Reader’s links for December 29 – 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

103 Replies to “Reader’s links for December 29 – 2016”

  1. Kerry’s Speech Will Make Peace Harder

    by Alan M. Dershowitz
    December 29, 2016 at 2:30 pm


    What if the Secretary of State gave a policy speech and no one cared? Because Secretary Kerry’s speech came after its abstention on the Security Council vote, few in Israel will pay any attention to anything he said. Had the speech came before the abstention, there would have been some possibility of it influencing the debate within Israel. But following the U.S. abstention, Kerry has lost all credibility with Israelis across the political spectrum.

    This is why his speech wasn’t even aired live on Israeli TV.

    The speech itself was as one-sided as the abstention. It failed to mention the repeated offers from Israel to end the occupation and settlements, and to create a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza: Arafat’s rejection of the Clinton-Barak proposals in 2000-2001: and Abbas’ failure to respond to the Olmert offer in 2008. To fail to mention these important points is to demonstrate the bias of the speaker.

    • Dr Gorka is right in almost all he said but even though the main reason for stabbing Israel in the back was vindictiveness there was some malicious glee because it would make things more difficult for PET.

      • For some reason the following site URL is blocked here. Eeyore’s tech wizard is working on it. This is a highly regarded Israeli blog. For example, J.E.Dyer’s a fan.

        See if you can type it in yourself:

  2. “A man has phoned into a radio station and admitted, live on air, that he had committed electoral fraud during the Brexit referendum.

    Umi, from Hackney in London, told LBC he had used both his and his brother’s vote on 23 June — committing the offence of personation.”

    “He added: “He’s registered to a different house. I wouldn’t be able to do it in the same polling station. He wasn’t in the country.”

    “Presenter Katie Hopkins, whose programme airs on Sundays, asked him: “Did you ask your brother, ‘What would you like to vote for?’ or did you just vote the way you fancied?”

    Umi replied: “I voted for both Remain. But we didn’t win.””

  3. Matt Drudge questions if US government is behind ‘biggest’ cyberattack on Drudge Report website ‘since site’s inception’

    DDoS attack comes same day Obama announced countermeasures against Russia for hacking of Democrats

    Matt Drudge wondered aloud Thursday evening whether his popular site was the object of a U.S. government cyberattack.

    Via the Twitter account for his Drudge Report, he said his news-aggregation site is the victim of the “biggest DDoS since site’s inception,” referring to a Distributed Denial of Service attack.

    “Is the US government attacking DRUDGE REPORT?” he asked, adding that there was “VERY suspicious routing [and timing].”

    In a later tweet, Mr. Drudge said the “Attacking [was] coming from ‘thousands’ of sources. Of course none of them traceable to Fort Meade,” referring to the Maryland base that houses the headquarters of United States Cyber Command and the National Security Agency.

    Mr. Drudge’s news-aggregation site was one of the highest-profile outlets to take a favorable tack on Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    Earlier Thursday, President Obama announced sanctions against several Russian agencies and individuals over purported cyberattacks on Democra

  4. Kellyanne Conway can’t decide if Russian sanctions are ‘largely symbolic’ or ‘unprecedented’

    Senior advisor to President-elect Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway seemed confused in her Thursday evening interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

    Conway began by saying that she’s been reading about President Barack Obama’s announcement that he’ll be putting sanctions on Russia. “Some of them seem largely symbolic,” Conway said. “The GRU doesn’t really keep it’s assets here. There’s no indication our allies will follow suit.”

    She then cited David Sanger’s piece in the New York Times that alleges President Barack Obama decided to sanction Russia to “box in President-elect Trump.” She refused to say whether she agreed with the allegation, rather she repeated the allegation. Conway also refused to answer if Trump would repeal the sanctions once he is in office.

    Bolduan seemed shocked that Conway was dismissing the sanctions and she would allege Obama was attempting to box Trump in.

    “Do you think these very series and unprecedented actions that President Obama took today, expelling diplomat, sanctioning foreign intelligence service, you think President Obama did that just to box in Donald Trump?”

