA Director John Brennan / AP

    BY: Elizabeth Harrington
    February 18, 2016 12:25 pm

    The Central Intelligence Agency three-year “Diversity and Inclusion Strategy” includes a dedicated program to recruit transgender individuals and agency-wide “unconscious bias” training.

    The plan, released by the CIA’s Diversity and Inclusion Office last week, lays out several goals for “weaving diversity and inclusion throughout the talent cycle.”

    One agency goal is “Becoming an Employer of Choice,” and includes “dedicated programs” to recruit every demographic imaginable.

    “Cultivating an inclusive culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness enables all officers to contribute to their full potential,” the CIA plan stated. “When employees feel included, have a voice, and are given opportunities to develop and maximize their potential, we create an organization of choice and become a model employer for the full diversity of America’s talent.”

    “We will continue to enrich our workforce by targeting diverse communities across the United States to meet our talent needs, with dedicated programs for citizens of African, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Native American descent; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals; Persons with Disabilities; Veterans; and Women,” the CIA said.

    Among the intelligence agency’s key actions to meet this goal is to teach recruitment officers to “strengthen cultural competencies and combat unconscious bias.”

    The CIA will measure its progress of recruiting minorities, LGBT individuals, veterans, and women by using an “inclusion index.” The agency will also track “Diversity and gender break-down of applicant flow data and recruiting trends.”

  14. Denmark Criminalizes Free Speech – SelectivelyLast week, a Danish district court ruled that what a Danish citizen had written on Facebook in November 2013 violated the Danish criminal code.

    In response to a debate about the local activities of a radical Islamic organization, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which works for the re-establishment of the Islamic caliphate, he wrote: “The ideology of Islam is as loathsome, disgusting, oppressive and as misanthropic as Nazism. The massive immigration of Islamists into Denmark is the most devastating thing to happen to Danish society in recent history.”

    According to § 266b of Denmark’s criminal code, it is prohibited and punishable by fine or prison publicly to threaten, insult or demean a group of persons because of their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, faith or sexual orientation.

    The man was fined 1600 Danish kroner (approximately $240), which makes it unlikely that he will be allowed to appeal the sentence: the fine is so small that an appeal to the Higher Court requires special permission.

    The Danish district court found that the man’s statements about Islam were “generalizing statements” that were “insulting and demeaning towards adherents of Islam.”

    The district court reached this conclusion despite the defendant’s testimony, according to which he specifically wrote “the ideology of Islam” in order to make a distinction between the religion of Islam and the ideology of Islam. The defendant explained that, “‘Islamist’ is a normal term for extremist groups, who commit crimes against humanity and do the most terrible things, whereas Islam is a peaceful religion.”

  15. SAUDI ARABIA to provide MANPADS to Syrian moderate jihadists

    Der Spiegel – Saudi-Arabien will Rebellen mit Boden-Luft-Raketen ausstatten

    Der saudi-arabische Außenminister Adel al-Jubeir will moderaten Oppositionsgruppen in Syrien Boden-Luft-Raketen zur Verfügung stellen. Dem SPIEGEL sagte Jubeir, Boden-Luft-Raketen würden es “der gemäßigten Opposition ermöglichen, Hubschrauber und Flugzeuge des Regimes auszuschalten” – und dadurch die Machtverhältnisse in Syrien “so verändern, wie sie sie seinerzeit in Afghanistan verändert haben”. (Lesen Sie hier das ganze Gespräch mit Adel al-Jubeir im neuen SPIEGEL.)

    Derzeit fliegen russische und syrische Kampfflugzeuge täglich Angriffe auf Rebellenstellungen, vor allem im Nordwesten des Landes und rund um die eingekesselte nordsyrische Stadt Aleppo. Der militärischen Übermacht, für die Moskaus Bomber seit dem Beginn der Einsätze sorgen, konnten die Rebellen bislang wenig entgegensetzen.

    Bis zum Eingreifen Russlands hatte ein Patt zwischen gemäßigten und radikalen Aufständischen und den regierungstreuen Einheiten von Machthaber Baschar al-Assad geherrscht.

    Die russische Intervention werde Assads Regime langfristig nicht retten, so Jubeir. Assad müsse abtreten, um einen politischen Prozess zu ermöglichen: “Die andere Option ist, dass der Krieg weitergeht und Assad besiegt wird.” Saudi-Arabien sei weiterhin bereit, den Einsatz einer von den USA geführten Koalition gegen den “Islamischen Staat” (IS) in Syrien mit Spezialkräften zu unterstützen.

    Eine ideologische Nähe zwischen dem IS und dem Wahhabismus, der extrem konservativen Auslegung des Islam in Saudi-Arabien, stritt Jubeir ab: “Der IS ist ungefähr so islamisch, wie der Ku-Klux-Klan christlich ist.”

  16. France orders expulsion of swath of Calais camp

    An expulsion order has been issued for hundreds of migrants living in a huge swath of the Calais camp known locally as “the jungle,” demanding that they remove their makeshift homes and possessions within four days.

    The order, published Friday by the regional prefecture, says residents of the camp’s southern sector must clear out by 8 p.m. Tuesday so it can be razed.

    Authorities estimate that 800-1,000 migrants live in that sector, crammed with shops, cafes, mosques and churches. Humanitarian groups say there are many more.

    Most of the approximately 4,000 migrants in Calais want to sneak to Britain.

    Authorities want them to move to nearby heated containers or welcome centers around France to reconsider those plans.

    The order says security concerns, lack of hygiene and dignity make the expulsion urgent

  17. Kos Bishop: Foreign Reporters Pay Refugees to Play Victims of Drowning

    Foreign reporters pay refugees 20 euros to act as if they have drowned, said Bishop of Kos and Nisyros Nathanael.

    The unusual testimony was made during a radio interview on Alpha 98.9 on Wednesday. Bishop Nathanael said that, “I witnessed with my own eyes foreign television reporters paying people (refugees) 20 euros to play victims of drowning.”

    The bishop said that mass media are trying to present a fake picture of events, far from reality. He said it is a sin to exploit human pain.

    Bishop Nathanel also said that the only people who truly help refugees are the local residents and that other organizations, government or non-government, simply assist the local volunteers.

  18. Large majority of Europeans back Merkel on refugee quota (thelocal, Feb 19, 2016)

    “A new survey shows that there is large support among EU citizens for the refugee and border policies Chancellor Angela Merkel backs – but which other leaders are resisting.

    Since the summer Merkel has been desperately campaigning for an EU-wide quota system for divvying up refugees among member states.

    And at an EU summit taking place in Brussels on Friday she once again finds herself fighting a lonely battle for solidarity on the issue.

    Her efforts have come up against a stone wall of eastern European resistance, and the trial quota system agreed in September is yet to be implemented.

    But a survey by the Bertelsmann Foundation shows that a large majority of Europeans back Merkel’s proposals – and this enthusiasm is even shared in the states which are fighting Merkel in Brussels.

    The study showed that 79 percent of Europeans believe the EU should have a common migration policy, with 52 percent of people believing member states should surrender sovereignty on this issue to Brussels.

    The same number of people (79 percent) said that asylum seekers should be distributed fairly among member states, with 69 percent agreeing that states which do not comply should be punished through the withdrawal of EU financial aid.

    While this enthusiasm for a collective policy was strongest in the founding member states, a majority of respondents (54 percent) in the eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004 also said they were in favour of a quota system.

    This public sense of solidarity rubs up against the hawkishness of governments in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – the so-called Visegrad Four – who have refused to take in their share of refugees under a trail quota system.

    On the other hand, just 41 percent of people in new member states thought that countries which refuse to take their quota should be punished financially.

    There was also widespread support for the principle of freedom of movement, currently threatened by Britain’s demands to block welfare for EU migrants and border controls and fences springing up all along the refugee route, from Sweden in the North all the way to Croatia in the South.

    A total of 79 percent of respondents said that they consider freedom of movement of great importance to the EU and that it should be defended at all costs.

    In another ringing endorsement of Merkel’s call for solidarity, 87 percent of respondents said the EU said it had a duty to protect its external borders.