    Conway clarified she didn’t necessarily believe that, rather it was what was in the New York Times story she kept repeating. Then she seemed to change her tune on the sanctions being “largely symbolic.”

    “You are right Kate, it is unprecedented,” Conway said. “I don’t think at the height of the Cold War this country expelled that many operatives. So, I know the president is looking tough in his last couple os weeks.”

    Conway also refused to clarify if Trump believes that the Russians attempted to hack the election, claiming that he’ll be getting his briefing sometime next week. Trump has opted out of receiving a presidential daily intelligence briefing.

    “Ever since then the issue of Russian hacking has been discussed, in context, of the election,” Conway continued. “And that is where the president is saying we should move on. And we should move on because the idea that there is a nexus between the hacking and the election result.”

    Bolduan interrupted Conway, to clarify that at this point no one is “questioning the election result.” But Conway insisted that’s exactly what is happening.

    “This is serious,” Bolduan said, shocked by Conway’s claim. “This is about a foreign country hacking into the United States electoral process. Regardless, it doesn’t even have to do with the result, even. It is more that they tried to and did.”

    Shockingly, Conway alleged that the 16 United States intelligence agencies were attempting to interfer with an election after the election was over.

    “We are not in favor of foreign governments interfering in our elections or interfering in our intelligence,” Conway clarified. “But we’re also not in favor of our intelligence interfering with elections after the fact. You may feel that way Kate. You may run your shows that way. But the fact is in many different places, in print, on radio, on Twitter, on Facebook, ad nauseum people are trying to create a nexus and still trying to fight the next war. And it’s 52 days later. And that nexus is something that’s been trying to be proven at the fever pitch since November 8 and part of the why the president-elect says move on.”

  5. Syrian Archive catalogues war atrocities online (DW, Dec 29, 2016)

    “Two Berliners have developed a new database to catalogue and standardize video footage of atrocities in the war in Syria. The Syrian Archive was presented at the Chaos Computer Club conference in Hamburg.

    Two young men working from their homes in Berlin with 3,000 euros ($3,130) in funding have created a database of atrocities in the Syrian war that is being used as a source by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as lawyers and activists all around the world.

    The Syrian Archive (, presented at the Chaos Computer Club in Hamburg on Wednesday, has so far documented more than 2,200 illegal actions in the ongoing five-and-a-half-year civil war with the help of a network of volunteers around the world, and especially in Syria, who verify the material.

    The database collects raw and frequently gruesome video footage from Syria – often uploaded to YouTube – of the aftermath of airstrikes on hospitals, attacks with chlorine gas, cluster bombs, and other illegal weapons, by all sides, along with a location, date of recording and the source.

    The archive can be filtered by various criteria, including types of weapons used, as well as categories drawn up by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria set up by office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). These include “arbitrary and forceful displacement,” “plunder and theft,” “hostage-taking,” “torture and ill-treatment,” and “massacres and other unlawful killing.” There is also a special filter for “alleged civilian casualties from Russian attacks,” which already returns several hundred results.

    Vetting sources

    Hadi al Khatib, who came to Berlin from Syria in 2011, and Jeff Deutch say the main aim is to make individual atrocities verifiable for future legal investigations, though they hope the database will also be used by media outlets. As they explain, even though there is a massive proliferation of video evidence from Syria on social media across the internet, there is a lack of proper standardization and cataloging, and a lot of footage, and metadata that shows where it was taken, easily gets lost entirely.

    Al Khatib and Deutch conceived the archive while working with human rights lawyers in southern Turkey in 2014. Here, Al Khatib, who does not belong to any Syrian opposition group, helped train Syrian lawyers and journalists to capture video evidence of human rights violations that could be used in court. “Since then I have been working with Syrian civil society – journalists, lawyers, and so on – on training related to how they can keep their communication more secure,” he told DW.

    The pair has long-standing relationships with certain sources: “We follow the social media accounts of particular people that we’ve vetted, and then we will download videos every day from those channels,” said Deutch. But they are always looking for people in Syria (“human rights groups, journalists, citizen reporters, lawyers, media offices/agencies and others,” as the website’s “Join Us” page says) to supply more evidence.