    Speaking to the German parliament on Tuesday, Merkel said one of her key objectives was to protect the maritime borders of the European Union, rubbishing eastern European calls to build a border fence in Macedonia to prevent refugees travelling north from Greece.

    “A continent that can’t agree with its neighbours about this, that hides behind fences some distance back from the real border, that can’t be the European solution. I am firmly convinced of that,” Merkel said.

    In general, public support for further integration of member states in order to cope with these problems grew 2 percent on July 2015 to 60 percent, the survey revealed.

    Germans contacted by the pollsters were most likely to favour a quota system and punishment of states which do not comply.

    A total of 91 percent of German respondents said they believed asylum seekers should be distributed fairly between member states.

    Along with Italians, that was the most comprehensive approval among respondents from the six largest countries in the EU (Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Spain and Poland).

    Similarly 84 percent of Germans said that states which do not comply with quota rules should be punished financially. By contrast only 36 percent of Poles agreed with this statement.

    But Germans also displayed a reluctance to be too liberal in granting asylum requests. Only 37 percent said the state should act generously, the lowest proportion of respondents in the six largest EU members.

    The survey was conducted in December 2015 in all 28 member states with a sample of 11,410 EU citizens.”

  19. Asylum worker killer had ‘serious mental disorder’ (thelocal, Feb 19, 2016)

    “The man accused of murdering Alexandra Mezher, 22, had psychiatric problems at the time of her attack, Swedish media are reporting.

    Rättsmedicinalverket, the national forensic medicine agency tasked with examining suspects linked to Swedish crimes, has concluded that the man had mental health problems, according to reports in Swedish newspapers.

    The move could mean that if he is found guilty, he will likely be sent for medical treatment rather than given a jail sentence…”

  20. Afghan army to fly first surveillance drone next month: US General (khaama, Feb 19, 2016)

    “Amid efforts to bolster the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) specifically the Afghan Air Force, a US General in Kabul has said the Afghan military is expected to fly the first surveillance drone next month.

    Major General Gordon Davis, commander of the unit that procures new equipment for the Afghans, told Reuters “We are just getting the first drones that will be deployed by the corps.”

    “We’ve been preparing sites. The pieces and parts are coming in now,” Gen. David added.

    The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced in November last year that a contract worth $70 million ha sbeen awarded to a US-based company for the procurement of the ScanEagle drones.

    A statement by DoD said the systems include 65 ScanEagle drones in total, along with spare parts, support equipment, field service support, as well as an in-theatre training facility.

    The addition of the surveillance drones could play a vital role in helping the Afghan forces fighting the anti-government armed militant groups amid deteriorating security situation across the country.

    Meanwhile, the commander of the Afghan Air Force Major General Abdul Wahab Wardak said last week that the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft will start combat operations with the Afghan Air Force from the month of March.

    Gen. Wardak further added that the Afghan Air Force has so far received four of the eight aircraft from the United States and the remaining four will be handed over in the near future.”

  21. Pakistan lifts sanctions on Iran (tribune, Feb 19, 2016)

    “Pakistan has lifted sanctions on Iran, reviving economic relationship between the two neighbouring countries in several areas of businesses and trade, Radio Pakistan reported.

    On January 17, world powers had lifted sanctions on the Islamic republic following a historic agreement between the two sides in Vienna on July 14 2015 came to effect.

    Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced to lift the sanctions at a meeting in Islamabad on Friday, saying modalities to this effect were decided in an inter-ministerial meeting.

    The decision, Dar said, was taken pursuant to a resolution of the United Nations Security Council in connection with Iran’s nuclear programme.

    According to the minister, a notification issued by the foreign affairs ministry will revive economic and commercial ties between the two countries.

    Tehran will now be able to benefit from agreements with Islamabad in the areas of trade, investment, technology, banking, finance and energy, the finance minister added.

    He hoped that the development will see a fresh boost in the bilateral economic and trade relations…”

  22. Top court rejects Lal Masjid cleric’s plea (tribune, Feb 19, 2016)

    “The apex court has refused to entertain Lal Masjid’s cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz’s petition for the enforcement of Shariah in the country.

    On December 10, 2015 Maulana Aziz filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, wherein he pleaded with the court to direct the federal and provincial governments to comply with Article 2-A to exercise the authority of the people within the limits prescribed by Allah Almighty.

    The petitioner also contended that the only solution to eliminate the evils and challenges in the realms of national security, societal cohesion, national economy, facing war of terrorism and political instable condition of Pakistan is to enforce Shariah law in the country.

    Now the SC assistant registrar (civil) has returned Maulana Aziz’s constitutional petition by raising three objections.”

  23. NATO Warns Turkey It Won’t Support Ankara in Conflict With Russia (sputniknews, Feb 20, 2016)

    “As tensions escalate between Turkey and Russia, NATO has warned Ankara that it will not take part in a war provoked by the Turkish government.

    Last November, Turkey shot down a Russian jet flying through Syrian airspace. While many feared that the incident would plunge both countries into war, conflict was avoided, though relations between Moscow and Ankara have remained chilly.

    As Turkey pushes to deploy ground forces across its border to remove the legitimate government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Turkish government is, again, threatening the world with war.

    “The armed forces of the two states are both active in fierce fighting on the Turkish-Syrian border, in some cases just a few kilometers from each other,” one NATO official told Der Spiegel.

    Ankara’s aggression seems partially based on the assumption that, should conflict erupt, Turkey will be supported by its NATO allies. According to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the collective defense clause would be invoked if any member state is attacked.

    But European leaders have made it abundantly clear that they have no interest in participating in a war of Turkey’s making.

    “NATO cannot allow itself to be pulled into a military escalation with Russia as a result of the recent tensions between Russia and Turkey,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel.

    Of Article 5, Asselborn stressed that “the guarantee is only valid when a member state is clearly attacked.”

    Germany appears to agree.

    “We are not going to pay the price for a war started by the Turks,” said a German diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    NATO leadership made similar warnings soon after Turkey’s downing of the Russian bomber last year.

    “We have to avoid that situations, incidents, accidents spiral out of control,” NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said at the time. “I think I’ve expressed very clearly that we are calling for calm and de-escalation. This is a serious situation.”

    On Friday, French President Francois Hollande stressed the need to prevent conflict between Moscow and Ankara.

    “There is a risk of war between Turkey and Russia,” he said in an interview with France Inter radio.

    As Turkey calls to escalate the violence in Syria, Russia has called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to address its concerns over the rising tensions.

    “The situation is becoming more tense due to increased tensions on the Syrian-Turkish border and Turkey’s stated plans to send troops to northern Syria,” reads a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.”

  24. Al-Shabaab intelligence head killed (CNN, Feb 19, 2016)

    “Al-Shabaab’s intelligence chief was killed in an airstrike in Somalia, the Kenyan military said in a statement Thursday, calling it “a major blow” to the terror group.

    Mahad Mohammed Karatey, also known as Mahat Karatey, was killed along with 10 midlevel Al-Shabaab commanders and 42 recruits.

    The operation, which targeted a camp run by the terror group in southern Somalia, was conducted by Kenyan Defense Forces, part of the African Union peacekeeping mission in the country.

    Karatey was a high-level Al-Shabaab commander and head of the group’s intelligence wing, known as the Amniyat, which is responsible for intelligence gathering, uses explosives experts and plans suicide bombings…”

  25. 43 killed in U.S. airstrike targeting terrorists in Libya (CNN, Feb 19, 2016)

    “American warplanes hit an ISIS camp Friday in Libya where foreign fighters had been engaged in special, advanced training — possibly, a U.S. official said, ahead of a terror attack in Europe or somewhere else outside the North African nation.

    Noureddine Chouchane, a senior operative in the terrorist group from Tunisia, was believed to be among those from around Africa and the Middle East who had converged on the site. He is thought to have played an instrumental role in two terror attacks in Tunisia last year, one at Tunis’ Bardo Museum that killed 23 people and another at a seaside resort in Sousse that left 38 dead. ISIS claimed responsibility for both massacres.