    But there is always the inevitable problem of verifying sources in a war zone. That’s why they have a vetting procedure, Deutch explains, during which they look at “how long [the new sources] have been reporting on issues, where they’ve been reporting – we have a list of questions we have to go through – and we look at whether they’re familiar to our network of activists, and whether the reporting they’ve been doing in the past has been reliable.” Al Khatib and Deutch also check whether the new sources are actually providing original material, rather than just aggregating footage from elsewhere.

    Committed to neutrality

    The Syrian Archive is also at pains to underline that it reports atrocities from all actors in the war, though Al Khatib admits that some sources could have affiliations. “They could be part of specific groups, or they could have agendas,” he said. “But this is not what we’re looking at. We are looking at the visual evidence that they are publishing, so we can understand what’s happening in specific incidents, and if it’s related to any other incidents.”

    “We’re taking videos from all sides of the conflict, to try and be as impartial as possible,” added Deutch.

    The Syrian Archive is already sharing the evidence it collects with the OHCHR in Geneva, and has set up a partnership with Amnesty International’s “Digital Verification Corps,” a program where law students around the world sift through actual evidence from the masses of digital video footage proliferating from war zones around the world. Over the next year, the Syrian Archive intends to work more closely with lawyers who are building cases in Syria.”

  6. Deported Tunisian man ‘planned Italy attack’ (thelocal, Dec 29, 2016)

    “A Tunisian national deported from Italy on Thursday was planning an attack in the country, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

    The 23-year-old, who had been living in Brescia, a city in the northern Lombardy region, allegedly received instructions in mid-November “to carry out attacks in Italy, similar to ones in France and Belgium, in retaliation for Italy’s operations in Libya”, the statement said.

    He also had contact, via social networks, with a Moroccan foreign fighter. The man returned to Italy on August 15th “after a prolonged period in Tunisia” , “showed clear signs of radicalization” and had “expressed his intention to leave Italy as soon as possible and join the Islamic State”, the ministry added.

    He was deported from Rome’s Fiumicino airport on Thursday morning.

    The deportation brings the number of terror suspects expelled from Italy to 132 since January 2015. Sixty-six have been deported since January 1st 2016…”

  7. Cairo criticises US Congress bill that would track efforts on church restoration in Egypt (ahram, Dec 29, 2016)

    “Egypt has said it rejects a bill introduced to the US Congress that would require the Secretary of State report on progress made in Egypt in restoring churches damaged during mob attacks in August 2013.

    The foreign ministry said Wednesday it repudiates the move which “allows a foreign entity the right to undermine national sovereignty and imagines that Egyptian authorities may submit to be accountable to a legislative or executive foreign authority.”

    The bill, titled the Coptic Churches Accountability Act and introduced by Representative David Trott in September, directs the Secretary of State to submit an annual report to Congress regarding “efforts to restore or repair Christian property in the Arab Republic of Egypt that was burned, damaged, or otherwise destroyed during the sectarian violence in August 2013,” according to the Congress website.

    The report should also track efforts to implement a 2016 law which “imposes significant burdens on church building and the nature and extent of Egyptian laws and policies regarding the construction of Christian churches or places of worship.”

    The bill has currently been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, according to the Congress website.

    The Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement that the bill contains “errors inconsistent with reality,” adding that Egypt did not witness sectarian violence but rather “terrorist attacks by an illegal group.”

    Dar Al-Ifta, the top authority for fatwas and Islamic advice, also condemned the bill. It said Thursday the law constitutes “interference in Egypt’s internal affairs and foments discord and discrimination” between Egyptians.

    The Coptic Orthodox Church said in a statement that the government has carried out its “full duty in repairing and renovating the churches,” a process it said is about to be completed as pledged by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

    “Egyptian national unity is above all, and can never be compromised,” it added

    In August 2013, dozens of churches, Christian institutions, schools and homes were torched or damaged by mobs following the violent dispersal of two large camps of pro-Mohamed Morsi protesters in Cairo.

    The State Department currently issues an annual report on the state of religious freedom in 195 different countries, including Egypt.”

  8. Turkey, US in fresh spat over terror support (hurriyetdailynews, Dec 29, 2016)

    “NATO allies Turkey and the United States have engaged in a fresh spat after the former criticized its long-standing partner for providing weapons and thus supporting the Syria-based Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is considered a terror organization by Ankara.

    “NATO allies must stand with their partners in Syria, not with terrorist organizations,” President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said in a statement in Ankara on Dec. 29.

    Erdo?an once again slammed the U.S.-led international coalition’s failure to provide military support for Turkey’s ongoing al-Bab operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    “You sent arms to terror organizations, but then say, ‘We sent ammunition, not arms.” We don’t buy that or accept it. Even though we are partners in NATO, you are giving this support to terrorist organizations, not us. Are the terrorist organizations your partner in NATO? If we are strategic partners in NATO, then you should stand with us,” he said.

    Tension between the two countries rose after Erdo?an harshly criticized the U.S. for allegedly providing support to ISIL, the PYD and its armed wing, People’s Protection Units (YPG), in a statement on Dec. 27. He said Turkey had evidence of this support but did not provide detailed information.

    Washington’s first response came from State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner, who categorized Erdo?an’s accusations as “ludicrous.” “I don’t know where that comes from,” he said.

    Toner also denied that the U.S. had provided weapons to the YPG. “So we do provide tactical support to the Syrian Democratic Forces. There’s no surprise there. We’ve been very transparent about that.”

    The U.S. Embassy in Ankara issued a separate statement on Dec. 28 denying the accusations. “The United States government is not supporting DAESH. The USG did not create or support DAESH in the past.

    Assertions the United States government is supporting DAESH are not true,” said the statement, using an Arabic acronym for the jihadist group.

    “The United States government has not provided weapons or explosives to the YPG or the PKK – period. We repeatedly have condemned PKK terrorist attacks and the group’s reprehensible violence in Turkey,” it added.

    US provides weapons to YPG, period: Çavu?o?lu

    Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu subsequently responded to the embassy in comments to pro-government news channel A Haber. “The U.S. has been giving arms to the YPG, period,” the minister said, referring to the wording of the U.S. embassy statement.

    “The reason why the YPG is putting pressure on the U.S. is because they want to bridge their terror cantons. The U.S. wants to use the YPG for its Raqqa offensive,” the minister said. Çavu?o?lu said the YPG wanted Turkey to fail in its al-Bab offensive because they want to bridge the two cantons through that region.

    Washington had told Turkey that the al-Bab operation could “cast a shadow” on the upcoming Raqqa offensive because it will “distract attention,” the minister said. None of the coalition members using Turkey’s ?ncirlik Air Base have been providing military support to Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation, he said.

    ‘Where is NATO?’ asks Erdo?an

    While Turkey was facing threats along its borders with Syria and even bombs, “NATO was almost completely [absent],” the president noted.

    “Today, we do not see the slightest support for our operation from either NATO or allied nations that have power in the region. The coalition supposedly established to fight [ISIL] is not offering any contribution to the operation on al-Bab, which has dealt the biggest casualties to [ISIL] today,” Erdo?an said.”

  9. Iraqi forces launch second phase of Mosul offensive against Islamic State (reuters, Dec 29, 2016)

    “Iraqi security forces on Thursday began the second phase of their offensive against Islamic State militants in Mosul, pushing from three directions into eastern districts where the battle has been deadlocked for nearly a month.

    Since the offensive to capture Mosul began 10 weeks ago, U.S.-backed forces have retaken a quarter of the jihadists’ last major stronghold in Iraq in the biggest ground operation there since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

    More than 5,000 soldiers and federal police troops, redeployed from Mosul’s southern outskirts, entered half a dozen southeastern districts, while counter-terrorism forces advanced in al-Quds and Karama districts after reinforcements arrived.