    Friday morning’s U.S. strike in the al-Qasser district in Sabratha, a coastal city in northwestern Libya where most residents are from Tunisia, killed at least 43 people and wounded over six others, according to the Sabratha Municipal Council. Libyan Red Crescent spokesman Mohamed al-Misrati has said the death toll will probably rise, as bodies were still buried in the rubble Friday evening…”

  26. Iraqi tribes clash with jihadists in IS stronghold of Fallujah (BBC, Feb 19, 2016)

    “Local tribesmen have reportedly clashed with fighters from the so-called Islamic State (IS) in the IS stronghold of Fallujah in western Iraq.

    Government sources told the BBC that the tribal fighters set fire to a building used by the militants.

    The source said 10 IS militants and five tribesmen had died in the clashes that followed.

    Issa al-Issawi, the exiled mayor of Fallujah, said that more tribesmen were joining the fight against IS.

    Reports said the violence involved men from multiple tribes and IS members known as al-Hisba, who are responsible for enforcing religious strictures in the city…”

  27. Saudi Arabia halts $3bn package to Lebanese army (BBC, Feb 19, 2016)

    “Saudi Arabia is halting a $3bn (£2.1bn) military aid package to Lebanon, as part of what one Saudi official called a “reassessment” of relations.

    The state-run Saudi Press Agency said the money was to be used by the Lebanese army to buy French weapons.

    A $1bn deal to equip the internal security forces is also being stopped.

    The official said the Sunni-ruled kingdom had noted the “confiscation of the will” of the Lebanese state by the Iran-backed Shia Hezbollah movement.

    Lebanon’s national unity government, which includes Hezbollah and its allies, declined to condemn attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran last month by protesters angered by the execution of a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia…”

  28. IS increases use of child soldiers, says US report (BBC, Feb 19, 2016)

    “The number of children who have died fighting for so-called Islamic State (IS) in the last year is nearly twice the previous estimate, a report says.

    Researchers at Georgia State University tracked IS propaganda and eulogies over 13 months.
    The propaganda claimed 89 boys aged eight to 18 had been killed fighting in a number of different combat roles.

    The researchers also found that three times as many children were involved in operations than during 2014…”

  29. Teenage Afghan migrant, 16, ‘rapes worker at Belgian asylum centre two weeks after attending a course on how to treat Western women’

    Teenager followed catering worker down into basement at centre in Menen

    16-year-old has been detained ahead of a future hearing, prosecutors said

    Red Cross confirmed he had attended a course on how to treat woman

  30. Afghan teen charged with raping worker at Belgian asylum center (reuters, Feb 19, 2016)

    “A teenage Afghan immigrant has been charged with raping a female worker at an asylum seekers’ center in Belgium, authorities said, prompting outrage from anti-immigrant politicians.

    The 16-year-old Afghan asylum seeker followed a worker from a catering firm into the basement and raped her at the center in Menen, near the French border, prosecutors said. The judge ordered him detained in youth custody until his next hearing.

    A spokeswoman for the Red Cross said it was the first time in 25 years such an alleged incident had occurred at one of the organization’s asylum seeker centers in the country…”

  31. FBI Says Possible Third Shooter in San Bernardino Killings

    FBI officials have informed ABC News that their investigation into the San Bernardino terrorist attack have not ruled out the possibility of a third attacker, in addition to Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik.

    On the day of the attacks, some witnesses had informed reporters and law enforcement officials that they saw three gunmen and the Inland Regional Center where the shootings took place.

    The FBI had identified Enrique Marquez as the man who purchased weapons that were used for the shooting, but officials have yet to confirm or rule out whether he or any other accomplices were present at the scene of the attack.

    [UPDATED: 4:35 p.m.]

    FBI officials have confirmed that they served a search warrant at the 1700 block of Forum Way in Corona, California this afternoon. That address is believed to be the residence of Farook’s brother, Syed Rizwan.

    “Federal agents executed a search warrant at a residence in Corona this morning to seek evidence in an ongoing investigation,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. No arrests were made.

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