    Other soldiers pushed simultaneously toward the city’s northern limits. U.S. military advisers were seen watching operations as coalition aircraft circled overhead…”

  10. EXCLUSIVE: Horrific Details Emerge of the Aleppo Rebel’s Trade in Human Organs (sputniknews, Dec 29, 2016)

    “After the liberation of Syria’s second-largest city of Aleppo from jihadists, horrific details of their rule continue coming to light: local residents have revealed to Sputnik Arabic the mechanisms of a well-established network of organ traders and their price list.

    Amid so much western fuss concerning the so-called “Russian atrocities” during the liberation of Aleppo, local residents of the liberated city sat down with Sputnik Arabic to reveal for the first time the horrific details of the jihadists’ rule.

    They spoke of a massive illegal human organ trade across the border with Turkey, set up by the militants. Civilians learned to fear the local emergency vehicles as they sped around the city hunting for potential donors. One of the “patients” happened to be 60-year-old Abu Mohammad.

    “We were shelled from a grenade launcher and immediately afterwards rebels came in an emergency vehicle. They ended up stealing one of my kidneys and part of my spleen,” he told Sputnik. He further described the mechanism of the traders’ operations: a team of rebels wait for an explosion and immediately afterwards pounce on the wounded and dead. Some of those wounded could have been later returned home, he said. Alia has been residing in the Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo which was under control of Al-Nusra Front. Once she was offered to undergo treatment in a Turkish clinic as none of eastern Aleppo’s clinics had enough medication.

    “There was a huge market on the border with Turkey where virtually anything was on sale, including women and children. A dead body was selling for 25,000 Turkish lira (TRL), the equivalent of $50, a body of an injured person was selling for 150,000 TRL ($290),” she told Sputnik.

    “Every day those wounded at war are sent to hospitals and are regarded as potential donors,” she said.

    According to statistics, there have been 18,000 documented cases of illegal removal of human organs in the north of Syria. However the majority of these secretive crimes will remain that way, as people are afraid to openly speak about them. A group of forensic experts from Aleppo told Sputnik that it was pretty easy to obtain a human organ in the city. It is located not far from the Syrian-Turkish border which could be easily crossed from the districts which were under control of the rebels. Many foreigners who were allegedly offering humanitarian aid have flooded the city through that border. In fact, these were predominantly mafia who, together with foreign medics, were hunting for human organs and sending them across the border. Doctor Bagjat Akrush told Sputnik that many Syrian medics have been involved in this criminal industry under the cover of the war. It was most active in the hot spots in the north and east of Syria and in the refugee camps.

    The governments of many countries have taken part in these crimes either directly or covertly and have done nothing to stop it. The doctor said that the majority of these crimes have been committed in the north of the country and children were among those suffered. Up to 100,000 children in the refugee camps on the Turkish territory are facing the same very danger, he said.

    Up to 80 percent of refugees in these camps are women and children who have been on sale for almost three years. And it is no secret that the Turks are also involved in it. The war in Syria made it possible for criminals to get very cheap human organs, Akrush went on. They choose a victim through a medical organization, desirably a healthy one as the organs of a diseased man are not that in-demand. Then the organs are sent across the border. Even though Syrian law prohibits the trade in human organs, such crimes are usually done illegally and covertly, he finally stated.”

  11. Boko Haram chief denies losing stronghold in new video (france24, Dec 29, 2016)

    “Boko Haram’s elusive leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a new video on Thursday to dispute a claim that the jihadist group had been routed from its Sambisa Forest stronghold.

    “We are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere. And tactics and strategies cannot reveal our location except if Allah wills by his decree,” Shekau said in the 25-minute video, flanked by masked armed fighters.

    “You should not be telling lies to the people,” he said, referring to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who said on Christmas Eve that the extremist group had been defeated and driven from the forest, its last known bastion.

    “If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?” he asked.

    It was not immediately clear where the new video was shot, but Shekau, who spoke in both Hausa and Arabic, said it was filmed on Christmas Day.

    Shekau last appeared in a video in September where he disputed a claim by the Nigerian military that he had been wounded in battle…”

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